Sunday, December 30, 2007

KERMIT IS AN IDIOT

It is easy being Green! Celtics Green, that is.

What a beautiful world it is with the Celtics so relevant. Having been drinking the cool-aid Danny dished for the past three or four years, it is nice to not be only person who can name the starting five for the Celtics.

With the Celtics on the road on the west coast again last night, they matched their win total from last season. On December 27 no less. So to match their record from last season, the Green would need to go 0-55 the remainder of the way.

EVERYONE was excited to see Kevin Garnett wipe the memory of those Gerald Green #5 jerseys from our minds, but who realized how good he really was after all those years carrying the load in Minnesota. And Ray Allen, what a revelation this man has been. What a shooting touch! I’ve been nodding my head watching him play and thinking: “Oh, that is what Wally was supposed to be like these past two years!”

With Paul Pierce able to trust someone else on the team to hit a shot once in a while, it frees the big three up to play some defense. Pierce can dial it up when necessary, such as him dropping 37 on Seattle last night, but it must feel nice for him to know he doesn’t have to do it every night.

With Rajon Rondo showing a jump shot and Big Perk cleaning the boards, this team really is as good as they look. The bench is deep with Eddie House, James Posey, Tony Allen and Scott Pollard providing regular minutes and Big Baby Davis jumping in with Scalabrine when necessary.

Yes, we all thought the Celtics were going to be good this year, but I don’t think anyone really believed that Pierce, Allen, and Pierce would mesh so well and the team defense would improve so dramatically. Whatever the reason, its nice to see the Green relevant again.

* * *

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's never too early...

...to start thinking about the NFL Draft!!!

Forget for a second that the season is only 3/4 of the way over right now. Focus on the fact the Patriots have the number one pick of the San Francisco 49ers. Right now, at 3-9, the 49ers spot would be #2 in the draft behind Miami. That's right, the Patriots would have either LSU stud defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey or uber-superstar running back Darren McFadden from Arkansas. Either one, I think I would be so excited that I pity whoever was standing near me as I fist-pumped and knocked them unconscious in my exuberance.

Here is what Todd McShay over at ESPN.com has for the Pats in his mock draft 1.0 at http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft08/insider/columns/story?columnist=mcshay_todd&id=3144001:
2. New England Patriots (from 3-9 San Francisco)
Current record: 12-0
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: ILB, CB, OLB
Projected pick: Darren McFadden*, RB, Arkansas
This hardly seems fair. The league's best team lands the draft's top talent -- or strikes another lucrative draft-day deal for him. Both McFadden and Laurence Maroney split carries in college. A two-back rotation would make both last longer, not to mention the possibilities for an offense already overloaded with talent.

OK, it is not good for me to be this excited. I have to go cool down. (Deep breath, deep breath, relax!)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Who for Johan?

Now, before I even begin to discuss the wacky idea of giving any pitcher even a five year contract, the question before the Red Sox is how much do you give up to the Twins for Johan Santana? Second, forget about the idea of driving up the price for the Yankees, Johan Santana is a left-handed Pedro from back when Pedro was Pedro (think 1997). So, if we go in assuming that the Red Sox braintrust will sign Santana for 4 years at around $18M to $20M per season, what kind of package is necessary for the Twins?

First, think about it from the hTwins perspective: they have Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and just traded Matt Garza for Delmon Young. The Twins have pitching up the ying-yang, but they will gladly take Clay Bucholz if you give him to them. What they really need are hitters. They need power hitters, speed guys, gap-power guys, anyone who can hit. The problem for the Red Sox (and even more so for the Yankees) is that their top prospects are pitchers, not hitters. In fact, the Red Sox have an appalling lack of power hitters in their system.

So if the trade is going to be made, it is not going to focus on Lester and Buchholz, but rather on the other players in the deal. Of course, the Red Sox would prefer to trade Coco Crisp rather than Jacoby Ellsbury. The top hitting prospect that has been mentioned in any trade has been Jed Lowrie. Here is what Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus had to say about Lowrie in his most recent Future Shock article on the top Red Sox prospects:

Jed Lowrie, SS
DOB: 4/17/84
Height/Weight: 6-0/180
Bats/Throws: S/R
Draft: 1st round, 2005, Stanford
2007 Stats: .297/.410/.501 at Double-A (93 G);
.300/.356/.506 at Triple-A (40 G)
Year In Review: After a disappointing full-season debut, Lowrie had what can only be defined as a breakout campaign, putting up great numbers at both Double- and Triple-A.
The Good: Lowrie is an on-base machine. His approach is highly advanced, as he works the count well, and recognizes which pitches he can drive into the gap. His makeup is off the charts--he’s a baseball grinder who plays and practices with an infectious all-out style. Defensively, he’s fundamentally sound and features a solid, accurate arm.
The Bad: Scouts’ opinions of Lowrie vary wildly, with some seeing him as an everyday big league shortstop, and others seeing him as no more than a very good utility player. There is little doubt that with Lowrie’s average speed and slow first step that his range is a little short to play on the left side of an infield in the big leagues.
Fun Fact: Lowrie is just one of 21 first-round picks to come out of the Stanford baseball program.
Perfect World Projection: A starting shortstop, though second base is more likely.
Timetable: With Julio Lugo still under contract and Dustin Pedroia establishing himself as one of the better second basemen around, Lowrie has no obvious job with the Red Sox. He’ll return to Triple-A in 2008, and probably won’t achieve a full-time role in the majors until he or Lugo gets moved elsewhere.

Of course, out of the top prospects (non-pitcher) outside of Lowrie, the hitters have all been no higher than single-A. Somehow, I do not see the Twins getting too excited about any package that does not have Ellsbury and Lowrie at the minimum. The pitching preospects are likely not the problem, it is the hitting prospects. And this goes for the Yankees as well. They are stocked with young arms, but lack hitters in the minor leagues. Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano would have to be 1 and 2 in any trade offer from the perpective of the Twins needs.

So, what do I think? Well, maybe Santana goes now, maybe at mid-season, but unless the REd Sox or Yankees cough up some major-league ready hitters, there is no deal for Johan.

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