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August, 2009

Our most recent Top 200 list was supposed to be unveiled in July of 2007. Perhaps it is a testament to what a task ranking the top 200 players of all time can be that it took over two years beyond the purported release date to bring you this list. And even with over two years of extra time, there are still guys on the list we aren't happy with.


So, here they finally are - the Top 200 Lists of 2007, er, 2009. Open up, devour, digest, and enjoy.

Keith's 2009 Top 200 | Composite Top 200 | Asher's 2009 Top 200

September 1, 2009 - The Baltimore Orioles Fab Five – Not since the Fab Five were taking Michigan’s basketball team to two Final Fours in two years have we seen as exciting a crew of young rookies as the Baltimore Orioles own Fab Five starting pitchers. The Orioles, out of the AL East race essentially since announcing that Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson would have roles on this year’s team, are kind of going for broke at the end of the 2009 season, hoping to showcase their youngsters and get them some valuable experience that they can build on in 2010. Amazingly, the five pitchers – Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, David Hernandez, Christopher Tillman, and Brian Matusz – are all in their first ever major league seasons, making them all true rookies.

September 1, 2009 - 2009 Post-Season Awards – Last season, I decided to make my post-season awards predictions on September 1st in an effort to gauge the extent to which the final month of play, and the resolution of the divisional races, impacts the post-season awards. We got immediate payoff in the endeavor when, moments after I published my predictions, the apparent AL Most Valuable Player Carlos Quentin broke his hand and took himself out of the running for the award.

So, maybe we should make a tradition of it, eh?

August 26, 2009 - Walking in Boston – Asher Chancey has not liked the Boston Red Sox since 2004, when the team won its first World Series title since 1918 and the fan base transformed from die hard fanatics into obnoxious twits. So what happened when Asher visited Fenway Park for the first time on Tuesday and the Red Sox defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-3 in front of the 500-somethingth consecutive Fenway Park sellout crowd? Find out inside.

The Steroid Era has robbed baseball fans of many heroes. The latest of the National Pastime's fallen heroes was not outed for performance-enhancing use, however. Josh Hamilton, who at this time last year was the Prodigal Son who could do nothing wrong, relapsed to his self-abusive ways and is no longer even an asset on the field. Baseball is not the place to find a hero, writes Gregory.

August 6, 2009 - The Phillies Rotation Problem – The Philadelphia Phillies ended a three game slide in which they were outscored 17-6 Wednesday night in Philadelphia by beating the Colorado Rockies, one of baseball’s hottest teams, 7-0. The biggest story of last night’s game is without a doubt the performance of J.A. Happ. Happ pitched a complete game shutout, allowing four hits, striking out 10 and walking two. Happ is now one of three National Leaguers to pitch two shutouts this season, the others being Tim Lincecum and Joel Pineiro. Despite his performance last night, Phillies fans have to wonder: Could Happ be headed to the bullpen?

August 7, 2009 - The Naughty 300 – Players Who Have Hit 300 Homeruns in the 2000s. Remember when 300 homeruns was an impressive career milestone? Only 124 players have ever hit 300 homeruns in their career. Amazingly, 11 of those players hit 300 homeruns in this decade alone (a number that could swell to 13). As we begin the second to last month of the last season of the naughts, here’s a look at this decade’s most prolific homerun hitters, the Naughty 300 Club.

The Pirates have spent the past 15 years overpaying for marginal free-agents and signing their underwhelming homegrown talent to huge multi-year deals after they are past their primes. Then they run out of money because they are a small-market team with an unsupportive fan base and settle for a 70-win season.

Now they are trying a different approach; trading all of the bad contracts from the previous regime and even some players signed to reasonable contracts while those players are at their highest value. A seemingly sound strategy (though try telling frustrated/ignorant Pirates fans that), but only if they are able to get some talent in return.

So how did the Pirates do in their many deals this summer? With prospects involved, it's always hard to judge right away. But not impossible.

This was not only the most active trade deadline in recent memory, but also the most significant. Because of the World Baseball Classic, all of these deadline acquisitions will have an extra week with which to impact their new clubs. With so many playoff races decided by a game or two these days, that extra week with a Cliff Lee or a Victor Martinez could make a world of difference.

So who were the winners and who were the losers? Keith takes a stab at evaluating the major deadline deals, and then Asher gives his take.

Breaking News: Ortiz and Ramirez Tested Positive in 2003
The New York Times has reported that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were amongst the 103 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003. Many issues arise - are both Boston World Series titles tainted? Was Theo Epstein a genius for getting Ortiz off the trash heap from Minnesota? If Manny tested positive in 2003, and then again in 2009, has he been using the entire time in between? Is Major League Baseball going to spend the next decade watching the names of players who tested positive in 2003 continue to be leaked at a rate of about one every six weeks?

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