Today marks opening day for Major League Baseball, and I could not be happier about it. From my little league games to spending a day at the ballpark with my brothers and parents, some of the childhood experiences that I am fondest of, are because of Americas Pastime.
In case you’ve been asleep for the last several months, I’ll recap some of the biggest offseason acquisitions that happened around the league.
I’ll start with the
league that nobody really cares about National League. Cliff Lee, the most sought after free agent of 2010, surprisingly signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. With a loaded starting line up and a scary starting rotation of Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, the Phillies are my favorite to win the NL. The Chicago Cubbies made some additions to their club as well. Kerry Wood returned to the Windy City and fills a void that was in the Cubs’ bullpen. First basemen Carlos Pena adds power to the lineup and Matt Garza is another talented arm for the already well-rounded starting rotation. The Brewers of Milwaukee made significant improvements to their starting rotation. They traded for 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. Although he had a quiet 2010, I think the change of scenery will re-energize the youthful pitcher. The Brewers also acquired starting pitcher Shaun Marcum who is coming off of a 13-8 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. Marcum will excel with the Brewers, he no longer will be facing the loaded line ups of the AL east and will get to enjoy pitchers hitting in the 9 spot.
Moving on to the American League, and what people actually care about. The Baltimore Orioles improved dramatically from last season. They ended 2010 under .500 and were last in nearly every offensive category. They picked up Vlad Guerrero DH, Derrek Lee 1B, and Mark Reynolds 3B, all of whom hit 30 home runs. Now that the team is actually decent, maybe manager Buck Showalter will stop hating on Derek Jeter and Theo Epstein. The Red Sox wrote so many checks this off season you would think George Steinbrenner was the owner. It kills me to say it, but they were definitely the winners in 2010. They acquired 1B Adrian Gonzales and OF Carl Crawford, two superstar caliber players that fill holes in the lineup, add solid defense, and everyone knows Crawford is a terror on the bases. They also significantly improved their bullpen, by adding Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks. Finally, on to my beloved New York Yankees. What else could I say about this off season besides EPIC FAIL? First Cliff Lee flips us the bird and signs with the Phillies for a contract worth significantly less money. Then, despite having the greatest of all time for the 9th inning, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner think it’d be a good idea to pay way too much money for Rafael Soriano. Don’t get me wrong, the man can pitch, but 3 years and $35 million is not logical when we don’t have the need for a player at that position. Another void was added to the starting rotation when one of my all time favorite Yankees, Andy Pettitte, retired despite having an electric 2010. In an attempt to fill the holes still left in our starting pitching the Yanks signed Freddy Garicia and
Butterbean Bartolo Colon. Call me an idealist, but I actually see that being a decent choice. Garcia has always been a solid starter, and Colon, although passed his prime, can come in to be a long reliever if AJ Burnett continues to suck. Next came the happy negotiations with Derek Jeter. Going public with what was going on during the negotiations was the completely wrong way to handle the situation. Derek Jeter is one of the best Yankees of all time and has led the team to five world championships. Was what he was asking excessive for a player coming off the worst season of his career with diminishing range in the field? Yes, but you don’t slap the man in the face and go to the media saying he can go shop around for other deals. That about wraps up my recap of this offseason. So get yourself a new fitted and a box of Cracker Jacks, America it’s time to play ball!