Tag Archives: Carl Crawford

Would You Rather?

Last week, Dan put up a post with his pre-season all-AL West team.  Matthew, in the comments, alluded to the lack of star power in the division.  When you look at the list Dan has assembled (which I think is pretty accurate, especially the first team) the amount of stars on the team are a bit underwhelming.

With that in mind, I thought I’d compare Dan’s list to the best players in the AL East (which is the strongest division in my opinion).  These are all my opinions and I’ve based them on prior season stats, sabermetrics, and potential.  I choose to just assemble a first team for both divisions because the topic is star power, not depth.

1st Base
AL West:  Kendry Morales, LAA
AL East:  Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
The Winner:  Gonzalez (AL East)

Overview: I’m pretty high on Morales, I think he is vastly underrated, but Adrian Gonzalez is one of the top players in the game.  Gonzalez edges out Teixeira for the 1st baseman in his division.  Teixeira would be a first teamer in the AL West.

2nd Base
AL West:  Ian Kinsler, TEX
AL East:  Robinson Cano,  NYY
The Winner:  Cano (AL East)

Overview: This one’s a fairly obvious choice also.  Kinsler is a good player, and is an all-star when completely healthy, but Cano is the best 2nd baseman in the league (edging out Utley).  Cano posted a 6.4 WAR in 2010 (he hit .319 with 29 homers while playing decent defense).  Kinsler can post similar offensive numbers when healthy but he’s only played over 130 games once in his career.  Cano has played 159 or more the last 4 seasons.  Maybe in a couple years we’ll be seeing how Ackley stacks up against Cano.  Here’s to hoping.  A healthy Pedroia enters into this conversation, also.

Short-Stop
AL West:  Elvis Andrus, TEX
AL East:  Yunel Escobar, TOR
The Winner:  Andrus (AL West)

Overview: I might take some heat for putting Escobar over Jeter but I put him there because Jeter is one of the worst defensive short-stops in the league, while Escobar is pretty sharp.  The AL East is pretty weak at short-stop and Andrus wins this one easily, based on potential alone.  Both Escobar and Jeter put up WAR’s in the 2’s last year and Andrus put up a WAR of 1.5.  But, if I had to choose one of those 3 players to be on my team this year, I’d take Andrus without question.  His bat will continue to get better, while his defense is superb (unless he has a Yuniesky-type flop).  J.J. Hardy could also sneak into the picture for the East.

3rd Base
AL West:  Adrian Beltre, TEX
AL East:  Evan Longoria, TB

The Winner:  Longoria (AL East)

Overview: The East shows their dominance in this position.  They have Longoria (a top-5 player in the league), A-Rod (a future hall-of-famer, who’s put up at least 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s each of the last 7 seasons), and Kevin Youkilis (who’s more annoying than A-Rod, but just as effective) who each have a strong case to be picked over Beltre.  I love Adrian, he’s one of my favorite players in baseball, but Longoria wins this one easily.

The rest of the positions after the jump.  Continue reading

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The Rebuilding Process, Year 3

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Years 1 and 2 of the rebuilding process the Mariners are in, orchestrated by Jack Zduriencik. With year 2 nearing completion, let’s look ahead to year 3 of rebuild mode.

Following this 2010 season, the Mariners will likely find themselves less ahead of schedule than what had been anticipated going into this season. The 85 wins in 2009 will be followed up with something like 65-70 wins. The Mariners do not have much money coming off the books, and their best player from 2009, Cliff Lee, is wearing a Texas uniform at the moment. In some ways, things may look bleak for the Mariners after this season. However, looking again at the big picture of rebuilding in 3-4 years, I think the positives still outweigh the negatives because of the strengthened farm system, the lack of bad contracts, and a strong nucleus that are all signed (Ichiro, Felix, Smoak, Guti).

Rewind with me again to November 2008. The Mariners were a mess, kind of like the Seahawks are today, and similar to Husky football after the Willingham era concluded. In each case, our team needed to blow things up and rebuild. This happens in sports, and typically, rebuilding takes 3-4 years. Of course the Yankees can do it in 1 year, and the Royals or Pirates need about 10 years, but for a Seattle team in a good market, 3-4 years is about the norm. This season it appeared the M’s might be able to take advantage of a weakened division and some savvy trades, and take the shortcut from rebuilder to contender in just 12 months. But 2010 has not panned out, and while it looks like the M’s are going to have to start over again once this year ends, the reality is the foundation for rebuilding was laid a year ago, and Seattle is finishing year 2 of a 3-4 year rebuilding process.

In his “Wait ‘Til Next Year” series, Matthew recently broke down each position, and forecasted the roster heading into next season. Certainly a common theme in these posts is the uncertainty at multiple positions, but despite the question marks, the M’s will continue building around a solid group that will surely include Felix, Ichiro, Ackley, Gutierrez, Figgins, Saunders, Smoak, Pineda, Vargas and Fister. Others from the current roster will be back next year, and some will not, and additions will need to be made, either via trade, free agency, or growth in the farm system. Given how difficult it is to predict trades, let’s look at the unrestricted free agent crop for 2011, and specifically, free agents that may be realistic targets for the Mariners, give their needs. Yes, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Derek Jeter may hit free agency, but again, this list only includes realistic targets, at positions the M’s may have an interest.
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