June 2007

Is Craig Biggio A Great Player?

     The "Hall Of Fame" is supposed to consist of "great" players, not "good" players.  So was Craig Biggio a "great player," during his tenure as a Major League baseball player? 

     I remember the 1990′s quite well.  Griffey, Bonds, and Frank Thomas were the three best position players over the course of the decade.  They were guys that wowed you at the plate.  Guys that struck fear into the opposing pitcher whenever they set foot into the batter’s box.  Frank Thomas especially, as he might be the largest human being to ever set foot on this Earth.  These guys were intimidating without ever leaving the front of my baseball cards.  Craig Biggio was not one of these type of players though.  But just because he wasn’t as flashy or as dominant as the three best players in the game at the time, does not exclude him from being a "Hall of Fame" candidate.  It doesn’t matter how you go about your game, as long as you are getting the right results.  In this case the results have to be "Hall" worthy.

     Okay, so he is less of a candidate than the three, as these were clearly the three best.  I mean think about this, over Thomas’ career he has had 3,000 fewer plate appearences than Craig Biggio, but "created" 200 more runs than that of Biggio.  This is remarkable.  Frank Thomas was abolutely dominant in the 90′s.  So dominant that Biggio’s defense could not make up the difference in offensive production. 

     We have to take into account defense too.  And this isn’t a blog comparing Craig Biggio to the players above necessarily, but really a blog trying to find out if Biggio was truly great.  His defense is considered above average, and in his prime even better than that, as he won four consecutive "Gold Gloves."   These awards can sometimes be awarded to undeserving candidates, but I have to listen to what the so called "experts" are saying to some degree.  He also played three seasons as a catcher in the beginning of his career, and played two seasons in the outfield.  We can say that those few years his value was lessened because of his move to the outfield.  But we can also look at him as being the ultimate team player, doing what management asked him to do.  Now I don’t know why exactly he made the transition to the outfield, but two years out there shouldn’t really hurt his chances. 

     Here is another topic: He is an "intangibles" guy.  Carried himself like a leader and played the game the way that every manager wants their ballplayers to play.  If he played in NY he would be glorified and praised relentlessly, by the media and fans.  How much do intangibles matter?  I don’t know, and no one else does either, so everyone will judge that particular topic differently. 

     His postseason statistics were miserable, as much as he helped his team during the regular season, he hurt them come postseason time.  His postseason OBP over fourty games was a very costly .297, his slugging was at .323.  That gives him an OPS during the playoffs of .620!  That is way below what "great" players should be doing when the games matter the most. 

     But a poor performance in the postseason does not offset the fact that he was good over a very long career.  He obviously, reached 3000 hits yesterday, and not one player who has reached that milestone has been left out of the "Hall of Fame."  But if you play long enough and are a good player, than some of baseball’s milestone’s may be attained.  Let us look at his "162 game average" over his career.  17 HR, 67 RBI, 24 SB, and .282/.365/.435, which gives him a career OPS of .800.  Biggio’s "Adjusted OPS" is 55th among active players at "113."  Jeff Kent’s is well above that at "125."  I know, I know, Biggio was a second baseman, but his season averages were not that impressive compared to the other great players of his time and are inferior to that of even Jeff Kent’s, another second baseman, who will be a questionable "Hall" candidate himself.

     To be honest, I am kind of torn on Biggio.  With all this said, I don’t think he is a first ballot hall of famer at all.  I believe that if a player is hall worthy, then they should be voted in right when the voters get the chance, typically.  Thomas, Bonds, and Griffey are all first ballot in my mind, if we take PED’s out of the equation.  I will let voters use their own discretion on that unfortunate subject.  But since most players don’t make it on the first ballot, then I don’t believe Biggio should be in on the first ballot.  He is one of the better second baseman of all time.  And I also think very high of intangibles.  So it is a tough decision, so I will not give a definite answer, for there are five more years, at least, to debate this. 

                        

   

More Well Thought Out Ramblings.

     Dice-K must be frustrated lately to some extent.  Sure, he is placing his team in a position to win ballgames, which is a very positive contribution.  However, in Matsuzaka’s past five starts the offense has only given him five total runs.  Over these five starts he carries a 2-2 record, with one ND. 

     The fact that he is pitching so well is what really matters, because the offense will be fine in the long run as long as A)  Drew continues to slowly make his way back up to his career numbers, plus stays healthy B)  Someone can play SS and give us some production there.  Alex Cora is solid on defense, but has a career OBP of .311.  That is not acceptable for a player that is not Adam Everett.  I mean Lugo is better than that of what Cora has shown in past years, if he ever gets going, which seems less and less likely by each plate appearance.  I wonder what the Orioles would want for Tejada? 

      Back to Matsuzaka.  Earlier in the season he was getting a bunch of run support and earned wins even in relatively poor performances.  Right now though he currently resides at 21st in the AL, and who else but Pettite falls in to place next, at 22nd (minimum 60 IP).  So he is definitely not getting enough runs of late, but has had enough over the season, showing that by seasons end he will probably have had enough to get him however many wins he deserves. 

      The Sox as a team average 5.69 runs a game at home and 4.45 runs a game on the road.  That is an enormous difference.  Part of it may be because they feel more comfortable at home and all the psychological stuff, but most of it is probably because this team is built for Fenway.  For instance, Mike Lowell is batting .366 at home this season and only .231 on the road.  Pedroia is hitting .36 points higher at home.  Youkilis .21 points higher.  Hitters like Manny, Ortiz and Drew could play and have success in any ballpark.  But the ones I mentioned above have a significant advantage at home in Fenway, I believe anyway.  Let us not judge Pedroia so harsh yet, however.  And I am not stating that the players mentioned above wouldn’t have value elsewhere, just saying that their offensive value would diminish at least a little in most other ballparks. 

Coherent Thoughts.

-The Royals must be intrigued by what they saw last night.  They went on the road and beat Ervin Santana, who is normally deadly at home.  And they didn’t just beat him, they made him feel bad about himself in the process.  Santana’s career ERA at home is 3.16.  But on the road it is 6.72.  I just found out that it was this big of a difference.  Unbelievable really.  I had known that he struggles on the road, but was not aware that it was this drastic.  Anyway, they rocked Ervin.  Best of all though, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon went yard in the same game.  Lets be realistic, they are the Kansas City Royals’ future right now.  Two position players who have superstar capability, Gordon even more so.  Teamed up of course with Gil Meche who is surprising a lot of people this season, including myself.  I criticized Meche’s signing at first, but then slowly came around to it for reasons I have mentioned in a past blog. 

-The Red Sox lost again to Seattle.  Did I mention that I didn’t feel comfortable going into this series?  No, I didnt mention that but should have.  I thought for sure they would beat Jeff Weaver on Monday, but they lost.  Last night, I didn’t feel comfortable at all and they actually played it closer than I expected.  And today, Matsusaka gets the nod.  Seattle hit the ball very hard off Dice-K in the first matchup this season.  I think Kenji is telling everyone all of Dice-K’s secrets.  Dice-K is a better pitcher now, but he cannot be walking numerous batters.  The Mariners are 41-33.  How unexpected is that?  In my predictions before the season, I mentioned that if everything came together, and I mean everything, then they had a chance.  But King Felix has been struggling, somewhat.  A 4.33 Era and injury problems for possibly the best pitcher in the league in a few years isn’t living up to expectations this year.  I figured if Hernandez pitched like he were supposed to and everyone else played up to their capabilities, including Adrian Beltre, then they might have an outside chance.  But they are surprising everyone.  I don’t think that they will hold up for the long run.  Well, at this point they may end up over .500, but if they win say 85 games, they would still probably finish ten games out of their division, and seven out of the wild card. 

-The Yankees were beaten by the orioles.  I do not know much about Jeremy Guthrie except that he is a rookie and is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA.  The Orioles have to be optimistic, right?  In a few years they will have Loewen, Bedard, Cabrera, and Guthrie.  Now I dont know how good Guthrie will be, but the other three arms should be pretty productive.  Especially Bedard, who should be an ace.  I really think they should find a way to unload Tejada’s contract. 

-It is pretty obvious that unless some kind of dramatic turn around happens in the Bronx, that Torre will be gone after the season.  So part ways now and hope that it helps.  If nothing else, if they turn to say Girardi, then he will get a feel for the job the rest of the season. 

-I want Lester to come up.  Tavarez showed us the other day that he is not that good of a pitcher.  He isn’t bad by any means either.  I give a bunch of credit to Julian for what he has done this season.  He exceeded my expectations and many others.  But Lester has much more upside.  And with the NBA Draft coming up, "upside" is big time.  If Lester is ready then make the move, because it will also be nice having a lefty thrown into the mix.  Until Schilling returns that is.  Then demote Tavarez to the bullpen or trade him if needed when the rotation gets back to full health.  Of course, no sudden moves should be made until they think Lester can A)  Pitch long enough into games.  B)  Pitch effectively.  C)  Schilling is healthy.  I would like to keep Tavarez in the bullpen mainly as insurance for the rotation if Gabbard isn’t good enough to turn to for spot starts.  I want to have a "sixth" starter as I have made clear in the past.  Having a pitcher to turn to due to an injury in the rotation or for a double header is an asset.  But ultimately I really want the rotation to be Beckett, Schilling, Matsusaka, Lester, and Wakefield.  Once again though, Tavarez has pitched effective enough and should be commended. 

-I do like the Orioles to win tonight.  Clemens vs.  Bedard.  Bedard is better than Clemens.   We will see what happens though. 

Road Trip Going Well So Far.

     I enjoy this years Josh Beckett by a significant margin over last year’s.  Jake Peavy is very good too, but was tagged with the loss on this day.  It wasn’t the three earned runs in the third that knocked Peavy out of the game after five.  It was the 111 pitches he threw over only five innings.  Beckett threw 116 over eight innings.

     Does Beckett beating Peavy mean he is better?  Heck no.  But if Peavy pitched in Fenway (away from Petco) and in the AL, then his ERA would be much closer to Beckett’s.  I don’t know exactly how it would translate into the AL.  Of course Peavy’s ERA is at 0.88 on the road this year.  But over his career it is over a half of run better at home.  I don’t know how long Petco has been in existence, but do know that it is a bonafide pitchers park.

     And to be even more fair, Peavy was facing a better lineup.  Which leads me to the question, does this Padres team have enough offense to compete come playoff time?  That 1-2 punch of Peavy and Young is tough to matchup with.  But there lineup only has one scary bat in Adrian Gonzalez.     I understand it is tough to hit at home where their home OBP is .305.  But it is only at .329 on the road, which would be just about average.  I think it is safe to say that they probably need to make a move for a bat.

     The Giants have won the series against the Yankees.  That was surprising, especially since they lost the game that Cain pitched on Friday.  Clemens in relief was another added surprise.  Maybe they did it for publicity agianst Bonds. 

Baserunners Galore.

     I am rather disappointed in Matt Cain tonight.  Not only because I thought he would pitch well against the Yankees, but because now a sweep could be in line.  Cain gave them their best chance to win.  And to go along with that he will someday be a great pitcher.  But now they get Matt Morris, who will probably get shelled tomorrow.  Then on Sunday Lowry pitches.  Lowry might give them a chance to win, but with the Giants offense it will be very tough. 

    On a brighter and more important note, the Red Sox won.  Dice-K allowed ten baserunners in six innings, walking five and giving up five base runners.  But he only gave up one earned and received the win.  He added nine strike outs too, which is always good.   

    

Coherent Thoughts.

     Jayson Stark shows me what I already knew, but what a lot of others still do not know.  Wins and losses are an overrated stat, because they do not give an accurate viewing of a pitchers performance.  See below.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=2910803

    

     Some of his examples this year are: 

         Johan Santana-  Still the best.  Haren may have pitched better so far, but I have a hard time believing that Haren is the better pitcher.  Because he isn’t. 

         Matt Cain-  This guy is awesome and I hope he proves it tonight against the Yankees.  Once Yankee fans see his his stuff, then everyone in the baseball world will know how good he is.  He dominated the Sox, only to fall victim, once again, to having maybe the worst offense in baseball. 

        Well, I do not feel bad for Gil Meche not having run support, for he knew what he was getting into. 

        Andy Pettite is 19th in the AL in run support among pitchers who have at least 60IP.  Johan is 33rd.  Meche is 52nd.  Matt Cain is 50th in the NL. 

    

     Speaking of Pettite, I came across that stat in the USA Today the other day and it was surprising to see that he has had so much run support.  In eight of his starts the Yankees have scored five or more funs in those games.  In seven of his starts the Yankees have scored fewer than five runs.  Pettite isn’t listed in Stark’s top 6 "CUS" leaders, which you will find in his article.  Dice-K actually is, but he has had a bunch of run support throughout the year to make up for that.  Pettite has had games where he loses close, low-scoring battles, but he has been privileged to have some where the Yankees offense disposes of their opponent rather quickly.  I guess it is based on expectations and the talent the team has,  when Yankee fans make these claims of him not having run support.  The Yankees shouldn’t really lose with Pettite on the mound it seems.  And I understand that, but if Pettite was in Meche’s postition it would be much worse.  And even though Pettite has a 4-4 record, he has been one of the top pitchers in the game thus far.  Once again showing voters at the end of the year that this "wins" stat is very overrated.  Is Pettite not a gamer?  I doubt that.  But if Pettite finished 13-13 with a 2.93 ERA at the end of the season, should he be out of the conversation for CY Young, assuming that the other pitchers have similiar numbers outside of wins/losses?  Heck no.  Pettite has had enough run support, but he has had leads blown on multiple occasions, and according to that article, he has been one of the unluckiest pitchers in the game.  I don’t think that anyone will question Pettite’s mentality when it comes to winning games, and big games for that matter. 

    

     Three tough games against a pretty good Padres team.  They have good pitching, but also play in a pitchers park.  I don’t how good this team really is though.  Put them in the AL and where would they be?  Peavy will be great no matter where he plays, but like Maddux at this point in his career, would be getting hit pretty well if he played in the AL I believe.  I believe they are pretty good, but nothing special.  And they may even sweep us this weekend, no one knows.  But we have some good pitchers going for us as well, which helps our cause. 

    

     I never gave props to Julian Tavarez for dominating the Braves and helping to complete back-to-back shutouts in Atlanta.  His ERA now looks respectable and he has done more than enough so far this season.

    

     JD Drew’s OPS by month:

            April:  .768

            May:   .552

            June:  .926 

Revised Ballot

    As some of you know that actually read my completely unbiased blog, I already voted once for the All Star game not being able to resist temptation.  Ok, maybe it is not completely unbiased, but I like to think that it is.   Regardless, I have updated my voting because it is only fair to make an attempt, to give the players a second chance to obtain my highly touted vote.  But one vote does not matter.  If you watch South Park then you already know this.   

     I went back and tried to give each vote to who I think was the best player.  A lot of this is based on statistics, rather than observations.  I do not get to see everyone play because there are so many games and not enough time or desire to watch all of them.  But watching may create a bias and sampling of good or bad within my head.  Statistics are definitely more objective of a viewing, but they don’t sum everything up about a player either. 

     I have some trouble debating how much emphasis to put on defense.  Especially by position.  Catchers and shortstops are going to have more emphasis on their defense than that of first baseman and right fielders.  I also do not have a very accurate viewing of a players defensive worth in this current season.  The only stats I have access to at this point are the relatively broad statistics of:  Fielding Percentage, Range Factor, and Zone Rating.  I do know the top three and bottom three players at each position based on "The Hardball Times" defensive analysis.  But they only give you six at each position and not the full list.  Well they do give all I believe in a spreadsheet format, but I don’t have the software on my computer as I figured out trying to download it.  I may have been able to obtain it if I were to give more effort, but I chose not to.  This data from "The Hardball Times" is based on the "Zone Rating" they received from "Baseball Info Solutions."  I will leave a link if anyone desires to browse the article.  On to my choices!

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/d-fence

American League

1B)  David Ortiz:  This was a very tough choice and it was not just between Ortiz and Youkilis.  Casey Kotchman and Mark Teixera have to be included in the discussion also.  But Ortiz has an OPS that is nearly 100 percentage points higher than the next player.  And this is a position where offense far outweighs defense, even though defense must still be considered to some extent.  But David Ortiz is a DH, which made me think.  Should he be penalized because the game is in an NL park without even having a DH?  The way I see it, is if Ortiz played first base and played it pretty poorly, he would still be the best at this position.  The great OPS is too much to ignore.  It was tough not to consider Kevin Youkilis to go along with the other tough exclusions.  He is determined and has done a lot for this Sox team that I see quite frequently.  He also gives good defense at the position.  But if one values intangibles, Ortiz has them too.  His OPS is 127 percentage points higher than Youkilis.’  It was hard to ignore Kotchman, the guy never strikes out.  Teixera is well, Teixera.  He has been hitting with power and I imagine playing good defense.  The defense looks more toward average based on the stats I looked at.  But based on his reputation I imagine that the stats I see are not completely accurate.  I cannot go wrong with Ortiz here, that is the thing I was most certain of. 

2B)  BJ Upton:  Another offensive juggernaut so far, that is in this case, a liability defensively.  Ortiz is not out there hurting his team on this side of the ball,  Upton is, and at a more important position.  But he hits for power and gets on base with an OPS that is 93 points higher than the runner up:  Dustin Pedroia, who doesn’t even qualify as of now according to ESPN’s statistics.  Polanco is good but his OPS is at .801, not even comparable amongst he and Upton on offense.  But Polanco hasn’t made an error and has a very high batting average.  It can very well be debated.  Upton might be the worst defensive second baseman in the game.  If not then he is close to it.  But he is one of the top few on offense, by far, so far. 

3B)  Alex Rodriguez:  This was the only one where i didn’t even have to look at the ballot.  There is no one close to the total package of this years Arod.  Although according to "The Hardball Times," Arod is the second worst at the position on the defensive side in all of baseball.  He only has five errors, but fielding percentage is not everything.  Anyway, he is the best third baseman in the game this year, and it isn’t all that close. 

SS)  This is where the Yankee fans may bash me with hate comments, which I will gladly take to get some publicity.  Originally I voted for Jeter.  But now Carlos Guillen has surpassed him in OPS by 41 points.  And that link I gave you above has Jeter ranked as the worst fielding SS in baseball once again.  Guillen is pretty bad himself and the two may be comparable on that side of the baseball.  But Guillen has played a little better on offense.  Do not forget, I respect Jeter on offense as much as most in the game. 

C)  Jorge Posada:  Tearing it up on offense.  As "BPS" stated in a recent blog he has nowhere to go but down, which is probably true.  But through the first half of the season he has been nowhere but up.  The only catcher that can compare on offense is Victor Martinez, but he, from what I hear, is terrible on defense.  Joe Mauer might have won my vote had he not been injured.  Congrats, to Posada though.  He is the only Yankee to be underrated the past ten years. 

OF)  Vlad Guerrero:  One of the best players in the game, year in and year out.  No suprise here. 

OF)  Magglio Ordonez:  Arguably the best player in the game so far.  In the mix with a few others.  He is definitely playing above what his past stats have told us.  But we knew he was good.  Maybe he is completely healthy this year.  I don’t know exactly what it is, but he is tearing the cover off the ball, literally. 

OF)  Ichiro Suzuki:  This was the hardest choice.  "The Hardball Times" has him based on "zone rating" as the best center fielder in the game.  And he has an OPS ranked fifth in the AL among all outfielders.  He also, just to throw this out there, is batting .358 and has twenty stolen bases.

National League

1B)  Prince Fielder:  First time around I voted for Todd Helton.  But this time around there wasn’t any question.  Prince is awesome!  He has twenty six homers and a large OPS. 

2B)  Chase Utley:  Why doesn’t he get more media coverage.  He has the highest OPS among second baseman in all of baseball.  In the article above he is ranked as the best at 2B in the game on defense based on the ratings.  The guy is a superstar that doesn’t get the praise he should. 

3B)  Miguel Cabrera:  Seems to be immobile at third and his defense suffers.  But he is the best offensive third baseman in the NL and one of the best in the game. 

SS)  Jose Reyes:  Steals bases and plays solid D.  He hits for power and gets on base.  He basically does everything.  Hardy has seventeen homers, but his OPS is lower and does not possess the same kind of speed. 

C)  Russell Martin:  Who else am I going to choose?  Catchers in the NL don’t seem to want to be able to hit this year, and he is good on both sides. 

OF)  Barry Bonds:  His OBP is .492!

OF)  Ken Griffey Jr.-  Playing like the Griffey of old.  Sort of.  He isn’t playing good defense even since moving to right.  And I read not too long ago that maybe Griffey was a little overrated in the field even in his prime years.  Is this true?  Was our perception off for all those years? 

OF)  Matt Holliday:  His offensive production is incredible.  And now, even though he is much better at home, his OPS on the road falls just short of .900.  His batting average is .364.  That is very good from what I hear. 

The Day Has Gone Away

     -I was watching an inning of the Dodgers-Angels game and got a chance to see Nomar strike out.  Apparently, I missed the double he had earlier in the game.  As I was watching I was also on my computer at the time and noticed that the Brewers were down one run, first and second, top of the ninth, and none other than Joe Nathan was on the mound.  So I flicked it over to that game with hope of seeing a dramatic ending.  The Brewers quickly loaded the bases and Graffanino stepped to the plate.  All he needed to do was hit the ball and he had a good chance of tying the game.  But he failed to do so.  Luckily, the next batter hit a routine fly ball to even the score.  Nathan ended up getting out of the inning with no more damage. 

     So anyway, Morneau leads off the next inning.  The Brewers had come back from a 9-2 deficit to tie the game.  They had one of the best closers in the game flustered and on the brink of a loss just minutes ago.  All of the momentum was in their favor.   But Morneau with one swing of the bat, ends the game, hitting his twentieth homer of the year.  He is good. 

     But I would not have watched this game had I still been relying on MLB.TV.  I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the time watching my computer screen, especially when the game didn’t involve the Red Sox.  "Extra Innings" is superior in every way, at least the way I have everything set up.  If I had a remote for my desktop…well I have a laptop so this is just a pipe dream I guess.  If I had a desktop right next to my HDTV and somehow had a remote control for my computer to switch easily between games on "Mosaic," without getting up every time, then it would have worked out.  But I didn’t.  I had to hook my laptop up to my tv and then get up every time I wanted to do something computer related.  It wasn’t that bad or THAT inconvenient, but this current situation is better, no question.

     I had a chance to watch my first HD game on my own tv tonight; Yankees-Mets.  The Mets played poorly.  It was 4-0 very quickly and that is when I started to watch my first full length HD movie, "The Sixth Sense."  But a quick note:  I really want to find out what type of pitches A-Rod has taken out of the ballpark.  It seems like every one I have seen him hit out, has been off of the fastball.  This is exactly what he launched out of the park tonight.  At least stay away from the fastball in "fastball counts."  And reverting back to the Papelbon debacle, throw something out of the strike zone in 0-2 counts.   Seriously, can someone find this information for me?

     -ESPN is making a film about the Yankees.  What a surprise.  I got to thinking.  Why not make it about the greatest comeback in the history of the playoffs, in any of the four major sports?  The 2004 AlCS of course.  And I already have some of the cast selected.

            David Ortiz played by Michael Clarke Duncan (The giant guy from "The Green Mile")

            Manny Ramirez played by none other than Tracy Chapman.

            Curt Schilling played by the guy in real life that you just cannot stand.

            Pedro Martinez played by Dakota Fanning.

            Bill Meuller played by some random boring dude.

            Bronson Arroyo played by Kyle Snyder.

            Gabe Kapler played by Jason Statham on steroids and HGH.

     Unfortunately, my mind has gone blank and I cannot think of any comparisons that are actually funny.  The concept of casting for this film was much funnier than the end result. 

     -JD Drew led off the game today with a double, he walked twice and scored two runs.  I think he cares…for now. 

     Bonds hit what looked like a routine fly ball out of the yard today.  That is the kind of ball that should fall short*****

     And Manny Delcarmen has been called up to replace the injured Brendan Donnelly.  Can he show us the rave reviews he was getting before he ever threw a pitch in the majors?  He is still young, but him pitching well would give us a huge boost in the pen.

     Back to back days where Manny was left the building.  He is a prety good hitter I hear.  And if he heats up then this offense will be fine, as long as Drew does so as well. 

     Schilling and Beckett are going the next two days at Atlanta.  We must take two out of three, at least.  The Yanks go to Colorado.  I hope the jet-lag kicks in and that Rockies offense crushes the ball right through the effects of those humidors.

     -Does anyone know if the steroid policy was released to the public?  Like when the players are tested?  How often?  All that good stuff.

            

Random Thoughts…

     -I need to come up with a better name for my "Random Thoughts" blogs.  It even gets boring to me, writing the same blog name over and over again.

 

     -How did "Dan Shaugnessy" get that job writing for the Globe?  Actually, how did he get considered?  I don’t have to listen to him that often, only on visits back to my "real" home, New Hampshire.  But I see him on Jim Rome on occasion, and have come across a few of his articles while browsing Buster Olney’s thoughts.  From what I see, he is not very good.  Bill Simmons is a much better writer, even though both of them display bias.  But they are asked to show that side of their writing.  If Simmons did not show any bias then his writing would probably suffer because it would not have ths same passion.  This does not apply to every writer, but it is how I view Simmons.  Neither of them are on "Baseball Tonight," trying for an objective opinion like Olney and Kruk "try" to do.    If Shaugnessy ever made an appearence on "Baseball Tonight," then I would discontinue my viewing of their programming.  And the thing is that being a Red Sox fan I can actually tolerate him slightly.  I can only imagine how much Yankee fans dislike him.

     -ESPN HD is definitely better than the regular ESPN, as I am finding out this morning.  If only there was a way of having "MLB Extra Innings" viewed in HD as well.  I know that DirecTV has two MLB games in high definition on a daily basis.  Couldn’t "Extra Innings" incorporate this feature also?  I mean what I care about is watching the games.  That is most important.  I am not complaining.  But I see digital cable’s satellite rival being a step ahead.  So I wonder why I cannot watch the Red Sox in HD on occasion, outside of ESPN. 

     -Was watching "Team America" last night on Comedy Central, the uncut version.  And even though I did not find the movie to be quite as funny as others did, there is one line that is great.  And not when Matt Damon says, "Matt Damon," which is funny as well.  It is when the main character says, "Alec Baldwin.  He is my hero.  The single greatest actor of all time"  That line was absolutely hilarious!

Will Yanks and Sox Get Even Better?

     With Theo and Cashman aiming a little more at the future than in the present, will the Red Sox and Yankees only get more dominant? 

     If they both stick to the logic of building through the farm system then these two teams may become even more dominant down the road.  Without a salary cap the money is going to be there.  These two teams have the highest payrolls by far when compared to the rest of baseball.  But in recent years they have mostly focused on "building to win now" and less on "building to win later."  They would trade away good, young prospects in order to obtain veterans that would help immediately, some being half-season rentals. 

     Imagine if they keep all of these young prospects rather than trade them.  The Tabata’s, the Ellsbury’s, the Buchholz’s, Phil Hughes, etc.  Then eventually all of these prospects will develop, and in the meantime they will be able to compete because they still have the unlimited funds flowing out.  They can of course sign free agents to fill holes while some of their young guys are riding on the bus, learning how to play at this level. 

     But what happens, in say six years, when they seem to be back on track with their farm systems?  And from what I hear both have pretty talented systems as of now anyway.  They will have an abundance of prospects, and will still have more money to spend on the free agent market than anyone else.  It is very possible that these two teams will only be harder to compete with.  I mean we could be looking at the Oakland A’s with $200+ million dollar payrolls.  Ludicrous!  They probably will not have quite the young talent that the A’s have year after year.  But the young talent they have down the road will definitely exceed what they have had the past five years or so. 

     No salary cap will only mean more problems.  Teams such as the Devil Rays should be very good around 2009 when their young pitching finally develops.  The difference with them and the two AL East juggernauts, is that if the Devil Rays need a $20 million position player or pitcher to fill one weak role on their team, they may not be able to afford it.  The Red Sox or Yanks will be able to snag that player though. 

     Players like Josh Beckett, Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, and others will or would have been available eventually through free agency.  And with so much money to spend these two teams have a good shot at getting them if they desire to.  Teams just have to be patient.  Theo has to hold on to his top prospects, trading only those who are decent if possible.  He should not touch any high ceiling players.  Guys like Hanley Ramirez.  Especially when he does not have a superstar SS blocking him.  If the Mets had a superstar SS waiting behind Reyes then it would make sense to move him for another piece.  But only a few teams have a good enough SS to do this. 

     Hold on to the talent Theo.  It will be much better in the long run.   

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