Archives for posts with tag: baseball


  • The Patriots continue to struggled against defenses with elite pass-rushers. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer struggled to contain Aldon Smith and Justin Smith, before the latter left with an injury. Funny how the NFL works sometimes, the Giants and Niners both of the Patriots number, but the Niners can’t beat the Giants, and Giants consistently beat themselves.
  • Is there anyway they don’t split this year’s MVP vote between Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Have you ever been more excited to here “now we’re going to Minnesota with a game-break“.
  • Detroit is going to be in tough position when they have to re-sign Matt Stafford. Being one of the last QB’s to get a huge rookie contract, he’s going to demand to be paid like a former No.1 pick. After a performance like yesterday, three seasons later you’re still wondering what you have in this guy. While his numbers are great, they are such empty numbers, it’s kind of like Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” “No one gives a shit if you lose the last game of the season“, no one gives a shit if you throw 400 yards in a loss with 4 picks. What is even worse is they lost to team starting a rookie drafted in the 6th round out of San Diego St.
  • I’m not seeing the logic of the Bucs trading CB Aqib Talib with no one on the roster even close to replacing him. Drew Brees took them out to the woodshed and beat them like the NFL’s ugly red-headed step-child, throwing 26 of 39 for 307 and 4 TD’s
  • Mike Shanahan is quickly regaining back his reputation as a football genius, winning games starting two different rookie quarterbacks in the same season. Has anyone ever done that?
  • Kirk Cousins made himself some Matt Cassel/Matt Flynn money yesterday, 329 and 2 TD’s.
  • Who would have guessed that the Week 16 San Francisco versus Seattle game was going to be the premier game of the week.
  • How bout those same Seahawks posting back to back 50 spots. Typical Pete Carroll trying to drum up attention for his teams anyway he knows how.
  • Yesterday’s Oakland/ Kansas City game went exactly how a 2012 Raiders/Chiefs game would play-out, five Sebastian Janikowski field goals, with the Chiefs going to 0-3 on fourth down, twice in the Raiders end.
  • Big fan of the Josh Hamilton signing for the Angles. First, who really cares about the contract numbers anymore in baseball, everyone is getting paid like a lotto winner, get over it! Secondly, you’re like holy crap they just teamed up Albert Pujols and Hamilton, then you remember that Mike Trout was the best player in the game last year, it has the potential of the best 3-4-5 of all time.
  • Baseball has resumed becoming an arm’s race again. Kind topsy-turfy when you think about how it was only two years ago the wide success of the movie “Moneyball” and that Oakland just made the playoff again last season with the payroll of what the Angels are paying Hamilton and Pujols combined.
  • Adding R.A. Dickey to the Jays is going to be a nightmare for opposing managers. Toronto is going to force opposing teams to use their entire bench’s when they play the Jays, you start with a big lefty in Johnson, right-handed flamethrower in Morrow, then a knuckleballer in Dickey, another lefty in Romero, then soft tossing Buehrle. Seems like the Jays are hoping that a more than few managers are going to over-manage prepping for the Jays.

Here are some of the athletes that are on the cusp of becoming household names next year for sports fans.

A.J. Green

If the 4th pick in the 2011 draft had been drafted by the Falcons or like the Jets, you’d be hearing about Green none stop, but cause he plays in Cincinnati, Green plays in the shadow of the Steelers and Ravens. Green was one the top players coming into college, often being compared to young Randy Moss because of his long frame, great speed and jumping ability. In three seasons at Georgia, Green had 166 catches for 2619 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also missed the first four games of his junior year for receiving improper benefits, you could argue if he had played those four games he could have gone No.1 in the draft with off the chat numbers.

His first season in Cinncy was a huge success despite having a rookie QB in Andy Dalton and no off-season to train together. Most figured the Bengals were going to be a disaster in 2011, but ended up making the playoffs as a wild card team. Green led all rookie receivers with 65 receptions and 1057 yards. He and Dalton would go on to become the all time leaders in yards and receptions for a rookie QB/WR combination.

So far in 2012, Green has continued his development into a superstar, with 79 catches for 1151 yards and is tied for the lead in receiving TD’s with 10. The Bengals have had a revolving door at the no.2 WR spot this year, forcing Green to beat constant double teams , Green still leads the league with 7 catches over 40+ yards. While Andy Dalton is sure looks to go down as one of the best 2nd round QB’s of all time, he’s certainly not on the level of Matt Stafford, who hammers throws to Calvin Johnson, and Green does not get the support of a top RB like Arian Foster in Houston, a la Andre Johnson. If the Bengals end up making the playoffs this season, I fully expect them to have a game centerd on getting the ball in the hands of A.J. Green and he’ll be fully capable of taking his game to superstar levels. In two seasons from now Green could be in a position to be the NFL first $140 million dollar WR.

Clayton Kershaw

With all the attention in Dodgerland centered around Magic Johnson and the $2.1 billion it took to purchase the team, then the Hanely Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez trades, and finally the massive Zach Grienke contract, it’s easy to forget that the best player was already on the roster.

Making his major league debut at 20 years old, Kershaw, already in his fourth season with the Dodgers, holds a career 61-37 record with a 2.79 ERA and 974 K’s. The big south-paw is a two-time all-star, a two-time MLB ERA champion, 2011 Cy Young, 2011 Gold Glove, and 2012 Roberto Clemente award winner.

This is just getting started into what the young ace has accomplished in the majors, he’s the first pitcher to lead his league back to back in ERA since Randy Johnson in 2000/2001. By finishing with the lowest ERA in the majors two years in a row, he’s only the fourth pitcher to accomplish this since WWII, the other three: Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, and Sandy Koufax. That’s pretty elite company.

Kershaw was a rock again in 2012 going 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA, 229 Ks in 227.2 innings for a Dodgers team that struggled with constant headlines over speculation with ownership and constant roster turnover.

If all goes right for L.A. this year, Kershaw could be looking at a 25+ win season with a sub 2.00 ERA lining up, Kershaw to be Major League Baseball first $200 million dollar pitcher.

O.J. Mayo

Mayo is an amazing talent that has had trouble follow him everywhere (and he’s been to a lot of places!). Mayo is originally from West Virgina but moved to Kentucky because they allow middle school students to play H.S. basketball. As a seventh grader Mayo was averaging 23.1 PPG playing against H.S. competition. After three season’s dominating Kentucky H.S. basketball, O.J. moved to Ohio, where he’d go on to two consecutive state Player of the Year titles. With all the moving Mayo’s eligibility was always a year behind so in 2006 as an 18-year-old junior he was preparing to make the jump to the NBA, but later that season the NBA made the rule you had to be one year removed from H.S. to be draft eligible. Instead of going to college, Mayo choose to play his senior year back home in Huntington, West Virgina and that’s where the real fun begins.

Mayo ended up getting suspended for assaulting an official and then a few months later ended up making headline when he and a bunch of friends were booked by police smoking pot. Despite all that Mayo would still win his third state Player of the Year award, signing with USC to play his lone season in college.

After a strong season at USC which saw varying level of success, ESPN “Outside the Lines” series did a whole expose on how Mayo was taking improper benefits at USC and the strange odyssey of his recruitment to ‘SC. The following season the NCAA would strip ‘SC of all their wins from the 2007-2008 season and forfeting future post-season play due to Mayo’s actions while on campus.

Mayo ended up going third in the very strong 2008 NBA draft, but later would be traded on draft day from Minnesota to Memphis for Kevin Love. His rookie year was strong, scoring 30 points in a game seven times that year, finishing second to Derrick Rose in rookie of the year voting.

The next two season ended up being filled with more controversy, with a fist fight over a gambling debt with Tony Allen, 10 game suspension for violating the leagues substance abuse policy, ended up costing him his starting job and the coaching staff lost faith in him. Memphis would let Mayo walk out the door at the end of the season with little regret.

Dallas signing Mayo to a two-year deal is looking like the steal of the off-season. With no Dirk for most of the year, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry gone,the Mavs needed someone who can fill the basket. Mayo has been an absolute revelation for Dallas, scoring 20.8 PPG along with 3.5 APG and 4.0 RPG, all career highs.

At 25 years old and moving constantly for the last decade, Mayo seems to have finally found a home in Dallas. With an owner like Mark Cuban will to massage his massive ego, Mayo can help stay relevant for a few more years and live up to his immense hype as a teenager.

The Toronto Blue Jays have become one of the most oddly built franchises in recent memory. Can anyone really think of a team almost exclusively built through trade and basically trades alone. Sure it’s worked out nice with guys like Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie, guy’s happy to run away as fast as possible from former teams or a sense of national pride in Lawrie’s case. The Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos is a two-time lotto winner when it comes to the likes of Jose Batista and Edwin Encarnicon. I think AA himself would chalk those up to more being lucky then good. AA’s also done a fine job identifying misused parts like Brandon Morrow (who was toiling as a middle reliever as a former top 10 pick in Seattle) or Rajai Davis, but know we are starting to see the flip side of trading for others goods. Sergio Santos surely invokes memories of Mike Sirotka, Yunel Escobar was a head case in Atlanta that could not fit in with all the young talent there, had 15 minutes of good behaviour and managed to insult and entire community on his way out the door (which was the only national publicity the Jays had after April). Kelly Johnson was a professional all of last season but he had Sept.30th marked on his calendar by July 31st.

Now adding to his cast of other people’s misfits and cast-off comes five more guys that never had Toronto on their radars. Despite all the huge dollars the Yankees have been able to spend over the last two decades, the fact is they built a core around a few guys (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Andy Petitte, Jorge Posada) that grew up in the minors together got accustomed to winning and losing together. Those guys knew how to pick each other up and how to push each other threw the grind of a 162 game season. That’s why they kept on coming back time and time again because they had a dedication to the team that groomed them and the players they went through hell and back with. With the Jays who knows who wants to be here and who’s just going through the motions of just playing pro ball. Before we start breaking down the his trade let me quickly give you a list of players acquired by trade over the last three seasons. Morrow (SEA), Escobar (ATL), Lawrie (MIL), Davis (OAK), Rasmus (STL), Gose (PHI) Santos (CHI), Linclon (PIT), Happ (HOU), now Reyes, Buehrle, Johnson, Buck and Bonifico (MIA). One thing that cannot be forced is chemistry. Now I’m not saying it’s impossible but the next manager is going to have a hell of a time trying to brew some up. It’s one thing in the minors where all of the players share a common goals more or less, but in the pros it’s a lot more complicated life. So good luck to who ever gonna right this ship.

The Players.

Now the prize jewel of the trade Jose Reyes, at 29 years old his days of 60, 64, 78 and 58 steals are long behind him, and that decline was probably thrown into overdrive moving to the American League, where no pitchers are bunting him over and a guys who’s missed plenty of time over the last couple of seasons with knee problems on the Rogers Centre’s FieldTurf isn’t ideal. For anyone that says he won the batting title two years ago, He only played in 126 games in a contract year and sat out the game on a last place Mets team so he didn’t blow it or get hurt. Best case: Reyes understands all the real money in this deal is in the latter years, stays in great shape for the entirety of the deal and makes the Jays feel obligated to pay him out that 7th year, $22 million he’s gonna be owed. Worst case: He’s pissed he’s not in South Florida (where he expected to be for the next half decade). He’s Uber pissed when his agent who didn’t get him that no-trade clause tells him he’ll owe a reported $8 million more in taxes for the honor to play for Canada’s finest. So after his Dubai vacation (always a telling sign a player had no idea this was coming), he treats this summer like Chipper Jones’s farewell tour. Overweight Reyes plays about 20 games before his knee gives out and gets accustomed to Toronto’s nightlife and world-class restaurants while Reyes counts dollar bills and months on a calendar all on a trainers table.

Then there’s Josh Johnson, Johnson is a big dude at 6’7 250lbs, and that’s a slimmed down to 250! Johnson is in the final year of his four-year $40 million dollar deal which makes him affordable for this year. But for someone you’d describe as horse like if you saw him in public, basically starts 30 games every 3 years. After an excellent rookie year, he had two season’s of 4 and 14 starts. Then in 2009 he threw for a career high 209 innings ( Livan Hernandez can give you 200 innings at 43 with an arm tied behind his back). He was 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA. But only one complete game. A strong 2010 followed going 11-6 with a 2.30 ERA and still only one CG. It’s quiet rare if a 27-year-old with that kind of frame is working with a sub 3.00 ERA and his coaching staff only feel comfortable letting him go the distance one time in a season. Fragile and handle with kid’s gloves is a understatment in a half. He started nine games in ’11 and 31 last season with a disappointing 8-11 with a career high 3.81 ERA. For Jays fans that probably does not provoke memories of Roy Halladay but rather a former Jays/Marlin in A.J. Burnett. Best case: Johnson tough’s it out in a contract year giving T.O. 30 starts going 16-4 dominating a league that barely seen his stuff before. Johnson, Romero and Morrow rival anyone top three in the AL and Jays are serious contenders for the wild card and division. Worst case: Call it the Eric Hinske syndrome, if a player show’s he can last a full season in the majors and puts up half decent numbers you can buy yourself 10 years in baseball. Johnson knows whether he wins the Cy Young or start 11 games someone giving him a multiple year big league deal regardless and that life. Like Cinderella, we’ll all be waiting for the other shoe to drop and Johnson to turn into a pumpkin. If he gets hurt, I think Free Agency goes to the front of his mind and that’s the last you’ll see of him. Remember he never asked to be here.

That bring’s us to Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilo Bonifacio. Buehrle much like Reyes has only his agent to blame for getting him to sign a back loaded deal without a no-trade clause. I guarantee when Mark, Mark’s wife and his agent were sitting in their living room or agents office the minute the words most money, Miami, and four years were out there; his wife put the end to that conversation and booked the family the first flight from O’hare to MIA. Like many American’s Buehrle dreamt of retirement in Florida, it seemed beautiful, NL hitters and facing pitchers. No more Yankees, Tigers and Mike Trouts. Now at 34, being thrown into the division of death. I just hope it’s a quick death, maybe our first player induced torn labrum on himself.

Good Lord John Buck, really John bleeping Buck. forget he batted .192 last year. The Jays have 12 other catchers with a future in this league. Of course, if this is explained as another grooming candidate like the Sal Fasano special, all is forgiven. Bonifacio will end up being the most reliable piece of this trade (if it goes down) and that’s probably not going to be enough to satisfy Toronto’s love affair with this deal. So was it the best $170 Million ever spent? maybe?! It’s hard for me not to look at the beginning of last season with the same hope that Jays fan have now that Marlins had then Gioncarlo Stanton at 23 is everything that Jose Bautista is and more and Hanely seemed like a genuine star before decline and/or disinterest took over. Does this trade truly justifying a team that won 79 games last year into a 12/1 favourite to win the World Series without a manager hired or next seasons version of the ’12 Marlins.

Who’s to Blame.

I think the Miami Marlins pulling off one of the shrewdest two trades in the history of Baseball is business as usual and I guess that’s why people are so mystified by it. Instead of trading of these players one or two players at a time they found teams willing to take on substantial financial burdens (know how they save the owners need to be saved from themselves, well here’s a prime example of how if these moves don’t work out for the Dodgers ans Jays their franchises will be crippled not the Marlins. Nobody forced a gun to anyone head to sign these back loaded deals without no trade clauses (begs to ask the same question did these guys all have the same agent and he’s collecting off these suckers). This is what the Marlins do,the only difference is the Marlins won titles before they blew it all up. going back to 1997, the Carlos Delgado and Pudge Rodriguez deals, til now. Don’t blame them, blame Major League Baseball for not stopping them.