Results tagged ‘ New York Yankees ’
The regular season begins this Sunday at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. As I preview these divisions, I’ll tell you a little of what sport betting sites see, what computer simulations see, and what I see. The teams will be previewed in the reverse order I expect them to finish. Let us preview the AL East, which I am having an impossible time getting a read on, because you have so much talent on these rosters, but how does what happened last year translate to 2013? How will the players that won’t break with the club play a role with the big club in the summer? If you have an easy time predicting this division, I don’t think you’re looking at what this division’s got hard enough.
5. Boston Red Sox
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 11/2, 14/1, 28/1
Stuart sees: a team that gets to hit the “reset” button with a new field manager, and names like Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez going from Red Sox to Dodger Blue. Their lineup the way it is now isn’t bad, and their rotation after Lester and Clay Buchholz is where I wonder what happens. It is definitely more of a “I don’t know what will happen” feeling than a “this team is going to tank” one. The bullpen shouldn’t be horrible, and this club could have some big mid-season call-ups in guys like Jackie Bradley, Jr., Rubby De La Rosa, and Allen Webster. If this team got a playoff spot, I can’t say I’d be surprised, and I’ll be guilty of admitting that what they did in 2012 is playing into how I’ll think they do in 2013. This is not to suggest they will be an awful 5th place team, just the team that happens to be in that spot.
4. Baltimore Orioles
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 15/2, 18/1, 35/1
Stuart sees: a squad that probably over-achieved in 2012 and won’t see consistent success until that crop of pitchers graduate full-time to the majors. Yes, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, I am looking at you. Manny Machado was brought up last year to the surprise of many, but he is still there, and many are expecting he’ll be a force even if he’s not calling his position of SS home. It is good to hear Brian Roberts‘ name used in the day-to-day action, as opposed to about his recovering from a concussion. The bullpen is passable, and that lineup a little better than that with guys like Matt Wieters starting to come around. To get back to the playoffs, the Orioles will need that pitching staff to do better than they are projected to do, otherwise, it’s going to be the familiar role of cellar dwellers for them.
3. New York Yankees
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 7/2, 9/1, 20/1
Stuart sees: people freaking out over the Yankees because Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Pineda are all out for a while, even the Captain has been slowed down from his season-ending ankle injury. Giants fans know that they got their championships through their pitching (and timely hitting), so knowing the Yankees have Sabathia, and Hiroki Kuroda shouldn’t scare you off too much. Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova, and David Phelps may not be the best money can buy, but you can do worse, and I think the Yanks have just enough bats to avoid getting into ALCS-bad shape. Then again, you’d have to be pretty bad to be in that shape. Again.
2. Tampa Bay Rays
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 5/2, 8/1, 16/1
Stuart sees: young, strong pitching leading the rotation, and more on the way . While Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore may not blow the doors off the scene, an improvement for Moore in 2013 would spell trouble for the AL East in getting after the Rays. If the lineup doesn’t scare you yet, that’s OK, but once Wil Myers gets penciled in, that sound you’ll hear is the American League pitchers groaning. While Myers isn’t a Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, he is still a potential All-Star for the outfield, and not one of those “hey we need a guy from a team” All-Stars. The bullpen is led by archery and plantain specialist Fernando Rodney, and after that, it’s an affordable group of arms… “If only they had more financial resources and played in a market that cared,” we cry. If this team struggles and falls out of contention, the asking price for ace SP Price should be most interesting, because he’s probably taking a raise that the Rays won’t be able to offer in the offseason.
1. Toronto Blue Jays
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 8/5, 15/4, 8/1
Stuart sees: a team that saw what the AL East was putting out and decided it was time to push the chips in. Like it or not, the Blue Jays gave up some pieces to get the guys they brought in, including R.A. Dickey. Taking a risk on Melky Cabrera was probably not looked upon favorably by the public, but I like the move that was made and hope it works out, especially with the naive optimism it could spur a “maybe we don’t have the right idea about PEDs,” but that really is a pipe-dream on my part. The rotation has the potential to be lights out with the bullpen being my question mark for the team. That lineup is not going to be fun to face, but I will say this: if you hear this club made out to be some sort of Washington Nationals-level super-club, I don’t buy into that. I think they’re a tick above what the Braves put out. A short-term gamble (but not like trading Wheeler for Beltran short-term) that should see the playoffs being played again in Toronto. Milk bags for everyone!
A crazy and difficult set of predictions for the AL East, what are yours for this division (that I think could go a lot of different ways)?
Eli Whiteside has been claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees. He was the third catcher in the depth chart behind Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez and over his time with the Giants will leave with two World Series rings. Something I didn’t pick up on probably because I didn’t visit his player page enough was that Whiteside played with the Orioles in 2005. He was also in the Minnesota farm system, then the Giants system. Dustin Eli Whiteside had 10 HR and 102 H with the G’s over the 2009-2012 seasons in 199 G. Not sure if this means it’s the end of Chris Stewart‘s time in New York, but I’d guess it will at least be one of the two guys fighting for the backup role in Spring Training if CS is held on to and/or extended a minor-league invite.
By the way, Yankees, you like Giants catchers? Mind if we sign Bengie Molina for a day so you can acquire him and give the Giants a useful reliever?
Lastly, this is the time where you fondly remember Eli for his hop-fest in front of Shane Victorino and has face slide into second base.
While we know all ten teams that are going to the postseason, we do not know the seeds of six of the ten teams, and that’s pretty crazy going into the last game of the season. We could have some things unfold early on in the day, while we will have to wait until the East Coast begins their nightcaps to see if there’s going to be even something like a Game 163.
Seeds we know: #3 Giants, #4 Braves, #5 Cardinals
Philadelphia @ Washington — 10:05AM PST – If Washington wins, they’re the #1 seed in the NL. They would travel to the winner of the Braves/Cardinals for Sunday’s Game 1. If Washington loses, they will have to wait for the outcome of the Cincinnati-St.Louis game to see where will travel.
Cincinnati @ St. Louis — 5:15PM PST – Cincy needs Washington to lose if they want this game to matter in terms of seeding. Should the Nationals lose and Cincy wins, they will travel to the Wild Card winner’s site for Sunday’s Game 1, and Washington will go to San Francisco. If Cincy loses, they’ll head to SF for Saturday’s Game 1.
Seeds we know: #3 Tigers
Texas @ Oakland — 12:35PM PST – The winner wins the AL West, and the loser will be the wild-card team. Where this gets dicey is Texas, Oakland, and Baltimore are all 93-68, with the Yankees being 94-67. If Texas wins and the Yankees lose, the Yankees will be the #1, and Texas the #2. If Oakland wins and the Yankees lose, Oakland will be the #1, and the Yankees will be the #2 — all this assuming Baltimore loses their game today. If Baltimore loses, the loser of this game will be the #4 seed, Baltimore the #5.
Boston @ New York — 4:05PM PST – The Yankees can make things easy by winning their game and clinching the East, and the #1 seed. If they lose and Baltimore wins, there will be a tie atop the AL East and a Thursday Game 163 in Baltimore will be put on the schedule.
Baltimore @ Tampa Bay — 4:10PM PST – If the Orioles and Yankees will be playing at the same time, much like they were last year, except they were helping Boston’s meltdown and the Yankees were unable to close the door on the Rays. The Orioles would definitely prefer a best-of-five to a winner-take-all then a best-of-five. They will have to win, see the Yankees lose, and face off with them on Thursday. Winner of that game should be the #1 seed, having a half game lead over the AL West winner.
That’s all there is to it today to decide who will be going where. Simple, right?
Look into those eyes. What are they saying to you? Do they say, “I’ve played with 4 different teams in the last 4 seasons?” Are they trying to tell you he’s on pace for 225 hits? Do they also question you when you endlessly cite BABIP to predict his inevitable fall? Maybe.
Sometimes we don’t appreciate what The Melky does. Other times, we dress up as deliverymen from a different decade and go on instagram to see pictures of his newborn baby. I don’t do either, because 1) I don’t have a costume like that and 2) I don’t have an Instagram account or even know how to take an Instagram (is that what the Instagrammers say?). This article is to show you in numbers that I appreciate what he does. I should make this perfectly clear to my readers though that you should never just rely on numbers for every argument you make about a player’s performance. I feel like a lot of guys that argue with the beat writers live and die by the number… don’t do that.
Anyway, you may be wondering how Melky Melkethed last year in KC while the trade idea for him for Dirty was not even a glimmer in Brian Sabean’s eye.
My conclusions: Skinny Melky is putting up some fat numbers. If you rolled your eyes at that joke, you’re welcome. Take it and use it.
Interesting numbers and differences to look at though, like May of 2011 vs. May of 2012 as Melky went from mediocre in 5/2011 to out of his mind in May ’12, and is probably one of the biggest reasons why his 2012 numbers may be so much more ballooned relative to ’11 and thus may lead to so many more green rectangles for the Melk Man come contract time. I mean, unless August and September/October see Melky tank like Emmanuel Burriss, then Melky’s looking like all his numbers across the board should be what I’ll estimate to be around 20 points better if his numbers stay somewhat close to what he did in 2011. It’s looking like an over-.300 BABIP is not difficult for him to replicate now since he only couldn’t do it within the last 2 seasons in May of 2011. (Disclaimer: This is not saying Melky can do it for the easy majority of the next five-six years, I’m not willing to blindly guess that far into the future.)
So look into those eyes again:
Do they tell you he’s 11th in OBP in the bigs? 17th in wOBA? 5th in BABIP? Whether you think I made those numbers up or not, what those eyes should tell you is Melky’s here to produce, and here to hit, and should continue to do so over the final 64 games of the season for the Giants of San Francisco.
I hope those images don’t give you nightmares.
Two teams with very different winning streaks — the Giants at 3, and the Braves at 7 — meet up in Hotlanta in what’s a battle between two teams with very similar post-season aspirations, and only a one game apart in the loss column. All winning streaks have to come to an end sometime, right? So why not force them to start a brand new one after they leave Georgia? Problem is obviously, this team is much better than the Houston squad that got swept by the Giants. Leaving 26 men on base in the last two games of the series like the Giants did will not likely warrant positive results in the Win column should that continue on this roadtrip.
Tuesday, July 17th: LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens
One sentence summary: Two guys with a tERA over 5 means this game could have both fanbases putting their hands to their heads for five to six innings at the very most.
Wednesday, July 18th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Mike Minor
One sentence summary: 19 HRA for Mike Minor and the count for those HR and the pitches they were hit on: fastball (10), changeup (5), slider (3), and the curveball (1).
Thursday, July 19th: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. RHP Tim Hudson
One sentence summary: Tim Hudson really can give you a bunch of different looks and the sinkerballer should be the biggest challenge of a starting pitcher the Giants see in the Southeast.
A pretty decent team the Braves are, as they’ve shown this season with four guys (assuming qualified PA) with over a .350 wOBA (Giants have three), but you may hear the broadcast booth talk about three of them have batting averages over .300, which is also impressive. Chipper (.383 wOBA), Martin Prado (.363), Jason Heyward (.363), and Michael Bourn (.359) are the wOBA guys, and the Braves also have four guys with double digit HRs. Heyward actually leads all with 14, McCann has 13, and Uggla along with Freeman both have 12. Three — Bourn (25), JHey (12), and Prado (11) — have double digit steals. So a team that hits, can hit for power, and can run. Any questions as to why they’re in the hunt?
Sure, the Giants have their own speed in Pagan (16), Blanco (15), and Melky (10), and two different guys from Melky (.387 wOBA) have high wOBA like the Braves gang in Pablo (.367), and Buster (.364), but still only have Buster (11) as a representative from the double digit big bomb club. A lot of talk has also come about the Giants hitting with RISP, and it gets your attention because they’re one of the worst in the league. The most AB with RISP coming into tonight’s games at 805 AB for the Giants, yet they have the 2nd lowest batting average (.225, Padres lowest at .209), the lowest OBP (.302), the 2nd lowest SLG% (.328, Padres lowest at .300), the 2nd lowest BABIP (.260, Yankees the lowest at .241) and the 2nd lowest wOBA (.270, Padres at .268). Leaves you to wonder how many close games can be avoided if the RISP will come in at a higher rate this second half of the season.
I’m not going to predict better RISP batting, although you’d think it should happen since it’s been so bad so far. The Giants can win this series, but will they let the heat get to them like they let it last time?
Tuesday: Giants win (Jurrjens gets hit harder than Zito)
Wednesday: Giants win (Hit Mike Minor hard)
Thursday: Braves win (RISP problems)
I had a conversation with a good friend of mine recently who’s a big football fan and a sports fan in general. His shortcomings include rooting for the Atlanta Braves and Florida State for no good reason but whatever. We talked about the future of baseball and I thoroughly enjoyed it. With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement announced today that was signed by BOTH MLB and the MLB Players Association (some people forget the latter is involved and want to blame Selig for everything), we get a better picture for the immediate future and the immediate future includes 5 years of baseball guaranteed.
The MLB Draft
This was the area that took the biggest hit and I’ll let Bill Shaikin give you a quick rundown:
That’s a pretty big deal to me. A lot of people (especially the Kevin Goldstein’s of the world) talk about how you would not see kids like Bubba Starling of the Cubs and Zach Lee of the Dodgers on a baseball team but roaming the gridiron of the football fields. One of Baseball America’s scours, Aaron Fitt thinks it’ll strengthen the collegiate baseball programs and I can’t disagree that it won’t, but I just worry how many of these multi-sport athletes we lose to football or basketball? This is something can could legitimately affect franchises for a decade, maybe even two, and to me that’s a problem. I want the best athletes that can play baseball in baseball. Not football. Not basketball. Lots of writers have talked about how the majority of the teams went over slot recommendations in the 2011 Draft (approximately 20 of the 30 teams). Kids still want to see the money, and by baseball owners not willing to shell it out, they take a gamble on the popularity of their own business.
Oh by the way, with the new “Super 2″ ruling, players can become Free Agents faster. Good for them, bad for the fans.
Remember when the NFL and its fans were all scared of instant replay? Well Baseball is finally catching on, now saying they’ll review fair/foul and trapped balls. MLB needs to keep up with the technology and maybe Fox will even let them use their thermal imaging camera. Don’t be afraid of technology, baseball… there will still be a human element to the game. I mean shoot, we’ve had A Machine win the World Series two years in a row!
HGH Testing and Tobacco Usage
These were issues pushed by the players and I think it’s great. They want to have a clean image free from steroids and just an overall positive image from the public because let’s face it: most celebrities are not like you and me. They’re really good at something that pays a lot of money, and I’m really good at something that pays only a little bit of money. There might be other differences in there. Baseball needs to continue to be ahead of the curve when it comes to public perception of a dishonest game. You can tell steroids are mostly out of the game by the numbers and despite the lack of HR records being set, there are still people coming out and tuning in to watch a ballgame. If baseball has a scandal on the horizon though, they need to make sure it gets addressed and not try to sweep it under the rug.
It’ll be interesting to see what’s done re: Social Media policy. This is probably going to be better known as the “Logan Morrison Rule.”
The “Derek Jeter Rule.” I get athletes want time with their families and such but you’re in the entertainment business whether you like it or not. So dance for me, monkey! The way things were, you couldn’t blame someone for taking time off — the season’s grueling and everyone’s hurting by May, and it gets worse as the months go on. The fans vote on the position players they want to see, whether they’re right in voting a player in or not so don’t the fans deserve to watch who they voted in? I say yes. This was a good move in my opinion.
Expanded Playoffs and the Houston Astros
It’s gonna happen. The only question is for the expanded playoffs: “when?” 2012 or 2013? It’ll be a one-game playoff for the right to participate in the AL/NLDS. It will be fun for baseball fans and probably 9 innings and plenty days of suffering for the two 1-game playoff teams. Don’t be surprised to see this kind of thing expanded to another team so that there are four one-game playoffs in the distant future. Don’t ask me how it’d work, I just think it’ll happen.
The Houston Astros in 2013 will be in the AL West to soak up the cellar there for a little bit and will finally rid the Giants of their season-ruining ways with their AA lineup. This of course makes for interleague all-season long. No more “The Cardinals and Rangers have only played 3 times” dialogue but will be more like “The Giants took 3 of 4 from the Royals this year, how will that change the gameplans of both teams?” My take on it: it may not be as bad as everyone thinks it will be, but I do like the old way better. What it hopefully does is decrease the amount of divisional games and expose fans to more teams, more ballparks, more players and more great minds out there in the game.
Baseball needs the competitive balance to keep working towards maintaining the competitive balance in the sport. And expanding the playoffs might do just that. But check out this little nugget I found on the summary of the CBA on mlb.com:
One team exceeded that $178MM and it was who else: the New York Yankees. The luxury tax limit goes up $11MM since for some reason the economy will get better and everyone can afford $4,000 season tickets in the nosebleed sections in LF thus giving teams the power to give players like Aubrey Huff 2 year/$30MM contracts to play the OF once he’s done in San Francisco. I like that 50% number. Anything that penalizes the Yankees makes me happy.
Replacing the Baby Boomers and Advanced Statistics
This part was not in the CBA. This was all inspired from that conversation I had. My friend noted that the Baby Boomers are going to die off sooner or later and with that will die off a significant number of baseball fans, thus leaving baseball to rely on its younger crowd now to make sure the fanbase stays. I said to my friend that every sport, especially baseball in its more than a century of existence has had to deal with the challenges of marketing to its fans. The future will be no different and they need to ensure that baseball is an accessible game for all and this is being done with newer baseball stadiums, their MLB Network and even the encouraging of the use of social media to be connected with the game. Fans of the game want to be a part of the game in some fashion. This is one way.
The other way is through advanced statistics. Baseball isn’t just for the middle-class Joe, it’s for freakin’ everyone. Short people, tall people, skinny people, David Wells, stupid people and definitely smart people. The people that have brought us different advanced statistics show us new ways to think about the game, and it’s beautiful. They challenge us to not rely on the common stats of AVG, HR, RBI but maybe consider other things such as OBP, wOBA and wRC+ for a hitter. That’s awesome.
Baseball needs to stay connected with its fans and do its best not to alienate them. With the newest CBA, I’m not convinced they had that in mind to the highest degree as a lot seems to be focused on money for the owners and for the players. Baseball is still a business. But it is still our pastime.
I feel like I’m alone on a boat with my flippy-floppys on this one: I would love for the Giants to trade for Nick Swisher. Before I looked up his stats I was like just about everyone else though thinking, “Nick Swisher? That one guy who hit .220 with the White Sox? Let’s see how bad this is.” So I looked at how bad it was and this is what I found:
2009: 150 G, 607 PA, 29 HR, 16.0 BB%, 20.8 K%, .272 BABIP, .371 OBP, 124 wRC+, -3.0 UZR/150
2010: 150 G, 635 PA, 29 HR, 9.1 BB%, 21.9 K%, .335 BABIP, .359 OBP, 132 wRC+, 0.9 UZR/150
2011: 150 G, 635 PA, 23 HR, 15.0 BB%, 19.7 K%, .295 BABIP, .374 OBP, 122 wRC+, 8.8 UZR/150
Not the big bottle of disappointment I was expecting to open. The man will celebrate turning 31 in 5 days and let’s address the elephant in the room: Yes, being on the Yankees will help your stats because you’re protected all around by some excellent hitters. If he came to the Giants would he have that protection? He also only started batting 1 game in the 4 spot last year, doing most of his work from the 5 or 6 hole (37, 78 G respectively). Should he come AT&T-side, there might be a push to put him in the 4-spot right away and after playing under the bright lights in New York, you’d hope he can handle the pressure that comes with being the clean-up guy.
Some people are wondering though: Hey, why not Carlos Beltran? He’s pretty good and some of his stats were better than Swisher’s! You would be correct in that thought but in my opinion he is a higher (injury) risk and would require a bigger commitment (more than the one year left on Nick’s contract). They probably will get paid around the same with Swisher’s $10.25MM option getting picked up by the Yankees for 2012. I’ll take the guy with the track record for playing the whole season.
The question becomes who would the Giants trade for Swisher? And that’s where it gets ugly for the G’s in my opinion. You just traded Wheeler for Beltran and you’re going to trade AGAIN for a short-term OF? While adding a bat NOW would be great for the short-term, how much do you mortgage the long-term with trading for Swisher? That is the question the front office is considering while wondering how they can keep payroll below the $130MM we have heard they would prefer to stay away from.
Earlier Today, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs wrote about how the Giants could get better by trading Tim Lincecum for some premium talent (2 of the Yankees top prospects in Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez). Aubrey Huff would also be in that trade but with only part of the salary being covered. I know you’re all excellent readers, but I’ll tell you anyway: I get it, but it’s not gonna happen.
I don’t know who gave Tim Lincecum the nickname of “The Franchise,” but it’s his nickname because Big Time Timmy Jim is the F*ck Yea Franchise. The Giants will keep that man and overpay him until he’s 48 when he retires after his 10th World Series ring and 14th Cy Young award, all with the Giants. Yea, you heard me. I might be off by a couple of numbers, but oh well. Point is, the Giants front office knows that this man needs to be in a Giants uniform as long as money is in their bank account. Obviously if he gets injured all those statements should be nulled and voided. The only way they trade Tim Lincecum? They get TWO HOF players that have not peaked yet and one more good prospect and a fringe prospect plus some salary relief when Aubrey Huff inevitably gets added in that trade to the Yankees (makes sense, right guyz??).
But I get why it makes sense. Timmy’s gonna make somewhere close to $60MM in the next 3 years. As long as he holds up, he’ll get that salary up to $25-$30MM a year. Should it get that high that would be nearly 15-25% of the Giants payroll depending on where they are in those years to come. You would be giving yourself the salary space to sign two to three good veterans by trading what looks to be a future HOFer should his stats keep up. And while you’ve traded Tim Lincecum, think of the sudden shot to the arm of talent (hopefully offense, maybe pitching if you’re lucky) that you’ll have nearly 4-5 years of team control of on the relatively cheap. Chances are those guys aren’t going to command Tim Lincecum money and get it. It’s an interesting thought, but a scary thought of Timmy being elsewhere.
But to trade Tim Lincecum in the end would probably alienate the fanbase not just a little bit, but alotta bit. The risk of the return being much worse than what was on paper could end people’s careers, not just the GM’s but the scouts that made the reports. Imagine if Huff has a good year/half-year after being traded? Pretty sure heads would roll and the Giants would then become the Kansas City Royals instantly. So while the salary relief would be great, the quantity and quality of talent we’d get in return and would have the cash to spend on would be awesome, I’m pretty sure I’m in the majority if someone were to ask me if I wanted to trade Tim Lincecum:
I’ve never seen this guy pitch, although I’m sure I could access some YouTube clip or something, but no thanks, typing’s hard. So is reading, math and writing. No wonder this country is in the crapper. Thank goodness for baseball. Anyway, Mr. Yu Darvish (father is Iranian and mother is Japanese) has been tearing up the Japanese League for a few years now with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (don’t ask about the name, I don’t get it either). In between 2007-2010, the dude has started from 23-26 Games and has put up 200+ IP in 3 of those. Outside of his 2009 poop season where he “only” went 182.0 IP with 167 K’s and a 0.4 HR/9, he’s had 200+ K’s, above a 4:1 K:BB ratio, and has a 1.44 ERA to go alongside his 18 wins (who needs run support with an ERA like that?). Let me give you his IP, K’s and ERA for the years I can find:
2007 (age 20): 207.2, 210, 1.82
2008 (21): 200.2, 208, 1.88
2009 (22): 182.0, 167, 1.73
2010 (23): 202.0, 222, 1.78
2011 (24/25): 1.44 ERA, 18 Wins
I think it’s fair to say he’s ready to be called up to the big leagues (“Dai liigu” as they call it in Japan). But it won’t be without a suggested $15-$40MM posting fee from a baseball club rumored to have names like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers (no, Giants fans, don’t even think about it). After the posting fee, the club still has to settle a contract with Mr. Darvish. Last time I heard, business in the Japanese Baseball Department was not all that great. They do need the money.
Darvish reportedly has seven pitches he can use and I’ve heard about a scout saying he needs to cut it down to fit in with everyone here. If he uses 7 pitches to get under a 2 ERA, I say you let him use 7 pitches. Dude’s born in August so by the time he makes his way over to some team not on the West Coast (no, Mariners, you have met your quota for superstar Japanese players). Hopefully this guy’s more exciting than that “Dice” guy. I just hope he ends up in the American League somewhere on a team that has its payroll below $90MM right now (that would exclude the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees). Mystery teams, I beg of you: please apply.
Do you remember who was supposed to play in the 2010 World Series? Of course you do: Yankees and Phillies. Who else would it be? Instead, two boring mystery teams that most people have never seen win a World Series in the Giants, and play with Nolan Ryan in the stands in the Texas Rangers, came together to fight it out in 5 games ultimately with the good guys winning. No hand gestures necessary.
Then came the 2011 Free Agency period. Cliff Lee was going to the Yankees. No, the Rangers. No, the Yankees. Oh wait there’s a mystery team?!?!? Who could it be? Giants? No, they need a bat. Dodgers? Ha, that’s funny. The Dodgers don’t care about baseball! Silly. Ok, the whole “mystery” thing was made up, everyone get back to work. Yankees, Rangers, rinse and repeat. Cliff Lee signs with the Phillies. In February when camp was about to break, the Phillies had won Free Agency 2011.
Who was picked to go to the 2011 World Series? You probably remember. Fried chicken and beer vs. Subway. The ultimate American showdown of American eating versus Americans thinking they’re eating healthy. It would’ve brought crazy ratings. Basketball fans nationwide might have cared about baseball instead of whining about their lame, boring 82 game sport. Real athletes play 162 games of 9 innings or something like that. Back to the point, we have the Rangers and the Cardinals now. The Rangers don’t surprise anyone, but the Cardinals are a shocker. Mystery team! I know I didn’t pick them for any postseason spot and any postseason series. Can you imagine if they pitched the NLDS like they did the NLCS? It’d be Phillies-Red Sox by some miracle of osmosis (why do people always go to osmosis?).
The real reason I wrote this was to talk about Free Agency 2012. We have many big names like CC Sabathia (who is big), CJ Wilson (half big), Albert Pujols (machine big) and Prince Fielder (tofu big). How many of these guys will get lasso’d in by a “mystery team” this winter? My guess: two. Here’s who I think gets who:
CC Sabathia – Chicago Cubs (CC goes to CC. It was meant to be.)
CJ Wilson – Yankees (Who else would overpay for him?)
Albert Pujols – Cardinals (What, you expect Lance Berkman to play first?)
Prince Fielder — San Franci… not. Baltimore Orioles. (Unless you think they want to have more years of sub-par Derrek Lee-ness. How will they compete for 4th without Prince?)
I’ll be wrong with about… four of these predictions. Don’t worry. Can’t wait for the Free Agency period to begin though.