Monday, December 28, 2009

NFL Hyperbolic Statements-Week 16

A couple of super lame items this week that make me want to spit...

Super Lame I: Really, Colts? Really? You're going to let your undefeated season end like that? Without even trying? I know they have an organizational philosophy of resting starters once they've clinched everything they can clinch. It would be one thing if this philosophy was actually successful. But it's not. It's just not. First of all, when the Colts played out the string with their starters in 2006, they won the Super Bowl. They haven't won a playoff game since with this philosophy of rest.

Secondly, they're already getting a week of rest. That's what the bye is for. What's the point of working for the bye if you're going to start resting three weeks ahead of time. I could accept, if not condone, resting starters with a 14 point lead or 14 point deficit. But the Colts were only up 5 with five minutes remaining in the third. Like I said, if this strategy had a proven track record go ahead, but it doesn't, and again the Colts are not going to be successful in the post season. Basically, by the time they get to their first playoff game, Manning and Co. will have been resting for a month. Hope you're happy with 14-2 and no hardware, dummies.

Super Lame II: The Giants, with everything to play for in their final game at Giants stadium, get shellacked by the Panthers. A loss is one thing, but 41-9? After winning the Super Bowl two seasons ago the Giants have been the most underachieving team in the league if you ask me.

Look Who's Back: The Jets. After all of the criticism, browbeating at the hands of the NY, media, and living and dying by their rookie quarterback, the other NY team is in the driver's seat for their playoff destiny. Of course, they got some help with the aforementioned Colts laying down. Whodathunkit?! If you listen to WFAN you would think they're 0-15.

File This One Under WTF: I have a 7 foot piece of asbestos pipe in my house. It's going to take $975 to remove it. I swear, if it wasn't on record and disclosed on the MLS report, I would take it out myself. I'm not too scared of cancer, it's a few feet of the stuff. It's not like I'm blowing foam installation without a respirator everyday. Oh well, I'm just glad it's getting done.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yankees Bring in Vazquez to Strengthen Rotation

For the second time this decade the Yankees made a deal with an NL East team for the services of Javier Vasquez. Unlike that first deal back in December of 2003, Vazquez comes to New York with lowered expectations. He will no longer be looked upon as the savior of a dismantled rotation, this time he will come in as the third option behind CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett with a solid veteran in Andy Pettitte behind him.

Yankee fans may only remember Johnny Damon launching a grand slam off of Vazquez when he attempted to relieve the waste of space known as Kevin Brown back in '04, but the righty has been better than solid since he left New York. Over the last three seasons Vazquez has cracked up 200 strikeouts and has an ERA of 3.74. He still has occasional issues with his command, but for what he has to be for the Yankees it is a great pick up.

It is also worth noting that even though Vazquez is scheduled to make $11.5 million this year that price is off-set by the unloading of Melky Cabrera in the deal. Cabrera probably will pull in around $3 million in arbitration making and Melky's likely replacement, Jamie Hoffman, will still be making league minimum.

I like the pick up for the Yankees a lot. They have trying for years to get something valuable for Melky Cabrera and it looks like Cashman finally found a deal he liked. While Vazquez wont approach a 2.87 ERA in the AL East, I'm sure he will be a solid option at the back end of the rotation. I always liked Vazquez and while it seemed impossible for him to stay in the Bronx after '04, giving up on such a young talented arm for an aging Randy Johnson was, in hindsight, a mistake. When Sports Illustrated's 2005 baseball preview came out I was impressed by how Vazquez responded to his terrible second half in 2004. Now Vazquez finally has the chance to show short-sighted New Yorkers the kind of pitcher he really is.

The only problem with his aquisition is that we will never hear the end of Hughes and/or Joba to the bullpen... ever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

NFL Hyperbolic Statements-Week 15

I am ill, so though this post will be curtailed, it is here for your enjoyment. My readers demand it.

Danny Says Relax: I know this segment is about overstating things and just saying the first thing that pops into my head. But after the Saints loss on Saturday, the sports media is looking for all kinds of chinks in the armor. Calm down. It's one loss. The Cowboys were playing for their lives, and though the Saints were still fighting for home field, they didn't have as much to play for. I don't think that loss exposed any specific weaknesses. New Orleans just played a bad game.

Best Post Game Comments Ever: After Saturday's loss I LOVED Drew Brees' post game comments. He basically said that he was disappointed that the undefeated season was over. He also stated the team wanted to do it for the city of New Orleans. (Sorry, I couldn't find the video.) He refused to downplay the undefeated season as so many others have and was man enough to admit it was a goal. My opinion is that you try to win every game. When you get to the playoffs, you're done after one loss anyway. Just go for it.

This Is Awesome: Many are analyzing Randy Moss' strange post game comments from Sunday. I'm just analyzing his beard. Man, that is robust! Sorry about the ad at the beginning of the video.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yankees Keep Dealing

After a six year absence Nick Johnson will be back in the pinstripes he came up in. It is a nice pick up for the Yankees who only a few weeks ago were stressing the importance of leaving the DH spot flexible for the likes of A-Rod, Jeter and Teixeira. Personally I always liked Johnson and what he brought to the table. The man is an OBP machine, getting to first at a .402 clip for his career and for a meer $5.5 million this year and a mutual option for the same next season, it's affordable too. Of course, that's when he was on the field.

That has always been the problem with Johnson. The Porcelain Man has missed 450 games since he left the Bronx, including the entire 2007 with a broken leg. There has only been one season where Johnson had more than 600 plate appearances and in his eight year career he has topped 100 games only four times.

Still it is a good pick up for the Yankees. Johnson can slide into the two spot in the lineup behind Derek Jeter where is on base ability is a upgrade over Johnny Damon and on another planet compared to that of Curtis Granderson. Sure he is slow and cumbersome, but really when is he going to have to run. He has almost 70 home runs hitting behind him and that makes for a lot of extra runs.

Johnson has never had a ton of power, though the short porch in Yankee Stadium ought to give him an adequate amount of power, probably somewhere around 20 home runs.

Damon overplayed his hand and Scott Boras has screwed yet another client. Perhaps Johnny should have given Jason Varitek a call before he listened to pompous agent and his ill timed advice.It seems even less likely that Damon comes back to the Bronx now even though his situation looked favorable after Hideki Matsui left town for LA.

Now Nick Johnson will get his at bats. The only thing Yankees fans should worry about now is how long every Yankee game will be. The Bombers will be seeing ball four a lot this year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Theo making the Moves

A couple of thoughts about the events of the past few days:

John Lackey: The guy is a gamer, a horse, an ace, or whatever other cliché you want. Lackey is good. I feel like the contract was a little big in both years and dollars, but with the possibility of Beckett leaving after this year, Theo took the opportunity to add a strong pitcher.

Mike Cameron: Jason Bay obviously doesn't understand the market for corner outfielders who are below average defensively and didn't show up in the 2009 postseason. The Sox offered 4 yrs/$60-65 million. That is about twice as much as Bay made in 2009 and a very fair offer. If Bay decides to sign with the Mets, good luck in Citi Field, also known as the last frontier.

When Bay rejected the Sox last offer, the Sox moved to try to sign Mike Cameron to play left field. (Recently, Cameron, the lifelong center fielder, decided he would be open to playing corner outfield) Cameron is an upgrade defensively and great on the base paths. Also, Cameron is known to be a great clubhouse guy.

Mike Lowell: A thumb injury seems to be holding up the deal to the Rangers for prospect Max Ramirez. If and when this happens, other moves may happen fast to acquire a bat at either 3rd or 1st. More to come from this story within the next week or so.

Halladay vs. Lee: I don't really get the point. If you wanted Halladay, you should have gotten him last August. You will probably ended up losing Kyle Drabek, one of your top prospects anyway. (This was a sticking point last August) I know you could probably save money with the extension to Halladay opposed to Lee, but Lee is younger, has less miles on his arm, and is a lefty. I guess we will have to see the final details of the trade before evaluation, but on the surface it seems silly. Halladay seems to be the favorite for the 2010 NL Cy Young.

Patrick Willis: The guy doesn't get a lot of attention playing in San Francisco, but after seeing him last night against a strong Arizona team I am pretty convinced he is the best linebacker in football. He is fast, strong, and knows how to make a play. I welcome arguments against this statement.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Machinations

Since the Yankees were practically the only team that was stoking the hot stove last week I am sure that the rest of baseball was a tad bored. Well it seems that the rest of baseball decided all at once to get in on the act. Monday has been churning with rumors. From free agent destinations to possible mega-trades.

Here are a few story lines to follow for the rest of the week:

The Sox are looking to counter the Yankees big move from last week. Beantown is looking hard at free agent pitcher John Lackey. While it appears the deal isn't quite official, even though Lackey has already taken his physical, it would take a miracle for the Angels to slide in and outbid the Boston, especially considering how tight LA has been with it's cash. Why has Boston suddenly decided to start throwing their cash around? Perhaps Theo Epstein was one of the few who read Dan Shaughnessy's whiny column concerning the Boston front office's penny pinching ways to be a disgrace.

The more intriguing storyline for me is the rumored mega-deal between the Jays, the Phillies and a third team as yet to be named. I'm not sure why the Phillies would deal Cliff Lee to get Roy Halladay but that seems to be what the teams are edging towards. I understand how good Halladay has been and how good he would be in the NL, but really Lee is young, cheaper for next season and left-handed. I suppose the Phillies figure it would be easier to lock of Halladay to a long term deal since Lee will likely command a larger deal since he is three years younger, still it seems like a lot of energy and prospects expended to simply run in place.

Those are the dominant stories in the baseball world for today and probably a few more days.

Update 4:16 pm: It appears Hideki Matsui will get a little closer to home next season. The Angels are working on inking the Yankee DH to a one year deal worth $6.5 million deal. It would be a loss for the Yankees but likely one that will help them in the long run. Always better to lose a player with one year left in his prime than one year after.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NFL Hyperbolic Statements-Week 14

An overlooked Rookie of Year candidate. Manning had better stay upright. And I can feel the bile rising in my throat on this ...

File This One Under WTF: I usually save this one for last, but I've got to get this off my chest. Brandon Marshall, I can't think of a less deserving ball of dung than you to break an NFL record. By catching 21 passes on Sunday, you surpassed Terrell Owens' single game record by one catch. Yes, T.O. is a jerk, and you not only possess equal jerkiness, but you are also a domestic abusing coward. In this blog, I have largely remained apolitical. This is a sports blog, and I try to keep my posts lighthearted. But I will not hesitate to call out "men" who abuse the women in their lives. I've discussed this issue in regard to Julio Lugo and Larry Johnson. This is a serious problem in professional sports and one that is largely overlooked.

Thank You Jamarcus Russell: It was a decent game between Washington and Oakland. That is until Bruce Gradkowski got hurt. Then Brian Orakpo went off and registered four sacks, stifling the Raiders offense. Orakpo continues to make a quiet but convincing case for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He has 11.0 sacks on the year and has been one bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for my 'Skins.

What the what?: Jim Sorgi of the Colts is on IR. How is this even possible? He never plays! Now the Colts are left with Curtis Painter as their back up. Gone are the days when good teams could rely on good second string QB's. Jim Kelly had Frank Reich. Joe Montana had Steve Young (an extreme example of having two HOF QB's on one team). Basically, if the Colts loose Manning they're toast. But we knew that already. Who knows how good Sorgi really is anyway? At least he knows the offense.

WTF Part II: I have got to buy one of these before the Super Bowl.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Has Anyone Else Seen This!?!?

I would hope that something like this never comes to pass and if it did I would probably abandon watching professonal sports that exploited this decision. It is disturbing enough that it is even coming to the table and has a chance to pass.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lowell Out, Beltre In?

The Boston Herald, among others, reports that the Sox are close to dealing Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers for a minor league catcher. This would free up some cash and roster space for Adrian Beltre, in whom Theo Epstein is apparently very interested. I can understand wanting to deal Lowell. He is getting a bit long in the tooth and has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons. Dumping all or part of his salary would also be helpful.

The interest in Beltre, however, is very puzzling to me. One great season parlayed a giant contract. He came crashing down to earth after that and has been a major disappointment in Seattle. Lowell out performed Beltre in every major way last eason. In only eight more games, Lowell bested Beltre in RBI (75 to 44), Avg. (.290 to .265), HR (17 to 8) and OPS (.811 to .683). Not only that, but Beltre's career OBP is a paltry .324. Of course Lowell will continue to decline, but is Beltre really the answer?

If this is the last round up for Lowell, I bid him a fond farewell. I loved the way he used to make teams pay for pitching around Ramirez and Ortiz in 2007. He will be missed, but it's probably time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pettitte Back in the Fold

I'm sure almost everyone knew this was coming, but it seems to be a done deal now. Andy Pettitte is on his way back to the Bronx for at least one more year. There isn't really any thing to be said about the contract. Joel Sherman is reporting that the deal is for one year and $11.75 million, which is a raise above what he received from last season's incentive laden contract.

With Pettitte crossed off the list and Granderson now in the fold, Cashman can now focus on Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui and whether or not they fit into the plans for the 2010 Yankees.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Three Way Deal A Go

It looks like Brian Cashman is looking to make a deal along the lines of last season's steal of Nick Swisher. I am sure everyone remembers how Cashman fleeced the White Sox when he swapped Wilson Betemit for Swisher.

This offseason it looks like Cashman pulled down Curtis Granderson in a big three-team trade. Included in the deal is Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson, two of the biggest prospects in the Yankee system.

I have to say I am not entirely thrilled with the deal. While the loss of Kennedy is one the Yankees can absorb without a second thought, the loss of Jackson may be tougher to handle. Jackson is far from a sure thing. He has a hard time making consistent contact and he is not overwhelming in any area, but he is a solid overall player.

The third part of the deal was Phil Coke. Not many Yankee fans will miss Coke and with Damaso Marte rediscovering himself during the postseason I doubt the Yankees will miss him too much either.

Granderson has been on a steady decline these past two seasons, but his left-handed power will obviously play well in Yankee Stadium and considering he had a career low in BABIP his average will most likely rebound next season. The biggest concern would be his splits against left-handed pitching. They are ugly and there is no way to know if that is simply a lull if he will turn into a full blown platoon player in the next few seasons.

To me the biggest problem with the deal is the Diamondbacks shipping Max Scherzer off to Detroit and getting only Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson. I hope Arizona knows something about Scherzer we don't because Kennedy doesn't have his upside and Jackson is nothing special beyond the first half of the season.

It isn't a lock to go down yet but only physicals are standing in the way right now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NFL Hyperbolic Statements-Week 13

A couple teams to watch for and a couple on suicide watch. What I want for Xmas. And cut this guy now...

I Hate You: Shaun Suisham, Redskins. I hate to keep advocating physical violence, but this dude needs a flogging with a broom handle. I looked at his numbers and really they're not that bad, but from my observation this guy misses so many easy kicks. I've been calling for him to get cut for two years. I knew as soon as the 'Skins allowed the Saints to tie the game and went into OT they were going to lose. It's just one of those seasons for both teams. The Saints at 11-0 feel like they're never out of a game. The 'Skins feel like they can never get a break. It reflects in both teams play.

Teams You Should Be Afraid Of: No one is really talking about them because of the ridiculous seasons the Colts and Saints are having, but the league needs to watch out for both the Cardinals and Chargers. Let's not forget that the Cards are the defending NFC champs. They served that notice to the Vikings in a big way Sunday night. The Chargers are another team I would not want to face when the playoffs start. They are quietly 9-3. Both teams have tremendous offensive weapons, fearless quarterbacks, and underrated defenses.

Teams I'm Not Afraid Of Anymore: The Steelers and the Patriots. The Steelers have lost four in a row. Two of those games were against the Chiefs and the Raiders. Yeck. A Super Bowl caliber defense should not give up 21 in the fourth quarter against anyone, never mind the Raiders. The Patriots have gone from offensive juggernaut to one dementional. And on the defensive side they are inexperienced. Furthermore, Tom Brady apparently thinks it's ok to just chuck the ball to Randy Moss even when completely blanketed. Not only that, but Brady seems to be calling out his teammates out for not working hard. According to some sources he may be talking about the aforementioned Moss.

Please God, Please: Can we have a Saints vs. Colts Super Bowl? It seems like it's been a long time since we've seen a real battle of the big boys in the biggest game. Some people like underdogs. I want to see the two most dominant teams with the two nastiest QB's go blow for blow in the Super Bowl. AND how freaking cool would it be for both teams to be 18-0 going into the game?

File This One Under WTF: I am attempting to cultivate my own Buffalo wing sauce. Frank's Red Hot etc. just haven't been cutting it for me. Today as I was cutting up jalepenos and habeneros to put in the food processor, I decided to sample a piece of the raw habenero. Aaahh, Scoville Units!!!! Well, as I write, the sauce is simmering and the wings are roasting. Let's how this turns out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yankees to Cut Payroll...

In the last two days I have seen a flurry of stories and blog posts about how the Yankees plan on shedding payroll for the coming 2010 season. For the Yankees that would mean dropping from about $205 million down to the more reasonable, yet still absurd level of $185 million.

It's not that I don't believe the Yankees will cut payroll, and not that I don't think they should considering they could be much, much more efficient with their money. However, what I think has been missed by the general tone of the stories is the biggest motivation for the Yankees to get their spending under control. That motivation would have to be the free agent class that will be after the 2010 season.

This class is highlighted by jewels like Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Joe Mauer and Carl Crawford on the position player side and an absurd amount of pitching talent. The Yankees are simply biding their time until the real talent hits the market.

Much like the winter of 2007-08, the Yankees should take a step back backward if it means a huge leap forward a year from now. That may mean letting Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon walk. It also may mean that the Yankees have to put their faith in Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes to round out the rotation.

The only move the Yankees must absolutely make is bringing back Andy Pettitte. Pettitte is an exact fit for what the Bombers need and he comes without the massive commitment it would take to get either John Lackey or Roy Halladay.

Sitting back would simply mean you shed to aging outfielders (Damon and Matsui at $13 mil a piece), a catcher without a bat (Jose Molina at $2 mil), another outfielder without a throwing arm (no I'm not double counting Damon I'm talking about Xavier Nady at $6.5 mil) and a broken down pitcher (Chien-Ming Wang at $5 mil).

That is close to $40 million dollars coming off the books this off season. That leaves the Yankees with $166 million committed to next season before arbitration numbers are handed out. Add in Pettitte and the Yanks will be right around $180 million. Subtract a few more expiring contracts for next season and the Yankees will have boat loads of cash to spend next off season.

Brian Cashman would loathe wasting any of that future money on either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, both of whom are inferior when stacked up against what you could get for the same amount of money and years next off season. So for one off season the Yankees appear to be putting their check book back in their pocket and it couldn't be a smarter move.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's All Relative

I just finished reading an interesting article by Tim Kurkjian from a 1992 Sports Illustrated archive. It's an examination of Ryne Sandberg's then record $7 million-a-year salary. How things have changed. As we all know, the Sox just signed another middle infielder, Marco Scutaro, with no where near Sandberg's pedigree for the same price per season. He won't be anywhere near the highest paid player on the team. Oddly, Scutaro and Sandberg were around the same age at the signing of both deals.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sox to Sign Scutaro

Well it seems the great Pedroia to short stop debut will end before it ever really gets to begin. The Sox seem to have locked up shortstop Marco Scutaro for the next two seasons. Details are few but there may also be a third year option on top of the first two years.

It also means that the Sox will lose a first round draft pick after gaining one when Billy Wagner signed a one-year deal with the Braves.

If I wasn't a Yankee fan I wouldn't be too concerned with the Sox picking up a 34-year old short stop who is coming off a career year. The situation wreaks of a player cashing in on one final deal. But as a Yankee fan I have seen Scutaro beat my team on one too many occasions where he had no business being the hero.

I hope Scutaro fellows the normal career path of a 34-year old short stop, but part of me knows he is just one of those guys who shows up against your team regardless of how he is playing or at what stage of his career he is in.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Little Baseball News for Sox Fans

According to Peter Gammons the Sox are considering moving Dustin Pedroia to the other side of second. There are more quality second basemen available than short stops so the logic of filling the position with a shift of Pedroia is sound. I look at Michael Young from Texas as a prime example of a player bouncing around positions due to need or primadonnas and maintaining an All-Star performance level.

My only qualm with the move is that, if it is made, we wont hear the end of the gritty, gutty, team-centric, short but giant spirited, one of a kind, man with the hand eye coordination (seriously Gammons they all have awesome hand eye coordination, that's the only way you can play baseball at the MLB level) of a god Dustin Pedroia.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Saints Spank Pats

Sorry folks. No in depth analysis or astute observations in this post; only utter glee at seeing the Patriots get pummeled. My personal favorite was the busted coverage on Devery Henderson's back breaking TD reception, not a New England player within 20 yards.

On the other side of the ball, I can't remember seeing Tom Brady play so poorly. Usually a Brady int. involves a tipped ball or a hit from a D-lineman. I've never seen him throw balls up for grabs the way he did last night. But give the Saints credit, they got after Brady all night and mixed in their blitzes well.

Call me crazy, but I don't think it's too early to talk about Drew Brees for the Hall of Fame. Normally the HOF won't pay any mind to a QB without a Super Bowl ring unless he's got stats that look like the figures for the national debt (ex: Marino, Fouts, Moon). Drew Brees is well on his way with nearly 30,000 yards and almost 200 TD's, and he's only 29. Barring injury he'll pass those benchmarks this year. Throw in his historic 5,000 yard season, and he's well on his way. Throw in a Super Bowl ring, and he's just about a sure thing. (So I lied about the astute observation).