Monday, March 17, 2008

A Preview A Day Keeps the Winter Away, #16 and #17

(Call it Irish luck, but you get two today)

For the month of March I will be doing a season preview, with a new team each day, going in alphabetical order by team so I can save the Yankees for last, because I am, in fact, that devious.

As this is a Yankees' blog, the previews for AL East teams will be more detailed than those of AL Central and AL West teams, and any AL team previews will be more detailed than NL team previews, save maybe for the Mets. Each preview will involve consideration of how much 'threat' a team is to the Yankees, for fairly obvious reasons.

Up today: The Washington Nationals and The Baltimore Orioles

You have to feel for baseball fans in the DC metro area; they're blessed with two baseball teams, but they're cursed by the Montreal Expos and Pete Angelos at the same time.

As the former Montreal Expos, have not had the expectations of being a serious contender, although last year they did take to the role of spoiler quite nicely. Just ask any Mets fan.

Of note for Yankee fans: Tyler Clippard and Wil Nieves are on the Nationals now, so if you're a fan of either of them (or both) you might want to pay attention to the days that Clippard starts.

Nationals Threat to the Yankees: Green, Proceed Normally.

They were much better last year than they were supposed to be, losing "only" 89 games instead of the 100 they were supposed to, but this is still not a team likely to play in October.

Now, the team that will be of greater interest to most of you: The Orioles.

The Orioles are easily the worst team in the American League, and quite possibly the only team that has not taken steps to improve. It's one thing if Boston or Cleveland doesn't do much in the off-season, given the philosophy of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but the Orioles have not had a winning season since 1997.

The best way to sum it up, is that the Texas Rangers, a team with no postseason plans whatsoever last year, beat Baltimore in a game by a score of 30-3, and now, the only really significant move Baltimore has made is trading Erik Bedard to Seattle--their one, and possibly only, decent pitcher.

Daniel Cabrera is supposed to be good, but like Edwar Ramirez, he's either really really good or really really bad. No one else on the rotation has distinguished himself.

It doesn't get much better in the field. Brian Roberts is all-star caliber, but there's not much else there. Kevin Millar (Cowboy Up?) batted .215 as a DH last year (though he did have a .999 fielding percentage). Melvin Mora had two home runs after the break last year. The outfield, complete with Payton, Gibbons and Huff (et al), is not very good, and that's putting it nicely.

Of course, a lot of Baltimore's poor fortune can be blamed on owner Pete Angelos's really, really bad decision making, but these birds are going to be grounded for a long time to come.

Threat to the Yankees: Orange, exercise extreme caution

Huh, you're asking, right?

Well, remember, they weren't much better last season, but it wasn't until SEPTEMBER that we were able to take a series from them. No team ever goes 0-162.

We play the Orioles eighteen times in a season, and that's more than enough to impact the standings. The worst mistake the Yankees could make wold be to take the team for granted, even if they should demolish them.


  1. Agree with you about the Orioles. They are a pretty bad team but the Yanks can't take them lightly. They gave the Yanks fits last season and these are the games the Yanks must win.

  2. i think gibbons may be the ugliest guy in baseball. at least as far as players go... i liked corey patterson. it'll be nice to be able to root for him again since he's a Red now.

    and i know fantasy baseball is not real baseball, but i can't believe most of the rankings i've seen so far have Roberts ahead of Cano.

  3. The Orioles easily have the worst front office in baseball, although they did get a lot in the Bedard deal. At least the Nats have done something to try to improve themselves, getting Milledge, Dukes Pena for the outfield.