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Sunday, April 01, 2007

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"Let's see how long it takes everyone (particularly you YFs) to forget this and accuse me of being nothing but a silly homer. I give it until April 9th"

I'll take the under on that one.

yf blew his NL ROY pick. Stephen Drew isnt eligible as he was on the active roster for over 45 days not including September.

Quick before its too late... do you wanna make a new selection? :p

My bad. pencil in the Pods Kevin Kousmanoff for my NL ROY pick.

Interesting how we've all got the same AL West prediction, though in my mind, after the Angels, this could go in any order. Also surprised to see so little love—and not just here—for the Tigers, deserving AL Champs with solid pitching and a lineup that, while overagresive, is formidable, especially with Sheff sitting there in the middle.

I can't help but think the Angels are overrated this year. Vlad is great, no doubt, Anderson seems poised to make a comeback, and I love Howie Kendrick, but the rest of their team is uninspiring. Hillenbrand and his .325 career OBP sucks. Matthews - eh. Looking at their roster, I have no idea who their third baseman is, now that Figgins and McPherson are down. Nor their starting catcher.

Their rotation is good on paper, but Bartolo and The Talented Weaver are already hurt, and I didn't see TTW having a 2.5 ERA again this year anyways.

Their strength is in their pen, obviously. But I don't know if that can overcome their other problems. I could see any team in the division running away with it. (and yes, that it includes the Mariners, who with Ichiro, Ibanez, Sexson, Beltre, Johjima, and Guillen will pace the West in runs this year)

Tyrel: I actually like the M's, as I wrote in that note. Ibanez is an underrated player, certainly. The Angels offense is certainly underwhelming, but even with their injuries, Lackey-Santana-Escobar is still very strong, and the bullpen is tops. I think Schuerholz robbed Seattle in the deal for Soriano, a replacement pitcher for a potential ace closer. Soriano to Putz was looking like the best thing since Gordon to Rivera. Seattle is going to be a fun team to watch, for sure. I hope they take the division.

I'd love to see the Indians win it. Trot deserves nothing less.

My predictions:

ALCS - TB vs Royals
NLCS - Nats vs Pirates

WS - Royals vs Pirates

MLB goes bankrupt due to lack of interest, soccer becomes new national pastime.

As you said in your note, the M's success largely depends on King Felix. I'd like to see him turn into a stud, but who knows. Washburn, Ramirez, Batista and The Less Talented Weaver could actually make a pretty decent rotation, if TLTW get back to his 2004-05 form and the other guys stay healthy.

Paul's notes, "The Sox rotation is far better than the Yanks"

Far better Paul? Based on what? Let's look at the last decent sample size we have, last year.

1.Schilling 15-7 3.97 ERA 1.22 WHIP
1.Wang 19-6 3.63 ERA 1.31 WHIP

2.Beckett 16-11 5.01 ERA 1.29 WHIP
2.Mussina 15-7 3.51 ERA 1.11 WHIP

IMO, a lot of people are basing this perception of a great Sox rotation on past performance, and reputation. Schilling is not the pitcher he used to be, and Beckett was wildly inconsistent in 2006. These numbers favor the Yanks. I'm not saying this proves the Yanks top two are better, but that would be the better argument based on the stats.

3.Pettitte and DMat. This, I think, is the big variable, not so much because of Pettitte, but because of DMat. I expect Andy to be solid. How good DMat turns out to be will be the telling tale in the battle of the rotations. If Matsuzaka turns out to be great, OK fine, an edge to the Sox. But he and Pettitte could end up posting similar numbers if DMAT doesn't start mowing down MLB hitters like he did in Japan and has some adjustment issues. We'll see.

4-5. Wakefield and Tavarez vs. Igawa and Pavano. Lots of room for error with these 4 and 5 starters. Wakes is 40 and was hurt last year. He can be tough to hit, or he can get rocked. Igawa is a total ? having never pitched in the majors. He had a solid spring. Were hoping. As for Tavarez, well, he's never been a starter much, but he looked pretty good in some starts late last year, with no pressure, when the Sox were totally out of it and nobody cared. We all know the story on Pavano. I happen to like this opening day start for him, as it's a chance to mend some fences and build some confidence. What are the chances of Pavano being a decent starter again? Who knows? Fingers crossed. Call me crazy, but at this point in time, I'll take the Yank's much younger pair.

I'd also favor the arms the Yankees have at AAA for possible callups as opposed to what the Sox have.

My bottom line here, Paul, is I'm not buying the perception that the Sox rotation is that much better than the Yanks. It may turn out that way, but it also could turn out to be very even too, or possibly swing in the Yanks favor depending on how things play out over the season.

Kazz: That's a fun comment. I would indeed, love to see the Tribe win; at the least, add the Yanks, Cubs, Padres and Ms to that list as well. Not speaking for the other posters, but I approach predictions as to what I think might well happen and play with those ideas along the lines of having fun with them, not what is most statistically likely to happen, nor what I want ideally to happen.

The top post will be edited for accuracy as needed in order to correct my errors since none of the other authors had a chance to proof this before I committed it. ag takes full responsibility for any misrepresentations of the highly-scientific analyses of my fellow posters in this thread, especially since Nick threatened to brain me with a piece of rebar if I put words in his mouth regarding his timidly short comments defending his ludicrous speculations. ;)

I also have to really disagree with the Red Sox having a "far better" rotation than the Yanks. Based on what? I think the Sox have a better potential rotation (although with so many question marks on both sides it can go either way), but FAR better? It COULD be far better, if Schilling improves to his 2004 form, Matsuzaka is everything he's been advertised to be, Beckett actually pitches well, Wakefield pitches better than last year, and Tavarez doesn't do much damage. But then again, the Yankee rotation could be FAR better, if Wang returns pretty quickly and does as well as last year, Mussina does as well as last year, Pettitte pitches like he did in the second half last year, Pavano returns to his 2004 form, and Igawa does decent enough.

It's pretty silly I think to claim either rotation is far better when there are so many question marks. Better, okay, sure. Far better? That's a stretch I think.

Quick correction: I actually picked Pujols for NL MVP.

As for the rotation comparisons, I'm gonna go the sportswriter route and merely say the Yanks' staff is a house of cards. Case closed. ;-)

AL EAST
1. Yankees: I never bet against them. Ever.
2. Red Sox (WC): I hope!
3. Blue Jays: Scary lineup, but where’s the pitching after Halladay and Burnett?
4. Orioles: More of the same.
5. Rays: Still shooting for .500
AL CENTRAL
1. Indians: I picked them last year too, and they made me look foolish. Better not happen again!
2. Twins: Any team with Santana, Mauer, Morneau and Nathan has a fighting chance.
3. Tigers: Bonderman is my sleeper pick
for some Cy Young votes, but the loss of Kenny Rogers is really going to hurt this team.
4. White Sox: Ozzie Ball is so overrated.
5. Royals: More losing, but Alex Gordon will give the fans something to really smile about.
AL WEST
1. Angels: This team has pitching to spare, though the offense is still hack-tastic and lacking behind Vladdy.
2. A’s: If Rich Harden can stay off the DL, they’ll have a shot. But the chances of that seem remote.
3. Rangers: Steadily getting better.
4. Mariners: Big lack of depth and some very bad offseason moves. Breakout by King Felix could save them.
NL EAST
1. Phillies: Eh, why not?
2. Braves: Should be much improved with the better bullpen.
3. Mets: This team can rake but where’s the pitching?
4. Marlins: Already have a few pitchers on the shelf. A lot of the rookies played over their heads last year.
5. Nationals: This team is just an awful mess right now.
NL CENTRAL
1. Cardinals: Prince Albert shall lead them.
2. Brewers (WC): I like this team a lot, and I like their chances if Ben Sheets stays healthy.
3. Cubs: Hack, hack, hack. Zambrano’s a stud, but the rest of the rotation is just “meh.” Glad that Ted Lilly’s finally out of our hair, though.
4. Astros: Need to stop running Brad Ausmus out there every day. Similar to the Cubs in that they have one stud in Oswalt, but not much behind him.
5. Reds: Krivsky is quickly working his way onto my GM blacklist.
6. Pirates: Still a bad team playing in a beautiful park. But at least they have Jason Bay.
NL WEST
1. Padres: Love that rotation.
2. Dodgers: Love their rotation too, but not so keen about their offense.
3. Diamondbacks: Not quite there yet, but next year, look out.
4. Giants: Still overvalue “experience.”
5. Rockies: Meh. There are some nice players on this team, but it looks like they’re still a ways away.

These will probably all prove wrong knowing me.

Good read, mouse.

YF: The lack of love for the Tigers from me, at least, is completely centered on them being a 500 team after the break last year. Sheff's definitely a plus in the lineup, but in the rotation, I wonder about Zumaya and Verlander's arms actually physically separating from their bodies during a pitch, killing a bat boy or a base coach in the process. And Rogers, (especially because of the recent news regarding his trouble, but after our picks were set), must be viewed with trepidation at all times.

I don't have time to expand too much, but I am also extremely low on Detroit, and not just because of their second-half swoon. Detroit was 3rd-worst in the AL last season in OBP--that's right, Kansas City and the notoriously hack-happy Angels got on base more often--but fifth in runs scored. Part of this had to do with having the fifth-best SLG in the league...but regardless, a .329 team OBP doesn't exactly scream "long-term offensive success." Sheffield helps, but does he really help that much?

mouse - You like SD's offense over LA's? I don't know about that one.

I suppose the pitching staffs on both clubs are a wash, but past that, LA's got more bats right now and a lot more ready talent in AAA. I'd actually be a lot higher on the Dodgers if they hadn't signed Gonzo, Nomar, and Pierre, because then Kemp, Loney, and Ethier would get consistent ABs.

As far as the Tigers go, I won't cool on them because of their arms. The lineup is iffy...ton of power, ton of potential, and a ton of strikeouts.

Losing Rogers sucks, but he's hardly irreplaceable. I also expect a regression from Verlander (he doesn't miss enough bats, IMO,) but they've still got a nasty Bonderman, an underrated Robertson, decent-to-good Maroth coming off the injury, and the stud prospect Miller in front of Rodney, Zumaya, and Jones.

I'm going to wait until the arms actually fall off before writing the Detroit staffers off. As Steve notes, their staff is formidable, and they have 2 blue chippers waiting in the minors. The OBP numbers will rise in 2007, and are in any case mitigated to a degree by their power numbers. Guillen, Sheff, and Ordonez is a gauntlet that is vastly underappreciated.

...a .449 SLG isn't exactly jaw-dropping. And why should we expect the team OBP to rise considerably? Does Sheff really make that much of a difference? I don't think so...and Ordonez might be the most injury-prone player in the AL--80 fewer games then Drew over the last three seasons. If you don't slight Boston for depending on Drew--I genuinely don't know if you have--then that's cool...but if you do, then the Tigers deserve the same treatment. :-)

And while I'm at it here, let's re-emphasize how good Gary Sheffield is. Because of his injured year, he's getting killed by the projection systems, but maybe he should be considered an outlier. Even at 75 percent, he an absolute monster. Remember, please, that he played 2005 with a wrist injury and was a legit mvp candidate. He appears to be back to that level of health, at least, which means he could easily return to the absolute elite level of purely offensive players in the AL, on a par with Manny, Ortiz, Vlad, and Hafner.

The OBP goes up because they're adding Sheff, and the team is maturing; I expect an overall improvement on that score.

Meh...I disagree with the maturity thing, but I suppose it's a matter of opinion. As young as that pitching staff is, Detroit's offense is actually pretty old...besides Curtis Granderson--the only regular position player under 30--I can't think of anyone who hasn't already peaked. Guillen, Sheff, Ordonez is pretty intimidating, though, I'll give you that.

They're also platooning Granderson at leadoff with Pudge, which will hopefully help curb Grandy's Ks and up his on-base.

Don't underestimate the effect a (potential) .400 OBP guy like Sheff can have in the middle of that order. They had a lot of HR power last year even without him.

You like SD's offense over LA's? I don't know about that one.

Two words: Juan Pierre.

OK, there's a bit more to it than that, and I think it's close to a wash, honestly. But even a past his prime Brian Giles is better than the corpse of Luis Gonzalez, Mike Cameron is leaps and bounds better than Pierre, and Adrian Gonzalez trumps Nomar. Kevin Kouzmanoff is better than Wilson Betemit too.

The Dodgers definitely have more in depth with their studs down in AAA, but the bigger question is, will they play 'em or trade 'em?

Bottom line: there's something about being a Yankee that makes someone better.

I think Robertson is as highly rated as he should be. The Bill James prediction for him (outside of the Wins/Losses, where I think CHONE is way ahead of the game for simply choosing not to project those numbers) is going to be spot on. ERA in the mid-4s, 200+ IP. There's certainly value in a pitcher like that, but I think the sub-4 ERA from last season is going to prove an outlier. It will be interesting to see what Maroth can do. All his peripherals trended in a negative direction last season, despite his improved record and ERA in his limited time while healthy.

And you realize why the Tigers REALLY won't repeat their success last season, right? Neifi Perez. That and the fact that the little power Sean Casey used to have is gone. Not sure Chris Shelton is the answer there.

Can't argue with the Perez or Casey points...

Re: Neifi Perez

They should give Omar Infante something to hit Leyland and Dombrowski with every time Perez gets an at-bat while he sits on the bench.

I wouldn't worry about Leyland and Perez too much. I can't remember where I saw the article, but the old guy basically thrashed Perez in the press a little while back. If Neifi is himself this year, I bet he gets cut pretty quickly, or at least perma-benched.

They should give Omar Infante something to hit Leyland and Dombrowski with every time Perez gets an at-bat while he sits on the bench.

Gold, Quo.

I don't see why they haven't cut him already. The choice is basically Pay him $2.5M to do nothing and take up a roster spot, or Pay him $2.5M to do nothing and not take up a roster spot.

mattymatty's AL East predictions:

1. Red Sox, 97-65
-People got all upset when Manny Ramirez peed in the Green Monster. People are underrating the comedic value here. Peeing is really funny and I'm all for it. In fact, I think Manny should pee on more things, like pigeons, fire hydrants, and Mel Gibson.

2. Yankees, 93-69
-Not that this is a sign or anything, but yesterday at Chili's, A-Rod opted out of his chicken fajitas.

3. Blue Jays, 89-73
-Who knew such a high payroll could buy such irrelevance.

4. Orioles, 72-90
-Orioles fans can only hope Peter Angelos buys something else to screw up.

5. Devil Rays, 70-92
-Proof that in order to be a factor in the division, yes, in fact, you probably do need to get some pitching at some point.

Fine, fine.. I'll make some AL East Picks based on how Im feelign this second.

1. Yankees - They win by one game.
2. Red Sox (WC) - Everyone blames the losing the Division on Pedroia and Tavarez.
3. Blue Jays - Close, but just not close enough.
4. Orioles - Gorgeous Park, Sucky team.
4. Devil Rays - Does anything really need to be said?

AL MVP - David Ortiz. Its about time
AL CY YOUNG - Johan Santana OR Jonathan Papelbon (Closers do SOMETIMES win.. but not often. If they were judged on level turf Papelbon all the way)
AL ROY - Daisuke Matsuzaka. Everyone complains that "He's not really a rookie. Wah!"
AL MOY - Jim Leyland. I love the guy. Cracks me up. He may be my favorite manager in the game. I'm votign for him 'just cause'.

I forgot to note that teh Yankees and Sox can easily be switched in which case everyone blames the Yankees not making the Division on A-Rod, even though hit hit .307 and had 40 HRs.

Why does he get the blame anyway? Because it's A-Rod and there is such a thing as karma

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

play the stinkin' games already


dicemat isn't a rookie [see matsui]

Yankees - 101 Wins
Red Sox - 92 Wins
Toronto - 84 Wins
Baltimore - 76 Wins
Devil Rays - 300,000 "Delmon Young" jerseys sold (really, who cares what the Rays' win total is?)

Of course, that means the Sox win the wild card. I don't see Detroit doing nearly as well this season (especially now with Rogers out for months) and the White Sox were overrated even before they won their world series. Can you say fluke hot streak? Their pitchers were never that great to begin with. Cleveland wins the division easily.

Oh and Gil Meche wins Cy Young leading the Royals to their first postseason series in more than a two decades.

cut through the cra-...the yankees will win for one simple reason....they are more adept at adjusting to adversity...actually, there's one other reason, they have bigger cojones when it comes to making the crucial deadline deals...

Yeah, that whole Nomar deal didn't take any real cojones, right? I'm sure your grandmother could've pulled that one off without a hitch.

no steve, actually the nomar deal took no cojones at all...they were eager to dump him after becoming suspicious about his injury status, and his now famous pouting episode during a critical yankee series...theo made the correct decision to focus on defense, something nomar was lacking that year apparently, and went after some players he thought would be a better fit...for lack of cojones, see theo's repeated failures to trade manny [blaming a lack of value in return], and his rather odd decision to sit on his hands and let the season tank at last year's trade deadline...

and another thing, leave my grandmother's cojones out of it...

Wow, dc, you outdo yourself here. Trading Nomar, whether smart or not, took massive stones. Forget the pouting moment: Nomar was a Boston icon and the trade was met with a great deal of skepticism and, in some cases, anger.

As for not trading Manny, you're blaming that on Theo's lack of cojones? That's utter nonsense. Have you ever heard of the idea of getting equal value in a trade? Or are you the type who thinks you make a trade for the sake of making a trade, just so people think you have "cojones"?

As for last season, the season was clearly in deep trouble and no Abreu trade would have saved it. Perhaps an Oswalt deal, but not an Abreu deal.

sf, my point was that the boston icon was becoming tarnished...the pouting episode and the cloud over him not putting the team first by playing with an injury that he had apparently received a medical ok to play with gave theo all the courage he needed to trade nomar...

"value" is subjective...means something different to everyone...theo's inability to trade manny suggests that his perception of manny's value is entirely different from every other gm out there who is a potential trade partner...i've said before that i think the sox should keep him...frankly, theo's annual manny sale is starting to make him look a bit silly...if he truly wants to shop him, and can't fool another gm into giving him "value", he may just have to forget it and keep him, or grow some cojones and settle for a little less...in other words "negotiate"...theo was criticized for trading nomar...he would take similar heat for trading manny...

perhaps you're right...there was no trade that could have saved the sox season once it started to slide, but the complete paralysis, and the excuses for it, was shocking to me anyway...i think in part the fallout from that influenced how active the sox were this off-season...

or grow some cojones and settle for a little less

I suppose you are right, dc. It would take tremendous cojones for Theo to knowingly hurt his team by trading a great player for cents on the dollar.

You seem to imply that a trade of Manny would increase your level of respect for Epstein, but I don't understand that at all. How is it courageous for a GM to trade a player at all costs (which is what "taking less" is in this case) but it shows a lack of them for him to hold on to a player until he gets what he thinks is a reasonable offer that doesn't hurt his ballclub?

Why are we talking about cajones with respect to general managers?

"...until he gets what he thinks is a reasonable offer..."

that was exactly my point sf...theo's perspective of manny's value is apparently far different than every potential trading partner...why is that exactly?...and if manny is so valuable, why try to trade him at all?...he looks silly by trying to trick the other gm's...as kids we used to do that to each other with trading cards...like i said, the sox are better with manny than without him...

I just don't know how you can make these assessments of how "silly" Theo looks re: trading Manny. Does he look silly to other GMs? To the public? To you? I don't understand what you are getting at, frankly.

The fact is that Theo has tried to trade Manny, and he hasn't done it. He has apparently judged that Manny is more valuable then the players or financial relief he would gain by trading him. What about that decision or this process has made him look "silly"?

(also, according to your previous comments Theo's lack of moves made him look ball-less. So now he looks silly AND ball-less?! That's tough, dc...)

"...So now he looks silly AND ball-less?!..."

uh, yep

look, all i'm saying is that he's made this manny dump an annual ritual...and he seems to be the only gm who perceives manny's value to be at a certain level...that suggests to me that he's the one being unreasonable...so either give it up, or take a little less...

Come on, dc, you aren't that naive, are you?

The annual "Mannydump" event is geared towards

a) finding out what Theo can get for Manny
b) letting Manny know that the Sox have tried to accommodate his requests to be traded

There's obviously some psychology involved here, to placate the odd bird that is Ramirez. To claim that this is the equivalent of a rotisserie owner calling up a fellow owner and saying "I'll give you Matt Clement for Johan Santana" is ridiculous.

"...Come on, dc, you aren't that naive, are you?..."
...i love it when you insult me sf...

...i understand the notion that theo is trying to appease manny to some extent, just like cashman did with the unit this year...i never said the gap in perceived value was as wide as "Matt Clement for Johan Santana", but the fact that theo has found nobody close to giving him what he wants suggests a bit of insincerity on his part...manny's quirky but he's not stupid, and i'd guess that his agent isn't either...does theo think he's fooling them?...i guess we'll have that answer if manny quits on them again this year...my question again is why does theo go through this mannydump every year when he knows he can't get what he wants?...that's why it's silly, to me anyway...i don't see cashman doing that with "valuable" players, like jeter or rivera...

i don't see cashman doing that with "valuable" players, like jeter or rivera...

Uh, have either of these guys requested a trade? Are either of these guys anything like Manny? Have they acted anything like Manny during their time with the Yankees? Manny's a unique guy, on all sorts of levels. So why is Theo the goof, the sackless wonder here?

Again, on what basis do you say that Theo comes off as insincere to his trading partners? How do you know how trade talks are structured, how he prefaces Manny's availability? How do you know that his trade partners don't understand exactly what is going on? How do you know that Theo hasn't been very close to dealing Manny even despite the situation? Your presumptuousness, and the way that you use that presumptuousness to slight Theo (who hasn't really had any problems dealing with trade partners when he's chosen to make deals - see Crisp, Renteria, Beckett, Nomar, etc.) is totally unfair.

but cashman did make the deal with rj...presumption is one of the cornerstones of this site you co-founded sf...what's unfair is for you to offer your opinions and conjecture about the dynamics of the sport, and not allow someone else to do the same without being ridiculed...free speech, bah...

What takes a bigger pair: Handling a prima donna whack-job of a superstar while talking heads question whether he has/is/will quit on the team, or trading him for a resin bag and Neifi Perez?

that's simple d-1: taking the beef from you guys and the press for making the trade...i'm guessing that more than a resin bag and perez were offered, but like sf says, i don't know, i'm presuming

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