Dugout Central’s 2012 AL East Preview

by JohnBowen

Given that ESPN’s coverage will largely focus on them, we will dive into the American League East for our next set of predictions. The story of the East has been well documented; the Yankees and Red Sox used their tremendous resources to dominate the division, combining to win 12 division championships, 8 wild cards, and 6 world championships in the first 13 years of the Wild Card era. But, in recent years, the payroll-impaired Rays have made runs, winning two of the last four division crowns and snagging the 2011 Wild Card.

Starting with the most alphabetical (and pathetic) team…

Baltimore Orioles

2011: 69-93, 5th Place, 28 GB, Scored 4.37 R/G (7th in AL), Allowed 5.31 R/G (14th in AL)
Key Losses: Vladimir Guerrero (DH), Luke Scott (OF/DH), Jeremy Gutherie (SP)

Key Gains: Wilson Betemit (IF), Endy Chavez (OF)

Why they could win it all: Matt Wieters’s development into an elite catcher hasn’t been quite the jolt to the top that the Orioles were expecting, but the 25 year old did win a gold glove and earn an all-star appearance in 2012, while slugging a fairly impressive .450. JJ Hardy is locked into a fresh deal (3 years, 21 million dollars) after hitting 30 home runs; a very good shortstop in his own right, Hardy will likely end up shifting to second or third in the next few years when Manny Machado (the number 11 prospect in America right now) makes his way up to the show. Adam Jones needs to improve his patience, but has progressed well other than that; all in all, the offensive side of the ball is actually looking somewhat above-average.

Why they could fail: Because barring a snap decision by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, CC Sabathia, and Justin Verlander to simultaneously demand a trade to Baltimore, this is the worst rotation in the league – and it doesn’t help that they face some of the biggest offenses in the league. I wanna know what happened to Brian Matusz. He arguably should’ve been the 2010 rookie of the year, but come 2011…poof. 12 starts, 49.2 IP, 59 earned runs, 18 home runs, and a staggering 81 hits. No team should give up 900 runs in today’s offensive climate, but the Orioles just might.

What to watch: Brian Roberts has battled injuries for the past two seasons, and had been experiencing concussion-like syndromes after a bad head-first slide this past year. Is the 2-time all-star finished? 2012 will tell; if healthy, the Orioles would be rock-solid up the middle.

2012 Prediction: 66-96, 5th Place

Boston Red Sox

2011: 90-72, 7 GB, Scored 5.40 R/G (1st in AL), Allowed 4.55 R/G (9th in AL)

Key Losses: Jonathon Papelbon (RP), Marco Scutaro (SS), Tim Wakefield (SP/RP), Jason Varitek (C)

Key Gains: Andrew Bailey (RP), Cody Ross (OF)

Why the could win it all: Despite all their fried chicken and chaotic front-office maneuvering, the Red Sox are still a good team, and there’s something downright fluky about out-scoring your opponents by 138 runs and failing to make the playoffs. The Red Sox lineup led the league in scoring last year, led by three of the top five position players in the league by WAR (Ellsbury, Gonzalez, Pedroia). They brought back David Ortiz, who has been a dominating bat for most of the last decade. This is the best team, offensively, in all of baseball and they should put up the runs needed to stay competitive.

Why they could fail: Red Sox Nation suffered through a tumultuous September, where the Red Sox blew a 10-game lead and missed out on the playoffs on the season’s final day. Then they saw the brass that had brought them back to greatness get cut up and shipped off to Chicago while forcing out the first Red Sox manager to win a World Series since Ed Barrow. They brought in Bobby Valentine to re-institute some discipline, but the Red Sox, as a franchise, are devolving into a chaotic group. Add to that the tangible problems – no back end of the rotation, injury issues to Crawford and Youkilis, lack of much in the way of a shortstop or right fielder, and this team could implode once again.

What to watch: Spring Training has already started, and Roy Oswalt is still without a home. The Boston Red Sox are incredibly desperate for starting pitching. They have money. Dear Boston: I know Oswalt’s going to be a massive overpay for someone his age with his injury issues. But you don’t get bonus points for winning efficiently. You have the money that 28 other teams don’t – bring this man to Fenway.

2012 Prediction: 91-71, 2nd Place

New York Yankees

2011: 97-65, 1st Place, Scored 5.35 R/G (2nd in AL), Allowed 4.06 R/G (3rd in AL)

Key Losses: Jorge Posada (C/DH), AJ Burnett (SP), Bartolo Colon (SP)

Key Gains: Hiroki Kuroda (SP), Michael Pineda (SP), Raul Ibanez (OF/DH)

Why the could win it all: The New York Yankees had the best record in the American League in 2011, and Brian Cashman deserves full marks for his off-season efforts. Learning a lesson from the ARod debacle, Cashman settled Sabathia’s contract quickly and decisively for a reasonable price (1 extra year, 30 million more guaranteed dollars). He then shifted his focus to upgrading the rotation and acquired one of the best young pitchers in the game in Michael Pineda (in exchange for the vastly overrated Jesus Montero). He solidified the rotation by picking up Hiroki Kuroda and then dumped the ever-undependable AJ Burnett. This team is a lock to be in the top-5 in the league in both offense and pitching, and probably closer to top-3. It’s not the sexy pick, but they’re the class of the division by far and should have no trouble punching their ticket to October baseball.

Why they could fail: Age is a concern, of course. Alex Rodriguez  is 36 and hasn’t played 140 games since his historic 2007 campaign, and was limited to just 99 games this past season, when he failed to notch 30 home runs for the first time since his age-21 season. Derek Jeter is 38 and clearly in the home stretch of his career – and because of his contributions to the Yankees, he won’t be moved from the shortstop, a position where he is probably ranks dead-last in the league as a fielder. Teixeira’s 30’s have not been treating him well, as he has notched the two worst OPS’s of his career in the last couple years. All three of these gentlemen are impossible to bench because of their contracts and stature in the organization, and all three appear to be in rapid decline.

What to watch: Alex Rodriguez could reach some pretty significant milestones with a good year in 2011. He should pass former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. on the all-time home run list, and if he replicates his average numbers from 2008-2010, he’ll eclipse Willie Mays for fourth all-time in home runs, and become just the fourth player ever to eclipse 2000 RBI’s.

2012 Prediction: 99-63, First Place

Tampa Bays Rays

2011: 91-71, 6 GB, Scored 4.36 R/G (8th in AL), Allowed 3.79 R/G (1st in AL)

Key Losses: Johnny Damon (DH), John Jaso (C), Casey Kotchman (1B)

Key Gains: Josh Lueke (RP), Luke Scott (OF/DH), Carlos Pena (1B), Jose Molina (C)

Why the could win it all: This is the best-run team in the league from a front office standpoint. Despite a miniscule payroll made possible by a barely-existent fan-base, the Tampa Bay Rays have won two division titles and a wild card in the last four years through smart management and calculated risks. With a great core of young players (Longoria, Zobrist, Shields, and recently, Matt Moore) locked up long term, the Rays are in excellent shape for years to come. And while playing against the powerhouses of the AL East is an instant disadvantage, the Rays gained a major shot in the arm when MLB elected to expand to two wild-cards meaning that beating out Boston and/or New York isn’t even necessarily a must anymore.

Why they could fail: When you have a limited payroll, it hinders your ability to acquire game-changing players unlike, off the top of my head, the Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers. So while the Rays are smart with their money, they can’t procure any player who will fundamentally make a splash in the standings. They’re also hindered in their ability to find final pieces at the trading deadline. This makes it hard to bet on the Rays despite the genius that is Andrew Friedman.

What to watch: Jeremy Hellickson won the Rookie of the Year award last year, going 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.153 WHIP in 189 innings pitched. However, his peripherals – strikeout rate, GB/FB ratio, walk rate lead some to believe he could regress. Alternatively, he might just regress because the league has gotten a good look at him – it’ll be interesting to see if he can defy the predictive numbers yet again.

2012 Prediction: 88-74, 3rd place

Toronto Blue Jays

2011: 81-81, 16 GB, Scored 4.59 R/G (5th in AL), Allowed 4.70 R/G (11th in AL)

Key Losses: Jose Molina (C)

Key Gains: Francisco Rodriguez (RP), Colby Rasmus (OF, mid-season last year)

Why the could win it all: Every year, the Blue Jays win between 80-86 wins, and every year you think they’re on the verge of breaking out of their shell for the first time since winning the 1993 World Series. This year, that feeling has to be as strong as ever, especially with MLB adding a second wildcard. Canada’s team currently features arguably the best hitter in the game (Jose Bautista), the American League’s best shortstop (Yunel Escobar), and two excellent position sophomores. Finally, the heir to Doc Halladay’s throne as staff ace truly emerged last season; Ricky Romero was a force last year, posting a 2.92 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in 32 starts.

Why they could fail: Romero’s terrific, but after that, the rotation isn’t much to write home about. No other Blue Jays starter notched as many as 180 innings pitched. Granted, the whole staff is under the age of 30 and could come along – but barring four rain-outs in between each of Ricky Romero’s starts, this team is going to give up a lot of runs.

What to watch: Brandon Morrow is the converse of Jeremy Hellickson; he has lightening stuff and averaged a league-best 10.2 K/9 last season. His peripheral numbers are excellent, but they haven’t translated to real life success. Part of this is due to control; Morrow walked 3.5/9 last season, while hitting 12 batters and throwing 12 wild pitches – actually, doesn’t that remind you of another former Blue Jay who got an 82 million dollar contract a few years back? Anyway, Morrow will also make an excellent case study for the predictive value of statistics like xFIP – for the opposite reason as Hellickson.

2012 Prediction: 84-78, 4th Place

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177 Responses to “Dugout Central’s 2012 AL East Preview”

  1. Raul Says:

    Tampa, Boston and New York could win the division.
    And I think 99 wins for the Yankees in 2012 is super optimistic.

  2. Cameron Says:

    I don’t really think so, Raul. New York’s got the depth to pull it off.

    Also, if he comes anywhere near his performance last year, Asdrubal Cabrera is the best AL shortstop, hands-down.

  3. Raul Says:

    Phil Hughes is no sure thing.
    Hideki Kuroda pitched in a great park and is coming to a tougher division and league.
    Ivan Nova will probably pitch like a back end starter.
    Derek Jeter is nearly 38 and if the Yankees want to mitigate his defense, their pitchers better strike out a lot of batters or generate a lot of fly balls.
    Curtis Granderson isn’t likely to repeat his career year.
    Michael Pineda, as good as he was for half a season, still has a lot to learn and needs to prove he can put it together for an entire year.

    If New York wins 94 games, I’d say they over-achieved a bit.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Red Sox are finishing fourth.

  5. Raul Says:

    I’d say a lot of what of the Red Sox do depends on Josh Beckett.

    That guy can be very hittable sometimes. If he has a rough year and the Sox need to ride Lester’s back, it could be a long season.

  6. brautigan Says:

    If Beckett’s back is ok, he’ll be fine. If not, expect a replay of 2010.

  7. Raul Says:

    Happy 56th birthday, Dale Murphy. The 5th overall pick of the 1974 draft, Murphy had 18 fantastic seasons and was among the very best players in the 1980s. One of the few back-to-back MVPs (1982, 1983), Murphy has never gotten the support to sniff Hall of Fame election. Next year will be his final year on the ballot.

    Happy 50th birthday, Darryl Strawberry. A few years ago, many would have suggested that The Straw might never reach 50 years old as the man struggled with a drug addiction that would ruin his career, much of his youth and ultimately land him in prison. According to Darryl, he’s been clean for a few years now and I wish him well. Quick, who made more All Star appearances: Strawberry or Murphy? The Straw has the edge, 8-7. The 1980s and ’90s saw 3 of the most talented athletes in history waste it: Strawberry, Gooden and Mike Tyson. It appears Strawberry and Tyson are doing better these days. Here’s to hoping that Gooden can finally turn his life around. Ever wonder what Darryl could have been if he was clean? His career OPS+ is 138.

    Happy 47th birthday, Steve Finley. While Defensive WAR ranks Finley poorly, I recall Finley making some of the best catches in baseball over the last decade or so. The 19 year veteran won 5 Gold Gloves and was a World Series Champion with the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks. According to legend, Finley had the following exchange with Rickey Henderson:

    “In 1996, during Rickey Henderson’s first season with San Diego, he boarded the team bus and was looking for a seat. Finley said, “You have tenure, sit wherever you want.” Henderson looked at Finley and said, “Ten years? Rickey’s been playing at least 16, 17 years.”

    Happy 41st birthday, Raul Mondesi. For a few years in the 1990s, Mondesi was considered the premier outfield arm in Major League Baseball. The man had an absolute rocket. The 1994 NL Rookie of the Year was also stubborn and lazy, unfortunately, and never did live up to his raw ability. I’ve personally heard rumors from coaches and scouts in the Dominican Republic that Mondesi had a cocaine habit during his playing days, and it may have exacerbated his decline. After baseball, Mondesi became involved in politics and is currently mayor of his hometown in the Dominican Republic (San Cristobal). To shine a little bit of light on his first organization, Mondesi was the 3rd of 5 straight Dodgers that would win the Rookie of the Year from 1992-1996 (Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo and Todd Hollandsworth).

    Happy 82nd birthday, Vern Law. Law was your 1960 Major League Cy Young award winner going 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA over 271 innings. Pittsburgh would ultimately win the World Series in 1960 off a very famous home run from some guy named Bill Mazeroski. The Series win for Pittsburgh (and loss for New York) would result in the end of Casey Stengel’s time with the Yankees. Also of note: that World Series would feature the season’s NL MVP (Dick Groat) and the AL MVP (Roger Maris).

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    @4, it’s certainly not inconceivable that you could be right on that, but I think perception trumps reality with a lot of the Sox issues.

    Yes, they blew it in September. Yes, they had major discipline issues. Yes, their manager and front office got tanked in the process.

    About 25 other teams in the league would kill to have THOSE be their worst issues.

    All in all, this is a great hitting team, an average-ish pitching/defense, and thus I think they’ll win 90+ games.

  9. JohnBowen Says:

    @1/3:

    The way I see it, the Yankees – who ran away with the division in 2011 – only got better for 2012.

    I think Granderson will regress, but that’ll be balanced out by what I foresee being a bounce-back year for Teixeira. And while ARod is no longer in any position to carry that team, I think he’ll get himself into the lineup 120-140 times and thus have a more productive 2012 than 2011 – and remember that he was selected (deservingly) to start the All-Star Game this past season before injuries really kicked in.

    The only real weak link on the team is Jeter, cuz he’s 38 and no longer hits well enough to justify his weak (and weakening range). Not being a Jeter hater, just stating facts.

    I’ll admit that 99 wins is a big number, and that the safe over/under is probably closer to 95…but there’s really no doubt in my mind that they’re the class of the division. Then again, I thought they’d miss the playoffs in 2011 and they were the AL’s best team (record-wise).

    @7, that’s my second favorite Rickey Henderson story. My favorite is when he shows up to play for the 2000 Mariners. He notices that John Olerud is wearing a helmet in the field, and Henderson remarks that “we had a guy back on the (1993) Blue Jays who did that.”

    Olerud’s response? “That was me.”

    The real kicker is that Olerud and Henderson were also teammates on the Mets the season before.

  10. Raul Says:

    Oakland Athletics outfielder Jason Pridie was suspended 50 games for a 2nd violation of the League’s drug policy.

  11. Cameron Says:

    Rickey’s got as many stories as teams and years played. The dude’s a nut, but in the best way. He’s interesting to me in a few ways. One, he was the AL MVP in the year I was born and he also was (I think) the only man to have stolen more bases in his career than the franchise he was playing for had in its existence when he was a member of the Boston Red Sox.

  12. JohnBowen Says:

    “he also was (I think) the only man to have stolen more bases in his career than the franchise he was playing for had in its existence when he was a member of the Boston Red Sox.”

    That’s a slight exaggeration, even for the traditionally station-to-station Red Sox.

    However, Rickey Henderson did have more stolen bases than the Red Sox as a franchise had *during the time he played* (1979-2001) before joining, 1395 to 1382.

  13. JohnBowen Says:

    Or is that what you were referring to?

  14. Cameron Says:

    That’s what I meant, at the time. It was bizarre accomplishment for anyone to pull off.

  15. Bob Says:

    Michigan State is my pick. Who you guys got???

  16. Raul Says:

    I haven’t watched a minute of college basketball this year.

    I just hope this is the year a 16-seed beats a 1-seed.

  17. Cameron Says:

    Give no fucks, Bob. I can’t watch college sports, i just know it’s an unfinished product in my eyes and I can’t enjoy it. Call me when they get drafted.

    Though I pay attention to interesting players when I can. There’s two guys right now that catch my eye. Kentucky center Anthony Davis (little undersized for a center, but fuck me if he can’t defend) and, of course, Kansas forward Thomas Robinson.

  18. Raul Says:

    Dellin Betances pitched two innings yesterday and did not walk a batter.
    I am impressed.

    #sarcasm

  19. Cameron Says:

    Also, am I the only guy who’s really against the requirement of draftees to spend time in college before playing? The NFL I can kinda get because a high-schooler hasn’t really physically matured enough not to be mauled in the NFL, but the NBA? How many guys really are going to school long enough to stay? It can’t be for their education and these guys could really get hurt in college before contributing to the NBA they’d already be in a few years ago. James, Howard, Bryant, Garnett, Bynum, lots of high school draftees didn’t even bust. if they’re good enough to be drafted out of high school, they can play. There’s even an exception to the rule to help me rationalize. Thank you, Kwame Brown.

  20. Raul Says:

    Well Cam,

    On a fundamental level, I think college should be about the education first. But that’s an idealist speaking. The reality is that sports drives a lot of the money these schools get. A lot of athletes are athletes because it’s the fastest way to assist their families financially. If you grew up like Allen Iverson or Stephon Marbury did, it is very easy to see the motivation to sign a multi-million dollar contract as fast as possible. [Funny, Iverson is in serious financial trouble these days].

    There’s a partly selfish reason to want college athletes to stay 3 or 4 years — it helps the college sports brand. It makes it easier to follow and rank teams because you are familiar with them. It also allows athletes to learn the game and mature a bit more as an adult. Some athletes, from an athletic standpoint, are so good they can bypass college. But does anyone think Magic Johnson or Larry Bird or Michael Jordan would have been as good without their NCAA years? We all like to think that sports largely revolves around the physical, but there is a mental part of sports that goes overlooked. A lot of guys have impressive speed, strength and jumping ability. But that’s not usually what separates players. It’s experience and knowing the mental aspects of the game — and I think that’s something you develop at the lower levels like college. And in that sense, it’s something that ultimately helps make the professional circuit a better product.

    That said, the NCAA does operate like a meat market and they should probably pay these athletes. I’m not sure how that would work.

  21. Cameron Says:

    Yeah Raul, but the actual talent that gets drafted out of high school is so rare that i really don’t call that a good enough argument. In between the time Kevin Garnett was drafted in 1995 to the banning of high school draftees in (I think) 2005, there was maybe about 1 or 2 talents picked out of high school. Most guys aren’t good enough out of high school to be drafted and are gonna go to college (or in one case, I know a guy went to play in Italy instead as part of a loophole). It’s good in theory but it doesn’t hold water when you look at the actual draftee count. You’re stalling the pro careers of, at most, three guys out of any draft… Of sixty.

  22. Cameron Says:

    1 or 2 talents per year, I meant. In total, I think there were about 20 or so total high school draftees in that span.

  23. Raul Says:

    Happy 48th birthday, Will Clark. Over his 15 years in the Majors, Clark hit .303/.384/.497 and was your 1989 NLCS MVP. From 1987-1991 finished in the Top 5 of the MVP voting 4 times. In college he played with Rafael Palmeiro at Mississippi State and the duo was referred to as “Thunder and Lightning”. Word is the two hated each other. It appears that on top of being a good hitter, Clark can recognize a dirty rat when he sees one.

    Happy 49th birthday, Mariano Duncan. I’ll always remember Duncan as being one of the guys to have a great season in 1996 with the Yankees, hitting .340/.352/.500. Obviously not the OBP difference you want but a .500 SLG from a 2nd baseman is damn good. Duncan would come back to earth and the next year would be his final season and he’s now a coach with the Cubs’ AA Minor League affilliate.

    Happy 33rd birthday, Johan Santana. Santana is a reminder to all of those people who are quick to annoint a player a Hall of Famer too soon to relax a little bit. A 2-time Cy Young Award winner with the Minnesota Twins, Santana eventually would be traded to the Mets in 2008 for a washing machine and a couple of fungo bats. Initially Santana did very well in New York, but injuries have derailed him a bit and he’s now the lone spark in a miserable franchise.

  24. Raul Says:

    Cam,

    Here are high schoolers drafted to the NBA:

    1962 – Reggie Harding
    1975 – Darryl Dawkins
    1975 – Bill Willoughby
    1995 – Kevin Garnett
    1996 – Kobe Bryant
    1996 – Jermaine O’Neal
    1997 – Tracy McGrady
    1998 – Al Harrington
    1998 – Rashard Lewis
    1998 – Korleone Young
    1999 – Jonathan Bender
    1999 – Leon Smith
    2000 – Darius Miles
    2000 – DeShawn Stephenson
    2001 – Kwame Brown
    2001 – Tyson Chandler
    2001 – Eddie Curry
    2001 – DeSagana Diop
    2001 – Ousmane Cisse
    2002 – Amare Stoudamire
    2003 – LeBron James
    2003 – Travis Outlaw
    2003 – Ndudi Ebi
    2003 – Kendrick Perkins
    2003 – James Lang
    2004 – Dwight Howard
    2004 – Shaun Livingston
    2004 – Robert Swift
    2004 – Sebastian Telfair
    2004 – Al Jefferson
    2004 – Josh Smith
    2004 – JR Smith
    2004 – Dorell Wright
    2005 – Martell Webster
    2005 – Andrew Bynum
    2005 – Gerald Green
    2005 – CJ Miles
    2005 – Ricky Sanchez
    2005 – Monta Ellis
    2005 – Louis Williams
    2005 – Andray Blatche
    2005 – Amir Johnson

    That is one pathetic list. And you’ll notice the huge gap — that no high school players were drafted between 1975-1995.

    And a number of the players who were drafted and became decent players later on, probably would have benefitted from college in the first place.

    Just because people recognize a name doesn’t mean they were good players.

  25. Cameron Says:

    I wouldn’t say pathetic. Only a handful of the guys still in the NBA out of that list are contributing to their teams. By my count, that’s 39 players drafted since 1995, 31 of which are still in the NBA. 7 of them are All-Stars, 5 of them were All-Stars this season. Also, there’s two snubs in All Jefferson and Josh Smith if you ask me, two of the best at their respective positions.

    But c’mon, that’s 39 players out of 660 draftees, or 6%. Rare fucking talent there. Guys like Bird or Jordan could have been drafted possibly. But let’s look at more recent talent. Pick #1 and #3 of this last draft played all of 13 games in college, all of them by Kyrie Irving. Talent is talent. It’s a risk drafting high school talent since they’re less polished. We’re baseball fans, we know this.

    But come on. Six percent. That’s such a ridiculously low percentage of draftees that I really just don’t see the point of forcing them to go through college since they never intend on actually going through the education and god forbid they actually make money off their likeness rather than the NCAA doing it. It’s good in theory, but I just don’t see it being that feasible when you look at a percentage that small. On top of that, about one in five of those draftees are all-stars, and Bryant and Garnett pretty much punched their tickets for the Hall of Fame already. Most teams already know that most high school talent isn’t good enough to play in the NBA, but why artificially shrink the draft pool?

  26. Cameron Says:

    …You know what? Add Motna Ellis in that list of All-Star snubs too. He can’t play D for shit, but leave him alone and you WILL pay.

  27. Cameron Says:

    Oh lord, I thought baseball trade rumors were stupid. You should hear some of the idiotic shit people are speculating about when it comes to the NBA this season.

  28. Raul Says:

    Sure.
    You’re looking at 6% of draftees.

    What you’re not considering is there are 30 1st round picks there.
    Thirty.

    Consider the dollars involved there.
    And you’re talking about All-Stars AS IF there’s no gap in overall skill level.

    You really think Al Jefferson, Monta Ellis and Josh Smith could have made an All Star team in 1992?

    Everyone is focused on PPG and forgets that overall skill and fundamentals have likely stagnated or worsened in recent years. Andrew Bynum was an All-Star this year. Andrew Bynum would have had trouble with Rik Smits, much less a Moses Malone or a Robert Parrish. There was talk about Jeremy Lin being added to the All-Star game for chrissakes.

    You know the Western reserves for 1992 were Tim Hardaway, Jeff Hornacek, Dikembe Mutumbo, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dan Majerle, John Stockton, Otis Thorpe and James Worthy?

    Think about that. John Stockton, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutumbo were RESERVES!

  29. Cameron Says:

    I won’t doubt that the All-Stars and snubs wouldn’t have cut it in 1992, but there’s a difference between the All-Stars and the rest of the league. There’s only a handful of snubs, but the guys going out there at the game versus the rest of the schmucks they play with? Yeah, there’s a huge difference in talent. There also are 30 of those 39 making the first round, but c’mon, is a second-round draft pick ever gonna realistically be more than a bench player?

    Most of the decent basketball players out there are gonna elect for college anyway to improve their draft stock. Enes Kanter didn’t spend a day on the court for Kentucky last year and was still drafted third overall. Most guys aren’t that talented and they know that. The NCAA won’t dry up and disappear because a few guys can opt out of that slave program, but most guys need it to have a hope in hell of being drafted.

    Though that’s just a thought of mine. What the NBA needs more than anything is contraction. I’m a guy who likes a big MLB, but really, a 30-team NBA… Well, it gives you the Charlotte Bobcats. Not only that, it gives you ten more teams like it, guaranteed, every year. You know how I bitched about the 7-9 Seahawks making the playoffs last season? The eastern conference has about 2 losing teams stumbling into the playoffs every year. That shouldn’t happen.

  30. Bob Says:

    The Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall to the Bears for two 3rd round picks.

  31. Raul Says:

    Fantastic.
    That means no Peyton Manning and 6 or 7 more years of being a very bad football team.

  32. Cameron Says:

    They might go for a guy like Brandon Lloyd or maybe even Vincent Jackson, though. Wouldn’t count them out yet. To me, that move means clearing cap space, because Marshall wasn’t cheap and they’ll use those third-rounders to plug holes on other spots, probably the rest of their non-existent receiving corps.

    Though I hear the Chiefs are actively interested in Manning. We’ve got the room and, honestly, the best chance to compete for a championship relative to the rest of his suitors besides Arizona and that’s only because of the potential Manning-to-Fitzgerald connection. …We have no chance in hell of signing him, but one can dream. Honestly, I like where KC stands right now. There’s three VERY good NT sitting on our draft spot (I like Dontari Poe the best and he’s the most likely for us to sign) and we… Really don’t need a lot else. If we need a big signing, go after Carl Nicks to replace the hole Brain Waters left in the O-Line.

  33. John Says:

    Brandon Marshall’s overrated. I think he led the league in drops last season.

    He might be #1 in Chicago, but he’s not even top five in the NFC North.

    As for Miami? Their new head coach OC’d one of the very beat offenses ever. Matt Flynn will come if Manning doesn’t. Things are looking up in Miami, not down.

  34. Cameron Says:

    Maybe John, but Jay Cutler finally has a legit deep threat. I’d be a little scared if your coverage on him slips. Lord knows Minnesota can’t cover shit and Detroit will be double-teaming him like a motherfucker to stay alive. He drops a lot but he’s also about as big a deep threat as you can find outside of Megatron.

  35. Cameron Says:

    And March continues to be hard on old music fans. RIP Mark Hossack, drummer of The Doobie Brothers. Third musician of note this month and it’s… The 13th?

    …This is gonna be a long March.

  36. Raul Says:

    Matt Moore was the quarterback in Miami.
    Not Aaron Rodgers…you’ve got some nerve to talk about dropped passes with Moore as someone’s QB.

    If anyone’s overrated, it’s the guys up in Green Bay. Jordy Nelson is the luckiest receiver in the league, bar none.

  37. Cameron Says:

    Nelson ain’t that good. Easy as fuck to beat. Man and a half on Jennings, man and a half on Finley, you can keep Nelson honest by playing him on the sidelines the whole game. Guy benefits from having two prime fucking targets and Aaron Rodgers throwing to him.

    Though Marshall has to deal with the fact he’s really the only receiving threat on that team. I can’t name their tight end, Johnny Knox blows, and Devin Hester is a kick returner only. He’s getting double coverage all game, and the only guy who can survive that every week is Megatron.

  38. John Says:

    Bullshit.

    Watch the highlights of the first GB-NYG game , or the second Setroit game (just off the top pf my head) and tell me that Nelson is overrated.

  39. Cameron Says:

    And I say watch the Kansas City game and tell me that when you keep Nelson honest that the pass interference calls don’t just rack up.

  40. John Says:

    If we go kust based on the KC game, my guess is that the Packers were 0-16the last year?

    Dude gets balls. Rodgers trusts him for a reason.

  41. John Says:

    And if you want ovverrated, I refer you to Finley, who is now the highest paid TE in football.

    I’m surprised he didn’t drop the pen when he signed.

  42. Raul Says:

    Jordy Nelson IS overrated.
    What do I care about his 4 catches in Week 13 against a Giants team that was in shambles and injury?

    You’ve proven to be the biggest homer ever. Completely incapable of acknowledging facts regarding the Brewers or Packers.

    Sometimes I wonder if this steadfast delusion of yours is drug-induced or the result of years of practice.

  43. Cameron Says:

    Jordy Nelson is good… As a third or fourth option. When Jennings is covered and Finley’s in a tight spot, Rodgers is looking for Jones, Nelson, or Driver. All these guys are good for their spot on the depth chart, but they form one great number two. Force any of them away from each other and make them be a #2 option on their own, they’re fucked.

  44. John Says:

    @42, what are you basing this off of?

    He wasn’t even elected to the pro-bowl, despite finishing 5th in Yards per reception, 9th in overall yards, 3rd in TD recptions and fumbled the bowl, oh, zero times. He finished 7th in yards after catch among receivers.

    Furthermore, I’ve actually seen him play football. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen him play a total of about 2 football games. Does he not *look* like a great receiver? Too easy.

    Also, I *just* said that Jermichael Finley was overrated. Maybe even more overrated than Marshall. You apparently saw the KC-GB game, Cam and the GB playoff game. Which player was consistently there dropping passes that hit him in the chest?

    “make them be a #2 option on their own, they’re fucked.”

    Jordy Nelson was the #1 option the last 3 weeks of the year, with Jennings out.

    He sucked in the KC game. I’ll give you that. Did you see his last two games? He was incredible. 6/115 for 2 TD’s against the Bears and 9/162 (!) for 3(!) TD’s against the Lions in a game that Rodgers didn’t play (and that the Lions were desperately trying to win to avoid playing New Orleans).

    For the year, Jordy Nelson was the #2 WR on one of the most prolific offenses in the history of the sport. #3/4 my ass.

    And yet, somehow he’s overrated. I’m not seeing big ballots for the pro-bowl or any commercials, or seen him as a terribly talked-about-fella on ESPN.

  45. John Says:

    In baseball news, my Brewers played split squad games and lost to two teams that will combine for about 210 losses this year.

  46. Chuck Says:

    The fact there are players every year who go from high school to the NBA goes to the overall lack of talent in the league.

    The only reason guys go to college is to make more money..playing one year at Kentucky pays more than one year in the D-League.

    Plus, having your name associated with a top program is beneficial in the long run too.

    Look at Jay Williams..you think he’s working at ESPN if he didn’t spend one year at Duke?

  47. Chuck Says:

    I love how Cameron is surprised when some 60 year old rocker kicks the bucket.

    You think Columbian potato farmers who make $8 a month are supporting the drug cartels?

  48. Chuck Says:

    #45

    Mark Rogers sucks.

    So does K-Rod.

    Heading into the game, Jesus Montero had zero strikeouts in 19 PA’s.

    Today, he had the hat trick.

    He also caught.

    If you want to call it that.

  49. Cameron Says:

    @47 It was cancer that did Hossack in, as well as Ronnie Montrose.

  50. Raul Says:

    LOL @ 44

    What are YOU basing it on? 1 good season. It’s the very fucking definition of overrated.

    Hahahaha

  51. Cameron Says:

    Yes, two very good games against one VERY bad secondary and another game against a game that was the definition of a statistical anomaly. A WR can look better than he is when he takes targets from a guy like Aaron Rodgers. Not saying he’s a bad player, but he’s a #2 guy at best on most teams, and no a reliable one. He’s good for his spot. A package receiver in a good offense.

    I dare you to say Jordy Nelson would be a third of the player he looks like on paper if he was on the Redskins.

  52. Raul Says:

    The Red Sox beat the Yankees in Spring Training today, 1-0.

    Ivan Nova went 4 innings, allowing 2 hits, zero runs, striking out 3.
    Jacoby Ellsbury was 0-4 with 3 strikeouts.

  53. Cameron Says:

    Bust day for sports. NFL’s free agency just hit the open market and several big names (Vincent Jackson and Cortland Finnegan especially) are changing teams and the first domino fell in the NBA trade market. Golden State sent Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut.

    I never thought that one trade could make a team THAT much better on the defensive side of the ball, but damn. One of the worst defensive two men and a platoon center for one of the best defensive two guard and centers in the league? Golden State made out like bandits.

  54. Chuck Says:

    Hopefully no one has Syracuse in their brackets.

  55. Cameron Says:

    Fuck Syracuse.

  56. Bob Says:

    Thankfully, I do not have to submit one until tomorrow.
    Conversely, nobody else has to either.

  57. Raul Says:

    Happy 47th birthday, Kevin Brown. Brown was a good pitcher over his 19 years in the Majors, but there’s no way to get around it: he was a jerk. And in some cases an idiot. The borderline Hall of Famer went 211-144 with a 3.28 ERA, all of it spent during the Steroid Era, which is fitting since Brown was a juicer himself. He probably deserved the 1996 NL Cy Young award but John Smoltz pitched 20 more innings and his W/L was 24-8 to Brown’s 17-11 and the Braves were division winners, so there you go. In December of 2003, the Yankees decided Jeff Weaver wasn’t ever going to be much of a pitcher in New York so they traded him with some prospects for 38 year old Kevin Brown — taking on 2 years and 32 million dollars. Ultimately Brown would suck in New York and in a fit of rage after a poor outing in 2004, he punched a brick wall and broke his left hand. Joe Torre, in his infinite wisdom, chose to start Brown in Game 7 of the ALCS. Brown would give the team 1.1 innings and 5 earned runs.

    Happy 56th birthday, Butch Wynegar. The former Twin and Yankee played 13 years as a catcher in the Bigs in the mid 1970s and ’80s and was a fine defender. In 1976, Wynegar became the youngest player in history to appear in an All Star game. After retirement, Wynegar would get into coaching and he’s now a hitting coach with the Yankees’ AAA affiliate in Scranton-Wilkes Barre (though this year they will be the Empire State Yankees).

    Born today: Kirby Puckett. The Hall of Famer eclipsed 200 hits in a season 5 times and hit .318/.360/.477 in his 12 Major League seasons. A 2-time World Series Champion, not everything would be sweet. He was alleged to have had an 18-year affair with a woman outside his marriage and was once charged with false imprisonment, sexual conduct, and assault when he grabbed a woman and pulled her into a restaurant bathroom. He was ultimately acquitted but his reputation was destroyed. Puckett died of a massive stroke (is there even such a thing as a mild one?) in 2006.

  58. Cameron Says:

    Mild strokes are the ones that don’t kill people. They happen. Still ain’t pretty. I had a cat that had one.

  59. Raul Says:

    In the future, if you’re ever around a group of people and someone mentions a family member that had a stroke, do not mention that your cat also had a stroke.

  60. Cameron Says:

    My other example of a mild stroke was Sophia from The Golden Girls, which one do you think I’m going with on this site?

  61. Cameron Says:

    By the way the “massive” and “minor” tags on fatal and nonfatal strokes can also be applied to heart attacks.

  62. Bob Says:

    @ 60. Both

  63. Raul Says:

    Salvador Perez heads to KC after injuring knee.

  64. Cameron Says:

    Point taken, it is insane enough to count as one of my posts.

  65. Raul Says:

    Young Arms and Curveballs: A Scientific Twist

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/sports/baseball/debate-grows-over-how-to-protect-young-pitching-arms.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=health

  66. Chuck Says:

    The picture of the kid in the article is why pitchers get hurt..what pitch he throws is irrelevant.

    He’d eventually need Tommy John if all he threw were spitballs at his sister.

  67. Cameron Says:

    Mike D’Antoni is out as the coach of the New York Knicks. From what I can tell it had something to do with his penis and a youth basketball team.

  68. Chuck Says:

    Jesus Christ, Cameron.

  69. Cameron Says:

    *shrug* I didn’t put too much stock into the rumors. I had a feeling that D’Antoni was gonna be out for something.

  70. brautigan Says:

    Man, that sucks about Perez. He was my pick for being the next Yadier Molina.

  71. Chuck Says:

    “I had a feeling that D’Antoni was gonna be out for something.”

    Carmelo Anthony sucking.

  72. Cameron Says:

    That ain’t Mike’s fault, it’s Melo. Though I doubt he gets moved before the offseason. No one wants to take on that head case.

  73. Chuck Says:

    If Carmelo was averaging 25/12 and playing some defense, D’Antoni would still have a job.

    Heck, if he was averaging 17/7 and playing some defense, D’Antoni would still have a job.

    Arguably one of the worst trades in NBA history.

  74. Cameron Says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time the next offseason rolls around and amnesty waives are exercised, Melo’s finding himself on the open market.

    I gotta admit, I love the amnesty waiving in the new CBA. Fucked up a contract? You get a free fuckup eraser.

  75. Chuck Says:

    Seriously, who really gives a shit about the NBA?

    The Magic will give Dwight Howard firing rights over the GM and coach if he re-signs?

    What kind of stupid-ass bullshit is that?

    And I see Frank McCourt is still trying to corn-hole MLB.

  76. Cameron Says:

    Jesus, McCourt’s like a zombie. just when you think you’ve put him down…

  77. John Says:

    @50, because I’ve seen him play football pretty much every game of his professional career? Whatever.

  78. John Says:

    @66, that thumbnail really says it all, agreed.

  79. Chuck Says:

    It should be noted Mike D’Antoni resigned, he wasn’t fired.

    When you’ve made your name in the NBA as a fast break coach (the Suns used to play intra-squad games with a seven second shot clock) with an emphasis on the fastest (yet best) shot and you quit because one player is fucking up your system, you know how bad things are.

    Steve Nash won two MVP awards running the pick in roll in D’Antoni’s system with Amar’e Stoudemire, who, next to Karl Malone, might be the best drop step player I’ve ever seen.

    Amare doesn’t need Nash to make the system work, all he needs is a guard who not only knows when to dish, but more importantly, where. No two guys pulled it off better than Stockton/Malone, but Nash/Stoudemire were close.

    The problem with the Knicks is JR Smith and especially Melo whine when they don’t get their shots, and jump shooters don’t play well in D’Antoni’s system, especially more than one jump shooter.

    He probably got tired of cussing out Melo all the time and finally said fuck it.

  80. Jim Says:

    James Dolan, worst owner of a major league sports team in a major market?

    The NBA does have some of the worst owners in sports, Dolan, Glen Taylor, Donald Sterling…

  81. Cameron Says:

    Not to mention a commissioner who I consider to resemble a mob boss more than a commissioner.

  82. Chuck Says:

    http://www.gq.com/sports/guides/201204/bryce-harper-mlb-baseball-preview

  83. Raul Says:

    Terrible writing.
    Terrible understanding of what baseball needs.
    And I think I might even hate Bryce Harper now.

  84. Raul Says:

    I should have known. Will Leitch, the founder of Deadspin, wrote it.

    Ugh.

  85. Chuck Says:

    I read a story about how in training camp the Broncos players were messing with Tim Tebow, putting eye black in his helmet, taking the spikes off his shoes, just silly stuff in an attempt to get him to “drop an f-bomb”

    No matter what they did, he didn’t even say something mild like “dammit”.

    He said his beliefs prevent language which would lead people to question his faith.

    Harper has bible verses on his wrist bands and his bats, he used to sign autographs that way (Nationals made him stop), and wrote in his official MLB bio that “going to church” was his favorite off-field hobby.

    And he talks like a trucker.

    Not only is he an immature, albeit rich, punk, he’s also a hypocrite.

  86. Raul Says:

    Happy 33rd birthday, Kevin Youkilis. The Greek God of Walks who isn’t Greek has actually never lead the league in walks. He’s never even finished in the Top 10. He is a quality offensive player and the Red Sox will look to keep him healthy this year in a bid to rebound from a disastrous 2011.

    Happy 57th birthday, Mickey Hatcher. Over his 12 seasons in the Majors, Hatcher hit .280/.313/.377 but was regarded as a quality backstop and a solid game-caller. He’s currently the hitting coach of the Los Angeles Angels.

    Happy 63rd birthday, Jim Kern. Kern was a 3-time All Star over his 13 seasons and in 1979 placed as high as 4th in the AL Cy Young voting.

    Happy 53rd birthday, Harold Baines. The 22-year veteran and 1977 #1 overall draft pick hit .289/.356/.465 and came within 140 hits of 3,000 during his career. A six-time All Star, Baines is now a coach with the White Sox where he won a World Series ring in 2005. He also had his number 3 retired by the team…in 1989, while he was still active.

    Also born today:
    Bobby Bonds. The father of the biggest douchebag in sports, Bobby was a player with remarkable talent. Over this 14 years in the bigs, he hit .268/.353/.471 with 461 stolen bases. He wasn’t a exactly superstar, but many who saw him play say his potential far exceeded the results. Bonds died of lung cancer and a brain tumor in 2003.

  87. Raul Says:

    LOL, I noticed the F-bombs, too @ Chuck.

  88. Bob Says:

    Are people really hoping for Harper to fail? All because at 19 he is “immature?

    1. How many of you guys are law and order? Hopefully all. But did you ever consume a beer underage? Smoke a Joint? Both are illegal. Note, I said “underage” about drinking.
    But this audience is worried about someone uttering the word “Fuck.”????????

  89. Chuck Says:

    No one is rooting for Harper to fail, Bob.

    And by referring to a beer or a doobie, you’re clearly missing the point

  90. Raul Says:

    Harper has played zero innings of major league baseball, and struggled at AA. He’s an arrogant brat.

    I don’t want him to fail. But I don’t want to see him lionized, either.

    Stephen Strasburg came up to the Majors and struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in his first game. And he carries himself with more class and respect.

    Harper could learn something from his teammates.

  91. Bob Says:

    Fair enough. I just get the impression that alot of people want him to suck. Not only on this site. And when their logic is based on issues of maturity it bothers me.

    1. I do not know him, but I have no doubts that he woke up at 5:00 A.M many mornings, doing wind sprints, lifting weights, taking swings in the cage. No short cuts. And because of that I do not for a second resent his contract.
    I will say this. If that is true of the Bronco players trying to get Tebow to say some bad word, I feel sorry for them. not Tebow.

  92. Bob Says:

    Fine, I do not want him lionized either. But I blame the media, not Harper. Only imagine what type of crap he will go through the first time people see him doing a 12-ounce curl.
    More worried about the culture at Goldman Sachs than I am some dugout.

  93. Bob Says:

    Gallagher suffered a heart attack.

  94. Raul Says:

    The way the media talks about athletes’ hard work is silly.

    Lots of players get up early and work hard.
    Lots of players show up to team facilities early and leave late.

    It’s so annoying to hear that “he’s the first guy in and the last guy to leave.”

    So? Seriously. So what?
    I’m not arguing with what you’re saying, Bob. But I hear that a lot and people act like it’s supposed to be a badge of honor. And to me, it isn’t.

    Do the right things and do them smart.
    CC Sabathia could show up to Spring Training, work out for 3 hours and go home while Ivan Nova could spend 10 hours at Steinbrenner field and he’ll never be in Sabathia’s zip code as a player.

    For the record, hardcore weight training is highly overrated for baseball players.
    But whatever, that’s another discussion.

  95. Raul Says:

    Gallagher is 65.

    I thought he was older.

  96. Bob Says:

    It was also his second heart attack.

  97. Cameron Says:

    You know what I find hilarious about Strasburg and Harper? They’re complete opposites.

    Harper left high school early and entered community college to get early draft eligibility and everything about him is natural ability. his power, his arm, his speed,they’re all gifts. However, these gifts haven’t translated into results.

    Strasburg spent four years in college to perfect his game. In high school, he was overweight and out of shape and barely a ballplayer from the stories I’ve heard. Playing under Tony Gwynn in San Diego State, he practiced so hard that he puked on the field and then kept going. That hard work and practice paid off into him absolutely destroying the minors and even the majors when he came up.

    Complete opposites.

  98. Raul Says:

    I think Harper works very hard, Cam.
    Consider that he spent most of his youth practicing and playing. He left school early to do so. I’m not questioning his drive or skill or hard work.

    I’m questioning…well, not really questioning…I’m turned off by his arrogance and by the media’s obsession with him.

    Part of that is Harper himself. The other part, and Bob is right, is really not.

  99. Raul Says:

    Let’s also be realistic about Stephen Strasburg.

    To say that he spent four years in college to perfect his game may be true. But it’s not like Strasburg was in a good position to enter the draft before he eventually did.

    If Strasburg could have been a Top 10 pick right out of high school, he probably would not have gone to San Diego State.

  100. Cameron Says:

    I understand Bob, and you still need to work. These two to me just represent a perfect black and white for skill vs. talent and they’re almost teammates. They’re a great contrast.

    And Raul, from what I remember, Strasburg was drafted in college… I think sophomore year, but kept going to work at college instead.

  101. Cameron Says:

    I kinda feel sorry for braut right now. today hit the Trail Blazers hard. They finally got a center so Aldridge can go back to the four… But they also lost their coach, their backup center, and Gerald Wallace. Least you got New Jersey’s draft pick. It may be protected, but it’s only protected between 1-3, and they’re not that bad this year.

  102. Chuck Says:

    “I will say this. If that is true of the Bronco players trying to get Tebow to say some bad word, I feel sorry for them. not Tebow.”

    Spoken like someone who’s never been in a locker room.

    Whether you actually have been isn’t the point, just in case.

  103. Bob Says:

    @102

    I never needed prodding to swear.
    I never prodded someone else to swear.
    A practical joke is fine, just seems to go over the line where they are trying to get a reaction you will regret, as opposed to getting a chuckle.

  104. Chuck Says:

    The Rockies had tryouts at Talking Stick the other day for national anthem singers for the regular season.

    Guess what all the rookies had to do?

  105. Bob Says:

    Difference between rookie hazing and singing your college song or the Anthem or blurting out who is the motherfucker who did this stunt.
    Pretty sure I remember reading some rookies punching veterans over pranks too vicious in the days of yesteryear

  106. Bob Says:

    It is Friday.
    It is March Madness.
    Both Michigan teams are playing.
    See you guys tomorrow.

  107. Chuck Says:

    I don’t know, Bob, I just find it funny.

    It’s a long season filled with monotonuous routines, a little levity helps keep people from going crazy.

    Some teams use practical jokes, others have fried chicken and drink beer during games.

    The point with all this is the media has painted a picture of Harper which is blatantly false, and the general public is unwilling to accept that because they want to hold onto the idea Harper is some kind of baseball savior.

    He’s an immature 19 year old kid who CLEARLY is in a life situation WAY above what he’s mentally able to handle, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see it.

    This is a kid who has made it a point to publicise his religious background and beliefs, and yet has no trouble dropping f bombs in front of children.

    And who has no problem telling an Arizona Fall League executive to “fuck off” when told to wear his uniform top to a press conference because it was picture day for the media.

    Have an opinion on that, Bob?

  108. Cameron Says:

    Chuck, is it just me or does Bryce Harper remind you an awful lot of Brian Bosworth?

  109. Raul Says:

    I did not see this coming at all. Andy Pettitte came out of retirement and signed a 2.5 million dollar contract with New York.

    That says a lot about how confident the Yankees are in Kuroda, Hughes and Nova that they went out and took on additional depth.

  110. Cameron Says:

    So New York is now the retirement home of the MLB. Excellent.

  111. Chuck Says:

    I’m speechless.

    Graig Nettles was right..35 years later.

  112. Chuck Says:

    Harper/Bosworth?

    No comparison.

  113. Cameron Says:

    Egomaniacal jackasses who got insane amounts of hype before even entering their respective leagues? I can see the comparison. …Though Bos was at least smart enough to intentionally engineer his hype.

    Also, I give you Everett Teaford and Tim Collins wearing Jonathon Broxton’s pants.

    http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/rDr1ah1Gwr4PHa52bcKZOg–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/sptusmlbexperts/broxtonpants2.jpg

    Teaford is 5′11″ and 175, Collins is 5′7″ and 155… Broxton is 6′4″ and 300. Yes, he’s FATTER than CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder. Jesus wept, Brox…

  114. Raul Says:

    I’m lost here.
    What about Nettles?

  115. Chuck Says:

    Talking about the “Bronx Zoo” Yankees of the late ’70’s:

    “When I was a kid, I wanted to do two things when I grew up, be a baseball player or join the circus, playing for the Yankees allows me to do both at the same time.”

  116. Raul Says:

    Oh yeah.

    This team didn’t bring Pettitte back to be a bullpen pitcher or to spend the year in Scranton. It basically means someone is going to AAA. Either Hughes or Nova.

    In either case, it will be a gross mismanagement of talent.
    John, a team that brings back a 39-year old pitcher from retirement is not one that figures to win 99 games.

  117. Chuck Says:

    Ten bucks says Hughes is traded before opening day.

  118. Cameron Says:

    Not necessarily, Raul. That guy in AAA could be Pettitte. He is on a minor league deal.

  119. Chuck Says:

    #118

    Dude…really?

  120. Raul Says:

    I’m waiting for someone on Bleacher Report to argue that Pettitte is only coming back to delay his appearance on the HOF Ballot to improve his chances.

    Hahahaha.

  121. Raul Says:

    Cam,

    The only time Pettitte spends in Scranton will be to get into game-shape.
    They aren’t bringing back a key player of their dynasty years to ride the bus with Manny Banuelos for 5 months.

  122. Chuck Says:

    #120

    Five bucks says Shaun writes it.

  123. Raul Says:

    Hahaha.

    Would not surprise me if he did.

  124. John Says:

    @116, the Yankees are a 99-win caliber team BECAUSE their biggest issue is between Pettitte and Hughes for starter #5.

    Look at literally any other team and look at the issues they have to address.

  125. Raul Says:

    False.

  126. Chuck Says:

    The Yankees are not a 99 win team.

    Quite frankly, I’d be surprised if they won 90.

  127. John Says:

    Yankees: Should we have one of the top-3250 or so pitchers of all-time be our #5 starter, or give it to the guy who went 18-8 a couple years back?

    Mariners/A’s: Huh. I wonder how many games we’ll win by scoring 550 runs?

    Brewers/Cards: Ok, no sweat, we only lost the best hitter in the history of our franchise from the middle of our order. That probably won’t change much.

    Red Sox: Our rotation is solid. Lester, a couple guys who are always hurt, and two relievers. Perfect.

  128. John Says:

    @126, do you think any team is going any games.

  129. Chuck Says:

    I wonder what Shaun thinks of his namesake.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=payne-001ras

  130. John Says:

    *is going to win

  131. John Says:

    and comment 127 should read “top-250″ pitchers, although Pettitte by definition also falls into the category I made.

  132. Chuck Says:

    I met the host of this show yesterday.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrtqGfyUk18

  133. Raul Says:

    The Philadelphia Phillies released Dontrelle Willis.

    The Royals signed Alcides Escobar to a 4-year extension worth 10.5 million with 2 club options that could bump the value to 21.75 million. Escobar will never be much with his bat. Defensively, he’s the best in the game. Solid contract by Kansas City. If he gets injured or they move him, the contract won’t sting.

    What does sting is that Royals catcher Salvador Perez is out for 3-4 months after sustaining a knee injury.

  134. Raul Says:

    That’s pretty cool @ Chuck.

    But seriously…check out the style in the beginning of that video. I needed to be around in the 70s, man…

  135. Cameron Says:

    So that means our backstop past the All-Star break is still Brayan Pena… Fuck. Good thing I already set the bar low.

  136. Raul Says:

    As best I can tell Lloyd and Paul Waner are the only brothers in the Hall of Fame.
    Lloyd born on March 16, 1906. Paul born on April 16, 1903.

  137. brautigan Says:

    Cam: Do not feel sorry for me. The NBA sucks, and I haven’t cared about the Blazers since they fired Kevin Pritchett.

    What sucks for me is having drafted Salvador Perez in the first round and find out that he destroys his meniscus in his knee four days later. That’s what sucks.

  138. brautigan Says:

    @117. That would be one of those trades that benefits only Hughes. He needs to get out of New York to re-set his career. I’m not sure what New York would receive in return that would benefit them enought to make that deal.

  139. Cameron Says:

    Good lord, it seems that the Yankees have been trying to bring Pettitte back since December. …And originally offered him a deal for $10-12MM.

  140. John Says:

    I’m assuming this was before Kuroda and Pineda came into the fold.

    Not a ton of leverage once those guys joined.

    Between Sabathia, Pettitte, Kuroda, Pineda, Nova, and, Garcia, and Hughes, the Yankees aren’t going to have any trouble filling a rotation spot; frankly, I think getting Pettitte is overkill, but whatever, it’s 2.5M (or 3.5M when you consider the additional luxury tax).

    I mean, there are issues with everyone except Sabathia though.

    Kuroda – old, is transferring from a weak-hitting division and a pitcher’s park to a big-hitting division and a hitter’s park.
    Pettitte – old, was injured last he pitched, hasn’t pitched in a year.
    Pineda – Showed up to camp out of shape, struggled in the second half of his rookie season.
    Nova – Way over-performed compared to his peripherals last year.
    Garcia – kinda old, really should just be a spot-start/long relief option.
    Hughes – had something called “dead arm” last season. Sucked. Hasn’t been good since ASB’10.

    But that’s still six guys with someish upside for 4 spots.

  141. Cameron Says:

    It gets worse, John. They offered him that contract without watching a single workout with him. A six-week workout tanked ten million dollars of contract money.

  142. Bob Says:

    Have no idea if this is true, but has anyone considered the possibility that OTHER teams called about Hughes and Nova, and the only way they could part with one of those two was to sign either Petitte or Oswalt?
    And now this gives the Yankees some time to scout some teams with depth at SS, the one area where the Yanks need to bolster their cache.
    Hughes or Nova for an interesting SS prospect, one who could be ready post-ASB 2013 could be their target.
    Am I way off-base? On second thought…

  143. John Says:

    Seems like an odd timing for a team to inquire about Hughes after that shitshow of a season.

  144. Bob Says:

    Buy low, assuming a worthwhile ss prospect is considered low. The Reds, for instance, according to Baseball America have 3 SS prospects in their top 10.
    The Reds may have a SS to spare with Francisco Lindor possibly blocking other SS prospects from reaching Cleveland.

  145. Raul Says:

    Trouble is that Nova isn’t worth any viable SS prospect to begin with.

    And Hughes (from a talent level) should be a solid #2 but trading him now while his value is relatively low wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.

    Let’s suppose Hughes is traded.
    That means in 2013, your rotation is CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova and you’re left to find players for the final 2 spots. Kuroda won’t be brought back. Pettitte will be retired. Garcia won’t be back and he isn’t a starter anymore anyway. Maybe you could give the two spots to pitchers David Phelps or Manny Banuelos/Dellin Betances, but those guys would have to have monster years in 2012 to be in a position for the rotation next year.

    It also means you have no one to assume Mariano Rivera’s role, but Hughes probably shouldn’t be the guy for that anyway.

    Sure, they could go after Cole Hamels or Matt Cain. But Hamels isn’t likely to sign there and the Yankees are trying to get their payroll under 180 million for 2014. Unlikely they’ll take on another 20 million per year pitcher. Especially when they have to find the money to sign Cano or Granderson.

    What could the Yankees get as far as a SS?
    Just looking at some of the top SS prospects heading into the 2012 season:

    Manny Machado – Baltimore
    Jurickson Profar – Texas
    Hak-Ju Lee – Tampa Bay
    Francisco Lindor – Cleveland
    Jean Segura – Anaheim
    Nick Franklin – Seattle
    Xander Bogaerts – Boston
    Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati
    Javier Baez – Chicago

    I took that list off Keith Law’s rankings.
    Right away, you can forget about Machado, Profar, Lee, Franklin and Bogaerts — because NY isn’t getting a top guy and because NY isn’t trading with Boston.

    I also don’t think NY wants to move Phil Hughes to Anaheim — not with the pitchers they already have.

    Cleveland has Lindor, and Asdrubal Cabrera had a good season last year. If Cabrera continues to improve (he’s only 26) MAYBE a deal for Lindor could be had. Lindor figures to be a weak-hitting, but sure-handed SS. But he’s pretty young and Jeter would likely have to play out his contract before Lindor could be anywhere near ML-ready. But…Lindor is Cleveland’s #1 prospect. It’s more likely Cleveland trades Cabrera or lets him walk at the end of the season, so the only way NY gets Cabrera is if they sign him and Jeter retires.

    There are some other SS who aren’t as developed as those above, but a Nova or Hughes likely won’t be traded for a Minor League SS with that little experience. Possibly next offseason, though.

  146. Raul Says:

    From ESPN’s rumor page:

    Pedro Alvarez was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, but has yet to prove he can hit major league pitching, especially good offspeed stuff and left-handers. He’s struggling this spring — four hits in 20 at-bats, and his recent swoon could be damaging to his chances to make the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Opening Day roster.

    Alvarez has one hit in his last 9 at-bats and has fanned six times in that span, including in each of his three plate appearances Saturday versus Tampa Bay. To his defense, Alvarez faced Rays’ ace James Shields twice and southpaw Jake McGee in his final at-bat. Shields, a right-hander, has one of the better changeups in the game — a pitch know to be tough on hitters of the opposite hand — and McGee allowed lefties to bat just .164 in 2011.

    Alvarez does have two long balls, but they are his only two extra-base hits and he has drawn just one walk. If Alvarez doesn’t turn it around and is not the starting third baseman, Casey McGehee is likely to get the nod on Opening Day.

    - Jason A. Churchill

  147. John Says:

    With respect to 2013, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, and Zack Greinke all become FA’s.

    I gotta believe at least one of those gentlemen will be a Yankee.

  148. Raul Says:

    Greinke won’t pitch in New York. Any talk about being open to it is posturing for more money.

    Hamels wants to stay in Philadelphia or will go to the West Coast.

    Cain is a possibility.

  149. Cameron Says:

    I would love to see Zack Greinke, the biggest head case in baseball, go to New York and try not to get eaten alive by the media there.

  150. Cameron Says:

    The Seattle Seahawks continue to prove themselves as the biggest idiots in the NFL. They signed Matt Flynn to a 3 year, 26 million dollar contract. Need I remind you Matt Flynn has started all of 2 games.

    He’s a fine backup QB, but 26 million for a guy with 2 starts under his belt? Seems like a hell of a gamble to me. I should know what overpaying for a backup feels like. KC’s paying Tom Brady’s old backup WAY too much to suck that hard.

  151. Raul Says:

    Harper goes to AAA.

    Apparently, he proved AA pitching was no sweat this Spring.

  152. Cameron Says:

    Progress at least. May not have broken camp, but he’s at least starting in AAA instead of having to repeat AA.

  153. John Says:

    “He’s a fine backup QB, but 26 million for a guy with 2 starts under his belt?”

    Two…incredible starts. Plus, their QB is Taveras Jackson. I mean, their options at this point (not having a great draft pick) are Manning, Flynn, and Alex Smith. Manning will cost too much and has major injury questions. Alex Smith isn’t very good at football. Flynn was the guy.

    I thought for sure he’d follow Joe Philbin to Miami, but this would be a good reason to think Manning is going there instead.

  154. Cameron Says:

    Great starts maybe, but two good starts isn’t really worthy of 26 million. 16 maybe. Kinda shows how overvalued QBs are these days. I’ll grant Flynn’s played in 34 games… But 2 starts is 2 starts. Huge gamble on the guy.

    And Alex Smith isn’t good at football? Did you see him last year? He was a decent part of why they made it to the NFC Championship last year. Sure the defense did a lot of work, but he, Gore, and Davis ran a pretty good offense.

    Also, I’m looking at the Chiefs and we’re setting up something special this year it seems. We shored up the o-line with Eric Winston for four years, Peyton Hillis is in to play that FB/HB hybrid role he can really do well in and paired with Jamaal Charles that’s scary, and we got Brady Quinn to back up Casell. …Look, he ain’t great, but he’s a better #2 than Tyler fucking Palko. Also, I hear talk we might bring in Mike Tolbert to take carries in the backfield too. Charles, Tolbert, and Hillis in this incredibly weak AFC West could dominate. Plus at #11 and a likely draft of a nose tackle (most likely Dontari Poe, a 6′4″ 346 pounder who runs a 4.98 40 yard), we could be a surprise team this year.

  155. Raul Says:

    Alex Smith is a safer gamble than Matt Flynn.
    It’s not even a discussion.

    Harper needs more time at AA.

  156. Cameron Says:

    Bah, let Harper sink or swim in… What’s Washington’s AAA, Syracuse? Guy wants to impress the brass like he wants, let him hit a level of pitching above what he couldn’t hit earlier. …It’s funnier to watch.

  157. Raul Says:

    Lehigh up 13 on Xavier.

  158. John Says:

    The 49ers had the 29th best passing attack in the league.

    But yeah, Alex Smith did a great job willing the defense to play better.

    I will grant that Alex Smith threw almost 3 times as many TD passes as Matt Flynn last year. In 16 times as many starts.

  159. John Says:

    “Also, I hear talk we might bring in Mike Tolbert to take carries in the backfield too. Charles, Tolbert, and Hillis in this incredibly weak AFC West could dominate.”

    Sounds like overkill to me.

    Wouldn’t Tolbert and Hillis play pretty similar roles?

  160. Cameron Says:

    Not saying Flynn is bad… But c’mon, that’s almost 9 million dollars for a guy who’s started 2 games in his career. You gotta admit that there’s a huge chance for this to blow up in their faces. …And considering it’s the Seahawks, it most likely will.

  161. Raul Says:

    Two games, John.

    Matt Flynn has two games under his belt.
    But keep homering on, homer. Just remember to cup the balls when you suck Packers and Brewers players’ dicks.

  162. Cameron Says:

    I don’t think Tolbert and Hillis would play too similar a role for it not to work John. Tolbert is a big guy, but not big enough to be an actual fullback like Hillis is. He’d be a short-yard carry guy or could play a fullback while Charles runs a pass route. Hillis is pretty much a big back who can actually block and Tolbert isn’t a good blocker.

  163. John Says:

    Ok, and Alex Smith has started 66 games, and has sucked in most of them.

    Andrew Luck has started zero games, so I guess he shouldn’t ever start either.

    Hey…Brett Favre started like a billion games. Maybe the Seahawks should make him their QB!

    “And considering it’s the Seahawks, it most likely will…”

    Yup, if there’s one thing that I can say for sure, it’s that the Seattle Seahawks have never once signed a former back-up who became a franchise cornerstone. They definitely didn’t sign him off the Packers, and he definitely didn’t lead them to a Super Bowl. That, I can conclude, has never happened in the history of the Seattle Seahawks.

  164. Cameron Says:

    Alex Smith really hasn’t been bad. Just… Average. Certainly not good enough to be drafted over Aaron Rodgers, but he’s been decent enough to hold the starting job most seasons. 2010 was a BAD year for him, but he rebounded by winning the division, being the first team to clinch a playoff berth, and going to the NFC Championship game.

    Did he have a 500 yard game like Flynn? No. But would I rather rely on a guy with 66 starts instead of a guy with 2 starts out of 34 games? Yeah. Just a safer bet when you consider that 26 million dollars is involved.

    For the record, Matt Flynn isn’t bad… But TWENTY-SIX MILLION DOLLARS!

  165. John Says:

    Is the 26M even guaranteed?

    Also, Smith has only had one full season in his career before this one. He has a career 76.4 passer rating

    And he wasn’t even that spectacular last season. He didn’t make stupid mistakes; he’s a decent game manager. That’s good, and that’ll win games if you’ve got a great defense and a great rushing attack. But Flynn has been simply outstanding both times he’s started – and both times were against playoff teams.

  166. Raul Says:

    LOL @ you thinking my argument was about playing time.

  167. John Says:

    Your argument consisted of you saying “two games” twice.

  168. Cameron Says:

    10 guaranteed. Still, it’s just a gamble I think. I just… John, you wanna know why I’m ragging this so hard? My team’s QB is Matt Cassell. He had a very good season in New England, KC picked him up, and he’s been one of the worst players in term of ressults versus payroll space in the league for years now. You can see why I don’t think giving a lot of money to career backups is a good idea. …And don’t think I don’t know that backups can do well elsewhere. Rich Gannon won the MVP in Oakland after leaving here. But at least he started more than two games and was going to a good team. Flynn’s going to the damn Seahawks, a team with no chance of competing at all.

  169. John Says:

    “Flynn’s going to the damn Seahawks, a team with no chance of competing at all.”

    They went 7-9 with Taveras freaking Jackson as their QB.

    I give them a VERY good chance of competing for a wild card next year.

    “My team’s QB is Matt Cassell.”

    Who would you like your team’s QB to be? Orton?

  170. Cameron Says:

    Yes I would like Kyle Orton back, John. At least Orton knows where the fucking end zone is!

  171. John Says:

    Most QB’s have been a backup for some period of time. That really shouldn’t deter you from signing one.

    It’s worked for the Seahawks before.

  172. Cameron Says:

    It’s not that Flynn being a backup is what’s scaring me. It’s the $9MM of AAV that I find highly suspect here. That ratio of game to money just strikes me as incredibly off-base. If I HAD to guess though, I think Seattle really had nothing left to do and the NFL is really pressuring teams to spend up to the cap these days. I think the new CBA requires teams to spend to 90% of the cap at least.

    Certainly explains Tampa this offseason. Those owners are noteworthy of being allergic to spending and yet they bring in Nicks, Jackson, and Wright. It has to be spending pressure. I like teams not withholding money… But to a point. When you see gross overpays like stuff that’s going on now, it looks very bad in practice.

  173. Cameron Says:

    And John, before you bring it up, Brett Favre was a Falcon for two games before going to the Packers. It didn’t take 26 million dollars to do it.

  174. John Says:

    It’s 10M. If it’s 26M, that means it worked out tremendously, which I think there’s a good chance of.

    Alternatively, you could bring back Tavaris Jackson and keep going 7-9.

  175. Cameron Says:

    Not arguing the upside of Flynn, it just irks me. Was anyone talking about Flynn being some breakout young star QB this time last year? Not really. It was one game. One REALLY good game, I’ll admit. But is one 500 yard game enough to sink at the minimum 10 million dollars on a guy? That kind of speculation just seems incredibly dangerous to me. That contract was based on one game. I just wanna slap GMs who make moves like this. Even if it’s ten million at the minimum, it’s a contract based entirely on one game.

    If Flynn threw for say, 250 yards in that game and didn’t absolutely steamroll the Lions, would he be nearly as big as prize as he was made out to be? I’m not saying the guy is bad, but it’s a gross overrate off of one game. They’re paying for that game, but they’ll be lucky to get it out of anybody, let alone Flynn.

  176. John Says:

    Please explain to me any alternatives for Seattle being competitive.

    You realize with that thinking, the Seahawks never get Matt Hasselbeck and don’t clean-up that division for 5 years?

  177. John Says:

    “That kind of speculation just seems incredibly dangerous to me. That contract was based on one game.”

    What about all the contracts made for guys based on ZERO career games at the NFL level.

    At least Flynn has two…against tremendous teams.

    But yeah, his inability to beat the best QB on planet fucking Earth out for a starting job means he should be forever regarded as a back-up.

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