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The Perfect Storm

I alluded to it yesterday without actually explaining what I meant, so let's begin...

The `Perfect Storm' theory is basically what I refer to the Devil Rays' window of opportunity not only opening, but being thrown open suddenly and not just by our own doings, but by the doings of all involved, a very equal opportunist occurrence.  

It began shortly after the Yankees began throwing cash out to elder free agents like Randy Johnson and Gary Sheffield. Since that Moneybags philosophy (coming 2007 to a bookstore near you) has grown to feeding guys with a good season big cash, a la Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. The great thing about this organizational eating bacteria is that it was indeed the Yankees, meaning the hated rival Redsox would soon dump their philosophy of metro-sabremetrics, amongst other `metro' items they are, and follow suite.

Here we sit now two World Series removed from the Redsox' title and it's no longer the Yankees throwing cash, but rather the Sox who are spending over 110 million for a player whose extensive MLB pitching experience includes a few innings in the World Baseball Classic, his only performance on American soil.

But we all ready know about all of that so what does the Perfect Storm theory foretell exactly?

Both of the `Superpowers' will eventually collapse. Think of the Redsox and Yankees as expanding galaxies, eventually there will be a time when they just simply `snap', a bear trap effect so to say. Of course this isn't exactly imminent, however it's safe to say that nothing suggests it won't happen, it's just the matter of nailing it down to a specific year or two.

My heart tells me that 2008 is that year, but of course that's the year the Rays contend for the first time ever, wouldn't it be a great story, first time the Rays finish (hopefully) well over .500 is the first time they win the division? Of course that's why my mind tells me that 2009-2011 is a better selection. Of course if that's true it's all of three seasons, not much time at all for a `dynastic' run, unless the Rays are graced with zero injuries or mishaps.

Now let me actually explain what this theory `is'. We'll do it in bullet format to limit spastic ranting.

-    The Yankees and Redsox will dry their farm systems to a point where they are ranked in the 20's if not low 20's.
-    Both will fill their rosters with players past their `prime years' of 26-30.
-    Rotations will consist of 34 and older vets.
-    The Yankees will have someone take over for Steinbrenner, effectively diminishing the Yankees as `Moneybags'.
-    Nothing suggests the Redsox will stop until the Yankees do, or if they were to suddenly revert to the philosophy that made them champs.

That's basically it, now let's go over those five and look at the reality of the situations:

-    This is a fair assessment, most publications, including Baseball America ranked the Yankees 17th and the Redsox 7th , some will say the Yanks are now middle of the pack...I'm not sure as most of the `hype' comes from a single prospect. The Sox are a little more diversified but most of their firepower has moved up to the Majors level.
-    Looking at the position players only, players older than 30: Yankees = 8/13, Redsox = 7/12. Yep that checks out well, meaning the even if the player is currently 30/31 his production is slated to soon slack off, i.e. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez.
-    - The rotations now (note I didn't include bullpen since usually it is full of elder journeymen, an old rotation is more prone to physical and ability break downs.) Assuming the Redsox rotation is - Beckett - no, Schilling - yes, Wakefield - yes, Dice K- no, and Clement - yes, then that's 3/5ths, if Papelbon does indeed take Matt Clement's place it's only 2/5ths true, though Beckett isn't exactly a pitcher the Rays should fear. The Yankees rotation (assuming heavily) Clemens - yes, Mussina - yes, Pettitte - yes, Wang - no, Igawa - no, 3/5th's again, let's assume either Clemens or Randy Johnson will be in that rotation this season, either way it's a yes. So both the lineup and rotation is growing older without dominant farm systems in place.
-    Next point was the Steinbrenner connection. I can't prove this, but the only thing George fears in life is losing, as long as he's breathing he'll spend the dough. As soon as he has to pass the team on however the tables turn. I don't know George's son in law, but I'm assuming he's not going to shell out nearly 300 million every season in salaries, with or without a new stadium and a cash crop of a TV deal.
-    Finally the `Whatever you can do I can do better' attitude of the Redsox. We saw what happened to that `good defense, team chemistry' like team the Redsox won the title with, blown up nearly immediately. The Sox basically put themselves on a one way road without brakes, they can't just stop spending, it may mean the Yanks get the best of them, they have to keep going until the Yankees break down. Though the great news is it appears the Redsox have the least dependable ride in Theo Epstein. The man dumped Hanley Ramirez (yes that Hanley) in order to end up with Josh Beckett and Alex `Seabass' Gonzalez in return, that formula may have done good for the Fish but not so much for the Bostonians.

So what does all of this mean? Basically the Yanks and Redsox are heading for destruction and at least 2-4 down seasons, if the Rays play their cards right (and plan A in every situation works out, if not, then plan B, or C) the Rays could find themselves not only in front of the Red Stripes (my new word when I wish to talk about both, the Yanks and Redsox without typing out the Yanks and Redsox) but securing their first World Championship, let's just hope the storm clouds don't roll this way.