The Douchiest Mascot in Sports: Dinger. Roddick's Knee and I have been involved in many incidents with Dinger. In fact, this triceratops once broke my glasses. Ignore the look they've given him(?), this is not a friendly dinosaur.
Since we're all huge baseball fans here at the Thigh, we've decided to examine each MLB team and where they currently stand. We'll look at how the team did last year, changes that happened or could happen with the team this offseason, and how it looks like the team will do in 2009 as of now. We'll even toss in the hottest thigh associated with each team.
2008 Outcome: 74-88, finished 3rd in the NL West, 10 games back of the Dodgers.
What They've Lost: LF Matt Holliday(Traded To A's), Closer Brian Fuentes(Signed With Angels), CF Willy Taveras(Signed With Reds), RP Luis Vizcaino(Traded To Cubs), OF Cory Sullivan(Signed With Mets).
What They've Done: Acquired RP Huston Street(From A's), Acquired OF Carlos Gonzalez(From A's), Acquired SP Greg Smith(From A's), Acquired SP Jason Marquis(From Cubs), Signed RP Alan Embree, Signed P Matt Belisle To A Minor League Deal, Signed IF/OF Luis A. Gonzalez To A Minor League Deal, Signed IF/OF Dan Ortmeier To A Minor League Deal.
Needs: They're always looking for pitchers. Even if they feel good with what they have, you never know how pitchers are going to do at Coors Field. They might not be looking to add another starting pitcher, but they need to figure out which guys will be in the rotation and get some stability there.
The Talk: The Rockies aren't likely to make anymore significant moves before Opening Day. They'll probably sign a veteran starting pitcher, but just a guy that could compete for the #5 spot in the rotation or provide insurance in case somebody goes down with an injury in Spring Training.
They've certainly made a lot of noise this offseason though, most notably with their trade of 3-time All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics. In return, the Rockies got highly touted 23-year-old outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street who will likely be their closer, and promising left-handed starting pitcher Greg Smith.
For this year, that trade is likely to benefit the A's much more than the Rockies. Holliday, the NL MVP runner-up in 2007, was clearly the best hitter in the Rockies lineup and will be pretty much impossible to replace anytime soon. Understandably, much of the Rockies fan base is not pleased that the Rockies would trade away a player in his prime that will bat .320+, hit 30+ homers, and drive in 110+ runs. However, I like this trade for the Rockies in the long term.
Carlos Gonzalez looks like he can be a star and is the centerpiece of this deal for the Rockies. You just watch a few of his at bats and you can tell he's going to be a good one. Considering he'll be playing half of his games for at least the next few years at Coors Field, this is a guy I'd be very interested in if I'm in a fantasy keeper league(which I am). It sounds like he will take over in left field for Holliday and can play all three outfield positions.
Huston Street was a terrific addition to this team. The Rockies knew they couldn't afford to keep closer Brian Fuentes, who ended up signing a two-year, $17.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 25-year-old Street has 94 career saves and a career ERA of 2.88 in four seasons. He's the favorite to step into the closer's role as Manny Corpas was awful in the role in 2008(4 saves in 13 chances), and the Rockies would like to keep Taylor Buchholz in the setup role where he excelled with a 2.18 ERA last season.
Greg Smith's the player that could really make this look like a great trade for the Rockies. At just 24 in 2008, Smith threw 190.3 innings and had an ERA of 4.16. If he could repeat those numbers this season, the Rockies would be ecstatic.
The Rockies also acquired starting pitcher Jason Marquis from the Chicago Cubs for relief pitcher Luis Vizcaino. Marquis gives them a veteran arm that's usually good for around 200 innings and double-digit wins. He'll likely be considered their #5 going into the season, but look for him to be one of their most dependable pitchers. By adding two workhorses in Smith and Marquis, it should lower the workload off a questionable bullpen.
As far as position players go, third baseman Garrett Atkins' situation is getting a lot of attention. Atkins is arbitration-eligible and requested $7.95 million, and the Rockies countered with an offer of $6.65 million. The arbitration hearing will be in February, and Atkins' future with the Rockies figures to be a big topic in 2009 as he's a free agent in 2010. 23-year-old third baseman Ian Stewart seems best suited for third base and the Rockies think he could be a star. Stewart had 10 homers and an .804 OPS in 266 at bats in 2008.
Free Agent Signing/Trade Prediction: P Josh Fogg.
This makes too much sense for both sides. The Rockies could use another starting pitcher for depth heading into Spring Training. Fogg would probably sign a Minor-League deal. He wants to be back with the team where he earned the nickname "Dragon Slayer" in late 2007 for beating pitchers such as Brandon Webb, Derek Lowe, and Chris Young down the stretch of the Rockies' miraculous run to the playoffs.
Young Player(s) To Make 2009 Impact: OF's Carlos Gonzalez And Dexter Fowler.
I already talked about Gonzalez who will compete for an everyday job in Spring Training. Look for him to get over 400 at bats.
Dexter Fowler's an exciting talent. He's long(6'4", 175), fast(101 stolen bases in 334 Minor League games), hit .335 in 421 at bats in 2008, has a great eye(.431 on-base percentage in 2008), has decent power which is expected to improve as he gets stronger, and he's considered a Gold Glove talent defensively. He's the Rockies leadoff hitter and centerfielder of the future. While the Rockies might start him off in Triple-A this season, he should still get a good amount of playing time in 2009 with the big club. With the huge outfield dimensions at Coors Field, expect this guy to be a triples machine for years to come.
2009 Outlook: This team is tough to assess at the moment. They shocked the world by making the World Series in 2007, then only won 74 games in a very bad NL West division in 2008. The loss of Matt Holliday is going to hurt this season, there's no doubt. However, having a full season of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki would make a huge difference. Tulo hit .291 with 24 homers and 99 RBI in his outstanding 2007 rookie season. He also should've won the Gold Glove that season over Jimmy Rollins. He got off to an awful start in 2008, and then had a torn quadicreps keep him off the field for a couple months. If he's back to his 2007 self, and their improved starting rotation lives up to expectations, they can be a threat in what should still be an awful NL West. Right now though, I'd have to predict they finish under .500.
Hottest Thigh Association: Lisa Dergan Podsednik
Can you believe Scott freaking Podsednik is banging that? That's what being a professional baseball player will bring you, even if you're a crappy one. Lisa, 38, married Scott in 2006. Well before that she was famous for being a Playmate and sporstcaster on Fox Sports Net. Oh, and she was a #5 seed in the 2008 Hot Ladies Tournament, where she lost to Sara Jean Underwood in the second round.
As for her husband, he just signed a Minor League deal with the Rockies and might not make the team out of Spring Training.