Here’s a look at some pitchers who could break out this year.

Clay Buchholz/Jon Lester
With Schilling out for an extended period Buchholz and Lester round out the back end of the rotation.  Buccholz was lights out in his brief stint, even throwing a no hitter.  He had a 1.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and a 1.84 BAA.  Lester wasn’t nearly as dominating, but he still sports an 11-2 career record.  He’ll need to get his WHIP (1.57) and BAA (2.78) down.

Matt Cain
Last year was supposed to be Cain’s breakout year after his 13-12, 4.15 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .222 BAA season he produced in 2006.  He was snakebitten last year though.  His 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and .235 BAA don’t translate into the 7-16 record he produced.  Baseball is a game of inches, and I’m guessing this year some of the bad breaks go Cain’s way.  I see him rebounding nicely in a 16+ winner with a low 3.00 ERA.

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Joba Chamberlain/Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy
The Yankees were desperate last year and turned to the trio of rookies to breathe life into an aging pitching staff.  This year, they will be asked to take on even bigger roles.  Odds are all three won’t have breakout seasons, but I’d guess that you can cue up the Meatloaf because “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”.  If I had to choose, I’d say Ian would be the odd man out.

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Felix Hernandez
I believe this is the year that King Felix joins the ranks as one of the game’s best pitchers.  He was unbelievable in his first taste in the bigs at the tender age of 19.  He was sloppy and struggled in his rookie year.  He took the game more seriously last year, and the results (14-7, 3.92 ERA) were evident.  This is the year I think he’ll win 17+ games and have an ERA around 3.50.

Hiroki Kuroda
In 271 games with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp Hiroki posted a 103-89 record with a 3.69 ERA.  He’ll likely earn a spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation, and could be a nice surprise for Dodger fans and fantasy owners alike.

Ubaldo Jimenez
He could stand to get his ERA down a little (4.28), but his WHIP (1.30) and BAA (.228) were very solid.  He struck out 68 in 82 innings.  He was solid in the playoffs (2.25 ERA, .183 BAA).  Surprisingly, he was better at home (3.81 ERA vs. 5.01 on the road).

Tim Lincecum
Lincecum had a decent rookie season going 7-5 with 150 Ks and a 4.00 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, and a .226 BAA.  I think he’s poised to become one of the best pitchers in the National League this year.  I love the fact that he improved after the All-Star break (3.39 ERA as compared to 4.63)

Dustin McGowan
Dustin was decent last year going 12-10 for Toronto with 144 Ks with a 4.08 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP, and a 2.30 BAA.  He also showed steady improvement after the All-Star break with a 3.67 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and a .217 BAA.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Before we dive into baseball, I want to direct your attention to a fantasy basketball interview I did on NBA Roto.  Pop on over and watch the video.  My pal Jimmy did a great job on it.

Ok, on to baseball.  Here are some outfielders who could explode this year.

Rick Ankiel - St. Louis Cardinals
As long as he doesn’t let the PED issue distract him, Ankiel should have a very solid season.  Last year he was one of the league’s best stories (before the HGH talk) with 11 HR, 31 runs, and 39 RBI in 47 games.

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Ryan Braun
– Milwaukee Brewers
I fully expect Braun to improve on the .324, 24 HR, 97 RBI season he had last year in 113 games.  That will be big time.

Chris Duncan - St. Louis Cardinals
Duncan didn’t make the progression that everybody expected last year, but he did have good power numbers.  Perhaps this is the year he puts it together.

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Jacoby Ellsbury -
Boston Red Sox
One can’t ask more out of Ellsbury than he did last year when he hit .353 with 20 runs, 18 RBI, and 9 SBs in 33 games.  That is unless you ask him to top the .360, 8 run, 4 RBI he turned in during the Red Sox playoff run.

Kosuke Fukudome - Chicago Cubs
Kosuke should jump right in the Cubs starting lineup (perhaps hitting 3rd) and deliver immediately.  He is a gap hitter that should do well in Wrigley.

Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers
Kemp delivered in his 98 games with the Dodgers last year hitting .342 with 47 runs, 12 doubles, 10 HRs, and 42 RBI.  He even added 10 SBs.  In a full season I see Kemp scoring 80 runs with 30 doubles, 20-25 HRs, and 70 RBI.

Nick Markakis - Baltimore Orioles
I’m not sure where Markakis will get his protection from, but he should have a solid season to follow up the .300, 97 run, 191 hit, 43 double, 23 HR, 112 RBI season he turned in last year.

Hunter Pence - Houston Astros
In 108 games last year Hunter hit .322, with 57 runs, 30 doubles, 17 HRs, and 69 RBI.  With a full year’s work he could score 80 runs, hit 40 doubles and 25 HR while driving in 80 or better. 

B.J. Upton - Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. showed his worth last year hitting .300 with 86 runs, 25 doubles, 24 HRs, 82 RBI, and 22 SBs.  I think he builds on that success and scores 100 and joins the 30-30 Club.

Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks
He struggled last year hitting .221 in 43 games, but has plenty of talent to produce like the first pick of the 2005 draft.  He’s not ready to outproduce his brother B.J., but he should be a decent 3rd or 4th OF for fantasy teams this year.

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Chris Young -
Arizona Diamondbacks
Young scored a decent amount of runs (85), hit for power (29 doubles, 32 HRs), and was a force on the basepaths (27 SBs).  He has plenty of room for improvement with his average (.237) and run production (68 RBI).  I would not be surprised if Young challenges entry into the 40-40 Club.  His ceiling is that high.

Delmon Young - Minnesota Twins
The talented Young was dealt to Minnesota for Matt Garza.  He’ll have a chance to make a name for himself hitting near Mauer and Morneau.  I expect him to build on the .288, 65 run, 186 hit, 38 double, 13 HR, 93 RBI season he had last year.  He’ll have to show more hustle though to avoid Ron Gardenhire’s dog house.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Here are some middle infielders who could break out this year.

Yuniesky Betancourt – Seattle Mariners
Yuniesky has hit .289 in each of the last two years.  He scored 72 runs, had 38 doubles, and 67 RBI last year.  In his third full season he’ll hit 40 doubles and drive in 75 runs.

Asdrubal Cabrera – Cleveland Indians
If Asdrubal can beat out Josh Barfield for the starting 2B spot, he could end up being a nice late round/waiver wire bargain.  In 45 games last year he scored 30 runs, hitting .283 with 22 RBI.  I could see 80 runs, 25 doubles, and 60 RBI.

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Stephen Drew – Arizona Diamondbacks
I expect Drew to build on a decent rookie season that saw him producee 60 runs & RBI, 28 doubles, 4 triples, 12 HRs, and 9 SBs.  His average (.238) was awful, but I expect him to improve dramatically as a Sophomore.  He shined in the playoffs last year hitting .387 with 6 runs, 2 HR, and 4 RBI in seven games.

Yunel Escobar - Atlanta Braves
Yunel made the most of his 94 game stint in the Bigs last year hitting .326, scoring 54 runs, with 25 doubles and 28 RBI.  A 90 run, 40 double season is not too far of a stretch for Yunel.

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Howie Kendrick
– Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, U.S., Earth
Howie hit .322 in 88 games last year scoring 55 runs, slugging 24 doubles, and driving in 39 runs.  If he’s able to reproduce that for a full season you’ll have a 100 run, 40 double, 70 RBI guy that was drafted in the late rounds.  Not too bad if you ask me.

Jayson Nix - Colorado Rockies
Nix hit .292 with 80 runs, 33 doubles, 11 HR, 58 RBI, and 24 SBs for Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League last year.  He’s got a great glove, which helps as he’s trying to win the starting base job.  He helped Team USA beat Cuba in the World Cup by hitting .387.

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The sky’s the limit for Tulo.

Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
I don’t expect a sophomore slump fro Troy, who hit .291 with 104 runs, 177 hits, 33 doubles, 24 HR, and 99 RBI while playing near flawless defense.  I expect him to make the All-Star team, win a Gold Glove, rack up close to 200 hits, 30 HR, and 100 RBI.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

It’s time for a look at the Corner Infielders that could be in for breakout years.

Daric Barton - Oakland A’s
Barton hit .347 with 4 HRs and 8 RBI as a September call-up.  Just as impressive was the ten walks he accumulated in his 18 games. 

Josh Fields - Chicago White Sox
Josh showed some pop last year hitting 23 HRs in 373 at bats.  If Joe Crede gets dealt, the third base gig is his.  He’ll have to improve on the .244 average though. 

Ryan Garko – Cleveland Indians
I look for Garko to build on the .289, 21 HR, 61 RBI season he produced last year.  I’m expecting an RBI total in the high 80′s to low 90′s.

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Alex Gordon
– Kansas City
Gordon did OK in his rookie year considering the hype he came with.  He hit .247 with 15 HR & 47 RBI.  With a full season under his belt, look for Gordon to improve dramatically.

Andy LaRoche - Los Angeles Dodgers
He’ll have to push Nomar for playing time, but LaRoche has big-time potential.  He didn’t show it last year when he hit .226 in his 35 game stint, but it’s there.  Perhaps he’s still a year or more away. 

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James Loney
– Los Angeles Dodgers
Loney had an outstanding season last year hitting .331 with 15 HR and 67 RBI in 96 games.  He’s primed for a 30 HR, 100 RBI season.

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Evan Longoria
- Tampa Bay Rays
No, not Eva, although some think he’ll have a rookie season as hot as Mrs. Parker. 

Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
He hit well as a call-up last year.  Now he’ll get the chance to earn the starting 1B job.  He’s not going to hit the .321 he did in his 84 at bats last year, but he could be a nice bargain in the late rounds.  He’s got decent speed for a first basemen.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB | Tagged: Eva Longoria |

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Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Roger Maris was suggested by aaJjoe7, a friend of mine from Sporting News.  Here are my findings.

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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Numbers
1463 Games 
5101 At Bats
.260 Batting Average
826 Runs
1325 Hits
195 Doubles 
42 Triples 
275 Home Runs
851 RBI 
2429 Total Bases 

World Series:  41 games, 33 hits in 152 at bats (.217), 26 runs, 5 doubles, 6 HRs, 18 RBI 

Awards
1960 & 1961 MVP
4 All-Star Games
1 Gold Glove
MVP votes in three seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Slugging % – Three times (Led league in 1961)
OPS – Three times
Games – Twice
At Bats – Once
Runs – Three times (Led league in 1961)
Doubles - Once
Triple – Twice
Home Runs – Four times (actual all-time single-season record in 1961)
RBI – Three times (Led league in ’60 & ’61)
Total Bases – Four times (Led league in ’61)
Extra-base Hits – Four times (Led league in ’60 & ’61)
Walks – Twice
Hit by Pitch – Twice
Intentional Walks – Once

This one is tough.  Yes, he did win back-to-back MVPs.  Yes, he did have a three year stretch where he was one of the very best in the game.  Yes, he did break Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a season (with or without the asterisk).  Looking at the numbers my head says ”no way”.  However, my gut says something different.  My gut says that Roger Maris endured a lot in his pursuit of the home run title.  Let’s be honest, the asterisk he wore like the Scarlet Letter was much less deserved than the ones we want to pin on steroid users such as Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.   The back-to-back MVPs brings him to the doorstep for me.  The three World Series wins (and 7 World Series appearances) is what kicks the door in for me.  My gut says that we owe Roger a big apology in the form of a Hall of Fame pass. 

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
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan
George Van Haltren

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity. Oh, there goes Rabbit. He choked.  He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy.  STOP, STOP, STOP.  It’s not time to recite Eminem lyrics.  It’s time to review which catchers are going to snap back to reality after having great 2007 seasons. 

We’ve already covered the Bounceback Catchers, so without further ado, I present you the Back to Earth Catchers.

Johnny Estrada (.278, 123 hits, 25 doubles, 54 RBI)
Johnny may still have a decent average, but sharing time with Paul Lo Duca likely means he won’t get enough at bats to be as productive as last year. 
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Photo courtesy of Icon SMI
Jorge Posada (.338, 42 doubles, 20 HR, 93 RBI)
Somebody should check to see if Jorge tapped into Roger Clemens’ private stash.  At 36 years of age, he batted .051 points higher than his previous best batting average.  He also set a career high for doubles.  While I expect him to have a good year in that offense, I would be shocked if his batting average didn’t drop at least 30 points.

Sorry there isn’t more, but not enough catchers had the type of year that leads me to believe they can’t match it.  However, I don’t think Victor Martinez will drive in as many runs.  I also doubt Mike Redmond gets as many hits or RBI.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

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Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

George Van Haltren 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
1984 Games 
8021 At Bats
.316 Batting Average (72nd All-time)
1639 Runs (33rd All-time)
2532 Hits (80th All-time)
285 Doubles 
161 Triples (38th All-time)
69 Home Runs
1014 RBI 
3346 Total Bases 
583 Stolen Bases (20th All-time)

93 Games
40-31
.563 Win %
65 Complete Games
4 Saves
281 Strikeouts
4.05 ERA
1.528 WHIP

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Four times
On-Base % – Four times
Slugging % – Once
OPS -  Once
Games – Eight times (Led league in 1894, 1896 & 1898)
At Bats – Seven times (Led league in 1898)
Runs – Eight times
Hits – Nine times
Doubles - Twice
Triple – Seven times (Led league in 1896)
Home Runs – Twice
Total Bases – Five times
Extra-base Hits – Twice
Walks – Twice
Stolen Bases – Five times (Led league in 1900)

Winning Percentage – Twice
Stikeouts – Once
Shutouts – Once
Saves – Three times

I didn’t know of George Van Haltren before researching this.  What I found out is “Rip” had eleven seasons of 100+ runs (5 with 120+), eight seasons of 10+ triples, several seasons of .300 or better hitting, solid overall rankings, and even some decent pitching.  He had a strong arm in the outfielder, racking up outfield assists.  He was one of the best of his era and, along with Jimmy Ryan, is the only player (that isn’t banned because of gambling) with 1600+ runs that isn’t in the Hall of Fame.  I think it’s time for that to change.

References
Baseball-reference.com
The Baseball Page

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
Jimmy Ryan

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

We’ve covered the Bounceback Starters and Closers.  Now it’s time to look and see who’s successful 2007 seasons won’t be duplicated.

Starters
Fausto Carmona (19-8, 137 Ks, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .248 BAA)
Fausto was 1-10 with a 5.42 ERA, a 1.59 WHIP, and a .298 BAA in 2006 before turning in one of the best years in the majors last year.  I don’t see him returning to 2006 form, but I could see a dip in his production as Detroit and Chicago both improved their teams.

Scott Kazmir (13-9, 239 Ks, 3.48 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .251 BAA)
An elbow strain, mild or not, gives me cause for concern from somebody I’m counting on to head my pitching staff.  He’s not going to get any work in during Spring Training and could possibly miss a start or two (if not more).  I’d still draft Kazmir, but I’m going to downgrade him a bit.

Ted Lilly (15-8, 174 Ks, 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .236 BAA)
Lilly’s return to the National League was quite successful.  He matched his career high in wins, and set new highs in innings pitched, strikeouts, and WHIP.  Not to mention his ERA was under 4.00 for just the second time in his career (3.69 in 2002).  I think he’ll have a hard time matching those numbers.

John Maine (15-10, 180 Ks, 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .235 BAA)
Maine struggled after the All-Star Break going 5-6 with 5.53 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP, and a .261 BAA.  That’s a trend I don’t like to see in a young pitcher.  Not to mention the addition of Johan Santana will move him down the rotation. 

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Tim Wakefield
(17-12, 110 Ks, 4.76 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .264 BAA)
Wake matched his career high with 17 wins last season.  Even with him moving up a spot in the rotation with the Schilling injury, I have a hard time believe he’ll win as many games this year.  His ERA, WHIP, and K’s probably won’t fluctuate much.

Closers
Joe Borowski
(45 Saves, 5.07 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .289 BAA)
If his ERA, WHIP, and BAA are as elevated next year, he could find himself out of a job.  Rafael Betancourt is there waiting in the wings.

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Joe Nathan
(37 Saves, 1.88 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .209 BAA)
I just don’t think this Twins team is going to give Joe the opportunities to match last year.  Plus, there is a chance he gets traded.  If he goes to a contender to take over the closer gig, he gets a boost.  If he goes to a contender to be a setup man, his value plummets.

Jose Velarde (47 Saves, 2.66 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .196 BAA)
I don’t trust Velarde because he was traded from Arizona to Houston.  I don’t see his save total approaching last year’s mark.  I’m guessing his WHIP and BAA increase as well.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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#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.

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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.

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So Tiger won again.  This time it was the Accenture Match Play Championship. 

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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


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