The Big Lead Articles December 15 2009

Halladay-Lee Trade Should Benefit Phillies, Mariners and Blue Jays

The three-team übertrade involving the Phillies, the Mariners, the Blue Jays and Cy Young winners Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee is not “complete,” but pending Halladay passing a physical it’s a reasonable certainty. At least on paper, this deal looks good for all three parties.

Why is Everyone So Excited About John Lackey?

Last week the dire Red Sox were in bridge mode.  They land John Lackey for five-years $85 million.  Now, they have “the best rotation in the American League” and are World Series contenders.  Both extremes are convenient hyperbole for baseball writers wishing to inject drama, but we must ask.  Why is everyone so jazzed about John Lackey?


AL West Predictions

vladdyjpg1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – The Angels are rife with injuries atop the rotation, but if they stick around they should get Lackey and others back for the stretch run. Fuentes should be an adequate replacement for K-Rod in the bullpen. They have enough hitting, particularly if Abreu builds on his momentum from last season. Though, outfield defense could become an issue. The Angels aren’t a great team, as constituted, but they should be stable enough to win this atrocious division.

2. Oakland Athletics – The A’s rotation could be a mess. Duchscherer is out for at least six weeks. None of their other starters with MLB experience has an ERA above 5. If Joey Devine is as divine as he was last season, the bullpen will be fine. The offense depends on Holliday and Giambi. Holliday is moving from Coors Field to reality. Giambi will either be rejuvenated by a move to Oakland or crushed by a less favorable ballpark. The A’s could finish at or slightly below .500, leaving them in contention much of the season.

3. Seattle Mariners – King Felix and Bedard should give the Mariners a good 1-2 punch. Unfortunately, it will be balanced by the rest of their rotation being a disaster, see Carlos Silva. Brandon Morrow has a great strikeout rate and could be a decent closer, but he’s no J.J. Putz. Seattle has only one hitter with power, Adrian Beltre, and none that get on base, not good for scoring runs. I’m still trying to understand TBL picking them to win the division.

4. Texas Rangers – This is a team built on the typical Texas formula. They have explosive bats with power at every position and will score runs. Other teams will have just an easy of a time against their soft pitching. Kevin Milwood, the Texas Ace, has an ERA+ of 87 the past two seasons. It gets down hill from there. Frank Francisco can be a good closer for the times they are in a position to win. The typical Texas team will be typically unsuccessful.