Not THAT kind of clown …. THESE clowns…
In one of only a few of my off season predictions to come to fruition, Manny Ramirez has re-signed with the LA Dodgers, as reported by Ken Gurnick and Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com.
Honestly, who didn’t see this one coming?
I am glad to see this for a few reasons.
#1 – I love Manny in another division, all the way on the other side of the country. He is officially out of our short-cropped Yankee hair. His bat seems to work magic no matter which team he ends up on. He is such a nuisance.
#2 – A-Rod isn’t in the news today. His words aren’t being scrutinized. He isn’t hanging out with any unsavory characters. He’s not caught up in the middle of some new controversy involving drugs, celebrities, aliens, talking goats, or Narnia. He’s just chilling out in Colorado trying to figure out if he wants to miss the beginning of the season or the middle of the season. For now at least. Hey, maybe we can start saying, “It’s just Alex being Alex…”
This was the only thing that made sense for Manny. San Francisco didn’t have the wallet with enough girth for Manny. Nor did it have a big enough spotlight. The Giants already bought their gimmick when they spent $8M for one year of The Big Unit and his 300th career win.
Dodgers Chairman Frank McCourt and GM Ned Colleti made the wisest move possible by brining back the power hitting left fielder. Manny puts money into the club’s pockets from merchandise sales, ticket sales, and general fan interest.
As the old addage goes, there’s no such thing as bad press (but tell that to A-Rod). Manny will get the Dodgers on the front page with his antics and his hitting ability.
Apparently, Manny managed to tweak the ire of several former fans from Beantown with his attitude and comments during the ensuing press conference.
According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, Manny dropped a heavy-handed slap to the face of his former team in response to a question about his potential dissapointment for not being given as large of a contract as his clown-of-an-agent, Scott Boras, was boasting.
“I won. I got out of [Boston],” he said. “I already make my money [$162
million in career earnings]. I’m in a great place, where I want to
play. I am happy, my teammates love me, the fans love me. Sometimes
it’s better to have a two-year deal in a place you’re happy than an
eight-year deal in a place you suffer.”
While collecting paychecks for goofing off may seem to be suffering to Manny, most Americans will be lax to agree. Manny lives a dream, and now he can continue to live in the lala of LA with other big mouthed buffoons in Hollywood.
Manny is precisely where he belongs.
MLB.com – http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090304&content_id=3915730
MLB.com – http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090305&content_id=3922510
MLB.com – http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081226&content_id=3728929
MLBlogs.com – http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/03/manny_i_have_a_few_things_to_s.html
http://cksinfo.com – Free Clipart
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3535984 – AP/Gus Ruelas
http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2008/writers/john_donovan/02/18/donovan.top10spring/TorreDodgers2.jpg – AP/Uncredited
This is a blog I never wanted to write, but I feel it is important to address. For those of you who may have read my early winter rantings, you know that I made predictions — many of which ended up being wrong.
I hate being wrong.
That being said, I think it is time to address our biggest American League threat, and no, I’m not talking about those bums from Beanville. Let’s take a trip across the country to the pollution capital of the United States, Los Angeles. Because our number one threat in 2009 is those stinkin’ Angels.
I’ll give you three reasons why we need to keep our eyes on these guys not only for this year, but for the next few years.
#1 – The Angels in the Outfield.
Sorry for the cliche’, but seriously. What more of an offensive threat to boast in your outfield than Vladimir Guerro, Torii Hunter, and our former Bobby Abreu?
We should be familiar with Bobby’s abilities already, but for those of you just now tuning in we have one of the most patient hitters in baseball. Bobby can make a pitcher throw many times. He isn’t afraid of taking a walk. (73 times in 2008). He knows how to steal (22). He has a career .300 average (.296) and he plays very cautiously, which gives him full season endurance (156 games). Bobby is a very talented player, an offensive force, and will make a great #2 or #3 hitter.
Before coming to the Angels last season, Torii Hunter wasn’t much to worry about. The Minnesota Twins were never a real threat to anyone. They had their streaks, mostly built on the back of Hunter’s bat. (I’m editorializing pretty hard here, I know.) But put a potent hitter on this Angels team and you have a reason to swallow the lump in your throat. In 146 games, he collected 551 AB and 153 H, giving him a hearty .278 BA. All total, he carried 60 extra base hits, 21 of which got him around the bases. Oh, and there’s the whole 1.000 FPCT.
I can’t even say his name with conjuring up images of burning villages, but this dangerous trio is led by 32 year old Vladimir Guerrero. The 12-year veteran is like Yogi Berra — he’ll swing at, and typical hammer off, anything. He is difficult to pitch to. I recall a scene where a pitcher attempted to walk him, so Vlad stepped across the plate and cranked the ball into the field anyway. He is a career .323 hitter (.303) who brought in less than 100 RBIs off of his 164 H for only the second full season in his career(91).
But these three men do not stand alone as an offensive threat. Chone Figgans and Howie Kendrick. I get chills thinking about these five members of a very potent Angel lineup that has dominated the American League over the span of the past few years. It is no wonder, to me, why the Angels did not persue some of the more costly free agents. They have no need to. Which brings me to my second point.
#2 – They Go Deep
And I’m not talking about just the offensive hitting ability either. Take a look at the Depth Chart. RIDICULOUS. It’s like a circus of talent, competing for every position.
Infield depth has three guys, Izturis, Wood, and Quinlan, with a great deal of talent being availible to back up at every infield base position with a near perfect FPCT and mostly respectable batting averages (.269, .200, .262).
The offensive weakness may come from their catchers, but they have two guys have can handle the backstop with Napoli and Mathis (.273, .194). Napoli is yet another 20+ HR guy, of which the Angels have too many (4).
The outfield has protection for their big three if an unfortunate injury would occur. G. Matthews and Juan Rivera have acceptable BA’s and can fill in as needed and help to platoon either Vlad or Bobby in the corners with the DH role.
I’m not even going to address their pitching. It is sufficient and deep. The Angels are an island unto themselves with their throwing programs. Their farm system has made them almost entirely self sufficient and will be a model many other teams follow for the future.
#3 – 3-7
The Yankees and the Angels played each other ten times. Of those ten times, the Yankees only mustered up three wins. If the Yanks could have pulled those seven losses, the post season would have been written differently. But the fact remains that in that ten game series, the Yankees were outplayed by the Angels. the lineups look different now, so only time will tell how 2009 plays out.
Those are the reasons why I see the Angels as the team to beat for the New York Yankees. The rest of the AL West is still weak, despite a growing strength this year. 2009 will undoubtedly be a great year for baseball.