Monday, November 29, 2010

Transactions....

Been a while. Let's catch up.....

I'll say it: Cortland Finnegan is a jerk.

I've had enough of this Jeter contract crap. Everyone knows he's signing with the Yankees. let's move on to actual sports, OK?

I will say this. I could not disagree more with this. The reason the Yankees are playing hardball with Jeter is A: Jeter doesn't deserve 4 years at 23 per. Not even close. And B: the Yankees could use the money they save with Jeter to pay Cano, Hughes, Lee and whoever. You can't just dump money into Jeter's pocket and move on and not have it affect the team.

Yes, I am this petty. I love the fact that the Heat are bombing so far.

By all accounts Randy Shannon was a good guy. But with all the talent that Miami rakes in each year....you just can't be 6 over .500 in 4 years.

Is Kevin Love the MVP so far? Probably not, but you could make a case for a guy 19 points and 15 boards.

The forecast has TCU playing Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. That's the game I want to see come BCS bowl time.

Lotsa luck, Florida.

Let me get this straight. TCU is joining the Big East? Why are their conferences with names like that. Colorado in the Pacific Athletic League. A team in Texas joining the Big East. Just silly.

Matt Ryan, 24 for 28.....nice.

Always great to see Nadal play Federer. Up there in my opinion with Chamberlain/Russell, Ohio State/Michigan, Duke/North Carolina and Yankees/Red Sox best rivalries

If the Niners lose again this season, Mike Singletary gets canned. Seriously, he needs to win out.

OK, AAPTBNL Man of the Week goes to Jay Cutler. Cutler has been eviscerated since forcing a trade from Denver. And not undeservedly so. But wow, has he come back. Against a good defense last night, Cutler went 14 for 21, with ) INTs and 4 TDS. So almost a 3rd of his passes went for TDs. Nice, Jay. Very nice.

And finally, I'm not as big a fan of the Coors Light press conference mashups, and I'd have probably put in one of those Miller Light commercials from the 80s. Like this one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hiatus

I am in charge of my 3-month old this week...so I'll be taking a short hiatus. see you after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Five

Time to answer some sports questions......

1. What terms do you think the Yankees and Derek Jeter will finally agree to?

2. Which baseball player had the best mustache?

3. OK, you have to pick the all-time basketball team to beat alien invaders and save the earth. Who are your starting 5 guys?

4. Is all this hub-bub about Cam Newton cheating and etc, going to matter one bit in his career?

5. Is this the worst play you've ever seen by an athlete? If not, what was the worst?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Money and the Coming Yankee Youth Movement

Last week, I wrote about how, due to age and financial considerations, this could be Jorge Posada's last year as a Yankee. Let's take this thought line—specifically future Yankee financial considerations a bit further. What have the Yankees set themselves up, re. the future?

Now everyone thinks the Yankees have a limitless bankroll, and yes, they have more than their fair share. But its not bottomless wallet. For a while now, there have been rumblings about Cashman refusing to go after a player, even though the Yankees could have used him, due to a budget (for instance, Johnny Damon or picking up Kerry Wood's option). Most people laugh it off. But what if its serious? What if the current economic crisis is affecting the Yankees and affecting their...gulp...budget.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Transactions....

If I had one point guard to take right not—any of them—I'd take Deron Williams. Chris Paul is a stud, no doubt, but Williams is a scorer, a general and poised and mature. in short, the best I've seen in a while.

Boom! Headshot! Love that all these Nike "Boom!" commercials are taking place when the NFL is trying to cut back on serious and dangerous collisions.

I think Clint Hurdle might be walking into a nice situation as new manager for the Pirates. He's got a pretty good young team with more help coming soon. Of course, this is contingent on management actually spending a little money. But the talent is there, or will be, and I think Clint Hurdle might have been a good choice by Pittsburgh.

How is Stanford ahead of Wisconsin in the BCS? Stanford's strength of schedule is behind Boise freakin' State's. They've beat nobody—except an overrated Arizona team who lost to Oregon State—and they got exposed by Oregon. Meanwhile, the Badgers have beaten no. 9 Ohio State and no. 13 Iowa at Iowa. How does the BCS work exactly? Do they throw darts at a wall with team names on it?

Great game last Thursday night between Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. Fantastic watching these guys make throws they wouldn't have a couple of season ago...now taking over their respective teams.The next generation of great NFL QBs is coming on strong.

Nick Folk should buy Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes gold watches for getting him out of that awful jam on Sunday.

I think Chad Pennington should retire now and become a great coach somewhere. The guy is gutty, a true lover of the game and a good guy. Don't risk more hurt Chad. It's time.

I hope Dan Persa gets a job in the NFL, I really do. After seeing him a few time at Northwestern, the guy is smart, fun to watch and a real competitor.

I think Dan Uggla might be a good get for the Nationals. They could use some pop and he would certainly give it to them.

Really, guys. How can you do this. Especially now?

So apparently the Dodgers are willing to trade James Loney. So what? He's had a nice season in 2007, but has declined every season since....who wants to take him and pay him?

So the AAPTBNL Man of the Week. I know this site has bashed him in the past, but its gotta go to Mike Vick. Sure he does all the great stuff running the ball. But last night he had a really good game passing the ball. 20 for 28, 4 TDs and no INTs. And for the most past, he put the ball where the receivers could catch them— in stride, near their body. Good game, Mike.

And lastly.....thank god he road to March Madness is here!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Five

1. Which young QB would you want? Matt Ryan. Joe Flacco. Mark Sanchez. Matt Stafford?

2. Would you pay 20 million per for Carl Crawford?

3. Are the Browns for real?

4. Are you taking any pleasure in the Miami heat's struggles?

5. What percentage of college football player do you believe get illegal benefits (grades, money)?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will Jorge Posada Be A Yankee In 2012?

In the last year of his current contract, Jorge Posada will be primarily a DH. He may play some catcher sporadically, but in 2011, for the first time in his career, the switch-hitter will be the everyday DH.

Frankly, it’s a move long coming. Never a defensive guru or a master game-caller, Posada finally broke down this season and looked every bit his 38 years. Posada was 4th in the AL with 72 stolen bases, 2nd in passed balls and 3rd in errors. Always more of an offensive catcher, the wear and tear of catching over a decade and a half took its toll on Posada’s bat, as his offensive statistics in 2010 dropped in every category.

OK, so he’s the 2011 Yankee DH. But what happens in 2012 when his contract ends? Posada, entering the 2012 season will be 40 years old. And the talk is that the Yankees would like to move Jeter to 3rd base (another move long overdue) to hide his range deficiencies and move Alex and his aching hip to the DH for the rest of his gargantuan contract to reduce wear and tear.

So where does that leave Posada? In the past the Yankees for the most part aren’t afraid to tell someone that their time is up —Bernie Williams anyone? Will the Yankees tell one of their Core Four to go home and sit on the couch?

Most likely, they will have to. Assuming Posada doesn’t have a career year in 2011 at the age of 40, the Yankees won’t have a place for him the following year. With Jesus Montero and Austin Romine and close to being ready to take over—if not in fact ready, in Montero’s case—the Yankees would most likely go with the younger and cheaper prospects than a fading, aging Posada.

Also, they may not have the money. So far, in 2012, the Yankees have to pay large money to Jeter, A-Rod, Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira, Granderson, and pay Cano his substantial option. Just those guys alone add up to about 125 million dollars. And that doesn’t include Swisher, Rivera or Pettitte. Or Cliff Lee. Considering all that, signing a deep in-decline Jorge Posada would be a luxury. And contrary to popular belief, the Yankees resources are not in fact, limitless.

Does Posada want to retire? Again, he would be 40 years old in 2012. By that time, Bill Dickey had retired. Yogi Berra’s last year with the Yankees was when he was 38—and he was an outfielder at the time. Ernie Lombardi was done by 39. Michey Cochrane was done by 34. Gary Carter, 38. Johnny Bench, 35. Point being, Posada’s body, regardless of what his gut tells him, might be due to step down after 2011.

The only problem with that might be if Posada thinks he has more in him. A proud guy, Posada might balk at any suggestions of retiring. Again, this all depends on the projection that Posada doesn’t rebound with a career year at the age of 40—which is extremely unlikely. Posada, however, said back in February 2010, regarding retirement, “I am going to make it tough...I don’t want to go away.  I am having fun and enjoy playing.  To tell you the truth, they are going to really have to rip [the uniform] off me.” Not the words of a guy who will go gracefully. So considering the Yankees plans for the future and Posada's intransigence.....something will have to give.

Point being. 2011 might—and most likely will be—the last year we see Jorge Posada in pinstripes for meaningful game. If you are a Yankee fan, you might want to enjoy what time you have left to watch him.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

So Cam Newton Cheated on Some Tests...well duuuuh.

So Everybody's All-American and probably Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton allegedly cheated on some tests. Really....wow! I am shocked!

Come on. in the biggest open lie since John Gotti claimed to be an electrician", the news that college sports is not on the up-and-up, and that "student-athletes" are really not "students" shouldn't come to a shock to anyone.

And for the most part, does anyone really care? This is the main point. Not that he cheated, or stole computers or whatever. It's does anyone really care. ESPN will lead it on their front page and the NCAA will promise a "full investigation" and Auburn might have to forfeit a few wins. But Cam will leave for the NFL and nothing important will really happen.

And you know why? Because nobody wants the system to change. The fact that these "student-athletes" don't go to class, get paid under the table, and are bulletproof when they break university (and in some cases, societal,) laws is just par for the course in the system we have today.

And for the right people, the system works. The Universities, the networks, the promoters and the cities that get bowl games—all of them get truckloads of money off the "student-athlete" system. So the system stays as is.

And everyone once in a while, a player will get busted for not attending classes. Or for accepting money from an agent. Or for stealing answers. Or a computer. Or whatever. And the NCAA will act shocked and start an investigation. And ESPN will make a big stink of it for a couple of days. But nothing will happen. Just ask Reggie Bush.

Come on. Everyone knows that this is the way the system works. Heck, people expect athletes to not do real college schoolwork. Or to be paid some under-the-table cash. Really; if an athlete of Cam Newton's ability generates the kind of money he does—for CBS, for Auburn, for the BCS bowl system—why would he not want some of what he generated? And really, would he want to go to a Calculus class on Monday morning? Why would he, when he clearly knows he's a first round pick whenever he comes out?

This is not to condone Newton's actions. This is just to say: Stop pretending to be shocked and outraged whenever a collegiate athlete is caught acting in this manner. With the system in place now for student-athletes, this kind of behavior goes on all the time and everyone knows it. And it will keep happening until the system changes.

Don't hold you breath waiting for that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Transactions....

Have to start with....if anyone was lucky enough to watch the Michigan-Illinois game on Saturday like I was....well you just watched one of the all-time most funnest games of your life.

Honestly, what do non-BCS teams have to do. TCU went out and laid a pasting on #5 Utah at Utah. Meanwhile Auburn sleepwalks against Chattanooga, yet TCU still is stuck at number 3.Basically, there is no chance ever that a non-BCS team will ever play in a championship game unless college football goes to a playoff system. How do you like the taste of that, TCU, Boise State and all non-BCS football programs?

The Jets were very lucky on Sunday. If Detroit runs a simple running play instead of missing a pass play and stopping the clock with about 1:55 left to play, and Julian Peterson doesn't make a ridiculous personal foul, then the Jets don't have enough time to move the ball down field and win the game. And not that mark Sanchez is Curt Warner type accurate, but Man, do the Jets receivers have to put some glue on their hands. Catch something please guys.

Good article by MLBTradereumors.com explaining why the Mets hired J.P. Riccardi. Yes, the article explains, Riccardi completely blew when it came to signing free agents, but year after year, the Blue Jays under Riccardi produced excellent drafts. And the Mets didn't hire him for his free agent signing services, they hired him to evaluate talent. Good move Metros and nice article MLBTraderumors.com

No big surprises as Newsday rates the current free agent crop and predicts where each of them will sign. No surprises except the fact that Newsday rates Mariano Rivera as the 16th best free agent behind the likes of Johnny Damon and Javier Vasquez. Really?

Hey Wade, your front porch rocking chair is calling.

Pro Football Weekly rates Bill Belichek as the Coach of the Year so far, but I might Mike McCarthy a vote. With Ryan Grant, Al Harris, Mike Neal, Brad Poppinga and all the other injuries (Donald Driver, etc—heck rookie free agent Frank Zombo started at linebacker yesterday), and trying to protect his QB with an ancient pair of tackles and a rookie, McCarthy not only has the packers at 6-3, but the Packers 3 losses are by a combined total of 9 points. 2 of those games were overtime losses and the Bears losses came on a late 4th quarter fumble. Overall, not too bad a job, and the Packers lead in the NFC North.

Anyone watch that Zenyatta horse go for its 20th win a row Saturday. Me neither.

As I've said for the past 2 years, don't be surprised if the Red Sox deal Jonathan Papelbon. That said, who would take him? 8 blown saves, 3.90 ERA, 1,27 WHIP, all highs for his career. The time to trade him might have been last off-season.

And for the "Really?" news of the week. Really?

And for AAPTBNL Man of the Week, you have to go with Peyton Hillis, the former 7th round draft pick of the Broncos. Against the 6-1 Patriots, all Hillis did is run the ball 29 times for 184 yards and 2 TDs ( a 6.3 average YPR). He also caught 3 passes for 36 yards. Congrats Peyton, you are now on the map in the NFL.

And finally, Sparky......we'll miss you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Five

1. Are you in favor of replay in baseball. Some limited use of it? Total replay? Explain.

2. Would you want Randy Moss on your team?

3. Here's the list of NFL.com's Top 100 players of all time. State your point of view.

4. Which college is the best "Tech" college. Georgia? Texas? Virginia? Cal? Another one?

5. Which college not named for a state or city is the best overall? Stanford? Auburn? Notre Dame? Army?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The 2010 Yankee Awards

Best Player:
Always hated the "Most Valuable Player." Valuable could mean anything. Adam Kennedy was incredibly valuable to the 2002 Angels—was he their best player? Anyway, this is an easy one. Robinson Cano was moved up in the batting order and answered the bell. Cano had the highest batting average for the Yankees, the second highest OBP (.002 points behind Gardner), the highest slugging, the highest OPS, was tied for 3rd in HRs, the most doubles and was 2nd in RBI. All in all, an easy choice.

Most Disappointing Player:
Oooofff. Put 3/4 of the roster in a hat and take your pick. But the overall winner for most disappointing has to be A.J. Burnett. Burnett wasn't asked to be the ace, just a solid part of the rotation —16 wins or so. Instead, Burnett went out a pooped on the mound every 5 days. Posting the highest ERA of career, (by a longshot), Burnett also had the highest H/9 of his career, the highest HR/9 of his career, and had 50 less strikeouts than in 2009. Burnett lost 5 games in a row in June and then lost 7 out of 8 decisions in August and September. From the end of May until the end of the season, his ERA climbed 2 full points. However, the most disappointing thing about Burnett, possibly—the Yankees have 3 more years on his contract.

Best Impersonation of a Very Old Man:
Derek Jeter. It wasn't just his shrinking range at shortstop or 16 less steals or the 2nd highest GDP of his career. It was his lowest OBP since 1995; it was the highest amount of swinging at pitches outside the strike zone—again, by a longshot. It was that pitchers pitched the lowest amount of pitches inside the strike zone of his career, knowing that Jeter would swing at bad pitches. It was his flailing at the plate knowing that he couldn't get his bat around on the fastball. Want proof? In 2009 Jeter's wFB (this stat denotes runs above average against fastballs, with zero being average) was 27.8. In 2010, it was 0.9. Jeter didn't just get old. He got old in a hurry.

Best You Get What You Pay For Award:
Chan Ho Park could go here. But the winner is Curtis Granderson. When he was traded for, everyone in New York said that Granderson would improve by leaps and bounds. The new stadium was made for his swing, and Kevin Long will reverse his worsening batting trends. Well, no. Granderson duplicated his 2009 numbers in almost every respect. His batting average, his OPB, his power numbers—all virtually identical from 2009. The only thing different was his fielding which dipped in 2010. Last year Granderson was 3rd in Bill James' Fielding Bible for centerfielders; this season he was 8th. His WAR was 3.2 to 2.1 The Yankees magic wand didn't improve Granderson magically. He is exactly what they traded for.

Most Improved Player:
Nick Swisher. Nick Swisher didn't just improve his batting average 39 points, his slugging percentage to the highest of his career, and his WAR as well, Swisher improved his contact percentage to the highest number of his career and improved his BABIP dramatically from .272 to .335. Swisher made better contact and put the ball into play better. Hopefully, his work with Kevin Long will continue to improve his time at the plate.

The Wonder Which Guy Shows Up Today Award:
Joba "Mr. Schizophrenic" Chamberlain wins this award. At times dominating, at other times clueless, Chamberlain frustrated with his performance. Yes, Chamberlain improved in almost every category from 2009, and pitched better as the season went along, but he had more ups and downs than the Coney Island Cyclone. Chamberlain started the season with an ERA of 2.16 on May 15th, then ballooned it to a 5.95 ERA on July 25th. Chamberlain then chipped away at his ERA with steady performances in the second half of the season—indeed, his ERA in the 2nd half of the season was a mighty 2.88 ERA—until he ended the season with a respectable 4.40 ERA. However it wasn't just the ballooning and shrinking of the ERA that frustrated Yankee fans. It was that Chamberlain could strike out the side one night, then go to pot the next time out. If Chamberlain could improve his batter-to batter-focus, he could be valuable; however now, he's just Jekyll and Hyde in a pudgy body.

The What The Heck Happens If He Retires Award (aka: The Old Faithful Award):
Mariano Rivera. Every year, papers predict his doom when he actually gives up a home run. Every year, he proves his worth. In a supposed "shaky year", Rivera matched his ERA from last season, lowered his WHIP and lowered his HR/9. He also lowered his postseason ERA to a preposterous 0.79. The Yankees should sign him to whatever he wants this offseason—give him Staten Island, the Space Shuttle, whatever the man wants, give him. The Yankees need him still.

The Waiting For Godot Award:
The award for someone every Yankee fans pin their hopes on, despite his never having set foot in the Bronx. Montero is the next Prince of New York—if you believe Baseball America or any of the prospect scouting sites. Montero is a sure-fire prospect, a future big bat in the middle of the Yankee lineup and is on the lips and in the heart of every Yankee fan worldwide. He's the biggest Yankee prospect since Brian Taylor...and we all know how that turned out.

Best Disappearing Act:
Another tough one. Nick Johnson gets the silver medal, as does Mark Teixeira in the first half of the season, but the gold medal winner has to be pitching coach Dave Eiland. It wasn't just the complete no-shows of Burnett and Javier Vasquez, or the "never know what you're get from" Joba Chamberlain; it was the literal disappearance of Eiland from the scene for 29 days in June—which happened to coincide with Burnett's nosedive. Why was he absent—who knows? But Brian Cashman doesn't cotton to coaches abandoning the troops in the middle of a battle—so Eiland disappeared for good.

And there you have it—the 2010 Yankee Awards. Let's hope these awards are a damn sight better next year.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Transactions....

So Minnesota. How is the Randy Moss reunion working out?

The officiating for the Indy-Houston game last night was awful. Just aw-ful. They spotted a ball a good YARD away from where Andre Johnson was tackled in the 2nd quarter. Then they called pass interference on Anthony Gonzalez when he didn't even touch the cornerback. I'm not a huge proponent for video replay, but the NFL does need to do something to get the officiating better.

I'm sorry, but those Miller Light commercials where they have a pretty young bartender calling out regular guys for not ordering Miller life....the most annoying commercials of the football season so far.

LeBron says he would now do "The Decision differently now. He also did a self-pitying Nike commercial. Which one do you believe?Isn't that nice?

Congrats to Brett "The little outfielder who could" Gardner. Brett won the Bill James Award for Best Defensive Left Fielder in all of baseball. Along with Curtis Granderson who came in 8th for all Center fielders, the Yankees have a decent fielding outfield. A far cry from when the Yankees had Johnny "Chicken wing" Damon and Bobby "I wont run near the outfield wall" Abreu.

Interesting article in the Daily News—which honestly, carries as much weight in its speculation as my mother—but interesting nonetheless. Apparently, the Yankees and Cashman think so much of Eduardo Nunez, the AAA shortstop, that they plan for him to take over at shortstop as soon as 2011. The Yankees would then move Jeter to 3rd and make Alex Rodriguez to permanent DH. The plan makes sense. Jeter would have less ground to cover and Rodriguez would have less wear and tear on his hip. Now, let's just see if Nunez can make good on the promise his talent lends him.

You know, right now it's Auburn vs. Oregon for the potential title game. That said: I'd rather see a Ohio State-Nebraska team. Yes, I know, they have one loss apiece, but I'd think its be a much more interesting game. With 2 better teams.

How exactly is Notre Dame ranked 5th in recruiting? I know they have a storied program. But they've won exactly Poo-Poo + Doo-Doo in over 20 years. Since 1995, they've had exactly 4 kids drafted in the first round. So what gives? Why would 4 or 5-star recruits go to that place? Boggles my mind.

As I've written before, Considering that Baseball welfare gives San Diego about 80 million dollars before they sell one ticket, the fact that they probably wont resign hometown kid, Adrian Gonzalez is a frickin' embarrassment.

Interesting point by Peter King this week: After Wes Welker, the next 5 receiving leaders on the patriots didn't play with Tom Brady last year. Arron, Hernandez (rookie), Brandon Tate (no catches last year), Deion Branch (Seattle), Danny Woodhead (NY Jets), Rob Gronkowski (rookie). Amazing—a testimony to the coaching staff and, as much as I hate to say it, to Tom "Justin Bieber all growed up" Brady.

Giants GM Brian Sabean said he is not open to trading Barry Zito. Right, as if someone would take him. A slooooooow-ball guy who needs to be perfect in spotting the ball to be effective. Was left off the postseason roster. And only in the 4th year of a 126 million dollar deal—exactly who would trade for him? Especially in this economic market? Thanks for letting us know Barry won't be going anywhere, Brian.

This week's Man of the Week award, should be called Men of the week: the Detroit Lions defense. Yes, the much-maligned Lions actually deserve an award. Get this. 7 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 12 QB hits, 1 INT and 1 fumble recovery for a TD. Good work boys and a good sign of things to come.

And finally, an oldie, but a goodie.