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 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!!
Well now we know what KG’s mumbling to himself when he’s on the court. “Burn yo’ suit, Craig!!”
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!
The Cowboys have yet to find an official sponsor for their new stadium. So if you have some extra money in the ol’ piggybank you don’t mind parting with, $400 M for 20 years will get your name on the dome. Personally, I won’t be able to hack this kind of deal with Mr. Jones and the Cowboy organization. For one, the StatDragon has a vice for gin and tonics AND happy hours at The Spearmint Rhino Strip Club…both of which cost a bit of money. Seriously, I’m more into this Russian stripper there named Nadia than Mickey Rourke’s character was into Marissa Tome in The Wrestler. Secondly, the economy has left a proverbial “Cleveland Steamer” on my chest. And last but not least, I live at home with my grandma and make a living off blogging…awesome.
Alright folks, the world of sports is not all steroids and lies. The arguments over the juiced up era has been going on all week and it’s time we throw a positive spin onto this page. Let’s steer away from baseball and see what’s going on in the world of hoops.
The NBA all-star game is coming up this weekend and you know that means! Time to watch a bunch of superstars not play defense and fight to dunk more often than the other. TNT has gathered Kevin Durant, OJ Mayo and Joe Johnson to play a game of H-O-R-S-E. This has potential to be at least interesting when players start missing shots and getting letters like H-O. (This just in, they have actually sold the game of horse to a sponsor. It will now be the game of G-E-I-C-O. That’s G-E-I! And I’ve just lost all interest.) You’re basically combining the slam dunk competition with a shooting challenge full of creativity. I’ll predict a Joe Johnson victory.
Mo Williams has finally found a spot on the all-star team thanks to another injured player (Chris Bosh) bailing out. Mo’s teammates have been barking and preaching that their guy has the stats and deserves the respect to make the team. Gilbert even used words like ‘preposterageous’ to describe the snub. And you’re worried about our kids learning about steroids? Let’s just steer away from NBA players as role models for spelling. Don’t worry Lebron, Stern got your boy in.
Big Al Jefferson is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Sad news for such a young player having an amazing season. This season he averaged 23.1 pts, 10.9 rebounds and 30 double doubles. Wolves are only getting younger.
Elton Brand needs 6-months after his surgery on his right shoulder to be healthy and able to play. He signed a 5-year, 80 million dollar contract with the Sixers and played 29 games. Need I say more?
The Lakers have traded Vladimir Radmanovic to the Bobcats for Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown. Michael Jordan also had this to say about his moves in the past: “I think we’ve grown from it. I’ve grown from it and hopefully down the road when you make a choice, you try to make a better choice,” Jordan drafted Morrison and said that sometimes it’s a gamble. Sometimes players don’t pan out as expected. Leave it to Jordan to take a gamble on the Morrison mustache ride!
West Coast respect after the Celtics lost to the Lakers and Spurs.
Anquan Boldin may have played his last game in Arizona. Well, at least it was the Super Bowl…
Boldin was quoted Friday in USA Today, “I don’t think the relationship can be repaired with the organization. It takes more than, ‘Well, we did you wrong and we’ll pay you this.’ It’s not about the money. It was always about the principle, guys being true to their word. I guess I was expected to uphold my end of the bargain, and it wasn’t reciprocated.”
Team president, Michael Bidwell claims that the Cardinal organization has continually been working with Boldin and agent Rosenhouse to restructure and, even, extend Anquan’s contract. Teammate Larry Fitzgerald has even offered to have his own contract restructured and lessened in order to facilitate the possibility of retaining Boldin.
However, all this probably won’t be “enough” for Anquan. He seems determined to leave Arizona in search of something new. Given Boldin’s selfish mentality he may find a better fit in a organization that has winning qualities yet vacancies at the “star” wideout position. Or he, simply, may choose to go anywhere that will “Show him the money!!”
StatDragon thinks that the 49ers, Eagles and the Bucs are all interesting options as teams that have quite a bit of money to play with in the off-season and who could greatly benefit from a blue chip receiver on their team. Could Mr. Boldin become a proud member of one of these franchises? I guess we will have to see what develops through the spring…
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
Larry Johnson wants out of Kansas City… well, so does everyone in Missouri…
In a radio conference held yesterday, Johnson claimed “my departure would allow the Chiefs to find what they want and I can go on and try to rebuild my career and find what I want.”
But what do you want Mr. Johnson? You will be 30 years old next season, which hardly makes you the age in which a team is bound to offer you a huge multi-year deal and build their franchise around you. Given great health you may have 3 years left in the tank and your behavioral track record hasn’t proven that you are capable of becoming a beacon of morality and responsibility (note: your 4 arrests since 2003).
I’ll tell you what hurts you also. The emergence of the effective rookie running back. Players such as Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Steve Slaton and Adrian Peterson have all pioneered respect for rookies in the league and shown viability to be just as productive in their first season as many blue chip running backs in their 3rd or 4th seasons.
So why would a franchise want to invest in you? And where do you think you would find a starting job? I have never seen the amount of talent at the running back position across the board in the NFL like there is right now. I’d venture to say 90% of teams in the league are perfectly content with who they have in the backfield. The Philadelphia Eagles may be concerned that time will run out shortly on the aging Brian Westbrook, but signing a guy only a few years younger (you) isn’t the solution. The Eagles will likely go after someone like Knowsho Moreno from Georgia, or Chris Wells from Ohio St. to integrate into the system as Westbrook nears retirement.
Mr. Johnson. Here’s my suggestion. Stay in Kansas City. You know the system. The organization is starting to turn and you aren’t likely find success “rebuilding” anywhere. Have your agent renegotiate you a better deal and clean up your act for a few more years until you are 33 and destined to retire.
And that’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about…
This week in the NBA, with so much time off and money piling up, Stephon Marbury decided to hold an online chat. He basically explained his side of the holdout and proclaimed to the academy that he is not a selfish player. He did support his cause saying
“I have averaged eight assists per game throughout my career.” Good stat but he did show up late to the chat. Not the best start to my Celtics approval interview.
The Shaq and Kobe feud is more like a Forrest Gump and Jenny relationship. They go together like peas and carrots! Shaq assured us all that the media made up the whole feud and it’s just another marketing ploy. He goes on to say “We’re still the greatest little-man, big-man 1-2 punch ever created in the history of the game.” They reunite on the West All-star side next month.
We now bring you the best excuse to be snubbed for the all-star team. This week’s winner is Carmelo Anthony. Melo was a little upset he got overlooked and said the injury had to be the key for not being selected. He says “I didn’t think I did nothing wrong,”, “My game didn’t do nothing wrong. That’s the only thing that could have (hurt Anthony, is his injury).” This isn’t a DUI questioning Carmelo; the media always asks questions after games. Melo did deserve to be named to the West all-star team, just didn’t like his defense.
Andrew Bynum will not face a suspension by the league for his hit on Gerald Wallace. Wallace suffered a collapsed lung after the Bynum forearm shiver. Bynum says “I’m sending flowers to his hospital room.” Bynum has stepped up his game this past month; he is also looking to represent the Lakers in Wrestlemania 25. Kendrick Perkins hacked Maxiell last night so I can’t even make my Lakers are dirty case. Instead, I’ll just move along…next topic!
Did someone say we’re going streaking? Yes it’s true, the Celtics have got the mojo going again and have won 10 straight. With the bench boys, House and Big Baby stepping it up, they’ve really showcased their toughness and 3-point shooting. They did snub Rondo and Ray Allen from the all-star game and now they’re pissed. Cavaliers are 22-0 at home this season. Holy Mo Williams! This guy scares me and with big Z back in action, the Cavs look tough. Should definitely be a fun second half of the season.
Farewell Lucky the mascot, he got fired (sweet justice). Can we hire MC Hammer now? Think of the possibilities! My my my my music…
All right, you got your gear, you got a place to watch, so now, here are some do’s and dont’s to prep you for the big game and party.
If you’re a visitor to the party:
1) Do bring something — anything, a Steinlager 12-pack, wings, dessert, something. Even if you’re broke, you can scarf up for a bottle of Thunderbird or Pabst; just show that you appreciate your host’s sacrifice.
2) Do Not get too drunk before the game starts (applies to host also) — You don’t want to be blacked out if Warner throws a winning Hail Mary or Polamalu seals it with a pick … it’s all about a smooth slip into inebriation. 6 to 8 brews by kickoff is optimal (this applies to a guy around 180 pounds, add one beer per 30 pound level up).
3) Do Not double dip — and that not only applies to the ranch dressing, but to your pal’s spliff stash or his hottie chick.
4) Do Not bring any suckas to the party — No annoying girlfriends or “marks” who have no concept of a first down. SIDE NOTE: Be very prepared to feel the wrath if you go to a Cardinals party and you’re the only one rocking the black and gold (or vice versa)
5) Do have fun — Cheer and yell with gusto! Boldin just scored, stuff that Terrible Towel in that Pitt guys face.
6) Do know when to shut yer trap — during the anthem, commercials (yes, commercials) and when they present the trophy (optional during the Boss’ halftime set).
7) Do prepare for the post-game properly — designate a driver (BEFORE the game) or stash a sleeping bag in your trunk, or stash the designated driver in a sleeping bag in your trunk.
As a host, not much: You already provided enough eats, drinks, TV and pad. You’re the master of your domain, but just a few things:
1) Do Not channel surf — Once the game starts, put the remote away for the next 4 hours. Yes, it’s your remote control. And yes, it’s your house. But the Super Bowl is bigger than you brother, and you became Obama-esque when you signed up for this (you’re here to serve, protect and deliver).
2) Do provide proper and plenty of trash receptacles — easy clean up, less stink; because these jokers you’re inviting think that they’re tailgating indoors.
3) Do provide for the post-game — ice cold water, fresh coffee, taxi numbers, instant soups, and in some cases, extra sleeping bags (or at least sweep the pick-up truck bed).
Finally, if you’re like me and watching the game with newborn in tow while the Mrs. has a “self-day,” then no rules apply. Do what you want, you’re the king of the castle. Though you might wanna take it easy on the booze, because you don’t want to make any nacho mix-up with the con queso dip and the nearby diaper.
Any other “do’s” and “don’ts” that I forgot?
Enjoy another wonderful American Institution.
Straight Cash … Homey!