2014 Pippin’s Nothing But A Dog

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      Jeff Winick

      Pippin’s Nothing But a Dog – 2014

      Projected Standings

      The Better Luck Next Year Division

      10.          Berliners –  First to dump and has the results to show for it.  Bogaerts, Profar, Archer, Garcia, Darvish bolster a bunch of beans that could explode (Buxton, Gallo, Sano, Lindor).  2014 looks ugly, but 2015 and beyond is looking very good.

      9.            Red Hots – Came to the draft as a man on a mission……to rebuild.  The process hasn’t yet begun, presumably because the team started strong out of the gate.  But this is a team built for 2015 and beyond.  Only a question of when, not whether the dumping begins.

      8.            Brats – Early returns aren’t looking too good on the late season trades of 2013 and the cupboard is looking decidedly bare. Worse yet, this is not a team that has a realistic shot at contention in 2014.  The Brats may not know it yet, but they’re still in rebuilding mode. Whether they figure it out or not – this team will not be holding the
      Damon after the last pitch of the regular season has been thrown.

      The With A Little Help from My Friends Division

      7.            Block’s Bombers – A team with not near enough offense to play with the big boys.  The middle infield is frightening and the corners are only a little bit better. The pitching will play, though ERA and WHIP could be a little bit dicey.  Bottom line is that this is a team that could and should get better. But the Bombers only make a trade a couple times a decade and I’m not sure it’s that time yet.  Worse yet, rumor has it that Chisenhall will be the key chip used to attract the attention of the dumpers.  Another Drive for Five is almost surely in store for the Bombers.

      6.            Calamari – Not enough at bats due to too many old guys on the roster (Konerko, Jeter, Ichiro) and the consequences show up in every offensive category.  The pitching needs to get and stay healthy, but the addition of a couple of big bats (like Cespedes and/or Santana, just for example) could turn this team from pretender to contender in a hurry.

      5.            Adams Family Values – Skippy caught lightening in a bottle with Abreu and that has him in the hunt.   This is a solid team – the problem is that the 4 yet to be mentioned are better.  It’s tough to win when your starting lineup includes guys like Morrison, Callaspo, Sizemore and Maxwell.  Drop Cespedes or Santana onto this roster and ….. magic.  The pitching is dependent upon a lot of young arms, but could be and should be excellent. AFV could make things interesting if Skippy can find enough time away from his day (and night) job to focus.

      The This Could Be the Year Division

      The first thing you notice about the upper division is that 3 of the 4 teams had the good judgment to talk to the Berliners and fill key holes.  Only 1 rebuffed Mr. Winick’s entreaties.  He would be wise to either reconsider or start working on the Red Hots and/or Brats or he’ll find the season slipping away.

      4.            Angry Young Men – Right there with the Nukes as the best offense in the league.  Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end.  An infusion of solid pitching made this team much better, but a lot still depends on major question marks like Jimenez, Richards and Chen.  That’s a little scary.  Has some nice beans and Jonathan Schoop to get some more trustworthy replacements and some more saves.  If it happens, watch out for the AYM.

      3.            Hoosier Daddies – Solid across the board on both sides of the ledger.  Offense is rock solid without a single slot occupied by anything other than a top notch player.  Pitching is similarly stocked, though boy would it have helped if Griffin hadn’t gone under the knife.  But a shrewd trade put this team squarely in the hunt for the Damon.

      2.            Klein Nine – Killer pitching (wait….is this really the Nine that I’m talking about??) is the foundation of this team.  And the offense is rock solid, but the few less productive slots will ultimately be the difference between holding the Damon and wistfully looking on as someone else grabs the prize.  Proclaiming victory less than a month into the season creates bad karma and to add insult to injury, the Dean had the audacity to declare “bring it on” to The Curse.  Nope…..not gonna happen in 2014.

      1.            Nukes – Now that the curse has been removed, the future looks very bright for the Nukes.  This team projects to be near the top in every offensive category except for batting average. Thanks to good friend Mr. Winick, the pitching is now anchored by the reigning Cy Young winner and backed up with the likely AL Rookie of the Year.  Sure, there are some question marks in the rotation.  And there’s a need for Janssen to come back healthy and soon.  But the Nukes know how to deal and have a long history trading with the one team with the best remaining goods – Red Hots. With guys like Tanaka, Springer and Skaggs as bait, the expectation is that this team is going to get even better.  Here’s your 2014 Champion!

      That is all.

      Brad Lee Badfinger Jansen (with a little help from his friend, Mr. Winick)

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