"Iíd just taught him the spitter. But if he tries it against us, I know where he hides the Vaseline."
-- Oakland pitching coach Bob Cluck on John Wasdin,
who was traded to Boston in the Jose Canseco deal.



Hey folks, itís Spring in Arizona and Florida and you know what that means. Thatís right, weíre all pouring over boxscores in USA Today looking for this yearís Gary Scott. Iím going to keep these musings short, because Iíve already got three attachments (expansion protections, team rosters and CRL addresses) at the end of this newsletter to drive up my postage costs.

Before I get to the other news, the last two pages are an updated address and phone list for all CRL owners. If you have any corrections, additions or deletions, please let me know by roster freeze day.

The first attachment to this newsletter is a list of which seven players were protected from the expansion process. After these players were protected, Sanford selected one player from each team. These players were, in order by team number taken from; Tom Glavine, Moises Alou, Chris Gomez, Al Martin, John Flaherty, John Smiley, Mark Johnson, Mark Lemke, Edgardo Alfonzo, Devon White and Kevin Stocker. After Sanford selected those 11 players, each team was allowed to protect an additional player. Those players, again in team number order, were; Doug Glanville, John Mabry, Mike Kelly, Shawon Dunston, Scott Livingstone, Jeff Conine, James Mouton, Terry Adams, Bill Mueller, Rick Wilkins and Doug Henry. Sanford then selected four additional players -- Cliff Floyd from Otis, Steve Trachsel from Johnny, Marquis Grissom from Spencer, et. al., and Lee Smith from Fraser -- to complete the expansion process. Sanford has also made two trades since the end of the expansion draft. He (his new team number is 12, by the way) sent Kevin Stocker to Team 1 for Willie Greene and then shipped Marks Lemke and Johnson to Team 6 for T.J. Mathews.

Just an idle thought here, but arenít we trying to emulate real baseball? In the majors, expansion franchises pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $125 million to the league for the rights to an expansion franchise. I doubt weíll find any prospective owners with such deep pockets, but how about a couple of extra-large pepperonis at Bautistas?

Before I get to team rosters and our annual lecture on long-term contracts (this stuff is in the constitution, yet I still get questions every year on how it works. If you donít have a copy of the constitution, let me know and Iíll mail you one.) I need to bring up a couple of proposed rule changes. Both deal with money. Some people want to move the money deadline from the end of any given month to the 15th of the same month. For example, we have said that money spent in May must be paid by the end of June, and so on. A couple of owners are asking that this deadline be pushed up to June 15. The other money issue deals with the final payments due in October. If all moneys are not received by the end of October, offending teams will be penalized by either $1 off their salary cap for the following season or one less player they can protect for each week that their money is late. For example, if money is not received from team X until Nov. 10, Team X either has only $129 to spend the following season, or Team X can only protect 14 players -- instead of the usual 15 (just guessing that teams owing money will finish out of the top five) -- the following season.

As usual, these proposals are up for debate and will be voted on at the draft. If you have any other proposed rule changes, please get them to me by roster freeze day so I can type them up and distribute them to all owners. Beginning this season, we will have a different format for these votes. An agenda of items to be voted on will be distributed to each owner. Someone, probably me, will use this agenda to keep track of how we voted. There have been instances in the past where we have voted on a rule change before the draft, and several beers -- and a few hours -- later, couldnít remember how the vote went. Weíre fixing that this year. Going forward, any proposed rule changes not given to me by roster freeze day will be tabled until the following year.

OK, enough of the hard-ass, itís time to get to the fun stuff. As far as I know, the only people not going to Vegas this year are Otis, Johnny, Doug and Greg. Doug, Johnny and Otis will be joining us by speakerphone from Otisí kitchen again, while Greg will probably be hitting orange golf balls between the drifts produced by one of those freak, spring, lake-effect snows blowing in off Lake Ontario.

I think everybody that is going is staying at the Trop, and Kerr has graciously allowed us to trash his room this year.

On the itinerary front, any of you wanting to go to the Stars game Thursday night or play golf Friday need to let me know ASAP so we can make arrangements. I also need to know how each of you plan to receive your stats, so I can figure out how much we owe to the stat service.

Roster freeze day is Wednesday, March 26. Draft day is Saturday, April 5. Weíll start about 10 a.m., Vegas time.

The second attachment to this newsletter is the current (as of 11a.m. CST March 10) roster for all CRL teams. The columns are self-explanatory, but there are a couple of things I need to tell you about:

Those players who played out their option or contract are not listed here. These are only the players eligible to be kept.

Iíve tried to keep up with player movement this off-season by listing each player with his current team. If a player has no team listed, that means he is in either the AL or Japan, or is retired or unsigned. These players are listed here because they may turn up on an NL roster before Mar. 26, making them eligible to be kept.

The designation (R) behind a name means the player is currently on the reserve list. These players were kept last October when we broke the links between active and reserved players. If any of these players is protected on Mar. 26, his owner will owe a $5 activation fee to the pool.

Those players with the designation (F) behind their name are currently on that CRL teamís farm roster. Those players may be protected on Mar. 26, and not count against a teamís limit, by paying $5 each to the prize pool. If a protected farm player subsequently makes an opening-day roster, his owner is required to activate him, pay the $5 activation fee, and, if necessary, drop another player from their protected roster to make room for the farm guy. If an owner protects a player who does not make an opening-day roster, he must wait until after the draft to reserve, or waive, the player and replace him. While I have tried to keep track of player movement among the big leaguers, I canít guarantee that all of these farm guys are still where this list says they are.

Now about the column headed "Co." Any player with an LX, where X is a number, in this column is under a long-term contract and must be kept or have his contract bought out. (If you are contemplating this, give me a call and Iíll explain it to you.) The exceptions to this are players -- Greg Colbrunn, for example -- who are no longer in the league. These players may be dumped with no penalty. A player with an S1 designation can be kept with no change in salary. A player that has an asterisk (*) after his name is entering his option year and may be kept for one additional year at is current salary, or signed to a long-term contract. If you understand this process, you can skip the next paragraph. If not, read on.

If a player is signed to a long-term contract, his new salary becomes the sum of his current salary and $2.50 for each year, beyond the current one, for which he is signed. For example, if a player currently has a salary of $5 and his owner wants to sign him to a three-year contract, his new salary becomes $10. ($5 plus $2.50 plus $2.50.) His contract begins this season and runs out after the 1999 season. In addition, the owner signing a player to a long-term contract must pay a signing bonus equal to one-half the total value of the contract into the prize pool. Using the example above, the owner signing this imaginary player would owe a signing bonus of $15. ($10 per year for three years is $30. Half that is $15.)

Now that we are all back, here are the maximum number of players each team may protect:

Team 3 -- 10
Team 6 -- 11
Team 2 -- 12
Team 8 -- 13
Team 1 -- 14

Everyone else, 15. If we can find 15 worth protecting. Thereís a reason the rest of us were not listed with those five teams.

One final note. Instead of charging those teams going to Vegas additional stat fees to cover beer, and since some teams have more owners than others, Iíll collect $5 from everybody at the pizza part Friday night for the Saturday morning beer run.

Donít forget to call by Wednesday the 26th!