Posts Tagged ‘Giants’

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Now that we’ve seen all of the negatives of the Alex Rodriguez story, lets look at the positive to come out of this ruling. The New York Yankees have reclaimed the $25 million salary that they were supposed to pay Rodriguez and are now free to spend it however they please. With that in mind, here are three ways the Yankees could decide to use that money that would benefit them.

 

It is no secret that Yankees are well below the championship caliber team that fans expect. They (officially) no longer have a starting third baseman, Mark Texeira is returning after missing the entire 2013 season, and Derek Jeter is a shell of his former self.  With all that being said, the number one thing the Yankees need right now is starting pitching. CC Sabathia struggled mightily last year, finishing with a 14-13 record and a career high ERA of 4.78. In addition, Ivan Nova was up and down all of last year and Hiroki Kuroda is 38 and also lost some of his momentum in the second half of last year. To make matters worse, the Yankees don’t even have a set #4 and #5 pitcher right now. Now they can look at this two ways.

The first way to look at this is to go for the big splash (in true George fashion) and sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. In 28 starts last season, the former Rakuten Golden Eagle went an astounding 24-0 with and ERA of 1.27. At only 24 years old, Tanaka has the potential to be the Yankees number one starter going forward. However, Tanaka does not come without risk. As the Yankees know, a lot of Japanese pitchers have struggled with their transition to the MLB. Daisuke Matzusaka, Hideki Irabu, and Kei Igawa are all perfect examples of that. Of course that doesn’t mean that Tanaka will not be the next Yu Darvish, it just means that he could also be the next Hideki Irabu.

If the Yankees decide against the Japanese star, they definitely have other things they can do with that money. One hypothetical scenario would be bringing in a solid starting pitcher with a solid relief pitcher for a total of less money than Tanaka would cost. Two starters that are immediately available are Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both have struggled in the past couple of years and are both likely to command no longer than two-year contracts. Garza in particular, with a career ERA of 3.84, but past AL east experience with his time with the Rays, would cost only around 8-12 million on a year for a short amount of time. With no need for commitment, either of these pitchers can be a good temporary fix to the starting pitcher problem.

As far as the relief pitchers, there is once again a decent crop of short contract players available. Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, and Fransisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez could all be had on 1-2 year contracts for about $12 million. These would all be good temporary players for the Yankees to have if they want to make a chase for the playoffs.

Now this third option may scare most Yankee fans. I is a terrifying notion that will be a new concept to those who love the pinstripes. Save the money. The 2015 free agent market is going to be filled with significantly better crops. Asdrubal Cabrera, Chase Headley, Max Scherzer, and James Shield will be highly coveted players who would fit the Yankees perfectly. Not spending money this year will all but guarantee no playoffs this year, but it may be worth it in the long hall.

What should the Yankees do? Go after Tanaka? Get some short-term player? Maybe save the Money? Let us know what you think it s comments.

 

New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense ended the year on a strong note. They went into the Superdome in a “win and your in” game and obliterated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-17. The game was highlighted by Drew Brees masterful performance against a fairly formidable Tampa secondary. Brees threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, while adding another one threw the ground. This was just another day at the office for Brees. The Saints captain threw for over 5,000 yards this season with 39 touchdowns. On a national scale, New Orleans was only second to Denver with 307.4 yards per game. This bodes very well for the Saints as the Eagles have allowed the single most passing yards to opposing teams in the NFL. 

            With all that being stated, New Orleans will have a ton of problems on Saturday night in Philadelphia. For starters, the Eagles are 7-1 ever since Nick Foles officially took over the starting role for Chip Kellys offense. Foles numbers have been scary good. Foles has thrown for almost 3,000 yards this year, but that’s not where he has shined the most. This year, the former Arizona Wildcat threw 27 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. With a mix of speed and possession reivers expect the Saints pass defense to have their hands full. 

            The problems only get worse for New Orleans. The Saints come into this game with the 19th ranked rush defense in the league. That’s not a terrifyingly bad number, but it does leave them towards the bottom of the NFL in that category. The real problem is the fact that the Eagles have the number one rushing offense in the league. Lesean McCoy led the NFL in rushing this year with a career high 1,609 yards from scrimmage with nine touchdowns. He also added 539 yards in reception yards with another two scores.  McCoy has been an absolute monster this year. With his ability to use his feet and turn on the speed in any weather, he has the ability to change the entire game in one play. His best game came in week 14 against the Detroit Lions. Despite beyond terrible conditions due to snow, McCoy put up 217 yards on the ground and added two scores.

            Speaking of snow, that will be bigger than any challenge the Eagles will be able to bring. With a blizzard hitting the east coast, the conditions will be less then ideal for a dome team like New Orleans. The Saints have struggled mightily away from the Superdome recently, losing for out of their last five on the road. In a week 15 game in Edward James Dome, against a middle of the road St Louis Rams defense, New Orleans came up completely flat. While Brees did throw for 392 yards, he committed three costly turnovers, including two red zone interceptions. The fact is this team is just not as good on the road.

            No matter who wins this game should be a shootout. With that being said, the Eagles should win this game.  With the expected temperature for the game forecasted to be about 18 degrees Fahrenheit, the Saints aren’t going to know what him them. New Orleans may keep it close, but at the end of the day, Philadelphia should end up in Seattle next week.

Final Score- Philadelphia 28 New Orleans 17

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After a season filled with excitement, the NFL playoffs are upon us. In the NFC, the race is wide open. All six teams have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. With that being said, lets preview this weekends game in Green Bay.

 

Green Bay Packers Vs. San Francisco 49ers: This is going to be a battle of two hot teams. Green Bay comes into Lambau Field on Sunday having won three of their last four games. To make matters even better, Aaron Rodgers is back under center for the Packers. Despite a rough start, Rodgers showed he is back to his old self with his game winning drive against Chicago.

            A weak spot for this Green Bay team is their defense. The Packers finished the year ranked  25th overall in both rushing yards allowed (125.0) and passing yards allowed (247.2). To make matters worse, Green Bay will be without their best defensive player, Linebacker Clay Matthews.  However, this may not be a big issue in reality.  Recently, teams who make deep playoff runs have had mediocre defenses. When the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI they did so with a 27th ranked defense. This isn’t an isolated incident. During their 2007 playoff run, the New England Patriots had the 31st ranked defense in the NFL. That team went 18-1, losing in the Super Bowl to the Giants.

            The bigger issue for the Packers will be the fact that San Francisco is on fire. Winners of six in a row, the 49ers are back to full health now with the return of Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham. With these two receivers back in the fold, Colin Kaepernicks play has improved dramatically. Over the win streak, the 49ers signal caller is averaging almost 250 yards per game and additional 40 on the ground. In addition, Kaepernick has looked a lot more confident in both aspects of his games, leading to a better flowing offense.

Possibly more important than that, is the fact that San Francisco has had a top three running game this year. In his first full year in quite some time, Frank Gore had one of his best years as a pro. Gore rushed for 1,128 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. He did suffer a knee injury on Sunday against the Cardinals, but he has practiced so far this week an should be all systems go for the game.

            San Francisco and Green Bay met in week 1 and put on one of the most entertaining games of the year. 

The same should be expected in this game. With the dynamic offenses that these teams possess, look for a copy of the week one matchup. This includes a 49ers win.

Final Score 49ers 31 Packers 27

The Major League’s offseason is still going on, and Masahiro Tanaka is still singlehandedly plugging up the pitcher’s market. But lots has been done over the last few weeks, and we are going to check out which teams improved, and which teams took a step back.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Their 3-team deal with the White Sox and Angels landed them Mark Trumbo, who is little more than a power hitter, and a later deal brought in Addison Reed, who is an effective late innings pitcher. The cost was very high, as they traded prospects Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs to Chicago and Anaheim respectively. The question is, did it improve the team’s chance to win games? I don’t think it’s a step in the right direction, but it didn’t really hurt the team. Trending: Neutral

Atlanta Braves – They have been relatively quiet over the offseason, but they lost 2 of their key pieces in Tim Hudson to the Giants and Brian McCann to the Yankees. Their only acquisition worth mentioning is Gavin Floyd. They probably resigned themselves to losing both of those pieces, but it didn’t do much damage to them, with catcher Evan Gattis still on the roster. Trending: Neutral

Baltimore Orioles – The O’s roster took a few shake-ups the last couple of months, trading closer Jim Johnson to Oakland for Jemile Weeks, but most of the moves involved players leaving Baltimore. Nate McLouth went to Washington, Scott Feldman to Houston, and Michael Morse to San Francisco. I have to believe that next year will be tough for the O’s, with impending free agents Matt Wieters and Chris Davis to worry about. Trending: Down

Boston Red Sox – It’s tough to improve on a championship run, especially when one of your star players leaves to a rival team (understatement of the year). Jacoby Ellsbury was one of the most shocking moves of the year, going to the Yankees for 7 years. They also changed their catcher from Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Miami) to now another long last name, in A.J. Pierzynski. They didn’t improve, but they didn’t decline either. Trending: Neutral

Chicago Cubs – The Lovable Losers so far made a bunch of minor acquisitions, such as OF Justin Ruggiano and Casper Wells, C George Kottaras, and RP Jose Veras. They are also one of the big players in Tanaka, but that doesn’t mean they have him. Their farm system is loaded with talent, so big name free agents aren’t hugely important. But, I have to believe they will be on the rise soon, with or without Tanaka. Trending: Up

Chicago White Sox – The South-Siders were busy this offseason, picking up guys like 1B Jose Abreu (Cuba), and Mark Eaton. They did lose a couple of young arms, but they took a nice step in the rebuilding saga, trying to bring back competitiveness they had years ago. Trending: Up

Cincinnati Reds – They knew they were going to lose OF Shin-Soo Choo (Texas), and they have a serviceable lead-off replacement in Billy Hamilton AKA Speedy Gonzalez. They also lost starting C Ryan Hanigan (Tampa). They still have a great roster loaded with talent, and I don’t see them losing ground in the NL Central anytime soon. Trending: Neutral

Cleveland Indians – They signed a bunch of smaller contracts, notably OF David Murphy and RP John Axford, but they lost a ton of their effective bullpen, with Joe Smith, Clay Rapada (both Anaheim), and Chris Perez (other L.A. team) all leaving. Also, Scott Kazmir, their low-risk, high reward starter is gone to Oakland. It’s not going to be easy to keep up the level of competition in Rock City. Trending: Down

Colorado Rockies – They made a ton of signings: 1B Justin Morneau, OF’s Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes, and pitchers LaTroy Hawkins, Franklin Morales, Boone Logan, and Brett Anderson. Their only key loss was OF Dexter Fowler, in the trade with Houston for Barnes and Jordan Lyles. They vastly improved their pitching, and their offense should be able to help that as well. Trending: Up

Detroit Tigers – The Tigers were extremely busy. They signed OF Rajai Davis and closer Joe Nathan, and traded for Ian Kinsler and Steve Lombardozzi. But the list of key losses is massive (not because of a certain 1B): IF Omar Infante (KC), RP Joaquin Benoit (SD), IF/OF Jhonny Peralta (STL), 1B Prince Fielder (TEX), and SP Doug Fister (WAS). They were trying to clear salary and they did. But it came at a massive cost. Trending: Neutral

Houston Astros – It’s hard for them to decline, with 3 straight 100-loss seasons. They made a bunch of small acquisitions at little cost, like OF Dexter Fowler, 1B Jesus Guzman, P’s Scott Feldman, Chad Qualls, Matt Albers and Peter Moylan. They have improved, but most of their improvement is on the way still. Trending: Up

Kansas City Royals – Building on a great season in Royal standards last year, they’ve made some improvements to their roster for this year. IF Omar Infante for 4 years was the biggest move, which included OF Norichika Aoki and SP Jason Vargas. There is still word that they might deal DH Billy Butler, but it hasn’t happened yet, and seems to not be happening at all. Still, these guys should be the main contestants to the Tigers in the AL Central. Trending: Up

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Of course losing 1B Mark Trumbo is big, but they got a great return on all their moves this offseason. They picked up 3B David Freese, and SP Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs, plus DH Raul Ibanez, if for no other reason but to hit home runs. They still have too much tied into Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, so it’s tough for them to really do much else. Trending: Neutral

Los Angeles Dodgers – Most of their offseason was spent shopping (or not shopping) Matt Kemp, and resigning their players. They did pick up SP Dan Haren, to further improve a dynamite rotation, and RP Chris Perez to help the bullpen. As far as quiet offseasons go, however, the Dodgers found all the squeaky floorboards. Trending: Neutral

Miami Marlins – Their big fish (hehe pun) was C Jarrod Saltalamacchia for 3 years, and they also picked up 1B Garret Jones, while losing Justin Ruggiano (CHC) and Logan Morrison (SEA) from their outfield. Remember when I said it’s hard not to improve on nothing? The Marlins managed that. Trending: Neutral

Milwaukee Brewers – You’ll see pretty much the same Crew next year, minus Nori Aoki (KC). OF Corey Hart signed with Seattle, making that the only news in the offseason regarding the Brewers. Trending: Neutral

Minnesota Twins – They have vastly improved their rotation, from pretty much Samuel Deduno, to now include Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. Also, they picked up C Kurt Suzuki to work with them. They seem to still be in the market for some more pitching, and it still will improve their staff. Trending: Up

New York Mets – The Mets made 3 signings, OF Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, and SP Bartolo Colon. 2 guys who will average somewhere between .220 and .240, and giving Colon a guaranteed year make me scratch my head, but anything is an improvement for the Amazin’s. Trending: Up

New York Yankees – My firm belief is that building a team can’t be from just free agents. I guess my philosophy isn’t the same as the Bombers. They brought in C Brian McCann, and OF Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, and lost 2B Robinson Cano (SEA), OF Curtis Granderson (NYM), and P’s Phil Hughes (MIN), Boone Logan (COL),  Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera (retirement). Spending money isn’t the only way to improve this “team”. They need to clear the table and start over. Which in Yankee-land, is impossible. Trending: Down

Oakland Athletics – GM Billy Beane is always wheeling and dealing. This time, he got closer Jim Johnson, SP Scott Kazmir and Drew Pomeranz, and OF Craig Gentry. They lost a decent amount of players, like OF Seth Smith (SD) and Michael Choice (TEX), 2B Jemile Weeks (BAL), P Brett Anderson (COL), Bartolo Colon (NYM), and Jerry Blevins (WSH). Beane has something up his sleeves, as always, and the A’s will probably contend, like always. Trending: Neutral

Philadelphia Phillies – The Fightin’ Phils didn’t do much this offseason, signing just OF Marlon Byrd and SP Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona) among others. Seems like they are standing pat with what they have, for the most part, even though they are older and falling apart. Supposedly SP Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are on the trade market. I doubt, however, that either will be moved. Trending: Down

Pittsburgh Pirates – Everyone’s new favorite team made noise in October, but not so much after. They lost a couple of pieces in 1B’s Justin Morneau (COL) and Garret Jones (MIA), along with platoon man Marlon Byrd to Philly. They gave a flyer to Edinson Volquez, and for the most part kept what they had, which isn’t a bad move. They are still dangerous, and will probably be contenders for the NL Central for the next few years. Trending: Up

San Diego Padres – They didn’t lose a ton of names, because they didn’t have many names beforehand. But they brought in a couple in OF Seth Smith and P’s Josh Johnson and Joaquin Benoit. The Friars still have a long way to go before getting back on track, however. Trending: Neutral

San Francisco Giants – Their only to additions/losses were adding OF Michael Morse and SP Tim Hudson, in the hopes of last year being a fluke. Not a bad idea, but you would think that a losing record the year after winning the Series would set off some alarms. Trending: Neutral

Seattle Mariners – The M’s got the top guy on the market, signing 2B Robinson Cano away from the Yankees for 10 years, gobs of dough, and a beard. They also picked up OF’s Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, and are top players for OF Nelson Cruz and SP Masahiro Tanaka. They are making alot of noise, and with a purpose. Look for them to continue. Trending: Up

St. Louis Cardinals – The Redbirds made a trade with the Angels, picking up OF Peter Bourjos for 3B David Freese, and signed 2B Mark Ellis, and OF Jhonny Peralta. They also lost closer Edward Mujica (BOS) and OF Carlos Beltran (NYY). Tough to say they made the right moves, but the Cards usually know what they are doing, so trust them. Trending: Neutral

Tampa Bay Rays  – The Rays made a couple of moves, mostly resigning. They did manage to bring in C Ryan Hanigan and RP Heath Bell. Some minor pieces left, but it’ll still be the same Rays you’ll see, being pesky and run-by-Joe-Maddon-y as ever. Trending: Neutral

Texas Rangers – Their 2 big splashes of 1B Prince Fielder (not a fat joke) and OF Shin-Soo Choo were very good for the Rangers, who lost a bunch of pieces like C A.J. Pierzynski to Boston (who they replaced with another initials guy J.P. Arencibia), 2B Ian Kinsler and CP Joe Nathan to Detroit, and OF David Murphy to Cleveland. They still have some pitching questions, but their offense will be dynamic next season. Trending: Up

Toronto Blue Jays – After last season’s trade for the Marlins, the Jays didn’t do much this offseason, besides wave goodbye to Josh Johnson (SD) and Rajai Davis (DET). That being said, them doing nothing won’t help them in the AL East. They are still well behind the other 4 teams. Trending: Down

Washington Nationals – The Nats brought in SP Doug Fister to bolster an already outstanding rotation, and Nate McLouth to platoon in the outfield. They lost just Dan Haren (LAD) and Steve Lombardozzi (DET), which they are completely ok with. They are a team on the rise, and a bump in the road last year won’t prevent them from being dangerous this year around. Trending: Up

There are still tons of moves still to come, as pitchers and catchers report in 2 months. Until then, Happy New Years!

 

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With another regular season in the books, the infamous Black Monday is upon us. Coaches will be on pins and needles to see if they will be returning or on the unemployment line. With a bevy of head coaches on the hot seat, lets look at the presumed outlooks of these nervous head coaches.

Leslie Frazier-Fire. One year removed from a playoff bid, the Minnesota Vikings tremendously underperformed this year with a final record of 5-10-1. Despite having mostly the same personnel, this team could just not put it together. Expect the Vikings to start from scratch in hopes of returning to the playoffs next year.

Jim Schwartz-Fire. Reports surfaced before Sundays game that the Lions are leaning towards having Schwartz return. With that being said, Schwartz needs to go. Detroit has way to much talent to have gone 7-9 this year. They have the best Receiver in the NFL, a fantastic defensive line, and a potential franchise Quarterback in Matthew Stafford. The Lions collapsed down the stretch and it had a lot to due with the questionable and sometimes flat out odd play calling of Schwartz. The players are there, it’s the coach who needs to be upgraded.

Greg Schiano-Keep. Who would have thought that these words would have been uttered two months ago? However, there is credit due here. Schiano has taken a team on the heals of mutiny and has reinvigorated them. For that, he deserves to come back for another year.

Joe Philbin- Keep. Yes the Dolphins collapsed. They endured a horrific last two weeks, suffering embarrassing losses to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Despite all that Philbin deserves to stay. If for no other reason, Philbin deserves to keep his job for putting the Dolphins in a position to make the playoffs. After the Richie Incognito scandal, most people wrote off the Miami. However, Philbin was able to right the ship and keep the players focused on football. He deserves one more year to come in, with better personnel, and attempt to lead this Dolphins team one more time.

Jason Garrett- Fire. Everyone’s seen enough. America’s team has not made the playoffs in Garretts tenure. In similar fashion to his Quarterback, Garrett has choked when it matters most with ridiculous play calls that have cost Dallas full games.  He is just not an NFL Head Coach. He was a fine OC, but that’s it. Jones needs to clean out the entire coaching staff if he hopes to have a chance at getting to the promise land.

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With Robert Griffin III being shut down for the remainder of the season, Kirk Cousins has gotten a chance to put on an audition for other teams. With a franchise quarterback like RG3 and a lack of draft picks, there is no reason for the Redskins to hold on to the former Michigan State leader. In his first two games, Cousins has thrown for 578 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He has avoided pressure well and made some very impressive throws. With all that being said, he are three potential suitors for Cousins

Cleveland Browns- It is no secret that Rod Chudzinski and Norv Turner like to throw the ball. They shipped Trent Richardson out of town so they can focus entirely on the pass game. However, in order to have an effective passing game you need to have a good quarterback. Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden don’t scream efficiency. While Brian Hoyer played well in his limited time, the sample size is too small to make any realistic judgments about his skill. With potential superstar receivers in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, along with an already impressive defense, Cousins could be the last piece before Cleveland can seriously envision going back to the playoffs.

Houston Texans- Despite one of the most disappointing years for a team in NFL history, the Texans still have a strong core. Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and JJ Watt are all top 10 players at their respective positions. The main issue has been under center this year. Matt Schaub has completely imploded and Case Keenum has shown he’s not a starter in this league. To make matters worse, it looks as if both Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota will be staying for there senior seasons. With a new head coach set to come in, a new quarterback would be very beneficial the new regime. With a mix of veteran leadership and young talent, Cousins could be the perfect guy to shoot the Texans back to their initial projections.

Denver Broncos- Now I know what everyone is thinking. Why does Denver need a quarterback when they have the legendary Peyton Manning having one of the greatest seasons ever? With all that being true, Peyton is going to be 38 next season. He has also been fighting through two bad ankles for a good portion of this year. At the height of those injuries, Manning was playing fine, but noticeably worse than at the beginning of the year. If Denver wins the Super Bowl this year, it may not be crazy for Peyton to consider going out on top. Bringing in Cousins creates an insurance plan for when Manning finally hangs it up. The drop wont be as bad and Denver can remain a top team in the AFC with this pick up.

What do you guys think? Should the Redskins trade Cousins? If so, where? Leave a comment below with your reactions/suggestions

Gary and Avi talk about the sad state of affairs in Miami and debate who should take blame.