Deadline Deals: 2010 Edition

Not much to add to the title. This is exactly what it says it is. The deals:
  • Cardinals acquire RHP Jake Westbrook from Indians, Padres acquire OF Ryan Ludwick from the Cardinals, and Indians acquire RHP Corey Kluber and RHP Nick Greenwood from the Padres - Nice to see a three-way deal at the deadline. Westbrook is what he is, a dependable, pitch-to-contact kind of starter. Hardly flashy, but solid. Maybe Dave Duncan sees something in him, but I don't see much that can be tweaked. As for San Diego, Ludwick instantly becomes the second best bat in their lineup behind Adrian Gonzalez. His addition could propel them to a division title, given how low-powered their offense is. However, the Indians are the real winners in this deal. Greenwood doesn't look like much to me, but Kluber knows how to strike out batters at prodigious rates. His numbers suggest a classic power pitcher, both with the Ks, and lots of fly balls. He might give up more than his fair share of home runs as a big-leaguer, but he will replace Westbrook for a fraction of the price when the Indians are relevant again. Good move for Cleveland, solid for San Diego, and disappointing for St. Louis. They have apparently been impressed by rookie Jon Jay, so Ludwick was expendable, but I think they could have got more for Ryan if that was the case.
  • Dodgers acquire LHP Ted Lilly and INF Ryan Theriot from Cubs for INF Blake DeWitt, RHP Kyle Smit, and RHP Brett Wallach - The Dodgers needed to make a move to expect to stay in the NL West race, and this is that move. They needed a starting pitcher, and Lilly upgrades their rotation, though he is only solid at best. Presumably Theriot is insurance in case Rafael Furcal gets hurt, or at least that's the only reason I would acquire him in this trade. I like DeWitt more than Theriot, though Theriot can play shortstop and DeWitt can't really. Smit looks like organizational depth out of the bullpen to me, and Wallach is too far away to say how good he might be, but early returns are promising. The deal looks like a push to me.

Trades, Trades, Trades

This has turned into a more active trade deadline than I thought it would be.  Here are recaps of all the trades that have happened in the past couple days that did not involve Roy Oswalt:
  • Rangers acquire INF Jorge Cantu from the Marlins for RHP Evan Reed and RHP Omar Poveda - For as good as Texas has been, they have had a black hole at first base the entire year. While Cantu is not an impact guy for most teams, he may prove to be for Texas because of how big the hole was. There was also some initial speculation that Cantu may play some second base with Ian Kinsler heading to the DL, but I doubt that thanks to today's action. As for what Florida got in return, it is a pretty standard trade deadline kind of haul for a guy like Cantu. Reed is a reliever in AA with nothing to positive or negative about him. He looks to me like the AAAA reliever type at best. It is tougher to say what Poveda becomes, since he is out all of this year with arm surgery. He had great strikeout rates through the lower levels of the minors, but those started to desert him, even before the big injury. How Poveda bounces back will decide how good this deal was. If I had to pick a winner right now, I'd go with Texas.
  • Rangers acquire INF Cristian Guzman from the Nationals for RHP Ryan Tatusko and RHP Tanner Roark - Guzman is a nice backup infielder that will play in Kinsler's absence. Probably the most noteworthy piece of this deal is that it seems to be a clear indication that Texas sees Cantu more as a first base option, and won't try him much at second base. Given that it has been a few years since Cantu has played second, that's probably a good idea. As for the Nats, they get a pair of largely uninteresting arms. Tatusko's ERA has dropped considerably this year, even though he is more hittable than ever. That's weird, and it makes it hard to say how good he is, though no matter what I think he is a marginal MLB arm at best. Roark has a great name, but not the game to match it. He has pitched better out of relief in the minors, but who doesn't? Both of Tatusko and Roark profile as roster fillers, but when you have a place for Miguel Batista, you welcome these kind of guys with open arms. Solid, though utterly forgettable deal for both sides.

Obligatory Oswalt Trade Analysis

Roy Oswalt got traded from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies. I debated letting this one go, because there is more than enough analysis out there already. However, it's just way too fascinating of a deal.

Here are my two cents, and then some.

Angels Take Haren Off D'Backs Hands

Dan Haren
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquired RHP Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Rafael Rodriguez, LHP Patrick Corbin, and a player to be named later.

Wow.

Haren hasn't been great this year, but he has a long track record of success. He has been one of the best pitchers in the majors for several years, and he is only 29 years old. Furthermore, some of Haren's peripheral numbers suggest some tough luck this year, in particular his absurdly high .350 BABIP. There are good reasons to think that Haren will bounce back, even though he is still pretty valuable this year.

Also, Dan Haren is signed through 2012, with a team option for 2013. Bottom line, the Angels just acquired a heck of a sidekick for Jered Weaver. Their rotation is set for the next couple of years. This deal is a tremendous boost to the team right now, as well as in the future.

So, what did the Diamondbacks get for such a valuable asset?

Filling out the 2011 Roster

It's the final afternoon of 2011 Mariners week. In the last post I talked about the arbitration eligible M's, and put together the "locks" on the 2011 M's roster. The remaining pieces I haven't looked at our league-minimum, team-controlled folks.

Let's start with the major holes still left to be filled:

2011 Arbitration Eligibles

2011 Mariners week continues with a look at the arbitration eligible players. Arbitration functions as a process to transition players from the league minimum salary to whatever their value is on the open free agent market. As such, all arbitration eligible players are a good value in theory.

There is a catch in most cases though. Often, players are out of minor league option years by the time they hit arbitration. So, offering arbitration to a player is often attached to a commitment to keeping the player on the team.

While there is the occasional budding star mixed in arbitration, the majority of these players are in the serviceable to solid range. In other words, the majority are supporting pieces on a roster. Since the majority of arbitration deals come at good value, the real question is if the piece is worth keeping or not.

Here are the decisions the 2011 roster has to make. Current salary is in parentheses:

The 2011 Core

This is 2011 Mariners week at the Musings, as I said with the first post yesterday. I split the roster into three basic parts: the guaranteed contracts, the arbitration eligible players, and everyone else (the folks making the minimum salary with no way out unless the team ditches them). Today is a look at the guaranteed 2011 contracts.

A guaranteed contract is a big deal, both for a player and a team. On the team's side, all the money is guaranteed, even if the player is cut loose. It's a significant financial commitment. On the player's side, the system is set up to make them go about a decade in pro ball before hitting free agency.

The system is set up for players with guaranteed contracts, particularly big ones, to be the core of a team. Players need to be good in a team's eyes to warrant big money, and they have to have accumulated enough MLB service time to make it this far. We will see that the Mariners have a few exceptions to this rule, but the basic premises set up how I will evaluate the core.

The first question is as simple as they come: How good is the core? Is it a group a winning team can be built around? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

The second question is almost as important: Is the core worth the money it is getting paid? There is only so much money to go around, and if players are gobbling up more salary than they are worth, it means that the overall core probably isn't that good, and also limits the ability to improve it with outside help. This is why bad contracts are so crippling.

I will start with the second question and get back to the first. Here is a look at each 2011 Mariner with a guaranteed contract:

The 2011 Mariners

Or, the alternative title, "How To Make The 2010 Mariners Palatable To Watch." This season is over, and it has been for a while. As a result, my emotional investment in this season has gone down the toilet, and that's probably the healthy thing to do with a team like this.

However, I still care about the Mariners, and even if wins and losses don't matter in 2010, the games do. Wins and losses still matter for the 2011 M's, and what happens between now and then will alter the outlook of that team.

This is my way of saying to not expect much more about the 2010 Mariners here. Current players will still be talked about plenty, but more with an eye towards what it all means for next year, when wins and losses matter again.

Here are your 2011 Seattle Mariners, in order of salary (all following salary info from Cot's Baseball Contracts):

Roster Moves Galore

There were roster moves made by the Mariners today that involved a grand total of seven players. The biggest are at the AAA level, which says all you need to know about the way this season is going. Nonetheless, here are brief looks at all the moves:

  • Sean White demoted to AAA Tacoma - White hasn't been very good this year, to say the least. So he goes down to Tacoma where he won't be bad for Seattle until he's back.
  • Chad Cordero became a free agent - The Mariners didn't release Cordero. They gave him the chance to go to AAA, but he elected for free agency. Chad has been nowhere close to his pre-injury self, which isn't surprising. He was a nice story, but a remarkably hittable reliever that got by mostly with guts and poise. I hope he catches on somewhere else, but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't.
  • Chris Seddon called up - Remember last year, when Jason Vargas was a fringy, soft-tossing left-hander? Chris Seddon is the new Jason Vargas, except with cooler hair. I think Seddon looks kind of like Tim Lincecum from the back, or maybe like a bizarro version of him, since Chris throws left-handed.
  • Jamey Wright signed - Who can forget Wright's glorious spring training campaign with the M's back in 2003? Wright reminds me of Brett Tomko - always has had an intriguing arm, but the results have never been what was expected. He is the definition of a veteran journeyman at this point, and I think he is only here until Erik Bedard and/or Shawn Kelley are healthy anyway.
  • Edward Paredes, Anthony Varvaro, and Dustin Ackley all promoted to AAA Tacoma - The most interesting move today is definitely the Ackley promotion. It seemed logical after the Cliff Lee deal, or more particularly, after the M's announced that Matt Lawson, from the Lee deal, was going to AA. Rumor on the twittersphere is that Ackley homered in his first AAA at-bat! Paredes and Varvaro are also prospects, but in the bullpen, so not the same sizzle as Mr. Ackley. I would still rate their promotions as more interesting than the MLB moves though, aside from perhaps Seddon.
Pretty soon I am going to put together a post diving into 2011 a little deeper, but it makes all the sense in the world to push some of the guys standing out in AA up into AAA for the second half of the year. The 2011 roster is deeper if the current AA group is able to step up and provide organizational depth, even if they figure to be more important pieces down the road. This organization is definitely shifting to more of an assessment mode.

Changing The Midsummer Classic

Let's be honest, the MLB All Star Game has no business calling itself "The Midsummer Classic" anymore. The bloated rosters, designated utility players, and attaching World Series homefield advantage to it have morphed it into something that everyone can pick at. In MLB's quest to seemingly please everyone, they have crafted something that nobody truly likes.

The current format has got to go. Here is what I would do:
  • Make the All Star Game an exhibition again. Let the team with the better record between World Series contestants get home field advantage. I like that fans vote in the starting lineups, but that only makes sense in an exhibition setting. I've written about my preference before.
  • Let fans vote in three starting pitchers and one closer. If fans are good enough to vote in starting lineups, they are also good enough to vote in the core of a pitching staff.
  • Have the BBWAA determine all the players not voted in by the fans. The BBWAA is good enough to vote on all the post-season awards, as well as who goes in the Hall of Fame. They are good enough to make solid All Star selections. Most importantly, they take the toughest choices out of the managers' hands. Managers should be able to focus on their own seasons, and not worry about offending any of their own players with their selections.
  • Trim rosters back to 25 players. Both teams should look like teams, not small armies. It makes the game itself more authentic, and a selection more prestigious. I understand that rosters have expanded to keep teams in better shape for extra innings, as well as accommodate the need for every team to be represented, so that's why this is not my final change.
  • Require that every team has at least one representative in the All Star Game or the Home Run Derby. It is an unwritten rule that Derby contestants are All Star selections, so this written rule kills that tradition. I think it is for the better anyway. Right now, with a pair of 34-man rosters, there are a total of 68 slots. With a pair of 25-man rosters, and a 9-man Home Run Derby field (as would be my preference), there would be a total of 59 slots. That's not a ton fewer, and it would seem like an even smaller gap because the Derby slots are open to either league. Or, in other words, this set up still makes 34 slots available to either league to fulfill the representative rule. Although the Home Run Derby isn't as big of a deal as the All Star Game, is there a big exposure difference between riding the pine in the All Star Game, and taking a bunch of hacks in the Home Run Derby? If anything, the Derby is a better place for a lone representative from a bad team to end up.
  • All Star Games tied after nine innings are decided with a home run derby. This is my most radical change, but the game works much better for pitcher usage if it is guaranteed to last nine innings, no matter what. In the derby, each team would pick three batters, and each batter would get three outs to hit as many home runs as they could. It would be like three Home Run Derby innings, and whichever league's trio that slugged the most homers would be the winner. If the leagues were still tied after three, then each would select another hitter, and each of them would get three outs, and so on and so on until the tie is broken. Admittedly, this would make for a gimmicky finish, but it's fine in an exhibition, and serves a pragmatic purpose.
That's my vision for the All Star Game. It would work way better for me, and I think it would work way better for baseball.

    Cliff Lee Traded

    Cliff Lee
    Cliff Lee, and his borderline mythical tenure with the Mariners, is over almost as abruptly as it began. Today was clearly a frenzy, and he is now property of the Texas Rangers, along with Mark Lowe, for four players that I will touch on in the following paragraphs.

    I've never hidden my attraction to Cliff Lee, the marvelous pitching ace. I didn't want him to go. I wanted him to be pried out of the M's hands with a deal that couldn't be turned down. As luck has it, he might have.

    Justin Smoak is a legitimate first baseman for the future. He was the starting first baseman for the Rangers, but he is only 23 years old, and in the midst of his rookie campaign. The best is yet to come with Smoak, but he instantly becomes the starting first baseman here, and the best power threat aside from Russell Branyan.

    As a brief side note, I am a little surprised that Branyan did not go to Texas. They need a starting first baseman. I thought that would have made sense for both sides with Smoak included. Why they wanted Lowe, whose season is already over, puzzles me some. From the M's perspective, it does not bother me that he was included.

    Blake Beavan is the other significant piece that the Mariners got in return. He is a huge right-hander (listed at 6'7" and 250 pounds), but he hasn't struck many hitters out. However, the production overall is rather good, and he is only 21 years old with AA experience. I think Beaven is still a year away, but that's not that far away. He is a safe bet to make the majors, and be a solid starting pitcher. I don't think Beaven will ever be a star, but he will be quietly good, especially if he plays in a big ballpark with a good defense behind him.

    In some ways, the most interesting piece is Josh Lueke. He is a 25-year-old righty blowing hitters away out of minor league bullpens. He is a little old for the levels he has played at, so take the eye-popping numbers with a grain of salt. However, one way or another, Lueke and Lowe are probably tied together in the deal. Did the Rangers want Mark Lowe bad enough that they were willing to add Lueke, or did the Mariners want Lueke bad enough that they were willing to give up Lowe? I am not sure, but my educated guess is that the final haggling was done over these two players.

    Last, and probably least, is Matt Lawson. According to scouts, the guy plays a mean second base, and according to his hitting numbers, he knows a thing or two about what to do at the plate. Looking at his stature and production though, he set off Tug Hulett alarms all over my head. I am glad he did, because I have been looking for an excuse to link to Tug's stats all year long. He has fallen off a cliff this year in AAA Pawtucket, and for whatever reason, it's 15 seconds that make me feel good inside every time I look at them. I digress. Getting back to a meaningful point, Lawson profiles in a similar role as Hulett - the type of guy organizations love to have hanging around AAA, or their bench, or around their starting lineup for a couple weeks in a pinch, but that's about it. Considering the M's best options in this role are aging veterans Josh Wilson and Chris Woodward, Lawson was a worthwhile throw-in.

    The price tag I put on Lee a couple weeks ago was the equivalent of a few first-round draft picks, plus something else. That is what would make a deal worth considering. Smoak and Beavan alone are worth more than a couple first-round draft picks (not surprisingly, both were first-rounders themselves). Neither are far from being contributing MLB players, and I personally think Smoak has a chance to be just a tick below Mark Teixeira. Their skillsets and paths to the majors are rather similar.

    Smoak and Beaven for Lee, straight up, is a deal I strongly consider. Toss in Matt Lawson, and that's probably enough for me to bite. Add Lowe and Lueke to the deal, and my feelings don't change much. Lowe is probably better, but I'm not sure. His mounting injury history worries me. Even if Lueke is never as good, if he is solid for three or four years, it was probably worth trading him for Lowe straight up at this point of their respective careers.

    All in all, without knowing about other offers, I have a hard time believing there was a better one than this on the table. The best player the Mariners got in return immediately fills the biggest black hole in the organization (with apologies to catcher, but I still have hope for Adam Moore). Not only is the price fair, but the talent acquired plugs holes. That is the definition of a good fit.

    Jack Zdurienciek and friends got this deal right. They maximized their leverage, and got a package that made moving Cliff Lee worthwhile. It is going to be painful watching Lee anchor a Texas-sized playoff run in Arlington this year, but imagine all the Rangers fans that will cringe when Smoak starts assaulting the Hit It Here Cafe.

    Puzzling All Star Choices

    Usually, I have minimal issues with All Star selections, especially with how much the rosters have expanded. It is fun to debate who got snubbed, but at this point it is usually over guys that likely would not make the team if the rosters were still at 25 players.

    This year is different though. One glance at the rosters, and it is clear that some odd things happened:
    • How did Joakim Soria get picked over Zack Greinke as the lone Royals representative? Soria is not a horrible choice all on his own. He is a good closer, and has been for a while. However, Zack Greinke is the reigning AL Cy Young award winner, and he has been at least as good as Soria this year. He just doesn't have the wins because the Royals make a habit of blowing games when he is on the mound.
    • How is Trevor Cahill the lone A's representative? I like Cahill in a young and upcoming kind of way, but I don't like this selection. Oakland needs a representative, and if you have decided it will be a pitcher, how does Cahill get the nod over Dallas Braden? Granted, Cahill has more wins and a lower ERA. However, going by WAR, the two pitchers are about equal, and Braden was the one of the two that pitched a perfect game. Honestly, I don't think anyone on the A's staff truly deserves a spot in the game, so I would go with the guy who produced one of the season's most memorable moments.
    • How did Alex Rios get left off the AL roster? Rios has had a huge season for a surging team that all of a sudden finds themselves in the playoff hunt. He has been better than Vernon Wells and Jose Bautista - two outfielders who made the AL roster, that both play for the Blue Jays, a team not as relevant as the White Sox this year, and even in a smaller market too. Toronto needs a representative, so I am okay with one of them making the team ahead of Rios. Both of them is inexplicable.
    • How did Shin-Soo Choo get left off the AL roster? This should have been a no-brainer. Choo is clearly Cleveland's best player this year, and he just went on the DL today. He deserved to make the team, and strategically, it would have made amazing sense too. He could have been Cleveland's lone representative, instead of Fausto Carmona. Then, Choo's injury replacement could have been a starting pitcher, essentially opening up the pitching slot Carmona took for one of a plethora of snubs. The pick could have been a guy like Francisco Liriano, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, or Jered Weaver. Any doubt that those guys are better and more deserving than Carmona?
    • Once again, how is Trevor Cahill the lone A's representative? Did you see that list of pitchers that aren't All Stars while Trevor Cahill is? The backup catcher on the AL team is John Buck. Couldn't he be replaced by Kurt Suzuki? Buck probably is a little more deserving, but not even Blue Jays fans are going to remember that Buck was a 2010 American League All Star, especially with Wells and Bautista already on the team from Toronto. If Suzuki is on the team ahead of Buck, there is another pitching slot open for the aforementioned quartet of obvious pitching snubs.
    Well, that's about it for the better of the two rosters. Here are the obvious problems with the NL squad:
    • Why is Yadier Molina the starting catcher? Although I don't agree with all the fan selections, this is the only one that I think was bone-headed. Molina just hasn't had an all star kind of year, plain and simple.
    • How is Evan Meek the lone Pirates representative? What a terrible decision here. Meek isn't even Pittsburgh's closer. He has had a commendable year, but he is only on the team because Pittsburgh had to have someone. So, why did Meek get the nod over Andrew McCutchen, who is clearly the Pirates best player, and one of the game's most exciting young players? Is it because the NL needed another pitcher? Well how's this for a solution: make Roy Oswalt the Astros only representative instead of Michael Bourn. Bam, solution, and there's a more than fair argument that Oswalt should make the team over Bourn anyway.
    • Why is Omar Infante on the team? Well, it's obvious why. He is the utility player, and each team can designate a utility player that can come back in the game in some emergency situation. I hate the new rule, but Infante should never make it in the game in the first place. The fact that a new rule manufactured a spot for a guy like Infante on the All Star team is a joke.
    • Where is the Padres bullpen? Have you seen the seasons that Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson, and Heath Bell are having in San Diego? The Padres are on a Cinderella run atop the NL West, and their amazing bullpen is a big reason why. All three would be deserving selections, and one of them needs to be an All Star with how significant of a storyline the Padres have been so far. However, somehow Arthur Rhodes, Tim Hudson, Brian Wilson, and Matt Capps were all deemed more deserving than any one of the "Pen-itentary," as they have dubbed themselves.
    • Where is Billy Wagner? I hate to keep picking on Rhodes, because I really like him, he's had a good season, and it's an awesome story that he is a first-time All Star at 40 years old. However, I feel like he made it as the specialty lefty, and he got added at the expense of all sorts of more deserving guys. One of them is Wagner. He is one of the greatest closers of all time, and he's putting up another fantastic year for the Atlanta Braves. Wagner has said this is his final year too. He deserves to be at this game, given his great career, as well as the great season he has put together. Oh, and he is left-handed, which is why I bring up that it's ridiculous he got left off in favor of Rhodes.
    This time it counts, as Major League Baseball will remind us plenty of times between now and the game. It shouldn't with All Star decisions like these.

    My 2010 All Stars

    The All Star Game teams were announced today, and there were definitely some surprises. Usually, I don't have too many issues with who is picked, but this year is an exception, as you will see.

    I don't like the way the All Start Game works these days, so since this is my blog, I play by my rules. I still limit myself to 25 guys on a team, with the stipulation that every team is represented. It makes for some difficult decisions, but not that difficult.

    My methodology is simple. The lineup is comprised of the best player at each position. Then, I see which teams aren't represented yet, and I add the best player on each of those teams to the roster. Whatever spots are left are filled with the best remaining players. Asterisks (*) indicate injury replacements. The process leaves some guys out that I wish were there, but see what you think of the results:

    AMERICAN LEAGUE

    Batting Order
    1. Ichiro, RF, Mariners
    2. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
    3. Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
    4. Miguel Cabrera, DH, Tigers
    5. Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
    6. Josh Hamilton, CF, Rangers
    7. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
    8. Joe Mauer, C, Twins
    9. Carl Crawford, LF, Rays
    Bench
    • Kurt Suzuki, C, Athletics
    • Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox
    • Alex Gonzalez, SS, Blue Jays
    • Alex Rios, OF, White Sox
    • Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Indians (injured)
    • Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles
    Starting Rotation
    1. Cliff Lee, LHP, Mariners
    2. Francisco Liriano, LHP, Twins
    3. Jered Weaver, RHP, Angels
    4. Jon Lester, LHP, Red Sox
    5. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners
    Bullpen
    • Zack Greinke, RHP, Royals
    • David Price, LHP, Rays
    • Phil Hughes, RHP, Yankees*
    • Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers
    • Rafael Soriano, RHP, Rays
    • Mariano Rivera, RHP, Yankees
    NATIONAL LEAGUE

    Batting Order
    1. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
    2. David Wright, 3B, Mets
    3. Joey Votto, DH, Reds
    4. Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
    5. Matt Holliday, LF, Cardinals
    6. Josh Willingham, RF, Nationals
    7. Marlon Byrd, CF, Cubs
    8. Martin Prado, 2B, Braves
    9. Miguel Olivo, C, Rockies
    Bench
    • Brian McCann, C, Braves
    • Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Padres
    • Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies (injured, and would've been a starter)
    • Rafael Furcal, SS, Dodgers*
    • Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
    • Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
    Starting Rotation
    1. Roy Halladay, RHP, Phillies
    2. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Rockies
    3. Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants
    4. Josh Johnson, RHP, Marlins
    5. Adam Wainwright, RHP, Cardinals
    Bullpen
    • Dan Haren, RHP, Diamondbacks
    • Roy Oswalt, RHP, Astros
    • Yovani Gallardo, RHP, Brewers
    • Billy Wagner, LHP, Braves
    • Heath Bell, RHP, Padres
    • Jonathan Broxton, RHP, Dodgers
    The Yankees, Rays, and Braves tied for most All Stars on my teams with four apiece. The reasons I feel that this year's actual selections are remarkably lackluster are obvious from the teams I picked. In the American League, 11 of the players I picked are not on the team, including my entire bench. In the National League, only 7 of my selections were left off, but they include 3 of my starters. This is all the more amazing considering that I limited myself to 26 players (adding my injury replacements to the mix), while the real teams pick 33 (and the 34th is voted on by the fans).

    You know, these rosters are so bad that I think there will be another post just breaking down how bizarre some of these selections are. That may have to wait until tomorrow, but it's coming.

    Oh, and lastly, happy Independence Day!