Friday, November 13, 2009

Fascism is alive and well...

Just a quick note to mention... you do realize that if the House version of the Healthcare Bill passes through the Senate... you could go to jail for refusing to participate?
Basically, what will happen is this; if you refuse coverage you will be forced to pay a fine, but continued refusal to sign up for coverage will be met with prison time... up to 3 YEARS!
Hello? Is anyone watching out there?

* Democrat admits that the healthcare bill is Unconstitutional.
* Nancy Pelosi thinks jail time is fair for people who would not sign up for healthcare. In fact, healthcare is the Democrats CHRISTMAS present to America!

A quick look at how the President is "helping" us fix that pesky unemployment thing. By the way, notice where the President thought we would be without his "help". (Better off?)

From Big Government

Monday, November 09, 2009

Statism is Force.

Thanks to from pointing this all out....
Great moment from Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL): He asked the question that could easily have been asked twenty years ago today at the Berlin Wall. If the ObamaCare proposal is so good, why do you have to imprison people who don’t want to participate?

The answer: Statism always requires force, and it always strips people of liberty. It always comes with handcuffs. That’s how we know it’s coming.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Blueprint for World Domination! (Part 2)

Yesterday we started discussing my plan for world domination… of the baseball variety. We began by looking at who’s leaving and what the roster might look like sans some important pieces. Today we are going to plug the holes, fill the gaps, and make the Mets into World Series contenders for 2010. Let’s get started, eh?

I need to start by saying this; some of our gaps may need to be filled by trade, and if that is the case I will likely be calling on some names from our minor league stocks. The Mets plan to spend roughly $20-30 Million in filling the gaps on the team. Also, the Mets first round draft pick in next years draft is protected, so the Mets can sign a Type-A free agent without fear of losing that pick.

Now to the players…

Catcher seems to be the easiest position to fill as there are a plethora of catchers available on the open market. Omir Santos is a serviceable backup so let’s look for a guy who can start. My first choice here is Rod Barajas. Barajas is a good defensive catcher who can handle himself with the bat, for the Mets this would actually represent an upgrade over last year’s catchers. I think Barajas can be had for a 2 year deal worth $4 – 5 million.
Other possibilities: Bengie Molina, Ivan Rodriguez, Yorvit Torrealba, and Greg Zaun all seem like possible fits if Barajas falls through.

In Left Field there are also many available options, but two that particularly stand out for me. Most of the conversation thus far has been on Matt Holiday and Jason Bay… these two guys both bother me. They are too expensive and not nearly good enough for the money they will command. Neither is a good defensive player, and both have offensive deficiencies as well (Bay more than Holiday). I don’t like either guy for the Mets. In a perfect world the Mets would be able to get their hands on Carl Crawford or BJ Upton to roam LF but in this world… I think they should sign Jermaine Dye. Dye’s power and grit would be a welcome addition to the lineup. Believing that Dye will not have many suitors in the offseason, I would offer a 2 year deal worth about $12 - $14 million with a team option for a 3rd year.
Other possibilities: Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Matt Holiday.

Now to shuffle things up a bit, we are going to make some moves to try and improve the team and get a little younger. Kansas City has had a heck of a time finding a full time 2nd baseman and wouldn’t you know… we are about to offer them one. Luis Castillo just had a great year (offensively), and now is the time to move him. I will offer him (and for our purposes they will accept) to Kansas City. Castillo + $4 million to KC for a solid prospect or two.
This move now opens a hole at 2nd base, which we will fill by signing Orlando Hudson to a 2 year deal. The Mets should ink Hudson two a 2 year deal worth 8 million. This actually makes the financial transaction of Luis Castillo for Orlando Hudson a wash…but nets the Mets a couple of minor leaguers.
Other possibilities: Keep Luis Castillo, or get Placido Polanco, or Jack Wilson. All solid defensive options who can swing the bat…though no Cano or Utley type power here.

Let’s not stop there, we still have that gaping hole at 1st base and have not signed any power guys. Let’s make a deal. Adrian Gonzalez is the prodigiously powerful 1st baseman for the San Diego Padres, and he happens to be on the trading block. Gonzalez makes so much sense it almost doesn’t make sense! He is young (27), and he is cheap ($4.5 mil in 2010, $5 mil club option in 2011), and he hits for power in a pitcher’s park (40 HR in 2009 played half his games at Petco Park). The problem is that it sounds like Boston covets him too. This matters not to me because the Mets will be making the best offer.
I would send; Mike Pelfrey (SP), Ike Davis (1stB), Reese Havens (2ndB) and Fernando Martinez (OF) to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez.
Other possibilities: Re-sign Delgado to a one year deal, or Nick Johnson, or bring in Troy Glaus to platoon with Daniel Murphy at 1st base.

Thus far by my count we have added between $12.5 and $14 million in salary to next years team…which means we have roughly $6 - $15 million left to spend (give or take a few million)…and we still need a two starters and a reliever (because we traded Pelfrey away).

Let’s grab our starters first and then look to fill in the reliever’s with what we have left.

Best case scenario in my Mets building plans would be to move Oliver Perez…however, his HUGE contract makes that almost impossible. He is still owed $24 million over the next two years. So Perez stays in the rotation, as does John Maine who has shown flashes of being a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. Our first signing is Erik Bedard on a two year $13 million dollar contract with incentives that could push the deal upwards of $20 million. The other starter is Jason Marquis on a three year deal worth $18 - $20 million (This would be a discount on Marquis’ last deal but I don’t think he will see a better one).
Other possibilities: There are way too many to count, so I will just toss out my favorites. Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, Rich Harden, Ben Sheets, and Jon Garland would all fit in nicely if I had to substitute my first choices…though the money could become a challenge.

Lastly, we look to round out the relievers. Because of the way the pitching staff looks to have been constructed I am going to be concentrating on getting a left handed reliever. Pedro Feliciano being the only lefty in the pen is not sound planning! I would make an offer to Joe Beimel of 1 year and $2 million.
Other possibilities: John Grabow, Will Ohman, and Brian Shouse.

So my team ends up looking like this (by batting order)…

SS – Jose Reyes
2b – Orlando Hudson
CF – Carlos Beltran
1B – Adrian Gonzalez
3B – David Wright
LF – Jermaine Dye
RF – Jeff Francoeur
C – Rod Barajas

C – Omir Santos
OF – Angel Pagan
OF – Cory Sullivan
IF – Anderson Hernandez
IF – Daniel Murphy

SP – Johan Santana
SP – Erik Bedard
SP – Jason Marquis
SP – Oliver Perez
SP – John Maine

CL – Francisco Rodriguez (aka K-Rod)
RP – Pedro Feliciano
RP – Joe Beimel
RP – Brian Stokes
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – Sean Green
LRP – Nelson Figueroa

So if we go by most conservative numbers (meaning we have given each player the higher end of my contract offers) we have added $30 million to the payroll. The Mets payroll sits roughly at $140 million.
Some thoughts:
This team has a good mix of speed, power, and patience. We have four guys who could each belt at least 30 bombs, and a couple who could go for 20. We have 4 guys who could steal 20+ bases and 1 who could steal 60+. Seven of the eight hitters could hit around .300 (more likely 5 of them will), and the defense on the team should be above average.
The rotation should be much improved, and the bullpen as good as last year when several pitchers were overused and the pen underperformed.
I think this squad has the makings of a National League champion and should be more than competitive for the World Series crown.
Any thoughts? Please comment on what you think of my plan and if you have your own plan!

Update: After publishing this Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox made a trade swapping Mark Teahan from KC for Josh Fields and Chris Getz. This could cause the Castillo trade to be highly improbable. Also, prior to publication I had selected Bobby Abreu for Left field but news broke yesterday that he was signing an extension to stay with the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles… which caused me to move to my second option, Jermaine Dye.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Blueprint for World Domination!

I am not talking today about a plan for peace in the Middle East, or missile shields in Eurasia, or a way to fix the trade deficit.
No, the plan I will be revealing over the next few days is much more expansive…much more improbable…but just as important!
The plan I propose today is a roadmap for victory in the MLB. Today I take up the cause of my recently hapless New York Mets…the Amazin’s have stumbled through a rough year…and I as their not so bearded Moses, plan to lead them out. I just need Omar Minaya and the Wilpon family to read my blog.

The Mets plan in the upcoming year to have a payroll of roughly $140 million dollars. That will actually be about $10 million less than this past year, but should be more than enough to make a National League team competitive.

First, let’s take a look at some of the players that will probably be missing from next years Metsy’s!

Carlos Delgado – the Mets powerful 1st baseman missed most of the 2009 campaign with a hip injury. He is a free agent now and could re-sign with the Mets. I don’t know if Minaya thinks Delgado is worth the risk. – Minus $12 million
Brian Schneider – the Mets brought Schneider in the hopes they would be getting a premier defensive backstop. Instead they got an oft-injured, light hitting, just average defensive catcher. I can guarantee that the Mets will not miss his game. It wasn’t all a loss though because the trade that brought Schneider to town, eventually brought Jeff Francouer as well. – Minus $5 million
Tim Redding – the hope was that Redding would make a serviceable 5th man in the rotation. That hope…did not pan out. While Redding was the Mets BEST pitcher over the last 3-4 weeks of the season, he was horrendous over the first 5 months and I don’t think his work at the end of the season salvaged his chances with the Mets (Though he may have pitched himself into a contract with another team). – Minus $2 million
Billy Wagner – Billy was traded just before the end of the season but none the less the money owed our favorite volatile lefty comes off the books. Personally, I would love to see Billy come back and sign on to be K-Rod’s new set up man. – Minus $10.5 million
Alex Cora – Brought on to be the Mets club house chemistry guy, Alex was asked to do much more once the season got underway. Injuries thrust Alex into an everyday role… and it was not good. Cora excels as a part time player and club house chemistry guy… the Mets may bring him back in the hopes he can settle into that role this year. However at around $2 million a year, the price may be prohibitive. Personally, I would just proceed with Anderson Hernandez who is much cheaper and offers a similar skill set, minus the clubhouse stuff. – Minus $2 million
Gary Sheffield – Sheff was supposed to be a super-sub, but like Cora he ended up having to play a lot more than we originally thought. That’s not necessarily a problem, as Sheff played really well when he could… the problem was that Sheff is 40+ years old… and his body couldn’t handle the wear and tear. He won’t be back. – Minus $400 grand.

The Mets also owe arbitration raises to Angel Pagan, Jeff Francoeur, Cory Sullivan, Jeremy Reed, John Maine, Pedro Feliciano, and Sean Green. Along with that Redding, Maine, and Nelson Figueroa could all be non-tendered (which we have already done for Redding).
I expect the Mets to come to terms with each of these guys for at least the next year. I think Francoeur will likely see a three year deal, and Feliciano will likely be signed for another two years. Maine was hurt most of 2009 but showed he was back at the end of the season and the Mets will likely bring him back for at least a 2010 test run. Sean Green may end up being non-tendered (and released) but I think that would be a mistake. Green had some trouble early on in the season but the stuff was there, and he has been a dominant reliever in the past. I think the Mets should bring Green back on a 1-2 year deal for about $500-600 grand a season. Lastly, the three OF, Pagan, Reed, and Sullivan. The Mets go into the off season with a gap in LF, meaning they will be looking to sign another LF, I think that means that one of these three guys will be non-tendered. Again, I think it’s a mistake. As the 2009 season proved you cannot rely on complete health through a full season and all three OF proved they were valuable in 2009. At the least I would resign all three and try and move one of them in a trade between now and the start of the 2010 season. If one must be non-tendered, I would say goodbye to Jeremy Reed. He is a solid defensive OF but I think that in 2009 Pagan and Sullivan both proved to be as good defensively and better offensively. I would bring back Sullivan for a year at $600-700 grand, and I would try and sign Pagan to a deal through his arbitration years to backup our starters in the OF. I would also re-sign Figueroa.
Francoeur – 3 years $12 million
Feliciano – 2 years $4 million
Maine – 1 year $3 million
Green – 2 years $1.2 million
Pagan – 3 years $2.5 million
Sullivan – 1 year $650K
Reed – non-tendered
Figueroa – 1 year $500K

And lastly on the list of guys for next year is JJ Putz. The Mets have an option Putz for 2010 that would cost them $8 Million, but conventional wisdom says the Mets won’t pay that for a just back from injury set-up man. There is a scenario where the Mets do pick up the option and then trade Putz to a team needing a closer, but Putz recent injury history puts that in question. More likely the Mets exercise their $1 Million buyout, and Mr. Putz becomes a free agent.

So the team looks kind of like this…
Let’s look at who will probably be around next year first.
C – ?
1st – ?
2nd – Luis Castillo
SS – Jose Reyes
3rd – David Wright
LF - ?
CF – Carlos Beltran
RF – Jeff Francoeur
C – Omir Santos
OF – Angel Pagan
OF – Cory Sullivan?
IF – Anderson Hernandez?
IF – Daniel Murphy?

SP – Johan Santana
SP –
SP – Oliver Perez
SP – John Maine
SP – ?
This Rotation order may be quite different in 2010, but this was the order going into 2009.

CL – Francisco Rodriguez (aka K-Rod)
RP – Pedro Feliciano
RP – ?
RP – Brian Stokes
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – Sean Green
LRP – Nelson Figueroa

So we have holes to fill at Catcher, 1st base, Left Field, and in the starting rotation and bullpen.
So now we know what we will and won’t have… tomorrow we will discuss options for filling those holes and money!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lessons Learned?

So it is the morning after an awkwardly mild election cycle (which happens in odd off years like 2009). I think there are a few things we can take away from yesterday's vote.
1. Apparently the Republican Party is not yet dead. The GOP has been crumbling since 2004 when George W. Bush was re-elected President, and the decline seemed to reach it's zenith (can a decline have a zenith?) in the recent election of Presidnet Obama and the sweeping majorities garnered in both Houses of Congress. However, almost one year into his Presidency and the only legislation signed by President Obama has been morsels of token liberal agenda items. TARP and the Bailout's have been passed by this administration but I can assure you that that was not something the President ever fathomed having to do as part of his administration's agenda. He imagined spending that money on Healthcare and other social justice causes... not on banks and car companies (though the "little" venture may ultimately help the Democrats succeed in other areas). The reason the President's agenda has gone unfulfilled? Me and you. The American citizen has complained just loud enough for Democrats in moderate and conservative districts to get the picture. If they want to keep their jobs and continue to help mold the American agenda they cannot be seen as supporting overreaching Healthcare legislation. They must maintain at least a semblance of detachment and wariness about "BIG" government and more spending. I have my doubts about whether or not "Blue Dogs" really disagree with the size and scope of Healthcare legislation being pushed by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and President Obama but whatever their reasons (whether just or spineless) it is thanks to moderate democrats that the legislation has not passed. The problem for Democrats is that many Americans are starting to get itchy trigger fingers for their ballot boxes. Joe Middle America wants to vote tomorrow to get his current Congressman out of Washington... and this is good news for the Republican Party seeing as there are so few of them in Washington today. So, why hasn't the GOP died yet? Address your thank you notes to the Democrat Party care of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. If not for the Triumverate in DC... the GOP would be toast.
2. It's ok to vote for third party candidates. Though it appears that Doug Hoffman of the Conservative Party has lost NY-23 (by a slim margin), if you look past the election there is perhaps a much more important story here. Dede Scozzafava had been the Republican's choice for this seat prior to dropping out just days before the election (and then voicing her support for Bill Owens, the Democrat), but many Republican voters (who identify more as conservative than Republican) would not vote for the definition of a RINO (Republican in Name Only). By most measures Scozzafava was more liberal than her Democrat opponent, how in the name of Ronald Reagan, did the Republican Party let that happen? To show their angst at the GOP machine voters in the NY-23 chose a third path... Doug Hoffman. I don't know if this will trend around the country but I have to believe that more voters will at least seriosuly consider the idea of voting Third Party after Hoffman's stunning campaign. And folks... this is a good thing. Neither party really cares about what their constituents think or want... the only time they care is when it costs them money or votes. It is high time the American public start forcing the two major parties to pay the piper... let your local party representatives know that their decision making will COST them... and the cost is your money and your vote.
3. I am tired of "moderates". Moderate make me sick. Moderates are dithering. Moderates are squishy. Booooooooooo moderates.
I would rather debate and argue with a flaming liberal or a raging conservative than "discuss" the current political climate with a moderate. Do you know why moderates are moderate? Because they can't make a stinking decision and they don't want to offend anyone. Moderates have thrown away intellectual honesty for what feels right. Moderates have discarded the logic and reason centers of their brains for the "which way is the wind blowing" portion of their hearts. For example: Olympia Snowe Republican from Maine is a moderate. She is not socially conservative, so she must be fiscally conservative, no? No. She voted for the bailouts and is currently considering supporting massive Healthcare legislation. What part of Senator Snowe is conservative? Nothing. Not an ounce. What part is liberal? I think most liberals would say... nothing, not an ounce. Olympia Snowe is the epitome of what is wrong with Moderates, they stand for nothing. I'd rather deal with Barney Frank, at least then I know what I should expect.
4. Lastly, I am sick of the "Big Tent". And hopefully so are you. Look, I am not vain enough to believe that my party will think and act exactly as I do on every issue. That would mean that I was in a party of one... I mean, my wife is my biggest supporter and she and I disagree all the time. However, the Republican Party trying to make the tent so big that folks like Dede Scozzafava fit under it... is ridiculous. Scozzafava proved my point for me, when after dropping out of the race she endorsed the Democrat and seemed to have accepted a deal from NY Party leaders to become a Democrat politician in time for the next election cycle. Losing the Republican vote... is no skin off her nose, because the Democrats welcomed her with open arms. Just like they did with Arlen Specter (who if anyone has noticed has been more reliably Democrat since his switch then he was reliably Republican prior to his switch) and would do with any other RINO who decided to switch sides.
A "Big Tent" should be just big enough to fit folks under it who buy into the party platform. Moderates are welcome...liberals are not. You disagree on minor issues? Fine. You disagree on major issues? Sorry, we are probably not for you. No more Dede's, no more Arlen's. And while I am not well versed enough in Democrat Party politics... I would say the same for them. The major party's being more pure and reliable would be good for democracy. It would force those of us in the minority to vote 3rd Party consistently enough to force change (see the populist and progressive parties of the late 1800s early 1900s).
Real change, not token change like the meaningless words bandied about by politicians from both parties.

* HotAir finds other lessons.
* The GOP's $1 million dollar object lesson.
* Abortion activists get violent with old lady... Apparently they have problems with both ends of the life spectrum.
* Al Gore criminal Billionaire.
* Surprise, surprise the racists in Atlanta are deciding the mayoral race based on RACE!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009