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