I haven’t posted in a while. I’m coming to the end of my winter break and the Eagles game doesnt come on until tonight, so I’ll throw in my two cents on a couple different topics.
Yes, it’s been that long since I’ve done anything on here. When I initially heard about this deal happening from a Ken Rosenthal report, I wasn’t excited. Cliff Lee had done so much for this club in the few months he was in Philly and I just didn’t understand the reasoning behind the deal, especially surrendering Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor… until I read further.
First of all, Roy Halladay is a righty, which definately helps this lefty-heavy rotation. If we had kept Lee and if Jamie Moyer been named the fifth starter, we would have had four lefties and a righty (Joe Blanton). So this gives the rotation the look of:
LHP Cole Hamels
LHP JA Happ
LHP Moyer or RHP Kyle Kendrick or Free Agent signing
They also got back what they lost in a sense, when they traded Lee to Seattle. Phillipe Aumont and Tyson Gillies are both very talented prospects. I’ll elaborate on them eventually in another post.
Then, what really pulled me to understand the deal was that Halladay wanted to sign an extension and give the Phils a discount on his contract whereas Lee had said he wanted market value (somewhere a bit south of CC Sabathia money). The Phils wouldn’t have been able to keep Lee and sign all the key players whose contracts are coming up in a year or two. Lee also wanted about seven to eight years which is something the team doesn’t offer to pitchers, and it’s smart.
And there’s the reasoning that Halladay is just better. He and Johan Santana are, to me, the two best pitchers in the game with Tim Lincecum close behind. Nothing against Cliff, but his first five or so starts with the Phillies were quite dominant but then he started to stumble a bit and his next few were shaky before he found his stride again. Halladay doesn’t go through slumps and he can give you nine strong innings each time he goes out there.
12 time All Star.
10 time Gold Glove winner.
4 time Silver Slugger Award winner.
2 time World Series champion.
I could see all of that on a plaque in Cooperstown. Apparently, some others couldn’t. Robby Alomar fell about eight votes short of getting into Cooperstown on his first ballot. When I think of Hall of Famer, I think of greatness. So, I know you’ve heard it before, if you don’t say Hall of Famer right away then they’re not in. You shouldn’t have to think about it. The Hall isn’t for the maybes, it’s for the greats.
I never had the chance to watch Andre Dawson in his prime but I’ve heard that he was one of the more dominant hitters of his era. It did take him nine ballots to get in which seems to be a bit much but you can’t change the system now. Congrats to The Hawk.
and GO BIRDS!
So now that I’m completely done my team previews and you have all seen how I predict it will pan out, here’s the playoff and award predictions.
Cubs over Mets
I feel like everyone jumped on me having the Cubs finish with the best record. Well I got them going a step further. A playoff rotation like there’s shouldn’t have failed last season. Some of their offensive guys are getting older, but they recognize this may be their last hurrah as they are all probably near the end of the primes of their careers. As for the Mets, their bullpen is nice, but you don’t get to them unless you have the lead.
Red Sox over Indians
The Red Sox are just a playoff team. They’re built with the intangibles and I’m big on that. A deep rotation with an unbelievable bullpen gets the easy nod over Cleveland here.
Yankees over Angels
Come on, a playoff rotation that could potentially be CC, AJ, Wang, then Pettite or Joba. You have to at least win the first series. The Angels counter with a solid rotation but I think the close series goes to the Yanks.
Dodgers over Phillies
As much as it hurts me to say this, I think the Dodgers get the best of the Phils this time. Manny is a force and the rest of the offense can hit. They have some good young arms and a solid bullpen. Close series, but no cigar for my Fightins.
Dodgers over Cubs
I’m all about the Dodgers this year, they have a heck of an offense. This is where the Cubs magic ends this season. In the rematch of last year’s NLDS, this result is the same.
Red Sox over Yankees
Of course, I love this rivalry and I think they meet once again in the ALCS. Sox move on simply because I hate the Yankees. Just kidding. Well Sox do move on, but my reasoning isn’t because I hate the Yankees. Intangibles move them on.
Red Sox over Dodgers
With Josh Beckett in October, you can’t go wrong. Sox win their third in six years.
American League MVP
He’ll be the most valuable player for his team this season as I expect him to have a higher batting average than last year. He does it all; steals, scores, drives home runs, hits homeruns, and plays a great centerfield.
Other Possibilities: Mark Teixeira, Dustin Pedrioa
Wild Card: Evan Longoria
National League MVP
He was robbed last year. Lead the entire league in homeruns and RBIs and he struggled. It’s scary to think that he can do better, and then when you look at the fact that he could increase his average, he can definately increase his 146 RBIs.
Other Possibilities: Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez
Wild Card: Pablo Sandoval
American League Cy Young
He throws complete games like it’s his job. If he has a year like his last, he’s bound to win this award.
Other Possibilities: Cliff Lee,
Ervin Santana (my pick prior to injury), Jon Lester
Wild Card: John Danks
National League Cy Young
I think this kid is bound to break out. I think this is the year Billingsley steps up and becomes the Dodgers ace. He definately has potential for 20 wins, 200+ strikeouts, and a sub-3.00 ERA.
Other Possibilities: Brandon Webb, Tim Lincecum
Wild Card: Ricky Nolasco
American League ROTY
The reason I like him for this award is because he has a definate job. He will definately get his chances to move up in this lineup as well. I got two Jays winning awards.
Other Possibilities: Matt Wieters, Either Athletics 21-year-old
Wild Card: Elvis Andrus
National League ROTY
He has so much potential and he had an awesome performance when called up in September last year.
Other Possibilities: Colby Rasmus, Tommy Hanson
Wild Card: Jason Donald
Now that that’s over with, let the Phils raise the championship banner and play ball. Brett Myers, you may now throw the first pitch of the 2009 MLB season.
Today is March 29th (it’s past midnight, so it technically is) and it’s the late Cy Young’s birthday. Born March 29, 1867, Young had a career 511-316 record with 749 complete games and a 2.63 career ERA playing 22 seasons for the Cleveland Spiders, St. Louis Perfectos then Cardinals, Boston Americans then Red Sox, and Cleveland Naps. He’s known most to the baseball fan due to the fact that he has a coveted award named after him. So, here’s some of my favorite Cy Young award winners…
That I’ve never seen pitch
Steve Carlton and Sandy Koufax
That I grew up watching
Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux
That I look forward to continue watching
Season Preview: San Francisco Giants
Projected MLB Rank: 9th (t) — NL Rank: 6th (t) — NL West Rank: 3rd — Record: (88-74)
The Giants had a rough season last year with a 72-90 record with few highlights, with the exception of star righthander Tim Lincecum. This year I would expect a difference if the offense can find a way to produce some runs. They were second to last in the league last year in runs per game with 3.95 and were the only team in the major leagues to not top 100 homeruns as a team. This year I think that will change.
They have a bunch of good young players that should step up and improve their batting from last year. A big part of the improvement should come from thirdbaseman Pablo Sandoval. The 22 year old hit .345 with 3 homeruns and 24 RBIs in 41
games last season. Once he gains some patience at the plate, watch out for this kid. Quick leftfielder Fred Lewis should get on base and steal some bases for this lineup and give the middle of the order players a chance to drive in some runs.
Along with Sandoval, the middle of that lineup should consist of veterans Bengie Molina and Randy Winn. Molina nearly hit .300 last season while hitting 16 homeruns and driving in 95 runs. Winn hit over .300 and provides a little bit of production while stealing some bases at the same time. Aaron Rowand also has the potential to hit in the middle of the order. He doesn’t hit for too much power, but he’s as blue-collar as it gets concerning his work on the field.
The right side of the infield consists of guys who are competing for starting spots. The projected starters are Travis Ishikawa and Kevin Frandsen at first and second bases, respectively. Ishikawa doesn’t hit for much power but posts a good on base percentage. Also in the running for the firstbase job is John Bowker and even Sandoval, if he doesn’t start at third. Frandsen and Emmanuel Burriss seem to be the main candidates for the secondbase job. Shortstop is a position they upgraded this offseason by bringing in veteran Edgar Renteria. Last year with the Tigers, Renteria hit .270 with an OBP of .317 while driving in 55 runs.
As we know, in baseball, pitching wins ballgames. The Giants certainly have pitching. It all starts with reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. With the struggling offense last season, Lincecum found a way to chalk up 18 wins while having the lowest ERA in the National League and leading the entire league in strikeouts. In three full seasons, righty Matt Cain has yet to breakout as he’s posted an ERA in the high threes and having similar strikeout totals. He’s still only 24, so all hope in not lost in the young Cain.
Another offseason acquisition, Randy Johnson, should help this team out a bunch. The future hall of fame lefthander is 45 years young and can still pitch well. Last season he posted a 3.91 ERA and won 11 games. Then fellow lefty Barry Zito, who seems to haven’t been the same since he got to San Fran in 2007, is now considered the fourth starter. One thing he has proved is that he’s reliable despite the high ERA, WHIP, and bad strikeout to walk ratios. The fifth starter looks like it will be Jonathan Sanchez who is a good power pitcher that needs to find his control if he wants to stay a major league pitcher.
The offseason acquisitions continue as we move to the bullpen. Southpaw Jeremy Affeldt, coming over from the Reds has great stuff and will be in the set up mix along with fellow winter add on Bob Howry. Howry had a rough year in 2008 statistically but I think he fits in with the Giants nicely. Rounding out the solid bullpen in righty Sergio Romo (2.12 ERA / 0.71 WHIP / 29 games), lefty Alex Hinshaw (3.40 ERA / 48 games), Merkin Valdez (1.69 ERA / 17 games), and many others. Brian Wilson will get many chances for saves once again as he posted 41 of them last season. He posts a nice strikeout rate but last season had a high ERA and WHIP.
I think that this pitching staff may be the most underrated in the league (thus why I have them ranked so highly). Look for a Blue Jays-esque season with the Giants as I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs but I have them tacking a win total in the high eighties. Awesome pitching staff with improving bats could lead to a productive year by the bay.