Need some help with your fantasy hockey team? You’ve come to the right place. Try these hot players on for size.

Click to continue reading “Lester’s Blue Line Specials Volume 9″

We took a look at the glass half-full Bouneback Outfielders, now it’s time to look at the glass half-empty Back to Earth Outfielders.  These are guys who aren’t going to match last year’s production. 

ken-griffey-jr.jpg
Ken Griffey, Jr.
(.277, 78 runs, 146 hits, 30 HRs, 93 RBI)
For starters Griffey is 38.  He stayed relatively healthy last year.  He had good numbers again, but how long can he keep it up?  Luckily for Griff, he plays in a launching pad, but at some point the body’s gonna break down.  I’ll be excited when he hits his 600th Home Run and passes Sammy Sosa (609), but I don’t see him hitting over 25 HRs this year or driving in more than 75.

Jose Guillen (.290, 84 runs, 172 hits, 23 HR, 99 RBI)
Guillen will miss the first fifteen games of the season because of a PED suspension.  He usually has a slow April, so that will likely extend into May.  He’ll also have to adjust to a move from Seattle to Kansas City.  That adds up to decreased production to me. 

torii-hunter.jpg
Torii Hunter 
(.287, 94 runs, 172 hits, 45 doubles, 28 HR, 107 RBI)
Hunter will turn 33 this summer.  He will feel some pressure to live up to that huge contract.  He’s coming off career bests in virtually every offensive category.   I think he’s too much of a free swinger to maintain a .287 average.  I’d guess the number of doubles he’ll hit will be in the mid-thirties.  I’m guessing his RBI total goes down to around 95.  I hope I’m wrong because Torii is one of my favorite people in the game.  He’s just seems so genuine.  I just think he’ll have a hard time matching last year while adjusting to a new environment.

Magglio Ordonez (.363, 117 runs, 216 hits, 54 doubles, 28 HR, 139 RBI)
Sorry Mags, but that call you’re hearing is Earth telling you to come back home.  .363, are you kidding me?  His previous high was .320, and that was in 2001.  He just turned 34 so his numbers should naturally being to decline, unless Jose Canseco is telling the truth (which I belive he is).  I hate to get into a steroids debate because I’m tired of the subject, but I do recall Ozzie Guillen basically saying he had the goods on Mags when they had their little spat.  He didn’t come out and say what those goods were, but that’s what I inferred.  Obviously with a shrinking average, I expect his hit total to come down.  His HR total will likely be similar, but I expect the RBIs to decline.

Aaron Rowand (.309, 105 runs, 189 hits, 27 HR, 89 RBI)
First of all, there’s the pressure to replace Barry Bonds.  I’d say that’s a big deal.  Second he left the launching pad in Philly.  Finally, he’s no longer in the same offense as Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley.  That adds up to a decline to me.  He never scored more than 95 runs, had over 160 hits, had over 25 HRs, or had over 70 RBI before last year.  I’m guessing he puts up .280, 170 hits, 24 HR, 75 RBI. 

Photos courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Friday Tidbits 2/29/08

29 February 2008

Today I present a special Bissextile Day version of the tidbits. 

yao-ming-sitting.jpg
Once again Yao Ming will miss the rest of the year.  Stress fracture in his feet.  This is a problem that will likely plague him his entire career and force an early retirement.  Gerald Wallace got popped with an elbow and got a concussion.  He’ll miss a couple of weeks.  It was his 4th in four years, so he may want to consider hanging it up.  Jamal Crawford poured in 43 in a win over Toronto.  J.R. Smith matched him in a loss to Denver.  LeBron’s back-to-back triple-double streak was snapped.  He only had 33 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists.  How selfish.  He scored his 10,000th point against Boston, who signed P.J. Brown.  J-Kidd won his first game with the Mavs.  Shaq matched him as Phoenix handed Boston its third straight loss.  Shaq only scored four, but he grabbed 14 boards.  New Jersey sent Jamaal Magloire packing.  Golden State’s Andris Biedrins had an appendectomy.  Michael Redd poured in 42 in a win over Denver.  Andrew Bogut added 20 rebounds.  Jason Kidd had 17 assists in a win over the Wolves.  The Heat finally won.  Minnesota did too.  Jaamal Magloire joined Dallas.  Too bad he didn’t wait a little longer or he’d have more valuable minutes for another Texas team.  Luke Ridnour dished out 15 assists in a loss to Golden State.  Caron Butler has a tear in his hip.  That doesn’t sound fun.  San Mitchell got cut by the Clippers.  He’s likely to reunite with KG soon.  The Lakers have won ten straight.

marian-hossa.jpg
Atlanta traded Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick. Tampa traded Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas for Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith, and a draft pick.  Buffalo traded Brian Campbell and a draft pick to San Jose for Steve Bernier and a first round draft pick.  Columbus traded Adam Foote to Colorado for draft picks.  They also sent Sergei Federov to Washington for Ted Ruth.  Toronto sent Hal Gill to Pittsburgh for a couple of picks.  St. Louis sent Christian Backman to the Rangers for a draft pick.  Chicago traded Tuomo Ruutu to Carolina for Andrew Ladd.  Peter Forsberg re-joined Colorado.  Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne notched his 20th career hat trick.  Philly’s Mike Richard tore his hamstring.  He’ll be out for a while.  The New York Islanders signed Trent Hunter to a five-year deal and Mike Comrie to a one-year deal.  This week’s shutouts:  Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff vs. Detroit.  Columus’ Pascal Leclaire vs. Montreal.  NY Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist vs. Florida.  Phoenix’s Ilja Bryzgalov vs. St. Louis.  Toronto’s Vesa Toskala vs. Ottawa.  Boston’s Tim Thomas vs. Ottawa.  Chicago’s Patrick Lalime vs. Phoenix.  The Wild signed Nick Schultz to a six-year extension worth $21 million.  Dallas will be without D Sergei Zubov for a month after his foot surgery.  Tampa Bay traded Vaclav Prospal to Philly for Alexandre Picard and a draft pick.  St. Louis signed D Barret Jackman to a four-year deal.  Detroit signed W Darren McCarty to a one-year deal.  NY Rangers D Paul Mara had facial surgery and will miss a couple of weeks.  Minnesota acquired the thug Chris Simon from the Islanders for a draft pick.  Montreal traded G Cristobal Huet to Washington for a draft pick.  Tampa signed D Dan Boyle to a six-year $40 million deal.  Ottawa fired Coach John Paddock.  Replacing him is Bryan Murray.  Pittsburg D Rob Scuderi will miss a month following surgery on his finger.  Dallas’ Brad Richard have five assists in a win over Chicago.

terry-francona.jpg
The Red Sox extended Terry Francona’s contract for three more years.  He could be managing Bartolo Colon next year, as Boston signed him to a minor league deal.  K-Rod lost his arbitration.  His consolation prize…$10 million.  Oh darn.  Oliver Perez won his.  He’ll get $6.5 million next year from the Mets.  New Phillies closer had knee surgery and will miss a month or more.  Shannon Stewart signed with Toronto.  Tampa’s Scott Kazmir felt some discomfort in his elbow.  Omar Vizquel will miss a month or so following knee surgery.  The FBI is going to probe Roger Clemens to see if he lied.  Scott Spiezo was cut by St. Louis after having six charges brought upon him for drunk driving in December.  Colorado signed Manny Corpas to a four-year deal worth $8 million.

derek_anderson.jpg
If anyone wants Derek Andrerson, it will cost them a 1st and 3rd rounder.  Tom Coughlin got a four-year $21 million extension for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.  Can you refresh my memory Tiki and Strahan what you thought about him last year?  Oakland and Kansas City lost again.  This time it was a coin flip to determine the 3rd-5th picks in the draft.  Atlanta won.  Oakland will go 4th and Kansas City 5th.  Dom Capers will join the Patriots as their seconday coach.  Plus he has a background in surreptitious videotaping.  Just kidding.  Had to take the shot.  Chicago will give Rex Grossman one more try.  Zach Thomas has signed with Dallas.  Bryant McKinnie was arrested again.  Des Clark signed a two-year deal with the Bears.  The Chargers signed LB Derek Smith.  The Lions cut CB Fernando Bryant.  The Vikings traded Troy Williamson to Jacksonville for a sixth round pick.  He dropped his keys twice on the way to his car.  New England cut Rosevelt Colvin.  Kansas City cut Eddie Kennison.  Kevin Faulk got busted with weed at a concert.  Washington parted ways with Brandon Lloyd.  Nice signing Mr. Snyder.  San Fran re-signed NT Isaac Sopoaga and LB Roderick Green.  Carolina is bringing back Mushin Muhammad.  David Carr is getting kicked to the curb.  Kansas City cut Ty Law.  Detroit signed S Dwight Smith to a two-year dea.  He’s good if he can keep his nose clean.  St. Louis’ Leonard Little restructured his deal to save the Rams money. He was killed someone with his vehicle.  Indianapolis cut Booger McFarland and Rob Morris.  Tennessee cut David Givens. The Bills cut the A-Train. Minnesota cut Kelly Holcomb.  Tampa cut Kevin Carter.  Philly cut Jevon Kearse.  Oakland broke the piggy bank by paying Tommy Kelly $50.5 million over seven years.  Tedy Bruschi will return to New England.  Flozell will be back in Dallas.  Andre Davis signed a four-year deal with Houston.  Isaac Bruce was cut by St. Louis.

tennessee.jpg
#2 Tennessee beat #1 Memphis 66-62.   Then they lost to #14 Vanderbilt.  Kelvin Sampson is out at Indiana.  He got $750K to leave.  Colorado kicked Xavier Silas off the team.  Villanova beat #13 UConn 67-65.  Oklahoma State upset #5 Kansas 61-60.  Nebraska beat #22 Texas A & M 65-59.  #18 Drake beat #8 Butler 71-64.  Baylor beat #25 Kansas State 92-86 despite Michael Beasley’s Big 12 record 44 points.  He only got 30 & 15 in a loss to #5 Texas.  Arizona knocked off #19 Washington State 65-55.  Missouri State beat #20 Drake 86-83.  Houston’s Robert McKiver had 52 points against Southern Miss.  #18 Louisville beat #17 Notre Dame 90-85.#9 Wisconsin beat #15 Michigan State 57-42.

oklahoma.jpg
Oklahoma won 8 games last week.  OK, they didn’t actually win them, but they got their 8 wins put back on their record after they, gasp, got the NCAA to change its mind in the Rhett Bomar infractions case.  Virginia DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald left school.  Nick Saban isn’t happy with the misbehaviour of his team.  UConn coach Randy Edsall signed a five-year deal worth $7.5 million.  SMU suspended QB Justin Willis from spring practice.

tiger-woods-accenture.jpg
So Tiger won again.  This time it was the Accenture Match Play Championship. 

carl-edwards.jpg
Carl Edwards won the Auto Club 500.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.Images courtesy of Icon SMI

cooperstown-chronicles.jpg
Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Jimmy Ryan is another one suggested by Favre is overrated 2007, a friend of mine from the Sporting News community.  I’ve decided to review his numbers and offer my opinion to his Hall of Fame worthiness.

The Numbers
2012 Games 
8164 At Bats
.306 Batting Average
1642 Runs (32nd all-time)
2502 Hits (85th all-time)
451 Doubles (79th all-time)
157 Triples (45th all-time)
118 Home Runs
1093 RBI 
3621 Total Bases 
726 Extra Base Hits
418 Stolen Bases (60th all-time)

24 Games
6-1
.857 Win %
3 Complete Games
2 Saves
43 Strikeouts
3.62 ERA
1.513 WHIP

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Three times
On-Base % – Four times
Slugging % – Six Times (Led league in 1888)
OPS -  Seven times
Games – Three times
At Bats – Three times 
Runs – Five times
Hits – Three times (Led league in 1888)
Doubles - Seven times (Led league in 1888)
Triple – Four times
Home Runs – Seven times (Led league in 1888)
Total Bases – Three times (Led league in 1888 & 1889)
Exta-base Hits – Five times (Led league in 1889)
Walks – Twice
Stolen Bases – Three times
Hit by Pitch – Four times

I have to admit that all I know about Jimmy Ryan was learned once I began to investigate this case.  What I do know is Jimmy had eight seasons of 100+ runs, nine seasons of 10+ triples, several seasons of .300 or better hitting, solid overall rankings, and even some decent pitching.  Ryan’s three best run totals are 122, 132, and 140.  Those are impressive numbers.  When he retired he ranked third in games, and at-bats, fourth in doubles and home runs (118), and fifth in runs and hits.  He still leads the National League with 377 career outfield assists.  When I judge whether someone is Hall of Fame worthy, a look at how they were in their generation is very important.  This look at Pony has me convinced.  He should be a Hall of Famer.

References
Baseball-reference.com
Bleed Cubbie Blue
Baseball Almanac

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

NFL Free Agents

28 February 2008

As soon as the clock strikes midnight tonight, the feeding frenzy that is the NFL free agency period kicks off. Like all sports, you’ll see some marginal players bring in head scratching contracts, as well as minor tweaks that make all the difference in the world. Brace yourself football fans. The NFL’s second season is about to begin.

Click to continue reading “NFL Free Agents”

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

So we’ve profiled the Bounceback Middle Infielders.  Now it’s time to bring on the negativity.  Here’s a look at some players who will have a hard time matching the bar they set last year.

Orlando Cabrera (.301, 101 runs, 192 hits, 86 RBI)
Long known for his defensive prowess, Cabrera had two outstanding offensive seasons for Anaheim.  He’ll bring that glove with him to Chicago, but I don’t see the stick coming.  He had a career high in hits, runs, and average.  Although I have a spot for him in my heart for being part of the 2004 Red Sox team, I think he’s due for a return to the reality of .280, 75 runs, 65 RBI.

Khalil Greene (.254, 89 runs, 155 hits, 44 doubles, 27 HRs, 97 RBI)
Considering the pitcher friendly park he plays in, these numbers really stand out to me.  Sure, he’s in his prime at 28 years of age, but I don’t expect him to repeat his numbers.  His previous highs were 67 runs, 132 hits, 31 doubles, and 70 RBI.  He hit 15 HRs each of his three previous years.  I think he’s good for .260, 140 hits, 35 doubles, 22 HR, and 75 RBI, which is good, but still a drop in production from last year.

jj-hardy.jpg
J.J. Hardy
(.277, 89 runs, 26 HR, 80 RBI)
There weren’t many players better than Hardy in May last year.  He hit .325 with 9 HR and 26 RBI.  He was horrible in June and July only to finish solid. However, while his average came back (.292 in August, .280 in September), his power didn’t.  He had 8 HRs and 20 RBI combined in the last two months of the year, which is about what he averaged the first two months of the season.  I expect a solid year from him, and wouldn’t be afraid to draft him, but I’m putting him on a .280, 80 run, 20 HR, 70 RBI season.  Still good numbers, but not quite last year.

placido-polanco.jpg
My man has a melon.

Placido Polanco (.341, 200 hits, 105 runs, 36 doubles, 67 RBI)
I fully expect Placido to have another stellar year.  Their offense only got stronger with the addition of Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria.  However, I think Placido set the bar a little too high last year.  At 32 years of age I don’t expect another .340 year.  I’d say .310 would be more accurate.  He’ll probably see a dip in runs scored to the 80-90 range.  These are still solid numbers, but not the Baseball Stars type numbers he put up last year.

Brian Roberts (.290, 180 hits, 103 runs, 42 doubles, 50 SBs)
I’m expecting a little fallout following the Mitchell Report findings.  Not to mention, I don’t expect him to stay healthy all year like he did last year.  Plus Baltimore stinks.

Jose Vidro (.314, 78 runs, 172 hits, 59 RBI)
Before last year Vidro hadn’t played in 140 games since 2003.  He’ll turn 34 in August.  I’m guessing he breaks down at some point this season.  Sure, he’ll be productive when he’s healthy, but I don’t see him getting more than 150 hits (which also happened for the first time since 2003 last year) and I see an average around .285.  Again, decent numbers, but a dip from last year.  If you get Vidro, you’ll want a decent backup.

Bonus:
Although I think Edgar Renteria will have solid numbers, I don’t see any chance he hits .332 again.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

cooperstown-chronicles.jpg
Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Gary Gaetti was suggested by thewho52, a friend of mine from the Sporting News community.  I’ve decided to review his numbers and offer my opinion to his Hall of Fame worthiness.

gary-gaetti.jpg
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

The Numbers
2507 Games  (46th All-time)
8951 At Bats (66th All-time)
.255 Batting Average
1130 Runs
2280 Hits
443 Doubles (90th All-time)
39 Triples
360 Home Runs (70th All-time)
1341 RBI (78th All-time)
3881 Total Bases (86th All-time)
842 Extra Base Hits (72nd All-time)

World Series - 7 games, 7 hits in 27 at bats (.259), 4 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .519 Slugging %

The Awards
1987 ALCS MVP (.300, 5 runs, 6 hits, 1 double, 2 HRs, 5 RBI)
2 All-Star Games
4 Gold Gloves
1 Silver Slugger
MVP votes in 4 seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Slugging % – Twice
OPS – Once
Games – Three Times (Led league in ‘84)
Doubles - Once
Home Runs – Three Times
Total Bases – Once
RBI – Twice
Exta-base Hits – Twice
Hit by Pitch – Three times

The Rat had a cool nickname.  He had a good glove and some pop in his bat.  However, he never reach 100 runs, 200 hits, 110 RBI, 40 doubles, or 40 Home Runs.  Had he played on both of the Twins World Series teams, he’d have a better shot of convincing me.  He was good, not great, and doesn’t belong in Cooperstown.

References
Baseball-reference.com

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties