Team Previews: Short, Bad NL Team Version

Let's wrap up the NL today, shall we?

San Francisco Giants
2007 W-L: 71-91
2007 Pythag: 77-85
2007 Payroll: ~90 mil
2008 Payroll:~75 mil
Coming: Aaron Rowand
Going: Barry Bonds, Scott Munter, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Klesko, Mike Matheny

Lineup:
I feel like I've beat them worse than a dead horse -  which also symbolizes exactly how far they'll go in the race for the playoffs. I'll avoid the five letter name, but outside of Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn the lineup lacks talent. Dan Ortmeier or Kevin Frandsen might shock some people, but only because they're not collecting AARP benefits yet somehow in the Giants' lineup.

Rotation:
You know how the therapist tells you to say something nice about the other person? Well in this case the only nice things I can dream up are two pieces of the rotation. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain don't deserve what's going to happen to their run support this year much in the same way Barry Zito doesn't deserve his 14.5 million dollar paycheck this year. Noah Lowry is overrated, Jonathan Sanchez, Kevin Correia, and Pat Misch will compete for back-end spots, and with Lowry having some injury issues two of the three might make it.

Bullpen:
Brian Wilson will close; Vinnie Chulk, Randy Messanger, Steve Atchinson, Tyler Walker, Brad Hennessey, Steve Kline, Jack Taschner, and Erick Threets will compete for pen spots. Two interesting NRIs: Bartolome Fortunato - the other guy dealt for Scott Kazmir - and Kelichi Yabu.

Houston Astros
2007 W-L: 73-89
2007 Pythag: 72-90
2007 Payroll: ~88 mil
2008 Payroll:
Coming: Jose Valverde, every middle reliever alive, Miguel Tejada, Geoff Blum, Darin Erstad, Nick Gorneault, Kaz Matsui
Going: Adam Everett, Brad Lidge, Mike Lamb, Craig Biggio, Chris Burk, Jason Jennings, Trever Miller

Lineup:
Say what you will about the apparent nativity involved with the Miguel Tejeda trade, but he's at least an offensive upgrade over Adam Everett. Unfortunately the infield defense is going to be a disaster. Ty Wigginton at third, Tejada at short, Kaz Matsui at second, and Lance Berkman at first will leave Astro pitchers dropping four word bombs all the time. Brad Ausmus will finally be a back-up it appears, and J.R. Towles gets his shot behind the plate. The outfield will feature Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn, and Hunter Pence; that trio should be nothing less than solid, in fact I'd say it might be the strength of the team.

Rotation:
I can't tell you anything about Roy Oswalt that you don't all ready know, but after him it gets murky; Wandy Rodriguez, Brandon Backe, Woody Williams, and Chris Sampson don't inspire confidence.

Bullpen:
Valverede is a good closer, but he's seemingly moving to a bad team, Doug Brocail, Geoff Geary, Oscar Villarreal, Dave Borkowski, Carlos Hines, Mike DeJean and tons others are in contention.

Cincinnati Reds
2007 W-L: 72-90
2007 Pythag: 75-87
2007 Payroll: ~68 mil
Coming: Francisco Cordero, Jeremy Affeldt, Josh Fogg, Corey Patterson Paul Bako, Jerry Hairston Jr.
Going: Josh Hamilton, Eric Milton, Eddie Guardado

Lineup:
Adam Dunn is on the way out, Ken Griffey Jr. still can't stay healthy, and Dusty Baker is in charge, things aren't looking up for the Redlegs. I really can't imagine Baker not giving Joey Votto the first base job, and Jay Bruce the center field spot by the All-Star break, but it is Dusty Baker.

Rotation:
Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, and Aaron Harang make for a pretty damn good rotation - assuming the former two live up to their billings - but it seems Jeremy Affeldt and Josh Fogg will be in the rotation to begin the year, I can summarize my thoughts with a line from Ken Rosenthal when they were signed. "They aren't Koufax and Drysdale but they are major league pitchers." Yeah, this situation almost never works out well.

Bullpen:
Cordero shouldn't miss a beat, but I'm a bit concerned with Mike Stanton. I must've missed it when he got a two year deal, because frankly that scares me.

Pittsburgh Pirates
2007 W-L: 68-94
2007 Pythag: 70-92
2007 Payroll: ~39 mil
Coming: Jorge Velandia, Evan Meek, Doug Mientkiewicz, Chris Gomez, Byung-Hyun Kim, T.J. Beam, Elmer Dessens
Going: Salomon Torres, Shawn Chacon, Tony Armas, Brad Eldred, Cesar Izturis

Lineup:
Jason Bay doesn't seem to care too much about being a Pirate - in a recent spring game he misplayed the first three balls hit his way, and combined with his comments, lacking enthusiasm, paint a tale that Bay's not particular enjoying his stay in Pittsburgh. To his credit though, new GM Neal Huntington didn't make any stupid signings, the problem is he didn't do much of anything to improve a bad team.

That's a bit unfair, since there doesn't appear to be much he could've done outside of dumping Matt Morris, but I'm still not at the point where the Pirates are a legitimate sleeper pick. Bay, Nyjer Morgan - a possible sleeper fantasy pick - , Xavier Nady, Jose Bautista, Jack Wilson - backed up by the Pirate looking Josh Wilson -, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, and Ronny Paulino fill out the lineup card.

Rotation:
Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell shouldn't be dealt, Paul Maholm and Zach Duke could do the team wonders by suddenly becoming above average, and Matt Morris is, well, Matt Morris and everything wrong with the idea of having a "veteran starter" to show the kids how to pitch.

Bullpen:
Matt Capps closes and after Damaso Marte things get a bit spicy. One player to watch for is Evan Meek, he throws hard, but has a tough time consistently knowing where the pitch is heading. Think a typical former Rays' farmhand, much in the mold of Jesus Colome, Jorge Sosa, and Seth McClung, but who knows, maybe he can become useful - at least it's not Dan Kolb again.

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