Here are my three points for topical debate on this fine Tuesday morning. I hope to hear from some of you with your thoughts on the following today on the MobTown Sports Beat from 11am – 2pm, or right here as well in the comments section.
Point #1 – Could the Vlad Add Still Go Bad?
For all of the good feelings and uplifted expectations that came with the O’s signing of Vlad Guerrero, can you blame fans for still feeling skeptical about and until his arrival? Given the way that he seemingly spurned the O’s years ago in free agency, and worse used their offers to leverage other teams, might we be witnessing an encore performance?
Vlad after all, still hasn’t taken a physical. In fact, the O’s haven’t necessarily/officially signed him yet at all. Instead what they have is an agreement in principle, pending a physical and I’m sure a few other details that are beyond my comprehension. The word from the team seems to be that with relocation pending to spring training, Guerrero might meet with team doctors down and hence make everything official then. However, as news begins to build about the supposed trade demands of Michael Young who was cast to be the Rangers DH this season, it certainly doesn’t seem beyond reason or possibility that the Rangers could still re-enter the picture for Vlad with renewed interest. Despite the announcement regarding his agreement to terms with the team, it still seems that Vlad would almost rather be anywhere but it Baltimore. Might he still be able to get his wish?
Point #2 – Stacking the Lineup
Assuming that the O’s can count on the services of Vlad Guerrero once the season begins, it’s certainly becoming encouraging to envision just what the lineup(s) might look like once that time comes. Here are a few of the ideas that I have, accompanied by the batters 3-year splits for batting average only overall, and vs. lefties and vs. righties respectively. All of the following assume a defensive alignment with Derrek Lee at 1st, Brian Roberts at 2nd, Mark Reynolds at 3rd, JJ Hardy at shortstop, Matt Wieters catching and in the outfield from left to right, Luke Scott, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis.
|1st Glance Lineup||
|1. (S) Roberts .288||1. (R) Roberts .301||1. (L) Roberts .282|
|2. (L) Markakis .297||2. (L) Markakis .361||2. (R) Jones .293|
|3. (R) Lee .286||3. (R) Lee .290||3. (L) Markakis .269|
|4. (R) Guerrero .300||4. (R) Guerrero .297||4. (R) Guerrero .301|
|5. (R) Reynolds .234||5. (R) Reynolds .245||5. (L) Scott .297|
|6. (L) Scott .284||6. (R) Jones .259||6. (R) Lee .284|
|7. (R) Jones .284||7. (L) Scott .240||7. (R) Reynolds .230|
|8. (S) Wieters .266||8. (R) Wieters .230||8. (L) Wieters .283|
|9. (R) Hardy .262||9. (R) Hardy .241||9. (R) Hardy .270|
If Reimold winds up with the big club, he might be worth a look over Scott against lefthanders with a .270 three-year split. Jones and Lee might also be interchangeable in the vs. right-handers lineup. I’m looking forward to seeing how you think it should stack up.
Point #3 – Call it envy, respect or whatever you want, but there’s no denying that Baltimore has a thing for Mike Tomlin.
Of all of the Super Bowl reaction that we filtered through on Monday’s show, the most surprising realization for me was the overwhelming outpouring of respect levied on the Baltimore airwaves for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
I guess I was remiss in quickly turning away from the pomp and circumstance of the Packers victory celebration, and therefore also missing the post game commentary by Tomlin. Whatever he said, he impressed a number of Monday’s callers to the point that they felt compelled to applaud him for it. Perhaps, from a Ravens fans perspective, anything other than the predictable corporate coach-speak that we’ve come to expect week after week from our own coach is simply viewed as refreshing and genuine. It’s also worth mentioning that the qualities that ingratiated him to fans across the country in the aftermath of Sunday’s game did little to help his team in said game, and that the lineage of coaches that have enjoyed hoisting the Lombardi isn’t exactly a who’s who of fan or media friendly types. Still I found it interesting.
With all of the accolades that Tomlin has seemingly achieved in his brief reign as Steelers coach, it’s fair to say that there are still only a handful of impact players on either side of the football whose time with the club doesn’t predate his own. Only time will tell if Tomlin and the Steelers will be able to turn over the roster and remain consistently competitive as his predecessors have done and as a result whether history will regard him in higher esteem than the likes of George Seifert or Barry Switzer, as like them thus far he still bears the “curse” of inheriting a ready to go team and has been smart enough seemingly to simply get out of their way. I’m betting that when the book is closed on Tomlin, he will have achieved distinction above and beyond those others, but still quietly hoping against it. It seems, that in that way at least, Tomlin has gotten to me too.