The new owner of this franchise gallantly stepped into the breach last season following the abrupt departure of the enigmatic M**e. In doing so, he followed in the proud interim replacement footsteps of Sam Perlozzo, the Hotter Becky from "Roseanne", and, of course, Paul Westerberg of the seminal '80's indie band The Replacements.
But the Plesidential Erections have some experience in this league, and aspire to move beyond their replacement status and establish themselves in the top half of the league, despite inheriting a keeper roster bleak enough to cause his predecessor owner to cast himself into the pit of despair. Will he succeed? The answers below, in the form of wisdom gleaned from song titles of the original Replacements themselves.
Infield--"I Bought a Headache" off of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash
This franchise has been based around Albert Pujols ever since the current owner's first go-round in the league, when he out-fine-printed a league full of lawyers to renew Pujols' contract risk-free. Now, though, Pujols is down to one functional set of elbow tendons, and is playing for a Cardinals team that is unlikely to compete this year. That could well add up to reduced playing time, and possibly early season-ending surgery for Senor Cornholio, which would effectively hamstring this group.
The rest of the infield falls into the solid but unspectacular category, with the Lewinsky Pacifiers hoping that Ricky Weeks stays healthy, JR Towles is for real, Orlando Cabrera doesn't regress too far off of his surprise season of last year, and that Kevin Youkilis avoids another second-half swoon. It seems unlikely that all of those hopes will be realized, and even if they are, there's not enough there to hold down the fort if Pujols goes sideways.
Outfield--"Bastards of Young" off of Tim
The outfield skews consistently young, with no players over 30, and most of them either hit or act like bastards. Matt Holliday anchors the squad, giving the team a 4+ category stud to build off of. New addition Curtis Granderson adds speed and even more power, and should score a ton of runs hitting at the top of a loaded Detroit lineup this year. Aaron Rowand is pencilled in as the third OF, but will likely soon lose playing time to budding star and certified jerkface Lastings Milledge. If Milledge comes through, this is likely to be one of the strongest OFs in the league this season.
Starting Pitching--"You Lose" off of Hootenany
Let's start with the positives: Roy Hallday was the steal of this year's draft, and also neatly addresses the owner's Blue Jay fetish, and Tim Hudson and Jered Weaver have each been effective one (and only one) of the past two seasons. Off to a good start!
But then we have to move on to the negatives: Brian Bannister was the luckiest pitcher in baseball last year, and is unlikely to sustain his results given his poor peripherals and freakishly low BABIP last season. Josh Johnson is coming off of a broken face last year. And Shaun Marcum sucks and rather less neatly addresses the owner's Blue Jay fetish. Plus. there's nobody behind these guys, meaning that the team is going to have to be pretty active on the waiver wire to fill out an effective staff. Much work to be done here.
Bullpen--"Gary's Got a Boner" off of Let It Be
Hi, I'm Gary.
In Huston Street, Brad Lidge, BJ Ryan and Jose Valverde, this team is one of the few that can claim to have saves in depth without having sacrificed their staff's combined ERA and WHIP to get them. While most teams attempting a 'pen-first strategy have fared poorly in this league--look no further than the ill-fated M**e for proof of that--some, like last year's champions, have had some success. At the very least, the stable of steady closers should provide the team with some useful trading chits down the stretch, which might prove valuable with Pujols starting to get more expensive in the very near future.
Prognosis--"Color Me Impressed" off of Hootenany
This team is better than it has any real right to be given the mismanagement of the past few years. Still, there are too many questions in the infield and the rotation for them to make a run this year. We see them climbing back to respectability, but ultimately having to focus on '09.