Archive for the ‘baseball’ Category

How was your week

Posted: March 25, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, fantasy, sports, Uncategorized

What do Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor, Kobe Bryant and Devin Booker all have in common? Well if you where paying attention to last nights Phoenix Suns game you know that all of these players have scored 70 points in an NBA game. Booker joined this list of Hall of Fame players and of course future Hall of Fame player in Bryant’s case when he scored 70 points on the nose against the Boston Celtics on Friday night. It was the 11th 70 point game in NBA history.

Even with the 70 point effort by Booker the Suns still lost to the Celtics 130-120. Phoenix is 22-51 on the season and are just one game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for last place in the Western Conference standings. While the Suns are obviously in rebuild mode Booker has to be one of the bright spots I a down season. Booker is in his 2nd season in the NBA and is the Suns leading scorer averaging 21.6 points per game. Eric Bledsoe is right behind Booker in scoring average at 21.1 points per game. Bledsoe is 27 years old while the Suns 3rd leading scorer is 23 year old T.J. Warren who is averaging 13.8 points per game. So the Suns have a young core of players to try and build around.

Booker played 45 minutes on Friday night to get his 70 points. He was 21 of 40 overall from the field going 4 of 11 from behind the 3-point line. He was however 24 of 26 from the free throw line. Along with his 70 points Booker grabbed 8 rebounds and handed out 6 assists.

Now throughout the 4th quarter Suns coach Earl Watson used his timeouts and had his players intentionally foul which aided Booker’s quest to reach that 70 point total. The fans at TD Garden didn’t seem to mind as they cheered Booker’s scoring outburst and it was almost as they where embracing what he was trying to do. Of course it was much, much easier for the Celtics fans to do with their team ahead by double digits. On the other hand the Boston players seemed less than enthusiastic about the way the Suns ran up Booker’s scoring total. Booker scored 28 of his 70 points in the 4th quarter.

Now no matter which side of this you might come down on it’s still a great accomplishment for a player to do.

We are just eight days away from the start of the Major League Baseball season. On Sunday April 2nd ESPN will televise three games to get the season started. At Noon the New York Yankees are at the Tampa Bay Rays. Masahiro Tanaka gets he opening day start for the Yankees while Chris Archer will get the honor for Tampa Bay. The second game scheduled to start around 3:00 p.m. will feature the San Francisco Giants at the Arizona Diamondbacks. Madison Bumgarner will make the start for the Giants while Zack Greinke will be the Diamondbacks starter. Opening day wraps up with an 7:30 p.m. game that has the World Series champion Chicago Cubs at the St. Louis Cardinals. Jon Lester will get the start for the Cubs while Carlos Martinez is the Cardinals starter.

Now as opening day draws closer and closer that means it’s time for our two fantasy drafts. There are 20 teams on both of our leagues. One league is just your standard snake draft style league while the other league we have is an auction style draft. While I still enjoy the snake style draft more than the auction draft the last few seasons my auction draft team has done better in the standings.

Now there’s a lot that goes into drafting your fantasy team. The way your league is set up and which stats are important to your league. Both of our leagues are category leagues; so you can look for all around players or you can try and get players who produce big numbers in a category or two. Now as anyone who’s been in a fantasy league before knows how difficult it is to find players who can put up stats in every category. Start thinking; how many players are out their that combine power and speed and still hit for a high batting average. When you’re trying to come up with these players; what is your acceptable stolen base total for these players. Remember there where just nine players who had more than 30 stolen bases last season. Of course in total there where 72 players who had 10 or more stolen bases. Now in most cases fantasy owners will trade 47 home runs or 133 RBI’s for a single digit stolen base total. Now it’s very easy to sit at the top of your fantasy draft and find the right player. What will win your fantasy league is finding that player or pitcher who will give you numbers in the categories you need help in. That’s why the best thing you can do is look at your league settings and use that to your advantage in the later rounds of your draft. I don’t remember how long ago it was, but when we started playing fantasy baseball Mr. Fantasy use to make fun of me because I would always pick Livan Hernandez in the late rounds of our drafts. Now Hernandez was past his prime and was no longer a top pitcher, but he was an innings eater and we have a minimum numbers of innings are pitchers have to throw a week. Finally last season Mr. Fantasy came around to my way of thinking as he selected R.A. Dicky late in our draft. With the way pitchers are handled in baseball today it’s tough to find a pitcher that will log a lot of innings for you; so if your league has a minimum number of innings you need to pitch a week don’t be afraid to take an innings eater late in your draft. That’s really the best advice I can give not knowing what your league settings are. If you’ve had your draft please let me know how you did, but if your draft is coming up feel free to share your strategy that you use in your league. Good luck!

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How was your week

Posted: March 11, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

NFL free agency started this week and as there always seems to be a lot of player movement took place right at the beginning. Quite a few players have new teams including some quarterbacks; so let’s look and see where some of these quarterbacks ended up.

The San Francisco 49ers brought in two quarterbacks as they signed Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. Oddly Hoyer and Barkley where both members of the Chicago Bears last season as Jay Cutler’s back up. Now Cutler was finally released by the Bears as they signed Tampa bay Buccaneers back up Mike Glennon as their new starter. Robert Griffin III was released by the Cleveland Browns after one season with the team. Cleveland did add a quarterback as they sent a 2017 4th round pick to the Houston Texans. In return the Browns get quarterback Brock Osweiler, a 6th round pick in the 2017 draft and a 2nd round pick in the 2018 draft. It doesn’t appear as Osweiler is in the Browns quarterback plans as they’ve said they will try to deal Osweiler or just release him before the season starts. A couple of back up quarterbacks got new deals as Landry Jones re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Aaron Murray has signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Kirk Cousins also signed his franchise tender with the Washington Redskins.

Now with all of the quarterback movement you might have noticed that there’s a name missing that most people thought would be on the free agent market. Tony Romo is still a member of the Dallas Cowboys. It was thought and reported that the Cowboys would be releasing Romo allowing him to become a free agent, but then rumors broke that Romo could be traded. The Houston Texans and Denver Broncos had been the front runners to sign Romo if he had been released and they where the first two teams named when trade talk started. You can’t figure it would take any more than a 6th or 7th round draft choice to get Romo from the Cowboys, but there are some questions with dealing for him. Romo is due $14 million dollars in base salary. Plus there’s a $5 million dollar signing bonus and a $5.7 million dollar restructuring bonus. So Romo would be a salary cap hit of $24.7 million dollars for any team that would trade for him. That’s a large salary for a quarterback who’s played 5 games total the past two seasons. Maybe Denver or Houston is trying to get Romo to re-do his contract, but no reports of that have come out. You do have to wonder why a team would give up a draft pick; even a late round draft pick for a player they could possibly get  on there own terms.

The New England Patriots aren’t normally big players in the free agent market, but this year they did sign a top free agent. New England signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore away from the Buffalo Bills. Terms of Gilmore’s deal were not disclosed, but it is being reported the deal is for 5 years. Now the Patriots did re-sign two of their own free agents. They brought back defensive lineman Alan Branch on a 2 year $12 million dollar deal. New England also re-signed safety Duron Harmon to a 4 year $20 million dollar deal. Now you might not see signing one top cornerback and two of your own free agents as big moves, but the Patriots also made three trades this week. First New England sent a 2017 4th round pick to the Indianapolis Colts for tight end Dwayne Allen and a 20017 6th round pick. The Patriots then traded their 2nd round pick in the 2017 draft to the Carolina Panthers for defensive lineman Kony Ealy and a 2017 3rd round pick, but New England wasn’t done. The Patriots finally completed the long rumored trade with the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Bradin Cooks. New England will send their 2017 1st round pick; #32 overall and the 3rd round pick (#108 overall) which is the compensatory pick they got from the Cleveland Browns for linebacker Jamie Collins. In return the Patriots will receive Cooks and the Saints 4th round pick (#118 overall) in the 2017 draft. So ask yourself; did anybody do better during the first week of free agency than the defending champions?

Now there where some other free agents signings involving some top players. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is joining the Philadelphia Eagles. Defensive end Calals Campbell and cornerback A,J, Bouye are joining the Jacksonville Jaquars. Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor signed with the Washington Redskins while former Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tight end Martellus Bennett signed with the Green Bay Packers. These are just some of the top ranked free agents that signed this week.

Interestingly there are some big name free agent running backs available, but none of them where signed at the start of free agency. There are names like Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Charles, Latavius Murray and LeGarrette Blount on the open market. Now Peterson, Lacy and Charles are all coming back from injury; so that may hold up there signings as teams look at their medical reports. How long do you think it will be before one of these top running backs is signed?

The Chicago White Sox are in rebuild mode for the 2017 season. Now one of the players that the White Sox haven’t traded, but has drawn a lot of interest is Jose Quintana. Now the White Sox have been looking for a big return for the 28 year old Quintana and that case may have just been made for the White Sox. Quintana made a start for Team Colombia in the World Baseball Classic against Team U.S.A. Quintana faced a line up of major league players and held Team U.S.A. to 1 run over 5 2/3rd innings. Quintana stuck out 4 while walking 1 throwing 63 pitches. Quintana got the first 17 Team U.S.A. batters he faced out before the last batter he faced in the game Brandon Crawford singled to rightfield. Now Team U.S.A. did go on to beat Team Columbia 3-2 in 10 innings, but Quintana was the star of the game and if a team was interested in trading for him the price may have just went up.

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The NBA trading deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. and while there hasn’t been a lot of player movement just yet; there are a ton of rumors out there. It should be interesting to see who goes where or if it was just a bunch of talk.

The one official deal we have right now has DeMarcus Cousin and Omar Casspi going to the New Orleans Pelicans. While the Sacramento Kings will receive Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, a 2017 1st round pick and a 2017 2nd round pick.

Now it is being reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets have made a deal. The reports have Lou Williams going to the Rockets while the Lakers will receive Corey Brewer and a future draft pick.

Now the Lakers did make some big changes in the front office earlier in the week. Magic Johnson has taken over as President of basketball operations. Johnson’s first move was the fire General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Vice President of Public Relations John Black. Now Jim Buss will also leave his position as Executive Vice President of basketball operations. Since Buss is part owner of the team I’m not sure if this qualifies as him being fired, but wither way he won’t be making basketball decisions any more. Since Johnson pretty much cleared out the Lakers front office it looks as he’ll be in charge of any trades the team will make between and Thursday’s deadline.

Let’s take a look at some of the trade rumors out there. The Utah Jazz have talked top the Dallas Mavericks about guard Deron Williams. Williams is averaging 13.1 points per game and handing out 6.9 assists per game for the Mavericks this season. Williams was originally drafted by the Jazz in 2005 when he was the #3 pick.

The Indiana Pacers have spoken to the Philadelphia 76ers about Jahlil Okafor. The 76ers have quite a few front court players and there has been a lot of talks about them moving one of them. Since Joel Embiid has been the break out big man for Philadelphia you’d have to think that Okafor or Nerlens Noel would be traded.

The Boston Celtics have had talks with the Los Angeles Clippers about acquiring Blake Griffin. While this could be an interesting deal the Clippers are asking for quite a haul. The Clippers are looking for draft picks along with Jae Crowder and either Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley in return for Griffin. While Boston does have the draft picks to trade that would be a lot to give up for a player who’s contract expires at the end of the season.

The Brooklyn Nets are the worst team in the NBA and they don’t have the draft picks to rebuild the team with. They’ve made it known that they’re willing to trade there best player Brook Lopez. At first the Nets wanted two 1st round draft picks for Lopez, but they made it known this week that they would accept a 1st and a 2nd round pick in exchange for Lopez. Everyone is saying that the 2017 draft is one of the strongest draft in recent years and the more picks the Nets could get in it the better off they are.

Jimmy Butler’s name has come up multiple times in trade rumors, but now it seems as though the Bulls have decided to hold onto him. There are reports out there that the Chicago Bulls have made the entire roster available, but most of the stories I’ve heard have them looking to deal Nikola Mirotic. Taj Gibson’s name has also been mentioned in some trade talks; so maybe he’s the Chicago player traded.

Another deal that has come up had Derrick Rose reuniting with hos former head coach Tom Thibodeau as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In return for Rose the New York Knicks would receive Rickey Rubio from the Timberwolves. Rubio’s name has been mentioned a few times in different trade rumors, but this is the first time Rose’s name has come up. Rose is also in the final year of his contract; so he’d come right off the books for any team that would deal for him.

While we’re on the Knicks. There hasn’t been a lot of Carmelo Anthony trade talk; so it appears as though he’ll be staying with New York at least through the end of this season. Once the Cleveland Cavaliers said they had no interest in dealing for Anthony there wasn’t really another good match up for the Knicks out there. Now if Rose is dealt they could send Anthony to the Clippers for Griffin, but that’s only if Anthony would accept that deal. Remember Anthony has a no trade clause in his contract.

I guess will have to wait until Thursday to see if any of these plyers have new teams or who else might get traded by the deadline. Sometimes it’s the smaller moves that can really help teams. There’s also the teams that are looking for some salary cap relief and might try to move some guys so they could be a player in free agency this coming off season.

Rob Manfred the commissioner of Major League Baseball held a press conference yesterday to discuss speeding up the pace of play in baseball. Now MLB was unable to make a lot of the changes they where talking about because they couldn’t come to an agreement with the players union on them, but they did make one change. The intentional walk rule is going from the traditional four pitch walk to a dugout signal. I’m not sure how much of a difference this will make, but by getting rid of the old fashioned intentional walk would eliminate about a minute of dead time per walk. Last season in MLB there where 932 intentional walks. So that means there was 1 intentional walk for every 2.6 games played. I’m not sure how big of an impact this rule change will have, but it’s looks to be the start of baseball making changes to try and make the games faster.

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With pitchers and catchers just reporting the St. Louis Cardinals got some bad news already. The Cardinals top pitching prospect and the #6 rated minor league prospect overall Alex Reyes needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2017 season. An MRI revealed a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.Reyes had the MRI on Tuesday after letting the Cardinals of elbow discomfort. The scan was examined by team physician Dr. George Paletta; who confirmed that Reyes requires Tommy John surgery. The images have been sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, but the Cardinals do not expect the diagnosis to change. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Reyes will likely have the surgery on Thursday. It will be performed by Paletta. Reyes first notified the Cardinals of arm discomfort late last week, and the club recommended the imaging scan after running Reyes through a physical exam at their spring training complex. Reyes has been pitching with a compromised ligament in his right elbow since at least 2013; when he was diagnosed with an elbow strain. Reyes will no longer pitch for the Dominican Republic team in next month’s World Baseball Classic. Reyes pitched in 12 games last season for St. Louis making 5 starts. He pitched a total of 46 innings going 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 1.57 and getting 1 save. Reyes was expected to contribute at the major league level this season, but his role hadn’t been decided yet. While it was never announced you have to believe there was a plan in place to limit his innings this season be it as a starter or out of the bullpen. Not that you ever want to lose a player for the season this early, but the Cardinals do have Lance Lynn returning from Tommy John surgery which cost him the entire 2016 season. St. Louis also has 23 year old prospect Luke Weaver who made 8 starts for them last season to help in the rotation if needed. Weaver was 1-4 in those 8 starts with an E.R.A, of 5.70 over 36 1/3rd innings. Weaver did make one relief appearance last season.

Kyle Schwarber has said that he wants to continue to catch and the Chicago Cubs cane out yesterday and said that they will allow him to do some catching this spring. Schwarber  tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in the third regular season game in 2016 was examined by the Cubs medical staff yesterday and if they clear him he’ll catch one or two days a week this spring. Schwarber miss all but those first three games of the regular season, but he did return to serve as the Cubs designated hitter in the World Series. Schwarber will have to wear a brace on his left knee this season and possibly the rest of his playing career. The Cubs are working on creative ways for Schwarber to work with the catchers and not put any unnecessary stress on his knee. Coming into the 2017 season Wilson Contreras looks to be the Cubs starting catcher with Miguel Montero being his back up. If Schwarber can catch he could be a very valuable 3rd catcher for the Cubs.

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is scheduled to miss 6 weeks. Love began suffering from a sore left knee Saturday against the Denver Nuggets and sat out from the Cavaliers game Tuesday. An MRI on Sunday didn’t reveal any structural damage, but Love sought out a second opinion. If Love is out the 6 weeks he should be able to return at the start of April and that would give him 7 games to get ready for the playoffs. That actual should give Love enough time to test the knee out and get back into game shape. Love is currently 3rd on the Cavaliers in scoring averaging 20 points a game. He is the teams leading rebounder grabbing 11.1 per game. Love is also one of the Cavaliers best 3-point shooters making 38.4% from behind the 3-point line. Cleveland is 38-16 and have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. Will they still be in 1st place when Love returns? More importantly does it matter at all where the Cavaliers are seeded come playoff time? You have to think that even if the Cavaliers fall into 2nd or even 3rd place they would still be the clear favorites to win the conference and go to the NBA Finals.

The Anaheim Ducks beat the Minnesota Wild 1-0 last night, but they may lose Antoine Vermette to a suspension after he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso. After losing a face off with 7:33 left in the 3rd period Vermette slashed the leg of the linesman. This earned Vermette a 10 minute penalty for game misconduct and an ejection for abuse of an official. NHL Rule 40.3 explains that a player will receive a 10 game suspension for deliberately applying physical force to an official in any manner. Vermette’s slash fits into this category. Just last season Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames received a 20 game suspension for cross-checking a ref on his way back to the bench. Wideman’s suspension was later reduced to 10 games through an appeal. Vermette is in his 13th NHL season, but this is his 1st one with Anaheim. In 58 games this season Vermette has 22 points on 8 goals and 14 assists, but is a -10 for +/- this season. There is no timetable for an NHL ruling on Vermette’s slash, but you have to think there will be a suspension involved with this incident.

For the Super Bowl the Atlanta Zoo had a bet with the Rhode Island Roger Williams Park Zoo that the loser would name a baby animal after the winning team’s star quarterback. The Atlanta Zoo paid off there bet by naming a Madagascar hissing cockroach Tom Brady. The animal to be named had been agreed upon between the two zoo’s since it was expected the loser of the bet would be bitter. The zoo introduced a whole family of cockroaches in a video Monday, including a tiny Tom Brady.

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So the Super Bowl actually did turn out to be super. I am wondering how many people turned the game off when the Atlanta Falcons took a 28-3 lead early in the 3rd quarter. Of course as we all know now the New England Patriots scored the final 31 points of the game including the game winning touchdown in overtime to comeback and win the game.

In there comeback Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and running back James White set some new Super Bowl records. Brady set records for most passing attempts with 62. Most pass completions with 42 and most passing yards with 466. White caught more passes than anyone else in a single Super Bowl game with 14. His 110 receiving yards was also the most ever for a running back in a Super Bowl. The Patriots as a team set some new records as well. They had the most first downs with 37, most passing first downs with 26 and most offensive plays in a game with 93.  Plus there was the record-setting 19 point fourth quarter comeback and 25 point second half rally. The teams also combined to set three new records. Most 1st downs in a Super Bowl by both teams with 54, most passing 1st downs in a Super Bowl by both teams with 39 and most combined passing yards by both teams with 682. The Patriots now have the most Super Bowl appearances by a team with 9 while Bill Belichick is now the head coach with the most Super Bowl appearances at 7 and wins with 5. Tom Brady now also has the most career passing touchdowns in Super Bowl history with 15.

There where also five records tied in this Super Bowl. Most Super Bowl wins; Tom Brady with 5. Most sacks in a Super Bowl; Grady Jarrett with 3. They started keeping this record in 1982. Most 2-point conversions in a game with 2 and most 2-point conversions by teams combined with 2 and most 1st downs by penalties with 4 by the Patriots.

Now as a whole the NFL playoffs weren’t that great to watch. Did this type of a Super Bowl make up for it? These where the two top offenses in the playoffs and that did show through in this game and that made it fun to watch. There was some talk that this was the greatest Super Bowl of all time. While it was a good game to watch I’m not sure if it’s the greatest Super Bowl ever, but I’d love to know what you thought of the game. Feel free to leave me your comments about the Super Bowl.

With all the complaining LeBron James has done about his team this season you have to wonder if he’s concerned about a NBA Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors or if he thinks there’s a team in the Eastern Conference that the Cleveland Cavaliers have to worry about. The Cavaliers have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors 4 1/2 games out of 1st place and the Washington Wizards 5 1/2 games behind the Cavaliers.

Now we’ve seen the Raptors take a run at the Cavaliers the last few seasons; so I’m not sure anyone would consider them a challenger in the East.

The Celtics are currently on a 7-game winning streak and they try to make it 8 in a row as they face the Sacramento Kings tonight. The Celtics are led by Isaiah Thomas who is averaging 29.9 points per game and has proven that he is one of if not the top player when the 4th quarter rolls around. Thomas is also the team leader in assists per game with 6.4. Can a team with a point guard as there leading scorer take down the Cavaliers in a 7-game series? Now the Celtics do have some big men who can score and shoot the 3-pointer. Al Horford averages 15.1 points per game and makes 34.1% from behind the 3-point line. Jae Crowder averages 14.2 points per game and shoots a team high 42.2 % from behind the 3-point line. Now the Celtics are a young up and coming team, but are they ready to take that step and take the Cavaliers out in a seven game series. If we get this match up in the playoffs we might get the chance to see where the Celtics stand.

Now how about the Wizards. Remember this is the team that started the season off 5-10 and there was talk of what a disappointing season this was going to be. Washington is now nine games over .500 at 30-21. The Wizards just had there 7-game winning streak snapped on Monday by the Cavaliers. Cleveland won that game 140-135 in overtime, but the Wizards had to get an idea that they could play with the Cavaliers. Is an close overtime loss enough to build confidence in a team that can be up and won at times. I’m sure you’ve heard the reports that John Wall and Bradley Beal don’t always get along. That would be alright as long as they both continue to play well. Wall leads the team in scoring at 23 points per game while Beal is right behind him averaging 22.2 points per game. Wall is also handing out 10.4 assists per game. Both are shooting well from the field. Beal shoots 46.9% from the field and 39.1% from behind the 3-point line. Wall is shooting 45.8% from the field and 31.4% from behind the 3-point line. Otto Porter is shooting a very good 46.7% from behind the 3-point line and Marcin Gortat is grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game. The Wizards are run by there backcourt tandem and the team will go how they go, but they do have some pieces that could help them in a series against the Cavaliers. Could Washington be the team that gives the Cavaliers trouble in a playoff series?

We had a couple more free agents come off the market yesterday. Chris Carter signed with the New York Yankees for one year at $3 million dollars while Mike Napoli agreed to return to the Texas Rangers on a one year $8.5 million dollar deal with a club option. Carter’s deal does have incentives where he can earn an extra $500,000. With pitchers and catchers reporting next week you have to wonder how many more deals will get before then.

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The baseball Hall of Fame added three new members yesterday. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriquez will join the elite group of players in Cooperstown when they are inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame on July 30th.

I have no real issue with any of the players elected, but I will say that I’ve never been a Bagwell supporter. Bagwell got in on his 7th try while it took Raines the full 10 years to get elected. I have no idea why it took Raines so long to be elected, but he finally got in. Rodriquez was on the ballot for the first time in 2017. Rodriquez became the second catcher to be elected on his first ballot. The other was Johnny Bench.

I’d like to take a look at the players that didn’t get in. In his second year on the ballot Trevor Hoffman just missed getting in. Hoffman had 74% of the vote and missed getting in by five votes. With just a little bump he should find himself being inducted in 2018.

Vladimir Guerrero was on the ballot for the first time and also got very close to being elected. Guerrero got 71.7% of the vote and was just 15 votes short of getting in. Like Hoffman you think with a little bump next season Guerrero should be going in on the next ballot.

Edgar Martinez receiver his highest vote total since being on the ballot. In his 8th year Martinez got 58.6% of the vote and appeared on 259 ballots. Martinez has two year left on the ballot and you have to wonder if there’s enough time for Martinez to get the 73 votes needed to get into the Hall of Fame.

Interestingly in there 5th time on the ballot Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds made big jumps in the voting. Clemens went from 45.2% in 2016 to 54.1% yesterday while Bonds went from 44.3% in 2016 to 53.8% yesterday. No matter how you look at these two players it’s very clear that they both used performance enhancing drugs to help there game, but they continue to climb in the voting and have time to get elected. Now there’s no way I could ever support either of these guys, but with the crop of new voters now onboard it looks as though we’ll see Clemens and Bonds in the Hall of Fame eventually.

Rolling in 9th and 10th in the voting was Mike Mussina (51.8%) and Curt Schilling (45%). This was Mussina’s 4th year on the ballot and his vote total has increased every year. This was Schilling’s 5th year on the ballot, but his vote total dropped 7% from 2016 to 2017. Now I don’t buy either of these guys as Hall of Fame players. They where both very god and at times great, but neither of them sustained that greatness to the point where they should be in the Hall of Fame. With the path that Mussina is on it looks as though he’ll be voted in before his time on the ballot runs out. It was asked yesterday that if Schilling just kept his mouth shut would he be elected. It’s an interesting question as his vote total did drop this year and you have to wonder if voters will get back on board with him or if Schilling will say something else to turn more voters off.

Lee Smith was a hold over from the old rule and was in his 15th and final season on the ballot. Smith only received 34.2% of the vote and will now be moved to the old timers committee for consideration. Smith reached 50.6% back in 2012, but his totals dropped every year after that. Smith was a 7-time All-Star and won the at the time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year 3 times. Smith finished in the Top 10 of the Cy Young voting 4 times in his career. Smith led baseball in saves 4 times in his 18-year career. Smith was still a closer in the era when they had to pitch multiple innings to get a save and actually kind of led in to the specialization of the closers role. Being that Smith was a Chicago Cub for 8 seasons I always rooted for him to get in, but he just never got the support and I’m not sure the veteran’s committee will put him in.

Another first timer on the ballot was Manny Ramirez who received 23.8% of the vote. Ramirez is another interesting case as he has two failed drug tests on his record and part of the reason he retired was because he didn’t want to serve another suspension. Ramirez appeared on 105 ballots and I’d really like to know how these voters looked past not one, but two failed drug tests to vote for him. Ramirez has Hall of Fame numbers and if the new crop of voters decides that they don’t care if a player used a performance enhancing drug Ramirez has a very good chance to get into the Hall of Fame.

In his 7th year on the ballot Larry Walker got 21.9% of the vote. In his 8th year ion the ballot Fred McGriff got 21.7% of the vote. In his 4th year on the ballot Jeff Kent got 16.7% of the vote. While Walker and Kent each won an M.V.P. in there careers and McGriff was just 7 homers short of 500 I don’t think any of these three players will be getting into the Hall of Fame.

I need so much help understanding this next player and why his vote totals are so low. Gary Sheffield received just 13.3 % of the vote in his 3rd year on the ballot and it’s the first time his vote totals have went up. Sheffield is a 9-time All-Star, won a batting title and finished in the Top 10 of the M.V.P. voting seven times in his career. Sheffield is a career .292 hitter with 509 home runs and 253 steals. Sheffield did have some injury issues in his career, but he played in 22 seasons and 2576 career games. I have a difficult time understanding what a voter is looking at when they see Sheffield’s name on there ballot and don’t check it off. Sheffield was a better player than Walker, McGriff and Kent who finished just ahead of him in the voting and his career numbers are in line with what Ramirez did minus the failed drug tests. Take a look at how similar Sheffield’s numbers are to Vladimir Guerrero’s who looks like a sure bet to get elected next year. Sheffield is a Hall of Famer!

In his 2nd year on the ballot Billy Wagner receiver 10.2% of the vote. Wagner receiver 10.5% in 2016. I’m not sure Wagner will ever get the backing to get into the Hall of Fame, but he was a dominant closer for about an 8 year period. I’m not sure Hall of Fame voters know how to judge closers yet and with the new crop of voters being added it may change. I’m just not sure that Wagner will be on the ballot when that happens.

Another player that I’m not going to understand why his vote total is so low is Sammy Sosa. Sosa’s numbers jumped a little to 8.6%, but still far away from what he’d need to be elected. Now Sosa is someone who most if not all people believe took performance enhancing drugs, but he never failed a drug test and there was never the evidence brought against him like there was with Binds and Clemens. So why does Sosa struggle barely staying on the ballot while Bonds and Clemens have had a resurgence in there numbers? Sosa is still the only player on baseball history with three 60 home runs seasons. Think about that; not Hank Aaron, not Babe Ruth, not even Barry Bonds has three 60 plus home run seasons in his career. Sosa won an M.V.P. and has 609 career home runs, but yet he’s never receiver more than 12.5% of the vote for the Hall of Fame. Sosa has five more years on the ballot as long as he can stay above the 5% of the vote he needs to stay on the ballot. It’s a bit of a travesty that Bonds and Clemens have gained support while Sosa is still barely hanging on.

16 players didn’t receive the needed 5% percent to stay on the ballot. Jose Posada, Magglio Ordonez, Edgar Renteria, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Corey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Derek Lee, Melvin Mora, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez and Matt Stairs are the players who will come off the ballot.

There’s a quick recap of the Hall of Fame voting with some of my own opinion thrown in. I’d love to get your thoughts on the voting and who might or might not get into the Hall of Fame in the next few years.

The NFL is into the playoffs and they started last Saturday with wild card weekend. So since there where games we made picks. Schaumburg Stu and I went 4-0 for the first weekend of the playoffs while Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy went 3-1. Dan the Man thought the Oakland raiders would get a win with 3rd string quarterback Connor Cook under center while Mr. Fantasy’s loss was the Miami Dolphins.

Now we’re into the divisional round. There again are 4 games. Two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Saturday starts with the Seattle Seahawks at the Atlanta Falcons. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. The second game has the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots. The scheduled kickoff for this one is 7:15 p.m. On Sunday the first game is scheduled to kickoff at 12:05 p.m. as the Pittsburgh Steelers are at the Kansas City Chiefs. The second game features the Green Bay Packers at the Dallas Cowboys. The scheduled kickoff for this game is 3:40 p.m.

There where no upset in the wild card round and let’s face it the games where pretty boring. All the home teams won and the closest game was 27-14 between the won by the Houston Texans over the Oakland Raiders. Now the match ups look a little better this week; so we’ll see a higher seed lose?

It came as a little bit of a surprise yesterday when the Oakland Raiders announced that they wouldn’t be retaining offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. The Raiders offense was ranked 6th in the league in total offense and they scored the 7th most points in the NFL. With quarterback Derek Carr becoming an M.V.P. candidate before breaking his fibula in Week 16. It was reported that Oakland’s head coach Jack Del Rio told the rest of the staff Tuesday afternoon of the move. Musgrave was the Jacksonville Jaquars offensive coordinator in 2003 and 04 when Del Rio was the head coach there. Quarterback coach Todd Downing will take over the offensive coordinator duties. There where reports that Downing had a very good chance of getting an offensive coordinator job with one of the teams hiring a new head coach and there are people wondering if this facilitated this move. Musgrave did have his critics. They pointed out how the Raiders offense seemed to be slow starting and then when they got a lead Musgrave would get too conservative.  Now the Raiders defense finished ranked 26th on the season, but reports are that defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s job is safe.

I was stunned yesterday when I saw the headline that Carl Edwards was walking away from the Joe Gibbs Racing and the #19 car. It was announced that Edwards was retiring from NASCAR immediately. Joe Gibbs Racing has called a news conference Wednesday where Edwards is apparently going to example why he’s walking away from NASCAR. Edwards is 37 years old and showed no sign of injury after an accident, yet he is stepping away from the sport. Certainly any team would want him if he ever decides to return. The timing of the decision certainly leads to speculation of a variety of reasons Edwards could want to stop racing. Maybe Edwards was just mentally spent after another near miss at the championship. Maybe the Joe Gibbs Racing driving corps isn’t as tight as it’s portrayed. Maybe he really is a Ford guy who has a plan in the back of his mind to return to that stable in the future. Maybe he has another job lined up in television? Edwards has done some commentary before and is very good in the booth calling the races. Edwards does have 28 career wins, but never did win a Cup title. He does have two 2nd place finishes on his record. 2016 Xfinity champion Daniel Suarez is expected to take over the #19 car. Suarez, who helped bring the Arris sponsorship to Joe Gibbs Racing makes the jump, but it might of happened a year or two early. Joe Gibbs Racing seemed to have quite a stable of drivers and you had to wonder down the line which driver might lose there ride. Matt Kenseth signed a contract extension last season. It’s being reported that Denny Hamlin has signed a contract extension as well. Kyle Busch is one of the top drivers in NASCAR and Eric Jones has been set up with Furniture Row Racing for the 2017 season, but is expected to return to Joe Gibbs Racing in either 2018 or 2019. Maybe Edwards felt like the odd man out and just decided to walk away. It looks like the question now is; will we ever see Carl Edwards in a full time NASCAR ride again?

We had a couple of more free agents sign in the last couple of days. Outfielder Colby Rasmus agreed to a one year $5 million dollar deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Rasmus is coming off his worse season batting average wise. Rasmus hit .206 in 107 games with the Houston Astros. Rasmus did have 15 home runs and drove in 54 runs. Rasmus has played all three outfield positions, but it looks as though he’ll spend the majority of his time with the Rays as a corner outfielder.

The other signing has Trevor Plouffe going to the Oakland A’s on a one year $5 million dollar deal. Plouffe has spent his entire seven year career with the Minnesota Twins. Plouffe was limited to just 84 games last season do to injury. Plouffe is a career .247 with 96 career home runs. Plouffe spent time at 1st and 3rd base last season, but it appears as though the A’s will use him at 3rd and Ryon Healy will shift to 1st base and spend time at Designated Hitter.

While slowly, but surely players sign with new teams you have to wonder how much longer it will be before players like Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista and Matt Wieters sign new deals. It seems as just about every team in baseball has “checked in” on Trumbo and you have to wonder why he isn’t signed yet. Apparently the Texas Rangers are the team with the most interest in Trumbo right now. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have shown some interest in Wieters, but there seems to be very little interest in Bautista. Is Bautista the guy in this free agent market that’s going to have to take a one year prove it type of deal and then try the free agent market again next season.

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So Thursday night we had another uninteresting NFL game as the Seattle Seahawks easily handled the Los Angeles Rams 24-3. Unless you’re a Seahawks fan it had to be a tough game to watch. Jared Goff was 13 of 25 for 135 yards and was sacked 4 times in the game. Goff was actually knocked out of this game and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. With the won the Seahawks clinched the NFC West and are in line to get a 1st round bye in the playoffs.

Goff is now 0-5 as an NFL starter, but he appears to have made some progress even though the team hasn’t won with him under center. The Rams have two games left on their schedule and they’re both at home. In Week 16 they host the San Francisco 49ers and then in the final week of the season they host the Arizona Cardinals. There is a chance that the Rams could win one or even both of these games, but really that doesn’t matter. What has to matter to the Rams right now is to continue to have Goff improve and then try to find a head coach or a quarterback coach that can develop him into a quality NFL starting quarterback. The Rams don’t even have to hire an offensive minded head coach they just have to get the right guys under him that can work with Goff. The Rams gave up 6 draft picks to get Goff. Los Angeles gave the Tennessee Titans four 2016 draft picks; a 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks and a 3rd round pick. Los Angeles also sent a 2017 1st round pick and a 2017 3rd round pick in this deal. Besides the 1st overall pick the Rams used to select Goff they also got two 2016 draft picks in the trade a 4th round pick and a 6th round pick. Now Goff may never develop into a guy who should’ve been taken #1 overall, but he’s a quarterback and that’s where they get drafted at. Don’t forget Sam Bradford was also a #1 overall pick. The biggest question the Rams need to answer is; was Goff the right choice? While I don’t expect Goff to turn the Rams around by himself and lead them to a Super Bowl, but he can be a quality NFL quarterback on a playoff team with the right help. Where can the Rams look to help Goff. Well he’s been sacked 15 times I his 5 starts; so maybe an offensive lineman or two could help. Quick name the Rams leading receiver. Did you guess Kenny Britt? Britt has 67 catches for 987 yards and 5 touchdowns. Britt was a 1st round selection (#30 overall) by the Tennessee Titans in 2009 and was considered a bust for them. This is the most receptions and yards Britt has ever had in a season, but is he a #1 wide receiver? Those are just a couple of things the Rams can do to help Goff improve. Of course without a 1st round pick in next years draft they might have to find another way to get Goff that help. So let me know what you think. How do you see Jared Goff’s career going?

There’s also an NFL game tonight as the league moves into the Saturday market with the college football regular season wrapped up. Tonight will see the 8-5 Miami Dolphins at the 4-9 New York Jets in an AFC East match up. The Dolphins are tied with the Denver Broncos for the final AFC wild card spot, but the Broncos hold the tiebreaker; so Miami has to find a way to pass them in the standings. The Dolphins go into this game without there starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill sprained two knee ligaments in last weeks win over the Arizona Cardinals. Matt Moore will take over under center for Tannehill. Moore has been with the Dolphins since 2011, but that was also the last time he started a game. Counting coming in for Tannehill last week Moore has played in 7 games in 5 seasons. It’s a tough spot for Moore to be put in, but maybe it helps that his first start is against the Jets. New York seems to be having trouble on both sides of the football. The defense is ranked 19th overall; 17th against the run and 22nd against the pass. The offense is ranked 22nd overall; 10th running the football, 26th in passing. Ryan Fitzpatrick came back on a one year deal to quarterback the team, but has been inconsistent to say the least. Geno Smith took over and got hurt and is out for the season. It seems to be Bryce Petty’s turn and you have to wonder if we’ll see Christian Hackenberg before the season ends. Maybe the weather in East Rutherford will give the Jets an advantage as snow is in the forecast. Now I haven’t received Mr. Fantasy’s pick for the game, but Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu have picked the Dolphins to win this game. I actually did go with the Jets to win tonight.

The Miami Marlins weren’t able to sign Kenley Jansen, but they have added two relievers to there bullpen these last two days. First the Marlins announced the signing of Junichi Tazawa to a two year $12 million dollar deal. Then it was reported that Miami has signed Brad Ziegler to a two year $16 million dollar deal. Interestingly both of these pitchers finished last season pitching out of the Boston red Sox bullpen. Tazawa has spent his entire 7 year career with the Red Sox. Last season he was 3-2 with a 4.17 E.R.A, in 53 games. Ziegler started the 2016 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to the Red Sox. Combined Ziegler was 4-7 with a 2.25 E.R.A. with 22 saves in 69 games. These two signings add some more depth to a Marlins bullpen that loss Mike Dunn this week. Dunn signed a 3 year $19 million dollar deal with the Colorado Rockies earlier in the week.

If you where hoping your favorite team would add some bullpen time is running out. The relievers seem to be coming off the free agent board very quickly. Will have to see who the next reliever is to sign.

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The Oakland Raiders have to be considered one of the surprise teams of this NFL season. While I think most pundits had the Raiders improving on their 7-9 2015 record I don’t remember any of them saying the Raiders would get to double digit wins. Oakland has 10 wins right now and they have three games left in this season. The Raiders where in 1st place coming into Thursday nights game against the Kansas City Chiefs and they went out and had what was probably there worst game of the season. Oakland lost 21-13 to the Chiefs Thursday night and the game brought up some questions about the Raiders. Being that it was a short week; was it just a bad night? Is Kansas City that good? or the more pressing question could be; how hurt is Derek Carr? Carr injured the pinky on his throwing hand in the Raiders 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 13. Carr left the game for a short period of time, but returned to lead the Raiders to a victory. Carr had his worst game of the season, but even with that he had the Raiders in position to possible tie the game late in the 4th quarter. Oakland had a 4th and 1 on the Kansas City 14 yard line with 2:06 left in the game. A false start penalty made it 4th and 6 from the Kansas City 19 yard line. Carr tried to connect with Seth Roberts on a possible game tying touchdown, but the pass fell incomplete and the Raiders turned the football over on downs allowing the Chiefs to run out the clock. Carr was 17 of 41 for just 117 yards. He was also sacked 1 time for -8 yards. The loss drops the Raiders into the first wild card spot, but they are three games ahead of the next closet wild card team. Should Carr be rested to allow his pinky time to heal before the Raiders head into the playoffs? or should he try to play through it? Week 15 has the Raiders in San Diego to face the Chargers. Week 16 they’re home against the Indianapolis Colts and they end the season on the road in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos. Now winning the division still isn’t out of the questions as the Chiefs play the Tennessee Titans at home in Week 15. Week 16 they host the Broncos and the Chiefs also end the season on the road as they play in San Diego against the Chargers in Week 17. The Raiders advantage is that the Titans and the Broncos are still in playoff contention and the Chiefs have to face both of them while the Raiders will just see the Broncos. So that makes the quarterback question even tougher. Is winning the division enough of a motive to continue to play Carr or is resting that pinky injury more important? If you’re a Raiders fan; what would you like to see them do with David Carr?

There was an interesting debate this week on which running back either Ezekiel Elliott or David Johnson is he front runner for M.V.P. Elliott is currently the NFL’s leading rusher with 1285 yards and has 12 rushing touchdowns through 13 weeks. Johnson is 3rd in rushing with 1005 yards and has 11 rushing touchdowns. Johnson is more involved in the Arizona passing game than Elliott is for Dallas. Johnson has caught 64 passes for 704 yards and has 4 receiving touchdowns. Elliott has 28 receptions for 322 yards and a touchdown. Of course Elliott’s Cowboys are 11-1 and are the first team to clinch a playoff spot. Johnson’s Cardinals are 5-6-1 and are currently 2 games out of a wild card spot. In most cases a quarterback is the front runner for M.V.P. so it’s a little different to see a couple of running backs being talked about for the award. While I’m still thinking that Tom Brady will end up winning the M.V.P. award, but how would you separate these running backs. I guess it depends on what the word valuable means to you. (Valuable meaning) Is a running back who’s going to be on a playoff team more valuable than a all around running back on a team that looks like it won’t make the playoffs. The Cowboys are touted as having the best offensive line in the NFL. Does that diminish Elliott’s accomplishments? On the other hand the Cardinals have just 5 wins and you have to wonder where they would be if Johnson wasn’t on the team. With three weeks to go will have to see what kind of numbers these two running backs continue to put up and if they can stay even it will be up to the voters to decide. Now if you had a vote who’s your NFL M.V.P.?

The baseball winter meetings wrapped up with two veteran players finding new teams. Fernando Rodney signed a 1-year $2.75 million dollar deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. There are appearance bonuses in Rodney’s contract that could boost it up tp $4 million if he hits them all. Rodney turns 40 next March and split last season between the San Diego Padres and the Miami Marlins. With San Diego Rodney was 0-1 with an E.R.A. of 0.31 with 17 saves. In Miami Rodney went 2-3 with an E.R.A. of 5.89 and 8 saves. Will Rodney be used as a closer in Arizona or will the Diamondbacks find someone else to close with Rodney as the set up guy with closing experience. The other signing saw Dexter Fowler leave the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to join there division rival the St. Louis Cardinals on a 5-year $82.5 million dollar deal. The Cardinals where in the market for an outfielder; preferably a centerfielder; so I’m not surprised they signed Fowler. What is a bit of a surprise to me is the length and the dollars involved with the signing. Fowler hit .276 last season with 13 home runs. Fowler has always been looked at as a lead off type of hitter, but he had just 13 stolen bases last season. Fowler did walk 79 times last season and had an On Base Percentage of .393. Fowler turns 31 next March; so he’ll be in a Cardinals uniform until he’s 36 as his deal also includes a full no trade clause. Do you like Fowler as the Cardinals centerfielder?

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Pretty  much since the 2016 season the talk has been that the Chicago White Sox had to trade Chris Sale and start there rebuilding process. Now just about every team had been rumored to be in on Sale and you can’t blame them. It was looking like the Washington nationals where the front runner to land Sale, but they weren’t willing to give the White Sox two top prospects. In the end the Nationals where left holding the bag as the Boston Red Sox stepped up and gave the White Sox four of their Top 30 prospects for Sale. The Red Sox sent #1 minor league prospect Yoan Moncada, right handed pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz plus outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe to Chicago for Sale.

Sale was the 13th pick of the 1st round in 2010 by the White Sox. He made his debut that same year. Sale didn’t become a starter until 2012, but has finished in the Top 6 of the Cy Young voting since then. Sale is 70-47 as a starter. Sale has had over 200 strikeouts the last four seasons and led the A.L. in 2015 with 274 strikeouts. Sale led the A.L. in complete games last season with 6. It’s tough to give up a pitcher like Sale as he is a true ace. It will be a few seasons before we know how this trade will be evaluated. Moncada did play in 8 games and got 20 at bats at the major league level last season, but spent most the year in Double-A where he hit .277 with 11 home runs. It appears as though Moncada will play 3rd base, but he spent the majority of his time at 2nd base in the minors. Kopech finished last season at high Class-A where he made 11 starts going 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 2.25. Kopech throws 100 m.p.h. but is still a few seasons away from being a factor in the White Sox rotation. Diaz spent all of last season at Class-A. He pitched in 37 games all in relief and had 10 saves. Diaz record was 2-5 and his E.R.A. was 3.88. Basabe spent most of last season on the same team as Diaz before being moved up to high Class-A for 5 games. Basabe hit .264 combined with 12 home runs and 53 RBI’s. Basabe did steal 25 bases. Moncada is 20, Kopech is 20, Diaz is 22 and Basabe is 20; so while we may see Moncada in a White Sox uniform it will be a while before the other players acquired in this reach the major league level.

Sale will be added to a Red Sox rotation that features 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, David Price and it looks like the other two rotation spots are to be decided between Clay Buchholz, Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz  or Eduardo Rodriquez. Right now it doesn’t look as though the Red Sox other top pitching prospect Henry Owens will be in this battle.

While Sale was the biggest move the Red Sox made it wasn’t the only move they made on Tuesday. Earlier in the day they sent 3rd baseman Travis Shaw and minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington to the Milwaukee Brewers for set up man Tyler Thornburg. Shaw can play 3rd and 1st base hit .242 with 16 home runs with 71 RBI’s last season. Dubon is a shortstop who finished the year at Double-A where he hit .339 in 62 games. Pennington made 13 starts in low Class-A last season going 5-3 with a 2.86 E.R.A. Thornburg appeared in 67 games for Milwaukee last season gong 8-5 with an E.R.A. of 2.15. Thornburg did save 13 games, but blew 8 saves last season. Thornburg should serve as the Red Sox main set up guy and he did have 20 holds last season.

The other move the Red Sox made on Tuesday was the signing of Mitch Moreland to a 1-year deal worth $5.5 million. Moreland had spent his entire 7-year career with the Texas Rangers. Moreland had a down year average wise hitting just .233, but did have 22 home runs and drove in 60 runs. Moreland is a left handed hitter who has played mostly 1st base in his career, but he has played 45 games in rightfield. Moreland has a career .996 fielding percentage at 1st base; so it looks as though he may take over in the field and Hanley Ramirez will move into the DH role.

Not to be out done the other Chicago baseball team that just happened to win the World Series appears to have found their closer. With the prices for Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman get up around $20 million a season the Cubs turned to the trade market to get a closer. While it hasn’t been officially announced it’s being reported that the Cubs have agreed to send outfielder Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for Wade Davis. Davis did miss some time last season with a forearm injury, but still converted 27 of 30 save opportunities and had an E.R.A. of 1.87. Soler appeared to be the odd man out in the Cubs outfield; so moving him makes sense. Soler also had some injury issues last season. He played in 86 games, hitting .238 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI’s. While Davis is in the final year of his contract Soler still has 3 years left on a 9-year $30 million dollar deal.

There where a couple of other signings yesterday. Carlos Gomez agreed to return to the Texas Rangers in a 1-year $11.5 million dollar deal. The Rangers acquired Gomez as a free agent on Aug. 20 after he had been released by the Astros. He played in 33 games for the Rangers and hit .284 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. He had a .362 on-base percentage and a .543 slugging percentage. The other signing saw the Tampa Bay Rays ink catcher Wilson Ramos to a 2-year $12.5 million dollar deal, but the deal includes playing time incentives to make up to $18.25 million over the two years. Ramos is recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered last September; so he has to pass a physical for the deal to be completed.

Here’s how are NFL picks went for Week 13. Mr. Fantasy won another week going 12-3. Schaumburg Stu and I both had 10-5 records for the week while Dan the Man struggled going 8-7. Overall Schaumburg Stu still has the lead at 123-69. It’s looking like Schaumburg Stu is going to be tough to catch. Mr. Fantasy has moved into 2nd place by  a game as he is 118-74 overall with Dan the Man right behind him at 117-75. That of course means I am still in last place. My overall record is 110-82. I guess we’ll see how Week 14 goes for us.

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