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

Posts Tagged ‘Giants

Fan Voting for All-Star Games

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In the past decade, the MLB, NFL, and NBA have instituted fan voting to send players to the All-Star game. This was in effort to bring more attraction to the game, and get fans more involved in the process. However, this idea has backfired, and as recently as yesterday, it was very clear.

Yesterday, Sixers’ guard Allen Iverson was elected as a starter in the All-Star game. Iverson is averaging a career low in points per game with 14.4, which doesn’t even rank in the Top 40 in the league. Names that would surprise you that are in front of Iverson in this category are Toronto forward Andrea Bargnani, New York’s Al Harrington, and the Clippers’ center Chris Caman. Not only that, but Iverson has played for a total of 18 games this season. Yes, it is a nice way to honor Iverson, who may be in the last year of an illustrious career. However, it is the All-Star game. It’s not the honoree game. Cal Ripken Jr. played in the All-Star game during the last year of his career, but he was worthy of being there. He had the statistics that put him at the top of the league, and deserved the trip. Allen Iverson doesn’t have the statistics that fit in the All-Star game, not to mention being a starter. It is sad because I am a fan of Iverson, want him to succeed, and would love to watch him in one last All-Star game. He is just not worthy of it though, and some player will be snubbed of a roster spot.

Next on the list of the undeserved is Tracy McGrady. McGrady has not officially made the All-Star team, but was leading the voting for quite a long time. However, McGrady has played a giant total of 6 games this season, and is averaging 3.2 points per game. No that wasn’t a misprint. It is 3.2 points per game. That would surely be the lowest by any player to ever make the All-Star team, yet he lead the fan voting. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

This is not just a problem in the NBA. Players elected to the game undeservedly in baseball lately are Cubs’ OF Kosuke Fukudome in 2008, Red Sox DH David Ortiz in 2008, and Giants’ OF Barry Bonds in 2007. The NFL has also had issues with fan voting recently. Most of these issues stem from fan bases wanting “their guys” representing their team in the All-Star game. However, this should not be the case. It should be a game where the best players on a given year unite, and play a spirited, hard fought game. Although, it is never like that either.

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A Talent Anomaly

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The Washington Redskins are a talented football team. Yes, I really did just write that. If you take a look at the ‘Skins’ roster, it contains RB Clinton Portis, S LaRon Landry, CB DeAngelo Hall, LB London Fletcher, and offensive linemen Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas. These are talented players, when healthy, which has been a big part of the Redskins problem this year. However, after a terrible blowout loss at home against the Giants, fans everywhere are calling for the job of head coach Jim Zorn. That is not entirely wrong because he should have been able to do a better job with the players he did have healthy. However, I believe the problem lies deeper within the Redskins than anyone is realizing.

In 2005, the Redskins finished 10-6, and lost in the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks. That team consisted of most of the ‘Skins core players now, such as RB Clinton Portis,

Jim Zorn (above) has endured a tough season with the Redskins.

 QB Jason Campbell, and WRs Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El. Ever since 2005, the Redskins have finished 5-11, 9-7, 8-8, and are looking at a possible 4-12 finish this season. Over that time period, Washington has had several different offensive coordinators and two head coaches. On defense, the team has fluctuated from a rating of 7th – 29th in a span of one season. The obvious thing that is lacking is consistency, but it is something that runs deeper.

In Washington, there is no chemistry. QB Jason Campbell is not the quarterback that you want to be airing the ball out all game, but someone who you let move the ball slowly down the field through his running game and short passes. However, WRs Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are speed receivers that are best at running deep routes. On the ground, any team with RBs Clinton Portis and LaDell Betts should be a running minded offense. However, Campbell had 506 pass attempts in 2008, which was a year where Portis almost gained 1,500 yards.

There has been similar cases of very talented teams that just couldn’t get over the hump because of lack on chemistry issues. The most recent and obvious example would be another team in the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys. Throughout the years of 2006-09, WR Terrell Owens clouded the ‘Boys locker room, and had many chemistry issues with QB Tony Romo. Romo was a young quarterback in those years, and didn’t need the stress of making sure that Owens was happy with how much he got the ball. This all led up to the crazy accusations that Romo and TE Jason Witten were having secret meetings with their offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, in order to keep Owens from getting the ball.

Wade Phillips (above) was able to turn the Cowboys around this season.

Now, if we all travel back a year ago, the memories of Dallas getting shut out of the playoffs should come back to us. At the time, all of the Cowboys’ fans were calling for coach Wade Phillips’ job. However, the firing never came, and instead, Owens was released. This allowed QB Tony Romo to spread the ball through the offense at his will, and it has run more efficiently. Now, the Cowboys are 9-5, and most likely heading to the playoffs.

I’m not saying that the Redskins can get rid of or add one player to turn the ship around. It is just simple moves that help put players into positions in which they can succeed which define a season’s outcome.

My NFC Final Regular Season Standings & First Round of Playoffs

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    NFC EAST                                 NFC NORTH                       NFC SOUTH               

1. Eagles 12-4                               1. Vikings 11-5                        1. Falcons 10-6

2. Giants 10-6                              2. Packers 9-7                         2. Panthers 8-8

3. Cowboys 8-8                           3. Bears 8-8                              3. Saints 7-9

4. Redskins 7-9                           4. Lions 5-12                            4. Buccaneers 5-11

     NFC WEST                                                                     FINAL NFC STANDINGS

1. Cardinals 10-6                  *=first round bye                         1. Eagles 12-4*        

2. Seahawks 8-8                                                                                 2. Vikings 11-5*

3. 49ers 6-10                                                                                      3. Falcons 10-6

4. Rams 3-13                                                                                      4. Cardinals 10-6

                                                                                                                 5. Giants 10-6

                                                                                                                 6. Packers 9-7

FIRST ROUND NFC PLAYOFFS

#3 Atlanta Falcons vs. #6 Green Bay Packers

Atlanta vs. Green BayThis should be another great game in the first round of the playoffs. Atlanta, relying on one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL, will play Green Bay, who has one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. This game could be an epic battle, and the way these two teams are built, this could become a rivalry for years to come. The key factor in this game will be TE Tony Gonzalez, and will provide a nice target in the end zone for QB Matt Ryan.

Prediction: 28-21, Falcons

#4 Arizona Cardinals vs. #5 New York Giants

This is possibly the least exciting game of my projected first round, andGiants vs. Cardinals looks pretty easy to figure out as well. The Giants will be relying on the running game all year long to carry them, and RB Brandon Jacobs will be tired and beat up. QB Eli Manning just doesn’t have the receivers to make big plays in the passing game, and the Cardinals defense isn’t too weak. Arizona, of course, has an explosive offense and will ride that to victory.

Prediction: 35-7, Cardinals

NFL Season Preview: #4 Philadelphia Eagles

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Overview: The Eagles had a crazy ’08 season, that included a 9-6 record, and a tie. That tie, that everyone was criticizing Philadelphia for at the time, is what got the Eagles into the playoffs. Philadelphia took care of the Vikings and Giants respectively, before falling to the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game.

Offseason Moves: The Eagles made a variety of moves during the off season. They let go longtime fan favorite S Brian Dawkins, and Ts Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. To replace these players, the Eagles signed T Stacy Andrews and S Sean Jones, and traded for former Buffalo T Jason Peters. Philadelphia also added more weapons via the draft, taking Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin in the first round and Pittsburgh RB LeSean McCoy in the second. The team also added FB Leonard Weaver, DE Jason Babin, and CB Ellis Hobbs. The Eagles also signed QB Donovan McNabb to a contract extension, although this wasn’t the biggest quarter back move of the off season. Two weeks into the preseason, Philadelphia signed QB Michael Vick to give them more big play ability, and athleticism in the offense. The Eagles moves may not even be done, because there are many rumors that the team could bring back T Jon Runyan.

Upcoming Season: When the dust settled after a busy off season, the Eagles look to have the best offense in the NFL. QB Donovan McNabb now has plenty of weapons in WRs DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Kevin Curtis. The running game now has two strong running backs in Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. Of course, nobody knows just how QB Michael Vick will be used in the offense, but it just gives the team one more weapon. The offensive line is also solid, providing an opportunity for big plays. On defense, Philadelphia experienced a tragic loss when defensive coordinator Jim Johnson passed away a couple of months ago. New coordinator, Sean McDermott, learned under Johnson so the change isn’t expected to be to big. McDermott has a solid defensive line, that is led by DE Trent Cole. The linebackers may prove to be the weak spot for the Eagles, where LB Stewart Bradley went down with an ACL injury early in the preseason. The secondary is solid, but has a big hole that S Brian Dawkins left. Look for S Quintin Mikell to do his best to fill it.

DeSean JacksonPlayer to watch: The farthest this core of Eagles players has gone is to the Super Bowl. That year, they had a legitimate No. 1 receiver in Terrell Owens. Now, all reports out of Eagles’ camp is that WR DeSean Jackson is looking even better than he did last season, providing QB Donovan McNabb with a big target and deep threat. Look for Jackson to step up and be the No. 1 guy for the Birds this season.

Prediction: 12-4, 1st in NFC East

It’s obvious to me that the Eagles are the class of this division, if not the NFC. With such a high powered offensive, Philadelphia could put up record numbers. Not to mention a defense that will be playing inspired football all season long.

As the deadline passes, many players are finding new homes

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Red Sox first basemen Adam LaRoche to the Braves for first basemen Casey Kotchman: This move was strictly made to free up some money for the Red Sox, and to acquire great defense off their bench in Kotchman. Adam LaRoche now returns to Atlanta, and provides a better offense at first.

Grade : C for Red Sox, C for Braves

Indians’ catcher Victor Martinez to the Red Sox for P Justin Masterson, P Nick Hagadone, and P Bryan Price: The Red SoxVictor Martinezobviously needed another bat to make a legitimate run at the World Series. They got it in catcher/first basemen Victor Martinez. This trade also gives the Sox some versatility. Martinez can catch and spell Jason Varitek every now and then. Victor can also play first, which would slide Kevin Youkilis across the diamond if Mike Lowell continues to hurt. Martinez also provides a switch hitter with power in the middle of the lineup that balances Boston’s order. The Indians received three top prospects in starters Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone, and a closer in Bryan Price.

Grade: A – for Red Sox, B for Indians

Padres’ pitcher Jake Peavy to the White Sox for P Clayton Richard, P Aaron Poreda, P Dexter Carter, P Adam Russell: In a surprise move, the Padres finally got the injured Peavy to waive his no trade clause, and accepted the White Sox trade. If Peavy comes back this year, this gives the White Sox a great one-two punch in Mark Buehrle and Peavy, and closes the gap between them and the Tigers. The Padres, on the other hand, dumped Peavy’s salary like they had desperately attempted to earlier. They also acquired three top prospects in Richard, who has started 26 games in the Majors this year, Poreda, a 2007 first round pick, and Carter, a thirteenth round pick in 2007. Adam Russell also has some relieving experience in the Majors. These players just add more pieces to the puzzle for San Diego, as they rebuild their team.

Grade : B+ for White Sox, B- for Padres

A’s shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the Twins for SS Tyler Ladendorf: A move that was considered a lock, occurred Friday, as the Twins finally sured up the middle of their infield. The Twins, as many teams have, had a void in their middle infield and filled it with Cabrera. Orlando provides solid defense as well as a bat that can be placed almost anywhere in the lineup. The A’s got prospect Tyler Ladendorf, who was a second round pick in 2008, and who is currently at Single A.

Grade : B for Twins, C for A’s

WashburnMariners’ pitcher Jarrod Washburn to the Tigers for P Luke French and P Mauricio Robles: The Mariners decided they were not in contention this year, and traded away Washburn, in the middle of a career year. This gives the Tigers a great rotation, especially a top three of Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, and Washburn. The interesting part of this trade is that the Mariners very well could resign Jarrod Washburn after the season. Washburn has stated that he loves Seattle, and would fit in their picture for next season. As for the players they acquired, French is a rookie this season but has been serviceable thus far. Robles is a top prospect that could be in the Majors in as soon as two seasons.

Grade: B+ for Tigers, B- for Mariners

Orioles’ pitcher George Sherrill to the Dodgers for 3B Josh Bell and P Steve Johnson: The Orioles coveted reliever was sent on his way for a top prospect in third basemen, Josh Bell. Baltimore figured that it will not be a contender for at least another year or two, so they got the best value they could for their closer, which would be the heir apparent to 3B Melvin Mora.

Grade: B for Dodgers, C+ for Orioles

Blue Jays’ third basemen Scott Rolen to the Reds for 3B Edwin Encarnacion, P Josh Roenicke, and P Zach Stewart: Reds GM Walt Jocketty had previously traded for Rolen, and now has done it again. The Reds traded young third basemen Edwin Encarnacion, along with two pitching prospects for Rolen, who is in the midst of his best season since his shoulder injury three seasons ago.

Grade: C+ for Reds, C+ for Blue Jays

Pirates’ pitcher Tom Gorzelanny and P John Grabow to the Cubs for P Kevin Hart and P Jose Ascaino: After getting a Cubs win yesterday, pitcher Kevin Hart received the news that he was traded to the Pirates. Hart and pitcher Jose Ascaino, give the Bucs some more arms to rummage through as they continue to build their team from the bottom up. The Cubs got once fourteen game winner, Tom Gorzelanny, who they believe to be on track again after struggling earlier this season. Chicago also acquired lefty reliever John Grabow, who they will pair with lefty Sean Marshall, for the stretch run.

Grade: B for Cubs, B- for Pirates

Nationals’ first basemen Nick Johnson to the Marlins for P Aaron Thompson: The Nationals dumped salary and injuries to the Florida Marlins today. Johnson, having his seemingly most healthy year, was traded to Florida for a former first round pick in pitcher Aaron Thompson. This move gives the Nats another arm on which to build their franchise. Johnson will give the Marlins a better all around player at first, as well as the versatility to play many different lineups based on match ups.

The Moves Not Made

Halladay: As I said yesterday, Toronto GM over played his hand based on the market, and ended up keeping Roy Halladay. Now he will attempt to deal him in the offseason, at much lesser value. This scenario reminds me very much of what went on with P Johan Santana, almost two years ago.

Gonzalez: In my opinion, the Padres were never going to trade first basemen Adrian Gonzalez. He is relatively young, cheap based on his talents, and someone they can rebuild their team around.

Trade Deadline Winners

Pirates Giants Trade BaseballGiants: The Giants needed offense to even make it a race against the Dodgers, who have the Majors best record. They added two bats, Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko. Sanchez is a former batting champion, and Garko had hit 35 home runs the past two seasons. With their already strong pitching, considerably stronger than the Dodgers, the Giants look primed to now challenge Los Angeles for the NL West crown.

Red Sox: Theo Epstein works in curious ways. When all is said and done, the Red Sox walk away from the deadline with Victor Martinez as an insurance policy for Mike Lowell, and a bat in the middle of the lineup. The Sox also gave up relatively little for Martinez, who they will also have for 2010.

Cardinals: The Cardinals got a bat to protect Albert Pujols, and set themselves up for the stretch run with the acquisition of outfielder Matt Holliday. Besides giving up top prospect, Brett Wallace, who had questions surrounding him anyways, the Cards got Holliday for barely anything. Not to mention they acquired red hot Julio Lugo, and versatile Mark DeRosa.

Phillies: Thought to be front runners for Roy Halladay, the Phillies went in and swooped up Cliff Lee for a much lesser price than what Toronto GM J.P. Riccardi was asking for. Lee gives the Phillies one of the best rotations in the NL, and cements them as serious threats to repeat.

Trade Deadline Losers

Athletics: The A’s traded away Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera this deadline. The boatload of prospects Oakland walked away with shows that they won’t be players anytime soon.

Indians: Although I liked the prospects the Indians acquired in both the Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez deals, you can’t trade last year’s Cy Young Award winner and the best catcher in baseball, and be considered a better team.

Blue Jays: Now that they haven’t traded Halladay, his value will go way down. One GM has even been quoted as saying that his value would drop 30-40%. Good luck getting what you ask for now J.P.

After Wednesday’s madness, Thursday is calm…

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Pirates’ shortstop Jack Wilson and P Ian Snell to the Mariners for SS Ronny Cedeno, C Jeff Clement, P Brett Lorin, P Aaron Pribanic, P Nathan Adcock: The Mariners proved everyone wrong when they traded for Gold Glove shortstop Jack Wilson from the Pirates. Seattle, thought to be out of the AL West race and would be sellers, upgraded their team’s defense as well as adding starting pitching depth in Ian Snell. The Pirates on the other hand acquired shortstop Ronny Cedeno, who had been a surprise thus far. The Bucs also got catcher Jeff Clement, who was a top prospect for the Mariners, but struggled mightily in the Majors. The three pitchers just add to the Pirates surplus of prospects, as they build toward a strong future.

Grade: B+ for Mariners, B for Pirates

Pirates’ second basemen Freddy Sanchez to the Giants for P Tim Alderson: Pittsburgh PiratesThe Giants added another bat Wednesday in second basemen Freddy Sanchez. Luckily for Sanchez, he didn’t have to go far seeing as the Pirates were playing the Giants in San Francisco. The Giants fill a void that they’ve had at second base all year, and build up their offense to take a run at the Dodgers in the NL West. The Pirates get yet another top prospect in P Tim Alderson, as they build towards the future.

Grade: B+ for Giants, C+ for Pirates

Blue Jays’ P Roy Halladay to…..no one: It’s sad when the most talked about deal of the deadline is one that hasn’t been made, and now most likely will not be made. The Phillies acquiring P Cliff Lee yesterday made one thing much clearer, and that is that Roy Halladay will not be moved. The Phils had been the favorite to get Halladay from the start, because they are the only team with the type of young top prospects that absolutely blew GM J.P. Riccardi away. Although, the Phillies were not willing to mortgage their future for Halladay, and got their second choice in Lee, at a much lighter price.

Grade: F for Blue Jays, for waiting to long to trade Halladay

Analyzing the Deadline Deals so far….

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Matt HollidayA’s outfielder Matt Holliday to the Cardinals for top prospect Brett Wallace, OF Shane Peterson and P Clayton Mortenson: The obvious winners of this deal are the Cardinals. In the past, Billy Beane has been known to get top value in deals such as this, but not so this time. Wallace is a top prospect, and his lit it up in the minor leagues so far. Although, there are concerns about his defense, and his body. Peterson and Mortenson aren’t even considered top prospects. So essentially, the Cardinals gave up a bat, and a couple of mid level prospects, to become NL Central favorites.

Grade: A for the Cardinals, F for the Athletics

Indian’s Ryan Garko to the Giants for P Scott Barnes: It’s been known for months now that the Giants needed a bat. Garko is young, and has the potential to be a decent power hitter. Although he’s having a down year this year, Garko will split time with Giant’s prospect John Bower at first base, supplying them with some offense they desperately needed. Scott Barnes was at Triple-A for the Giants, and led the league in wins at the time of the trade.

Grade: B for the Giants, B- for the Indians

Indians’ reliever Rafael Betancourt to the Rockies for P Connor Graham: The Rockies are somehow, again, in the playoff race. Their starters have been great this whole season, while the bullpen has struggled at times. They needed to add depth before the injury of Manny Corpas, who could be out for the year. The Rockies filled the void with Rafael Betancourt. The Indians got a prospect from Single-A, in Connor Graham, that has the potential to be a power pitcher in the Majors. The Indians got just what they wanted, and are building for the future.

Grade : B for the Rockies, B for the Indians

Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo to the Cardinals for OF Chris Duncan: Boston had been desperately trying to get rid of Lugo, and designated him for assignment last week. They had ten days to trade him, and completed a deal that got Boston Cardinal’s outfielder Chris Duncan, who had struggled the whole season. Boston sent Duncan to Triple-A, and he was acquired strictly for depth. Lugo on the other hand, went on a tear once being acquired by the Cardinals, and has kept it up for nearly a week. He fills the void the Cardinals had all season in the middle infield.

Grade: B for the Red Sox, B+ for the Cardinals

Pirate’s first basemen Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox for SS Argenis Dias and P Hunter Strickland: The Red Sox added some more depth in this trade, as well as a needed bat. Adam LaRoche will play first base against right handers, while Youkilis would play third. LaRoche will sit against leftys, and ailing third basemen Mike Lowell would play third, while Youkilis would slide to first. LaRoche’s stance and swing is built for Fenway, and that miniscule right field porch. The Pirates got what they wanted out of this deal, which was dumping LaRoche’s salary, and got some decent prospects for the future.

Grade: B+ for the Red Sox, C for the Pirates

Just announced and pending physicals: Phillies’ P Carlos Cliff LeeCarrasco, SS Jason Donald, C Lou Marson, and P Jason Knapp to the Indians for P Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco: After talks with the Blue Jays went dead, the Phillies turned their attentions to Cliff Lee. The Indians demands were not quite as high as the Blue Jays, which allowed the Phils to keep top prospect P Kyle Drabek and rookie of the year candidate P J.A. Happ. The Phillies gave up top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco, who had been inconsistent in Triple-A for parts of the past two years. Shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson were members of the Olympic squad last year, and rose quickly through the minor league system. Donald was thought to possibly take 3B Pedro Feliz’s spot next year, and Marson could have shared catching duties with Carlos Ruiz. Pitcher Jason Knapp had been struggling at Single-A all year. The Phillies got another top pitcher that they needed in Cliff Lee, and a more effective backup outfielder in Ben Francisco.

Grade : B+ for the Phillies, B for the Indians

More analysis on the 2009 Trading Deadline is still to come, including an overall analysis after the deadline passes.