Tag Archives: trades

The A’s Re-Rebuild

Oh the holiday’s brought up a few sports topics especially the Raiders since they played, but a lot of my hometown friends seemed to be talking about the A’s once again being in rebuild mode after the division rival Angels and Rangers made an array of championship caliber moves. I can’t completely blame the A’s for thinking about rebuilding after they saw what their divisional opponents did, but at the same time it feels like they aren’t even going to try AT ALL for a few years. They kinda half-assed the rebuild the first time around when they sort of rebuilt by trading pitchers, but then traded away a kings ransom (Cargo) for a crappy Matt Holiday. This time it’s really full on rebuild mode, and they are trading away any and all assets they have which should include Andrew Bailey in the near future (he was the only piece I honestly didn’t mind seeing go). They’ll probably ship off Brett Anderson as well when he comes back from his Tommy John surgery next season. The most perplexing part of these trades to us fans is that they had control over these pitchers for a long time before they even hit their arbitration years. Not signing Willingham or Matsui also put the writing on the wall that this team isn’t going to compete for awhile because they have zero offense outside Jemile Weeks now. Hell they aren’t even keeping around the beloved backup catcher who doesn’t even cost much to keep.

Sure they got some nice prospects back for Cahill and Gio, but the growing sentiment with my A’s friends is that this team has completely given up, and they won’t be following anything they do next year or possibly ever. I can’t blame them at all. It’s going to be painful watching this team, even more so than last seasons error filled crap fest. I’ve heard numerous times that it might be better to just root for a new team, like say, the Giants. This statement pretty much crushed me every time I heard someone say it over the past couple months, especially when my Uncle said it who is one of the main reasons I’m an A’s fan at all. Some of the most loyal A’s fans over the years jumping ship to a team that I didn’t necessarily hate, but am starting to hate them more and more. Honestly, the best part about the Cahill trade is that he’s going to the Giants rival the Diamondbacks. I can see him getting numerous 4-6-3 double plays against their weak hitting lineup, but even that will only bring me minimal enjoyment.

Anyways, the A’s are in a real life version of Major League the movie as the owner is desperate to move, and seems to be fielding the least competitive team possible. There also seems to be a growing dissent for the A’s moving to San Jose among fans, and I’ll be the first to say I’d love to see them stay in Oakland by Jack London Square, but at the moment that isn’t a realistic option if we want them to be competitive again (aka get corporate sponsors to push them into the $80-$100M range in salary). Can they draw people at the coliseum if they are good? Sure, but they’ll never have a large payroll that exceeds $70M, and teams have caught up to them on all the sabermetrics stuff that helped keep Billy ahead of the competition during the early 2000′s. On an even playing field, there’s noway to compete with such little salary to work with.

It feels like the odds are against them whether it’s moving to San Jose and being blocked by the Giants. And seriously, how many fans would the Giants really lose?!? They are in SF, a HUGE city, and can take all the fairweather east bay A’s fans if they haven’t jumped teams already. Whether it’s Oakland coming up with a viable option to build a new park for this team or San Jose. It doesn’t matter what’s being proposed or done for them, it almost feels like they’re inevitably going to have to move out of the Bay Area just like the Kings will probably have to move from Sacramento. I’m not sure what my A’s friends think of them moving out of California, but as lame as they think people in San Jose are, I’d much rather have the A’s there instead of some other state. Recently it sounds like the Giants aren’t going to give up their gold mine of sponsorships (SJ) without a fight, and Selig is too stupid to make a ruling on anything, so they probably won’t know what they can or can’t do until he’s retired or dead. Once again the A’s will go into another season with no direction for the future, and most likely losing more fans in the process. They need new facilities. They need more sponsors. They need a fresh start, and now I’m just hoping it’s going to be in the greater bay area or in California. No plans have been discussed outside the bay area, but I’m sure those talks will start soon if something doesn’t give. Mark my words!


Doin Rants: NBA Trades Have Gotten Ridiculous

Alright, this has gotten out of hand. Enough is enough. I just stopped by espn’s nba page and 4 or 5 of the ten headlines were about contract buyouts. This is my boiling point. My frustration has mounted enough to warrant a Doin Work rant. It all started when the NBA began requiring that all trades need to be within 10% (I believe) of each other’s matching salaries. A few years later it got to the point where teams weren’t even swapping comparable talent. Expiring contracts were all of sudden worth more than good players. NBA franchises are supposed to be run like businesses, so why would your business strategy ever be to hire older guys who are close to retiring and can only perform at a fraction of their prior productivity level. Sure, you want the money to come off the books, but you still have to hire someone in their place. Sure, you save a couple bucks, but what’s the point, you’re surely overpaying a few guys on your team, and guess what… you’re going to do it again. Now, though? NOW…. teams aren’t even keeping the guys they’re getting in trades!! Instead, the trade deadline has really just come to be the day before the league’s BUYOUT deadline, where teams can have their crack at a fresh crop of savvy veterans who can help them in their postseason runs. Guys like Troy Murphy and Mike Bibby are available, all because their former teams gave away decent players to buy them out. The Warriors gave up Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric for Troy Murphy (and then not) and a 2nd round pick. Those guys are far from all-stars, but Wright is the guy they traded Jason Richardson for the rights to, essentially imploding the We Believe team immediately after the great upset of 2007. (Imagine that, a rant about ridiculous trades has ultimately led me to the Warriors…)

So Murphy is rumored to be ending up in Miami, as is Bibby. Something doesn’t seem right about this. I’m not talking about Miami getting these two guys, they’re not going to get them a ring or anything. I’m just talking about teams trading a decent player to a better team, subsequently waiving the newly acquired player, and then that player signs with a contender. Or we’ve also got the Hornets and Kings trade that Mark Cuban pointed out. The Hornets were recently taken over by the league to help re-stabilize the franchise to make it a more attractive investment, but their first trade is a move to take on salary? They gave up Marcus Thornton, who was making $10 an hour, for Carl Landry, who’s owed about $3 million. I give them credit for making a good personnel move, but taking on salary doesn’t seem like a wise business decision. Perhaps the worse business decision from the Kings’ side though. Already struggling to attract fans in a one-sport city, they traded away a guy who was the league’s best 6th man when they acquired him, for Thornton, who has some great potential, but isn’t exactly going to convince fans to come out. Teams these days are putting crap on the table and getting mad when the fans don’t eat it. Something has gone terribly wrong.

So I’m looking forward to the offseason. I love the sport of basketball, but the NBA has by far become the kookiest sports league on Earth. Whatever they all end up agreeing to can’t be worse than how it already is. I can’t even began to comprehend how unnecessarily overcomplicated they’ve made it, but so many moves make so little sense. They need to tie in the D-League, so teams can at least get some “prospects” in return.


Angels $$ in the Outfield

Arte better not expect the second coming of Vlad with Vernon....

Did Arte Moreno ever really buy the Angels from the Disney Corporation? Are the Angels are spending all their money on outfielders in an attempt to bring back the classicly bad movie Angels in the Outfield? At the time the movie came out it was laughable that the Angels would ever win a pennant, and after a head scratching offseason it seems just as laughable right now spending more on their 30+ year old outfield than the movie grossed at the box office. Moreno is making Al Davis look sane these days.

You may or may not have heard they traded for Vernon Wells giving up Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to the Blue Jays. Wells is a slight upgrade over Rivera, but not a $15M upgrade. Wells had a pretty good season last year, but if you look at his career numbers you will see he has one pretty good year, then a bad one, and the worst part about him is he has continually declined from his career highs he set in 04-06. I’m not saying he’ll be terrible this year, but he will never live up to his contract. Rivera was supposed to make $5M this upcoming season, while Wells is due to make $23M in 2011 with three more years of $21M left on his contract. Both Rivera and Wells are 32 years old, and without PED’s we know that their production will dwindle as time rolls along, unless some crazy undetectable strengthening drug comes along.

The Angels struck out on landing Carl Crawford, and decide to trade for a guy that the Blue Jays have been trying to get rid of for years!?! I even put him on my list of worst contracts in the MLB back in August of 2009. This move makes no sense at all, especially when the reason for them not wanting to sign Crawford was that he wanted too many years. He wanted seven, and that would’ve put him at 35 years old when his contract ran out, coincidentally that is the same age that Wells will be when his contract is done. I’ve got nothing against Vernon, but in two years which player would you rather have? Not a tough choice there right?

With their current outfield alignment, they weren’t especially bad out there, nor were they all that good, but having this be their major upgrade of the offseason seems like a joke. They are still paying for the final year of Gary Matthews Jr.’s ridiculous contract ($11.5M this year), and he’s not even playing anymore. They are spending $63M on the outfield including Matthews Jr. Yup, $63M is not a typo for (Matthews Jr, Wells, Hunter, and Abreu). That’s more than the A’s entire payroll, ok, maybe that was an exaggeration, but it’s close, and they still don’t look like a great team. I know Vernon won’t be labeled as the most overpaid fourth outfielder like Matthews Jr. was, but he could be in four years during the final year of his contract! Was it Torii Hunter’s contract working out that made them pull the trigger? I’ll be the first to admit that I thought Hunter was overpaid when they signed him, but this seems like a twice as risky scenario, since Wells hasn’t had an all-star worthy season since 2006, and Torii is known for his hard work ethic, not the same with Wells. Why wouldn’t they put in a better offer for Beltre since he obviously would’ve come to LA if the price was right since all Boras clients ever want is the most money. It would’ve sured up their worst infield position, and they wouldn’t be stuck with quite as large of a contract. They needed an upgrade at 3B much more than in the outfield. Whatever their reasons, I’m glad they are going to stick with Brandon the .200 hitter Wood at third base, and even happier they have Vernon for the next four years keeping a lot of salary tied up. Just so you know Brandon Wood makes the A’s Kevin Kouzmanoff look like a shoe in All-Star.


Is Oakland Ready to Re-Claim The AL West?

I can’t contain my excitement anymore. This is by far the most excited I’ve been about baseball during the offseason in at least three or four years. The A’s have made a lot of moves that made sense this offseason after last year’s overachieving team went 81-81 showing that sometimes less is more. We had less recognizable names playing for us, but did better than we have for a couple of years. I still can’t quite figure out how they won as many games as they did, but we found out what needed to be addressed, and all knew going into this season that they would finally have some money to spend with expiring contracts. I was skeptical that they would in fact spend that money, but they have shown so far they aren’t scared to make some moves. If they didn’t make the moves they did, I wasn’t sure how much longer I could give them the full on support that I have over the years. Yes, I understand they need a new stadium, and would love nothing more than for them to have a billion dollar state of the art park to call home, but there’s no way that will happen when they aren’t a competitive team. As MCeezy keeps saying build a winner then build a new stadium. Another point I’ll give him credit for, is they needed even more so than years past to make some moves this year since their across the bay counterpart just won the World Series. I mean really how tough decision is it for the fair-weather fans in the bay to make? Go to the ghetto Oakland Coliseum and watch a 2nd place team, or head across the bay bridge to the amazing AT&T Park watching the defending world champs? If I was one of the transplants that overtake the area, I’d be heading to SF. Of course the devil’s advocate would say, Lew Wolffe wants to move this team, and what better way to show the need than to tank in attendance. Thankfully it’s not the latter.

Okay enough ranting and onto the real reason for this post was why I can’t wait for this MLB season to start. First off another reason I’m looking forward to it is because there won’t be a lockout, so it might be the only sport to follow unless you love the financials of CBA’s. The A’s started the offseason by trading for David Dejesus, which shouldn’t be mistaken for a huge trade, but was an upgrade in the outfield getting a career .318 hitter, and a guy that usually stays healthy. Can’t say the same for any of the other 15 outfielders we have on the roster.

Our second signing will probably get some of the Asian demographic on board getting Hideki Matsui for a reasonable price. He’s not the most exciting signing in the world, but he does bring something that we clearly lacked, a player that can hit 20+ homers without striking out 300 times a season. He’s been a workhorse throughout his career, and is the opposite of the constantly complaining Jack Cust. He’s also not completely falling apart like some of the guys we’ve signed over the years with the exception of Frank Thomas during his resurrection.

Just days after the Matsui signing we picked up Josh Willingham in a trade. I loved this move as I’ve always liked Willingham. He’s a powerful guy when he gets the atbats, and with two powerful bats in the lineup, maybe they will produce enough to avoid those 1-0 2-1 losses they seemed to frequently have last year. It also gives us a little hope in those extra inning games of a walkoff homer instead of waiting for three singles to get that run. For an A’s fan, it felt like we signed Carl Crawford and David Ortiz this offseason. Not because we think they are THAT good of players, but because they never sign or trade for guys that aren’t over the hill (sans the Holiday deal). We still have some big holes in the lineup, and I’d like to see an upgrade at SS or 3B, but if this is all we do, I’m still happy with it.

The second wave of signings were all for the bullpen, which was a great idea backing up the awesome starting pitching they already have, and possibly one of them will end up being their 5th starter. When you lead the AL in ERA, you think there must not be much that needs to be changed. That could be the farthest thing from the truth, as their bullpen wasn’t actually that strong last season. The first addition was the return of Rich Harden. A’s fans have always had a soft spot for him, and it’s really the only place he’s had any success. This time around he’s going to be in the bullpen though hopefully keeping him off of the DL. They also signed Brandon McCarthy, who I’m not sure if they are trying him out for the 5th spot in the rotation or a long reliever.

They officially signed Grant Balfour yesterday, and I thought this was a GREAT signing. No longer will we have to rely on Michael Wuertz’s roller coaster rides to set up the end of the game for Bailey. I’ve never heard a bad thing about the guy, so no reason to not like the move. He also said of the team that they remind him a lot of the 2008 Rays, hopefully he’s right about that! He struck out the most hitters of any reliever last year against the AL East, so there’s no reason to think he can’t do it against the AL West. I have a feeling that Braden and Balfour are going to get this pitching staff fired up regularly.

Today they signed lefty Brian Fuentes. I’ll be honest, I don’t really like Fuentes. I loved it when he was on the Angels, and every time he came in the game there was a chance they’d lose. I’m okay with Fuentes in a set up role, let’s just hope he’s our lefty specialist and not pitching full innings, because I don’t want to be on that roller-coaster regularly.

All in all, this has been a great offseason, and there’s still a few months left to make some more moves. Do you see these moves making the A’s take over the AL West? I sure do, but I’m bias as hell…


Trading Weekend…

Wall Street is closed on the weekends, but there were some major trades being made in the sports world over the weekend. The two biggest trades were undoubtedly the Magic getting Gilbert (a long time favorite of mine) from the Wizards, as well as Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Earl Clark from the Suns. My first reaction to the trade when I saw it flash up on the bottom line on TV was, what an upgrade! They got rid of Rashard, Pietrus and Vince, which is a win my book regardless of who came in. Nothing against Vince or Rashard, but if the Magic really want to be serious contenders they needed to get rid of both of them for the simple reason that they always choke in the playoffs. Here’s a reminder of how they felt last year about the Hedoless team. (NJ and Toronto fans nodding in agreement) Second, they got rid of Michael (I step out of bounds twice a game) Pietrus. I’m not positive how Air France has done this year since I really don’t follow the Magic that closely, but Pietrus is a guy that frustrated me when he was in a Warriors uniform. I can only assume that those are the same type of sentiments that Magic fans have about him, but maybe not. All in all it was like the how the A’s finally rid themselves of Jack Cust. Addition by subtraction.

How will this new look Eastern Conference beast be with all the new parts? I really can’t say for sure that they will be better than the old group, but since they are taking in veterans that have played in multiple systems, I’m sure integrating them into the game plan won’t take as long as many expect. I also believe that Hedo and Arenas want to prove that they are good again, and will have plenty of reasons now that they will be playing for a winning team. I’m sure both want to revive their image, and winning cures that quickly just look at Vick! A lot of people seemed shocked that they’d blow up their team like this with only a quarter of the season gone by, but my thinking is that all of this seeming panic goes back to the summer of Lebron. The Magic are about to find themselves in a similar situation that Cleveland faced last year with Dwight’s contract expiring in 2012. Feels like a do or die move to try and get a championship. If you are the Magic, you definitely should be scared that if they don’t get a championship in the next two years then their chances to re-sign Dwight will be nearly impossible as he looks to take his talents away from central Florida. They already have experience losing a once in a lifetime center seeing Shaq flee to LA. Centers don’t grow on trees as we’ve seen with guys like Oden and Bynum never really making it to their potential level or staying healthy for that matter. The Magic are now deep into the luxury tax, but it will only be worth it if they can appease their big man to stay, and a championship might be the only way to do that. I hope it works out for them, unless of course Dwight has an aching to come to Golden State! Then I wouldn’t mind watching his “Decision” from the Epcot Center.

Zack Greinke was the other big trade of the weekend. I love reading how the Royals got a good deal out of it. Really!?! You can already tell?!? They traded away their best player and have improved greatly?!? I guess they are like the A’s, but simply never win. The Royals have one of the youngest roster known to man. Aside from Vin Mazzaro who the A’s just traded to them, I don’t really recognize many names. I guess they could be like the Padres and sneak up on everyone, but that’s a laughable statement in itself. If they are a contender in two years I will gladly eat those words. I’d put the chances of them getting a Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Seizmore type haul at 1%.  Personally, I thought the best part about this trade was that the Rangers didn’t end up with Greinke. He was supposedly their second target after they failed to get Cliff Lee. Now it looks like the A’s are still the only team that’s really improved in the AL West, which makes me that much happier. The Brewers get what they were desperately missing with Greinke’s consistent pitching, even if last year he wasn’t as great. Can you blame him? I’d have a hard time getting fired up for starts if I was on the Royals. I think he’s going to tear through the NL lineups and might be somewhat like Halladay was last year for the Phillies, although there’s a huge difference between the AL East and the AL Central. I actually picked the Brewers to win the NL Central last year, maybe I just picked them one year too early! Now that they’ll have Yorvani Gallardo and hopefully a healthy Chris Capuano, so there’s no reason to count this team out. Their young core can put up runs, but now they some pitching to match that powerful lineup. If they can find a way to bridge the gap between their new starters and the Axeman I will be saying I told you so 8 months from now when they are in the playoffs!


MLB Winter Meetings

Probably the most exciting time of the MLB offseason is seeing the hundreds of millions of dollars flying around. The winter meetings always produce plenty of rumors, and usually end with at least a few big names traded or signed to new teams. I was especially excited about this year, since I wrote a while back that the A’s actually have some money to spend on some free agents this year. It has just made me follow the winter meetings all that much closer! Here’s a few thoughts on the things I thought that were interesting that have taken place so far.

Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox seems like a solid deal for both sides. The Padres lost their best player and fan favorite, but got prospects that they are very familiar with since Jed Hoyer (Padres GM) used to work in Boston’s front office. We won’t know if the trade was all that even until the prospects hit the majors for a couple of years, but if they somehow pulled a Hanley Ramierez type player out of the deal it might not be as lopsided as everyone thinks right now. The Padres knew they couldn’t afford him next year, and I thought that they would give it a run this year after last year’s solid season. I thought they’d wait and see where they were at the All-Star break, but it’s probably better to trade a healthy Gonzalez now, instead of risking that he’ll be injured with diminished value later. Adrian just shot up my draft board for fantasy baseball. Just look how good Beltre did last year moving from the unfriendly hitting confines of Seattle to the playing pepper with the Green Monster.

Jayson Werth’s megadeal of 7 years and $126M seems like a horrible signing to me. Boras gets money for his clients though, and his clients are always happy with the deal. Does Werth have Carlos Beltran written all over it? Don’t get me wrong, I love the way Jayson plays, but for this much money after only two productive years in a hitters park is a head scratcher to me. Why are the Nats bogging down their payroll when they suck? It feels like the same kind of deal Gary Matthews got with the Angels. Just ask them how much they like that guy! Doesn’t signing Adam Dunn seem like a more reasonable option? I’d rather keep Dunn with less years, and maybe struggle for a year or two. When Bryce Harper and Steven Strasburg are playing at the level we all think they will, then would be the time to figure out what you need most and spend all your money. Not now, when you aren’t positive of what your team needs really are. I guess they might have a real plan if they really do throw “huge” money at Cliff Lee, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Tiger, Frank, and Jaime can all get a good laugh about this divorce stuff!

McCourt Vs. McCourt in court. Jaime and Frank finished up their first trial as they were competing for the rights to own the Dodgers in what has been a very messy divorce. The court ruled that Frank’s document stating he was the sole owner of the team will be thrown out because it was illegally made after the original prenup, so the team is still 50% hers and 50% his. If one of the two can’t buy the team outright, it’s been assumed that they will sell the team, which would make a lot of Dodger fans happy. Unfortunately though that won’t happen soon, and there will be another trial trying to prove that Frank’s original company was the reason they were able to purchase the Dodgers, so he will try to prove that he should have sole ownership. Looks like the Dodgers are going to be battling with Arizona for last place in the division this year.

The A’s offseason started with a bang as they made a couple trades and pickups with David Dejesus and Edwin Encarnacion. They won the rights to talk to Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma as well. We already dumped Encarnacion, and never really came close to signing Iwakuma, so I guess all that was smoke and mirrors. We may have just been blocking the Rangers and Mariners from Iwakuma since they were the two teams we outbid to have the rights to negotiate with him. It never really felt like a deal was getting done for him, especially for the money he was asking for to be our 5th starter.

I do want the A’s to spend this year, and they have the money to do so, but I think I’m more encouraged on what they haven’t spent their money on! They were rumored to be talking to Lance Berkman, which sounded like bringing back Giambi, Sweeney, or Piazza type in. I’m not a fan of that method anymore, because we’ve only gotten one Frank Thomas, and the rest looked washed up like they were. Now Berkman’s the Cardinals problem, and I still don’t understand why they got him when he has to play in the outfield, unless they want to slot him in instead of Pujols. Another guy they were rumored going after was Adrian Beltre. I was just as happy to see that they withdrew their contract offer to him, because he only plays good in contract years. I hope the Angels end up with him, and he turns into Seattle Beltre that didn’t care. I’d much rather go for a guy like Josh Willingham at a highly discounted price…


What do Baseball Trades, Stephen Curry, and Brett Favre Have in Common?

They don’t really have anything in common, it’s just what I felt like rambling about today. I’ve had a stretch of stuff to do, and that didn’t include much blogging. I guess it’s not a bad thing to have too much to do. If only there were more hours in the day! Anyways, it’s been somewhat slow in the sports world lately, but there were some things I felt like I wanted to get my opinion out there on, so skip to whatever interests you.

MLB Trade Deadline: I liked how much action we saw leading up to, and during the July 31st trade deadline. It seemed more active than normal. Everyone is praising the Yankees for their haul of Berkman, Kerns, and Wood.

Not too many poo poo platters this trade deadline... Mr. Hankey Approves!

Sure it’s nice, but I don’t really see any of them making much of a difference. All three of these guys would’ve been nice acquisitions four or five years ago, but now, not so exciting. After this weekend, I think the Rays did just as good by making a small move to get Chad Qualls. Maybe it’s the NY media trying to make everyone believe the Yankees made some genius moves, but I’m not really buying it. For me it comes down to two teams that were the big winners. The Rangers and the Padres made the moves that made the most sense for their teams to get to the playoffs. I won’t include Houston or Arizona, since we don’t really know how the trades will affect them for a few years. The Rangers addressed their biggest need in getting an ace, Cliff Lee. He hasn’t won a lot since he joined the rotation, but he’s saved the bullpen from having to do anything throwing complete games like it’s a AAA squad. They also added Christian Guzman and Jorge Cantu. They plugged up their hole at first base, and also found a replacement for Ian Kinsler since he went to the DL. I loved the meaning behind all three trades. It was especially surprising for a franchise that is bankrupt. Same goes for the Padres who have their layover until new management is in place, and they were also big winners in my eyes. They’ve been nothing short of amazing with the pitching staff and defense, but didn’t have many hitters that you really feared outside of Adrian Gonzalez. I thought they were done when they got Tejada, which MCeezy or me at this point really understand how he fit in. One thing about Tejada though, is if he’s in a good situation, he is going to fire everyone else up around him. Maybe being in the playoff hunt will spark his bat a little too. They also added Ludwick, which I was shocked to hear. Now they have a legitimate guy to put in front of or behind Gonzalez. I think these moves keep them ahead of the Giants in the NL West.

Stephen Curry’s New Team – I’m already ecstatic on the Warriors upcoming season, and adding David Lee to the roster is welcomed after the original shock of losing Anthony Randolph. Proven guy vs. a guy with a seemingly limitless ceiling. I guess you can’t argue with the proven guy that works hard with everything he does. With the new face of the franchise being Lee and Curry it may have moved the Warriors into a good character type of player instead of the me first attitude we’ve had over recent years, Monta, SJax, Baron (at times), Harrington, etc. The reason I started this ramble was that I am pretty pumped to see Curry made the cut for final 15 on team USA. No, not just because of the mancrush I have on him, but for the experience he’ll gain, and how it will help him down the road. I’m not sure he’ll make the final 12 man roster, but either way it’s a great thing for him to be there around some of the elite younger players in the league over the next month. Too bad his new teammate (David Lee) had to withdraw because of his finger, but here’s what should happen to Curry from this experience. A) He gets to play with guys that aren’t in the D-League (Pretty much the Warriors roster for the 2nd half of 2009-10). B) He might not be able to make a pact like the Miami Trio, since the dubs have him locked up for awhile, and hopefully never let him get away. I mean, he could try to make a pact with a guy like Durant, but that’s unlikely, so maybe he could make a pitch to Iguodala or Granger to move over to the Bay when their contracts are up (4 years). C) He gets to learn from Coach K., and hopefully gets some pointers on defense, and maybe learns a trick or two to stop turning the ball over. D) He gets to learn to play the ultimate team game, since winning is the ONLY thing that matters for Team USA. I don’t think I can say the same for a Nellie led Warriors squad that seems to just want to entertain at times. Hopefully when Nellie starts taking vacations in the season, the new owners dump him.

Brett Favre – Weird, he says he’s retiring for a third time, even though we saw him playing catch a few weeks ago with some High Scool kids. It’s a GREAT thing when a rumor comes out, and nobody believes it. Usually there are people on both sides of the fence, but with this one, nobody seemed to really believe he’s actually made his final decision. I guess it’s the ol’ boy who cried wolf. Love or hate the guy, he’s good for the league. I hate the guy, but do want to see him out there. I was giddy during that NFC Championship game. It was great to root for the Saints to pummel him over and over, and fortunately, they did! If he sucked last year like he did with the Jets, nobody would care half as much, and might be believing the rumor. It’s crazy that he’s the one controlling the NFC North. Is he texting to start a gambling conspiracy? The odds jumped quite a bit as soon as it was announced he is retiring, I’m just sayin… I hope it’s not true, because I like to root against him. It’s like Tiger for me, it’s not fun to root against him when he isn’t dominating. Or like my Raiders. Growing up, I would get crap from people all the time (hater nation), but now friends just feel sorry for me after losing for so long. Brett we need you as a villain, so I, like everybody else, don’t believe that you are retiring. Personally, I think it’s just a cop out, so he doesn’t have to go to training camps, and can make the Vikings bend over backwards buying him an armadillo farm to hunt at. Maybe he just likes the attention, but whatever the reason, I have a feeling he already knows what he wants to do, and that will be to play football.


Raiders Swoop Up Another Leftover Quarterback

These days, it’s almost more exciting to be a Raider fan during the offseason than during the season.  The Raiders are the one team I can count on to make big moves each year to try and get better the following year. It doesn’t pan out in a favorable way, but it’s nice to know that management, for lack of a better word, is not just sitting around apathetically in it’s cryogenic chamber. The most recent addition to the Oakland roster is supposedly Jason Campbell. The guys over at ESPN reported during this morning’s draft coverage that the now expendable Redskins quarterback is headed to Oakland in a trade for the Raiders’ 4th round pick in 2012. This gives Al Davis yet another backup QB to add to his two decade long collection – maybe even longer, because as I think back as long as I’ve been alive, I can’t recall a single franchise caliber QB donning the silver and black. Many will point no further than Rich Gannon earlier this decade, but to me, Gannon will always be the Kansas City Chiefs’ backup. I’d have to go back to Plunkett personally. But that predates my Raiders fandom. I think of names like Jeff Hostetler, Jay Schroeder, Jeff George, Kerry Collings and regretfully, Jamarcus Russell. Now we’ll see how Campbell adjusts to life in the Black Hole. I usually have optimistic expectations for guys who basically got pushed out the door in their old clubhouse, but I’m not sure Campbell ever had the makeup of a starting QB. He had the keys to the truck in Washington for a while, but never really delivered. I really like the idea of two former standout SEC quarterbacks battling it out for the job in a season that will likely make or break both of their seasons.


Evaluating the NBA Trades

The trade deadline has come and gone, and there was some activity over the past week leading up to the salary dump or be a contender deadline. I can’t say I was surprised that Amare or Boozer didn’t go anywhere since both teams are still in the playoff hunt, and the Jazz look to be a threat in the west. There were some big moves by teams in contention, so I’ll go through and give you my thoughts on if these teams actually made themselves better to contend for a title…

Camby to the Blazers for Blake and Outlaw

Great pickup for a team that desperately needed someone to help out Aldridge down low. Aldridge has been playing out of position since Oden and Pryzbilla went down, so moving back to his natural PF spot should increase his productivity. I don’t see Portland as a contender, but this move could get them into the playoffs, and give them a little more experience come next year when they have a better chance at competing for a title. That is, if Brandon Roy starts looking like his old self, and gets that hammy healthy. Trade grade B.

Caron and Haywood to the Mavs

Yeah, I know. I already wrote about this one. I’ll rehash what I wrote before, this does make them better defensively, which should improve their soft image. Caron hasn’t had a great start in Dallas, but I’m sure it will take a little while to assimilate to the new team. I really like Haywood down low. I caught some of the game against the Suns last night and he was swatting all that weak sh** out of the paint. I thought they had a chance before the trade to do something in the west, but this only increases their chances. The trade grade B+

Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte

This feels like a terrible trade for the Bulls. They are finally gelling and out of nowhere they ship out a big man that is finally playing well out of town. I like the move for Charlotte, who needed to make a move to be better, and getting rid of Acie Law and Flip Murray won’t effect them at all from an on court standpoint. They’ve easily leapfrogged the Bulls in the east to get destroyed by one of the top three seeds. I still like that they made an improvement, so I’ll give them a B.

Kevin Martin, Hilton Armstrong, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, and a first round draft pick to the Rockets

Great deal for the Rockets, although I don’t see why they traded away Landry who has a shot at 6th man of the year. I’m just glad he landed in Sac who now has ten PF’s. I think having K-Mart will help the Rockets in the clutch, and since they are in a lot of close games, they will need him at the end of games. I feel like he will give some relief to Ariza and Brooks on the scoring load, and also make their offense tougher to zero in. He’s being reunited with his old coach Adelman so at least there’s a familiarity there. Martin also has that high basketball IQ which never hurts on a team that looks to overachieve. Trade grade B+. I don’t like them giving up their best bench guy in Landry could hurt their chemistry, but overall it’s a good move…

Antawn Jamison to the Cavs

I really like Jamison (partially for his Warriors ties, and partially because it’s my favorite Irish Whiskey). There’s no doubt that Amare would’ve been a bigger acquisition, but Jamison is no slouch. He’s a team guy and his averages are nearly identical to Amare’s 20ppg and 8 rpg. I’m not sure why people don’t view this as a great move. I mean look how well Jamal Crawford is doing for Atlanta after being stuck on crappy teams for years and years. The Cavs didn’t need to add someone that needs to dominate the ball to be effective, and Jamison is a guy that can get his without holding the ball too much! I thought they were the best team to knock off the Lakers, and this only improves them. Trade grade A-. It’s only a minus because they could’ve gone for Amare.


One Sad Franchise, and One Sad Warriors Fan…

Usually my Warriors posts are on the bright spots with the team, but there’s so much negativity in the organization over the past few seasons, I can’t resist NOT talking about their shortcomings. Sadly, the Warriors are one of the worst run franchises of all time. They still don’t qualify on my list as a top 5 worst all time franchise, because they’ve had some success albeit mostly before I was born. The past 17 years have had as many bright spots as I can count on one hand. With a .374 winning percentage letting numerous stars go just to save a few bucks only to watch them do great elsewhere would have any fan fed up. It feels like over the past few seasons that most of Warriors nation has finally had enough. The most recent news of the Warriors inability to make a good choices was cutting Speedy Claxton’s $5.2 million expiring contract. I can’t even pretend to understand how this helps us, since there are teams drooling worse than Homer Simpson over doughnuts to get some expiring contracts for the 2010 free agent class, so why are we dumping the contracts that seem to have so much value going into the trade deadline? We probably could’ve gotten something of value for the expiring contract we got in the Crawford deal over the summer right? I don’t have an answer for either of those questions and I’m sure management doesn’t either, but it did inspire this great website which I urge all our readers to click the red button in support of the fans vs. Cohan! This move just sums up many years of bad decisions by the front office, and truly shows they don’t care about the team winning. If they tell you it’s to get the team better, they must be breaking into those Marijuana clubs in SF and eating all the cookies. There is no conceivable reason to do this before the trade deadline. If they waited for the deadline to come and go and then cut him, I’d understand. This post is dedicated to what went wrong, and the only real way to fix them is to have a new owner! Continue reading


Did the Rangers and Mariners Get Better?

So the winter meetings are over, and there were two teams that made a few noteworthy moves in the AL West. Chone Figgins signed with the Mariners. Interesting move, now they have one of the best leadoff duos you could possibly have pairing Figgy with Ichiro. Maybe they’ll set some kind of record for double steals, or not, since Ichiro seems to be stealing a little less than he once did. They were reportedly thinking of re-signing Adrian Beltre, which sounds like a retarded idea, and would put a black hole in the lineup right after two on-base guys. The only way this deal will make them better is if they get some consistent power behind the two. Maybe Lopez will have a huge year and they could put him higher in the order. Maybe Griffey can have one last magic season for them, but looking at his stats from last year, I don’t see that being very likely… Side note, I am happy to see that he is going to play one more year, good for him! He’s the anti-Bonds, and it’s good to see he can still get some work past his prime.

The Rangers also made a couple moves signing one of my favorite love/hate players on the A’s over the past decade in Rich Harden. I love the way the guy pitches, and he CAN pitch, even Nolan Ryan is impressed by the guy, but hate how he is never healthy enough to pitch more than 100 or so innings. Supposedly he’s trying to make it to 200 innings to get a bunch of incentive money, but I’ll believe that when I see it! Dealing away Kevin Millwood’s elephant contract should allow them to sign a couple of guys at a much better price. Sounds like they have an interest in Mike Lowell as well. The Rangers weren’t bad last year, they just fell apart in the end with a mix of injuries and bad play.


Optimism For Athletics Fans, Once Again: A Rebuilding Process in Review

Even Stomper's excited!

Even Stomper's excited!

The A’s had their fans hopes sky high going into this season after making many moves and signings to acquire talent, instead of their normal MO of trading away talent. One thing led to another, and we found that the guys we signed either weren’t that good in an A’s uniform, or were just plain old. This season has been a disappointment to say the least especially with some of the experts picking them to win the AL West at the beginning of the year. Those dreams were quickly dashed as we saw Matt Holliday consistently getting fooled by pitches, and taking the crown for most fly ball outs since Eric Chavez was healthy and playing. Once his trade to the Cardinals went through Oakland once again had hope for the future.Rivercats Brett Wallace 3-Run Home Run At the time of the trade all A’s fans wanted was a bag of peanuts for Holliday, but instead we got what looks like a great hitter in the near future with Brett Wallace, and a possible good end of the rotation pitcher in Mortensen.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying that much attention to them since they dipped below the 20 games out of first. Alas, they have been playing very good as of late, which has inspired me to pay attention to them again. Maybe it’s because the games don’t matter, or maybe it’s because they have finally adopted a new style of play since their most recent rebuilding began. Since being swept by Seattle on August 26th, they’ve won or tied every series since, going 16-6, and are currently on a seven game win streak. Once again, A’s fans will be able to go into the off-season hoping that a fresh start will rid us of our recent losing ways.

The A’s main failings over the past couple season’s have all pointed to their incompetence on offense, and since getting rid of Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera they’ve surprisingly done much better in that department. Post All-Star break, the A’s have led the league in stolen bases, doubles, and are third in runs scored. For a team that never used to steals bases, and isn’t known for manufacturing runs, it’s refreshing to see them make a change for what suits their players. The always referenced “Moneyball” will finally be an afterthought, as they seem to be turning to a new page. I haven’t read anywhere that they’ve had a change in philosophy, but it’s pretty obvious if you ever pay attention to them. Even Rajai Davis, a guy I never thought I’d like, is tearing it up. He stole his 40th bag of the season last night against Cleveland, and is the first big threat on the base-paths since Rickey Henderson was around. Rex Hudler, the Angels announcer, whom I completely despise, actually made a good point about the A’s and how they have adapted to so called “Angel way” of manufacturing runs. He likes how they are putting pressure on opposing defenses to worry about runners taking off at any given moment, which opens holes in the infield for more of those dribblers to get through. In a post steroid era the A’s can’t rely on power as much as they once did as we all know it was rampant in the Bay Area. So the shift to stealing bases and manufacturing runs has looked like the a good change in their philosophy, and is starting to pay dividends in the win column late in the season.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

The greatest part about these late season stats is the fact that this isn’t even the reason I’m optimistic for next season. I’m excited about the guys going to be in our offense of the future. Sure guys like Kurt Suzuki are going to be mainstays in the lineup for awhile, but since everybody digs the long ball, A’s fans should be very excited about the two power hitters coming to Oakland sooner rather than later. 3rd baseman, Brett Wallace (#2 in Baseball Prospectus) and 1st baseman, Chris Carter (#4 in Baseball Prospectus) are the new reasons there is optimism in Oakland. They’ve already contributed to the Sacramento Rivercats (AAA) team during their playoff run for a PCL championship. Carter had three home runs in one game since being called up from AA about a month ago, and he is the closest to Ryan Howard type hitter the A’s have in their farm system.  Many point to Carlos Gonzalez as the biggest position player gained in the Dan Haren deal, but Chris Carter has the potential to have much more power than C-Gon. It also looks as though we kept the best pitcher from the Haren deal as well in Brett Anderson, who has had a rocky season, but has shown that he has ace type stuff. Brett Wallace should be on the other corner for the A’s infield solidifying a position that’s been a problem since Chavez went on the DL, about three seasons ago. Personally Wallace reminds me of Troy Glaus, and if we got that I’d be pretty happy. If the A’s can continue to steal bases and hit doubles the way they have been at the end of this season, and add the power of Wallace and Carter to the lineup they will undoubtedly have a chance to challenge the Angels for years to come.

Brett Anderson has won two straight decisions for the first time in his career over his last two starts.

Rookie, Brett Anderson, has won two straight starts for the first time in his career.

Their pitching has been shaky at times this year, and may continue to stay that way as their under 25 year old rotation learns the ropes. Between Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Gio Gonzalez, and maybe Justin Duchscherer (if he snaps out of his depressed mental state) we should have a solid rotation come next season. The young guys have taken their lumps this season, but they have also shown that they can shut teams and shown glimmers of domination. This year should have taught them the ropes as they find out what types of adjustments they need to make going into the off-season to prevent those crooked numbers from going up on the score board. Michael Inoa is a long way from being called up, but he’s another young guy I will be keeping my eye on, especially since we gave him a Strausberg like contract for a 16-year-old, which I still feel is kind of ridiculous. All in all I couldn’t ask for much more from our management on a tight budget. You just have to hope it all pans out!


A’s Pull Another Jack Move on the Cardinals

It seemed as though the A’s were going to deal Matt Holliday for Brett Wallace straight up.  Instead, they got two extra players.  Many would say this is a good deal for both teams, but frankly, I don’t really care what it does for the Cardinals.  I don’t care if Matt Holliday hits .220 or .330 the rest of the way.  No matter what happens, the A’s win.  Perhaps I’m overstating it, but removing Holliday from the lineup is addition by subtraction.  Seeing him up close this year has been a huge disappointment.  Many have tried to chalk it up to him being in a pitcher’s park or having little help offensively in the lineup.  The fact is, he simply wasn’t hitting.  It’s not like he was constantly hitting balls that died on the warning track.  Or that he was racking up hits but getting left on base when others failed to come through.  You can’t even attribute his struggles to seeing few good pitches, because pitchers weren’t pitching around him.  He had plenty of opportunities with runners on and saw plenty of pitches to hit.  He just wasn’t hitting them.  He filled in nicely for Mark Ellis providing the team’s bulk of infield pop-ups.  At the same time, he beat out Bobby Crosby for the title of best at hitting into inning-ending double plays.  Don’t let the past week or two fool you.  The A’s could’ve traded him for the ol’ proverbial bag of balls and come out winners.

However, Oakland didn’t receive a bag of balls in this deal, but rather two top ten prospects from the Cardinals’ system.  Brett Wallace is a supposed can’t miss big leaguer, and is probably less than a year away.  Despite being a fat gut, scouts say he is in fact athletic, and could stick at third base for years to come. Third base, as A’s fans know too well, is a huge hole for the team.  On top of that, they managed to snag St. Louis’ 2nd best pitching prospect, and 6th best prospect overall.  It’s unlikely he’ll be the next Dan Haren, but he is projected to be a future #3 starter.  The bottom line is the three players the A’s got are almost guaranteed to be better than the two compensation picks they would’ve received at the end of the season.  The added bonus is that Holliday is out of lineup two months sooner!


The Sad State of the NBA

With the draft wrapped up and the free agency about to kick into full swing (Highlighted by Ben Gordon and Hedo Turkoglu), it seems like the NBA is in a different state than it has been for most seasons with the vicious economic decline. Instead of hearing about the best players being traded, we hear more about hedo_300_080204the rumors on how so many NBA teams are losing money, and are definitely going to have even more troubles with their payrolls next season. Money is the most valuable part of every organization and it seems that more teams are interested in shedding cap space, than making their teams better to compete for a title. Trade offers aren’t even about talent as much as who is getting the player with the big contract that expires next year. 12 teams accepted the leagues offer to borrow between $13 and $20 million. I won’t completely blame it on players and situations like the highly chronicled Darius Miles who is still sucking cap space away from Portland and just violated the leagues drug policy again. large_DariusBut, he is definitely one of the reasons the league needs to review the collective bargaining agreement before the seemingly imminent lockout in 2011.

My biggest concern for the NBA is the shrinking cap space each season. If the economy continues to go the way it has, the cap will keep falling. In turn, this will make it impossible for teams to stay under the cap especially with the current contract constructions weighted at the end, and put some teams over the cap before the next season even starts. This year will only be the second time in league history that the cap has been lowered from the previous season. Teams know this, and it is making them thriftier than ever. Why do they want to risk hitting the luxury tax for making it one round deeper in the playoffs? They really don’t, and this is going to be the NBA’s biggest problem during the recession! The objective for mediocrity in the league is not going to keep fans around, and without the fans the league will obviously struggle. The seats are already empty in the smaller market areas and terrible franchises. I watched many Clippers games (more than I’d like to admit) this year and most of the time you could hear the other teams fans that happen to live in L.A. at the games cheering over the Clippers’ fans (if there actually were any).

So with Amare on the block, and few interesting free agents out there, what will happen this offseason you ask? I think it’s going to be a lot of low-balling, and there will definitely be a lot of teams giving away superior talent just to relieve their books. With all of the talks surrounding my Warriors, and Amare Stoudemire possibly going to them, I took a step back to see what could possibly be behind it. Sure Amare is a great player when he’s healthy, but even he felt that the Warriors are giving up too much talent for him to want to go to there. It makes me wonder if the Warriors original objective was to have Stoudemire for a one year rental and have a lot of money come off the books instead of having: Biendris (5 years), Wright (3 years), and  Bellinelli (3 years). brad-millerWere the Warriors making a money dump like the Kings did when they gave away Brad Miller to save themselves millions off the cap in the long run? I feel like I can’t trust any move my team is making this offseason without wondering, was this done just for the pocketbook or did they really try to improve the team to make them a contender…


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