Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day! Sans Yankees

It is opening day, and that is very exciting. I watched the Nationals game on ESPN last night and that new stadium looks beautiful. I really like Manny Acta and they have some good players. They could be exciting, just not quite good enough.

Anyway, I could stay really objective and say that this blog is just about baseball in general, and while that may definitely be true, I would by lying if I said this blog was slanted towards the Yankees and the AL East. So, much to my chagrin, I have to wait one more day to actually watch/listen to/keep track of a Yankees game. That is kind of depressing.

However, I don't have much to say right now, though I am watching Giants-Dodgers, and it's weird seeing Joe Torre in a Dodger uniform, but I'll get over it. I also said a couple of posts ago that I would make some note of the Canseco-A-Rod steroid crap, but I decided against that, because there's nothing really to say. Canseco has NOTHING. He has a tremendous axe to grind so I'm pretty much taking everything that comes out of his mouth with a grain of salt.

I did want to bring one thing up: one of the sites we have linked on the right side of the blog is the Replacement Level Yankees Blog. I know, I know, it is just about the Yankees, but what I am linking here is the RLYB's projection system for the upcoming system. (You should also go there for some very forward-thinking analysis of the Yankees and at many times, baseball in general. They are really sweet over there.) They ran the season a bunch of times through six different systems and it is interesting to see that despite the fact that everyone seems to think the Yankees are the fourth best team in baseball...these projections say the Yankees are the best. I think that is interesting and I think everyone should take note of that. These projections are used still because they are successful. If they weren't right, people wouldn't pay attention to them. Well, people are still paying attention, which would lead me to deduce that they ARE right a fair amount of the time.

So, you should check that out if you want to see how complex equations and programs predict the baseball season. I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with a rehash of the Yankees first game, which I'm very excited about.

Baseball is back, and it's a good feeling.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Preview Part II: American League

Yesterday I attempted to predict the National League, or, as I like to call it, Quadruple A. Part of me really wanted to do the American League first, specifically the AL East, but I tried to avoid that, or at least hold off for one day. Of course, that day is today and I've been doing some thinking, and without further adieu, here is my 2008 American League preview:

AL West
The west, the smallest division in baseball with only four teams is actually going to be very interesting. The two top teams, the Angels and Mariners improved, specifically the M's and their pitching, while the A's regressed and the Rangers remained their same terrible self. Recent developments however have changed my thoughts on how the west is going to shape up.

Mariners: As of 24 hours ago, I was set to put the Angels (whom I hate) in the top spot, but certain things have happened regarding certain players on the Angels roster that have changed this. The Mariners added Oriole lefty Erik Bedard to their rotation and there is no way that is going to hurt. Bedard is a very good young pitcher, who has done very well the last couple seasons in the AL East, arguably the toughest division in baseball. This gives King Felix Hernandez a chance to relax a little as he does not have the hopes of Seattle resting on his young right arm. The offense should score enough runs to allow a very good bullpen capped by JJ Putz to close out a fair amount of victories.
Angels: Yesterday it was discovered that Kelvim Escobar, he of the 134 ERA+ from last season was probably going to have to have season-ending and possibly career ending shoulder surgery. That is really too bad, cause Escobar and Lackey up at the top of that rotation certainly would have propelled the Angels to another division title, but without Escobar, I'm not convinced. Weaver regressed over more innings last year and they just don't have enough offense outside of Vlad. Sure they added Torii Hunter, but they already had Gary Matthews, a light-hitting good defensive outfield. Kendrick is good, but I'm not sold. No Escobar is not good.
Rangers: The Rangers just are not going to be good. They have yet to stock-pile, or even pick up any good pitchers, and when they do, those pitchers get mad cause they pitch in Arlington which is a home run haven. The offense may score runs, but Hank Blalock has been on the downfall since is All-Star Game winning homer in 2003 and last year he only played in 58 games. Not enough in Texas.
Athletics: Supposedly this is a rebuilding year and I agree. Rich Harden, if he stays healthy is really good, but it is not nearly enough.

AL Central
The AL Central I think is going to be much like the AL East has been the last couple of years: an all-out, season-long battle between two teams who are way better than any of the others in their division. Those two teams are going to be the Indians and Tigers. It will be fun.

Tigers: I was extremely hesitant to pick the Tigers here because although their offense is going to be VERY good, their pitching, despite what people say, I think, is not that good. They have Justin Verlander, who is a bonafide ace, but beyond that, what do they have? Dontrelle? No thank you. Willis pitched in the NL last year, in a pitcher's ballpark and sported a crisp 5.17 ERA, a WHIP of 1.597 and an ERA+ of 83. How do you think he's going to do this year? Probably not that well. Robertson and Bonderman are solid, and I think they'll have barely enough pitching to edge out the Indians and that's just simply because of their ridiculous offense. Their bullpen too, is a little bit of a question mark, I know I don't trust Todd Jones. Let me just say I could easily flip these two teams, but I picked the Tigers over the Indians for the reasons I'm about to discuss.
Indians: I think the Indians are very talented. Last year they had probably the best 1-2 combo in the game with Sabathia and Carmona. However, I think that will change this year. Sabathia is in a contract year, and I think he will perform very well. Carmona on the other hand, I believe is headed for a hard fall. He threw about 74 innings in 2006, and last year he threw well over 200. That means he is in for a regression, and an injury. That's what history has taught us. If he pitches like he did last year, that gives the Indians the advantage because their lineup is pretty darn good too, and they have a pretty dynamite bullpen. But I think just having Sabathia and big question marks in Carmona and Westbrook doesn't quite cut it.
Twins: The loss of Santana will be devastating for the Twins. Yes, they have Liriano coming back but it's no guarantee he pitches like he did two seasons ago. It would be fun to watch if he did, but who knows. The offense will be pretty solid, but there really isn't enough all around for the Twins to compete with the Indians and Tigers.
White Sox: I hate Ozzie Guillen. I didn't think this team was good last year when they were bad, and I don't think they're good this year. I bet Konerko will have a better year, but they don't have really much of anything elsewhere. They had the worst OBP last year, and that's one of the big reasons they were terrible. They'll finish fourth, and I could not be happier. Put it on the board, yes.
Royals: Alex Gordon is good...or at least he will be.

AL East
Ah, and now we get to the premier division in baseball. Sure some might argue it's the AL Central, or something else, but it's not. In this division you have the two most popular teams battling it out over the course of the season, and nothing could be more exciting. I have though long and hard about my prediction for the AL East and I know many will think I'm just being a homer when I make my pick, but hopefully I'll be able to provide some accurate reasoning to convince some people that I'm not a blind Yankees fan.

Yankees: Yes, yes, I'm aware that many think the Red Sox are the much better team, but I think that is absolutely false. First, lineup wise, the Yankees have the second best lineup in baseball behind the Tigers, and that is the truth. They are going to score runs, and it will be fun to watch. When you have Robinson Cano hitting eighth...that is a sight to behold. The real question concerns their pitching. However, they have Chien-Ming Wang at the top of the rotation and he has been the most consistent starter in baseball over the last two seasons, and that's good. Then there is Pettitte, who I still honestly believes has some gas left in the tank and Mussina, who did show in September of last year that he has something let. Will he be able to bring it out? That's the question. The Yankees are relying on some young guys too, Joba, Phil Franchise and Kennedy, but they all have shown they can pitch at the Major League level. How about over the whole season? That is the big question that I think another AL East team also has. The bullpen has the potential to be scary or pretty decent. The Yankees season depends on a lot of if's, but the reason I put them first is because of their lineup and their potential. Of course, I will be honest and say it is a relative coin flip and they could easily be supplanted by the Red Sox. But we'll see.
Red Sox: The Red Sox are more than likely going to be good. Their lineup is very solid and they don't really give up at bats. I am curious as to see if Jacoby Ellsbury can produce over a full season. I don't think he can, but he'll be good, I won't deny that. It will also be interesting to see if Lackadaisical JD Drew recovers, which I don't think he will, because he NEVER HAS. Anyway, on to the pitching. Beckett is good, that is for sure. After him though, I think the Red Sox have the same questions as the Yankees. Curt Schilling? Will he pitch this year? Can you really rely on Tim Wakefield? I know he usually wins games, but eventually he won't, when will that happen? And all I hear from a lot of Red Sox fans and bloggers is that the Yankees are relying on young pitchers, but so are the Red Sox. Lester's career stats are really not that good (4.68 ERA and a WHIP of almost 1.6) and who is to say that Buchholz is going to pitch well but, for example Phil Hughes won't? It doesn't make sense. And why is it a guarantee that Dice-K is going to dominate? I also do not think they're bullpen is as dominant people think it is. They have Papelbon who is really good, yes, but who else? Timlin is old. Lopez can't get lefty's out. There are questions.
They have some of the same questions the Yankees have and that's why I think it is a coin flip. And I honestly think the Yankees have the slight edge, though I do feel I'm in the minority on that one.
Blue Jays: A lot of people, including ESPN's Steve Phillips say that Toronto is a "darkhorse". Well, not only do I plan on disagreeing with everything Phillips' says anyway, I think he's wrong here. We have been hearing about Toronto's potential for years, and yet, they come up with nothing. Yes, they have Halladay, and Burnett, but he has only pitched over 170 innings twice in his career, why would he do it this year? They traded away one of their best offensive players, Troy Glaus for a guy, Scott Rolen who hasn't produced since 2004. Vernon Wells signed a new contract and Alex Rios is talented, but I don't think there's enough there. They will be lucky to stay ahead of the Rays.
Rays: The Rays are talented. I'll give them that much. They have a lot of good young players. But they are also quite undisciplined and I think that will hurt them. Don't discount them for sure, with players like Crawford and even Carlos Pena (who is going to regress, but will still be good) and pitchers like Kazmir and Sonnanstine, etc. I just don't think they are there quite yet. Will they ever be? I hope so, it would be fun, but not this year.
Orioles: Nick Markakis is good...that's about it.

There it is. My MLB preview. I know that was a bit lengthy, but I like the AL, what can I say. This year is certainly going to be exciting and I'm just ready for it to get under way.

By the way, I also plan on posting some thoughts regarding Jose Canseco and his garbage about Alex Rodriguez. He is just pathetic, but that is for another time.

Just think, in about in 7 months the World Series will be going on. That's not THAT far away...right?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2008 Baseball and My Humble Predictions

I would just like to say that I am very, very, very excited for the baseball season to start. What's that you say? It has started? How could I have missed it....? The only way would have been if the games started at 6 in the morning on a weekday. Oh, that's what happened...gotcha.

The truth of the matter is I actually got up quite early to catch the early games of the 2008 MLB Season featuring the Red Sox and A's from Japan. And yeah, it was not the Yankees, but it was professional baseball, and that was a step in the right direction for sure. Of course, the season has not yet completely started, that begins on Sunday night with the Braves and the Nationals clashing at the Nationals new stadium in Washington, DC (which is where I am this semester, and yes, for all of you concerned, I WILL be going, it's going to be sweet.) Nevertheless, with the start of the baseball season less than a week away, I figured, being a huge baseball fan, I should look into the season and try and use what I know, to, you know, predict the results. We are smack in the middle of March Madness, so we're all in the predicting mood of course. By the way, is the end of March one of the greatest times to be a sports fan or what? You have March Madness, obviously, and that's exciting, you have the start of Major League Baseball, the Masters is only a short time away, and if you care about the NBA and the NHL, those seasons are winding down with playoff battles. Plus, if you are a soccer, or futbol fan, you have the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League coming up. That sounds like quite the collection of sporting events.

Anyway, let me get to my predictions. Granted I do not have a complex way of doing this like those at Baseball Reference and their PECOTA, or CAIRO, or ZIPS, or any of the other fancy things. Don't get me wrong, I really do think those things are valuable and really help us look at statistics and find out who is the best player. Plus, they are often right, which is cool. Nevertheless I'm going to make my predictions using my noggin. I'll start with the NL.

NL East
The NL East is going to be very interesting. The teams within it improved (except for the Marlins and Nationals of course, so 3 out of 5 improved...). The Phillies will be looking to win their second straight division title, the Mets will be looking to rebound from that tremendous, historic and downright hysterical collapse last year, and the Braves will be looking to climb back to the top. Here is what I think will happen:

Mets: although I hate the Mets, it is pretty hard to discount them at this point. Adding Johan Santana was really a big deal, and is really going to benefit them, adding a true ace to the top of their rotation. You put Pedro in their, and add Perez and El Duque on the back end of the rotation and you have quite the team. Plus, they have a pretty good lineup with Beltran, Wright and Reyes anchoring it. I see the Mets rebounding to take the division.
Phillies: The Phillies are good, and they will probably win the Wild Card, I can tell you that much, and they will mash, for sure, especially in that ballpark. The thing is I think the Mets added more quality players (see, Santana, Johan) in the offseason and that put them over the top. The Phillies are solid, with some pretty good starters (Cole Hamels for sure) and a very good lineup, as I mentioned. I just think they'll come up a tad short.
Braves: They'll be good, but not good enough. Adding Glavine felt like a nostalgic thing, I don't know how effective he can still be. Sure, they have some pretty good hitters in Franceour, Teixiera, Chipper of course and McCann but it looks as though they won't quite match up to the others as well. They certainly could compete for the Wild Card, but not for the title.
Nationals: Well...they have a new stadium this year...I guess that's pretty cool. They have some young talent, especially with Zimmerman at third. And Manny Acta is one of the more forward-thinking managers in the game, which is really cool. But they just don't have enough talent to compete, but they'll be better than the Marlins.
Marlins: Problem: they no longer employ Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis...Result: badness. I think that pretty much does it. Sure, Willis was not good last year, but Cabrera's going to be a rough year.

NL Central
I'm pretty sure the Cubs are the team to beat in the NL Central. I think the Cardinals will be ok, but the health questions regarding Pujols should be on the mind of LaRussa as he tries to manage the team. And we've been hearing about the young Brew-Crew for a while now, but they have really yet to show us their full ability. They did a little last about this year?

Cubs: I just think the Cubs are set for this year. A pretty good offense and with Lilly and Zambrano at the top of their rotation, I think they're set to lead the way in the NL Central. Their bullpen is pretty good too, with Kerry Wood at the back end. Can he stay healthy? I don't know, but if he can't, Ryan Dempster is waiting in the wings, and that's not bad. Soriano, Derrick Lee and Aramis Ramirez look to anchor a pretty strong lineup.
Brewers: I'm going to go out on a limb and put the Brewers here. They have a lot of good young players like Braun, Prince, obviously, JJ Hardy and Bill Hall. And with Gallardo and Sheets anchoring the rotation, I think they should rack up a fair amount of wins. I just think they're one, or two key players away from really reaching their full potential.
Cardinals: I guess I would have to put the Cards here cause of LaRussa, but if Pujols is really as hurt as they say, this is going to be a lost season, and that is that. If Pujols plays, they'll be mediocre. The addition of Glaus was interesting to say the least, they traded one oft-injured third baseman (Rolen) for another. Will he dominate? Maybe, but it won't be enough.
Astros: They have some good players, Oswalt, Lee and Hunter Pence, but they don't have enough good players.
Reds: Dusty Baker is NOT the answer. Harang might be, so might Arroyo, but they started pretty strongly last year, but folded, I would expect the same thing.
Pirates: Seriously?

NL West
Last year the D'Backs surprised everyone by playing EXTREMELY well and winning the division, but the bigger surprise came from the Rockies who went on a torrid pace down the stretch and were able to capture the Wild Card, and the Pennant only to be congratulated by getting royally dominated by the Red Sox. This division is going to be very interesting cause there are three pretty talented teams, the D'Backs, Dodgers and Padres, one mediocre team with a powerful offense, Rockies, and arguably the worst team in baseball, the Giants.

Dodgers: Well, I think Joe Torre, despite what people think, will make a difference. This team was very talented last year, but still underachieved and found themselves outside, looking in, in regards to the playoff picture. I think they have the talent to win the NL West with some very good young players like Russel Martin and other good young position players. Plus, their pitching staff with Penny is going to be pretty solid and their bullpen is anchored by Takashi Saito, and he's not a bad guy to have back there.
D'Backs: The addition of Danny Haren to accompany Brandon Webb at the top of the rotation was huge. I really think these two teams are almost interchangeable at the top. The lineup for the D'Backs is quite solid with Byrnes and Upton and some other pretty good hitters, but it's that rotation that really looks good. Those two could win the division for the D'Backs themselves.
Padres: Good pitching with Jake Peavy but a lineup held up on some old legs (Edmonds and Giles) in a HUGE ballpark. I just don't think they have enough. It looks as if one of the greatest closers ever, Trevor Hoffman, will really not get another chance to win that ring.
Rockies: They have an awesome offense. Don't get me wrong. With Holliday, Hawpe, Tulowitzki and company, they are going to score some runs. Unfortunately they play in Coors Field and Jeff Francis is their best pitcher...that's not going to cut it. Last year was fun, but it was last year.
Giants: They are terrible. Even a good year by Zito, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain will not save this team. They aren't going to score any runs, terrible offense

That's all for right now. I have some work to do, so I'll get to the American League and my playoff projections later. I just think this year is going to be a LOT of fun.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Small Ball? No Thank You

Ok, so I think everyone is pretty aware my beloved Yankees have a new manager this year. Mr. Joe Torre has been replaced by former Yankee, and 1996 World Series Game 6 hero Joe Girardi. Girardi had one year as a manager in Florida, two years ago. He did a lot with a VERY young team. The only problem was, he completely clashed with the owner, and he was eventually fired. He eventually won the NL Manager of the Year award, but was subsequently out of a job. He spent last year as an analyst on the glorious YES Network. Then the whole playoff thing went down, and the Yankees replaced the legendary Torre with Girardi.

I was pretty excited about this. I really didn't want Torre to be fired. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was time. A change was needed, and some fire needed to be planted in the Yankees. Sometimes it looked like they were on cruise control, just doing whatever the deuce they wanted to do, and not playing with the late-90s fire. That's where Girardi comes in. He's younger and supposedly, from reports from Yankees Spring Training suggest he is taking a much more hands on approach. Not only has he been doing the coaching, but he's been catching, fitting and even hitting. I don't think Mr. Torre has done that for quite a while. The question however, is how is Girardi going to manage.

Small ball sucks. Let me just get that in there. Stealing bases is risky and a lot of the times unnecessary, unless you have someone like A-Rod who can steal 25 bases while only getting caught once or twice. Bunting on the other hand, is dumb ALL the time, unless the pitcher is up with runners on first and second with no one out. Small ball never works. If it does, it only does in the NL. Definitely NOT in the AL, and certainly not in the AL East. Not with a lineup that scored 900+ runs last year basically in tact. I am really hoping that Girardi doesn't do the small ball thing, cause I think it would be detrimental to the Yankees chances. What the Yankees need are baserunners, walks, doubles and home runs, that's how you score runs, not bunting and stealing.

The problem however is that a lot of people don't understand that small ball is terrible. They are convinced the Yankees went on their late-90s dynasty BECAUSE of small ball. That is not the case. Even though they did not hit that many home runs, those Yankees had a high OBP and they did NOT do a lot of bunting. They just found a way to win that did not include giving up outs. This current team, is a bunch of mashers, high OBP and OPS guys and that needs to be exploited. The only people who would be bunting are Melky, Damon and Jeter, and only if they are trying for a base hit. Today I was reading an article about Girardi on and I saw that someone made a post regarding the article. And this is what they said:

1000 runs scored for the season shouldn't be difficult at all if the Yankees are going to be stealing bases, bunting players into scoring position, hitting and running more, and doing all the small things that they haven't done in a long time. I'm really liking what I'm hearing regarding Joe Girardi's camp."

If this person actually thinks the Yankees will score runs by bunting and stealing and hitting and running, he is COMPLETELY naive. Let's hope that the rest of the Yankee universe, including their new manager realize that is NOT the way to do it. Especially when the first 8 hitters in your lineup have the last names Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Rodriguez, Posada, Matsui, Cano and a rejuvenated (or so I hear, I'll believe it when I see it) Giambi. Who is going to bunt? Who I ask you, who?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Out of Hibernation

Well my baseball fan friends, it's me, Michael, back from a long winter and back to the blog. I know many of you have waited with baited breath...or something like that, but your wait is over. Pitchers and catchers have reported (to Spring Training, NOT Capitol Hill, though they've done that too) and we are almost ready to begin.

I will be completely honest though, I did not spend a lot of time thinking about baseball since the last time I posted, December 13, simply because I was spending that time watching my beloved New York Football Giants make their march through history. I probably will discuss the amazingness that was Super Bowl XLII at some point, just because I have to mention it everyday, BECAUSE of its amazingness, but now is not the time. It's almost baseball time, and I want to talk baseball.

Spring Training is afoot, and as I like to say, we have escaped the "Dark Ages", or the time between the Fall Classic and February. I'm very excited for the season, I think it is going to be a great one. The Yankees, Red Sox and...Rays???? are equipped to compete in the AL East. Ok, maybe just the first two, but the Rays will be better this year...I think. In the AL Central, there is a definite possibility that a year-long, battle royale will occur between the Indians and Tigers, who overhauled their offense into a pitcher-crushing machine.... The AL West? I don't know, the Angels are always ok, but with a front two of King Felix and now Eric Bedard, Seattle looks formidable. In Quadruple A, or the National League, the NL East is primed for a battle between the Mets with Johan and the Phillies, the defending champs. Figure the Braves to be in the mix as well. Who knows about the NL Central. Isn't this the Cubs year? Wait, that was last year...or 2004? No, it was 2003? Steve Bartman? What? Ok, I have no idea. Does Tony LaRussa even care anymore? Will he have a bunch of 12-pitcher innings, mixing and matching pitch for pitch? "Ok, it's 0-2...let's bring in s0-and-so, he's got a good curve. Ok, 1-2, we want a fastball, bring in the hurler..." The NL West looks like it's going to be D'Bags, sorry, D'Backs and the Rockies with the Padres in there and Joe Torre leading an underachieving Dodger team into the mix as well. Could be very exciting.

Basically, it looks as though the 2008 Baseball Season is going to be fantastic. Two stadiums will be hosting their last baseball games: s*** Shea and Yankee Stadium, the glorious cathedral it is. The Nationals are opening up a new stadium, and I'm in Washington this semester, and I'm definitely going to experience that. Plus, at Fenway they...oh wait, they didn't really do anything. All in all, I'm excited. I'm still glowing about my G-Men, but I'll try and focus on baseball. Back later for some real analysis eh?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Apologies

So, I am aware that I have been a bad blogger, I haven't posted in a week short of a month. And it's been at a bad time because there has beena lot going on. But, I figured I would post today since the Mitchell Report is being announced in a little over ten minutes, and i'm extremely worried/nervous about who will be named.

Although I am taking the Mitchell Report with a grain of salt seeing as how Mitchell has, and will have in the future an intimate connection with the Red Sox: CONFLICT OF INTEREST!!! Anyway, it will be interesting to see who gets named, I am hoping none of my favorite players, who aren't just Yankees....

I am now done with school, so I'll more time to post over the next month. Let's see what happens at 2 p.m. eastern time with the Mitchell Report though. It may have a profound effect on the game we love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Right of Return

A couple of big stories did in fact break yesterday after I posted. So, i figured, in my important role as a blogger, I should address them.

Mike Lowell it appears WILL be headed back to the Boston Red Sox, manning the hot corner for them for at least 3 more years. I think the Red Sox are winners on this one. They were only interested in giving Lowell a 3-year deal and it was made quite apparent they were not going to budge on that. Lowell, who has the same agent(s) as Jorge Posada (who got a 4-year deal), was supposedly looking for 4 years from somewhere. There were a lot of reports that maybe the Braves, Angels, and Yankees were going after him, but in the end, he'll stay in Boston. I mentioned in my last post, that part of me thought Lowell was going to stay and the other part thought he would leave. There's a lot of talk in Boston that Lowell took a "pay cut" by coming back to the Red Sox and he should be applauded for that. Give me a break people. If, by now, you do NOT realize that baseball is all about money, you need to find a new sport. I would have to guess that when the Levinson's couldn't find a greater deal than 3 years/$37.5 million, they told Mike: "hey, you should probably just stay in Boston. It's the most money, and hey, they'll think you made a magnanimous gesture by staying. Win-win." If you actually think it's about loyalty, why don't you talk to Roger Clemens, or Johnny Damon, how about JD Drew? It isn't about loyalty folks. It isn't even about winning sometimes (A-Rod with Texas). It's about money. The fact is, Mike Lowell probably didn't take a pay cut. The deal the Red Sox gave was probably all that was out there, unless he wanted to play for free somewhere. Let's be honest with ourselves here. Mike Lowell, despite the fact that everyone things he is the "nicest", "most professional" baseball player on the planet (or that's what I gather from stories coming from Red Sox Nation), he is the same as everyone else. Curt Schilling mentioned on his blog how it's great "Mikey" took a cut to come back for three years. I would guess Curt only came back because he realized no one else was going to pay him the money he wanted, and he can just spin it to make himself look good. Loyalty is lost in this world of high salaries. If you want to think about loyalty, then isn't A-Rod just as loyal, in a sick, twisted way. Like Lowell he had the chance to sign elsewhere, thought he was going to get more money, and then came back. Just, because Lowell is viewed as a better "professional" than A-Rod (which is just crap, I think stats matter. That's what baseball players are judged on. If it were based personality, than Ty Cobb and Ted Williams, just two examples, wouldn't be viewed in such high regard because they were both s*** heads), his gesture is "loyal" while A-Rod is greedy. They both realized they weren't going to get the money they wanted, so they returned to their solid base. Makes sense to me. Just one is colosally better than the other...

Mariano Rivera accepted the Yankees 3 year/$45 million deal. Good for him. Right move. I spoke at length about him yesterday, so there's really no need to talk more. I'm happy.

Alex Rodriguez won his third MVP award yesterday, to no one's surprise. Except this guy who wrote an article I read about how Ortiz was the "real" MVP. Give me a break. Anyway, A-Rod SHOULD have been unanimous but a couple of Detroit writers found it necessary to vote Magglio Ordonez in the first place spot, instead of A-Rod. That's ridiculous. Did they watch baseball this year? Yes, although making the postseason is not integral for a player to being an MVP, it helps. I'm sure these guys were just looking at batting average, of which Ordonez had a higher one. But that matters so little in the statistical world. Let's be serious. Look at all the key offensive categories, and it's pretty obvious A-Rod was the better player, the MVP. Ordonez had a higher batting average (whatever) and a higher OBP, but not by much. A-Rod had a higher slugging, a higher OPS+ (which is park adjusted, a great stat), more total bases, more stolen bases, almost double the home runs, more RsBI, and more runs. Ordonez had more hits, but that really doesn't matter. He had a lot of doubles, which is impressive, but not impressive enough to beat Alex out for MVP. Plus, for A-Rod, with RISP, he hit .333, with 98 RsBI and a 1.138 OPS. He hit .357 in the new "close and late situations". With the bases loaded? How about hitting to the tune of .500 (7-14) with a 1.286 OPS. And in September, when the Yankees needed him, Alex went ahead and hit .362. Those numbers are mind-boggling and those guys in Detroit should be ashamed of themselves.

Ok, there was a trade yesterday, which was pretty big, i would say. The Chicago White Sox traded one of their starters, Jon Garland (an 18-game winner in 2005 and 2006) to the Angels for SS Orlando Cabrera. I really have NO idea why this trade was made. The Angels struggled for offense this season outside of Guerrero and the OC (which is what Cabrera is called) played pretty well. He hit over .300, had 86 RsBI, stole 20 bases, hit over 30 doubles and is a very good defensive shortstop. Garland struggled this year record-wise, which is really not a good measure of a pitcher. He had a 4.23 ERA, which was actually about a quarter of a run better than he had in 2006 when he won 18 games (just showing you how stupid wins are). He had an ERA+ of 112, which is pretty good, and a WHIP of 1.36, also not bad. He pitches in a pitchers park, the New Comisky (also known as US Cellular) and had pretty good numbers. I dont' understand why this trade was made. Really, i don't. The White Sox need pitching, Garland is a middle of the road starter who can help your team. The Angels need offense, and they traded one of the more solid offensive players on their team...I just don't get it. Maybe the Angels were in a self-destructive mode seeing as how they didn't get A-Rod, but still...who's going to play short? They aren't going to bring David Eckstein back are they? I hope not cause he's TERRIBLE!!! Well, actually, I hate the Angels, so I hope they do, cause then they'd be worse...That's objective right....Oh, it's not? Whatever. Anyway, weird decision by these two teams.

Luis Castillo is staying with the Mets. He was resigned to a 4 year/$25 million deal. Pretty good little second baseman who just needs to get on base after Jose Reyes for David Wright. Good pick up at the deadline last year by the Mets. He should help them this year.

Anyway, I guess that's all for know. Weird development: although Jorge Posada reportedly signed a deal last Monday, contingent on his passing a physical, which was scheduled for last Wednesday, there has been nothing official. Pete Abraham at the LoHud Yankees Blog suggests that maybe the Yankees are waiting for a joint press conference with Posada, Rivera and Rodriguez. Who knows. Oh, and all of this should help push Andy Pettitte towards coming back. He wants to play for a winner, and the Yankees are certainly giving him a right of return. I can tell you that much.