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17 year old Cale's very opinionated view on everything sports.

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The Free Agent Guessing Game

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I am a follower of the site “mlbtraderumors.com” during the offseason and when it becomes closer to the trade deadline of the baseball season. Usually, I am very interested and agree with a lot of what the site says. However, they posted their Top 50 Free Agent Predictions, and I throughly disagree on many. Here is my list:

 

Matt Holliday (above) watches the game from the dugout.

1.  Matt Holliday – Mets.   The Mets need offense, plain and simple. They have the money, and want to add the big bat.

2.  John Lackey – Red Sox. Boston’s rotation was almost a sure thing prior to last season. Now, Beckett and Lester are the only two definite starters, so signing Lackey is a top priority.

3.  Jason Bay – Red Sox.  Boston is the only place Bay has won, and he fits in very nicely there. I expect him to wait until Holliday signs, but after realizing Boston is his best spot, he will resign.

4.  Chone Figgins – Cardinals. A bit of a surprise here, as most believe Figgins will either sign with the Phillies or return to the Angels. However, the Cardinals struggled with solidifying the top of their lineup all season, and Troy Glaus is no longer a sure thing at the hot corner.

5.  Randy Wolf – Dodgers. L.A. is in the same situation as Boston, and have no idea what their rotation will look like next season. It’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers could acquire Roy Halladay, so Wolf is a must to bring back.

6.  Andy Pettitte – Retirement. Yes, Pettitte is finally going to walk away. After winning a World Series in 2009, who wouldn’t want to go out on top?

7.  Jose Valverde – Yankees. This will be the biggest splash of the offseason in the Bronx, as the will sign Valverde to set up Rivera, and possibly be his replacement.

8.  Marco Scutaro – Red Sox. The Sox let SS Alex Gonzalez walk, and Scutaro fits nicely. He can bat at either the top or bottom of the lineup, and will help SS Jed Lowrie stay fresh throughout the season.

9.  Adrian Beltre – Angels. They will need to fill the void that Figgins leaves, and I don’t think that they are ready to hand over the job to minor leaguers yet. This signing makes much more sense if the Halos are unable to bring back OF Vladamir Guerrero.

10.  Rich Harden – Mets. I believe the Red Sox will get Halladay, and that is why I have Harden going to the Mets. In desperate need of starting pitching and a winning club, look for New York to go on a spending spree to try and fill the stands at Citi Field.

11.  Mike Cameron – Royals. Kansas City already declined Coco Crisp’s option, and they need a center fielder. Frankly, the need elsewhere for Cameron’s services is limited.

12.  Johnny Damon – Giants. The Giants need to add offense, and Damon would fit nicely by the bay. Damon would also be the final piece of an outfield that includes Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz.

13.  Orlando Hudson – Diamondbacks. It was a mistake letting Hudson walk in the first place, and Arizona was a dreadful team last season. They need to make improvements, and second base is one of the many holes on this club.

14.  Miguel Tejada – Orioles. I think Tejada would be good for the Phillies,

Miguel Tejada (above) could dawn that same Orioles' uniform again.

 but I just can’t see that happening. After the relationship soured between Baltimore and Melvin Mora last season, a hole at third base opened up for Tejada to step right back into.

15.  Joel Pineiro – Mets. New York needs rotation help, and its no secret that GM Omar Minaya likes the idea of building a latin oriented team.

16.  Nick Johnson – Orioles. Baltimore let 1B Aubrey Huff go at the trade deadline, and can afford to offer an incentive laden deal to the oft-injured Johnson.

17.  Aroldis Chapman – Reds. This could be the surprise of the offseason. After all the hype, when teams actually see him throw, I believe that his value will fall in the eyes of GMs, and will join the Reds rotation of the future, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Micah Owings.

18.  Marlon Byrd – Rangers. It is the only place where Byrd has had success in his major league career, and there is not much of a market for center fielders, prompting the Rangers to keep Marlon.

19.  Vladimir Guerrero – Twins. This is another surprise pick here, but Minnesota needs to add a bat to help MVP Joe Mauer and 1B Justin Morneau. Guerrero would be the perfect DH to open a new ball park in the Twin Cities.

20.  Felipe Lopez – Dodgers. With Orlando Hudson leaving the Dodgers, Lopez fits right in as a bat in the No.2 hole of the line up, or down at the bottom.

21.  Adam LaRoche – Braves. LaRoche has spent most of his big league career in Atlanta, and the Braves can’t afford to lose too much offense. Look for LaRoche to get a pay raise to ensure that he doesn’t leave Georgia.

22.  Rafael Soriano – Angels. Adding this right-handed late inning reliever will give L.A. the ability to play the numbers, and put in either Soriano or closer Brian Fuentes based on matchups.

 23. Jon Garland – Twins. Minnesota would like another arm to go in their rotation, and Garland would be a nice addition. He is one of the lower pitchers of this year’s crop, so his price will not be outrageously high.

24.  Carl Pavano – Nationals. Pavano was given a shot by the Indians last season, and was then traded to Minnesota. While Carl could still return to Cleveland, the Nationals are in need of a veteran starter, and a stop gap until all their young pitching talent arrives.

25.  Brad Penny – Diamondbacks. Arizona needs everything, and Penny would give the D-Backs a deeper rotation, as well as a veteran starter.

26.  Erik Bedard – Dodgers. Bedard is often injured, and this could lower his price. However, price isn’t much of an issue in L.A. Bedard is also rumored to be a pain in the clubhouse, in which he would fit right in with Dodgers OF Manny Ramirez.

World Series MVP Hideki Matsui (above) won't leave the Bronx.

27.  Hideki Matsui – Yankees. Believe it or not, the Yankees need the Japanese media in New York. Not to mention, Matsui was just World Series MVP, and there is no way that he is let go.

 28.  Bengie Molina – Mets. The Mets need bats, and their offseason spending frenzy will continue with the signing of Molina. Acquiring one of the best hitting catchers in baseball will help New York build a deeper line up.

29.  Mike Gonzalez – Braves. A possible destination is in the Bronx, but if Soriano leaves Atlanta, Gonzalez may like having the closer’s role all to himself.

30.  Jason Marquis – Rockies. Marquis had a stellar first half in Denver, but struggled down the stretch. I believe that he will hold out in hopes of a bigger deal, but the market will not play in his favor and force a return to the Rockies.

31.  Placido Polanco – Rays. Money isn’t a plenty down in Florida, but after trading 2B Akinori Iwamura, the Rays could use a stabalizing force at the top of their line up. CF B.J. Upton was inconsistent last season, which is why signing Polanco could happen.

32.  Tim Wakefield – Red Sox.  Boston’s rotation is very uncertain, and Wakefield has only ever played for one team. If Wakefield doesn’t return to Boston like I believe, look for retirement.

33.  Ben Sheets – Rangers. Sheets has taken a year off to recover from shoulder surgery, and looks to mount a comeback. Not many teams will be willing to offer him a contract, but the Rangers are always in need of starters, and could offer him an incentive laden deal. Not to mention, Sheets is the same kind of pitcher that owner Nolan Ryan used to be, so that must make him attractive.

34.  Doug Davis – Brewers. Davis has already played for the Brewers, and Milwaukee doesn’t have the money to sign a top-notch starter. Davis’s signing looks even more likely since the Brewers claimed him on waivers in August but couldn’t work out a deal.

35.  Jarrod Washburn – Mariners. There were no bitter feelings between the two sides after trading Washburn to Detroit, and the pitcher said that he would like to return to Seattle. The Mariners aren’t deep on pitching, so bringing back Washburn makes perfect sense.

36.  Russell Branyan – Mariners. I don’t believe that any other club will take the chance of signing Branyan, for he very likely could be a one year wonder. Also, Branyan has the desire to stay in Seattle, so why would he leave?

37.  Billy Wagner – Nationals. Wagner has questions about his health and age, which makes him an unreliable option in the late innings. However, he has stated that he wants to close for the Washington Nationals, and they have no one better. There is no reason that this deal shouldn’t get done.

38.  Juan Uribe – Mariners. Uribe had a good season in San Francisco last season, but not good enough to demand a crazy amount of money. The Mariners will need a third basemen if Adrian Beltre opts to leave, making Uribe a fit in Seattle.

39.  John Smoltz – Retirement. Smoltz’s attempt to come back from shoulder surgery failed last season, and there is no reason to believe that he would be able to make it through a full season. I don’t believe any club in contention would take a chance on Smoltz.

40.  Jermaine Dye – Royals. Dye is in the last stretch of his career, and being a former Royal may appeal to him. His market is not that big, therefore Kansas City would be able to afford him.

41.  Mark DeRosa – Phillies.  The Phillies have tried to acquire DeRosa for years. It makes perfect sense for both sides, as Philadelphia will need a third basemen going into next season.

42.  Coco Crisp – Padres. Money is an issue for San Diego, and it helps that Crisp can’t demand a ton of it. The Padres need an outfielder, and Crisp would be a nice addition to the top of the line up.

43.  Carlos Delgado – Blue Jays. Delgado is another aging superstar, and

Carlos Delgado (above) could also be returning to Toronto.

may want to return to his old stomping ground in Toronto. The Jays are totally devoid of power, and could bring back Delgado at a low price.

44.  Orlando Cabrera – Twins. Both sides have interest, as Cabrera was the emotional leader of last season’s squad. I don’t see Cabrera going any place else.

45.  Gregg Zaun – Rays. The Rays need a backup catcher, and Zaun is cheap. Perfect fit.

46.  Jim Thome – White Sox. Thome has had a good run in Chicago, and the only other place I could see him landing would be Cleveland. I think the issue here will be money, and Thome will not get what he want, but Chicago will offer a little more than Cleveland.

47.  Fernando Rodney – Phillies. Rodney is a good fit in Philadelphia because of his versatility. He can close, set up, and pitch in middle relief. If Brad Lidge struggles again next season, Rodney would be the best insurance policy.

48.  Xavier Nady – Diamondbacks.  Nady provides corner outfield depth, and can play first base. He’s not an all-star by any means, but a decent player that could help out in Arizona.

49.  Kiko Calero – Rays. Calero would be cheap, and as I have previously said, that makes him a fit as a reliever in Tampa.

50.  Rafael Betancourt – Rockies. Betancourt was one of the Rockies best relievers last season, and there will be interest in him. However, I think Colorado will offer some decent dollars to Betancourt, and keep him around.

There is one thing that I did agree with on the site, and it is that this is a difficult puzzle. If one player signs with one team, it ultimately could effect another team’s interest in another player, and all sorts of mayhem in which is the MLB offseason. Although, I thoroughly believe that my predictions will prove more accurate.

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NFL Week One Recap

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Champions return with less than a boom: The opening night of the Steelers vs. TitansNFL season was an interesting game, but not the smash mouth game everyone expected. After Titan RB LenDale White stomped on a Terrible Towel last year, many expected big hits and a blowout win for the Steelers. Although, it turned out to be a field position battle, that resulted in a 13-10 OT win for the Steelers.

Big injuries headline Week One: Bears LB Brian Urlacher is now out for the season with a dislocated wrist. There is no way the Bears can replace the void that Urlacher leaves in the linebacking core. Steelers S Troy Polamalu sprained his MCL, and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Pittsburgh should be used to this, because Polamalu’s playing style causes him to suffer an injury every year. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb suffered a cracked rib on a late hit after scoring a TD. While the Eagles are not saying much, it is thought that McNabb will sit out the Birds next three games and the bye week, giving Donovan the whole month to recover.

Late game dramatics are a trend in the first week: Denver pulled out a victory at home on one of the longest plays in the late stages that the NFL has ever seen. Broncos QB Kyle Orton threw a pass that was intended for WR Brandon StokleyBrandon Marshall, but was tipped by Bengals CB Leon Hall. The ball went straight up in the air, and right into the arms of Bronco WR Brandon Stokley. Stokely sprinted down the field and ran some of the clock off before scoring on an amazing 87 yard TD catch to win the game 12-7.

On Monday night, the New England Patriots were down fourteen with two minutes to go, against the Buffalo Bills. QB Tom Brady proved that he was back, leading the Patiots to two scoring drives, both ending in TD passes to TE Benjamin Watson. Of course, Bills CB Leodis McKelvin turned the ball over late in the game, fumbling on a kickoff return. Whether or not the Bills blew the game is up to opinion, but the Patriots definately took advantage of the mistakes.

NFL Season Preview: #2 New England Patriots

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Overview: QB Tom Brady went down in the Patriots’ first regular season game last year. Filling in for him was QB Matt Cassel, a quarterback who hadn’t started a game since high school. Cassel filled in admirably, leading the Pats to an 11-5 record, but New England still missed the playoffs.

Offseason Moves: The Patriots lot a lost more than they gained this off season. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become the head coach in Denver, and New England traded QB Matt Cassel and LB Mike Vrabel to Kansas City, where former Patriots VP Scott Pioli took over as general manager. The Pats also lost players to retirement, such as S Rodney Harrison and LB Tedy Bruschi. New England is still waiting for LB Junior Seau to retire as well. The Patriots did add players, believe it or not. New England signed RB Fred Taylor, WR Joey Galloway, and traded for WR Greg Lewis to bolster the offense. On defense, the Patriots traded for DE Derrick Burgess and CB Shawn Springs, as well as signing LB Paris Lenon and CB Leigh Bodden.

Upcoming Season: The Patriots still have the core of players on offense that set the record for most points ever scored in the NFL in one season. With a healthy QB Tom Brady, and WRs Randy Moss and Wes Welker, the Patriots should still have the same kind of explosion. The running game has struggled, but look for RB Laurence Maroney to learn something from RB Fred Taylor.  On defense, the Patriots have a solid defensive line. The linebackers are still strong despite all the losses, and are led by NFL Defensive Player of the Year LB Jerod Mayo. The secondary could struggle at times, but will be consistent enough for the Patriots to win.

Tom BradyPlayer to watch: This is a no brainer. QB Tom Brady is coming off a torn ACL, and no one can say with absolute positivity that he will be the same quarterback that he was before. Brady still has the weapons, and has looked healthy so far this preseason. Look for Brady to start off slow, but still finish within the range of 30-35 TDs.

Prediction: 10-6, 1st in AFC East

The Patriots are better this season than last, but their schedule is one of the toughest in the league. With the exception of the first couple games, look for the Patriots to have to battle for the divison.

NFL Season Preview: #30 Oakland Raiders

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Overview: The Raiders had a dismal season last year, going 5-11. However, they did beat division rivals Denver and Kansas City one time each, and won their last two games down the stretch to knock Houston and Tampa Bay out of the playoffs. QB JaMarcus Russell progressed, and the Raiders found a three running back tandem that helped them down the stretch.

Offseason Moves: Oakland removed the interim tag from coach Tom Cable, making it his first official year as head coach. The Raiders also added QB Jeff Garcia, just in case JaMarcus Russell needed anymore motivation to stay in shape. Oakland also signed FB Lorenzo Neal, which will strengthen their running game even more. In the first round of the draft, the Raiders took WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, to add to what has been a terrible receiving core.

Upcoming Season: The Raiders have made some moves, and look like they quite possibly could be heading in the right direction. Oakland already has a solid defense and running game, but the offensive line and passing game are what this team hinges on.

Player to watch: It has to be QB JaMarcus Russell. Many believe that theJaMarcus Russell Raiders are dissatisfied with Russell’s weight and the shape in which he comes into camp. They did spend a first round pick on him though, and haven’t given him the greatest receivers in the world to throw to. Russell showed signs last year, and I could see a twenty touchdown season in ’09.

Prediction: 6-10, 3rd in AFC West

That’s right, I said 3rd. The Raiders will easily beat out the puzzling Broncos for third in the division.

Written by Cale

August 5, 2009 at 10:31 AM