Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Musings

 Are you in the mood to read 1,537 words?  Actually more now since I'm writing this introduction?  You are?  Oh good.  Because here they come. 

-  We've written about the Span trade, the Revere trade, and the Correia signing here already so I suppose I should put something to figurative paper about the Mike Pelfrey signing but I am struggling so hard to care. 
This adequately expresses my feelings.
I guess I'm in favor simply because it's mirroring what my strategy would be with this team: trade everyone with value, get as many prospects as you can, fill holes for this year with short, cheap contracts, and plan for 2014.  Signing Correia and Pelfrey does that, although giving Correia a second year is pretty mind-boggling.  Pelfrey should be a better pitcher than Correia (not saying much), but he's coming off Tommy John surgery so your mileage may vary.

Pelfrey is a former first round pick who has been thoroughly mediocre in his career (similarity scores at his age - 29 - put him like a Carl Pavano or Jake Westbrook at that age: ok, but not necessarily good.  A one year, $4 million dollar contract is a pretty good deal for him, especially because he's coming off Tommy John surgery which these days seems to make players better.  If he can get back to his mediocre ways or even slightly better - put up like a high 3s/low 4s ERA - he could end up being a good piece to trade at the deadline.  I'm realizing now I'm pretty obsessed with trading anything and everything of value and throwing in the towel this year.  And it's December.  Gonna be a fun season.  I do like the Rule 5 Ryan Pressly pick-up though.  Probably I could write about that and actually sound positive, but I'm not going to.  Although I will mention that I saw on where they list each team's top 20 prospects that Pressly slots in at #17, so that's probably good, right?

-  What in the world is going on with the value of top prospects these days?  The Phillies send their #1 prospect to the Twins for Ben Revere.  The Royals send their top prospect (and #3 in all of baseball) away for James Shields, while the D-Backs ship out their #1 (and #5 overall) for good fielding no hitting shortstop prospect and a middle reliever.  Now the Jays are trading their #1 (#11 overall) and #3 (#83) for R.A. Dickey who, rumor has it, is 38.  It's starting to look like teams are looking more or more for when they have their "window" and just going for it, and since it's not just one team but multiple this may be the new trend.  The Phillies will have Revere for a while and the D-Backs got back a guy they hope is their SS for many years, but both the Royals and Jays are clearly going for it now, acquiring players who won't be on the team in 3 years.

The famous Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz trade worked out well for both team's and I'm guessing both organizations would do it again if they traveled back in time, but generally there's a pretty clear winner and loser in these types of deals.  If the Jays and Royals can get back to the playoffs for the first time in 20+ years even once you can probably say they made the right move, if not they payed an awfully steep price for the same results they'd have gotten anyway, but with a dash of disappointment mixed in.  That is, of course, assuming the prospects work out which is pretty much a given since they always do.

- Speaking of baseball transactions the one time that isn't doing anything that baffles me is the Baltimore Orioles.  Yeah, there was an awfully lot of luck on their side to make the playoffs, but they made them and clearly needed to make some upgrades if they want to get back, but they aren't doing much of anything.  So far their biggest moves are claiming Alexei Casilla, trading Robert Andino to Seattle for Trayvon Robinson (note:  I have no idea who this is), and re-signing Lew Ford to a minor league deal.  They need a corner OFer, a 1B after letting Mark Reynolds walk, a second baseman since Brian Roberts is always hurt and I'm pretty sure Casilla isn't the answer, and starting pitching help because Chen/Hammel/Gonzalez/Tillman/Britton is not going to get you into the playoffs again.  Also I just noticed that their designated hitter right now is Wilson Betemit - I mean these guys need some help.

I have no idea why they aren't after Swisher or LaRoche, not to mention Edwin Jackson or trying to at least work a trade with somebody like the Dodgers who have too many pitchers or figuring out something at 2b, even if it's just signing someone shitty like Kelly Johnson (he's better than Casilla).  Then again who knows, maybe they're smarter than me and waiting for the market to settle a bit and going after bargains.  They have plenty of young arms that could get decent pieces back to plug into the roster, but they've barely even been mentioned in rumors as far as doing anything that a whole bunch of waiver claims and minor league deals and getting rebuffed by Nate freaking Schierholz.  I don't get it.  If Baltimore's front office thinks they're in a place to compete again this year they're in for a big ole face slap.  Prime candidate to take the UNDER on wins once those wagers are released.

-  You know how two of our reader's (Loretta08 from Sippin' on Purple and Bear) hate hate hate Kevin O'Neill and consider him bar none the worst coach in NCAAB?  I agree he's pretty awful, but without question Bruce Weber is the worst.  The dude did nothing but underachieve at Illinois (after finishing national runner-up with Bill Self's players), including famously refusing to recruit a point guard instead content to force shooting guards to play out of position (first Demetri McCamey, then Brandon Paul) with mostly disastrous results and now he's screwing up Kansas State as well.  The Wildcats made the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year under Frank Martin and have basically the same team back.  They were ranked 37th in the AP Preseason Poll and 30th in the ESPN poll, while the Big 12 coaches picked them to finish 5th in the conference and I ranked them as the 33rd best team in the country.   So decent.

Now I readily admit there's nothing particularly damning here at 7-2.  Their only two losses are to Michigan and Gonzaga (and Gonzaga just killed them), but looking deeper it's just empty.  They barely beat a bad Delaware team and a horrible George Washington team, and two of their wins are over a non-D1 team and USC Upstate who is basically a non-D1 team.  They still might end up in the race for an NCAA bid because don't forget these are Frank Martin's players, but the end for this program is on the horizon.  Mark my words, in 2-3 years this program will be back in the depths of anonymity because BRUCE WEBER IS AWFUL.  Truth.
She hates Bruce Weber too I would assume.
-  It feels a bit weird writing all these words and not talking about the Gophers since I'm supposed to be a Gopher blog, but I live-blogged the last game so every thought I had that night (and many I didn't) has already been written.  Instead, real quick, I wanted to take a look and compare this year's Gopher team to the one from 1996-1997 which made the Final Four (yes, they did).

Both teams were coming off NIT seasons with minimal personnel losses from the prior year (1996 team lost only David Grim) and nothing in the way of impact freshmen coming in (that was the Loge/Sanden/Archambeau class - thanks dick).  Both had success in an early season tournament.  Both came into Big Ten play with just 1 loss (1996 loss was at Alabama, a team that would fail to make either the NIT or NCAA Tournament).  That team was ranked in the top 10 for the first time following the January 11th game against Michigan.  That year's Big Ten was much weaker than this year's version, with only Indiana (x2), Michigan (x2), and Illinois ranked at the time the Gophers played them and none ranked higher than 15th.  The Gophers were clearly the class of the league in 1996 as shown by winning the conference with a 16-2 record.  This year's team is going to be in a much tougher conference.  I remember thinking that team was special after the win @ Indiana, and I'm already thinking this year's team is special.  Seriously, I can barely handle waiting for that New Year's Eve day game.  We're going to learn so much.

-  Since I know you're dying for an update I made the semi-finals in both my important Pretend Football leagues and lost both, despite having the highest scoring team in both leagues this year, by scoring the fewest points either team put up all year thanks to having Ray Rice, Demaryious Thomas, and Hakeem Nicks in both leagues.  I hate that stupid fake sport.  I quit.


Loretta8 said...

Since you wrote this, Kevin O'Neill lost to UC-Irvine and Georgia while Bruce Weber beat Florida.

Time to concede defeat on this one, nothing can stop O'Neill's incompetence.

WWWWWW said...

In my defense, these aren't Weber's players yet. Give him time.

Although I will concede it's going to be tough.

Loretta8 said...

thinking about it, Jeff Bzdelik might be a legitimate challenge to O'Neill's throne, but at least he's not a piece of shit human being.