The baseball winter meetings are rolling along this week and there have been some big name players signed and traded. Late last night the Chicago Cubs where able to sign their #1 free agent target; Jon Lester. Lester gets a six year deal for $158 million dollars and a vesting option for a 7th year. The 7th year option is being reported to be worth $15 million dollars. This offer beat out the Boston Red Sox to who were the other team left in the Lester derby. The Red Sox final offer to Lester was six years and $135 million dollars. Lester joins Jason Hammel in the Cubs 2015 starting rotation. Hammel signed back with the Cubs earlier in the week for two at $10 million dollars. The Cubs dealt Hammel to the Oakland A’s last season. The Cubs also acquired catcher Miguel Montero from the Arizona Diamondbacks for young pitchers Zack Godley and Jefferson Mejia.
The baseball team on the south side of Chicago was busy as well as the White Sox agreed to a deal with the Oakland A’s that sends Jeff Samardzija back to Chicago, though this time with the South Siders. Righty Michael Ynoa is going with him in return for infielder Marcus Semien, righty Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Rangel Ravelo. The White Sox also added a closer having agreed to sign David Robertson to a four year deal worth more than $46 million dollars. Robertson has been zeroed in on landing a four-year deal this winter and he found a team happy to give him one with a solid average annual value.
Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a deal with left-handed pitcher starting pitcher Francisco Liriano. The deal is for three years at a total of $39 million dollars. The deal seems quite a reasonable price for a pitcher with Liriano’s ability to dominate. The Pirates had express interest in bring Liriano back, but with the resigning Pittsburgh will give up the ability to add draft pick compensation, which it was in line to receive if Liriano had found a new home after declining a qualifying offer.
The story I kept hearing reported from the winter meetings was that the Houston Astros where looking to add to their bullpen. They where in on left-handed reliever Andrew Miller and actually offered Miller more money then what he got when he signed with the New York Yankees. Robertson was also a reported target of the Astros before he signed with the White Sox. Today the Astros added two relievers that should help improve their bullpen. The Astros have agreed to a three-year, $18.5 million dollar deal with reliever Luke Gregerson. Also the Astros have reached a deal with fellow right-handed reliever Pat Neshek. Neshek receives a $12.5 million dollars guarantee over two years, with an option for a third.
Also earlier in the week the Oakland Athletics have officially agreed to ship outfielder/first baseman/DH Brandon Moss to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle. This deal had been talked about between these 2 teams for a couple of weeks and they finally agreed to it Tuesday.
We’ll have to see if they are a couple pf more moves out there before the winter meetings end, but if we don’t it’s been a pretty exciting week for baseball fans.
Let’s look at how we did in Week 14 of our NFL picks. Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy tied for the best record at 12-4. I finished a game behind them with and 11-5 record while Dan the Man ended the week at 9-7. For the season Mr. Fantasy and I are ties for the lead at 135-71-1. Schaumburg Stu is three games behind us with a record of 132-78-1. Dan the Man is stuck at the bottom of the standings with a record of 128-78-1. Let’s see what Week 15 brings us.
How did Greg and Mr. Fantasy do against each other in Week 14? Well let’s take a look at who they picked and how they did. At quarterback Greg took a chance on Thursday night with Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears while Mr. Fantasy went with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Cutler scored 24.22 points and finished 8th in the quarterback standings for Week 14 while Brady scored 17.54 points and ended up 12th for the week. It was Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton who led all players at that position for Week 14 with 39.82 points. It seems like both Greg and Mr. Fantasy rate their running backs similarly as they managed to select the same player again. This time it was Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. Lacy finished 4th for the week with 29.60 points. He was behind Joique Bell (Detroit Lions), DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys) and Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers who topped all other running backs with 52.50 points in Week 14. At wide receiver Greg went with a Oakland Raiders player as he likes to do and this week it was James Jones. Mr. Fantasy took Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions for his wide receiver. While the Raiders did get their 2nd win of the season in Week 14 Jones only scored 2.60 points for Greg and finished ranked 103rd among wide receivers. Johnson had a little better week scoring 28.05 points and finishing 6th among wide receivers for Week 14. At tight end Greg took Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins while Mr. Fantasy went with Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers. Reed scored 4.75 points and finished 26th among tight ends for the week. Gates scored 7.15 points which was good for 17th among tight ends for Week 14. At kicker Greg picked Matt Prater of the Detroit Lions while Mr. Fantasy selected Mason Crosby of the Green bay Packers. Prater scored 11 points in Week 14 and tied for 6th place. Crosby out up 15.25 points which was good for 3rd place among kickers for Week 14. The sleeper picks for Week 14 where Sebastian Janikowski the Oakland Raiders kicker for Greg and Charles Johnson the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver for Mr. Fantasy. Janikowski scored 9 points for Greg while Johnson scored 19.55 points for Mr. Fantasy. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a kicker being a sleeper pick, but hey why not. Let’s see who Greg and Mr. Fantasy like for Week 15. You can hear Mr. Fantasy make his choices Sunday morning in between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. during the Sports Time Radio preview podcast for Week 15 of the NFL on www.blogtalkradio.com Sadly you have to wait until I write this blog on Wednesday’s to know who Greg selected and how they did against each other.
I need to thank NHL.com for the stats and awards that Jean Beliveau won during his career. Without that site I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much about Beliveau.