Re: What's your excitement level for this year?
I'm not sure the adjective I'd ascribe to my fealings towards the team right now. It's more guarded than "guardely optimistic" but more optimistic than "luke warm".
Have changes been made that can significantly reduce RA or increased RS, not really. Cordero will help lower RA by taking the ball out of the hands of the bullpen dreck. However, as it stands now Belisle may/may not take another development step, and 4 and 5 are big question marks. Weathers is likely due some regression from a great year. Gonzo ought to bounce back and play a more solid SS than his 2007 campaign.
On the RS side, Ross should bounce back and produce better at the plate. He certinally helps with the RA. EE should start the year off more solidly than 2007 (because that mean nasty Jerry Narron is gone). Votto should out produce Connine/Hatte combo. Will Jr produce at the same level, however? Will Phillips regress? Will the Hopper deck of cards collapse?
The biggest reason for optimisim, however, is the cadre of youngsters being talked about. Volquez, Bruce, Ceuto, Bailey, McBeth, Burton, et al. They could all implode and be big duds...however, I like their chances at at least contributing *something* over the likes of the Womacks, Shearns and Gosslings of the world. But will the produce in the bigs? Will they even make it to the big team? If they do, will they see any playing time? Which leads me to....
In Dusty We Trusty. He's the wild-card here. He's got a long track record from which to make assumptions about his decision making process, however, we'll have no idea how he'll really implement things until Spring Training (and only just a snap-shot then).
But there's still several months before ST even starts. We have no idea what the imapact of Jocketty being around will be, if any. There's likely going to be more jockying, and hopefully transactions before ST starts.
But for now, there's more to be excited about than years past. Lots of things still have to fall into place to win the division, but I'm starting to like the chances of things falling our way more than in years past.
a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.
I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate