MLB teams this off season spent around $1.04 BILLION on Matt Cain, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, and Yu Darvish alone.
Magic Johnson shook about $3 billion out of his piggy bank to purchase the Dodgers. (By contrast, Mark Attanasio purchased the Brewers for a low, low price of $200 million.)
To say Major League Baseball deals in Monopoly money is to say that McDonald’s is a bright up and coming burger company. With that in mind, this 2012 season preview will try to make sense of how the game of Monopoly game will play out.
Get out of Jail Free Card: Ryan Braun
Self explanatory. Still can’t believe the lucky chance card he drew.
Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect over 75 wins:
30. Astros: Raise your hand if you still think the Brewers should’ve given El Caballo a $100M deal?
29. A’s: At least Yoenis Cespedes and Billy Beane can compete in the weight room?
28. Mariners: Never made a legitimate sales pitch for Prince, and traded away one of the best young arms in the game for a DH hitter. Things look bleak in the Emerald City.
27. Mets: Can you believe that the Brewers beat out the Mets for the final Wild Card spot in ’08? Who would’ve thought those were better days for Mets fans.
26. Orioles: Poor Zach Britton. Poor Orioles fans. But at least Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark!
25. Twins: A lot riding on the arm of Liriano, the legs of Mauer, and the head of Morneau. My bet? 2 of these 3 will disappoint.
24. Padres: They still have a team in San Diego?
23. Royals: Building toward the future, but injury problems, Yuniesky Betancourt, and a guy named Prince Fielder joining the division will dampen the Royals chances this year.
22. Pirates: Fans have waited 19 years for a winning ball club, so what’s 1 more year? They’ll make it an even 20 straight losing campaigns. But at least they locked up Andrew McCutcheon. Baby steps!
Mediterranean Ave, Baltic Ave:
21. Cubs: Full on rebuilding mode for the FIBS. Samardzija as a SP will be a delightfully terrible idea.
20. White Sox: Don’t know if they’re rebuilding or trying to compete. Maybe Dunn will hit above the Mendoza line this season!
Oriental Ave, Vermont Ave, Connecticut Ave:
19. Nationals: Should hover around .500 until Bryce Harper gives them a charge around May or June, but not enough for playoffs in tough NL East.
18. Indians: If Masterson pitches well, Jason Kipnis breaks out, and Asdrubal Cabrera continues his strong defense and power surge, this team might win 85-86 games. Seems like too many if’s though.
17: Dodgers: If Dee Gordon can get on base enough, this team could make some noise late in the year. But the bottom of the lineup will keep them out of the playoffs.
St. Charles Place, States Ave, Virginia Ave:
16: Rockies: A lot depends on Drew Pomeranz and other young, raw pitchers. I like Tulo to have a huge season though.
15: Reds: Just not buying into all the hype. The Madson injury is a killer, and I don’t know how any rotation that has Bronson Arroyo as their 3rd starter can stay competitive.
14: Jays: I really wish the Brewers wouldn’t have traded away Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum.
St. James Place, Tennessee Ave, New York Ave:
13: Braves: I can’t remember a Braves team in my lifetime that hasn’t had an abundance of pitching. Just doesn’t seem right.
12: Giants: Pitching will be there, and Buster Posey will restore order to the lineup. But there is just no way Melky Cabrera will be the lightning rod they expect.
11: Dbacks: The Major league leaders in come from behind wins last year, I think things even out this year as Ian Kennedy comes back down to earth and their luck runs out late in games.
Kentucky Ave, Indiana Ave, Illinois Ave:
10: Marlins: Not a good start in the new digs, but there is still a few games to go. Inexplicably, I still believe Josh Johnson will feature his ace stuff all season.
9: Red Sox: The Andrew Bailey experiment lasted long. But, according to Matthew Berry of ESPN, Adrian Gonzalez is 100% this year, and Carl Crawford can’t be as bad as he was last year…can he?
8: Brewers: I love what Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker described here to provide optimism for this year’s team:
Despite winning the NL Central last season, the Brewers had one of the worst left sides of the infield in the majors, as Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt combined for just 0.8 fWAR. If Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez can equal their combined 4.7 fWAR from last season, it’ll go a long way toward replacing departed star Prince Fielder.
Besides, the 2011 Brewers weren’t exactly Harvey’s Wallbangers, even with Prince. When they won 22 of 24 in July/August, most of these were 2-1, 3-0 scores anyway. This team is built around its pitching and will win games the same way this year. I don’t expect 96 wins again, but I do expect this team to compete deep into October again.
Atlantic Ave, Ventnor Ave, Marvin Gardens:
7: Tigers: Can’t wait to see the two rolly-polly-ollies at corner infield kick the ball around like two fat little leaguers. They’ll make the playoffs, but they won’t be as good as advertised.
6: Phillies: That offense won’t be fun to watch. Even with Utley/Howard healthy.
5: Cardinals: Defending champs lose Pujols, but still a scary lineup with a healthy Freese, Beltran, and Lance Berkman.
Pacific Ave, North Carolina Ave, Pennsylvania Ave:
4: Rays: Moneyball beats Monopoly ball. And, At 16 to 1 favorites to win World Series, not a bad bet for you gambling degenerates out there.
3: Rangers: I believe in Yu Darvish. But they could have a hangover after the most devastating World Series loss…of all time?
2: Angels: After Pujols, that lineup looks really soft. But, they do have Pujols (Good riddance). And a whole lot of pitching.
1. Yankees: I hope they get real old real fast.