ESPN.com's Jon Robinson continues his hands-on analysis of Major League Baseball 2K9's franchise mode as he deals with the virtual 2009 season of the San Francisco Giants.
Excerpt: "As the season progresses, the Rangers propose a trade that will send me Marlon Byrd, a center fielder with a 77 overall rating for Barry Zito and his bloated contract. I don't need a center fielder, but man, the deal frees up over 14.5 million dollars a year for my team. I can't press the button fast enough as Byrd is only on the books for one season at 1.44M. That will make the Giants a major player in next year's free agent class.
In fact, I use some of the cash I just saved by dumping Zito to sign Pedro Martinez from the current free agent list to a very affordable one-year deal, making my pitching rotation the nasty: Lincecum, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Jonathan Sanchez, Noah Lowry. If these guys stay healthy, can you imagine a post season three-man rotation of Lincecum, Johnson, and Pedro? This might not work in real life in terms of what Johnson and Pedro have left in the tank, but in a video game, this could win you a title.
Or maybe not as my team starts to tailspin, or as we like to call it in San Francisco, the Giants hit the June Swoon, dropping nine games in a row. Pedro is only 1-6 in his first seven starts, and Sandoval has been a major disappointment at third, hitting just .220 with six home runs in the first 43 games. Randy Winn is another player not playing up to ability as he is only batting .256 from the second spot in the lineup. I make some adjustments, replacing Winn in the lineup with Byrd, then I move Sandoval down in the order to get Molina and Renteria more at bats."