The game of baseball, of all of its great traditions, has one black eye worse than performance-enhancing drugs: the worst competitive balance in all of professional sports. There are at least twelve teams with no shot to win the World Series before pitchers and catchers even lace up their cleats. Anything that happens with these twelve teams, including the uber-mediocre free agents they sign, is what I like to call the, “News of the Irrelevant.”
Bud Selig may fool baseball fans into believing that anyone can win in MLB, but he isn’t fooling the Vegas odds makers. As of today, there are twelve teams going off at more than 75/1 to win the 2010 World Series – Houson, Toronto, Arizona (75/1), Baltimore, Cincinnati (100/1), Oakland, Seattle (125/1), Kansas City, Pittsburgh (150/1), and last, but irrelevantly most, San Diego, Cleveland, and Washington (200/1). All that I can guess is the maximum is 200/1, because that’s not even close to the chance the Nationals have of a champagne shower in 2010.
Kansas City, albeit hand-cuffed by their market, made another mind-numbing signing today with outfielder Rick Ankiel, formerly of the Cardinals, formerly a pitcher. Ankiel will get $3.25 million in 2010 with a mutual option of $6 million in 2011. Hey, KC, this isn’t 1908, the way to add pop to your lineup isn’t by handing out millions of dollars to a guy who hit 11 home runs last year while batting .231. For the record, Ankiel would have finished 2nd in home runs in 1908 behind the Brooklyn Superbas’ Tim Jordan, who had 12. Ankiel will join newcomers Scott Podsednik ($500k) and Jason Kendall ($5m) on the Royals. Let me just say this about Kendall – really, Royals? Really? You’re telling me your minor league system is so bad you can’t bring up someone who isn’t 35 years with two home runs per year type of power? For less than $5 million dollars?! Really?
In other irrelevant news, the Pirates signed reliever Octavio Dotel to a 2010 contract for $3.5 million. Stay hot, Pittsburgh, you’ve had a top 5 draft pick for the better part of two decades and you need to go out and buy relief pitching. Apparently, the Pirates will try Dotel in the closer’s role, which he hasn’t done since 2007. If he gets 30 save opportunities, I’ll buy season tickets in 2011.