Saturday, December 31, 2011

Scary Thoughts

     The St. Louis Cardinals will be better this year than last year. Crap. Granted, the Cardinals' run was truly magical, and I don't know of a single 'expert' who predicted them winning the World Series. However, Albert Pujols, a mainstay in Cards' lineup and future Hall of Famer, signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which many believe to be a crippling blow to the franchise. However, I believe the opposite, and have concluded that they will be better. Adam Wainewright, arguably the Cardinals' best pitcher, is returning from Tommy John surgery this year, and will be throwing harder than usual because of the rehab exercises he performed. Wainwright has a WAR of about 6, meaning he adds 6 more wins to his team than an average, replacement level player would. Considering that he's coming back from serious surgery, we'll round that down to 4. Add in the recently signed Carlos Beltran, who adds about 4 wins as well, and the 5.6 wins added by Pujols this year is completely recovered, and even exceeded. While nobody expects the Cardinals to win the World Series again, they should improve their record by a few wins.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sent Out to Pasture

     The Dallas Mavericks are the exact opposite of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are young, talented, and have a bright future. The Mavs on the other hand, are old and their window of oppurtunity is all but slammed shut. The Pack, led by quarterback and likely NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, started their campaign for another title with a 14 game winning streak, and are headed to the playoffs with a first round bye. The Mavericks, though they won an NBA Championship last year, are old and frail. To be honest, I predict they'll barely make the playoffs unless a miracle happens. Tyson Chandler was the reason they won it all, sure Dirk Nowitzki certainly helped, and so did J.J. Barea, but Chandler's defense and leadership put the Mavericks on a whole new level. Chandler and the aforementioned Barea haved departed in free agency, and Chandler's impact can already be seen in the New York Knick's great start, and in the 0-3 start Mavs have had without him. Mark Cuban has claimed that he hasn't given up on this season, pointing at the trade for Lamar Odom, but it takes more than one player to make a team, even Jordan had Scottie Pippen. Whether or not Odom will be Nowitzki's Pippen has yet to be seen, though his recent ejection isn't a good start. The league may be overreacting, the Mavericks came out of nowhere last year, and they may do it again, but an 0-3 start isn't a promising start on the road to back-to-back titles. Plus, last year's finals victory may have been a fluke .after the Miami Heat, their opponent in the finals, flat out destroyed them in their opening game.

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The Ensuing Madness

      NFL week 17 is finally here! By now, many an expert has been proved wrong, and many doubters of a certain quarterback, and I'll leave it up to you to figure out who it is, have been converted in to believers. Unlike years in the past, the AFC playoffs are all but set, as the second AFC Wild Card spot is still up for grabs, and the AFC North has yet to be won, though playoff mainstays like New England, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh are guarenteed spots. However, one name, Indianapolis, is not on that list, as they have become one of, if not the worst football team in the NFL. The Colts stumbled off to a 0-13 start, but recently have pulled themselves out of the ashes and put together a few wins to keep themselves on the roster. The incumbent quarterback, Dan Orlovsky, knows he's playing for his job, for if the Colts lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars, they will receive the first overall draft pick and use it on franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.   

  The Draft scenarios creates an interesting situation, because if the Colts win, then the pick could go to St. Louis, who picked a quarterback, Sam Bradford, last year with the first overall pick in the draft. The Rams could trade the pick to any number of teams, and would get a Herschel Walkeresque treasure trove of draft picks in return.
     Another interesting situation is with the large amount of coaches being fired or sitting on the hot seat. Miami and Kansas City have already fired their head coaches, St. Louis, Indianapolis, San Diego, and a few others should fire their coaches the day the season ends.
May the Madness Commence!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yu Won!!!

     Last night, the Nippon Ham Fighters accepted the highest bid for the right to negotiate with pitcher Yu Darvish. The winner is...the Texas Rangers!!! Nolan Ryan and the Rangers' front office would not be outbid, reportedly beating out the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, traditional high rollers like Yankees and Red Sox, and also the Miami Marlins, who seem to be throwing money at any player with a modicum of talent. The winning bid was greater than or equal to the $51.7 million posting fee required to negotiate with Daisuke Matzusaka, which wa paid by the aformentioned Red Sox. The 6'5 Darvish is a 2-time MVP in his native Japanese League, and is projected to make an immediate impact and eventually become a top of the rotation starter in the near future.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Wheelin' N' Dealin'

     Hi guys! You've probably have noticed that I haven't posted in a while, and that is because I have decided to wait out most of the MLB free agency before I posted...Well, all of the baseball world knows that future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, and apparently Pujol's wife was disappointed with the Cardinal's offer, which was believed to be only for 5 years. I haven't heard much about any riots or LeBron-esque jersey burning yet, so it seems St. Louis is handling it better than Cleveland handled its departing superstar.
     Another potential superstar is about to sign a deal as well. Yu Darvish, a half Japanese half Persian pitcher for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. The 6'5 pitcher has dominated his oppenents, and posted a sub-2.00 earned run average this year. However, before a team can even negotiate with Darvish's agents, teams must bid on the right to talk to Darvish, and his team, the Ham Fighters, must accept. It is believed the winning bid will be over $51,000,000, with the potential to be much higher. With a large contract, the total price of importing a talent of this magnitude will be over $100,000,000. Some teams however, are wary of Asian professional players because they have a high rate of failure. Many players, mostly pitchers, have been 'imported' and the only superstar out of that group has been Ichiro Suzuki, a slick fielder and talented hitter. The most recent big-name player was Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Boston Red Sox, and after one season, albeit a brilliant one, he has sunken into mediocrity.
     The last move that could have far-reaching ramifications is the Reds' trade for right hander Mat Latos. Latos is 24 years old, throws a 97 MPH fastball and a few good breaking balls. However, critics have said that he was a creation of Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. These so called 'experts' are incorrect, for Latos' home ERA is 3.20 vs 2.96 at other parks. Cincinnati's GM Walt Jocketty bet the farm on this trade because he know that Latos has the potential to become a Cy Young winner, and thus he gave away two very valuable prospects. We'll find out soon enough if any of these deals pans out.

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