Will New York make the postseason for the seventeenth time in 18 years? And where will the rising Jays land?
By Cam Cain ◊ 3-25-12
So here we have it. It is finally spring. After a long winter break, it’s time for our nation’s pastime to be reborn for another long season. In 8 short days, the Cardinals and Marlins will play at 7:05 and kick off the new season at the new ballpark in Miami. I felt like I had to come out with my own predictions for the season. It is just human nature to feel the need to guess at these things, however accurate you may be (last year I chose Colorado to win it all.) So here are my predictions for the toughest division in the game, with 4 potential 90-game-winning teams, the American League East:
Where does Boston stand in the league’s toughest division?
By Cam Cain 2-9-12
Spring is almost among us. Depending on where you live, it may not look like it but I’m talking about baseball season. Pitchers and catchers report in a couple of weeks and most of the teams seem to have taken shape. However, there are question marks above many other teams. For example, there are the Red Sox, a team who probably should’ve gone into the offseason with the same strategy as their bitter rivals in New York, work on the starting pitching. They lost Eric Bedard to the Pirates and will hopefully, mercifully, find a way to get rid of John Lackey. This leaves veterans Josh Beckett and Jon Lester who are proven top-of-the-rotation guys, Clay Buchholz who threw a no hitter in his second career start in 2007 but has been inconsistent ever sinse, and Daisuke Matsuzaka who the organization hopes can pitch how he did before his injuries. Roy Oswalt is surprisingly still a free agent but had possibly his worst season in his career last year. He is only 34 and could possibly make a good third spot in the rotation.
New GM Ben Cherington also traded away the top 2 shortstops, Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro for relief pitchers. This must mean that they are planning on moving someone, likely flamethrower Daniel Bard, to the rotation. But why both of the shortstops? Next on the list are Mike Aviles who hasn’t played more than 34 games at short since his rookie season in 2008 in Kansas City. Also, there’s Jose Iglesias, a defensive-minded Cuban prospect at the position where defense matters the most. He had only 6 major league at bats and is expected to be called up sometime in June. However, some worry about his hitting. Iglesias hit .235 at the AAA level last year and only has one career minor league home run. The Red Sox also have Aruban Xander Bogaerts at short in their farm system who was ranked by mlb.com as Boston’s third best prospect and the majors’ 76th. However, he is not expected to make the majors until 2014 and he will likely switch to third base by then.
So how does Boston look for this year? Well, with no shortstop, right fielder, and questions about the pitching staff, it’s hard to see my hometown team finishing ahead of the Yankees or Blue Jays.
Free Agent closer Papelbon signs record deal with the Phillies.
By Cam Cain 11-12-11
This just may be the missing link to Philadelphia’s championship. Ruben Amaro Jr. has just added another name to a lengthy list of free agent acquisitions as the GM of the Phillies. This deal makes Jonathan Papelbon the highest paid closer of all time. Him and the Phillies have agreed to a 4 year deal worth $50 million dollars. This is a risky move due to Papelbon’s inconsistence. This also is a huge case of overpaying for a player. We’ve seen it last year with Jayson Werth and the Nationals. The Phillies will still be paying Papelbon over $10 mil. a year 4 years from now. I wouldn’t have paid more than $25 million for him. Jonathan was never the best closer in his time with the Red Sox. Amaro Jr. felt that he needed this large sum of money to lure Pap away from Beantown.
This now widens the gaping hole in Boston’s bullpen. Flamethrowing Daniel Bard is very inconsistent. Bobby Jenks could close but he hasn’t pitched well since 2008. There are many more viable pitchers out there. Jonathan Broxton is only 27 and has had a 36 save season only 2 years ago. Or, if they decide to go the route of Jenks, which is what I would do, Mike Gonzalez, who spent last year with Baltimore and the Rangers, is available and is a left handed reliever who would be a good fit.
In other news…
Kidnapped Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been rescued on Friday after over 50 hours. Venezuelan authorities rescued him in a 15 minute gunfight. Ramos and his family have been provided bodyguards by Venezuela’s government.
The Florida, now Miami Marlins have switched to the official worst logo and uniform set in baseball history. You can view them here. They remind me of a three star hotel chain. The Miami Gardens Marlin Suites. They even got rid of their iconic teal. Oh when will people learn IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT!? They do move into a nice new stadium this year. I do agree with the name switch. There is another team in the state. It’s not like Minnesota. Florida Marlins had a nice ring to it. I’m sure these new uniforms will grow on me eventually. I hope they’re not just an eyesore until they’re gone.