Saturday, February 28, 2009

Okay, Here's The Deal!

This bubble has tightened up considerably. You don't have so many teams with the ridiculous amount of needle to thread for them to get into the tournament for this plain and simple fact. It's get the tournament or bust. As we go into the last week of Regular season play for the larger conferences as well as the Championship week for the mid to developing majors. We need to double check where we stand.

Could the ACC get 8 bids? It's a serious question. Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State and Boston College are all locks. As for the three remaining bubble potentials? Miami has the best computer numbers (45/11) and with games @ Georgia Tech and versus North Carolina State left? They would be the best of the bubble. Maryland does have some tremendous wins (UNC, Michigan State) and their road games are quite winnable (North Carolina State, Virginia). But like Miami, they would probably need to get one tournament win to do it right.

One team would get North Carolina State, one team would get Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech can still make a case. But they have to hit a runner-runner of North Carolina and Florida State in Tallahassee to make their statement. It's long odds in Hokie Town.

Big East
The question for the Big East to start the year was if they could swing a new record for a conference tournament berths. Now the question is, can they even get 8? UConn, Pitt, Villanova, Louisville, and Marquette are pretty sureshot locks. West Virginia and Syracuse are likely in. They just need to get their 20th win.

For Providence? It boils down to their final game at Villanova. They win there? It's two major wins in their last three and the computer numbers (69/37), while mediocre, would not matter. They beat Cincinnati twice. The Bearcats have somewhat of a better resume. Wins over West Virginia and UAB and at UNLV with a (51/20) mean good things. The Bearcats will also get likely get 10 conference wins. If they beat Syracuse? It may be a case of Providence having a legitimate gripe come selection sunday.

And let Georgetown go. They play St. Johns and Miami. The RPI is going to fall into the 50's. That's killer.

Big Ten
And the Big Ten can also get eight teams if everything breaks right. Sure, Illinois, Michigan State, and Purdue are in. Minnesota needs one more win to feel safe. Ohio State needs one more win to feel safe. Wisconsin's strength of schedule is good enough to get them in if they hold serve at home. Beyond that?

Penn State has a shot to lock it in if they can get one more, damning the RPI in the 60's. But like Providence? The 11th conference win is the key. Illinois comes into State College. If Nittany wins here? They would move off the bubble.

The shambling corpse of Michigan keeps avoiding the perceived headshot to their NCAA tournament chances. They do have to go to Wisconsin and Minnesota. Get both? Then we can talk. But you need to get both.

Big 12
The bad play of Texas aside, they just need to beat Baylor in Austin to feel safe. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri are in. Kansas State's RPI is a joke and like Arizona State last season? They won't make it because of it. So what's left?

Texas A&M has both an RPI and an SOS in the 30's. They will very likely get 21 wins and a .500 conference record. Oklahoma State is going to have the strength of schedule top 15. They will have 20 wins and 9 in conference. If the Cowboys can win versus Kansas State? They have the best shot for five bids. A&M would need to beat what would likely be Nebraska in the first round to get another chance.

It's kind of locked in. UCLA, Cal, Washington, and Arizona State are certain berths. Arizona needs too sweep Cal and Stanford or take one with a tournament win to get a berth. Anybody else needs to run the table. Easy.

They'll likely get five. LSU is in. Florida needs one more to get in. Tennessee should try and get two to get in. South Carolina needs to win their last home game and not roll craps against Georgia. Kentucky's computer numbers suck again (66/63). If they lose at Florida, would the selection committee have the balls to leave them home if they don't at least get one in the tournament?

No. And that's why they'll get five.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Matt Wieters is not Jesus.

He's not the combination of all the good parts of Joe Mauer and Mike Piazza. He is not a giant Johnny Bench. He is not another Dale Murphy. He is just another rookie.

Hype is not good for rookies. Sure, Junior Griffey lived up to the hype. But does anybody remember when Baseball America called Ruben Rivera the next Mickey Mantle? What about when Andruw Jones was supposed to change the world with his bat? Neither one happened.

And the degree of difficulty? It grows exponentially for the catchers. For every Ernie Lombardi in hype? We get a Mitch Melusky in execution. Know, those in the twitter world know I may be a man who thinks the sky is falling with every catcher in existence. But here's the thing.

When the conservative projections of a player is .285/25/83 for a player you're going to inevitably find yourself disappointed. Be easy Baltimore. Don't lose your shit if Mike Napoli goes and outplays the Wieters.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sorry kids...

It is not worth your time for me to take a shot at culling something mediocre together when I just do not have it. I have ideas. Sure. I may go early on the bubble rankings, especially if UAB can take down Memphis. I mean that changes everything.

It is what it is. March will be better.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Bubble Movers and Shakers

1. Texas A&M: The buzzer-beater versus Nebraska now means the Aggies have an excellent shot of getting back to .500 in the Big 12.
2. Providence: You beat the #1 team in the country, and you now likely have a potential play-in game for them at Villanova.
3. Georgetown: Dead. All dead.
4. Ohio State: Back in the saddle again after beating...Penn State.
5. Penn State: They still need 22 wins to get in the tournament.
7. Virginia Tech: Winning at Clemson gets them back into the conversation.

Sorry, this was a giant twitteration. I apologize. When I have something better. I will come back.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A mock draft thought exercise...I must have nothing else right?

1. Detroit: Matt Stafford QB-Georgia (Now I know what I said. And perhaps they will go in a different direction. But the fact of the matter is, what Miami did was a flukish sort of a thing. Teams do not jump up ten wins without luck. I would redshirt Stafford. Build for 2011.)
2. St. Louis: Jason Smith LT-Baylor (This is the upside play. But while Eugene Monroe is still the safer bet? Jason Smith has been climbing up the draft charts. Great athleticism. Good power. He was gonna be a great fit for the Packers at 9, but never mind that. He's gonna get paid.)
3. Kansas City: Aaron Curry OLB-Wake Forest (Though now instead of just being happy, they are ecstatic.)
4. Seattle: Eugene Monroe LT-Virginia (Safest pick. Bridges the gap from Walter Jones and with Crabtree's injury, they move here.)
5. Cleveland: Malcolm Jenkins-CB Ohio State (If you can stop the pass? You're in good shape. This gives them a good opportunity.)
6. Cincinnati: Everette Brown-DE Florida State (To continue building on a surprisingly stout defense.)
7. Oakland: Michael Crabtree-WR Texas Tech (Because the Raiders scouting operation is nothing more than a draft preview magazine.)
8. Jacksonville: Rey Maualuga-MLB USC (I know, with no pro day and a 4.8 combine 40 they could probably deal down and still get him. But with Andre Smith so clearly insane? He's their best player available that fits a need for them.)
9. Green Bay: Aaron Maybin DE-Penn State (They could go Raji, they could trade down, but of the available defenders currently, he looks tailor made to be a 3-4 OLB Pass rusher. And you know that good pass-rushers are slightly overvalued in this day and age.)
10. San Francisco: B.J. Raji NT-Boston College (Another team that flinches on Andre Smith.)
11. Buffalo: Brian Orapko DE-Texas (Great athleticism, he's a tailor made 4-3 defensive end.)
12. Denver: Vontae Davis CB-Illinois (You could see a team in the market to deal up here. Davis is a great defender, but so far as the thought exercises go? They have bigger and better needs. A deal to 9 would get them Raji.)
13. Washington: Peria Jerry DT-Mississippi (Killed it at the senior bowl, obviously they'll go in a different direction if Haynesworth rolls up to the Capital City. But he fits the scheme perfectly.)
14. New Orleans: Brian Cushing OLB-USC (Somewhere in this sequence from Picks 8-14, someone is bound to trade up and grab an offensive player. A Mark Sanchez, Jeremy Maclin, Darrius Heyward-Bey, whatever. The Saints have three picks. If none of them have been selected? The Saints will listen to a good offer.)
15. Houston: James Laurinitas OLB-Ohio State (Now sure. People are in the I'm going to look for weaknesses stage with Laurinitas because he's done nothing since the Fiesta Bowl. But we know who he is, and as this draft breaks down? He's a great fit.)
16. San Diego: Michael Oher OT-Mississippi (He is the high-risk prospect at offensive tackle, but the tools that he has with the linemates in San Diego? He's a perfect fit.
17. New York Jets: Alphonso Smith CB-Wake Forest (Draft for need or best player available. I say they draft for need.)
18. Chicago: Mark Sanchez QB-USC (Kyle Orton has shown himself to be a decent player, but Sanchez has all the tools to be spectacular. Maybe Maclin, or maybe Heyward-Bey, maybe Harvin.)
19. Tampa Bay: Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland (I say unto you. You want a receiver that is a weapon? They just might pass on Maclin to get to him. In fact? They will.)
20. Detroit (from Dallas): Andre Smith OT Alabama (Long fall ends here. They need a potential franchise left tackle. And despite the worst job interview ever? He could still do it.
21. Philadelphia: William Beatty OT UConn (At the rate this draft is going? The Eagles should take their potential left tackle of the future here because an offensive weapon might still be there at 28.)
22. Minnesota: Alex Mack C Cal (The secret world of Alex Mack is a key addition to the magical Vikings run game.)
23. New England: Clay Matthews OLB USC (Because he's muli-purposed for evil.)
24. Atlanta: Shawn Nelson TE-Southern Miss (The main beneficiary of the Dustin Keller effect, with none of Jared Cook's character issues.)
25. Miami: Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri (Who forgot about you? I didn't. I expect a trade up for Maclin.)
26. Baltimore: Percy Harvin WR Florida (The Ravens offense needs a playmaker, and here he is.)
27. Indianapolis: Eben Britton OT Arizona (A solid set of tools for a team that could fit in as an eventual left tackle, even if he starts out as a swing tackle. Right tackle now.)
28. Philadelphia (from Carolina): Chris Wells RB Ohio State (See?)
29. New York Giants: Clint Sintim OLB Virginia (When in doubt, the Giants love to collect pass-rushers. Sure Michael Johnson is still available, but you know what? Sintim can be an outside linebacker...right now!)
30. Tennessee: Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech (Jevon Kearse version 2.0)
31. Arizona: Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia (Damn the 40 time, he has the lateral movement and he has an excellent opportunity to be the bellcow for a top-notch offense.)
32. Pittsburgh: Phil Loadholt RT Oklahoma (The Steelers need a tackle in some form or fashion, and if the six left tackle prospects are gone? It's time to get all giant and power playery.)

Yeah. This may be weird to you. It's weird to me. Jeremy Maclin falls to 26?

I know, right?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pat White? Top 5 Quarterback Prospect?

It's not as strange as you think. After all? Pat White suddenly has skills that you're able build a dream on. He has an official listing of 6'0", which contextually means everything. His 40-time is listed at 4.49, but we already knew that. He was a productive, if not injury-prone quarterback at West Virginia.

But why would he be listed as a Top 5 Quarterback? Because with a ridiculously bad quarterback class, when you're a major college quarterback who's in the process of showing something new? You can climb the ladder rapidly. Break it down, you say, and I will.

One, Pat White was able to look comfortable in the pocket as a quarterback during the Senior Bowl game. He's spectacular at throwing the ball on the run, but he showed the raw tools to be a McNabbian dropback quarterback in the future.

Two, in a world that can shake your top prospects, (Matt Stafford, Andre Smith) he has shown himself to be able to rise up to the challenges of the NFL Combine. You can read thoughts from Don Banks or Mike Mayock, but suffice it to say, Pat White isn't a speedy dude with a rag arm. It doesn't mean he can be a good pro, and your Pat White may yet have to move to a different position, but in a world where the white Andre Woodson was your putative 6th quarterback prospect coming into the combine?

It can shoot somebody up the ladder.

And three? All things being equal, Pat White's weaknesses seem less glaring. Rhett Bomar and Nate Davis are both quarterbacks who lack a certain amount of polish to their passing game. So too Pat White. Bomar also has a little longer list of an injury history than Pat White. And Bomar also got thrown out on his ass at Oklahoma.

I'm not saying that you need to look for him in the middle of round 2? All I'm saying is if you get up at 10 am on April 26th and find that you're in the Pat White business?

Don't be shocked.

There's a Production Assistant at ESPN on Twitter.

I am intrigued by this turn of events. Especially from his last "tweet."

Stu Scott kickboxing in the gym. This is awkward.

So all you need to do is go here, and click that little follow button. He just might get things interesting.

Hat tip goes here...

And remember? or click the little follow icon on the side.

Abeline Christian has two high reward prospects.

That right there is a creative headline, am I right?

But let's be honest, the mere fact that Abeline Christian has entered the discussion of draftable prospects is something that 90% of you have know idea about. I know this for a fact because I only get about 100 or so people who read this every day. So, how about we bring you up to speed on the triplets of Abeliene Christian? They did, after all put 93 up in a division 2 playoff game last season.

Billy Malone is the quarterback. Injuries forced him to transfer away from Tulane after he sat out for two seasons, and in this system? He shone. He's a burly quarterback with quickness in the pocket as well as a big arm. But he is going to be 26 when draft day rolls around. The jump from D-2 all the way to the NFL is long enough for a Chris Weinke, let alone a Division II prospect who missed two college seasons due to injury. It was a good run, but unless he can rock out a 4.70 40-time? His day is done.

Johnny Knox is the google-challenged wide reciever. At least that was until he had his 40 yard dash time at the combine. 4.26 in the 40? That's just crazy! But he does have great hands. He will high-point the ball. So you know what that means? He's not just a guy who you're going to have as a Devin Hester type. Admittedly, all he is is a short yardage in space or deep threat, but a Greg Jennings or a Steve Smith upside? That's nice. He just needs to learn how to stop with the dancing. Pick a hole and go, son!

I've mentioned Bernard Scott before on the blog. He ran for 63 touchdowns in his last two years. He ran a Moses Malonesque 4.44 in the 40 at the combine. He has quick feet and an excellent agility. On the field? The only real weakness he has is in pass protection. But let me just say, when the character issues remind you of Cecil Collins, you'll be a 3rd round value who may get undrafted.

There you have it. the best triplets you have not heard of. But din't be surprised if one of them culls out a decent pro career. It is what it is.


Bubble Developments and Bullet Points...

I'm going to talk about the current bubble watch in terms of the day to day. Because I can, right?

  • Anybody who even perished the thought that the Big 10 was going to get 8 teams into the Big Dance was being sagacious at best and drunken at worst. Yes, I'm looking at you Lunardi. Michigan is dead after getting their ass kicked in overtime to Iowa. And all of the sudden it looks like Ohio State is going to be stuck on the bubble baseline with the 18, 19 wins and a .500 conference record.
  • Arizona was game, but like Wisconsin, they left the opportunity for a clinching win on the table.
  • And as for Syracuse being unable to beat Villanova? They should win their next three and let the computer numbers do the rest.

Thank you, expect another combine-related post at a later point.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

How did Sean Penn win best actor?

One simple reason. Allowing yourself to be tied down to Vince McMahon? It is an albatross the likes of which you cannot escape from. Rourke was rumored to fight Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 25. And like when Eddie Murphy lost his best supporting actor due to Norbit?

So too Rourke. Shame really.

Okay, so maybe Michael Crabtree isn't insane...

Scouts love upside. Scouts love the guy that you can build the dream on. You look at the guy who you know all about and you start looking for the weaknesses. It's unfair, but it is what it is.

Why am I talking about this now? Because Percy Harvin just ran a 4.37 40-yard dash. And this was to be expected. Percy has the wheels and the run skills to be a receiver version of a Reggie Bush. He's gonna be in the middle of the first round. But he's not why I'm all up in here with a nigh instant retraction of Michael Crabtree running on his pro day.

The man who rocked Alphonso Smith with the stiff-arm is Darrius Heyward-Bey. He was in the second echelon of receivers before he ran his 40 yard dash today. Good size, his estimated 40 time was supposed to be good. If he ran a 4.45 or so? He was going to kiss the end of the first round.

He ran a 4.32. 6'2", 205 pounds. And he ran a 4.32 40. There's going to be a chance that he's going to be the #1 receiver taken now. The inconsistency question? It can answer it this way. He had to catch passes from Chris Turner or Jordan Steffy. I'm not saying he will overtake Crabtree. But I think Al Davis just found a new receiver for the conversation.

Since Everybody Liked Last Weeks Bubble Top 25?

I figured I would use my brainmeats and go again. After all, if it doesn't involve me trying to be funny? I can do it twice in a row. Because my funny is accidental. But my brainmeats just keep bringing it.

Anyway, the Bubble is still tightening as the inexorable march of time gets toward Selection Sunday. And while some teams have lost their projected safeline designation, like San Diego State, we have teams with new membership. They're mostly from Florida.

Maybe all from Florida.'s the safe teams.

Wake Forest
Florida State

Big East

Arizona State

Big 10
Michigan State

Big 12


Mountain West

Atlantic 10

(Note: Odds are that the A-10 is going to get multiple teams, so the Atlantic 10 is going to get the one team safeline that Conference USA is not going to get.)

Safe Likely Conference Champions
Utah State

And this week we can add a new designation. Just needs one more win to be in.

One More Win
Boston College: (The computer numbers are decent to marginal. If they take down Florida State at home, it's not just clinched. It's superclinched. But they will likely go 21-10 (9-7). At North Carolina State and Georgia Tech at home means that will likely happen.)
Dayton: (Winning one of their next three (@ URI, Temple, @ Xavier) makes them safe. They probably already are, but I have a bad feeling about them. Just a feeling.)

I would also put the winner of the South Carolina-Kentucky game as a team that's in the tournament. But they still both fall on the safeline. So there's that.

So how many bubble teams does that leave us? 13. So let's start the rankings? Remember...future schedules count.

1. West Virginia
2. Syracuse

All they need to do is win two games and that is a task of simplicity for both. The computer numbers can fade it if they only beat DePaul, Rutgers, or South Florida. By this time next week, their cards should be punched.

3. Texas (Blake Griffin's concussion aside, beating Oklahoma is beating Oklahoma. This means they are among the top teams vs. the RPI Top 50 who reside firmly on the safeline. Texas Tech and Baylor at home will get them to 20 wins and over .500 in the Big 12.)
4. Wisconsin (Put it simply? If they manage a win today at the Breslin Center? They could manage a 9 game winning streak going into the conference tournament. And even if they don't? Their worst case of going 7-3 in their last 10 would tie them for the hottest BCS team going into their tournament.)
5. Kentucky (It is essentially a coin toss game between them and South Carolina on Wednesday, and an RPI of 62 at this point is quite high for a team that I would put on the safeline. But they control the tempo on Wednesday and they get LSU on Saturday. Win the week and the RPI problem is sorted.)
6. Ohio State (They didn't hold serve. Northwestern is doing well for Northwestern, but it's still not a good loss. If they beat Illinois at home today? All is forgiven and they'll still likely have 20 wins in them and a 33/34 RPI/SOS.)
7. San Diego State (They have the best case to be the Mountain West's third team in the tournament. Not to say that their schedule is downy soft by any stretch of the imagination, but they have BYU and UNLV coming to San Diego. Go 3-1 in their final four? They win the 3rd Mountain West bid.)
8. Arizona (Probably need one more good win (@ Arizona State, California, @ Washington) for clinching purposes, but with their tradition, passable computer numbers 43/40, 6 wins vs. the RPI Top 50, and 20 likely wins overall and 10 in the Pac-10? They can take it down by just beating Stanford and Washington State.)
9. Minnesota (Similar resume to Arizona. Both have hit about .500 versus the RPI top 100, both have some high-quality wins that they have banked. Both have an excellent chance of getting to 21 wins overall with a .500 or better conference record. Both have similar computer numbers (40/48). Arizona just played a couple of higher notched teams. All they need to do is just beat Michigan and Northwestern at home.)
10. South Carolina (So the odds of 4-2 just got a bit longer. Their next three (@ Kentucky, @ Vanderbilt, Tennessee)? They are horseraces. Win one and they're fine. Thus they can feel relatively safe.)
11. Tennessee (There is always one team that will get in solely on its strength of schedule. Right now? It looks like the Volunteers. Pomeroy expects 18-12 (9-7). That doesn't matter. Their RPI is 26. That doesn't matter. Their Strength of Sechedule is 2. That's all that matters.)

Here's where you'll find out the deep dark secret of this years NCAA tournament. A lot more teams are going to go to the NIT unhappy then make the NCAA's. Right now there are two bids left. And as I type this, there are seven teams that could make a solid case for it. I do not envy the selection committee this year.

12. Maryland (Their emotional win over North Carolina gives them the best winning percentage of what's left versus the RPI top 25. There are plenty of teams with computer numbers that bring more to the table, but the ACC is the best conference by far, and if they can win at North Carolina State and at Virginia? They would have probably have to beat North Carolina State in the tournament. If they do? That's a ticket punched.)
13. Penn State (The computer numbers are bad, (61/84), but if you look at Conference RPI? You have a likely 5th place team in the second best confrence with 21 likely wins in their back pocket and three versus the top 25 in RPI. At this point, as I type this? That's enough. But if they want to stay here? They better get a 22nd win. (The two likely wins are versus Indiana and Iowa, those crack the RPI downward.)

Here's the current batch of the outside looking in. Again, there are five teams that have strong resumes to get into the tournament even if they would currently be out. I would count New Mexico as a team on the list. The potential fourth MWC bid will either belong to them or UNLV.

14. Oklahoma State (I tossed a coin between the Cowboys and the Nittany Lions for the 65th spot. The Cowboys have much better computer numbers (32/11), but that being said? Their most quality win was against Siena and they need to hold serve just to get to .500 in a marginal big six conference. Next Saturday they play Texas. It's in Oklahoma City. Win there and hold serve? They are in great shape.)
15. Texas A&M (Beat Nebraska in Lincoln on Tuesday, and they likely get to .500 in conference and 22 wins, as well as a chance at clinching a spot int he Big Dance when Missouri comes to town on March 7th. If they merely hold serve? They likely don't get themselves to .500 in the Big 12. And that's kind of problematic especially this year.)
16. Temple (Their key is the road game at Dayton. Win here and they'll likely be 13-3 in the A-10 with 21 wins overall, and their current computer numbers would be strong enough that they could just hold serve in the tournament and get in. But the way this year is going? Maybe not.)
17. Miami (They still have a good chance of winning out. Their computer numbers are going to be better than Maryland's. And if it comes down to it? It's going to be the team that plays North Carolina State that has the better shot of culling the ACC's seventh tournament berth.)
18. USC (They needed to beat Washington. With this sort of a morass in terms of the edge of the bubble? They need to run the table to stay out of the NIT graveyard. Cal is their last shot at a win you could consider good. And heaven help them if they lose to Stanford or either Oregon team. 19 wins will not be good enough here.)
19. UNLV (Again, the schedule is something bad. They have strong wins versus the Top 50 (Lousiville, Utah, BYU twice.) But here's the crux of the problem, they have two road games versus Utah (RPI-10) and San Diego State (RPI-48). Their home game is versus Air Force (RPI-287). They need to cull a 22nd win to have a chance of making the dance.)
20. St. Mary's (CA) (Won what they were supposed to. Would probably need to make a run to the finals with a good effort against Gonzaga to make their case perfectly, any loss until then, even a semifinal tournament loss to Portland? And they would be toast. Especially if they make a regualr season boo-boo. Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount have superawful RPI's.)
21. UAB (Decent computer numbers (39/71) that will slowly slide downward with games against Marshall and East Carolina, never mind a potential 9-1 record in their last 10. All they have to do is beat Memphis. Do that and it's a lock. Don't and they cannot get in. No tomorrow's. This Thursday they win or they are dead.)
22. New Mexico (Their problem is wholly depended on their computer numbers. Their RPI is 71. Beating Utah at home will make that rise. Doing it like they did versus San Diego State (75-49), would shoot it up the ladder. But then there's Colorado State, TCU, and Wyoming. Not much quality in those wins, kids.)
23. Georgetown (If they can win out? Then they can usurp Tennessee as the team that gets in solely on the strength of their strength of schedule. They would have to thread the needle of Louisville in DC and at Villanova to do it, but if they can? They will be the Big Easts 8th team.)
24. Michigan (Second best RPI among the currently unlisted. But Georgetown's proverbial needle to thread is a little less difficult than Michigan's. (Purdue, at Wisconsin and at Minnesota are their last three.) They would need to beat Iowa in Iowa City and take two of those three to get into consideration.)
25. Niagra (Beat Siena at home and they have to be in the conversation of at-large berths. That being said? They would need to get themselves a third match-up versus Siena and win out to state their case completely.)

Yes! I made a new list! You're welcome!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The foot injury can only help Michael Crabtree...

One, he will likely get himself onto a better team. The Seahawks may move along to one of their other needs because they do not know if he's Larry Fitzgerald or a tiny tight end. The Raiders may move along for reasons only Al Davis knows. And after that? Some team will start to consider a trade up. Maybe Washington. Maybe Chicago.

Two, the general managerati must remember that he was playing on one foot for most of the season. Crabtree as a redshirt sophomore was great, but the man wasn't healthy. Imagine what would have happened if he was healthy? Jesus christ, that would have ruled.

Three, trust me. His forty time is not going to mean shit.


UPDATE: I did not know that Michael Crabtree's agent is insane.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Say you're in a Yahoo draft, and like most in a Yahoo Draft...

You can't be bothered to do research. There are 15 rounds in your head, and you're in round 16. So what do you do? How do you queue this up? Well, I'll give you 20 names for the end of your draft, and you use them how you will.

1) Erik Bedard (SP-Sea)

The thing about Bedard is that it was his hip that lead to the shoulder soreness. He should be healthy for the start of the season. And he may start slowly, kind of like Sabathia did last year. But you know what? He could be spectacular from June 1st on. I know Yahoo has a narrow bench, and if you can't keep him you can't keep him. But with a 2007 upside in the 17th-18th round? You have to take a flier.

2) Jered Weaver (SP-LAA)

Yeah, I know. His rookie year was a bit of a fluke. He's been an injury prone pitcher who's been above Braden Looper-Jeff Suppan levels, but barely. That being said? He's got a chance to rebreakout this season. Now while he was a little worse in his second half, his peripheral stats were much better. He struck out a batter an inning and three for every batter he walked. He's got a shot to rebreak out. He's Age 26 with experience, after all.

3) Josh Johnson (SP-Fla)

He came back in the late season and was just as impressive as he was before he had his Tommy John surgery. He's still just 25, and while he may not hold the same BB/9 as he did last season? He could still be a 15 win, 3.25 ERA, 160 K sort of a starter. It's a beautiful thing.

4) Pablo Sandoval (1B/3B/C-SF)

I know, recommending a Giant on offense as a solid value is dancing with danger. And in the grand scheme of things? Sandoval isn't going to be good as a rotisserie first baseman. But never mind that bollocks. He's a qualified catcher and third baseman this year. He has a J.T. Snow sort of an offensive game. 15 homer power, .290 average. As such? He's a top ten catcher. He could very possibly outhit Wieters.

5) Chris Perez (RP-St. Louis)

Now sure, you could find Brian Wilson or Joel Hanarahan toward the end of the draft. But if the Cardinals are smart? You can get yourself the next Fransisco Cordero. Chris Perez has the electric arm that is a requirement of the archetypal closer. He walks a little bit too much, and that is why the devil wanted a more established closer, but you know what? With the mixture of rotten luck in the bullpen and the thunder in his arm. Draft him. He will get 35-40 saves.

6) Ian Stewart (3B/2B-Col)

If you want a dude who would be a cheap source of .260/20/80? Here's the guy. Now at third base, that potential is of a marginal quality at best. But at second base? That's top ten numbers. You may want to get a second second baseman for the 70 games or so that the Rockies aren't in a hitters park. But you could get 90% of Dan Uggla at 20% of the value. I say go for it!

7) Sin-Soo Choo (OF-Cle)

Obvious jokes about relish aside, he destroyed AL pitching in the second half. He does have the ability to send fly balls over the fence when he hits them. He gets 600 at-bats? It's .300/20/90/20/90 time. It's a worthwhile flier for you to take a shot.

8) Andrew McCutchen (OF-Pit)

Now some of you all want Wieters. And some of you all want Cameron [Annoying Chris Berman Nickname]. And this means McCutter, gets to go under the radar. In five years, he's going to be Shane Victorino. But as for this year? He's probably going to have a short stint in AAA as Njyer Morgan takes time. But you know what? You can get 30 steals out of him right now. I'd move McClouth out of to left and start the Pittsburgh McOutfield Era.

9) Mike Jacobs (1B-KC)

There are some who consider Mike Jacobs as something below young Billy Butler or old Adam LaRoche. Some think that Kila Cooey Cooey Cooey will usurp him on some level. (I doubt this, though Ryan Shealy, fandom of Justice League International, and a desire not to spellcheck may be blinding me.) I think Mike Jacobs is going to give you a .275/35/100 at first base. That's Carlos Delgado numbers, and it's going to be a beautiful thing.

10) Max Scherzer (SP/RP-Ari)

Never mind the bollocks if he doesn't win a starting job. Look at Juan Cruz' numbers as a Diamondback. Max could probably kiss the strikeout numbers with 5 to 10 less walks. Yeah, he's going to be one of the few draftable middle relievers that you could feel safe in going and grabbing. But don't reach if you're uncertain.

11) Anibal Sanchez (SP-Fla)

This is a the speculative play. And if you're in a shallow league, you may as well take a flier on one. And Mr. Sanchez here is a nice choice. Now, he was nowhere near as good upon his injury return as Josh Johnson would. But his peripherals are better than expected. If he can touch his 2006 magic? He'll be great, if not a little wild. If healthy? He'll generate an okay ERA, decent amounts of wins, and a solid strikeout title. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

12) Josh Fields (3B-CWS)

He and Arizona's Mark Reynolds are very similar. The power numbers are real. Both have struggles putting bat on ball, but while Reynolds does have a double figures in steals upside, Fields has a much clearer path to the job. Chad Tracy has shown 30 homer skills. Wilson Betemit? A worse fielder with a worse approach at the plate. He's going undrafted. And he really shouldn't be.

13) Chris Snyder (C-Ari)

Now Chris Ianetta and Mike Napoli may be underpriced, as they will be studs in the act 3 of the 4 act fantasy draft. But Chris Snyder? He's inexplicably ranked below Dioner Navarro. He has a shot to bring Ian Stewart levels of offense to catcher if he learns how to hit home runs in the BOB. Be willing to bet he can.

14) Luke Scott (OF-Bal)

Sometimes there isn't much sexy to your sleeper. Luke Scott is the perfect example. Luke Scott is going to grow up to be Raul Ibanez. He's not going to be all the way live yet. But he's got really strong chance to get .270/28/80 this season. For your current 68th best outfielder? That is fringe starter numbers if the man is healthy.

15) Taylor Buchholz (RP-Col)

Tattoo this behind your eyeballs. Huston Street always gets hurt. Always always always. Taylor Buchholz is a solid middle reliever, even in Colorado. He is the closer in waiting for the oblique strain/shoulder inpingement that Street is eventually going to succumb to. (FWIW? Huston Street is still a cheap source of saves in the middle of the draft.)

16) Clayton Kershaw (SP-LAD)

Kind of like the whole thing with Chad Billingsley growing up from his split season to his first full season? You'll see Kershaw with about 160 IP with a 3.62 ERA and 140 K if he keeps his walks under control. He's imperfect in that respect. But the rest of him is a matter of when. But don't fret to badly if someone else knows who he is.

17) Matt Joyce (OF-TB)

He doesn't have that ol' magic of a .280/30/100 hitter. He just doesn't make enough contact. But the man did average a dinger in every twenty at bats when he was in Comerica. The Trop generates more power, so you could see Jack Cust power numbers with a support neutral batting average. And there's nothing wrong with that.

18) Matt LaPorta (OF-Cle)

You want the guy most likely to get himself 30 home runs despite waiting until May? Crack open a bottle of this port. HAH! Sorry. He's got an excellent approach at the plate, and with the Indians line-up? He'll be well-protected. Give it six weeks, and he'll be a big leaguer.

19) Kevin Slowey (SP-Min)

Why do you need to believe in Slowey? He's got superb control of three pitches. And he doesn't allow many baserunners. He's learning how to get grounders. He's going to get an ERA of 3.51 and a WHIP under 1.250. How many wins he gets is wholly dependent on the offense. It could be 10. It could be 17. I don't know how well the Twins are gonna do.

20) The Murphy Brothers (David: OF-Tex. Daniel: 2B/3B/OF-NYM)

Both Murphys come with good value. David is going to be a Rusty Greerish type that will cull 500 plate appearances and good Aaron Rowand style numbers in doing so. Daniel is someone who could generate a Kelly Johnson season if he qualifies at second. So he's good. There's a third brother. I think his name is Dewey or Derek or Steve.

I think he's retarded. Or lives in Oakland. Same difference.

There you go. A list of 20-25 sleepers for the edge of your fantasy baseball. And I tell you this. In 1863? These would have been true greats.

Knockout Saturday...

Now this weekend, you have to watch the majestry of the mid-majors. Illinois State and Niagra fighting to get on the outside looking in of the bubble and whatnot. But while you look and notice that Siena is really kind of awesome, there are eleven major teams playing for their tournament lives. Now sure, some are on the super periphery, but if they pull the upset? The bracketologists have to consider them.

It is a list post, I will order them according to the bracketological implications.

10) Providence vs. Notre Dame

Why even list this game? Notre Dame is an NIT team, Providence's computer numbers are marginal at best. They still would need to steal one of at home vs. Pittsburgh or at Villanova to even be considered. So why list the fighting Keno Davis' as a knockout game? Because a win here likely gets Providence to ten conference wins. And if they can swing eleven? There's a definite chance of Keno Davis winning a coach of the year.

9) Nebraska at Kansas

Now sure, asking for Nebraska to take down Kansas on the road is a tall task. But the fact of the matter? If they can get it done, it's a top notch win in their last ten games over a potential two seed that was on a 38 game home winning streak. Put it this way. If Abe Dagundro and Paul Velander can get that done? Of all the potential 19 win teams, they have to climb the ladder of contention.

8) Kentucky vs. Tennessee

Patrick Patterson's limited play is something that makes this game not as much of a gimme as it could have been. The Vols are strong like Bull in the low post, and you saw what Vanderbilt did with a team that couldn't be at full strength down low. With only one guaranteed win from here on out, Kentucky could find themselves in some trouble if the Vols come out fired up. Remember, Meeks kicked their ass the last time they played.

7) USC vs. Washington

Southern California needs to win one of their next two. Otherwise? They will find themselves in the morass. It would be a resume too similar to Baylor, Georgetown, Miami, Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin. Now maybe they get in, and maybe they stay out. But if they can get to 19 off of a quality win? Then if they go into Stanford and win? That equals twenty.

6) UNLV vs. BYU

Losing at Wyoming just might be a killshot for the Rebels chances. Sure, they will get 20 wins. But beating Air Force is an RPI killer for marginal computer numbers. (Check how Kansas State's RPI fell off the cliff after they beat North Carolina Central.) And they have to beat the top three in conference. BYU does come to Vegas, but they have to go to San Diego State and Utah. (I will say this now. They need to beat BYU to stay alive.)

5) New Mexico vs. San Diego State

New Mexico has a very razor thin margin to work with. But that being said? They have a better chance to get any potential fourth berth for your Mountain West Conference than the aforementioned UNLV. They do play the top two teams. But they have to come to Las Cruces. And that is worth at least five points for the Lobos. Win out? It's 21-10, 12-4 and an RPI that isn't indefensible with an 8-2 record in their last 10 games. But they have to steal two.

4) Georgetown vs. Marquette

Georgetown has a chance of winning four out of his last five. Now this and Louisville will be tough games, but Georgetown is a young team. Losing seven of eight was bound to happen. The thing is? If they can get past that and find a way to use their low post to dominate Marquette? It's a quality win in their last ten. It may only mean a stay of execution, but they thread the needle, it's an 18-win team with good computer numbers (37/3) and a lot of quality wins (UConn, Memphis, Syracuse, Marquette and Louisville).

3) Vanderbilt at Florida

I know, the computer numbers for the Commodores should belie them from any real consideration at this point (91/107), but they also have they eye of the tiger for this game. They got dropped by 25 at home versus the Gators. So yeah, a win here means upset city.

That being said? They steal it and hold serve the rest of the way? They will be on the cutline come selection Sunday. And as for Florida? They still are on the safe line right now. And a loss here doesn't mean death, but their last four are a strong challenge. (@ LSU, Tennessee, @ Mississippi State, Kentucky), so they need this one to feel safe.

2) Boston College at Miami

Why I kept Miami in the Tournament teams bracket is the fact that this game starts a run of four consecutive games for the Hurricanes that they should win. (After this it's @ Virginia, @ Georgia Tech and vs. North Carolina State). But Boston College has their swagger back after they beat Duke last Sunday. And a win here clinches 20 wins overall and a .500 record in conference play. And it would knock out Miami from any real tournament consideration.

1) Baylor at Oklahoma State

The winner of this game has an excellent shot of running themselves back to at least .500 in conference, the loser is very likely going to have to steal one if they want to get there. (Though Baylor's needle is a lot easier to thread than Oklahoma State's. Winning at Texas looks a lot easier than winning at Oklahoma, even if Baylor has a minimal low-post presence.) My gut says that Baylor is going to win this game, but it should be very fun to watch. Tournament atmosphere, two teams that run and gun, and a game that promises to be in the 80's.

So you see? This is going to be one of the truly great weekends of college basketball. The Mid-Majors are shining, teams are fighting for their lives. God love it kids.

Get ready for March.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am Live Tweeting the Texas Tech rally vs. OSU. or go to the side panel.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This world is changing...

Now I know that this image might shake a meal loose for some of the more superficially inclined among us. But this is Jane Couch. She fought to bring women's boxing to England. Admittedly, she looks quite mannish, but it is what it is. She brought women's boxing into the light in the land of bangers and mash.

And yet?

This is Sarah Blewden. She is easy on the eyes. England won't let her box. If you don't know why?

Click the link...

So why was I light on Big 12 Berths?

After all, I only gave them five, and this is a good conference with the basketball. I mentioned Baylor as a team on the outside looking in, and Kansas State as a bubble to the bubble team. But you know what? In watching Texas A&M destroy Texas, we may have found our sixth Big 12 team. I know. I know. I'm saying Texas is playing badly.

But check this future schedule.

@ Texas Tech
@ Nebraska
Iowa State
@ Colorado

Don't you think they should be able to go 4-1 here? I do. And that means this team gets back to .500 in the Big 12. And with decent computer numbers and actual quality non-conference wins? They would have a better resume than Kansas State. Let's go to the resume watch.

(The Numbers: RPI/SOS/Proj. Record/Proj. Last 10/Proj. Record vs. Top 50)

Texas A&M: 47/32 22-9 (8-8) 7-3 4-6
Kansas State: 76/79 21-10 (9-7) 7-3 3-5

And if this happens? You have to put Texas A&M in the Tournament. I know, Nebraska in Lincoln isn't a gimme. I know, Kansas State did beat Texas A&M in College Station. But you know what? Non-conference resume counts too.

And it may be bad news for Wildcat nation, but like Arizona State last year? The computer's going to be the death of K-State's big dance dreams.

Sorry K-State fan that I gained this preseason, the loss to Oregon's going to get you in the end.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You know they say that the pop culture when you're 13 is the Pop Culture you follow to your death?

In a way, it can explain why I liked the Suns.

For you see, Wisconsin in the early 90's was essentially Bulls country. It's too long and indepth of a story for me to get to in blog form. But that being said? Suffice it to say that I delevoped an annoyance of dynastys, Michael Jordan, as well as competitiveness during those formative years.

Suffice it to say? I attached myself to the first rival that would be able to make it a series. And during the spectacular flooding of 1993? My family had a sidewinder of a journey from Golden Valley to Portage. We got re-routed at Osseo and suffice it to say the day ended with the triple overtime classic where the Suns outlasted the Bulls.

Memorable games when you're young attach you to weird teams.

And this is why the state of the Phoenix Suns makes me morose. There are much better treatises on the whys and hows. Suffice it to say that Jack McCallum's book has become an obituary for the competent Phoenix Suns. The greatest show on Parquet has turned into the dessicated husk that's about to turn into a slightly warmer version of the L.A. Clippers.

Watch them trade Amare for J.J. Hickson, an expiring contract and the potential rights to Jerel McNeal. C'est la vie.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

So, should I offer you a list of the Bubble Teams?

UPDATE: I made a new Top 25. It's just as awesome.

Yes. I should.

Now, as my thought exercises go? This also comes bearing caveats. There will be a list of teams who are close to the enge of making the dance. Also? Future schedules count on my list. So the team that is seemingly mediocre who can get four winnable games in a row to end the year? In.

Now that being said? Here's the breakdown of the teams that are in.

32 conference champions (8 conferences will earn multiple bids)

North Carolina
Wake Forest

Big 10
Mighigan State

Big 12

Big East


Arizona State

Mountain West
San Diego State

Potential Bubble Busters
Utah State

So where does that leave us? 17 teams to go. Now, we can essentially place the majority of these teams on the barring a disaster they are in line. And we will let a list of a last four out as well as their next four out. And where does this list start?

1. West Virginia (The schedule from here on out is pretty downy soft. (Notre Dame, @ Rutgers, @ Cincinnati, @ South Florida, Depaul, Louisville) Their last game is their toughest, and that's quite winnable. And Alex Ruoff and De'Sean Butler are studs. Morgantown can feel safe lighting a couch on Selection Sunday.)
2. Syracuse (Their remaining schedule is much like an ice cream cookie. Villanova is huge next Sunday. Then they end the year at Marquette. And in between? You can almost guarantee three wins (@ St. John's, Cincinnati, Rutgers) Flynn and Devendorf are a force of nature.)
3. Tennessee (They do have to be road warriors the rest of the way. They travel to every other SEC team on the safeline. The front court power will probably get them one. If not? Their schedule won't have an indefensible loss. Holding serve gets them an at-large on the bottom half of the bracket.)
4. Florida State (Another team with a wicked end of the season schedule. Two road games (Virginia Tech and Boston College) are versus the winnable teams, and the challenges come to Tallahassee (Clemson and Miami). They need to get two of their next three to feel safe on Selection Sunday by merely holding serve.)
5. Ohio State (They hold serve? And they're going to be 9-2 going into the conference tournament. Their computer numbers are currently quite solid as well (RPI/SOS: 26/25). And you know what? I like Evan Turner. He's my leader in the clubhouse for the Joe Alexander memorial "Salad Bar player who takes out Duke two rounds before their seeding.")
6. Texas (There's a developing scenario here. This is a team that had to go to overtime versus a Colorado team that just hit rock bottom. A road game versus Texas A&M, Oklahoma, a road game with Oklahoma State, Baylor, and a road game versus Kansas just might mean that they get a .500 record. It's long odds for that, but that being said? They're playing rather badly. I'd trust the 20 rather than the 80.)
7. Minnesota (They have two near-gimmes at home (Northwestern and Michigan). And for a solidly balanced shooting team that is spectacular at generating transition defense, they will probably get a third game before tournament time comes. And they just might be a tough out in March.)
8. South Carolina (The expectation is that they finish 4-2. The division is tough, and they don't have the Intercontinental Champ, Vanardo, or Chism and Smith. Hold to that and they'll be a scary second round match-up for a top seed.)
9. Florida (No reason to lose to Georgia. But that's fatal in terms from being essentially safe to being very likely safe. The fact is, this team is great at shooting, and when the schedule gets tough (@ LSU, Tennessee, @ Mississippi State, Kentucky)? This team will be in. Trust the sharpshooters. They'll be scary in March.)
10. Kentucky (Patrick Patterson's ankle injury is problematic. He is the low-post threat that they need when they play their next two at Vanderbilt and against Tennessee. He makes everybody better. He should return sometime in the next week. But even if they go 1-5 to end the regular season they will likely be in. Damn the computer numbers and whatnot (62/82).)

That's your safeline. Barring disaster? These teams will be in lock city long before Selection Sunday rolls around. So as for the seven remaining teams? Who's in and who's out? Let's go.

11. Arizona (One of the hottest teams in the country, with decent computer numbers. (44/40) They have an excellent triad and have found their identity as a team after a slow start. So why aren't they on the safe list yet? Because even a mediocre Washington State is still dangerous in Pullman. That means they have four tough games in a row to deal with. (@ Arizona State, @ Washington State, @ Washington, vs. Cal) Wait a week and they could have it locked down.)
12. Dayton (23-3 with wins over Marquette and Xavier. They're tied for the A-10 lead, and Chris Wright is freaking awesome. They should be on the safe list, right? But they nearly lost to St. Louis in Dayton, they travel to Rhode Island and Xavier. Temple is trying to long down a bid for the A-10, and Duquesne is a surprisingly sprightly team. Obviously they won't go 0-5, but this is a team that has played down to its competition. Kind of like Arizona. Wait a week and they should be fine.)
13. USC (As a 15-win team, the Trojans definitely have work to do to get themselves into the tournament. That being said? They have four wins in their schedule. (Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State and some combination of vs. Washington, @ Stanford, or @ Cal) And that will be enough to get them in somewhere in the teens. And I am so rooting for a USC/USC matchup in the brackets.)
14. Wisconsin (The schedule is too easy for them not to make it. (2 games with Indiana and Michigan in Madison equal a 10-8 conference record and 19 wins overall). Ten wins in a major conference is often solid enough for entry. And no matter the irrelevant joke that is Big 10 football? Big 10 Basketball is solid. And they'll likely get Northwestern in their first round conference tournament game which likely gets them to 20 wins.)
15. Miami (I know. They're an under .500 team. But their last four games are very winnable. And if Jack McClinton can outduel Toney Douglas? They will be over .500 in a major conference. I am posting this before Miami plays North Carolina. Obviously? I would move them up the list if they win tonight. This is how I go out on a limb.)
16. Temple (Better computer numbers than UAB, (36/33 vs. 40/51) they played better in the tougher games than UAB. (5-7 vs. 2-8) They play in a tougher conference than UAB. If they can take the games they are supposed to? They'll be able to get to the tournament. And if they beat Dayton? It's locked down.)
17. Cincinatti (The reason why is simple. With computer numbers similar? Wins over UNLV and UAB give them the big dance. And if they can steal one of their next three? I cxan almost guarantee that this will be the Big East's 8th team in the tournament.)

Okay, now we have the 8 on the outside looking in. There's always a chance that this will be subject to change.

18. UAB (It's the age-old debate? The mediocre major conference team versus the above-average mid-major. They have one answer to get them into lock city. Beat Memphis. A win over Memphis is greater than a loss to Cincinatti. Otherwise it's a mix of hot Arizona and stealing an Automatic bid.)
19. Kansas State (Why they're not better than the last two in? Temple will likely finish stronger (8-2 vs. 7-3). Both have fewer bad losses (Kansas State lost to Iowa and Oregon. Temple has a bad loss at Long Beach State. All Cinci's losses are defensible.) Both have a better winning percentage versus the Top 50 RPI. (K-State: 4-8 Cincinnati: 5-9 Temple: 5-8) Both have stronger computer numbers. (K-State: 77/79 Cinci: 50/24 Temple 36/33) And Cincinnati's RPI is only going to rise in conjuction with Georgetown finally hitting the easy part of their schedule.)
20. UNLV (Remember, schedule counts here. The Running Rebels have to travel to two of the three teams ahead of them, and BYU comes to their second home. Losing to Colorado State and TCU means the margin for error here is something just a little too slim if they cannot win at Utah and San Diego State.)
21. Virginia Tech (You could interchange this team with Boston College. Both teams have marginal resumes padded with decent computer numbers. Boston College has more wins, but their strength of schedule is weaker. Virginia Tech is going to have a murderous final two weeks in the schedule (Florida State @ Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, @ Florida State), but they didn't lose at home to Harvard. So here sits the Hokies.) UPDATE: I know I kind of gave this slot to the 6th best ACC team, so as Duke lost in Chestnut Hill, consider the script flipped here.
22. Baylor (Like Wisconsin, they lost six in a row during their conference season. Their computer numbers are solid RPI-52, SOS-15. And on paper? I like this team better than Oklahoma State or Texas A&M. By this time next week we'll find out if I was just kidding on this.)
23. Creighton (They have opportunity to find their way to climb up the ladder. George Mason, Illinois State, and Evansville are three teams in the top 100 of the RPI. If Booker Woodfox and P'Allen Stinnett can buzzbomb their way to winning out to the MVC Finals? You have to consider them for a potential at-large berth. If not? The MVC is a one-bid league.)
24. St. Mary's (CA) (If they beat Utah State? Jeremy Pargo's best efforts will more than likely put by the wayside. Their RPI isn't beyond redemption, and if they can win it without Mills, or even better with Patty Mills? The West Coast conference can coalesce into a two bid league.)
25) Niagra (I could put in a marginal major conference team (a.k.a. good computer numbers with a bad record like Georgetown or Oklahoma State or good record with bad computer numbers like Penn State or the fighting Jarvis Vanardo's) so show me the third way. The third way has the Purple Eagles. They have two home games against Illinois State and Siena. If the fast hands of Tyrone Lewis and Bilal Benn can win? There's another potential two team league.)

And that's it. A bracketological mid-Feburary breakdown of the teams who aren't ready to get themselves in the dance just yet.

You're welcome.

And go to the new list please!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So on twitter...I cracked wise at the thought of the Cavs trading for Amare...

But on further review? It's a trade I think the Cavs have to at least consider. The Suns are willing to let Amare go for 75 cents on the dollar. And in that respect? His dollar is devalued.

Because we have seen interested Amare. Interested Amare is someone who nearly beat the Spurs all by himself before David Stern--no, we're not going to talk conspiracy theories. Just suffice it to say that there are few players who are better than interested Amare.

And if you look at how Mo Williams was able to go from marginally above average Shoint Guard to All-Star on team LeBron? Imagine Amare on a title contender? Yeah. That just seems perfect.

Now perhaps you're not going to going to take Wally Sczerbiak, J.J. Hickson, and oh, let's say...the inevitable rights to Tyler Smith? But there are ways to get this done. And maybe, just maybe, Robert Sarver's going to blow the team up.

And you're gonna get lucky, Danny Ferry. You're due.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The State of SEC Hoops

a.k.a. the B-List

You have a chance at 6 tournament berths, or a miracle party crasher. This is going to be a very interesting Conference to watch in the next month so, yeah. Watch it.


Florida: (Nick Calathes pro-tip: When in a pot with two or more callers, you can slide through the lane with small pairs and suited connectors. But Alex Tyus is kinda awesome dude.)
South Carolina: (Getting this team into a likely position for an NCAA Tournament berth has likely clinched Darrin Horn the coach of the year.)
Kentucky: (Still a two man army, but when it's Meeks and Patterson? You're dealing in gold, baby.)
Tennessee: (One of the teams that has been burned by the furthering of the three point line. Everybody in the rotation chucks up two or three per game. And outside of Scotty Hopson? Nobody's that good.)
Vanderbilt: (Why are they one the wrong side of the bubble? An inability to take care of the ball. They need to get two out of their next three to get back to good. That might be impossible.)
Georgia: (When you have Terrence Woodbury as your go-to guy? You are very likely not going to get much above 10 wins.)

LSU: (From the Final Four to the Crater to the SEC Champs in four years. The only weakness they have? If you get them into foul trouble? The bench is inexperienced. Feburary 28th is going to be a classic at Rupp.)
Mississippi State: (Several bad non-conference losses are going to be the reason why they cannot make the big dance. Charlotte, Texas Tech, and San Diego are going to kill this team if they don't get a signature win. Do it for the Vanardo!)
Auburn: (Why hasn't Jeff Lebo been fired? Kovortney Barber is nothing more than a badass. Also DeWayne Reed is a point who just may keep the window of opportunity open.)
Mississippi (They've been .500 since Andy Kennedy got drunk and the Chris Warren experience torn its ACL. It's a scrappy team.)
Alabama: (For a poor-shooting team with no real point guard? This is a team that has some good piece of the puzzle. JaMychal Green and Senario Hillman are the two pieces that are going to create magic.)
Arkansas: (It's still a young team. But they are not deep down low and they struggle at the line. Courtney Fortson and Michael Washington still could be a Meeks-Patterson for 2010.)

Bubble Watch: Providence Friars

In Feburary, it's a dark time for sports. The Super Bowl is over. Pitchers and catchers and report, and yay. But what else? Nothing.

This is where the Bubble Watch comes in. Every other day or two? We'll roll up here and discuss the divinity of teams on the fence. Today? We'll talk about a new coach and the middle of the Big East pack.

Ryan Gomes Pictures, Images and Photos

Providence Friars (15-9, 7-5)
RPI: 66
SOS: 42
vs. Top 25: 1-4
vs. Top 50: 3-5
Quality Wins: Syracuse, Cincinnati (2)
Bad Losses: Northeastern

A decent resume. But the bad news is that Cincinnati's seeming quality at present? It's going to fall back down the hill. And there is no win that could gain in quality near enough to replace them. They haven't lost to any suckers, but that being said? Syracuse is not a signature win by any stretch. The 94-91 loss to Villanova may be their nadir.

Remaining Games: Rutgers, @ Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, @ Rutgers, @ Villanova

They need to hold serve. And then they need to steal one. That's how they can feel relatively safe. .500 is okay, but while beating to Notre Dame isn't yawn inducing? They'd rather take Louisville, Pittsburgh, or Villanova. They need quality wins.

Final Judgements
Record: 19-13, 11-9 (Out in Quarterfinals)
Last 12 Games: 5-7

Are they In? *Tosses a coin* They're in.

The Tom Brady Corollary...

Now, we all know the debate will likely be Sanchez vs. Stafford. And that's fine. It's the storyline when there are two good prospects for round 1. (And for my money? Sanchez will be the better pro.)

That being said? There's nothing more fun than getting a random quarterback and watching them hit. This is the Kurt Warner Corollary, and it is something you need to watch out for.

This year? There are four candidates.

1. Curtis Painter: With Painter? It's more of a question of if his practice skills can translate to in-game. His senior season at Purdue? Awful. He lost 3-5 rounds of draft value. He has polish, but his inconsistency is That being said? He has an ability to find the corner who gives too much cushion and just nickel and dime them to death. He can roll out. He can throw deep. He just needs patience to consolidate his polish.

2. Drew Willy: Drew Willy is in no form or fashion Jim Sorgi. For one? He has the arm to go deep when necessary. For two? He has a high Gunslinger Q rating. He'll throw it up. He'll throw it in the small window. And you know what? He's accurate as well. He has a MAC level of competition to deal with, but you know what? The Mid-American can develop a good brand of quarterback.

3. Jason Boltus: Here's a tip. Anybody who says Matt Stafford has the strongest arm in this draft class? Liars or merely misinformed. You need to go out and visit Oneonta. Boltus has a cannon for an arm. And he has good mobility in the pocket. His issue? Touch. His best completion percentage is 59.0% And for a D3 qb? That is definitely a concern. But he is definitely one to dream on.

4. Stephen McGee: He killed it in the Shrine Game. He showed every strength of his. The mobility. An efficency in his throwing motion. Poise in the face of danger. But the fact remains? His senior year was a Dystopian nightmare, and a good week is something of a small sample size.

If your team gets one of these four players? You may just find yourself with a stud in 2012. It's a great sort of thing.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Grand National Interview: Larry Sweeney

SNS Pictures, Images and Photos

With the brio of a young "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the swagger of a Brian Pillman and the dance moves of a Michael Hayes, when you mention the independent wrestling world Larry Sweeney has to be one of the top names on the short list of greats. He was kind enough to answer a few questions that I had regarding the art of villainy, his training in India, and that lummox Bobby Dempsey.

How did you break into pro wrestling? And is it true that you actually made the commitment while you were in India?

Absolute truth. I broke in via Quackenbush training, but would have never broken in if my wrestling experience in India hadn't bridged the gap that I saw between athletics and spirituality.

Did you have any wrestling heroes growing up?

Heros? No. My hero's were real people that I knew, and not famous.

Who was the most positive influence on your career thus far?

Cary Silken. If not for him I would have been out of the business several years ago.

As a man who has led and been firmly ensconsed in some of the great stables in the independent world, as well as had feuds with some of the great up and comers whilst taking down a legend of three along the way, who are the wrestlers that you most like to work with?

Eddie Kingston and Mike Quackenbush, I've had my best matches with those two. As far as legends, every single one has been a pleasure to work with and been a whole lot of fun.

Do you think that ability to improvise cutting a promo is a skill that can be taught? That is, while the Big Two script their promos, is it really something feasible?

I think it is something that can be learned as in improved on, but the ability to talk is something that some people are just born with. I think the scripted promos in the big two have a very negative effect on the product.

How exciting is it for you to be a part of Ring of Honor's TV Deal? Does it mean big things for Sweet and Sour Inc.? I smell a Sweet and Sour Spinoff.

This is a more exciting time for me personally than at any other time in my wrestling career.

Now I would consider myself an expert, but do you have any pro-tips for anyone who would find themselves in an open invitational strut-off?

I don't know, practice maybe? I mean, I never did, but maybe that would be the best route for all the disgustos and bedwetters out there.

Would Michael Hayes be the one mountain left to climb in the strut-off world?

I'm not sure what this means. He is one of the great strutters in the modern era of struttery, but you've got so many other guys too, including but not limited to Akeem, Dusty Rhodes, and Tully Blanchard.

You have probably defended your ICW-ICWA Texarkana TV Title on more than one of what Bill Hicks would call a flying saucer tour. And as a Heel, you probably get some of the more interesting fan reactions. I was wondering if you had any awful, hilarious, or awful hilarious stories to share in regards to this?

Not particularly, but I hail you for the Bill Hicks reference.

If someone looks at your photo and says "Damn, I wish my hair was fly like that," do you have any haircare tips for that person?

Brylcream is the shizit.

Bigger disappointment? Bobby Dempsey or the rest of Jerome Walton's career?

Another excellent, excellent reference. Bobby is the king of dissapointment, and he will see further dissapointment in the future when I unleash my full wrath on that gargantuan lummox.

Bobby Dempsey Pictures, Images and Photos
The Lummox in Question

What do you find is the key to being a success as a heel? Is it more than insulting your current location and cheating against the stupid good guys?

You figure out what the people don't like, and do it. It's hard these days, especially in the big cities, but you've got to keep trying until you find what works.

And finally, do you have anything you wish to promote?

My personal merch can be found at, and never dissapoints. A new line of T-shirts will accompany the yearly rebirth of the world that happens on the spring equinox. Other than that, if you don't have hdnet on your cable company, call them up now and demand it, becuase ROH is coming, soon, and shit's about to get real.

I would like to thank "Sweet and Sour" for taking the time out to talk to me. And I would like to reiterate, that if you do not have HD Net? Order it now. Ring of Honor is spectacular. Trust the Interviewee.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bubble Watch: Wisconsin Badgers

In Feburary, it's a dark time for sports. The Super Bowl is over. Pitchers and catchers and report, and yay. But what else? Nothing.

This is where the Bubble Watch comes in. Every other day or two? We'll roll up here and discuss the divinity of teams on the fence. Today? We'll start with a modern power that's been made of close losses and one bad streak.

Up close with Marcus Landry Pictures, Images and Photos

Wisconsin Badgers (13-9, 5-6)
RPI: 27
SOS: 3
vs. Top 25: 1-3
vs. Top 50: 3-7
Quality Wins: vs. Illinois, @ Virginia Tech, @ Michigan
Bad Losses: at Iowa is the closest thing.

The mishagoes of the Badgers have been discussed in depth on the site. A team that's based on not fouling has fouled too much. They can't defend the three. Scorers can disappear often during crunch time. Suffice it to say? It's been a strange year in Madison.

That being said? Two games with Indiana and strong computer numbers can be worth a lot.

jon leuer Pictures, Images and Photos

Remaining Games: Iowa, Ohio State, @ Indiana, @ Michigan State, Michigan, @ Minnesota, Indiana

With the sudden burst of momentum and emphatic wins versus Illinois and at Penn State? You can see the Badgers getting to Michigan State on a five game winning streak. You can see a 5-2 finish here. And is 10 Big 10 wins enough? I'd say yeah.

Final Judgements
Record: 19-12, 11-9 (Out after 2nd Big 10 Game.)
Last 12 Games: 8-4

Are they In? 9 Seed.

A blogroll welcome.

To Everything is Terrible. This will be best explained by this...

Yay! If you know the site? Feel superior, but keep it out of the comments. And if you don't? Please do enjoy.

It's time for the Bucks to trade for Leandro Barbosa...

I mean, Ridnour's hurt. And Barbosa actually has some defensive stopper in him as well. And the Bucks do have a glut in the Frontcourt.

So here's the idea.

To the Suns: Charlie Villanueva and Damon Jones
To the Bucks: Leandro Barbosa and Alando Tucker

Why this works? Villanueva is a versatile tweener who can contribute as a giant 3 or a pretty good four. Also, the light has turned on somewhat for him.

And for the Bucks, it works on multiple levels. One, a Sessions-Barbosa-Jefferson-Alexander front four could brink back some form of the seven seconds or less. Also, Alando Tucker is live, local, and latebreaking.

And I hate Skiles. This would gaslight the shit out of him.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Twenty-five things that will happen in Baseball this season...

I am feeling two moods, a mood for lists and a mood for projection... This is where the obvious headline comes into play. 25 things that will happen in baseball Ready, steady, go.

1. There will be a rush of Type A Free Agents after the June draft.

Compensation has been an issue. As an example, the Brewers had been interested in Juan Cruz before the C.C. Sabathia clusterfuck. But outside of maybe Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, and Manny Ramirez. And they may not even make it. It is what it is.

2. The St. Louis Cardinals will win the NL Central.

And 87 games will be enough to take it down.

3. Adam Dunn will have a higher OPS than Manny Ramirez.

4. Carlos Villanueva will be the best set-up man in baseball...

If Trevor Hoffman doesn't fail as a closer.

5. B.J. Upton will be the ginchiest of trade prospects for your Fantasy Baseball team.

He had shoulder surgery. This means his average and power totals will likely be lower in the first half. But a .300/10/45/20/50 sort of a second half? Is gold.

6. Curtis Granderson will go for a 30/30 season this year.

He is still underrated. He's the Grady Sizemore of underrated Center Fielders.

7. The Royals will contend. Seriously.

Or Alex Gordon will be dead by Kyle Farnsworth's hand.

8. The Rays will fall back to Earth.

To be a good surprise, you need to win the World Series the shocker season. See the 93 Phillies, the 2007 Tigers, and other teams not named the 1991 Atlanta Braves. My gut says 4th.

9. Nelson Cruz will not be Geronimo Berroa with steals.

And isn't Brandon Boggs starting?

10. Outside the Lines will have a month of programs on Alex Rodriguez.

And Bob Ley will continue to be haunted by the ghost of Tom Mees.

11. Jake Peavy will not be traded.

12. The most valuable player on the Diamondbacks? Yusemiro Petit.

Max Scherzer probably doesn't have more than 150 IP in him. And Doug Davis has control problems. The long reliever is huge.

13. David Price will be the AL Rookie of the Year

I don't hate Wieters. But catchers as rookies is a meme that you really can't trust. I like LaPorta to have a Ryan Braunish on the Indians in Left after they realize that Ben Fransisco isn't a full-timer.

14. Miguel Cabrera will be the largest player traded.

Both in name and in actual size. Get him in a hitters park and he may have a 30 homer half of baseball. .320/30/70? YES!

15. The Philadelphia Phillies will take a flier on a name starter recovering from an injury.

Expect a Mark Mulder of some sort to boo. But Brett Myers is a real and true injury risk. And you do not want Adam Eaton as your 6th starter in peril.

16. The Homer Bailey watchers will remain disappointed.

17. Cameron Maybin will be your NL Rookie of the Year

It's a wide-open race, but Maybin has the opportunity to break out for a big lead. Maybe if the Brewers open up a slot they have a chance.

18. Wandy Rodriguez will be a stud for the next five years...

Lefty pitchers have later primes. Remember that.

19. Sadly, the Twins will not get Joe Crede.

If Morneau gets hurt, they will be in last place. (They may collapse even if Morneau has a normal year.)

20. The Yankees will sign Jim Edmonds.

Okay not really. But they should sign him. He's better than Melky, and if Hank Steinbrenner wasn't so irrational in trade negotiations? They would have a center fielder who doesn't blow.

21. Joey Devine will get 45 saves.

22. Matt Capps will be the Pirates lone all-star.

23. The Giants will make a move for someone who isn't a past their prime veteran.

Joe Crede IS a never was and not a has been!

24. Someone will name a blog after Seattle First Baseman Bryan LaHair.

25. The Brewers will sign Brandon Looper.

And hope for the best.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A thought exercise...How to draft for the Packers...

Now you know me, I'm a self-professed draft expert. And if I put myself in Ted Thompson's shoes and looked at how to draft for the Packers? I think I can make this team better. Pizza Hut style.

Now, there is one reason why this is merely a thought exercise. Ted loves to deal down. It's rare that such a thing would happen in Round 1. But what's in the 4th round may turn into an extra 5 and a 7 with a 6 the next season.

So, without further adieu? Go go Buffalo!

1) Jason Smith OT Baylor

Now there are plenty of players that I would be happy if the Packers selected. Both starting corners are north of 30. But with Tasucher gone and Clifton north of 30? I would start with a Tackle who's an instinctive pass blocker with good athleticism and a perfect fit for the run scheme. And the upside? My god.

The draftguys call him another Ryan Clady, and if he is? Then the Packers have a new left tackle for a decade. Or they could trade down for Everette Brown or Michael Oher. Or draft Vontae Davis. Plenty of options here.

2) Darius Butler CB UConn

Now he's not exactly the upside play of someone like a Patrick Lee. But he is most definitely a player. He's undersized, but he's not strictly a cover corner. He plays with agression and technique. He is a ballhawk. And he will make whichever team that drafts him a better team.

3) Jarron Gilbert DE San Jose State

If you think one Cullen Jenkins is good, wouldn't two be awesome? Gilbert is a Cullen Jenkins clone. Big, with good pass-rushing skills, long arms, he can be a 4-3 Defensive Tackle. He has a nose for the ball, even if he is merely an alumnus of the WAC.

3b) Ron Brace NT Boston College

He is built for one thing, and one thing only. Run-stuffing. And for the Packers? He's a man who fills a necessary need at a more than excellent value. Sure, he doesn't have the sex appeal of his BC Tag Team partner B.J. Raji. But he's a big tackle with a motor and a good desire to improve. He'd be rotational to start, but Ryan Pickett's also north of 30.

4) Fenuki Tenopu OT Oregon

Now that Jason Smith is the Left Tackle of the future? Tenopu is the bookend. He is not a man who has the requisite skills to play the left side. But he is a tailor made run-blocking right tackle. He has agility, a good first step, and power. He plays mean. And with the power-side pass rusher? He'll be a solid starter.

5) Brandon Williams OLB Texas Tech

Now he is listed as a defensive end, but remember 3-4. And as a back-up pass-rusher to Kampman/Would be KGB? He's interesting. Quick, long, with a great first step. He is born to pass rush. However? He would be eaten alive if he was a 4-3 down lineman. He's a bit of a project in coverage, but as an elephant? There's value here.

6) Bernard Scott RB Abilene Christian

Now remember, this is me here. Taking a flier on a Divsion II running back who has had multiple character red flags probably means he won't be a Packer. But you know what? If he's Darnell Dockett and not that darn Chris Henry? He'd have a real future in this league.

Why? He was hyperproductive at every stop. He used fast feet and mobility. And he has a Maurice Jones-Drew sort of power. If he can make the transition? He could be great.

6a) Brandon Underwood FS Cincinatti

Upside, athleticism, and safety depth. He's inexperienced, sure. But when you have Atari Bigby and Aaron Rouse keep getting themselves hurt. The Upside Athletic Depth guy is a necessity.

7) Kory Sperry TE Colorado State

Now perhaps I would see if a rocket-armed division three gunslinger would replacce Matt Flynn as the developmental prospect. And perhaps if I felt froggy, I would jump at another character risk in Andrew Quarless. But in the perfect world, there are two tight ends that can be receiving options in Green Bay. And Sperry would be the Tyrone Davis if Jermichael Finley could not.

Dull? Sure. But you know what? The Packers issues are mostly trench related. And unless you're gonna use the scads of cap room to get Albert Haynesworth or Terrell Suggs to fly in and save the day?

You can't get tricky here.

Bubble Watch: Texas Longhorns...

In Feburary, it's a dark time for sports. The Super Bowl is over. Pitchers and catchers and report, and yay. But what else? Nothing.

This is where the Bubble Watch comes in. Every other day or two? We'll roll up here and discuss the divinity of teams on the fence. Today? We'll start with a slumping power whose holes are prevalent.

dexter pittman Pictures, Images and Photos

Texas Longhorns (15-7, 4-4)
RPI: 44
SOS: 34
vs. Top 25: 1-3
vs. Top 50: 3-3
Quality Wins: vs. Villanova, vs. UCLA
Bad Losses: None officially, but Notre Dame and Arkansas are coming close.

What we have here is a slumping team without a resume. Outside of Villanova? They've beaten second division conference teams with good non-conference schedules. And you know what? Some of the losses that were once quality?

Suffice it to say one is very likely about to hit. 500 as they go down the hill. And the other one? They have one win since. Suffice it to say, they are slumping at both ends of the barrel.

aj abrams Pictures, Images and Photos

Remaining Games: Oklahoma State, @ Colorado, @ Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, @ Oklahoma State, Baylor, @ Kansas

The good news? They can get to 20 wins. Hold serve at home, and beat Colorado? They're in. But if you look at bad Texas? You could see 3-5. If they get Oklahoma by a sound margin? 19 wins will be enough.

Final Judgements
Record: 21-11, 10-8 (Out after 2nd Big 12 Game.)
Last 12 Games: 6-6

Are they In? Yes.

By now you may have noticed...

I have put up a twitter account under the Yardbarker and Yardbarker based advertisements...I may be using that often. It can help me with the baby rambles that I have.

So? I may go all Twitter Crazy.

We'll have more.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How do you define a trap game?

First you need to have it on a strange day. It's not necessary, but it does help. How often has college football strange occur Friday, is something that is majorly odd for any non-Ivy League team.

Second, you have to have a game in an odd location. It's like a Mountain West team that has to go to TCU. Or a WAC team in Hawaii. It's added pressure.

Third. There must be a game of some importance coming up next. If you have two seeming gimmies in a row? The first one doesn't matter. The second one may lead to a trap. But you must have something to look ahead to.

And fourth? You need a team with no gravitas. It's easy to go and get up for the big timers, but when your opponent has one win that could be vaguely construed as quality? You just cannot get up for this.

So how did Marquette lose to South Florida?

Friday, February 6, 2009

I have nothing of substance here...

And as such, I will go to Photobucket and bring forth glory...

ewa_sonnet_busty_04 Pictures, Images and Photos

Brenda Lynn Pictures, Images and Photos

MvH's Ruby Rocket Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ben Sheets: What the Fuck?

That's my opinion.

You get that big contract and you decide to celebrate the occasion by becoming lazier than me. Am I bitter? You're goddamn right I'm bitter. All of these little injuries with the hammy and the obliques? It made your arm turn to shit.

You could have been a Hall of Famer. If you worked? It's not hyperbole. Sure, the greatest 12-14 season of all-time may not have been matched. But even in your sprains and strains era, your lowest ERA+ was 117. I don't know.

I don't want to feel schadenfreude. But you're the rough equivalent of the romatic comedy villain who's too ridiculous to take back. But we kept taking you back.

C'est la vie.

I am excited for the Keith Bogans Acquisition...

Because he is exactly the sort of player who can catapult the Bucks all the way to the 2004 Final Four!!!

Seriously, it's a small but necessary move. Keith Bogans has a shot to inexplicably inflate his value...somewhat. He's going to get time as a 6th man, protection of Charlie Bell sort of a dude. This is the Derrick Byars response. Not bad. But some marginal upside.

He's an upgrade over Tyronn Lue. He never lead a team to an Elite Eight!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Chase Wright for Eric Fryer trade?

Well? It's a lefty arm who is coming off a season where, according to his MLE? He had a 4.00 ERA. But inexplicably, his command is really bad. Like Daniel Cabrera-lite bad. So he's a 4th starter who needs a good defense to be good.

(And that left Milwaukee long ago.)

But in a world of rotational questions? A starter who could generate a 4.40 ERA in some form of reverse Dave Bush wouldn't be bad. Not bad at all.

Especially considering that Eric Fryer is a 23 year-old in High-A Ball. His defense is mediocre. He did manage a .913 OPS. But this was in the South Atlantic League. It's a long way to the top if Eric Fryer wants to rock and roll. Sure, he could be somebody. But right now?

Chase Wright is less likely to be somebody's fool.

What do these injuries mean for the Bucks?

If they can get James Harden? Good things. I know, I despise Scott Skiles. But year 2 is when they listen at their peak efficency. In his previous two stops, he's had his teams at a .597 winning percentage.

Not saying they're gonna get all the way live, but with the luck they've been having with second round picks? There is a chance. But trade Ridnour! Sessions is a force of nature!


A remaining free agent breakdown...

List from MLB Trade Rumors:

Break it down, shall we.

Gary Bennett (37): Listen, he's an ex-Brewer catcher. That means you really should move along.
Johnny Estrada (33): Gary Bennett wishes he was fly like this.
Sal Fasano (37): Like the mustache, his time in the sun just might be over.
Paul Lo Duca (37) - Type B, not offered arb: He still could generate a bit of batting average, but he's nothing more than a poor man's Mike Redmond at this point.
Ivan Rodriguez (37) - Type B, not offered arb: His ability to send the ball on a frozen rope keeps him from being just another victim despite his big name.

First basemen
Miguel Cairo (35): His speed isn't useless, but if he's gonna be bringing a .630 OPS, he really aught to bring his infielders glove. Seattle may have been his end.
Doug Mientkiewicz (35): His glove is spectacular. His offense is below replacement level. He's not going to hit .310 anymore. Thus let him pass.
Kevin Millar (37): Culled himself a decent career, and he did have 20 dingers last season. But he seems to be done.
Richie Sexson (34): Once a superstar, now nothing more than a spot pinch hitter versus mediocre lefties.
Mark Sweeney (39): He just may never get to be the Lenny Harris that white people like.
Daryle Ward (34): The guy who could actually be a decent first baseman if he had to start for a month. Just saying, he's great insurance.

Second basemen
Ray Durham (37): He may be worth a contract. He still rapped doubles and had decent speed. It's fading, but he could still be worth a win with his play.
Damion Easley (39): Mediocrity that can play seven positions is still medicority.
Mark Grudzielanek (39) - Type B, offered arb: Could still be the .300/.333/.395 guy. But he's nothing more than injuries and singles at this point. Joins Jason Isringhausen in the Hall of Pretty Good Class.
Orlando Hudson (31) - Type A, offered arb: He does have the .810 OPS for a middle infielder. But he had a wrist injury. And has a hamstring problem. It's a lot higher risk than you think.

Orlando Cabrera (34) - Type A, offered arb: Great glove, .720 OPS., there's a chance he can be league average offensively and mighty as a defender. That being said? Still not worth two picks.

Third basemen
Rich Aurilia (37): Versatile toast is still toast.
Joe Crede (31): If he had a different agent? He'd be signed by now. Bad back, struggles versus lefties. But with no compensation? A Mike Cameron contract could yield a nice return.
Nomar Garciaparra (35): Ready to start his superrace of fragile athletes.
Ramon Martinez (36): Earned a pension bringing the glove to shitty teams.

Left fielders
Moises Alou (42) - Type B, not offered arb: He can still hit. If he doesn't tear his hamstring first.
Garret Anderson (37) - Type B, not offered arb: His game is pretty strictly offense. And his offense has needed July and second half heroics to be worth something. And that why he is not worth much.

Adam Dunn (29) - Type A, not offered arb: His weaknesses are too glaring. This isn't something a cool cat GM cannot handle. But 14 million dollars for a rich man's Russell Branyan is not something many teams can afford right now.
Luis Gonzalez (41) - Type B, not offered arb: He still takes walks. That's it. He has nothing else for you. His offense is Craig Counsellesque. Yeah. I said it.
Jay Payton (36): This way lies peril.
Manny Ramirez (37) - Type A, offered arb: Scott Boras is going to leave him unemployed. Three years of injury prone. One year of crazy. He won't take 20+ million as a 37 year old in this shit economy? Big mistake.

Center fielders
Jim Edmonds (39): You know what? If you're looking for a spot center-fielder or even a Center Fielder versus righties? Go here. If you have a good ballpark? He can bring it. Hank Steinbrenner? Sign this man!
Andruw Jones (32): He was supposed to be Baseball Jesus! He turned out to be nothing more than a rich man's Ruben Rivera!

Right fielders
Bobby Abreu (35) - Type A, not offered arb: His walk rate is falling. His steals rate is falling. There are cracks forming in the house of Abreu. And for a Type A Free Agent? That's why he's not here yet.
Emil Brown (34): A lefty half of a platoon. He's hitting more flyballs. Steroids would make him good.
Ken Griffey Jr. (39) - Type B, not offered arb: He needs to be the designated hitter archetype. A team that gives him that can get a solid majority of a player.

Cliff Floyd (36): He can still be solid for 250-300 At Bats.
Frank Thomas (41) - Type B, not offered arb: He doesn't have to prove anything. He can retire and be a Hall of Famer in 2014. But if he takes a bench job? Don't sleep on it.
Jose Vidro (34): He was good once. But an injury prone DH coming off a .613 OPS Season equals no.

Starting pitchers
Kris Benson (33): His arm is gone. His soul is too.
Paul Byrd (38) - Type B, offered arb: Needs more steroids.
Tom Glavine (43): Hall of Famer Circa 2015.
Livan Hernandez (34): He's not 34! And he's eaten one too many inning!
Orlando Hernandez (43): 100 innings of starting pitching. Maybe an elderly middle reliever?
Chuck James (27): Take a flier on a two year deal, you may have something. He was full gimp in 2008.
Jason Jennings (30): His injuries are a bad sign, because he's stuck in his prime. And his Age 27 season was pretty good.
Jon Lieber (39): Could still be an end man on the roation. But versus left-handed hitters? It's going, going, gone goodbye.
Braden Looper (34) - Type B, not offered arb: Worst case? An expensive fifth starter. Best case, he brings a little something more to the table.
Rodrigo Lopez (33): Still best known for "This isn't about strikes! This is about Rodrigo Lopez!" that someone in the Dugout wrote for him.
Pedro Martinez (37): Still smart, but the thunder in his arm is gone. Long gone.
Mark Mulder (31): Once great, but his arm seems to have failed him. He may yet return, but not until he takes a Minor League Deal.
John Parrish (31): He's lefthanded. But his ability comes from getting out righthanders. He doesn't get many outs, but he can get the righties out better.
Odalis Perez (32): He may have had a weaker second half in terms of real stats, but if you look hard at him? You'll notice he actually was better but less lucky. I'm not saying he'll get great, but he just might get good. Lefty primes can be from 31 to 35 you know.
Sidney Ponson (32): He's not worth your time. He's not going to get to that potential.
Kenny Rogers (44): The worldwide leader in dickishness passes the torch.
Curt Schilling (42): The Bert Blyleven debate version 2.0 shall commence in 2014. Be there or be square.
Ben Sheets (30) - Type A, offered arb: Protip? Vest his option at 190 innings. He has not managed that but once in his prime.
Randy Wolf (32) - Type B, not offered arb: September won't happen again. He has had a 90 inning spike in his pitching. And he is injury prone. He's not a bad pitcher, but if you ask to get 190 IP? Won't happen.

Luis Ayala (31) - Type B, not offered arb: He's regaining his skills after his TJ. It's slow going, but if you sign him, you might be potentially be surprised.
Joe Beimel (32) - Type B, not offered arb: A solid lefty one out guy. But he's not nearly as good as his walk year may have indicated. Thus letting him wait is cool.
Joe Borowski (38): Derring-do and grit is not a pitching statistic.
Shawn Chacon (31): Not crazy. You're the one that's crazy. All he wanted was a Pepsi!
Chad Cordero (27): His labrum is like a wino eating grapes. Dude you have to wait.
Juan Cruz (30) - Type A, offered arb: Walk rate. He does not have the command to be a closer. And if you want to give up two picks? You want a closer coming back.
Elmer Dessens (37): Career over. Thanks for playing.
Brendan Donnelly (37): May yet have one more good year. A minor league deal would be potentially a good value.
Scott Elarton (33): A giant ball of suck. There Is No Such Thing As a Pitching Prospect.
Randy Flores (33): He's a power lefty, but he is mehtastic. Pass on him.
Keith Foulke (35): Right shoulder inflammation means that he is a possibility for moving on to the next life again. Even if he's doesn't want to this time.
Eric Gagne (33) - Type B, not offered arb: He is injury prone and just kind of bad because he couldn't trust his skills as a hot minor league prospect.
Tom Gordon (41): Coming off a bad elbow, there is no reason for him to return.
Jason Isringhausen (36) - Type B, not offered arb: He's gained entry into the Hall of Pretty Good. The savvy Mets fan has to wonder what might have been. Izzy, Pulse, and Paul was supposed to save the world.
Tyler Johnson (27): May resurface. He's a lefty one-out guy coming off rotator cuff surgery. Then again, he may not.
Aquilino Lopez (34): He's due to have a second consecutive lucky season in his career.
Will Ohman (31): Really shouldn't be out still. His second half was bad luck. If someone wants a LOOGY? He would be great, but he can be a Lefty Middleman. Great bargain.
Al Reyes (38): Lefties kill him, but not as much as Road, night games on Astroturf. This means he'd be awesome as a Blue Jay or a Twin.
Dennys Reyes (32) - Type B, offered arb: Surprisingly great as a one inning guy. That being said? His career has been an inverse Saberhagen. A.K.A. Even years are gold.
Ricardo Rincon (39): He may not be the stud of the Moneyball trade era anymore. But hey. Free lefty.
Rudy Seanez (40) - Type B, not offered arb: The second half is about to become the rule than the exception.
Julian Tavarez (36): Will resurface. Evil always does.
Mike Timlin (43): Not many people can swing a bounce-back season at age 41. But how can he do it when he's 43? Old man needs to float along the river.
Ron Villone (39): Still has power in his left arm, but his skills to pay the bills are gone. Better lefties are out there.
Kip Wells (32): Chad Paronto is really a better pitcher than he is.
Matt Wise (33): His arm is gimpy. His shoulder cost him last season. Never the same after he beaned a Cincinnati Red.
Jamey Wright (34): Still could be passable in middle relief. If you take a gander at his deep statistical analysis, his second half was worth about three runs per inning of bad luck.

Nobody really wants to give up that #1 draft choice anymore. It's not crazy. But this conservatism means good players with questions are something that are going to be unemployed coming into March.

Or in Manny's case? Septurary!