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The Tally Ho

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yankee Stadium; Baseball

Listen to yesterday's Brian Lehrer show about the controversy surrounding the new Yankees Stadium, Out of the Park.

Speaking of the Yankkes, I would be a horrible worker in the GM office due to competency issues, I have a proposal for the Yankees and Angels this coming June. Trade Gary Sheffield for either Kelvim Escobar or free agent Jeff Weaver. Hear me out, the Angels are a pitching rich organization that desperately needs protection for Vlad Guerrero. Is it clear that the Yankees want Sheffield back next season? I think it is obvious that they should go after Barry Zito - then again the let Pettite, Wells, and Clemens go after the 2003 season. As I see it now, the Angels will have a very tough time advancing in the playoffs without a second power hitter while the Yankees will have the same issue because of their lack of starting pitching. Sure, this does hurt the Yankee offense a bit - but without Sheffield they can still have Damon, Jeter, Giambi, ARod, Matsui, Cano, Posada, Williams, and someone like Crosby. Maybe it is a bad idea, but the Yanks need pitching.

The Red Sox have too many outfielders now. They announced that their roster will include Adam Stern (has to stay in the majors 17 more days) and Willie Mo Pena. Dustan Mohr and Willie Harris were left off, while Gabe Kapler is working his way back. Mohr will probably be traded, and I assume they will hold on to Harris as he can also play in the infield. But what happens when Kapler comes back? While none are power hitters, Boston is not without outfielders in AAA. Just when things looked ironed out in the infield with Tony Graffanino going to the Royals, they bring in Hee-Seop Choi - I assume as insurance in case Youkilis ends up as the everyday third baseman if Lowell can't hit. I have a feeling that the April very of the Red Sox may not look like the September version.

Also, Buster Olney writes that the National League stinks this year.
Scouts and talent evaluators will look at the same thing and still often disagree, but they are in harmony on one note this spring: The National League stinks.

"If the Devil Rays were in the NL," a scout said, "I really think they would be a wild-card contender."

That's not to suggest that an NL team can't evolve into a powerhouse during the year, or that a NL team can't win the World Series. But the overwhelming consensus is that the best five to seven teams in the majors reside in the American League, and that while a group of elite teams will fight like rabid dogs to win playoff spots, the NL will be a battle of mediocrity.

This is like the old NFC-AFC disparity of the early '90s, when it seemed that the true test of greatness was to see who emerged from the games played by the 49ers, Giants, Bears, etc.; the Super Bowl was usually a wipeout of some weak AFC team.

It appears that there will be a fine line between being good and bad in the NL this year; solid seasons from one or two key guys -- the X-factor players -- might lift a team from third or fourth to first in its division. I'm curious to see the readers' list of X-factor guys -- not necessarily the stars, but the middling guys who could surprise and lift the NL team. With apologies to Colorado, Arizona, Cincinnati and Florida (teams that are still a few pitchers away from contention), here is my list:

Go to the post to read the rest.


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