The Orioles are considering signing a shortstop this offseason. Rafael Furcal, Orlando Cabrera, and Edgar Renteria could all be possible additions. I don’t really like the idea of the Oriols making any big free agent signings, but I understand what they’re thinking. This player would stay around while they’re contending. Orlando Cabrera is the only reasonable target to me. Rafeal Furcal will cost way too much. Edgar Renteria would only want a one or two year deal, so he won’t be around by the time they are competing. Cabrera won’t cost too much and he’s better than Rents. However, I think they should abandoned this idea and continue their rebuilding process. Trade Brian Roberts or sign him to an extension, extend Nick Markakis, and if they have an itch to spend some money, go after AJ Burnett. He would make a lot of sense for them if other teams get out bid.
It seems like the Marlins will make slugging second/third baseman Dan Uggla available this offseason. There will probably be tons of suitors. Lets check them out.
Cardinals (frontrunners) Bryan Anderson for Dan Uggla. This trade just makes too much sense for both teams. The Marlins get a catcher significantly better than Matt Treanor and open up a position for the fast, good defensive Chris Coghlan. The Cardinals get the bat they want to protect Albert Pujols, and Bryan Anderson has no role on their team because of Yadier Molina. I’d be surprised if either team got a better offer for their player.
Indians (frontrunners) They also have a catcher they could trade. They would be reluctant to do it, but Kelly Shoppach could get a deal done for both sides. I explained how it made sense for the Marlins above, and it makes sense for the Tribe, too. They’d have to be 100% sure Victor Martinez is healthy or else they shouldn’t do the deal. Dan Uggla can play either second base or third base, so it gives them even more flexibility as to who they will sign. This trade also makes sense.
Marlins (frontrunners) Unless they can get a good, young catcher in return, it might make more sense to trade Jorge Cantu or Mike Jacobs instead. Both players could bring back a hard throwing pitching prospect: the kind of player the Fish are looking for. Plus, it improves the defense by moving Jorge Cantu to first base or another team. If they want to build around pitching, defense, and speed it makes sense to move someone other than Uggla.
Twins (possible) If the Marlins are willing to take young pitching for Uggla, then the Twins are a good fit. They could offer one of their young guns and play Uggla at third base. I don’t know if the Marlins would do this trade, though.
Giants (possible) It is pretty much the same thing here as with the Twins. If the Fish will take pitchers, the Giants could trade Jonathan Sanchez for him. If the Marlins don’t accept starters, then Uggla won’t be in a Giant uniform next year.
A’s (possible) It’s possible the Marlins would rather have hard throwing prospects instead of proven young pitchers. If that is the case, don’t be surprised to see Uggla heading down to the bay area. The A’s could play him at second base until Adrian Cardenas is ready, then they could move him to third base. This makes sense for the A’s, but maybe not the Marlins.
Dodgers (possible) They could offer James McDonald. He’s not the best prospect, but could get the deal done with an added player and poor offers for Uggla. Or, the Marlins could decide to keep him and trade someone else.
White Sox (not likely) They would be interested, but I don’t see them giving away their farm for another slow player. I don’t know if they could even pull off a trade. They’d be much more interested in Brian Roberts.
It is possible that the Brewers look to trade Prince Fielder in the offseason. Lets see what team they can get a good pitcher from.
Brewers (frontrunners) I think it’s more likely that they decide to trade JJ Hardy instead. There will be a bigger market for Hardy, they wouldn’t be losing as much offense, and the Brewers could get almost as good a pitcher for Hardy as they could get for Fielder. All in all, Fielder will likely be kept.
Giants (possible) Could a Matt Cain for Prince Fielder trade work? I don’t know if either team would do it. I think it has a slight edge toward the Brewers because Cain is so cheap and far better than any starter they could get for Hardy. The Giants could make that trade, but might not unless they add Sabathia. It might make more sense for them to keep Cain and then trade a different pitcher for a first baseman like Adam LaRoche or Mike Jacobs.
Royals (possible) They could offer Zack Greinke for Fielder. I don’t know if the Brewers would accept this one, because Greinke has one less year under contract than Cain. Maybe the Royals could add a player like Ron Mahay or David DeJesus to finish the deal. I think this scenerio is more likely. The Royals would like to add a big bat to their lineup, and could sign a starter like Oliver Perez or Jon Garland to replace Greinke.
Rays (possible) The Rays need a DH, and want to inject a big power bat into their lineup, but the player has to be under control for more than one year. So Prince Fielder would make more sense than Matt Holliday. The Rays could put together a package of prospects as good as if not better than most teams. If the Brewers demand a proven starter, they could part with Matt Garza. Yes, he has been great for them this year, but then they could keep both Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine. Plus, if Price steps up they won’t lose much from the rotation. I think this would be a move the Rays have to do. The Brewers would make the trade also, unless Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Cain, or maybe Zack Greinke is offered. If they can get him without surrendering Garza, they could offer Wade Davis, Edwin Jackson, and either Grant Balfour or JP Howell. The Brewers get a solid closer, a good prospect, and a solid back-of-the-rotation starter. Either one of these deals would be good for the Rays in my opinion.
Orioles (not likely) It’s not likely, but the Oriols could enter the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. They could offer a package centered around Jeremy Guthrie. He by himself could get him. I don’t know if they should offer him, though. The Brewers would jump on the deal. If the O’s don’t give up Guthrie, then they could try an offer of Brian Roberts, George Sherrill, and Melvin Mora plus cash. The Brewers would be filling three holes, yet they lose offensive firepower and don’t fix the rotation.
Angels (not likely) If they miss out on Mark Teixera, I could definatly see it. They could center a deal around Nick Adenhart, or even Jered Weaver. If they add Brandon Wood to the trade, it might be enough. I think I would do a Jered Weaver plus Brandon Wood for Prince awap. It makes sense for both sides. Sean Rodriguez could also be added to finish off the trade. Chone Figgins could be part of the deal, too, and play center field in Milwaukee.
Yankees (not likely) They would love to add a young power bat like Prince, but they might not have the pieces to do it. Maybe if they offered Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson something could be worked out. Like with Jake Peavy, it would be smarter just to spend the extra money and sign Mark Teixera. When you have a 200 million payroll, you can’t be cheap.
A’s (dark horse) The A’s have all the pitching in the world to spare. They are in need of a first base/DH type, and most of all they need power. How about a package of Huston Street, Brett Anderson or Gio Gonzalez, and Justin Duchscherer. The Brewers add a good starter, a good pitching prospect, and a good closer. I like this deal a lot for both teams, but I’m not sure the A’s would want to trade away a young gun like Anderson or Gio. Plus, they would miss Doosh, especially if they are trying to compete next year which a Fielder trade would suggest.
After losing in the first round, the White Sox will try to improve their ball club for a run at 2009. The weakest link on this team is speed. The only problem is that there is no place to add it. All positions are locked in except second base (and third base if you don’t think Josh Fields can handle it). The only speedy second baseman available is Brian Roberts. I don’t know if the White Sox have the pieces to get him, though. Maybe Aaron Poreda and Fields would be enough. With not many contenders in need of a second baseman, and with the possibility that the Oriols could get nothing but draft picks when he leaves, they might have to take it. If the Sox can’t grab him, they could trade for Willy Tavares. They had interest in him in a possible Jon Garland trade back in 2006. Where would he play though. If they found a way to trade Paul Konerko I could see it, but that’s a bad contract and he has a no-trade-clause. Coco Crisp could be a trade target, but the Red Sox might want to keep him as insurance for JD Drew and Mike Lowell. David DeJesus is available, but there are the same problems there are with Tavares. If I squint, I could see the Sox trading Jermane Dye. Maybe to a team like the Braves for a ton of prospects. Then they could turn some of the prospects around in a trade for Brian Roberts, and also trade for Willy Tavares and platoon him with Brian Anderson. Nick Swisher would move to right field, replacing Dye. Or, maybe instead they look to trade Gavin Floyd for Brian Roberts and then sign a starter like Derek Lowe to replace him. I could see them in the market for a starter, even if they don’t trade Floyd, and then trade Jose Contreras. Frankly, I have no idea what they will do, but they’ll do something.
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The Baltimore Orioles finally have some good, young talent, especially pitching wise. There system is pretty loaded there. They have the recent drafted Brian Matusz and another top ten pitching prospect in Chris Tillman. Those two, combined with Jeremy Guthrie give the O’s pitching a bright future. They also ahve mid-tier pitching propsects like Troy Patten, Garret Olsen, and Radhams Liz. Those players can fill out the finale two spots. They could add one starter if need be, but it makes more sense to go after hitters. They have the best prospect in the MLB in Matt Wieters. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones solidify right field and center field. That’s three positions they don’t have to worry about in catcher, right field, and center field. They need a new infield, however. They also need a left fielder. They shouldn’t jump into free agency jusy yet. First, they need an infield. Offer a contract to Brian Roberts, if he declines, then trade him for an infielder. To the Dodgers for Chin-Lung Hu makes sense. They should also flip George Sherrill for an infielder. Maybe if the Angels resign Mark Teixera they’ll trade Kendry Moralas for Sherrill. Deal Ramon Hernandez, Melvin Mora, and Aubrey Huff if you can as salary dumps. Try to get some infield talent, and then in 2010, when all of their bad contracts will be off the books, then they should dip into free agency to fill their remaining holes. This team could be a contender by 2010 if they make the right moves.
I said this in the D’Backs Offseason Plan and will say it again, the winner of this division next year will depend on what the Los Angelos Dodgers do. They have a pretty big amount of needs, but then agian they have a lot of money to burn. They need two starters, a shortstop, a second baseman, and a third baseman. That’s a lot. This team needs to start of by keeping the pitching strong. They will be amoung the top contenders for CC Sabathia this winter. They also will be interested in resigning Derek Lowe, as well as another starter. Preferably, they would sign CC and Lowe. Worst case, I think they sign Jon Garland and Greg Maddux. They need to keep the pitching strong though, so decline the option on Brad Penny. (He is bad, injured, and doesn’t get far into games at all) Then sign two good free agents. Next, find a third baseman. They need to either resign Casey Blake or sign Joe Crede. If they want to become a world series caliber team, they can’t play Blake DeWitt every day at third base. They could consider playing him full-time at second base, but I would rather use him in a utility role. If they want to do that, they need to go out and get a second baseman. Orlando Hudson is the top free agent option, but I think the Indians will overpay for him. On the trade front, they could go after Brian Roberts. They could offer the Oriols shortstop Chin-Lung Hu. Then they would have to get a shorstop, which wouldn’t be that hard considering Rafeal Furcal wants to stay. If they resign him, could you imagine the top of their lineup with Rafeal Furcal and Brian Roberts? It’s almost a givin one of them will get on base in front of the other guys in the lineup. They would be losing Manny Ramirez, but he wouldn’t fit on there team unless they move Jaun Pierre and/or Andruw Jones, two very hard contracts to move. If this team follows my plan, they can win this division. If they waste more money the way they did with Jones, Pierre, Nomar Garciaparra, (thankfully a free agent) ect. ect. they will lose it to the small market D’Backs, again.
It’s finally time for free agency! Ever think on where the top 50 free agents will go? Well, I did and I wrote them down. Here they are. Ignore the bolded paragraphs. I tryed everything and it just won’t unbold. Sorry for the inconvenience.
1. Mark Teixera- Angels. This is a very close one between the Yankees and Angels. I will go with the Angels, though, because the Yankees primary target is CC Sabathia, not Mark Teixera. I think they will end up with Sabathia, leaving the Angels for a return of Tex.
2. CC Sabathia- Yankees. The Yankees are going to throw around a lot of money this offseason. Just like the Mark Teixera prediction, it is a 2 team battle between the Yankees and a different LA team: the Dodgers for Sabathia. The Yankees are very likely to sign at least one of them. I was going to put CC with the Dodgers, but I think Frank McCourt will not let GM Ned Coletti go out and waste his money on a signing that could end up looking like the Jason Schmidt one.
3. Manny Ramirez- Dodgers. Did you know that the Dodgers made an extra 7.6 million in revenue just from Manny. So, subtract 7.6 from his yearly salary and they have a bargain. There are no great fits for Manny, and the Dodgers might not bring him back because of the outfield surplus. They could look to trade an outfielder, though. Andrew Jones in unmoveable, but could be released. Jaun Pierre will be tough to move, but if they eat a lot of money it could happen. Andre Eithier and Matt Kemp would have a lot of value, but they shouldn’t trade them. I think it makes more sense to trade Pierre and release Jones.
4. Pat Burrell- Mets. After missing out on the top-of-the-rotaion starting pitchers, they decide to add a big bat like Burrell. Not many teams are good fits for “Pat the Bat” so he may even come slightly cheaper than others. I know that people want to go with Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis, but they could trade Ryan Church for Edwin Jackson. That would fill the pitching void cheaply while adding offense. Murphy and Tatis would then move to right field. This idea could work.
5. Adam Dunn- Nationals. The Nationals have been after Adam Dunn for ever. I have a feeling that Jim Bowden is going to want to try to make a big free agent signing to save his job. Dunn would add a powerful punch to that lineup, but they still would be the worst team in the NL East.
6. Ben Sheets- Red Sox. If there is one team that can easily afford an injury to a starting pitcher, it’s the Red Sox. They have 30 million to toss around this winter and seem primed to sign either Mark Teixera or a high end starter. Because of the depth in the Red Sox rotaion, they can afford an injury to Sheets while many other teams can’t.
7. Milton Bradley- Rangers. Bradley likes the Rangers, and the Rangers showed confidence in resigning him by not trading him at the trade deadline. They have an open DH spot, so he wouldn’t get injured as much, and he likes Texas. The Rangers have to do this to keep their offense as it was this year.
8. Francisco Rodriguez- Mets. Billy Wagner is out for the 2009 season, so the Mets need a closer. Some have said it would make more sense to add a cheaper closer like Brian Fuentes and use the rest on starting pitching. I agree, but I doubt Omar Minaya does.
9. Ryan Dempster- Cubs. There will be a massive bidding war for him, but he loves Chicago and I’m sure the Cubs would like to keep their championship, type club intact. Their going to have to raise the payroll into the 140 million range, but I think the new ownership will, because The Cubs will be should for 1 billion dollars.
10. Derek Lowe- Braves. They want to add a starting pitcher this offseason. With 45 million to spend, they should easily be able to afford him. Heck, they could fit both Jake Peavy and Lowe into the budget and still have over 20 million to spend. They make the most sense.
11. AJ Burnett- Yankees. The Yanks would like to add two starters this offseason. With CC Sabathia headed to New York, Burnett would be that second guy. Just think about how nasty a rotation of CC Sabathia-Chein-Ming Wang-AJ Burnett-Andy Pettitte-Joba Chamberlian would be. I can’t see how they don’t make the playoffs with that kind of talent.
12. Mike Mussina- Retirement. It seems as though he is finally ready to hang it up. Rather than playing for the next three years and reach 300 wins, he’ll go out on a high note and retire. I think Mussina will delay it untill the Yankees are forced to move on. Then he’ll anounce it.
13. Orlando Hudson- Cardinals. They have a lot of money to spend and will need to sign Hudson in order to truly solidify their offense. He would look really nice batting in that #2 hole and playing some great defense.
14. Orlando Cabrera- Twins. They seem like the most reasonable team. They need a shortstop, and have money to spend. Also, he fits nicely into their grind-it-out style of play. There’s not a great fit here, but this one sure makes a lot of sense.
15. Joe Crede- Giants. Even though the Giants are suposed to be rebuilding, Brian Sebean won’t be able to resist and will sign Crede.
16. Bobby Abreu- Cubs. Now that they need a right fielder Abreu makes a lot of sense. It will be hard to squeeze him into their payroll, but there aren’t any better options. There aren’t many teams that need a right fielder and have the money to go out and get one. Plus, the Cubs would’ve gone after him if his option was declined.
17. Oliver Perez- Dodgers. With Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and Brad Penny all leaving, the Dodgers need to add at least one starter this offseason. I know they seem more focused on offensive players like Manny and Furcal, but you always need pitching. Look for the Mets to be serious contenders for a Perez reunion, but I think they’ll beaf up the offense instead.
18. Jon Garland- Tigers. They need reliable starting pitching. I know a lot of people think Garland will be overpayed because of a lack of strike-outs and an ERA in the 4.00 to 4.50 range. However, he’s one of the most consistent starters out there and he eats up a ton of innings. To me the Tigers make a lot of sense and they’ve shown a willingness to spend for mediocrity. Example: The Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis extensions.
19. Kerry Wood- Rangers. The Cubs have moved on, so count them out. The field will be wide open, but I think he returns home to Texas to close games for the Rangers. The Red Sox could also be possible if he’s willing to be a set-up man. Last year Boston made the highest offer, but Woody wanted to stay in Chicago.
20. Brian Fuentes- Brewers. They could have up to 20 million to spend if they are willing to raise payroll to 100 million. That’s more than enough to lock up Fuentes with. You migth think they don’t want to spend big on closers, but they were among the top bidders for Francisco Cordero last year. If the price is crazy they won’t make the move, but if it’s decent, he could end up a Brewer.
21. Trevor Hoffman- Indians. He won’t be back with the Padres. The field is wide open on where he’ll go, and I think the Indians are the best fit. They can sign him cheaply to fill their hole at closer. Plus, they almost signed him when he was last a free agent. I think they go get him.
22. Rafeal Furcal- Dodgers. He wants to be back and the Dodgers want him back. They might have a hard time craming all of his salary in because of the other holes, but I think they can sqeeze him in. There will be a very large market for him, so don’t be surprised to see him bolt for more money elsewhere.
23. Greg Maddux- Retirement. The Mad Dog looks like he’s finally ready to end his Hall Of Fame career. The only teams he’d play for would be the Padres, Dodgers, Braves, or Cubs. The Cubs have a ton of pitching depth; count them out. The Dodgers would probably rather go with younger pitchers. The Braves seem more likely to bring back Maddux’s friends: John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. The Padres make sense if they move Jake Peavy to clear salary. If they don’t, there will be no fit and he will retire.
24. Andy Pettitte- Yankees. I was going to predict him to retire, but now that I think about it, the Yankees might not want to give Phil Hughes a free spot in spring training. They could resign Pettitte and use Hughes in the minors untill someone gets hurt, which is likely with Joba Chamberlain and Chien-Ming Wang last year and Burnett has a history of injuries.
25. Randy Johnson- Angels. With Jon Garland leaving, the Angels will need a starter because of Kelvim Escobar’s injury. Johnson can come in and fill the void untill Escobar gets beack; creating a surplus. This isn’t a great fit, but there are none now that his D’Back career is over.
26. Jason Giambi- A’s. A think Giambi will end up ending his career in the same place he started it: Oakland. The A’s have a lot of money to spend, and I think they’d be very interested on a 1 or 2 year deal. This is even more likely now that they have Matt Holliday on their team.
27. Pudge Rodriguez- Mets. They need a catcher and Pudge is the best one available. There aren’t many teams in need of a catcher other than them. I know they view pitching as a more urgent need than hitting, but for the expected price, you can’t pass it up.
28. Casey Blake- Indians. The Indians want Blake back, and Blake would like to return to the Indians. Despite there being a rather large market for him, Blake will take a small discount to return home to the Tribe. They don’t add one of their main two targets: Brian Fuentes or Orlando Hudson, but they get a solid closer and one of the best third basemen available.
29. Raul Ibanez- Braves. This team has a boatload of money to spend. They can more than afford Ibanez and probably view this smarter than overpaying for Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn.
30. Jamie Moyer- Phillies. He is having a great year, and said he wants to play untill he’s 50. The Phils need to bring him back just to have a respectable rotation. They could use a second starter as well if they are open to trading Kyle Kendrick.
31. Braden Looper- Pirates. With the Cardinals probably moving on, Looper should be open to all teams. He is a solid back-of-the-rotaion option and should be affordable on a one year deal. Plus, the team can always switch him back to relieving if they desire to. The Pirates would like to add a veteran starter, and Looper comes cheap with tons of experience.
32. Mark Grudzielanek- White Sox. Their looking for a second basemen after losing Orlando Cabrera. The want to move Alexie Ramirez to shortstop, but want to sign a free agent that won’t block Gordon Beckham. Grudzielanek is the perfect fit.
33. Ray Durham- D’Backs. They clearly need a second baseman after losing Orlando Hudson. They can’t afford to bring him back, but have no one to play sencond base. Durham seems like a very good and affordable option.
34. Edgar Renteria- Cardinals. Edgar is coming off a bad year, but has high upside. If he can do 3 4ths of his 2007 performance, he’ll be a great bargain. He has played for the Cardinals before, and they need a shortstop. I think they sign Edgar to fix there middle infield problems.
35. David Eckstein- Oriols. They had a interest in him at the trade-deadline and could sign him this offseason as a stopgap option. This won’t stop them from looking for shortstops via trade, however.
36. Brad Penny- Blue Jays. The Jays had interest in Penny through trade in the past and they seem to make a lot of sense for Penny. He could be great starter for them if he remains helthy.
37. Russ Springer- Cardinals. They could use some bullpen help, so that means they have to at least bring back their old relievers. Springer reportably still wants to play and wants to play for the Cardinals.
38. Mark Kotsay- Reds. I was going to put him back with the Braves, but they recently traded him to the Red Sox, so I will put him with another team in need of a center fielder: the Reds.
39. Jim Edmonds- Braves. The Cubs don’t want him back. The Braves are in need of a center fielder, and they would probably be very interested in Edmonds. If he can do what he did with the Cubs last year, he’ll be a very useful piece.
40. Will Ohman- Cardinals. It seems as though they are willing to spend some money on a lefty reliever. Ohman is the best one available. Bringing him in will help reshape their bullpen. It will help a lot.
41. Jason Varitek- Red Sox. There is no better alternative for the Red Sox since the market for catchers is so bad. The Captian, Jason Varitek seems destined to return to the Red Sox. I don’t think this would stop them from going after his predecessor, however. They coudl trade for a young catcher to start in 2010. If Boras demands Varitek for a 2 or more year deal, don’t be surprised to see them decline and agressivly pursue Bengie Molina.
42. Nomar Garciaparra- Dodgers. Because the Dodgers will be out of money after making all of these singings, they will have to go back to Nomar at third base next year. This will be risky because of his injury risk, but it is their only option.
43. Darren Oliver- Angels. I have said that relief signings are very tough to predict, but I will guess that Darren Oliver resigns with the Halos. They need a lefty reliever if they plan on using Brian Fuentes at closer, and if the don’t, he won’t sign there. So Oliver is needed back in Anaheim. Plus, since he’s a probable type A free agent, he might decide to accept arbitration. There won’t be many teams wanting to give up big money plus a draft pick for Oliver.
44. Juan Cruz- Tigers. The Tigers can offer him almost no other team can: a closing job. While some big-money teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets will be in on him, I think in the end he hooks on in Detroit.
45. Brandon Lyon- Red Sox. They’d like to add a ground ball pitcher and Lyon is one. The way he ended the year will take his “closer” tag away, but he should get some reasonable money anyway.
46. Juan Rivera- Phillies. The Phillies make a lot of sense for Jaun Rivera; Rivera makes a lot of sense for the Phillies. The Phils get their cheap replacement for Pat the bat Burrell, and Rivera gets to go to a hitters haven: Citizens Bank Park. He could go there on a 1 year deal, play every day, have a career year, and then hit free agency again and sign for some big money.
47. Randy Wolf- Astros. He enjoyed his time in Houston and the ‘Stros have the money to sign him. There should be a rather large market for him since he will be affordable and not that much worse than other free agent options. I think the Astros win the sweepstakes.
48. Paul Byrd- Brewers. Byrd will be a hot commodity once better free agent options leave. He’ll give you league average production on a one year deal. I think the team that ends up signing him is the Brewers. They seem smart enough to go after him instead of a pitcher like Perez or Garland on a multiyear deal. The Brew-Crew have 20 million to spend, so they can afford him for one year. He will stabilize their rotaion as their fifth starter.
49. Jeremy Affeldt- Reds. The Reds want him back and with the amount of money they have, they’ll get him back. If the Reds can bring back their relievers and some young players break out, they could contend.
50. Freddy Garcia- Giants. They have a lot of money to spend and have their heart set on trading Jonathan Sanchez. Garcia, if healthy, would be able to step in and eat up some innings at a cheap price. Plus, if the Giants are out of the race in July they could always flip Garcia into some nice prospects.
There we go, thats it. The top 50 free agents. I know I left out a few teams, but it is hard to predict that every team will make a splash. I try to predict what teams will do, not what they should do.