We have established that the Padres are the front runners for the worst team in the NL West, but I could be wrong. I have been
before, just ask my girlfriend. However, assuming I am right we must look into where the other teams in the division fall into place…
With the Dodgers ability to potentially re-sign Manny and their impressive post-season play last year, I cannot fathom power ranking them 4th. Many would naturally expect the San Francisco Giants to assume this poll position, however I am optimistic for this ball club to make improvements from 2008. I believe the team that deserves to occupy the 4th place power rank in the West is a team that will not be celebrating Holidays this year…wait, I mean Holliday.
Lets take a team that finished at .500 from last year and see what happened to them in the off-season. They lost blue-chip sensation, Matt Holliday in a trade to give them financial wiggle room as well as speedster Willy Tavaras and closer Brian Fuentes to free agency. Bummer. What did the Rockies recover from these losses? Some money and Huston Street, the young closer from Oakland. I like Street’s potential, however, the Rockies already have a useable closer in Manny Corpas so I can’t help but feel that they put their eggs in the wrong basket when trading away Holliday. Why didn’t they go for a marquis pitcher to aide their stomach churning rotation? Speaking of which…
The Rockies arms have to be amongst the bottom 7 in the MLB. I suppose they consider their ace Aaron Cook who had a good first half of last year, but proceeded to play like a skunk for the rest of the season. The rotation is followed by Jeff Francis and Franklin Morales who both battle injuries of sorts and neither may play this season. Ubaldo Jimenez could help the team out if he strays from his 100+ walks from last year and newcomer Jason Marquis may become something good, but has a lot to prove getting his first chance as a starting pitcher. For a team that plays 80-some-odd games in a stadium notorious for it’s home run hitting ease, this rotation has to be scaring the pants off everyone in Colorado.
Aside from Garret Atkins being a totally overrated bust, the Rockies don’t look too shabby in the field. There is power behind (SS) Troy Tulowitzki and (RF) Brad Hawpe and breakout potential behind (C) Chris Iannetta. The rest of the filed doesn’t necessarily dazzle or disappoint. If and when Todd Helton realizes that he is going to be 36 years old this season Colorado may start to dip in offensive production.
Plain and simply, you can get away with crappy pitching if you have a line-up like the Yankees but you can’t if you’re the Rockies. They have lost speed and power and are getting older at the corners. They will put up a fight within the middle of the pack of the NL West, but when the season is over you will see them in the 75 wins range…and occupying 4th place in their division.
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
As we open the door to analyzing the competitive NL West we must first look at what teams do not have.
I have never heard of a team being wildly successful with as few weapons as The San Diego Padres posses. Unfortunately, for the city named after “A Whale’s Vagina,” I will be power ranking their ball-club at 5th in the west. I’m hard pressed to believe that the Friars will exceed 70 wins this season, which would be a 7-game victory improvement from last year’s amateur hour.
Jake Peavy is God in San Diego. Without him, the organization might as well take a yearlong vacation. He will be 27 years old on Opening Day and is arguably a top three MLB pitcher. He should be primed for another 200+ strikeout season and double digit wins. But who does he have to support him in the rotation? Exactly. Chris Young fills in as the #2 guy. He’s ok if he can stay healthy, which isn’t his strongest suit. Finishing off the depth chart is a flop of: Cha Seung Beak, a Korean from Seattle with a 5.1 ERA, Kevin Correia who is barely more than a middle relief guy, and potential rookies Wade LeBlanc or Ivan Nova. Yucky…
Even assuming that Jake Peavy blows away a MLB record and marks 30 wins this season (joke), there isn’t any offense to give run support to the lackluster bats on the team. Adrian Gonzalez has emerged as a legitimate 1st class first basemen and will be the center of their offensive. The developing and supportive Chase Headley and Kevin Kouzmanoff will bolster the team by sharing third base, with Headley in left as well. The rest of the offense is extremely blasé, however, with: David Eckstein (2B), Craig Stansburry (SS), Nicholas Hindley (C) and Bryan Giles, Scott Hairston and Jody Geirut (who might be something) in the outfield.
Heath Bell is now the closer with Hoffman gone, and this simply supports my theory that San Diego will not surpass 70 this year.
What San Diego has going for them is the absence of a monster competitor in their division. I can’t see them falling victim to the Dodgers or the Rockies an embarrassing amount of times, but know they will not be able to climb to 3rd in the division either.
Check back soon as the StatDragon will power rank the rest of the NL West.
For a second consecutive off-season, The Minnesota Vikings are trying to execute a deal to acquire Houston (part-time) quarterback, Sage Rosenfels. If you are a Vikings fan and this trade goes down, celebrate.
Rosenfels expressed interest in playing for the Vikings prior to last season. A deal was not agreed upon when the Texans would not accept the offer of a 3rd round draft pick in return. A current trade proposal is being offered to the Vikings for a, lesser, 4th round pick in the upcoming draft.
The Vikings will be making a TERRIFIC decision to trade a 4th round pick to acquire Rosenfels. In the past two seasons Rosenfels has started in 10 games and participated in 15. The StatDragon notices that he has produced 22 TD’s in this period of time and has achieved a respectable quarterback rating of 81.
Rosenfels has the “perfect stock” to buy into right now if you are Minnesota. Having been a backup for the often injured Matt Schuab, Rosenfels has proved that he can get it done. He’s won 6 of his 10 starts. Yet, not having ever been a “starter” for a team, Rosenfels can’t command the higher deals that QB’s such as Kurt Warner and Jeff Garcia (amongst others looking at an open market) can.
Also, how much are you losing out by parting with a 4th round draft pick? Not a lot in my opinion. In a sport where coveted draft picks have been wasted on the Alex Smiths and Ryan Leafs of the world, the Vikings would be guaranteeing themselves production ability and would avoid the risk of having to count on a rookie draft pick at this position.
Minnesota is knocking on the door of being a very intimidating NFL team. They have proved this by having one of the strongest rush defenses in the league, complimented by the young and sensational Adrian Peterson on offense. By signing Rosenfels, the Vikings would have the opportunity to fill in other holes by drafting young WR’s and DB’s to bring into the system.
It was mentioned that Rosenfels has a career QB Rating of 81. Guess what? 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a career rating of 89. The Vikings can find talent to fill the gaps on their team though making wise decisions this upcoming off-season. Sage Rosenfels is a quarterback that has matured into the type that could take a team to a Super Bowl with a strong enough supporting cast.
Lastly, The Vikings were able to become the 3rd seed in the NFC last year with Gus Frerotte and Tavaris Jackson leading the way. You can only assume that they would be bettering your team by letting Rosenfels take the helm.
Don’t be stupid Minnestoa, make this deal happen.
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
The magic number is 41.
And I’m not referring to Hall of Famer Tom Seaver who sported the number on his jersey. This is how many days are left until the first pitch will be thrown out across America and every baseball fan across our great nation will rejoice in the commencement of a new season.
For me, a new season is synonymous with a new year. A time for new goals and resolutions. A time in which anything is defined as ‘possible.’ Even the most lackluster teams from the previous year stand a chance as different acquisitions throughout the off-season have been made, injuries have been treated and the proverbial ‘slate’ has been wiped clean. On the contrary, the biggest threats from previous seasons have to enter on a new stage in an effort to remain the force that they have been in seasons past and reprove themselves again.
Although the race is addictive to watch in all divisions I am particularly interested to see what will transpire in the NL West this season. The West presents a more opened door for the division than it has in years past and there is clearly no forerunner or favorite as there are in other divisions.
The universal fight over Manny Ramirez is incessant and driving me crazy. I go to bed every night praying that someone will offer him the 3rd year he desires in his contract so I can wake up the next morning a NEVER hear about it again. If he finds a home in the NL West, with the Dodgers for another year OR in rumored San Francisco, the division will become slightly weighted. Nonetheless, the division presents to the league an interesting race to follow.
Check in during the following weeks as I dissect the NL West and allow you to take a scientific look into the division’s teams. We will look at strengths, weaknesses and other variables that might allow us to answer the question, “Who looks to be the favorite in the NL West?”
Holler Back. StatDragon.
The Cincinnati Bengals named kicker, Shayne Graham their franchise player this week. This is a move that enables the 8 year vet to sign another one-year deal with the team equal to the average dollar amount of the 5 highest paid kickers in the league.
While saving the Bengals a lot of money, you have to wonder where this leaves their relationship with other play-makers. Houshmandzadeh, one of the few highlights on a rather lackluster offense is now headed for free agency. Head coach Marvin Lewis acknowledged that the odds of him returning to the team will be odd. The Bengals could have retained TJ by placing the franchise mark on him, but would have had to do it at the sum of about $10 M for a year as opposed to $2.2…well, I guess WE ARE IN RECESSION.
Franchising Graham also gives Cedric Benson more options and allows him to seek other avenues.
I honestly can’t believe that The Bengals decided to go this route. Inevitably, they will return next season without the likes of Houshmadzadeh and possibly anyone to fill in as threatening running-back. They will be supported by a cranky primadonna wide receiver (Chad Johnson), an injury plagued quarterback ( Carson Palmer), a decrepit defense and… Chris Perry in the backfield??? Well at least they have a shot at sending their kicker to the Pro Bowl.
In a press conference Graham un-excitedly stated, “I appreciate the Bengals’ recognition of my value to the team. I would have preferred to enter a long-term market value contract, either with the Bengals or through free agency.”
So, I suppose, no one is really happy today in Cincinnati. Not even newly franchised Graham. Let me check the weather… Yea everyone is miserable.
Good luck, Cincinnati, compiling a decently respectable team in the off-season.
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
You know how the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” The statement could not be more appropo for Deuce McAllister today. McAllister was released from the New Orleans Saints as the organization is trying to cut numbers to get under the $123 M salary cap for 2009. With the emergence of Pierre Thomas who compliments and aides All Star running-back Reggie Bush, The Saints felt it was better to part ways with Deuce who would be owed $5 M in the fall.
In a press conference, Deuce acknowledged that although he has battled injuries recently, he still hopes and expects to find a pivotal role in the backfield for another team. He acknowledged that more than money, he desires to find a new home where his talent can be used more.
However, McAllister can’t begin to think that a 31 year old recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and a history of injury will command tons of attention in the free agent market, let alone find a deal where he will be making much more that $5M/ year.
I like Deuce. I think he’s a cool cat and has done a lot for The Saints. The StatDragon is not about to throw McAllister in the line of blog-bashing. However, I have a hard time believing that he will find a “starting” role ANYWHERE. With the emergence of talented young running backs in the NFL, the pool is full. And with interesting prospects entering the NFL Draft this spring, there is NO reason any team will take a leap of faith on Deuce. At best, I believe he could find a 2 year/ $ 9 M contract in other city backing up a young blue chip. Theoretically, he could stand behind Matt Forte in Chicago taking some 3rd down situations off his hands, filling in as a blocking back during the pass. Of course, now McAllister has to compete with Fred Taylor in the moss-back section of free agency.
Deuce, the StatDragon wishes you a speedy recovery and the best of luck in finding a new home. Please just stay the hell away from San Francisco.
Holler Back. StatDragon
The Cowboys have yet to find an official sponsor for their new stadium. So if you have some extra money in the ol’ piggybank you don’t mind parting with, $400 M for 20 years will get your name on the dome. Personally, I won’t be able to hack this kind of deal with Mr. Jones and the Cowboy organization. For one, the StatDragon has a vice for gin and tonics AND happy hours at The Spearmint Rhino Strip Club…both of which cost a bit of money. Seriously, I’m more into this Russian stripper there named Nadia than Mickey Rourke’s character was into Marissa Tome in The Wrestler. Secondly, the economy has left a proverbial “Cleveland Steamer” on my chest. And last but not least, I live at home with my grandma and make a living off blogging…awesome.
Hey National fans, Christmas has come early this year because you just signed Adam Dunn!
Before being traded to Arizona last season, the 29-year-old left-handed free agent outfielder (1B?) had played every game of his career with Cincinnati, after having been drafted by Reds (led by then Cincy GM Jim Bowden) with the 50th overall pick in the 2nd Round on the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft. Dunn debuted with Cincy three years later on July 20, 2001, and over 8 seasons has averaged 29 doubles, 42 HR’s, 96 RBI’s, 114 walks and 118 K’s per 162 games played. Not shabby. I’m not a huge fan of the whiffing statistic, but the rest I’ll take…. however, some feel differently about Dunn’s arrival. The Washington Times’ Thom Loverro referred to National’s GM Jim Bowden’s policy as “…running a welfare hotel for Cincinnati rejects and refugees.”
Due to a poor track record of signing players for too much/too long, Washington didn’t offer Dunn the BIG the big dollars he was seeking for in the open market. This is proven in the way that he “sat” on the Nationals’ offer for a longer than appropriate period. During this time the Natty’s front office held their ground and remained steadfast. Now Washington has found their seat-seller in Dunn, and you have to give it them for signing him for 2 years at $20 M. The Nationals got the offensive power they were looking for, without breaking the bank. Now they are in a position to deal for whatever else it is they think they need heading into the ’09 season, which many expect will be in the starting rotation or bullpen.
Here’s the kicker, the Nationals don’t lose a draft pick since Arizona traded for Dunn late last season and didn’t offer him arbitration. The signing doesn’t hinder the DC system’s development. The price tag of 2-years and $20 million dollars doesn’t seem outrageous. Even though he has been dubbed a “strikeout machine” you must acknowledge that he knocks himself in for 40 of every 100 RBI’s. He’s an offensive weapon that DC has been missing since Alfonso Soriano left the capital.
Does the recent news in Washington enable the Nationals to become a legit threat in the NL East, or potentially in the Wild Card race? What moves will have to be made with money left in the bank? Will Dunn play first or left? Well…seems we already have the answer to that. Undoubtedly answers will be revealed to us in the upcoming months.
“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Peter Gammons in an exclusive interview held today.
“Back then, [baseball] was a different culture,” claims A-Rod. “It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”
Alex Rodriguez’s admission is politically well-timed, as it comes 48 hours after Sports Illustrated confirmed A-Rod was apart of the 100 plus MLB players who tested positive for illegal substances in 2003.
In true fashion of professional athletes who are found guilty of such treachery, Rodriquez claimed that he did NOT know what exactly he was taking at the time. I find this bypassing comment to resemble former President Clinton’s “I never inhaled,” excuse. Look Alex, whether or not you knew the exact NAME of the drugs you were consuming, you still knew you were doing something wrong.
In a world where the economy is faltering, people are losing their jobs and familes are being put on the streets, Alex Rodriguez has enjoyed the fruits of the largest contract in MLB history ( $252 M ). He was able to attain this astronomical salary through the aide of illegal drugs and for that he should feel regretful.
A-Rod alleges that he only took anabolic steroids during a few years with the Texas Rangers and that he has remained clean for his career in New York. I suppose that it’s just a matter time until this lie is revealed to us as well.
To view the exclusive interview click here to watch it at sportsfly.com the emerging leader in sports games and news.
And THAT’S what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
Anquan Boldin may have played his last game in Arizona. Well, at least it was the Super Bowl…
Boldin was quoted Friday in USA Today, “I don’t think the relationship can be repaired with the organization. It takes more than, ‘Well, we did you wrong and we’ll pay you this.’ It’s not about the money. It was always about the principle, guys being true to their word. I guess I was expected to uphold my end of the bargain, and it wasn’t reciprocated.”
Team president, Michael Bidwell claims that the Cardinal organization has continually been working with Boldin and agent Rosenhouse to restructure and, even, extend Anquan’s contract. Teammate Larry Fitzgerald has even offered to have his own contract restructured and lessened in order to facilitate the possibility of retaining Boldin.
However, all this probably won’t be “enough” for Anquan. He seems determined to leave Arizona in search of something new. Given Boldin’s selfish mentality he may find a better fit in a organization that has winning qualities yet vacancies at the “star” wideout position. Or he, simply, may choose to go anywhere that will “Show him the money!!”
StatDragon thinks that the 49ers, Eagles and the Bucs are all interesting options as teams that have quite a bit of money to play with in the off-season and who could greatly benefit from a blue chip receiver on their team. Could Mr. Boldin become a proud member of one of these franchises? I guess we will have to see what develops through the spring…
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!