- I originally thought that the Giants should have rested their starters. Despite the fact that they played well and didn't incur any major injuries, I'm still not sure that I've changed my mind. Perhaps it will be a huge confidence boost for Manning (who played as well as he ever has) and the rest of the squad. But they played their best game of the season and still lost. When was the last time the Giants brought their A-game in two consecutive weeks? Probably early in the '06 season. If they get their doors blown off by the Bucs, no one will care that they played the Pats tight.
- The Pats couldn't ask for a better scenario. They took a good team's best punch on the road and proved they could come back from well behind. And the Pats will never have to hear that their final opponent on their path to perfection laid down for them. Having said that I am betting that somebody picks them off on their run to the title.
- When the cameras zoomed in on Tom Coughlin, my buddy Oatmeal described Tom Coughlin as a "fuddy duddy". I almost busted a gut, because I hadn't heard the phrase in ages and it couldn't be more perfectly applied. This got us on a game-long riff listing the biggest fuddy duddies in sports. Being baseball-centric fans we decided on Bud Selig and Bobby Cox. Please place any other suggestions in the comments section.
Monday, December 31, 2007
1) Hockey games continue to be played. I continue to ignore them.
2) The Yankees will lose to the Red Sox in the ALCS. A-Rod will be the scapegoat for batting .240 in the series. The fact that he hit .409 with 3 homers in the Divisional Series against the Tigers will be forgotten.
3) The Colorado Rockies go from the World Series to 4th in the NL West.
4) The Patriots lose to the Colts in the AFC Championship game.
5) The Phoenix Suns upset the Spurs and then the Celtics to win the NBA Championship.
6) The Mets miss the playoffs again. Willie Randolph is fired.
7) Bobby Bowden dies.
8) Memphis basketball loses one game all season. They win the national championship.
9) Ryan Howard hits 62 homers. People say he is the "true home run king".
10) Someone will be paralyzed in a UFC match. Congress will conduct high profile hearings in an effort to ban the sport.
Very unlikely, but not at all impossible
11) Roger Federer finally wins the French Open. Then loses at Wimbledon.
12) With the addition of a Pro Bowl D-lineman, the Jets have the best defense in the NFL next season.
13) Roy Hibbert falls to the 20th pick in the draft. Within 6 months, seventeen teams regret passing on him.
14) Diamond Dallas Page will die of an overdose. It just feels like his time to go.
15) Athlete's gang affiliations become 2008's dog fighting.
16) Wayne Chrebet makes a comeback with the Jets. Although he clearly has nothing left in the tank, the Jets hold onto him all season as a 5th receiver for PR.
17) Gheorge Muresan passes away this summer. The phrase "gentle giant" appears in every obituary.
18) Joba Chamberlain and Tim Lincecum win their respective league's Cy Young Awards.
19) David Beckham and the LA Galaxy mutually agree to a buyout of his contract.
20) Andre Ethier and Alyssa Milano start a relationship that results in their engagement in 2009.
A full court hook shot; Lefty
21) There will be a modest dance hit, featuring samples of Mike Tyson's craziest quotes, set to house music.
22) Isiah Thomas, mercifully fired after this season, will be the runner-up on next fall's Dancing with the Stars.
23) Prince and Cecil Fielder mend fences and replace Donovan McNabb and his mother in the Campbell's Chunky Soup commercials.
24) Donyell Marshall admits that he has been living with HIV for the past 8 years. Why Donyell Marshall? Why not Donyell Marshall?
25) Allen Iverson and a UPN starlet will be the stars of the celebrity sex tape of 2008.
26) Another color is discovered in the spectrum between orange and yellow. Roy G. Biv becomes obsolete. It has nothing to do with sports, I just feel strongly about this one.
27) Curt Schilling blows out his shoulder in Spring Training. He immediately announces his retirement and that he will run for president as an Independent.
28) Alex Rodriguez's daughter is kidnapped, setting off a media frenzy a la the Lindbergh baby. Her semen filled corpse will be found buried beneath Kyle Farnsworth's gazebo.
29) Ronde Barber joins Tiki in retirement. They live openly as an incestuous gay couple.
30) Travis Henry fails to impregnate anyone all year.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
- Sit the starters
- Sell the tickets
It's omnipresent. After the Patriots quest for perfection, it's the biggest story in the NFL this year. "The quarterback play is horrendous."
Does anyone realize that with one week left, 8 QBs are on a pace to throw for 4,000 yards this season? Brady, Romo, Brees, and Favre are already there. Manning, Kitna, Hasselbeck, and Palmer are all 185 yards or fewer away.
What is the record for most QBs with 4,000 passing yards in a single season? Five; in 2004 and 2006. So this season we will see 3 more 4,000 yard passer than have ever been seen before. But there are no good QBs?!
Thinking that perhaps there was more depth in the past, I checked how many 3,000 yard passers there are this year. There will almost certainly be 15 in 2007. Only four seasons in history have featured more 3,000 yard passers. All were in the new millenium.
Granted passing yards isn't a perfect statistic for determining the quality of quarterback play, but it's as good as any other statistic that I'm hip to. I'm sure the football sabermetricians have developed a superior metric, but I don't follow the sport as religiously as I do baseball. I'm too lazy to do any more legwork on this one, but my limited research suggests that there is no empirical evidence that quarterback play is down in the NFL.
So, once again, we are left to rely on the anecdotes of our elders. The same ones who will try to tell you that Oscar Robertson would have mopped the floor with Michael Jordan. The ones that tell us Pedro Martinez couldn't sniff Sandy Koufax's jock. And Rocky Marciano would have knocked out Lenox Lewis in the first round.
"There are no good quarterbacks" is the new "There is no good pitching." A fallacy to be ignored.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
For the first time in my life I find myself really pulling for the Knicks. I'm not looking for greatness, or even mediocrity. I want them to play just well enough to keep the Isiah Circus in town for another year. It's greedy, I know, to ask for more from a man who has already given so much.
- The Knicks are 97-177 since the start of the 04-05 season.
- Thomas has already hired 2 Hall of Fame coaches, only to fire them after one season each.
- He is solely responsible for acquiring the most shiftless roster in the history of sports.
- He has signed players with no discernable basketball skills (Jerome James, Jared Jeffries) to long term contracts.
- He has traded bad contracts for worse contracts and won't have the Knicks under the cap for at least 3 more years.
- With far and away the highest payroll in the sport, he has not only not found a franchise player, he hasn't even found a championship caliber second fiddle.
- He has subjected his employers to an expensive and embarrassing sexual harrassment case.
- He has turned Madison Square Garden into a venue more hostile than they see in any road game.
- And he has done it all with a Pat Riley/Phil Jackson kind of arrogance normally reserved for the elite coaches.
- A's trade RHPs Dan Haren and Conner Robertson to the D'Backs for OFs Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, LHPs Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith, and 1B Chris Carter. I really like this trade for both teams. The D'Backs might have turned themselves into the best team in the NL. They have added a co-ace to go along with Brandon Webb and not given up a single player that contributed to last year's division winning team. Billy Beane is wisely toward 2010, as the A's can't compete with Angels right now. Gonzalez is a blue chipper and Anderson, Cunningham, Carter, and Eveland are all fine prospects. Win/win.
- Cubs sign Kosuke Fukudome to a 4 year $48 million contract. In a market where Aaron Rowand gets 5 years and $60 million, this strikes as pretty reasonable for a guy who is supposed to be an Ichiro/Matsui hybrid. Fukudome fit a need as the Cubs couldn't afford to go into the season with Matt Murton and Felix Pie starting in the outfield. They have made themselves favorites in the miserable NL Central again.
- LA Dodgers sign P Hiroki Kuroda for 3 years and $35.3 million. I don't get this one. I know it's a thin market for pitching, but this is a 32 year old man who has only had one season in Japan with an ERA under 3.00. After the Kei Igawa debacle I'm surprised anyone is willing to spend big money on another Japanese pitcher without a history of dominating. The Dodgers have a first rate farm system and certainly had the chips to get themselves in the mix for Dan Haren or Eric Bedard. Instead they settled for an expensive back end of the rotation starter. Not good.
- Mark Prior signs with the Padres for 1 year $1 million (up to $3 million with incentives). Really? That's all it costs on a flier for a man 2 years removed from being the best young pitcher in baseball? Great deal for the Padres. I have no idea how the Mets, Yanks, or some other large market club didn't cobble together a better offer than that.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
He has played with Lenny Dykstra and Luis Gonzalez, perhaps the most obvious PED users in the history of the sport. He hasn't said a thing about them. Without LuGo's huge 2001 the D'Backs never would have even made it to the World Series, let alone won a championship or World Series MVP. If Gonzalez ultimately gets exposed, should Schilling return his ring and trophy.
(Full disclosure: I sort of stole the last paragraph from a guy named ThinkBlue on a message board. I would have posted his comments in their entirety, but he was all over the map.)
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
- Lawrence Frank is the coach of the Nets and Sean Williams and Jason Collins are Nets players. Therefore it's incredibly puzzling that Frank was the last man in America to realize that Williams is a much better player than Collins.
- Vince Carter has returned to his uninspired 2004 Raptors form. The next four years should be a treat.
- I know the Nets have never been much of a draw, but it looked like there were 1,000 people at last night's game. The Knicks and the Nets might have the two worst home courts in the NBA right now. I'm not sure which is worse, the anger or the indifference.
"I would have got 5,000 hits," he said.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Perhaps it is sour grapes or perhaps my delicate soul has yet to recover from the crushing loss to Pitt a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't care less about Rich Rodriguez bailing out on the Mountaineers. How valuable can a guy be if he gets a strategic beatdown at the hands of Dave Wanstache in the biggest game of his coaching career?
The conventional wisdom is that Rich Rodriguez is some sort of offensive genius. Certainly, he has been the most influential coach in college football over the past decade. His spread offense, or evolved versions of it, have become the norm for college teams across the country. Instead of a genius however, I think of Fraudriguez as more of an offensive savant. The Rainman of college football. Sure, he can tell you how many toothpicks are in a box, but he doesn't have the common sense to throw a post against a defense playing with ten in the box.
Assuredly, Fraudriguez deserves some of the credit for WVU's recent surge into the national spotlight, but I believe the true man that made it all possible is named Mike Tranghese. Tranghese is the president of the Big East conference. The same conference that lost Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College to the ACC a few years ago. The same conference that brought in Cincinnati, South Florida, Louisville, and Connecticut to replace them. WVU was historically a four loss team before three Big East powerhouses fled to the ACC. Bring in four lesser teams and suddenly WVU becomes a two loss team. Is it because Fraudriguez is Lombardi reincarnate or is it because WVU gets to play Connecticut every November instead of Miami?
The anger coming from Morgantown has less to do with Fraudriguez leaving then how it happened. It all started this time last year when Fraud all but took the job at Alabama before an emergency meeting of boosters and WVU brass banned together to hand Fraud a ridiculous pay raise and a load of promises to improve WVU's facilities. Fraudriguez accepted the last minute offer, lied about never verbally accepting the job to Alabama and sobbed about how much he loved Morgantown, which incidentally is where he grew up and where Don Nehlen generously allowed that fat prick to walk on to the football team twenty five years ago.
Fast forward to November 30th of this year. Two days before the biggest football game in WVU history, Fraudriguez gets a call from Michigan. Obviously Fraud is going to ignore the call and get his team ready to walk over Pitt and play in the national championship right? Wrong. Fraud entertains the offer if only to leverage WVU for more money, blows the Pitt game, and I am out a thousand bucks for a wasted trip to Morgantown. Undeterred, Fraudriguez flies out for an interview with Michigan and then tells them he is passing on the job thinking everyone will love his loyalty so much in Morgantown that he may get another raise. Unfortunately for the Fraud, WVU brass told Fraud that if he pulled this kind of stunt again they would fire his ass. Realizing that trying to leverage for more money two weeks after losing horribly to Wanstache in the biggest game in WVU history and costing me a thousand dollars may not win him a lot of support in West Virginia, Fraud decides to take the Michigan job after all.
Fair enough. But the Fraud doesn't stop there. Instead of meeting with his team to tell them the news like a man, he decides to call up some WVU recruits. Specifically, he calls up Terrelle Pryor, the best high school spread quarterback in the county and tells him to scratch WVU off of his list and consider coming to Michigan. This does not sit well with Fraud's current/former players. After eventually calling a team meeting, Fraud is berated by the WVU players and forced out of the WVU locker room. It would be in Fraud's best interest to make that the last time he ever steps onto the West Virginia campus. He should probably hire someone to come get his stuff.
In summation, Rich is a fraud, WVU will live on to burn more couches and lose more big games, and I will continue to blow a thousand dollars traveling to them.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Those rank among some of the worst days of my life. I had no mechanical inclination, so I was essentially useless to my father. My greatest contribution to any of the projects was handing him nails when he asked me to. Looking back, the time I saved him by fetching shit was more than offset by the time he spent trying to teach me things I would never learn. I was probably a net zero.
Yet my father insisted that I be out there "helping" him. He must have known I was of no real value, but he wouldn't let on. He would say ridiculous things, like "I never could have done this without your help". Then he would give me something like $50 for my 50 hours of labor. It was hardly the going rate for an integral part of a construction crew. And, honestly, I was still grossly overcompensated for my work.
David Eckstein's free agency reminds me of the obvious gap between my father's rhetoric about my efforts and what he was willing to spend for them. For all of the insane hyperbole about how invaluable Eckstein is, the best he could get was a 1 year $4.5 million deal. As it turns out, the market didn't value him as much as the great J.C. Romero.
P.S.- The above hyperlink sends you to every firejoemorgan.com featuring the name David Eckstein. They hate him the way the Iron Shiek hates Bee Brian Blair. I strongly recommend reading it.
I wish something could be done to keep PEDs out of the game. It's just completely implausible. No one has yet developed an accurate test for HGH; And HGH is already old hat. Attempting to keep up with the designer drugs is utterly useless. They aren't going away.
So, as a fan I have a couple options. I can cut off my nose to spite my face and stop watching baseball or I can get over it. I choose the latter.
If I were him though, I would have stayed with West Virginia. The WVU job has to be the most underrated in the country. In fact I would think West Virginia football is one of the 5 or so best programs to run in America. Sounds strange, but consider the following
- They have a rabid fan base, but they are not so spoiled that they will call for your head after a 9-4 season.
- The Mountaineers can clearly attract top recruits, as few teams in the country have as much talent at the skill positions as anyone besides USC.
- In the Big East, the Mountaineers are likely to win as many conference championships as any other team in a BCS conference. There is no reason West Virginia shouldn't win 7 out of every 10 Big East titles. If everything goes gangbusters in Michigan, Rodriguez will probably win 4 or 5 out of 10 Big Ten titles. Regardless of how well the Wolverines do, Ohio State, Wisconsin, a resurgent Illinois, Penn State, and Iowa are going to win some championships.
That's all I got.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I fail to see how this report does any good. It implicates dozens of players, but does nothing to alleviate suspicions about dozens of others. Nobody that had doubts about Albert Pujols, for example, is now convinced that he is clean. The whole process was an exercise in self-flagellation by a commissioner who was ashamed of himself for what happened on his watch. Perhaps the only thing the Mitchell Report accomplishes is clearing Bud Selig's conscience.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
C Bengie Molina
1B Rich Aurilia
2B Ray Durham
3B Kevin Frandsen
SS Omar Vizquel
LF Dave Roberts
CF Aaron Rowand
RF Randy Winn
Amazing. Rowand instantly becomes their only average player. If you woke a guy out of a 10 year coma, told him the year, and read him the rest of the Giants lineup, he would ask "They're still playing baseball?...Professionally?"
Apologies for the fence riding. This is a toughie.
None of the 5 players the Orioles received in this deal are blue chippers. Luke Scott is nice enough player, but Troy Patton is the only one of the bunch with anything resembling All-Star potential. This trade will never do for the Orioles what trading Herschel Walker did for the Cowboys. But it's a start.
For years the Baltimore Orioles have been unable to seriously commit to either contending or rebuilding. They would go out and sign Miguel Tejada to a huge contract and surround him with Quadruple A players and bargain basement retreads. Last offseason, coming off a 70-92 record, they signed 3 middle relievers (Denys Baez, Chad Bradford, and Jamie Walker) to big contracts. Predictably they combined for an ERA of nearly 4.50, but that's not even the point. The real problem is that they were delusional enough to think that they were just a solid set-up crew away from playoff contention.
I will take the Miguel Tejada trade as an indication that the Orioles are willing to gut the whole team and start from scratch. Long overdue. They have been under .500 for 10 consecutive years. I'm sure their fanbase would tolerate another two or three years of sucking if they saw some light at the end of the tunnel. Now if they ship off Bedard, Brian Roberts, and one or two of the relievers they signed last year, they might be able to acquire a nice little nucleus of young talent to build around for a possible '11 playoff run.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I think it's time we reevaluate the necessity of courtroom sketch artists. I know what Michael Vick looks like. I know what prison jump suits look like. I know what lawyer-types look like. I know what courtrooms look like. Without the benefit of this picture, I would have imagined a scene much like this one. Now if one of the attorneys had his dick out or Michael Vick was choking out a dog with his handcuffs, by all means sketch away. But a scene so banal requires no artist's rendering.
After we do away with the guys that hand you towels for tips in swanky men's rooms and air traffic controllers, I say we 86 the courtroom sketch artists.
What I can't understand is why he decides to sign with the University of Arkansas. If you want to go back to college football, how about putting a call into to the Michigan AD? I'm sure UCLA would be thrilled to have him. Honestly I'd even rather have the Texas A&M gig. Instead of arguably the most storied program in college football or the SoCal sun, he chooses to coach a mediocre program in an impossible conference in the flyover state to end all flyover states. What am I missing?
Monday, December 10, 2007
Withers had four legitimate hits, "Ain't No Sunshine", "Lean on Me", the aforementioned "Lovely Day", and "Just the Two of Us", spanning 10 years. "Ain't No Sunshine", "Lean on Me", and "Just the Two of Us" were all Top 5 hits. He has been sampled and covered countless times by countless artists (though I'm hesitant to label Better Than Ezra as artists). He's even won a few Grammy awards. Yet despite all his success I've never known anyone who owns a Bill Withers CD or seen him concert. I've never heard one person, critic or laymen, list Withers as one of his favorite artists or even refer to Withers in hushed accoladed tones. And this isn't just a generational thing as Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Marvin Gaye are household names amongst Generation Y. Withers however, for whatever reason, fell through the cracks.
While Withers achieved success and was summarily forgetten, Taylor has had an impressive career with little to no fan fare or recognition. Perhaps, it's because he plays in that hellhole known as Jacksonville, or his groin has become a Monica Lewinsky-esque punchline, or that he's screwed many a fantasy team because he didn't get goal line carries. Regardless, Taylor has put together a very nice career. I won't rattle off all of his statistical accomplishments, but he has rushed for over 1,000 yards six times in 9 seasons and is on pace for his 7th in 10. This season included, he has averaged over 4.5 yards/attempt 8 of his 10 years in the league. His 10,457 rushing yards puts him dangerously close to OJ Simpson, but not as dangerously close as Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were. (Too soon?). But also like Withers, Taylor has also fallen through the cracks. He's only made one Pro Bowl. You never hear Taylor mentioned in any discussion about top backs in the league over the past decade. I doubt a Taylor jersey has ever been sold outside the "greater" Jacksonville area. You hardly ever see Fred Taylor on the promos for an upcoming Jacksonville prime time game. It was Brunell, then it was Leftwich, then Jones-Drew, but not Taylor. He is kind of a like a poor man's Curtis Martin in that no one realizes how good he is until they take a look at his stats.
I don't know how to wrap up this post.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Brewers sign Eric Gagne to a 1 year $10 million contract. No me gusta. Gagne has pitched all of 67 innings since 2004; 67 Scott Proctoresque pretty decent innings. $10 million is a ridiculous amount to pay an injury-prone run of the mill reliever, coming off a dreadful stint with the Red Sox.
"Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest's modus operandi is to identify what he wants from another team and try to build the deal".
Did anyone else feel that? My equilibrium is still fucked up from the rapid paradigm shift. Seriously though, the headline just described the primary function of every general manager in every sport, with the possible exception of the bitch that ran the Indians in "Major League".
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Having said that the contrarian and Gator hater in me doesn't want to let this thing go. So here is my final knock on Tebow's season.
Tebow supporters will argue that Florida's 3 losses should not be held against him. He played well in all three games and the defense let them down. The Heisman is an individual award and no individual had a better season than Tim Tebow. Fair enough.
If you are adamant that his teammates' poor performance shouldn't hurt his case, don't turn around and use it to bolster his argument in the next breath. Let me explain.
The first bullet in the "Tebow For Heisman" presentation is always "51 touchdowns". Impressive indeed. Tebow rushed for 22 touchdowns, in large part because the Gators lack a good between-the-tackles running back. Percy Harvin, their best rushing threat, is built more like a marathoner than a short yardage bruiser. If the Gators had such a back and Tebow rushed for 8 or 10 touchdowns instead of 22, he wouldn't even be invited to the Downtown Athletic Club.
I cannot grant Florida fans point A unless they cede point B.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Elements of a boneheaded free agent signing
- Signing a player coming off of an uncharacteristically big year
- Signing a player who is aging out of his prime
- Signing a player who is unlikely to make the difference between contending and not contending, for the life of the contract
- Blocking a player who is younger, cheaper and could be comparatively productive
- Spending a huge chunk of money on a solid, but unspectacular player when you're on a very limited budget.
The Royals signing of Jose Guillen meets an impressive 4 out of 5 of these criteria (just missing #4). This ties the Reds signing of Francisco Cordero (which only lacked #1) for the dumbest free agent signing of the offseason.
There is plenty of time left for some dumb GM to go a perfect 5 for 5.
Every year certain terms make their way into the collective sports lexicon. These words rise from obscurity to usage ad nauseam by the likes of Dick Vitale and John Madden. For example, several years ago the term walk off home run came out of nowhere to become the most used term in Sportscenter history. 2007 was no exception to this annoying tradition. Below are my five most popular sports terms of 2007.
Definition- the interception of a pass and subsequent return for a touchdown
Example- The Giants would have covered the spread if Eli Manning didn't throw three pick-sixes.
Definition- compensation for lack of size and skill with Najera-like energy and intensity.
Example- I know Marcus Fizer is a 6 foot 4 power forward. But we should draft him anyway because I love his motor!!
3. Clock the Ball
Definition- Intentionally incompleting a pass in an attempt to stop the clock.
Example- Did Chad Pennington just clock the ball in the middle of the 3rd quarter? No, that is just as far as he can throw the ball.
2. Dig Route
Definition- A pass pattern where the wide receiver runs a specific length down the field and the cuts in parallel to the line of scrimmage.
Example- Ashley Lelie refused to run the dig route unless the opposing safety agreed to not hit him too hard.
*Note*- This has replaced "skinny post" as John Madden's favorite route to explain.
1. Glue Guy
Definition- White guy with no discernible basketball talent who is invaluable to his team.
Example- Jeff Foster has yet to score a point this year, but he is a great glue guy.
Monday, December 3, 2007
(Hat tip to the Sports Hernia via Deadspin)
Despite his considerable talents, the Mets organization soured on Milledge's cocky attitude to the point were they preferred mediocrity to his presence in the clubhouse. While Milledge rubs people the wrong way, Elijah Dukes is a complete sociopath. He has six arrests under his belt. His wife has a restraining order against him for threatening to kill her. He just knocked up the 17 year old foster child of one of his relatives. Not a good dude.
Add these two to lazy, underachieving, and seemingly uncoachable and Wily Mo Pena and you may have the most volatile outfield ever assembled. The possibilities range from:
- They all grow up, become All-Stars, and dominate the National League for the next 12 years
- This whole thing ends like Reservoir Dogs
- Anything in between
This is going to be fun!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Winner: Tim Tebow's Heisman candidacy. McFadden and his two good games do not deserve the award. With Chase Daniel and Pat White suffering really bad losses, and not playing well in defeat, they are effectively out of the running. Tebow is a no brainer at this point.
Loser: SYHD contributor Greg Ostertag Body Spray, a diehard Mountaineer fan, who traveled to Morgantown for what he assumed would be one big couch burning victory orgy.
Winners: The couches of Morgantown.
I've had three days to reflect on Friday's Lastings Milledge for Ryan Church/Brian Schneider trade and upon that reflection, I'm still as disgusted as I was upon initially hearing news of the transaction.
I had been a staunch supporter of Omar after he made several savvy pickups, smart trades, and big name free agent acquisitions over the past several seasons. However, after two straight horrible drafts and his flirtation with David Eckstein, I started to doubt Omar's baseball IQ. After Friday's illogical trade, I have completely lost faith in Minaya's ability to be a major league GM.
Trading Milledge would have been acceptable had it brought a pitcher in return. Instead, trading Milledge, the former number one prospect in the organization, for offensively limited 29 yr old outfielder and an offensively challenged 31 yr old catcher is just plain offensive.
Omar said that he made this trade because he wants to "win now", but that argument holds as much water as my bladder (I pee about 40 times a day). If given a similar number of at bats this upcoming season, Milledge is likely to produce similar numbers to Church. Church's counting numbers might be better because he will be playing in a friendlier hitters park, but I would suspect that their respective OPS+ will differ by only a few points.
Even if Milledge turns out to be nothing more than a fourth outfielder, he will end up being exactly what Church is now, so why move a younger cheaper player with upside for a older more expensive player with little upside? I wish I had an answer to that question.
Milledge was once the key prospect discussed in deals for Dontrelle, Barry Zito, and Manny Ramirez. Now he's getting traded for a catcher with declining skills and a fourth outfielder more suitable for a platoon role? Wouldn't it have been better to hold onto the guy to see if he develops rather than trading him for cents on the dollar? What you have now in Ryan Church is the worst case scenario for Milledge production wise.
And don't even get me started on Brian Schneider. He would have been a nice pick up three years ago, but he is a catcher on the wrong side of thirty who has seen his offensive and defensive skills erode of the past few years. He has had an OPS+ of 97, 72, and 77 the past three years. That's downright Ecksteinian! I don't have the numbers at my disposal right now, but his percentage of runners thrown out has declined over the past two or three seasons as well. A combination of Johnny Estrada (76 OPS+ in 2007) and Ramon Castro (127 OPS+ in 2007) would give the team better production than Schneider will as the primary catcher.
The only reason I see for this trade is that management was sick of Milledge's attitude. All reports coming out of the locker room was that Milledge was an insufferable prick that alienated himself from his teammates. Are baseball players that sensitive that they can't play with one guy they don't like? Does the whole team have to get along? If anything maybe the teammates could bond over the common ground of disliking Lastings. Or maybe management should have just let Lastings mature and see where things went rather than trading him for league average to below average players.
Some Mets fans are comparing this trade to the Kazmir trade. That's not an apt comparison. Kazmir was a can't miss prospect who tore up the minor leagues and was traded for one of the shittiest starting pitchers in all of the baseball. That's hopefully a once in a lifetime type of boner. This trade is more akin to jettisoning Gregg Jeffries. Like Milledge, Jeffries was a top prospect who was rushed through the system and was severly disliked by his major league teammates. He was viewed as an arogant, self-important brat. After not living up to his lofty hype over his first three full seasons with the Mets, Jeffries was traded to Kansas City before having a couple very nice years with the Cardinals. Milledge will never put up big power numbers, but he has exhibited excellent bat speed and has to the chance to develop into a hitter who can spray line drives all over the field. Ryan Church? What you see is what you get.
This trade probably will not haunt the Mets like the Kazmir deal has, but at his worst Milledge is Church, so there is a good chance the Mets did not get a suitable return in this deal.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
"I don't like the trade from a talent perspective, but at least the Mets will be replacing the biggest Jew in the league with the biggest anti-Semite".
Brilliant! It's sort of like the old maxim that you replace a players' coach with a disciplinarian (and vice versa). You replace a Jew with an anti-Semite. Last year's Mets right fielder, Shawn Green, refuses to play on Yom Kippur. Their new right fielder, Ryan Church famously had this to say about the Jews:
"I said, like, Jewish people, they don't believe in Jesus. Does that mean they're doomed? Jon nodded, like, that's what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word."
I haven't yet been able to confirm rumors that the Mets will be replacing David Wright with a Korean lady that waxes eyebrows.