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What we'll be arguing about in 2010

Jan 1, 2010, 11:50 AM EDT

I’m not the biggest fan of “storylines” in the “what storylines will we be following . . .” sense. Stuff is going to happen on its own anyway, so taking too much time to frame the issues beforehand seems somewhat artificial to me.

But I’m obviously swimming against the tide here, because I’ve seen several “what to expect in 2010″ stories already, so I may as well just give in and riff a bit. The bolded items are what MLB.com’s story thinks will be the big issues:

Roy Halladay vs. Cliff Lee: People will be talking it up all year, trying to figure out if the Phillies made the right “choice” between the aces. Almost everyone who talks about it, however, will neglect to mention that these were separate deals, and that if they really wanted to, the Phillies could have kept both of them and gone all-out for the pennant instead of fighting off the Braves or whoever all year.  False choice, is what I’m saying here.

See you at Target Field, and bring blankets: I’m tired of this one already. You’d think that they didn’t play outside baseball games in Minnesota for twenty freakin’ years before they built that monstrosity of a dome.  There will be some cold and icky Twins games in the early going. No more so than there will be cold and icky Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Cubs, Mets and Phillies games in April.

The Stephen Strasburg Show:  I think the most interesting question is about when he actually plays for the Nats. I’d be shocked if he actually broke camp with the team. You keep him down a few months so he can avoid Super Two status at least, right?  But if they do break camp with Strasburg because they think he’ll be a big draw, the big question is if the Nats will be smart and make him the second or third day starter instead of the Opening Day starter. Everyone comes to Opening Day anyway. If you’re going to use him as a gate attraction, wait pitch him on a random Wednesday against the Marlins.

Joe Girardi’s jersey:  This one is really about whether the Yankees can repeat. This sentence rocks the house: “Competitive balance is greater now than it was a decade ago, so it figures to be even harder.” Call me crazy, but I think there are some people who would disagree with that assertion.

Pujols finishes The Best Decade Ever. The article says “The Cardinals’ first
baseman enters his 10th season, and that will complete the best first
decade of Major League service by a position player.”  I hadn’t really considered that before, but I guess it’s true. Can Pujols keep it up? Or will he join this crowd of players who fell the farthest after ten seasons of excellence?

Cubs, cont’d. Are we really going to ask if the Cubs can break the 100+ year title drought when they (a) kind of stunk last year; and (b) their two biggest offseason acquisitions are Marlon Byrd and Carlos Silva?

There are some other storylines raised. The only really interesting one is whether we’ll see a changing of the guard in the AL West this year, with Seattle passing Anaheim. If the season started today I’d have to say yes. I’d even have to say that Anaheim might fall to third behind the Rangers.

But let’s just let it all unfold, OK?

  1. themarksmith - Jan 1, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    The Cubs, actually, don’t look too bad last year. Last year was a lost year, but the team really doesn’t look too bad. Soto should rebound (BABIP of .251 while walk rates and strikeout rates improved), Ramirez could be healthier, and Soriano can’t be that bad again, can he? The rotation still has Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster, Wells (still should have won ROY), and Gorzelanny (really good peripherals and FIP but really bad luck on LOB%- 60.4). The bullpen isn’t too bad, either. They paid too much for Grabow, but he isn’t bad. Marmol should bounce back a bit, and Guzman is pretty impressive. With some healthy and productive years, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them much closer to 2008 than 2009.

  2. themarksmith - Jan 1, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    I meant *don’t look to bad for this year*. They looked horrible last year.

  3. Old Gator - Jan 1, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Warning: I’m hungover and cranky this morning. A double shot of Captain Morgan’s in my Silk soy egg nog and look at me. I definitely ain’t as young as I used to be.
    Cubs: nope. It’s a bold new century. If I were a Cubs fan I’d be spending more time worrying about the increasing cost of pork ribs and mozzarella cheese and about that goddamned asteroid. Things that might really impact their lifestyle. Thinking about the Cubs is a waste of time.
    Target Field: I don’t even bother to think about stadiums with those vulgar, soulless corporate names. If I wind up in the twin cities this year I’ll make a beeline to Birchbark Books instead to see if I can finally meet Louise. That, and I’ll worry about the weather in Minnesota when the elephants at their zoo being giving birth to babies with long fur. And why not? The designated hitter is nothing but a mammoth hunter wearing a zebra hide anyway.
    Cliff Lee – he gets to eat the smoked salmon pasta alfredo at Ivar’s and the big chewey cookies at Cow Chip Cookies from now on, while Roy Halladay moves from the culinary Eden of Queen West to those horrible horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches along South Street. Advantage? Do I gotta say it?
    Pujols: the real deal. Ten and up. He may be the only guy left on Earth that God bothers to listen to anymore. He certainly isn’t listening to the Republicans – he learned his lesson good.
    Girardi: Owwww, there goes my hangover. He figured out real quick that Loria merited genuine contempt and ran afoul of the cheapskates in the Feesh front office, who replaced him with Fat Freddi when Fat Freddi’s cat would have done just about as well. Not that anyone could really do much with this K-Mart payroll team.
    Strasburg: I know that name, but I need to go back to sleep for another couple of hours. Then maybe stop procrastinating, repair Belushi (the dog’s) poop scoop and set up a terrarium for Friendo, my pet baby pygmy rattlesnake.
    Who needs all this shit anyway?

  4. Ryan - Jan 1, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Which general manager is worse, Dayton Moore or Omar Minaya? either way, you’re right!

  5. Russ Smith - Jan 2, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Aside from hoping the Red Sox don’t betray fans and deal Jacoby Ellsbury, their fastest player since I’ve followed the team since the early 60s, what I don’t understand is this: why didn’t the Twins build a retractable dome on Target Field? I mean, how dumb is that? From what I know, most of the dough came from the public (which is another issue entirely, and a rather sordid one, from my point of view), so why not spring for a roof that’ll keep people warm and dry when necessary?

  6. dw - Jan 2, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    because building a retractable roof would of cost about $100 million more.
    Sure it gets cold in Minneapolis in April and September, but there are way too many fantastically brilliant days in the summer that will make up for the 3 or 4 days of cold/rain.
    I’m looking foward to catching many games in the outdoors. I am a lifelong Twins fan and the only place I have seen baseball is at the Dome

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