Posted on: November 29, 2012 8:12 pm
The Cubs need pitching. Yes they added Scott Baker and Scott Feldman but those are still just short term assests. They need to build up their depth and bring in starters who can be on the team for the long haul. That is where Rick Porcello comes in. The Tigers have made it known that they are opening to trading their somewhat disappointing former top prospect this offseason and while I dont think he could be acquired for nothing, he should be fairly cheap considering the potential value he could bring. Lets look at what type of value he could provide.
An initial glance at his numbers and one might be inclined to dismiss him as being another back of the rotation starter. That is where I would have to disagree a bit. Before I even touch statistic lets first just look at the basics. Entering the 2013 season he will only be 24 with another 3 years of team control. He is arbitration eligible but due to his overall weak performance likely will remain fairly cheap. Considering his age, that he was a former top prospect in the Tigers organization and his experience relative to his age there is already reason to be intrigued. Now when looking at his stats there is even more to be interested in.
10- 4.92 ERA 4.31 FIP 4.65 K/9 2.10 BB/9 1.0 HR/9 65.9% LOB 50.3% GB
11- 4.75 ERA 4.06 FIP 5.14 K/9 2.27 BB/9 .89 HR/9 67.4% LOB 51.4% GB
12- 4.59 ERA 3.91 FIP 5.46 K/9 2.25 BB/9 .82 HR/9 69.0% LOB 53.2% GB
Looking at his performance over the past 3 seasons a clear trend can be noticed. He seems to be steadliy improving his peripheral stats as he learns how to pitch. When he first entered the league he was young relative to the league and he took his lumps but now has started to adjust. I also think that Detroit rushed him to the Major Leagues which has impacted his stuff, but he appears to be turning into a nice groundball pitcher and with a good infield defense (which Detroit is lacking) he could really improve.
That is partially why I think the Cubs would be a very good destination for him. The Cubs are puting a huge emphasis on improving defensively. The Cubs infield looks pretty good with Gold Glover Darwin Barney who was one of the best defensive players in baseball last season, Anthony Rizzo who looks to be a very good defensive first baseman, Starlin Castro who may be error prone but has all the range in the world and for the moment Luis Valbuena or Ian Stewart who are both solid to above average. If Rick Porcello had that behind him rather than the terrible defensive tandem of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera he could see a nice improvement.
Porcello seems like he could be the perfect buy low candidate as he seems poised for a breakout given the right circumstances. Not only does he appear ready for a breakout but he is young enough to potentially be apart of the next good Cubs team. The real question is not should the Cubs go after Porcello but how can they acquire him? Would they be interested in Marmol for Porcello if we footed most of the bill? Could he be a piece in a larger Matt Garza trade (unlikely at this point) or Darwin Barney trade? I dont have the answer to that question but I do think that Rick Porcello is worth going hard after because despite the Cubs recent free agent signings, they still need long term pitching help.
-Chris "Da Franchize" Hart
Posted on: November 29, 2012 8:12 pm
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Posted on: November 13, 2012 2:28 pm
Its been quite a while since I have written on this blog and I doubt there are many people who will read this that remember me, so I guess I will essentially be starting over. So just a quick statement, this is a blog that is 90 percent dedicated to writing about the Cubs but I will also spend a some time analyzing MLB and other teams occasionally (Primarily when it gets time to do Team Previews). Anyways lets start breaking down this Scott Baker deal.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:51 pm
This is a division that has lost a lot of talent with the Free Agent departures of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. While both their former teams should be competitive in 2012, this has left both teams weakend and an opportunity for the Reds to claim their 2nd division title in 3 years. So lets jump right in and break down the weakened NL Central!
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:15 pm
I have had a hard time keeping up with this blog the past year or so, but that does not mean i haven't kept up with baseball. I have vigoursly been working on my 2012 MLB Prediction and now that they have been completed I will start releasing them division by division in order of weakest to strongest division. So lets start with the division i think to be the weakest; the American League Central.
The AL Central has one dominant team that none of the other teams really come close to in the Detroit Tigers. The Indians are on the rise but i dont see them improving drastically over their 2011 season and the Royals don't have the pitching yet. Its also strange looking at these divison rankings as the two teams that used to be the class of the division are now securly in the bottom 2 slots. Here is a look at my rankings followed by each teams current depth chart and breif analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.
1. DETROIT TIGERS
C- Alex Avila
1B- Miguel Cabrera
2B- Ramon Santiago
SS- Jhonny Peralta
3B- Brandon Inge/Don Kelly
LF- Ryan Raburn
CF- Austin Jackson
RF- Brennan Boesch
DH- Delmon Young
1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
5. Jacob Turner/Andy Oliver
CL- Jose Valverde
SU- Joaquin Benoit
SU- Octavio Dotel
They have the strongest offense and rotation in the division although this is a relatively weak offensive division. The loss of Victor Martinez to injury is going to hurt, but they may be able to find a "servicable" replacement pretty cheap on the free agent market. The Rotation is solid across the board and they have a legitimate Ace but are they willing to role with Turner as their 5th starter or will they add another arm? All in all this is a solid playoff team although i dont think they are a world series contender.
2. CLEVELAND INDIANS
C- Lou Marson/Carlos Santana
1B- Carlos Santana/Matt LaPorta
2B- Jason Kipnis
SS- Asdrubal Cabrera
3B- Jack Hannahan/Lonnie Chisenhall
LF- Michael Brantley
CF- Grady Sizemore
RF- Shin-Soo Choo
DH- Travis Hafner
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Fausta Carmona?
3. Justin Masterson
4. Josh Tomlin
5. Derek Lowe
CL- Chris Perez
SU- Rafael Perez
SU- Tony Sipp
This is definitely a team on the rise. There are some intriguing rising stars in Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson that will keep this team in the playoff hunt. While there offense is close to the Tigers now with the loss of Victor Martinez, their starting rotation is a notch or two below that of the Tigers, Ubaldo is unpredictable and Fausta Carmona's status (and name) are in question. This is a team that if everything goes right for them could be in a tight race with the Tigers but in all likelyhood are just a .500 team.
3. KANSAS CITY ROYALS
C- Salvador Perez
1B- Eric Hosmer
2B- Johnny Giavotella
SS- Alcides Escobar
3B- Mike Moustakas
LF- Alex Gordon
CF- Lorenzo Cain
RF- Jeff Francoeur
DH- Billy Butler
1. Luke Hochevar
2. Bruce Chen
3. Jonathan Sanchez
4. Felipe Paulino
5. Danny Duffy
CL- Joakim Soria
SU- Jonathan Broxton
SU- Aaron Crow
We have been talking about the Royals farm system for several years now and the those prized prospects are finally starting to emerge. While the pitching prospects struggled last year, the offensive ones have begun to take their spots on the roster. The entire infield is made up of top prospects that all have all-star potential with the exeption of Alcides Escobar (although a gold glove may not be out of the question). As it was this was a very good offense in 2011, and I expect it to continue to improve in 2012 but the pitching staff is where this roster needs improvement. The addition of Sanchez provides depth but they still lack top of the rotation arms. With this pitching staff i doubt they can do better than sub .500 but if some of their prized arms come up and contribute they could be a .500 team. I still think this team is about 2 years away from true contention.
4. MINNESOTA Twins
C- Joe Mauer/Ryan Doumit
1B- Justin Morneau/Ryan Doumit
2B- Alexi Casilla
SS- Jamey Carroll
3B- Danny Valencia
LF- Ben Revere
CF- Denard Span
RF- Josh Willingham
DH- Trevor Plouffe
1. Carl Pavano
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Scott Baker
4. Nick Blackburn
5. Brian Duensing/Jason Marquis
CL- Matt Capps
SU- Glen Perkins
SU- Alex Burnett
Once the class of the division the Twins now are struggling to get to .500. This is what happens when your top stars become injury prone and you have a poor supporting cast around them. The offense is weak unless Morneau and Mauer can return to MVP form and the pitching staff is mediocre to bad. They lack a top of the rotation starter and the bullpen is a mess as well. I dont think they will finish any lower than fourth but i dont think there is a lot of potential to finish better than that either.
5. CHICAGO White Sox
C- A.J. Pierzynski
1B- Paul Konerko
2B- Gordon Beckham
SS- Alexei Ramirez
3B- Brent Morel
LF- Alejandro De Aza
CF- Alex Rios
RF- Dayan Viciedo
DH- Adam Dunn
1. John Danks
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Phil Humber
4. Chris Sale
5. Jake Peavy
CL- Matt Thorton
SU- Jesse Crain
SU- Will Ohman
Another team that once dominated the division but has fallen on hard times. Unlike the Twins I think there is more room for improvement as the roster is younger and has more upside. That being said they have to prove it first, thats why have put them this low. It's not the roster that has changed but they have changed to a very inexperienced manager which could lead to some issues. The pitching staff is actually decent but the offense is what needs work. 5th place is a starting point for the White Sox but I could see them finishing ahead of the Twins and ahead of the Royals would be a best case scenario.
So there is my 2012 AL Central preview, look out for my next preview later this week.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 7:57 pm
Two days ago I posted my NL East Trade Deadline Analysis, as I took a look at how the teams in that division either got better or worse. Today we will take a look at the NL Central. There is technically a four team race for the NL Central crown but i feel we can realistically count out the Pirates and Reds as the Reds have been far too inconsistent and the Pirates are starting to putter out. 3 of those for teams made somewhat important moves and one sat quietly. The Cubs and the Astros are looking to rebuild but only one team has committed to a full rebuilding project. So let’s dive right in and analyze these deadline moves by the NL Central.
Pittsburgh- Acquired 1B- Derrek Lee from Baltimore for 1B- Aaron Baker
- Acquired OF- Ryan Ludwick from San Diego for A Player to be Named Later
The Pirates are a fringe contender in the NL Central, they obviously realized this and made moves that improve the club without giving up top prospects. Neither player is going to push the Pirates to the post season but they still may be able to keep them over .500 for the first time in 18 years. Both players will likely only play on the Pirates for this season as they will be free agents next season, but the moves show to the players that Management believes in them. All in all these moves are more for PR rather than actually improving the club, as they are only marginal upgrades but are solid veterans who can boost morale.
I am a fan of Abner Abreu, and Carlton Smith may be a bullpen contributor in the near future so this is not a bad deal for the Cubs. Fukudome has never lived up to the hype that he received when he signed in 2008, his defense has eroded the past 2 seasons and his offensive numbers have probably been the worst of his career in 2011 so I am amazed the Cubs were able to get anybody interesting. The main complaint about the Cubs deadline is that they didn’t dump more of their overpaid under producing players and commit to a rebuild. Abner Abreu is an intriguing outfielder who has pop and speed with a strong arm in the outfield but lacks plate discipline, so he could be a hit or a miss type player. Carlton Smith is a very average reliever but has made it to AAA so an appearance at the Major League level either this year or next is not out of the question.
Houston- Acquired P-Jarred Cosart, 1B/OF- Jonathan Singleton, P- Josh Zied from Philadelphia for OF- Hunter Pence
Houston replenished their farm system by dealing their two best hitters, but many believe the Astros should have held out for more talented players. Cozart immediately becomes the Astros top pitching prospect, he is still a while away from the big leagues but he is above average to good in almost all aspects of his game. Singleton is another young player that is at the low level minors but has tremendous upside. He will hit for good average and power and has good plate discipline, and he instantly becomes the Astros top hitting prospect in my mind. Josh Zeid is a mediocre pitching prospect who is at the AA level but has struggled this year, if he makes the big leagues he will likely be a middle reliever. The return for Michael Bourn was a lot less exciting, especially if you look at the prospects Atlanta has. Jordan Schafer is the replacement for Bourn in center and he could be a serviceable one. He has great speed with some power, but lacks the ability to make consistent contact. He is still young and has room to improve so Schafer still has the potential to be a star but more likely he will be a solid major league starter. Brett Oberholtzer is a solid lefty pitching prospect with good command and good homerun suppression ability, just not a huge strikeout pitcher, but he will get his fair share. I am actually a fan of Oberholtzer and I think that he could be a solid middle of the rotation guy down the road. Paul Clemens is another decent prospect, but while his numbers look ok AA this year I’m just not a huge fan. He has decent strikeout ability but not as good of command as Oberholtzer or as good of a homerun suppression rate. He could be a back of the rotation starter or reliever down the road. Juan Abreu is one of those middle relievers who has great strikeout ability but lacks good command to be a starter. He has played well at AAA in 2011 so I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays an important role in the Astros 2012 bullpen. Overall they Astros have gotten some nice prospects but they should have been able to get better ones for the players they gave up.
St. Louis- Acquired P- Edwin Jackson, OF- Corey Patterson, P- Marc Rzepcynski, P- Octavio Dotel from Chicago White Sox and Toronto for OF- Colby Rasmus, P- Trever Miller, P- Brian Tallet, P- P.J. Walters
I think the Cardinals made the most surprising moves near the deadline. I had heard rumors that Rasmus was going to get shipped out of St. Louis but then they were always quickly denied. The Cardinals gave up on a very talented CF but acquired a well traveled but effective starter who should help them make a post-season push. The rest of the players are pretty good as well, Corey Patterson can still be a solid 4th outfielder and Rzepcynski and Dotel should both be solid middle relievers for the Cardnials. I was not crazy about the Rafael Furcal trade, he really has been bad this year, but the benefit is having another veteran starter for the stretch run i guess. The problem is his bat has been abysmal, he is injury prone and he is only playing average defense at best this year. All in all the Cardinals did make a big splash bringing in (can i call him a journey man at 27?) Edwin Jackson along with some smaller pieces and it should be a close battle for the NL Central crown.
This trade really has no impact on the season or down the road besides the fact the Reds were smart enough to get rid of Gomes. Rhinehart seems like he will be a Quad A type player or at best a 4<sup>th</sup> outfield type. Manno is a young reliever sitting at High A who has good strikeout ability but is mediocre besides that. He is too young right now for me to make a prediction of what he might do at the majors because he could still not make it. Surprisingly the Reds got something for Gomes but again this trade really does nothing for the Reds.
Overall Summary- If you noticed I did not include the Francisco Rodriguez trade because it did not happen as close to the deadline. The Cardinals and Astros made the biggest moves of the deadline, but for very different reasons and the Pirates made 2 smaller moves. The Cubs and Reds did the least and both needed to do more. Overall I think the Cardinals are the winners of the Central at the deadline but I’m not sure they have enough to beat the Brewers for the division.
Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:42 pm
I have finished my 3rd entry in the top 20 by position series and today we will take a look at shortstop. This position was almost as challenging as Catcher, as the divisions in talent are not as clear. Again remember these rankings are based on current, past and future production not the current season alone. Also remember that the specific rankings are not as important as getting the players in the correct tiers, so many players are interchangable at specific rankings within a tier. Now lets dive right into the Shortstop rankings.
Tier 1- These guys are truly the elite players at their position and are MVP candidates year in and year out.
1. Troy Tulowitzki (COL)- Clearly the best all around shortsop in the game, provides average, power, speed and superb defense and always an MVP candidate.
2. Jose Reyes (NYM)- An excellent hitter who provides a lethal combo of average and speed with some power. The reason he is 2nd is only because his defense just does not matchup to Tulowitzki's.
3. Hanley Ramirez (FLA)- He may be having a down year and people may question his motivation but when he is on he is one of the best ballplayers in the game. He provides a great combo of power and speed and can easily hit over .300 but lacks good defensive play.
Tier 2- These guys are some of the best shortstops in the game today and are good ballplayers. But they are not the superstars like the guys in the top tier.
4. Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE)- Has really put it all together in a breakout campaign in 2011. He hits for a solid average, has good pop and speed. He is also just 25 so the sky is the limit for Cabrera.
5. J.J. Hardy (BAL)- While he may not have the speed of the guys above him, he may be one of the better hitters of the bunch. He hits for a solid average with good power and is a good defender. He is just entering his prime years so there is several more years of excellent production ahead.
6. Yunel Escobar (TOR)- Being traded Toronto seems to have been a good thing for Escobar as he has become better than ever. He can hit for a good average with solid power and is a solid defender. He is yet another player entering his prime years so there are several seasons of good production ahead.
7. Jhonny Peralta (DET)- Very similar to Hardy and Escobar in terms of production, provides a good average with good power and solid defense.
8. Elvis Andrus (TEX)- Only 22 years old and already one of the best in the game. He provides solid average with blazing speed and great defense.
9. Starlin Castro (CHC)- At 21 years old and his potential he should eventually be a top tier guy. But already he easily is in the top 15 among shortstops. He provides a great average with good speed and power potential (doubles and triples that could turn into homeruns) but his defense is very raw which holds him back.
10. Alexei Ramirez (CHW)- An all around solid talent but is not outstanding in any one category. He is in his prime years so we should se several more good seasons out of him.
11. Jimmy Rollins (PHI)- Age has regressed his talents somewhat but he is still easily in the second tier in terms of talent. He provides a decent average with a solid power, speed combination and good defense.
12. Erick Aybar (LAA)- He seems to be on the way up and is now in his prime years. He hits for a solid average, has good speed and average power along with average defense.
13. Stephen Drew (ARI)- He's regressed some from last year but he is still in his prime years. He can put up a solid average with decent power and a little speed to go along with above average to good defense.
Tier 3- There were only 2 guys that i thought fit into this teir. Both are young guys who were top prospects and are on the rise. They still have a lot of work to do but have potential to move up into the next tier soon.
14. Alcides Escobar (KCR)- His offense has been a liability for most of the season although he has started to hit better as of late but his defense is phenominal. He is an average contact hitter with virtualy no power but good speed. But as I said his defense is where his value lies, i would not be surprised to see him win some gold gloves in the future.
15. Ian Desmond (WAS)- He has taken a major step back on the offensive side but has improved his defense in his sophmore campaign. He should be able to provide a decent batting average with above average power and good speed to go along with his average defense.
Tier 4- These are the old guys who may have once been higher on the list but due to age and declining production have been knocked to the last tier.
16. Clint Barmes (HOU)- In terms of onfield production he is much better than the guys in this tier. But he is reaching the end of his prime years and his history is somewhat eratic. But he has provided good defense to compliment league average hitting with little basestealing ability.
17. Brendan Ryan (SEA)- His value lies in his defense where he can be a great defender. But his hitting leaves something to be desired with average hitting with no power and average basestealing ability.
18. Derek Jeter (NYY)- He may have gotten his 3,000th hit this season but he is clearly at the tail end of his career. He is now an average hitter in terms of both power and contact but still provides decent basestealing ability. The defense is pretty average as well and with little upside he has nowhere to go but down.
19. Marco Scutaro (BOS)- Another example of an old guy with little left in his bat. He can still hit for a respectable average with some power but virtualy no basestealing ability and his defense has been ok this year, but his career numbers have been eratic.
20. Jamey Carrol (LAD)- As usual there were a number of candidates that could fit in this spot. I decided to go with the most valuable in terms of WAR. He has no upside as he is already 37 years old but he has performed consistently over the past few seasons that he may still put up solid numbers for a few more years.
Summary- There are only a few Superstars at shortstop right now, but the second tier is filled with a lot of very talented players that standout because of the position they play. Look for guys such as Starlin Castro, Elvis Andrus, Alcides Escobar and Ian Desmond to rise to the upper tiers of the position.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:47 pm
I have finally finished the second entry in my Top 20 Players by Position series. Today we will take a look at second base. This list was much easier to develop in comparison to the Catcher list. I think that is partly due to it being the second list so i have a better feel for what i want to do with it, but also because i think there is a much more defined crop of players at second base. Remember the players are not ranked only on their current performance but on past and future performance as well. So lets dive right into the top 20 Second Basemen.
Tier 1- These are the superstars at the position, who generally are good in almost every aspect of the game and can stack up against the best at any position.
1. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)- Clearly the top choice as he does everything, hit for average, some power, has good speed and plays good defense. Has contributed to winning a world series and winning an MVP also help him rank as the top at his position.
2. Ian Kinsler (TEX)- Has turned into a multi category stud as he provides excellent power, speed and defense. He is still in his prime so there are likely several more years of solid production ahead.
3. Rickie Weeks (MIL)- It took him a little while to get his career going but now he has figured it out and turned into one of the best in the game. He provides excellent power, has decent speed and has turned into an above average defender on a good team.
4. Robinson Cano (NYY)- Cano gets in this tier on his hitting prowess alone, he may be the best hitter in this tier and is just now in his prime years. But he cannot rank at the top of the tier because he lacks the speed and defensive ability of the guys above him on the list.
5. Chase Utley (PHI)- He gets one here based on his past performance and the hope that he can put a couple more healthy seasons together. Because when healthy he can be one of the best in the game providing power, contact, speed and defense.
6. Ben Zobrist (TB)- While he may not hit for as high of an average as the guys above him he provides solid power and speed to compliment excellent defense and versatility.
Tier 2- With the exception of Brandon Phillips everyone in this tier is on the way up. These are guys who are missing a thing or two from their game that keeps them from being one of the elite players in the league.
7. Howie Kendrick (LAA)- While his numbers this season matchup with those in the top tier his career numbers dont matchup with the guys above him. He may be in the top tier next year if he keeps up this pace of solid average, power, speed and great defense.
8. Brandon Phillips (CIN)- He still provides excellent defense but his offensive numbers are on the decline. He is no longer a 30-30 threat but he can still hit for a nice average and provide a 15-15 season with outstanding defense.
9. Danny Espinosa (WAS)- If he continues his pace he will win Rookie of the year and has helped lead the Nationals to a respectable record thus far. While his average is not great, its skewed by a rough start of the season and he provides excellent power and speed with plus defense.
10. Neil Walker (PIT)- One of the contributers to the turn around in Pittsburgh, he provides a solid average and power with some speed. At age 25 he still has room for growth and could move his way up the list.
Tier 3-This tier contains 3 young guys who have been considered top prospects that are now producing at the major league level along with 2 veterans that have dissapointed thus far.
11. Gordon Beckham (CHW)- Still has the potential to be a star at the age of 24 but has not lived up to it yet. While he may not be the star some thought he would be already he is a solid second baseman. He is mediocre all around with above average defense based on his UZR.
12. Dustin Ackley (SEA) He moved very quickly through the Marniers farm system and has already looked at home at the major league level. He should provide a good average with solid power and some speed to compliment solid defense. His age of 23 leaves plenty of time to improve on his already good production.
13. Kelly Johnson (ARI)- Has regressed from his outstanding 2010 season, but while his average and OBP have dipped he is still providing excellent power and has some speed.
14. Dan Uggla (ATL)- Another all star who has seen his batting average plummet. But he is still providing some pop with a .175 ISO (Isolated Power). I am being extemely generous with this spot based on his performance this season but i have a feeling he can turn it around and when he does he can be one of the best hitting second basemen in the game.
15. Jemile Weeks (OAK)- Another interesting prospect who has made it to the majors and performed very well. While he may provide little to no power he should hit for a good average and provide tremendous speed on the base paths.
Tier 4- These guys may be every day startes but none of them will every be much more than that.
16. Darwin Barney (CHC)- In terms of actual production in 2011, Barney has been one of the best second basemen in the game. But in terms of his skill set he does not matchup with the guys ahead of him. Barney is a grind it out type player who will hit for a good average and play solid defense but he wont hit for much power and wont steal many bases.
17. Mark Ellis (COL)- Ellis looked to be on his way down but after being traded to Colorado has shown some new life. When he is performing he can hit for a solid batting average with decent power and speed and above average defense. But his age and overall declining performance push him to this spot.
18. Alexi Casilla (MIN)- He is a decent young second basemen who's best attribute thus far in terms of production has been stolen bases. He can hit for an OK average and play average defense but provides little power. His age and speed are what push him to this spot.
19. Jeff Keppinger (HOU)- After missing some time due to injury Keppinger has played fairly well. He is already over 30 and will never produce the numbers to get out of this tier but he is a usefull starter.
20. Robert Andino (BAL)- This was the toughest spot to fill, there were a number of guys i could have gone with here but decided to go with the youngest one. Again he is the definition of an average players as are most of the guys at this point on the list.
Summary- The top 3 tiers were the easiest to rate, but when i got to the 4th tier there was a significant dropoff in talent. Again as i said in my last post the specific ranking is not as important as getting the guys in the right tier. Many of the guys within tiers are interchangable at a specific number ranking. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.