Tag Archives: A’s

A’s Stuck in Purgatory…

Over the past five years, the A’s have been in a state of regression as they struggle with just about everything from facilities, to players, to attendance. They can’t get players to sign with them even when they do put out the best offer on the table, because they have crappy facilities. Players like Beltre and Furcal just use them as leverage for other teams who are offering them smaller or nearly the same contracts. The A’s want a new stadium yet Lew Wolff refuses to negotiate with the Oakland officials anymore than he already has, and they have been pushed to the back-burners by the MLB committee looking into their situation of moving. Their lineup is scattered with quadruple-A players, and there’s probably only a dozen A’s fans left (judging by attendance). I figured I’d break down the key issues with the team, and help get the word out on how dire our situation is. I know I’ve ranted about these issues a few times, but I figured I should put them all together to let everyone know what is what and draw your own conclusion on who is to blame. It’ll be my last post about it for awhile, I swear!

The Facilities

It’s strange how you come to different conclusions as time passes. Personally I enjoy the coliseum, and feel it has a little charm left even after they built the funny looking Mt. Davis for the Raiders games. It’s not a problem that they share the stadium with a football team, the problem is that the coliseum is in the ghetto, and there’s not much around the stadium. Jack London Square is cool and all, but it’s not the city. Many residents would rather go to a Giants game and talk about garlic fries while sending out e-mails on their blackberries. Can I blame them? Not really since they don’t care about the game anyways. Seriously, would you rather sit at PacBell or O.co Coliseum if you don’t care about the game? Easy answer. A’s fans at the games are great fans. The problem is there’s barely any fans going, and there’s nothing to do in that area, except maybe unload a few freight containers. In a time where your stadium needs to be connected to a mall and be in a thriving downtown-like area, the A’s don’t stand a chance in increasing attendance. Will the A’s move to San Jose to get a stadium built? After reading this brilliant piece by Howard Bryant on ESPN, I doubt it will happen anytime soon, and may never happen with the Giants trying to force the A’s into contraction (that’s what it feels like at least).

Pre-Mount Davis Coliseum

Nowadays players want to be treated like Mark Cuban treats the Mavs (state of the art training equipment and state of the art electronics everywhere). The coliseum was built back when players were allowed to smoke during the game in the dugouts. That should say everything about how dated the facilities are. Maybe that’s a reason why we seem to set records yearly for DL usage. As I said, I don’t dislike the coliseum, but if we need a new stadium to get our guys healthy and help us attract offensive players in free agency, I’m 100% for it.

About three years ago we thought we were heading to Freemont in what seemed like a done deal. I wasn’t excited, but wasn’t totally against it since we didn’t seem to have any other options. The deal fell apart for a few reasons, and from what I heard it was because there wasn’t solid BART access which put the A’s back to square one. This was probably the only time I really felt bad for Wolff during the process, because he spent around $30M of his own money getting that proposal in the works.

The Giants and Media Marketing

With the World Series win last year the Bay Area is owned by the Giants at the moment. They’ve always had more fans than the A’s, but now it’s ridiculously lopsided as all the sort of fans have jumped on their bandwagon. It’s almost impossible to find info on the A’s in the papers or on TV. The Giants are dominating the market as much as you can in a two team market. Hell, at the beginning of the year I could barely find a radio station that even talks about the A’s. Is this Lew Wolff’s plan to slowly make everyone not care about this team by spending $1 on advertising for every $100,000 the Giants spend? Seems like the strategy is working as attendance keeps dipping. It’s not like Lew Wolff is poor, I hear him and Fishcer have a net worth over a billion, but they don’t seem to put a dime of that into marketing this team. I’m not sure what I hate more about this fact that the Giants are the Bay Area team or that Lew Wolff isn’t really putting up a fight.

It’s no secret Lew Wolff desperately wants to move out of Oakland and preferably to San Jose, but the Giants own the territorial rights. A little over a decade ago when Pac Bell park was in the works, the A’s then owner gave them the rights to the south as a gentlemen’s agreement to give them some leverage to get their stadium built. Unfortunately the same situation has come up for the A’s, yet the Giants refuse to relinquish those rights back to the A’s. How does moving from 15 miles away from the Giants to 60 miles away from them hurt their market more? Tough for me to answer that as I’m no financial guru. I do know that the Giants want to be big spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox, which at this point seems like it could happen if Wolff keeps tightening his wallet and the Giants keep the A’s out of San Jose. Seems like the Giants could return the favor, and maybe that would even open Oakland back up to the point where they negotiate again. Right now with no real ability to threaten to leave, the city of Oakland doesn’t have to scramble and put together a good stadium deal…

Billy Beane

I’ve found it comical how people are blaming Billy Beane for the A’s lack of success on the field. Maybe it’s because the movie Moneyball is coming out, and people want to knock him off the proverbial pedestal, but it’s got to be tough to build a team when you’re constantly in limbo. Sure we could’ve kept Ethier and Cargo, but almost all Beane’s moves at the time made sense to me, so he gets a pass for those two. In any kind of business you need a plan, and as of right now there are no long term plans with this team, so it makes his job nearly impossible to succeed at, which is why I’ll give Beane a pass until we know more than a year into the future. Hell our contract with the coliseum agreement is up after this season, so we might not even have a stadium next year! Hopefully they don’t play in the parking lot… When you’re a GM and have no idea what the future holds, it’s impossible to map a team strategy out. We’ve always done a lot of one year contracts, but we usually lock up a couple guys, and that hasn’t been happening. Personally, I blame the unstable future. Based on some of the contracts that Beane has offered to top free agents, he is serious about fielding a good team. Unfortunately, we end up with a lot of new guys or castoffs, because the “premium” free agents don’t come here because they can get paid the same elsewhere where they have better facilities. Even with all the Dodgers problems, at least they know they’re staying in LA. The A’s have relatively no idea when or where this team will be in three to five years. Hopefully it’s not still at square one where they are today or I might be forced to give up on baseball all together.

Side rant: The only thing I’m still pissed about with BB is the fact he let Ron Washington go. I said a couple years ago before Texas started being the class of the AL West, losing Washington might curse us. He was a players coach and instead we got a non-players coach in Geren. How could he let go of the coach that EVERYONE in the locker room loved? He made the players want to play, and kept the locker room relaxed and loose, you can’t put a price on that. If I could only ask Billy one question, it would be why we let Wash go instead of giving him the keys to the car.

The MLB

I guess this is who I blame at the moment for our purgatory status. The MLB made a three man committee that Bud Selig appointed to sort out this whole mess over two years ago. According to Selig, it might take awhile longer to make sense of all the options in this dispute. I’ve already vented about it, so I won’t tell you how ridiculous it is that it’s taken over two years since he appointed the committee. Yes, there’s tons of issues, involved in crunching the numbers and projecting the effects on each community, but they’re building Farmer’s Field in LA without even having a team here! You’d think he could give everyone in the A’s front office an update or two on the progress at least. If you needed another reason to hate Selig here it is. 75 CEO’s in San Jose wrote up a letter telling him why he should approve the A’s move to San Jose, and how it would work financially. They are currently the 10th largest city in the US (surprising to me), and seem to want to help fund the building of the stadium. So what does Selig do when he recieves this letter from some of the richest men in the US? He ignores it, and doesn’t respond. Is it because they aren’t Jewish? Is it because he loves the Giants? Is it because he’s senile and doesn’t even remember reading the petition/letter showing where and how they would acquire land and funds to build the park? Only Selig could answer that, and based on how he’s treated us the past couple years, I doubt we’ll ever hear an answer to that petition.

Conclusion

It feels like there’s a lot of people to blame for this mess. Again, I wrote this more to inform everyone out there of our situation rather than blame a certain person or people, it’s been a group effort to ruin this proud franchise. The A’s have some great fans, but unfortunately I’ve heard more than a few recently say “it’s just easier to follow the Giants”. I don’t like bringing up the movie Major League when it’s referencing my team, but it feels like all the forces in the league are against us, and one or more of these crooks is trying to get rid of the A’s in Oakland at least. We can’t attract free agents because our facilities suck, our owner doesn’t want to stay in Oakland or negotiate with the city for a new stadium, Selig and his merry men don’t seem to give two craps about us, and the Giants would rather see the A’s die a slow death than give them the territorial rights that the A’s gave them for nothing less than two decades ago. Talk about the odds being stacked against you! It will be a Billy Beane led miracle if this team makes the playoffs anytime soon.

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Optimism For Athletics Fans, Once Again: A Rebuilding Process in Review

Even Stomper's excited!

Even Stomper's excited!

The A’s had their fans hopes sky high going into this season after making many moves and signings to acquire talent, instead of their normal MO of trading away talent. One thing led to another, and we found that the guys we signed either weren’t that good in an A’s uniform, or were just plain old. This season has been a disappointment to say the least especially with some of the experts picking them to win the AL West at the beginning of the year. Those dreams were quickly dashed as we saw Matt Holliday consistently getting fooled by pitches, and taking the crown for most fly ball outs since Eric Chavez was healthy and playing. Once his trade to the Cardinals went through Oakland once again had hope for the future.Rivercats Brett Wallace 3-Run Home Run At the time of the trade all A’s fans wanted was a bag of peanuts for Holliday, but instead we got what looks like a great hitter in the near future with Brett Wallace, and a possible good end of the rotation pitcher in Mortensen.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying that much attention to them since they dipped below the 20 games out of first. Alas, they have been playing very good as of late, which has inspired me to pay attention to them again. Maybe it’s because the games don’t matter, or maybe it’s because they have finally adopted a new style of play since their most recent rebuilding began. Since being swept by Seattle on August 26th, they’ve won or tied every series since, going 16-6, and are currently on a seven game win streak. Once again, A’s fans will be able to go into the off-season hoping that a fresh start will rid us of our recent losing ways.

The A’s main failings over the past couple season’s have all pointed to their incompetence on offense, and since getting rid of Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera they’ve surprisingly done much better in that department. Post All-Star break, the A’s have led the league in stolen bases, doubles, and are third in runs scored. For a team that never used to steals bases, and isn’t known for manufacturing runs, it’s refreshing to see them make a change for what suits their players. The always referenced “Moneyball” will finally be an afterthought, as they seem to be turning to a new page. I haven’t read anywhere that they’ve had a change in philosophy, but it’s pretty obvious if you ever pay attention to them. Even Rajai Davis, a guy I never thought I’d like, is tearing it up. He stole his 40th bag of the season last night against Cleveland, and is the first big threat on the base-paths since Rickey Henderson was around. Rex Hudler, the Angels announcer, whom I completely despise, actually made a good point about the A’s and how they have adapted to so called “Angel way” of manufacturing runs. He likes how they are putting pressure on opposing defenses to worry about runners taking off at any given moment, which opens holes in the infield for more of those dribblers to get through. In a post steroid era the A’s can’t rely on power as much as they once did as we all know it was rampant in the Bay Area. So the shift to stealing bases and manufacturing runs has looked like the a good change in their philosophy, and is starting to pay dividends in the win column late in the season.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

The greatest part about these late season stats is the fact that this isn’t even the reason I’m optimistic for next season. I’m excited about the guys going to be in our offense of the future. Sure guys like Kurt Suzuki are going to be mainstays in the lineup for awhile, but since everybody digs the long ball, A’s fans should be very excited about the two power hitters coming to Oakland sooner rather than later. 3rd baseman, Brett Wallace (#2 in Baseball Prospectus) and 1st baseman, Chris Carter (#4 in Baseball Prospectus) are the new reasons there is optimism in Oakland. They’ve already contributed to the Sacramento Rivercats (AAA) team during their playoff run for a PCL championship. Carter had three home runs in one game since being called up from AA about a month ago, and he is the closest to Ryan Howard type hitter the A’s have in their farm system.  Many point to Carlos Gonzalez as the biggest position player gained in the Dan Haren deal, but Chris Carter has the potential to have much more power than C-Gon. It also looks as though we kept the best pitcher from the Haren deal as well in Brett Anderson, who has had a rocky season, but has shown that he has ace type stuff. Brett Wallace should be on the other corner for the A’s infield solidifying a position that’s been a problem since Chavez went on the DL, about three seasons ago. Personally Wallace reminds me of Troy Glaus, and if we got that I’d be pretty happy. If the A’s can continue to steal bases and hit doubles the way they have been at the end of this season, and add the power of Wallace and Carter to the lineup they will undoubtedly have a chance to challenge the Angels for years to come.

Brett Anderson has won two straight decisions for the first time in his career over his last two starts.

Rookie, Brett Anderson, has won two straight starts for the first time in his career.

Their pitching has been shaky at times this year, and may continue to stay that way as their under 25 year old rotation learns the ropes. Between Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Gio Gonzalez, and maybe Justin Duchscherer (if he snaps out of his depressed mental state) we should have a solid rotation come next season. The young guys have taken their lumps this season, but they have also shown that they can shut teams and shown glimmers of domination. This year should have taught them the ropes as they find out what types of adjustments they need to make going into the off-season to prevent those crooked numbers from going up on the score board. Michael Inoa is a long way from being called up, but he’s another young guy I will be keeping my eye on, especially since we gave him a Strausberg like contract for a 16-year-old, which I still feel is kind of ridiculous. All in all I couldn’t ask for much more from our management on a tight budget. You just have to hope it all pans out!


Rickey Does Oakland Proud

Rickey Henderson was the star of the show today.  Jim Rice was, for all intents and purposes, the opening act for what was Rickey’s show.  It was probably the first induction ceremony I’ve ever watched in my life.  I sat intently through the Joe “Flash” Gordon and Jim Rice tributes just to see the man.  The man I took for granted as a child because I didn’t know how rare and special of a player he was.  How was I to know Rickey Henderson was a once-in-a-lifetime player?

Well, today Rickey Henderson got his due.  Today was his day.  It was great to see all the green and gold in the audience today, at a time when the A’s fan base is in pergutory.  That’s because Rickey was one of the greatest players we have, and will see, in our lifetimes.  His speech left a little to be desired.  I felt like I was watching Forrest Gump to be honest.  That’s not a jab at Rickey.  I would never insult Rickey’s intelligence, for he is an Oakland Tech alum, like my grandmother.  But let’s be real,  no one’s ever accused him of being the smartest leadoff hitter in the history of baseball!  Did he not have someone proof read his speech?  At any rate, I still watched without distraction, much like I did in the late 80s / early 90s in during the peak of his career.

Next weekend, the Rickey-fest continues back home in Oakland, as the A’s will retire his number 24.  If I don’t have an eyewitness account posted here by Monday morning, feel free to question my devotion to the Oakland Athletics forever.  Congratulations, Rickey.  And in the meantime…. Eric Patterson ladies and gentlemen!!!


Big Night In Boston!

This is the night I’ve been waiting for!

Nomar Garciaparra made his long-awaited return to Fenway Park tonight.  But while the ovation he received from the fans was fantastic and well-deserved, that’s not what this is about.

What’s that you say?  It was also John Smoltz Fenway debut?  This definitely isn’t about that!

No, this is about the Athletics 21-year old pitcher, Brett Anderson, finally doing what we’ve all been hearing he was capable of.  Coming over from the Diamondbacks in the huge haul that was the Danny Haren deal, Anderson was widely regarded as the second best prospect of the bunch.  Once Carlos Gonzalez showed his ceiling as a lifetime quadruple-A player, Anderson emerged as the top prospect in the A’s system.  Working for the A’s triple-A club in Sacramento, and being 45 minutes from the single-A affiliate, has given me plenty of opportunities to check out the A’s young players.  Brett Anderson, along with other prized pitcher Trevor Cahill, however, spent all of last season in AA-Midland.  That’s in Texas, not really within driving distance.  So, that left me following box scores, and reading updates from Baseball America and Athletics Nation.

That was, until Anderson was moved up to AAA in time for the PCL playoffs last year.  I would finally get an up close look at the next great Oakland pitcher.  I won’t lie, it was sort of a letdown.  He had a great outing, don’t get me wrong.  If I recall, he threw 2 or 3 scoreless innings, giving up 1 or 2 hits.  But nothing really stood out.  Not one dominant pitch, no crazy velocity, or filthy strikeouts.  I guess he was just a placement pitcher – not flashy, but efficient.  Fine by me, I guess.

But this year, since starting the season in Oakland, Anderson had yet to impress (5-7, 5.45 ERA).  Is he just another Gio Gonzalez? (I’m not ready to write him off, but I’m close)  Anyway, Cahill was the one looking like the future ace of the staff.

UNTIL TODAY.  Against the best team in the AL with the best home record in the major leagues at the most famed stadium in baseball, Brett Anderson threw a complete game, 2-hit shutout.  It wasn’t just the outcome though, he looked filthy doing it.  He struck out nine batters, and he did it with nasty curveballs, sliders, changeups, and oh yeah, a 97 mph fastball.  I don’t expect him to duplicate this performance every time out, but he finally showed what he’s capable of – on the game’s biggest stage no less.  All of a sudden, Anderson-Cahill-Mazzaro sounds a lot more like it’ll have the same ring to it for years to come that Hudson-Mulder-Zito did.


Doin Work MLB Power Rankings

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The first Doin Work MLB Power Rankings! Sure there may be a few surprises in here, but where else can you see a westcoast biased rankings!?! I would think it should be a little refreshing after always hearing an East Coast point of view! ChadBillingsleyFeel free to rip the placement of any of the teams, but this is our rundown of the league through 6/18.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – They have the best record in the league, with Juan Pierre leading the team in average after Manny’s suspension. The team hasn’t been hitting as well the last couple of weeks, but their pitching is the real story, as they lead the majors with a 3.59 ERA and are holding opponents to a league low .235 BA.

2. Boston Red Sox – The much maligned Boston squad has surged of late to become the second team to 40 wins.  They’ve ridden the success of the best home record in the majors (23-8), as well as the best record against their division (20-8).  We all know about their success against the Yankees this year, but what some might not know is they’ve struggled against the AL West (5-10).  Only the Orioles have a worse record.

3. Texas Rangers – Somehow the Rangers and manager Ron Washington have figured out ways to win in Texas. Will it will last through the t1_ronwashingtondog days of August when pitchers usually start getting blown up in Arlington? We will see. Everyone knows their offense will hit, but can Millwood and Feldman keep rolling the way they have?

4. Anaheim Angels – This might be a little high, but the Angels have the longest current win streak in the majors.  They’re also a proven contender whose main concern in the early going was injuries.  They were without John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, and Ervin Santana but managed to stay afloat.  Now, all three are back and the Angels look poised to reclaim control of the AL West.  Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver have combined for a 14-6 record.  If Lackey and Santana can regain their form, this team could be dangerous.

5. Philadelphia Phillies – They are (36-28) with a 3 game lead in their division, but they have struggled at home (13-18), which has knocked the reining champs down a few spots in the rankings. The placement of Ibanez on the DL probably won’t hurt them as much as their bullpen has this year as they rank 26th in pitching. They’ve made up for the pitching woes with the fifth most runs scored and the 3rd most HR’s in the league.

6. Milwakee Brewers – They seem to be back on track, winning their last 3 at Cleveland in a series that saw them put up 30 runs.  They gave up 25, which could be reason to be alarmed, but they came away with the W each time.  Assuming they’ve bounced back from the previous stretch where they lost 6 of 7, Milwaukee should remain atop an NL Central that is very winnable.  They currently have, by far, the best intra-divisional record at 21-10. Prince Fielder, who leads the majors in RBI, heads up an explosive offense.  Their fate will lie with their rotation.  Yovani Gallardo is pitching like an all-star, but Suppan, Looper, Bush, and Parra will need to pick their game up to help the Brewers win the Central.

7. New York Yankees – Since A-Rod came back from the DL, Teixeira is on a tear with 15 homers and 38 RBI’s since June 9th. The Bronx bombers still have question marks on the pitching side as they are currently ranked 26th in ERA. The main question is whether the new ballpark is evening out their superior batting lineup, as they give up nearly as many runs as they score in the new version of Arlington. So far they have fared well at their new home (21-13), and have gotten lucky at times as well (Castillo comes to mind). They are only 3 games back of Boston in a very tough AL East division.

8. Toronto Blue Jays – They’ve proved they’re for real this year, especially on the offensive side.  If everything goes according to plan, they should finish 3rd in the AL East!  The only question mark for the Blue Jays has been their pitching, and that just got a lot more complicated with the loss of Roy Halladay.

9. St. Louis Cardinals – Big Albert has been on a tear lately slugging 10 homers with 21 RBI’s over the last month which has helped them stay albert-pujols-klutho2within a game of the division leading Brewers. St. Louis boasts the sixth best era in the league (3.47), which has been a key in their success. Carpenter has been stellar since coming off the DL giving up a total of 9 runs in 41 innings.

10. Tampa Bay Rays – Tampa has been strong lately going 12-5 over their last 17. They are currently 3 games over .500 for the first time this season. They are determined to show that last year wasn’t a fluke, and have added to the congestion atop the AL East. They currently are +72 in run differential which is the highest in the league, so you have to figure sooner or later they are going to go on a good stretch in the win column.

11. Colorado Rockies – They have been as hot as any team in baseball, since they fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracey they’ve gone a solid 14-4 since the switch. Their early season schedule was one of the toughest in baseball, which is why I think they struggled out of the gate. Their recent power surge has raised them to 8th in runs scored and they are now tied for 8th in HR’s in the MLB.

12. Detroit Tigers – Granderson and Inge are leading the charge as the Tigers look to be what everyone thought they would be last year. I would’ve put them higher but they have lost four in a row including two to lowly Pittsburgh.

13. New York Mets – This is just about the area in the rankings where the contenders segue into the pretenders.  The Mets are still in the upper echelon of MLB teams, but have yet to show they can put together a full season.  Luis Castillo’s game losing drop seemed an awful lot like September foreshadowing though!

14. San Francisco Giants – The offense has been bad, as expected, but they’ve managed to stay above .500 for some time now, thanks in large part to Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who are likely to keep up their pace.  Anywhere above .500 should keep the Giants in the wild card race.

15. Cincinatti Reds –  They’ve managed to stay afloat despite injuries to Edinson Volquez, Edwin Encarnacion, and I guess Joey Votto.  Add to that poor starts to the season by Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings.  If the Reds can get healthy, even they could make a run at the division.

16. Chicago Cubs – Currently sitting in 4th place, but only 4 games back of the first place Brewers.  The Cubs need to figure out two things if they’re going to make any noise this season: how to win on the road and how to win in their division.

17. Minnesota  Twins – The Twins have been extremely inconsistent thus far, but they always end up finding a way to win.  At 34-34, they are still Justin-Morneau_2very much in the wild card picture, but they’ll need the team to click altogether to make a run at the postseason.  Their pitching won’t dominate, but  it’ll keep them close and games will be winnable with Mauer and Morneau leading the way at the plate.

18. Chicago White Sox – It appears that the starting pitching has turned the corner with many great outings lately, led by Jose Contreras only giving up 3 hits in his last two starts (16 IP).  The offense will have to pick it up soon if they are going to contend.

19. Florida Marlins – Ten different pitchers have started games for the Marlins this year.  However, Josh Johnson has been the only one to prove he belongs. They’ve made attempts to get back to .500 but can’t quite get there.

20. Seattle Mariners – The M’s started the season making some people believe they would be a contender in the West, but since the hot start they have struggled and look about the same as the last few seasons lackluster performances.

21. Atlanta Braves – They haven’t been consistent and don’t look to be taking the NL East anytime soon, with a few good teams now residing in their division. Chipper needs to break out of his slump for them to make any kind of a move.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh isn’t in last in their division for once. Somehow they have kept it going after trading away a top player (McClouth) for MORE prospects. I guess they’re just stockpiling them for something good to come along. Their pitching has kept them in games as they are currently ranked 13th overall in ERA.

23. Oakland A’s – A win against the Dodgers bumped them up a spot, but they have looked awful in the field and at the plate. Not the recipe for success for any team. Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera seem to be battling it out for the biggest bust on the team.

24. Cleveland Indians – Like many teams at the bottom of the rankings and standings, breaks just don’t come their way. They look good for a week and terrible the next week. Their pitching has been awful this year which, makes it hard for any team to compete. They are ranked last in ERA.

25. Houston Astros – Tejada is the only bright spot on the team being sUMLQLP22nd in the NL in BA, and first in doubles (23). As we get closer to the All-Star break it looks as though we’ll see what players they are going to trade away. I saw the Vegas odds on a Houston firesale at 2/1.

26a. San Diego Padres – Not much to say here, except Adrian Gonzalez’s NL home run lead was just taken from him by Pujols. They had a ten game winning streak, but came crashing back to earth by losing 11 out of 17 after the winning streak.

26b. Arizona Diamondbacks – At least the weather’s nice there, and they have Danny Haren. It was basically a matchup of Gonzalez and Haren to take the coveted 26a spot! As close to a tie as you’ll see on a power rankings!

28. Baltimore Orioles – Being in the toughest division in baseball they have shown everyone how to struggle. They have been outscored by opponents by 56 runs. It’s the largest run differential in the league. Oh and Matt Wienters has arrived if you didn’t know, oh you did, cool.

29. Kansas City Royals – They probably don’t deserve to be this low, but they haven’t shown anything that would make any fan of them care what their rank is. They have some pitching as they lead the league in complete games (8).

30. Washington Nationals – They are 2nd to last in pitching and 20th in hitting. They need to sign Strasberg and get him on the mound this year for them to move out of the cellar. They’re on pace to lose over 100 games.