More than any other team this offseason, the Northwest Mafia have been very outspoken about the way they have been analyzed as a team. Having not made the playoffs last season, word around the league has resorted to them being labeled a "non-contender," which has not sat well with team owner Taite Kleine and company.
Throughout the offseason Kleine has thrown jabs at other teams and players as well as defended the roster quality of the Mafia. In his defense, the team did finish with a 2-1 record last season, and their only lost was to the champion Express.
As a result of Kleine's confidence in his roster, he has done nothing in free agency except re-sign Colby Gaston, and Kleine says soon he will re-sign himself. Essentially, the Mafia right now are set to return their whole roster, which also includes batter, Taylor Yeo.
Should they have been aggressive in free agency and tried to add more talent? That's for the rest of us to have an opinion on, but right now Kleine says he "hasn't decided yet" if he will sign another player besides himself before JAL 15 begins in about a month and a half.
Of course, when Kleine is clicking he's a great batter and a pretty good ace pitcher. When he's struggling though, it can get ugly, especially on defense if #2 pitching option Gaston has to step in.
No slam against Gaston, but he's not the kind of arm you can put on the field and still expect to win in the American Conference. If the Mafia were to get another player they would probably be best off signing a pitcher. The only problem now is that if Kleine does in fact decide to make an addition at that position it may not be a very effective one...
Given that Kleine is a volatile pitcher, it would be ideal to have a veteran arm who can come in mid-way through a game and keep things from falling apart, or who you could trust to take care of business in a "should win game." Unfortunately, the Mafia have basically missed any shot at getting that player at this point. By now the only arm they could get is a rookie, who naturally would be volatile (at least at first) as well.
To talk about all this and state his case for his confidence in the team's actions this offseason (or lack of actions) will be Taite Kleine, who is set to appear on the next episode of The Pitch.