Since this is my first blog entry, I have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do about who I am and why you should read my blog. You may want to skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t care who I am. I have participated in Fantasy Baseball for the past 14 years in a league called the GDML (General Dynamics Memorial League). I have a lot of HSO’s (hot sports opinions) about fantasy baseball as well as the real world. Over the past 3 seasons, my observations have been reported in Sports Weekly’s articles and mail bag more than anyone short of John Hunt. I was also a regular guy for the 2004 AL LABR. Since John Hunt is no longer there, my frequency of publication there will probably decrease.
Let’s talk about John. He has not responded to my email, so I don’t know the real story. However, since he doesn’t appear to have another rotogig lined up, I am assuming that he was replaced involuntarily. If so, that is a shame. I am really going to miss him. John had a knack for injecting humor into our sometimes geeky game. Who else would coin phrases like “the anti-Ripken” or Tuffy Rhodes Memorial Award. I only hope the editor that replaced him starts writing columns with some panache rather than the dry, editorial columns we have seen so far. I can get that drivel at any number of sites. Which is why I am doing this blog – to bring some badly needed comedy to our game. John did make some comment in the Sports Weekly leviathan about how some fantasy players needed to get a life. Why am I suddenly thinking of William Shatner telling that to a convention of Trekkies? Who else is reading that article?
HSO #1 – This is old news, but I still don’t understand the Red Sox trading Bronson Arroyo for Willie Mo Pena. The obvious implication is that Trot Nixon’s chronic back problems forced the BoSox to get another OF. However, all they got was a Russ Branyan starter kit and they still don’t have a real shortstop or first baseman. Their lineup used to be a murderers row, but after the top 4, it looks more like skid row. Papi needs some protection or he will lead the league in walks.
Arroyo is a good young pitcher with a history of real bad hair choices (it looked like a little girl who got her hair done on the beach). Everyone needs starting pitching! How can they trade Arroyo and only get Willie Mo “better blues” Pena?
I know the Devil Rays have been asking an arm and a leg for their guys. We can blame the Mets for giving them Kazmir for Zambrano in 2004 – nobody is stupid enough to do a similar deal these days. The Sox were in dire need of a shortstop, a big bat on the corner or in the OF. The Rays rotation is one good starting pitcher and a gaggle of complete spares. The Rays have Lugo and Huff in the final year of their contracts with BJ and Delmon waiting in the wings. Why is no deal being done here? The Sox could have added some prospects / cash to make a deal. Did the Rays just refuse to trade within their division? Do they think these guys value will increase as the deadline approaches?
So the Sox have dealt their best trading chip. They have still have the offensive juggernauts of Youkillis / J.T. Snow (was he frozen in a block of ice or what?) at first base, Alex Gonzales at short, and a Nixon / Pena platoon in right? Oh by the way, their closer has 2 bad knees and their setup guy is pushing 40.
My crystal ball shows no playoffs for the Red Sox this year unless drastic action is taken.
HSO #2 – I am a Texas Ranger fan, proving I am a glutton for punishment. The Rangers have great hopes for the DVD pitchers – John Danks, Edinston Volquez and Thomas Diamond, but when I look at the rest of their division, there are some other great prospects on the horizon. The A’s keep developing great pitchers, Seattle has King Felix and the Angels have a quartet of hot position prospects. Not many teams can match Jeff Mathis, Brandon Wood, Kendry Morales and Howie Kendrick for untapped potential. Oh by the way, they still have Dallas McPherson and Casey Kotchman too. Their bullpen is unquestionably the best in the AL. The addition of the Weaver brothers makes their starters a force to be reckoned with.
Therefore, even though the Rangers have an all-star infield led by Tex, Hank and Young, it may be along time coming to beat the Angels, who should dominate the division for several years.
HSO # 3 – Fantasy Baseball is like an efficient stock market. While there still may be some bargains and busts, the preseason value of players can give you an idea of what people think of your team’s plans. This year Texas overhauled their entire rotation, keeping only #4 starter Kameron Loe. What does the fantasy world think of their plan? 2005 Major League ERA Kevin Millwood was valued at $9 in the LABR, Adam Eaton – $5, Vincente Padilla – $1, Loe – $1 Uh-oh – The entire rotation has a value less than closer Francisco Cordero.
Yeah, there’s the ballpark effect, but that can’t be a very encouraging sign.
HSO # 4 – For them to have any chance in the long run, the Rangers need to trade with the A’s and the Mariners. With the strength of the Angels, these teams need to help each other rather than refuse to deal with one another. Texas has trouble signing free agent pitching. We will see about Millwood. They have to overpay because pitchers know they will be rocked in Coors South AKA Ameriquest Ballpark in Arlington. Do you remember Chan Ho Park, the worst free agent signing in the history of sports? Several friends of mine have gone so far to suggest that Texas should never draft another position player in the top 10 rounds. Free agent hitters should be drooling to sign with Texas. The converse is true of the Tigers, A’s and Mariners. Hitters loathe those pitcher’s parks and will demand a premium to sign there, while it’s a pitcher’s paradise. Sounds like some great trade opportunities, except for the fact that 3 of the 4 teams mentioned are in the same division.
HSO #5 – The most worthless pitching staff in recent fantasy history has got to be the Royals. I seem to recall Detroit having a pitching staff devoid of any value a few years back, but Kansas City may break the record. If you discount MacDougal’s $11 LABR value to a more appropriate $3 given his injury and Burgos probably gets elevated to $5 tops. Let’s see, that would make the entire Kansas City staff have a value of $10 (and that’s valuing no-show Zach at $1). It is going to be another long season in KC. But then again, we already knew that.
I look forward to my next blog entry. I hope you will check it out.