Three Aces Wild

Making preseason predictions is often an act in futility.
If you don’t believe me, look at my predictions for 2007
And if you are still not convinced, look at my predictions for 2008
And if that wasn’t enough, why not take a gander at my predictions last year

But one thing that makes picks so worthless is of course the team that plays in April will inevitably be different that the team that plays in October. While midseason trades are usually all hype and not a lot of true impact, dealing for a true ace in midseason could be the difference between playing for a pennant or playing golf in October.

You just have to look at the Indians trading away their two Cy Young winners, Sabathia and Lee, to see how October can be affected by dealing an ace.

And for teams falling out of contention, trading away an ace could bring about much needed building blocks for the future.

Joe Carter, John Smoltz, Brady Anderson, Randy Johnson and Carlos Guillen, among others, were picked up by teams in mid season trades for pitching.

This year there are three legit aces… three difference making pitchers who are pitching for teams that are going nowhere.

One SHOULD be traded. One is ASKING to be traded. And one will INEVITABLY.

Let’s look at the one who SHOULD be traded first:


Santana was supposed to be for the Mets what Curt Schilling was to the Red Sox in 2004. With the Mets falling a Carlos Beltran called third strike short of the World Series in 2006 and the epic collapse of 2007… Omar Minaya needed to make a bold move.

And he did so bringing in the American League’s best pitcher to Queens. And you can’t blame Santana for the collapse of 2008! He won his last 7 decisions in ’08 including a complete game shutout on the second to last game of the season to keep hope alive in Flushing.

But the Mets aren’t an ace away from winning anymore. Their nice April not withstanding, they are a sinking team. Don’t believe me? On April 30th, the Mets were in first place, 5 games over .500. They are 6-14 since and their pitching staff and lineup are wearing down… and their farm system is notoriously bare.

Sure, Santana gives them a great arm every 5 days, but this team needs a shot in the arm and Santana’s trade value may never be this high. A little honesty in the Mets front office would have them admit they are not catching the Phillies (they are already a full week behind Philadelphia) and don’t have the horses to compete.

The team trading for Santana would have him for three more seasons… so the Mets could get as many as three pieces to a long term puzzle. Will they do it? Probably not. It’s the smart thing to do, which isn’t the Mets way of doing things.

Now for the one who is ASKING to be traded.

I’ve been screaming for the Astros to trade Oswalt since the beginning of 2009. And with today’s news that Oswalt is waiving his no trade clause, it looks like it is going to happen.

This is his 10th season for the Astros and he was the MVP of the 2005 NLCS, the Astros lone trip to the World Series, so no doubt he has a lot of affection for Houston and the team.

But this team sucks. He knows it. We all know it. And while he is in the top 10 in the NL for ERA and WHIP, he is also second in the league in losses!

He has a 2-6 record. Only Charlie Morton (he with the 9.68 ERA) has more losses. Oswalt has pitched 6 innings in all 9 of his starts this year and has given the Astros 7 innings 6 times. He’s averaged 7 innings and about 2 1/2 runs a start for his last 5 starts… and has an 0-4 record to show for it.

Like the Mets, the Astros cupboard is bare on the farm and Oswalt should fetch at least 2 players ready to insert on the big league team.

Now the ace who will be INEVITABLY traded.

Have the Mariners woken up (along with Ken Griffey Jr) from their first quarter nap?

10 days ago I said I wasn’t sure what the Mariners should do with their season. Cliff Lee won that day… then the Mariners lost 7 of their last 8 before winning 2 in a row.

They have Lee and Hernandez back, Griffey has some clutch hits and Milton Bradley is back from therapy… and they are still the third worst team in the American League.

There is a better chance that the Cubs will call to reacquire Bradley than Cliff Lee being a Mariner in 2011… and short of a massive winning streak, this Mariner team isn’t contending.

90 wins will probably win the West. The Mariners are on pace for 59. Forget .500, the Mariners are trying to reach .400 at this point.

They dealt away some good prospects to Philadelphia, Toronto, Oakland and I think Manchester United by the time the deal was done. It was a nice idea… but they need to think about 2011 now.

So think about the landscape of contenders now. You know two of these pitchers will be wearing new uniforms by the time October rolls around and possibly all three. And whatever contender picks them up will suddenly have a new potent weapon. A playoff contender could get over the hump, like the Brewers a few years ago when they picked up Sabathia.

A pennant contender could overcome their weaknesses with a new ace, like the Phillies last year with Cliff Lee.

Contenders like the Rangers, the Rays, the Cardinals, the Twins and the Tigers could use an arm to put them over the top.

Heavy weights like the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox and Dodgers (divorce not withstanding) all have pitching issues. Acquiring an ace would give the team a nice jolt of adrenaline.

It will change the entire complexion of the pennant race if and when these deals are made… and make me feel not as bad for making lousy predictions in April!

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I don’t approve of all the uniform decisions in the Beltway Series

The rivalry between the Orioles and the Nationals could be pretty cool in a few years if all of their prospects work out… and let’s hope by the time both of these teams are good, they’ve worked out their uniform issues!

What’s with the O’s hats? Granted, these hats aren’t as bad as the ornithology correct bird hats… but it’s still kind of lame.

Besides, the Orioles HAD one of the coolest hat logos in all of baseball.

I’ve been BEGGING the Orioles to bring back the smiling bird hat. If they don’t want to have the white front to the cap, then fine. Have it all black with the smiling bird. But neither the boring sideways bird nor the O’s say to me Baltimore Orioles.

It’s an easy fix, Baltimore.

As for the Nationals… what are these red tops?

You know when you go into clubhouse store for your favorite team and they have toddler uniforms or onesies that aren’t exactly the team uniforms? That’s what these red tops look like.

That’s right… I am saying the Nationals look like toddlers.

I told them to get rid of the cursive W and I already praised their regular home uniforms… so don’t mess around making them look like babies.

By the time those babies can walk, with Strasburg on the hill, this could be an awesome clash of talent.

Look the part!

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They can never JUST LOSE, can they?

The Red Sox can’t just lose 5-1 in an uninspired way. They HAVE to put together a 9th inning rally… bring Big Papi up to the plate with the bases loaded as the tying run…

And he HAS to hit it to the warning track!

I can’t tell you how this season is going to end… but I CAN tell you this season will give me an ulcer before the All Star Break.

Alright, I’ll update the tally.


April 4 – 9-7 win against Yankees (On Opening Night, the Red Sox overcome a 5-1 Yankee lead with a game tying HR by Pedroia and a go ahead passed ball.)
April 10 – 8-3 win against Kansas City (Beckett out pitches Zack Greinke and nearly gets decapitated by a line drive.)
April 14 – 6-3 win in Minnesota. (Okajima gets Morneau to pop up with the bases loaded in the 7th and Papelbon wiggled out of a 9th inning jam.)
April 20 – 7-6 win against Texas. (Darnell McDonald introduces himself to Boston with an 8th inning game tying homer and a walk off hit in the 9th.)
April 21 – 8-7 win against Texas. (The Red Sox were down 4-0 early only to win it on Youk’s 2 out 11th inning double.)
April 23 – 4-3 win against Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 3-0 lead but win it on Adrian Beltre’s bases loaded walk.)
April 24 – 7-6 win against Baltimore. (The Red Sox score 6 in the 7th and hold off a late Baltimore comeback attempt.)
April 26 – 13-12 win at Toronto. (The Sox blow an early 5-0 lead but hang on for dear life in a slugfest.)
April 27 – 2-1 win at Toronto. (Buchholz holds the Jays down for 8 but it takes a bases loaded walk in the 8th to go ahead.)
April 28 – 2-0 win at Toronto. (Daniel Bard wiggles out of trouble in the 8th to help Lester shut down the Blue Jays and finish the sweep.)
May 4 – 5-1 win against the Angels. (Juan Rivera misplays Jeremy Hermedia’s 2 out flyball into a 3 run game winning double)
May 5 – 3-1 win against the Angels. (Papi and Beltre homer and the Sox hang on despite squandering many potential rallies.)
May 6 – 11-6 win against the Angels. (Dice-K puts the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole before they even bat. The Sox bats respond.)
May 10 – 7-6 win against the Blue Jays. (Sox blow an early 2-0 lead, take advantage of some errors and hang on.)
May 18 – 7-5 win in New York. (Sox climb back from a 5-1 hole. A day after hitting a walk off homer, Marcus Thames drops a fly ball to start the winning rally for the Sox.)

April 6 – 6-4 loss against the Yankees. (Scutaro’s error leads to the winning run.)
April 7 – 3-1 loss against the Yankees. (Sox leave the winning run on in the 9th only to lose on Granderson’s 10th inning homer)
April 9 – 4-3 loss in Kansas City. (Bard coughs up the lead, denying Wakefield a win.)
April 17 – 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Sox can’t score with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 11th… lost it in the 12th.)
April 17 – 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Red Sox comeback falls a run short, leaving two on in the 8th)
April 25 – 7-6 loss to Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 4-1 lead, leave the winning run on second in the 9th, let up 3 in the 10th and could only score 2 in the bottom of the 10th)
April 30 – 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (Tejada ties the game with a 2 out 8th inning homer and wins it with a bloop in the 10th)
May 1 – 12-9 loss in Baltimore. (Dice-K and Wakes get pounded, wasting 2 homers from Ortiz and an early 4-1 lead.)
May 2 – 3-2 loss in Baltimore. (Varitek is thrown at home trying to score with 2 outs in the 8th. Sox get swept in the 10th.
May 12 – 3-2 loss against the Blue Jays. (The Sox rally in the 9th comes up a run short and Kevin Gregg gets an ugly save.)
May 15 – 7-6 loss in Detroit. (The Sox blow a 6-1 lead and lose it on a 2 out bases loaded walk in the 12th.)
May 17 – 11-9 loss in New York. (The Sox come all the way back from a 5-0 first inning hole to take a 9-7 lead in the 9th… but Papelbon lets up a 2 run game tying shot to A-Rod and a 2 run walk off shot to Marcus Thames.)
May 21 – 5-1 loss in Philadelphia. (Big Papi’s bid for a game tying 9th inning grand slam is caught at the warning track.)

Down to +2

Lackey isn’t looking good… Dice-K and Wakes coming up next. This could get ugly.

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