Archive for the ‘baseball’ Category

How was your week

Posted: February 17, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

There was a thought that once the Chicago Cubs signed Yu Darvish the free agent market would open up and we’d see some more signings. Well we have seen some more signings, but still no contracts for the bigger name free agents left on the market.

All three signings towards the end of the week where pitchers as teams look to add depth to their starting rotations. Let’s take a look at who ended up signing where.

The Toronto Blue Jays signed left hander Jamie Garcia to a one year $10 million dollar contract. Garcia’s money is guaranteed,. He’ll get $8 million dollars for the 2018 season with a team option for the 2019 season at $10 million dollars. Now if the Blue Jays don’t want to pick up Garcia’s option for 2019 the contract has a $2 million dollar buy out in it.

Garcia spent his first seven seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before pitching for three teams last season. Garcia made 18 starts for the Atlanta Braves before being dealt to the Minnesota Twins where he made just 1 start before the Twins moved him along to the New York Yankees where he started 8 games down the stretch for them. Garcia did appear in 1 playoff game for the Yankees last season.

Garcia ended up going 5-10 in his 27 starts with an ERA of 4.41 over 157 innings. That ERA was a little high for Garcia as his career ERA is a very respectable 3.69. Look for Garcia to fit nicely into the back of the Blue Jays rotation.

Andrew Cashner also found a new team as he signed a two year $16 million dollar deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Cashner will get $5 million dollar for the 2018 season, $8 million dollars for the 2019 season while the other $3 million dollars is a signing bonus which is deferred to 2020 through 2022. Cashner a $10MM vesting option in the contract, in addition to $5MM available in yearly incentives. The option becomes guaranteed if Cashner throws 340 innings over the first two seasons of the deal. It’d become a $10 million dollar player option for Cashner in the event that he reached 360 total innings for those two seasons.

Cashner is coming off what most people think was his best season as a starter. Cashner made 28 starts for the Texas Rangers going 11-11 with an ERA of 3.40 over 166 2/3rd innings. Cashner has always been a big strikeout type of pitcher, but last season those numbers where down as he struck out just 86 batters with a Strikeout to 9 innings rate of 4.6. For his career Cashner is a 7.0 on his Strikeouts to 9 innings rate.

Will have to see where the Orioles pencil Cashner into their rotation. He be in the mix the Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, but who knows how they’ll line up.

The New York Mets added another free agent as they signed Jason Vargas to a two year $16 million dollar deal. The contract also contains an $8 million dollar option for a 3rd season. Vargas can also has an $250,000 incentive clause based on innings pitched starting at 160 innings.

Vargas tied with three other pitchers for the most wins in baseball last season with 18. He went 18-11 with an ERA of 4.16 in 32 starts covering 179 2/3rd innings for the Kansas City Royals. Vargas will be 35 and is headed into his 13th season, but he’s had multiple 30 plus starts and 200 innings plus seasons and that’s something the Mets could use in their rotation.

If healthy the Mets should have a formidable starting rotation, but that health has been a big, big issue these last few seasons. With it looking as though Steven Matz will start the 2018 season on the DL Vargas will be the lone left hander in the Mets rotation. Vargas will probably end up as the 3rd starter for the Mets behind Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom and in front of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. With the history of health problems this Mets rotation has had a 30 starts season out of Vargas could be a calming influence.

There was another pitcher to get a contract recently, but this time it was a reliever. Tony Watson has agreed to a contract with the San Francisco Giants, but terms of the deal have not been released yet. Since Watson is a Scott Boras client it’s believed that the deal will be for multiple years. It’s also expected that the deal won’t force the Giants past the luxury tax line.

Watson made his mark as a top left handed set up guy with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but once he took over the close role for them he had some issues. Watson was 5-3 with an ERA of 3.66 for the Pirates. He appeared in 47 games and had 10 saves. The Pirates dealt Watson to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the playoff run. Moving back into a set up role Watson appeared in 24 games going 2-1 with an ERA of 2.70.

With Mark Melancon returning from injury Watson should slide into the left handed set up role in front of him. This duo had very good success for four seasons for the Pirates before Melancon was traded.

We saw three starters and a top set up guy get new contracts this week, but still nothing on the Jake Arrieta or Alex Cobb front. Did their demands price them out of the market? Interestingly both pitchers had contract offers from the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs offered Cobb a 4 year deal for $72 million dollars, but Cobb turned it down believing he’s a $20 million dollar a season type of pitcher. The Cubs made a last n=minute pitch to Arrieta right before they signed Darvish, but Arrieta said he didn’t have enough time to look over the Cubs offer; so they ended up singing Darvish instead. With the way the pitching free agent market has played out you have to wonder if both of these guys will be kicking themselves for not taking those offers.

What do you think, do you see Arrieta and Cobb being signed before the season starts? Or do you they’ll have to wait for a team to see where they’re at before either of these guys get a contract offer.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to whenever you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

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Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: February 14, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now I’m sure I’ve mentioned multiple times that the Sports Time Radio podcast emanates from the Chicago suburbs. The four of us that you hear on the podcast all live in the Chicagoland area and have a rooting interest in the Chicago teams. Sadly right now it seems as though we have just baseball season to look forward to.

For about 10 seasons the Chicago Blackhawks where a serious threat to win the Stanley Cup and they did actually win it three times in six seasons. Now the Blackhawks have fallen. Last season they did get into the playoffs, but they where quickly eliminated in the 1st round. This season it’s even worse for the Blackhawks as they are currently in last place in the Central division. Through 57 games this season the Blackhawks are 24-25-8 and have 56 points. Last night the Blackhawks lost their 7th straight game 5-2 to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Now there are some obvious reason for the Blackhawks slipping to where they are. They’ve had salary cap issues since winning their first Stanley Cup. Injuries are always a factor as they lots Marion Hossa probably forever and Corey Crawford has played just 28 games in goal for them this season. There is also the fact that the rest of the NHL has just caught up to the Blackhawks. Chicago was really one of the first teams in the NHL to embrace the speed side of the game and it paid off in multiple Stanley Cup’s.

How do the Blackhawks fix this, is what everyone wants to know. First off a healthy Crawford makes them a lot better, but they also need their young guys to perform like they’re expected to.

Nick Schmaltz is 20 years old and has 15 goals and 24 assists while Alex DeBrincat who is just 19 years old has 21 goals and 16 assists this season. Ryan Hartman is just 22 years old and is putting up solid number with 7 goals and 15 assists, but they’re really the only two younger Blackhawks who have been good this season. Connor Murphy looks to be coming along as a defenseman and is just 23 years old; so there are some guys who look like they can contribute in the future.

Of course the Blackhawks also need their top guys to stay as top guys. Patrick Kane is still that guy. Kane is tied for the team lead in goals with 21 and leads the team in assists with 32. Jonathan Toews is having another solid season as he has 15 goals and 21 assists. It’s difficult to believe that Duncan Keith doesn’t have a goal through 57 games and is a -13. Keith is a former Norris Trophy winner and his struggles on defense and the teams struggles on defense as a whole may be the biggest issues the Blackhawks will need to correct this coming off season.

Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp where both brought back to help this team out and it hasn’t paid off this season. Saad has 13 goals and 11 assists while Sharp has 6 goals and 8 assists. While it’s nice to see the guys who where here when the team started winning Stanley Cup’s, it would be nice if they added something.

Now any team that has Kane and Toews on it can turn things around quickly; so don’t be surprised if the Blackhawks are back in the playoffs next season.

Of course the other big time winter sport is basketball and in Chicago we have the tanking Chicago Bulls.

It’s humorous that the Bulls would prefer to lose games and they’ve some how managed to win 20 games so far this season. There are seven teams in the NBA with worse records than the Bulls and to rebuild and rebuild quickly you need to be drafting inside the Top 5 and in some cases inside the Top 3 to improve quickly.

As you look at the current Bulls roster it’s unclear if any of these players with the exception of Lauri Markkanen will still be with the team when they get back into the playoffs. There are high hopes for Zach LaVine, but he’s coming back from injury and has to prove that he’s more than just a highlight dunker. The Bulls where very interested in Kris Dunn in the 2016 draft, but the Minnesota Timberwolves took him with the 5th pick. Chicago acquired Dunn with LaVine and the draft pick that turned out to be Markkanen for Jimmy Butler and a draft pick that Minnesota used on Justin Patton. Dunn was solid for the Bulls until he got injured. It looks as though Dunn will return tonight against the Toronto Raptors, but it’s unclear how many minutes he’ll actually get. Do you see LaVine or Dunn being on a Bulls playoff team?

While it seems as though tanking is the way to go in the NBA. Remember that the Philadelphia 76ers started their rebuild in 2013 and they still haven’t found their way back into the playoffs and still aren’t close to contending for an NBA title. How far away from the playoffs are the Bulls? and how long will it take them to be an NBA title contender?

Luckily for us here in the Chicagoland area it’s almost baseball season. With the addition of Yu Darvish the Chicago Cubs should be considered a World Series contender.

The Cubs should have a very good starting rotation with Darvish being added to the likes of Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood. The biggest pitching question the Cubs have is will their closer hold up. Brandon Morrow is taking the role for the very first time. Morrow was injury prone as a starter, but seems to have found a home in the bullpen. Morrow made 45 appearances last season covering 43 2/3rd innings, but as a closer he’ll be asked to pitch more than he did last season which was his first full season in the bullpen. The Cubs also signed Steve Cishek this off season. Cishek was the closer for the Seattle Mariners in 2016 until he had some struggles and was replaced by Edwin Diaz. Cishek has posted two 30 plus save seasons in his career and could be a good back up if Morrow struggles.

With an everyday line up that should be one of the best in baseball and now a starting rotation that should compare to anyone’s, the only question the Cubs may have is will that bullpen hold up.

Baseball wise Chicago also has the White Sox. Now the White Sox started their rebuild last season and where some promising signs heading into this season.

A young rotation featuring a healthy Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez should be interesting to watch. It’s possible that Rodon won’t be ready for opening day and there’s no reason for the White Sox to rush him. After struggling with the Washington Nationals Giolito was good in his 7 starts for the White Sox last season. Giolito posted a 2.38 E.R.A. while going 3-3 and pitching 45 1/3rd innings. Lopez made 8 starts and went 3-3 as well, but had a higher E.R.A. at 4.72 over 47 2/3rd innings.

The White Sox have held onto Jose Abreu so far and look like he’s the veteran they’re going to build around; so they’ll get at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s out of him. Will get to see a full season of Yoan Moncada. Avisail Garcia hit .330 last season; so maybe he’s going to get close to the player a lot of people though he was going to be. Don’t forget that Matt Davidson also hit 26 home runs in 118 games last season.

While the White Sox will probably be a sub .500 team again in 2018 there should be some interesting young players to keep an eye on.

The Sports Time Radio podcast is available for you to listen to live in BlogTalkRadio.com, but you can also listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime.

 

How was your week

Posted: February 10, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, hockey, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

-s of right now Jaromir Jagr is no longer a member of the NHL. The 45 year old Jagr was assigned to Kladno of the Czech league after clearing waivers. Though he remains technically part of the Calgary Flames organization, it seems unlikely that he will make a return to the NHL this season.

If this is the end of Jagr’s NHL career, he’ll finish among the very best that have ever played the game. He ranks third all-time in goals, fifth in assists, second in points and third in games played. He collected a Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1999, and was a five-time league scoring champion. In 208 career playoff games, Jagr recorded 201 points and lifted the Stanley Cup twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first two seasons of his career. Though he was a threat on the powerplay, an incredible 538 of his 766 goals came at even-strength.

Playing for his ninth team in Calgary, he recorded just seven points in 22 games and never fit into their structure after missing all of training camp. Though there remains a possibility that he could return for the playoffs, it is more likely that he’ll retire to the Czech league where he actually owns Kladno. Whether he attempts a comeback in the summer after his current contract expires is unclear, but if he’s played his last game he’ll be remembered as one of the best and most interesting players to ever suit up in the NHL.

With the NBA trade deadline passing this week there is still an opportunity for playoff contending teams to make moves. Now obviously there won’t be any more trades made, but teams can still buy out players and they can move to the team of their chose.

Greg Monroe was just signed by the Boston Celtics on Thursday after being bought out by the Phoenix Suns.

The Atlanta Hawks bought out Marco Belinelli while the Chicago Bulls bought out Tony Allen. If it’s not official yet look for the Memphis Grizzlies to buy out Brandon Wright. Now after being traded there are report that both Joe Johnson and Derrick Rose will be bought out by their new teams.

There will probably be more names added to this list as there are some buy out rumors out there. Here are some of the names that could be bought out.

Corey Brewer by the Los Angeles Lakers, Josh McRoberts by the Dallas Mavericks, Another Hawks buy out could be Ersan Ilyasova and there’s a possibility that Vince Carter could be bought out by the Sacramento Kings. All of these players are on one year deals with their current teams, but there are a couple of other players with extra years on their contracts that could also be bought out. Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves is a buy out candidate and is signed through next season. The interesting buy out could be Joakim Noah by the New York Knicks. Noah is signed through the 2019-20 season; so there’s some work there to do if he’s going to be bought out.

Now none of these players are going to sign with a new team and lead them to the NBA title, but they could be an intricate piece of a championship team. Was there a name on the above list that you’d like to see your favorite team sign?

Why does it seem that if you’re a 1st round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers you have to miss your first season.

It looks like you can add Markelle Fultz to that list that includes Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

On Friday while talking to reporters Philadelphia’s President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo used the word possible when talking about Fultz missing the entire season. Colangelo’s comments don’t necessarily mean that Fultz is likely to sit out the next two months. Still, the latest update doesn’t exactly sound promising.

Reports are that Fultz has had to completely rebuild the muscle memory in his shooting mechanics during his absence. Colangelo did say that Fultz’s current shooting range was “within the paint” before he stopped speaking to reporters.

Fultz is just 19 years old and appeared in just four games this season before being shut down by the 76ers due to a scapular muscle imbalance and soreness in his right shoulder. Fultz averaged 19 minutes a game and was scoring 6 points per game.

As we’ve talked about over and over and even over again there are a ton of unsigned free agents still in baseball and now those players will have a place to work out when spring training starts next week. Any unsigned MLB free agents will have the opportunity to train in Florida at a camp staged by the players union beginning Wednesday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Now there are some limitations on these players with one of the bigger ones being that they can’t use their own coaches and trainers, but the camp will be run by former Houston Astros manager Bo Porter.

Believe it or not this isn’t the first time that this has happened. After an 8-month work stoppage that cancelled the 1994 World Series there was a free agent “showcase” camp held in Florida in 1995.

You can point fingers at either side on why players haven’t been signed and there was a bit of a heated exchange between MLB Commissioner and Tony Clark the Executive Director of the MLBPA this week about the unsigned players.

Players and their agents might have to find a way to accept that baseball is changing and there might not be as many big money contracts out there. If you go back to the last four World Series winners they where teams that were built through that teams farm system and just added the right free agent at the right time. Now if a team doesn’t feel that they’re at a place where they can win a World Series it’s more likely that they’ll build up their farm system instead of trying to reboot with bi money free agents. Contending teams will still add the big time free agents they think they need to win it all, but the teams that are just on the outside looking I might be past those days of spending big money to not win.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: February 7, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

For the first time in my life I did not get to see the Super Bowl live. Just my luck, which is pretty much all bad I was one of the many people who came down with the flu. I tried my best and actually got out of bed to watch the game, but fell asleep before the opening kickoff and didn’t wake up again until the game was over. Sadly it looks as tough I missed what may have been the best offensive game in Super Bowl history.

As for our picks, well three out of the five people who picked the game had Philadelphia winning. Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I went with the Eagles while Dan the Man and our guest picker Greg had the Patriots.

Now with the Super Bowl we always try to predict the final score and we select an M.V.P. None of us got close to the actually final score, but Mr. Fantasy did select the correct M.V.P. Of course we don’t really count that pick as it’s not really a stretch to take the quarterback of the team you think is going to win the game. Earlier in the week I sent out and e-mail asking everyone not to just select the quarterback of the team that you thought was going to win as it leads to more fun and interesting picks. Dan the Man had Rob Gronkowski, Schaumburg Stu selected Alshon Jeffery and I picked Zach Ertz.

Mr. Fantasy bounced back to win the playoff picks at 7-4. Schaumburg Stu and I went 6-5 while Dan the Man went from winning the regular season to the cellar for the playoffs at 5-6.  No one has won the regular season pick title in back to back season; so we’ll have to see if Dan the Man can be the first when football season rolls back around.

Now that the Super Bowl is over the teams with head coaching vacancies where able to announce their new head coach even though we pretty much knew who the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis colts where going to go with.

Even though his defense had some issues in the Super Bowl the Lions announced that New England’s defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as their new head coach.

Patricia started with the Patriots in 2004 as an offensive assistant. He was the assistant offensive line coach in 2005 before switching to the defensive side as the linebacker coach from 2006 to 2010. in 2011 he coached the safeties before taking over as defensive coordinator in 2012. The position he held until the Lions hired him.

Patricia is a first time head coach and inherits a team that many thought had the best head coaching opening. Since his forte is defense will have to take a close look at who he brings in to coach Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense.

Now the Indianapolis hiring didn’t go quite as well as the Detroit hiring did. The Colts had planned to name New England’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their new head coach.

Just hours before the Colts where going to introduce McDaniels as their new head coach he backed out of his deal with the team and will return to the Patriots. McDaniels had agreed to contract terms with the Colts to replace the fired Chuck Pagano, and a news conference had been scheduled for Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Just a few hours later, the Colts said McDaniels informed them he would not sign the deal.

This normally doesn’t happen in the NFL, but it’s not unprecedented in league history for a deal with a new coach to fall through at the last minute. McDaniels’ move was eerily reminiscent of his mentor, Bill Belichick, who resigned as coach of the Jets with a handwritten note less than a day after he was hired in 2000.

Now we may never know why McDaniels decided to turn down the Colts job, but there are reports out there that he would be the Patriots choice to replace Belichick when he decided to hang things up in New England.

The question now is; what will the Colts do? Indianapolis had interviewed several other candidates for the job; including two that were hired by other teams. Matt Nagy went to Chicago and Mike Vrabel to Tennessee. Another potential candidate Baylor coach Matt Rhule, had already announced he was returning to the college ranks.

There are still some quality head coaching candidates out there. It will be interesting to see which way the Colts go with this.

The Minnesota Twins name has popped up quite a bit with some of the top named free agent this off season, especially the pitchers. You have to wonder if that pursuit of a top starting pitcher will intensify with the news that Ervin Santana will be lost for 10 to 12 weeks.

Yesterday Santana had  surgery on the middle finger of his throwing hand. The Twins released this statement.

Santana is 35 and is signed with the Twins though the 2019 season. He was 16-8 in 33 starts last season with an E.R.A. of 3.28. Santana led baseball in complete games with 5 and shutouts with 3. He threw 211 1/3rd innings in 2017 and finished 7th in the American League Cy Young voting.

It may be difficult for the Twins to find someone who will pitch as well for them as Santana did last season, but there are some pitchers they cam look at.

The Twins have been one of the teams with high interest in Yu Darvish and it was reported that they where the only team willing to go 5 years on a contract with him. You’d have to think that he’d be their first choice to sign, but he’s not the only starter out there.

Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb are still on the free agent market. Now both of these starters seem to have unreasonable contract demands, but with the loss of a quality starter like Santana would the Twins meet these demands.

Minnesota could also take a look at some of the starting pitchers who haven’t gotten much attention with the bigger name guys still available. Could a Lance Lynn, Andrew Cashner or possibly Jason Vargas be on the Twins radar?

It’s looking like the Twins will be forced into a move do to injury. Now will have to see if they’ll pay top dollar for one of the three starters we’ve heard about all season; Arrieta, Darvish or Cobb. Or if they’ll find another answer for their rotation. With spring training not to far off we should get that answer soon.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live in BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that the podcast is available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Rememeber that you can find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: February 3, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now I’m sure at one time or another your favorite team has taken a player in the 1st round that just hasn’t worked out for them. For some teams it’s even been the player they’ve taken with the first pick in the draft. These players are considered busts and it appears as though we have another one to add to the list.

In 2012 the Houston Astros where just in the second year of their rebuild. They had the worst record in  baseball at 55-107 and received the 1st pick in the 2013 draft. With that pick the Astros decided to take a pitcher that they could build their starting rotation around for year to come. They too Stanford right hander Mark Appel with that pick.

One of the reason Appel sticks out to me is Dan the Man and I had some guest on the Sports Time Radio podcast who covered Houston sports. One of them exclusively covered the Astros and he was very excited about this pick.

While with the Astros Appel was highly ranked as a minor league prospect by the different publications that cover that. He was ranked as high as #17 by one of them, but he never got to the majors with the Astros. While with the Astros Appel was chosen to represent the Astros at the 2015 All-Star Futures game. Appel spent three seasons in the minors with the Astros before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Appel was sent to Philadelphia with Brett Oberholtzer, Vincent Velasquez, Tom Eshelman and Harold Arauz. In return the Astros received Ken Giles and Jonathan Arauz.

The Phillies assigned Appel to Triple-A hoping that he wasn’t too far away from being a part of their major league rotation. Appel made just 8 starts in the 2016 season before needing surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow. Appel threw a couple of innings in Rookie League at the start if the 2017 season before returning back to Triple-A. Appel appeared in 19 games with 17 of them being starts last season. He went 5-4 with an E.R.A. of 5.14. On November 20th 2017 Philadelphia designated Appel for assignment.

Appel announced earlier this wee that he’d be stepping away from baseball. Now Appel is just 26 years old; so I don’t think you can rule out some type of a return, but with all the hype that went with his selection by the Astros he has to go down as one of the biggest busts selected at #1. Appel actually commented on being considered a bust saying “It depends on how you define it, but I probably am. I had high expectations. I didn’t live up to those for a number of reasons. If you want to call me the biggest draft bust, you can call it that.”

Appel’s career spanned just five minor league seasons. He went 28-18 with a 4.87 E.R.A. in 88 games covering 406 1/3rd innings. 85 of those games where starts.

Appel maybe the latest #1 overall draft pick to be a bust, but he surely won’t be the last.

I guess you had to expect that this would happen sooner or later with the slow off season market for baseballs free agents, but one agent used the term a “fight is brewing” over the lack of free agent activity this off season. While the word collusion wasn’t used you have to believe that it’s not far from being thrown out there. An agent also mentioned that there could be a spring training boycott if teams don’t begin signing players soon.

Now you have to understand that this is pretty much expected from an agent who’s been unable to get his guy a deal this off season. One agent described the owners behavior as “coordinated”. You’ll notice again that they didn’t use the word collusion.

I’ve always found this an interesting situation. How is it an owners fault if he doesn’t want to give a $200 million dollar contract to a player like Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish of J.D. Martinez. What if a team just doesn’t feel that a pitcher like Alex Cobb is worth the $20 million dollars a season he’s asking for. Lorenzo Cain got a 5-year $80 million dollar deal from the Milwaukee Brewers, but there are quite a few players still unsigned.

Of course it’s no surprise that the agents seem to have left out the fact that the big name guys like Arrieta, Darvish and Martinez have all turned down ling term deals for big money because it didn’t reach the dollar amount they thought they where worth. You could also add Cobb into this group, but he’s not really looked at as a top free agent.

Pitchers and catchers are going to be reporting to spring training very shortly. How do you see this playing out? Will we have a flurry of last minute signings? Or will we have some big name players still looking for contracts when spring training starts? Do you think the players would actually boycott?

When the New York Knicks signed Joakim Noah to a 4-year $72.5 million dollar contract Dan the Man and I had some questions. Noah had battled injuries in his last couple of seasons with the Chicago Bulls and it really looked like his best basketball was behind him. Now it looks as though the Knicks are stuck with a bad contract for a player who’s not going to be much help to them.

Noah was sent home after he and Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had a heated exchange at practice. It was reported last week that Noah yelled at Hornacek after being lifted in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Golden State Warriors. The two reportedly had a heated exchange the following day in Denver either during or after practice.

You have to wonder if the issue could be about Noah’s playing time. The Knicks have four centers on their roster Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez as well as Noah. There hasn’t been a lot of minutes for Noah this season as he is playing an average of just under 6 minutes a game.

It’s going to be a difficult situation for the Knicks to get themselves out of. Noah is still owed $55 million dollars on his contract; so that might make a buyout tough to negotiate. It’s doubtful that a team would take a contract like Noah’s in a deal. So what are the Knicks to do? Right now it looks like the answer is to pay Noah to stay home.

With the trade deadline quickly approaching will have to see if the Knicks can find a way out of this situation.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: January 31, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

So we’ve had a couple of trades this week that involve bigger name players in two different leagues. Let’s take a look and see how they breakdown.

Oddly this trade can’t be made official for six weeks according to NFL rules and I’m not even sure if the teams can discuss the deal. When the trade is finally official the Washington Redskins will have acquired Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 3rd round draft pick.

It appears as though this is a deal that should help both teams. By acquiring Smith the Redskins will no longer have to overpay Kurt Cousins and they’ll have a little stability at the quarterback position. As part of the deal the Redskins agreed to give Smith a four year extension. According to reports Smith’s deal is worth $94 million dollars with $71 million dollars being guaranteed.

Smith is coming off the best season of his career which saw him throw for 4042 yards with 26 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. Smith had always been looked at as a checkdown type of quarterback, but last season he started to throw the football down the field and it helped him have that best season. Can Smith lead the Redskins to the playoffs like he did for the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers before that?

Now Kansas City got a solid 3rd round pick, but what might be more important is that they picked up a starting cornerback in Fuller. The Chiefs have also freed up $17 million dollars in salary cap space as well.

Fuller is about to turn 23 years old and will be headed into his 3rd professional season. Fuller played in all 16 games for the Redskins last season, starting 6 of them. Fuller had 4 interceptions and 10 passes defended last season. The Chiefs should be able to plug Fuller in opposite of Marcus Peters at cornerback and be set coming into next season.

This deal will end Kirk Cousins 6 years with the Redskins. Cousins has played under the franchise tag the last two seasons as he and the team could never come to terms on a deal. Cousins enters free agency with quite a resume as he’s put up over 4000 yards the last three seasons as the Redskins starter. There should be plenty of teams looking to sign Cousins as their starting quarterback.

You’d have to think teams like the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals should be front and center looking to bring Cousins in. You also have to figure that a team like the Buffalo Bills might be interested and there is always the Cleveland Browns.

With Alex Smith headed to Washington the Chiefs will turn to Patrick Mahomes as their quarterback. The Chiefs traded up to get the 10th overall pick to take Mahomes. He made one start for Kansas City last season throwing for 284 yards with an interception in that start. There was some talk at the end of the season if the Chiefs should make the switch and start Mahomes. Now they’ll go into the 2018 season knowing that Mahomes will be their starter.

The other trade I mentioned earlier was in the NBA. That trade saw the Los Angeles Clippers send Blake Griffin along with Brice Johnson and Willie Reed to the Detroit Pistons for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and two draft picks a 1st and 2nd round pick in next years draft.

Griffin was the #1 overall pick in the 2009 draft. Griffin was the 2010-11 Rookie of the Year, he also made the All-Rookie team that season. He’s been a 5-time All-Star and has been named All-NBA 4 times. For his career Griffin averages 21.6 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game. The difficult thing for Griffin has been staying healthy. Griffin has played in 33 games this season, but is healthy and should make his Pistons debut tomorrow night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

In return for Griffin the Clippers got solid players in return. Harris is in his 7th NBA season and is averaging a career high in points at 18.1 per game this season. The Pistons had just acquired Bradley in the off season from the Boston Celtics. Bradley played in 40 games for Detroit and was averaging 15 points per game. Marjanovic is a 7″3 center who was playing just 9 minutes a game for Detroit. On the plus side he was averaging a career high 6.2 points per game, but you have to wonder how many  minutes there will be for him with the Clippers behind DeAndre Jordan.

There was talk that the Clippers made this deal to open up some salary cap room to try and sign LeBron James this coming off season. There was also some talk that this might not be the only deal the Clippers make. Jordan’s name has been brought up as a possible trade candidate as well as guard Lou Williams. If the Clippers do move both Jordan and Williams it would open up quite a bit of salary cap space not only for a run at James, but possible someone else he might be interested in playing with.

It seems pretty obvious that James will be playing in another uniform next season, but which uniform will it be? We’ve heard some talk about the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Clippers play in Los Angeles, as a matter of fact they play in the same building. Could they be an option for James? You have to wonder if will see other teams try to create some salary cap room to try and make a run at James this off season.

As you can tell there still isn’t much baseball news to report as we’re waiting for some type of major free agent signing. It’s getting closer and closer to pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training and all of the top pitchers are still on the market. You have to wonder which side is going to make that first move. Will a player actually take less money than he’s been asking for to get into camo or will a team finally panic and overpay to get a guy into camp? It could be an interesting couple of weeks.

Don’t forget that you can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: January 27, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

How much did the Milwaukee Brewers improve their team this week? and are they a serious contender in the National League Central? Could the Brewers be a sleeper pick for the World Series?

On Thursday the Brewers acquired Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins. Now the Brewers did have to give up four prospects to get Yelich, but that’s not really a big surprise when you get a when you’re trading for a 26 year old outfielder who’s signed for the next 4 years on a very team friendly contract.

Yelich was a 1st round pick of the Marlins and quickly ascended through their system making his major league debut in July of 2013. Yelich is a career .290 hitter and it appears he is growing into his power as he’s hit 21 home runs in 2016 and then 18 home runs last season. Yelich has already won a Gold Glove in his short career, but you have to wonder if he’ll see the majority of his playing time in rightfield for the Brewers after playing either left or centerfield for the Marlins.

The name you may recognize that went back to Miami in the Yelich deal is Lewis Brinson. Brinson was a 1st round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2012 and appeared in just 21 games for the Brewers last season. Now Brinson did struggled a little in his first trip to the major leagues hitting just .106, but it’s not a very big sample size for him. Brinson played 76 games at Triple-A in 2017 and hit .331 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI’s. We should get to see right away what the Marlins got in Brinson as you have to figure with their rebuild that he’ll be one of their starting outfielders this season.

As for the other three prospects the Marlins got in the deal. Well we might have to wait for a few seasons to see how they turn out. Monte Harrison is a 22 year old outfielder who split last season between Class-A and High Class-A last season. Harrison hit .272 with 21 home runs, 67 RBI’s and 27 stolen bases. Harrison is a big strikeout guy as he struck out once every 3.3 at bats last season and for his career he strikes out once every 3 at bats. Of course trading power for strikeouts is how baseball is played these days; so this isn’t an issue for Harrison.

Isan Diaz is a middle infielder who played in 110 games in High Class-A last season. He hit .222 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI’s. Diaz is a .261 hitter over four minor league seasons, but last season he posted his lowest average in his short career. I guess we have to get use to this as Diaz struck out once every 3.2 at bats last season. Diaz played 70 games at 2nd base committing 14 errors with a fielding percentage of .949. He also played 32 games at shortstop committing 7 errors with a fielding percentage of .932.

The final player headed to Miami in this deal is 221 year old right handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto who spent last season in High Class-A. Yamamoto made 18 starts, but pitched in 22 games. He went 9-4 with an E.R.A. of 2.51. He also had 2 complete games with one shutout and also picked up a save while pitching 111 innings. Yamamoto also struck out 113 guys while walking 30 batters last season.

With only Brinson being major league ready it’s going to be a few seasons before we know how this trade worked out for the Marlins. Of course on the Brewers side will know right away.

They Brewers didn’t just add one outfielder this week, but two as on Friday they officially announced the signing of Lorenzo Cain. Cain was signed to a 5 year $80 million dollar deal.

Cain has an interesting contract structure. He’ll receive $13 million dollars next season. His salary jumps $1 million dollars as season through 2022. Cain will also receive a deferred payment of $1 million dollars in each of the five years following the contract’s conclusion. Cain has complete no-trade protection in one of the years of his contract, but it wasn’t specified which one. In 2019 he can block a deal to 15 teams, in 2020 it’s 7 teams and then in 2021 and 2022 it’s 5 teams.

Cain was originally a 17th round draft pick of the Brewers in 2004. Cain was traded to the Kansas City Royals in December of 2010 with Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi. This was the deal that brought Milwaukee Zach Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt also came to the Brewers in that deal.

Cain is 31 years old, but has never reached the power numbers people thought he would. He hit 15 home runs last season with Kansas City and has a career high of 16. You have to think moving to a little more homer friendly Miller Park for 81 of his games will help those numbers.

Cain is a career .290 hitter and has hit .300 or better in three of the last four seasons. There is also a speed factor to Cain’s game as he’s reached double digits in steals every season since 2012. Cain made one All-Star appearance while with the Royals. He was named the M.V.P. of the 2014 ALCS and was a member of the Royals 2015 World Series winning team. Cain has spent the majority of his career as a centerfielder where he has a career .985 fielding percentage.

You have to think that Cain will be the Brewers everyday centerfielder with Yelich being moved to rightfield. There is a chance that Ryan Braun could move back to rightfield as he played there full-time for the Brewers in 2014 and 2015. We also may see Braun get some playing time at 1st base as the Brewers will need to find at bats for Domingo Santana if he’s not traded.

After the Yelich trade I thought the Brewers would be done adding position players and I thought it was a big surprise when they signed Cain the next day. Now reports are that the Brewers are looking to add a pitcher. Now with Cain’s contract on their books I’d be surprised to see them add one of the big name starters that are still available, but there are reports that they’ve contacted the Tampa Bay Rays to see if they can get a deal done for Chris Archer.

The Brewers where a surprise team last season, but this season it looks like they’re building a contender. Do you think they have enough right now? Or is there something you think they need to add?

The New Orleans Pelicans pulled off a big 115-112 win over the Houston Rockets last night, but with about 12 seconds left in the game Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins had to be helped off the court.

After missing a free throw Cousins tried to knock the basketball away from Trevor Ariza. Cousins started hopping on his right foot as it appeared as though he was unable to put any weight on his left leg. Cousins went down to the floor as he tried to put weight on that left leg and eventually had to helped off the court and back to the locker room by his teammates.

It looked bad for a non-contact injury and it turned out to be. Cousins will need season ending surgery to repair a to repair a torn left Achilles tendon.

Cousins was having a fantastic season for the Pelicans and had just posted his second triple-double in three games last night before the injury happened. Cousins has been averaging 25.2 points per game to go along with 12.4 rebounds per game this season. Cousins also has three games this season where he’s scored 40 or more points and has grabbed 20 or more rebounds in a game.

The Pelicans are 27-21 and are currently in 6th place in the Western Conference. While New Orleans does have Anthony Davis to lean on in Cousins absence you have to wonder if they’ll be able to hold onto to a playoff spot.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to whenever you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: January 24, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Are the Cleveland Cavaliers really a sinking ship? The Cavaliers have lost six of their last seven games including last nights 114-102 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Even with all the talk of the Cavaliers being in trouble they are still 27-19 and in 1st place in the Central division. Now the Cavaliers do find themselves in 3rd place overall in the Eastern Conference. They are six games behind the conference leading Boston Celtics and are just a half a game ahead of the Miami Heat for 3rd place.

There where reports that the Cavaliers held a team meeting and it appears as though the finger is being pointed at Kevin Love as the player who’s causing Cleveland’s issues. Isaiah Thomas who’s played all of eight games with the Cavaliers was the main player in calling Love out. Do you think this is Love’s fault?

Love has played in 45 of Cleveland’s 46 games this season. He plays a little over 28 minutes a game and is averaging 18.4 points per game. That makes Love the Cavaliers second leading scorer behind only LeBron James. Love is also the Cavaliers leading rebounding averaging 9.4 rebounds per game. Love is the Cavaliers best 3-point shooter in the Cavaliers starting line up. Love is shooting 39.9% from behind the 3-point line. Only Kyle Korver at 43% and Jose Calderon at 44.8% are shooting better from behind the 3-point line than Love. Just looking at the numbers you have to wonder why his teammates seem to have pushed the blame onto him for the teams issues, but they have.

Now it appears as though the Cavaliers are looking to make a trade. There are reports that the Cavaliers are in talks with the Sacramento Kings to acquire guard George Hill. The Cavaliers are willing to send Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert along with a 2019 2nd round draft pick for Hill; so will have to see if this deal happens.

Now if the Cavaliers really believe that Love is at the fault for the teams troubles, could we see him get dealt? The Charlotte Hornets are interested in dealing their top player Kemba Walker, but I’m not sure of they’d be interested in taking on Love’s contract in a deal like that. There was a lot of interest in Love last season, but so far this season there hasn’t been a lot of trade talk involving him. Is it time for Kevin Love and the Cavaliers to part company?

The Super Bowl match up is set. Will see the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles battle it out for the Lombardi trophy on February 4th.

The Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl with a tough fought 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaquars. The Eagles in the other hand turned out to have an easier road as they beat the Minnesota Vikings 38-7.

After the Patriots-Jaquars game I got a chuckle out of listening to what seemed like everyone that the Patriots where able to come back and win the game. Even former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason cried about a pass interference call that when you see the play on replay was clearly a penalty, but apparently Esiason is another one of the people who don’t like to see the Patriots win. What makes it even more humorous was the fact that Jaquars head coach Doug Marrone agreed with the pass interference call that Esiason didn’t like. Who knows maybe Esiason had money on the Jaquars. he also added “It’s Gillette Stadium so the flags have to come out, don’t they boys?”. I think Esiason still does a daily radio show; so maybe he didn’t want to spend two weeks talking about the Patriots. It’s unclear what Esiason’s reasoning was, but he was clearly wrong.

I like I’m sure a lot of people where surprised by how easily Philadelphia handled Minnesota. I thought after the way Minnesota advanced to the NFC Championship that it was their year and they’d win, but to no surprise there I was wrong.

Everything started off just fine for the Vikings. Minnesota took the opening kickoff and went right down the field grabbing a 7-0 lead on a Case Keenum 25 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph. Who would’ve thought that these where the last points the Vikings would score in this game.

Philadelphia went on to score 38 straight points against a very good Minnesota defense. Nick Foles went 26 of 33 for 352 yards. Foles threw 3 touchdowns with no interceptions and was sacked just 1 time.

You can see how the Eagles have adjusted their offense with Foles as their quarterback. The Eagles are still using the run pass option, but Foles is nowhere close to the runner that Carson Wentz is; so Foles will throw the football out of those options. It will be interesting to see how Eagles head coach Doug Pederson adjusts the Eagles offense for the Super Bowl.

It looks as though the Patriots are a 5 point favorite according to Las Vegas. Of course this line will fluctuate probably everyday until kickoff.

While we’re still waiting for a big name free agent to sign with someone the San Francisco Giants went out and added another outfielder.

The Giants picked up former M.V.P. Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates a few weeks ago and it looked as though he would be their starting centerfielder, but there where reports that the Giants had been looking for another outfielder. Yesterday the Giants did sign another outfielder as they inked Austin Jackson to a 2 year $6 million dollar deal.

Jackson is 30 years old, but 2018 will be his 9th season. Jackson hasn’t been a full time outfielder since 2015 when he played 136 games. Last season he played in 85 games for the Cleveland Indians. Jackson hit .318 with 7 home runs and 35 RBI’s. Jackson started 38 games in centerfield for the Indians last season. Jackson made 2 errors on 63 chances in centerfield for a field percentage of .984. Jackson has always been looked at as a good defender and has the speed to cover a lot of ground in AT&T Park.

Are the Giants set in the outfield? Will we see Jackson in center flanked by McCutchen in right and Hunter Pence in left on opening day for San Francisco?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: January 20, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Does anyone actually think that Tom Brady won’t be playing in the AFC Championship game tomorrow? Brady has a hand injury that has limited him in practice and there are national media member out there that are reporting that he won’t be playing against the Jacksonville Jaquars. This of course if laughable; even if Brady is injured it would have to be a lot more serious than what’s being reported for him not to play. I actually heard a media member who has a popular sports television show go on a rant about how the Patriots would regret trading Jimmy Garoppolo because of this injury. Will the hand injury affect Brady’s play? It might, but it’s difficult to believe that they’re actually reporting or maybe just thinking that he won’t play.

I understand that there hasn’t been much to report from these two upcoming series and with the baseball free agent market at a stand still there isn’t much to talk about, but this is one of the stupidest stories that the media has reported on in a while.

If someone allowed you to bet a which four quarterbacks would be starting in the two championship games tomorrow; how many would you have gotten right? My guess would be one and that would be Brady. If you had Blake Bortles, Case Keenum and Nick Foles as the other three out should be cleaning up in Vegas as a professional gambler.

Keenum and Foles are only playing because of injuries to other quarterbacks. In Keenum’s case it took two injuries to other quarterbacks to make him the Vikings starter. Remember that Bortles was so bad in the pre-season that Jacksonville started Chad Henne in the last pre-season game and actually considered going with him as their starter for Week 1.

Bortles has had his struggles throwing the football in the Jaquars two playoff wins, but they’ve won. Bortles is just 26 of 49 for 301 yards, Now there have been quarterbacks who have done that in one game. Bortles has 2 touchdown passes and hasn’t thrown an interception I the playoffs. What has really come to light in the playoffs is Bortles ability to run the football. Bortles has only been sacked two times in the Jaquars two playoff games and he’s ran with the football 15 times for 123 yards with a long run of 20 yards. Will Bortles new found rushing talent be on display against the Patriots on Sunday?

Foles was a break out star for Chip Kelly back in 2013 and he was solid the next season, but after that he’s had his struggles. Foles took over at quarterback for the Eagles when Carson Wentz went down with an injury and made three starts this season. In his one playoff starts against the Atlanta Falcons. Foles had great success on the run/pass options plays in the Eagles offense. Foles completed 23 of his 30 passes (76.7%) for 246 yards. Using the run/pass options Foles was able to get rid of the football quickly and was sacked just one time in the Eagles 15-10 win over the Falcons. Will Foles have the same success against the Vikings on Sunday?

After putting up big numbers at the University of Houston Keenum went undrafted and signed with the Houston Texans. In three seasons with the Texans Keenum made ten starts and was 2-8. He then spent two season with the Rams. one in St. Louis and one in Los Angeles. Keenum made fourteen starts with the Rams and went 7-7. The Vikings brought Keenum in to add quarterback depth as Sam Bradford was their starter and Teddy Bridgewater was still working his way back from injury that cost him the entire 2016 season. Bradford went down in Week 2  and ended up missing the rest of the season. Keenum stepped in making 14 starts for the Vikings going 11-3.

Now I’m sure even Vikings fans can admit that it took a little bit of luck to get Minnesota into the NFC Championship game, but Keenum was solid against a improved New Orleans defense. He went 25 of 40 for 318 yards; throwing one interceptions, but most importantly connecting with Stefon Diggs on the game winning touchdown pass. Keenum can also be a threat running the football, but likes to use that ability to extend plays in the pocket. New Orleans only sacked Keenum one time last week.

So over in the AFC we have the quarterback who many consider to be the greatest of all time against a former #3 overall draft pick that people where looking at as a bust coming into this season.

Then over in the NFC we have two journeymen quarterbacks who even if their teams went on to win the Super Bowl probably wouldn’t be the starters for their team coming into next season.

The NFL works in weird ways when it comes to who your quarterback ends up being.

While the free agent market in baseball is still at a stand still the St. Louis Cardinals have re-shaped their outfield through the trade market.

The Cardinals first went out and plucked Marcell Ozuna away from the rebuilding Miami Marlins. With the acquisition of Ozuna there wasn’t really room for Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk in the Cardinals outfield.

In a class move the Cardinals sent Piscotty to the Oakland A’s; so he could not only continue his baseball career, but be close to his ailing mother who lives in the Oakland area.

It looked like the Cardinals where going to go with a four outfielder set up of Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham along with Grichuk. That was until yesterday.

St. Louis traded Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for two minor league right hand pitchers Connor Greene and Dominic Leone. By picking up Grichuk the Blue Jays have also re-shaped their outfield as earlier in the week they signed Curtis Granderson to a one year $5 million dollar deal.

Who knows if and or when the top free agents will actually be signed as there appears to be very little if any movement on contract talks. Luckily we’ve had some trades to keep us interested in baseball this off season.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime.

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: January 17, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Well you can add the Pittsburgh Pirates to the list of teams that are rebuilding. The Pirates made that clear by dealing their #1 starter and a former M.V.P. outfielder within a few days of each other.

There where quite a few rumors that the Pirates would be interested in trading starting pitcher Gerrit Cole and they finally made the move when they sent him to the Houston Astros for four players.

Cole is 27 years old and has been with the Pirates for 5 years. He was 59-42 with an E.R.A. of 3.50 in 127 starts for Pittsburgh. Cole has always been looked at as a top of the rotation starter and he’ll be added to an Astros rotation that features Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. This deal could give the Astros the best starting rotation in baseball and should increase their chances of repeating as World series champions.

In return for the Cole the Pirates received two pitchers, Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, a 3rd baseman Colin Moran and an outfielder Jason Martin. There where a lot of baseball people who didn’t like this deal and didn’t think that the Pirates got enough in return for Cole. I thought it was a pretty good deal for the Pirates as three of the players they acquired should be with the major league club in 2018.

Musgrove is 25 years old and has pitched in 49 games 25 of which where starts over two seasons with the Astros. He was 11-12 with a 4.52 E.R.A. and has 2 saves over 171 1/3rd innings. He also made 7 relief appearances for the Astros last post season Musgrove has been looked at as a guy who could develop into a top of the rotation starter and he’ll get the chance to do that with the Pirates.

Feliz is just 24 years old and has pitched in 98 games all in relief over the last two seasons for Houston. Feliz is 12-3 with an E.R.A, of 5.13 over 121 innings. Feliz puts up bug strikeout numbers as he averages just under two strikeouts per inning.

Moran is 25 years old and was the 6th overall pick in the 2013 draft. Alex Bregman has locked down 3rd base in Houston; so Moran became a trade piece for them. Moran has very little major league experience appearing in just 9 games in 2016 and 7 games last season, but he’s looked at as the Pirates starter at 3rd base coming into this season. Moran hit .301 in 82 minor league games with 18 home runs and 65 RBI’s last season.

Martin is 22 years old and split last season between high Class A and Double A. Martin hit .278 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI’s in a combined 125 games. Martin also added 16 steals. Martin is probably the one player in this trade we won’t see in Pittsburgh next season, but he’s a career .269 hitter and his power numbers have improved the last two seasons; so maybe he’ll develop for the Pirates.

The other trade the Pirates made saw them send what has to be considered the face of their franchise Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Kyle Crick and outfielder Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 dollars worth in international pool money.

After a down year in 2016 McCutchen bounced back and hit .279 with 28 home runs and 88 RBI’s last season. The Pirates are going to pick up $2.5 million dollars of the $14.5 million dollars McCutchen will make this season which is also the last year of his contract.

Right now it looks as though McCutchen will play centerfield for the Giants, but there are some reports out there that San Francisco is still looking to add a centerfielder. If the Giants do add a centerfielder McCutchen would move over to rightfield like the Pirates where planning to do with him and then Hunter Pence would move over to leftfield.

In this deal the Pirates acquired another young pitcher. Crick is 25 years old and has just 30 games of major league experience, all last season. Crick made 30 relief appearances for the Giants last season covering 32 1/3rd innings, he was 0-0 with an E.R.A. of 3.06. Crick had always been looked at as a starter, but last season pitched solely in relief. Will have to see where the Pirates decides he best suits their needs.

Reynolds is a 22 year old outfielder who spent all of the last season at high Class A. He played in 125 games hitting .312 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI’s. Reynolds played all three outfield positions last season, but played the most games 50 in centerfield.

I mentioned earlier that a lot of baseball experts didn’t like the Cole deal, but all in all the Pirates got what a lot teams look for, young controllable pitching. Pittsburgh has done a very good job of getting quality out of their pitchers.

The Pirates will feature a very young rotation with Ivan Nova being the oldest at 31. Jameson Taillon is 26 years old while Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams, Musgrove and Crick are all 25.

Who could be the next player to be traded by the Pirates? Josh Harrison has asked to be dealt; so maybe he’s the next to go. They have some other veterans, but I’m not sure how much someone like David Freese, Sean Rodriquez, Jordy Mercer or Francisco Cervelli would bring in a deal. Now if the Pirates do decided that outfielder Starling Marte is available they could add some more young talent to their roster.

It appears as though the Pirates that their closer Felipo Rivero will be part of their rebuild as he was signed to a 4 year $22 million dollar deal the day after the McCutchen trade.

Rivero took over as Pirates closer a little after mid-season in 2017 and picked up 21 saves, For the season he pitched in 73 games with a 1.67 E.R.A. over 75 1/3rd innings.

The Chicago Cubs brought back one of their free agent, but it’s not the one you’re thinking of. It was announced this morning that the Cubs have reached and agreement on a 2 year $7 million dollar deal with Brian Duensing. Duensing was very good for the Cubs last season appearing in 68 games going 1-1 with a 2.74 E.R.A. over 62 1/3rd innings.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but the podcast is available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime