Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I am going to do a special Thanksgiving edition of the picks. The New York Giants play on Thanksgiving night so that is a treat. The afternoon games are the Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys. The afternoon games really aren't that appealing the Packers should go into Detroit and beat them I am going to say the score will be Green Bay 28 Detroit 14. Oakland at Dallas on paper is a complete mismatch but Dallas has really struggled offensively the last couple of games. I think they will be pumped up playing on Thanksgiving as they always do and will hand it to Oakland. Dallas 28 Oakland 10. The night game is the New York Giants at the Denver Broncos at 8:20 PM. The Giants are coming off a much needed win last Sunday against the Falcons but they still have their problems. The Giants are 6-4 and right in the thick of the playoff race but their defense especially in crunch time has been a disaster lately, if they want to do anything this year that has to change. I am one that believes it has to do with the new coach. It seems to me that the Giants sit back too much when they have the lead and are trying to close games out, they need to continue to be aggressive and pressure the QB. The Giants strength should be the pass rush and it hasn't been. I think Eli Manning was in a great groove on Sunday and will continue to be as his foot has healed. I look for the Giants to get their running game going with Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw is out so Danny Ware will get his first significant playing time. I think the receiving corps really has the confidence now. I think the Giants are going to play their best game they have played in quite a while and will win this game. Giants 31 Broncos 24. Everyone enjoy your thanksgiving and enjoy the football games. I will recap the game at some point tomorrow night or early Friday morning.
Yes I am serious this is my least knowledgeable subject in sports but I have to talk briefly about the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks. New Jersey has a basketball team? They do but barely as they are 0-14, you can't even be that bad if you tried. I have to give them credit for trying as they are badly outmanned and they aren't that good obviously. They are in complete rebuilding mode and have some good young pieces so it will get better but no wins seriously. They are trying to set the record and be relative by being irrelative. The record is 0-17 and they can do that with 3 more games on the West Coast against the LA Lakers, Portland Trailblazers and the Sacremento Kings. Nets coach Lawrence Frank is on the hot seat as you might expect. The New York Knicks aren't much better as they are 3-10 but the thing about them is it really doesn't matter until July of 2010. You might ask why is that well it is because that is when the free agency signing period begins. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh headline the group of many. The Knicks have had their eyes on this for a couple of years as they have gotten under the cap so they could sign at least one marquee player and maybe a couple overall players. The question I have is why would someone like Lebron want to come to the Knicks other then playing in New York but with a salary cap the money isn't much different and in this world now it really doesn't matter so much for a star like him where he plays. It will be interesting to see if CC Sabathia could really recruit him like he says or if ultimately Lebron will end up in Miami with Wade or could he go to Brooklyn with the Nets if they move there as it looks like they now will.
Johnny Damon was at the Empire State Building with his wife and Nascar driver Jimmie Johnson yesterday. He reiterated the same message he has had for several months now and that is he wants to remain a Yankee but he is listening to other offers. " I would love to come back to New York but I also know other teams are calling to have me go and help them win a championship," he said. " I have loved my time here. Hopefully, it is not over, but we just have to wait and see what New York comes to offer. We are listening to anybody out there." Damon stated that he has not heard from the Yankees GM Brian Cashman yet and he and agent Scott Boras are waiting. He said he feels fine physically even though he turned 36 earlier this month. I feel like I can play another 10 years he said. He said he feels great now and has during the season. Johnny Damon has to be realistic here he has been breaking down, he is pretty durable and tough but defensively he is not the same player, he has to rest more and be used as the DH more to keep his legs fresh. If he really wants to stay in New York then he should prove it by taking a pay cut but of course no player can do that. Paul O'neill did it and others in the past have but that doesn't happen anymore. Johnny also said " I know what is here in New York, the New Stadium, the great coaches, the great players. You guys tell Cash to get things going with me. I am up for it." The Yankees have told everyone they are not even meeting until the end of next week to formulate their plans. The Winter Meetings begin Dec 7th and that is when things should really heat up with the hotstove. This news came from the NY Post but was everywhere on the news and internet since he was in a public place. There was a article out of the NY Daily News today that the Red Sox are really heating up talks with the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay and speculating about the Yankees jumping in. The article said it would start with Clay Bucholz and Casey Kelley a 20 yr old prospect that Theo Epstein is said to love and that may be a sticking point in negotiations. The Yankees would have to give up Joba or Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson or Jesus Montero. If I was the Yankees I would really have to think about giving up Joba and Austin Jackson. I know this is tough but if the Yankees have a rotation of CC, Halladay, A.J. Andy and Phil Hughes that will be very very tough to beat. They can use Dave Robertson, Damaso Marte, Phil Coke as the setup guys. The other benefit of course is that the Red Sox wouldn't get him. It is very tough because the Yankees as World Champs could just have Joba and Phil Hughes as the 4th and 5th starters and hope they fulfill thier potential and have a great rotation like that anyway. They also save a lot of money by doing this but that isn't a guarantee, it is a guarantee that Roy Halladay will pitch well for another couple of years at least. The article said the Red Sox hope to land him within the next couple of weeks so this could get interesting quickly.
I waited until the official announcement for the coaches for the 2010 season. Howard Johnson will remain the hitting coach, Dan Warthen the pitching coach and Randy Niemann as bullpen coach. Razor Shines also remains but he was moved from 3rd base to 1st base coach. He had a eventful year at third so I am sure Mets fans are thrilled he is away from there. The new coaches are Dave Jauss as bench coach and Chip Hale as third base coach. The Mets also hired former Houston Astros manager Terry Collins as minor-league field coordinator. I know most people are going to say who for the new coaches and I don't know myself so it is a good question. I am sure that they brought guys in with not much background due to the fact that Jerry Manuel is on the hot seat and if a new manager comes in he may want his own coaches. The most interesting move the Mets have made is hiring Wally Backman as manager of the short season Brookly Cyclones. The reason this is interesting is first of all after his 4 day stay as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks a few years ago he has been blackballed from baseball and had to serve in the independant leagues. The second reason is because it is believed that he is in line to succeed Jerry Manuel as manager of the big club. I am sure Mets fans would love to see this as he is a fiery ex Met from the Glory Days of the 1980's. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his nose clean and the Mets stumble how quick of a hook GM Omar Minaya and the Wilpons will have.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The New York Yankees have made it clear they are going to take their time this offseason. The Yankees are the World Champions and don't have to rush into anything. Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi both indicated yesterday at the premiere for the World Series DVD that starting pitching is the priority but unless they give up a lot to get a Roy Halladay which I don't think will happen they will sign a middle of the road type starter. They can also sign Chien-Ming Wang for cheap to a incentive laden deal and see what happens. If they don't sign anyone they can go with Joba and Hughes at the backend and is that really the worst thing with Aceves, Mitre, Gaudin, Kennedy all backing them up. I think it would be fine to get another starter but I don't think they are in such bad shape here. If you can have a guy like Gaudin as your 4th or 5th starter with Hughes or Joba and the other in the pen I think you are in really good shape. The Yankees showed this year that you only need 3 strong starters in the postseason and a good bullpen. There were rumors about the Yankees being interested in Jermaine Dye but the Yankees have shot them down. The Yankees did sign someone today, it was a dominican prospect named Eladio Moronta. He was suspended by baseball for a year earlier this year for lying about his age but that ban has been lifted. He is said to have excellent speed and a strong arm. You can read this article about him on baseball america. I like what the Yankees have done to build up their farm system and this is part of it being strong in the international market. It will be interesting to see this season how Austin Jackson, Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena and some others will be used. I think they could have a big impact on the team and show that the Yankees system does have some talent and they don't just go out and buy players.
The New York Yankees represented by pitcher A.J. Burnett and media relations director Jason Zillo were awarded for their work during HOPE Week. The award was given by the St Louis Sports Commission. The award was the National Sportsmanship award. It is a award given to recognize athletes and personalities from across the nation for their integrity, class, selfishness, perseverance, kindness, community service and overall commitment to sportsmanship. If you don't know what Camp Sundown is, it is a program in upstate NY for children that suffer from Xeroderma pigmentosum. The disease is a rare genetic disorder that prevents those who have it from going outside in the sunlight. If they are exposed to sunlight or even UV light at all they will get skin burns and eventually skin and eye cancer. Most people with this disorder don't live past the age of 20. The Yankees sponsered HOPE Week this past season and the highlight of the week is when they sponsered this group to come to a night game and then have a carnival afterwards to 3 or 4 in the morning for these kids on the field. This took place on July 23, 2009 and the Yankees should be rewarded for this venture, it was a great idea and went off well. The Yankees are loved by many for their great tradition of excellence and hated by many for the same reason. The thing most people don't know or don't care to pay attention to is the fact that the Yankees do many charitable things like this and should be commended for their work. George Steinbrenner has done many things over the years for charity and didn't want the spotlight and that should be commended also. The Yankees truly are a first class organization in many many ways.
Albert Pujols did win the award not suprisingly and he did win it unanimously. He became only the sixth NL player to win this award unanimously. Here is the complete list of how the guys finished and how many votes they got. 1. Albert Pujols-448 points 2. Hanley Ramirez- 233 points 3. Ryan Howard- 217 points 4. Prince Fielder- 203 points 5. Troy Tulowitzki- 172 points 6. Andre Ethier- 113 points 7. Pablo Sandoval- 89 points 8. Chase Utley- 84 points 9. Derrek Lee- 66 points 10. Matt Kemp- 49 points Albert Pujols who right now is the best player in baseball became only the 10th player in history to win 3 or more MVP's. The others are Barry Bonds who won 7, Yogi Berra-3, Roy Campanella-3, Joe Dimaggio-3, Jimmie Foxx-3, Mickey Mantle-3, Stan Musial-3, Alex Rodriguez-3 and Mike Schmidt-3. This was Pujols third time winning the award.
I don't think there is much to talk about in this one, the only question is will it be unanimous. Albert Pujols is going to win the award but will there be some dude who votes for like David Wright or something to just throw it off. I mean if someone could vote for Miguel Cabrera over Joe Mauer anything can happen. Seriously though Pujols will win again and there is no drama to this one. I will be back later with the official announcement and some other baseball news more specifically related to the Yankees.
Monday, November 23, 2009
In a very predictable outcome Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins won the MVP in unanimous fashion. Mark Teixeira finished second and Derek Jeter finished third. I know a lot of Yankee fans will be up in arms but Mauer clearly deserved this and there was no other way to go. I am glad Tex and Jeter finished second and third because that was the way it should have gone also, I guess you can debate Jeter and Tex, who is more valuable as I have been seeing the Yankee fans do. I say Tex though because of his bat and his glove but that is a touchy subject especially for those who love Derek Jeter. In the end it doesn't matter much at all especially since the Yankees settled for the biggest prize the World Championship.
The New York Giants got back on the winning track finally, ending their 4 game losing streak by defeating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime by the score of 34-31. The Giants defense once again was nowhere to be found at the end of the game as they had a 31-17 lead with 6 minutes left and allowed Atlanta to just march down the field for 2 touchdowns to send the game into overtime. The defense played pretty well in the first half and seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. I am starting to think this may be a problem with Bill Sheridan the defensive coordinator as the Giants basically have the same guys they have had the last couple of years and their defense just can't get a big stop when they need it. I don't know where the pass rush is when it is crunch time but it has disappeared. I think they are being too passive and have to continue to be aggressive and blitz more to close out these games and put the pressure on the other teams. The good for the Giants was Eli Manning and the receivers who everyone thought would be their weakness. Kevin Boss the tightend played a strong game with 2 touchdown catches. Hakeem Nicks always seems to do something big when he gets the ball and Mario Manningham continues to play well with a big yardage game. The running game didn't get the job done once again and you have to wonder about that as Eli Manning really had to carry the team to victory. I don't thinkt he offense has been the problem at all though. The Giants now at 6-4 are right in the playoff picture and will have a very short week before heading to Denver on Wed and playing Thanksgiving night against a team who has been going the other way lately. I think the Giants have a good chance to exhale now and if they get a win on Thanksgiving they can really start to get it going. The New York Jets on the other hand are basically at the point now where it is lets learn about Mark Sanchez. The Jets are at 4-6 and unless they have a miracle will be out of the playoffs again. Mark Sanchez needs to develop and get better and that is what the rest of this season will be about for the Jets. The New York Jets learned hard this season that sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and let your play do the talking before you start talking big and bad. The Jets defense which looked so good early in the season and is supposed to be their bread and butter was pretty bad yesterday. The Jets just seem to find ways to lose but this one is pretty much all on the young QB who had 4 interceptions and a fumble and you can't overcome that especially against a good team like the Patriots. The bright side for the Jets was Thomas Jones who once again had a good game running the ball. The Jets need to really look at things offensively to help the young QB out and go to work with him because he is the future for them. I was 2-0 this week with the picks so I had a good week and we will have the Thanksgiving picks up on Wednesday.
The American League MVP will be announced today at 2:00PM. I really think this is the easiest one to pick as I just don't see how Joe Mauer doesn't win the award. He is a catcher that put up insane numbers while bringing his team to a AL Central title after defeating the Detroit Tigers in a one game playoff. Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira are candidates but there is no way you can go against Mauer. I think Mark Teixeira will probably finish second and maybe Jeter third as I think Tex was more of a factor then Jeter but that is something that can be debated also. The numbers Tex put up after April though and the defense he played just made him more valuable then any other position player in my mind. We will see what happens at 2 but to me this is the easiest one to pick with no real drama. I will be back later when the award is announced.