Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
KCP - Kentavious Caldwell Pope
WAR - Wins Above Replacement
FIP - Fielding Independent Pitching
LD% - Line Drive Percentage.
LOOGY - Left Handed One Out Guy
B/S - Batman/Superman
1. I said it within minutes of the Chris Davis crossing midfield of Jordan Hare Stadium with the clock at zero; all things considered - gravity of the game, venomous atmosphere, outdoing the OSU/UM finish - that's the single greatest and most dramatic sporting moment of my life.
2. On Monday, I still believe it my sentiment from Saturday night, so it's not hyperbole.
3. Saturday evening, I thought Auburn just went toe to toe with the team of the century, and Ohio State, granted in a fever pitched, unmatched rivalry game, was pushed to the brink of a loss by a team that was a lot more bad than good in 2013. Auburn should jump Ohio State in the BCS rankings. They made up ground but didn't surpass OSU.
4. I like chaos, and I also like Alabama - more on that shortly. Michigan State could certainly stifle the Buckeyes, however, favored by a zillion I can't imagine Florida State losing to Duke (football, I know, right?!).
How cool chaotic would it be if Florida State and Ohio State lost, and Auburn beat Missouri in the SEC title game.
Do you know who'd likely play in the BCS title game?! Lol. Think January 2012 and how pissed off most of the country was, while I was one of the few championing the 'you're darn right they're the two best teams' cause.
LSU and Bama.
This year? #rerematch. Alabama and Auburn. Yes, please.
I've long been a proponent of the BCS. I realize that's like saying I like the taste of rabbit shit. I'm one of the few.
Due to every major sport having a playoff, and some inviting half the teams, American fans have bought into what I like to call sports socialism. Everyone deserves a chance! And it's terrific when a darling underdog captures our emotions and breaks throught the gauntlet and wins a title.
Personally I find that absurd.
This is one of the few areas where I find myself to be extremely conventional.
I like when the best team (like the word value, I know that definition can be debated) wins the championship. Call me old fashioned, or unfair if you'd like.
I breathed a sigh of relief when the Red Sox won the World Series. They were the best team in baseball, and that was undoubtedly proven over the trial of a 162. Over the longest season in pro sports, it's hard to think good fortune will be at your side almost on command to garner the most wins in the game. Sure there's luck some days, but over 180 days of baseball luck is truly the residue of design.
Sure those Giants wins over the Patriots were when the games mattered the most, but frame it how you'd like, I think there should be a better reward than being upset for traversing the four rigorous and injury filled months of the NFL schedule.
Alabama is the best team in college football.
Alabama would still be favored over any team in the country (yes, including Florida St) - via bookmaker @JayKornegay— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) December 2, 2013
...and that's all I need to support the belief above.
I didn't see anything but the final minutes of the Iron Bowl, but I'm fine with Saban's decision to kick the field goal. I'm alright with it not because the kick came within mere feet of a win, so Saban obviously knew the kid had a shot to make it, but the chances of doing what Chris Davis did are plausible, but slim.
We can all remember Antonio Cromartie's return in 2008 against the Vikings making it a trendy ploy to have an elusive player underneath the goal posts. Scores came from that same instance several other times as well in the NFL.
Yesterday, Cordarrelle Patterson of the Vikings also caught a Robbie Gould 66 yard miss 9 yards deep in the end zone and he didn't get quite as far as Cromartie or Davis did. Patterson made it to the 22 before he was brought down, by a lineman no less, and the game went to over time. I can assure you that the Chicago special teams coach warned his unit about a game ending return, in light of Davis the night before, but I doubt speedier personnel was placed on the field in case of Patterson zooming leisurely the other way.
Alabama could have simply gone to over time, and won. Or lost. For my sports memories, I'm happy it ended the way it did, even though the it's unlikely the best team in the nation will win the title.
Michigan, an average team, rode emotion and seized most of the opportunity to put some shine on a dreary season by nearly beating Ohio State. A team with a questionable string of victories.
Auburn, in front of its 87 thousand fans, in the South's angriest rivalry, and the fourth ranked team in the country with only a loss AT LSU, took down the Crimson Tide.
If this was the NCAA selection committee for March Madness, and football will have its own a year from now, we'd say OSU had poor win and was fortunate, and Bama had a quality loss.
Bama and Florida State, unless they don't have Jameis Winston, are probably the two best teams in the country.
They don't play title games the way my world dictates though.
Until next year, they don't even have a four team communistic playoff for you!
We're at the mercy of the BCS rankings and all of the clandestine things that go into creating the rankings.
I'm alright with that. It's a computer, and you can't outargue a remorseless and cold computer. You'll think of that and me next time your PC blue screens and you either mope or become outraged.
It may be a rigid criteria to meet, but Alabama knew exactly what it had to do win a third straight BCS title; win all of its games. They didn't and excluding one modest, and one historic upset, the Crimson Tide will not play for a third straight title.
I'm alright with that. Because it's better than how champions were 100% subjectively determined in the pre-BCS era, and until greed turns the 4 team into a 16 team playoff, no less talented, dark horse team is going to win a title.
Just like I know Hank Aaron is the MLB home run king, I know that Alabama is 2013's best team in college football. But you know what, I'll live with Florida State, or even Auburn being crowned the final BCS champion.
Me on Friday night; Derrick Rose hurt his knee? Again!? IT'S THE OTHER ONE!? Siht, he's done.
OK, he's 1/2 done, and that makes me exceptionally sad. I very much enjoyed watching him play, and it's likely the last of the East Finals featuring Rose & Chicago vs. Lebron & Miami (or wherever LBJ is).
Earlier this morning, Derrick Rose underwent successful surgery to repair his previously torn medial meniscus in his right knee... (cont.)— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 25, 2013
The current, and possibly future, consolation prize isn't an unwatchable one: Paul George & Indiana are now the primary must-have ECF matchup against Lebron.
The first names that popped into my mind when I realized THAT'S IT for the Rose we didn't get to see enough of were Brandon Roy, and then because of my roots, Andrew Bynum and Jeff Ruland. I only know tales of Ruland, because when he was a 22/12 All Star center in '84, I was 5. Not after that with a knee injury. When the Sixers acquired Bynum and his troubles, the Ruland comparisons were endless, and prophetic too.
More somber personal teenage recollections of mine that Rose will never be what he once was.
Penny Hardaway. He was probably the first 'next' Magic. Teamed with Shaq, Penny made the Magic the first 'cool' team to root for outside of your home team and the Bulls. A devastating knee injury in '97-'98 was the beginning (of four more of those) of the end for Hardaway.
The second 'next' Magic-but-maybe-Jordan was Grant Hill. From Wikipedia, 'After the first six seasons of his career, before his ankle injury, Hill had a total of 9,393 points, 3,417 rebounds and 2,720 assists. Oscar Robertson, Bird and LeBron James are the only three players in league history to eclipse these numbers after their first six seasons.' Numerous other leg injuries followed, including a post surgery bout with MRSA that almost killed Hill. Former All Star, long time NBA contributor, but never the legend he was supposed to be.
We got 7 rim shaking seasons of Amare Stoudemire, but microfracture surgery on his knee in 2005 was the downfall what could've been a Hall Of Fame career.
The last one that's personal to me is Larry Johnson. Coming from a UNLV quintet that made the Runnin' Rebels college basketball's most fearsome team since the Alcindor UCLA teams, LJ was the next Barkley. He was a monster scorer and rebounder his first two years. An athletic freak with his thick and bruising 6'6" 250 size. Then, like any weekend warrior, his back went out. He endured a herniated disk in his back that crippled his career. What was an easy 19 and 9 through his first five NBA years, Grandmama never got close to those statistics ever again as he completed his career as a 12 and 5 role player on the Knicks.
Further evidence, with less of a personal touch.
I'm sad about this Rose injury.
On lighter and happier note, I'm ecstatic that the persona of the Charlotte Hornets that I clung to in the 90s is coming back. Good bye (not-Bob) Cats, and hello teal!
I have little to say about the Buccaneers 24-21 win over the Lions. I mentioned last week that Tampa Bay was quickly improving, and had won 2 1/2 of its last three games (1/2 for going to OT @ Seattle), and they’d been playing much better than the 2-8 record they came to Detroit with would indicate.
That was three hours of ugly football.
The Buccaneers played poorly enough to lose, but everytime they tried to hand the hot W back to the Lions, Detroit handed it right back.
Tampa Bay allowed almost 400 yards of Detroit offense.
They committed 9 penalties, many of which were direct hits to prime scoring opportunities.
Rian Lindell missed two makeable field goals; from 35 and 50. The second should’ve been a 43 yard attempt but rookie QB Mike Glennon inexplicably took a sack when he was far enough outside of the pocket to have throw the ball away without a penalty.
Tampa totaled just 8 first downs of their own doing. Another via a Lions penalty.
A paltry 229 yards of total offense.
Bucs’ returner Eric Page also fair caught a ball with nothing but maybe ten yards of hash marks in front him. Then with under a minute to go in the 3rd quarter, down 21-17, Page fielded a punt that pinned Tampa on its own 5 (though Glennon, Chris Houston and the well-traveled Tiquan Underwood bailed him out of that poor decision).
Matthew Stafford had a second straight abysmal week. It went from bad in Pittsburgh to worse at Ford Field against Tampa. His doubters are thumping their chests now and it’s difficult to challenge them.
Some of the other stuff…I’m utterly unable to explain. No SOL. At least not to my eyes. Brandon Pettigrew ducking, Kris Durham, without Buccaneer pursuit, 360′d himself into a baffling turnover. A punt block. Perhaps my eyes deceive me, or it was an optical illusion, but I swear I saw Houston act as Underwood’s turbo button with a subtle nudge to his back while he tried to chase down what would be an 85 yard score.
You can say SOL, but ALL that?! Even SOL isn’t THAT omnipotent.
Hoax or not, the 50 year curse Bobby Layne placed on the Lions supposedly expired in 2008. At this point, is it feasible to blame everything else on some cryptic reason that Lyle Fife and Edwin Anderson, the Lions previous owners, don’t have Wikipedia entries?
Did the Curse of Bobby Layne metamorphose into the Ghost of Bobby Layne; one that now forever haunts Ford Field?
Way too much on a game I didn’t want to talk about.
I want to discuss Calvin Johnson. After the ’329′ game it was predictable that Calvin vs. Jerry Rice, or Calvin or Jerry would become popular dialogue. I wrote about that last month.
Calvin’s currently the
best most gifted receiver in the game, but Jerry is the best ever.
In his latest article on Grantland, Bill Simmons used several thousand words to gush over Calvin.
In four decades of watching football, three receivers stand out for me over everyone else: Rice, Megatron and Moss. I’d take Rice for any important game, Moss for any deep ball, and Megatron for any “sitting at home on a lazy October afternoon expecting to see someone kick ass for three hours” situation. I will remember watching all three. Even if it’s too early to wonder if Megatron can leapfrog those other two, he has launched the conversation.
As I write this, I sit seven tweets away from 16,000. I wish it required less tedious scavenging to find specific tweets, especially with that many. Among that intellect, snark and sarcasm from September to now, there’s been enough to have a follower or observer notice a humble theme of mien when it comes to my 140 characters about Calvin. He’s incredible. That’s obvious without him even requiring a uniform.
Before sharing the opinion, to be sincere, I’ll readily concede that my evidence is anecdotal. Perhaps twitterdotal. I’ve got no bone to pick, and I’m not intentionally trying to play the Calvin iconoclast.
Calvin Johnson doesn’t catch as many passes as I think his reputation would dictate.
Sorry for that convoluted sentence.
As we’ll explore later on, my eyes might even lead my mouth to say Calvin isn’t very clutch.
This is my go-to source when I Google NFL+STATS+DROPS.
By the time you will read this, it’ll have been updated to include Thursday and Sunday of Week 12.
The chart will show Calvin has been targeted 109 times, for 59 catches, with 5 drops for a miniscule drop % of 4.6. For context, Reggie Bush’s numbers go 54/36/7/13. The apparently graceless Davone Bess is 66/32/8/12.1. Rookie Kendbrell Thompkins is in that neighborhood as well.
That site only goes back to 1990. Drops can also be subjective, and sometimes little fault actually can be placed on the receiver.
When that receiver is Calvin Johnson though, with his reputation, I need to evoke the receiver edict that came from Buddy Ryan, and likely many teachers of the sport. If it hits your hands, you better catch it.
I’ll add, if you catch it, you damn well better not drop it.
In the article I linked above, comparing Rice & Johnson, I discovered that Rice was more surehanded that Calvin. At least in the context of turnovers. Semi-officially (can’t count deflections, tips, bad bounces and such…), Rice coughed up a ball every 11 games, and Calvin every 9. Rice also played in a barbaric era where defenders, if they hit like that today, would be exiled from the league.
There’s a quiet, but fierce debate – especially after David Ortiz’s World Series – to declare whether or not clutch hitting exists in baseball. Here’s a Google of the topic to peruse. Advanced statistics say it doesn’t, but perception might disagree with that or if you want to wade through it the way I
do could micromanaging every single nuance of every situation.
I’d like to see the MLB sabretric community help decide if receivers exist.
That would be an enormous undertaking.
I’m not going to do that at this time.
Sites like Pro Football Focus have an impressive stockpile of statistics, but without having access to them, I can’t tell you if they have one that would define ‘clutch.’ I’d guess no, since it’s a war within a war among baseball fans.
Amid my admittedly anecdotal evidence, paired with the sour taste of WHO helped Tampa plunge the final dagger into the Lions, I’m going to proclaim Jerry Rice, not Calvin Johnson, a damn clutch receiver.
Perhaps it’s thanks to the veritable volume of 28 playoff games played, Rice leads history in scoring catches with 22. Rice also has 8 scores in 4 Super Bowls. 4-0 too. In those 28 games, Rice accumulated 2,245 yards. That’s average of 80 yards a game, and a score every 1.2 games, against the best teams in the NFL.
This wasn’t supposed to morph into another Rice > Calvin, so my apologies for that.
Calvin admitted to nerve damage last year hindering him, though not enough to prevent his charge towards two thousand receiving yards.
A friend of mine offered this during, then after the Buccaneers game.
I asked Calvin if that hit mid 4Q tweaked his back. He blew off the question verbally but his facial expression said more to me. #Lions— Denny Kapp (@DennyKapp) November 24, 2013
The point is that for the reminder of the season, and Calvin Johnson’s career, I want you to tell me if he actually performs up to his impervious reputation. Because of one two things is happening when I modestly, but correctly, censure Calvin; my thoughts are white noise caused by your blind allegiance to Megatron, or you’re blinded by the Lions more easily visible maladies.
By the way, I hope this doesn’t desecrate my chances of someone sending me the Megatron Rises collection from Nike.
As for the bizarre title to this blog, get to the 1 minute point of arguably the greatest scene in Transformers history.
Posnanski's gotten a little finger pointy lately on stats, probably because of award season, but he's got some fine thoughts on the deal.
One specific statement had me saying HELL FRICKIN YEAH!
Which was it?
A. Giving out big contracts to players coming out of their prime is a loser. It just is. Josh Hamilton. Ken Griffey. Alfonso Soriano. Vernon Wells. Carlos Lee. Ryan Howard. On and on and on.
B. The Tigers did not need him but the thought of a Cabrera-Fielder middle of the lineup was mouthwatering.
C. They had to throw in $30 million to make it happen, but I still think they won. I think shoring up that infield so it isn’t a sieve, I think having some spending flexibility to work on actual weaknesses, I think Kinsler’s solid all-around play will all help.
D. So, they gave Fielder the big contract. That was the first thing. Second, they moved Miguel Cabrera to third base to make room for Fielder — one of those rare moves that makes a team drastically worse defensively at two positions.
E. But I think the Tigers won the deal. They had to throw in $30 million to make it happen, but I still think they won.
+++++ The answer is C. Undoubtedly C. +++++ Highlight that and you'll see the answer.
Extending Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer are not weaknesses.
Neither of those help the Tigers win a World Series as soon as possible.
I've been candidly bearish on Cabrera aging well, especially on a monster deal, but I think I've come up with a best case 'descent' for his abilities.
Previously I've referenced 'The Longoria.' I want to explain that, and retroactively apply it to a Tiger, to show you why it's the way to do business, if you're able, in today's MLB marketplace.
Evan Longoria was destined to be a star, unless he was a bust.
After being selected third overall by the Rays in the 2006 draft, Longoria quickly lived up to the high draft position and before the 2008 season he was one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
We know that prospects are no sure thing, and even the most hyped and touted ones go bust, but Tampa believed Longoria was a foundational piece to their rise to relevance. The downtrodden, miserly Rays took an epic financial risk in Longoria that became the beginning of their way of doing business and over the last six years helped them definitively become one of the five best teams in baseball.
The Rays have averaged over 91 wins per year over this eye opening six year stretch, most of which was spent in baseball's most competitive, and certainly it's most spendthrift division.
If the Rays doubled their budget, with how they draft, develop, trade and find successful paths for castoffs, I would choose them to win the World Series every year without hesitation.
Just a few weeks into the 2008 season where the Rays sought respectability, not knowing their season would end in October in the World Series, Tampa proceed with that risky commitment. If it failed, with how stingy the organization needed to be, who knows, they might've needed to be contracted, or moved with much haste.
The Rays recalled the 22 year old Longoria from Durham, obviously not proven at the Major League level, and graced him with a contract that would set him up for life.
It would also offer the Rays to cost control of the unpredictable arbitration years, and Longoria certainly would have priced himself straight out of Tampa if he'd ever encounter free agency.
Longoria signed for 6 years, a guaranteed $17.5 million, with the ability to make up $44.5 million.
The Opening Day payroll of Tampa in '08 was $43,820,597, only above the Marlins, who languished laughably at just over $21 million.
Elementary math shows you that if Longoria didn't even become HALF the player he was expected to be, the Rays would be Magellan up Siht's Creek.
The Tigers needed to trade Prince Fielder to ease the strain on their payroll so that when the time beckons them, they can at least consider resigning or extending anyone from Max Scherzer all the way down to Alex Avila.
I know, you really couldn't care much about anyone else but Scherzer and Cabrera, and you know my feelings on continuing their careers as Tigers.
I realize that the Tigers had no need for the business model that the Rays employ, but for the sake of this exercise - and because what Detroit fan doesn't love a chance to second guess - think how they might have dodged these tricky financial decisions surrounding their current Cy Young and MVP award winners if they'd began the practice the Rays made a savvy trend around MLB.
Upon his arrival from Arizone, did Scherzer EVER give the Tigers any hint that something like this past season's success could be in the future? Maybe.
At 25, Max's first season with the Tigers, he had an ERA of 3.50, a WHIP of 1.24 and notched an impressive 3.3 WAR. With free agency still four full seasons away, why WOULD the Tigers have given Scherzer a pen to sign a comfortable, but not exorbitant, contract right then and there? The Tigers didn't do business that way, plus it was just one season from a guy who may or MAY NOT HAVE harnessed his potentially dominant arsenal.
At 26, in 2011, if the Tigers HAD been considering an extension, it seemed to be prudent they hadn't given one to Scherzer. His ERA ballooned almost a full run, his WHIP up a tenth, strikeouts down, and lost two full games of WAR.
When so much can go awry with an arm, I can see why it'd be disconcerting to guarantee a pitcher any number of millions, for more than 5 years so early in their careers. But if after nearly 400 innings as a Tiger in '10 + '11 what if they'd had the clairvoyance of his success to come and offered him 5 years and let's say $40 million dollars. Max, still in arbitration years, made $600,000 in '11 and was going to earn $3.7 million in '12. The Tigers risk Max's career going the route of Mark Prior, but that's always the fear with anyone throwing a baseball overhand, but they could have also saved themselves a financial conundrum of tens of millions in the future.
That proposed deal would've kept Scherzer a Tiger for the next three years; '14-'16. He wouldn't have made a 1/3 of what his impending deal will bring him, but $40 million in the bank with the uncertainties of health and results ahead is something to seriously contemplate for a player. If it had been offered. It wasn't, and that's just fine. This is simply an exercise.
If you like what you see, and you believe Player X has the skills, both physical and mental, sometimes the financial risk of a lengthy commitment to a young player winds up saving you anguish down the road. The road takes you to exactly the fork where the Tigers stare now. Trade Max for assets, lessening your shot at a World Series next year, keep him another year & lose him for a draft pick, or resigning him to a deal he couldn't possibly live up to.
If the Tigers don't extend Scherzer or Cabrera before the end of the 2014 season, and Castellanos performs as Dombrowski has always hoped, then it should be a main priority to give serious thought to offering the young player 'The Longoria.' If not in year one, then after year two. Give him the guarantee early, and push his free agency past his physical peak, and let another team pay for his decline with an outlandish contract.
This isn't being cheap. It's the wise way of sustaining a successful business. The Tigers are definitely that in this moment, but it can go bad in a hurry.
Examples of 'The Longoria'.
Paul Goldschmidt 5 year extension $32 million and an option for $14.5 more in 2018. He's going to be a perennial NL MVP candidate and will never earn more than that 14.5. Alex Rodriguez earns twice that. Sorry, but...LOL.
The Cubs may regret this, but the investment was small wouldn't ravage the bottom line. Anthony Rizzo got a 7 year, $41 million dollar extension. If he ever hits free agency, he'll be no younger than 30.
Buster Posey, 8 years, $167 million. The Giants waited, it'll look murky late in the deal, but they won't lose Posey. For some reason, I feel this deal is far better than the extension the Twins gave Joe Mauer.
Evan Longoria got his own Longoria. 6 more years and another $100 million.
Andrew McCutchen will never be paid more than $14.7 million during his contract.
I'd say that Madison Bumgarner is a future NL Cy Young winner, and he'll never earn more than $12 million a year on his extension runs through 2019.
Gio Gonzalez wasn't a Cy Young candidate this year, as he was in '12, but his deal through 2018 will never make him more than $12 million a year.
It wasn't wrong for there to be discussion about the Angels giving Mike Trout a lifetime deal before he begins to sniff arbitration and ultimately free agency. He could be more than a quarter billion dollar player by that time.
Give The Longoria to Castellanos, not the A-Rod of Verlander to Cabrera and Scherzer. It may devastate the business.
After Victor Martinez turned his knee into a joint of mostly useless ligaments, the Tigers got bullied into a questionable contract, that became an abhorrent one. It wasn't Dave Dombrowski being pushed around by Scott Boras, it was Mike Ilitch.
Without a replacement for Martinez to the caliber of Prince Fielder, the Tigers are unlikely to reach the 2012 World Series. They needed Fielder, and he was young enough, and DH-able enough towards the end of the timeline where the 9 & 214 wasn't THAT jarring upon first taste. Things change over 22 months.
To do more than just reach the Series in the fast approaching twilight primes of Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers had to do everything they could to escape the three glaring negatives that turned Fielder into an unbearable cross.
1. The contract with $168 million dollars remaining over 7 years was choking the payroll, and to a lesser degree doing the same to the Tigers options at four positions; LF, 1B, 3B, and DH.
2. Finding piece amid his domestic situation, Fielder's offense, especially in Arlington, is sure to rebound, but will his defense do the same? If it does, the level of it will leap from '13s unacceptable to the future's barely sufficient. This deal means it's likely only 1/4 of the Tigers infield will be poor, rather than half.
3. Sample size is important to me, 39 games, 164 plate appearances and a .620 OPS is enough for me to say that just isn't something the Tigers can manage around from their cleanup hitter in the postseason. You wouldn't hit Ramon Santiago fourth during the season, with Fielder, you were essentially doing that in October.
After all this manifested itself, it's clear the Tigers small error of wound, changed into something that needed amputation. The surgery required an NBA-themed trade - you take my problem, I'll take yours - to reestablish a financially traversable path to winning a World Series.
Because of the size of his contract, by no means is the acquisition of Ian Kinsler a complete liquidation of all that's attached to Fielder, so it's crucial not to make future errors that will double in size as the calendar sheds years.
They have two bellwether moments to either allow history to repeat itself, or exercise the discretion they've hopefully learned from the $214 million baby albatross turned baby eating vulture signed back in January of 2012.
Both should be future ex-Tigers.
If my math is correct, even with the Tigers sending $30 million to Texas (I've said they'd have to pay all along), they've saved themselves about $76 million dollars over the years.
There's at least 62 remaining with Kinsler, add the 30, and subtract that 92 from Fielder's remaining 168.
I wouldn't put much of those estimated savings towards Scherzer or Cabrera. In fact, I might not put any in their pockets.
Scherzer will be 30 when he enters free agency. I would expect his megacontract will be very comparable to the numbers Zack Greinke signed for with Los Angeles last year. $147 million over 6 years.
That, with Verlander and Sanchez is too rich for me.
Verlander. Sanchez, who could be a bargain with at least $66 million remaining over 4 years, and either Porcello or Fister (who won't be cheap, but it won't be Max money either) and Smyly and the prayer that a young arm moves through the system is a fine starting five.
You simply can't keep resigning your stars. That's why it's imperative to draft and develop, draft and develop, draft and develop.
If you're not concerned that Cabrera's sports hernia injury isn't a harbinger of future ailments, then you're wrong. Age wise, he is beyond his peak physical years. That doesn't mean he's going to tumble to even a .280 hitter, but Albert Pujols' recent ailments have me envisioning a painful track that Cabrera could travel.
His current deal ends after two more seasons. Let's say the Tigers extend Cabrera RIGHT NOW. $75 million over 3 additional season. That's probably even too consevative. You can do the AAV math. In 2016 Cabrera would finish the season at 33, then 34 in '17, and 35 in '18. Sorry for the first grade math, but you need to actually see and digest those numbers to understand my rationale.
33, 34, 35. Paralleled to those years, the young slugger who the Tigers absolutely would not part with, Nick Castellanos, will be 24, 25 and 26.
Now I will convince you that paying Cabrera is at least a risk, at most ludicrous.
Of the top 20 position players in WAR in 2013 was 27.6. Without the RAMPANT PEDs in the game, being better than those 5 years younger than you, when you're 32 and beyond, just isn't feasible anymore. If it does occur, it's a complete outlier.
Even though I still wouldn't pay any closer $8+ million, there's more room for the Tigers to do that, but for no more than 2 years. Perhaps a third option year. Depending who plays where, they could use the savings this year on a LF, 3B, even 1B.
The Fielder catharsis has given them some flexibility. It was priority #1 for me this offseason. I'm glad Dave Dombrowski had the same minority thought I had; Fielder's not immovable.
What should become the next major priority, assuming he's all many have said he can be, is after an accomplished rookie year, is using some of those Fielder savings and not tapping further into free agency, but inexpensively buying out Castellanos' arbitration years and a some of his free agency. I like to call that 'The Longoria.' Those are the sagaciuos economics of the game now. Buster Posey, Matt Moore, Anthony Rizzo are other examples. Project well, pay more now, rather than take a much costlier risk of giving tens of millions to a post prime player.
There are two possible decisions at the Tigers' financial fork in the payroll.
One way turns you into the Phillies, who spent lavishly, didn't develop and are now closer to letting the Marlins pass them, rather than retaking the East from the Braves and Nationals.
The other direction allows you to let your star free agents depart, you bring along cheaper young talent to fill the void, a savvy, short free agent pick up here and there and the annual contender keeps rolling along with a few foundational pieces. Here, probably Verlander, Sanchez, Iglesias and Castellanos.
With the Fielder move, the Tigers took a step in the direction where the Cardinals reside.
Resigning Scherzer, and/or extending or resigning Cabrera is a step towards Philadelphia.
You'll need a parachute.
One last thing, don't EVER play poker with DD. How he wasn't bawling in hysterical tears preaching confidence in Hernan Perez as a viable starting second baseman was Machiavellian.
Top 10 reasons the Pistons beat the Knicks last night.
1. Rodney Stuckey had his best game in a long time. No Bynum or Billups, likely allowed Stuckey to comfortably settle into the game knowing exactly the minutes he'd get. That may be the key to sharper consistency from Stuckey. He needs an absolutely defined role. 6th man, on a unit where he's fluid and interchangeable with the other guard in the backcourt.
2. Josh Smith stayed close to him and it frustrated Carmelo all night. Nothing was easy for Anthony. It wasn't what I'd call sensational defense, but perhaps Melo, expecting to score 50 on the worst defensive team in the league, got frustrated early and never got further involved in the contest.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
3. Probably because he was sick, but Brandon Jennings did the opposite of what Dumars told him to do last week. It's idiotic to tell a wayward gunner to shoot more. Jennings took just 3 shots (7 assists, 1 TO) and not coincidentally, the Pistons won. The talent around Jennings & Smith isn't good enough to overcome inefficient games from both of them on the same night.
4. The Knicks probably peaked as a good basketball team last year. Leave, Carmelo.
5. The Knicks stink to the sewers of New York without Tyson Chandler. It would've been fun to watch Drummond bang with a guy I compared him to 10 or 11 months ago.
6. Drummond is staying in his zone, which, again, is the restricted area of the restricted area. Drummond's missed 14 shots in his last 7 games. Andre, if you look down and don't see the half circle creating the restricted area, DON'T SHOOT.
7. The Knicks really missed point guard Raymond Felton. Running offense would've been more convenient if he wasn't out with a hip injury.
8. Anthony needed shots in the second half, so that took the ball away from Bargnani who was destroying Greg Monroe. A lot of that happened while Drummond was on the bench with two early fouls.
9. Drummond, athletically gifted as he is, still has frequent mental lapses defensively. He gets confused on who to guard, and when. Those occasions were limited in the second half.
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10. KCP took more 3s (7) than anyone on the Pistons, and sunk 3 of them. That's an outlandish - for Detroit - 43%! Mo, I implore you, keep playing him, and excluding a 5 game window of 22% shooting, keep him in there. He was drafted to shoot, don't bench him for missing.
Extra credit - Josh, you can be a really swift passer, so don't hesitate to try playing point forward every now and then. I think I trust your ability to distrubute more than Brandon's.
I didn't give much thought to how the Pistons would function defensively after their procurements of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. Neither player, aside from Smith's skill of weakside shot blocker, was ever known for their defensive attributes.
Most of the concern about Smith was that he was going to have to play the 3 and that's way too much size in the front court to function in today's NBA, where many teams often prefer a small ball lineup.
That spacing issue has appeared at times, but it hasn't been iceberg of the Pistons' true struggles. Those have come defensively.
For the dozenth time, teams can easily avoid the Pistons interior size and strength by shooting over it. Which they've done very successfully.
Let's sift through some grizzly numbers.
The Pistons allow the most points per 100 possessions in the NBA at 106.9. For context, Indiana leads at 90.6. Here.
Pistons opponents lead the league in effective FG percentage at 54%. Indiana at the top again at 43.7%. Here.
Pistons opponents non-blocked 2 point FG% is 28th in the NBA at 57.1%. Chicago leads the way at 43.9%. Here.
The Pistons are letting opponents slice them up, as they allow 24.1 assists per game, that's 25th in the NBA. Here.
Their turnovers and opponent rebounds are turning into 14.9 fastbreak points per game. That's 24th in the league. Here.
Pistons opponents shooting 43.4% on shots from 15-19 feet (25th), 46.8% 20-24 feet (last) and they can't even protect the rim. They're allowing 64% on FG within five feet (27th).
It's ugly. Carmelo might score 50 tonight.
We were so enthralled with slamming Jim Schwartz's hideous decision to call for a fake field goal, we completely forgot to acknowledge that the difficulty of some games on the Lions remaining schedule went from Rookie to at least Normal, if we're grading on the Madden scale.
The skill level wasn't actually increased in one single day of games and performances, but over the course of the last few weeks. Things do suddenly change directions in the NFL quite often. And they could change again before the Lions encounter these impending challenges.
The good news is still that they've got any tiebreaker over Chicago with their two wins against the Bears. If the Lions beat Green Bay on Thanksgiving that'll be 1-1, but the Lions will move to 4-1 in the North, with only a game at Minnesota remaining in Week 17 that would prevent them from 5-1 in the North.
Now the bad news.
The Buccaneers, who visit as 9 point underdogs this Sunday, have won two and a half of their last three games. They took Seattle to OT 3 weeks ago on the road, they won the Distraction Bowl against Miami and they just hammered Atlanta. Tampa's backs keep dropping and no name heroes keep popping up to save the day for their run game, and rookie Mike Glennon has a 109 passer rating over the last year. Sunday won't be the walkover we expected several weeks ago.
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Almost from Week 1, I expected the trip to the Linc in Philly to be a loss, but the way the Nick Foles has played for Chip Kelly lately, the Lions defense - particularly the secondary - could be in for a humiliating afternoon. If they couldn't tackle Antonio Brown, good luck catching Desean Jackson and Lesean McCoy.
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And here come the Giants on their almost annual spurt through November + December, which almost always lands them winning their only game in February, and oh yeah, if they needed extra motivation that game will be played in their stadium. If the Giants handle their remaining schedule of Dal, @Wash, @SD, Sea, @Det, Wash and make the playoffs, then stay out of their way, and start thinking about Eli being up TWO Super Bowls on his brother. Could you imagine Eli vs. Peyton in the NY area Super Bowl. It would be like an entire entourage of Jerome Bettis's on one team being from Detroit. Prepare for incessant.
The Lions remaining schedule isn't unmanageable, and 12-4 wasn't going to happen anyway. Three of the final 6 games just became a bit more grueling, which isn't a bad thing if you're trying to define a winning identity that can help you advance through January.
And by the way, I'm not backtracking on my Ws and Ls.
Green Bay Win
@New York I'll flip here. Loss. EDIT - This is in Detroit. But the point remains, often the Giants are not to be toiled with in December.
10-6. 2-0 over the Bears, 1-1 vs. GB and 5-1 in the North. That SHOULD claim the 3rd seed in the NFC, and possibly create The Handshake Bowl at Ford Field during Wild Card weekend.