|This is terrifying.|
I've got my first umpire's meeting tonight and my dad just got back from a week of umpiring down at Yankees Fantasy Camp (brought me back an autographed Shane Spencer baseball which is my second autographed Shane Spencer baseball so, you know, my retirement is taken care of). I'm ready for some baseball. Why? Because baseball season means no more shoveling snow and I want that immediately. So today, I'm going to take a look at our favorite baseball teams and address what I've liked, what I've not liked, and what work is left to do before Spring Training starts.
Boston Red Sox:
Like - Re-signing Mike Napoli was a must and made all the sense in the world for what he did last season. I also kind of like the move to sign Grady Sizemore. Why not? I might not have given him a major league deal, but if his injuries are behind him, well, they aren't but whatever.
Don' Like - AJ Pierzynski replacing Salty is a mistake. It is a big mistake.
Work Left - Bolstering the bullpen. They got a lot of mileage out of Tazawa and Uehara but I don't know if you can count on that for the long haul.
Like - Letting the veteran pitchers walk. Tim Hudson left for SF and Paul Maholm is moving on. The Braves have enough young arms that there is no reason to overpay old guys with diminishing stuff.
Don't Like - Allowing McCann to leave. It was inevitable but it will still hurt. Filling his big bat with a combo of Gerald Laird and Ryan Doumit isn't going to work. Plus, Evan Gattis isn't going to hit like he did in 2013.
Work Left - Buying out Dan Uggla. He can't play. He hasn't been able to for years. For as bad as BJ Upton is, at least they have players to put in when he is one of his many funks. They don't have that luxury with Uggla. They need to fix that.
Like - That they didn't overreact (yet) and make an unnecessary trade. The window is closing with this group as currently constructed so if they want to make a run in 2014, they can't deal Phillips or Bailey. Homer is out after this season but they can still benefit from a monster contract year out of him (or at least they hope).
Don't Like - What they have in CF. Billy Hamilton probably isn't ready yet even though he is the Usain Bolt of baseball. He probably can't hit enough. The Reds lost Choo but don't seem to have a back-up plan. Chris Heisey is not a viable back-up plan.
Work Left - They need some sort of RH platoon CF even if it is somebody like Reed Johnson.
Chicago White Sox:
N/A as this team is ALL IN on a monster rebuild that has been a long time coming. I really like them flipping Addison Reed for former RedHawks CF Adam Eaton. There is no point in having a good, young closer if you are going to lose 90+ games for at least the next three years.
Like - Signing Joe Nathan. Even when the Tigers got fluke seasons out of Todd Jones and Papa Nachos Bell Grande, you knew that it wasn't going to last. They have never had a rock solid closer. Now they do...which I do not care for.
Don't Like - Losing out on Choo. The Fielder and Fister dumps were supposed to pave the way for Choo. Yet, they lost out on him. I'm not sure how much longer Hunter can still mash as he enters his age 39 season. And now LF is being anchored by a horrible combination of Steve Lombardozzi, Rajai Davis, Andy Dirks, and I think that Don Kelly is still around. That's not good.
Work Left - You need a back-up option for 3B. I keep hearing that some good young guy is poised to take over but the Indians once thought the same with Andy Marte. Be prepared for disappointment and have a contingency plan. Might want to pluck Placido Polanco off the scrap heap as insurance. Or...BRING BACK INGE!
Like - That they avoided past mistakes. They came close to doing it again when they went bananas after Tanaka, but losing him is a blessing. Don't commit big money to guys while you are in full blown tank mode. Although a 25 year old ace would have been nice, it wasn't the right play at the right time for Theo.
Don't Like - Honestly, I don't hate anything. They are letting the young guys play. I am pretty excited to see the one guy that the Yankees wanted and lost out on, Cuban OF Jorge Soler.
Work Left: The Cubs have two OFs on their 40 man scheduled to make more than the league minimum. Yeah, they could use a guy or two out there. But stick to the plan and build around Rizzo, Castro, Soler, and Mike Olt. It's going to get worse before it gets better but at least there is a plan in place now.
Like - John Axford as the new (likely) closer. That's a nice upgrade over Chris Perez and his pot dog. This also allows the returning arms to go back into their familiar roles. Hopefully, Pestano remembers how to pitch this season since his 2013 was horrendous.
Don't Like - Back to the scrap heap. The Tribe attacked free agency in 2013 but have done virtually nothing this winter. That's not good. We know that the franchise operates under cap restraints, but they need to keep moving forward. The 2013 team caught a lot of breaks so you have to expect a return to the mean in 2014. That is why a roster upgrade, somewhere, has to happen.
Work Left - Re-sign Ubaldo. He wants 100 million. He isn't going to get that. See if he wants to do one year for 18-20 million and then he can go out again next winter. That also allows the team to either make a run this year or trade him at the deadline.
New York Yankees
Like - It's a brand new team! You've got to admit, the new lineup is very intriguing. I love the shift from bombing the short RF porch to speed and defense. Ellsbury, Jeter, Beltran, Soriano, Teix, McCann, K. Johnson?, Roberts?, and Gardner...that's pretty damn good. They better fucking stay healthy. And the pitching staff looks pretty good as well. I'm going to like these guys.
Don't Like - All of this change yet nothing done in the bullpen. Robertson should be fine as closer but I have no idea how we're going to get to him. It seems like we're counting on 7 innings every game from the starter.
Work Left - ARMS. I wanted them to sign Balfour to be insurance like when we signed Soriano. He went to Tampa instead. I'm not too worried about it though because now that 189 is out the window, money is no issue at all.
There we go; a little baseball talk to get us into a warmer state of mind. Now get outside and shovel your fucking sidewalk. Taking care of your driveway is great but the sidewalk is more important. Never forget that. It's OK if you slip on the ice on your driveway. It is mos def NOT OK if someone else slips and falls on your sidewalk. And don't use salt. It's bad for dog paws and dogs are the most important group in America. GO YANKEES!