Archive | February, 2012

Fantasy baseball has begun – have you been burned yet?

25 Feb

When you talk about getting burned in fantasy baseball, usually it means you were on the bad end of a trade or you got a draft pick slot that almost assures you that the first month is just going to be playing the waiver wire hoping to get the pieces you need. Sometimes though it is a matter of other owners not knowing what the hell is going on. You can tell when they draft it’s going to be a long year and a tedious one at that. Sure, they may be so incompetent you waltz to a league win, but the fun of the win is hollow – you just spent a summer beating up on idiots. What are the signs you got burned by being stuck in a bad league.

1. Only 4 owners show up for the live draft. Two leave after the second round and the other guy only hangs around until he realizes, in the 6th round, the other two guys left. Why be one of two people to live draft? No one else is.

2. A Met’s fan burns a first round pick on Johan Santana – and goes downhill from there.

3. An owner starts his first five rounds picking nothing but Royals.

4. The closer rush starts with the 3rd overall pick.

5. Hideki Matsui, of the without a team to play for yet Matsuis, goes in the 6th round.

6. You are dealing with an owner that thinks AJ Burnett will win more games with the Pirates than the Yankees. (possible, but c’mon!!)

7. The 1st overall pick of the draft is Joe Mauer.

8. Justin Morneau goes ahead of Pujols and Fielder.

9. Someone asks why Jorge Posada isn’t on the player list.

10. Stephen Strasburg, of the 150 inning limit variety, goes ahead of Tim Lincecum.

11. Bryce Harper goes in the first 2 rounds.

If you see any of this happening on your draft day settle in for a long year. Not all is lost though, in drafts like this you can grab a guy like Curtis Granderson in the 6th or 7th round because everyone refuses to pick him (except you) because they insist he had a fluke season. maybe Ellsbury slides to the fifth. And yeah… 2 leagues into the year – I’ve seen ALL of this happen already. I’ve got a long year ahead of me…

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Ryan Braun – not guilty doesn’t mean innocent

25 Feb

In the ongoing mess that is the Ryan Braun drug scandal, Braun has been happy to point fingers at the press and world as a whole telling everyone I told you so. No matter what Braun says, or how he says it, it still sounds like a lot of hat air. Braun is still tip-toeing around the real issue – the drugs found in his urine sample. Lawyer speak only goes so far, and the only people convinced of Braun’s innocence seem to be people that were convinced he was innocent when the mess unfolded. But not guilty is a far cry from innocent.

Braun’s attorneys cast as much doubt on everything they could playing games of hypothetical situations and all sorts of potential procedural policies, but that did nothing to convince anyone Braun didn’t dope. It didn’t convince MLB for one who is mulling over an appeal. All it did was potentially create more red tape and even harsher standards for players in the very near future. Let’s look at what happened.

Braun’s lawyers couldn’t argue the science. Braun’s urin sample was delivered untainted and in proper shape to be examined. it was secure when sent to the lab. It was secure when it arrived at the lab. keep in mind, Braun’s signature on the sample seal is a part of the security measures. if the seal was broken, the signature was damaged. None of that was the case.

A guilty result is triggered at a 4:1 T/E (testosterone/Epitestosterone result. Braun was 30:1. that is so far off the charts it isn’t even close.  There is no biological explanation for it that wouldn’t have had Braun in a hospital – the critical care unit at that.

The testosterone that was found was not naturally occurring. It was a synthetic testosterone. How is that explained by mystery glandular problems alluded to over the winter?

The procedures the testing agent followed are the accepted standards of every major professional and amateur sport that employs drug testing. For some reason, when it comes to Braun alone, everything has to be a higher standard. In any other sport at this time, Braun would be out on his butt. Instead, an arbiter that is unfamiliar with drug testing policies ruled that the standards are unacceptable and need to be more stringent. it is no surprise, allegedly, that it was a 2:1 not guilty vote with the second vote coming from the player’s union rep who has a vested interest in protecting Braun whose salary helps pay his. That is not an impartial judge.

Say all you want, toss around all the legalese you can, your attorneys getting you off because they were able to craft an argument in which the scenario exists that something might have gone wrong even though every shred of evidence is to the contrary, even though it defies the laws of science, is not innocent. It is getting great mileage out of your legal defense dollar.

Ryan Braun is still a cheater – just one with good lawyers

24 Feb

Ryan Braun just got a pass from the MLB – not that they want to give it to him. It’s not even a matter of Braun deserving it. It doesn’t even mean that Braun was found clean and did not use drugs. No, Braun got a pass because his lawyers found a loophole to get the case tossed. I am still as convinced as ever that Braun was doped to the gills, but his sheisters did their job and weaseled him right out of trouble. let’s look at this closer.

Braun’s attorneys never argued that Braun didn’t use drugs. Everyone knows he did. There was no way to beat the positive results – Braun broke the rules and used drugs. Period. Braun’s attorneys attacked the cup his urine was in. The lid it was in. FedEx shipping hours. The refrigerator the urine sample was stored in. They attacked everyone except the Easter Bunny pretty much. Everyone in the world was wrong and every material that went into making the cup and lid was somehow bad – forget that Braun is a fecally loaded cheat.

Jeff Passan’s article stated:

“Ryan Braun beat the program Thursday. His lawyers never bothered arguing whether or not Braun had taken the synthetic testosterone that showed up in his urine during the 2011 playoffs. They argued about the urine that showed up in the cup, which Braun signed to affirm had been sealed and packaged correctly. And they argued about the cup that went into a box that was supposed to go to FedEx that Saturday night. And they argued that because the FedEx store was closed and the test collector took the sample home and put it in his refrigerator until Monday – the standard-operating procedure in every major doping program across the world but one not spelled out distinctly among Selig’s 18,175 words – that the sample did not follow the proper chain of custody and thus was invalid.”

Get the picture?

Keep this in mind. If a person tested 4:1 for testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, they would be guilty of doping. Braun tested 30:1 — 750% higher than the normal ratio used to establish guilt. Braun didn’t have natural testosterone in his system – it was SYNTHETIC.

Ryan Braun – guilty as ever and now even more of a jackass. Somebody needs to trade him to Pittsburgh so he can play out his career in obscurity.

Johnny Damon to KC? It’s a real possibility now

23 Feb

With teams tightening up their rosters quicker than usual, Johnny Damon has found himself in the odd position of looking for work. Of all the players that hit the market this year in the over 35 DH genre, Damon was easily the most productive offensive weapon. Still, it is not easy being one of the old men on the block who isn’t expected to get better. Since Ibanez went to NY for pocket change and ManRam hit Oakland for the equivalent of bus fare, Johnny has got to be willing to work on the cheap – and that is why KC makes semse.

The Royals are cheap bastards – let’s not beat around the bush. The Royals are also an organization neck deep in crap on and off the field. Nobody outside of KC notices though because the Royals have sucked for so long. George Brett is being sued for his magic bracelets that aren’t magic. The team has talent but it only seems like a matter of time until they scrap them for more prospects. The Royals need good PR and Johnny Damon can provide that.

Cheap as the Royals are, they can go a million bucks to sign him. Damon is chasing down history – 3,000 hits being the biggest of them. he won’t make it this year, but next year is a solid bet. They can tie Johnny up for two years, get some good press, get a productive player and seel a pile of seats and memorabilia next year when he approaches and hits #3000.

Of course it won’t happen because it makes sense on and off the field.

The DH glut – who will hit when the music stops?

22 Feb

With raul Ibanez tucked away in new york for just over $1 million and Manny Ramirez bringing whatever the hell it is he has left to Oakland, three big names are looking for a job and there aren’t many buyers left. Vlad Guerrero, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are all seeking suitors. Is there any hope for them?

For Matsui, yes. Matsui can produce, despite an early 2011 slump, and will likely be willing to sign for a fair price. teams like Matsui because he doesn’t cause waves, he just shows up to work. That is always going to help him sell himself. I’m thinking Baltimore will give Godzilla a go at around $800k plus heavy incentives.

Johnny Damon will get a job because he can technically play the outfield still meaning the NL is not off limits. I’m not saying he can play it well, but enough to make it a reasonable thing to do. His real value though is at the plate and he is going to want a team that let’s him DH everyday. Kansas City seems right – back where it all began and he’d fit in well. Even if he sucked, he’d be sucking in KC so no one would notice it anyway.

Vlad Guerrero is the odd man out. he has nowhere to go and wants $5 million to sign. No one really wants him at $5 mil. Actually, no one really wants him. All he can do is hit and that isn’t really working out well for him right now either. I love the guy, but no one needs him and his ego is too Jermaine Dye to “sign for less” so he is screwed. I hope he does well in retirement.

In short look for this:

Hideki Matsui to Baltimore

Johnny Damon to KC

Vlad Guerrero – Somewhere near Santo Domingo

Yankees complete deals for Chavez and Ibanez

22 Feb

The Yankees have reportedly completed the deals to bring Raul Ibanez to new York and Eric Chavev back to pinstripes. Each deal is reportedly in the $1 million range with heavy incentives – Ibanez about $1.1m and Chavez around $900k. It is expected that these will be the last two significant signings or deals before the beginning of the Yankees 2012 season.

Chavez is expected to fill the same role he had in 2011 which is to play some third base to spell ARod and possibly put in some innings at first as an extra defensive option. Ibanez is expected to get the bulk of the time at DH against righties unless one of the other starters is getting a half say off from the field. Andruw Jones is expected to still be primary DH against left handed pitchers.

These signings all but close the door on a long rumored deal for Chase Headley whom the Padres were said to be asking too much for. Similarly, Vlad Guerrero who openly lobbied for the Yankee DH job for around $5m/yr is now going to have to take the begging bowl somewhere else. With Oakland having signed Manny Ramirez to a $500k deal, there is plenty of competition for DH jobs.

Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are both still on the market, but the Ibanez signing leaves no room for either on the roster.Damon was the most productive of the three and will likely land a job somewhere first. Matsui and Guerrero may however be out of luck – particularly Guerrero as it has been said by one GM that based on this winter’s dealings, Vlad is about a $750k signing at best – a far cry from his demands.

How much is enough for Vlad Guerrero?

21 Feb

I love some Vlad Guerrero. I’ve seen some great hitters, but few were as exciting as Vlad. In his prime, I honestly believed that the nose to toes strike zone didn’t fit him. I saw him literally hit a pitch that bounced in. I saw him hit pitches over his head. Heck. I saw him hit pitches that looked so far out of the zone I thought the catcher couldn’t get to them had he whiffed. That was a few years ago though and now Vlad is an aging DH that at best has flashes of his former brilliance.

I don’t know what Vlad is being offered by Baltimore or anyone else in terms of guaranteed money on a deal, but whatever it is I would be willing to bet is generous – just not the $5 mil a year generous he is demanding. At 37, is he worth that kind of money? Absolutely not. Only 13 homers and a hair over 60 ribbies is not $5 mil performance money. That was in 145 games with half in a bandbox, so you can’t say he didn’t get a fair shake to produce. Is it ego driving his demands or is it an easy way to walk away from the game without having to officially retire and admit to himself he is not a premiere hitter anymore?

Jermaine Dye did the same thing – but Dye had better numbers – he just wasn’t worth 8 figures a season. I have to think Vlad just doesn’t want to play. He’s made over $125 million in his career not counting any endorsement money. I haven’t heard of him spending like the re-incarnation of Jack Clark so I doubt he’s broke. It could be an ego thing, but Vlad never struck me as that type of guy. All it can be is he really doesn’t want to play.

I’d love to see Vlad tear it up one more year. It would be fun. But let’s face facts – no one is giving him $5 mil. Everyone has a DH. Some have a rotation of DH’s. He can’t play the field anymore. He can’t run. Now, he can’t hit like a $5 million man either. The next month will tell what he is all about so far as his the end of the road. He could offer value to a team, but only in a limited role. If he can deal with that, he has three more seasons maybe. if not, it was great watching him, happy retirement.