Monday, November 3, 2014

By Glen McKee, Senior Prognosticator

More than any other sport, baseball loves its traditions.  It’s why the sport was so late to adopt any sort of instant-replay technology, and it’s why Joe West still has a job.  Hence, the sport attracts a group of fans that love traditions, and I’m no exception.  When October rolls around and the Angels are traditionally out of the playoffs, I get sad for a bit and then try to enjoy the rest of the baseball postseason.  Then at the end of October (usually) baseball ends for the year and that sadness returns for a bit.  Soon after that the season changes to fall, I bust out my sweatpants again, and the hot stove season begins.  That kills my sadness.  I loves me some hot stove, and I know I’m not alone.  More than any other sport, the baseball offseason is a very exciting time.  MLB has so much during the off-months.  It’s freaking awesome.  
Another baseball tradition is the predictions of what will happen during the offseason.  As with baseball itself, if you have a 30% success rate – in this instance, with regards to predicting what trades will happen or where free-agents will sign – you’re well above average and should be held in some regard.  I stand by my imagined prediction accuracy rate of 92% and fearlessly predict that this year’s predictions, I predict, will be 104% accurate.  I’m no piodeportes – I’m much better than those pikers.  With no further ado, here are my guaranteed predictions for the 2014 offseason.  Take ‘em to the bank.

The Yankees will spend a metric ass-ton of money.  This one is a gimmie.  The Jeets is gone, A-Rod is returning, and the Yankees don’t have a marquee-type player.  They’ll spend dumptrucks of money to get Lester (and piss of the Sawx) and any other free-agent that ambles into their field of view.  They have the desperation of the democrats after the November 4 election.  The Red Sox are in a similar boat but with even more money to spend.  It’s gonna be a Yankees/Sox offseason and in case we needed them, we’ll have plenty of reasons to hate them again.  I didn’t need the reasons; my hatred is still strong.

Bud Selig’s replacement will go on a retirement tour during the winter meetings, and nobody will care.  Especially not me.  I’d say Bud was the vanilla of MLB commissioners but I actually like vanilla and think it’s underrated.  Bud was more the Pepsi Clear of commissioners: seemingly not a bad idea at the time but in retrospect he probably should have been a no-go. 

MLB network will renew “High Heat” with Christopher Russo.  I’ve noticed a trend that the more I, and most of the people I talk to who like baseball, dislike somebody on MLB network the more likely they are to become entrenched.  Russo is cut from the Skip Bayless/braying-jackass mold and like Bayless (and braying jackasses) yells a lot and favors pseudo-controversial repeated statements.  My dislike for him is so strong that it’s inevitable he will return, just to piss me off.
In March, ESPN and many other baseball pundits will predict that the Yankees and Red Sox will be back.  No matter what they do or don’t during the offseason, they’ll be the easy pick, and it will be a bit of confirmation bias.  Something something “The Yankees need to kick off the post-Jeter era with a bang and they’ve proven they want to” and something something “The Red Sox will prove once again that their down year was an anomaly and return to the postseason.” 

Let’s not forget all the love forthcoming for the Cubs.  I get the Maddon love, even if I think it’s overrated.  He’s the hipster of MLB managers and his teams usually exceed their expectations, and he’s going somewhere where they have money to spend and arguably a desire to win.  Arguably.  However…he’s managing the Cubs.  They’ve outspent the Rays every year the Rays have been in existence and probably done worse than them every year.  I don’t believe in curses or hexes or juju, but yeah, the Cubs.  MLB prognosticators will be falling all over themselves to predict a turnaround for them.  I’m falling all over myself to be the anti-hipster and predict a third-place finish for them.
And now for the most important part, the Angels-centric predictions:’s Spring Fanfest will kick much ass.  Mandatory, yet true shameless plug.  I might even make it out there again for this one.  I have about a Lou’s chance of being there.  (If you don’t get that, you need to read the board more.)

The Angels will go dumpster-diving and find a few clean peanuts.  The most obvious need for the Angels is starting pitching.  Richards isn’t a lock to return any time before the middle of the season.  Shoemaker, while excellent last year, isn’t a lock to repeat his performance.  CJ Wilson has more question marks than the Riddler’s unitard.  There are a handful of low-risk pitchers out there that offer the potential for high returns.  Expect the Angels get at least one of them.  Aaron Harang anyone?

Neither Kendrick nor Freese will be traded.  A week or so ago, I put (what I thought was) a sweet Vertigo Tarot Deck for auction on Ebay.  I’ve had it sitting unopened in the garage for a few years and decided to see what it could get.  Nothing.  Nada.  That’s what Dipoto can expect for dangling Freese.  True, other than Kung Fu Panda the market for 3B is weak, but Panda ain’t leaving San Fran.  The thing is, Freese isn’t so good in any one area that a team would give up something significant to get him, and the Angels don’t have a decent replacement for him.  Kendrick is something of the opposite.  He’s good, and slightly underrated by most fans, and like with Freese the Angels don’t have a replacement for him.  (Shut your mouth right now if you’re starting to say “But Grant Green…”)  Green is an unproven commodity and is more likely to be Brandon Wood than White Howie.  Dipoto is simply seeing what offers he’ll get, but they won’t be enough to tempt him to make a move.  Especially for one year of Howie.  

The Angels won’t sign Yoan Moncada.  Remember earlier where I said I don’t believe in hexes?  I sorta lied.  The Angels won’t sign Moncada – bank on it.  I totally, 100% do not expect them to sign him.  Not a chance.  Not gonna happen.

I stand by all of these predictions 100%, unless they don’t come true.  If that happens, I never believed in them anyway. 

If anyone is interested in the crystal baseball in the picture, here is a link for it (I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I just found it doing a google search for “crystal baseball” and thought it was nifty)
Love to hear what you think!

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