There it is. That is how they will finish.
Why not start a breakdown of every division with the easiest to call. Philadelphia comes into this season every bit as talented as last year. In some senses they went and got better. They now have the best in the business in Roy Halladay. He will prove a vital tool when the Phils make it back to the playoffs. Philadelphia has a bit of karma on their side by throwing geriatric hurler Jaime Moyer every fifth day, and some say the elderly are useless, puhshaw. Philadelphia has an American League type lineup with hitters one through eight and will run away with the division, if they decide to win at home this year.
The problem for prognosticators comes at second and third place. Therein lies real challengers to the wild card race.
While both the Braves and Marlins tout strong pitching staffs, the Braves get the edge with a little more depth. Even with a sophomore jinx, Tommy Hanson will be one of the best 4th starters in baseball. He should keep his ERA under 3.50 and net at least five more wins over the Marlins fourth hurler Chris Volstad.
The Mets should find a way to under utilize Johan, Beltran, Reyes, Wright, and Bay. They will suck but not in a way that anyone will notice. Which is the worst kind of suck.
The Washington Strasburgs will sell out every five days if and when their lord and savior Stephen Strasburg gets called up.
So if you turned on the World Wide Leader or your local sports radio station at any point today, then you most likely heard the news about the Mets agreeing to trade Pitcher Billy Wagner to the Red Sox for a couple of players to be determined later. Apparently the deal got done because Wagner waived his no-trade clause after the Red Sox agreed not to exercise the $8 million dollar club option next year (he really wants to be a closer again, not a set-up guy). They do, however, reserve the right to offer arbitration, which Wagner certainly won’t accept.
So the Sox get a proven left arm for the stretch run this season, and when Wagner signs elsewhere as a free agent during the winter, they’ll get draft picks as compensation. Sounds like a win for everyone, right?
Well this is where I’d normally say something smarmy, like “Wrong, the verdict is still out! No one knows how effective Wagner is going to be! He could re-injure his arm! One solid inning last week shouldn’t spur this kind of deal! Etc., etc., etc.” I would say some or all of those things, but I just can’t get past how much Wagner resembles Simon Pegg. It’s uncanny, and frankly, quite distracting for me.
I can see it now… Francona approaches the mound and asks for the ball.
Wagner, in a thick Scottish accent, tells his skipper “I’m giving you all I got Captain!”
See what I mean? How am I supposed to tell whether it’s a good deal or not with those thoughts running around in my head!