If the Red Sox, White Sox, Angels and Braves had all made the playoffs, I'm sure I would be complaining about how the same teams make the playoffs every year. Instead we get the Mets, A's, and Tigers, and let me tell you -- not a single team remaining in the postseason seems like a legit championship team to me. The Tigers' lineup is garbage. Placido Polanco? Please. Obviously, the A's lineup was even worse. The Mets were counting on Steve Trachsel; the Cardinals are starting Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver. These are some bad teams. How is it that in baseball, where there is no salary cap, we can't get a single decent team, while in the NFL and NBA there are two or three excellent teams every year? If this whole paragraph seems like an excuse for me to once again mention how awesome the Bears are, well, you caught me. Go Bears.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, a brief era closes: J.D. Closser was claimed on waivers by Milwaukee. Given the immense amount of production the Rockies' franchise has gotten from first- and second-year players in the last two seasons, and the increasing roles we will see played by rookies like Iannetta, Baker, and Tulowitzki in 2007, it rings false to say Closser never really got a chance. However...Clint Hurdle's obsession with defense at the catcher position led to nearly a full season of Danny Ardoin as first-string catcher, while Closser either lingered on the bench or in Colorado Springs. I know I've said it many times before, but this will be my last chance: so what if he couldn't throw baserunners out? Switch-hitting catchers with a bit of pop are not common. If the Rockies could have found a way to give Closser some PT the last two years, they could have traded him for something useful instead of letting him go for nothing. It's not like Ardoin's admittedly superior defense made any difference as the Rockies steamed to two more last-place finishes. In any event, an Iannetta/Yorvit Torrealba pairing ought to massively improve the offense from the catcher position, a huge organizational sore spot since the halcyon days of Kirt Manwaring. (That, ladies and germs, is a joke. In fact, Colorado has never had a #1 catcher finish a season above a 100 OPS+. In 2003 Charles Johnson managed a 90. It just gets worse from there.)