The Prodigal Son Returns

added 11/9/2010 by Scott Barzilla

It has been more than a year since I have graced these pages. For some, that wasn't long enough. The off-season began in earnest on Sunday with not much going on around the league. Most teams are still licking their wounds from the season. The 2010 season was an interesting one for the hometown nine and the off-season should be entertaining as well.

2010 brought a youth movement like we hadn't seen since the 1990 season. During that season, we saw the last of the great 1980s players that led the team to the 1986 NLCS. Mike Scott was on his last legs, Glenn Davis was injured and traded and guys like Bill Doran were soon out the door. The 2010 season was similar in that Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman were dealt for younger players. Those were the last two remaining players from the 2005 World Series team, other than Wandy Rodriguez.

Ed Wade appears to be at a crossroads. Those deals afford him the ability to do some shopping on the open market. They could add another frontline pitcher like Brett Myers (say Jon Garland or Brandon Webb). They could add another power hitting infielder via free agency (Juan Uribe or Edgar Renteria) or through trade (Dan Uggla). They could go after an outfielder or first baseman to provide more sock (Adam Dunn or Carl Crawford). Or, Wade could stick with the youth movement and even dump Carlos Lee along the way. Don't expect much for Lee. A couple of boxes of vegetable fried rice might be enough. The most important part of any impending deal is how much is saved and who would take his place in the meantime.

The Rangers and Giants were also-rans before this season. They waited patiently for their cores to develop and then surrounded them with enough to make a playoff run. These things usually don't happen overnight. The 2011 season might be a holding pattern until the club realizes which young players will stick and which ones will not. That's not all that bad. It can be fun to watch young players get better.