Tag:Pirates
Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:51 pm
 

NL Central Preview

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!

1. CINCINNATI REDS

 C- Devin Mesoraco/Ryan Hannigan
1B- Joey Votto
2B- Brandon Phillips
SS- Zack Cozart
3B- Scott Rolen/Todd Frazier
LF- Ryan Ludwick/Chris Heisey
CF- Drew Stubbs
RF- Jay Bruce

Pitching-

1. Johnny Cueto
2. Matt Latos
3. Bronson Arroyo
4. Mike Leake
5. Homer Bailey/Jeff Francis
6. Aroldis Chapman

CL- Ryan Madson
SU- Sean Marshall
SU- Nick Masset

The Reds had a very good off-season, realizing that their window of opportunity is now. They bolstered their rotation with the additions of Matt Latos and Jeff Francis. They also fortefied their bullpen with the addition of former Phillies closer Ryan Madson and former Cubs set-up man Sean Marshall. The offense is led by a trio of stars in Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce with some nice complementary players in Drew Stubbs, Devin Mesoraco and recently acquired LF; Ryan Ludwick. There are question marks at third and short but they still have a top tier offense. I think the Reds are a solid playoff team but I still think they have too many holes to win a world series (but anything can happen in baseball).   

2. ST. LOUIS Cardinals

C- Yadier Molina
1B- Lance Berkman
2B- Daniel Descalso
SS- Rafael Furcal
3B- David Freese
LF- Matt Holliday
CF- Jon Jay
RF- Carlos Beltran

Pitching-

1. Chris Carpenter
2. Adam Wainwright
3. Jamie Garcia
4. Kyle Lohse
5. Jake Westbrook

CL- Jason Motte
SU- Fernando Salas
SU- Mitchell Boggs

The loss of Albert Pujols is devestating and the retiring of LaRussa is going to hurt as well, but I still think the Cardinals can be a competitive team in 2012.This could be the year of David Freese and they still have a solid core with Berkman, Holliday, Molina and Beltran. The key will be how Adam Wainwright's return goes as he could push the Cardinals into contention with the Reds. I still think in the end it will be tough for the Cardinals to win the division as they have taken too many losses in the offseason and the Reds have gotten exponentially better.

3. MILWAUKEE Brewers

C- Jonathan Lucroy
1B- Mat Gamel
2B- Rickie Weeks
SS- Alex Gonzalez
3B- Aramis Ramirez
LF- Norichika Aoki/Ryan Braun
CF- Njer Morgan/Carlos Gomez
RF- Corey Hart

Pitching-

1. Yovani Gallardo
2. Zack Grienke
3. Shaun Marcum
4. Randy Wolf
5. Chris Narveson

CL- John Axford
SU- Francisco Rodriguez
SU- Kameron Loe

Losing Prince Fielder and 50 games of Ryan Braun is HUGE! With Braun I might have still picked them to win the division as they have the best top of the rotation in the division. With the hit to the offense even with the additions of Aramis Ramirez, Norichika Aoki and a potential breakout season from Mat Gamel I dont think they can realistically win the division. The staff IS stacked and expect an even better season from Greinke as the stats show he was much better than his ERA indicated. The Brewers are still a very dangerous team that could sneak into contention as many people are counting them out. 

4. CHICAGO CUBS

C- Geovany Soto
1B- Bryan LaHair/Anthony Rizzo
2B- Darwin Barney
SS- Starlin Castro
3B- Ian Stewart
LF- Alfonso Soriano
CF- Marlon Byrd
RF- David DeJesus

Pitching-

1. Matt Garza
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Paul Maholm
4. Travis Wood
5. Chris Volstad/Randy Wells

CL- Carlos Marmol
SU- Kerry Wood
SU- Jeff Samardzija

The Cubs are going through a complete rebuild and although you can never completely rule out a team they really have no chance to win the division (this coming from a Cubs Fan). The offense is going to be rough as they lack a true middle of the order hitter. The rotation is vastly improved from 2011 as they actual have a surplus of starters now, and while they might not all be top arms there is some upside for guys like Travis Wood and Chris Volstad. The Cubs may not be in the playoff hunt but they should be as good if not a little better than in 2011 and pretty exciting to watch.

5. PITTSBURGH Pirates

C- Rod Barajas 
1B- Garrett Jones
2B- Neil Walker
SS- Clint Barmes
3B- Pedro Alvarez/Casey McGehee
LF- Alex Presley
CF- Andrew McCutchen
RF- Jose Tabata

Pitching-

1. Charlie Morton
2. Erik Bedard
3. A.J. Burnett
4. James McDonald
5. Jeff Karstens/Kevin Correia

CL- Joel Hanrahan
SU- Evan Meek
SU- Jason Grilli

The Pirates were the suprise first half team last season and at one point was winning the division. Eventually they collapsed due to their youth and a plethora of injuries but they got Pittsburgh excited about baseball again. The offense should be better this season with an upgrade at short and a couple of potential bounce back seasons. The rotation is also better with the addition of A.J. Burnett to eat some innings and Erik Bedard to get in some good starts. I still think the bullpen was very fluky last season and will regress but still the Pirates are no longer the worst team in baseball. I see a couple win improvement from last year and they could beat out the Cubs for fourth place. 

6. HOUSTON Astros

C- Jason Castro
1B- Carlos Lee/Brett Wallace
2B- Jose Altuve 
SS- Jed Lowrie/Angel Sanchez
3B- Jimmy Paredes
LF- J.D. Martinez
CF- Jordan Schafer/Jason Bourgeois
RF- Brian Boguesevic

Pitching-

1. Wandy Rodriguez
2. Brett Myers
3. Bud Norris
4. Livan Hernandez
5. Jordan Lyles/J.A. Happ

CL- Brandon Lyon
SU- Wilton Lopez
SU- Fernando Rodriguez

There should be no argument that the Astros are the worst team in the division and possibly in the National League. Luckily this is their last season in the NL Central before their jump to the AL West. The offense is full of names that few people outside of diehard baseball fans know and the bullpen looks rough. I actually think their rotation is pretty solid (Im a big fan of Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles) but I dont think its enough to carry them out of the division cellar. 


All in all the NL Central is weak in comparison to previous years but it always seems that when the division looks weak they produce a team that goes to the world series. This was a tough call for this spot between the NL Central and the AL West but I think the extra teams help put the NL Central above but not for long.
  

Posted on: November 19, 2010 12:41 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 8:04 pm
 

MLB Offseason Preview (NL Central)

After last posts NL East preview we move to the NL Central. It is pretty well known that this is the division i know the best and i know the teams involved very well. But no matter how well you know a division you can never correctly perdict every move the teams in a division will make. As i said in my previous posts these are the moves that i think are the most likely to happen and also moves that i think teams should make.

Chicago Cubs-

The Cubs added on to their dissapointing 2009 season by putting up an even worse 2010 season. The Cubs had managed to build the worst team with the biggest budget which makes me even more proud to be a Cubs fan. Luckily all of the Cubs bad contracts are begining to come off the books, losing Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly's big salaries should loosen up the Cubs wallets. But i would not recommend they spend big this offseason, although Adam Dunn is available and they are in need of a first baseman i think they should hold off. The problem with acquiring Adam Dunn is that it is a typical Cubs move, it may help us be competitve next year but in the end the contract will hold us down. The only way i would fill first base with a big name player this offseason is if they can find a way to acquire Adrain Gonzalez via trade. It would cost a lot of players but the Cubs have been improving their farm system and may have the prospects to get him now. I dont need to explain the impact Adrian Gonzalez would have on this team. If they cant bring in Gonzalez I would recommend siging Adam LaRoche, he would significantly cheaper than Dunn and would provide the left handed power bat the Cubs crave. He consistently puts up a .280-25-90 with quality defense and would allow the Cubs to have money to spend in other areas or allow them to hold on to their money so they can spend big next season. They also need to begin to plan how they will fill the hole at third when Aramis leaves next season. I woldnt be suprised to see A-Ram dealt either this offseason or at the deadline. The only other major area of need is releif pitching that im sure they will waste their money on.

Cincinnati Reds -

The Reds are not a team that needs a lot of work, they have a nice affordable core of players that have room to improve. They are set at all the major position players but their biggest need is starting pitching. If you know anything about post-season baseball you know that you need a dominant ace at the top of your staff to succeed. Look at the Giants (Lincecum), Rangers (Cliff Lee). Phillies (H20), Yankees (CC Sabathia). This is really the piece the Reds are missing, the only way they can address this is if they trade for Zack Grienke. Now of course thier is the problem that the Royals want the farm for him but i think the Reds have the prospects to matchup. They would likely have to give up Travis Wood, Yonder Alonso, Mike Leake and another big prospect to get him but it would be worth it.Now i know there will be people who disagree with  First of all Grienke played for one of the worst defenses from a UZR standpoint they didnt make a ton of errors but their players lacked the range to make the plays for him. If you brought Grienke into the national league with one of the best defenses in the league he could put up numbers similar to his CY Young winning season of 2009(with more wins). The other benifit of Grienke is that he is in/near his prime and should be able to put up similarly productive numbers for the next few seasons. I have also heard the Reds have interest in Marco Scutaro as the Red Sox have put him on the market. They could fill a hole at short stop or they could attempt to have Paul Janish play a full season, although im not sure his bat will play well in a full season. But besides adding an ace the Reds only need to make a few tweaks here and there.

Houston Astros-

The Astros finally realized that it was time to go into a rebuilding faze this past season by dealing former stars such as Lance Berkamn and Roy Oswalt. They did get some nice pieces in return but they are far from contention, they will need to draft better and acquire better prospects if they want to compete with the rest of the division. I do like the move they just made by acquiring Clint Barmes for Felipe Paulino straight up. While his offense may regress from leaving Coors field he should still provide more than the rotation of Angel Sanchez and Tommy Manzella. He also plays good defense according to his UZR. There are still some significant holes around the infield, I do like Chris Johnson at third but im not sure how he projects long term (Is he the next Casey McGhee?). They can do better than Jeff Keppinger at second and I doubt that Brett Wallace is the answer at first. Jason Castro didnt show much at the big league level last season but they should give him some time. Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn are fine in the outfield but Carlos Lee is definitly hurting them both offensivly and defensively. The pitching staff could use some help as well with Brett Myers playing the ace followed by middle of the rotation guys in Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ and Bud Norris. While they did make some moves that will help the club in the long run the Astros are maintaining the level they have been at for years where they are not horrible but they wont make it over .500 either. I still think they need to scrap the whole team and start from scratch dealing Pence, Myers, Bourn and Lee (although the later may be though).

Milwaukee Brewers-

They definitly have the offensive pieces to compete but they are extremely lacking in the pitching department. Their main off-season goal will be to beaf up that pitching staff behind Gallardo and Wolf. Earlier in the offseason it seemed they were willing to part with Prince Fielder but it seems less likely now. I have heard rumors that Casey McGhee could be moved for pitching which would also open the door for Matt Gamel to start for a full season. I wouldnt be suprised if some Corey Hart rumors pop up either as they did at the trade deadline last year. Im not sure who they would match up with for pitching but they desperatly need some. They dont want to waste their offensive players prime years when they have no pitching. If Milwaukee had any money i would think they would go after some starters but im not sure they have a ton to spend. But besides thier lack of pitching this is a very strong roster that should be able to get them to the post-season if they can prevent runs from scoring.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are on the rise although their record may not reflect that. They have developed a nucleus of very good offensive players that should score plenty of runs. But like the Brewers they lack the pitching to be competitve. Their best pitching prospect James Tailon wont be ready for a while, but they are attempting to be aggresive through the free agent market. I wouldnt be suprised to see Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis in Pittsburgh as the new Manager Clint Hurdle is familiar with both players. This season i think they want to attempt to be respectable while continuing to improve so they wont hand out any massive contracts. I am very excited to see Pedro Alvarez for a full season as he showed off his tremendous talent at the end of last season. He could be a .260-30-100 player this year with a good top of the order hitters in McCutchen and Tabata. They could use some improvement at short stop, left field, and first base but every other position looks solid for next year. They will probably sign some small contracts and make some small trades to fill holes at those positions and if they add some pitching they could be a 70 win team.

St. Louis Cardinals-

They were unable to keep up with the Reds last season but they did play a fairly good season. The back end of their rotation didnt perform to expectations and their middle infield struggled. They addressed the pitching by re-signing Jake Westbrook but they could still use some additional pitching. They have a solid offensive core in Pujols, Holliday, and Rasmus and with the return of David Freese from injury they could be even better this coming up season. They will most likely bring in someone to back up Frees in case he is hurt again or he struggles, this player may start up the middle but be versatile enough to play the hot corner. I have heard Miguel Tejada is being considered along with some other SS/2B to improve upon Brendan Ryan and Skip Schumakers production. But outside of those few moves the major offseason goal for the Cardinals should be giving Pujols his contract extension which is almost guranteed he will agree to. The Cardinals and the Reds look to be in the best shape of the teams in this division and have the fewest moves to make.


Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:16 pm
 

Best Teams NL Central

Earlier in the week a started a series of posts that were going to cover each team in baseballs best players in the modern era (which i consider 1950+). I analyzed the Cubs then began working on the other teams, i decided it would be much more effiecent if i posted the teams by division and compare to see which would fare the best. I will post each teams lineup and #1 starter with their WAR and FLD numbers next to them.

Cubs
1. Ryne Sandberg-2B-  4.2 WAR  4 FLD
2. Mark Grace-1B-        3.5 WAR  5.1 FLD
3. Billy Williams-OF-     5.2 WAR  -3 FLD
4. Sammy Sosa-OF-     4.9 WAR  6.6 FLD
5. Ron Santo-3B-         5.7 WAR  1.9 FLD
6. Ernie Banks-SS-       3.9 WAR  2.8 FLD
7. Andre Dawson-OF-   3.0 WAR  -.5 FLD
8. Jody Davis-C-          2.4 WAR  4.5 FLD

#1 Starter- Fergie Jenkins

Cardinals
1. Lou Brock-OF-         3.2 WAR  -3.1 FLD
2. Ozzie Smith-SS-      4.7 WAR  15.1 FLD
3. Albert Pujols-1B-      7.8 WAR  6.3 FLD
4. Stan Musial-OF-       6.3 WAR  2.4 FLD
5. Jim Edmonds-OF-    5.5 WAR  4.4 FLD
6. Ken Boyer-3B-         5.2 WAR  6.8 FLD
7. Ted Simmons-C-     4.1 WAR  -1 FLD
8. Red Shoendienst-2B- 2.5 WAR  5 FLD

#1 Starter- Bob Gibson

Astros
1. Craig Biggio-2B-      3.5 WAR  -3.3 FLD
2. Cesar Cedeno-OF-   4.3 WAR  .5 FLD
3. Lance Berkman-OF- 4.7 WAR  .3 FLD
4. Jeff Bagwell-1B-       5.6 WAR  3.9 FLD
5. Jose Cruz-OF-          3.8 WAR  6.5 FLD
6. Doug Radar-3B-       3.4 WAR  -1 FLD
7. Dickie Thorn-SS-      2.1 WAR  4.3 FLD
8. Brad Ausmus-C-         .5 WAR  -1 FLD

#1 Starter- Roy Oswalt

Reds
1. Joe Morgan-2B-        7.6 WAR  .75 FLD
2. Pete Rose-3B-          4.6 WAR  -4 FLD
3. Frank Robinson-OF-   6.6 WAR  5 FLD
4. Johnny Bench-C-       4.8 WAR  4.2 FLD
5. George Foster-OF-     4.3 WAR  4.8 FLD
6. Tony Perez-1B-          3.2 WAR  .4 FLD
7. Vada Pinson-OF-        4.5 WAR  0FLD
8. Barry Larkin-SS-         3.7 WAR  1.5 FLD

#1 Starter- Jim Maloney

Brewers
1. Paul Molitor-3B-         4.1 WAR  .7 FLD
2. Robin Yount-SS-        3.7 WAR  -2.3 FLD
3. Cecil Cooper-1B-        3.1 WAR  .7 FLD
4. Jeromy Burnitz-OF-     3.7 WAR  4.2 FLD
5. Geoff Jenkins-OF-      2.8 WAR  6.5 FLD
6. Ben Oglive-OF-          2.7 WAR  .1 FLD
7. B.J. Surhoff-C-           1.9 WAR  2.8 FLD
8. Jim Gantner-2B-         1.4 WAR  2 FLD

#1 Starter- Teddy Higuera

Pirates
1. Roberto Clemente-OF-  5.1 WAR  11.3 FLD
2. Jason Kendall-C-          3.8 WAR  -1.8 FLD
3. Barry Bonds-OF-           7.1 WAR  18.4 FLD
4. Willie Stargel-OF-         3.4 WAR  -3.5 FLD
5. Donn Clendenon-1B-    2.6 WAR  -.2 FLD
6. Richie Hebner-3B-        3.5 WAR  -5.4 FLD
7. Jay Bell-SS-                 3.1 WAR  .7 FLD
8. Bill Mazeroski-2B-         2.3 WAR  8.6 FLD

#1 Starter- Bob Friend

Team WAR + FLD

Cubs- 32.8 WAR  21.4 FLD
Cardinals- 39.3 WAR  35.9 FLD
Astros- 27.9 WAR  10.2 FLD
Reds- 39.3 WAR  12.7 FLD
Brewers- 23.4 WAR  14.7 FLD
Pirates- 30.9 WAR  28.1 FLD

I think it is obvious that the Cardinals have the best team of the bunch and are lead by the best pitcher of the bunch as well. Cincinnati is probably the second best team on this list because their team WAR is tied for first with the Cardinals but their defense is 2nd to last and Jim Maloney dosnt rate up as highly as Bob Friend or Fergie Jenkins. The Cubs and Pirates are probably tied for 3rd, while the Cubs have a better WAR the Pirates have a better FLD, although Fergie may have the edge over Friend. The Astros are 5th and the Brewers are officaly the worst team of the buch. I got the WAR and FLD stats from Fangraphs.com which is an excellent site if your a stats junkie like me. I created the lineups by going to Baseball-Reference.com and anaylizing who i thought were the best at each position, obviously not everyone is going to agree with me on my stats. Also a side not i just picked the top 3 outfielders i did not pick the best at each particular position this time. If you have any comments please post them i love reading them and give me feedback please. I plan on doing the AL Central next.
         
Posted on: July 31, 2010 6:51 pm
 

Deadline recap and analysis

Well the 2010 MLB trade deadline is officially in the books and it was a rather tame one to say the least. It was a buyers market for sure, which i think prevented some teams from being willing to give up their top talent. The most interesting trade was the 3 team deal sending Ryan Ludwick to San Diego, Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals and prospects to the Indians. The Padres seem like the winners in this one, aquiring a solid middle of the order bat to protect Adrian Gonzalez. The losers have to be the Cardinals, they trade away their starting right fielder who is a middle of the order hitter in a mediocre offense for a below average starting pitcher. Im sure there we be those who believe the pitching god of Dave Duncan can make him into a good pitcher but i have my doubts. Another interesting trade involves the Cubs and Dodgers, Chicago is sending Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and 2 AA pitching prospects. The Dodgers are getting a solid middle to back of the rotation pitcher in Ted Lilly. He may not have his best stuff any more but he has excellent control and can be dominant on occasion (such as his 1-hitter against the White Sox). The Dodgers also get a solid SS/2B with some speed who will hit around the .290/.330/350 mark and is an average defender. The Cubs get a mid level starter prospect and a throw in reliever prospect, to go along with 2B/3B Blake DeWitt. DeWitt is a 25 year old who was called up a little to soon in his career and hasnt shown a lot but has some potential. Although this year he has been a better player than Theriot, really this is a move that helps the Cubs get younger and cheaper as the attempt a quick rebuild. I think the Cubs get the edge in this one because they achieved what they wanted to. They dumped salary(although not all of it) they got some pitching prospects and got younger at 2B. The dodgers did get a pitcher who will help them down the stretch but DeWitt may be a bit better than Theriot at 2nd. Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood, and Austin Kearns are all headed to the Yankees where they continue to assemble the best talent possible. Lance Berkamn is definatly a win because he is a very skilled player who is just having a down year, and the salary dosnt really affect the Yankees. The Astros are a completley different team then the ones that played the Cubs a few days ago, with Brett Wallace as the new first baseman and JA Happ replacing Roy Oswalt. The Pirates are really starting to show they are on the way up with some excellent deals. They moved some veteran relievers they signed in the winter such as Octavio Dotel(dodgers), DJ Carrasco(D-Backs) and Javier Lopez(Giants) and aquiring players with huge upside (John Bowker,Joe Martinez,James McDonald, Andrew Lambo,and Chris Snyder to name some). I think you have to consider the Pirates as really winners in the trade market, they may not be anywhere near contention but they have stockpiled a ton of prospects the past few years to where once some of them develop and they become contenders they will still have some in which to trade to push them over the top in a pennant race. That being said they are a while a way from contention. I was not suprised to see Adam Dunn stay mainly because i think the Nationals value him much more than any other team in baseball and they will most likely extend him long term because they will pay him more then anyone else. The MLB landscape has not changed that much through these trades, really the biggest impact is going to be the Berkman trade in my opinion, outside of that the rest of the moves wont achieve that much this year.
Posted on: February 11, 2010 6:45 pm
 

My Official NL Central Preview

Its been a while since my last post ( I believe it was about the Cubs signing Xavier Nady) but that dosnt mean i havnt been working diligently on this post. I have been analyizing these numbers for weeks and looking at lots of projections. So here is a look at my 2010 Official NL Central Preview.

1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates


Lets take a deeper look at all 6 teams, because even though most analysts believe the Cards will run away with it im not convinced. Anyone in the top 4 spots could legitamitly when this division.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

Departed (notable players)- Rick Akiel, Mark DeRosa, Troy Glaus, Joel Pineiro, Brad Thompson
Aquired- Rich Hill, Brad Penny

The Cards were a mediocre team at the start of the 2009 season, but a midseason trade for Matt Holliday changed everything. Now the Cardnials have ascended to the upper echelon of NL teams with the likes of Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Their rotation is headlined by 2 terrific Aces in Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. Recently aquired Brad Penny will look to fill Joel Pineiro's shoes and become another one of Dave Duncans reclamation projects. Outside of those 3 the rotation has a lot of questions, wil Kyle Lohse bounce back, and who will be the fifth starter. The Infield is pretty solid with Albert Pujols anchoring it at first. There can be no argument that Pujols is the best player in the majors right now. Skip Schumaker ande Brendan Ryan make up the middle infield, both are farily good contact hitters, but they dont blow you away considering the other talent in the division. The biggest question mark for the Cards infield is David Freese, it looks like they are going to give him a shot, hopefully he can perform better than Colby Rasmus did last year. The outfield is definatly one of the Cardinals strong points with Matt Holliday the anchor there. Holliday, like Pujols is one of the premier players in the league forming one of, if not the best 1-2 punch in the National League. Coby Rasmus will man center field, although his rookie season wasnt great he still provides good defense (according to UZR stats) and is developing offensivly. And in right field Ryan Ludwick will continue to mash, he may not be as good as he was 2 seasons ago he is good at protecting Holliday and Pujols. Overall the Cardinals are a very balanced team, they arnt very deep so if they sustain some injuries things could go downhill. But as of right now statisticly speaking they should win this division.

2. Chicago Cubs

Departed- Milton Bradley, Jake Fox, Kevin Gregg, Rich Harden, Aaron Heilman, Reed Johnson, Aaron Miles, Neal Cotts
Aquired- Marlon Byrd, Jeff Gray, Bryan LaHair, Chad Tracy, Kevin Millar, Xavier Nady, Mike Parisi, Carlos Silva

The Cubs were supposed to win this division last season, but due to a ridiculous amount of injuries, down years for star players, and the chaos that Milton Bradley created they came in second. Although there have been some changes, this team is very similar to the one that had the best record in the NL in 08. The rotation is headlined by underachieving Ace Carlos Zambrano (Im not sure i can even call him an ace anymore), Ted Lilly (Although he will be out for the first month), and Ryan Dempster. Randy Wells should be the #4 starter and the #5 spot is open to several pitchers although Tom Gorzelanny is the favorite. Zambrano has struggled the past few seasons due to his immaturity and injuries. But he has apparently slimmed down and is much more focused so look for a bounce back season from him. The Bullpen while not great has some interesting peices that could make it a good unit. Marmol is the big question mark, how will he be able to handle the pressure of being the full time closer. He looked good at the end of last season, but he is wild and when he dosnt have his command he is useless. John Grabow, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Jeff Gray, Carlos Silva, and Esmailin Caridad make up the rest of their projected bullpen. The infield is a strength with 09's top Cubs performer Derrek Lee at first, and the always consistent Aramis Ramirez at 3rd (when healthy). The middle infield is mediocre but servicable, with The Riot at short, and Jeff Baker/Mike Fontenot at 2B. Although in the near future a shift to 2b for Theriot looks likely as his defense is better there and Starlin Castro is on his way. The Cubs are really hoping that 08' Rookie of the Year Geovany Soto returns to form. The outfiled is improved but not great with the dissapointing and often injured Alfonso Soriano in LF. Marlon Byrd came from Texas to play CF and should provide solid but unspectacular numbers. And Kosuke Fukudome playing solid defense in RF and probably platooning with Xavier Nady. If former Texas hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo can get the Cubs hitters to return they should be real close to the Cardinals and a mid season trade for a star could push them into the playoffs.

3. Milwaukee Brewers

Departed- Mike Cameron, JJ Hardy, Jason Kendall, Seth McClung, Mike Rivera, Felipe Lopez, Braden Looper
Aquired- Doug Davis, Jim Edmonds, LaTroy Hawkins, Randy Wolf, Greg Zaun, Carlos Gomez

The Brewers have the best offense in the division by far. But their pitching may be the worst which is what has held them back. They have aquired some talent to help bolster that with the additions of Randy Wolf and Doug Davis, but neither are star pitchers that can carry a team on their shoulders. They are innings eaters, Yovani Gallardo is the teams ace, but he is vey young and having to carry a team on your shoulders at a young age is tough. Their pitching will be better than in 08' but not enough to overcome the Cubs or Cardinals. The Pen is also improved with the additon of LaTroy Hawkins they now have a solid setup man who can help Trevor Hoffman. But Hoffman is getting up their in years and Hawkins has dissapointed before so dont count on them. The pitching still isnt thier but they have enough offensive peices that they could trade for a pitcher midseason. The Infield is held together by one of the best firstbaseman in the league in Prince Fielder. He is a big bopper who can hit for good contact, and Casey McGhee was solid at 3rd last year. The middle infield is talented with the youngster Alcides Escobar at short and Ricke Weeks, but Escobar only has 125 AB of major league expierence and Weeks is coming off a big injury. The Outfield is solid with Ryan Braun in LF, he may be one of the best LF in all of baseball. Corey Hart is a solid RF, and Carlos Gomez will replace Cameron in CF. Greg Zaun is an upgrade at Catcher from the ancient Jason Kendall. This is a solid team that should be in the division race and should finish over .500 but i think they need a young arm to step up or they need to trade for one. If they do that then i think they have a legitimate shot at the division title.

4. Cincinnati Reds

Departed- Willy Taveras, Adam Rosales
Aquired- Orlando Cabrera, Aroldis Chapman, Aaron Miles, Josh Anderson

The Reds seem on the verge of becoming a very good team, but i am still a litte sceptical thats why i put them this low. They very well could be a spot or two up but there are a lot of variables for that to happen. Plus the Reds always seem to look decent on paper but not be able to put it together. The rotation is decent, Bronson Arroyo has been very reliable and was great in the second half last season. Harrang has not been the same since he pitched in relief in 08' and continues to put up abismal statistics despite a decent ERA. Johnny Cueto looks like he could be a star and Homer Bailey finally started to put it all together last September. Both of them will need to have good seasons for the Reds to be competitve. The #5 spot may be filled by Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, but he is a young lefty and sometimes those guys take a while to reach their potential. He is their biggest future prospect as he has been compared to Randy Johnson. Francisco Cordero has been a solid closer although the Reds are looking to dump his salary since it makes up a significant portion of their limited payroll. Even without him, the Reds have one of the better bullpens in baseball. The Infield is a strong point for the Reds with a really good 1B in Joey Votto and veteran Scott Rolen at the corners. Up the middle former gold glover and steady veteran Orlando Cabrera is at short, and perenial All-Star Brandon Phillips is at 2B. Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hannigan play solidly at Catcher. The Outfield has some questions, will former top prospect Jay Bruce bounce back from a dissapointing sophmore season? Is rookie Drew Stubbs the answer in CF? Will Chris Dickerson start in LF? They have some good players with good potential and they will have to live up to it if they want to compete for the divison. This could be a very good team, and as i said before they have a ton of potential but potential doesnt win the divison. This is a team that will have to grow up this season, but this is a team on the rise and will be good for some time.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Departed- Brian Bixler, Matt Capps, Jesse Chavez, Robinson Diaz
Aquired- Neal Cotts, Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby, Brendan Donnelly, Octavio Dotel, Akinori Iwamura, Javier Lopez

This is my bold prediction for 2010, the Pirates will not finish in the division cellar. I think the Pirates are on the rise, although they are no where near being competitive i think they are a team that can win 70-75 games. But this perdictions doesnt necesserily reflect on the Pirates being that much better, but that the Astros are worse. The Pirates rotation is nothing to brag about but there are some interesting arms there. Paul Maholm is their top pitcher although he has been dissapointing, Zach Duke is a solid middle of the rotation guy, but he could get traded. Ross Ohlendorf suprised some people, but im not sold on his performance. The back of the rotation is likely going to consist of Charlie Morton who was effective in Atlanta, Kevin Hart who came over from Chicago in the Grabow, Gorzelanny deal. The bullpen has been put together out of unwanted pieces from other teams. They could be succesful, but it is hard to predict relief pitchers. Octavio should be the closer, although i think the eventual goal is for Joel Hanrahan to close. The infield doesnt have any stars but some solid pieces, Garrett Jones will probably play first, he burst onto the scene last season and the Pirates are hoping for a repeat performance. Andy LaRoche is playing 3rd although he is nothing more than a place holder for the Pirates future star Pedro Alvarez. Recently aquired Akinori Iwamura will man 2nd, and Ronny Cedeno and Bobby Crosby will battle for the starting shortstop gig. While they are nothing special they have a lot of depth at the positions and some farm help on the way. The outfield has the most potential, former top prospect Lastings Millidge will play in LF and he played well after coming over from Washington. If he can play to the potential that he was said to have the Pirates will have a solid LF. Andrew McCutchen will look to improve upon his outstanding rookie season and play CF for the full season. Ryan Church will most likely start in RF, while he may not put up great numbers he is a solid player. The Pirates also have some depth here with Brandon Moss, and former top prospect Steve Pearce. This team may lack superstars (although one is on the way, and McCutchen may become one) they have more overall talent than the Astros do.

6. Houston Astros

Departed- LaTroy Hawkins, Miguel Tejada, Jose Valverde, Doug Brocail (Retired), Chris Coste
Aquired- Pedro Feliz, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, Matt Lindstrom

The Astros have really gone down hill since that 2005 world series appearance. They used to be one of the best teams in the National League, but i think poor managment has put them in a position to fall out of the competition for some time. They have not clearly defined their direction, wether they are rebuilding or contending. Their recent aquisitions have not convinced me that they are improving. The rotation is relying on the return of the dominant Roy Oswalt, he did not look very good last season (I know cause he was on my fantasy baseball team). They discovered they have a solid arm in Wandy Rodriguez and they are hoping Brett Myers can give them a solid #3 starter. But after that there is a significant dropoff, Brian Moehler will probably start along with youngster Bud Norris, neither of them impress me and there is not any help after them. The bullpen is somewhat restructered, replacing LaTroy Hawkins and Jose Valverde with Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon. Aparently they want Lindstrom to close, he has been great in the past and has a great fastball but he will have to bounce back from an awfull season. Brandon Lyon is about equal to LaTroy Hawkins in my eyes, maybe a bit worse. The infield has some nice pieces, with the consistent Lance Berkman (although he had a down year last year), Pedro Feliz is at the other corner, he plays solid defense but dosnt offer much in offense anymore. Kaz Matsui will play 2nd and youngster Tommy Manzella will likely start at short. Manzella dosnt really project to contribut much and Matsui is very average. The outfield is the Astros strength with another consistent player in Carlos Lee in LF. Michael Bourne leads off and plays CF, but outside of steals he is very average (Most believe his 09' BA is a mirage and he will hit more in the .250-.260 range). Hunter Pence is another solid outfielder in RF, he will put up a solid .280-25-90 stat line. The Astros dont have a ton of depth so injuries will be a killer. They could finish ahead of the Pirates but that is their ceiling in 10'. Sorry Astros fans but i dont see them getting better anytime soon, they need to get that farm system going if they want to get better.



Posted on: February 11, 2010 6:45 pm
 

My Official NL Central Preview

Its been a while since my last post ( I believe it was about the Cubs signing Xavier Nady) but that dosnt mean i havnt been working diligently on this post. I have been analyizing these numbers for weeks and looking at lots of projections. So here is a look at my 2010 Official NL Central Preview.

1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates


Lets take a deeper look at all 6 teams, because even though most analysts believe the Cards will run away with it im not convinced. Anyone in the top 4 spots could legitamitly when this division.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

Departed (notable players)- Rick Akiel, Mark DeRosa, Troy Glaus, Joel Pineiro, Brad Thompson
Aquired- Rich Hill, Brad Penny

The Cards were a mediocre team at the start of the 2009 season, but a midseason trade for Matt Holliday changed everything. Now the Cardnials have ascended to the upper echelon of NL teams with the likes of Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Their rotation is headlined by 2 terrific Aces in Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. Recently aquired Brad Penny will look to fill Joel Pineiro's shoes and become another one of Dave Duncans reclamation projects. Outside of those 3 the rotation has a lot of questions, wil Kyle Lohse bounce back, and who will be the fifth starter. The Infield is pretty solid with Albert Pujols anchoring it at first. There can be no argument that Pujols is the best player in the majors right now. Skip Schumaker ande Brendan Ryan make up the middle infield, both are farily good contact hitters, but they dont blow you away considering the other talent in the division. The biggest question mark for the Cards infield is David Freese, it looks like they are going to give him a shot, hopefully he can perform better than Colby Rasmus did last year. The outfield is definatly one of the Cardinals strong points with Matt Holliday the anchor there. Holliday, like Pujols is one of the premier players in the league forming one of, if not the best 1-2 punch in the National League. Coby Rasmus will man center field, although his rookie season wasnt great he still provides good defense (according to UZR stats) and is developing offensivly. And in right field Ryan Ludwick will continue to mash, he may not be as good as he was 2 seasons ago he is good at protecting Holliday and Pujols. Overall the Cardinals are a very balanced team, they arnt very deep so if they sustain some injuries things could go downhill. But as of right now statisticly speaking they should win this division.

2. Chicago Cubs

Departed- Milton Bradley, Jake Fox, Kevin Gregg, Rich Harden, Aaron Heilman, Reed Johnson, Aaron Miles, Neal Cotts
Aquired- Marlon Byrd, Jeff Gray, Bryan LaHair, Chad Tracy, Kevin Millar, Xavier Nady, Mike Parisi, Carlos Silva

The Cubs were supposed to win this division last season, but due to a ridiculous amount of injuries, down years for star players, and the chaos that Milton Bradley created they came in second. Although there have been some changes, this team is very similar to the one that had the best record in the NL in 08. The rotation is headlined by underachieving Ace Carlos Zambrano (Im not sure i can even call him an ace anymore), Ted Lilly (Although he will be out for the first month), and Ryan Dempster. Randy Wells should be the #4 starter and the #5 spot is open to several pitchers although Tom Gorzelanny is the favorite. Zambrano has struggled the past few seasons due to his immaturity and injuries. But he has apparently slimmed down and is much more focused so look for a bounce back season from him. The Bullpen while not great has some interesting peices that could make it a good unit. Marmol is the big question mark, how will he be able to handle the pressure of being the full time closer. He looked good at the end of last season, but he is wild and when he dosnt have his command he is useless. John Grabow, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Jeff Gray, Carlos Silva, and Esmailin Caridad make up the rest of their projected bullpen. The infield is a strength with 09's top Cubs performer Derrek Lee at first, and the always consistent Aramis Ramirez at 3rd (when healthy). The middle infield is mediocre but servicable, with The Riot at short, and Jeff Baker/Mike Fontenot at 2B. Although in the near future a shift to 2b for Theriot looks likely as his defense is better there and Starlin Castro is on his way. The Cubs are really hoping that 08' Rookie of the Year Geovany Soto returns to form. The outfiled is improved but not great with the dissapointing and often injured Alfonso Soriano in LF. Marlon Byrd came from Texas to play CF and should provide solid but unspectacular numbers. And Kosuke Fukudome playing solid defense in RF and probably platooning with Xavier Nady. If former Texas hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo can get the Cubs hitters to return they should be real close to the Cardinals and a mid season trade for a star could push them into the playoffs.

3. Milwaukee Brewers

Departed- Mike Cameron, JJ Hardy, Jason Kendall, Seth McClung, Mike Rivera, Felipe Lopez, Braden Looper
Aquired- Doug Davis, Jim Edmonds, LaTroy Hawkins, Randy Wolf, Greg Zaun, Carlos Gomez

The Brewers have the best offense in the division by far. But their pitching may be the worst which is what has held them back. They have aquired some talent to help bolster that with the additions of Randy Wolf and Doug Davis, but neither are star pitchers that can carry a team on their shoulders. They are innings eaters, Yovani Gallardo is the teams ace, but he is vey young and having to carry a team on your shoulders at a young age is tough. Their pitching will be better than in 08' but not enough to overcome the Cubs or Cardinals. The Pen is also improved with the additon of LaTroy Hawkins they now have a solid setup man who can help Trevor Hoffman. But Hoffman is getting up their in years and Hawkins has dissapointed before so dont count on them. The pitching still isnt thier but they have enough offensive peices that they could trade for a pitcher midseason. The Infield is held together by one of the best firstbaseman in the league in Prince Fielder. He is a big bopper who can hit for good contact, and Casey McGhee was solid at 3rd last year. The middle infield is talented with the youngster Alcides Escobar at short and Ricke Weeks, but Escobar only has 125 AB of major league expierence and Weeks is coming off a big injury. The Outfield is solid with Ryan Braun in LF, he may be one of the best LF in all of baseball. Corey Hart is a solid RF, and Carlos Gomez will replace Cameron in CF. Greg Zaun is an upgrade at Catcher from the ancient Jason Kendall. This is a solid team that should be in the division race and should finish over .500 but i think they need a young arm to step up or they need to trade for one. If they do that then i think they have a legitimate shot at the division title.

4. Cincinnati Reds

Departed- Willy Taveras, Adam Rosales
Aquired- Orlando Cabrera, Aroldis Chapman, Aaron Miles, Josh Anderson

The Reds seem on the verge of becoming a very good team, but i am still a litte sceptical thats why i put them this low. They very well could be a spot or two up but there are a lot of variables for that to happen. Plus the Reds always seem to look decent on paper but not be able to put it together. The rotation is decent, Bronson Arroyo has been very reliable and was great in the second half last season. Harrang has not been the same since he pitched in relief in 08' and continues to put up abismal statistics despite a decent ERA. Johnny Cueto looks like he could be a star and Homer Bailey finally started to put it all together last September. Both of them will need to have good seasons for the Reds to be competitve. The #5 spot may be filled by Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, but he is a young lefty and sometimes those guys take a while to reach their potential. He is their biggest future prospect as he has been compared to Randy Johnson. Francisco Cordero has been a solid closer although the Reds are looking to dump his salary since it makes up a significant portion of their limited payroll. Even without him, the Reds have one of the better bullpens in baseball. The Infield is a strong point for the Reds with a really good 1B in Joey Votto and veteran Scott Rolen at the corners. Up the middle former gold glover and steady veteran Orlando Cabrera is at short, and perenial All-Star Brandon Phillips is at 2B. Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hannigan play solidly at Catcher. The Outfield has some questions, will former top prospect Jay Bruce bounce back from a dissapointing sophmore season? Is rookie Drew Stubbs the answer in CF? Will Chris Dickerson start in LF? They have some good players with good potential and they will have to live up to it if they want to compete for the divison. This could be a very good team, and as i said before they have a ton of potential but potential doesnt win the divison. This is a team that will have to grow up this season, but this is a team on the rise and will be good for some time.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Departed- Brian Bixler, Matt Capps, Jesse Chavez, Robinson Diaz
Aquired- Neal Cotts, Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby, Brendan Donnelly, Octavio Dotel, Akinori Iwamura, Javier Lopez

This is my bold prediction for 2010, the Pirates will not finish in the division cellar. I think the Pirates are on the rise, although they are no where near being competitive i think they are a team that can win 70-75 games. But this perdictions doesnt necesserily reflect on the Pirates being that much better, but that the Astros are worse. The Pirates rotation is nothing to brag about but there are some interesting arms there. Paul Maholm is their top pitcher although he has been dissapointing, Zach Duke is a solid middle of the rotation guy, but he could get traded. Ross Ohlendorf suprised some people, but im not sold on his performance. The back of the rotation is likely going to consist of Charlie Morton who was effective in Atlanta, Kevin Hart who came over from Chicago in the Grabow, Gorzelanny deal. The bullpen has been put together out of unwanted pieces from other teams. They could be succesful, but it is hard to predict relief pitchers. Octavio should be the closer, although i think the eventual goal is for Joel Hanrahan to close. The infield doesnt have any stars but some solid pieces, Garrett Jones will probably play first, he burst onto the scene last season and the Pirates are hoping for a repeat performance. Andy LaRoche is playing 3rd although he is nothing more than a place holder for the Pirates future star Pedro Alvarez. Recently aquired Akinori Iwamura will man 2nd, and Ronny Cedeno and Bobby Crosby will battle for the starting shortstop gig. While they are nothing special they have a lot of depth at the positions and some farm help on the way. The outfield has the most potential, former top prospect Lastings Millidge will play in LF and he played well after coming over from Washington. If he can play to the potential that he was said to have the Pirates will have a solid LF. Andrew McCutchen will look to improve upon his outstanding rookie season and play CF for the full season. Ryan Church will most likely start in RF, while he may not put up great numbers he is a solid player. The Pirates also have some depth here with Brandon Moss, and former top prospect Steve Pearce. This team may lack superstars (although one is on the way, and McCutchen may become one) they have more overall talent than the Astros do.

6. Houston Astros

Departed- LaTroy Hawkins, Miguel Tejada, Jose Valverde, Doug Brocail (Retired), Chris Coste
Aquired- Pedro Feliz, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, Matt Lindstrom

The Astros have really gone down hill since that 2005 world series appearance. They used to be one of the best teams in the National League, but i think poor managment has put them in a position to fall out of the competition for some time. They have not clearly defined their direction, wether they are rebuilding or contending. Their recent aquisitions have not convinced me that they are improving. The rotation is relying on the return of the dominant Roy Oswalt, he did not look very good last season (I know cause he was on my fantasy baseball team). They discovered they have a solid arm in Wandy Rodriguez and they are hoping Brett Myers can give them a solid #3 starter. But after that there is a significant dropoff, Brian Moehler will probably start along with youngster Bud Norris, neither of them impress me and there is not any help after them. The bullpen is somewhat restructered, replacing LaTroy Hawkins and Jose Valverde with Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon. Aparently they want Lindstrom to close, he has been great in the past and has a great fastball but he will have to bounce back from an awfull season. Brandon Lyon is about equal to LaTroy Hawkins in my eyes, maybe a bit worse. The infield has some nice pieces, with the consistent Lance Berkman (although he had a down year last year), Pedro Feliz is at the other corner, he plays solid defense but dosnt offer much in offense anymore. Kaz Matsui will play 2nd and youngster Tommy Manzella will likely start at short. Manzella dosnt really project to contribut much and Matsui is very average. The outfield is the Astros strength with another consistent player in Carlos Lee in LF. Michael Bourne leads off and plays CF, but outside of steals he is very average (Most believe his 09' BA is a mirage and he will hit more in the .250-.260 range). Hunter Pence is another solid outfielder in RF, he will put up a solid .280-25-90 stat line. The Astros dont have a ton of depth so injuries will be a killer. They could finish ahead of the Pirates but that is their ceiling in 10'. Sorry Astros fans but i dont see them getting better anytime soon, they need to get that farm system going if they want to get better.



Posted on: January 1, 2010 10:40 pm
 

MLB- Past Decade In Review

Now that another decade has come and gone i figured it was time to take a look at how each baseball franchise has faired over this past decade. This morning i went on to baseball-reference.com and poured over statistics for several hours and compiled a list ranking every franchise in order of their success this decade. The top 4-5 are pretty obvious, but the lower rankings were tougher and are partially my opinion.

1. New York Yankees - No real suprise here, they started and ended the decade with World Series titles. Appearing in the playoffs every year except 2008, they have been the dominant franchise over the past 10 years.

2. Boston Red Sox - These 2 teams from the AL East have really dominated baseball this decade, the Red Sox finally broke their curse and went on to win 2 World Series titles. They have created a steady foundation to be competitive for the next decade also.

3. St. Louis Cardinals - They have been the dominant franchise of the NL, making 7 post-season apperances and win a World Series title. The Cardinals dominance has been highlighted mainly by the emergence of one of the greatest baseball players of a generation in Albert Pujols.

4. Los Angeles Angels - It has become a common occurence to see the Angels in the post-season. They won the first World Series title in 2002, and have accended to the top as one of the dominant franchises in the league.

5. Atlanta Braves - Although the Braves are considered the team of the 90's they have still been very succesfull in the 00's. They made 6 post season appearences and have recently begun to get back to their formula of dominant pitching. Look for them to see even more success in the coming decade.

6. Chicago White Sox - The White Sox also broke their curse in this decade, winning their first World Series title since 1917 in 2005. They made 3 post-season appearences and have thrived under the leadership of manager Ozzie Guillen.

7. Philadelphia Phillies- They slowly built themselves up over the corse of the decade to the point that now they have back to back World Series appereances one of which they won. They have created a model of success that many teams are going to try and repeat.

8. Oakland Athletics- They started off the decade with 4 straigth post-season apperances and made another in 2006. They have struggled lately, but they have one of the best GM's in baseball in Billy Beane.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers- They have had a winning record every year except the 2005 season, and have made the post-season 4 times. Most recently, under the guidance of Joe Torre they have made it to the NLCS in back to back years with a youthfull roster that should dominate for years to come.

10. Minnesota Twins- They have only had 2 losing seasons over the course of the decade and have appeared in the playoffs 5 times. They have been in constant competition with the White Sox through out the decade.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks- Only 3 years old when the decade began the Diamondback franchise has seen it ups and downs throughout its short life. They started off the decade very well, winning the World Series in 2001 with the dominant dou of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They have eratic the second half of the decade though.

12. Houston Astros- Since the NL Central was first formed the Astros and Cardinals have been the main competitors for the division (Although the Cubs have taken their place as of late). They were great the first half of the decade, culminating in an NL Pennant in 2005, but have faded in the second half.

13. San Francisco Giants- The Giants were another team that started the decade strong earning the NL Pennant in 2002. But struggled mightly in the second half, failing to win more than 76 games from 2004-2008. But with the arrival of stars such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Pablo Sandoval they showed promise in 2009.

14. Florida Marlins - They havnt been flashy, only making the post-season once, but they made it count winning the franchises 2nd World Series title in 2003. They have managed to stay competitve through out the decade with a small fanbase and budget.

15. Chicago Cubs- Another decade has gone, and the curse still remains. THe first half of the decade they were erratic, although in 2003 they came within a game of winning the NL Pennant. Most of their success came in the last 3 years of the decade, with 2 post season apperances and 3 straight winning season the Cubs may break the curse in the next decade.

16. Seattle Mariners- The first four years were great, with 2 post season appearances and a 116 win season in 2001. But they also had 3 season with fewer than 70 wins. They have looked better near the end of the decade although Ichiro is starting to slow down ( Only in speed, he still collects 200 hits a season).

17. New York Mets- They started the decade off with the Subway series (Although they lost to the Yankees). But since then they have only made 1 post-season apperances. The latter half of the decade has been defined by end of the season collapse, and the team self destructed in 2009. The future is uncertain for the Mets.

18. Cleveland Indians- The late 90's were good for the Indians, but the 00's were not as good. They only made 2 post-season apperances, although they did have four seasons of 90 or more wins. 07 showed promise winning 96 games and making it to the NLCS but their record worsened in 08, and 09.

19. Colorado Rockies- The young franchise struggled for most of the decade. Until in 2007 they won the NL Pennant, losing to the Red Sox in the World Series. They had a down year in 08', but made the playoffs again in 09'. The next decade holds a lot of promise for the Rockies.

20. San Diego Padres- They have struggled for most of the decade, with only 4 winning seasons from 2004-2007 during that span they managed to make the post-season twice and never made it past the NLDS.

21. Detroit Tigers- The first half of the decade the Tigers were awfull, in 2003 they posted their worst record going 43-119. But in 2006 they came out of no where to win the AL Pennant, and have posted winning records 3 out of the last 4 years, although only 1 post-season appearance.

22. Toronto Blue Jays- The Blue Jays could go higher on this list if it werent for the fact that they did not make the post-season at all this past decade. They havnt been bad, but they have played in a very tough division with the Yankees and Red Sox the top 2 teams of the decade. They have posted a winning record 5 times in the decade.

23. Texas Rangers- The Rangers have been a mediocre team most of the decade, never losing more than 91 games in a season in the decade. They have only had 2 winning seasons and did not make the post-season at all this decade.

24. Millwaukee Brewers- The Brewers have been succesfull recently, but the earlier part of the decade they were awfull, posting their worst season in 2002 going 56-106. But in 2008 they made the playoffs for the first time since 1982 and the Franchise looks poised to be a contender in the next decade.

25. Tampa Bay Rays- I guess the name change from Devil Rays to Rays turned the franchise around (LOL). Up until 2008 they had never won more than 70 games in a season. They sure turned around fast going from having 10 straight losing seasons (from 98-07) to winning the AL Pennant. They were not as good in 09 but still had a winning record.

26. Cincinnati Reds- They started the decade off with a winning season, but have failed to have one since. While they have not been awfull they havent done much right either. There are some signs of hope for the next decade though.

27. Washington Nationals- Im including the Expos in this analysis. They have had 3 winning seasons, but they did not make the post-season at all in this decade. They had 2 consecutive 100 loss seasons to end the decade and they are still a while away for contention in the next decade.

28. Kansas City Royals- Although they have the worst record of the decade i still rate them higher than the other 2 because they haeg had a winning record as recently as 2003. The other 2 franchises are on record long losing streaks.

29. Baltimore Orioles- Their last winning record was in 97' and they have failed to win win more than 78 games in the decade. Their are signs of life and they have the potential to break out of thier drout in the next decade.

30. Pittsburgh Pirates- It is well known that the Pirates are on a streak of 17 consecutive losing seasons. This past decade they were especially bad winning more than 72 games only once (75 in 2003). They are in a complete rebuilding process and it may take a while to break that streak.
Posted on: November 9, 2009 6:21 pm
 

Trade Reviews/Previews

Well the offseason officialy started last week and it has already been very interesting. So far the most intriguing trade to me has been the J.J. Hardy for Carlos Gomez trade. On paper right now it seems like an even deal, but after looking over the numbers, i think the Twins will benefit the most from this trade. That;s not to say i dont think Gomez will contribute, or be a valuable player but J.J. Hardy will improve the Twins more than Gomez will the Brewers. Had Hardy not crashed offensivly his value would have been a lot higher, and he might not have even been traded. So basicaly the Twins bought low on a high potential, he plays exceptioanl defense, and if he can return to his 07-08 form, he could be a 20 HR threat at SS. The aquisiton of Gomez will allow the Brewers to let Mike Cameron go, and let them use what they would have paid him to improve their pitching, which is the biggest concern for them right now. When you look at the potential the Twins have on offense with Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Cuddyer, and now Hardy they have a serious edge in the AL Central. I already talked about the Iwamura- Chavez deal which the more i look at i think the Rays got the edge for that one.  Iwamura is kind of expensive for his production, while the Rays aquired a cheap hard throwing reliever that is under team control for a while.

Rumor Discussion-

Talking about the Cubs for the offseason, GM Jim Hendry made it clear that they are going to move some pieces around this season and that they are going to go more towards trades than spending money on free agents although he said they might still sign some people. For me that is great news, because the Cubs seem to be better traders than buyers ( We like to overpay for players). Just think about it the heart and soul of our team (Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee) were aquired via trade. What i like more is the fact that the players we have given up in trades never really pan out. Lets take a look at some Cubs trades from recent years.

Aquired                                                           Recieved

John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny                            Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, Josh Harrison

Rich Harden, Chad Gaudin                                  Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson

Derrek Lee                                                        Hee Seop Choi

Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton                             Jose Hernandez, Matt Brubeck, Bobby Hill


Those are 4 of the most significant, recent trades made by GM Jim Hendry, all 4 of those trades were successes to an extent. But if you compare that to his free agent signings you will understand why i am glad he wants to do more trading.

Alfonso Soriano-  8 years  $136 mill

Kosuke Fukudome-  4 years  $48 mill

Milton Bradley-  3 years  #30 mill

These 3 contracts are really holding the Cubs back from being able to due much this offseason (although i dont know who they would get). Obviously the Bradley contract is the worst, Fukudome is getting way overpaid but he does contribute. Soriano has the potential to still live up to that contract, but im not suret the Cubs should have signed him so long he is going to be in his mid to late 30's before his contract expires. Now the Cubs have made some bad trades, and some good signings but overall Hendry is a better trader than a buyer. I will be interested to see who the Cubs go after, the only thing we no for sure is Bradley is going somewhere else. I have heard the Cubs are going to go after pitching, more likely relief and insurance for the rotation. I havnt heard a ton about offensive trades, im sure Brian Roberts rumors will pop up like they usually do this time of year. The Cubs seem like they are confident in Jeff Baker at second, so it seem like they are going to try and improve the outfield. I have heard some rumors about the Cubs going after Mike Cameron, Marlon Byrd, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday although the latter two are less likely. Cameron would actualy be a good fit, he would provide great defense in the outfield which is something the Cubs have been lacking for many years and he hits for solid power. I am not as crazy about Byrd although he did play for Jaramillo and he played well last year. If the Cubs can bolster the pen, get rotation insurrance and get at least 1 outfielder to replace Bradley they could easily be in contention especially since the Cards most likely wont retain Holliday.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com