Having formally been eliminated from the 2009 pennant chase, the expansion Friars released a soul-searching evaluation of how things have gone. Courtesy of Brother Johann, here it is:
"Blessings and peace be to all you. We thank you for providing us the sort of spirited competition that brings out the best in all of us. As scripture says, 'iron sharpeneth iron.'
As we look back on this season, we have some definite pluses. Ben Zobrist (or as we like to call him, 'Zorilla') emerged as a regular. His versatility has been a thing to behold. We definitely agree with our ballclub, which has named Ben our team MVP. To celebrate, we will be holding 'Ben Zobrist Night' in the near future, and perhaps allow Ben to play multiple positions as an exciting enticement to our appreciative fans."
"We are also please with the development of Shin-Soo Choo, who recently became the first Korean-born major-league player to have a 20-20 season. As we see it, 'Big League Choo' (as we like to call him) will be the club's regular RF in 2010, and we look forward to seeing how he develops. We have received assurances from the South Korean government that Mr. Choo's military obligations will not interfere with his development.
"We believe that, if you can excuse the expression, that our drafting Justin Verlander in this year's draft was a steal. His AL-leading wins and strikeouts give us a staff ace that we can build around in the 2010 season."
"Finally, our biggest (and, we hope, best) move was doubtless the acquisition of Carlos Quentin in a trade with Los Angeles. Quentin, or (as we like to call him) 'Qu-perman', shows great potential as a run producer. A three-sport star in high school, Quentin is also an outstanding student of the game, as befits a Stanford grad. We think his big arm will play well in LF for the next few seasons to come. If we are right, Quentin is a 30-HR, 120-RBI machine waiting to happen, not the injury-slowed player we saw in 2009."
"Overall, our lineup is much improved. We had a pair of 20-HR hitters when the season began, and now we arguably have 5-6. We had no .300 hitters; now we have at least two, and we have also acquired four prospects and two former phenoms to build on for next year. Our rebuilt bullpen of Sherrill, Lyons and Francisco (while unheralded) was solid in the second half."
NOT ALL ROSY
"But, we must be accountable for our decisions that did not work out, if we are to be considered good stewards. I am afraid that Hank Blalock's power was largely negated by his free-swinging ways. Lyle Overbay was perhaps asked too much of in the run production department, as well, and Cesar Izturis was hurt so much he couldn't even keep the SS seat warm for 'The Cuban Missile' (Alexei Ramirez). These players, sadly, are unlikely to return to the Friars next season."
"Also sad: the failure to produce a real bonafide regular catcher. St. Francis could only shuffle in journeymen and prospects who weren't ready. RHP Gavin Floyd regressed to his pre-2008 form, and the club was forced to deal RHP Edwin Jackson in the Quentin deal. There is a huge dropoff in the rotation after Mr. Verlander, a general lack of pitching depth and bench strength, all of which must be seriously upgraded if the club is to contend."
"Perhaps the saddest of all things was to see so little interest in veteran LHP Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer, who were being counted on as bargaining chips to contending clubs in the second half but who elicited little interest. This was clearly the biggest strategic blunder of our office, and we will think twice before adding more aging veterans to our roster."