It's been a tough couple weeks for baseball managers - John McLaren in Seattle, John Gibbons in Toronto, Willie Randolph of the Mets were all fired in the last couple weeks - and the trade rumors are starting: whither CC Sabathia? Matt Holliday? Jason Bay? And so Im putting u another poll, for you baseball fans: which of the dreadful underachievers are most likely to turn things around in the second half?
There have been some dreadful underachievers: The Mets, at least compared to their image of themselves; the Tigers and Indians, by pretty much any standard, have been huge disappointments; The Mariners wanted to think they were contenders, and acted like it,trading prospects for Eric Bedard; both the Rockies and Padres have been awful, after being in the playoffs last year... The Blue Jays, Dodgers, etc., all had dreams of contention, which aren't very likely now.
But - if I had posted this a couple weeks ago - I could have included the Yankees: a winning streak later, they're over .500 and only 5 out; The Brewers were mediocre for a long time - now - 6 1/2 out, but moving up on the Cubs; good lord - even the Orioles are over .500! So - who else can turn it around? I'm going to limit the choice to the teams that both have a shot at the post-season - so no Mariners, they won't come back from 18.5 out, and were supposed to be good, and were good last year, but have been lousy this year. Those teams are:
Detroit and Cleveland - both very good last year, supposed to fight for the top of their division, if not the league, this year - both very bad this year. Though lately the Tigers are hot - and both are still within range of contention, and both have bunches of established players who have not been performing - they are prime candidates to make a run.
Rockies and Padres - playoff teams (sort of) last year, awful this year - but close enough to make a run, and - maybe...
Throw the Dodgers in there too, since they fit the bill pretty well.
And finally - the NYMets - they're the ones getting the attention, of these sad underachievers. The joys and perils of being in one f the big media cities. And of spending a ton of money and playing to the tabloids every offseason - which seems to me to be a big part of their problem. They have been making the big splash almost every year of the Minaya era - signing Beltran, Martinez, trading for Santana and so on - all fine and good, except they haven't bothered to put a team around the stars. Take away Wright, Reyes and Beltran, and that is one sorry lineup. It's interesting to compare them to the Phils - what's the difference? comes down to this - the Phils' stars are playing at or above expectations (except for Rollins), while the Mets stars, while doing okay, have not been up to their standards; and the rest of the Phillies lineup is competent major leaguers who stat on the field - Victorino, Werth and Jenkins, Feliz - nothing special, but they give you something. The Mets? not so much...
Anyway: we'll see how this goes... maybe next we can ask about which of the overachievers (Tampa, Florida, the Pale Hose, those over .500 Orioles, etc.) can keep it up.