Friday, October 31, 2008

One last word about Baseball

I cannot help myself, I must comment on baseball as it comes to a close for 2008. First the Tampa Bay Rays. This team lost the World Series, but has a real chance to make a dynasty. I am a little excited to see this team continue. They have lots of young players who are already producing at the major league level. What is even more interesting is that they have some of them already signed to long term deals. This team is built to last. Look out Yankees and Red Sox. The favorite to win the East next year is the Rays with only the Twins looking competitive with this team in AL.

Second, the Phillies avoided the dubious distinction of being the biggest team of underachievers ever. That title still belongs to the Atlanta Braves throughout the 90’s. The Phillies were supposed to be great going back 4 or 5 years, but Pat Burrell always disappointed. Think about it. The Phillies had the last two NL MVP’s, yet they still were losers. Don’t count on them this next year because the Phillies depend on the Mets imploding, which they will not do next year. The Phils will miss the playoffs next year as Howard continues to get worse and worse. I would strike out less at the major league level and that is saying something.

Third, and most importantly, the Pirates are going to be great. I can see the .500 mark for 09. Yes, they will be playing the Rays for the 2010 World Series title. Just go ahead and get used to the newest and best rivalry in baseball the Pirates versus the Rays. In 2010 the Pirates will have a load of offensive talent as top prospect McCutchen will be starting in the majors in the outfield. That will probably be the debut year for Jose Tabata as well, who was the lynch pin in the deal made with the Yankees this year. Pedro Alvarez, the top pick in this year’s draft, is scheduled to make his debut at third in 2010. The two pitching prospects we got from the Yankees showed signs of life this year and the one from the Red Sox will be ready by 2010. We drafted three middle infielders in the 2008 draft. One of them will be ready to take over short if Brian Bixler turns out to be a dud. If for some reason Pierce does not fit in at first, then Jamie Romak (aquired from the Braves in 2006) will probably be ready to add his bat to the line up.
Add to that line up the fact that we will be getting more for Jack Wilson and hopefully Adam LaRoche this next year. If Neil Walker looks good at third and Pedro Alvarez makes his way up as fast as expected, then we might could get rid of Andy LaRoche as well for prospects. The Pirates have four major league quality catchers, which means we could probably part with one of those for a stretch drive helper in 2010, and that will be enough to put us over the top. Surely enough pitching will show up in order to make the Pirates a contender in the years to come.

Look out world, the Pirates are back. I for one could not be happier.


Jonathan said...


Your analysis of the Phillies is about as informed as your analysis of Mercersburg!

The Phils have been good the last few years. Two years ago they barely missed the playoffs. Last year they made it but were out in the first round. This year they made it and won it all. They have been on a steady progress the last few years to where they currently are. The problem in the past was pitching. Since then, Hamels and Madsen have developed nicely and they signed Lidge this past off season. That put them over the top. And, whether you see them as depending on the Mets imploding or not, the fact of the matter is that they have proven themselves to be a better team than the Mets over the past two years. Good teams play better as the season moves along. Mediocre teams play worse. The Phillies are in the former category, the Mets in the latter. The Phillies went 16 and 3 down the stretch in the regular season, and lost just two games in the postseason. That is not depending on imploding, that is *exploding* the opposition.

And as for Howard: I'll take 200 strikeouts for 50 HR and 150 RBI every year.

Next year, the only significant changes will be that Burrell will be gone, and Hamels (barring injury) will be better. These are both very good things. They will be better next season than they were this season. I see no reason to doubt that they will be right back at the top again.