Saturday, April 2, 2011

Season Preview: More Fish For Kunta

I confess to having no clue what Teddy's team name meant this year. A google revealed that it's a reference from some show called Community. Whatever. If the show doesn't have Padma Lakshmi or Heidi Klum, I'm not watching it. Let's give Teddy's team a preview with a lift from Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger.


I just looked in the mirror, things aren't looking so good.

Let's get the negative out of the way first--this infield is not to my liking as it's not full of guys with a lot of talent. Tulo needs no introduction but it gets horrible fast after that. Chris Ianetta and Lawrence Dickmonger Jones combined for about a full season between the two of them, and are anything but bets to play a lot this year. Nor are they good bets to play well--Ianaetta has been perpetually disappointing, and Jones is 95 years old and a fester cesspool of chlamydia. ChoneShonne Figgins has turned into Juan Pierre at second base. Kila Ka'hilue is at least interesting because he's been talked about with the reverence of Youkilis for years, but has completely failed to show that in his limited time in the majors. More problematically, he's on the Royals. How many guys is he going to knock in even if he hits well?

Even the backups don't get me excited. Marco Scutaro is a pure homer pick and I think (and hope!) will be usurped by Jed Lowrie by Memorial Day. Derrek Lee has a giant pitchfork sticking out of his back. And planning on Lance Berkman to stay healthy while taking up right field is planning to fail. Hell, there's an argument that Pablo Sandoval is the second best infielder on this team. That's not good.


I used my inspiration for a guillotine.

Enough of the negativity--this outfield rocks. Ryan Braun is an MVP candidate, CarGo was an MVP contender last year, and BJ Upton is a guy I like to contribute in 4-5 categories this year. Now yes, there's no depth here whatsoever, and Gonzalez is a little bit of an injury risk. But the 3 guys they have match up with every outfield in the league.


I close my eyes and walk a thousand years.

When Jonathan Sanchez is your fourth starter, you're in good shape. There's really nothing more to add to the simple declaration that Sanchez, Chad Billingsley, Ubaldo Jimenez and Cole Hamels is a lot of front line talent on the rotation. What's more curious is how this team handles the other starters they have. Edinson Volquez was lit up like a Christmas tree on Opening Day, and Travis Wood and Jake Westbrook are just guys. There's nothing wrong with having them on your roster, per se. But when you've got 4 excellent starters and, as we'll see, a nice bullpen, these guys should get nothing more than spot-starts against the Pirates and Royals.


Stop, you're trying to bruise my mind.

Ron Washington may have made the wrong decision for his baseball team, but keeping Neftali Feliz in the pen is the right decision for Teddy's team, because that's another 35 saves and 75 K's from the pen for him. Papelbon isn't someone I love this year, but he'll likely remain the closer unless he implodes, and Bobby Jenks is here as the backup plan. Not a deep pen, but those that are there should be useful.


I wish to wish, I dream to dream.

This team feels like it's 80% of the way to becoming a contender, what with a good staff and a great outfield, albeit without a ton of depth. It's the infield that has me concerned, but while the guys there aren't really any good, there aren't any true sinkholes that will put them behind the eight ball. What will likely develop by June 15 is a team in 4th or 5th place with 70 points, in shouting distance of the top 2, and with a decision to make--go for it, or trade off Tulo and Braun for assets? There are worse fates--you could be in the bottom with nothing to trade off--but where this team ends up likely depends on the desire of my co-blogger to truly make a run for it.

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