Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NFL Picks Wild Card Weekend 2014

Just as predictable as Ndamukong Suh

The MLB Hot Stove season is at its mid way point (thanks, but news is slow. Unless you count more Padres trades, the Yankees losing another aging pitcher, or constant Ben Zobrist rumors at breaking news. I don't. But I do like picking NFL games so I thought this was a good time introduce what I hope will be a regular contribution to MoBettaBaseball.

First, a little background. In the past 2 seasons I have successfully picked NFL games against the spread at .523 winning percentage. That might not make the playoffs (well, in NHL, NBA, or NFC South it would), but its winning more than losing which is enough to win money. I also enjoy picking NFL games much more that playing fantasy football so there's that. I don't have any kind of scientific method for picking my winners, I've just followed football for nearly 25 years and have a good feel for the game. I run the picks through my head and go with my gut. Believe in me or don't, but I have consistent results. 

All playoff lines are taken from ESPN and are a mode of accumulated numbers.

Now to the meat.

Saturday, January 3

Arizona @ Carolina (-6.5)

Amazing that a 7-9 Panthers team is giving nearly a touchdown against a Cardinal team that finished 11-5. The catch is that the Cards lost 4 of their last 6 games which saw them plummet from the driver's seat for the top NFC seed to a wild card team. As with most things in the NFL it came down to QB play. With Carson Palmer (a slightly above average QB) the Cardinals were a top flight team. Without Palmer, the Cards where... bad. 

That is not to forgive how unbearable the Panthers have been this year to watch and to bet. They were kind of like that last year though too when they finished 12-4 with the 2nd seed in the NFC. Last year I just keep waiting for them to be bad and they weren't until the playoffs. This year I expected the Panthers to be good all year and they weren't. It doesn't help that Cam Newton broke his back a few weeks ago. However, he recovered just in time to put an end to the Mike Smith era in Atlanta. Let that simmer for a second, a QB with a broken back had enough in him to change a regime in Atlanta...

Carolina clearly has the momentum here, and no one is totally sure who is starting at QB for Arizona. However, there is no counting on Panthers this year. I don't think the Cards win this game, but they won't lose by 7.

Pick: Cardinals +6.5

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3)

Two veteran, playoff seasoned teams that emerged from the meat grinder that was the AFC North. You can throw out the records and the stats, the Ravens and the Steelers will be going at each other like the world is ending at midnight on January 4th. The winner of this game will either have so much momentum going forward that they roll all the way to the AFC Championship game or they will stand in tatters, husks of their former selves having nothing left in the tank after testing the limits a man will go to for the sake of a game. Either way its a close game,

Pick: Raven (+3)

Sunday, January 4

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis (-3.5)

Quarterback play. Quarterback play. Quarterback play. The ascension of Andrew Luck is undeniable. As are the questions surrounding Andy Dalton on the road in the playoffs.

Also, when asked to pick between an Andrew and an Andy, take the one with the man's name.

Every. Damn. Time.

Pick: Colts (-3.5)

Detroit @ Dallas (-7)

I've been suspicious of the Cowboys all year. If this is really their year, why didn't they get the bye? Why are they mucking around in here in the Wild Card Round? 8-0 on the road & 4-4 at home? What gives? Why should they be giving 7 to a team with that nasty of a defense and that unpredictable of an offense? Matthew Stafford strikes me as the kind of QB who drops 400 yds in a playoff game. Tony Romo, the kind of guy that drops 3 picks this time of the year.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is the Cowboy's and Romo's year. But nothing has shown me that I can bet on it.

Pick: Detroit (+7)

So there you have it. You don't like these picks, let me know why. I'd love to hear why I'm wrong.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why Max Scherzer Will Sign With the Houston Astros

Could this be the new face of your favorite franchise?

You know its between the December holidays when all the Hot Stove speculation is ALL speculation. Probably the biggest player of conjecture at this point of the MLB off season is one Mr. Max Scherzer. It makes sense, he's probably going to get the biggest contract of the offseason, he's a bona fide "ace", and seemingly every major shaker could be in on this one. I'm going to head outside of the box and this one try to explain why I think Max Scherzer is Houston bound.

I'll wait for you to stop laughing... 


Seriously, can I get on with this thing?

Well, whatever.

The Houston Astros have been one of the quietest teams of the 2024-15 offseason. There was some talk about them being the highest bidder on Andrew Miller (why would Houston go big on a reliever?), but not much after that. Position wise they probably feel like they have enough young players coming up through the system to try and hold tight for 2015 to see what they have. 

Starting pitching wise paints an interesting picture. The arrive of Dallas Keuchel (about to be 27 year old w/ a 2014 ERA+ of 133) and Collin McHugh (27 yo; 2014 ERA+ 143 in 25 starts), and the steady veteran presence of Scott Feldman (more or less an average pitcher) the Astros already have the foundation of a fairly solid pitching rotation. Who else rounds out that rotation is anybody's guess, but should be some mixture of Brett Oberholtzer, Brad Peacock, etc. are young and cheap, but hardly inspiring options.

This is where Mad Max fits in to the picture. Houston could really use an established "ace" at the top of their rotation. Some one to lead that staff and show all these young players how to get the job done year after year. Also, some one to convince people that the Astros are at team that wants to win and will go to the lengths necessary to do it. And finally, they need Max Scherzer to just plain win some games for them. 

A similar parallel that I pointed out in the James Shields post from last week is the 2015 Houston Astros and the 2011 Washington Nationals. Everyone panned that Nats that offseason when they gave big money to Jayson Werth, but they had to shell out that kind of coin to attract a free agent (BTW Werth has been worth the money). The Nats were also loaded with prospects coming up through the system after years of terrible records. The Astros find themselves in a very similar position. Years of poor finishes have restocked the Astros system (ranked no. 5 in 2014 by and their projected 2015 payroll is just a hair under $40mil ( The Astros could certainly use that promising foundation and financial flexibility to attract a big fish like Scherzer.

Now could be the time for the Astros to make their big splash. They could wait a year and jump in on the 2015-16 SP FA crop or they could steal the headlines now and sign Scherzer to that big money contract that Scott Boras usually delivers his clients. I think that the Andrew Miller angle tells us that the Astros are already looking to open up their pocket books and possibly make a run at a franchise altering player. Who better than a former Cy Young winner and rotation cornerstone?

You will continue to hear a lot of speculation about Scherzer in the coming weeks. The Yankees will keep coming up. The Tigers or the Dodgers will always be around. Even the Nats and the Red Sox (Scherzer is NOT signing with either of these teams) will seem like logical destinations to some. But when you hear that a mystery team is in on him, remember the Astros. They make a lot more sense that it seems.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Prospect and the Promise

But... I already said goodbye...

Part of the beauty of baseball fandom is the patience. Its kind of like owning a plant. You give it an appropriate amount of attention and watch it grow. Sometimes you are rewarded with a healthy, room commanding, conversation piece. And other times you have a fern that seemed to start dying the day you brought it home.

Either way, you have put a lot thought into that plant, I mean team. As you follow a team year after year, you become more and more involved with the players that are coming through your team's system and how they ultimately fit into the bigger scheme. Sometimes these players become real parts of your team's history. Other times these prospects are shipped out of town to acquire other integral pieces. And sometimes these kids wind up just plain a disappointment.

As much as we as fans invest in these prospects, organizations invest even more. We may look at only the signing bonus or initial salary that is paid to each one of these players, but understanding a teams investment in each player is to dig deep into a team's scouting and player development system of which all those people deserve compensation for their work. I have met a few scouts in my life and their understanding of this game compared to mine is not even close.

So I'm left to compare my emotional/quasi-intellectual understanding of a player's importance to a team to that of a real baseball organization's view of that players value. It makes me wonder if there is a formula of value that these teams are working with of which we are not fully aware. Or is it possible that teams don't give it that much thought.

Consider the approach of two different organizations:

Boston Red Sox

Arguably loaded with both position and pitching prospects. We all know about Xander Bogaerts (a SS because he can play there), Mookie Betts (good enough to create a position where there wasn't one) and Blake Swihart (Buster Posey lite?), but there are also some other depth options there of questionable futures including Deven Marrero, Bryce Brentz, & Manuel Margot, etc. The pitching prospects almost seem deeper, but mostly yield some number 2 ceilings (Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez) with a decent amount of 3,4,5's (Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo) and future relievers (Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar)

Despite this depth, the Red Sox have been pretty reluctant to deal any of these players for current impact players. This was not necessarily the case with this organization 10 years ago when Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez where sent to the Florida/Miami Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. No one would necessarily criticize that deal considering that it netted Boston the 2007 World Series, but it does show an organization willing to part with prospects for sure things.

So why won't the Red Sox part with its high level prospects now for proven commodities? I honestly don't want to see any of the players the Red Sox have spent the last few years developing get traded away, especially when I see the prospective return available. There are plenty of good players that could be acquired, but factoring in contractual obligations and such there really is only so much out there. But at the same time, the recent flops of Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. (In all fairness, the book has yet to be written) why not flip a few of these player for a proven, win now player?

Fortunately, the Red Sox are in a position where they can allow many of these young players to develop because they are able to fill line-up holes in a lot of different ways. These young player while largely unproven are very affordable and will continue to be for several years to come. Keeping these players allows the Red Sox to sign guys like Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez for a combine $200mil without handcuffing the team going forward. Its likely a similar approach that they are also using in building the 2015 rotation. All projected starting pitchers are under 30, and none of them are under contract for more than 3 years. The Red Sox could make a Max Scherzer type signing, but they don't really need to given the affordable pitching depth about to percolate up to the majors.

And then the other side of the coin...

Philadelphia Phillies

Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies don't want to part with anyone. They locked up a big part of their successful core for a lot of money.and now they just don't have much to show for it. Even though the Phils do have a lot of money coming of the books in the next few years, they don't have anyone to replace the aging vets on their way out. According the the Phillies had the 25th ranked farm system for 2014.

They did trade Jimmy Rollins, which I guess means something. Rollins really wanted be a Philly and put his mark on their books for which he go nothing but flack. Amaro finally moved him at about his lowest perceived value.

Even though he flipped the franchise SS/former MVP, Amaro still has a lot of work to do and might not have very many pieces with which to get the job done. Cliff Lee won't be traded unless he wants to be. Ryan Howard could be moved, but the Phils would need to eat a lot if not all of his contract. Chase Utley may be more valuable as a "face of the organization" than a trade chip. Paplebon may be gone eventually, but no one is giving up top prospects for relievers. So there is really just Cole Hamels as the only piece the Phillies could use to jump start their rebuild. That's why Ruben is holding Cole Hamels hostage like he's trying to get into Taken 4.

I get that he wants a nice return, but if you look at recent offseason moves, you're going to have to settle on something less than a team's 3 best prospects. Kemp, Myers, Samardzija, & Donaldson were not acquired for their teams top prospects and neither will be Hamels. I don't care about the years of somewhat affordable control, he's still 30 and the 2015 offseason will offer equally fertile ground. Its not like 29 other teams care if Hamels wins 20 games on a Phillies team that only wins 70.

Now, I think I understand Amaro's position. He has to rebuild the Phillies, and he's got do it quick. Otherwise, he will need to start looking for a new place to live.

Unfortunately, there is only so long that he can hold out for the best return. At some point Hamels becomes an asset of diminishing returns. Maybe that doesn't happen until winter 2017, but I would bet on it coming a whole lost sooner than that. And I'm pretty sure that the Phil's don't finish above .500 for any of those seasons with Hamels taking the ball every 5th day.

The Phillies got themselves into this position by put entirely too much stock in their own players. With a lot of home grown talent I can understand certain aspects of a reluctance to deal your marquee players. But Philly's future has been clear for a while. Rollins, Utley, & Howard (that contract...) could have all been dealt or moved on for better value by now and the Phillies' record wouldn't be any worse for it. Instead, now we have a Phillies team that everyone knows needs to be rebuilt, but the team's top asset (Hamels) doesn't have a franchise remodeling type of value.

No one would ever accuse the Red Sox of this approach. If anything, once a player develops and is considering moving on, the Red Sox usually open the door and rush them out likes its closing time (see Jacoby Ellsbury). They have been pretty successful turning comp picks received into major league players, but the Sox will also move a player for a more immediate return if available (Jon Lester-Yoenis Cespedes-Rick Porcello). The Red Sox unsentimental approach may infuriate fans, the anger usually subsides when they hang the next banner on Yawkey Way.

The only conclusion I came to throughout this rambling diatribe is that understanding a players value is like trying to hit a moving target. A player probably has the most value when they are helping you win, but no one wins every year. So when is it time to move on or upgrade? The calculus is probably different in each organization, but I'd feel more comfortable moving on a year to early instead of a year or 2 to late.

Friday, December 26, 2014

MLB HotStove Conspiracies!!!

Because sometimes the absence of evidence is all the proof we need.

I learned a few things this morning. One is that the good folks over at the MLBNetwork would rather spend the day after Christmas with their families than breaking down the chances for the repeat success of the Kansas City Royals' bullpen. I also learned that there is a channel on the cable TV called the History Channel 2. And on this History Channel 2 "history" is interpreted very liberally, which I suppose is their right given they have a platform and this is America damnit.

Well, given that I now have a platform, I will be interpreting a few MLB stories through a very similar lens as this History Channel 2.

Yankees Keep ARod on Roster 

This one is considered a bit of a head-scratcher until you consider everything that we know and everything that we don't. We know that ARod is is owed $60mil over the next 3 years and that he is 39 years old. We also know that ARod is the most rested player in baseball right now since he was suspended for the entire 2014 season. He also figures to get plenty of rest throughout the 2015 season and beyond since Brian Cashman has gone out of his way to leave him with no position to play. So why keep ARod?

ARod knows something that Cashman and the Yankees doesn't want us to know. Could is have to do with the real succession plan that George Steinbrenner left behind? Is it possible that Derek Jeter was in fact the true heir to the Yankee organization and that only Cashman, Hank, and ARod know the truth? No one has denied this. Jeter to his credit has kept quiet on this controversy as his first post-playing career endeavor has brought him into the world of online sports journalism (where him and I now have equal footing). I also notice that he has not given ARod a voice with the Player's Tribune while propping up Tiger Woods (The only possible rival to ARod's universal sporting villainry). What plan is in place and how will this thing go down? The possibility of $60mil would keep me pretty quite, I know that. Will it be enough to keep ARod quiet?

Billy Beane is a Member of the Illuminati

Think about this for a second. Billy Beane has an unprecedented run of regular season success with a Major League Baseball team that plays in a stadium that would not suit a minor league team. The Oakland market just sad. Yet Beane tears down and rebuilds teams with players that no one else really wants and constantly stays ahead of whatever trend is coming down the pipe next.

They also made a movie about a non-fiction book of which Beane was the subject. And who played him in this movie? Brad "Frickin" Pitt of course. If you asked every white man in America who they wanted to play them in a movie about their life, Brad Pitt is the answer for like 75% of them. The other 25% would say Clooney or Affleck, but lets face it, Brad Pitt is just more likable.

Yet for all this success, Beane's A's teams cannot get it done in the playoffs. Why? Well it would be too obvious now wouldn't? If the "Brad Pitt" from Oakland was winning World Series in a stadium held together by duct tape don't you think we would all start to wonder what is up? Athletics post-season struggles are just enough to keep us distracted from what is really going on down there, probably underneath the Coliseum. And what exactly is that you may ask? Plans for world domination, obviously,

Mike Trout is From Another Planet

A player who just finished his 22 year old season with a career OPS+ of 166? Right, Mike Trout is a normal human being who just happened to be born in some place called New Jersey. I looked at New Jersey once from across a bridge in Philadelphia and let me tell you, Mike Trout is not from New Jersey.

Superman had the good sense to take a career in journalism where no one would notice his erratic behavior and reluctance to cover the biggest stories in Metropolis (you know, that one about a flying crime fighter with a cape). Mike Trout however, did not possess that good sense. He chose a career as a pro athlete and blew his cover in the process.

No one can answer why Mike Trout is the best "human" we will ever see play baseball. They will say that he works hard or that he has impeccable hand-eye coordination. But the truth may be far stranger than that. New Jersey makes sense as a possible landing spot for his baby incubating space pod. Its close to New York City, where lots of aliens already live. No one would ever suspect New Jersey to produce anything that wasn't music or hair grease related.

I'm on to you Trout. I don't care if you are fooling everyone else. I know the truth.

So there you go. No one has offered any proof as to how these theories aren't true. Which makes them as true as anything else. Now I just need to find the number for Time Warner so that I can go ahead and cancel the cable.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Curious Case of James Shields

James Shields in 2010 being informed his next World Series appearance would be with the Royals.

Let me start out by saying that I have almost no idea where James Shields will be playing baseball in 2015 or at what sort of price tag. What I do know is that no one else seems to really know either. But I love me some spec-u-latin', so here we go.

Here is what we do know. James Shields is a 32 year old pitcher with a career 111 ERA+ to his name. In his 9 years of Major League service Shields has gone over 200 innings every year in the last 8. He has been remarkably durable and consistent, minus a tough stretch with the Rays during the 09-10 seasons where for the only time in his career his FIP was over 4.00. The last 3 years however, Shields has posted a FIP around 3.50 while pitching for 2 different teams. He has clearly figured something out.

Also, there are those intangibles that we all simply have to take other people's word for. Like the much maligned "Big Game" James nicknamed battered about this postseason. But by most accounts Shields is a strong leader in the clubhouse and of a pitching staff. He is known as a "bulldog" out there on the mound which could mean anything from his general demeanor to that he has a hard time breathing due to a stubby nostril cavity and farts a lot because of it (his nose really isn't all that stubby, at least from pictures I have seen). Anyway, those intangibles are kinda worthless to me in trying to figure out exactly what team will pay how much to put its uniform on him.

What I do know is that there is plenty of reluctance out there to hand an about to be 33 year old pitcher a 5 year contract over a $100 mil which is the number I seem to be reading a lot recently. Most pitchers receiving contracts of that size are under the age of 30 which Shields is rapidly putting in his rear view mirror. Even if some of those under 30 pitchers do not have the same kind of track record that Shields has to his name (Homer Bailey, I'm talking about you).

One interesting comp for age and contract expectations is the deal the Phillies handed Cliff Lee in 2010. At the time we were to understand that Lee took an under market deal to go to Philly because he liked the city and the team (it is a nice city). As if a contract of 5 years at $120mil is somehow under market... but Lee was 32 at the time coming of great run with the Rangers and with a Cy Young under his belt. And for the most part Lee has lived up to his end of the deal with 3 very good years with the Phillies with 2014's injury plagued season fresh in people's minds. Lee hasn't helped the Phillies contend those years, but he sure isn't the reason why they are where they are today.

However, James Shields is not necessary Cliff Lee. Lee's career ERA+ of 118 is largely held down by his first 6 years in the league when he was slightly better than average overall, but since his Cy Young in 2008 he has been a straight beast while on a barnstorming tour of country. Shields just hasn't been THAT good. And it would seem to me if anyone one could qualify as an "ace" it would be Lee. Shields is not at that level. He's just a tick below.

So where does that leave us? It may be worthwhile to examine the potential suitors for Shields. The teams that most commonly come up are the Dodgers (in on everybody), RedSox (people believe they need more pitching), Giants (FA spurned World Series Champs), and the Yankees (so many reasons). RedSox and (new) Dodger management don't seem like the types to be paying $20+mil per year to pitchers who will eventually be 37. If he winds up with either of those teams it will be something closer to 3yrs/$70, which still seems unlikely. I don't buy the Giants paying any more than the RedSox or Dodgers, because even though they could use a guy like Shields, they sure don't need him. The Yankees? I don't know, its possibe, but if they were going to spend big on a pitcher it seems like Scherzer would be their guy. Plus don't underestimate Brian Cashman's position here. He's got a major rebuilding process ahead of him and I'm sure he's actually pretty excited for the opportunity. Paying aging pitchers lots of money won't dig the Yankees out the hole they are in and Cashman knows it.

So for the kind of money Shields is reportedly seeking we may need to look at the fringe candidates. The Texas Rangers could be a possibility, but may be a little gun shy of FA's with recent experiences with Shin Soo Choo and Prince Fielder (traded I know, but the point is there). There's no way Padres are really serious on this one. The Angel are out there, but they have a lot of financial commitments already on the books. I see the Marlins possibly getting involved, but at that price its a question. Now the Tigers might be a stealth team in this if they miss out on Scherzer. They could use some more quality, proven pitching to keep up in the AL Central and ownership is more than willing to spend when needed. 

Another team that keeps coming up for me is the Houston Astros. I know it seems crazy, but how different of a position are the Astros in now from where the Nationals were when they were willing to give Jason Werth that big money deal in 2011. A team rich in prospects that no one saw coming giving an "over market" contract to attract a big name FA. Werth has delivered and the Nats are contenders. Its an eerily similar situation. (I've got more to say about the Astros later)

If Shields wants the money and the years its probably going to come from an up and coming team who has to pay extra to attract players. If we wants to win with an established team, he may need to take fewer years, but the price per year will likely be around the same. However, the prospect of leading a rising team to the promise-land while being paid a truckload of money to do it may be just the kind of thing that gets "Big Game" James going.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why the Mets NEED Troy Tulowitzki

I come here not to bury the Mets...

Well maybe a little, but I leave most of that to more reputable writers. One of the hot rumors percolating this week has to do with Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki and the the New York Mets. Most people who cover baseball for a living and then publish their thoughts in places where I can find them say that the gap for this deal going forward is large.

I can certainly understand both parties, concerns with moving or acquiring a player like Tulo. For the Rockies he is the face of their franchise. The kind of cornerstone that you build around and erect a statue for on Troy Tulowitzki day in 2025. A career OPS+ of 125 at the SS position is also not exactly something you can just pick up on the way home. Unfortunately, the Rockies have all of 1 playoffs/World Series appearances to show for the Tulo era and that came back in 2007. They also still owe the 30 year old $118mil over the next 6 years and he has only topped 140 games in a year three times in his career (2007, 2009, 2011). I'm pretty sure its the money and injury history that are keeping the Mets from going full Tulo and laying out the prospects needed to get this deal done.

The thing is, this is the time when the Mets need to be bold. The last few seasons have shown that the Mets seem pretty capable of developing pitchers, but have tried to surround NY's last remaining superstar (David Wright) with the likes of Curtis Granderson (an about to be 34yo OF w/ an OPS+ figuring to be right around 100 in 2015) and an endless line of disappointing positional prospects (see Ike Davis). Pairing Wright and Tulo in the middle of that lineup with Granderson, Murphy, Cuddyer might put together enough runs to support its quickly emerging rotation.

In addition to on field impact, the Mets are uniquely positioned right now to add a guy like Tulo and have a big time impact on their moribund franchise going forward. At the time of this posting, NY baseball is in a state of flux. The Captain has retired and the City That Never Sleeps is lacking the iconic player that it collectively believes it deserves. Brian Cashman has continued to make those savvy moves that keep the Yankees in contention every year despite owners who want to throw more money at a problem than the public schools. But the Yankees still have a lot of "if everything goes right" things that need to happen for them to be the perennial contenders they have been for the better part of the last 20 years.

The point is, the Mets have the opportunity to start capturing the next generation of New York baseball fans. Lots of kids have come to age in the last 20 years knowing only the Yankees as the preeminent NY baseball team. But right now, Mets fans who came to the team through their successful run in the '80s are now in their 30's & 40's, raising families and spending money on recreational activities. And from what I understand Citi Field is a welcoming environment compared to the monument to corporate money in sports known as Yankee Stadium (not an indictment; its a business, I know).

Why not take that chance Mets? Be bold. The injury history is what it is, and the money probably isn't that bad when you look at today's market. But the chance to add a superstar player in his prime at a premium position when the market is there for the taking? Lay out those prospects, build an offense and if you find yourself a pitcher away next offseason, what fortuitous timing as their are a bunch of "aces" about to hit the market.

New York is yours for the taking.


Monday, December 22, 2014

In Defense of AJ Preller

Because he needs me now more than ever...

You may have heard of this AJ Preller fella. New GM of the San Diego Padres by way of the Texas Rangers (and prolly some other places too). Mr. Prella has been in the baseball news quite a bit lately due to the reckless abandon which he as shown towards rebuilding the Padres. Reactions have been varied, but one of the predominant themes has been WHAT????

Personally, I am quite the fan of what Preller is trying to do to turn San Diego back into a place for baseball. As of today, December 22nd? the Padres offense is markedly better than it was last season when it was just plain the worst. And the acquisitions he has made thus far while seeming somewhat nonsensical, have not put that much of a dent in the Padres farm system (atleast at the top) and are by no means franchise crippling.

  • Matt Kemp at 5yrs/~$71mil? Sure when Hanley Ramirez got 4/$88mil to play the outfield. 
  • Wil Myers (buy low) still a year or 2 away from arbitration feels like a bit of a no-brainer.
  • Justin Upton (the Upton people still like not named Kate) for 1 year? If things don't work out this year a nice deadline piece or qualifying offer at seasons end.
  • Will Middlebrooks for a one of your 6 catchers? As long as you'll take the 34 yr old off our hands.
  • Too many catchers to name here...

The point is, even if you think that the prospects/players Preller moved where too much consider how much the Padres system has really yielded in the last 5-10 year. Some nice pitchers in there, but hardy the picture of durability, and if the Padre's farm system was better at producing hitters, Preller might just be working somewhere else right now. Also, they weren't his guys. They were Jed Hoyer's. And call me crazy, but how many deals have Cubs and the Padres made this offseason? Just sayin'.

Look, I don't know how things will exactly pan out of the Padres this year. I don't particularly think starting Myers in center is that good of an idea, especially when I've seen him get lost in Fenway's right field, but its only December 22nd (I think). I'm sure that Preller's got plenty of work still to do which hopefully includes packing up Yonder Alonso and shipping him... anywhere and giving my boy Tommy Medica a chance to shine!


I am very proud to announce the drop of the MoBettaBaseball Blog!!!

Here you will find one man's journey as told through baseball. There will be bits and pieces throughout, but baseball is why I am here, atleast on the internet.

Heavy on reactions,
Light on analysis,
A moderate amount of reckless speculation,
Its MoBettaBaseball