Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Bulls Trade Options


This is admittedly a stretch and hope from a Bulls fan. However, there is some potential merit. The Mavericks are clearly not in a position to compete this year. Nor, does the future look any better. They traded that away last year in dumping Harris for Kidd. So, they should look to cash in before it is too late. The hesitation that has doomed many a GM.

The trade looks like Nowitzki for Hughes, Noah, Tyrus Thomas, and a future #1 pick. Hughes gives them a bigger guard combo and they become a bit more run and gun with Howard, Terry, and Kidd. They get two young talents (both former lottery picks) that could improve with new scenery, as well as a future draft pick. Hughes contract also expires in time for the free agency everyone is chasing. So, they can keep him and enter the sweepstakes, or use him as viable trade bait next year.

Not likely, but another option. It would give the Bulls immediate help as a top 4 team in the East. The Mavericks would not be much worse off but have a better hope for the future.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MLB Free Agency

MLB Free Agency period means it is time for the Yankees to get out their checkbooks. Another year, another attempt to buy a championship. They are off to the races overpaying for Sabathia and Burnett. $160 million will only allow Sabathia to get more overweight. He has a lot of treads on that arm and you have to figure will eventually have a season of pain. He has also pitched in small markets in Cleveland and Milwaukee. It will be interesting to see how he responds to NY media and criticism. My guess is some pains and struggles.

As for Burnett...AWFUL. What is the chance he pitches 15 games next year? I will give you the over but I am not offering anyone the under. There is a reason he opted out of a contract to get in a new one. Even he is afraid his arm will fall off. The history is there. Besides that, he really is not an elite pitcher. He is a sexy pick because he throws hard and gets a lot of strikeouts. However, his career stats are 87-76 and a 3.81 ERA. Solid numbers for the A.L. He just received almost $1 million per career win. He won't return that many in the next 5 years.

Teixeira is cashing in. The Orioles and the Nationals? If I were the Angels or any team interested in him, I would turn away. He clearly does not care about winning. He wants to go home and enjoy his green.

Why the talks of ManRam retiring? He just proved he can carry a team better than any individual in the game. It is funny how things change. I loved Manny in Cleveland. Hated him in Boston. Liked what he did in LA. Then, hated him for what he did to the Cubs. Now, I cannot wait to see where he goes and watch him swing the bat. I will take him over any hitter not named Pujols.

The Brewers made a good move signing Capuano to a minor league deal that could pan out for a small market. The Cubs adding Gathright was a decent move, but likely ends the Pie trial (who will he be traded for?). Moyer for two years seems like a stretch. Yes, he throws off-speed. Yes, he has adapted and changed his game. Yes, he had a very good year and is a big reason they are World champs. Did anyone think how he will be 48 when this contract ends? I like him, but give him a one year deal.

That is it for now. Watching the Bulls in OT.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bulls Potential Trade

Kirk Hinrich needs to come back, so the Bulls can make some moves. It is no secret about their logjam at the guard position and the need for some frontline and post help. Reports have the Magic looking for a point guard. Would they be interested in Hinrich (and maybe a throw in) for Turkoglu and Brian Cook?

At first glance, this is not a great improvement for the Magic, but I think Howard, Lewis, and Hinrich would give them a well-rounded team. It would make Howard and Lewis more of the focus with a guard who plays defense and distributes first. As for the Bulls, they get a bigger player who can slash and complement with Rose. Hedo is versatile and can score. Cook makes the numbers work and gives you another serviceable big.

Not a likely trade with Hinrich shelved. However, one that could help two teams looking to improve their rosters.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cubs Seeking Peavy



The word is that another Cubs Padres trade is looming around the trader. Hendry and Towers must have a secret love affair. Well, most of the trades have seemed to work in the Cubs favor, so let's do it again. Towers claimed Peavy's train has left town. That must mean a deal is close because he is too smart to destroy his trade value with a comment like that.

This comes after hearing Dempster, 32 years old, wants in the ballpark of $70 million over 5 years. Walk away from that. I would be ecstatic if they added Peavy to Zambrano, Lilly, and Harden. If you can get Dempster for more like $50 million for 4 years, that rounds up the best rotation in baseball. If not, let him walk. Put that money into a left-handed right fielder. That might be a better idea, either way.

Now, what should the Cubs give up? Marshall, Fuld or Pie, possibly Jake Fox, and some other prospects. Vitters or Colvin could work, too. In fact, Vitters could be the main prize and is not likely to have a spot with the Cubs for awhile with Ramirez at third. The Padres are looking for a double, not a homerun, in return. 4 prospects should do.

Some other moves I would like to see..Sign Marte as a lefty out of the bullpen. Trade Marquis and some prospects (maybe Fontentot) for Brian Roberts. A blockbuster would be sending Soriano to the Mets, the Mets and Cubs sending prospects to the Rockies, with the Cubs getting Holliday from the Rockies and Church from the Mets.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bulls Upcoming Season

Yes, I am one of the few in Chicago who still loves the Bulls. At least, they have given me less heartache than the Cubs. This is a brief preview to the upcoming season. One problem the Bulls face is the East has gotten much better. The 76ers added Brand to a solid, young nucleus. The Raptors (who I felt should have been much better last year) solidified their front line with Jermaine O'Neal. Orlando should be even tougher. Even the Bucks may have improved...Some.

The Bulls still have the same problems as always. No low post scoring. I have scanned every player in the league and cannot find any viable player to fill that void that is worth trading for or taking on their contract. How many low post scorers are there, really? Name the ones worth double-teaming, and I bet you hardly need more than one hand.

Now, the second problem is the logjam of guards. Rose, Hinrich, Gordon, Hughes, and Sefalosha. Either Sefalosha has to play the 3 or one of them needs to be traded. Gordon cannot be traded until Jan 1. Hughes and Rose seem to work the best together, so far. The slasher mentality coupled with Deng on the wing appears to have some potential.

Here is my take on how things play out. Larry Hughes has a decent season. Good enough to make the Ben Wallace trade look lopsided, in favor of the Bulls. Drew Gooden continues his usual stats but still not a very smart player. He is a solid bench player. Rose proves to be the scorer and tough player the Bulls have sought for years. The Bulls are a guard team who ignores the post like the Bears focus on defense and ignore quarterback. Ok, probably not the best idea. Aaron Gray develops into a serviceable center. Some improved footwork and passing skills over the next year and we could have a Brad Miller type on our hands. I would take that.

So, who needs to go? There is the possibility of the Heat trade for Marion or Odom from the Lakers. Do either of those players improve the Bulls situation? No, not really except Marion does improve a shaky defense. The problem is where you play him. He is a tweener and we have plenty of those.

So, my guess is the Bulls finish somewhere around 6th in the East. Rose has ups and downs. Beasley puts up great numbers and everyone thinks this was a horrible move. Paxson does trade Gordon but maybe too late and not the right player available. The media cries for his head.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Goodbye Cedric Benson


The Bears have finally moved past the Cedric Benson era. After 2 DWI's, a few decent games, and a couple touchdowns (most of them stolen from Jones), he is finally gone from Chicago. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. It's hard to remember a waste of talent who ruined a locker room with such little on-field performance since the last Chicago bust of Enis.

It was not hard to see this coming. You could hear the Bears pondering it after the first boating incident. Well, Benson did not want to leave any room for interpretation so he decided to get drunk and hop in his car. Nice move. The drinking is certainly one thing. I figure the league will suspend him for at least 4 games in the fashion of Jared Allen. The worst part is the sheer stupidity. Imagine all the irony of this scene in Austin. Car loads of poor, college kids spending the last $6 in their pocket for the night to get home safely, passing by Benson falling over on the sidewalk with the $30 million he stole from the Bears. Couldn't he hire a driver, pay a friend to drive him or around, or just invite friends over to his mansion?

Good riddance. You have no talent. Even less brains. And now you have no job. I hope no one picks him up. I get so sick of Jerry Jones acting like he runs the Betty Ford Clinic. Let this waste just fall out of the league and start an organization with McNown, Enis, and Terrell.

The Bears still have three running backs on the depth chart. This frees up time for the more deserving Forte, AP, and Wolfe, which I think is actually a decent three-headed monster. I feel they do need a goal line back. Ron Dayne or Mike Anderson could both be decent fills and carry higher YPC averages than Benson, anyway. Of course, there will be talk of Alexander or Henry. Obviously, Henry will not be considered and Alexander needs a way better line than the Bears can offer. They could also trade the Raiders for Fargas, but I don't see that happening with all the comments about how much they love Forte.

On a positive note. Congratulations to Marcus Robinson who retired as a Bear today. He had some good seasons with the Bears and was fun to watch. I am glad he came home to the team that drafted him to retire.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Matt Ryan and Ridiculous Rookie Contracts

Matt Ryan just signed a deal to guarantee him $34.75 million. Great for him and his family. That is terrible for just about anyone else. He has yet to step on an NFL field or take a snap yet he gets more guaranteed money than Manning or Brady? How does a sport get so screwed up that rookies make more than proven stars? The NFL does a lot of things right, which is why they are the most popular sport. However, if recent trends continue that might start to fall.
Who gave these agents all the power? I realize some of this is safety net in case that player gets hurt. NFL teams should not be complaining because they make enough money as it is. BS. What is the worst case scenario, here? A rookie gets $5 million guaranteed, gets hurt, and never plays after two or three years. OK, guess what you still should be a 25 year old with a college degree and starting out with a couple million. How many college kids would complain about that setup?
When will a team step up and say, here is what your player is worth. Let him prove himself over the next three years and then we will pay him. If not, he can go fly a kite. Surely, that would tick off 95% of that teams' fan base for the next year as such player would likely just sit out and enter the draft the following year. The positive would be the precedent it would set. A GM needs to step up or else the player's union needs to get this corrected.
This is one area where the NBA has a huge leg up on the NFL. NBA players sign a three or four year deal, prove their talent on the court, and then get rewarded with huge contracts. NBA players do make a lot more on endorsements but even Lebron only had a couple million a year on his initial contract.
There are numerous problems but my biggest are the following, not in any particular order; 1) Veterans get ticked and hold out to get what they feel they deserve (See Chad Johnson, Urlacher, Jason Taylor, on and on). 2) Young men get a huge payday and do not know what to do with this, so they begin a Hollywood lifestyle (Leinart). 3) Players get de-motivated since they already have a huge payday and what is next? Passion for the game falls to the wayside and talent is wasted. 4) Player gets overwhelmed to live up to that contract and in turn alienates themselves from their teammates and much needed support 5) Teams get strapped to bad contracts when the young player fails expectations and the franchise cannot compete. They feel pressure for that player to perform because they have already invested so much into them.
The NFL has a lot going for it, so I hope the problem will get fixed. I would hate to see this continue escalating and causing further problems. Goodell faces some decisions early in his tenure. He certainly has spent a great deal of time and energy on the bad personalities. He should begin to focus on what some of those players are rewarded for, too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NBA Playoffs

The playoffs have been entertaining so far to me. Many of the teams were so evenly matched, home court has obviously been a huge difference. Most games were very close until the third quarter, when the home team pulled away. To the box score viewer, the amount of 10+ point victories would seem as fairly boring so far. However, they have actually been very competitive. The Hawks even pushed a seven game series. I have enjoyed the competition but still find myself yelling at the TV about how much referees still control the game.
I really hoped to see the passing of the torch last night. Duncan to Paul much like Bird to Jordan as the future of the Conference. I guess that will have to wait. The Hornets will be a factor for the next 4-5 years with the nucleus of Paul, West, and Chandler. Another guard on that team not named MoPete or Pargo and lookout.
And then there were four. Spurs vs. Lakers will be a great match up. This could be the last main ride for the Spurs. That bench is getting old and either Tyson really is a great defender or the season is wearing on Duncan. We'll see since the Lakers do not have a great match up on him. I see this game going an epic 7 with the Lakers coming out on top. The Spurs have never repeated, Odom is playing out of his mind, and Kobe has that look in his eye. If Bynum were healthy, I think this would be over in 5. This could be a big addition to Kobe's legacy. He has yet to make the run with him as the main star.
Celtics vs. Pistons looks to be another great series. Most people will probably get bored and change the channel with the slow-paced, low scoring, grind it out, defensive games. I personally think that is what NBA Playoffs are all about. Both of these teams are built for the playoffs. The Celtics have home court. However, they are full of veterans not recently used to the extended playoff season (Garnett last in '03-'04, Pierce & Allen in '04'-'05) and have been pushed seven games both series. Their tanks have to be running on empty soon. It looks like Allen already is. KG is my favorite player since Jordan because of the passion he plays with. I would love to see them win this series. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. If Billups is healthy, and he should be, then the Pistons are just too deep. Cassell was added to defend him for this series (clearly Rondo cannot because of his size), so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I don't think he has made a shot in the last 5 games, so that tells you where I think that scenario is going. Rip vs. Allen. Well, Rip is lights out and Allen can't find the switch. Garnett/Perkins vs. Wallace/McDyess/Maxiell is a slight Celtics edge because of Garnett.
Remember, the Pistons were the first team to beat Boston at home. All the conspiracies want LA and Boston. I don't believe in that. These should both be physical, entertaining series. I look forward to the beginning tonight. Enjoy a burrito and bring on the Conference finals.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Early Season Baseball Comeback Players

While only a bit over a month into the season, here are a few guys having excellent comeback seasons. I love this award in baseball because so many guys come from years removed back to excellent play. Of course, this is real early for this award since many of these players could wind up hurt or resorting to familiar play.

1. Cliff Lee - After being outcast to AAA last year, Lee has found his control again. He carries an anemic 0.81 ERA, ridiculous 39:2 K:BB ratio, and a 6-0 record.

2. Troy Percival - He currently sports an ERA of 0.00 through 11 IP. He has a 10:1 K:BB ratio and has been responsible for turning a major league worst bullpen to the best. He has only pitched 65 innings in the last two years combined, so it is a good surprise to see his recent success. Many questioned the Rays bringing him in, but he has paid off so far.

3. Joe Crede - After playing in only 47 games last year and seemingly losing his job to Josh Fields, Crede has proven the naysayers wrong about his back. His average has dipped to .252 but who on the Sox is hitting? He does have 7 HR to go along with 23 RBI's. That goes along with still being one of, if not, the best defensive 3B in the game. Take note Kenny Williams.

4. Miguel Tejada - Tejada did have a decent season last year by most player's standards and may not qualify for many. Another thing against him, is the short hitter's park that is Minute Maid. That aside, he is hitting .331 with 5 HR's and 25 RBI's. Many thought his career was nearly over with the steroid and age issues. I have always liked Tejada because he plays hard and seems like a competitor who only wants to win.

5. Jorge Cantu - After a monster '05 season with 28 HR and 117 RBI's, many thought Cantu was primed for an excellent career. He has since disappointed many fantasy owners and practically fell of the face of baseball Earth. The former Ray may have resurrected his career with the Marlins. He is recently slumping and this may have just been an early fluke. Nonetheless, he has remade himself as a solid third baseman and is hitting .273 with 4 HR's and 12 RBI's. His big knock is the high strikeout count.

A few others: Joe Mauer (did play in 109 games last year but was not dominant after returning), JD Drew (16 RBI's), Duchscherer (back to dominant setup form), Rafael Furcal - (just realized he should be higher on this list but do not feel like re-arranging....hittting .366 5 HR's, 16 RBI's and 8 SB's.

Get excited as Rich Harden has been brought back. Is Prior next?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cubs Issues

Two issues I have with the Cubs.

1. Soriano's spot in the lineup

2. Closer

Let me start by saying, I do not know 2% of what Piniella knows about baseball, but I have some doubts with the current setup. Where does Soriano bat in the order? He really has no best place to hit. I think Fukudome is a prototypical 2nd hitter. However, do you give up his high RISP average? Sorioano needs to grow up and realize he is not the best leadoff hitter for this team. Reed Johnson or Theriot are both much better fits. I prefer Johnson because I like Theriot down in the order and Johnson is more patient. My thought is that Soriano should hit sixth. Derosa can hit second because he is a good contact hitter. Soriano's power numbers would likely go up and his strikeouts would not be as damaging.

Another blown save by Wood. When does Marmol move in? He is definitely one of the best relievers in the game, maybe the best with Zumaya now a religious DL visitor. I realize I said Wood at the beginning of the season, so now I am contradicting myself. Wood is simply too wild to be a dominant closer. He constantly walks and beans leadoff batters.

If we are to have any chance to break the drought, some issues need to be fixed. We probably need to add one more good arm to the bullpen.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Final Mock Draft

1. Dolphins - Jake Long
2. Rams - Glenn Dorsey (swapped with Falcons)
3. Atlanta - Chris Long
4. Raiders - McFadden
5. Chiefs - Branden Albert - Want Long or Dorsey but both gone here
6. Jets - Vernon Gholston - Half pick, Half block on Pats
7. Patriots - Sedrick Ellis (swapped with Saints)
8. Ravens - Matt Ryan
9. Bengals - Keith Rivers
10. Saints - Leodis McKelvin (traded to Pats)
11. Bills - DRC
12. Broncos - Ryan Clady
13. Panthers - Rashard Mendenhall
14. Bears - Chris Williams
15. Lions - Jonathan Stewart
16. Cardinals - Mike Jenkins
17. Chiefs - Derrick Harvey
18. Texans - Jeff Otah
19. Eagles - Desean Jackson
20. Bucs - Devin Thomas
21. Redskins - Phillip Merling
22. Cowboys - Malcolm Kelly
23. Steelers - Quentin Groves
24. Titans - Limas Sweed
25. Seahawks - Tyrell Johnson
26. Jaguars - Trevor Laws
27. Chargers - Gosder Cherilus
28. Cowboys - Felix Jones
29. 49ers - Jerrod Mayo
30. Packers - Brandon Flowers
31. Giants - Kenny Phillips - Connor or Phillips here

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sox

Ok, here is a first. Hamil, this is for you since you have been an active reader. (Also notice I have a link to your blog, inactive as it is). I have to give credit to the Sox for a strong start to their season. Their pitching has been excellent. A question I have is, how much do you regret not giving an extension to Crede? He is easily the best defensive player and probably best hitter on the team. That sounds like a cornerstone player to me. The back looks fine. Many 3B have had back issues for a season or two.

This is a position I give credit to the Sox franchise for over the last 10-15 years. They have had two of the best overall 3B I have honestly enjoyed watching in Ventura and Crede. While the NorthSiders fill the position with guys like Gaetti (until recently with Ramirez). So, the question is what happens to Fields? He did hit 23 homers last year. Is he a guy like Braun that can move to the outfield?

Another question is what happened to the best division in baseball? There is only one team over .500 and Kansas City is in second. I repeat, Kansas City is in second. I think the Indians will turn it around. You have to figure the Tigers will, but are they too old with too many holes?

Monday, April 21, 2008

NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0

1. Dolphins - Jake Long
2. Rams - Chris Long
3. Atlanta - Glenn Dorsey
4. Raiders - McFadden - Same as before
5. Chiefs - Branden Albert
6. Jets - Vernon Gholston - Remember Mo Lewis? Similar mold with more explosiveness.
7. Patriots - They would love to trade, rather than spend the money. Keith Rivers fills a need at LB.
8. Ravens - Matt Ryan - Bust
9. Bengals - Sedrick Ellis
10. Saints - DRC
11. Bills - Leodis McKelvin
12. Broncos - Ryan Clady -perfect fit and great value
13. Panthers - Chris Williams
14. Bears - Jeff Otah - Would prefer Williams.
15. Lions - Rashard Mendenhall
16. Cardinals - Jonathan Stewart - CB is the need. Jenkins would make sense.
17. Vikings - Derrick Harvey - Allen trade sounds likely. Neither is good news.
18. Texans - Mike Jenkins
19. Eagles - Desean Jackson
20. Bucs - Devin Thomas
21. Redskins - Phillip Merling
22. Cowboys - Felix Jones
23. Steelers - Malcolm Kelly - Big Ben wants more targets. Guess $100 Mil wasn't enough.
24. Titans - James Hardy. Limas Sweed would make Young happy.
25. Seahawks - Dustin Keller
26. Jaguars - Kentwan Balmer - Good fill for Stroud. Campbell or Merling (if still here)
27. Chargers - Aqib Talib. Can take best available. Cherilus or Campbell very likely.
28. Cowboys - Mario Manningham
29. 49ers - Antoine Cason
30. Packers - Brandon Flowers
31. Giants - Kenny Phillips - Connor or Phillips here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bulls Wrap

No one probably cares to talk about the team with the least heart in the city. However, as a season ticket holder, I need to get this off my chest.

Priority #1 - Obviously a coach. I think Carlisle or Westphal could be early favorites. A darkhorse I kind of like would be Terry Porter. He was a smart guard and did well in Milwaukee with little. Rivers, Scott, McMillan have all been good coaches and are similar mold.

Priority #2 - Clear the backcourt. Everyone assumes Gordon is gone. I think you start with Hinrich. If possible, move him and Gooden (maybe the pick, also) for Baron Davis. I think you would need to give BG the one year tender, re-sign Duhon, or find a true PG. You can still give Deng a decent contract and here is your core:

PG: Davis
SG: Hughes, Thabo...BG for one year?
SF: Deng
PF: Thomas, Nocioni
C: Noah

It does not look good as there are so many needs and every player on this team took a hit on their value. They still have talent and are a few moves from being respectable again. I still don't blame Paxson for missing Gasol, Kobe, or Garnett. The Bulls did not have the cap space to get Gasol, so it was not going to happen. Kobe was not coming without having something left on the team to contend with, and he Lakers were not making the trade without getting most of the Bulls team. The Bulls made the T-Wolves a better offer then they ended up getting, only to be denied.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NFL Draft Sleepers

Here are some guys I think will outperform their projected draft spot. Share your thoughts and players you think will be better than expected.

Thomas Brown RB, Louis Rankin RB, Andre Caldwell WR, Paul Hubbard WR, Marcus Smith WR, King Dunlap OT, Cliff Avril DE/LB, Trevor Laws DT, Pat Sims DT, Xavier Adibi LB, Charles Godfrey CB, Quintin Demps S, Jamie Silva S, Kevin Robinson WR. A last one is Owen Schmitt. While he is well known and likely to get a decent pick, he plays a position (FB) that gets drafted late.

There are obviously a lot on this list. Most will likely be wrong, but I think majority of these guys will be major contributors in a few years.

Bears Draft Scenarios

Here are some potential picks I would like to see. What option would you prefer?

1st Rd 14 Chris Williams OT
2nd Rd 44 Ray Rice RB
3rd Rd 70 Andre Caldwell WR
3rd Rd 90 Andre Woodson QB
4th Rd 110 Mike McGlynn OG


1st Rd 14 Rashard Mendenhall RB
2nd Rd 44 Anthony Collins OT
3rd Rd 70 Chilo Rachal OG
3rd Rd 90 Paul Hubbard WR
4th Rd 110 Josh Johnson QB

1st Rd 14 Jeff Otah OT
2nd Rd 44 Chad Henne QB
3rd Rd 70 Jamaal Charles RB
3rd Rd 90 Roy Schuenig OG
4th Rd 110 Marcus Smith WR

1st Rd 14 Chris Williams OT
2nd Rd 44 Ray Rice RB
3rd Rd 70 Duane Brown OL
3rd Rd 90 Keenan Burton WR
4th Rd 110 Erik Ainge QB

1st Rd 14 Jeff Otah OT
2nd Rd 44 Brian Brohm QB
3rd Rd 70 Chilo Rachal OG
3rd Rd 90 Kevin Smith RB
4th Rd 110 Jamie Silva S

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NFL Mock Draft

Here is this year's version. Hopefully, there will be more than one this year.

1. Dolphins - Chris Long - Parcells likes the blood line and work ethic. QB (Flacco) with the 2nd round pick.
2. Rams - Vernon Gholston - absolute freak of an athlete and game changer. OT is a glaring need but will also available in 2nd round.
3. Atlanta - Jake Long - Long helps Turner and offense more than Ryan would. Dorsey is also good possibility.
4. Raiders - McFadden - A dream come true for Chuka!
5. Chiefs - Glenn Dorsey - OT is a glaring need, so Clady, Williams, or Otah are all possibilities but would be a stretch this high.
6. Jets - Mike Jenkins - "Mangenius" needs a CB in their division. McKelvin or DRC make sense. McFadden sliding would be the biggest gift they could hope for.
7. Patriots - Dominque Rodger-Cromartie - Unbelievable they get this pick. 2 of the top 3 DB's likely to go 6&7.
8. Ravens - Matt Ryan - DB also possible
9. Bengals - Sedrick Ellis
10. Saints - Keith Rivers - Rounds up one of the best LB cores in the NFL if Vilma and Morgan are healthy. The signing of Gay and recently Aaron Glenn rule out a DB.
11. Bills - Leodis McKelvin
12. Broncos - Ryan Clady -perfect fit and great value
13. Panthers - Chris Williams -Otah or Harvey
14. Bears - Jeff Otah - Would prefer Williams. Albert or Mendenhall also likely.
15. Lions - Rashard Mendenhall - AP and Mendenhall to frustrate and punish the Bears for years. No wonder Urlacher wants out.
16. Cardinals - Jonathan Stewart
17. Vikings - Derrick Harvey - bad news for Grossman
18. Texans - Branded Albert - past drafts have been smart and this would be, too
19. Eagles - Devin Thomas -trying desperately for a WR. Merling also possible
20. Bucs - Malcolm Kelly - Brohm might get Gruden's attention
21. Redskins - Phillip Merling
22. Cowboys - Limas Sweed - Felix Jones I'm sure gets Jones' attention
23. Steelers -Aqui Talib -OL a big need. Would love for Albert here and may trade up.
24. Titans - Desean Jackson -has to be WR for Young. Game changer like Hester.
25. Seahawks - Kenny Phillips -WR is a need but who is left? Trade up or down or a TE (Davis or Keller) more likely here. That's why this is version 1.0.
26. Jaguars - Quentin Groves
27. Chargers - Kentwan Balmer- may go pick before.
28. Cowboys - Felix Jones - Cason maybe if Jailbird Jones falls through.
29. 49ers - Mario Manningham
30. Packers - Antoine Cason - Phillips if he is here
31. Giants - Tracy Porter (4.29) - LB and Safety are bigger needs but he is better value.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baseball Season - Busts and Breakouts

This is hoping to spark a conversation about who is due for a slump season or injury, and who will finally break into stardom. I have a few ideas.

Breakouts - Adam Jones, Yunel Escobar, Matt Kemp, Uptons, Kotchman, Willits.

Busts - Wang, Renteria, Todd Jones, Borowski, Tigers (I just think they will have some injuries, likely Ordonez, and not blow everyone away as many are writing off.

Those are just a few I could think of.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cubs - Upcoming Baseball Season

A few comments to the upcoming season. The 100 year celebration. Not many teams have the luxury of making that statement.

Why would the Cubs want to win the World Series this year? Isn't the whole aura about the team the history of never winning? Would their value go down in the market if they suddenly won and the lovable losers title was gone? How about the Cubs win the World Series AND the park is renamed Boeing Field. This took me a few minutes to write as I continued to vomit but some scary thoughts, nonetheless. As a Cubs fan, I have given up the hope of year to year and now only wish to see a Series title before I die. Not much to ask but how many have failed that same request?

Now for some positive reflection on this team. I think FUDummy is going to be a great addition. Stone recently said this guy will hit 85% of the pitches he swings at. If he brings that from the left side and the great arm shown so far, he will be just what the team needs. I think Rich Hill is prime for a great year. As much as I respect Buehrle, I feel he will have the best season for a lefty starter in Chicago this season. Soto has a good shot at ROY given the performance he carried into the bigs last year and the postseason.

Soriano, Lee, and Ramirez continue to make me nervous. I thought we were past Wood and Prior. Now we have three to worry about. CF and closer also are big reasons for concern. If we add Roberts, the offense is less of a concern and Pie developing is perfectly fine, especially with his defensive capabilities. As for closer, Wood, Howry, and Marmol are all very good setup men. None have proven to be solid closers. That is a way to ruin confidence and a career. Has everyone forgotten Latroy (BOO!) Hawkins. Closers can be fragile (Ask Billy Koch or Brad Lidge), and I do not want to see that happen to Marmol after enjoying his development so much last year. My call would be Wood because he has been through a lot already and bounced back.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Blackhawks

Is anyone else excited about the resurgence of the Hawks? We finally have a serviceable team that can be viewed from the luxury of your own home. TV was slow the other night and I was quite pleased watching Crawford get his first career victory. A shutout against the hottest team in the NHL, nonetheless.

There is a feel in the city that the Hawks have swung the shift of popularity from the Bulls. Of course, as a Bulls season ticket holder, this leaves me with a bitter taste. However, I used to be a huge Hawks fan as a kid and am glad to have them back. There has not been a product worth enjoying for quite some time. Savard has turned this team around. Now there is talk of Chicago in the running for an outdoor game next year. I hope that happens. It was one of my favorite sports events earlier this year. I can only imagine the success it would have for the franchise in a major market.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bears Sign Booker -NFL Free Agency

Today, the Bears brought Marty Booker back. While this is clearly not a major splash move,(It has not even made the list on ESPN Free Agency moves at the end of the day) it is a solid upgrade for the team. Booker is a player very similar to Moose. The difference is that he comes at a fraction of the cost AND he has good hands. Moose catches roughly 51% of the passes targeted his way. Booker ups that to 61%. That is a nice difference, and I am sure the QB that gets the nod will be pleased. The Bears had way too many drops last year. This gives them the same knowledgeable presence of a veteran to help Bradley, Hester, and a likely rookie. However, I think Booker has better separation and again the hands. I am pleased with the move and hope Olivea is next.

With Favre retired, a few more moves in free agency for the Bears might allow the city to get excited about next season.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bears Off-Season

It has been awhile but I feel like posting some recent thoughts. It is no secret that successful teams treat their lines as the core of the team and build out from there. These foundations must be strong for all other aspects to fully function. No quarterback can standout without a good line. However, a good line can make a decent quarterback better.

The Bears have regarded this theory in the past, but it was ignored last season. They thought they could get by with dinosaurs too slow to block anything coming in. I am glad to see them cut Brown and Miller and move on. Anything will be better. Re-signing Clark was actually a solid move because Olsen is not a blocking tight end. Clark leaving would have left this team with an aging Kreutz and not much else. Sidenote: does anyone know anything about this probable future Hall of Famer? I now do only because I asked myself that question last season when there was little to enjoy.

So we have Kreutz and Clark. Tait is likely to mirror Miller and Brown of last year. Garza stinks. He could be serviceable if surrounded with more talent, leaving him left exposed. I think Beekman might be decent. I haven't seen enough to know. He could be the next Columbo for the Bears. Metcalf may get it but not likely. This is a pretty bleak picture but no surprise to anyone.

Kwame Harris was one of my solutions, but I notice he signed (fairly reasonable for a former 1st rounder-3 yrs $14M) today with the Raiders. Shane Olivea would be a good fit. He has been a very solid right tackle the last few years for the Chargers. He fell out of favor last year and ended up getting benched before being released. He is only 26 and would certainly be a huge upgrade over Miller last year. Ryan Lilja would have been a really good option. Of course, the Colts realized that and re-signed him. Some other options are former Super Bowl starter, Tom Ashworth, or former Steelers starter, Chris Kemoeatu. Neither excite me all the much but would fill in as decent subs.

Olivea and another one of these options would give Rex or Orton a bit more time than last year and open up a few holes for a back. This would allow the Bears to go into the draft with a small amount of flexibility to take a lineman, back, or receiver. I think Mendenhall would actually be the best pick at their slot, unless they can trade down for the Cowboys two picks. If they don't take him, I hope they sign Julius Jones to a one or two year deal. He could rehash his career much like his brother did. That would be some ultimate turnaround if he sent Benson packing next year.