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

Posts Tagged ‘Florida

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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Trash Talking in Sports

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Recently, there has been a lot of trash talking in the sports world. Surprisingly, most of it hasn’t come from the regular characters, such as Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, or Shaquille O’Neal. No, now it has spread to coaches talkin’ trash.

Personally, I have no problem with trash talking in sports. While some view it as disrespectful, I find that it can be a sign of respect. If you are going to the lengths to talk trash, it must mean that you are proud of out performing your opponent, and why would you be proud if your opponent isn’t that good? Not to mention, trash talk spices sports up a bit. It makes headlines for newspapers, and gives people something to talk about. The words are often used as “bulletin board material”, or as words of motivation. This is all fine and dandy for the players that are playing the game.

The problem I have with trash talking is when the coaches get involved. Coaches are on the sidelines, in the dugout, or on the bench. They are not out on the field, and cannot do any better than the athletes that they prepare and put out on the field. If you can’t beat out your opponent on the field, why talk trash? The only time it is okay for a coach to talk trash is when it is directed at another coach. I won’t lie, it has been highly entertaining ever since Tennessee Volunteers coach Lane Kiffin was hired. In his first press conference, he boasted about how the Vols were going to beat Florida, the undisputed best college football team. Of course, Tennessee lost to Florida 23-13 last Saturday.

Although, the story doesn’t end there. After being a little rattled by Kiffin’s previous comments, Florida coach Urban Meyer took a shot at Kiffin saying

Lane Kiffin (left) and Urban Meyer (right) have been in a trash talking exchange lately.

Lane Kiffin (left) and Urban Meyer (right) have been in a trash talking exchange lately.

that he kept his game plan conservative and still beat the Vols. Of course, Meyer then went on to add that some of his players are sick with the flu, but Kiffin got the true message. When asked about Meyer’s comments and his thoughts on Vols’ players getting the flu, he said “I guess we’ll wait and after we’re not excited about a performance, we’ll tell you everybody was sick.” Kiffin said this because everybody believed that Florida would blow Tennessee out of Gainesville, but the game was decently close. Taking another shot, Meyer questioned whether or not Kiffin was trying to win the game, referring to a point in the game where Tennessee moved the ball downfield with short passes and runs. “That was how we needed to play at that time,” Kiffin responded. For a national champion, Florida coach Urban Meyer steeped pretty low questioning whether or not a fellow coach tried to win a game. If we can all remember, former Jets coach Herman Edwards made it very clear saying, “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!”

From college to the pros, we go to New York where the Jets were talkingRex Ryan trash prior to their win on Sunday against the Patriots. Coach Rex Ryan said that he wasn’t going to kiss Bill Belichick’s championship rings, referring to the New England coach. This wasn’t nearly as bad as the Meyer-Kiffin exchange, and actually a time that it is okay for a coach to talk trash. Why is it okay you ask? Rex Ryan was talking trash to an opposing coach, and did not include players on the field.

All in all, trash talk is entertaining. However, it is only okay when used right, and appropriately. Frankly, I’m starting to think that athletes and coaches should have to take a class before they embarrass themselves. Just an idea.

NFL Season Preview: #9 Minnesota Vikings

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Overview: Last season, the Minnesota Vikings were another team with an uncertain quarterback situation. Minnesota started QB Gus Frerotte for most of the season until he went down with an injury. That is when QB Tavaris Jackson went on a roll, and helped the Vikings to a 10-6 record, and a trip to the playoffs. Minnesota then lost in the first round to Philadelphia.

Offseason Moves: The Vikings have had a busy off season, to say the least. It started off with trading for backup QB Sage Rosenfels from Houston. Next came the draft, where Minnesota selected Florida WR Percy Harvin in the first round. The Vikings also signed WR Glenn Holt on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, Minnesota signed CB Karl Paymah to boost their secondary. The Vikings most recently signed QB Brett Favre, (which I predicted all the way back in my first post) and this move is thought to lift the Vikings to be Super Bowl contenders.

Upcoming Season: The Vikings have the best running back in football in RB Adrian Peterson. It also helps that Peterson gets to run behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Now that QB Brett Favre is in Minnesota, he should be able to lift a mediocre receiving core up, and balance out the running and passing game. Minnesota’s defense is solid, with possibly the best defensive line in football, and a solid linebacking core. The secondary is a little questionable, but still a pretty solid group.

Brett FavrePlayer to watch: When RB Adrian Peterson isn’t blowing past defenders, the ball will be in QB Brett Favre’s hands. Many believe he’s washed up, and people are reporting a “schism” in the Viking’s locker room. Once Favre leads Minnesota to victory, no one will care about any of that. Favre still has it, and faltered last season because of injury. Look for QB Brett Favre to be a top five quarterback in the NFL this season.

Prediction: 11-5, 1st in NFC North

Yes, the Vikings will win the division easily, and be Super Bowl contenders. Feel free to tell me if I’m wrong come season’s end.