The Angels spent lots of money on their rotation this offseason, but was it worth it? Kerry Wood is having a fantastic spring, with improved control. The Tigers have spent the past few weeks upgrading their bullpen in a search for 65 wins. A number of Expos are taking trips to ”club med.” The Giants have failed to upgrade their offense, while the Dodgers have made small strides. And the Blue Jays traded Jayson Werth, but perhaps for good reason.
It wasn’t long ago that a new stadium meant a new outlook. With Baltimore and Cleveland as the standard-bearers, almost every baseball team sought to use a new stadium as the road to riches. Of course, they’d gladly tell the taxpayers and signatories that the road to riches would lead to competitive, even championship teams, but it’s seldom turned out that way. New stadiums mean something to medheads as well, but there’s a very small sample size to work with, and it appears that there’s a very small window as well. New parks mean more injuries. This is true in almost every park, but only for a short three-to-six month adjustment period. The effect is scattershot; one would expect it to involve people running into walls or something park specific, but that’s not the case. Instead, it’s just something to note as we get two new parks from which to collect.
Rarely is Miguel Tejada unaccounted for in the Baltimore Orioles’ clubhouse. Tejada isn’t afraid to make his own fashion statement–even if it’s not approved–raise his voice a few decimals, or just chat away until his new teammates have heard enough. By his own admission Tejada relishes being the center of attention, and he’s certainly earned that right.
An undrafted free agent out of Bani, Dominican Republic, Tejada signed with the Oakland A’s in 1993 wth hopes of following in the steps of his childhood idol, Alfredo Griffin. Over a decade later Tejada is already considerd a member of baseball’s top-tier shortstops. But after validating his star-status by winning the 2002 American League MVP Award and being part of the A’s recent postseason run, Tejada, who signed a six-year, $72 million deal in the off-season, is ready to begin a new chapter in his career. BP recently interviewed Tejada about saying good-bye to Oakland, swinging the bat in hitter-friendly Camden Yards and patroling the same postion in Baltimore that for years belonged to Cal Ripken Jr..
I’m going to write about the Cardinals today. I’ve been a ruthlessly devoted fan of the Cards since I was old enough to eat bugs, so know that I embark on this exercise while holding more stake than usual in the outcome. Time was when I would pick the Cardinals to win their division every single year, but since I began pontificating on baseball for modest pay and an audience, I’ve had to adopt more of a clinical remove when talking about them. That’s why, as things stand, I think they’re the third best team in the NL Central (although the recent flurry of decisions and happenstance on the North Side of Chicago have me dreaming fond dreams of second place).
Grumpy about this, I’m going to brazenly second guess all that has passed before the eyes of Cardinal Nation this off-season. It’ll be one part bang-spoon-on-high-chair sense of entitlement and one part desultory wallowing in what might have been. I call it “What My Favorite Team Should Have Done This Winter.” I’ll try to avoid indulging in castles-in-the-air schemes like: Sign Vlad! Trade for A-Rod! Swap Bo Hart for Marcus Giles! Additionally, I’ll attempt to maintain some semblance of fiscal verisimilitude in what I recommend.
With bullet points, for the busy executive…