Over at Bird Land, Derrick Goold puts together a pretty fearsome looking lineup made up strictly of the remaining free agents on the market and poses the question: How would this “expansion team” fare in the NL Central? Off the cuff, you’d have to think a lineup featuring-
- Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn in the middle of its order,
- a middle infield that boasts two former Gold Glove winners plus a defensive stalwart such as Joe Crede at the hot corner,
- a rotation headlined by Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez and three other innings-eaters with solid reputations,
- topped off with a bench made up of three former all stars (and a future Hall of Famer)
-would do pretty well, right?
The readers of Bird Land seem to think so. As I write this, according to DG’s poll 33% believe they’d actually overtake the Cubs as the favorites to win the division. Another 33% think they’d finish 2nd. Not so fast. Thanks to Sky’s newly updated, user friendly WAR spreadsheet, I attempted to answer that question. To cut to the chase: 79 wins. That’s it. And that assumes a pretty healthy rotation, which is a stretch considering Sheets and Wolf’s injury history.
- You can see the lineup projects to be pretty good, but after Sheets, the rotation is built on a lot of #4 type starters, some masquerading to be better than they really are. (Perez, Garland).
- The bullpen is less than inspiring as well. I wasn’t sure who else to fill it with, so I threw in a couple of retreads in Izzy and Chad Cordero.
- That is one horrific defensive outfield. Perez and his crazy fly ball tendencies would definitely suffer.
While this team boasts a lot of all star talent, it just isn’t that good. Even in this buyer’s market, this team would also likely surpass any team in the division’s payroll. The Cardinals in their current condition are the better team. With Sky’s new and improved sheet, I have the Cardinals now at 85 wins, which seems more accurate then before. More on that later.