Ready for the Slow Down

This is a tough time of year to write about baseball. The free agent market has all but dried up with mostly back of the rotation starters and bench pieces left. This off-season has been a bit different and the third and fourth best starting pitchers that were on the market are still on the market. Neither Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt have been able to find a home and in Jackson’s case there doesn’t even appear to be much interest.

It is odd how the off-season has now slowed to a crawl and the only thing that could liven it up at this point is a surprise trade. Hey wait a second weren’t BJ Upton and Wandy Rodriguez supposed to be traded this off-season? It is hard to say what happened with that but their appear to be a number of teams ready to break camp with six outfielders.

The Angels are going to try Mark Trumbo at third base but if that doesn’t work then he is going to left field which would push either Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos, or Torii Hunter to the bench. Once Spring Training starts and battles are being won and lost a team like the Angels or Rockies might be more open to trading one of their seven outfielders.

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The Upgrade Theory

Before I get started here today I would like to give two people thanks for helping to bring this blog post into existence. First the title is courtesy of Mr. @JackoBeam from a tweet he sent me last night in response to something I said about Rick Ankiel. The second person I need to thank is Mr. @ouij for his new blog and fine work in trying to predict what the Nats will realistically do in 2012.

Now that you have fully read over some of what the Nats are projected to do in 2012 we will use that as our jumping off point to figure out what else they should do with the rest of their off-season. As the Nats are currently constructed they are not ready for Opening Day. They have a full compliment of pitchers, but are lacking somewhat in position players. As it stands right now the Nats bench would wind up being a little short. Of course that can be filled in with non-roster invitees, but that might not be the best approach.

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The Morning After

It is over. It is finally over, and part of me can’t believe it. A large part of me can’t believe Prince Fielder ended up on the Tigers. Even with the news reported and confirmed it is hard to see a fit. The Tigers already had one of the four first baseman better than Prince and now they are going to move Cabrera to 3B in order to make room for Prince. Some people are calling this a reaction to V-Mart getting hurt, but that is one hell of a reaction. This would have to go down as the ultimate panic move if that is really the case. A 9 year $214 million commitment isn’t made because a team’s DH gets hurt. When that happens a team signs Johnny Damon to a minor league deal or makes a trade for a bad defender on an NL team.

One way or another it is over, and a lot of people suddenly have the Tigers as their favorite to take the AL. When it comes to picking who is going to do well over the course of a season pitching staffs should be the number one thing considered, and if the Tigers get Garza then they will have a very good pitching staff. Right now it is Verlander and a few warm bodies.

A lot of people are enamored with the potential of Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, but until they have a complete and solid season potential is not production. Doug Fister had a good season last year but it is hard to imagine him doing it again. If he does and Scherzer and Porcello realize their potential then the Tigers will have one of the better pitching staffs in the AL, but as of right now they are behind the Angels, Rays, Yankees, and perhaps even the Rangers.

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RWZ

There have been few things that I have to say I legitimately care about. I also have to say that when it comes to people I am somewhat of an oddity. Somehow, baseball became one thing I legitimately care about. It was weird because I have always loved the sport, but I never took the time to really learn any of the sport when I was young. Then, one day I was sitting at Nationals park and I seemed to know everything that could possibly happen. With people, I try and remain detached because frankly any person can stand up and walk out on you for any reason or you might have a strange circumstance that causes you to never see them again.

I remember well when I found baseball, it happened in a very strange way. I was hanging out talking with my friends who were all watching TV, then they put a baseball game on and I just decided at that moment I should follow baseball. The Nationals were new in town and I made the logical choice and decided to follow the local team. I found myself in the 2009 at one point really learning what it meant to lose. In the previous year the Nationals had lost 100 games and 2009 the Nationals would lose 100 games again. To say the least it was a tough couple of years, but I really felt like I learned a lot about baseball in those tough years. When you lose that much, you see a lot of what your team should not do, then you realize the difference when your team wins a couple of games. I remember when the 2010 season started and it felt so amazing that the Nationals were above .500 for a decent period of time for the beginning of the season. Sadly, it would all fall apart and the major solace Nationals fans would experience was a season that was not 100 losses. That is not to say the 2010 season did not have its moments, but the 2009 and 2008 season had their moments as well and they were awful.

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The Fielder Blockade

I don’t have anything really smart or good to say and perhaps that is why I haven’t written a blog post since Monday. I also have started a new career and because of some stress have been under the weather. I don’t want this blog to go extinct. I already added one writer and would be more than willing to add others, but that might mean a bit more of a redesign. This coming season I will be splitting my baseball writing between my own personal blog and welovedc.com.

This of course should be interesting. It will also be interesting balancing my time between work, baseball, and the two blogs. Especially since my new job is as a Realtor licensed in the state of Va., and I don’t get paid unless I sell a house I have listed or help someone to find a new home. Before that happens I need to find people that need to buy or sell there home and with only 1% of cold calls even leading to an appointment that seems like a waste of time.

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The Person I don’t Want to be

The last few weeks I have had to struggle to stop myself from letting angry and dismissive verbiage come spewing out of my mouth. On a couple occasions I have lost the battle and turned into the baseball fan I swore I never would be. I have said on more than one occasion that baseball is big enough for all types of fans and no one should be excluded even if they think batting average and RBI are the best stats to judge a hitter, and all that matters for pitchers is whether or not they end up with a W next to their name in the box score.

The last few weeks have been a bit draining on me. I get up every morning and check to see the Prince Fielder news. Throughout the day I check it some more and all it is is more endless waiting. Fielder will sign at a date and time unknown. It is like standing on the front porch waiting for a package to arrive that could come anywhere between 5-10 business days.

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You Get What You Pay For

What do you consider the most amazing thing about watching a game? Any sport, any day, any team, what is it that is draws you to a game? Maybe it is the players, you have several favorites that you love to watch perform at the highest level in the world. Maybe it is the team, you love the logos and you sport the gear blind to any wrong doing by a player, a general manager, or an organization as a whole. Tonight, when I was driving home from the grocery store hurrying to ensure I would catch the beginning of the Caps game with a frozen pizza and a six pack of beer, I realized what it was that draws me to a game.

In 2010, I remember it was my birthday and I had the NLDS on TV. It was Philadelphia against Cincinnati in game one of the National League Division Series. I watched a little bit of it, but had some friends who wanted me to hang out. Reluctantly, I turned off the TV as Roy Halladay had a decent game going on. Later, I would come back home to find out that Roy Halladay had thrown a no-hitter, only the second one in baseball post season history. I do not like to turn off games, but I have a certain obligation to friends and that will probably never change. The sad fact is, I turned off a game that was going amazingly well to find out later that it was a unique game in baseball history. Despite it was two teams I could have cared less about, it would have been an amazing thing to watch.

I was sitting in a bar with a friend on May 6th 2011 when Jordan Zimmermann made a start against the Florida Marlins. Jordan Zimmermann is my favorite pitcher, so any time I get to hang out with quality people and watch my favorite pitcher while drinking beers is a good night. During one inning, I watched Jordan Zimmermann pick up a strikeout on 3 pitches, then another strikeout on 3 pitches, then one more strikeout on 3 pitches to record an immaculate inning. For a power pitcher to strike out the side is not abnormal, but when a pitcher strikes out the side on 9 pitches, that is something special. I remember I said to my friend. “wait, did J-Zimm just have an immaculate inning?” My friend responded with a simple, but effective “yes.” I could not have been more exuberant.

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