The 2013 All-Animosity Team

It’s time for the Fourth Annual All-Animosity Team. Once again the team consists of one player at each position, along with a starting pitcher, a closer and a manager from around the league. The standards to be considered for the team are simple and only one of the following three requirements needs to be met.

1. The person is a Yankee killer.

2. The person plays for the Red Sox.

3. I don’t like the person. (When I say, “I don’t like the person” or if I say, “I hate someone” I mean I don’t like the person who wears a uniform and plays or manages for a Major League Baseball team and not the actual person away from the game. I’m sure some of the people on this list are nice people. I’m glad we got that out of the way since I can already see Player X’s fan base in an uproar about me hating someone who does so much for the community.)

So, here is the 2013 All-Animosity Team with the winners from the previous years also listed.

C – Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2012 – Matt Wieters, 2011 – Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 2010 – Jason Varitek)
Matt Wieters has been so bad this year (even against the Yankees) that I couldn’t justify putting him in the lineup. So I gave the nod to the one they call “Salty” in Boston even if I don’t have any real animosity toward him since I welcome his at-bats against the Yankees.

Congratulations on making the team, Salty! Even if you don’t deserve to be here. We’ll just consider it the same as when Jason Varitek made the 2008 All-Star Team because Terry Francona was the manager despite Varitek hitting .218 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs at the break.

1B – Chris Davis (2012 – Adrian Gonzalez, 2011 – Adrian Gonzalez, 2010 – Kevin Youkilis)
You have to be good to make this list and Chris Davis isn’t finally good, he’s unbelievable. Not unbelievable in the sense that he is getting help like Melky Cabrera did, but unbelievable like Jose Bautista became between his age 28 season and his age 29 season.

Davis has 28 home runs and 72 RBIs in 77 games this season and is hitting .333/.409/.716. If Miguel Cabrera didn’t exist, Davis would be a potential Triple Crown winner, but Cabrera does exist and has him beat in RBIs (77) and average (.368).

Last season he hit only .220 with three home runs and nine RBIs against the Yankees in 15 games. But this season Davis is hitting .409 with two home runs and three RBIs in just six games against the Yankees with 13 still left to be played.

2B – Dustin Pedroia (2012 – Dustin Pedroia, 2011 – Dustin Pedroia, 2010 – Dustin Pedroia)
There isn’t much left to be said about Dustin Pedroia that I haven’t already said about him over the last three years here. So I will just put down what I put for him the last two years.

Pedroia is like Tom Brady for me. He has that winning instinct that you just don’t see all the time these days, he plays hard and he’s the type of guy you want on your team. But if I didn’t put him here again it would just be weird.

3B – David Wright (2012 – Robert Andino, 2011 – Kevin Youkilis, 2010 – Chone Figgins)
Another change at third base where we have had a different player each season. This year I’m going with David Wright and the only reason I didn’t go with him in the past was because he plays in the National League and only sees the Yankees in the Subway Series. But it’s David Wright: the face of the Mets. He deserves to be on this team. He has deserved it all along. Sorry for the delay, David.

SS – Jose Reyes – (2012 – Jose Reyes, 2011 – Jose Reyes, 2010 – Jose Reyes)
Is anyone still debating whether Derek Jeter or Jose Reyes is the better shortstop? No? I didn’t think so.

It’s no surprise that the Blue Jays tied a franchise record with 11 straight wins and briefly climbed over .500 and people are wondering if it’s a good idea to insert Reyes into the lineup when he returns from a high ankle sprain. If it were any other player of Reyes’ supposed caliber, it would be a no-brainer, but when you’re talking about a player like Reyes, who brings with him nine years of Mets stink and a year of miserable failure with the Marlins, well it’s a little more complicated.

Obviously the Blue Jays are going to put the guy they owe at least $96 million between this season and 2017 back at shortstop since chemistry in baseball is overrated and unnecessary. But hopefully Reyes’ return sends the Blue Jays back to where they were two weeks ago.

LF – Carl Crawford (2012 – Delmon Young, 2011 – Delmon Young, 2010 – Manny Ramirez)
It’s unusual for me to put a National League player on the team if they aren’t a Met, but Crawford is a former Red Sox. However it’s surprising for me to put Crawford on the team because prior to joining the Red Sox, he was (along with Ichiro) my favorite non-Yankee in the league.

Crawford signed his seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox and then hit .255/.289/.405 in 2011 before playing just 31 games for the Red Sox in 2012 prior to being traded to the Dodgers. He complained about the media coverage in Boston while still playing there and whined even more about it after leaving. He didn’t like the fact that he was criticized for hitting 41 points below his career average in his first season as a newly-signed free agent. So Crawford made sure everyone knew his feelings were hurt on his blog on ESPN Boston and then with reporters because it’s no fun playing baseball when you’re due $142 million over the next seven years and people are mean to you.

CF – Ben Zobrist (2012 – Josh Hamilton, 2011 – B.J. Upton, 2010 – Vernon Wells)
With Dustin Pedroia having a stranglehold on second base for as long as this team exists, I needed to find a way to get Ben Zobrist into the lineup. And the only way to do that was to put him in left field or move Crawford to center and put Zobrist in left, but that would mean putting two people out of position. And I don’t want to take Crawford out of his comfort zone since we all know how much he doesn’t like hitting leadoff or playing center field.

Why is Zobrist on this list when he’s a career .261 hitter and the most overrated fantasy baseball player ever because he has played every position in his career other than pitcher and catcher? Because he’s the most feared hitter against Mariano Rivera since Edgar Martinez. Zobrist is 3-for-3 lifetime against Number 42. Those hits? Two doubles and a triple.

RF – Nick Swisher (2012 – Jose Bautista, 2011 – Magglio Ordonez, 2010 – Magglio Ordonez)
I started doing the All-Animosity Team in 2010 and I have waited since then to put Nick Swisher in right field, but because he was on the Yankees, I couldn’t. (The same way I couldn’t include Nick Johnson in 2010 or A.J. Burnett in 2010 or 2011.)

My feelings on Swisher are well documented (especially here) about his time as Yankee and how badly I wanted him out of New York. I’m happy with the way he went out by turning his back on the fans, who put up with his nonsense and clown act for four seasons, but I’m unhappy about the way he was greeted like he had something while playing here when he returned with the Indians.

SP – Josh Beckett (2012 – Josh Beckett, 2011 – Josh Beckett, 2010 – Josh Beckett)
The face of the franchise keeps his spot as the ace of the All-Animosity rotation despite moving to Los Angeles. And if you haven’t kept track of Beckett now that he is in the NL West, let me fill you in.

Beckett is 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts. He has a 1.500 WHIP and has made it past the sixth inning once. He’s been on the disabled list with a groin strain, but is also experiencing numbness in his pitching hand and hasn’t started a game since May 13.

Back in December before his first full season with the Dodgers (or what would have been his first full season with the Dodgers if he hadn’t landed on the DL again), this picture surfaced from TMZ showing Beckett riding a surf board that his wife was paddling. I want to know if he had to use one of his 18 off days to enjoy this activity? Oh, no, that’s right. I forgot that he doesn’t just get 18 days off between April and September. He also gets the six months off when he isn’t “working” or pitching 33 times a year. Then again, he hasn’t made 33 starts since 2006.

Can someone remind me again why the Dodgers bailed the Red Sox out?

CL – Fernando Rodney (2012 – Jose Valverde, 2011 – Jonathan Papelbon, 2010 – Jonathan Papelbon)
Rodney earned himself this spot on Sunday after his theatrics following the Rays’ 3-1 at Yankee Stadium as his charades rivaled Jose Valverde’s (a former All-Animosity Team member).

Rodney wears his hat to the side in a way that hasn’t been seen since Abe Alvarez did so for the Red Sox in four games between 2004 and 2006 and on top of it all, people think Rodney is good to great when he really isn’t.

Last season at the age of 35, Rodney saved 48 games for the Rays with a 0.60 ERA and 0.777 WHIP in 74 2/3 innings. But prior to 2012, Rodney had a 4.29 career ERA and 1.367 WHIP with the Tigers (2002-09) and Angels (2010-11). This season, Rodney is back to being his old self with a 4.83 ERA and 1.453 WHIP and I’m happy to have the old Rodney back even if he did embarrass the bottom of the Yankees order on Sunday.

Manager – Mike Scioscia (2012 – Bobby Valentine, 2011 – Mike Scioscia, 2010 – Joe Maddon)
With Valentine out of the league and serving as the athletic director at Scared Heart University in Connecticut (how is he qualified for that job?), the managerial job goes back to Mike Scoiscia.

Scioscia is widely regarded as a baseball genius, and to some the best manager in baseball, who teaches the game the right way and has the most fundamentally sound team in the league. (What? You didn’t know that they go first to third better than any team in the league?). As of Wednesday, the Angels are 34-43 (.442) and 10 games back in the AL West. The only team with less wins than them in the American League is the Houston Astros, a team with a payroll of $26,105,600, which is $1,894,400 less than A-Rod is making this season and he has played zero games and written one newsworthy tweet this season to earn his paycheck.

The Angels haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009 when they lost in six games to the Yankees in the ALCS. In 2010, they went 80-82 to finish 10 games back and in third place in the AL West and 14 games out of a playoff spot. In 2011, they went 86-76 to finish 10 games back and in second place in the AL West and five games out of a playoff spot. In 2012, they went 89-73 to finish five games back and in third place in the AL West and four games out of a playoff spot.

Scioscia’s teams have one postseason series win (2009 ALDS vs. Boston) since reaching the 2005 ALCS and have five postseason appearances in the 10 years since winning the 2002 World Series. It might be time for Mike Scioscia to stop being given unnecessary praise.

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