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Thread: Sizing Up the division

  1. #1
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Sizing Up the division

    Let's start with the Closers just because I found this small piece.

    Sizing Up The Closers: NL Central
    This division has a ton of closer uncertainty right now. Let's break it down.

    Cubs: Said Jim Hendry on December 4th: "I have a lot of faith that Ryan Dempster will be a quality closer." Lou Piniella might see differently if Dempster blows four or five chances. The favored backup would likely be Kerry Wood if he's active, and Bob Howry if not.

    Reds: According to manager Jerry Narron, David Weathers and Mike Stanton will be used in tandem to close games. To that I reply, "ugh." Sounds like a mostly avoidable fantasy situation for now. They are equally uninspiring relievers. If I had to choose only one I'd go with Weathers. Don't invest heavily in either guy.

    Cardinals: Izzy will be the closer if healthy, according to Tony La Russa. He's been cleared to pitch in January and the current vibe is that Adam Wainwright will start. Isringhausen's control has disappeared in recent years, so he's extra shaky. It's hard to pick a favorite backup from this roster...I'll go with Russ Springer.

    Pirates: The Bucs are going with Mike Gonzalez, unless he gets traded. Gonzalez's elbow has been declared healthy by Pirates doctors, for what it's worth. Salomon Torres would step in if Gonzo leaves. Main concern there is that Torres has averaged about 93 relief innings each of the last three seasons. Matt Capps is a nice sleeper as the third in line.

    Brewers: Here's an easy one - Francisco Cordero has it locked up. Derrick Turnbow probably won't get a whiff even if he's not traded. I suppose Jose Capellan could be the guy if Cordero gets hurt.

    Astros: Lidge or Wheeler? Phil Garner will enter spring training with Lidge as the closer. However, Wheeler will be right there if he falters.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    after the first installment the Reds are firmly entrenched in the cellar.

    Cubs: Said Jim Hendry on December 4th: "I have a lot of faith that Ryan Dempster will be a quality closer." Lou Piniella might see differently if Dempster blows four or five chances. The favored backup would likely be Kerry Wood if he's active, and Bob Howry if not.
    I have been saying for the last year the Reds should go out and get Wuertz and make him a closer.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    2nd Installment:

    Reds insider
    Team not quite out of its league
    BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
    With all the money being thrown around in baseball, it's fair to ask:

    Have the Reds been priced out of contention before spring training starts?

    The short answer is no.


    No one is going to pick them to win the National League Central. In fact, no one is going to pick them to finish higher than fourth in the Central.

    But despite the nearly $300 million investment by the Chicago Cubs, the 2007 Central title has not been bought and paid for.

    Most of the experts probably will have the top of the Central lined up in one of two ways:

    1. St. Louis
    2. Chicago
    3. Houston

    or

    1. Chicago
    2. St. Louis
    3. Houston

    The Reds will be picked fourth or fifth by most, depending on what the given expert thinks of the Milwaukee Brewers.

    But none of the teams picked above the Reds is without question marks or flaws. A look at the rest of the division:

    Chicago: The Cubs are living proof that $280 million doesn't buy you what it once did.

    The addition of Alfonso Soriano upgrades the Cubs' offense a bit, but it needed a lot of help. To become truly dangerous again, Derrek Lee must have a bounce-back year.

    The larger questions are with the rotation. Carlos Zambrano is among the best in baseball. But the other four starters - Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, Mark Prior and Rich Hill - were a combined 36-42 last season. Marquis went 14-16 with a 6.02 ERA and didn't pitch half his games in Wrigley. Ryan Dempster, the closer, is a blown save waiting to happen.

    Basically, the Cubs' pitching is a lot like it was last season. It could be good if Prior and Kerry Wood are healthy, but that's a huge if.

    St. Louis: The Cardinals, the World Series champions, added Adam Kennedy to play second.

    Their rotation is like the Cubs': an ace and four question marks.

    Chris Carpenter is a Cy Young candidate every year. But Kip Wells (1-6, 5.59 ERA), Anthony Reyes (5-8, 5.06) and Brad Thompson (1-2, 3.34) aren't going to be quality-start machines. The club is considering moving Adam Wainwright, who was the closer in the postseason, into the rotation.

    Jason Isringhausen will return to the closer's role after missing the last two weeks of the season and the postseason because of a hip injury.

    Houston: The Astros added a big bat by signing Carlos Lee. That should help an offense that finished last in the NL in hitting last season.

    The rotation is good up top with Roy Oswalt and Woody Williams. But it isn't as good as it was with Oswalt, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.

    The bullpen depends on whether Brad Lidge struggles the way he did last season (1-5, 5.28 ERA).

    Milwaukee: The Brewers could be a dangerous team simply because they're so young and so many of their players have big upsides. But is Bill Hall going to hit 35 home runs again?

    Pittsburgh: All you need to know about the Pirates is that their general manager at the Winter Meetings said they could be really good - in two years.

    So the Reds have a chance in this field. Not a great chance, but a chance.

    The moves Cincinnati has made have improved those chances. None of the moves was very stunning, but Alex Gonzalez upgrades the defense substantially - something that had to be done. Mike Stanton and David Weathers have a lot of miles on them, but they'll be solid bullpen guys. Jeff Conine will help in a limited role.

    But the guess here is the rotation will hold the key for the Reds. You would expect Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo to have seasons similar to the ones they had in 2006.

    Kyle Lohse and Eric Milton were good and bad last season. They need to be more consistent.

    And then you have the Homer factor. If Homer Bailey can be what the Reds think he can be - one prospect rating has him listed No. 3 in all of baseball - the Reds could surprise some people.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Freel for Turnbow?

    Freel for Wuertz?
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    Freel for Turnbow?

    Freel for Wuertz?
    Freel for Wuertz and add in something and get Marmol too.

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    Worst Behavior. reds44's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    The moves Cincinnati has made have improved those chances. None of the moves was very stunning, but Alex Gonzalez upgrades the defense substantially - something that had to be done. Mike Stanton and David Weathers have a lot of miles on them, but they'll be solid bullpen guys. Jeff Conine will help in a limited role.
    What I have been trying to say for the last week or so.

    Seabass was the 2nd best shortstop available this offseason. We needed a SS, and Wayne got him. +1 for Krivsky

    Conine fills a need also. We all said we needed a platoon partner for Hatteberg who could also fill in at RF. Conine fills that need. +1 Wayne

    The offense will probably be around league average next year. It's not going to be great, but it won't be terrible. If EE continues to improve, Dunn rebounds off of last year, and GABP helps out Seabass it could be Top 10.

    Stanton is an average relief pitcher. Average is alot better then what we through out last season. +1 Wayne

    Weathers was our best relief pitcher last year. Wayne got him at a pretty good price. +1 Wayne

    If Majewski returns to form, we could have a pretty solid bullpen next year.
    Bray
    Belisle
    Majewski
    Cormier
    Coffey
    Stanton
    Weathers

    That's not a bad bullpen.

    We all know Arroyo and Harang make up one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. Loshe is an average 4th starter, and Milton is well Milton. He'll have some good starts, but he'll have some awful starts. If he can be more consistent, he could actually be a decent pitcher. The question is who fills out the last spot in the rotation? Can Homer be the savior, can Elizardo pitch like he did early last year, or does Wayne go out and trade for somebody? The last spot could decide alot for the Reds.

    We are a better team then we were last year, IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    Let's face it, you mis-hit the bun with the mustard squirter, no one will really care.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Quote Originally Posted by reds44 View Post
    What I have been trying to say for the last week or so.

    Seabass was the 2nd best shortstop available this offseason. We needed a SS, and Wayne got him. +1 for Krivsky

    Conine fills a need also. We all said we needed a platoon partner for Hatteberg who could also fill in at RF. Conine fills that need. +1 Wayne

    The offense will probably be around league average next year. It's not going to be great, but it won't be terrible. If EE continues to improve, Dunn rebounds off of last year, and GABP helps out Seabass it could be Top 10.

    Stanton is an average relief pitcher. Average is alot better then what we through out last season. +1 Wayne

    Weathers was our best relief pitcher last year. Wayne got him at a pretty good price. +1 Wayne

    If Majewski returns to form, we could have a pretty solid bullpen next year.
    Bray
    Belisle
    Majewski
    Cormier
    Coffey
    Stanton
    Weathers

    That's not a bad bullpen.

    We all know Arroyo and Harang make up one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. Loshe is an average 4th starter, and Milton is well Milton. He'll have some good starts, but he'll have some awful starts. If he can be more consistent, he could actually be a decent pitcher. The question is who fills out the last spot in the rotation? Can Homer be the savior, can Elizardo pitch like he did early last year, or does Wayne go out and trade for somebody? The last spot could decide alot for the Reds.

    We are a better team then we were last year, IMO.
    Cormier and Weathers are batting tees that got results from BABIP in 2006. Maj had a "deer in the headlights" look when he was in there. If he could get past it, he'd be an ok 7th inning guy but I'd move him for a fresh start where he doesn't have to live-up to the trade. Bray and Coffey are the class of the pen, but Bray isn't ready for late inning duty and Coffey can't pitch every day. Belisle will probably be needed in the rotation at some point. Stanton is probably closer by default after Weathers is exposed. I think a lot of games will be lost in the 6th and 7th innings. I hope Salmon gets a shot.

    I'm actually higher on Lizard being a decent number 4 than most on here, but I think Lohse will be awful and Milton as you said is Milton. Team needs a number 3 real bad and Lohse needs to be traded to the next sucker that will buy him.

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    Member Coffeybro's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Coffey can't pitch every day.
    Just every other day like last year.
    There are 10 types of people in this world. Those that understand binary and those that don't.

    They wheeled a 3x4 steel safe into the clubhouse Sunday morning to store the players' valuables. It took four guys to lift it off a dolly and onto a table.

    Said pitcher Kent Mercker: "What's that, Junior Griffey's wallet?"

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffeybro View Post
    Just every other day like last year.
    Do you have another brother who can pitch like Todd on the other days?

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    Worst Behavior. reds44's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    I am a big Lizard fan, and I think he just hit some sort of wall last year.

    Look at his starts:
    7 IP, 2 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    4 IP, 1 ER (6 unearned, 7 total)
    6 IP, 2 ER
    5 IP, 3 ER
    6 IP, 4 ER
    6 IP, 2 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    8 IP, 0 ER
    6 IP, 4 ER
    6.1 IP, 2 ER
    5 IP, 6 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    5 IP, 5 ER
    6.2 IP, 1 ER

    At that point, he had thrown 95 innings as a starter and given up 44 earned runs. That's a 4.10 ERA. That's very good.

    Then we hit August.

    4.2 IP, 5 ER
    1.2 IP, 6 ER
    0.1 IP, 1 ER (not a start)
    1.1 IP, 5 ER

    That is 8 IP and 17 ER. That is a 19.10 ERA.

    He ended up throwing 103 innings, and giving up 61 ER. That is an ERA of 5.33 You can see what those 4 appearances in August did to him.

    In 2003, he threw 157 innings in A ball. In 2004 he threw 138 innings combined. In 2005, 153. Last year he threw 124 innings in A (1 start), AAA, and in Cincinnati. The question is, did he hit a wall or did they figure him out? I just find it hard to believe he pitched so well in 95 innnings, and it just fell apart for him in August.
    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    Let's face it, you mis-hit the bun with the mustard squirter, no one will really care.

  12. #11
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Quote Originally Posted by reds44 View Post
    I am a big Lizard fan, and I think he just hit some sort of wall last year.

    Look at his starts:
    7 IP, 2 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    4 IP, 1 ER (6 unearned, 7 total)
    6 IP, 2 ER
    5 IP, 3 ER
    6 IP, 4 ER
    6 IP, 2 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    8 IP, 0 ER
    6 IP, 4 ER
    6.1 IP, 2 ER
    5 IP, 6 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    6 IP, 3 ER
    5 IP, 5 ER
    6.2 IP, 1 ER

    At that point, he had thrown 95 innings as a starter and given up 44 earned runs. That's a 4.10 ERA. That's very good.

    Then we hit August.

    4.2 IP, 5 ER
    1.2 IP, 6 ER
    0.1 IP, 1 ER (not a start)
    1.1 IP, 5 ER

    That is 8 IP and 17 ER. That is a 19.10 ERA.

    He ended up throwing 103 innings, and giving up 61 ER. That is an ERA of 5.33 You can see what those 4 appearances in August did to him.

    In 2003, he threw 157 innings in A ball. In 2004 he threw 138 innings combined. In 2005, 153. Last year he threw 124 innings in A (1 start), AAA, and in Cincinnati. The question is, did he hit a wall or did they figure him out? I just find it hard to believe he pitched so well in 95 innnings, and it just fell apart for him in August.
    I agree that Lizard's final numbers are misleading. He was badly mishandled by Narron and gave up a ton of runs with few innings in his last 3 appearances when he was hurting. I actually think young cheap guys with some level of success when healthy is exactly the kind of guy to fill out the back of a rotation these days. Nobody has 5 studs so go cheap and young and see if something develops.

    Its guys who've been around for 5 years and make $6 Million and are still big question marks that should be avoided.

  13. #12
    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    I love to rip on John Fay, but that article posted by M-R is a courageous stance for him to take. It's out of character, but also, for the most part, pretty spot on.

    I do think the Pirates and Brewers remain bigger wild cards than they have been in past years- Milwaukee was considered a dark horse going into 2006 but flopped, while Pittsburgh turned out about as expected. In '07, I'd say they both could be underrated, the Brewers for Fay's stated reasons and the Pirates because they have a good deal more talent in the organization and could jell a bit earlier than people (and, apparently, Dave Littlefield) think.

    The press is almost always a year behind on its predictions because almost without fail it will base its attitude towards a club's chances for a certain year on their record the year before. (As a corollary to that, let's try to focus on the opinions of "real" media sites- not Rotoworld, who gets posted a lot because of its completeness but always filters everything through the fantasy lens- as we snipe at the various predictions that will start trickling out.)

    Just watch the Cardinals, who have gotten worse on paper, get publicly held up as the class of the NL Central when in fact the six clubs are about as even in paper talent as they've been in a decade. Yes, even the Pirates.
    Last edited by Doc. Scott; 12-27-2006 at 04:16 PM.

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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    The central is going to suck again next year. 85 wins will take it IMO.
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

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    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    The central is going to suck again next year. 85 wins will take it IMO.
    One man's suck is another man's parity.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Sizing Up the division

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc. Scott View Post
    One man's suck is another man's parity.
    Look out, here comes tomorrow,
    Oh how I wish tomorrow would never come


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