Monday, February 1, 2010


Feb 1. Givers and receivers report in a couple of weeks. Time to share some thoughts that have been percolating during this long, cold winter (we actually got down to 45 the other night).

Let's start with the Hall of Fame, now that it's blown over. Andre Dawson's admittance continued to lower the bar for entry, a bar brought down by Jim Rice a couple of years ago. Who's next, Jeremy Burnitz? These guys were very good, top shelf players who are not Hall of Famers. Bert Blyleven is lineball. Tim Raines? I don't care what statisticians tell me, a Hall of Famer needs to have a no-doubt element to him and if he doesn't, he ain't getting in. Edgar Martinez? Yes. No doubt. Devastating numbers over a long period of time. Screw the defense question. If this guy were a Yankee he'd be there. Jack Morris. Never. Like Dawson, if a guy has a major hole in his hall of fame boat, he doesn't reach the promised land in my book. Morris' 3.90 ERA sinks him. That number, considering he pitched mostly in the pre-steroids, pro-hitter era is irredeemable. Just like Andre's medicore OBP. Dawson said that number was low because he 'wasn't paid to draw walks'. Really? Look at any genuinely great power hitter in the Hall and you'll find very good OBPs. The real reason this guy didn't get on base as much is because he wasn't an elite hitter of his era and therefore swung at alot of bad pitches. Enough said.

Okay, some thoughts on the upcoming season. The Yankees have been active, as usual. Javier Vasquez is an outstanding pickup. I was talking with a dim-witted Yankee fan the other day who mentioned 2004 when raising doubts about this trade. Vasquez was an All-Star in 2004 with New York. Yes, he fell off in the second half and had me crying with joy when Damon hit a grand slam off him in Game 7, but one mistake pitch and a poor second half doesn't close the case against this guy. He's been one of the better pitchers for the last decade and makes the Yankees' rotation more formidable. I wouldn't be surprised to see him surplant Pettitte or even Burnett in the hierachy of that rotation. On offense, however, it's chancier. Damon and Matsui are big losses. Both of them are studs when it counts. I'm a huge Damon fan- this guy is a winner and is a dark horse for 3,000 hits. Granderson has a big upside but hasn't been able to hit lefties, Randy Winn is over the hill and Nick Johnson? Maybe. They're still the team to beat due to that terrifying Jeter-Arod- Tex punch in the lineup and their starting pitching/closing.

The most intriguing team in the AL will be Tim Hornor's Mariners. Maybe the best 1-2 starting pitching punch in the majors. Great defense (if you value that highly, a huge argument between Mr.Hornor and I) and a lot of good young talent. Yes, they lack big offense but the AL West is wide open this year and will be a really fun division. I've been telling Tim for weeks that they should take a punt on Carlos Delgado. Ken Griffey is no longer a major-league level everyday DH. Delgado could easily go 30-100 if he's healthy. Pay him 5 mill and take a chance.

My Mets? Well, it's been a mediocre hot stove. Jason Bay will be a good hitter for them but on his own isn't enough. If they had also signed Holliday I would have been excited. Right now their core is weak. I measure this through looking at a team's 1-3-4-5 on offense, their 1-2-3 in the rotation and their 8-9 in the bullpen. The Mets (hopefully) will have Reyes-Beltran-Bay-Wright on offense, Santana-Pelfrey-Maine as their main starters and Escobar/Igarashi and KRod for setup/closing. The starting pitching is pathetically weak. The eighth and ninth inning is leaky- I think KRod is overrated and vastly overpaid. Their offense, if Beltran can get healthy, is okay but isn't going to scare anyone. Considering the fact that the Phillies will be powerful again, the Braves are going to be a lot better and the Nationals will win between 8-10 games more than last year, I'm not optimistic about anything beyond third place in the division.

I'd be interesting to hear any comments you may have on this- I love a good baseball argument. Defense, anyone?

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