Thursday, March 25, 2004

Tigers ink Urbina
Sources including both ESPNews and are reporting that the Detroit Tigers have signed Ugueth Urbina to close in 2004. The average to below average efforts of Fernando Rodney, Franklyn German and Matt Anderson coupled with the breakdown in negotiations between Urbina and Cleveland led to the signing. Outisde of the injury-riddled 2000 season, Urbina has netted 24 or more saves (topping out at 41 in 1999) since 1997 and will instantly solidify a shaky bullpen. The Tigers played in 37 1-run games last year and lost 18 of them.

The former trio of closers, using the term loosely, pulled together a collective ERA of 5.90 over the 97 and 2/3 innings they pitcher last season. To call that kind of performance atrocious would qualify as the understatement of the year. The Tigers continue their positive offseason with their second acquisition from the World Series winners. Anderson will move to the minors while Rodney will continue to close until Urbina is ready to pitch and will most likely assume a setup role once Urbina is ready.

If the defense improves, and it should with Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Guillen and Fernando Vina up the middle, and the pitching staff achieves a level of consistency, the Tigers could find themselves on the winning end of almost twice as many games as last year's 43. Jason Johnson, Mike Maroth, Nate Cornejo, and Jeremy Bonderman have tons to prove before I'll set my sights that high, though. A goal of 70-80 wins is reachable.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Tournament Update
Like everyone else, my bracket is pretty much trashed. First off, those Gonzaga Bulldogs really hurt me, along with their other followers. Though I didn't have UAB beating them, I did have the ultimate posers in Kentucky losing in the second round. They were so far from being the top overall seed it wasn't even funny. The real killer was N.C. State because they are in my final. It's all moot though as long as Texas moves on. I was thoroughly impressed with the Longhorns against UNC and I'm eager to see how well they play against Xavier. Their continued willingness to penetrate the paint will be the key. In the losses, Texas has gone cold from the perimeter and hasn't been able to just get the ball down low for an easy two and stop an opposing team's run. They weren't scared against UNC and got plenty of paint points, but also open looks from the perimeter where guys like Brian Boddicker and Brandon Mouton flourish. All in all, I have 9 of my sweet 16 and my champion (Pittsburgh) still alive. I'd love to get that wrong if it meant that the Horns won it all in San Antonio.

Giant Downsize in the Bay Area?
As the protections for each in my NL only auction league came down this evening, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw a $5 Jeffrey Hammonds on the list. I mean, Jeffrey Hammonds? You have to be kidding me. As I looked at things deeper, it only got funnier. Not just from a Hammonds perspective, but from the entire San Francisco perspective. Outside of LF #25, the Giant lineup is absolutely atrocious. Take a peek:

C A. Pierzynski
1B J. Snow
2B R. Durham
3B E. Alfonzo
SS N. Perez
LF # 25
CF M. Grissom
RF M. Tucker

There is absolutely NO reason to pitch to LF #25 and he could feasibly walk 200 times, 52 more than a year ago. I think you might be hard pressed to find a worse lineup in the league. Detroit has Pudge, Dmitri Young, and even Carlos Pena and Rondell White to a lesser extent. Tampa Bay has Aubrey Huff, Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli. The in-division Los Angeles Dodgers might be the only team nearly as incompetent at the plate.

C P. Lo Duca
1B R. Ventura
2B A. Cora
3B A. Beltre
SS C. Izturis
LF J. Encarnacion
CF D. Roberts
RF S. Green

If you play fantasy baseball, acquire NL West pitchers... immediately! There may be games that have a higher total score than these teams put out in a month. Actually, I misspoke earlier. Get NL West pitchers, but continue to avoid Colorado Rockies pitchers like they're a hungry Anna Nicole Smith. Sit back and bask in the hilarity of owners overpaying/drafting guys like Shawn Estes because he's 3-1 with 0.60 ERA in 15 Spring innings.

Simply Unacceptable.
I don't care how much I enjoy his blog or how much I respect his writing, Mike Carminati has to be called out for his closing to his first post on March 22nd. Saying "Seacrest...Out!" is simply unacceptable unless you make it known that you believe that Ryan Seacrest is the biggest tool to hit the United States since the hammer. Worse yet, his complete and utter inability to grasp the depths of lameness only compound the situation. Seacrest actually thinks what he says is funny. I have watched American Idol about 10 total times and every time he was on the screen in his XXXXXS t-shirt, I just wanted to destroy my TV. Get a shirt that fits, get a personality that doesn't suck, and get a life you clown! Oh yeah, Mike, if you do realize Seacrest's lameness, all is forgiven.