Season Preview: SFsEmptyTrophyCase

By Ryan A. Gold
Wahoo! Sports
a few odd minutes ago

There are some sad images floating around out there in the culture. Paul Simon sang about Fat Charlie the Archangel who was “sad as a lonely little wrinkled balloon.” That’s pretty sad. There was Iron Eyes Cody crying over air pollution in the 70’s. Definitely sad. Hemmingway probably set the bar for sad with his famous six word short story: “For Sale: baby shoes, never used.” Now that’s sad. Along side these morose thoughts and appearances, I now submit SFsEmptyTrophyCase. Poor trophy case, sitting there like a fat kid in a tux waiting for a prom date who never shows. Sad indeed. Who among you counts themselves so cold hearted that they wouldn’t like to see that fat kid get laid? Well, what are the prospects for this year’s Casers to dust off a place for some new hardware?

Unfortunately, where sadness rests one often finds pain, and a number of key players may find themselves ailing. Russell Martin will start the season on the DL and recent history suggests he may be pretty well worn out. Joey Votto’s suffering is all on the inside. Hopefully he’ll have a season filled with hugs. Brian Roberts (bulging disk) can compare bad back notes with Derek Lee who went Goldilocks on a baby bear chair in the club house and tweaked himself. Truthfully Lee will probably be fine, but it really had to be mentioned. Grady Sizemore suffered through a long, injury hampered year and they will need him to find his pre-2009 form. Yaddy Molina has a strained oblique. Somewhere John Madden reminds us that in his day, they didn’t get oblique injuries because they’d never heard of an oblique.

Assuming a season of smiles, Votto, Longoria, Tulo and Sizemore provide a very solid foundation of multi-category players. There aren’t any offensive categories being punted and there are no real weaknesses here except maybe defensively. Playing Adam Dunn and his 16 errors as an outfielder may cost the category from time to time. Dunn makes a nice power compliment to speedier players like Spann and Gutierrez, though. Matsui might prove to be a late round bargain. Overall I would expect a slightly above average performance on the offensive side.

So far so good, right? The fat kid looks up and there are headlights coming his way. Could it be her? Alas, it’s just a dump truck filled with pitchers. Ok, so maybe dump truck is a little harsh. Compost bin? I fear the combination of NYC and Javy Vazquez. That personality on that team in that park don’t strike me as particularly auspicious. Dempster, Danks and Kuroda are nearly the same guy, and while they are nice to have players in the middle of their rotations, they don’t provide a ton of value in the game we play. Garza and Burnett are a tick above their stable mates here, but both are high WHIP guys with ERA’s not quite good enough to offset that weakness. There will be a lot of strikeouts here, but losses, WHIP and ERA will be tough categories week in and week out. As will saves, which seem to have been omitted. Saves is a category this year, right? Taking two hold guys will give The Case a regular shot on the flip side and both Rodney and Madson should get regular opportunities.

I’m a compassionate man and goodness knows I’ll root for this team to fill up the empty places in our hearts, but with my head I just can’t pick ’em. After all, this is spofo’s America and not every kid gets a trophy here.

Prediction: 8th-ish


Position Players

Russell Martin    (LAD – C)
Joey Votto    (Cin – 1B)
Brian Roberts    (Bal – 2B)
Evan Longoria    (TB – 3B)
Troy Tulowitzki    (Col – SS)
Grady Sizemore    (Cle – OF)
Denard Span    (Min – OF)
Franklin Gutiérrez    (Sea – OF)
Derrek Lee    (ChC – 1B)
Adam Dunn    (Was – 1B,OF)
Hideki Matsui    (LAA – Util)
Yadier Molina    (StL – C)
Austin Jackson    (Det – OF)


Javier Vázquez    (NYY – SP)
Ryan Dempster    (ChC – SP)
Fernando Rodney    (LAA – RP)
Ryan Madson    (Phi – RP)
John Danks    (CWS – SP)
Matt Garza    (TB – SP)
A.J. Burnett    (NYY – SP)
Hiroki Kuroda    (LAD – SP)

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