We have established that the Padres are the front runners for the worst team in the NL West, but I could be wrong. I have been
before, just ask my girlfriend. However, assuming I am right we must look into where the other teams in the division fall into place…
With the Dodgers ability to potentially re-sign Manny and their impressive post-season play last year, I cannot fathom power ranking them 4th. Many would naturally expect the San Francisco Giants to assume this poll position, however I am optimistic for this ball club to make improvements from 2008. I believe the team that deserves to occupy the 4th place power rank in the West is a team that will not be celebrating Holidays this year…wait, I mean Holliday.
Lets take a team that finished at .500 from last year and see what happened to them in the off-season. They lost blue-chip sensation, Matt Holliday in a trade to give them financial wiggle room as well as speedster Willy Tavaras and closer Brian Fuentes to free agency. Bummer. What did the Rockies recover from these losses? Some money and Huston Street, the young closer from Oakland. I like Street’s potential, however, the Rockies already have a useable closer in Manny Corpas so I can’t help but feel that they put their eggs in the wrong basket when trading away Holliday. Why didn’t they go for a marquis pitcher to aide their stomach churning rotation? Speaking of which…
The Rockies arms have to be amongst the bottom 7 in the MLB. I suppose they consider their ace Aaron Cook who had a good first half of last year, but proceeded to play like a skunk for the rest of the season. The rotation is followed by Jeff Francis and Franklin Morales who both battle injuries of sorts and neither may play this season. Ubaldo Jimenez could help the team out if he strays from his 100+ walks from last year and newcomer Jason Marquis may become something good, but has a lot to prove getting his first chance as a starting pitcher. For a team that plays 80-some-odd games in a stadium notorious for it’s home run hitting ease, this rotation has to be scaring the pants off everyone in Colorado.
Aside from Garret Atkins being a totally overrated bust, the Rockies don’t look too shabby in the field. There is power behind (SS) Troy Tulowitzki and (RF) Brad Hawpe and breakout potential behind (C) Chris Iannetta. The rest of the filed doesn’t necessarily dazzle or disappoint. If and when Todd Helton realizes that he is going to be 36 years old this season Colorado may start to dip in offensive production.
Plain and simply, you can get away with crappy pitching if you have a line-up like the Yankees but you can’t if you’re the Rockies. They have lost speed and power and are getting older at the corners. They will put up a fight within the middle of the pack of the NL West, but when the season is over you will see them in the 75 wins range…and occupying 4th place in their division.
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
As we open the door to analyzing the competitive NL West we must first look at what teams do not have.
I have never heard of a team being wildly successful with as few weapons as The San Diego Padres posses. Unfortunately, for the city named after “A Whale’s Vagina,” I will be power ranking their ball-club at 5th in the west. I’m hard pressed to believe that the Friars will exceed 70 wins this season, which would be a 7-game victory improvement from last year’s amateur hour.
Jake Peavy is God in San Diego. Without him, the organization might as well take a yearlong vacation. He will be 27 years old on Opening Day and is arguably a top three MLB pitcher. He should be primed for another 200+ strikeout season and double digit wins. But who does he have to support him in the rotation? Exactly. Chris Young fills in as the #2 guy. He’s ok if he can stay healthy, which isn’t his strongest suit. Finishing off the depth chart is a flop of: Cha Seung Beak, a Korean from Seattle with a 5.1 ERA, Kevin Correia who is barely more than a middle relief guy, and potential rookies Wade LeBlanc or Ivan Nova. Yucky…
Even assuming that Jake Peavy blows away a MLB record and marks 30 wins this season (joke), there isn’t any offense to give run support to the lackluster bats on the team. Adrian Gonzalez has emerged as a legitimate 1st class first basemen and will be the center of their offensive. The developing and supportive Chase Headley and Kevin Kouzmanoff will bolster the team by sharing third base, with Headley in left as well. The rest of the offense is extremely blasé, however, with: David Eckstein (2B), Craig Stansburry (SS), Nicholas Hindley (C) and Bryan Giles, Scott Hairston and Jody Geirut (who might be something) in the outfield.
Heath Bell is now the closer with Hoffman gone, and this simply supports my theory that San Diego will not surpass 70 this year.
What San Diego has going for them is the absence of a monster competitor in their division. I can’t see them falling victim to the Dodgers or the Rockies an embarrassing amount of times, but know they will not be able to climb to 3rd in the division either.
Check back soon as the StatDragon will power rank the rest of the NL West.
The Champions League is the biggest stage for the best soccer clubs around the world to showcase their skills and compete for the ultimate prize. Clubs like Manchester United, Inter Milan, Juventus, Chelsea, Roma, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Arsenal are simply all-star teams competing against one another. If you don’t watch or are used to watching MLS (haha), this is soccer at it’s finest.
What to expect:Today at 2:30 Eastern time, Manchester United vs Inter Milan. The best of England vs. the best of Italy. Defending UEFA Champions league Champs, Man U are looking to repeat this year. Lead by the golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo, the footballer of the year in 2008. “It is going to be a titanic fight,” Ronaldo said. “Inter are top of Serie A which tells you immediately they are a good team who are going to give us a tough game.” Ronaldo can fake a flop and cry with the best in the world but he’s fast with great ball skill. Inter Milan are the reigning champs of Italy for 3 years running. They’ve struggled on the Champions League stage with early exits from the tournament. With coach Mourinho guiding them, they look to get over the hump and take advantage of a injured United defense.
Dick Rickles (Man U supporter) had this to offer “United are playing the best football in the world right now in the best league in the world. However, they are facing a difficult challenge tonight in Italy where they are not too successful; only 3 wins in 15 matches on Italian soil, but Inter have not been able to get a win out of their last 4 games where an English team has visited them at the San Siro. United are also without one of their best and arguably one of the world’s best defenders in Nemanja Vidic due to a preposterous red card he received in the Super Cup final, which will make it difficult to deal with Inter’s striking pair of Ibrahimovic and Adriano. The Red Devils will be looking to get that crucial away goal tonight and I don’t think they would be upset with a tie or even a loss with that away goal heading back for the return leg in Old Trafford when they should have a full squad.”
Screw Duke vs. UNC and Ohio St. vs Michigan…let’s talk about multiple countries represented in intense matchups of pride and glory. And the camera man always seems to find a fine Italian woman in the stands.
Also on tap today: Roma vs. Arsenal, Lyon vs. Barcelona , FC Porto vs. Atletico Madrid
Let’s kick it up a notch!
For a second consecutive off-season, The Minnesota Vikings are trying to execute a deal to acquire Houston (part-time) quarterback, Sage Rosenfels. If you are a Vikings fan and this trade goes down, celebrate.
Rosenfels expressed interest in playing for the Vikings prior to last season. A deal was not agreed upon when the Texans would not accept the offer of a 3rd round draft pick in return. A current trade proposal is being offered to the Vikings for a, lesser, 4th round pick in the upcoming draft.
The Vikings will be making a TERRIFIC decision to trade a 4th round pick to acquire Rosenfels. In the past two seasons Rosenfels has started in 10 games and participated in 15. The StatDragon notices that he has produced 22 TD’s in this period of time and has achieved a respectable quarterback rating of 81.
Rosenfels has the “perfect stock” to buy into right now if you are Minnesota. Having been a backup for the often injured Matt Schuab, Rosenfels has proved that he can get it done. He’s won 6 of his 10 starts. Yet, not having ever been a “starter” for a team, Rosenfels can’t command the higher deals that QB’s such as Kurt Warner and Jeff Garcia (amongst others looking at an open market) can.
Also, how much are you losing out by parting with a 4th round draft pick? Not a lot in my opinion. In a sport where coveted draft picks have been wasted on the Alex Smiths and Ryan Leafs of the world, the Vikings would be guaranteeing themselves production ability and would avoid the risk of having to count on a rookie draft pick at this position.
Minnesota is knocking on the door of being a very intimidating NFL team. They have proved this by having one of the strongest rush defenses in the league, complimented by the young and sensational Adrian Peterson on offense. By signing Rosenfels, the Vikings would have the opportunity to fill in other holes by drafting young WR’s and DB’s to bring into the system.
It was mentioned that Rosenfels has a career QB Rating of 81. Guess what? 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a career rating of 89. The Vikings can find talent to fill the gaps on their team though making wise decisions this upcoming off-season. Sage Rosenfels is a quarterback that has matured into the type that could take a team to a Super Bowl with a strong enough supporting cast.
Lastly, The Vikings were able to become the 3rd seed in the NFC last year with Gus Frerotte and Tavaris Jackson leading the way. You can only assume that they would be bettering your team by letting Rosenfels take the helm.
Don’t be stupid Minnestoa, make this deal happen.
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
The NBA trading deadline proved to be more hype filled than full of trades. With rumors of Shaq joining the Cavs and Tyson Chandler traded to the OK City only to have a toe fail his physical. This years deadline did not move too many big names at all. Jermaine O’neal for Shawn Marion has probably the largest impact of any other trades but assure that O’neal will disappoint the Heat. The guy plays with no fire and he carries a huge contract.
News in Phoenix reports that Amare Stoudemire could miss the rest of the regular season due to suffering a partially detached retina in his right eye on Wednesday. This all after the 140 points the Suns put up over the Clips. Huge loss for the Suns.
Reports have indicated the Boston Celtics will pursue Joe Smith, all this pending Smith getting a contract buyout. He will also consider the Cavs. We know how buyouts go right Mr. Marbury.
Robert Horry rumor once again surfaces. He is considering playing this season and since he’s had relations with Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry, Cleveland could be his new destination. Imagine if you could show up 3/4 of the way through a season, play in the playoffs and collect a huge paycheck basically in four months. It’s like crab fishing in the Bering Sea, minus the sea sickness and potential death.
Newsflash, the Sixers offered Dalembert to everyone and their cousins including the Los Angeles Clippers for center Chris Kaman during the last week. No one wants him, no surprise there.
Tyson Chandler said he was surprised he failed the physical. The OK City doctor who administered the test and was the same who operated on his toe said he wasn’t good to go. “I don’t understand that,” Chandler said. “I haven’t missed a game because of it in the last three years after I had the surgery. I think had it been anywhere else or anything else it would not have been a problem or issue.” Failing a physical due to a toe injury is like blaming your cousin for your use of steroids.
Rafer Alston going to Orlando presents a good addition in the backcourt. A guy who handles the ball well and can move like Skip-to-my-Lou! Solid pickup since Jameer Nelsons out.
Chris Wilcox and Larry Hughes will fit into the fast-paced offensive scheme in New York but are yet to realize that the Knicks suck.
Twolves pickup a solid Bobby Brown and Shelden Williams. Williams was a top-5 pick in the draft with a big frame helping out Minnesota in the paint since Big Al is lost for the season.
Celts had a chance at Nocioni but were rumored to having to give up four players for him. They basically picked up then traded players for a 2nd round pick. I want them to grab Bobby Jackson, I think he would fit in really well here. KG strained his knee…cutting his road trip short and making me bleed a little green last night.
Brad Miller returns to the windy city of Chicago, hoping to finally make an impact.
Jason Williams, aka Whiteboy, is requesting reinstatment into the league. He’s looking to help a contender like Celtics or the Heat into a late playoff run. I thought he was terrible in his last years in Miami. He could handle the rock moderately well but his shooting touch lacked anything desirable.
Sidenote, I am A-Rods cousin, pay me for an exclusive story. Inject my wallet kids!!
With the 2009 NFL Combine getting ready to kick off this weekend, hundreds of players are currently in Indianapolis getting prepared to jump high, run fast, and throw hard.
Scouts for all 32 NFL teams will be intently watching to see which prospects showcase their talents the best, and which fall flat and disappoint.
The NFL combine is the start of a long journey for these young men. Players across the country gather to dazzle NFL teams and to boost their draft status. Post combine, some players are heralded as improving their stock; others are deemed to be the combine goats.
Regardless of who runs the fastest or jumps the highest, it should be said up front–do not fall in love with the measurables.
Sure, it’s easy to do. A running back projected to go in the third round runs a 4.3 forty yard dash and showcases unique agility and an ability to catch the football.
Ofter, these players will be regarded as “great athletes” by Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, and many other pundits.
That’s not to say that the combine cannot showcase an otherwise unknown talent for the entire league to see. Players come in and have great success in the league despite limited opportunities in college and great combine and pro day workouts.
But I keep thinking back to the 2005 draft. All the talk was about which running back would go off the board first–Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, or Ronnie Brown.
Brown went to the combine and ripped it up. Ran a great time, excelled in the drills, and looked to have an unique combination of speed and power. Brown improved his draft status, and was selected as the second overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins.
Now, Brown is a solid back in the league. Solid. I wouldn’t say great by any stretch. He shares time with Ricky Williams, which is fine, as this is a popular trend in the league.
With that said, Brown has never had more than ten rushing touchdowns in his pro career. He gained 1,000+ yards just once. And while his average per carry is solid, he’s not an every down back. Per year, he carries the ball about 220 times every year.
As a comparison, Adrian Peterson of the Vikings carried the ball 368 times in 2008 for almost 1,800 yards. Peterson also shared a bit of time with Chester Taylor in the backfield. And though he had more success and a stronger body of work in college, Peterson was drafted seventh overall.
So buyer beware. If I were advising an NFL team, I would tell them that the measurables are great, but use it as a guide on draft day. Don’t live and die by the numbers these players amass as they work out in shorts and sneakers at the combine this weekend.
There is only one American driver who went across the Atlantic to beat the Europeans at what they perceive to be their game – Phil Hill. Although Mario Andretti is American by the most practical interpretation of the label, he was born in Italy so he doesn’t really count. The last American driver, Scott Speed, was dropped by Toro Rosso after 1.5 seasons in the cockpit, now finding marginal success in NASCAR. And before him…? An overweight and overhyped Michael Andretti, who seemed to DNF more races that I could bother to remember.
And when it comes to the constructor / supplier end of things, Ford had good success with their program but it really wasn’t Ford considering it was Cosworth Engineering who was buildng all the engines. And Goodyear was a single supplier of tires to F1 for many years, but bowed out in 1998.
So you can say the red, white and blue hasn’t seen much return-on-investment when it comes to Formula 1 racing.
Over the last few weeks, there has been quite a bit of hype around USF1. Supposedly, the new team will unveil itself for the 2010 season, headquarted in (gasp!) Charlotte, North Carolina, with an operational base somewhere in Spain. All fine and dandy, I suppose, but I have some questions for the two gentlemen who are putting together this team:
– Where are you going to find the money to foot the hundreds of millions of dollars required to run a competitive team? With the global economy in shambles, current F1 sponsors not reupping their contract after 2009 and motorsports in a state of crisis, where will the $$ come from?
– There are reports that Danica Patrick is a contender for one of the drivers’ seats. Danica Patrick? Excuse me? She was competitive in the former Champ Car Atlantic Series, but hasn’t done much in the Indy Car series. For her to be a high-midpack driver in a spec series doesn’t say a whole lot about her potential in the highest (and toughest) form of motorsport in the world. And her only victory to date was at Motegi, a circle jerk track owned by Indy Car series engine supplier Honda (which, ironically, has dropped out of F1). Formula 1 is on courses where there are both left AND right turns… and they brake, accelerate and shift all day long. If you want to see how sad some of these Indy Car drivers are, just watch some of the road / street course races this year.
– Do we even need an American Formula 1 team? Americans are preoccupied with NASCAR and even that’s dropping in the ratings as we speak. The Indy 500 isn’t what it used to be. Open wheel racing in America as whole isn’t what it used to be. ALMS doesn’t seem to be in particularly good health. So why bring yet another distraction for motorsports fans? Sure, I’d love to see the F1 circus come back to America, but the existence of an American F1 team isn’t going to elevate my enthusiasm for it whatsoever.
– Aside from Danica – who said she doesn’t want to be on the other side of the pond to race – what other talent do we have that could fill these drivers’ seats? Certainly no American drivers pop into my mind… save for Marco Andretti. He certainly has the pedigree and the youth to develop into one hell of a driver, but I think it’s an awful lot to risk to put in a driver without the required European open wheel experience. And why do they have to be American drivers anyways? There are plenty of drivers from the GP2 feeder series that could do quite well.
So I’m still confused as to why USF1 even needs to exist. Or what their mission / plan is. The coming weeks will hopefully answer these questions.
Well now we know what KG’s mumbling to himself when he’s on the court. “Burn yo’ suit, Craig!!”
The magic number is 41.
And I’m not referring to Hall of Famer Tom Seaver who sported the number on his jersey. This is how many days are left until the first pitch will be thrown out across America and every baseball fan across our great nation will rejoice in the commencement of a new season.
For me, a new season is synonymous with a new year. A time for new goals and resolutions. A time in which anything is defined as ‘possible.’ Even the most lackluster teams from the previous year stand a chance as different acquisitions throughout the off-season have been made, injuries have been treated and the proverbial ‘slate’ has been wiped clean. On the contrary, the biggest threats from previous seasons have to enter on a new stage in an effort to remain the force that they have been in seasons past and reprove themselves again.
Although the race is addictive to watch in all divisions I am particularly interested to see what will transpire in the NL West this season. The West presents a more opened door for the division than it has in years past and there is clearly no forerunner or favorite as there are in other divisions.
The universal fight over Manny Ramirez is incessant and driving me crazy. I go to bed every night praying that someone will offer him the 3rd year he desires in his contract so I can wake up the next morning a NEVER hear about it again. If he finds a home in the NL West, with the Dodgers for another year OR in rumored San Francisco, the division will become slightly weighted. Nonetheless, the division presents to the league an interesting race to follow.
Check in during the following weeks as I dissect the NL West and allow you to take a scientific look into the division’s teams. We will look at strengths, weaknesses and other variables that might allow us to answer the question, “Who looks to be the favorite in the NL West?”
Holler Back. StatDragon.
The Cincinnati Bengals named kicker, Shayne Graham their franchise player this week. This is a move that enables the 8 year vet to sign another one-year deal with the team equal to the average dollar amount of the 5 highest paid kickers in the league.
While saving the Bengals a lot of money, you have to wonder where this leaves their relationship with other play-makers. Houshmandzadeh, one of the few highlights on a rather lackluster offense is now headed for free agency. Head coach Marvin Lewis acknowledged that the odds of him returning to the team will be odd. The Bengals could have retained TJ by placing the franchise mark on him, but would have had to do it at the sum of about $10 M for a year as opposed to $2.2…well, I guess WE ARE IN RECESSION.
Franchising Graham also gives Cedric Benson more options and allows him to seek other avenues.
I honestly can’t believe that The Bengals decided to go this route. Inevitably, they will return next season without the likes of Houshmadzadeh and possibly anyone to fill in as threatening running-back. They will be supported by a cranky primadonna wide receiver (Chad Johnson), an injury plagued quarterback ( Carson Palmer), a decrepit defense and… Chris Perry in the backfield??? Well at least they have a shot at sending their kicker to the Pro Bowl.
In a press conference Graham un-excitedly stated, “I appreciate the Bengals’ recognition of my value to the team. I would have preferred to enter a long-term market value contract, either with the Bengals or through free agency.”
So, I suppose, no one is really happy today in Cincinnati. Not even newly franchised Graham. Let me check the weather… Yea everyone is miserable.
Good luck, Cincinnati, compiling a decently respectable team in the off-season.
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!