TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
With that out of the way, I will now proceed to mention the obvious; the BCS is broken as a system. Very good teams, like 2006 Boise State and 2008 Utah have been shafted, going undefeated, winning a bowl game against a BCS opponent, and not getting a shot at the national championship, as one loss teams from BCS conferences take their place. Furthermore, it is evident that a playoff, a more equitable and fair scenario, will not come about because the BCS is supported by every BCS-conference and most BCS-conference athletic directors. Barring government action (which is somewhat unlikely, especially considering that they have a lot of other crap to do at the moment and steroids are their pet sports issue to mess with at the moment), the status quo will be held for awhile. Therefore, an alternative method of reform is needed.
I'm not going to address the most heavily discussed methods of reform that do not include a playoff, such as a championship after the bowl games or other quasi-playoff ideas. They have been widely discussed and I have nothing to add to them. Furthermore, I have my doubts that anything short of a true playoff will work in practice anyway. My alternative instead attempts to work within the current system, and would simultaneously make college football more entertaining. It is to simply form a new conference that holds the best teams from the MWC and WAC, that could be on level with teams from BCS conferences (or at least be on level with the ACC and Big East).
This conference would not be easily created (re: nearly impossible), considering the contractual obligations involved between the conferences and individual teams. However, it is an interesting idea to consider on paper. To begin, I'll add teams that have been reasonably successful on the football field recently:
- Boise State
- Boise State
- Air Force
- Boise State
- Air Force
- Utah State
- New Mexico
- San Diego State
By no means is this idea flawless. It would screw over the remnants of the MWC and WAC. It would also allow a team like Hawaii to play a schedule of cupcakes, go undefeated, and potentially get a BCS bid and embarrass themselves. Furthermore, it doesn't include teams like Hawaii and Fresno State, who have played well in the somewhat recent past, but don't look to be good in the immediate future. However, what it does do is expand the pool of teams that could make it to the National Championship game, making college football a little more equitable than it is now.
In terms of whether the division's top teams improved, the answer is undoubtedly yes. The Tigers and Twins both made moves that certainly upgraded their rotation and lineup respectively, while the White Sox probably improved, assuming that Peavy actually plays this year (mind you, if the Sox were going to gut their farm system and trade Richard, they probably should have gone after Halladay first, but I'm not complaining because that would have sucked to epic proportions). However, I feel that this criteria is generally irrelevant because no team improved enough to take a run at the Wild Card should they fail to win the division, and the playoffs are a whole new season where the most talented team often doesn't win.
Another criteria that can be used is whether the overall level of talent in the division improved. To evaluate this, I'll look at all Major Leaguers acquired and lost by teams in the division:
Chicago White Sox
Gained: Jake Peavy, Mark Kotsay
Lost: Clayton Richard
Gained: Justin Masterson
Lost: Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, Rafael Betancourt, Ben Francisco
Gained: Jarrod Washburn
Lost: Luke French
Kansas City Royals
Gained: Yuniesky Betancourt, Ryan Freel, Josh Anderson*
Gained: Orlando Cabrera
*Josh Anderson is not being listed as being lost by the Tigers because he had been designated for assignment before being traded. However, the Royals have stated that when he reports, he will be called up, so he is in the Majors for the Royals, but the Minors for the Tigers. Brian Anderson is not being listed as lost by the White Sox for the same reason.Overall, the division appears to have actually lost talent (courtesy of the Cleveland Indians). I will argue that the quality of pitching in the division remained at approximately the same level, counting Cliff Lee as equal to Jake Peavy (as Peavy won't start for awhile) and Clayton Richard, Luke French, and Rafael Betancourt as equal in value to Jarrod Washburn. However, the hitting has definitely gotten worse, with Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko being the players of note leaving and Orlando Cabrera the only player of note gained.
Now, while the level of talent in the division may have actually been reduced, it does not mean that the division will necessarily perform worse against other divisions. To evaluate this, I will take a look at every individual team and evaluate what effect their moves is likely to have on their record:
Chicago White Sox
Chicago definitely improved their rotation with Jake Peavy, but his impact will be limited as he won't be in the rotation until late this month at the earliest. He should be good for a couple extra wins.
The Indians have definitely gotten worse by trading away almost every good player on their team. However, the impact of these moves could be mitigated in terms of wins if they play at their talent level. Statistically, before their deadline moves, the Indians were under-performing by five games according to Bill James' Pythagoream Theorem of Baseball (expected winning %=RS2/[RS2+RA2). If the Indians play at the level projected by this for the rest of the year, they probably still will lose games at a greater rate than they are now, but the effect on their record will be strongly mitigated.
Washburn solidifies the rotation, but this will only transfer into a couple more wins unless the Tigers offense reawakens. Hopefully, they can pick up a bat off of waivers.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals managed to pick up three players that other teams were just trying to unload. Unless Betancourt manages to figure out how to hit, the impact of their moves will likely be negligible.
The Twins managed to pick up a quality bat to hit in front of Mauer and Morneau, something that may provide a big boost to their offense, which is currently sixth in runs scored in the AL (currently, they're behind Cleveland, which will probably change soon). However, they have a mediocre pitching staff, so while improved, their team still has holes. That said, with Peavy out until late this month and Detroit still unable to hit (although Guillen has been highly impressive since returning and may be the boost the team needs), the trade for Cabrera may produce more wins than any other trade in the division.
Overall, it appears that the division will perform slightly better against the rest of the league thanks to moves by the Tigers, Twins, and White Sox. That said, the division really is not that much better than it was before the deadline, with Cleveland surrendering any prospect of winning for this year, next year, and probably the year after that.
Hi everyone. This is my first diary entry. It has absolutely nothing to do with Michigan, but I hope that you will find it interesting and would appreciate any feedback that you may have. So anyway, here it goes:
Dave Dombrowski has been the GM and President of the Detroit Tigers since 2002. He has presided over the worst season in team history and the team's first successes in over a decade. Along the way, he has made some great moves and some abysmal ones. What he has done, however, is consistently show that he has balls. Here is an evaluation of some of the most important events of his tenure.
Firing GM Randy Smith and taking over his duties (2002) - This move was obvious and necessary. Smith had managed to destroy any hope of short term success with a variety of stupid contracts (exp. Bobby Higginson for $11.75M) and necessitated a rebuilding effort.
Tabula Rasa (2003) - Dombrowski purged the team of almost all MLB (or at least MLB ready) talent, removing all bloated contracts, for the 2003 season as part of the rebuilding effort. However, in doing so, he produced the second worst team record-wise in MLB history, something completely unacceptable.
Signing Ivan Rodriguez (2003-04 offseason) - Dombrowski's first major signing was a huge success. Pudge, who was passed on by other teams due to injury concerns, was signed to a large contract that included safeguards if he wound up being unable to play for most of a season. Pudge proved instrumental to the 2006 pennant run.
Trade for Carlos Guillen (2003-04 offseason) - This was a great move. Guillen was instrumental to the team every year minus this year. Furthermore, he is a hard worker and is willing to play injured (which he did for a lot of last year and is why he's on the DL).
Signing Ugueth Urbina and Troy Percival (2003-04 offseason) - Percival was injured in early July, 2004 and didn't play for the Tigers ever again. Urbina is in Venezuelan prison for attempted murder. Needless to say, this was not a good move.
Signing Magglio Ordonez (2004-05 offseason) - A nearly identical situation to Pudge. Ordonez provided an even bigger offensive boost than Pudge. Ordonez was also considered to be a bigger risk as he was coming off of experimental knee surgery.
Trade for Placido Polanco (2005) - The Tigers gave up Ugueth Urbina and Ramon Martinez for a consistently good hitter and a solid defender. This was a great move. It didn't hurt the Phillies too much though, as they were making room for Chase Utley.
Signing Kenny Rogers (2005-06 offseason) - Rogers was another free agent passed on by a lot of teams due to concerns over his age, health, and temperament. He was integral to the 2006 AL pennant team, but faded afterwards. His signing was another great move.
Hiring Jim Leyland (2005-06 offseason) - Getting Leyland out of retirement has been a blessing.
Gary Sheffield (2006-07 offseason) - Dombrowski traded Humberto Sanchez, our top minor league prospect, along with two other prospects for Sheffield. Then, Sheffield was offered a large extension. This deal was a complete fiasco. While none of the traded prospects panned out, Sheffield's $14M contract for this year meant that we had no money to spend on any other top free agents, which is one of the reasons that the Tigers have so many holes this year.
Extensions for Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson (2007) - These extensions cost the Tigers $19.5M this year and $22.5M next year. Both pitchers have major injury problems and are unlikely to ever become full time starters ever again. Both contracts seemed reasonable, but slightly risky at the time. They turned into disasters.
Trading Jair Jurrjens for Edgar Renteria (2007-08 offseason) - This was, hands down, the worst trade of the Dombrowski era. Jurrjens is currently a solid starter for the Braves and leads the Braves with a 2.91 ERA. Renteria performed horribly for the Tigers and was not re-signed for the next season.
Trade for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis (2007-08 offseason) - This was an excellent trade. While Willis has not panned out, neither has any of the prospects we sent Florida. Meanwhile, we got Cabrera, who is now the top hitter on our team.
Extension for Miguel Cabrera (2008) - Assuming he doesn't sustain serious injury, Cabrera will likely be part of the core of our lineup for years to come.
Extension for Dontrelle Willis (2008) - An absolute disaster. The Sheffield, Bonderman, Robertson, and Willis contracts are the reason that the Tigers have been thus far unable to sign Verlander to a long term deal.
Trading Ivan Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth (2008) - While I don't disagree with trading Pudge, who wanted to be traded, trading for literally any other player on the Yankees roster would have yielded more benefit to the Tigers. Farnsworth had a bloated $5.5M contract, which was paired with his consistency in giving up runs in close games.
Trading Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson (2008-2009 offseason) - This is perhaps the best trade of the Dombrowski era. Jackson has made the front end of the Tigers' rotation one of the most formidable in the Majors and has been instrumental to the Tigers remaining in contention. Joyce was a good outfield prospect, but the Tigers are full of outfield prospects anyway so his loss is negligible.
Anyway, that concludes the summary of Dombrowski's tenure with the Tigers. If anyone feels that I missed something important, please comment.