A four-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Kansas City Royals. It just doesn’t get any lower than this. Then, suddenly… It hit me. The appropriate strategy for the final 10 games of the season: Draft position. Since the powers that be have decided that the first overall pick will alternate between leagues, it’s a close race between the Pirates and the Rockies for first overall (with the Pirates 1½ game “ahead” currently). On the American League side, it is, unfortunately, already mathematically impossible for the Royals to finish ahead of us. However, the Mariners (our next opponent, no less!) are just 1½ games “ahead” of us and we only need to make up 3½ games on Tampa Bay to pass them by. On the NL side, we’ll need to make sure to out-lose the Dodgers, who currently have exactly the same record as we do, and the Rockies are way out front – we need to make up 4 games to pass them (or 5½ games to pass the Pirates, should the Rox find their way to the first overall pick). So, that’s the new plan… There’s 10 games left, let’s lose ’em all, and we could wind up as high as the third overall pick in next summer’s draft.
How will we lose them all? I know, let’s shut down Jeremy Bonderman for the year. Then, let’s feature (in just 10 games, remember) at least two starts each from Sean Douglass, Matt Ginter, and Jason Grilli (and shutting down Bonderman nearly assures this). Hey, while we’re at it, let’s take a look at that lineup, huh?
Catcher: Well, Ivan Rodriguez says he wants to clear his head (see lower half of the Tigers Corner column at the “Bonderman being shut down” link above)? Fine. Let’s start Vance Wilson for the last 10 games. And, while we’re at it, let’s reward Max St. Pierre for his very nice year down in AA… by getting him acclimated to his future career role: backup catcher.
1st Base: You know what? For developmental value, I’m in favor of going ahead and letting Chris Shelton finish out the year here.
2nd Base: Hey, Placido, nice year. Here’s your reward: A nice 10-game rest. Save some for next year, buddy. Somebody get Kevin Hooper on the blower and tell him to grab the next plane to Detroit.
Left Field: Well, Craig, congratulations are in order. You’re leading the team in RBIs, and no one else is even within shouting distance. So what say you shut it down for the last 10 games, and we’ll see if the real Nook Logan will please stand up.
Center Field: Now, you might be asking yourself… Why Logan in left field? Because, like Shelton at first base, we’ll be employing Curtis Granderson in center for developmental purposes.
Right Field: Magglio, buddy, really… We believe you about the knee thing. Even if the Chicago media types don’t. And the sports hernia, well… Stuff happens. But, honestly, let’s not risk anything, huh? Save it for next year. In the meantime, we’ll be putting the strikeout-tastic Marcus Thames in right, because he’s probably got a family to feed and all, and who knows, maybe some other team will see something they like and pick him up for next year. Let’s give him a chance.
Designated Hitter: Wow, Dmitri, you really weren’t kidding when you said playing left field wasn’t really a good thing for you, long term… So, yeah, take a seat, pal. No problem. It’s really better for us to bat our pitchers from here on out, anyways. Warm ’em up for next year’s interleague play, that’s the ticket.
Oh, yeah, and as long as we’re working completely on next year, let’s get Cameron Maybin inked. Way to go, Double-D… Now let’s just work on losing these last 10 games.