Thursday, December 29, 2011

Splicetoday: Turgeon's Terps finally playing with a full deck

The Maryland Terps scored a 83-72 victory on Wednesday night over the Great Danes of Albany. Despite sporting a terrible mascot (were the Shih Tzu's taken?) Albany had a front row seat for the most exciting night of Maryland's young season. Wednesday marked the debut of seven-foot Ukrainian freshman Alex Len. The young center took on almost urban legend status over the past few months as the Terps struggled to put away seemingly lesser opponents.  Continue Reading

Baseball Reflections: Orioles December Reflections

The Dan Duquette era in Baltimore has started with a collective yawn among the orange and black clad faithful.  Duquette said all the right things in his introductory press conference about building the farm system, increasing the team’s International scouting presence, and generally upgrading the talent level across the organization.  Perhaps it’s unfair to judge Duquette’s clearly long range goals after less than two months but the Orioles do have a season to play in a few months and several gaping holes left on an already unspectacular roster. Continue Reading

Yahoo! Sports: Cubs add bullpen depth

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Splicetoday: Are the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl bound?

The NFL playoffs will begin a week early for the Baltimore Ravens. Despite sitting atop the AFC North Division at 11-4, Baltimore faces a must-win game in Cincinnati on Sunday. Granted, "must-win" is probably the most overused term associated with professional football. In a league increasingly designed to delivery parity, where rules are seemingly created on the fly week to week depending upon game situations, the concept of any regular season game being "must-win" is laughable. Continue Reading

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Splicetoday: Time for Cubs to bite the bullet and rebuild

The start of the Theo Epstein era in Chicago has been marked by rampant speculation, but little action. To this point the Cubs have added free agent outfielder David DeJesus and traded for Rockies washout Ian Stewart, and that's about it for the positive side of the ledger. Continue reading

Splicetoday: An Ode to ridonkulous College Bowl names

College Football Bowl season is upon us once again. There are 34 bowl games scheduled over the next two weeks, and that doesn’t include the BCS National Championship game. A whopping 70 teams will play in bowls. The concept of making it to a bowl has gone from being an honor to a hassle in just a few decades. Who the hell wants to play in the Beef O’Brady’s bowl? That sounds like a reason to seek a stomach pump, not a college football game. Continue Reading

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who the hell is Mat Gamel?

If you've never heard of Mat Gamel don't feel so bad.  His major league career to this point hasn't been much to write home about.  That could all change in 2012 if Prince Fielder leaves Milwaukee in his rear view mirror as expected.  Gamel is the in house replacement for the Brewers slugging free agent first baseman.  Milwaukee signed Aramis Ramirez to a three year deal last week that all but ended the club's hopes of retaining Fielder.  The 26 year old Gamel has actually logged playing time with the Brewers in each of the past four seasons.  He has yet to distinguish himself in limited MLB action but he has terrorized AAA pitching.  In 290 career games at the AAA level Gamel has slugged 53 homers, driven in 214 runs and posted an impressive .886 OPS.  Gamel, the Brewers fourth round pick in 2005, figures to get first crack at the big club's first base job in Spring Training.  He could be a fantasy sleeper in 2012.  With the looming suspension of Ryan Braun the Brewers will be counting on Gamel to be a power threat early in his Major League career.

Yahoo! Sports: Reds look like winners of Mat Latos deal

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yahoo! Sports: Orioles Wada moves from Far East to AL East

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Splicetoday: Is the Ryan Braun controversy good for baseball?

When I first heard of Ryan Braun's looming 50-game suspension for PED use my reaction was "Damn, he was a keeper on my fantasy team."  No worries, just like the Brewers the Whistle Pigs will survive. Braun's reputation is another story.  Continue reading

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Splicetoday: Pujols puts a price on his legacy

The Angels’ signing of free agent slugger Albert Pujols sent ripples through the sports world last week. Pujols was vilified in St. Louis, welcomed as a savior in Southern California, and compared to that bastard LeBron James at coffee shops and water coolers across the country. Pujols may not be the new Stan Musial, the beloved first baseman who spent his entire career in St. Louis, but he is filthy rich.  Continue reading

Yahoo! Sports: Cardinals will regret the Rafael Furcal contract

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who the hell is Tsuyoshi Wada?

If you're in Camden Yards next year wondering why Zach Britton looks strangely Asian and 30 it's probably because you're watching Tsuyoshi Wada. The Baltimore Orioles have reportedly agreed to sign Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada to a two year contract worth over $8 million. If you're not a fan of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japan Pacific League you're probably asking "who the hell is Tsuyoshi Wada?" Good question. From all accounts he's a pretty solid pitcher who lacks velocity but makes up for it with outstanding control.

The 30 year old Wada has been compared to a young Jamie Moyer. If he's half the pitcher Moyer was Baltimore should be thrilled. Here's hoping Dan Duquettte's newest import logs a Wada innings and wins and doesn't allow a Wada baserunners or dingers. At this point Wada likely slots in behind Jeremy Guthrie as the Orioles number two starter. It will be interesting to see how he handles his transition to the US and the murderers row that awaits him in the AL East.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Week that Wasn't

Arte Moreno and his Angels didn't get left at the alter by a free agent as they have so often in the past.  When the Angels lost out on Carl Crawford last Winter they traded for the untradeable Vernon Wells.  I'm sure if Albert Pujols had returned to the Cardinals Theo Epstein would have raced to Jerry DiPoto's suite with a case of Sam Adam's Winterfest, some hot wings, and Alfonso Soriano's contract.

While the news of the past week centered around the Angels going for broke (perhaps literally) and signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson the other slugging free agent first sacker is still...well, free.  Prince Fielder is rumored to have the interest of the Cubs, Rangers, Blue Jays and Mariners.  The only people happier than Pujols and agent Dan Lozano after Albert's staggering deal with the Angels are Prince Fielder and agent Scott Boras.   Fielder is four years younger than Pujols and will almost certainly be gunning for a 10 year deal.  Good luck with that.  

Prince Fielder could be hurt by the track record of his equally famous and rotund father, Cecil.  The senior Fielder pretty much crapped out after his age 32 season in 1996 when he was productive enough  to break my heart with a playoff homer against Mike Mussina.  Fielder posted a .768 OPS in '97 and a .725 in '98 before calling it quits.  He was out of the big leagues at 34.  Prince is currently 27 but any contract over five of six seasons carries great risk.  Too bad the Angels aren't looking for a DH.

Yu Darvish has finally been posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters (lord i love typing that).  We likely won't know the winning bidder until sometime next week.  Given that the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Cubs are involved with both Fielder and Darvish we probably won't see the Fielder market heat up until Yu's destination has been determined.

Jimmy Rollins is still hanging out there as a free agent.  The Brewers opted to sign Alex Gonzalez to be their new shortstop.  The Cardinals spent $14 million for two years of Rafael Furcal for some odd reason.  I'll assume they lost a bet.  The Giants seems to be crying poor.  It's a foregone conclusion that Rollins returns to Philly, but his agent is the aforementioned Lozano so anything is possible.

Yahoo! Sports: Shane Battier is a good fit for the Heat

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Splicetoday: Dodgers commit to mediocrity

It's been a strange several months for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The club is now for sale after the looming divorce of owner Frank McCourt hampered the team's payroll flexibility throughout the 2011 season. General Manager Ned Colletti has been one of MLB’s most active executives this offseason.  Continue reading

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Splicetoday: Orioles may get older and slower

The Baltimore Orioles, as any casual baseball knows, have several areas of need. The most glaring are the starting rotation and the middle of the lineup. Baltimore currently has a collection of number four starters and number six hitters. The team desperately needs premium talents at several positions if they ever intend to contend with the current core group of players. Continue reading

Who the hell is Nolan Arenado?

Unless you're a die hard fan of the Colorado Rockies or the PA announcer for the Salt River Rafters you may not be familiar with Nolan Arenado.  The 20 year old third baseman in the Rockies minor league system just completed a stellar Arizona Fall League season for the aforementioned Rafters.  Arenado clubbed six homers and drove in 33 in just 29 AFL games.  He wasn't too shabby in the regular season either as he hit 20  bombs and knocked in 122 runs for Modesto of the California League.  The Rockies are apparently so impressed with Arenado that he may be in line for the big club's third base job in 2012.  Despite Arenado never playing above A-ball Colorado seems to be clearing the deck for the kid.  Ty Wigginton was dealt to Philly a few weeks ago and Ian Stewart is rumored to be either non-tendered or traded.  Come opening day in Denver several thousand Rockies fans may be asking "Who the hell is Nolan Arenado?"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Yahoo! Sports: Mets wise not to match Jose Reyes deal

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The Week that Wasn't

Thanks for checking back for this week's installment of "The Week that Wasn't".

  • New Red Sox GM Ben Cherington didn't get to hire his own manager last week.  The rookie GM was seemingly over-ruled by BoSox Club Prez Larry Lucchino.  Ben seemed to have a schoolgirl like crush on Dale Sveum who took the Cubs job when offered by Theo Epstein.  Lucchino supposedly wanted some experience in the dugout and went for ESPN's resident hot head Bobby Valentine.  Bobby V may do a fine job for Boston but the events that led up to his hiring don't seem to bode well for Cherington's tenure. At the very least the subtraction of Valentine should make ESPN's Sunday Night baseball broadcasts infinitely more watchable.
  • Yu Darvish and Yeonnis Cespedes are still not technically free agents, let alone signed to a deal.  Darvish's posting has been held up by his divorce in Japan and Cespedes still must declare residency in the DR before he can sign a free agent deal.  The total cost for Darvish is likely to approach $100 million. Cespedes' agent is said to be seeking double the $30 million that the Reds gave Aroldis Chapman.
  • Jimmy Rollins is the best shortstop left on the market with the Marlins signing of Jose Reyes.  I've long thought Rollins was a lock to return to Philly but the Brewers and Cardinals reportedly have some interest.  The Giants have been laying in the weeds but they need a SS and Rollins is an Oakland native.  
  • The winter meetings are currently raging on in Dallas and my Twitter feed is all atwitter with updates, rumors and innuendo.  We'll review how this stuff shakes out next week.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Baseball Reflections: November Brings Duquette into fold for Orioles

Check out my November Orioles post for November was an eventful month for the Baltimore Orioles.  The team’s clumsy, haphazard search for a new General Manager concluded with Baltimore taking former Red Sox front man Dan Duquette out of mothballs.  Duquette built half a championship team in Boston before he was kicked to the curb to make way for whiz kid Theo Epstein nearly a decade ago.  Frankly, the Orioles are probably lucky to have landed someone with as much experience and past success as Duquette. Continue reading

Splicetoday: Cardinals Have Options If Pujols Departs

The market for free agent first basemen Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder has picked up as baseball's winter meetings approach. The Chicago Cubs are rumored to have interest in both sluggers. The Rangers, Angels and Nationals could be in the mix for Fielder. Continue reading

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Splicetoday: I love Tebow Mania

How long will it last? Does it matter?

I must admit I love Tebow mania. It’s spreading like an epidemic as the Denver Broncos’ Tim Tebow piles up unlikely wins week after week. Tebow has delivered some memorable on-field performances, both good and bad, over the past six weeks, but it’s the off-field coverage of his play that has piqued my interest.  Continue reading

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yahoo! Sports: Detroit Tigers Interested in Aramis Ramirez

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The Week that Wasn't

To this point this blog hasn't been much more than a repository for my contributions to other sites.  I hope to change that in the coming weeks.  I say "hope" because with two kids, two jobs, and freelance assignments it will be difficult.  I suppose you make time for things that are important to you so we'll see how important this is to me in the coming weeks.

Today I present to you the first installment of "The Week that Wasn't" which will really just be a roundup of all the crap that didn't happen in the past seven days.  Here we go:

  • Red Sox still do not have a new manager.  Suddenly the Orioles don't look so bad.  They haven't even conducted the most disorganized candidate search/interview process in the AL East this off-season.  The Red Sox are quickly turning into a punchline.  It seems thet clearly relied too heavily on the candidate list prepared by the now departed Theo Epstein.  The convoluted nature of this search makes it look like ownership doesn't fully trust new GM Ben Cherington.  It may also be giving us a glimpse into why Epstein bolted for the Wrigleyville.  (Hint: it wasn't the deep dish.)
  • Albert Pujols is a free man, for now.  Pujols paid a visit to the Marlins a few weeks back but apparently the initial offer wasn't to his liking.  I still think Pujols returns to the Cardinals, though probably for something less than $200 million.  
  • A Prince without a throne.  The market hasn't really heated up for Prince Fielder.  The Angels, Rangers, Cubs and Mariners are rumored to have interest in the slugger.  At one point last Summer I would've bet a mortgage payment that Fielder ended signed with the Cubbies.  Now I'd be surprised if he did.  I think the Rangers look like the most likely landing spot for Fielder as they are very clearly not going to be giving a big contract to C.J. Wilson with the move of Neftali Feliz to the rotation.  
  • Uncertainty still surrounds Yu Darvish.  The Japanese right hander has still not been posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.  The speculation now seems to be that he will be posted.  The bidding process will be interesting to follow.  Will Theo Epstein forget about the Dice-K debacle and submit a winning bid for Darvish?  Will the Red Sox do the same?  Will Brian Cashman get off his butt and actually get a decent starting pitcher behind CC Sabathia?  And yes, I was a big SOAP fan as a kid.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Splicetoday: Ty Wigginton Is Perfect for the Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Ty Wigginton from the Colorado Rockies on Sunday for a player to be named later. Colorado agreed to pay half of Wigginton’s $4 million salary in 2012. Wigginton, who has experience as an infielder and outfielder, is a perfect fit for the Phillies lineup and payroll. Continue reading

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yahoo! Sports: Orioles Mahoney Makes Up for Lost Time in the Arizona Fall League

Baltimore Orioles first base prospect Joe Mahoney suffered through an injury marred 2011 campaign. The big league hopeful played in just 85 games for the Bowie Baysox of the Eastern League. Mahoney was productive when he played as he posted a .845 OPS with 11 home runs and 65 RBI for Bowie. Continue reading

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Splicetoday: Would $444.5 Million Make the Orioles a Contender?

The Baltimore Orioles’ new GM Dan Duquette has his work cut out for him. He was out of Major League Baseball for nine years before the Orioles pulled him off the scrap heap recently and tasked him with turning around a team that has spent 14 years mastering the art of losing. Only time will tell if Duquette has the power to make lasting changes but history suggests he’s probably just along for the ride.  Continue reading

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TTFB: Baltimore Orioles 2012 Lineup Preview

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles were an average offense. The team finished in the middle of the pack in runs scored and team OPS.  The average offense was a major improvement over the team’s dismal offensive output in 2010. After scoring a paltry 613 runs in 2010 Baltimore posted 708 runs in 2011. Continue reading

Splicetoday: Alex Anthopoulos Steps To the Plate

Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos has quickly gained a reputation as one of baseball's best and brightest front office men. The 34-year-old has been on the job just over two years. He took over the GM role following J.P. Ricciardi's rather disastrous tenure which resulted in the Blue Jays handing out some of baseball's worst contracts.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

TTFB: Baltimore Orioles 2012 Pitching Preview

The Orioles were the worst pitching team in the major leagues last year with a team ERA of 4.89. The supposed “year of the pitcher” was just a rumor in Baltimore.  The team’s stable of young starters struggled across the board, which opened opportunities for veterans and journeyman to fill out the rotation.  Continue Reading

Friday, November 11, 2011

Yahoo! Sports: Baltimore Ravens Cannot Afford a Letdown Against the Seahawks

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Splicetoday: Ravens Once Again Defensive Pros

The Baltimore Ravens are once again near the top of the NFL's defensive rankings. Baltimore is currently second in the league in sacks, yards per game and points allowed. Old stalwarts Ray Lewis and Ed Reed still loom large over the Ravens defensive unit despite the advanced stage of their careers.  Continue reading

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jaquars Haven't Done Rookie Blaine Gabbert Any Favors

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been the NFL’s model of mediocrity for about a decade. Head coach Jack Del Rio has been in Jacksonville since the start of the 2003 season and has compiled a less than stellar 67-69 record. Given the league’s obsession with parity it’s odd to see a head coach last as long in a job with as little to show for it as Del Rio. He’s kind of like Jeff Fisher “The Next Generation.”  Continue Reading

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yahoo! Sports: Baltimore Orioles Gold Glove winners

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TTFB: Orioles aimed low in GM search and still misfired

Toronto Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava reportedly turned down an offer from the Baltimore Orioles to become the club’s general manager on Tuesday. The fan reaction in Baltimore to LaCava’s decision ranged from apathy to anger.  Continue reading

Splicetoday: QB Depth Diminishes Value of NFL Draft's Top Pick

By now we’ve all heard about the “Suck for Luck” campaigns that have cropped up in several NFL cities. In some places fans are actually rooting for their teams to lose in order to improve their chances to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. 
Continue reading

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yahoo! Sports: Pe’Shon Howard Injury is a Bad Break for Terps

According to University of Maryland sophomore point guard Pe'Shon Howard is expected to miss up to three months after suffering a broken foot in practice. The 2011-2012 season for the Maryland Terrapins Men's basketball team figured to be one of transition and struggle; and that was before the Howard injury. 
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Yahoo! Sports: Cardinals’ Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay Must Step Up

The St. Louis Cardinals are heading home for Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. The Texas Rangers took a three games to two advantage with a 4-2 victory in Game 5. With the notable exception of a 16 run explosion in Game 3 the Cardinals have struggled to produce runs.
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Splicetoday: Are the Cincinnati Bengals contenders?

The Cincinnati Bengals are currently 4-2 and tied with the Baltimore Ravens for second place in the AFC North Division. The Bengals have been one of the NFL's most pleasant surprises through the first few weeks of the season. Cincinnati won just four games all of last season and lost veteran receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens during the offseason.  
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who the hell is Craig Gentry?

Craig Gentry is a 27 year old reserve outfielder for the Texas Rangers. Gentry started Game 6 of the 2011 World Series in center field for Texas. He appeared in 64 games for the Rangers during the 2011 season. Craig hit just one home run and drove in 13 in 153 plate appearances. Gentry did steal 18 bases so I guess he's kind of like an AL version of the Cubs Tony Campana. Gentry made his big league debut for Texas in 2009 but appeared in just 11 games. He played in 20 games in 2010 but had just 35 plate appearances. Originally drafted by the Rangers in the 10th round of the 2006 draft Gentry has stolen 145 bases in parts of 6 minor league seasons.

Monday, October 24, 2011 Baltimore Oriole Reflections – October 2011

The Baltimore Orioles wrapped up another disappointing season a few weeks ago. 
The team did end the season on a high note as they posted a winning record (15-13) in September. The most memorable moment of the year occurred on the season’s last play as Robert Andino‘s sinking liner to left evaded Carl Crawford‘s glove and knocked the Red Sox out of the playoffs. Continue reading

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Splicetoday: Red Sox fans have wicked short memories

The headlines out of Boston have been coming fast and furious since the Red Sox were eliminated from the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. A well-respected manager was kicked to the curb, the franchise-altering, curse-busting, boy wonder GM is on his way out the door, and tales of possible clubhouse drunkenness have clouded the perception of the Red Sox 2011 season. Boston amazingly went from the presumptive American League pennant winner to a full-blown clusterfuck in about 30 days. continue reading

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Allen Craig could be Cardinals X-factor in World Series

The St. Louis Cardinals will have home field advantage for the World Series against the Texas Rangers. Tony LaRussa did a masterful managing job in the the NLDS and NLCS juggling his lineup and bullpen to maximize matchups. LaRussa may need to be just as masterful to overcme the Rangers powerful lineup and dominant bullpen.

Allen Craig is one of the Cardinals most versatile players. The 27 year old Craig has quickly become a favorite of LaRussa. Craig, who can play six positions on the diamond, will likely be inserted into the starting lineup when the series moves to Texas. He posted an impressive .917 OPS in just over 200 at bats this season to go with 11 home runs and 40 RBI. Craig gives the Cardinals another power bat in their attempt to out slug the Rangers. Look for Lance Berkman to DH with Craig starting in Right field when the series moves to Texas for game three.

Cubs get new Spring home in Mesa, AZ

The Cubs and Mesa, AZ agreed to a 30 year stadium deal that will pave the way for a new Spring training home, entertainment complex and retail facilities.  Check out the story and artists renderings here.

This may or may not be a good deal for the city of Mesa.  There has already been some tension in the process with more likely to come.  I'm sure residents have differing views of the project.  As a Cubs fan and lover of all things baseball I can say that Mesa, AZ is now on my list of future vacation sites.  The complex should be ready for Spring Training in 2014.  Make your travel arrangements.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ravens need Ed Dickson to step up

Through the first four games of the 2011 NFL season tight end Ed Dickson has emerged as the favorite target of Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Dickson has been targeted 32 times already, good for ninth among tight ends, for an average of 8 targets per game. Unfortunately Dickson has just 16 catches on those 32 attempts.

Much has been made over the past two weeks concerning Joe Flacco's less than stellar completion percentage this season. Flacco, who completes about 61% of passes for his career, is just 69 for 140 pass attempts in 2011. The Ravens are breaking in a new tight end (Dickson) as well as three rookie receivers in the absence of Lee Evans. Given the typical struggles of rookie wide outs the Ravens need Dickson to step up his game. In the Ravens week four victory over the Jets Dickson dropped three catchable balls. If Dickson can become a reliable outlet for Flacco he'll greatly improve his QB's completion percentage and his team's offensive efficiency.

TTFB: Mining the Baltimore Orioles for Buck's nuggets

When Buck Showalter was named manager of the Baltimore Orioles in August of 2010, he stated that his goal was to uncover enough nuggets to make the Orioles into a contender. Now, with one full season in Baltimore under his belt, it’s clear that Buck has not unearthed enough nuggets. With the looming departure of President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail and the subsequent General Manager search about to begin, it seems like a good time to assess the Orioles current inventory of nuggets.
Continue Reading

Friday, October 14, 2011

Splicetoday: Who would even want to be the next Orioles GM?

In the wake of Andy MacPhail's decision to leave the organization when his contract expires later this month the Baltimore Orioles have compiled a list of candidates to be interviewed for the club's general manager opening. According to ESPN's Buster Olney the list includes Gerry Hunsicker, JP Ricciardi, Dan Jennings, Thad Levine, and Tony LaCava. You might as well throw in the Tooth Fairy, a talking unicorn and Jesus H. Christ himself. I hate to be a naysayer but the identity of the next Orioles' GM matters about as much as my choice of boxers tomorrow.  Continue reading

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Does Theo Epstein get to negotiate the compensation for himself?

According to Boston's WEEI the Red Sox want prospects in return for letting Theo Epstein out of his contract a year early. The Cubs want to just stroke a check and buy out Epstein's deal.

Two things
1. Is there any chance Epstein and the Cubs discussed compensation strategy during their prior meetings?
2. Hasn't this gone far enough for the Cubs to say "Here are three prospects we'll deal, pick one. And no, Cashner is not on the table". At this point the Sox look like a complete disaster and the cat is too far out of the bag for Theo to go back to Beantown.

Yahoo! Sports: Phillies long on blame, short on heroes

Whenever a team reaches the end of its season before reaching its ultimate goal it yields disappointment and blame in equally abundant supplies. The Philadelphia Phillies season ended on Friday Oct. 10th after a 1-0 home loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The National League Divisional Series was the ultimate lesson in what makes baseball great, unless of course you're a member or fan of the Phillies. Despite the Cardinals sneaking into the playoffs on the season's last day and the Phillies strolling confidently into the postseason after setting a team record for wins we were reminded once again that anything can happen in a short series. Continue Reading

I'm rooting for Tim Tebow

I know all the talking heads at ESPN are yammering (is that a word) on about Tim Tebow and his poor mechanics and his slow release and blah, blah, blah. Hey Trent Dilfer! Zip it. Enough already. And while I'm at it Merrill Hoge can shut his trap too. If Tebow were a Steeler Hoge would be wearing a Tebow jersey on the set at ESPN.

I get it, Tebow isn't conventional. He wasn't conventional at Florida either, though he was pretty damn successful. The Broncos used a first round pick on the kid for a reason. I know McDaniels isn't there anymore and that his track record is pretty spotty but the Broncos need to see if the kid can play. They are a terrible football team, and while it's not all Kyle Orton's fault he certainly hasn't covered himself in glory in the season's first five games.

Give Tebow a chance to see what he can do. If all he can do is run around a bit before throwing erratically or getting the ball stripped away then the Broncos can use their upcoming top ten pick on a stud QB like Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III. If Tebow can be a productive NFL quarterback then John Elway can use that pick to address other needs like the Broncos sieve-like defense.

It only seems like LaTroy Hawkins played for the Homestead Grays

I had no idea that LaTroy Hawkins was still in the Majors until I saw him pitching for the Brewers against the Cardinals in the NLCS the other day. Hawkins has seemingly been around forever, but contrary to reports he was never teammates with Satchell Paige. Hawkins broke into the big leagues with the Twins as a starter in 1995. He spent the next six seasons getting his brains beat in and ultimately led the AL in earned runs allowed in 1999 before he was mercifully moved to the bullpen. Hawkins has bounced around as a reliever and is kind of a poor man's righthanded Jesse Orosco. LaTroy will turn 39 in December and seems to be going strong. Perhaps the most amazing stat that Hawkins has amassed in his career is the over $38 million in career salary. LaTroy Hawkins? Seriously?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Splicetoday: Kemp and Bautista are baseball's MVPs

There's been a lot of talk about Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander as a leading candidate for the American League's Most Valuable Player award. I've never been big on the concept of a pitcher winning the MVP award; unless there are no deserving candidates among position players or the pitcher's contribution was historically significant. Verlander no doubt had a spectacular season but he didn't single-handedly propel the Tigers to the playoffs. He had a lot of help from Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila, Victor Martinez and Doug Fister. Furthermore, Verlander's statistical performance this season was not one for the record books. He's the clear frontrunner for the AL's Cy Young Award, but there are many deserving MVP candidates. Continue Reading

Who the hell is Don Kelly?

...and why the hell does he keep showing up on my TV screen? I assumed that Don Kelly was some young upstart who came up from the minors and delivered some big hits for the Tigers thus earning the trust of Jim Leyland and getting some playoff at bats. I was wrong on all counts. Don Kelly is actually 31 and has played parts of four season in the Majors. He made his big league debut with the Pirates in 2007 and has since played every position on the diamond, includng pitcher. Kelly's career OPS is a non-inspiring .648. He's proven to be a valuable contributor for the Tigers and with Game 4 entering the late innings he could be an unlikely hero.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is Theo Epstein worth Brett Jackson?

Rumors are swirlng that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein could be headed to the Windy City to take over as GM of the Chicago Cubs. Epstein has one seasn remaining on his deal with Boston which could allow the Red Sox to request compensation in return for allowing Epstein out of his deal for a lateral move to Chicago. Peter Gammons suggested on his Twitter account tonight that Cubs top prospect Brett Jackson could be included in the deal as compensation. Is Epstein really worth the Cubs top prospect? My guess is, hell yeah. The Cubs haven't won a title in 103 years. Epstein has won two in the past 8 years. Jackson has some nice tools but he strikes out at an alarming rate and doesn't figure to be a major contributor in Wrigley next year. Frankly, I'd be fine with the Cubs sending anyone not named Starln Castro to Boston in return for Epstein. After 100 years of futility the time for bold action has arrived.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011