- Phillies win. No one expected the Phillies to win the World Series and to my fellow Philly sports fans who are in a class of their own, congrats (belated). Droughts of championships in cities like Philadelphia tend to wear people down and make them easily aggitated, so I sure hope this win does the trick. Now you just need the Eagles to do something right.
- The Offseason. Since baseball's my favorite sport to watch, this is the time of the year I get a little in the dumps although football makes up for a lot of it. Now that the winter meetings are going on there's certainly some action. There is a pretty good group of free agents out there and already some big names are changing teams with signings and trades (ie Holliday on the A's). We've also seen two great right handed pitchers retire--Mike Mussina and Greg Maddux. Maddux is a sure first ballot Hall of Fame pitcher, but there's some debate on Mussina and I want to give my two cents on that.
- Mike Mussina. Most people are going to say Mussina is not a Hall of Famer. They use criteria such as not getting 300 wins and that he wasn't "dominating" when he pitched. He also never won the Cy Young award or won a World Series. Now he retired with 270 wins and won 20 games once in his career. 270 is pretty good these days to me because if you look at the overall wins leaders winning let's say 250 or more wins, the majority of them are pitchers who used to pitch the entire game. Wins is a very overrated and deceptive category though especially because a pitcher could leave a game down 2-0 and get the loss eventhough giving up 2 ERs is a pretty good day. So while I won't do this research, I wonder of the seasons Mussina came close to 20 wins (he had two 19 win, two 18 win, and one 17 win seasons) was because he got no run support or the bullpen blew the game. But let me get in to a few reasons why I think Mussina is a Hall of Famer:
- Career Rankings: 270 wins (33rd all time), win/loss % (38th all time), strikeouts (19th all time), 7 Gold Gloves.
- AL East: Mussina played in one of the toughest divisions in baseball and I'd argue that it became tougher from 1994 onward. He played more years with the Baltimore Orioles who from 1993 (his rookie year) to 1995 were an pretty good team, from 1996 to 1997 were a very good team and through 2000 were not good at all. One could argue that with the Yankees he could have pulled out more wins, but he joined the Yankees and 32 years of age and around 2004 onward was on the decline.
- He was very durable: Which says a lot about pitchers these days who are on pitch counts and are lucky if they pitch seven innings. Out of 18 years of baseall, he pitched less than 200 innings six times and he lowest innings pitched total for a season was 164 (I'm ignoring his rookie year). I believe he only had major arm problems once after he beaned someone while on the O's and got in a fight.
- Very smart pitcher: Mussina was a Stanford grad but more importantly had a lot of pitches (like the knuckle curve) that he used well. After his fastball flamed out the last few years, he started relying more on the soft stuff and location--becoming Jamie Moyeresque in 2008. Therefore he was able to adjust his stuff and still get hitters out. Overall though, he didn't rely on one pitch to get someone out which is different from the majority of pitchers who rely on one or two pitchers to get batters out.
A couple other points. Mussina pitched in the era when only a few pitchers got over 300 wins--Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine (and soon most likely Randy Johnson). All these pitchers have continued to pitch well into their 40s, which is certainly not the norm when considering pitcher life spans. Mussina retires at 39 and basically said he doesn't just want to pitch another 3 years or so just to reach this 300 win total because even if he gets 10 wins in each of those 3 seasons, that doesn't even look impressive. This goes to say that he on out there will be few if any 300 win pitchers anymore and the Hall of Fame needs to consider other criteria.
- Sabathia. Finally, it looks like the Yankees will get their pitcher CC Sabathia for 7 years. Had a written in November, I would have said I did not think Sabathia would pitch in New York because he wanted to be in California and did not seem to be a guy to go for all the dough. But it seems since Cashman flew out to San Francisco this week that he changed Sabathia's mind. I'm sill very concerned about a few things though.
One being, this is a very long deal taking Sabathia through his age 35 season. I'm surprised Giambi didn't call and say, "don't go, the aura and mystique are no longer in New York, it left there in 2004." It's actually strange to me that no one has reported that a bunch of Yankees called Sabathia to say how great New York is (you can't use the we'll win a World Series several times over arguement anymore).
The second is Sabathia's high pitch counts. The guy can pitch forever it seems and close out games himself, but it will wear on him at some point. I suspect he'll land on the DL a couple times while in New York. The other arguement for this is his weight problem. While very athletic, his weight will certainly take a toll on his legs and being a power pitcher that will not help his pitching.
So yes, I'm a bit negative on Sabathia eventhough I do love the guy as a pitcher ever since he was a rookie. I'm also a bit disillusioned that Sabathia would get more than Santana who's arguable the better left handed pitcher in the game today--but that's how baseball works, everyone's upping the ante and the Yankees had to since they desperately need pitching.
Some final thoughts on the Yankees offseason--don't sign Burnett, he's a head case and arm case and overrated. I hope they go for Lowe instead and resign Pettitte giving them Sabathia, Wang, Lowe, Pettitte, Chamberlain, and Hughes/Kennedy/?. At this point I do not suggest they get Texiera but do resign Abreu so that they'd play Swisher at first. The could also take a look at Raul Ibanez as well if they don't go for Abreu.
That's all from here, I'll post again when there's more to discuss.