February 2011

Oakland Athletics Offseason Recap and Preview

¿Well, I’m reporting from my country of Colombia and this might take a while, have you ever seen these keyboards? Anyway, fantasy people know what I’m talking about when I say that you will be hearing a whole lot from this guy this year:
trevor-cahill-pic.jpg

For the baseball elitists, (which I am sometimes a part of) this is Trevor Cahill who was the best pitcher on the best staff in th American League.
 
           I personally saw him bomb on August 30 at Yankee Stadium but I have seen him go well on TV and can say that he might regress in the ERA department but will have about the same strikeouts and wins. Everyone knows that aces become superstars when they play on winning teams, which I think the A’s will be this year.

Grade: C+

Notable Additions:
Brian+Fuentes+New+York+Yankees+v+Minnesota+MPcrNBxwnY8l.jpg

Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour, David DeJesus, Edwin Encarnacion, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, and Rich Harden.

Notable Subtractions:
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Rajai Davis,Vin Mazzaro, Justin Duchscherer, Jack Cust, Gabe Gross, Boof Bonser, and Jeremy Hermeida.

Why?: For the simple reason that they have not improved much through the moves they have made, most of it was substitution from one player to another. Let me give a few examples and let’s see if you agree.  Jack Cust and Hideki Matsui, they are pretty different players but have about the same power and Cust’s OBP advantage more than offsets any of Matsui’s advantages. Balfour (does anyone else see the irony in his name) and Harden offset Mazzaro and Duchscherer( that was hard enough to write on the English keyboard), each pair has a , injury risk but a very high ceiling’s the limit if he ever stayed healthy for a few years, starter and a fluctuating but healthy other person, I could explain this further but I do have 28 more teams to write about. The only addition by lack of an equal and opposite subtractions is Brian Fuentes, which could take them to the next level (whether or not that’s the division I am not sure because, let’s face it they only won half of their games). 
 
           Though, I do see them growing as a result of the young pitching staff having another year of experience and either failing miserably as a result of it and coming back next year, or  using last year’s experience to grow and be the dominant staff of the American League. They do have the opportunity to win the division but their success is based on alot of variables with  inexact formulae. So, could they be division winners? Yes. Will they most likely be division winners? Actually, yes ( and you thought I was going to say no). Though they were nine games behind the division winning Rangers and they are full of inexact science. I do believe a nine game swing has occurred between the two and Oakland will end up the season as a playoff team, but not by much.
 
Predicted record range: 88-93 wins. You can do the math on the losses. Although, with young rotations there is always the risk that the rotation will lose a few starters to overwork (cough,cough…Gio Gonzalez), injuries, streakiness etc. In which case, their win range is in the mid 70′s.
 
Up Next: The Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim. Or if translated completely into english, The The Angels Angels of Aneheim.
 
It didn’t take me as long as most entries but I’ m about ready to throw this keyboard to the ground. The letters are the same but the symbols are a nightmare because there are about three on each key and so you don’t know which will show up.
 
For example, I must have pressed this:{ about a hundred times trying to get an apostrophe. I won{t send you out on a bad note, so…
 
Fun Fact of the day: The reason the flags of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador have the same color pattern is because they were all freed in the same revolution , headed by Simon Bolivar. Panama was also but it was part of Colombia until Teddy Roosevelt wanted to build a canal through it. So he started a revolution because the Colombians wouldn’t let him, sent US troops, and got permission from the grateful Panamanians to build his much desired canal(So the reason Panama doesn’t have a similar flag is because it wanted to distance itself from Colombia). Hope it helps you sound smart around your freinds. What do I mean? You need no help sounding smart. (What I won’t do for frequent readers. Did I just write that?)

Texas Ranger’s Offseason Recap and Preview

Well, they are the defending American League champions:
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Grade: CNotable Additions:
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Adrian Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba, Mike Napoli, Arthur Rhodes, Brandon Webb, and Dave Bush.

Notable Subtractions:
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Cliff Lee, Jeff Francoeur, Rich Harden, Frank Francisco, Jorge Cantu, Bengie Molina, and Vladimir Guerrero.

Why?: Well actually, after losing out on Cliff Lee I thought the Rangers had a pretty good off-season. They certainly increased the depth in their line-up. Despite this, the reason I give them a C and not higher, is that Cliff Lee’s role as a role model for a very young rotation might have been greater than his individual contribution to the team. When Nolan Ryan first joined the Rangers as an executive, he wanted to have the pitchers throwing more innings and more strikes. Well, no one this side of Roy Halladay does this better than Cliff Lee. Although, Yorvit Torrealba did have some experience in managing a budding staff with the Padres last season and he will probably be the starting catcher for the Rangers for most of this season. As Mike Napoli’s defense behind the plate is a concern for the coaching staff and front office.

I see the Ranger’s becoming a better version of their 2005-2009 clubs, an offense that has to score more runs than the starters give up. True, they have more depth than those teams had, but they still have no clear cut #2 after CJ Wilson. I do like best, their acquisition of Brandon Webb more than that of Adrian Beltre. I think that he could get back to being a top of the line starter. Will he? Probably not but if he doesn’t, you are only paying a million dollars for most likely a veteran who contributes in the back of the rotation. This is dependent on the fact that Michael Young is staying but, I think that the only team without a weak roster spot ie the Yankee’s fourth and fifth starters or the Red Sox’s Catcher.

Predicted Record range: 86-91 wins and 76-71 losses. Which will be good for either 1st or second place in the West depending on the Athletics’ record but I don’t see them reaching the World Series if they do win because of the lack of a dominant ace, though they do have a plethora of depth in the rotation. There is always the possibility that they have the World Series loser syndrome, which is to say that they will fall off substantially but I think that they will keep the pace because of their youth. True that this could be a reason for their demise but… where was I going with this? Can I change my mind now? Oh well, I already wrote the entry.

Up Next: Oakland Athletics

P.S. I know this isn’t a letter but, did anyone notice that even though I wrote a pretty extensive entry on Spring Training beginning. I was not featured on the Mlblogs home page (for those who don’t know how to get there click on the Mlblogs Network in the upper left corner) I mean there were entries that were only three sentences and even one that only had eight views when I saw it (#15).

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