Monday, November 1, 2004
NFL WEEK 8 THOUGHTS
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
MONDAY MORNING MAYHEM
Another weekend with plenty to discuss. So, let's get right to it. I would like to encourage you to send me any websites for the presidential election. It can be for George Bush, John Kerry or any of the third party candidates. Also, if you enjoy any political blogs and would recommend them for me or our readers, I'd love to see them. I would like to post them on the site before Tuesday's election.
You all know who I'm going to vote for already. I'm not going to try to convince anyone either way on this election, other than to encourage everyone to take the time to think about your vote and who you're voting for. Who will represent you better?
George W. Bush Site (Bush/Dick Cheney)
John Kerry Site (Kerry/John Edwards)
Ralph Nader Site (Nader/Michael Camejo)
Michael Badnarik Site (Badnarik/Richard Campagna)
David Cobb Site (Cobb/Patricia LaMarche)
Michael Peroutka Site (Peroutka/Chuck Baldwin)
Jakob Nielsen Site (Neilsen/Don Norman)
Some other sites to check out (thanks to some readers):
Slate article projecting the vote
Little Green Footballs - Republican Blog
Dailykos.com - Liberal Blog
www.brain-terminal.com - these two show funny video of protestors.
Today, we've got baseball and football talk. The next couple of days will still have baseball and more, but will have a little more basketball with a Timberwolves Preview and an NBA preview/prediction.
Let's get to it! I hope you enjoy what you read! Welcome back to the work week!
Over the few days since the completion of the World Series, players eligible for free agency have been able to file for free agency. They have 15 days to file or re-sign with their current team. At the end of the 10 days, they can begin negotiating with all of the other teams. Here is the list of players eligible to file for free agency.
So, what role will the Twins play in free agency? What are the Twins positions of need heading into the 2005 season? With whom will Terry Ryan try to fill those positions? And, of course, how do the Twins who have or will file for free agency affect those decisions? Let's just take a quick look:
First, a few things should be obvious, that no changes are needed. First base should be filled for a lot of years. Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter and Lew Ford should be the starting outfielders. Michael Restovich will be on the roster. There should be no doubt that Michael Cuddyer will be the 2B. Joe Nathan will be the closer. Juan Rincon, Grant Balfour and Jesse Crain will be in the bullpen. Johan Santana will be the ace. Carlos Silva deserves a spot in the rotation But after that, I don't know that anything is really given in the rotation. The Twins do have an impressive minor league system to pull some players from, but there are some holes that do need to be filled, possibly via free agency.
Assuming health, Joe Mauer will be the Twins every day catcher next year. The Twins picked up the option on Henry Blanco's 2005 salary, however a clause in his contract allowed him to opt-out of his 2005 contract because of how many at bats he had in 2004. So, now, the Twins may be in need of a backup catcher.
Clearly, this backup catcher should be someone that the Twins could feel alright about if Mauer is not 100%. Sure, they have Rob Bowen and Corky Miller under contract for next year, but I don't think that the team would feel comfortable with either option as an every day type. Sandy Alomar, Einar Diaz, Damien Miller and Mike Matheny are at the top of the free agent list. Alomar is done. Diaz never was any good. Miller is a very solid catcher, but should be a more regular catcher and could cost a bit much. And, Matheny might be the best defensive catcher in baseball and would cost too much (and I can't see him leaving St. Louis).
Seth's Thoughts - Henry Blanco's 2005 option was for $750,000. I would offer him $800,000 for 2005 with an option for 2006, essentially giving him an extra year again.
It was obvious that the Twins could not justify picking up Cristian Guzman's $5.25 million option for 2005. To me, Jason Bartlett is ready for the starting gig. He will be an upgrade offensively from Guzman and clearly a notch or three behind Guzman defensively. But for a cost savings of almost $5 million, it is worth the wait. Now, if Guzman hits the free agent market and realizes that he won't make much money and would be willing to come back to the Twins for a couple million, it would be great.
So what are the other options? There are a lot of free agent shortstops on the market this year. Some are too expensive for the Twins to even consider (Nomar Garciaparra, Edgar Renteria). There are guys that are just plain done or not that good in the first place (Royce Clayton, Rich Aurilia and Alex Gonzalez). There are guys that wouldn't be bad defensively, but not good offensively (Clayton, Pokey Reese, Jose Vizcaino). I read that the White Sox will sign Omar Vizquel to a 2 year, $8 million deal when that becomes legal to do. My thought on that is GREAT! The White Sox making another dumb signing! Vizquel is good, but not at that money. And, he would be replacing Jose Valentin, who can hit a lot of home runs, but not much else. (and isn't that good defensively either). Sure, I'd like to see the Twins sign Barry Larkin to a one-year contract, but I'd also like to see him retire as a Cincinnati Red.
Seth's Thoughts - If Guzman is willing to sign for cheap (2 years, less than $6 million), fine. Otherwise, I am more than happy with Jason Bartlett being given the job in the spring.
Corey Koskie will likely file for free agency in the next couple of days. I can see him accepting a hometown discount to stay with the Twins. But he could get big offers from teams like the Dodgers and Blue Jays. Terry Tiffee has done nothing but hit the last two minor league seasons and in a short September stint with the Twins showed that the team could count on him, at least until Matt Moses is ready.
Troy Glaus is available. The Angels announced that they will not even attempt to resign him and will give Dallas McPherson the 3B job next year (good call on their part!). I think Glaus is vastly overrated and has not improved the last few seasons. He also has been hurt, and his injury this year was largely caused by the Dome's new turf. Vinny Castilla plays well in Colorado, but he would cost too much too. Adrian Beltre just came off a monster season in which he finally met his potential, leading the National League in home runs. He will cost a LOT. Tony Batista can't hit or field. I actually really like Joe Randa, formerly of the Royals. I think he can hit for average, and with a little power.
Seth's Thoughts - Sign Koskie to an incentive-laden (based on plate appearances) two year contract for fairly cheap. If he isn't willing to sign that, Terry Tiffee should get the job as he is as good as any of the other affordable options. Even if Koskie re-signs, Tiffee should be on the roster and getting significant playing time in an attempt to keep Koskie healthy.
Again, the starting outfield should be set with Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter and Lew Ford. Also, Michael Restovich will be on the roster. So the team needs one more outfielder for the squad, and I think that player should hit left-handed as he will primarily come off the bench. Internally, Michael Ryan and Todd Dunwoody would be options.
OK, obviously Carlos Beltran, Steve Finley, JD Drew and Magglio Ordonez won't fit into the Twins budget. Jermaine Dye, Jeromy Burnitz and Juan Gonzalez would cost too much and have injury histories.
Of the names on the free agent lists that would fit my criteria (cheap, bat left-handed), I see three options. John Mabry's name was mentioned last week as an option I agree with. David Dellucci played well for the Texas Rangers last year, with solid defense and surprising power. Orlando Palmiero is another one of those guys that has never really been a starter, but just stays on big league clubs because of his defense and pinch hitting.
Seth's Thoughts - Get one of those final three names if they'll sign for less than a million dollars. If not, go with Dunwoody.
Johan Santana, Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse will likely comprise 3/5 of the Twins starting rotation. JD Durbin and Scott Baker could each be vying for a roster spot in the spring. The Twins need to sign a starting pitcher or two if they, in fact, lose Brad Radke.
Now, again, there are a few guys that we can cross off the list immediately because they will cost too much money (Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens) or have the wrong agent (Kevin Millwood, Derek Lowe). To replace Radke, we have to figure that the Twins would be willing to spend up to $6 million for a good pitcher. Who might fit into that category? How about Matt Clement, Odalis Perez, Carl Pavano or Matt Morris? Those four might fit into that price range and each could provide a lot to the Twins staff. In the next category, there is Eric Milton, Cory Lidle, Hideo Nomo, Esteban Loaiza and Kris Benson, all of which can be good, but also have questions. Maybe the Twins should sign Aaron Sele since they can't beat him. The Twins expressed some interest in Shawn Estes at the trade deadline, but I can't imagine how hard he would be hit in the Dome.
Seth's Thoughts - I really do believe that Brad Radke will sign a two year deal with the Twins for somewhere in the vicinity of $15-17 million, and probably fairly soon. And yes, I do believe he is the best option. I wish that Carl Pohlad would give the go-ahead to go after one more quality starter like Pavano or Morris. Or maybe Radke can talk his buddy Eric Milton into taking a cut and coming back to Minnesota (I wouldn't count on it!).
The Twins have a decision to make on JC Romero. Do they think he'll be able to reclaim his 2002 form, or will he just become too expensive in arbitration to keep. They already lost Aaron Fultz to the Phillies, and Joe Beimel was, wow!, really bad and he was dropped right after the season. The only options at AAA would be David Gassner who led the International League in Wins this year, and Ryan Mills, the Twins former #1 pick who is a six-year minor league free agent.
There are a number of quality left-handed relievers available this winter. But of course, there will be plenty of teams courting them! Jeff Fassero and Glendon Rusch could be multi-roll type of pitchers, providing additional value to a bullpen, much like Terry Mulholland was for the Twins in 2005. There are a couple that I don't really like who will be available like Chris Hammond, Ron Villone and John Franco (who could/should retire). But I would be happy if the Twins could acquire a couple from the group that includes Rheal Cormier, Mike Myers, Kent Mercker and Buddy Groom. I would be really happy with the Twins signed Valerio De Los Santos. He didn't have a good 2004, but he does throw hard and has a second pitch. I also like Steve Kline of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has good stuff and is very intense. I really believe that he would fit in well with the Twins.
Seth's Thoughts - I'd like to see the Twins find a way to sign two of this group: Jeff Fassero, Rheal Cormier, Kent Mercker, Valerio De Los Santos and Steve Kline. And to sign both for about $1.8 million for 2005.
So there you have it, just some preliminary thoughts on the free agent market and who the Twins should (and likely will) be at least considering. I'm sure we'll hear a lot of rumors over the next few weeks. And once teams can start signing players, it will be fun analyzing those deals. Any thoughts? E-mail me.
That was a bad game! The Vikings were really never in it, and were blown out. I mean, how often can you say that a 34-13 loss doesn't reflect just how big a blowout the game was. Now, I have to admit, I watched maybe five minutes of the game, and in that time, the score went from 20-0 to 34-0, so that wasn't good, and I really can't speak to what happened. But here are just a few comments based on the stats and what I've heard.
When I watched, I saw Randy Moss on the sidelines in sweats and a t-shirt. I know he started and played in ten plays. But he was limping. If I'm being honest, since his initial injury, he was limping worse yesterday than at any previous time. So, the obvious question is: Did they bring him back too soon, and just to keep his stupid games started streak intact? And yes, the obvious answer is a simple, "YES!"
There is a lot of positive in the Vikings RB situation. Having Michael Bennett, Onterrio Smith and Mewelde Moore (along with Moe Williams) available in the backfield allows them to ease injured players back and give guys a breather without taking a step backward. But I see a negative to this depth as well. Mewelde Moore made a rookie mistake in the first quarter that led to a turnover. So, Michael Bennett was right in the game and the players split time the rest of the game. Moore ended with 8 carries for 30 yards. First, 3.8 per carry is not bad. If he gets 20 carries, that equates to 76 yards, and he likely breaks one as well, meaning a higher number of yards. Splitting carries is ok in theory, but in reality I don't think it is ever a real good idea.
Vikings fans really do need to get over this loss. It is just one game and the Vikings never play the Giants well. It's one of those things that don't make sense, it just happens. The team is still 5-2 and that's not bad.
However, it is also important for Vikings fans to realize just how bad the Vikings defense is and that they will have to figure out something in a hurry. Because they play the talented Colts offense next Monday night and I'm sure they're already reviewing the Vikings tape and seeing how to take advantage of it. And then they start playing the Packers and Lions in division games that will matter a lot!
Any thoughts on the Vikings? E-mail me.
NFL WEEK 8 THOUGHTS
Trying to figure out what is going to happen from week to week in the NFL is virtually impossible! As you can see from our Expert Picks below, there were a couple of games where all twelve of us picked a team and that team lost. And, who knows which players will go off from week to week either. Here are a few things that stood out to me.
Remember my fantasy football team that was 1-4 a couple of weeks ago, but led the league in total points scored? Well, I used some simple economics and stock logic and pulled off a trade. You know the basic "Buy Low, Sell High" concept, right? Well, I was able to trade Brian Westbrook of the Eagles (who was racking up yards each week) and Titans WR Drew Bennett (who was getting me double-digit points consistently). In return, I got Ahman Green (who was not running well at all and clearly bothered by his Achilles) and Trent Green (who, like the Chiefs, was really struggling, even more from a fantasy perspective). In the last two weeks, Green has had two huge games. Coupled with Priest Holmes (who has scored 7 TDs the last two weeks), my RB situation seems pretty good. Marc Bulger has done well as my primary QB, but he was on bye this week. So, I had to play Trent Green, and he threw for 389 yards and 3 TDs. So, I think it's fair that my risky trade was worth the risk, at least so far! Oh, I scored 40 points more than the next high scorer last week, and will again be well over 100 points this week. I think I should be 3-5!
Big Ben Beats the Streak! The biggest news of the weekend though has to be the Steelers surprising win over the New England Patriots. The Steelers took advantage of some Patriots turnovers (which rarely happens). Corey Dillon didn't play either. But don't take anything away from the Steelers. They played a great game. And, in the big picture, how much does this one game matter? I bet that the Patriots will come out of this just fine. They seem to prepare so well from week to week that we know they'll be ready next week.
Chiefs Top Colts - You had to know this was going to happen! Peyton Manning throws for over 470 yards and 5 TDs, and his team loses. Trent Green and Priest Holmes led the Chiefs offense to 45 points! Both of these offenses are very strong. Both of these defenses are very weak!. Does that remind Vikings fans of any other team? By the way, next Monday night, the Vikings and Colts will be playing each other. I'll set the over/under conservatively at 75!
What You Talkin' 'Bout Willis? Willis McGahee has been given the starting RB job for the Bills, and yesterday he responded with 30 carries for 102 yards and 2 TDs. Not bad. You do have to feel for Travis Henry though. He has been a great RB for the last two seasons, a Pro Bowler. I do believe that he is now back to healthy. Yet, he had just one carry on the day.
Michael Vick may not be this, and he may not be that, but he is what he is, and sometimes, that can be pretty special. His performance yesterday against the Broncos was in that special category! He threw for 252 yards (on 18-24) and two TDs, both to Peerless Price). He also ran for 115 yards. If only he could be more consistent, everyone would be happy.
And, speaking of those Broncos, how impressive were Jake Plummer's numbers? 31-55 for 498 yards! 498 yards! It takes like five games for a QB like Kyle Boller to accumulate that many yards! The veteran Rod Smith accounted for 206 of those yards, including an 80 yard TD. And, speaking of consistency, Broncos fans would love Plummer to be consistent, even just within a game. Yes, he had all those yards and four TDs, but he also threw three interceptions.
Look at the impact that a WR like Terrell Owens has had on the Eagles offense. Notice how much the Vikings offense suffers without Randy Moss in the game. This is equally obvious in Detroit, where the Lions are just not the same team without rookie wide out Roy Williams.
Is John Kerry really going to win this weeks' presidential election? Well, as we all know, the last 16 Presidential elections have been determined by the winner of the Redskins home game before the election. Because the Packers beat them yesterday at RFK, that would mean that Kerry would defeat the incumbent George Bush. But, if you're like me, remember that all streaks come to an end. This week alone, the Patriots lost after winning 21 straight games. And, after 86 years, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series!
The TD Machine, The Bus Jerome Bettis had a two yard TD run yesterday. Impressive?? Yes. But surprisingly, he had a 30 yard run! He actually rushed 15 times for 66 yards. Great news for the Steelers, especially when you remember that Duce Staley rushed for 126 yards for the Steelers too.
Drew Brees only threw for 281 yards. Not bad, but not spectacular. But then you look at his other numbers. I am most impressed by him going 22-25 passing. 88%! That's remarkable. As is the five touchdown passes! Another thing that is impressive is the relationship that has developed between Brees and his rookie Tight End Antonio Gates. They connected for two more touchdowns yesterday.
Does anyone care about the Bears or the 49ers? What an awful game. Craig Krenzyl actually wasn't bad. But even the A-Train, Anthony Thomas was able to rush for 98 yards, which helped!
Tonight, it's the Jets and Dolphins, another almost unwatchable game!!
Any NFL Thoughts? E-mail me.
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
Five Winners this week. I don't even know if it's really an honor to "Win", if you ahve to share it with four other people! But, that's what we've got. Aaron Gleeman, John Bonnes, David Bergner, David Bloom and Vic Quick each went 8-5 so far on their picks. Another four panelists went 7-6. However, we all picked the Jets to beat the Dolphins tonight, so there will be no changes in this week's results. Check back tomorrow when we post a change at the top of our standings.
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 NY Giants @ Minnesota Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Baltimore @ Philadelphia Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Green Bay @ Washington Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers Jacksonville @ Houston Texans Texans Jaguars Jaguars Texans Jaguars Arizona @ Buffalo Bills Cardinals Bills Bills Bills Cardinals Detroit @ Dallas Lions Lions Lions Cowboys Cowboys Lions Cincinnati @ Tennessee Bengals Titans Titans Titans Titans Titans Indianapolis @ Kansas City Chiefs Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Atlanta @ Denver Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Carolina @ Seattle Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks New England @ Pittsburgh Patriots Steelers Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Oakland @ San Diego Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers San Francisco @ Chicago 49ers 49ers 49ers Bears 49ers Bears Miami @ NY Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Michael Labuda David Bergner David Bloom Vic Quick Mike Brasel Jeremy Kovash ChiSox Daily Baseball Savant Ya Gotta Believe KDUH-Sports FFB Guru Wolf Lake Mgr NY Giants @ Minnesota Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Baltimore @ Philadelphia Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Ravens Green Bay @ Washington Packers Packers Packers Packers Redskins Packers Jacksonville @ Houston Jaguars Texans Texans Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Arizona @ Buffalo Bills Bills Bills Bills Cardinals Bills Detroit @ Dallas Lions Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys Lions Cowboys Cincinnati @ Tennessee Titans Titans Bengals Titans Titans Titans Indianapolis @ Kansas City Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Chiefs Atlanta @ Denver Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Carolina @ Seattle Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks New England @ Pittsburgh Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Steelers Patriots Oakland @ San Diego Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers San Francisco @ Chicago Bears 49ers Bears Bears 49ers 49ers Miami @ NY Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets Jets
And that's it for this lovely Monday! I hope you set your clocks back an hour over the weekend!!
If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
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