Wednesday, December 07, 2005

OH MANNY!

Trades, rumors, deals in the works, free agent wining and dining: Stoke the Hot Stove, Baby!

MANNY:

I think the most telling point about the Manny trade rumors is that no one that wants to take on the salary will give anything back in return. To trade Manny to the Angels without getting Ervin Santana and Casey Kochman back is criminal. Ditto the Mets with David Wright and Lasting Milledge. Those guys are the starting points. Include them and then throw in a salary (Darrin Erstad or Fat Cliff Floyd) before you even begin to say the deal is in early stages. I say let Manny hold out. When that paycheck stops coming in we will see the Humble Bumble Manny come crawling back, just as he did when he skated through waivers. And do not try to tell me he went on a rampage in the front office: I am sure it was simply a phone call from his agent upset at the triumvirate and Theo that got overblown when reported.

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TROT NIXON:

My sister-in-law Jenn hates me forever for writing this, but it is time for the last vestige of the Lou Gorman era to pack his bags. Trot and a pitcher to Philly for Bobby Abreau? Pull the trigger, baby! Trot is slowly creeping into the Derek Jeter and Joe DiMaggio range of over-ratedness (and, yes, I just made that word up. I have a liberal arts degree, and that gives me the right, dammit!). Nixon is, and has been, a good fourth outfielder. He cannot hit lefties. He has neither the power to be so slow on the bases, nor the speed to be so powerless at the plate. He has forgotten how to slice a double off the monster in left. He is ALWAYS injured. He strikes out too much. He is too slow for RF at Fenway. And he is paid way too much money. Trot needs to go. I really like the rumor regarding Juan Encarnacion coming to Fenway, or Lyle Overbay. Now either of those two would double the numbers put up by the Trotman.

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MATT CLEMENT:

I still like Clement and probably am his (and Edgar Renteria for that matter as well) only supporter left in New England. I still think he will put up 15+ wins next year (just as I believe Edgar will hit .300 with 15 homers, 100 runs scored, and show us why he won two gold gloves). However, if he is part of the package for Bobby Abreau then pull the trigger. Adam Dunn or Julio Lugo? Not so fast.

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ROGER CLEMENS:

One more year in Boston to break Cy Young’s record for wins for the franchise? Come on, Roger. Of course, he should retire. How appropriate for Roger to go out by pulling himself out of a World Series game again 20 years later with an injury rather than gutting it out for his teammates ala Curt Schilling. Roger comes full circle/Instant Karma is gonna get ya.

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SEAN DOUGLASS:

Who? Middle reliever released by Cleveland. He is the missing link. Someone tell the Gang of Four to sign him quickly. Seriously, I just wanted to see who read the whole posting!

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HERM-TASTIC!

Ahh, after a solid, if sloppy, spanking by the Patriots, the Jets creep ever closer to drafting Reggie Bush with the second pick of the first round and then watching him hold out of training camp and blow out his knee in an exhibition game. Sounds like a realistic scenario, no? After all, the Jets did draft Blair Thomas.

But it is too early for the 2006 draft predictions (unless you are Mel Kiper Jr. By the way, who the hell is Mel Kiper Sr. anyway?), especially with the Patriots sitting at 7-5 as the only team over .500 in the AFC Least. While the game was not especially pretty, what with the slipping and sliding, penalties, and field goals aplenty, the Patriots FINALLY had a game where the offense was not bailing out the defense. Was it mere coincidence that the Patriots defense looked good after finally bring back the same eleven as the previous week?

Lest anyone forget, Artrell Hawkins is a major stabilizing force in the secondary. This is no Earthwind Moreland, here. Hawkins was a starting cornerback for seven years before an injury cost him his job this summer. The more he plays and picks up the defense, the better they will be (dare I say that the defense is slowly building steam and ready to peak in January like the 1994, 1996, and 2001 defenses? Well, a little consistency would be nice before we start anointing this defense as something of substance, but it definitely is a step in the right direction).

THE GOOD:
* Tom Brady was error-free and, if not for some fumble-fingers in the receiving corps, should have completed almost 90% of his passes.
* Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk were on the field in the same game.
* The defense did not give up a touchdown.
* The run defense did a great job of limiting Curtis Martin to less than two yards a carry.

THE BAD:
* The Pats had some bizarre penalties that killed some big plays (Richard Seymour’s facemask penalty and then the phantom clipping call of Steven Neal).
* The morgue-like atmosphere of the game, as Richard Seymour noted in his post-game remarks.
* Still no big plays on special teams. So far, they are not too special.

THE UGLY:
* The Jets offense. Nuff said.

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PLAY FOR THE TY:

Not much of a rousing return to Foxboro for Ty Law. Since he is due an 11 million dollar bonus payout after this season if the Jets keep him, I cannot imagine he is long for the green and white. Though I doubt he would return to New England, at least it was good to see his career is not over and he can still make the plays. Of course, he also missed the fourth quarter because his foot was acting up, but who can blame him? I happened to miss the fifth quarter on channel 38 and feel good about myself for missing it.

What I expected to happen, which fortunately did not though I had bad dreams about it all week, was the Jets to be up three or six late in the fourth and Brady driving the team downfield. Then, just as he had for the Patriots so many time, Ty Law steps in front of an sideline out, picks the pass, and runs it back untouched for the clinching touchdown. Yup, I definitely let out a little sigh of relief after the Dillon touchdown in the third quarter.

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MORE HATING ON THE JETS:

Where was Dewayne Robertson, the worthy choice at #4 in the 2003 NFL draft, yesterday?

Oh, and do you think the Jets miss Jason Ferguson?

I just think about the Jets needing to clear $30 million in salary this off-season, and Buffalo trying to win with J.P. Losman and smile.

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CHILLED ON ICE:

Nice to see the Bruins back to their old ways. Only took three games.

Does Hannu Toivonen getting a few starts at goal officially mean this is a rebuilding season now?

I just realized the other day that new Bruins defenseman Brad Stuart is on my fantasy hockey team. Shows you how much that league is captivating me. On the downside, I am in two leagues, and in last place in both of them! Someone tell me again why I thought this was a good idea? Now I am one of THOSE GUYS that we bash in baseball and football (i.e. Chazer, this Pittsburg Gorillaz guy should just trade one of us Johan Santana since he has not checked his last-place roster in two months and half his team is on injured reserve). I guess I can be happy I did not get into the fantasy basketball this year. Of course, if I were to play fantasy basketball, I would be like Brigs and play in a league made up of young professionals in Hong Kong. Hey, did they invite you back or what, Brig-looter? Enquiring minds want to know.

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C-ING THINGS FOR THE FIRST TIME:

Celtics show their two sides in loss and win: the All-Pierce Show fails to bring the win, but the balanced attack and big games from Delonte West and Big Perk before they foul out knock off the mighty (cough, cough) Knicks.

Speaking of the Knicks, how long are they going to let Isiah Thomas run that team?

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NEW YORK BASHING - TWO FOR ONE SALE:

Typical Yankees. They sign that relief pitcher from the Braves who gave up the grand slam to Berkman in the playoffs and then gave up the game-winning dinger the next inning to lose it for the Braves yet again in the playoffs. Geez, were Mark Wohlers and John Rocker not available on the free-agent market? I think they can grab Steamer Stanley and Calvin Schiraldi as well if they need some chokers to make Hamburger Helper feel more at home.

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