Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New developments...

Interesting blog today from Mark Bowman, who mentions that any team that was interested in acquiring Derek Lowe wanted the Braves to eat half of the 45 million that remained on his contract. Thus, it is easy to see why Vazquez was moved instead. Also, speculation is that no one other than the Yankees were interested in taking on Vazquez and pay his entire 11.5 million salary (Angels??). So, I guess getting a 4th outfielder, bootleg lefty, and a top 3 prospect from the Yankees wasn't so bad after all.

Now to today's developments...The Glaus signing (2 million for 1 year with incentives) makes me think the Braves didn't want to give LaRoche a multi-year contract and are intent on giving the job to Freddie Freeman as soon as next year. An Adrian Gonzalez trade is now likely off the board, but the team is far from set. Thinking Glaus will be a middle of the order hitter and stay healthy the whole year is not realistic. That would be comparable to signing Raul Mondesi/Brian Jordan to fill a corner outfield spot...

It is becoming more apparent that Mark DeRosa is the perfect piece to finish off the team. He can play the outfield with McLouth and Heyward/Cabrera/Diaz, first base if Glaus is hurt, or 3rd if Chipper is hurt. Also, Glaus could play 3rd in the case of a Chipper injury and DeRosa to 1st. He is also another right handed bat that would balance the lineup well.


That's a pretty good lineup with some right handed power at the bottom. Throw in Diaz who lights up lefties and you have a pretty deep team.

With that said, the team still has work to do before spring training. The 10+ million available to Wren needs to be used wisely. Either sign DeRosa, trade for Uggla, or do something outside the box - like the Glaus signing...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More on the Braves...

Ken Rosenthal is now saying that the Braves have admitted they can't afford Bay or Holliday, but are interested in Mark DeRosa. What about signing DeRosa to 3/21 and LaRoche to 3/25? LaRoche brings solid defense and power from the left side, and DeRosa's versatility would allow for some flexibility in the lineup each day.

Consider this lineup against righty's...

McLouth - CF
Prado - 2B
Jones - 3B
McCann - C
Escobar - SS
LaRoche - 1B
DeRosa - RF
Cabrera - LF

Against lefty's...

McLouth - CF
Prado - 2B
Jones - 3B
McCann - C
Escobar - SS
DeRosa - 1B
Diaz - RF
Cabrera - LF

This doesn't consider Heyward, but if he is ready, just move him into the lineup for Cabrera. This team would, mixed with a good pitching staff, could compete for the NL East title. They should be deep, with Infante on the bench and LaRoche against lefty's and Diaz against righty's. If Heyward is in the lineup, Cabrera is a solid 4th outfielder.

The possibility of trading for Adrian Gonzalez is also an option that is intriguing. It would likely take Freeman/Medlen/Teheran/Prospect, but he could come in and be the clean up hitter/threat that could make this team a real contender.

The Uggla trade is also being discussed, but I don't know how likely that is or if I like it either. There has to be something in the works and the sooner we hear what it is the sooner I can forget about the transaction made this morning...

Christmas musings...

I was up this morning looking for a blog topic when I saw the Joel Sherman tweet about the Yankees being close to acquiring Javy Vazquez. I was figuring the Braves would be getting Nick Swisher + prospects in the deal and was pretty excited about the potential deal. Alas, the news turned sour when it become apparent the deal was for Melky Cabrera, a swap of bootleg lefties, and a 19 year old pitcher 3+ years from the bigs.

Why the timing of this trade? I understand for NY they felt a need to match the Lackey move the Sox made, but what is our hurry? It was known that Lowe was being dangled and if there was no market for him, why rush into trading Javy? I feel the Braves could have received more for a guy that is a lock for 200+ innings and 12+ wins.

Here is a quick breakdown of the players the Braves received:

Melky Cabrera - .274-13-68 in 154 games last year
Mike Dunn - LHP with good slider that should make big league club
Aloyds Vizcaino - Flame throwing 19 year old Dominican with big time stuff - think Neftali Feliz

But, now that the deal is done, what does this mean for the team? First, according to David O'Brien, the Braves will pay none of Javy's 11.5 million this year. So, one would think that this would allow some payroll flexibility to go after a first baseman at this point. Assuming the budget for the 2010 payroll is similar to 2009 at 95 million, here is where the team stands as of now.

Lowe - 15
Chipper - 13
Hudson - 9
Kawakami - 6.67
Wagner - 6.75
McCann - 5.5
McLouth - 4.5
Saito - 3.2
Diaz - 2.55
Infante - 2.25
Ross - 1.6


Cabrera - 2.5
Moylan .75
Jurrjens - .5
Escobar - .5
Prado - .5
Medlen - .5
O'Flaherty - .5
Hernandez - .5
Hanson - .5
Chavez - .5
Dunn - .5
Thurston - .5
Heyward - .5

That comes out to about 78 million, so there appears to be some room to maneuver before spring training. But what I still can't figure out the reason for this salary dump. Now, the starting rotation, bullpen, outfield, catcher, SS, 3B, 2B, UI, all are set. The only position of need is first base and there are not any better alternatives than simply bringing back LaRoche at a 3 year deal worth about 25-30 million. But, if that is the case, why not trade Lowe and eat some of the contract and still be at your 95 million dollar budget and still have Vazquez?

I find it hard to imagine that Wren will just sign LaRoche, have a payroll of about 85-87 million, and not use all of his available funds. Hopefully, the payroll flexibility created with this trade will allow the Braves to take on a contract of a good player without giving up much. Or, allow for a mid-season acquisition of some sort.

As of now, here is where the team stands...

SP - Hudson
SP - Jurrjens
SP - Hanson
SP - Lowe
SP - Kawakami

RP - Saito
RP - Chavez
RP - Dunn
RP - O'Flaherty
RP - Moylan
RP - Medlen
CL - Wagner

C - McCann
C - Ross
1B - N/A
2B - Prado
SS - Escobar
3B - Jones
UI - Thurston
UI - Infante
UI - Hernandez
OF - McLouth
OF - Cabrera
OF - Diaz
OF - Heyward

I do not think this is a playoff team at this point even with LaRoche. Lets get to work, Frankie Boy...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back in the swing of things...

A lot has happened in the 2 weeks since I last wrote on here. The Falcons season came crashing down with several injuries, including a couple to key skill position players. But, that's the curse of the Falcons. Matt Ryan is 12-1 as a starter at home and the Birds have 2 home games to get to 8-5 and he can't play in either game. That kind of timing is why the back-to-back winning seasons may continue...

As for the Falcons getting back on the right track, it is going to start on defense. The offense could maybe use another lineman and a #2 receiver, but most spots appear pretty solid. The defense has to upgrade the secondary in the off-season. It may be an uncapped year and Art opens up the checkbook, or TD drafts players for the secondary. I will go ahead and go on record that I think Joe Haden and Javier Arenas would be excellent additions. I am not sure what the consensus will be for those players as far as draft position, but I say take either in the teens.

I am very excited at the moves Frank Wren has made with the Braves. Not just the bullpen additions (Wagner, Saito, Chavez), but the speculation that he is actively trying to trade Derek Lowe. I say wait for Lackey to sign, then trade with one of the teams that tried to sign him and failed. I think Wren may even be able to get a team to pay all of Lowe's contract. Even if Braves have to pay a portion, I still think they will have enough money to sign LaRoche and Marlon Byrd. The Soriano situation worked out beautifully, with Chavez being better than potential draft picks. He throws gas and can be a solid guy in the 6th-7th innings along with Moylan.

I don't know when it is going to happen - it may be in 5 months or 5 years, but at some point Lane Kiffen is going down in flames - and it is going to be real ugly. I can't wait...

Looks like the UGA defensive coordinator search is heating up. Kirby Smart was seen in the Butts-Mehre building Friday, but Tony Barnhart says Bama is going to offer 900K to Smart to stay in Tuscaloosa. I don't think UGA will pay 900K, especially when the OC only makes 325K. Vic Koenning is also rumored to be in the mix. He is at Kansas State, but has ties to the southeast and hasn't even moved his family from South Carolina since signing on at K-State.

Other guys like Brian VanGorder and Bud Foster may still be in the mix, but I don't think they are viable candidates. VanGorder has stated that he is not interested in the position and Foster has been with Beamer since 1981.

Hope the Hawks finish 2009 off strong with their next 9 games. They have a chance with the way their schedule sets up to finish the year 7-2 which would put them at 23-8 and in a good position to make a push for a top 3 spot in the East. If they can avoid injuries, I see this team winning 52-55 games and possibly making the Eastern Conference Finals for the 1st time in franchise history.

Finally, I have seen several college hoops teams this year and I think I can give a pretty good top 10 for the season so far. I haven't seen West Virginia, so they won't be listed.

1. Kansas
2. Syracuse
3. Kentucky
4. Villanova
5. Texas
6. Purdue
7. Georgetown
8. UNC
9. Duke
10. UConn

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Season end drawing near...

Hard to believe there are just a few more good college football days left. Next Saturday is setting up to be an all-timer in the GA Dome in a defunct national semi-final. Texas should win easily against Nebraska to set up the big game. After that, it appears the SECCG loser will get TCU in the Sugar, Civil War winner vs OSU in the Rose, and ACCCG winner vs Cincy/Pitt in the Orange. I guess then Boise would end up in the Fiesta against Penn St? That appears to be a likely scenario...

How about Pete Carroll? Throwing a bomb up 21-7 against UCLA and almost starting a melee. Even after Rick Neuheisel called a timeout last year to cancel out the penalty USC got for wearing the wrong colored uniform. So much for that rivalry being a gentleman's game...

The ND game was typical of their season and seemed to just be another body blow to Charlie Weis. If I was a ND fan, I would want to hand Urban Meyer a blank check and make him say no. While I think Brian Kelly would do well there, he may be a tough sell to the fan base...

Hopefully UGA stayed out of the or Independence Bowl last night. I think the Chick-Fil-A may even want them now that they have some momentum. Here is how I see the SEC bowls panning out...

BCS Title Game - Florida/Bama
Sugar Bowl - Florida/Bama
Capital One - LSU
Cotton - Ole Miss
Outback - Tennessee
Chick-Fil-A - UGA
Music City - Kentucky
Liberty - Auburn - USC
Independence - Arkansas

As for predictions, I think Bama will win the SEC next week. Florida has struggled on offense against good defenses (LSU, USC, UT) and Bama is better than all of those D's. It will be the best D Bama has faced as well, but I like their offense with Richardson/Ingram to find a way to get more points. Just a feeling I have...

RSM Top 25

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. TCU
5. Cincinnati
6. Boise State
7. Oregon
8. Ohio State
9. LSU
10. Iowa
11. Penn State
12. Georgia Tech
13. Virginia Tech
14. Nebraska
15. USC
16. Oregon State
17. Miami
18. Pittsburgh
19. Cal
20. Oklahoma State
21. West Virginia
22. Stanford
23. Northwestern
24. BYU
25. Mississippi/Clemson

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday morning musings...

It sure was good to see UGA last night pick up a solid conference win. They now have a chance to beat Kentucky next week and end up 5-3 in the conference and go into Atlanta with a little momentum. I am just glad Stanford is not on the schedule for next week. They sure are playing well right now...

My vote for Coach of the Year for this year goes to June Jones. He took over SMU after the program went 1-11 in 2007. After a 1-11 transition year last season, Jones has SMU a 6-4 (5-1) and in line for a spot in the C-USA Championship Game. Two of their losses came in OT, and they are playing pretty well right now.

As for the RSM poll this week, we are getting closer to the SECCG and setting up the big game. Texas rolled again and it is becoming more clear that they will play the FLA/BAMA winner. TCU sure looks good though - I would like to see them play the SECCG loser in the Sugar Bowl. Also on Championship Saturday, Pitt-Cincy is setting up as a huge game between top-10 teams. Good for the Big East, they have the best balance I can remember them ever having...

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. TCU
5. Cincinnati
6. Boise State
7. Georgia Tech
8. LSU
9. Oregon
10. Pittsburgh
11. Ohio State
12. Oklahoma State
13. Stanford
14. Clemson
15. Iowa
16. Penn State
17. Rutgers
18. Wisconsin
19. Mississippi
20. Virginia Tech
21. BYU
22. USC
23. Oregon State
24. California
25. Nebraska

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Switching gears for a minute...

A quick break from football to focus on the Hawks and Braves. First, I was really pleased to see the Hawks go out to Portland and get a good road win early in the season. Good teams win on the road, and that has been an issue for the Hawks for quite some time. However, the Joe Johnson statements last night are a bit troubling. The main concern when Jamal Crawford was acquired had to do with shots. Where would Crawford's come from and who would lose shots? Would the team become selfish with a "I'm a get mine" attitude? Well, I am afraid those concerns are all too apparent very early in the year. Hopefully, they can get this worked out soon...

The Braves giving Tim Hudson an extension all but locks up the top 4 in the rotation for 2010, and it should be one of the games best (Jurrjens, Hanson, Vazquez, Hudson). With 4 top-tier starters, what will Frank Wren do with Lowe and Kawakami? Lowe's contract incentives are based off starts made, so I doubt he would want to go back to closing (that would be scary). Kawakami played the role of long relief pretty well in September, but with his contract and success as a starter, he seems like a solid #5 starter.

Will some team that misses out on the free agent pitchers like Lackey, Wolf, Marquis, and Garland be interested in trading for Lowe? We don't even need much in return, just pay the contract and give us a few prospects. Wren would then need to address 1B and OF via free agency with a few more dollars to work with.

The other option would be to trade one of the Big 4 for the needed bat. Maybe Vazquez for a 1B/OF? I am sure Wren will focus on these decisions and figure out which is the better option. For now, lets say we trade Lowe for prospects - here is how the team would shape up...

SP - Hudson - 9
SP - Vazquez - 11.5
SP - Jurrjens - .75 (extend him soon!)
SP - Hanson - .5
SP - Kawakami - 6.66
RP - Logan - .5
RP - Moylan - .75
RP - Medlen - .4
RP - O'Flaherty - .4
RP - Acosta - .5

C - McCann - 5.5
C - Ross - 1.6
2B - Prado - .5
SS - Escobar - .75 (look for 4+ yr contract in spring)
3B - Jones - 13
OF - Diaz - 4.5 (arb. guess)
OF - McLouth - 4.5
UI - Infante - 2.25
UI - Johnson - 3 (arb. guess)
UO - Church - 3 (arb. guess)
UO - Blanco - .5

That takes up about 70 million for the payroll that started last season at 96 million. Lets assume we fill these four spots with free agents and have 25 million to spend.

Brandon Lyon - 2 yrs 8.5 million (4 million in 2010)
Mike Gonzalez - 2 yrs 12 million (5.5 million in 2010)
Adam LaRoche - 3 yrs 26 million (8.5 million in 2010)
Marlon Byrd - 3 yrs 21 million (7 million in 2010)

That would give the Braves an opening day lineup of:

McLouth - CF
Prado - 2B
Jones - 3B
McCann - C
Escobar - SS
LaRoche - 1B
Byrd - LF
Diaz - RF

Infante would give some solid Chipper insurance, and Church could play against right-handers if Diaz struggles. Lyon is a more consistent version of Soriano and Gonzalez can close or be an 8th inning guy again. Another option I like is trading Kelly Johnson/Schafer for a reliever. That would allow us to get rid of some of the garbage at the back end of the bullpen.

Hot stove season will be here soon! Should be fun.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Heisman Watch...

The second edition of the Heisman Watch is here. There was a little movement after last week, and a former winner has now entered the top 5...

Top 5

1) Mark Ingram (Alabama, RB) - Can make himself the potential national front-runner with 150+ and a few scores against LSU Saturday. Oh yea, a win would help too.

2) Case Keenum (Houston, QB)- Getting more love around the country, Keenum toppped 550 in passing yards Saturday and is in line for a NY invite.

3) Kellen Moore (Boise St, QB) - Moore is now the national leader is passing efficiency, throwing for 24 TD's and only 2 picks.

4) CJ Spiller - (Clemson, All-Purpose Back) - Didn't play a lot against Coastal Carolina, but scored on 1 of his 5 touches. Needs an ACC Title and a big game in Tampa to win the award.

5) Tim Tebow (Florida, QB) - Pretty much has to do it all himself for the #1 Gators. He would need a big game/win in the SECCG to win it for the 2nd time.

Still no Jimmy Clausen on the list. I need more than solid numbers for a marquee program without a signature win. Even if ND wins out, he would have to go bonkers to get in my top 5. If he goes to NY, I may puke...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

End of October...

October is over and the National Championship Game is all but set. The elite teams from the pre-season look to be getting their second wind and try and finish strong. Texas destroyed Oklahoma State showing a dominant defense. Florida should coast against South Carolina next week and set up a game with the Bama/LSU winner for a shot to go up against Texas for the title. Everyone else at this point seems to just be simply jockeying for better bowls.

Look for a Heisman Watch at some point this week. Safe to say Case Keenum will get some more national hype after a 559 yard, 5 TD game against USM yesterday...

RSM Top 25

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. TCU
5. Iowa
6. Cincinnati
7. Boise State
8. Oregon
9. LSU
10. Penn State
11. Georgia Tech
12. Hosuton
13. USC
14. Utah
15. Ohio St
16. Miami
17. Pittsburgh
18. Wisconsin
19. Arizona
20. Cal
21. USF
22. Notre Dame
23. BYU
24. Oklahoma
25. Oklahoma St

Monday, October 26, 2009

Heisman Watch...

New segment here, a look at how I would vote if I were given a Heisman vote...

Heisman Top 5

1. Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama ) – 3rd nationally in rushing with an average of over 6.5 yards per carry for an undefeated top team

2. Case Keenum (QB, Houston) – Averaging almost 400 yards per game and 20 TD’s

3. Noel Devine (RB, West Virginia ) – Scored in every game this year while averaging 6.7 YPC.

4. Freddie Barnes (WR, Bowling Green) – Freddie is at 99 catches on the season through 8 games and already has passed 1,000 yards – including 46 for 610 his last 3 games.

5. CJ Spiller – 4 return TD’s and featured RB for the likely ACC Atlantic Division Champ.

Watch list:

Josh Nesbitt (QB, Georgia Tech) – His health should mean birth in ACCCG

Dion Lewis (RB, Pitt) – Sneaky freshman went over 1,000 yards Saturday

Ryan Matthews (RB, Fresno St) – Leads the nation in rushing with 7.3 YPC

Christian Ponder (QB, Florida St ) – Could get some late hype if Noles keep winning –only 1 INT all year and over 2100 yards passing

Kellen Moore (Boise St) – 21 TD’s to 2 INT for the unbeaten Broncos

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A few quick thoughts...

Haven't posted since the Falcons late comeback last week against Chicago. Great win that puts the Birds in a good position to be 5-3 or 6-2 at the half way point. A loss last week and today vs Dallas is a must win with a trip to NO coming up. The Brian Williams knee injury really hurts and I am concerned this is one more injury away from being in real trouble.

Some great finishes yesterday in East Lansing and Tuscaloosa. Not a whole lot of shake up in the top of the standings, but TCU made a pretty strong statement in Provo. They have now won at UVA, Clemson, and BYU and are clearly on track for a BCS game. It still looks like the SEC will get an at-large and that would leave one more spot for an at-large, and TCU looks the part. They will have a high enough BCS ranking and should get the nod over Boise due to their head-to-head victory last season.

Cincy continues to roll even without Tony Pike, and Nevada put up 70 against Idaho with Luke Lippincott and Colin Kaepernick. They may have a shot to knock off Boise after Thanksgiving. Auburn is in serious danger of starting 5-0 and failing to become bowl eligible. They will get a 6th win against Furman, but won't have 6 FCS victories needed...

Georgia Tech will be favored to win the rest of their games and could be 11-1 going into the ACCCG, likely against Clemson. Things sure set up nice for them this year, with their non-conference schedule and the ACC producing many bad teams. They went 2-1 against the only other teams in their conference with a pulse, and that should be enough to get them to the ACCCG.

RSM Poll

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. Iowa
5. TCU
6. USC
7. Cincinnati
8. Boise St
9. Oregon
10. LSU
11. Penn St
12. Georgia Tech
13. Oklahoma St
14. Virginia Tech
15. Ohio St
16. Pittsburgh
17. Utah
18. West Virginia
19. Miami
20. Arizona
21. South Carolina
22. Wisconsin
23. Houston
24. Ole Miss
25. Central Michigan

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thoughts on the 1st BCS Poll...

The first BCS poll is due out today, and it appears the candidates to play in the one bowl game people care about are as follows:


The most probable outcome is the SECCG winner vs unbeaten Texas to decide the title. Similar to the past few years, the SEC Champ vs the Big 12 Champ is the best scenario for college football. It appears that if Texas can come back from the Red River Rivalry and win at Mizzou and Okie State the next 2 weeks, they should be set. Kansas was exposed this weekend and no one from the North will challenge the Horns in the Big 12 CG. Iowa has a shot if they can win out, but that would mean winning in Columbus on Nov 14th. If the SEC Champ has one loss, Iowa could make a case that they should be taking on Texas.

Miami can get in via their reputation and the Oklahoma non-conference win, but they need Texas, Iowa, and maybe USC to lose. LSU still controls its destiny to get to Atlanta, but don't appear likely to knock off the Tide. USC/Oregon out of the Pac-10 need a lot of help and schedules will probably keep Boise/Cincy/TCU out of the equation.

Most are assuming the unbeaten UF/Bama SECCG winner will take on unbeaten Texas and Iowa will lose to OSU. This works out well for the BCS, but their could still be chaos. What if going in to Championship Saturday the rankings look like this?

1. Florida (12-0)
2. Texas (12-0)
3. Boise (12-0)
4. USC (11-1)
5. Miami (11-1)
6. Alabama (11-1)
7. Cincinnati (12-0)
8. TCU (12-0)
9. Iowa (11-1)
10. Penn St (11-1)

Again, things look good as long as Florida and Texas win, but what if there is a 2007 scenario where both lose and everyone else wins? What then? The computers hate Boise and voters would not likely vote them in the top 2, but who would be 1? How would voters decide between Miami/USC/Bama and the unbeaten non-BCS schools? This would be very, very interesting.

RSM Top 25

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. Iowa
5. USC
6. Boise State
7. Cincinnati
8. TCU
9. Miami
10. Oregon
11. LSU
12. Penn State
13. Georgia Tech
14. Oklahoma State
15. Virginia Tech
16. Ohio State
17. Utah
18. West Virginia
19. Pittsburgh
20. Houston
21. Texas Tech
22. South Carolina
23. Arizona
24. Wisconsin
25. BYU

Sunday, October 4, 2009

CFB thoughts and rankings...

Great win for Miami yesterday, they took a ridiculous schedule to start the year and went 3-1. They are certainly a top 10 team after their start. They now have FAMU, Wake, UCF, Clemson, Duke, UNC, and Virginia before ending the year at USF. They definitely have a good shot at 11-1. Whoever comes out of the ACC Coastal will coast in the ACCCG. The leader on the Atlantic side right now is Maryland and none of the teams on that side look like they want it right now.

What has happened to Cal? They looked very strong the 1st few games and now they can't do anything. Looks like USC-Oregon is shaping up to be for the Rose Bowl. Auburn got another win and they can certainly build off going on the road to a tough environment, but we still won't know a lot about them until their final 5 games. They play LSU, Miss, UGA, and Bama in 4 of their last 5 with a FCS opponent mixed in the middle.

RSM Poll

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Alabama
4. Boise St
5. LSU
6. Virginia Tech
7. Miami
8. Cincinnati
9. Iowa
10. TCU
11. USC
12. Oregon
13. Ohio State
14. USF
15. Kansas
16. Auburn
17. Wisconsin
18. Georgia Tech
19. Houston
20. Oklahoma St
21. Nebraska
22. Penn State
23. Missouri
24. Oklahoma
25. Georgia

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Morning Musings...

Good time of year right now. Weather is cooling down, football is in full swing, and NBA is beginning pre-season games...

Lets take a quick look back at the RSM baseball predictions. For those that don't want to click, here were the picks:

NL East - Philly
NL Central - Cubs
NL West - D-Backs
Wild Card - Braves

AL East - Boston
AL Central - Tigers
AL West - Angels
WIld Card - Rays

NL MVP - H. Ramirez
AL MVP - M. Cabrera

NL CY Young - Lincecum
AL CY Young - Halladay

NL ROY - C. Maybin
AL ROY - E. Andrus

NLCS - D-Backs over Cubs
ALCS - Angels over Red Sox

WS - Angels over D-Backs

Reader Mike did much better with his...


wc-red sox

yankees over cardinals

nl cy young-lincecum
al cy young-sabathia

nl mvp-pujols
al mvp-m cabrera

It looks like Mike will only miss the NL Wild Card, but who could blame him picking the local squad. I missed the AL & NL Wild Card as well as the NL Central. Obviously, I was way off on the D-Backs. They ran into a series of issues with the Brandon Webb injury, the Chris Young debacle, and a rash of other injuries. But, kudos again to Mike - well done.

As for the awards, there weren't too many poor choices, but if I had a vote for the real award now, here is how I would vote...

NL MVP - Pujols
AL MVP - Mauer

NL Cy Young - Wainwright
AL Cy Young - Greinke

AL ROY - Beckham
NL ROY - Hanson

Early guess at the Hawks roster:

Bibby, Crawford, Teague, Johnson, West, Smith, Williams, Evans, Horford, Pachulia, Collins, Hunter

Sunday, September 27, 2009

RSM Top 25 Poll...

Lots of changes this week with Ole Miss, Miami, and Penn State going down. Third straight nail-biter for UGA, but they keep finding a way to win. Lots of ugly games (UGA-ASU, Miami-VT, GT-UNC) due to weather, but still some good football as we approach October. Gotta move Boise up with Oregon knocking off Utah and Cal the last 2 weeks pretty easily...

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Alabama
4. Boise State
5. Houston
6. Cincinnati
7. Virginia Tech
8. LSU
9. TCU
10. Iowa
11. Oklahoma
12. USC
13. Ohio State
14. Oklahoma State
15. South Florida
16. Miami
17. Oregon
18. Georgia
19. Kansas
20. Nebraska
21. Georgia Tech
22. Auburn
23. Cal
24. Missouri
25. Penn State

Dropped from poll for obvious reasons: Ole Miss, Florida State, Michigan

Closing in on the top 25 are South Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, UCLA)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cox, Polls, and College football...

A name for the 2011 Braves manager? How about Sam Perlozzo. Good baseball guy, been around the game a while and is well respected, and could bring best-bud Leo Mazzone with him. Perlozzo never approached .500 with the Orioles, but who would have with the team he had in that division. I think the guy deserves another shot with a better team - why not Atlanta?

I know the pre-season polls will never go away because of dollars, but the thought process voters have really bothers me. How is unbeaten Houston ranked behind Oklahoma State? Or Florida State 5 spots behind BYU? Just watch the games and then rank the teams each week. Voters get too caught up in their pre-season poll and are scared to move teams too drastically up or down their poll. How is Miami only 13th in the USA today poll? Have they not been as impressive as anyone? I don't think that just because you beat someone you should be ranked ahead of them (Washington), but if you are unbeated (Houston) or bitch-slap another team at their field (FSU), you should be ranked ahead of them.

Most intriguing game of the day is easily Miami-Virginia Tech. Winner will be the clear favorite in the ACC Coastal division, especially if Miami wins. Virginia Tech is an underdog at home in a conference game, quite the rarity...

Least intriguing game of the day is Purdue-Notre Dame. I would rather watch a Sun Belt game than this one...

Big baseball news this week as Aroldis Chapman was declared a free agent. I am sure the Yanks/Red Sox/Mets will have quite the bidding was for the flame throwing Cuban. However, the more I read about him from has me thinking he is a head-case just like Jose Contreras. Hopefully the Yanks will ink him to a 40 million dollar deal and make him the highest paid middle reliever in the game...

Very pumped for Birds-Pats tomorrow. A win would firmly place the Birds back on the national scene as a respected contender. Then, we will have 2 weeks to enjoy the 3-0 start with a Bye in week 4.

Tough luck for Matt Grothe of South Florida. He helped bring USF on the national scene in 2007 and has been the QB for the Bulls and led them to a bowl victory and ever since. One of the goals of the USF program when they went to Division 1 was to play the Big 3 Florida teams and eventually be on par with them. This year is Grothe's senior year, and USF finally gets FSU on the schedule. However, Grothe tore his ACL last week and is now done for the year...

Top 25 teams to lose today...Washington, UNC, Houston, TCU, and VT.

Dawgs win 31-24...

Monday, September 21, 2009

1st Regular Season RSM Top 25 poll...

Lets take a quick look at who I think are the top 25 teams in the country right now. It is still a little early to get a good read on a lot of teams who haven't played anybody worth mentioning yet.

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Alabama
4. Cal
5. Penn St
6. LSU
7. Miami
8. Cincinnati
9. Mississippi
10. TCU
11. Boise State
12. Virginia Tech
13. Oklahoma
14. USC
15. Ohio State
16. Houston
17. Oklahoma St
18. Georgia
19. Kansas
20. Florida St
21. Georgia Tech
22. Auburn
23. Michigan
24. Missouri
25. Nebraska

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Links and Thoughts...

Good read from the San Jose Mercury on the Michael Crabtree situation. He is definitely not helping his career or bank account by holding out this long. As the article notes, this is the longest holdout since Bryant McKinnie, who didn't sign until November 1st. For those that don't know, the biggest hold up in negotiations is that Crabtree demands to be paid the slot where he "thought" he should have been drafted, not where he was "actually" drafted. I hope he re-enters the draft and goes in the 6th round.

Channing Crowder certainly didn't hold back when asked his opinion of the UF-UT game today. He used a few choice words when descrining the game and Lane Kiffen.

What a funny story about Delonte West. Did anyone else get this movie scene in their head when they read about D-West and his guitar case full of guns?

The ESPN NFC South blog calls Kroy Biermann the best player in the division you have never heard of. Kroy already has 2 sacks this year, or the same number starter Jamaal Anderson has in 32 career games.

It was also good to see new LB Mike Peterson get an interception in the game last week. That was the kind of "big play" stuff that we never saw from Keith Brooking. In fact, Keith's last NFL regular season interception was 2005.

Miami got the best of GT Thursday night and was pretty impressive in doing so. That's now 3 straight games against FBS opponents where the GT offense has struggled. It seems the key for now is to push your DE's up the field and force Nesbitt to give it to the A-Back, keep it, or throw it. I saw "for now" because I am sure Johnson will have a counter to this very soon.

For those looking for something interesting to focus on during the UGA-Ark game tonight, DE Justin Houston is back from suspension and should give the Dawgs a much needed pass rush from the outside. Rod Battle was injured early last week forcing DT Jeff Owens to play 33 snaps at DE. That should explain some of the lack of a pass rush against the Cocks. Houston is the kind of freak-athlete DE that the defense needs to get some sacks/turnovers.

A couple of pre-season top 5 teams I think might struggle a bit this week are Oklahoma and USC. Oklahoma got a break with Idaho last week and Landry Jones was able to get some game experience. But, Tulsa is pretty good and should be able to put up 20+ on the Sooners. OU can probably ride Murray and have Jones make a few throws to get the win, but this one may take a while to become comfortable for Sooner fans. Also, Washington put up 400+ yards on LSU and may be able to hang with USC for a while. I think this one is less than a 2 TD game when done, maybe 27-14 or so.

On a related note, Ohio State had a big-time emotional game last week against USC and now travels to Cleveland to take on Toledo. Toldeo destroyed Colorado and OSU may be a bit fatigued. This one has a chance to be interesting in the 2nd half...

The 1st RSM top 25 poll of the regular season will be on here tomorrow evening...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some mid-week thoughts and links...

Interesting that heading into tonight's game, Chipper Jones leads the Braves in games played with 126. Chipper just played 128 all of last year while winning the batting title. Maybe at his age he should cap his number of games so he doesn't run out of gas again in the future...

Yep, those Braves dragged me back in after winning 5 in a row while Colorado lost 4 in a row. Still, being 5 back with just 2 1/2 weeks to play is still a longshot.

I bragged on here recently about how impressive Ichiro's run has been during his 9 year big league career. Another guy that sometimes goes overlooked is Joe Mauer. We waited 65 years between catchers winning batting titles before Mauer in 2006. Now, at .374 through Wednesday, he is a virtual lock for his 3rd in 4 years. In fact, since George Brett's .390 clip in 1980, no player has hit higher than .373 in a season in the American League.

One potential downfall of building a multi-multi million dollar stadium with a trillion dollar scoreboard that is in the way of the actual game is that you still need to fill the 100K seats or your local TV coverage gets Blacked Out. Jerry! Jerry!

In response to Beezbo earlier this week, I have to retract my statement about the best-case scenario in the UT-UF game. The thought of the look on Urban Meyer and the rest of Gator Nation after a loss on Saturday is waaaaaay better than Meyer putting up 50+ on Lame Kiffen. Touche Beezbo. Prediction remains UF 49 UT 10.

Tough luck for DE Rod Battle of UGA as it appears he will not be eligible for a medical redshirt after tearing his ACL against South Carolina. He will not be recovered from his surgery in time to work out at the NFL combine and can't come back like Jeff Owens did this year and play out his full senior year. Good luck Rod, hope someone gives you a shot at the next level.

Those interested in the 2010 MLB draft should check out Baseball America's top 25 prospects. Most people know the name Bryce Harper now, but GT pitcher Derek McGuire and UGA pitcher Justin Grimm also make the list. The #4 player is one of the 2 1st rounders that did not sign from the 2009 draft, Levon Washington. Interesting that his college is listed as Chipola JC and not the University of Florida, which was listed as his college committment choice leading up to the draft.

Can't wait to get to the GA Dome on Sunday and watch the Falcons in their retro 1966 jerseys. The Birds look good and there is nothing like being excited about your NFL team on a Sunday morning.

Big surprise that Mike Hampton is out for the entire 2010 season. If Mike decides to come back again after major surgery to pitch in 2011, he will be working on 46 starts in 6 seasons. He will be pushing 40 at that time so I would imagine this is it for old Mike. What a career. He earned over $125 million for his career and will likely finish with a 148-115 record with a 4.07 ERA. Those career earnings place him 19th all-time, just ahead of Roger Clemens, Chipper Jones, Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez, and Curt Schilling.

Looks like Cal is still under the radar even after 2 convincing wins to start the season. Javhid Best is looking even better than last year and the defense is very good, even for the Pac-10. Look for Best to be close to 2,000 yards by Bowl season and maybe put Cal in position to play in a BCS bowl for the 1st time in school history. The school hasn't had a Heisman winner either, but playing out west with Tim Tebow on the ballot? Probably not gonna happen.

NC State opened the season with South Carolina at home and has Pitt at home next week. In between? Two games against FCS opponents (Murray St and Gardner-Webb). If you are going to schedule 2 FCS games, at least spread them out so observers forget that you have already played one. Pretty easy schedule for the Wolfpack this year playing 8 home games. With only 2 ranked teams on their schedule, this one has to be one of the easiest in all of FBS. And 1 of the 2 is UNC and they probably won't be ranked for long if they don't improve quickly.

Finally, a couple more ACC football thoughts. Virginia is currently 0-2 and are 17 point underdogs to Southern Miss. If they don't compete Saturday, Al Groh has to be gone. Also, the GT line keeps moving Miami's way. Last I checked, Miami was a 5.5 point favorite against the Jackets. GT has won the last 4 meetings and the only reason Miami is being touted now is their name and the fact they beat FSU. Well, after dodging the Jax St bullet last week, it doesn't appear FSU is any good either. Take GT and the points and UVA and the points playing for their coaches job...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday morning musings...

Looking back on some of the recent posts on here about what the Braves should do with their surplus of starting pitching, I may have been overlooking a very intriguing option. Talking Chop has an interesting article about the possibility of trading Jair Jurrjens this offseason. The idea is that a young, front line starter could net a better player to fit into the Braves offense. The realistic option I like most is getting Hunter Pence as a 5 hole hitter and right fielder, but maybe we can sweeten the deal and go for Ryan Braun?

Dirty Birds start this weekend and I am trying not to get my expectations too high. I have seen this movie before, coming off a 10+ win season with momentum and falling to a 5-11 finish the next year. I think this team will be around .500 until the end of the season and finish strong at 10-6. The defense is scary, but I believe the front office has strengthened the corner spot and hopefully there are no injuries...

Looks like my trip to Boulder next year for UGA-Colorado will be the beginning of a new era for the Buffs. After giving up 54 points and 300+ yards rushing and passing last night, Dan Hawkins days are numbered...

Some predictions for today...Big 10 has more bad non-conference performances, Ohio State-USC is closer than expected, Michigan beats Notre Dame at the Big House, and Greg Paulus yells at his teammates during their blow-out loss to Penn State...

You have to give Derek Jeter a round of applause for his recent accomplishment. He has played the Yankee part perfectly and has done it while being humble and out of the paparazzi spotlight. Tough guy to root against, but he is a Yankee...

Hopefully John Abraham shows up big Sunday and reaks havoc on the Dolphins. The secondary needs all the help it can get. Abe may have a big day if Miami lines up Jake Long to try and block him. If they do that, they might as well kiss the baby.

I am alrady pumped up for the UT-UF game next week at 3:30 on CBS. Best case scenario, UT beats UCLA today by double digits and is sky-high heading into Gainesville. Let the UT fans think they have a chance. Then, watch Meyer keep his starters in late in the 4th quarter to try and make the game as ugly as possible. Early prediction - UF 49 UT 10

Ichiro is just a couple hits away from his 9th straight 200 hit season. He is as much a lock for the hall of fame as any active player. Unreal career peaked in 2004 with a 262 hit year. Even Cobb and Rose never had more than 3 straight 200 hit seasons...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thoughts from College Football Week 1...

Good weekend of games, but a lot of ugly ones as well. The best game was Monday night's FSU-Miami game. Some great QB play on both sides and both teams looked pretty good at times...

Most impressive Week 1 teams:

1) Cincinnati - Reigning Big East champs went on the road to one of this year's favorites and routed Rutgers. Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard and crew are back again. Losing 10 starters on D did not slow them down either...

2) BYU - Where did the D come from? I can't wait to see them play FSU in a few weeks in Provo. Good veteran team with senior QB that looks like they know how to win...

3) Alabama - Two costly turnovers and a special teams breakdown were all that were between the Tide and a 20+ point win over a pre-season top 10 team. McElroy looks the part and the D is at least top 5 in the country...

4) Missouri - New look team after losing Maclin/Daniel but tore apart favorite Illinois on Saturday. Defense looked strong and they could challenge in the Big 12 north...

5) Cal - My pick to win the Pac-10 stomped Maryland in Berkeley and looked impressive doing it. Jahvid Best is ridiculous and they are dangerous when Riley doesn't turn it over...

Least impressive week 1 teams:

1) Oregon - Offense was non-existent, not getting their initial 1st down until half-way through the 3rd quarter. Defense looked better than last year, but Masoli is now without his horse ball carrier...

2) Iowa - Had to block 2 kicks to beat lowly Northern Iowa. UNI is a good program, but Iowa was coming off a New Year's Day Bowl victory and a top 25 pre-season ranking. Another knock for the Big 10...

3) Georgia - Offense is not up to par yet and the defense did not get a sack or turnover. Needs to get King back at RB and some imagination in the play calling...

4) Colorado - Fans have been patient with Dan Hawkins, but he may be on the outs. Losing to Colorado State and coming off a 2-6 Big 12 record, he may not have much longer. Bad loss for the Buffs...

5) Ohio State - Defense had trouble against Navy's attack and got stung bad on a few big plays. Some bad angles and poor tackling hurt the defense. Pryor was good at time, but the offense lacked explosion.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thoughts at a great time of year...

Some thoughts I have at the end of the last weekend without real football for several months...

Somehow the Braves are still in the Wild Card hunt. I thought after the debacle at home Wednesday against San Diego to fall 5.5 games out, they were done. Now, the next 2 weeks needs to produce a record no worse than 9-5 to become a legitimate threat the final 10 days or so...

The Hawks have put together a pretty good 2-deep depth chart. I asked back in mid-July if the acquisition of Joe Smith made the Hawks a 50 win team. They might be if they stay healthy, but I am still skeptical if they are good enough to make the jump to the Eastern Conference Finals. That is the state of a life-long Hawks fan. We are not greedy - just get us to the Conference Finals for the 1st time in franchise history and we will be happy...

Falcons offense looks as good as I can ever remember and Matt Ryan is quickly becoming a top 5 Quarterback in the league. He emerged into the top 15 last year pretty quickly, but right now after Brees, P. Manning, and Brady it is hard to think of someone better...

I think the Angels made one of the better waiver-wire pick ups in MLB history by acquiring Scott Kazmir from Tampa on Friday. LAA has a tremendous offense and an above average bullpen, but just 2 quality starters. Now, with Kazmir as their #3, they match up much better with the Yankees. Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana in a game 3 against Chamberlain/Pettitte would be a huge mis-match. I picked the Angels to win the World Series before the season, and now they seem in really good shape to make a strong run. PS, if you click the last link, don't look at my NL pick...

I think the Pac-10 will pass the Big 12 as the 2nd best conference in college football this year. USC will be a bit down, but I think Cal and Oregon are top 12 teams. UCLA should be much improved and a healthy Oregon State team will finish in the top 25. The top 2 in the Big 12 are strong, but Oklahoma State and Kansas are the next best 2 and they have serious issues with defense and depth...

Interesting to see that Rich Harden was claimed of waivers by Minnesota. I wouldn't think Chicago would give him up without a solid return, and Minnesota is barely hanging on in the NL Central race. And why give up anything for this guy when you know you won't be able to resign him at a reasonable rate? Someone will overpay for Harden, who has only topped 150 IP once in 7 years in the bigs...

If you are unfamiliar with the Matt Purke story, he was the highest pick not signed in this years MLB Draft. Purke was taken out of Klein HS in Texas by the local team, the Rangers, with the 14th pick. He was offered a generous contract above slot, (reported to be 4 million). Purke insisted on getting 6 million, more than everyone outside the top 3. Texas held their ground and Purke did not sign and has enrolled at TCU. He now has to wait 2 years (he is already 19 so he is eligible again in 2011) to be drafted again and I am sure teams will stay away next time. Purke's dad reportedly said that the non-signing was a business decision. I agree, it was a business decision. A bad one...

I am now completely convinced that Frank Wren will trade Vazquez/Schafer this off-season for a right handed hitting corner outfielder. Vazquez is a case of "sell high" and Schafer does not fit into next year with the emergence of Heyward. An outfield of Schafer/McLouth/Heyward next year is too scary at the corner spots. Heyward may start off in AAA and be replaced by Diaz for a month or so, but the job will be his by mid-May. Who do you want to pursue with this attractive combo this winter? My vote goes to someone that is under 30, under contract until at least 2011, and a proven power hitter. Any suggestions??

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thoughts on the MLB Draft and Jeff Schultz column…

For some reason, Jeff Schultz wrote this week that he believed the Mets got the better end of the Church-Francoeur swap. Wow. Let’s put to rest any thoughts that the Mets are anything close to winners in this deal. First, it was certainly good for Francoeur that he got a change of scenery. He has definitely hit better since the trade and has fit into the Mets lineup nicely. However, the fact still remains that he is a .270 hitter that will struggle to top .300 in OBP over a full season. Throw in that he is at best a 20 homer guy and there is not a place for him in a good, everyday lineup as a corner outfielder.

If Jeff was a slick fielding shortstop, catcher, or center fielder, these numbers might make him valuable to many teams. However, corner infielders and outfielders must either get on base or hit for power. They can not be .270/19/90 guys after 600 at bats. You want to know who could put up those numbers in 600 at bats? Ryan Langerhans.

Now, let’s take a look at Church. Like Francoeur, Church is a corner outfielder that can play some center, and has little power. Career wise, their 162 game average for home runs is pretty close (Church – 17 & Francoeur 20). So, if we all agree that both guys are 4th outfielders on good teams, who would you rather have? A guy that is going to be .273/17/80 over 162 games with a .349 OBP or a .268/20/90 guy with a .308 OBP? It seems pretty apparent to me. Oh yea, and it is no coincidence that the Braves are 18-10 since the trade by acquiring the anti-Francoeur – a guy that sees a lot of pitches, draws walks, and does not strike out a lot. Who is the early winner in this deal? The Braves, without question…

Now to the MLB Draft…Something needs to be done to the current system quickly. While I think that the Nats signing Strasburg is still likely, the idea that he goes to Japan and then gets drafted by his hometown Padres with the #2 pick next year is scary. It should be a no-brainer for Washington to sign the #1 pick, especially when he is being offered the richest contract in MLB Draft history. But it is not just at the top where things are crazy. The Orioles just inked their 22nd rounder for $1 million dollars. Meanwhile, the Royals are offering #12 pick Aaron Crow $3 million and he has not accepted. The #4 pick agreed to $2.5 million months ago. Now the 12th pick is holding out for more than 3? After Crow spent a year in Independent ball? Dude is setting himself up to get hurt and never get paid…

There needs to be actual slots, not recommended slots. It makes no sense for the large market teams to take advantage of the draft. The draft should be for placing the top amateur players on the worst teams. The Red Sox, Yankees, and others over the years have taken top 10 talent in rounds 25+ and given six-figure bonuses to them. I mentioned Austin Jackson on here earlier in the week, he was a 7th round pick who got $1 million from the Yankees. The Royals have really been bitten by this in recent history. With the 2nd pick in 2007, they couldn’t afford to take Boras client Matt Wieters and risk not signing him. They were also scared off by Matt LaPorta’s demands and took the less risky Mike Moustakas who has struggled mightily in the minors while Wieters and LaPorta are top prospects. Change it quickly Bud…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday links...

You have to scroll down to the "Around the Horn" section of the article for this, but Ken Rosenthal was told that the Braves offered Kotchman for LaRoche to the Pirates before agreeing to the same deal with the Red Sox...

Came across this the other day - did anyone realize that George Halas played for the Yankees?

Still a lot of unsigned 1st round picks from the MLB Draft with the deadline being this Sunday. No surprise for some, especially Aaron Crow who was a top 10 pick before playing independent ball. He does not have the same deadline as others and can negotiate until just before the 2010 draft. One interesting development from this week is that #3 pick Donovan Tate from Cartersville HS is in Chapel Hill and may not sign...

It may sound weird that Aaron Maybin's publicist is blaming his holdout from Buffalo's training camp on Michael Crabtree. That is, until you find out that his publicist is Lavar Arrington...

Tough news for ACC fans hoping this was the year they finally produced a nationally significant team. Leading returning rusher Darren Evans has torn his ACL and is out for the year...

Georgia Tech's transition from the 2004 Final Four may have been a lot smoother if Austin Jackson had made it to campus. However, the high bonus paid to Jackson by the Yankees may finally pay off for them as Jackson is closing in on the big leagues...

The Red Sox can only hope their investment in Parkview High's Brandon Jacobs works out just as well. He just received a bonus that was $600,000 over the recommendation from MLB...

Good read on the next Georgia high school pitcher to go high in the MLB Draft...

Here is a pretty good prediction on what the 2009-2010 EPL final table will look like. I agree with this blogger that Manchester City will struggle even with their trio of stud strikers due to their inability to bring in top tier talent for their back line...

Good to see Stephen Nicholas stepping up his game at Falcons camp...

Mark Reynolds has been on fire lately for Arizona, hitting 8 homers in his last 10 games. He is now hitting .290/36/80 and is one of the most feared power hitters in the NL. He is also on pace to shatter his own major league record for strikeouts in a season. After setting the record with 204 last year, Reynolds is on pace for a whopping 216 in 2009...

Finally, if you anyone ever doubted the Francoeur for Church trade, take a look at this stat. With 2 walks tonight, Church now has 13 in 20 games with the Braves. Francoeur walked 12 times in 2009 in 82 games with the Braves...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In case you missed it – weekend links…

Think the Roddy White situation is bad? How about super-agent Eugene Parker threatening to have Michael Crabtree re-enter the 2010 draft and not sign with San Francisco ? Worst part about this story is that Parker has yet to make an offer to the 49ers…

The Braves finally signed Mike Minor, beating the deadline by a week and a half. He will receive 2.42 million, just a hair over the franchise record bonus given to Jeff Francoeur in 2002. There are still 19 unsigned 1st rounder’s and Minor is just the 2nd to receive an above-slot amount…

Let’s see what all the ticked-off Indians fans do now that their owner is projecting a 16 million dollar loss for the 2009 season. They are mad at the organization, but is not showing up anymore and getting that number closer to 20 million going to make things better?

Looks like Brian Giles has more issues than a .191 average in 225 at bats this year…

Many people around baseball are impressed with the season that Gordon Beckham is putting together…

For those frustrated with the Harry Douglas injury, here is a reminder of why Laurent Robinson is no longer with the Falcons…

The twitter discipline is becoming rampant. Darren Bent, Antonio Cromartie, and JR Smith have all had blow-ups this week...

I am pretty excited to see how Jozy Alitdore does in his new role in the Premier League. He seems pretty confident he will fit in just fine…

Interesting analysis on the Braves rotation and what to do when Tim Hudson returns on

Thanks to for this interesting stat from the season. Only 7 players have reached base safely in more than 90 games this year. They are: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Adam Dunn, Mark Teixeira, Ichiro Suzuki, and of course, Marco Scutaro…

Off to Tampa …

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Interesting Wednesday evening stats/thoughts...

Coming into Wednesday's games, the notoriously bad Greg Norton had the same on-base percentage (.288) as Jeff Francoeur...

Through 27 career starts, Tim Tebow has the same career record (22-5) as Matthew Stafford did...

Tim Tebow had about as much to do with Florida's 2006 National Title as Charlie O'Brien did to the Braves 1995 World Series victory...

Want some easy money? Ask someone to name the American League leader in holds. The answer is none other than Minnesota's Matt Guerrier...

How about the American League leader in appearances by a pitcher? Craig Breslow of the A's...

Eli Manning received a $97.5 million dollarI wondere extension today. Not bad for a guy that finished 14th in the league in passer rating last year - just behind Seneca Wallace...

Think he was a lot better the year before when the Giants won the Super Bowl?? Think again, he was 25th in the league, just a hair above Vince Young and behind Atlanta's Joey Harrington...

Anyone else realize that Roddy White's 1,382 receiving yards last season ranked 68th all-time in the NFL? His 2008 season was within 80 yards of Terrell Owens, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, or Anquan Boldin's best season in terms of yards. I would hold out too...

I wondered here over a year ago why Tampa Bay didn't take Buster Posey with the #1 pick in the draft. While Tim Beckham may still develop, he is still several years away at best. Meanwhile, Buster is .314/14/67 as a catcher in the minors this year in AA and AAA...

There have only been 5 players in the last 15 years to lead the NBA in minutes per game now that Andre Igoudala led the league in 08-09. The other 4? Allen Iverson (7), LeBron James (1), Michael Finley (3), and Anthony Mason (2)...

Two in a row for the Braves, they just might get me sucked in again. Hopefully they will take me out of my misery and lose 3 of 4 in LA...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Young pitching studs are everywhere...

Teams are making no qualms about bringing up young arms this season, whether contending or not. The league is getting younger and success stories like Tim Lincecum are placing pressure on organizations to get top pitching prospects up to the big leagues quickly. Plus, the success stories are still coming, with Neftali Feliz blowing up for Texas and Brian Matusz making his MLB debut tonight.

Of the top 50 prospects in all the minor leagues coming into the season according to Baseball America, check out how many have already made their way to the majors.

BA Ranking/Player Name/Team/2009 MLB stats

(2) David Price - Rays - 4-4/5.10
(4) Tommy Hanson - Braves - 5-2/3.25
(7) Brett Anderson - A's 6-8/4.20
(9) Madison Bumgarner - Still in Minors
(10) Neftali Feliz - Rangers - 0-0/0.00
(11) Trevor Cahill - A's - 6-10/5.01
(21) Rick Porcello - Tigers - 9-7/4.36
(22) Chris Tillman - Orioles - 0-0/6.75
(25) Brian Matusz - Orioles - Debut Tonight
(29) Jarrod Parker - D-Backs - Still in Minors
(31) Derek Holland - Rangers - 4-6/5.75
(32) Wade Davis - Rays - Still in Minors
(41) Jordan Zimmerman - Nats - 3-5/4.63
(45) Tim Alderson - Pirates - Still in Minors
(46) Jhoulys Chacin - Rockies - 0-0/0.00

So that is 11 of the 15 prospects coming into the season are already in the big leagues. Most of these guys are 19-22 with only a few guys like Davis and Price being 23. Bringing up guys that can fill a spot for not a lot of money can really be a luxury for a MLB team. Hence what I wrote on here a few days ago about the Braves being able to dangle Javy Vazquez in the off-season because they can use the prospect Hanson in their rotation without taking up a ton of payroll.

What does this mean? Well, you should certainly look for guys like Stephen Strasburg, Mike Minor, Mike Leake, Aaron Crow, and Grant Green to be in the mix in the next 1-2 years. And guys like Zack Wheeler probably are not far behind...

Monday, August 3, 2009

RSM's Pre-Season Top 25

The following rankings are based on what I believe the final polls will look like, not the order of how good I believe teams are...

1. Florida (12-0)- No reason they should lose with their D - might give up fewer than 160 points.
2. Texas (12-0) - Heisman winner Colt McCoy will lead Texas over Oklahoma on their way to the BCS title game.
3. Penn St (11-1) - Will slip up once, but be in the mix most of the year.
4. Oklahoma(11-1) - Only loss to Texas, offense will be dynamic again.
5. Cal (11-1) - Gets to a BCS game by knocking off USC to win the Pac-10.
6. VT (10-2) - Best team in the ACC wins conference again.
7. USC (10-2) - Too many losses on defense and a new QB drop USC out of the BCS hunt for the first time in a while.
8. LSU (10-2) - Slip up twice in tough schedule and set up nicely for a 2010 run.
9. Bama (10-2) - Could go deep into the season unbeaten again if they get past VT.
10. OSU (10-2) - Lose and Penn State and once more, then get a chance to end losing streak to SEC in Capital One Bowl.
11. UGA (9-3) - Tough schedule again should yield 3 losses, offense in 2010 could be scary good.
12. Oregon(9-3)- Masoli and Blount are dynamic in the backfield, could be really good if D steps up.
13. Ok St(9-3) - Still many questions on D and the offense must overcome loss of Pettigrew - not yet a top 10 program.
14. UNC (9-3) - Davis keeps it going in the right direction with a healthy Yates.
15. Boise (11-1) - Boise keeps it going but lose to the Ducks.
16. Illinois(9-3) - Zook gets Illinois back in the national scene with some solid talent.
17. So Miss (11-1) - Breakout team from C-USA has a lot back from last years squad.
18. Ole Miss(9-3) - Nutt has another good season, but this isn't a top 10 team.
19. FSU (8-4) - Tough non-conferenc schedule includes having to play in the swamp on Tebow's Senior Day.
20. GT (8-4) - Another good Paul Johnson team keeps the streak of bowls alive.
21. TCU (10-2) - Should be good on D again and will beat out Utah and BYU in the MWC.
22. ND (8-4) - Schedule eases up a little bit, but enough to get ND into a Jan 1 Bowl Game.
23. Pitt(9-3) - Lots of talent on D, especially up front, will battle USF and Rutgers for Big East title.
24. Kansas (8-4) - Reesing is back for the probable Big 12 North winners.
25. MSU (8-4) - Stays in the top half on the Big 10 with weak non-conference schedule.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trade Deadline thoughts...

We've discussed here what Pittsburgh has been doing and it certainly looks like Philly secured themselves a post-season birth by getting Cliff Lee, but lets take a quick look at some of the other teams that made some last-minute moves...

First off, I am still uncertain about the Braves move. It seems lateral at best, with Kotchman being under control for 2 more years. I know he is up for arbitration, but how much can a .280/12/65 first baseman command? I assume this means that Freddie Freeman is penciled in next year at 1st base. Now, the next big move for Wren is what to do with Hudson/Vazquez next year. It makes sense to pick up the Hudson option and trade Vazquez for a hitter and a closer (Gonzo and Soriano are FA's). I guess LaRoche has more power and is a better 2nd half player, but it is still a bit odd...

I am really shocked at what Ken Williams did in Chicago. Giving up four really good pitching prospects for Jake Peavy. Peavy hasn't pitched in 2 months and is owed almost 20 million a year the next 3 years. It is certainly high-risk, but giving up their #1 and #2 prospects in the minors (Poreda and Richard) is rolling the dice at best. Also, Adam Russell is almost ready to be in a big league bullpen and Dexter Carter is throwing really well in single A and at 6'6 with a great arm, projects as a front line starter.

After attending the Braves game last night, the Dodgers also made out well by getting George Sherill. He looked really good in relief setting up for Broxton and solidified the Dodgers bullpen.

The Red Sox got V-Mart without giving up Buchholz. Their lineup is now even more deadly and with the Yankees virtually standing pat, seem likely to win the AL East once again.

Back to the Braves to finish up, looks like the lineup for 2010 will look something like this...



Still a little lefty heavy, but for now this is what I think Wren has in mind...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekend News and Links...

According to back in December, the Braves got "fleeced" by Ken Williams and the White Sox by giving up Tyler Flowers, Brent Lillibridge, and Jon Gilmore for Javy Vazquez and Boone Logan. The article says neither Vazquez or Logan can be described as dominant. Flowers is .289/14/44 and was recently promoted to AAA, Lillibridge struggled in the bigs like he did in Atlanta, and Gilmore is still many moons away from sniffing a big league promotion. My guess is that the Braves will get much more for Vazquez this off-season than they gave up last December...

It looks like the Braves have their version of Jack Cust/Adam Dunn/Jay Bruce with Cody Johnson. He leads the Carolina League in home runs by 9 with 26, playing in just 96 games (336 AB's). Check out the strikeouts, though!

Am I the only person who watches ESPN's new show SportsNation just for Michelle Beadle?

Hawaii coach Greg McMackin had some harsh words for Notre Dame players dancing...

Huge homer by McCann last night to avoid the sweep. I thought McCann hit a pretty good pitch out, but losing pitcher Luis Ayala said that he "made a mistake." Wait for the video to load to get another look, but I don't even think the pitch was a strike. Give Mac credit for hitting a tough pitch out.

Two things to watch for here, in case you missed the MLS All-Star game Wednesday. First, the opening PK by James Vaughan, possibly the worst in history - then, Never-Hesitating Howard stealing the show and preserving the Everton victory.

Nevermind on James Vaughan being the worst PK ever. Check out this dude.

Adios NL Central, the Tigers got the piece they needed to seperate from the Sox and Twins by adding another starting pitcher in Jarrod Washburn...

Under the radar pick up for the Falcons? Jamie Winborn, who had 99 tackles last season, was signed yesterday just before traning camp...

Thanks to Steve Lombardi of for posting the link to this box score, which included the worst save in baseball history by Dave Goltz. Also, be sure to scroll to the bottom and look at the attendance.

Jose Canseco says he now knows of a hall of famer that has used steroids. Any doubt this guy is Ricky Henderson??

Off to 1st Braves game of the year tonight, stay away rain!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The State of the Pirates...

While I would trade 17 straight losing Braves seasons for 2 Falcons Super Bowls in 5 years, it has got to be tough on the baseball fans in Pittsburgh. How did it get this bad? Other teams with limited payrolls like Kansas City have struggled as well, but Pittsburgh has never ever sniffed the playoffs since 1992. Now, another sale of their top level major league talent in the last year has put them back at ground zero again. You would think with the prospects acquired in these deals, along with top 10 picks virtually every year this decade, their chances of making some noise should be forthcoming.

They do have money to keep some of these guys, but seem to have gone into panic mode the last 2 seasons at the trade deadline. Lets take a quick look at these trades and who has been drafted recently to see exactly where this franchise is right now...

1) Jason Bay for Andy LaRoche, Craig Hansen, Brandon Moss, and Bryan Morris - Morris has a 5.70 ERA in class A ball, Hansen is on the 60 day DL and looks like a middle reliever, and LaRoche/Moss are currently playing every day. While LaRoche and Moss are still highly thought of, they are both 26 now and still hitting around .250 without a lot of power. Bay on the other hand is on pace for another 30 HR/100 RBI season.

2) Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen - Nady and Marte have been injured all year for NY, and Pittsburgh looks like they got a good return for them. Ohlendorf throws gas and is already in the rotation, Karstens has had some success starting and relieving in the bigs, and McCutchen is a solid starter in AAA. Tabata is the Pirates #3 prospect and is hitting over .300 in AA. Great deal for the Bucs.

3) Nate McLouth for Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Locke, and Charlie Morton - Curious deal that they would deal McLouth at the point in the season that they did, but Pittsburgh got a pretty good return. Morton has been solid in the rotation, Hernandez is still a good OF prospect, and Locke is good lower level lefty.

4) Adam LaRoche for Argenis Diaz and Hunter Strickland - LaRoche had to be dealt after the McLouth move and his contract, and they got a decent amount in return. Strickland has great upside as a RH starter and Diaz is a decent SS prospect. Not bad considering everyone knew LaRoche was going to be dealt.

5) Freddy Sanchez for Tim Alderson - Pittsburgh did a good job here, getting the Giants 1st round pick from 2007. Alderson is already pitching well in AA and projects as a front line starter in 2011. Sanchez is solid, but after not getting the contract done, they got a good amount back for him.

6) Jack Wilson and Ian Snell for Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Brett Lorin, Nathan Adcock, Aaron Pribanic - I this seven player deal, Cedeno gives Pitt a SS fill in for Wilson. Clement is major league ready, after being the M's top pick in 2005. He is currently .288/14/68 in AAA. The other 3 players are all Class A pitchers and decent prospects.

Now to the draft, which can be a crapshoot sometimes. Here is who Pittsburgh drafted in the 1st round the past 8 years, with the pick number in parentheses.

2009 - Tony Sanchez (4) - Hitting .337 in his 1st 20 minor league games.
2008 - Pedro Alvarez (2) - Bucs #1 prospect, is .258/20/75 in A/AA this year.
2007 - Daniel Moskos (4) - 7-8 3.90 LHP has been underwhelming at best.
2006 - Brad Lincoln (4) - 2.99 ERA in 19 starts in AA this year, good curve and Bucs #4 prospect.
2005 - Andrew McCutchen (11) - Already made a splash in the bigs, McCutchen looks like the leadoff man/CF of the future.
2004 - Neil Walker (11) - Walker is in AAA and still projects as an everyday player in the bigs.
2003 - Paul Maholm (8) - Maholm has been steady in the rotation this year, and looks like a middle line starter for years to come.
2002 - Bryan Bullington (1) - The one the Bucs really blew - Bullington has been a bust, and is now trying to make it up as a reliever for the Jays. Immeditely after Bullington, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, and BJ Upton were selected.

If you go back another five years, none of the Bucs 1st rounders even sniffed success in the big leagues. So, where does that leave the franchise? Actually, in 2 years, the rotation looks pretty strong. The key will be the Moss/LaRoche combo turning into good, middle of the order hitters.


1) Zach Duke
2) Brad Lincoln
3) Tim Alderson
4) Paul Maholm
5) Charlie Morton/Ohlendorf/Karstens/Morris


A. McCutchen - CF
J. Tabata/G. Hernandez - RF
P. Alvarez - 3B
A. LaRoche - 1B
T. Sanchez - C
B. Moss/D. Young - LF
N. Walker - 2B
A. Diaz - SS

A pretty good core, but probably not a winner until 2012 at the earliest. They will also have great depth at SP, and could trade a starter or 2 to acquire more help at middle infield.

Hopefully, for Pirates fans, there is not another sell-fest before this team can show what they have...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick update on the Braves/Majors top prospect...

It has been noted on here how big of a prospect Jason Heyward has become. Well, the dude is still blowing up, and is on a streak now that is making everyone take a second look. Most guys make the jump from advanced A ball to AA and take a little while to adjust. Not our guy Heyward.

He has now been in AA Mississippi for 20 games and is currently hitting .443 with 3 HR's and 16 RBI. Through last night, Heyward is 16 for his last 33 a couple HR's. His overall minor league numbers for the year are now .336/13/47 in just 69 games. That projects to better than .330/30/100 for 150-155 games. The leagues top prospect is looking like Atlanta's RF next season.

And he is turning just 20 years old in 2 weeks...

Time to focus on the Wild Card...

What a difference a Ross Gload home run and a Wednesday afternoon trade can do to a teams outlook. It appears the Phillies acquired Ben Francisco and Cliff Lee for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. Toronto wanted too much for Halladay, and Philly was able to get Lee and another bat while not giving up Drabek, Haap, or Dominic Brown. Now, Phillie fans see a future rotation of Lee, Hamels, Haap, and Drabek - pretty sporty...

The deal is similar to the Braves-Rangers deal from two years ago in that the Braves got a piece they thought would put them over the top without giving up all of their top prospects. The Braves did, however, give up all top-tier prospects and the deal does not look so good in hindsight. The difference with the Phils-Tribe trade is that Philly is more likely to lock-down Lee than the Braves were Teixeira.

So, who did Philly give up? We know they kept Brown(.318/11/43), their #1 prospect (all according to Baseball America). They also kept Haap, their #9 prospect, and one of the big keys to their better play as of late. And, of course, the untouchable Drabek, their #5 prospect (11-2 2.78 in A/AA). But they did give up prospects ranked #2 (Carlos Carrasco),#3 (Lou Marson),#4 (Jason Donald), and #10 (Jason Knapp).

The most interesting guy is Marson, because he is one of the top rated catching prospects in the minors and paves the way for a Victor Martinez deal later in the week. Marson is hitting .294 in AAA and is about ready to make the jump to the bigs.

Carrasco is a big-time starting pitching prospect and will be in the Indians rotation very soon. He is a big guy at 6'3 and throws hard.

Donald is a slick fielding SS who has struggled a bit in his transition to AAA. After hitting .307/14/54 last year, his bat hasn't been there in 09. A top prospect nonetheless.

Knapp was a 2nd round pick last year and is a 6'5 RHP. He projects very well and was very good after signing last summer.

We likely won't know who got the better of this for several years, that is, unless Lee is WS MVP. I think that if any club knew they would win it all by having to give up 4 or even 5 of their top prospects, they would pull the trigger immediately.

Time to scoreboard watch the Cubs, Rockies, and Giants...

SEC picks...

Lets keep the predictions coming for 2009. In the SEC...

1) Florida goes 12-0
2) Georgia keeps winning in opponents stadiums, but slips up at home vs LSU
3) Tennessee gets back to a bowl and .500 in the conference
4) Spurrier keeps getting frustrated in Columbia, finishes 6-6
5) Vanderbilt is competitive again, but not enough to make another bowl
6) Kentucky comes close to an upset or 2, but only wins 1 conference game
7) Bama avoids UGA and UF from the East and their toughest road conference game is Auburn. There season will come down to LSU and VT games
8) LSU remains inconsistent, looking dominant at times but losing 2 games with a tough conference schedule
9) Mississippi will be pretty good again, but not top 10 good
10) Arkansas gets back to a bowl but gets blown out at LSU
11) Auburn also rebounds and gets back to a bowl, but fans are still not happy with 5 L's
12) Mississippi State looks better on offense under Mullen, but still a year or 2 away.




Miss St.(0-8)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NFL Standings Predictions

For those that don't want to read through the explanations, here are the NFL picks for 2009...

NFC East

NY Giants......12-4

NFC West

San Francisco..4-12
St Louis.......3-13

NFC North

Green Bay......7-9

NFC West

New Orleans....11-5
Tampa Bay......4-12

AFC East

New England....12-4
NY Jets........5-11

AFC West

San Diego......10-6
Kansas City....3-13

AFC South


AFC North


Wild Card

Atlanta over Seattle
Philadelphia over New Orleans

Indy over Cincinnati
San Diego over Houston

Best NFL Weekend of the year

Atlanta over NY Giants
Bears over Eagles

Pittsburgh over San Diego
New England over Indy

Championship Weekend

Bears over Falcons
Pittsburgh over New England

Super Bowl

Pittsburgh over Bears

More NFL pre-season talk...

Lets keep it going...

The Redskins are an intriguing team for 2009. They could be pretty good on offense with an improved line and their rookie receivers from last year (Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly) coming off injuries. The D-line should be much improved with Albert Haynesworth pushing up the middle. There are some concerns in the secondary, but Washington is good enough to win 10+ this year. Prediction - 10-6

It is hard to pick New Orleans to win a bunch of games because they look so vulnerable on defense. However, they seem to be as healthy as ever and have upgraded the secondary with Jabari Greer, Darren Sharper, and Malcolm Jenkins. The offense should be top 3 again if not #1 like last season. Prediction - 11-5

San Diego made a real strong push at the end of last season. They get Shawn Merriman back and are strong in the secondary with Jammer and Cromartie. However, Tomlinson and Gates have been injury plagued the past few seasons and it is hard to see them back in the 10-12 win frame. Prediction - 10-6

Houston should have one of the better offenses in the league this year. Matt Schaub has 3 strong weapons in the passing game and Steve Slaton looks to be a top-tier RB this season. The defense keeps improving and if healthy, could be in the top 15. Prediction - 10-6

Denver really overhauled their roster under new coach Josh McDaniels. Their offense won't be as explosive as last year due to the Cutler-Orton swap, and the defense won't be much better either. McDaniels may have some success down the road, but it doesn't look good for this year. Prediction - 5-11

The Jets look to start Mark Sanchez, but he will be without their top target in Coles from last year. Under a new coach, the defense is also switching schemes and while it won't be bad, won't be good enough to offset the offense. Prediction - 5-11.

Arizona all of a sudden learned how to play defense in the playoffs and almost became Super Bowl champs. Kurt Warner is back with a new deal and still has his weapons in the passing game and added Beanie Wells. If Warner and Wells are healthy for 14+ games, Arizona might be playoff bound again. I am not counting on it. Prediction - 7-9

Tampa Bay also went under some re-tooling this off-season. They don't have a NFL level starter at QB on the roster which is a shame because Winslow and Bryant are very good in the passing game. Graham and Ward are a solid 1-2 punch at RB and the OL is still pretty good. However, the defense was completely overhauled and doesn't have much left. Jermaine Phillips is now a LB and Gaines Adams is now the man on the DL. Prediction - 4-12

Dallas will still be pretty potent on offense with Romo, Roy Williams, Witten, and the Jones/Barber/Choice backfield. But, the defense will struggle to stop people. They lost several starters and are replacing them with rookies and a veteran or 2 including Keith Brooking. Uh-oh. Prediction - 8-8

Chicago will no longer have to depend on their D to win gams for them. Getting Jay Cutler to run the offense will give them many more options. His passing skills will also make Matt Forte better. If a WR or 2 step up, they have a shot at having a 1st round bye. Prediction - 12-4

Philadelphia is really depending on Brian Westbrook to play in most of their games this season. They did draft McCoy to back him up, but the need Westbrook if they are going to contend. The defense is good as always and they now have more game-breakers with Jackson and Maclin at WR and KR. Prediction - 10-6

Minnesota will be pretty close to the team they were last season. Issues at QB, great RB, solid OL, and great front 7. Stopping the run won't be a problem, and if they can be strong against the pass, they could be one of the leagues best D's. However, the QB issue is pretty tough to overcome. Prediction - 8-8

Baltimore could be a 10+ win team this year if they can get their issues at WR solved. Derrick Mason unexpectedly retired and then Drew Bennett was signed to replace Mason and he retired. The OL is strong and they have good depth at RB, but need some WR for Flacco. The D should be dominant and will always have them in the game. Prediction - 10-6

Now that New England has Tom Brady healthy, they should become a top-tier team again. The offense will be very good and their D is good enough to keep them in most games. Prediction - 12-4

Miami was unexpectedly an 11 win team last year, but don't look for a repeat. The schedule should be tougher and they have some glaring weaknesses on D. Prediction - 7-9

Atlanta should boast one of the leagues best offenses with a solid OL, stud RB, franchise QB, and stud WR. Throw in Tony Gonzalez and the Birds should average 25+ points a game this year. The D needs to be decent for Atlanta to have a chance for their 1st back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history. I will bet that Abe stays healthy, a corner steps up, and either Decoud or Moore is strong at the safety spot. Prediction - 10-6

Carolina will only be as good as Jake Delhomme lets them be. If he is on, with his weapons at RB and WR and a solid OL, the Panther offense will be very good. If he is 7-27, they will struggle. They still have the same problems on D, and in a division with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Michael Turner, Jerious Norwood, Derrick Ward, and Ernest Graham - that can't be good. That puts lots of pressure on Jon Beason and the LB's. Prediction - 8-8

The NY Giants will boast a top 3 defense and still have weapons on offense. Their OL is very good, and as long as Eli is not terrible, he has enough weapons to win a bunch of games. Prediction - 12-4

Indy upgraded their D in the draft and Peyton is still one of the leagues top QB's. If they can get a running game and can stop the run, they are a contender again. Prediction - 12-4

Pittsburgh will again be very good on D and with Big Ben healthy, could be better on offense. If their running game comes around, they will be back in the hunt again in 2009. Prediction - 13-3

Tennessee took a huge hit when they lost Albert Haynesworth. Their D will still be solid, but won't be good enough to win them as many games as it did last year. Still not a lot to work with on offense for Collins. Chris Johnson is a stud, but the WR's are weak. Prediction - 8-8

Early look at the NFL Season...

Less than 2 weeks from the Hall of Fame game, lets take a quick look at the divisions and see who may be our playoff teams in 2009.

First, the teams who finished with double digit losses last season...

Detroit should definitely get some W's this year. I like the veterans they got on their lines (Big Grady/Jansen), picked up Stafford and Pettigrew in the draft, and re-hauled their receivers and signed Phillip Buchanan. Prediction - 5-11

St Louis did little to improve themselves and now all of a sudden don't have a #1 receiver (Donnie Avery?). Their OL is still atrocious and they will waste another year of having a stud like Steven Jackson. Prediction - 3-13

Kansas City is still several years away and will soon find out Matt Cassel is not the answer. Their defense should be one of the league's worst and that should net them the top pick in next year's draft. Prediction - 3-13

Cleveland has a new coach and still has not figured out what QB they should go with. Look for Quinn to be the guy, but he lacks a running game or a receiving core to be very effective. The D has added some depth at LB, but Cleveland will continue to struggle. Prediction - 5-11

Seattle finally has a healthy Hasselbeck and has given him TJ Housh as help. Struggling mightily with offensive injuries last year, Seattle looks to have improved. Aaron Curry at LB and signing Ken Lucas to shore up the secondary were excellent moves. Look for them to contend in a weak division. Prediction - 9-7

Cincinnati also looks better on both sides of the ball. Their top 4 draft picks should all contribute (Andre Smith, Rey Maualuga, Michael Johnson, Chase Coffman) and Laveraneus Coles will help offset the loss of TJ. Roy Williams will improve the secondary and if Carson Palmer is healthy, they could have a winning record. Prediction - 10-6.

Oakland's franchise is in the tank. They whiffed in the draft and brought in Jeff Garcia when they already have one of the leagues highest paid players at the same position. They have some players on D and need Heyward-Bay to be electric right away. If Russell plays well, they could win 6 or 7. Prediction - 4-12.

Jacksonville learned what UGA learned last season. It is very hard to be consistent when your OL is decimated by injuries. The Jags have revamped their OL and signed Torry Holt as another receiving option for Garrard. They need to be great on D to sniff a winning season. Prediction - 8-8.

Green Bay should be better on D this year by adding Dom Capers to run the show. They also drafted BJ Raji to help the transition to a 3-4 defense. Clay Matthews could also help at LB. This team could surprise and win 10+, but I think there are still too many issues. Prediction - 7-9.

The two 7-9 teams...

San Francisco will continue to struggle to get back to the playoffs until they get consistent work from a QB. Alex Smith has one more shot to get it done, but Shaun Hill helped Mike Singletary get his job, so he may be loyal to him first. They have some good weapons in the passing game with Mike Crabtree now on board. But, both lines are still an issue. Prediction - 4-12.

Buffalo has some nice pieces on D and added TO to line up with Lee Evans at WR. If they can stop people and get to the QB, they may be improved. Hard to depend on Marshawn Lynch, though. Prediction - 8-8.

Coming up later today, the .500 teams and winning squads from last season...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday morning links...

Off to Maryland this weekend, here are some interesting stories as we had into the weekend...

Stephen Strasburg may not sign with Washington after all. What a disaster this would be for Nats fans. They finally have a stud prospect to be jacked about, and the front office has only offered a standard minor league contract of $1,000 per month? Wow. I know they are probably playing hard ball with Boras, knowing nothing will be done until August 15-17th, but for your fans sake at least look professional.

Good news for Braves fans, it looks like the Mets will be buyers at this years trade deadline. At 10 games back in the division and 6.5 in the Wild Card with 7 teams in front of them, the Mets should be looking towards next year. I guess that is New York for you.

Looks like Landon Donovan will get another shot at playing overseas. Maybe he needs a break from his boy Becks.

Mike Vick could meet with Roger Goodell soon and talk of his reinstatement. Does it matter? Is anyone going to sign Vick for this season? He is probably a backup/wildcat guy now and the would the negative publicity be worth it? I think he goes UFL one year and then gets a shot in 2010.

Even though lots of people are saying Roy Halladay will not be traded, I still think some team will give up the motherload to acquire Doc before July 31st. He is just too good to pass on when he is available if you think he can put your team over the top. There are several teams that could get Halladay and be World Series favorites (Phillies, Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, LAA, and maybe St Louis. Other teams would become great bets to at least have a chance to make a run in the postseason (Milwaukee, Tampa, both Chicago teams, and Texas). Some GM will pull the trigger in the next week.

In case you missed it, fantasy guru Matthew Berry of picked Michael Turner with the 1st pick in the magazine fantasy draft. I love Turner, but his workload has to decrease this year. His 2008 season was the 20th highest in terms of number of carries in NFL history. We have learned from others (T. Davis, B. Foster, J. Lewis, J. Anderson, L. Johnson, etc) that heavy work loads usually lead to washed up running backs in just a few years.

Turns out Lebron James and his buddies drank booze and smoked week while in high school. Anyone surprised?

There have been a lot of college athlete DUI's this summer, as usual. However, there must be absolutely nothing to do in North Dakota. They recently had their fourth player get charged with DUI in 6 months.

Looks like the Bruce Pearl honeymoon is over in Knoxville. He just had another top recruit decommit. Maybe his antics have worn off a bit...

Finally, a thought. Lets take a moment and praise the off-season work of Braves GM Frank Wren. He didn't overpay for Peavy, traded for the right guys, and held on to Tommy Hanson. What if he traded Hanson, like SD wanted, and acquired the wrong free agents to fill out the rotation? Would this team be in contention if the rotation was as follows?


Kudos to Frankie Boy...