Miami Marlins Looking to Make Splash in Free Agency

New Logo. New Team. New Era.

The Marlins seem hellbent on shedding everything from its past.  They’re trademark teal uniforms, that saw them win 2 World Series, are being replaced by questionable color schemes.  The ocean of empty seats in a open air football stadium in tropical Florida will be replaced by the state of the art retractable roof stadium.  The “Florida” is being dropped in favor of the local “Miami”.  They are still Florida’s team (have you seen the attendance at the Trop lately?), but they are primed on moving into a new stadium, and into a new era of Marlins baseball.

Florida Marlins baseball was fairly simple.  If there was a big free agent out there, Florida wouldn’t even attempt to sign him.  If they had some good homegrown talent, don’t expect him to stay there much longer.  The formula for Florida was simple.  Cost controlled players play at the same level as those big free agents, for millions of dollars less.  In a way it worked thanks to great scouting.

But this isn’t Florida Marlins baseball anymore.  It’s Miami Marlins baseball.  And word on the street is, they are open for business.

As early as it is in the offseason, the Marlins are already courting top ticket free agents such as Mark Buehlre, Jose Reyes, and Ryan Madson.  On top of this, they have made an offer to Albert Pujols.  The same Albert Pujols who is expected by most to resign with his World Series Champion Cardinals.  They got him 2 World Series and christened him “El Hombre”, a homage to Stan “the man” Musial.  Albert has been the face of the Cardinals for the last 10 years and is already a lock to be in the Hall of Fame one day.

So why, after all these years, are the Marlins finally making heavy pushes to sign top free agents?  Well they need something to bring people into the seats of their state of the art $500 million stadium.  Josh Johnson and Mike Stanton are All Stars, but bringing in Pujols or Reyes would send a message to the fans.  When Floridians go to ball parks, they will now be in for a show.  No longer will they watch prized prospects who are little known to the nation.  They now get to watch players they have watched on ESPN for years.  Players they thought would never play for their team.

Spending on these free agents instills  confidence into the fans of their franchise.  Most will be surprised because, come opening day, you will see the Marlins playing at home in front of a sell out crowd.  There will be a star player on the field not named Hanley, Josh, or Mike.  And fans will be excited.  When’s the last time you can remember the Marlins playing in front of excited fans?


The scandal that is rocking Penn State. What should JoePa do?

Will Paterno walk away from Penn State?

So we all know the lastest scandal out of Penn State.  Joe Paterno is under scrutiny for failing to act morally when he found out that his defensive coordinator from 1977-99 Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulted young boys at his charity.  Paterno reported the incident to his athletic director at the time, Tim Curley, although the incident was not reported to the authorities.

Paterno has been Penn State’s head football coach since 1966, moving up from an assistant coaching position held since 1950, making him by far college football’s longest tenured coach. Paterno has built his program on a lasting legacy of morals, hard work, and winning.  He stressed to his student athletes that academics and great character far outweigh all actions on the football field.  One week removed from becoming college football’s all-time winningest DIV.-1 head coach, Paterno found himself caught in a scandal with calls for his resignation.

Did Joe Paterno cross a moral line of no return, or is he getting his unfair share of the flak? Below, we explore cases for and against his resignation.

THE CASE FOR JOE PATERNO’S RESIGNATION

Joe Paterno has been an incredibly prestigious head coach for a long time, and in that time he has created one of college football’s greatest legacies. Penn State is known for winning games and being moral off the field and that includes academics. That is all due to head coach Joe Paterno. Seeing as Paterno is at the end of his career, it is shaping up to be a sad ending. In the last few days Paterno went from being one of football’s most storied coaches of all time to a coach that has a scandal under his belt that makes Jim Tressel’s (ex-Ohio State head coach) legacy look like Tressel is the most moral coach of all time.

Jim Tressel fell upon heavy sanctions because of his star athletes got tattoos and he knew about them. When Tressel “fell from grace” because he knew about improper benefits he was scolded by announcers, critics, and fans then forced into retirement. The level of what Tressel did was on such a small scale  compared to Paterno’s scandal the very name Tressel will be forgotten in a matter of weeks.

Joe Paterno needs to either resign his position or retire, but the amount of damage done to his legacy is irreversible. If he went out on his own terms, then he AND the fans of Penn State  can always say it was on his own terms. If he continues his tenure as  head coach, then he will go down with the people around him. While Paterno may not be facing any legal actions, the community and the media that surrounds him has put everything that his program has stood for in question.

For the sake of keeping his legacy (at least partially) intact then he needs to either resign or retire now. Nobody wants Joe Paterno to go down with the people who are actually being brought up on criminal chargers, so he should step out on his own accord as opposed to getting driven out of Happy Valley. If he retires as quickly as possible, then the heat will be on Curley (Penn State’s A.D.) and Jerry Sandusky, not Paterno himself.

Get out of the lime light while the gettin’s good Joe. Get out now and save what you can of your legacy as most tenured coach in college football history.

THE CASE AGAINST JOE PATERNO’S RESIGNATION

Paterno is being unfairly treated by the media.  He found out about the alleged sexual assault and reported it in a timely manner.  He fulfilled his good Samaritan obligation and notified his superiors, as is procedure in most organizations.  The athletic director, who has authority to fire someone due to wrongdoing as severe as Sandusky’s, should have taken action.  What more can a guy do?  Paterno has to follow the chain of command in order to take care of Sandusky’s situation.  If the allegations are found to be true, Sandusky is obviously going to feel legal repercussions, and Athletic Director Tim Curley will as well.

Penn State is already looking into replacing Paterno, and that’s a damn shame.  He is a Penn State legend and has dedicated his entire 61 year career to their football program.  The investigation is only just beginning and Penn State is treating Paterno as if he was the one who the allegations are against.  It should be a crime to treat the face of their football program and their most loyal employee the way they’re treating Paterno.

The media is just as guilty for these crimes against Paterno.  They need a scapegoat to pay for these horrific acts.  They need to see a fall from grace.  Sandusky resigned well before these allegations came to surface, and Curley has resigned as well.  The media needs to see someone pay for this while more information leaks out, and Paterno is the next rational (if you can really call it that) candidate to become a scapegoat.

Joe Paterno has given too much to Penn State’s athletic department to be cast away in such a disgraceful manner.  We can’t expect him to hunt down Sandusky and take out some vigilante justice.  Paterno holds a long running record of being morally sound and philanthropic.  As those who were formally above and below him are taken down, he finds himself caught in the middle of something he had nothing to do with.


Royals busy early in offseason

The Royals have many promising prospects in their farm system. Are they ready to compete at a major league level?

     The Royals haven’t been relevant in Major League Baseball since the days of George Brett and pine tar.  Last year, however, they came out of the gates sprinting, gaining the attention of the media.  They ran out of gas at the end, finishing 24 games back in their division at 71-91.  But that amazing start paired with the major league debuts of prized prospects Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas has many feeling like the Royals are close to being relevant once again.
     The Royals were brought down ultimately by their pitching, which ranked 27th in the league in ERA and Batting Average Against.  GM Dayton Moore has started to address their need for decent pitching early in the offseason by trading center fielder Melky Cabrera for Giants SP Jonathan Sanchez and prospect Ryan Verdugo.  Sanchez, who had a no-hitter in 2009, had somewhat of a down season last year with a 4.26 ERA (over a full run worse than his previous year).  The Royals’ hope is that Sanchez’s down year was a fluke and that he will return to his 2009-2010 form where he had a 3.61 ERA over around 350 innings (thanks to baseball-reference.com).  It was a risky pick up considering Sanchez’s reputation for getting into and out of frequent jams (5.9 BB/9 last season), but gives the Royals a solid middle rotation innings eater as well as some time for 2008 1st overall pick Mike Montgomery to progress through AAA ball.
     The Royals are also reportedly interested in the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano, who has a history of clubhouse issues.  Zambrano has consistently put up ERA numbers in the low to mid 3s with the exception of last years 4.82.  The Royals would need to have the Cubs pay for a large portion of Zambrano’s salary and it might cost them a highly touted prospect for the Cubs to do that.  I do not think that the Royals should bring in an aging, overpriced pitcher with consistent clubhouse issues at the price of one of their prospects for many reasons.  The Royals need to stick to their youth movement.  Being a small market team means the farm system is more valuable to the Royals than to teams such as the Cubs.  If the Royals want to compete in the long-term, they need to hold on to the great team-controlled talent.  Secondly, on a team with as many young players as the Royals, great clubhouse leadership is needed.  Leadership that players such as Jim Thome are noted for.  Zambrano brings zero clubhouse leadership.  Teammates and managers alike had very little positive thoughts on Zambrano after his “retirement” tirade last August.
“He told clubhouse guys and trainers that he was retiring. But whatever your thoughts are after a tough outing, you don’t leave your teammates. The hell with me, you just don’t leave your teammates.”-Mike Quade
“I don’t think the Braves did anything to deserve that…They didn’t hit any of our guys. They put their heads down and ran. I don’t think they did anything wrong. There was no reason for him to throw at anybody.”- Aramis Ramirez
Source ESPN
     The Royals are also looking into resigning Bruce Chen.  Chen posted a 3.77 ERA in 25 games with the Royals last year and is a solid back of the rotation veteran.  Last year the Royals signed Chen to a 1 year $2 million deal, but this year they may have to compete with Colorado who is also reportedly interested in Chen.
     The Royals have a great defensive outfield in Gordon, Cain, and Fancoeur.  They have good 3-4 hitters in Hosmer and Butler.  But if they want to compete in their division, the Royals need to invest heavily in starting pitching.  Their bullpen is great in the 8th and 9th and decent in the 7th.  The first 6 innings, however, is where the Royals will lose their games unless they acquire more starting pitching or their prospects start to progress rapidly in the farm system.
     It seems GM Dayton Moore is doing something about it.  And if he makes the right moves, he can get Kansas City relevant once again.

The Baltimore Ravens need to score points to win, seriously though.

It is no surprise to anyone that pay attention to the NFL that the Ravens have one of the most potent, stout, hard-hitting defenses in the game today. Led by Ray Lewis (most G linebacker of all time f’sho) and featuring Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Ed Reed these Ravens are the keepers of unspeakable pain waiting to be unleashed on any quarterback they face. Just ask Big Ben.

"DADDY NOOOOOO!!!!!!" - Ben Roethlisberger

However, on the offensive side of the ball they are lacking the leadership Ray Lewis beings to the defense. While there is PLENY of talent on the offensive side, some kind of gel is missing. Imagine having an Oreo cookie with no filling. 2 great sides, but it is just not the same without the filling to hold the whole thing together.

With a great young quarterback in Joe Flacco, and an all-star cast featuring Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, and young talent in Torrey Smith and Lee Evans their offense certainly has the pieces to be great.

All the Ravens need is for their offense to be DECENT. They don’t have to put up 45 points per game, but they can’t come out and play like they did on Monday Night Football against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Their defense is +4 in the turnover margin and giving up just above 12 points per game. Statistically, all the offense needs to put on the board is 2 touchdowns per game, and they have been failed miserably in 2 of their opening 6 games. In their first loss of the season they only scored 13 on a middle of the road Tennessee team, and only 7 points against the Jags.

When the offense isn’t clicking the Ravens staunch defense keeps them in the game at all times. In the loss against Jacksonville, the Ravens offense struggled to find a rhythm all game, but their defense kept it to the point where at the end of the 4th quarter the Ravens had the ball driving with a shot to actually win the game. Then Flacco threw a very untimely interception. That throw sealed the fate of the Ravens in that game. All the Ravens offense had to do was be decent, and they weren’t and that just handed them their 2nd loss of the season. The ridiculous amount of penalties the Ravens offensive line accrued, as well as their special team penalties certainly didn’t help them down the stretch. 6 false starts can really ruin your game.

If Joe Flacco can orchestrate an offensive surge early in games to come, then the Ravens will look like the powerhouse they are built to be.  Shit, even if they don’t then their defense will keep them in the game anyway. It just won’t be that way every game, so more points scored = more chance of winning, right Flacco?

Maybe trimming those bushy things will help passing stats?


Frank McCourt is raping an pillaging the Los Angeles Dodgers

I usually refuse to report on this type of story.  It’s old news that always seems make front pages at ESPN.  But I figure this will be the one and only time I report on the McCourt mess until McCourt finally leaves.

It was reported today that Dodger owner Frank McCourt took $189 million from the Dodgers for his personal expenses.  Normally, I would be shocked and appalled at this type of behavior, but given the history Frank McCourt, I am not surprised.  He has a track record of doing shady things.

Earlier in the year, Bud Selig said he would do everything in his power to stop the sale of the Dodger television rights.  His reason was that he didn’t want any money to be diverted to Frank for personal use.  Frank wrote it off as a ridiculous concern.  Apparently it was ridiculous because he didn’t NEED a sale to steal from the Dodgers.

In the end, it feels like every day that Frank holds on to the team, brings new possibilities of him abusing his ownership privileges.  That’s right, privileges.  It is a privilege, not a right, to own a major league team, and what Frank McCourt is doing right now is something that some people on Wall Street (pre-occupation) went to jail for.

But stealing (and this is not the first time he’s done this) from his team is not the only thing McCourt has done to prove he is unable to own any Major League team, let alone one as storied as the Dodgers.  Another focal point in court this week is the Bryan Stow incident.  Frank wants to prove that his inclusion of the LAPD and the hiring of its former chief makes him a responsible owner.  What he fails to mention is that hiring William Bratton to be head of security was a move done after the Stow incident and that his position was vacant since the previous season.

Essentially, it’s like saying you’re responsible because you called 911 to the scene of the car crash that you started because you fell asleep at the wheel.

Frank McCourt, you’ve heard this 1 million times and you’ll hear it 1 million more; You need to leave the Dodgers, and you need to leave Major League Baseball.  It makes no sense for you to hold onto a team that is costing you money in legal fees to keep.  It makes no sense for you to hold onto a team while you’ve spent millions of dollars on your divorce.  It makes no sense to hold onto a team in a city where it’s fans won’t go to a game simply because you own it.

Frankly, no pun intended, it is in the best interests of all involved if you went your separate way.

But you have my seal of approval if you ever try to buy the Giants.


New York Yankees: The Long Winter.

Money is synonymous with many things. Greed, time, the Wu Tang Clan.

But one thing rises above them all. The New York Yankees.
It is said that the Yanks, with more championship titles than any other sports franchise, buy their championships, not win them.
Not this year.
The Yankees couldn’t throw enough money at Cliff Lee.  They couldn’t get Kuroda.  They could only land reclamation projects in Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon.
Those reclamation projects were enough to win them the best record in the AL, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to win a World Series this year.
Now the Yankees are looking at a long winter.  Many rumors are confirming that CC Sabathia, their ace, will opt out of his contract and test free agency.  Mark Texiera and A Rod, who command lengthy expensive contracts, are on the decline.  Their rotation going into the winter will be AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, and three gaping holes, assuming they can’t resign CC Sabathia.  Assuming they will exercise Robinson Cano’s and Nick Swisher’s options for next year, the Yanks will be looking at getting nothing but pitching this winter.
The good news is, they have the money to spend.  The bad news is there’s none on the market behind CJ Wilson.
The Yanks may have to go the route of 2011 and get reclamation projects such as Brandon Webb, the one time Cy Young winner who hasn’t thrown a professional game since 2008.  Or they might have to get creative in acquiring a premier rotation via trade.  Rumor has it, they may give up their top catching prospect Jesus Montero for a top starter.  And if you look at the potential free agents for 2013, there’s a lot of talent to be acquired.  Potential targets are Zach Grienke, Matt Cain, Cole Hammels, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, and Francisco Liriano.
For now, Yankee fans can take solace in the fact their season was longer than the Boston Red Sox’s.  But they will have to come to terms with one thing.
Money can’t buy everything.
Sometimes even championships.

ROMO MUST GO!!!!

Tony Romo is the leader of America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. The team that has only had 1 win in the playoffs since Tony Romo came in and took over the starting position in 2006, the team that plays in one of the best divisions in the NFL (sans the Redskins, but that’s another story), the team that is praised as Superbowl contenders year in and year out.

The Dallas Cowboys have not been, nor will they be contenders to hold up that Lombardi Trophy while Tony Romo is the man who is running that team into the ground. Mr. Romo has blown it for the Cowboys time and time again, and as the 2011-12 season starts he continues to do so. No big surprise.

Week 1 of the 2011-12 season Romo actually had his Boys in position to WIN the game, that’s right WIN the game against the defensive powerhouse New York Jets. As the fourth quarter starts, the Cowboys are up 24-10. A nice lead that literally only requires Romo to not throw the game away.

Oh wait, this isn’t another average, run of the mill quarterback. This is Tony Romo. What does Romo do? Fumble the ball on the goal line and give the New York Jets an absolute gift on the Dallas goal line.  Although the Jets didn’t score on their goal line opportunity, it led to the blocked punt that the Jets tied the game with.  Romo got the ball back and had 1 minute left, and a potential game winning drive within his grasp.

 

Oh, wait. This is Tony Romo!

 

He threw a very predicatable interception to Darrelle Revis (I literally said to my friends “watch this pick” before the play started.), which led to the game winning field goal by Jets kicker Nick Folk.

Tony Romo wallowing in his misery after a lost fumble.

Flash forward to week 4.  The cowboys are coming back from the half with a 24-point lead over the Detroit Lions. Tony Romo is leading his team down the field midway through the 3rd quarter to give his team 31-point lead.  After learning his lesson in week 1 and having 2 consecutive wins after that Romo can’t possibly blow it again, can he? Uhhhh….

 

OH WAIT! THIS IS TONY ROMO!!!!

 

Romo threw a pick 6 to Bobby Carpenter. 24 points becomes 17. The next drive, Romo throws another pick 6. A 17-point lead becomes 10. With some very nice play by Matt Stafford and Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, and some VERY stagnant offensive attepmpts by Romo and his Boys in the second half, the Lions came back from 24 points to win the game 34-30.

Classic Romo. Blowing it as always.

Tony Romo is a choke artist of the highest caliber, he is the very definition of the word.  If the Cowboys want to try to become an NFL championship contender again, ROMO MUST GO! NOW!