Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The 2008 San Florida Nationals

With the baseball season opening right around the corner, it's prediction time, and the pundits all seem to agree on a few things: the National League is wide-open, the Angels are by far the best team in the AL West, and the Nationals, Giants and Marlins all suck. And they are proof that you can suck for a variety of reasons:
  • The Marlins have absolutely no pitching of note, and traded away one of the 5 best players in baseball for the hope that they can have a competitive nucleus together in time for Ralph Nader's 2016 presidential run.
  • The Nationals have no players of note with the exception of a potential stud third baseman and a stockpile of outfielders that range from injury prone to intriguing to just plain nuts.
  • The Giants have one of the neater pitching staffs in baseball, and a lineup that's ancient and crappy.
Which lead us to quasi-steal one of Bill Simmons' ideas: rather than have 3 teams that will struggle to win 62 games, what if we combined their roster into an uber-franchise? Would this team be competitive? Let's look at the starting 25 that we'd have:

C: Bengie Molina, Paul Lo Duca
1B: Dmitri Young, Mike Jacobs
2B: Dan Uggla, Ray Durham
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Felipe Lopez
3B: Ryan Zimmerman
OF: Aaron Rowand, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns
SP: Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Scott Olsen, Noah Lowry, Barry Zito
RP: Chad Cordero, Brian Wilson, Kevin Greggggg, Jonathan Sanchez, Tyler Walker, Jon Rauch

How would this team do? Well, it's a decent staff with nice upside, and a solid enough bullpen. The lineup's pretty okay 1-9 with a fair bench, but there's no star power besides Hanley, and it lacks a big bopper. In other words, it would be competitive in the NL, but it's tough to place this squad above the Mets or Diamondbacks.

Which is pretty pathetic. You would think if had a choice of 75 major-league players, you could form a pretty damn good team. The problem, of course, is that the Nats, Marlins and Giants have combined about 40 major league players and 35 guys who should be in AAA or changing oil. Bad for them. Good for the rest of the league.

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