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Oh, calm down, this isn’t as good as it sounds: The 2013 New York Mets

What?

 
No. Wait. It– shit, no. It can’t be. That’s not…. optimism? No, no way. Who could be optimistic about this team? Who would be optimistic about a team that just traded away the reigning Cy Young Award winner, a team that hasn’t had a winning record or finished above fourth place in five years or a team whose two highest-paid outfielders now play for the Seattle Mariners and no one?
 
Why would any fan with his frontal lobe intact be the least bit happy about the impending train of mediocrity that will be the 2013 New York Mets?
 
Well, even if the next six months will be some mild drudgery — and they will be — there is, at long last, some light at the end of what has been frustratingly long tunnel. No, the Mets won’t be great this year. They won’t be particularly good either. In fact, they’re almost certainly not going to have the horses to get so much as a winning record for the first time in the Obama administration, not when Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are some of the fine men certain to get starting outfield time. Do not let the cautious optimism in Port St. Lucie or Queens fool you. This is probably a bad baseball team, even if Pecota somehow has the Mets projected to go 82-80 at the moment.
 
But that’s ok.
 … Read more...

To see how “a potential juggernaut” can go wrong, the 2013 Dodgers must look to the 2013 Lakers

This offseason was one of the most anticipated in Los Angeles franchise history. The entire industry looked to So Cal as the front office made massive moves that changed the complexion of the league. Though there were minor transactions in the form of tasty appetizers, the main course was yet another superstar player joining the team. Though it seemed for the past year that any person who had paid attention to the sport knew that he was eventually going to end up in the City of Angels, the fanfare was just as pronounced.
 
The payroll skyrocketed to another dimensions, forgoing any potential consequence of a soon dramatically changing luxury tax, the harshest penalties of which are reserved for those who repeatedly go over the set salary line. Of course, none of this mattered with brand new television contracts guaranteeing the team literally billions of dollars over the next twenty years. The organization spent and spent, with each new acquisition leading to an e-mail or text from my dad saying “And we got that guy too?”. These new offseason personnel additions–not one, not two, but several–aren’t without their questions. Concerns regarding how close or far these players are from the ends of their careers, their game-time potency and most importantly, how well each guy will catalyze with a team full of highly compensated stars are key to a successful season. As much as throwing money on the situation can help, there’s no telling how well these men will play together and how they’ll deal with the massive expectations set in front of them.
 
As if those weren’t high-profile problems enough, the squad is led by young coach will be tested with the hardest task of his career: having to soothe the egos of players making $10, $15 and $20+ millions of dollars annually, while figuring out a rotation that is certain not to make everyone happy.  Expectations are higher than they’ve ever been in Los Angeles, where an appearance in the championship round is merely a prerequisite, not a goal. The only measure of this team–in how much it cost to assemble the prospects and future considerations it took to do so–is hoisting high that gold trophy at season’s end. In Southern California, it’s not just championship or bust–it’s championship or “who are you?”. There is no alternative.
 
I was just talking about the Los Angeles Lakers.
 
I was just talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers.
 
For a fan base stretching from Lancaster to Long Beach, imaging a season gone horribly wrong shouldn’t be much further away than a drive on the 5 freeway.… Read more...

Bronx Tales: Who’s Behind the Dish for NYY?

KOBEsh: This week’s question is relatively simple; with the offseason departure of Russell Martin (yet another casualty of the Steinbrenner’s crusade to get under the luxury tax threshold), who’s going to be the Yanks’ starting catcher? And how early will the team really miss Martin’s power, play calling and leadership?
 
Vin:  To tackle the first part of this question, I would say there is a 50% chance Chris Stewart starts the year as the main catcher, a 40% chance Cervelli does, a 5% chance Austin Romine does and a 5% chance someone else does. While the Yankees letting Russell Martin skip town was all about money, the move does reveal something about their baseball thinking: they are willing to entertain the possibility of starting an all defense, zero offense catcher and concentrating resources elsewhere. … Read more...