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Winter chill settles in and Christmas season has come and gone. While the bills pile up and the wife frantically trys to figure out how to budget, I am down in the dungeon studying for Strat-O-mas..errr..draft day. What to do with 17 picks? I file this report from draft headquarters:

Dave Dombrowski was a busy man before the holidays trying to give his team a facelift. A facelift which can go two ways. The first one which gives his team no hope for the future when he makes the wrong draft pick or he could pick players which vault the team into contention within the three to five year timetable the franchise set in 1999 when they began the remodeling.
I sat down with the risk taking GM for a Q&A.

Q: Dave, you are under some very harsh fire for some of your pre draft moves, what do you have to say?

A: I am sure a lot has been said about what the Evanston Equine have been doing over the last month. My answer is if you don't feel you can win with the present group of players, you have to do something dramatic.

Q: Well acquiring 17 picks is certainly dramatic, why the Mussina deal?

A: When we first traded for Mike it was to upgrade our pitching and maybe be a thorn in the sides of the contenders. But, Mike's agent and I agreed to trade him as soon as we got a deal we felt comfortable with.

Q: So he was never in your plans for the 2001 season?

A: Correct. It was always a buy cheap, sell for a profit type of arrangement. Mike was here during the championship years and we knew he would not want to be part of a rebuilding process. Chesapeake came to the table with a solid offer which we felt most reflected our direction. We got two solid prospect pitchers who provide depth and high draft picks to further the rebuilding of the franchise.

Q: Are you happy with the teams position going into the draft?

A: Very much so, we have our eye on several young prospects and a few veterans. While prospects help the rebuilding, the vets will help us field a team in 2001. We are scheduling a press conference to announce the signing of our first pick Rafael Furcal on Friday. He will officially be a member of the team on Saturday about 15 seconds after the draft starts. There's no suspense. You trade an All Star caliber shortstop like Renteria and leave the position wide open, there's really no question which direction we're going.

Q: When the draft is over you will have several players looking for work, any regrets?

A: None. We will be a better team after Saturday. The scouting staff and I are well prepared and we have a lot of latitude having so many picks.

Q: What is your primary focus for this draft?

A: Best athlete available and veterans to plug holes while we develope those athletes. Rafael is the best player in the draft right now, in two years he may be past up, but right now, he's the best. The guy we pick at #4 will be the best at that moment in my mind and in the minds of our scouting staff. We have no set plan.

With that answer Dombrowski terminated the Q&A to return to the war room and further his preparation.

Can't wait to see the scoreboard on draft day..
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