Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mets make right call trading K-Rod

Prince Fielder had not yet even finished hoisting his 2011 MLB All-Star Game MVP trophy when word got out the the Brewers had completed the first of what should be many trades this July. Shortly after the game, the Brewers had acquired star closer Francisco Rodriguez from the New York Mets in exchange for two players to be named later.

The reasoning for the Mets making this trade is a no brainer. With the Bernie Madoff mess and Jose Reyes' impending free agency hanging over Citi Field, the Mets need to find ways to save money. Trading K-Rod and his potential $17.5 million deal for next season is a great start. If you're not contending for a playoff spot, there is just no need to have a closer making over $10 million a year, let alone the money K-Rod was making. In the short term, the Mets can turn to Bobby Parnell and Jason Isringhausen to handle the closing duties.

The trade also means Carlos Beltran should keep his bags packed and be ready to leave. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, there are seven teams actively talking to the Mets about trading for Beltran. Beltran is in the last year of his contract and almost certainly won't be back with the Mets next season so the right thing to do is ship him off for prospects and build for the future.

As for the Brewers, the trade is a risky but bold move. The trade clearly states that the Brewers are going for it all this season. And why not? They've got 2 of the best young hitters in the game (Braun and Fielder), two of the best young starters in the game (Grienke and Gallardo) and now two of the better closers of the last two seasons. K-Rod's addition has basically turned Brewers games into 7 inning affairs: don't get to their pitchers in the first 7 innings, be prepared to be shut down by K-Rod and Axford.

The big risk for the Brewers is that $17.5 million vesting option K-Rod has for next season. If K-Rod finishes 55 games this season, the option automatically kicks in for next season. K-Rod is currently at 34 games finished. The Brewers will most certainly use Rodriguez as a set up man to Axford. However, if Axford was to get hurt or go into a slump, the Brewers would be forced to use Rodriguez as their closer, putting the option at risk of being activated.

Another question this trade brings up (albeit a minor question) is about Prince Fielder. Could the Brewers also be making this trade with the mind set that if they let both Prince and K-Rod walk after the season, they could be in line to pick up 4 draft picks and help restock their deflated farm system? Just something to ponder in what should be a rest of July full of trades and rumors.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to Fix the MLB All-Star Game

Too much of the talk regarding this year's MLB All-Star Game has revolved around the players not present in Arizona. Whether due to injuries, rules or personal issues, many of the league's top players are not participating in tonight's game. With that in mind, some ideas on how to fix the MLB All-Star Game.

1) Move the Futures Game to Monday: MLB wanted a televised Draft to drive up hype and hope it become's an event as the NBA and NFL Drafts have become. So why not do the same with the Futures Game? Currently, the Futures Game is played on the Sunday of All-Star week, during which regular MLB games are going on. Unless you're at that ball park or your home team's game has ended, you're not rushing to tune into the game. However, if you move it to Monday, on a day when none of the other major 3 sports have anything going on anyways, you can garner a huge audience.

The argument that most fans won't know about the players participating in the game are overrated. In this age of Internet and 24 hour sports networks, fans know who the top prospects in the game and their team's are. Making this a marquee All-Star event can only help in promoting MLB's young talent.

2) Move the HR Derby to Tuesday: The HR Derby is close to becoming the grand event of All-Star week if the game itself isn't fixed. The main reason for moving the event down a day is...

3) Move the All-Star game until Wednesday: With this, the rule of starters who pitch on the Sunday before the All-Star game can go out the window. In fact, all players can decide to show up to the All-Star location late Monday or early Tuesday, giving them more time to prepare for All-Star. All players suited up (who are not on the DL) can play. Which leads us to...

4) All players selected to All-Star game must show: UNLESS THEY ARE ON THE DL. If you're healthy to play, no reason not to show up.

5) Fans and players should not be allowed to vote: Too many times, fans turn the voting into a popularity contest and certain guys who might not be putting up All-Star like seasons are selected as starters. Too many times, players turn the voting into making sure they make their teammates happy and screw over guys they don't like from other squads. If we're making this game count, then managers should be picking the rosters. Being that selection is not complete until after July, the managers of each division leading and wild card leading teams should convene to pick out the rosters: starters, bench players and pitchers.

Monday, February 28, 2011

NY Yankees Notes: 2nd Spring Training Game vs Phillies

The Yankees earned their first win of the Spring Yesterday, a 7-3 victory over the Phillies. Here are some things I took from the ballgame.

***In the race for the 4th and 5th spots in the starting rotation, Ivan Nova took a huge step towards locking down one of those spots. The youngster, who made his debut in the big leagues last season, pitched two scoreless innings, showing off a good fastball and breaking ball.

***Once again, Jorge Posada went chasing after the first pitch in his first AB. It marked the second time in as many at bats that Posada chased the first pitch. For a guy trying to get used to the DH role, Posada looks more like the wide eyed rookie ready to hack at anything.

***Jesus Montero had some nice moments yesterday. He had a very good first AB before being retired. Then he added an RBI hit later in the game. During the YES broadcast, Joe Girardi spoke of Montero's improvement behind the plate. The catching situation with the Yankees reminds me of the situation with 2nd base going into the 2005 season. The Yankees had signed Tony Womack in the winter, to only see him falter in NY and they ended up calling Cano up from AAA and the rest is history. Could the same be in line for Montero? With no signs of Russell Martin just yet, Montero has to be considered a top candidate to take over behind the plate.

***Sergio Mitre pitched two scoreless innings. Mitre is also in the running for one of the two open rotation spots, although I believe Joe Girardi would love to leave Mitre in the bullpen as a long relief man.

***This game also marked the spring training debut for pitching prospect Delin Betances and the kid was just electric. He struck out the side in his only inning of work, putting away two hitter with a high, 97 mph fastball and then freezing another on a knuckle curve. The kid was just nasty.

***Jorge Vazquez hit his 2nd HR of the spring. Much of the talk for the back up infielders spot has centered around Eduardo Nunez, Brandon Laird, Eric Chavez and Ramiro Pena but if Vazquez continues to hit, he could see himself on the big league club in a back up role.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NY Yankees Notes: 1st Spring Training Game vs Phillies

The Bronx Bombers dropped their first spring training game vs the Phillies 5-4. A couple of things I took away from today's game:

  • Bartolo Colon: The former Cy Young winner, who hasn't pitched in a MLB game since 2009, actually didn't look to bad on the mound. His fastball started at around 88-89 mph but by the end of his stint in the 2nd inning, he was throwing it at around 93-94 mph. Robinson Cano and Francisco Cervelli have been big fans of Colon this spring, saying that the right hander is definitely a top candidate for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation.
  • Jorge Posada: Maybe I'm making a little bit too much out of this, but Posada swinging at the first pitch is somewhat bothersome for me. Posada has been a player who has played the field his whole career. Most guys like him who have had to transition to DH have always talked about how not being in the game completely affects them at the plate. So doesn't it befit Posada to take a couple of pitches for the simple fact that he hasn't been in the flow of the game?
  • Joba Chamberlain: Most of the talk early in Yankees Spring Training dealt with players weight. C.C. Sabathia lost 25 pounds in the offseason, while Bartolo Colon came in saying he is 25 pounds overweight. Another pitcher caught in "WeightGate" was Joba Chamberlain. There were reports that Joba had come into camp overweight and Yankee coaches and officials were not pleased. However, after watching him today and hearing Michael Kay on the air, it looks more like Joba put on muscle weight. He did not look any worse than he has in other seasons. As for his performance, he introduced a new pitching style, with his hands starting lower around his belt before he began his motion towards the plate. It resulted in a very impressive inning for Chamberlain, with his fastball hitting 93-94 mph and showing a sharp breaking ball. After the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano to shore up the middle relief, Chamberlain could be fighting for a spot in the bullpen and a good showing could put him there and may attract other teams for possible trades.
  • Mark Teixeira: Teixeira was the only regular to take more than 2 ABs. During that third AB, Michael Kay brought up the notion that the Yankees might give Teixeira more ABs during this spring training to maybe help him kick the funk of getting off to slow starts once the season begins. As if on cue, Teixeira drove the ball and banged it off the outfield wall for an RBI triple. Heck, whatever work.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Felton to be a part of Melo deal?

Via Nick Borges of ESPN...

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, there are rumors that Denver wants Raymond Felton to be part of the package the Nuggets would get for Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks. The Nuggets, as a way to reduce their payroll and luxury tax obligation, would also ship Chauncey Billups to New York.

Billups can be bought out for $3.7 million shortly after his team's season is completed, which will save a lot of money. He will earn $14.2 million for 2011-12 if his team doesn't release him by that timeframe.

Berman spoke with Andy Miller, Billups' agent, on Thursday and Miller wasn't sure if his client would be OK coming to New York because they have not discussed the possibility.

Acquiring Felton would help the Nuggets save money while giving them a two headed monster at PG with Ty Lawson. I would assume the money saved would be used to sign Nene to a long term deal. Like Melo, Nene has an ETO in his contract or he can pick up his option for next year at about $11.6 million and the Nugges have staed they intend to keep him. As for the Knicks, replacing Felton with Big Shot Billups wouldn't hurt and a Big 3 of Amar'e, Melo and Billups would be dynamite. Plus, if the Knicks pick up his option for next year, his salary will come off the books in time for the team to make a run at Chris Paul in the summer of 2012. Intriguing...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Latest Lakers-Nuggets rumors make no sense.

Rumors are flying abound today about a possible Carmelo Anthony for Andrew Bynum trade that would give the Lakers the best 1-2 scoring punch in the entire NBA (yes Miami, even better than LeBron and DWade). With the Lakers struggling against the league's top teams this season (0-4 vs Boston, Miami & San Antonio), GM Mitch Kupchak mentioned he would entertain a trade to shake things up. However, today's rumors don't seem to make any sense. Also, while taking a closer look at the Lakers numbers for this season, do they even need to make a trade?

Carmelo Anthony is one of the best scorers in the NBA and a fantastic rebounder for a SF. However, the Lakers don't need any help on the offensive end. Despite getting close to nothing from Ron Artest, Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, the Lakers are still the 2nd most efficient offensive team in the league ( Also, only Orlando and Chicago rebound the ball at a higher rate than the Lakers ( In other worlds, Melo's top two talents (scoring and rebounding) are not needed right now in LA.

So a Melo for Bynum deal might actually have a more negative effect on the Lakers then positive. When taking a look at the Lakers defensive numbers, despite a slip in their performance from last season, they are still in the top ten in the league ( There is no doubt that losing Bynum would have a negative domino effect on the Lakers D, forcing Pau Gasol to center and Lamar Odom to PF, leaving Joe Smith, Derrick Caracter and Theo Ratliff as the bigs off the bench (gulp). ESPN's trade machine doesn't even give the Lakers any extra victories based on that rumor (

If the Lakers are intent on a trade, they should look into improving the PG and SF positions. SF might be tough, with reports coming out today that the Lakers had talks with the Charlotte Bobcats regarding Stephen Jackson and/or Gerald Wallace but the Bobcats losing interest when they learned Ron Ron wanted no part in being a Bobcat. With back up Matt Barnes (who was playing very well before his injury) due back sometime in March, maybe the need for a SF isn't so dire and they can concentrate on PG. How does this trade look for the Lakers

In that proposed trade, the Lakers would trade Bynum, Steve Blake and Shannon Brown to the Nuggets for Chauncey Billups and Nene. Lakers would get a major upgrade at PG in Big Shot Billups and a big man inside to replace Bynum. Nuggets get the young big they want in Bynum and can start rebuilding from scratch, with Melo still as a trade chip. Thoughts?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: 2010 AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers at 2010 NFC Champions Green Bay Packers

Location: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
Time: 6:00 pm
Road Team: 2010 AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers
Home Team: 2010 NFC Champion Green Bay Packers
W-L Records: Steelers 12-4, Packers 10-6
Points Scored: Steelers 23.4, Packers 24.3
Points Allowed: Steelers 14.5, Packers 15

You couldn't have picked a better Super Bowl match up. Two teams with great traditions. Two elite QBs. Two top notch defenses. A stadium that is being boasted as the 8th Great Wonder of the World. Let's just hope the players make it the show we expect it to be.

How the Steelers will win: In both of the Steelers playoff games this year, they've managed to win despite only playing well in one half of each game (2nd half vs Ravens, 1st half vs Jets). They need to show up for all 4 quarters against a Packers team that has shown they can win in just about any scenario. With center Maurkice Pouncey out, the Steelers might not have much of a running game in between the red zone so the Steelers might have to rely on Big Ben and the passing game to produce yardage. On defense, the Steelers will need Troy Polamalu more than ever in trying to stop Aaron Rodgers, whose simply been the best QB in the entire playoffs. Doesn't help that DE Aaron Smith is also out with injury.

How the Packers will win: The Packers come into the Super Bowl as the hotter of the two teams. They've basically been playing playoff games since Week 16. Aaron Rodgers has elevated his game to elite status and the Packers defense can hit you from any angle. Outside of an inconsistent running game, the Packers are a complete football team. The defense should be able to contain Rashard Mendenhall in between the red zone and the linebacker crew led by A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews have the ability to run down and take down Big Ben. On offense, unless Troy Polamalu and his hair make big plays (always a big possibilty) I don't see why Aaron Rodgers would have any problem with the Steelers defense.

The pick: Green Bay 27, Steelers 20. Aaron Rodgers officially makes Packers fan forget about Brett Favre and the Lombardi Trophy goes home to Green Bay.