I think the Blue Jays’ 2011 season is best summed up by the culture lead by the one and only, Joey Bats:
Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Jason Frasor, and Darren Oliver.
Frank Francisco, Shawn Camp, Nelson Figueroa, Chad Gaudin, Brad Mills, Jose Molina, Jon Rauch, Omar Vizquel, and Dewayne Wise.
Why?: First of all, let me say that this team definitely leads the league in “Francisco” related transactions. Maybe it’s just me, but they added both Fancisco Cordero and Ben Francisco. Then I think they made sure not to re-sign Frank Francisco just to add him to the list.
Really the grade from this came in that the average talent level of the players they added was far greater than that of the players lost, but there were just too many players lost to give the Blue Jays a grade that suggested they got better this offseason (for those who don’t know, a “C” means the team added just as much talent as they lost in an offseason. Anything above means they improved in terms of talent, anything below means they got worse in terms of talent. The degree to which they were better or worse than a “C” dictates how much talent they gained or lost. Also, by talent, I mean to suggest how much better they made the team itself for the next season. So although a minor league may be talented beyond belief, if he isn’t expected to play in MLB that next season they didn’t add any talent as far as I am concerned. I do give brownie point in the grades for good moves in terms of the long term, but the grade is based on how well the team set itself up for the immediately subsequent season. So that would be 2012 for this offseason.)
I really don’t feel like getting into the specifics, but I feel as though this is really the same team, talent-wise, as last season, so I gave them a “C”.
Predicted Record Range: 80-85 wins I don’t know why, but I just think this team could get a few games better this season, even though they really added a net-value of nothing.
2011 was truly a fun year for the Cleveland Indians…the first half anyway:
Casey Kotchman, Jeremy Accardo, Jose Lopez, Derek Lowe, Felix Pie, Kevin Slowey, and Dan Wheeler.
Jim Thome, Adam Everett, and Austin Kearns.
Why?: This is a weird entry/grade. The addition far surpass the subtractions. That said, I usually don’t put in more than one or two players in the “Notable” lists that have been signed to a minor league contract. In this entry, however, I have five players that were signed to minor league contracts on the list. This serves as an indicator that a lot of the players aren’t game changers. In other words, the subtraction players aren’t that far away from equaling the value to a team that the addition players present, a fact which reflects itself in the grade I gave their offseason.
Also, Kosuke Fukudome and Chad Durbin have yet to sign, which may bring the Indians’ grade down as they were on the Indians last year.
Predicted Record Range: 77-82 wins
This was the season of three of the four players in the next picture. There was Jose the perfect, Justin the MVP, and Miguel the MVP candidate:
Prince Fielder, Collin Balester, Ocatvio Dotel, and Gerald Laird.
Carlos Guillen, Wilson Betemit, Ryan Perry, and Joel Zumaya.
Why?: The temptation would be to say their good offseason grade came from Prince Fielder. While this is partially true, it was not only him, but all of the players in the “Notable Additions” category that brought this grade to a B+. True, there are only four of them, but that is why it is a B+ and not a grade in the “A”s. Let’s just compare the two sides very briefly. They gained: One of the best 1st Basemen in the game, two bullpen hands, and an above-average replacement for their injured catcher who was an All-Star (I believe) the last time he was on the team. They lost: a declining utility player, a young underperforming utility player, an Outfield prospect, because they had a surplus, and an oft-injured reliever. These are some solid additions they have made.
However, there is a hidden part to this story. There are two free-agents still on the market that were Tigers last year: Magglio Ordoñez and Brad Penny. Both would certainly be more “Notable” than any player on this list if they were to sign with another team. If they both were to do so, I might downgrade the Tigers.
Also, if this grade were for the impact this offseason had on the next few years, it might be higher. I mean the Tigers have a chance to win the World Series, but the move will be more for the years when Victor Martinez, because the lineup will be a mine field to navigate for pitchers.
Predicted Record Range: 94-99 wins
What more can be said about the Cubs 2011 season than any other season:
Actually, this streak is so bad and long it deserves both a picture describing the Cubs’ 2011 season/last 103 years AND a video doing the same. Check it out:
Anthony Rizzo, David DeJesus, Paul Maholm, Andy Sonnanstine, Ian Stewart, Chris Volstad, and Kerry Wood.
Carlos Zambrano, Andrew Cashner, Tyler Colvin, Sean Marshall, Carlos Peña, Aramis Ramirez, and John Grabow.
Why?: First, I realize that the pictures I chose may not be the best ones to put up. I just really put up the most hyped transactions this offseason for the Cubs. Also, now that I realized I probably made a mistake, I don’t feel like pulling the pictures and putting new ones up.
Anyway, the common theme in my comments on Cubs fans’ MlBlogs was that I was glad for them that the Cubs finally decided to go into full rebuilding mode, because the “in-between” stage they have been in for the past few years has really been hurting them. So you may say, “Well, Mateo, then why do you have them at such a low grade in a D+ if you think they are actually doing a good job?” This is a valid question. The answer is that I did give the Cubs brownie points by bumping their grade up from a D (which is usually the protocol when I can’t give the team a high grade, but like the way they handled things). However, I couldn’t give the Cubs a legitimate grade, because the majority of what goes into it is how it improved the team for winning in 2012. The Cubs set themselves up well for the next few years, but I don’t know what planet you’d have to live on to think paying $15 million+ for Chris Volstad is helping the Cubs win in 2012.
There are other examples, but I think you get the gist of things.
Predicted Record Range: 62-67 wins
First of all, here, is the link to the final initial entry (just don’t think about that and click the link).
Predicted Record: 60-65 wins
Actual Record: 94- 68
I really have no clue as to how the Diamondbacks pulled off this season other than players on the team got better. The 2010 squad won a mere 65 games, and the team actually got worse through their offseason moves. None of the notable additions I have in the initial entry did anything for the team in 2011. Really it was just young players progressing. The biggest example would be Ian Kennedy. I saw him as a Yankee and knew he could be a really good pitcher, but to go from 9-10 with a 3.80 ERA to 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA is amazing.
That’s really it for the Diamondbacks. There are countless other cases of players that got better on the team, but it would take me forever to list them all.
Just a note on the “Offseason Recap and Preview” entries, I don’t know how soon I will start them. The source I used last year for the Notable additions and subtractions doesn’t have them for this year. Does anyone know a good place to find this information? Would MLB.com have it somewhere in their countless links? Once I get this information, I will begin immediately. Until then, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll show you what has been happening in my uneventful life this offseason. Regardless, I will try and find a source for these things ASAP. Maybe I’ll just use MLB Network’s information. The only little caveat with this is that I would have to watch it EVERY single day. There are worse things that could happen to me, but it would be mildly inconvenient to me.
Also, I am currently at 98 comments all-time. So if anyone comments on an entry and doesn’t get a response within a couple days,that is why. I don’t want to be the 100th comment, because I may do something (give away something) to the 100th commenter, and no, you can’t just comment twice to get the 100th comment. If someone does this accidentally, I will just go with the 101st comment. I’m completely sure if/what I would do for the 100th commenter, but I’ll see who it is, and I’ll use that as a starting point for what the prize is.
Here, is my entry analyzing the Blue Jays’ 2010-11 offseason and predicting their 2011 season’s successes.
Predicted record: 77-82 wins
Actual Record: 81-81
Some how someway I predicted the Blue Jays’ 2011 pretty accurately. Let me explain my relationship with the Blue Jays: I do admire them as a team, but because of the circumstances (distance and the TV situations this creates), I pay attention to them probably the least out of the teams in the AL East with the Rays a close second.
Truth be told, I have little to no idea how the Blue Jays won their games. The extent of this knowledge is propbably that Jose Bautista was really hot in the first half and ended up with 50-some odd HRs.
I can’t really tell you how, but I was right in predicting the Blue Jays’ season even if I did pay less attention to them than I normally do in most seasons. Although, I do stick with my prediction of them getting better in the next few years as a result of Alex Anthropoulos, as he has demonsrtated his above-average ability to piece together what seem to be great trades (you can’t really evaluate any trade until all of the players in the trade leave the respective teams they were traded to).
Let’s start off with the link to the initial entry, here.
Predicted record: 94-99 wins
Actual Record: 90-72
This is yet another one of those teams that really confused me when it came to this season. However, as you can see by the margin in records, they didn’t completely fool me. For example, Adrian Gonzalez didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but he was in a ballpark range of what I predicted (click the link to the original entry at the top of this entry to find out what said expectations were). Then there were players like Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford who completely defied my expectations for them.
The result of these unpredictable swings being, the Red Sox underachieving a bit and not getting into the playoffs, leading to a mass leadership upturning this past offseason. However, I DID predict that the rotation of the Red Sox was not the unstoppable force people were predicting it to be, I’m not saying I knew they were eating chicken, but the pitchers in their rotation did not make it great by any means.
So that is that. I sort off predicted what the Red Sox were going to do in 2011, even if I was off by a few wins like most people.