Our fantasy football drafts are getting closer and closer. We have our auction draft Saturday night and then are snake league draft is Sunday night. Mr. Fantasy and I also have our money league draft Sunday morning. They auction draft isn’t so bad as it’s just deciding on how much you want to pay for a player and hitting on that player. Oddly I always seem to think that I got a deal on a guy and he ends up having a terrible season. The money league Mr. Fantasy and I share a team in is also a snake style draft. In case you don;t know snake style means your rounds go from the 1st pick to the in our case 20th pick and then the 20th team gets the first pick of the 2nd round. It goes back down to the team who draft first overall which is the end of round 2 and then they start round 3 with the first pick and so on until the draft is done. There’s a little more on the go strategy in the snake style draft because if you get caught on a run of a position you can get stuck with a lesser player at that position. If you play your pick right in a round you can actual start the run which is where you’d prefer to be. I know Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy prefer the auction draft over a snake style draft, but I still like the snake style draft better. In our two leagues we run through Yahoo it can be tough to get your draft strategy set up as you don’t know were you’ll be drafting until 30 minutes before the draft starts. That situation is much tougher for first time player to handle; so luckily I’m not one of those this season. As the draft gets closer I look more and more forward to it and hopefully I’ll land a good draft position and hit on my players.

I mentioned that we run our leagues through Yahoo and they set up a ranking of players for you to use as a guideline. This season their Top 5 picks are all running backs. Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings is ranked #1. Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks is ranked #2. Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs is ranked #3. Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers is #4 and Le’veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers is ranked #5. Don’t forget that Bell has to miss the first 2 games of the season. He is suspended for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. I downgraded Bell for this, but I guess Yahoo doesn’t feel the same way. As four the other 3 running backs I think you could pretty much put their names in a hat; pull one out and be happy with that pick. There’s almost no way to decide between those 4 players. Peterson did miss almost all of last season; so will him be rested or rusty. I do wonder if Jimmy Graham will take away some goal line attempts from Lynch. Not that Graham is going to run the ball, but would they throw a jump ball to Graham instead of handing the football to Lynch. Who else just had a Super Bowl flashback? With the season ending injury to Jordy Nelson Lacy might be the guy to go with out of this group. Charles has had his share of injury issues and the Chiefs also signed Jeremy Maclin to help the receiving game and that may hurt Charles overall touchdowns. Now there aren’t really huge negatives with any of these players and that;s why their ranked where they are going into this weekends drafts. It really boils down to who you happen to like and then you’ll have to see how the pick works out for you this season.

The San Francisco Giants lost a tough game to the Los Angeles Dodgers last night (Tuesday) 2-1 to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. I think the Giants need to find a way to win these next 2 games against the Dodgers or I believe they’ll miss the playoffs this season. Zack Greinke picked up the win for the Dodgers pitching 7 1/3rd innings giving up 5 hits; allowing just 1 run while striking out 5 and walking 1. Greinke also lowered his major league leading E.R.A. to 1.59. Madison Bumgarner started for the Giants pitching 7 innings giving up 8 hits; allowing 2 runs while striking out 8 and walking 1. Adrian Gonzalez gave the Dodgers the lead by singling home the 1st run of the game in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead by hitting his 24th hoe run of the season off of Bumgarner in the bottom of the 7th inning. Matt Duffy drove in the Giants lone run of the night with a single to centerfield in the top of the 8th inning. Kenley Jansen got the Giants 1. 2. 3 in the top of the 9th to pick up his 28th save of the season and give the Dodgers their 2-1 win. It’s not going to get any easier for the Giants to make up any ground on the Dodgers tonight as Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers starting pitcher tonight. San Francisco will counter with Mike Leake. Kershaw is 11-6 with a 2.24 E.R.A. in 26 starts this season. Leake is 9-6 on the season, but 0-1 with the Giants. His season E.R.A. is 3/53, but it’s 3.38 with the Giants. Leake has made 24 total starts this season, but only 3 of them have been with San Francisco. The Giants traded Keury Mella and Adam Duvall.to the Cincinnati Reds for Leake on June 30th. While it’s difficult to say that tonight is a must win for the Giants, but it would be nice if they could take at least one of these 3 games against the Dodgers. Don’t forget that the Giants lost the 1st game of the series 5-4 in in 14 innings on Monday night. The Giants have 30 games left while the Dodgers have 31 games left this season. These two teams do meet for a 4 game series at the end of this month, but for the Giants to still have a chance to win the N.L. West they’ll have to cut into that 5 1/2 game lead the Dodgers have by the time that 4 game series rolls around. San Francisco is actually a game closer to catching the Dodgers in the N.L. West than they are catching the Chicago Cubs for the 2nd wild card spot. We’ll have to watch and see how the last month of the season plays out.

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When you start talking about teams that have disappointed in the 2015 baseball season the Seattle mariners would easily make that list. When you’re team is suppose to win and doesn’t it normally cost someone their job and in Seattle it was general manager Jack Zduriencik, Zdurienck was relived of his duties yesterday (Friday); assistant general manager Jeff Kingston will fill Zdurienck role for the remainder of the season. Zdurienck took over as the Mariners general manager in 2009. Seattle finished 3rd that season with a record of 85-77. From 2010-2013 the Mariners finished 4th and never had a winning record. Things started to look up in the 2014 season as Seattle finished above .500 at 87-75. Remember the Mariners made a big splash in free agency in the 2014 off season by signing Robinson Cano for 10 years and $240 million. This off season the Mariners made another big free agent signing by inking Nelson Cruz for 4 years at $57 million that wasn’t enough to make the Mariners contenders in the American League West. The Mariners are in 4th place in the A.L. West at 60-69; 11 games behind the 1st place Houston Astros and are actually closer to the final wild card spot than in their division. Seattle trails the Minnesota Twins by 7 games for that 2nd American League wild card spot. While Cano struggled throughout the first half of the season he has performed better after the All-Star break and has his average up to .275. Cruz on the other hand has been good from the start for the Mariners. When Seattle made the signing a lot of the experts feared that Cruz’s home run totals would fall by a large margin since he’d be playing 81 of his games at SafeCo Field. Cruz has 39 home runs in 126 games so far this season; so his home runs haven’t suffered this season from playing in Seattle. Cruz is also hitting .317 with 82 RBI’s so far and if the Mariners had found their way into contention this season Cruz would be a contender to win the A.L. M.V.P. The way Cano and Cruz played didn’t have too much to do with Zdurienck being fired. Catcher Mike Zunino who showed some power at times was never able to hit well enough at the major league level and was sent to Triple-A this week. Zunino is just 24 years old, but has hit .214 in 2013 when he was called up and played 52 games. In 2014 which was Zunino’s first full season he hit .199 with 22 home runs. This season in 112 games Zunino’s batting average was .174 with 11 home runs. Maybe the time in Triple-A will get Zunino righted he’ll contribute to the Mariners future. Dustin Ackley was the 2nd player taken in the 2009 draft behind Steven Strasburg. Ackley was brought up in 2011 and played 90 games hitting .273. He never hit better than .253 again and was moved to the outfield from 2nd base. Zdurienck dealt Ackley  to the New York Yankees for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez at this seasons trade deadline. Ackley and Zunino weren’t the only issues with the Mariners this season. Austin Jackson (.268) is the only regular hitting better than .260. On the mound even “The King” Felix Hernandez has had his issues. Hernandez has had 3 games were he hasn’t lasted more than 4 2/3rd of an inning. On June 12th against the Astros Hernandez lasted just 1/3rd of an inning; giving up 8 runs. Just a couple of starts ago on August 15th the Boston Red Sox got 10 runs on 12 hits over just 2 1/3rd innings against Hernandez. Hernandez is 15-8 this season, but his E.R.A. is 3.66 which would be his highest for a season since 2007. Hernandez is just 29 years old, but has thrown close to 2300 career innings; so we’ll have to see if he can bounce back next season. While Hisashi Iwakuma did pitch a no-hitter this season; he’s only made 13 starts this season because of injuries. The rest of the Mariners rotation is 26 or younger and no one has an E.R.A. of lower than 4.20. The bullpen had it’s issues as well for Seattle. Before being designated for assignment and dealt to the Chicago Cubs Fernando Rodney was 5-5 with 16 saves, but had an E.R.A. of 5.68 and lost his closer job to rookie Carson Smith. While Rodney is 38 years old he was coming off a career high 48 saves; he also had 48 saves in 2012 for the Tampa Bay Rays. Rodney had had his issues with closing before, but this is the first time his E.R.A. had ballooned like that. Now of course these are just a few of the players that seem to have under performed for the Mariners this season. I’m sure you’ve heard someone in baseball say “that you can’t fire the players” so if it’s not the manager who loses his job the next choice would be the general manager; so Zdurienck was the person let go.

There are some reports out there that are saying we may not see Kyrie Irving in a regular season game for the Cleveland Cavaliers  until January of 2016. Irving has had quite a few injuries early in his NBA career, but if you remember this injury happened during the playoffs. They say this type of injury takes 3 to 4 moths to recover from and there was some talk he’d be their for opening night. It’s a confusing situation with Irving, but if he was to take the floor opening night there’s a chance he could suffer a setback or re-injure the leg and miss even more time. Rather than taking any risk, the Cavaliers may bring him along very slowly, allowing the leg to be strengthened by the time January rolls around. Irving was looking like he would break into that top tier of NBA point guards with the season he had in 2014-15. Irving averaged 21.4 points per game along with 5.1 assists per game and even kicked in 1.5 steals per game. Don’t forget that Irving out up these numbers sharing the ball with LeBron James and Kevin Love. If Irving is out until January it won;t have a huge impact on the Cavaliers playoff chances. With the Eastern conference being as weak as it is the Cavaliers with LeBron are pretty much a lock to get in and the most important thing for them would be to have a healthy Irving when the playoffs started. I know we’ve mentioned fantasy football on the podcast quite a bit, but fantasy basketball isn’t that far behind and Irving’s injury will have more impact there than in the actual NBA. Most leagues don’t have a roster spot for an injured player and it would be very tough to hold a player even one as good as Irving until January; so he may end up being the best waiver wire pick up in your league.

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Jack Zdurienck

I’ve never been a big fan of early fantasy drafts and the Jordy Nelson (Green Bay Packers) injury is my biggest reason why. Nelson was the 3rd highest scoring wide receiver in our league behind Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos). As you know Nelson torn the ACL in his right knee. The injury will require surgery and Nelson will miss the entire season. If your draft was before the Packers pre-season game last week Nelson was probably one of the first wide receivers to come off the draft board. Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has a hamstring injury, but they’re saying he’ll be ready to go for Week 1, but with this type of injury you never can tell. There are quite a few players you’ll have to check and see where they are with their injury as you go into your draft. Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears) is dealing with a calf injury. Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders also has a hamstring issue as well. Julian Edelman the New England Patriots wide receiver has an ankle injury and hasn’t been practicing. Now all these players are suppose to be ready by Week 1, but when you have a draft too early it’s difficult to follow all the injuries. Luckily all 3 of the leagues that I’m in will be drafting Labor Day weekend; so I’ll have time to see who’s still out injured and if there have been any more players that got injured. If you have a league that has already drafted I’d be interested to know how you like it or why your league decided to draft early.

If you’ve listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast I’m sure you’ve heard us mention our two fantasy football leagues. We have a traditional snake style draft in one league and then the other league is an auction league draft. Both leagues are free so we do them for fun and of course for bragging rights on the podcast. Just for fun in the snake league we have to start 2 tight ends a week. Oh; by the way both of our leagues are 20 team leagues. That means that 40 tight ends start every week in our league and of course you should have a back up on your bench to cover Bye week; so there are about 60 tight ends drafted in our snake style league. I did it just for fun one season and so many people complained about it that there was no way I was going to change it. I want the draft to be challenging and this is one of the ways that make it that way. You’ll hear us joke around about this quite a bit on the podcast during the football season and at some point in time during the season someone will go on our league message board and complain about it. Luckily for us teams throw the football a lot more in today’s NFL; so there are tight ends out there to find if you look in the right places. Obviously there’s Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) and Jimmy Graham (Seattle Seahawks) at the top any tight end list, but who’s after those two. There’s been a lot of talk about Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs taking a step up as that next tight end. Don’t forget that no Chiefs wide receiver caught a touchdown pass last season; so maybe Kelce will be the pass catching threat around the end zone. Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers) sometimes gets lost when experts talk about top tight ends, but he’s right there and a good weapon for Cam Newton to use.Chicago Bears tight end  Martellus Bennett caught 90 passes last season, but I’m not sold that he’ll get back to that number this season. It’s when you get down to filling that last tight end spot that you really have to hope you landed a sleeper. Lance Kendricks of the St. Louis Rams won’t catch a lot of passes during the season, but he could be used around the goal line. As a 3rd tight end in our league it’s worth taking a chance on a player who may get 1 catch for 1 yard and 1 touchdown. Will it be Richard Rodgers who gets some extra catches in Green Bay’s offense with Nelson gone? He’ll be worth a late round pick or maybe sooner depending upon how you feel about him. Jacob Tamme signed with the Atlanta Falcons this off season; so he may be the tight end catching the passes. The Baltimore Ravens have Maxx Williams and Crockett Gilmore looking to fill the tight end void created when Owen Daniels sign with the Broncos and Dennis Pitta was placed on the P.U.P. (Physically unable to Perform) List. Both Mr. Fantasy and I thought we had something with Jace Amaro of the New York Jets last season, but that didn’t really come through for us. Will Amaro be a bigger factor in the Jets offense this season? So as you can see we have to do some digging to fill our rosters with tight ends, but to me it makes it more fun to draft. I don’t know maybe it’s just me.

Hanley Ramirez told the Boston media yesterday that he will be the Red Sox everyday 1st baseman starting with the 2016 season. I was a little surprised to hear that it would be Ramirez moving to 1st base. I thought it would be Pablo Sandoval who would make the move across the diamond and take over at 1st. The Red Sox do seem to have quite a few outfielders in their system and next years outfield may have Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo in it. I thought there was a chance that Travis Shaw would be given a look at 1st base with the numbers he put up so far this season. In 29 games Shaw is hitting .315 with 6 home runs, but it’s doesn’t appear right now that he’ll be given a chance at 1st base. There doesn’t seem to be a spot for Allen Craig either. Now Craig has struggled since being acquired by the Red Sox for John Lackey last season. Craig hasn’t appeared in a major league game with the Red Sox since May 9th and at this point I’m don’t even think the Red Sox could get much in return for Craig in a deal. 1st base will actually be the 4th full time position Ramirez has had at the major league level. Ramirez started his career as a shortstop and has played 1077 games there. In 2012 he was moved to 3rd base while playing for the Miami Marlins and has played 99 career games at 3rd. This is his first season in leftfield or any outfield position for that matter. He’s played 92 games in leftfield this season for the Red Sox. Ramirez has had some injury issues throughout his career; so a move to 1st base might help that issue and help keep his bat in the everyday line up. There has been some talk of Ramirez getting some games at 1st base this season;s o keep an eye out for his position switch.

Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on http://www.BlogTalkradio.com

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Since we talk about sports on the podcast, anyone who listens doesn’t know that I’m a sucker for bad horror movies. Last night I got sucked in by a movie title called Sexy Evil Genius. Luckily this terrible movie ended in time for me to catch the last 2 innings of the Los Angeles Dodger/Houston Astros game. I had been receiving updates through my tablet since the top of the 6th inning; so I knew Houston’s Mike Fiers had a no-hitter going. I got to see Carl Crawford strike out swinging for the 1st out of the 8th inning. After Crawford Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson both struck out looking. The Astros went down 1, 2, 3 in the bottom of the 8th inning and that may have been a good thing for Fiers as he didn’t have a ton of time to sit in the dugout and think about the 9th inning. Jimmy Roliins led off the 9th inning for the Dodgers and it looked like he was going to break up the no-hitter when he hit a 2-2 fastball to right-center field that looked like it was going to be a hit. Jake Marisnick was tracking it, but was running out of room and it looked as though the ball was going over his head. Marisnick was able to track the flyball down and make the catch for the 1st out of the inning. The recently acquired Chase Utley was next up for the Dodgers. Utley was ahead in the count 2-0. On the 3rd pitch of the at bat Utley flew out to Marisnick, but it was a much easier play than the one he had to make on Rollins flyball. Now it was just Josh Turner standing between Fiers and a no-hitter. Turner had a good swing on the first pitch in his at bat, but fouled it off. The 2nd pitch was a ball and Turner swung and miss at the 3rd pitch; so the count was 1-2. Fiers threw a Cutter that missed to make the count 2-2 and it looked like he was almost over throwing, but who could blame him. The 5th pitch of Tuner’s at bat was a fastball that he swung at and missed for the final out of the game. Fiers improved his record to 6-9; he struck out 10 while walking 3. It took Fiers 134 pitches to record his no-hitter. Obviously it was the 1st no-hitter of Fiers young career, but it was also his 1st career complete game. The Astros gave Fiers all the run support he’d need in the bottom of the 2nd inning when with 2 outs Chris Carter singled to leftfield and Marisnick followed that with his 6th home run of the season to left-center field giving Houston a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the 6th inning the Astros gave Fiers an insurance run as Evan Gattis hit a solo home run his 19th of the season. Gattis home run also came with 2 outs and making the score 3-0 which is how it ended. Fiers was appearing in his 4th game for the Astros; 3 of which were starts after being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers along with Carlos Gomez on June 30th. The Astros gave up 4 players, 3 minor leaguers Josh Hader, Adrian Houser and Brett Phillps along with outfielder Domingo Santana who had appeared in 14 games for the Astros Before being traded. Last night was Fiers 75th career pitching appearance 59 of which have been starts. He has a career record of 22-28 with an E.R.A. of 3.57. Fiers no=hitter and Houston win along with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s 9-2 lost to the Toronto Blue Jays helped extend the Astros lead in the A.L. West to 3 1/2 games over the 2nd place Angels.

I heard a really interesting debate on the MLB Network the other day.  It was about catchers and the question was; who would you want Buster Posey or Yader Molina? Since there where no really  parameters set on how anyone had to answer the question it worked out to Posey being the choice, but just because he’s 5 years younger than Molina. I have no issue with that choice as they are both great players and at the top of their position, but what I was wondering was; who’s the next catcher you’d want? Russell Martin was a prized free agent this off season and while he does have 15 home runs which id tied for 5th among catchers this season he is hitting .244. Would you take Martin or how about another veteran like Brian McCann who’s leading all catchers in home runs with 21 and is 2nd in R.B.I.’s with 74, but his average is .241. Maybe you’d like to go with a younger guy; so how about 25 year old Salvador Perez who’s hitting .255 with 17 home runs and 50 R.B.I.’s. Of course you would have to look at their defense and pitch framing, but all 3 Martin, McCann and Perez are very good there. Maybe you would be interested in having a guy like Matt Wieters behind the plate and he is going to be a free agent this off season. Remember that Wieters is coming off of Tommy John surgery and has caught just 34 games this season as the Baltimore Orioles are being very careful with him. Wieters is hitting with 5 home runs in 170 at bats this season. Where would players like Yasmani Grandal, Blake Swihart, James McCann or Travis D’Arnaud rank on your list? They’re all young up and coming catchers, but don;t forget that D’Arnaud has had some injury issues. Oddly there may actually being a choice staring you right in the face; Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber has shown he can hit at the major league level, but the Cubs didn’t think he was going to be able to catch in the majors; so he played a lot of outfield in the minors last season. After being brought up for a short stint as a Designated Hitter (DH) for inter-league play in June Schwarber was called back up on July 17th and his bat has kept him in the majors since. Schwarber has played in 38 games this season; 6 as a DH, 13 as an outfielder, 7 in pinch hitting duty and 12 as a catcher. Schwarber is hitting .294 with 10 home runs, but the question is will he be a catcher down the road? Adding confusing to the Schwarber situation is that the Cubs have Miguel Montero under contract for $14 million next season and they also have Jon Lester’s personal catcher the 38 year old David Ross under contract for next season at $2.5 million. I guess it’s something will have to watch this off season, but the main question still is before you can choose Schwarber is will he catch?

So maybe you have Posey #1 and Molina #2 or Maybe you like Molina in the #1 spot and Posey in the 2nd spot. What I want to know is who do you have as your 3rd, 4th and 5th catcher?

So how was your week?

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

You can also listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkradio.com

When the Detroit Tigers and Dave Dombrowski mutually agreed to part ways on August 4th most baseball experts didn’t think he’d be out of work long. Yesterday Dombrowski was hired by the Boston Red Sox   to be their president of baseball operations, effective immediately. General manager Ben Cherington declined the opportunity to continue as GM but has agreed to assist Dombrowski during the transition. It’s being reported that former Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren is hte guy the Red Sox would like to have take over their general manager position. Don’t forget that during John Henry’s three seasons (1999-2001) as owner of the Marlins, Dombrowski was his general manager. The relationship between Dombrowski and Owens helped the Red Sox in their quest to hire Dombrowski, who had also been talking to other organizations. Dombrowski lead the Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997 and built American League pennant-winners with the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and ’12. There were reports that the Toronto Blue Jays had what was described as “serious conversations” with Dombrowski. It seems like the report of those talks prompted the Red Sox to give Dombrowski full power over baseball operations. Dombrowski takes over a Red Sox team that is currently 53-66, 13 1/2 games behind the 1st place New York Yankees and last in the A.L. East. Dombrowski will have the remaining 43 games to look at this Red Sox team and get the off season set up.

After the Toronto Blue Jays took over 1st place in the A.L. East last week a lot of the experts wrote the New York Yankees off and thought they would start to fade back in the division. It turned out not to be the case as the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays over the weekend to reclaim 1st place. With consecutive victories over the Minnesota Twins to start this week the Yankees find themselves with a 1 game lead on the Blue Jays going into today’s games. Of course a 1 game lead isn’t much to bank on, but it’s a lot better than were most experts had the Yankees at after they slipped out of 1st place. Now I am in the camp that thinks the Blue Jays will pass the Yankees and win the A.L. East, but i wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Yankees find a way to hang onto a wild card spot. Just the Yankees being here at this point in time during the season is a bit of a shock. I don;t remember anyone picking the Yankees to contend for a playoff spot be it a wild card or division title, but here they are. You have to wonder how they’re doing it. The Yankees are 7th in the A.L. in team batting average at .255. They only have 1 regular hitting over .280; Brett Gardner is at .283. They are however 2nd in runs scored with 567. They trail only the Blue Jays who lead the A.L. with 630 runs scored. The long ball has been helping the Yankees as well; they are 3rd in the A.L. with 159. Mark Teixiera leads the Yankees with 31 home runs. The last time Teixeira hit over 30 home runs was 2011. Don’t forget that Alex Rodriguez has 25 home runs for the Yankees as well. The Yankees on base percentage is .324 good for 4th in the A.L. their slugging percentage is .430 good for 2nd in the A.L. and they have an OPS of .756 which ranks 2nd in the A.L. The Yankees don;t have a starting pitcher that jumps off the page at you as only Nathan Eovaldi has more than 10 victories; he’s 12-2 this season. The key appears to be the back end of the Yankees bullpen. Andrew Miller has 27 saves and an E.R.A, of 2.08. Dellin Betances has a 6-2 record out of the bullpen an E.R.A. of 1.14 and also picked up 7 saves while Miller was out injured. Justin Wilson has appeared in 55 games with a 4-0 record and an E.R.A. of 2.66 out of the Yankees bullpen. Left handed set up man Chasen Shreve has pitched in 43 games has a 6-1 record and an E.R.A. of 2.09 for the Yankees. Remember last season the Kansas City Royals made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series last season using a 3-headed bullpen monster. Do the Yankees have a similar set up in their bullpen and if they get into the post season and have a lead after 6 innings is this bullpen lock down enough for them to go a long way. Of course the Blue Jays are going to be difficult to hold off in the A.L. East and there are 5 teams with in 4 1/2 games of the second wild card spot.

Mr. Fantasy and I found out that we will be picking in the 7th spot of our co-managed team or as we call it on the podcast our money league team. There are 14 teams in this league; so we are right in the middle and I have to tell you I couldn’t hate this position more than I do. I’ve never enjoyed drafting in the middle of any draft. Now I don;t need to be in the top tier of a draft; I’m just as happy to be at the back end of a draft. If I could some how end up with the last pick of the first round in any snake style draft I’d be thrilled with that. I really enjoy getting those back to back picks and it makes me feel as though I control the draft and I can start runs with my picks. Now Mr. Fantasy is working on trying to trade this pick. We’re not even looking for anything if someone wants to move up to the #7 spot; we just want to move down that badly. Now we where in the middle of our money league baseball draft and where unable to deal out of that spot; so I’m hoping the same thing doesn’t happen to us with the football league. Besides just being in the middle of the draft I also don;t like what the draft board might look like when it gets to the 7th pick. The top running backs should be off of the board and it’s probably too early to take a quarterback. Now there would be players like Dez Bryant and Rob Gronkowski on the board, but I;m not as sold on them as I would like to be to take them at #7. There are some interesting running backs that are ranked a little farther down the draft board; so we could reach for on of them, but who wants to take a reach pick in the 1st round. I just don;t know; so here’s hoping he can come through and make a deal for us.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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I get it people missed the NFL, but the reactions to how teams played is a little over the top. The New England Patriots lost their pre-season opener to the Green Bay Packers 22-11. Now we know that the outcome of these games don’t matter at all, but the analysis was out of control Jimmy Garoppolo went 20 for 30 in the loss for 159 yards and threw 1 interception. Pretty average numbers for a pre-season game, but I saw a breakdown of his play and the expert was just destroying Garoppolo because he was sacked 7 times. While I get it; you never want to see your quarterback get sacked that many times, but it’s the first game of the pre-season for the Patriots. Garoppolo is expected to fill in for New England’s regular starting quarterback Tom Brady if he ends up having to miss any games because of the Deflatgate situation. It just seemed kind of dumb to me that the Patriots season was pretty left for dead if Garoppolo had to start any games if or when Brady is suspended. Did I mention that it was the first week of the pre-season for New England. Maybe it should’ve been called over reaction week.

The other thing I got quite a laugh about with pre-season was the way they where playing up the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks game. It was being billed as a re-match of the 2014 Super Bowl and they wrote how the Broncos would be out for revenge. I guess I understand that you’re trying to get people to watch the game on television; it was the late game on the  NFL Network last night. Now Denver beat Seattle last night 22-20, but does a 2 point win in their first game of the pre-season get them their revenge for losing a Super Bowl? Peyton Manning didn’t play; neither did Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson threw 1 pass in the game. Revenge; really!

Kobe Bryant has said that he’d like to play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Now I would have no problem at all if they just gave Bryant a spot on Team USA; he’s earned that type of award. Bryant has come out and said that he doesn’t want to be a token on Team USA in Rio de Janeiro, but that he wants to earn his spot on the team. Remember that this is Team USA where Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook come off the bench and Klay Thompsom is more or less used as a role player; is there room for Bryant? Don’t forget that Bryant had a relatively minor role in 2012, when he ranked sixth on the team in minutes per game. Now if the 2015-16 season is Bryant’s last in the NBA he’s not going to go out on top with the Los Angeles Lakers. Wouldn’t the best image for the ending of Bryant’s career be with a gold medal around his neck and holding an american flag.

I noticed that the Dallas Mavericks have signed center JaVale McGee to a contrtact, but I didn’t see how long it was for; I’d have to guess it’s just for one year. McGee has averaged 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his seven NBA seasons. The 7-footer has played 382 games with Washington, Denver and Philadelphia. McGee was waived in March by the Philadelphia 76ers, two weeks after he had been acquired in a trade from the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in his 23 combined games last season for the two teams. The Washington Wizards selected McGee 18th overall in 2008 after he declared for early entry in the draft after his sophomore season at Nevada. McGee’s father, George Montgomery, was a second-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1985. His mother, Pamela McGee, played in the WNBA. Remember the Mavericks had originally signed free agent D’ Andrea Jordan, but he changed his mind and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers. McGee has a similar skill set to Jordan on the court; so the Mavericks may be looking for him to fill some of the role they had planned for Jordan to fill before he went back to the Clippers.

The Toronto Blue Jays finally lost a baseball game last night. The Blue Jays entered the game on an 11 game winning streak and looked like they would make it 12 with David Price on the mound and a 3-0 lead going into the top of the 8th inning. After Chase Headley doubled home the Yankees first run off of Price Aaron Sanchez came out of the Blue Jays bullpen to replace Price with Yankees on 2nd and 3rd base. Carlos Beltran came off the Yankees bench to face Sanchez and hit a 3-run home run to right-centerfield to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead in the game. Dellin Betances pitched and bottom of the 8th inning for the Yankees and after New York couldn’t add to their lead in the top half of the 9th inning Andrew Miller came in to try and close the game out for the Yankees. Russell Martin flew out to leftfield for the 1st out of the inning. Chris Colabello pinch hit for Ryan Goins and drew a walk. Cliff Pennington came into the game to pinch run for Colabello. Kevin Pillar singled to center with Pennington moving up to 2nd base. Ben Revere came to bat for the Blue Jays and during his at bat Miller threw a wild pitch to move the base runners up to 2nd and 3rd. With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run on 2nd Miller struck out Revere for the 2nd out of the inning. Wouldn’t you know it that the next hitter for the Blue Jays was Troy Tulowitzki. Now the Blue Jays haven;t lost a game that Tulowitzki has started for them and I was wondering if they would intentional walk Tulowitzki and face Josh Donaldson with the bases loaded, but the Yankees choose to have Miller pitch to Tulowitzki. Of course the count had to go full and Tulowitzki fouled off 7 pitches in this 12 pitch at bat. Finally Miller got Tulowitzki to swing and miss on a slider to end the game and a 4-3 win for the Yankees. The win not only ended the Blue Jays winning streak it out the Yankees back in 1st place in the A.L. East by a 1/2 game. Game 2 of the series is at Noon today. The Yankees will have Masahiro Tanaka starting on the mound for them and the Blue Jays are going with Marco Estrada. Tanaka is 1-2 with a 4.50 E.R.A. in his last 3 starts while Estrada is 3-0 with a 1.45 E.R.A. in his last 3 starts. Do the Blue Jays bounce back today? Or will the Yankees add some more room to their A.L. East lead??

How was your week?

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Update: Hitting Pitchers

Posted: August 14, 2015 in sports

I’m going to guess that Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy don’t even remember that I made them do this or even who they picked. To be fair I haven’t updated this as much as I had hoped to, but here’s were we are right now.

Dan the Man’s team is Madison Bumgarner. Travis Wood, Tim Linecum, Cole Hamels and Jorge De La Rosa.

They are 26 for 174 a .149 batting average. His team has scored 8 runs, hit 3 home runs have 10 RBI’s with 9 sacrifices and have struck out 75 times.

Mr. Fantasy’s team is Jason Hammel, Josh Collmenter, Andrew Cashner, Shelby Miller and Johnny Cueto/

They are 28 for 192 a ,146 batting average. His team has scored 9 runs, but has hit 0 home runs they have 4 RBI’s with 17 sacrifices and just 70 strikeouts.

My team is Mike Leake, Kyle Kendrick, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman and Matt Harvey.

My team is 35 for 233 a ,150 batting average. My team has scored 14 runs with 3 home runs they have 18 RBI’s to go with 17 sacrifices and they’ve struck out 83 times.

So my team is leading in batting average, runs scored, RBI’s and sacrifices.  I’m also tied for the lead in home runs with Dan the Man’s team. While Mr. Fantasy’s team has the least number of strike outs.

With all the NFL training camps open you may have already seen a video of two players fighting in practice. Most of the time it’s two big lineman battling it out and no one is getting hurt except for maybe the guy who lands a punch to the other guys helmet. The New York Jets had one of these incidents except it was in their locker room and it will cost them starting quarterback Geno Smith 6-10 weeks. Smith was punched by teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in the locker room Tuesday morning and will require surgery to repair the injuries. He hadn’t yet undergone the procedure as of late Tuesday afternoon. Enemkpali an outside linebacker in his second season, was immediately released by the Jets. Smith will be sidelined for the rest of the summer and likely for the first few games of the season. Enemkpali apologized to the team and fans, but really what else was he going to do. It’s an interesting start to Todd Bowles 1st season as Jets head coach. Don’t forget that he already had to deal with defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson being suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and then was charged with resisting arrest after a high-speed road race in Missouri 12 days later. Richardson could face additional discipline by the league for violation of the personal conduct policy when the legal process plays out. With Smith out it looks like the Jets starting quarterback job will go to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Rookie Bryce Petty would be the best bet to back up Fitzpatrick until Smith returns, but rookie Jake Heaps is also on the Jets roster. Smith hasn’t been the answer at quarterback like the Jets thought he might be when they selected him in the 2nd round with the 39th overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft. Smith started all 16 games as a rookie, but threw 21 interceptions to just 12 touchdowns. Last season Smith started 13 games and played in 14 games. He had 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season. In his first two seasons Smith has completed 57.5% of his passes.

So your looking for a front office job in Major League Baseball; well get your resume updated and send it to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was announced yesterday that Doug Melvin will step down after 13 years as Milwaukee’s general manager.  Melvin will continue to fill the general manager duties until the team hires a replacement, with Melvin then serving as adviser to the team The Brewers officially launched a search for a new general manager Tuesday with the hiring of executive search firm Korn Ferry. The Brewers are 48-66 and currently in last place in the National League Central. It will be an interesting situation for a new general manager to walk into. The Brewers have 7 players under contract for the 2016; this isn’t counting the players that are still under team control. Sadly though 2 of those 7 players are starting pitchers Matt Garza and Kyle Loshe. The Brewers are a pretty young team as Ryan Braun and Adam Lind are the only two regulars over 30 and they’re both just 31 years old. If the double play combination of Scooter Gennett and Jean Segura can hit major league pitching the Brewers could be set at those two positions for years to come as they are both just 25 years old. If Lohse and Garza could stabilize the back end of the Brewers rotation Milwaukee has 3 young starters in Taylor Jungman, Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta who could fill out the top of their rotation. Francisco Rodriquez (K-Rod) can’t close forever, but the Brewers might have their closer in waiting  with Michael Blazek. Blazek is 5-2 with an E.R.A. of 2.26 appearing in 44 games covering 55 2/3rd innings. Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress have been solid out of the bullpen and could become set up men for Blazek. Smith has been more of a situational lefty pitching 41 2/3rd innings in 53 appearances. Smith does have 59 strikeouts and a strikeout per 9 innings rate of 12.7; so he can come in with runners in scoring position and get that big strikeout. The big plus for the Brewers with these pitchers is that Jeffress is the oldest of the group and he’s 27. While it looks like the Brewers have some pieces to work with they still have a long way to go to compete in the NL Central which may actually be the toughest division in baseball. Milwaukee is calling it a reboot not a rebuild; that seems to be the new term as the Detroit Tigers used it when they dealt David Price and Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline. How far away are the Brewers from contending in the NL Central?

Is Tristan Thompson threatening the Cleveland Cavaliers or is he trying to hold them hostage? Thompson’s agent Rich Paul has said that his client will leave the Cavaliers following next season if he does not receive the long-term contract offer he desires. Thompson has the option of signing a one-year qualifying offer for $6.8 million; should he do so, he will sign elsewhere next summer. Thompson is seeking a five-year max contract worth around $94 million. Thompson was a sixth man for much of last season, but emerged in the postseason once Kevin Love suffered a season-ending injury. Thompson averaged 8.5 points and and 8.0 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game in the regular season, but upped his points (9.6), rebounds (10.8) and blocks (1.2) in the playoffs while pulling down incredible 4.4 offensive rebounds per game. He is also Cleveland’s best defensive big man. Signing the qualifying offer as an exit strategy is necessary because Thompson is a restricted free agent and the Cavaliers can match any offer another team sends. Thompson could not be traded this year without his consent if he does sign the qualifying offer. Cleveland has been unwilling to sign Thompson to a long term deal because it will put them well over the salary cap and the team will be looking at a large luxury tax bill. On the other side of this is the fact that Thompson shares and agent with another Cavaliers player by the name of LeBron James. James has came out and said that he’d like the Cavaliers to pay Thompson and get him back into the fold, but James has spent quite a bit of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s money this off season and you have to wonder how much is left for Thompson. Will we see James try and say that he’d consider leaving if the Cavaliers don’t sign Thompson to that 5-year max deal. Maybe if James would pitch in and pay some of the luxury tax for Gilbert he’d be more willing to give Thompson the long term max deal he’s looking for. Is Thompson a must have for the Cavaliers or does the resigning of Kevin Love make Thompson’s threat less veiled.

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We had our first few waiver wire deals in Major League Baseball yesterday. It started with the Atlanta Braves sending 3rd baseman Chris Johnson the the Cleveland Indians for outfields Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and cash considerations. There had been reports out for a while now that the Braves were interested in moving Johnson. Johnson is signed through 2017 with a $10 million dollar option for 2015. Bourn who played for Atlanta in 2011 and 12 is signed for 2016 at $14 million with a $12 million dollar option for 2017. Swisher is signed through 2015 as well for $15 million with a $14 million dollar vesting option for 2017 if he 550 plate appearances in 2016 and passes a physical. The next deal saw the Boston Red Sox send Mike Napoli and cash to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Napoli will also be returning to a team he has played for before. Napoli was with the Rangers for the 2011 and 12 seasons. Napoli is in the last year of his contract and it’s being reported that the Rangers will be responsible for paying $1.5 million of his $16 million dollar 2015 salary. The New York Mets picked up some bullpen help as they acquired left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty and cash considerations from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a player to be named later. O’Flaherty had been designated for Assignment by Oakland over the weekend; so they had 10 days to trade, release him or have him accept a minor league assignment. In a corresponding move left handed reliever Alex Torres has been designated for assignment by the Mets to clear space for O’Flaherty on the 40-man and 25-man rosters. With these three deals getting the waiver period started will see if we get some more deals over the weekend.

So which division leader is going to get caught before the season ends? The New York Yankees (3 1/2), the New York Mets (2 1/2), the Kansas City Royals (9 1/2), the St. Louis Cardinals (6), the Houston Astros (1 1/2) or the Los Angeles Dodgers (3). Now the Mets may be the obvious choice, but it may be the other New York team that is in the most danger of losing their division lead. The Toronto Blue Jays have been closing the gap on the Yankees. With the acquisitions of Troy Tulowirzki and David Price the Blue Jays 9-1 over their last 10 games and are currently on a 6 game winning streak. Over that same 10 game stretch the Yankees are 5-5. Last night (Friday) these two teams started a 3 game series in New York. The Blue Jays got the win on Game 1; 2-1, but it took 10 innings. All 3 runs were scored on solo home runs. Josh Donaldson hit his 30th home run on the Top of the 1st inning to give the Blue Jays a 1-0, but it didn’t last long as Mark Teixeira tied the game at 1-1 with his 30th home run. The game stayed 1-1 until the Top of the 10th inning when Jose Bautista hit his 25th home run of the season off of Yankees reliever Branden Pinder to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. Roberto Osuna pitched the Bottom of the 10th for Toronto to pick up his 9th save while Brett Cecil got the win to move his record to 3-4. Pinder took the loss in his first decision of the season; so he’s 0-1. Both teams had 8 hits apiece in the game. Bautista was the only Blue Jays player with 2 hits in the game while Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius all had 2 hits apiece for the Yankees. R. A. Dickey started the game for Toronto while Nathan Eovaidi made the start for the Yankees. Dickey pitched 7 innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 3 and walking 2; he also threw a wild pitch. Eovaildi pitched 6 inning giving up 1 run on 5 hits while also striking out 3 and walking 2. Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday afternoon in New York and David Price is starting for the Blue Jays while the Yankees are going with Ivan Nova on the mound. Price was dominant on his Blue Jays debut; striking out 11 and retiring the last 15 batters he faced. Nova has made 7 starts for the Yankees since returning from Tommy John surgery and has an E.R.A. of 3.10. Look for Brian McCann to be a key factor in the Yankees line up against Price as he is a career .563 hitter against him with 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s. Jacoby Ellsbury also has good career numbers against Price hitting .370 in 46 career at bats. Both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista average over .300 against Nova. Encarnacion at .364 and Bautista at .333 and each have 1 home run off Nova.  The Blue Jays (589) and Yankees (529) are the Nos. 1 and 2 teams atop the Major League leaderboard in runs scored; so will we see more than a 2-1 game like last nights?

On the Sunday Sports Time Radio podcasts Mr. Fantasy and I have tried to pick the best line up for Fanduel and sadly haven’t done very well. Now we’re going to continue to try and find ways to help you win money during the remainder of the season on Fanduel, but we’re also going to start taking a look at the upcoming football season. Our drafts will be held over Labor Day weekend; so we’re starting to get ready for them. If you’re interested in being in either of our league; they’re free and we run them through Yahoo. Both leagues are 20 team leagues; one is a traditional snake league style draft and the other league is an auction league. Again they are both free and if you’re interested in playing please e-mail us SportsTimeRadio@Hotmail.com and we’ll send you the link to sign up. One league has 5 spots left and the other has 8 spots left. Feel free to play in one or both leagues with us. Just please be a serious fantasy football player who’ll stay through the season even if your team struggles.

I was looking at the pre-season rankings for tight ends and they have Rob Gronkowski as the #6 rated player overall. I have to tell you I don;t think I would draft a tight end that high and in one of our leagues we start 2 tight ends a week. While there’s a bit of a drop off from Gronkowski to Jimmy Graham and then even a bigger drop off from Graham to the #3 ranked tight end Travis Kelce; I’m not sure if taking a tight end at #6 is the best choice. There’s also the issue of if there’s a Tom Brady suspension. How much will that affect Gronkowski’s numbers? be it for the 4 games that’s in place right now or even 1 or 2 games if it’s brought down in court. Now I won;t be surprised at all when Gronkowski comes off the draft board in the Top 10 and while he’s a great player and the best at his position can you win your league taking a tight end that high?

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On Sunday’s Mr. Fantasy and I do 2 hour of fantasy baseball talk on the Sports Time Radio podcast. Now from time to time we’ll talk about what we’re going to do with the money league baseball team we co-manage. Are teams has struggled with injuries and poor pitching for most of the season, but lately it’s been performing better and we have a shot at making the playoffs. Sunday was our trading deadline and we tried to make a deal, but couldn’t get anyone to trade with us. Now there were some minor deals in the league; Arodys Vizcaino for Wellington Castillo, Nathan Karns for David Ortiz and Aaron Hicks for Mike Leake. Nothing to out of the ordinary, but I doubt I would’ve dealt Leake for Hicks, but it was a father and son trading with each other; so that’s how it goes. Now pretty much all season long we’ve had one team that has been head and shoulders about the rest and sure enough they made a deal at the trade deadline. The best team in our league sent Lorenzo Cain and Lance McCullers to what I believe was the worst team in our league for Erasmo Ramirez and Mike Trout. Yes, you read that right; the best team in our fantasy league got the best player in baseball and all they had to give up was a solid outfielder and an average pitcher. It’s a garbage trade and everyone in the league knows it’s a garbage trade, but they have always let these things go unlike our other leagues which have fail safes for ridiculous trades like this one. In the other leagues a trade has to be approved by the other owners and in a worse case scenario the commissioner can step in and veto and bad deal. I can understand letting trades go as is and if one guy can fleece another in a deal that’s the one guys problem for being dumb enough to make that kind of a deal, but this is more than a total fleecing. As an owner that’s just hoping that his team can find a way into the playoffs it’s tough to see the best team in the league add Mike Trout without having to sacrifice anything to get him. It’s hugely frustrating for me and it’s a good thing that I don;t have to make a decision if I’ll return to this league next season because I would probably say no right now. I’m sure when the time comes next season I’ll  be over this embarrassment of a deal and be ready to draft. Sadly there’s nothing I can do but come on here and complain about it, but hopefully this will help me feel better about the trade. If there;s any justice or karma the team that made the deal for Trout will some how get knocked out of the playoffs very early, but since they’ve dominated the league pretty much all season I doubt that will happen.

The New York Mets have taken over 1st place in the National League East from the Washington Nationals. Right now the Mets have a 1 game lead over the Nationals, but Washington has played 2 less games. Now this looks like it’s going to be a pennant race were just the winner makes the playoffs; so it will make it even more interesting to see what the Mets do with their group of young pitchers. There was a little talk about the Mets monitoring the innings of their young pitchers and not allowing them to throw over 180 innings. Jacob deGroom won N.L. Rookie of the Year last season and is the Mets leader in innings at 133 1/3rd. Matt Harvey is right behind him with 133 innings on the nose and since  Noah Syndergaard was called up after the start of the season he’s logged just 94 2/3rd innings. So if 180 innings is the number then deGroom and Harvey would have between 7 and 9 starts left this season. Could or would the Mets actually pull the plug on their young pitchers down the stretch of a pennant race. Remember the Nationals did this with Steven Strasburg is his rookie season and even though they’ve had a good team Washington has yet to win a World Series. It looks like the Mets have 3 very talented young pitchers that may possibly turn into 4 if Zack Wheeler returns from Tommy John surgery next season and is fully healthy, but there’s no guarantees in baseball and if the Mets decide to shut these pitchers down they may not contend next season. It’s a tough decision to make, but with the way they handle pitchers it wouldn’t surprise me at all f they cut deGroom and Harvey’s season short even if the team is in the pennant race. If this does happen I’d be more than interested to see how Mets fans would react to this decision.

Since I seem to be rolling along with baseball today let’s keep going with it.

It caught me off guard yesterday when it was announced that the Detroit Tigers and Dave Dombrowski had parted ways. Dombrowski’s contract was due to expire at the end of this season, but both parties reached an agreement to end their relationship early. Dombrowski had been the Tigers General Manger for 13 seasons. Dombrowski’s longtime front-office assistant Al Avila will take over as general manager in Detroit. He is the father of Tigers catcher Alex Avila. It doesn’t look like Dombrowski will be out of work long unless it’s his choice to take some time off. Dombrowski’s name has already been linked to teams like the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers. Would Dombrowski try to rebuild a team like Milwaukee or try to get the Red Sox back on track or take a team like Seattle that people thought would win this season. Maybe he’d like to try and add another World Series title to his resume; so teams like Toronto, Baltimore or the Angels might be more appealing. It would be interesting to see if Dombrowski could get David Price to sign with the Blue Jays as a free agent this off season after he was the guy who traded Price there. That is if he takes a job with the Blue Jays. Where do you have Dombrowski landing his next job at?

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