Thursday September 9, 2004
NFL "EXPERT" Picks
Good Morning! Again, I feel the need to apologize for not really keeping up with the website since the Labor Day weekend.
So today, I will try to get all caught up on some things that I missed, that I should have been talking about the last few days. So, let's get to it.
RANDOM TWINS TOPICS
As I mentioned earlier in the week, I was in attendance at the Twins 4-3 win on Saturday morning at the Dome. Be sure to click here for a visual recap of the game. My sister and I took a bunch of pictures from our upper deck seats. Many of them turned out quite well.
The Twins won 2 out of 3 over the weekend at home against the Royals. They won the game started by Johan Santana, and Carlos Silva pitched well in Saturday's 4-3 win, although he did not get a decision. But then on Sunday, the Twins were shelled by the Royals. Guess who toted the rubber for the Twins? That's right, Kyle Lohse. Seriously, as I have been saying for awhile now, the time has come for Lohse to just be taken out of the rotation! No more questions. No more discussing how good his "stuff" is. No more excuses. Just make the change!!! Please!
I am now 100%, fully of the opinion that Kyle Lohse should be taken out of the rotation. He should absolutely not be included in discussion for the Twins playoff starting rotation! I am starting to question whether he warrants a spot on the playoff roster at all! In my opinion, Carlos Silva should be the Game 3 starter in the Twins first series. If they decided to go to a four-man rotation, and are fortunate to make it to the second round, Terry Mulholland has earned the right to be the fourth starter. Now, the question is, do you want Kyle Lohse coming out of the bullpen, or is there someone else (Crain? Durbin?) that would be better fit into the bullpen? I think so.
The last few months, I have continued to say that I think that the Twins will have a far more potent offensive infield if they go with Justin Morneau (1B), Michael Cuddyer (2B), Jason Bartlett (SS) and Terry Tiffee (3B) as their regulars. Sure, it may not be a strong infield defensively, but in Morneau, Bartlett and Cuddyer, you will have far better offensive players than the player they would be replacing (or have already replaced). Terry Tiffee has been great thus far, but I do not think that he will be as good offensively as Corey Koskie is, and certainly he would not be as good defensively.
I still believe that the Twins should not pick up Cristian Guzman's 2005 option at $5.25 million. That is way too much for a .270, singles hitting shortstop. However, I am beginning to really appreciate what Guzman does defensively. Last year, he made just seven errors the whole season. This year, he has more errors, but just is a stalwart in the middle of the infield, something that may be important with shaky defense over the rest of the infield. Jason Bartlett really struggled defensively in a two game tryout with the Twins a couple months ago, and was really non-good at Rochester either. As much as I would prefer his bat to Guzman's, I now at least would understand why the Twins would consider re-signing Guzman. Now, that said, I would prefer the Twins decline the option and work out a deal for about half of that amount, maybe in the neighborhood of $2.5 million.
Another topic that I find interesting is looking at the Twins Big 2 pitchers. Johan Santana again pitched seven shutout innings last night, one night after Brad Radke gave up one run in seven innings. The two pitchers have each thrown 21 quality starts. So, what are the Twins to do about signing those two players.
I think that the first person the Twins need to deal with is Radke. Not because I feel he is better or more important than Santana, but just because he is a free agent at the season's end, whereas Johan Santana is merely arbitration-eligible. (and this is also not to downgrade the important of Santana either!)
Brad Radke is making $10 million this season. Clearly the Twins will not want to re-sign him to that kind of contract again. I can't see any teams giving him that kind of money. However, he has shown how valuable he is to the Twins, and I think that the team wants to keep him around, and I really think that he would want to stay as well. So, if I'm Terry Ryan, I offer Radke a 3 year, $19.5 million contract. ($6 million in 2005, $6.5 million in 2006, $7 million in 2007). I think that this is close to fair market value, and if Radke truly would like to stick with the Twins, it should be close enough that he should consider accepting it. I hope that he learned from the Eddie Guardado situation that things are good with the Twins and things are not always greener on the other side.
Now, the Johan Santana situation is a lot more interesting. Santana is clearly the best pitcher in the American League (with all due respect to Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Tim Hudson). He has two more years of arbitration-eligibility. I know last year that he and his agent were disappointed that the Twins didn't show any interest in signing him long-term. But I can understand why they didn't. The Twins gave Joe Mays a big, long-term contract after one good season. He had also had arm problems. Last winter, Santana had bone chips removed from his elbow. Sure there were signs that he could be great, but not enough to take the risk. I think that the Twins should try to offer Santana a contract to get him through arbitration and then another year or two. But Santana will not come cheap at all. So, if I'm Terry Ryan, I offer Santana and his agent a 5 year contract worth $39 million. ($5 million in 2005, $7 million in 2006, $8 million in 2007, $9 million in 2008 and $10 million in 2010.) I'm sure that would not even be considered and the Twins would have to up it, but I do think it is a fair starting point.
OK, so there are some random Twins thoughts. The team does have an off day today before starting a four game series in Detroit on Friday.
do you have any thoughts on the Twins, these contracts or any other topics? E-mail me.
Aaron Elling? Gone. Brett Conway? Good job on those three extra-points last Thursday, but... Gone! Morten Anderson is kicking for the Vikings. I think it's a good signing. He can't kick outside of 40 yards any more, but anything inside that point he probably won't miss. That means that any time the Vikings have the ball on fourth down and they are between the 23 and the 40, they will have to go for it. Actually, I don't have any problem with that anyway. With the Vikings offense, if they can convert in these situations over 50% of the time, that would be great.
Chris Hovan is so over-rated. Maybe he'll be decent this year because Kevin Williams is the real deal! I really think the Vikings defense can be good. And we know what the offense is capable of!
Why hasn't the league heard Onterrio Smith's suspension appeal? I mean, the suspension was handed out three or more weeks ago. How can the league have not heard that yet? They've had plenty of time. Do you think it is because the Vikings will be without Michael Bennett for the first four games too? Maybe the NFL is trying to help the Vikings?! I do know that I would love to see Mewelde Moore. I've seen him play just a few times, but he looks tough! Also, I am very happy that Larry Ned made the team. He's been in training camp up until the final cuts a few years in a row now.
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
Tonight, the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots collide in the NFL's first regular season game of the year. So, it is time to bring back our NFL "Expert" Picks. This year, we have added a couple of more 'experts' so it should be a lot of fun. (If you are interested in last year's results, click here.) Last year, Aaron Gleeman beat Ben Jacobs by two games in the overall record. This year, both are back for bragging rights over at The Hardball Times. We have added a couple more Twins bloggers as well. Here is a quick look at our panelists:
Seth Stohs - writer of this site, www.SethSpeaks.net - Please read the About Me section for a mini-bio of me.
Melissa Olson - editor, proofreader of www.SethSpeaks.net - Missy is a great friend and big football fan. She helped develop this site and originally was the publisher of the site. She returns to this contest in an attempt to improve on her ranking from last year (8th out of 9, with 59% correct).
Ben Jacobs - Fantasy Sports Writer at The Hardball Times - If you want great information or ideas about fantasy sports, baseball in particular, your should definitely check out Ben's articles. Ben returns in an attempt to leapfrog Aaron Gleeman and win this thing. Last year, he was accurate on 68% of his picks.
Aaron Gleeman - writer of Aaron's Baseball Blog and the co-creator of and contributor to The Hardball Times - In the world of Baseball blogging, there is one name that stands out above all others, and that is Aaron Gleeman. His thoughts and statistical analysis are so well written and thought out that it is a must-read. The 21 year old college student takes classes and still writes up two articles a day for his sites. Gleeman returns this year to defend his title. Last year, he accurately chose almost 69% of games.
John Bonnes - writer of The Twins Geek - OK, Aaron and John and like 1a and 1b on the list of the top baseball bloggers. John's Twins Geek site is now found on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune web page. An incredibly articulate writer, John mixes deep thought with "geeky" numbers daily. This is John's first attempt at this league.
Ryan Maus - writer of Twins Chatter - His website may be newer than some of the other Twins sites, but it takes a back seat to no one. Another collegian, Ryan and his friend John, write well thought out Twins articles every day. Ryan is new to this contest as well.
Michael Labuda - writer of ChiSox Daily - Michael's site is great because it is fun to read about the White Sox fan's perspective. But Mike writes about all Chicago area sports and teams. Michael got just under 64% correct last year, which ranked 7th out of 9.
David Bergner - writer of The Baseball Savant - David is new to the panel this year. I have had a couple of "conversations" with David on this site. He is a brilliant baseball mind who writes a great article a few times a week. But does he know football? We'll find out!
David Bloom - writer of Ya Gotta Believe - I'm a Devil Rays fan, and I think that David's site is an excellent place to find information on that team. But David is also a big football fan, particularly the Buccaneers. He is knowledgeable and I would expect he will be very good at this!
Vic Quick - Sports Director at KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, NE - He was one of my college roommates and remains a great friend! Originally from Dallas, TX, Vic is a huge Cowboys fan, even now when they are terrible! In Vicís job, he covers the Denver Broncos and the Nebraska Cornhuskers during their seasons.
Mike Brasel - One of my best friends since we were both about 6. He is listed as the left fielder for my Best Players Iíve Played Ball With team. After serving in the Navy for 6 years, Mike went back to school and became an engineer. Heís also a pretty smart football person, who I turn to for fantasy football advice!!
Jeremy Kovash - Jeremy is the manager of the Wolf Lake Wolf Pack, an amateur team that just finished in second place in the Minnesota state baseball tournament. He is also listed as the first baseman on the list of the Best Players I've Played Ball With. He is in his first year in this competition.
Seth Stohs Melissa Olson Ben Jacobs Aaron Gleeman John Bonnes Ryan Maus SethSpeaks.net SethSpeaks.net Hardball Times Aaron's BB Blog Twins Geek Twins Chatter Indianapolis @ New England Colts Colts Patriots Patriots Colts Patriots Seattle @ New Orleans Seahawks Saints Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Cincinnati @ NY Jets Bengals Jets Jets Jets Bengals Bengals Arizona @ St. Louis Rams Rams Rams Rams Rams Rams Tennessee @ Miami Titans Titans Titans Titans Dolphins Titans Oakland @ Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers Raiders Steelers Raiders Steelers San Diego @ Houston Texans Chargers Texans Texans Texans Chargers Jacksonville @ Buffalo Bills Bills Bills Jaguars Jaguars Bills Detroit @ Chicago Lions Bears Bears Lions Lions Lions Baltimore @ Cleveland Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Tampa Bay @ Washington Redskins Buccs Redskins Buccs Buccs Redskins Atlanta @ San Francisco 49ers 49ers Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Dallas @ Minnesota Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings NY Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Kansas City @ Denver Chiefs Chiefs Broncos Chiefs Chiefs Broncos Green Bay @ Carolina Panthers Packers Panthers Packers Panthers Panthers NFL MVP Daunte Culpepper Randy Moss Donovan McNabb Randy Moss Priest Holmes Ladanian Tomlinson NFL Rookie of Year Kevin Jones Eli Manning Larry Fitzgerald / Sean Taylor Kevin Jones Larry Fitzgerald Kevin Jones NFC Champion Vikings Vikings Eagles Eagles Vikings Seahawks AFC Champion Patriots Colts Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Super Bowl Champ Vikings Vikings Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots
Michael Labuda David Bergner David Bloom Vic Quick Mike Brasel Jeremy Kovash ChiSox Daily Baseball Savant Ya Gotta Believe KDUH-Sports Fantasy FB Guru Wolf Lake Mgr Indianapolis @ New England Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Seattle @ New Orleans Saints Seahawks Seahawks Saints Seahawks Seahawks Cincinnati @ NY Jets Jets Jets Bengals Jets Bengals Jets Arizona @ St. Louis Rams Rams Rams Rams Rams Rams Tennessee @ Miami Dolphins Titans Titans Titans Titans Titans Oakland @ Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers Raiders Steelers Steelers Steelers San Diego @ Houston Texans Texans Chargers Texans Texans Chargers Jacksonville @ Buffalo Bills Bills Bills Bills Jaguars Bills Detroit @ Chicago Bears Bears Lions Lions Lions Lions Baltimore @ Cleveland Browns Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Tampa Bay @ Washington Redskins Redskins Buccs Redskins Redskins Redskins Atlanta @ San Francisco 49ers Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Dallas @ Minnesota Vikings Vikings Vikings Cowboys Vikings Vikings NY Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Kansas City @ Denver Broncos Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Broncos Chiefs Green Bay @ Carolina Panthers Packers Packers Packers Panthers Packers NFL MVP Peyton Manning Matt Hasselbeck Roy Williams-Cowboys Daunte Culpepper Daunte Culpepper NFL Rookie of Year Reggie Williams Tatum Bell Reggie Williams Reggie Williams Eli Manning NFC Champion Vikings Seahawks Cowboys Vikings Vikings AFC Champion Colts Patriots Colts Colts Colts Super Bowl Champ Colts Patriots Cowboys Colts Colts
Looking at the selections of the 12 panelists, here is who the collective "We" think will win each game:
Indianapolis @ New England - Patriots 9-3
Seattle @ New Orleans - Seahawks 9-3
Cincinnati @ NY Jets - Jets 7-5
Arizona @ St. Louis - Rams 12-0
Tennessee @ Miami - Titans 10-2
Oakland @ Pittsburgh - Steelers 9-3
San Diego @ Houston - Texans 8-4
Jacksonville @ Buffalo - Bills 9-3
Detroit @ Chicago - Lions 8-4
Baltimore @ Cleveland - Ravens 11-1
Tampa Bay @ Washington - Redskins 8-4
Atlanta @ San Francisco - Falcons 9-3
Dallas @ Minnesota - Vikings 11-1
NY Giants @ Philadelphia - Eagles 12-0
Kansas City @ Denver - Chiefs 8-4
Green Bay @ Carolina - Tie 6-6
NFL MVP - Daunte Culpepper(3) and Randy Moss (2)
Rookie of the Year - Kevin Jones and Reggie Williams - 3 votes each (Fitzgerald/Manning 2)
AFC Champ - Patriots (6) over Colts (5)
NFC Champ - Vikings (6)
Super Bowl Champs - Patriots (5), Colts (3), Vikings (2)
OK, just a quick reminder that the first episode of Joey will be on NBC tonight. Later, The Apprentice 2 will premiere. The newest Survivor will start on Thursday nights in a couple weeks. And, what is Fox thinking, moving The OC to Thursday night? I just don't get it. Why put a successful show like that in a time slot it can not win. Even with Friends out of the picture, it still has to go against Survivor. And I really hope that Joey is good and successful!
And on that note, I shall call it a day. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
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