Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday "Wishes"

It's probably too late to be making this list since it is Christmas Eve. You've got to give Santa a little more time than this. So let's instead make this a New Years wish list which better suits those of my readers that do not celebrate Christmas anyway. What follows then is a list of wishes for the new year.

The Fan wishes:

  • That Bobby Cox can finish out his Atlanta career with a playoff appearance.
  • The Cubs would make a managerial and general manager change because they are way off course.
  • The Blue Jays have a breakout season from one of their new prospects to take the sting away from Halladay.
  • The Royals make a leadership change because what they have isn't working.
  • Zack Greinke has another outstanding year.
  • Derek Jeter would get 200 more hits.
  • Matt Holliday stays with the Cardinals so Pujols get something to hit once in a while.
  • Hideki Matsui has a very good year. Thanks again, Godzilla.
  • The Bay Rays finish higher in the standings than the Red Sox.
  • Junior Griffey hits higher than .270
  • Adrian Beltre has a terrific year. He played gamely with no shoulder for half a season and deserves it.
  • David Wright would have a bounce back season power-wise.
  • The Rangers or Mariners win the AL West.
  • The Pirates or someone like them has a breakout season with more than 81 wins.
  • Barry Zito would win 20 games and put an end to the miserable sniping about his contract.
  • Someone would hit 75 homers in the post-PED era (supposedly).
  • Strasberg would turn out to be the real deal for the Nationals.
  • Kerry Wood has a good season.
  • Matt Wieters becomes the player the hype predicted.
  • Francisco Cervelli gets a chance to be the next Posada at the plate (he's already better behind it).
  • Some old veteran would come out of the woodwork and put up an amazing season. Dontrelle?
  • Joe Torre would get to one more World Series.
  • Jason Marquis wins 15 or more games with the Nats.
  • Scott Feldman would prove that 2009 wasn't a fluke.
  • Josh Hamilton would come back strong professionally and personally.
  • Burt Blyleven would get elected to the Hall of Fame.
  • Mark McGwire would get elected to the Hall of Fame
  • Fred McGriff would get elected to the Hall of Fame.
  • Tim Raines would get elected to the Hall of Fame.
  • Roberto Alomar would get elected to the Hall of Fame.
  • Grady Sizemore has a strong comeback season.
  • Mariano Rivera has one more good year. Couldn't bear to see him finally show his age.
  • Peter Gammons is more accessible on MLB than he was on ESPN.
  • The Brewers would have a monster year so we could see Fielder and Braun on national television more often.
  • Dan Uggla is traded and forced to move off of second base.
  • Joey Votto has another good year with no emotional issues.
  • Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto can finally figure out how to be consistently awesome.
  • Ozzie Guillen would have one meltdown too many.
  • Adam Lind would has another great season.
  • Wandy Rodriguez wins 20 games this coming season.
  • Both Joba and Phil Hughes have good seasons.
  • All of New York falls in love with Granderson's smile.
  • Roy Halladay wins 25 games.

Here's hoping all of your wishes come true this holiday season. Enjoy and be safe.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Catching Up to the Hot Stove

A loyal reader told the Fan he was disappointed not to get a FanDome opinion of the latest moves in the Hot Stove season. Well...the Fan did point out that posts would be a bit sporadic until after Christmas due to company concerns. But, the statement is a bit flattering just the same. After all, when someone cares about what a writer says about anything is a good thing. So, okay, let's catch up a bit with some of the moves we've seen, starting with most recent to those further back.

This Fan is not thrilled with the recent Yankee deal netting Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera and prospects. It's not losing Cabrera that is a problem here. He became expendable ("fungable" in Rob Neyer's words) with the addition of Curtis Granderson. What is disappointing here is that the Yankees are back to trading good prospects for old players. Vazquez is 34. His best years have been in the National League. He already pitched unsuccessfully for the Yankees. He has a 12+ ERA in the post season. He just doesn't seem to fare well in high pressure situations. And, did the Fan mention that he is 34? This seems more like a 2003 Yankee move and we all know how those turned out.

The Cubs traded troublesome Milton Bradley to the Mariners for Carlos Silva. As usual, the Cubs got the worst end of this deal. Don't they always? Bradley at least has some recent history of success. Silva has been Illva for a long, long time. Way to go, Cubbies.

The big winner in the big trade was the Phillies. The Blue Jays lost an icon, and not a false one. He was a true hero and much loved in Toronto. Plus, by the way, he's been the best pitcher in baseball for eight years now. The Fan isn't a big fan of Cliff Lee. He has some dazzling moments and he has some clunkers. That goes for games during a season and for years in his career. Yeah, he was great in the post season. Yeah, he's a lefty. But if the Fan is a captain on CBS's Survivor, the Fan would always choose Halladay over Lee. Always. Let's hope for Toronto's fans' sake that the prospects turn out great.

The Yankees spurn Damon and sign Nick Johnson. Can Johnson play any outfield? Damon has never been a player to feel all gooey about. He swings and a girl. Apologies, but he does. But he's been an effective player for a long time. Johnson can't be depended upon. Then again, Damon seems to come up with a lame calf every other week these days, so maybe he was near done anyway.

Not since the Yankees traded for Goose Gossage the year after Sparky Lyle won the Cy Young has a situation occurred where a guy who wins the World Series MVP is allowed to walk away so easily. Where Greg Nettles once said that Lyle went from Cy Young to Syonara has a player gone from MVP (most valuable player) to MVP (moving van player). Hideki? Thanks for the World Series. Maybe you can get a better hairstyle in Los Angeles. Golly, you sure need one.

Speaking of the Angels, Bobby Abreu was worth only $5 million to them last year and is now worth $10 million per season for two more seasons? Good luck with that one.

Jason Marquis signed with the Nationals for two seasons. Say what!? Why would he do that? Didn't any contender want him? The guy has been solid for a long time. What gives there? Maybe the Nationals are on the rise. Who knows. Maybe Marquis knows something we don't.

The Braves signed Billy Wagner? Wasn't he retiring after last season? That's what all the stories about him said. Guess he went all Favre on us. Wagner might not be better than Soriano, who the Braves traded to Tampa Bay. At least not the Wagner in this stage of his career.

Meanwhile, the Mets have done diddly.

The Red Sox got Lackey. Is it okay of the Fan isn't overly impressed with that one? Lackey is decent, but he can be had and they way overpaid for him for way too long a period.

Coco Crisp signed a good contract with the Oakland A's. Why? The A's already have a good outfield. Crisp always seemed better than his results. Maybe this is the year he breaks

Jason Bay hasn't signed yet. Is it the Fan or does it seem that most fans are hoping their own team doesn't sign him? The Fan thinks Bay is the Richie Sexson/Ron Kittle of this generation. The Cardinals, however, would be real disappointed if they can't get the Holliday deal done.

Oops. Got a customer. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One More Pitch for Burt Blyleven

Every year, Burt Blyleven is overlooked for the Hall of Fame. Jack Morris gets more buzz, but Blyleven was the better pitcher. The only knock on the guy seems to be that he didn't win any Cy Young Awards and he didn't get to 300 wins. But here is how Blyleven stacks up to some of the pitchers from the recent era who are in the Hall of Fame:

Don Sutton 324 wins, .539 WP, 3.26 ERA, 108 ERA+, 1 20-win season, 58 shutouts, 178 CG 1.142 WHIP 2.66 K/BB 6.1 K/9 2.3 BB/9 Led league in ERA once, Led in WHIP 4 times

Phil Neikro 318 wins, .537 WP, 3.35 ERA, 115 ERA+, 3 20-win seasons, 45 shoutouts, 245 CG, 1.268 WHIP, 1.85 K/BB, 5.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, Led league strikeouts once, ERA+ once, cg 4 times

Fergie Jenkins 284 wins, .557 WP, 3.34 ERA, 115 ERA+, 7 20-win seasons 49 Shutouts, 267 Cg, 1.142 WHIP, 3.20 K/bb, 6.4 k/9, 2.0 BB/9, Led league in victories twice CG 4 times WHIP once K/bb 5 times Cy Young 197

Gaylord Perry 314 wins, .542 WP, 3.11 ERA, 117 ERA+, 5 20-win seasons, 53 Shutouts, 303 Cg, 1.181 WHIP, 2.56 K/bb, 5.9 k/9, 2.3 bb/9, led league in wins three times, ERA+ once cg 2, IP 2, 2 Cy young

Burt Blyleven 287 wins, .534 WP, 3.31 ERA, 118 ERA+, 1 20-win season, 60 shutouts, 242 cg 1.198 WHIP, 2.80 k/bb, 6.7 k/9, 2.4 bb/9, Led league in WHIP once, Cg once, ERA+ once, K's once

Analysis: Blyleven is in the ball park in Winning Percentage with all of them. His ERA+ is higher than all of them. His Strikeouts Per Nine Innings is higher than all of them. He had more shutouts then all of them. His Walks per Nine Innings and WHIP are right there with them. Only Jenkins had a better Strikeout to Walk Ratio. Fergie Jenkins had a superior stretch of dominance, but less total wins. His Complete Games are in the same ballpark.

Some would say that Sutton and those would be marginal Hall of Famers. This writer says that they are in the Hall of Fame and as such are benchmarks. Blyleven deserves a place in the Hall of Fame. If those guys are in there, he should be in there.