Archive for the ‘football’ Category

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.

 

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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

 

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

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 10, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

We’re just a little over a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to start spring training and we’re still waiting for any of the big name free agent to sign, especially a starting pitcher.

Now there are three starting pitchers drawing the most interest are Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb. Darvish has actually sat down and met with a couple of teams, but I don’t believe he’s been offered a contract. The Chicago Cubs offered Cobb a 3 year deal worth $42 million dollars, but he turned the offer down. As for Arrieta, there’s been little or no mention of him talking to any teams.  If he’s having meetings it’s being kept under wraps.

Darvish has not put any demands out there for teams to meet but Cobb and Arrieta have. Cobb has said that he wants $20 million dollars a season or will accept a deal of 4 years at $70 million dollars as long as all of the money is guaranteed. While Arrieta has made it clear that he wants a contract that totals at least $200 million dollars.

As we get closer and closer to spring training you have to wonder how far these pitchers will take their demands. Would Cobb or Arrieta be willing to sit out the start of the season if they can’t get the contract they’re looking for?  On the other side, will a contender who might feel they’re one starting pitcher away, break down and give in to the demands of one of these starters.

You have to think that when one of these starters finally sign with a team, the other two may follow suit very quickly.  The one issue that might possibly hang up any of these pitchers getting contract offers is how serious are the Pittsburgh Pirates are about trading Gerrit Cole.

Cole is a 27 year old top of the rotation starter that a team would have control of until 2020. Cole made 33 starts and logged 203 innings which is difficult to find these days. You have to think that a team would rather deal a few of their top prospects to get a pitcher like Cole than lock up a Darvish, Arrieta or Cobb to long term contracts for big money. If the Pirates are actually serious about trading Cole a move like that will hold up the free agent pitching market even more than it has been.

The only free agent movement we’ve had in the last few days was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim agreeing to terms with veteran catcher Rene Rivera on a 1 year contract.

Rivera will get $2.8 million dollars on his deal with the Angels and be added to their mix of catchers. Martin Maldonado won the Gold Glove last season and you have to figure he’s the starter behind the plate. You have to think that Rivera was brought in to back up Maldonado, but the Angels also have Curt Casali who spent four seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. Los Angeles also has young catchers Juan Graterol and Carlos Perez.

It’s not much free agent movement, but it is something for baseball fans, if you’re a Rene Rivera fan.

We didn’t get off to a blazing start with our picks for the playoffs. Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I went 2-2 for the Wild Card week while Dan the Man ended up going 1-3. I guess will see how we do in the Divisional round of the playoffs this week.

The Oakland Raiders finally made it official and named Jon Gruden as their head coach. Not that we didn’t know that Gruden would be the Raiders next coach now for about a week, but the team finally made the announcement.

While it was no surprise that the Raiders hired Gruden it was a bit of a surprise that the Chicago Bears where the next team to name a new head coach. The Bears named Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as their head coach.

Nagy is 39 years old and has been part of Andy Reid’s coaching staff since 2009. Nagy started with the Philadelphia Eagles as an Interim coach in 2009. In 2010 he was promoted to a coaches assistant and then in 2011 he was promoted again to offensive quality coach. When Reid took over the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 Nagy went with him and was named Quarterback’s coach. In 2016 Nagy was named the Chiefs offensive coordinator, but Reid continued to call plays for the Chiefs until the final 5 games of the 2017 season.

Nagy never played in the NFL, but did play 6 seasons in the Arena Football League. The Eagles actually did try to sign Nagy as  back up quarterback in 2009 when Kevin Kolb got hurt, but the NFL disapproved his contract and the Eagles never made another attempt to re-sign him and just kept him on as a coach.

Alex Smith is coming off of his best season in the NFL and the Bears are hoping that Nagy will be ale to develop their young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.  It’s being reported that Nagy will handle play calling duties for the Bears offense; so he’ll be working directly with Trubisky.

There haven’t been any announcements on who will be joining Nagy’s coaching staff, but the Bears have made it very clear that they want to bring defensive coordinator Vic Fangio back.

Fangio interviewed for the Bears head coaching position and has drawn interest from quite a few other teams as a defensive coordinator.

If he does indeed return to the Bears, Fangio will once again lead a defensive unit that ranked just 24th in points allowed but 14th in defensive DVOA, an indication the club was better on a play-by-play basis than overall.

With the Raiders and the Bears finding new head coaches there are still four teams looking for head coaches. The Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals and the Indianapolis Colts still have head coaching openings.

Depending on who these teams are looking at to fill their vacancies will be the deciding factor on how long it takes them to name a new coach. While coaches on playoff teams can be interviewed for open positions they can’t be named as that teams new head coach until the team they’re coaching for is knocked out of the playoffs. Of course with the way things get leaked I’m sure will know if a team is planning on hiring a coach from a playoff team.

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

Don’t forget that you can find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: January 6, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

If your a baseball fan it’s been a slow off season for you. There haven’t been a lot of big signings or trades and right now everything seems stagnant. It’s difficult to pick one thing that has made the off season go like this, but here are a couple of things holding up player movement.

The Miami Marlins fire sale. While Giancarlo Stanton and Marcel Ozuna have been traded away there are a few assets Miami still has that other teams are interested. Why would a team go out and sign an older veteran player to a long term big money deal when they can deal for a young player like Christian Yelich or J.T. Realmuto. Yelich is signed to an incredibly team friendly deal through the year 2022. Realmuto is just entering salary arbitration and won’t be eligible for free agency until 2021. Yelich is 25 years old while Realmuto is 26; so while you’d have to give up some of your young prospects to land one of these guys it’s still a cheaper option for a team than handed a guy a 7 year $200 million dollar contract.

Big name players keep popping up in trade talks. Again this started with the Marlins and Stanton, but we’ve seen some other big names come up on the trade market. Right now the name floating round is Manny Machado. Now if a team was to acquire Machado he might only be with them for one season as he as eligible to be a free agent after the 2018 season, but if he helped your team win a World Series would it be worth it? Another name that popped up very quickly was Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zach Greinke. Nothing seemed to go very far with Greinke involved, but just the fact that his name came up will draw interest from teams.

Contract demands might be too high. Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez have told teams that they’re both looking for contracts that total in value over $200 million dollars. Another pitcher who was thought to draw a lot of interest as a free agent was Alex Cobb, but Cobb has let it be know that he wants $20 million dollars a season. I did see that Cobb has altered his contract demands a little. He is now saying that he’ll accept a 4 year deal at $70 million dollars as long as that money is guaranteed. While I don’t believe that there are any teams in financial distress these type of contracts do eliminate most if not all of the small market teams from signing these players. These kind of deals are also big commitments for teams and there are times that these contracts blow up in a teams face when the player on this deal is in his late 30’s or in some cases early 40’s.

Now I do believe that hitters will still get their money, but with the way pitching has changed will these starters get the long term big money deals they’re looking for.

Let’s use Cobb as our example. He’s never made 30 starts in a season. He missed the entire 2015 season due to injury. He’s never pitched more than 179 1/3rd innings in a season. Over his career Cobb has averaged 6 innings a start and while his stats are solid and he appears to be a top of the rotation starter; is he worth $20 million dollars a season?

Those are three of the reasons the free agent market has been so slow. I think that once one of the top tier free agents gets signed will see quite a few players start to sign. The question is when will that top free agent sign.

We did have a three team trade this week. In the deal the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired left handed pitcher Scott Alexander and infielder Jake Peter. The Kansas City Royals picked up right handed pitcher Trevor Oaks and infielder Erick Mejia. While the Chicago White Sox ended up with a pair of veteran right handed relievers as Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan go to Chicago. The White Sox will also get $1 million dollars from the Royals and $2 million dollars from the Dodgers in this deal.

It seems that the name everyone is interested in with this deal is Alexander. Alexander is 28 years old and 2017 was his first full season in the majors. He made 58 relief appearances for the Royals last season covering 69 innings. He was 5-4 with 4 saves and a 2.48 E.R.A. He strikes out a little over two batters to ever one he walks and his WHIP was 1.304 last season. Alexander has been compared to Baltimore Orioles left hander Zach Britton and he’ll be part of the Dodgers bullpen for 2018.

With the NFL playoffs kicking off a little later today it appears as though the Oakland Raiders have their new head coach. As soon as the Raiders fired Jack Del Rio the reports where out there that they believed they could finally get Jon Gruden to come out of the television booth and take their head coaching job.

Now it looks like that’s the case, but it doesn’t appear that it will be official until Tuesday. The Raiders have a press conference scheduled for Tuesday where they will introduce Gruden as their new head coach. Reports are that Gruden’s contract will for 10 years and over $100 million dollars. Believe it or not this isn’t the first time that a head coach has gotten a 10 year deal. The other two time it was the Dallas Cowboys handing out those 10 year deals. Back in 1964 they gave one to Tom Landry and then again in 1989 Jimmy Johnson was given a 10 year deal.

Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001. He was 38-26 and won the AGC West in his final two seasons. Under Gruden the Raiders went 0-2 in the playoffs. After his 4th season Raiders owner Al Davis traded Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay gave up two 1st round picks, two 2nd round picks and $8 million dollars in cash to get Gruden, but he did win a Super Bowl his year as their head coach.

Gruden hasn’t coached since 2008, but has stayed involved with the NFL as a commentator for ESPN. Gruden has been the color analyst for Monday Night Football since 2009, but has also called some college football games. ESPN also gave Gruden his own little series called Jon Gruden’s QB Camp. In the series Gruden goes over the NFL development process with prospective quarterbacks.

Do you like this move for the Raiders? What are your thoughts on give a head coach a 10 year contract. Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: January 3, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

It’s time for the playoffs to start in the NFL. Things kickoff on Saturday as the Tennessee Titans visit the Kansas City Chiefs. The other Saturday game has the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Atlanta Falcons. Then of course there are two games on Sunday. The first game has the Jacksonville Jaquars hosting the Buffalo Bills. The second game on Sunday will see the Carolina Panthers visiting the New Orleans Saints.

In the AFC the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers got 1st round byes. Over in the NFC the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings received the 1st round byes.

Let’s see if we can break these games down a little bit.

Kansas City definitely had and up and won season. They came out of the gate 5-0 and where on everybody’s list of Super Bowl favorites. After dropping a couple of games they bounced back with a division win and things looked like they where back on track. The Chiefs then stumbled losing their next 4 games in a row. They got things going in the right direction to end the season as they won their final 4 games and won the AFC West.

Tennessee was high on everybody’s list to win the AFC South, but they never seemed to get things going. The Titans where 2-3 before going on a 4 game winning streak. After that ended they did out two more wins together and ha a chance to really lock up a playoff spot, but they lost their final 3 games heading into Week 17. Tennessee faced a win and your in situation in Week 17 and they got the win to grab a wild card spot an advance into the playoffs.

Looking at the way these teams seasons have went it appears as though Kansas City is headed back in the right direction coming into this match up. Can Tennessee build on their win and in game to surprise the Chiefs?

The Atlanta Falcons where the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl last season and coming out of the gate with 3 straight wins this season they looked like a contender to return there. The Falcons really struggled and lost 4 of their net 5 games and there was talk that they wouldn’t even get into the playoffs. The Falcons went 6-2 in the second half of the season and grabbed a wild card spot and will have a chance to return to the Super Bowl.

The Los Angeles Rams under first year coach Sean McVay have been one of the nicer surprises this NFL season. The Rams feature some young skill position players; so there where questions about how they would perform. A 4 game winning streak in the middle of the season solidified the Rams as a playoff contender. The Rams picked up big wins in Week 15 and Week 16 to lockdown the NFC West and it allowed them to rest key players the final week of the regular season.

This match should show us how much playoff experience means in a first round playoff match up. The Rams key offensive players Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins have never played in a playoff game. While players like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman played in the Super Bowl last season. How much will this factor in?

Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd are two of the most popular NFL players in Buffalo these days and they don’t even play for the Bills. Of course it was the Dalton pass to Boyd that helped the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens and get the Bills into the playoffs as a wild card team.

The Bills won 9 games over the 2018 season, but never won more than 2 in a row. LeSean McCoy accounts for over 30% of the Bills offense; so he’ll be the big key to them having a shot to advance this weekend. It’s no shock at all that McCoy was the Bills leading rusher. but he also led the team in pass receptions with 59 and was 2nd on the team in receiving yards with 448.

The Jacksonville Jaquars where another surprise team this season/ Remember heading into the last week of pre-season they decided to make a quarterback change, but decided to go back to Blake Bortles for Week 1. Bortles had a solid season and threw just 13 interceptions and while that’s still a higher number than the team would like it’s down from his previous seasons. The Jaquars are built to win with defense and their run game; so that’s how they’ll try to get out of the 1st round.

You have to think that if Jacksonville can stop McCoy they’ll win, but if Buffalo can force Bortles into some mistakes maybe they can pull off an upset here. Which way do you see it going?

The Carolina Panthers are considered the wild card team in this match up; so they’ll be on the road. Carolina has faced the Saints two other times this season and lost both of those natch ups. The Panthers actually lost both of those games by double digits, 21 in the first match up and 10 in the second. While rookie Christian McCaffrey has been a big contributor on offense for the Panthers this season everyone knows that the Panthers live and die by how Cam Newton plays. Newton was the M.V.P. two seasons ago and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. He struggled last season and Carolina watched the playoffs. Which Newton will we get this weekend?

The New Orleans saints found a running game this season and it helped lead them to an NFC South division title. Interestingly the Saints just don’t have one running back that teams have to deal with they have two. Mark Ingram led the ground game with 1124 yards, but rookie Alvin Kamara added 728 rushing yards. Ingram put up 12 rushing touchdowns this season, but Kamara added 8 of his own. Kamara caught 81 passes while Ingram grabbed 58. Now Ingram didn’t find his way into the end zone as a receiver, but Kamara did catch 5 receiving touchdowns. The duel threat backfield has helped in other areas. Michael Thomas had a 100 plus catch, 1000 plus yard season. The running game has also cut down on Drew Brees’ passing attempts.

It’s difficult to beat a team three times in a season, but that’s what the Saints will have to do if they want to get out of the 1st round. Can Newton lead his team to what would be a 1st round upset?

Feel free to let me know how you’ve got this weekend in the comment section.

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 find me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: December 30, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

While we’re waiting for the top starting pitchers to sign as free agents the top closer on the market has signed a new deal. Wade Davis inked a three year deal with the Colorado Rockies.

Davis will be paid $52 million dollars for those three seasons, but the contract has a vesting options for a fourth year that would make the total value of his deal $66 million dollars. Davis will earn $16 million dollars for the 2018 season. His salary goes up to $18 million dollars for the 2019 season and then drop down to $17 million dollars for the 2020 season. The fourth year option in Davis’ contract would be worth $15 million dollars for the 2021 season if it kicks in. The deal also includes a $1 million dollar assignment bonus of Davis is traded. Interestingly if Davis is traded one time he will then have a full no trade rights.

After spending his entire career in the American League Davis pitched for the Chicago Cubs in 2017. Davis went 4-2 with an E.R.A. of 2.30 while saving 32 games. Davis pitched 58 2/3rd innings striking out 79 batters while walking 28. Davis did give up 6 home runs last season and that was the most he had ever giving up as a reliever in a season. We’ll have to see how he does closing the majority of his games in Colorado, but he was clearly the best closer on the free agent market this off season.

With the signing of Davis it would appear that the Rockies won’t be bringing Greg Holland back. Holland served as the Rockies closer for the 2017 season and even thought he had some struggles in the second half of the season he still had good numbers for them,

Holland missed all of the 2016 season after having Tommy John surgery, but bounced back to pitch in 61 games for Colorado covering 57 1/3rd innings. Holland was 3-6 with an E.R.A. of 3.61 while saving 41 games last season. Those 41 saves tied Holland with Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League lead. Holland struck out 70 batters while walking 26 last season, but of course pitching in Colorado he gave up a career high 7 home runs.

Holland declined the $15 million dollar option in his contract for the 2018 season and he also turned down the $17.4 million dollar qualifying off the Rockies offered him. Davis also rejected a 2018 qualifying offer; so he’ll cost the Rockies a pick in the 2018 draft with his signing.

Since the Rockies have never seemed to have success bringing in top starting pitchers they’re going to stick with their plan of building a strong bullpen which helped get them into the wild card game last season.

Davis will be added to a Colorado bullpen that also added set up man Bryan Shaw on a three year $25 million dollar deal with an option for a fourth year. The Rockies also brought back left hander Jake McGee who has pitched for them the past two seasons. McGee also signed a three year deal worth $25 million dollars with a fourth year option to stay with the Rockies. Don’t forget that the Rockies still have Mike Dunn who they signed last season to a three year $18 million dollar deal with a fourth year option when he was a free agent last off season.

While it looks like the Rockies bullpen will be solid and since they do play 81 games in Colorado their offense should also be good, but they question always is, do they have good enough starting pitching to win? Colorado got into the wild card game last season; so will see if they can find there way back into the playoffs in 2018.

We’re headed into the last week final week of the NFL’s regular season and I’m sure you’ve been wondering how we’re doing with our picks since I haven’t mentioned in a while. Here’s what it looks like for us heading into Week 17.

Dan the Man is in the lead at 164-76 and unless he just completely collapses should win this season. Mr. Fantasy is in 2nd place with a record of 159-81. I am currently holding on to 3rd place with a record of 154-86, but Schaumburg Stu is just two games behind me at 152-88. While it doesn’t look like any one will catch Dan the Man the other three spots are still up for grabs.

Very much like the NFL does we will wipe the slate clean next week as we head into the playoffs; so everybody gets a fresh start.

While it most of the playoff spots are locked down there are still openings for one more wild card team in each Conference. There could also be some juggling of the seeds in the NFC depending on the outcome of some of the games, but it’s going to take a well played out scenario for that to happen. Let’s just focus on those two last wild card spots.

In the AFC all the Tennessee Titans have to do is win and they’re in. The Titans, Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills are all 8-7 going into the final week of the season, but the Titans hold the tiebreaker over those two teams due to having the better winning percentage in conference games.

Tennessee is facing the Jacksonville Jaquars tomorrow, but the Jaquars are already locked into the #3 seed; so will have to see if they’ll rest players or if they try to keep the Titans out of the playoffs. Way back in Week 3 the Titans beat the Jaquars 37-16; so maybe Jacksonville wants some revenge.

If the Titans do lose the Chargers would be the next team ion line for that wild card spot. The Chargers hold the tiebreaker over the Bills since they beat them in their Week 11 match up 54-24. The Chargers are facing the Oakland Raiders this week.

Now for the Bills to get that wild card spot they would need some help. They’d need both the Titans and the Chargers to lose their games and then Buffalo would need to get a win over the Miami Dolphins. While I doubt it had any affect on where these teams are now it is kind of humorous that the Bills started Nathan Peterman in that Week 11 match up the Chargers and he threw 5 interceptions before halftime in that loss.

There are two teams in the NFC looking to claim that last wild card spot. It’s down to the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks with the Falcons being the team that controls their own destiny.

Atlanta faces the Carolina Panthers in Week 17 and if they win they’re in. Now Carolina is part of that odd scenario that could see them end up as the #2 seed and receive a 1st round bye; so they are playing for something. That along with the fact that Carolina can still win the NFC South. With all of this playing out you have to figure that the Panthers won’t be resting players and this will be a competitive game. In week 8 the Panthers beat the Falcons 20-17.

The Seahawks will need that Atlanta loss and a win over the Arizona Cardinals to get into the playoffs as a wild card team. Atlanta holds the tiebreaker over the Seahawks; so If they end up with the same record the Falcons get in. The Seahawks beat the Cardinals 22-16 back in Week 9.

While there aren’t a ton of reasons to watch the final week of the NFL season there are a few teams that still have something to play for.

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

Please follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: December 23, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Slowly but surly we’re starting to see more and more Major League teams add the players they need to fill out their rosters. Now while all of these signings are going on we’re still waiting for some of the bigger name free agents to sign.

It was expected that the free agent market would be a little slow as teams waited to see if and where Giancarlo Stanton would end up. Now Stanton was traded a couple of weeks ago and there still hasn’t be a ton of movement with the top named free agents. Why could that be?

Right now it seems like teams are more interested in exploring trade options rather than signing a free agent. There are some big names that might be available as trade pieces. The Manny Machado talk has been out there for a little while now and Gerrit Cole’s name has came up in the last few days. There has also been some reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates might do more of a complete tear down meaning players like Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutcheon would be available. Tis could be one of the reasons we haven’t seen a big name free agent signed, but there are a few more.

It’s possible that pitchers like Alex Cobb and Jake Arrieta have priced themselves out of the market. It’s been reported that Cobb wants a deal for a minimum of $20 million dollars a season while Arrieta wants a contract that totals $200 million dollars. While starting pitching is always going to be expensive and top starting pitching is going to be even more expensive these are big contract numbers for a couple of starters that there are questions about.

Cobb has never started more than 29 games in a season and the most innings he’s every thrown in a season is 179 1/3rd, both last year. With the price tag Cobb has out on himself teams may want a pitcher who can give them at least 200 innings.

Arrieta was the best pitcher in baseball in 2015 and has consistently made 30 plus starts since that season, but his E.R.A, is headed in the wrong direction. Now I don’t think anyone expected him to repeat the 1.77 E.R.A. he posted in 2015, but in 2016 his E.R.A. jumped to 3.10 and then last season his E.R.A. went up to 3.53. Now there’s actually nothing wrong with either of those E.R.A. numbers, but the fact that they seem to be trending up might be an issue for teams.

As for position players it looked as though Eric Hosmer was on a lot of teams radar, but them the sabermetric community chimed in and it seems as though some teams dropped their interest in him. Hosmer tied his career high in home runs with 25 last season while posting his highest batting average for a season at .318 while playing in all 162 games. There have been a few 1st baseman that have signed recently, but they weren’t asking for or going to get the kind of money Hosmer will eventually get. The question now is who’s going to give him that contract as it appears the only real suitor he has ate the San Diego Padres.

J.D. Martinez was the top everyday player on the free agent market coming into the off season, but there has been very little if any interest shown in him right now. Last season playing for the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks Martinez hit 45 home runs and drove in 104 RBI’s while hitting .303. Martinez has also mentioned some big contract demands as he’s looking for a deal in the range of $200 million dollars. The Boston Red Sox have seemed to be the team front and center when there comes to talk about where Martinez would end up, but the Red Sox have a pretty full outfield; so you’d have to think that one of them would have to be moved before Martinez could be brought in.

Yu Darvish is the other big name pitcher out there, but he seems to be closer to signing than any of the other top free agents. Darvish had meetings with the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros this week and there where actually reports that Darvish was close to signing with the Cubs, but he denied that. Out of the bigger name free agents out there it appears as though Darvish will be the first to sign with a team.

Where do you see these players signing? and what kind of money do you think that they’re going to end up getting?

It may sound weird, but the Los Angeles Rams lost a key player when they had to place Kicker Greg Zuelien on injured reserve with a back injury. Zuerlein will have surgery in Los Angeles on Thursday morning to repair a herniated disk. This procedure typically comes with a 12-week recovery process.

The Rams tried out about 10 kickers during two separate workouts at their facility Wednesday including notables such as Travis Coons and Roberto Aguayo before signing former Penn State kicker Sam Ficken.

Zuerlein had been kicking through some back issues throughout the year, but they never kept him out of practice, and they never threatened his availability for a game until Sunday. Zuerlein had a disk flare up on him while sleeping the night before the Rams’ matchup against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

Zuerlein still played, but most of his kickoffs were short, and he missed an extra point. The his back pain was so bad that the Rams even went for it on a late fourth down attempt despite leading big in the second half.

Rams head coach Sean McVay was aware that Zuerlein was experiencing issues with his back, but never really knew the extent of them. Zuerlein and the Rams were hoping he could continue to kick throughout it and get it taken care of after the season. But the pain he experienced in Seattle became too much to tolerate.

Zuerlein is going to be very difficult to replace, but Ficken is going to have to do the job for the Rams. Ficken was an undrafted free agent back in 2015 and has spent time with the Jacksonville Jaquars and Kansas City Chiefs, but has never actually kicked in a regular season NFL game.

The Rams are 10-4 heading into their Week 17 game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. They’re in 1st place in the NFC West and are looking to clinch a playoff spot and try to get a 1st round bye. These things just became a little tougher for the Rams to do as they just lost the best kicker in the NFL.

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

Remember to look for me on Twitter @Burketime