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2004 Major League Baseball Season Discussion


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#1 of 1227 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted March 29 2004 - 07:40 PM

Given that the Major League Baseball season actually begins in just a couple hours, I figured now would be a good time to start an 2004 MLB season discussion thread, if its not then I’m sure it will be closed.
First let me say I’m not a fan of the way the MLB did this. I don’t like the season starting in Japan, I don’t like that the Devil Rays lose 2 home games and the Yankees none, why not each team lose one? But, in terms of exporting the game across the globe, it’s a good thing and that I won’t deny. I don’t have a problem with the Yankees being the team to play the opener over there, they’re the most famous sports team in the world.
Anyway, with the season starting in a couple of hours, and then another game on Sunday before things opened for real, I thought I’d give some predictions.

MLB Predictions:
*I’ll revisit these around the All Star break…

AL East
1.New York Yankees
2.Boston Red Sox
3.Toronto Bluejays
4.Baltimore Orioles
5.Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Comments: The division has wound up with this finish for like 4 years in a row, and I don’t see any reason for it to be different this season. Even if the Yankees suffer injuries it won’t matter because they just trade for whatever they need to replace. This is IMO the best division in the American League. Toronto could win 90 games and miss the playoffs.

AL Central
1. Kansas City Royals
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Detroit Tigers
Comments: I’m taking the Royals to win the division because I like the offseason moves they made, and Minnesota has slipped a bit with questions about the pen. This could be the most competitive division in baseball with 4 teams having a shot to win it, but it will also be the division won with the least number of wins in the 85-90 win range. I’m sure Detroit will be better, maybe they’ll only lose 100 and not 119?

AL West
1.Anaheim Angels
2.Oakland Athletics
3.Seattle Mariners
4.Texas Rangers
Comments: The easiest part of picking this division is filling Texas in last place. I like Anaheim more than the other 2 teams, but all 3 have a shot at it.

AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox

NL East
1.Atlanta Braves
2.Philadelphia Phillies
3.Florida Marlins
4.Montreal Expos
5.New York Mets
Comments: This is not an impartial projection for this division, I refuse to pick against my team, although if I were to be honest I’d go Philadelphia, Florida, Atlanta, Montreal and New York.

NL Central
1.Houston Astros
2.Chicago Cubs
3.St. Louis Cardinals
4.Milwaukee Brewers
5.Cincinnati Reds
6.Pittsburgh Pirates
Comments: This division contains 2 really good teams, 1 above average team, and 3 awfully bad teams. I would be shocked if the wildcard team does not come from this division.

NL West
1.San Francisco Giants
2.San Diego Padres
3.Los Angeles Dodgers
4.Colorado Rockies
5.Arizona Diamondbacks
Comments: The Dodgers still can’t hit, the Padres are the rising team in the division, but they’re not to the Giants level just yet. The Rockies will be better, of course I seem to say that about the Rockies every year, and I predict that Randy Johnson will be traded off of the Diamondbacks before the deadline.

NL Wildcard: Chicago Cubs
World Series Prediction: Angels over Astros

Just for the fun of it, even though I’m less sure on these than my standings predictions…
AL MVP: Vernon Wells (Blue jays)
NL MVP: Barry Bonds (Giants)
AL Cy Young: Javier Vazquez (Yankees)
NL Cy Young: Kerry Wood (Cubs)
AL Rookie of the Year: Joe Mauer (Twins)
NL Rookie of the Year: Adam LaRoche (Braves) Actually, I know very little about the NL rookies this year.

Lets have a good season, and I wish all your teams well, unless they’re Atlanta’s division rivals.

#2 of 1227 Jason Seaver

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Posted March 30 2004 - 03:42 AM

Good game in the land of the rising sun. Posted Image Kind of surprised to see someone take 3rd on that hit to Lofton; I didn't realize his arm was that weak.

Not that an opening-day butt-kicking by the D-Rays fills me with a lot of confidence about the Yankees being less than fierce competition for the Sox; they play 162 games to avoid this kind of fluke meaning too much.
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#3 of 1227 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted March 30 2004 - 05:51 AM

A big win for Tampa, well a win for Tampa anyway. Lofton's arm is not highly regarded and that's why they had no problems testing him.
Kind of interesting to listen to the crowd, from what I could hear they only really made noises for key plays either hits or outs or something like that not like American crowds that are constantly cheering even between pitches. I could be wrong, because the way ESPN2 was showing the game the crowd noise was way down.

It is kind of odd that I watched a regular season game at 4 this morning and am now watching a spring training game at noon.

#4 of 1227 Jason Seaver

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Posted March 30 2004 - 07:14 AM

Oh, I just didn't realize his arm was that weak - he is replacing Bernie Williams, after all, so I figured he had to be an improvement.
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#5 of 1227 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted March 30 2004 - 07:45 AM

Quote:
Oh, I just didn't realize his arm was that weak - he is replacing Bernie Williams, after all, so I figured he had to be an improvement.

When I was watching the game this morning one of the guys broadcasting it said that between Lofton and Williams the Yankees had the worst center field arms in the Majors.

#6 of 1227 John Madia

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Posted March 30 2004 - 08:14 AM

Here's my predictions:

AL East
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Baltimore Orioles

Al Central
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Kanas City Royals
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Detroit Tigers

AL West
1. Anaheim Angels
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Texas Rangers

NL East
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Florida Marlins
3. Atlanta Braves
4. New York Mets
5. Montreal Expos

NL Central
1. Chicago Cubs
2. Houston Astros
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Cincinnati Reds
6. Milwaukee Brewers

NL West
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. San Diego Padres
4. San Franciso Giants
5. Colorado Rockies

Wildcards: New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs
World Series: Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs
World Series Champions: Boston Red Sox

Just a reminder, "Opening Night" is Sunday 8:00 on Espn2 featuring the Red Sox vs. the Orioles.

#7 of 1227 Andrew Pezzo

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Posted March 30 2004 - 09:09 AM

Being a Yankee fan it sure was nice to listen to the game on my morning commute. Almost made sitting in traffic due to an accident bearable (my commute is about an hour each way).

#8 of 1227 Steve_Tk

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Posted March 30 2004 - 01:02 PM

As a long time Braves fan I can't put them at the top for the NL East, but I will put them second. Hoping a new younger team can get it done.

#9 of 1227 Phil L

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Posted March 30 2004 - 02:22 PM

Quote:
Oh, I just didn't realize his arm was that weak - he is replacing Bernie Williams, after all, so I figured he had to be an improvement.


I didn't understand the Lofton signing. It was one of George's ideas. If they wanted Bernie to DH and upgrade CF defense, they should have gone after Cameron.

I think the better idea would have been to move Bernie to LF and Matsui to CF.

#10 of 1227 John Madia

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Posted March 30 2004 - 03:56 PM

Quote:
I didn't understand the Lofton signing. It was one of George's ideas.


Supposedly when George saw what Juan Pierre did for the Marlins during the World Series, he decided that he wanted a player like him. I doubt he even consulted with Torre or Cashman wheter or not a Lofton/Pierre type player would work in the Yankees lineup. I'm not sure why he didn't just wait a year for Beltran who's better than Lofton/Pierre and would fit better in the lineup. Of course he can still sign Beltran anyway and just take a loss trading Lofton which is probably what will happen.


Speaking of Beltran he's one of a handful of players who could upset everyone's predictions by getting traded around the All-Star break. He's just some players who could have a big impact:

Carlos Delgado: He's in his last year of his contract with the Blue Jays and even if he decides he's going to remain with the Blue Jays beyond this year he still may be traded. Look at it this way; if the Blue Jays are out of contention they could trade him to a winning club for prospects and get him back after the season's over. It's win/win since Delgado gets a chance for a ring and Blue Jays get prospects for a guy who's going to be back next year anyway. Of course Delgado might not want to resign but either way, he's a good canidate to get traded during the All-Star break. Just imagine the impact he could have if traded.

Carlos Beltran: I have a feeling that he's staying since the Royals will likely be contenders all year. If they drop out, expect him to be traded.

Magglio Ordonez: The White Sox would like to trade him now but teams will be more desperate around the All-Star break.

Ugueth Urbina: I think signing him was a good move by the Tigers since they'll be able to trade him for prospects around the All-Star break. I think Oakland might be a likely place since I don't have faith in Arthur Rhodes as a closer.

Orlando Cabrera/Jose Vidro: With the mess the Expos are in neither are likely to sign beyond this year. Vidro would be more sought after but Cabrera would also be easy to move. My guess is that Vidro (and possibly Cabrera) end up with the Cubs who are shaky up the middle and have plenty of pitching prospects to deal. Also look for Livan Hernandez to move.

Ken Griffey Jr. : The Reds would probably like to move him now but it's unlikely given his injury record. If he's been healthy for half of the season, someone might take a risk and pick him up.

#11 of 1227 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted March 31 2004 - 09:42 AM

Well, the Yankees beat down the Devil Rays to split the opening series. Now, we've got to wait until Sunday for the next regular season game. Then everyone else begins on Tuesday...woohoo!

#12 of 1227 Philip Hamm

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Posted March 31 2004 - 10:39 AM

Let's go Phillies
clap clap clap-clap-clap
Let's go Phillies
clap clap clap-clap-clap


I may get MLB Extra Innings for the first time this year.
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#13 of 1227 Joseph S

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Posted March 31 2004 - 10:40 AM

Sox better win it this year, because without
Lowe
Pedro
Nomar
Ortiz
Varitek
Mueller
or suitable replacements it will be a tumltous offseason. Another John Henry post "contender" cheapout/sellout on the horizon. Amazing that Theo couldn't lock down at least one of them before the season. With the way moves go in the off-season any more than two of those re-signing will take serious work. Instead we get more mediocre part-time work from an expensive Nixon for years to come. Posted Image For an offseason that started with Schilling, what a let down.

Nice to see self-proclaimed superstars Nixon and Kim are working out so well this Spring. Magglio and Arod look pretty nice right now. Instead Gabe Kapler and Pokey Reese will fill the bill. Posted Image They should have signed Urbina too. above avg pitching is always of value be it for trade or to help your own team.

#14 of 1227 John Madia

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Posted March 31 2004 - 01:05 PM

Nomar Garciaparra is on the DL for three weeks due to tendinitis in his Achilles tendon so he'll miss opening day. He's expected to be back in early May but it might be a bit longer since this is a slow healing injury.

Prior's also out until May with an Achilles injury and also a stiff elbow. June might be a more likely date though.

Both losses hurt the teams a lot but may help them on later in the season. Nomar's been known to wear down near the end of the season (see last year) and Dusty Baker likes to keep his pitchers in until their arm falls off. The challenge for the Cubs and Red Sox is to stay in contention for the pennant now so they won't have to fight for the wildcard when Prior and Nomar come back.

I don't really want to comment on the Sox pessimism in the above post but Mueller has a $2.1 million option for next year which the Sox are sure to pick up. Also, Urbina would have been a waste of money. Originally he wanted a big contract. Then, when he finally decided to sign, it's at the end of spring training and he hadn't picked up a ball or hit the gym since the World Series last year. Plus we already have two closers who are better than him and I doubt he'd be happy being a middle relief/set-up man.

#15 of 1227 Seth Paxton

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Posted March 31 2004 - 04:21 PM

Casey, I agree with all of your predictions including this one
Quote:
Comments: This is not an impartial projection for this division, I refuse to pick against my team, although if I were to be honest I’d go Philadelphia, Florida, Atlanta, Montreal and New York.
I'd put the Cubs over the Astros, though I think the Stros get the WC. Phillies and Giants get the other divisions.

I just did my first Grapefruit League this year. I did the Cactus League back in 94, but only a few games. I went down a couple weeks ago and did 8 games in 6 days at 7 different stadiums.

Legends was of course very nice, but Brightpoint (Phillies) was my favorite. Also the Tigers just revamped their place and it looks a lot like Brightpoint. Both have OF lawns which Legends doesn't have. However, at Legends you can see part of the field from the people bridge crossing the road which many people were doing (no ticket required to get on the bridge).

Minny's stadium in Ft. Myers was very nice on the outside but no OF lawn and the seating slope was too shallow for my taste. You felt farther from the action there than most other places.

Cincy's place is pretty old and uncomfortable. I would recommend just taking advantage of the standing room only area on the concourse because the seats (at least the upper half) are too small and have a bad angle for the most part.

Pittsburgh's stadium is also old but has more style to it I guess. You have no lawn and only bleachers out past 1st/3rd, but the layout is kinda cool as you can get very close to the bullpens out in LF/RF, good for autograph seekers.

Tampa's place is just blocks from Tropicana and sits right off a marina. It probably felt the most tropical of all the stadiums, especially since you weren't looking at a major road in any direction, just sea planes and boats. They have small lawn areas down the line along LF and RF, but not out in the OF. Still it gives you the option. The layout of the place is also pretty comfortable.


Minny's place gets props for the line of palm trees and waterfall out in front. Brightpoint had a nice statue of a pitcher in motion out in front (not sure if it was supposed to be a certain player or not). Legends has the replica of Yankee Stadium thing going for it. Cincy and Pitt have the cool aspect that the stands are just about 40-50 feet from the city street, so pop fouls can easily land in the street or hit passing cars - there's something cool about that kind of proximity.

Brightpoint has the most variety to how you see the game. Tons of lawn in the OF, very nice seating in general, a Tiki Bar out in LF (Sheffield hit a HR onto the thatch roof when I was there), and a large bar/group seating section out in LF/line Concourses are wide and comfortable.

I need to get some photos up. All-in-all it was great, except for the HORRIBLE TRAFFIC. I ran into more interstate jams (the complete halt for 20 minutes or more variety) in a week than I would see in a month in Houston. And it was never game traffic. It was mostly snowbirds causing problems. It really is true that its almost all retired people on the roads and I saw plenty of blue hairs who didn't look like they could see over the wheel.


At the stadiums I met tons of very nice people from all over. Some live there, some were down to see their teams, and a few were like me that came down just to see lots of baseball.

My only regret was that I had to go it alone since the wife couldn't get the time off (and wouldn't see that many games with me anyway Posted Image )


I have the Angels beating the Cubs in the WS. Vlad and Colon are huge additions to a team that wasn't all that different than the one the won the WS. They have a great bullpen with FRod and Donnelly, plus Percival when healthy.

My Yanks could be in for a 2nd loss to the Angels in 3 years. I'm not sold on the ARod deal still and so far he's hitting like crap. In the 3 Yanks games I saw in spring he never put good wood on the ball. The good news was that Giambi was swinging the bat with plenty of strength.

#16 of 1227 Chris Stainton

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Posted April 01 2004 - 09:22 AM

The same thing I wish every year...Oakland A's all the way!!!

#17 of 1227 Michael D. Bunting

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Posted April 01 2004 - 09:39 AM

If the Royals are in the thick of things (like they should be) in the AL Central, don't look for them to trade Beltran whatsoever. Getting to the playoffs would be a huge boom to KC and their fanbase, which is something they desperately need after not being in the post season since the WS win in 85'.

That said, Beltran will definitely not be a Royal after this season. He's my pick for AL MVP this season.

Now, if the Royals are 15 games back at the ALL Star break, yes, he could indeed be dealt to a contender very easily.

I like the Asros and Cubs to square off in the NL - with the Cubs winning it somehow (as long as Prior is healthy!).

For the AL, I really don't care...I think KC can make the playoffs though. Anyone but the Yankees and I'll be happy. Red Sox have a shot with the addition of Schilling, so they are my pick riight now.

#18 of 1227 John Madia

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Posted April 01 2004 - 01:10 PM

Milton Bradley is going to be traded:
http://sports.espn.g...tory?id=1773330

He's a great player with tons of potential but he's also a total headcase. I'm not sure where he's going to end up. He'd be great as a replacement for Trot Nixon in RF for the Red Sox while he's out and a platoon partner for Trot when he comes back. I don't think the Red Sox want him in the lockeroom though and he would be a media nightmare. Dodgers might pick him up becase they need any offense they can get.

Also, I'm not sure why everyone is picking San Francisco to win the West. They haven't picked up anyone note worthy in the offseason, there's no one to protect Bonds, their ace has just come off shoulder surgery and they don't have a closer with Nenn out and Worrell gone. They're going to be in the playoff hunt since it's a weak division and every team has a shot to make the playoffs. There's going to be a bunch of teams bunched together at the end and I doubt San Francisco will come out on top.

#19 of 1227 Evan S

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Posted April 01 2004 - 01:18 PM

Quote:
Milton Bradley is going to be traded


He's on one of my fantasy teams in my big money league so I hoping he goes somewhere that they will play him every day. I also hope they put him in a RBI position in the lineup, but we cannot ask for everything now can we? He only makes 1.73 Million so he's a relative bargain too and I can see a lot of teams making a run for him. Hopefully he will wind up with my beloved A's as we need an added offensive boost and we have some prospects on the farm we can deal.

searching for that elusive, "perfect" sound.

#20 of 1227 Phil L

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Posted April 01 2004 - 01:21 PM

Bradley is too good to platoon. I think he's going to the Dodgers.

Remember though, that was reported by Gammons, so I wouldn't be suprised if the Indians signed him to a long-term deal tomorrow.


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