Here are a few quick baseball thoughts:
- If Carlos Quentin, Jose Contreras, and Scott Linebrink hadn't been injured near the end of the season, then the White Sox would have been a more formidable playoff team. (But the Rays were probably still better.)
- Jim Hendry overpaid for both Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome. However, I'm more concerned about the Cubs' farm system. I'm not sure how I feel about Hendry's 4-year extension. Yes, he built the first Cubs team to make the playoffs in back-to-back years, but I don't know that I would say the future is "bright" for this team. How Hendry handles Ryan Dempster's contract will be an interesting sign of things to come. (My view: Don't overpay for Dempster.) And the Cubs need to have better "top prospects" than Felix Pie in their farm system--especially when it comes to pitching.
- I don't blame Lou Piniella at all for the the Cubs' failures in the previous two playoffs. Last year he took a lot of heat for pulling Zambrano out of the game "too early." In my view, Piniella was trying to win the World Series, not trying to ride Zambrano's arm off in the first game of the playoffs just "to get there." It's a team game, and since all of Zambrano's teammates were stinking it up against Arizona, they got swept. Regarding the series against the Dodgers this year, people were upset that Piniella batted Fukodome second in Game 1 and played him at all in Game 2. Well, which other left-handed bat was he supposed to put in the lineup?
- As for the Rays and Phillies, these are the two teams that I wanted to see in the World Series if it couldn't be Chicago. I'd prefer to see the Phillies win just because those players have been around longer. But if the Rays win it, well, that would certainly make for a nice story.
- Congrats to C-Lauff for winning the UPL. In a strange bit of irony, I'm the one who ended up find out "how fifth place taste."
Okay, that's all for now; and yes, we'll have hot stove on this blog. It wouldn't be a true baseball blog without it.