>For what other reason would you come to The Platoon Advantage but for hoary old clichés? The Common Man will not disappoint you. Here’s what each team wants for Christmas, along with whether they will get it:
Arizona Diamondbacks: A bullpen Phoenix doesn’t have to be ashamed of.
Because…oh my God, it burns! Don’t make TCM watch them again!
Will they get it? Probably
Nobody does bullpens like Kevin Towers does bullpens. That said, dude had better get to work. JJ Putz and David Hernandez come to town with big question marks, and everyone leftover from last year ranged from below average to God-awful.
Atlanta Braves: Dennis Rodman
Because somebody needs to help Chipper Jones and Nate McLouth rebound from their disappointing 2010s.
Will they get it? Not as much as they want.
Chipper sounds like he’s working his way back, but at 39 there’s no telling what he has left in the tank. McLouth has gone from an All Star in 2008 to hitting .190/.298/.322 and spending 34 games in the Minors in 2010. It’s been a precipitous fall for the man who ripped the Pirates for trading him. Right now, Neal Huntington looks awfully smart. Anyway, McLouth presumably can’t get any worse. Hey, at least the Braves are only on the hook for $8 million more. The Common Man has no idea what’s wrong with McLouth, nor how much Chipper will actually be able to play in 2011. Figure that the Braves will get slightly more production out of the pair.
Baltimore Orioles: A sense of adventure
The O’s are allegedly out to Adam LaRoche, a nice safe choice to play 1B in 2011. But they’re supposedly offering a multi-year deal to a player who is not much above average. A better solution, in order to maintain long-term payroll and positional flexibility might be to get crazy and either use Luke Scott at 1B part or full time, and go after a potential impact bat like Jim Thome to take aim at that short RF porch.
Will they get it? That depends…
…on whether LaRoche gets his head out of his kiester and realizes he’s not going to find a better deal that whatever the O’s are offering. If he hems and haws any longer, the Orioles are likely to look elsewhere. And they’d probably be better off.
Boston Red Sox: The Black Mercy
What do you get for the team that has everything? The only thing that can stop them…
Will they get it? Not with Theo running the show.
The BoSox have had a terrifically aggressive offseason, signing and trading for the two biggest targets available this winter. They’ve also made good pickups at the margins, getting Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler. They’re not just good, they’re deep. And there’s no way Theo Epstein is going to let anything stop the Sox this year, let alone an alien plant that causes hallucinations of everything you’ve always wanted.
Chicago Cubs: The 5th season of Lost on BluRay
The Cubs would like nothing better than to be on an island that skips through time, in the hopes that they’d end up in the offseason of 2011, when Aramis Ramirez ($14.6 million) and Kosuke Fukudome ($14.5 million) will finally be off the payroll, and the team will only have one more year of Carlos Zambrano ($19 million) to work around.
Will they get it? The show, sure. The time skipping, probably not.
The Cubs are finally acting like a real large market team and spend their money wisely. Picking up Carlos Pena was a nice buy-low step, and he can be flipped for building blocks at the deadline. The Kerry Wood pickup was extremely positive. But 2010 is going to be a mediocre season to be endured on the North Side.
Chicago White Sox: Ozzie Guillen
Yes, they already have him, but who doesn’t need more Ozzie? Plus, they already got everything else they wanted this year.
Will they get him? Easily.
Look, you can get Ozzie and his nipples for a low, low price.
Cincinnati Reds: Money
The Reds’ biggest offseason acquisition (aside from resigning their own free agents) has been Dontrelle Willis. Sheesh.
Will they get it? Not unless team owner Robert Casetllini has an even richer uncle who dies.
The Reds have question marks in LF and SS, but have done nothing to address them. Their faith in Paul Janish for the latter spot is probably misplaced, and Walt Jocketty had plenty of chances to upgrade with JJ Hardy or Jason Bartlett, but failed to capitalize. Times are tight in Cincy, and with the huge moves by the Brewers this offseason, nobody can be too confident in The Queen City.
Cleveland Indians: A better, less racist logo
Seriously, you can do better. This isn’t a tradition, it’s a travesty. If you can’t have pride in a new logo, at least have enough pride in yourselves to feel good about doing away with such a blatantly racist caricature.
Will they get it? No.
Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti and company are doing their best to wean the Indians off of Chief Wahoo. But they’re still a few years away from being able to get rid of it entirely. And a few Tribe fans are too emotionally invested in a stupid picture to see things clearly. Which is a shame. Between LeBron and the team’s rebuilding effort, this could be the most positive thing to happen in Cleveland all year.
Colorado Rockies: Footage of the Todd Helton, Mike Hampton, and Denny Naegle signings
Remember how happy everyone looked at the time? Remember all your optimism, Dan O’Dowd? Remember how that turned to bitterness and disappointment?
Will they get it? Let’s see, it’s down in the storage unit somewhere. Oh no, there’s been a leak in the basement and it’s all ruined! Guess not.
So there’s nothing to tell the Rockies that, if they go down this road of needlessly locking players into deals that don’t actually save your club much money, and take on significant risk, they are going to regret it. Just like they did the last three times. Oh well, after they sign Carlos Gonzalez to a 7 year extension, they can get to work on Dexter Fowler, who has just four more years of team control.
Detroit Tigers: Their old stadium back
Because if the Kitties are hellbent on fielding a mediocre team, they can at least play in a beautiful old ballpark with character.
Will they get it? Nope.
Alas, this is all that’s left of Tiger Stadium. So very, very sad.
Florida Marlins: The Wizard of OZ
Jeff Loria: “When a man’s an empty kettle, he should be on his mettle, and yet I’m torn apart. Just because I’m presumin’ that I could be a human if I only had a heart.”
Will they get it? Well, the might get a prequel.
But unfortunately, the Wizard can’t bestow an actual heart. Indeed, the Tin Man actually already had the biggest heart of all. Plus, that wizard was a total fraud. Sadly, nobody can make the Marlins’ owner give a damn about his ballclub.
Houston Astros: Real Prospects
For a team who is rebuilding, the Astros seem to be relying an awful lot on guys who aren’t actually all that young, like Chris Johnson, or good, like Brett Wallace and Jason Castro.
Will they get it? It’s inevitable.
Like the Cubs, the Astros are in for another mediocre season. At least this year, they’ll be relatively inexpensive. And they have ways they can spend off that extra revenue through the draft and amateur signing bonuses. They pick 9th in 2011, so they’re bound to get something good in the upcoming draft. But probably nobody who’s going to help right away. Nor will the minor league free agents. Have faith, Houston.
Kansas City Royals: The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Well, the time skipping island is already taken, and the Royals really, really want to get through 2011. And the fewer fans who have to watch Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur the better. And with so many terrific prospects at or near the Majors, skipping 2011 would help get them on the field sooner.
Will they get it? Yes, but they may not like it.
The book is widely available for a couple bucks, but the Earth shattering conclusions of jumping forward in time are such that the Royals may want to think twice about carrying through on Wells’ dream. Indeed, they may skip a year only to find that Dayton Moore’s plans have gone horribly awry (it wouldn’t be the first time), with the fledgling Royals becoming lazy and lacking discipline while the veterans hunker down and grow ever more bitter.
Los Angels Angels, etc: Adrian Beltre
The Angels have a glaring, Beltre-sized hole at 3B.
Will they get it? Very, very likely.
Angels fans are up in arms about the team’s lack of activity this offseason, but missing out on Carl Crawford (with young OFers Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout in the fold, and veteran Torii Hunter under contract) and falling back to Beltre might be the best outcome for the Angels. While Halo fans can scream about needing “a leadoff man,” what the team needs more than that is just plain offense. And Beltre can provide a ton of that, including the best 3B defense in baseball. Beltre’s got to sign somewhere, and the Angels figure to have the most money to be able to reel him in. Plus, if they miss out, it’ll be time to break out the torches and pitchforks.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Peace on Earth
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could just get along? Starting with Frank and Jamie McCourt, of course. That would clear up a lot of uncertainty regarding the Dodgers in 2011 and help clarify the payroll situation and who will be owning the team going forward.
Will they get it? It sure doesn’t seem like it.
The judge ruled in favor of Jamie, meaning she owns half of the Dodgers. Neither Frank, nor Jamie, likely has the cash reserves to buy the other out, so one of the most storied and noble of baseball’s franchises will be dragged through the mud and sold to the highest bidder very soon. Merry Christmas, Los Angeles.
Milwaukee Brewers: Strikeouts
The Brewers seem relatively set at all of their positions, and by set The Common Man means both that they have guys to fill those spots, and that those guys move like they’re stuck in concrete. Since they aren’t likely to get any new fielders at this point, having some extra Ks on hand will reduce the need to rely on these statuesque glovemen.
Will they get them? Assuredly
With Greinke and Marcum coming over from the Junior Circuit, there’s no doubt that fans will see more flailing in 2011. Though some of that might be the pitchers going after Yuni Betancourt when he refuses to move three steps to his left.
Minnesota Twins: A do-over
OK, TCM’s cheating here. The Twins don’t want a do-over, but TCM does. Because this off-season has been pretty awful.
Will they get it? You can’t unring this bell.
The Twins allowed Guerrier, Crain, and Rauch to leave with no compensation, when they could have offered arbitration and gotten Guerrier and Crain for as much as they’re paying Matt Capps. JJ Hardy, despite being one of the 3-4 best shortstops in the AL, was given away for virtually nothing because he can’t do the one thing (run fast) that Ron Gardenhire wants him to. Jim Thome still isn’t resigned (though at the price he’ll want and the risk he represents, that might not be a bad thing). Nor is Carl Pavano. TCM likes Nishioka though.
New York Mets: A sucker
One is allegedly born any minute, and the Mets would like to find one to take Carlos Beltran and/or Luis Castillo off their hands.
Will they get it? Alas, not.
Dayton Moore seems pretty tapped out. The Braves might want an OFer later this year, but would be hard pressed to add Beltran’s salary and the Mets might not want to deal in the division. Ditto on Philadelphia. Jim Hendry has all the overpriced outfielders he can handle. Maybe the Tigers need more gimpy players to go with Magglio, Inge, and Carlos Guillen.
New York Yankees: A pitching machine
As in, a machine that makes pitching. Because nobody seems to want to come to the Bronx this year and hang out with CC Sabathia.
Will they get it? If anyone has the resources…
It’d be hard to come with that on short notice though. The best they could probably do is to figure out some mind control device to get Andy Pettitte to come back. The Yankees look vulnerable, so a lot of teams could be going after the Wild Card this year.
Oakland A’s: Extreme Makeover: Ballpark Edition
It’s becoming increasingly clear the A’s won’t have a new home for a long time, between San Francisco’s stalling and Bud Selig’s mysterious committee that has yet to figure out that Oakland is not a viable home for the A’s going forward, despite having two years to study the issue. The next best thing is to bring in Ty Pennington and let him at least make The Coliseum a decent place to watch a ballgame.
Will they get it? Opportunities are limited.
For one thing, it’ll be hard to find a bus big enough to block out the whole stadium. For another, Billy Beane would have to go on vacation to Disney World or something, and that guy hasn’t taken a vacation in years. Plus, the A’s probably have, like, 14 more moves to make this offseason.
Philadelphia Phillies: Another Ace
It would just be more aesthetically pleasing to have the full rotation full of great pitching, instead of Fat Joe and the Terrors. There must be one around here somewhere that nobody’s using…
Will they get it? The cupboard is bare.
With the farm system largely tapped, the Phillies don’t really have what it takes to acquire a Felix Hernandez, Ubaldo Jimenez, or Brett Anderson, even if one were available. The best they could probably do at this point is to get Brandon Webb and hope he recovers from shoulder surgery. They have the depth to carry the former Cy Young Award winner.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 24 more guys with Corey Wimberly’s attitude
Yesterday, the Pirates acquired Wimberly, and as Craig Calcaterra reported yesterday, he was really excited about it. A good attitude might make another bad season in Pittsburgh bearable.
Will they get it? Unclear.
Enthusiasm can be infectious, and maybe Wimberly can rub off on young Pirates like Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, and Jose Tabata. Of course, losing is infectious too, and that’s pretty demoralizing. And there’s going to be a lot of losing in Pittsburgh again this year.
San Diego Padres: A brand new Adrian Gonzalez
They used up their old one, and now they need a new guy to plug in at 1B to be the sole thing driving their offense.
Will they get it? They’re pretty hard to come by.
Slugging first basemen are relatively easy to find, but finding elite first basemen like Gonzalez, who have the power to carry an offense by themselves, is incredibly rare. The Pads have tried to improve at other positions (SS, 2B, and CF) to account for the loss of offense. But they still need a big bopper at 1B.
San Francisco Giants: A bigger trophy case
So their new hardware can be properly displayed. After winning the World Series, the Giants can’t possibly ask for more.
Will they get it? Are there Amish in San Francisco?
The Amish make a great trophy case. But the Giants had better hurry, before Brian Wilson puts a beard on it or Timmy fashions it into a bong.
Seattle Mariners: Lower expectations
The M’s were the sexy pick of baseball bloggers in 2010, but we should have seen their regression coming. That said, the 101 loss season they got was completely unexpected and made all that preseason hope nothing more than unearned hype.
Will they get it? TCM expects so.
It’s hard to predict great things for a team that lost more than a hundred the year before. As the M’s consolidate and start to work in Dustin Ackley, they’ll probably win at least 80 in 2011, and the cycle of unrealistic expectations can start all over again.
St. Louis Cardinals: A night of drinking with Albert Pujols
Get him drunk, get him to sign a contract. For the next eleventy billion years.
Will they get it? No to the drinking, yes to the contract
TCM doesn’t know whether Albert’s much of a drinker anyway. But it’s damn near impossible to think of Albert anywhere but St. Louis. TCM has to believe a deal will get done. But it could be a drawn out process. TCM just wants it done so wecan skipped the braying of the national press about selfishness.
Tampa Bay Rays: A slugging 1B
The Rays could really use a bopper for the right side. Right now, the plan seems to be to use Dan Johnson and Ben Zobrist, but Johnson’s hardly reliable and the Zorilla could be utilized better as a multi-position super sub.
Will they get it? Doesn’t seem to be lining up that way.
The Rays seem to be positioning themselves to use Zobrist at 1B and they’re running out of potential lefty-mashers to match with him. None of Jorge Cantu, Troy Glaus, Mike Sweeney, nor Fernando Tatis will represent much of an upgrade. The Rays may be going to war as is, if they don’t deal a starter.
Texas Rangers: A lick of sense
Look, it was fun while it lasted. But now it’s time to make Neftali Feliz a starter again.
Will they get it? 50-50
Ron Washington is on record saying he prefers Feliz in the closer spot. But Jon Daniels is smarter than that. If he can’t get Carl Pavano, Feliz represents the best option to upgrade the rotation following the loss of Cliff Lee. And with Frank Francisco, the Rangers have someone to step into the role.
Toronto Blue Jays: A crystal ball
It would be nice to know if Jose Bautista’s power was real in 2010 and represents a new level for him. And to see if Adam Lind and Aaron Hill recover from their rough 2010s. And if Travis Snider ever develops. It would help significantly with planning for the future.
Will they get it? Nothing is so uncertain as the future.
One of these days the Blue Jays are going to have a big season. It would be nice if that didn’t happen in a season that the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox weren’t also having big years. Some measure of long-term confidence in their players would be helpful. As it is, they’re an interesting collection of often frustrating pieces.
Washington Nationals: A good doctor and rehab facility
Things are definitely shaping up for the Nats to be frisky in 2012 and 2013, if they can just get and keep their young players healthy.
Will they get it? Well, the NIH is right in town.
A successful recovery by Steven Strasburg will do a lot to help the Nats to be competitive in a couple years, but only if their young guys stop getting hurt. It’s impossible to build a team when the guys you’re counting on keep going down. A healthy year will put them in position to surprise.
Well, that’s something like nine yeses, six maybes, and fifteen nos. Kind of like the odds that you’ll get what you want this year. Enjoy your knitted mittens and DVD of Jonah Hex this year. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.