Monday, January 5, 2009

Pat Burrell Signs With Tampa Bay Rays: FANTASY IMPACT

Left fielder Pat Burrell has agreed to a 2 year $16 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday ending his 9 year relationship with the Philadelphia Phillies. Burrell has never been known for his defense, so it makes sense to expect the Rays to move him to the DH spot in the line up.

FANTASY IMPACT

There are a few good positives that like about this signing for Burrell and his signing with Tampa. For one, he is going to team where his fantasy value won't take a hit. He should still be good for 30HR, 90-100RBI, a .255AVG and 75R. If your league counts this sort of thing, his OBP and SLG should also remain similar to what he has done in the past. Figure the Tamp line up to look something like this

Akinora Iwamura
Carl Crawford
B.J. Upton
Carlos Pena
Evan Longoria
Pat Burrell
Matt Joyce
Dioner Navarro
Jason Bartlett

This is just a preliminary make up and it could change during Spring Training, but top to bottom there might not be a deeper line up in all of baseball. I like the fact that Pena and Longoria will be hitting in front of him and second year man Matt Joyce will be hitting behind him. I like Joyce's sleeper power potential going into this season as well and catcher Dioner Navarro showed himself to be a formidable out at the plate, hitting .294AVG with 7HR and 54RBI. Not great numbers, but respectable for a catcher.

The aforementioned move the the DH spot in the line up should only help Burrell's value. His defensive range has become a legitimate concern for the Phillies over the last few seasons, so the signing won't hurt the Rays' strong defense. At the age of 32 the move to the DH spot should also help Pat the Bat stay healthy and keep him from waring down as the season progresses as we saw last season with the Phillies.

While Burrell has never separated himself as an elite outfielder he does have legit power and is good for a solid 30HR and 90RBI. I think that being out of the scrutiny of the Philadelphia media and fan base will also help his psyche and focus throughout the year. He will probably be a but undervalued going into your draft this season, as he normally is, so don't be afraid to take him and might actually be worth it to target him as someone you take a risk on and draft a round or two earlier than you expect to.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kevin VanDam To See Some Serious Competition in 2009

The Professional Bass Fishing world has been dominated in recent years by phenom Kevin VanDam. He polished off a dominated 2008 season with a convincing victory for the Forest Wood Cup. However, we expect to see some serious competition in the 2009 season that could see the bass fishing king unseated. Here is a list of anglers we feel could put it to the champ in '09.

1) According to BassFan.com Todd Faircloth enters the 2009 season as the 2nd ranked angler in the sport. He has steadily improved over the last 3 years going from being ranked 63 to 47 to 27 and then finally ending the '08 campaign with a shot for the title at Oneida. He turned in a stinker, a 93rd place finish to end his year and take him out of the running for Angler of the Year Award.

The dismal end hasn't detered Faircloth. "I feel like if I'm ever in that situation again, I'll handle it a littler better than I did. Something of that magnitude would've been a big boost for my career and it was definitely a letdown, but that doesn't change the fact that all in all, it was a really good year."

The determination and ability to learn from his mistakes of the past should give Faircloth the best chance out of any other performer in 2009to unseat KVD's reign over the Bass Fishing Elite series. I also like how he has progressed as an angler over thelast few seasons and seems ready to make himself elite.

2) David Dudley finished '08 with 6 top 10 finishes in only 14 events. Ever known for his quirky methods and his lackadaisical preparation for events, if Dudley could ever focus himself better on preparing for tournaments he could take his angling to the next level. He is a veteran of both the
FLW Tour and Elite Series, and spent last season reinvesting his FLW Tour success into the Elite Series. If he continues his growth in 2009, we could see Dudley move into that top spot and over take KVD.

3)Skeet Reese the former ESPY nominee and former Angler of the Year award winner had another successful season in 2008. He ended it ranked 4th over all and should have another solid showing for the 2009 season. It seems as if come season's end Reese's name is always in the discussion when people mention the most successful people on the tour. If a few things break the right way for Reese in '09 he could have a legit shot at that top spot. He has been around for a while and really knows his way around the lake.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

LT Has Torn Groin Tendon: Game Time Decision *UPDATE* LT WILL PLAY

*UPDATE* LT will play tonight against the Indianapolis Colts. LT had been receiving extensive treatment to his groin in order to get him ready for the game. (I think we could all use the occassional groin treatment.) He told ESPN.com's Ed Werder, that while it is painful, he feels like he can cut and change directions enough to be effective in tonight's match up.

ESPN.com is reporting that Chargers' running back LaDainian Tomlinson has a detached tendon that connects one of his groin muscles to his pubic bone. Tomlinson has been listed as a game-time decision and more is expected to be known after pregame warm ups. This sounds like he type of injury that would put me on Life IR, so credit LT's heart for trying to give it a go. Can't imagine what it must be like to have the pubic bone no longer attached to my groin.

This is the second year in a row that the injury bug has reared its ugly head in LT's direction before a big playoff game. One has to question, with the success of back up Darren Sproles and LT's recent regression as a RB if perhaps his future next season might be with another team or at least in more of a time share situation.


Insert ESPN mail room joke here---->


Sproles, against an admittedly porous Denver defense last week had 115 yards on the ground on only 14 attempts and a rushing TD. It went well with his 2 catches for 17 yards and receiving touchdown.

FANTASY IMPACT

This only ads to what has already been a disappointing fantasy season for the once great LT. It is said that the injury will make it difficult for LT to cut and make sudden movements. If he does play, he could used in short yard situations, and get goal line carries, however, expect Darren Sproles to get the majority of the carries. If you are in a playoff fantasy football league, you should have drafted Sproles to go along with the now oft- nicked up LT. Sproles is an explosive, speed back who can make game changing runs with any carry.

Friday, January 2, 2009

O's, White Sox Talking Roberts for Floyd: Fantasy Impact

More good stuff from MLBTraderumors.com. They are reporting that the Orioles and the White Sox are discussing a Brian Roberts for Gavin Floyd deal. The major hold up being that the Orioles want more in return than just Floyd. Makes sense to me. A lot of teams would demand more than just one of those pesky 25-year-old, 17 game winners, with good ERAs and low WHIPs for the services or a 2B.

FANTASY IMPACT

This deal is the perfect symbol for the difference between reality baseball and fantasy. In reality, I'd rather have the young starter to help build a strong rotation. In fantasy, you want the speedy 2B, who can put up numbers across different categories. Just an interesting side note I thought I'd toss in there.

I am pretty sure I wrote this article a year ago, only Roberts was going to the Cubs. Roberts would offer the White Sox some good defense and a very good bat at the top of their line up. Roberts can steal bases, score runs and get on base. With the jettisoning of Orlando Cabrera and shifting of Alexei Ramirez from 2B to SS the White Sox have needs at both 2B and the lead off spot and Roberts would fit in perfectly with what the Sox need.

Expect him to have another season with over 100Rs, 40SB and a .290-.300AVG. I put guys like Chase Utley, and Ian Kinsler , who can hit for power and average ahead of Roberts in he rankings. Some might even put Dustin Pedroia ahead of him, but I am waiting for another season of consistency from Pedroia before I am ready to do that.

Floyd is a young righty with a good fastball low 90s fastball and a very good curve. He is just entering his prime and would give the O's a very good 2 starter behind Jeremy Guthrie. His fantasy value could change a bit as a move to the A.L. East would meaning facing the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays a lot more. He would also be moving to a hitter friendly ballpark with a team that has a rather depleted offense. Neither of these factors would lead one to believe that Floyd would be able to repeat his '08 performance. I think an ERA in the low to mid 4.00s and 13-15wins would be a fair prediction of what Floyd will be able to do if he continues his growth as a pitcher.

Jones' Contract Restructured: Expect Business to Pickup

According the SI.com's Jon Heyman the Dodgers have reached an agreement with center fielder Andruw Jones that allows them to deffer $12 million of his original 2009 contract. This story broke last night and it is expect to foreshadow the next two key off season moves for the Dodgers. 1) Trade Jones, 2) Resign Manny Ramirez

Trading away Jones might not prove to be all that difficult. Previous rumors circulated had him being shipped off to the Mets, however it never materialized because the Mets and Dodgers couldn't work out the financials. I am sure there will be some team that is willing to take a shot at him as a reclamation project in center, or as speculated in the Mets rumor, in right.

Agent Scott Boras sold the Dodgers a lemon last season with the Jones contract and its conceivable that the Dodgers told him, 'Hey we'd love to sign Manny. The problem is we have this pesky Andruw Jones Albatross eating up loads of our payroll already.' Again that is just speculation on my part, but it could explain why Boras would have agreed to a restructuring.

The next key off season move for the Dodgers is to lock up Manny. He carried them into the playoffs last season and provided a lift for a young offense that struggles and is prone to hot and cold streaks.

FANTASY IMPACT

Andruw Jones would be on more or less be on his last chance. The Mets might be a good place for him to try and regain his swing and bravado on the playing field. The Mets showed their patience with Carlos Delgado last season and allowed him to work through his struggles at the plate, when many felt his career as a power hitting first baseman was over. The Mets patience paid off and they were handsomely rewarded when Delgado came onto be the hottest hitter in the majors over the last few months of the '08 season. They might need to be ready to wait out Jones to see if he can regain his homerun swing from yesteryear. The move to right field would allow him less wear and tare on his legs over the course of a long season and should only benefit him.

Don't expect great things out of the gate, but it could certainly be worth it to stash him. It will probably take him a while before he is able to swing the bat the way he once did. You can probably get him later on in the draft as a sleeper. However, is not a guy I would go out of my way to draft

Manny showed what can do when he wants to play hard last season with the Dodgers hitting 17HR, with 53RBI while hitting .396AVG in 53 games. He wanted to get paid this off season and boy did he earn it. I think Manny could go as high as the second round, as low as the fourth. Some might be hesitant to draft him, afraid he will turn it off and coast now that he has his contract.

I disagree. I think Manny hits about .300, with 30HR, and 120RBI. He was mailing it in with Boston because he wanted out. Now he is with a team that showed how much they wanted to bring him back by restructuring another player's deal. I also think that Joe Torre's presence as the manager will help keep Manny's ego in check.

Score One For The Good Guys: Tony Clark Resigns With 'Zona: Fantasy Impact

According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick Tony Clark and the Arizona Diamondbacks have reached an agreement on a 1 year contract. The veteran journey man will serve as a back up to first baseman, Conor Jackson and provide some switch hitting pop off the bench.

FANTASY IMPACT

If Jackson continues to offer limited power at first base, there is a chance (all be it small) that Clark grabs some playing time there. His last truly productive season was in 2005 when he his 30HR and drove in 87RBI. In his 3 seasons since then, he has not combined to hit 30HR and only managed 3 last season.

While Clark's value on the field is truly limited, it is what he provides in clubhouse that is most important. A veteran leader and all around good guy. I used to work at the YES Network, when Clark was on the Yanks and he is legitimately the nicest athlete I have met. Unfortunately, this does nothing to help his fantasy value. Don't bother to have Clark on your draft board and during the season, you'll probably be able to find much more productive back up 1B if something happens to yours.

Marbury To Celtics Rumors Heat Up - Chemistry Lesson Anyone?


At 28-5, the defending champion Boston Celtics are clearly the class of the NBA right now despite their recent run of misfortune on the west coast which has seen them lose 3 of 4. It's easy to chalk up the Celtics' great success over the last 15 months to the superior collection of talent they trot out on a nightly basis. KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen give them three transcendent, veteran superstars, Rajon Rondo has endless potential at point guard and the C's bench is loaded with complementary pieces from shooters (Eddie House) to swingmen (Tony Allen) to bigs (Leon Powe, Glenn Davis).

While the Celtics meet all of the prerequisites for contending in the NBA - two superstars, an identity (superior defensively) and an unselfish, confident bench - they found out last year that in the playoffs team chemistry is the X factor and many times will decide your ultimate fate. The heavily favored 2004 Lakers are a great example of a team falling victim to a shoddy make-up. The Lakers rolled through the western conference playoffs before being embarrassed by a tight knit and hungry Detroit Pistons squad in the finals in 5. Now, the Lakers had two superstars and future HOFers in Shaq and Kobe however, their supporting cast consisted of only one true championship caliber role player in Derek Fisher. Karl Malone and Gary Payton were along for the ride in hopes of stealing a ring before retirement while the rest of the rotation (Brian Cook, Devean George, etc.) were used to deferring to Shaq and Kobe and lacked big game experience. Two big dogs will get you there, but the better team will always win.

To their credit Boston endured two grueling 7 game series against the upstart Atlanta Hawks and King James' Cavs in the first two rounds before beating the Lakers into submission both mentally and physically in the Finals. In the end, Boston's championship was a testament to the team's superior chemistry more than the great individual talent they put on the floor. The "Big 3" did their thing but without James Posey and Eddie House hitting a barrage of dagger 3's and Kendrick Perkins, PJ Brown and Leon Powe putting in physical minutes down low the Celtics probably don't beat the Lakers.

This brings us to the Celtics interest in Stephon Marbury. From a roster standpoint, I see Boston's argument and why this would make sense on the surface. First, the Celtics could use a more traditional point guard behind Rajon Rondo. Eddie House has a below average handle and is more effective as a three point sniper/hustle guy at the 2 guard while Sam Cassell's corpse is a liability come playoff time. Second, the Celts lost James Posey this offseason and with him went about 10-12 points a night off the bench and a three point shooter that can stretch a defense. The erratic Tony Allen has taken his spot and no one knows what he's going to give you in crunch time.

Beyond that, the Celtics, like so many teams before them, are simply rolling the dice on a guy with great talent, no playoff success and a propensity to wear out his welcome. The Celtics are hoping Steph has been thoroughly humbled in New York this season and now in his 30's will be hungry to do whatever it takes to get a ring. The fact that Marbury is in a contract year will certainly help. However, I still question how Marbury will react to being nothing more than role player off the bench. How does he respond to inconsistent playing time or a DNP? Is he OK being on the bench in crunch time?

As a Knick fan watching the Celtics well-oiled machine and having experienced Marbury first hand, I think this move would be a mistake with more downside than up for the champs. At least Boston will avoid one controversy right off the bat - no Celtic is currently wearing #3 so Marbury's jersey number will indeed match his skull.

Fantasy Impact

Barring an injury to Rajon Rondo, Marbury should not be a big fantasy contributor in Boston while the team is competing for playoff position. He should see around 15-20 mins a night backing up Rondo at the point and playing some two guard when the team is looking for an offensive spark. Come April if Boston has locked up the one seed, you could see the team resting Rondo for the playoffs, making Marbury an intriguing option in the fantasy basketball playoffs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dodgers Working With Boras To Buyout Andruw Jones So They Can Sign Manny

MLBTraderumors.com nailed this gem. I can't even accurately explain exactly what is going on, but here is the link to MLBTR's version and the link to T.J. Simer's article at the L.A. Times. The way it sounds the Dodgers would have save $12 million of the near $22 million Jones is owed this year. This could come via buyout or trade, with the dealings going directly through Scott Boras.

UPDATE 1/2: JONES CONTRACT RESTRUCTURED


I know that sounds odd, so please read the above links for further clarification.

MLB.com had another version of this story that makes a bit more sense. A deferred buyout, where Jones would get the money owed to him over the course of many seasons. The only other time I could remember this happening was when the Mets boughtout Bobby Bonilla in 2000. Under terms of that agreement, Bonilla would be paid nearly $1.2 million every year from 2011 to 2035, which is stunning considering Bonilla was only signed on for one more season at $5.9 million. Maybe Bobby Bo was some sort of soothsayer and had an idea of the economic difficulties the country would be facing now. Keep in mind that was back in 2000. Can you imagine what Boras will ask them to pay per year now?!?!

When asked for a comment about the Jones' buyout situation, Dodger's GM, Ned Colletti gave the ever damning, ""We can't confirm that and right now we don't have a comment." The story is so strange, wouldn 't Colletti have come out and denied it if it wasn't true? His lack of a clear comment only furthers the belief that there is something to this and it is already in the works.

Boras again is making himself the center of attention this off season. In a year where teams are being more and more financially responsible, it seems like he'll go to any length to get his guys big time money. With word coming down the San Francisco Giants are entering the bidding war, it seems like Boras is doing his best to get a legit bidding war going on, so Manny can get closer to that 4 year $100million contract he wanted. I doubt he gets it, however would anyone now be shocked if someone handed Manny a 3 year $75 million deal?

We speculated here what team would really be the best fit for Manny and explain why. The answer might surprise you.

Mets Gonna (B)Lowe It

Word has come down from the New York Post that free agent righty Derek Lowe isn't thrilled with the Mets first contract offer to him. In fact, sources told the Boston Globe that the Lowe has already told agent Scott Boras to field offers from other team that are more inline with their contract expectations. The Mets' offer is said to be worth $36 million over 3 years and is well below the 5 year $90 million Boras said the righty was looking for in the off season. The Post article went on to say that the Mets are prepared to wait out Lowe and aren't prepared to increase their offer to him that much.

We said earlier that the Mets shouldn't dabble
around and try to play a game of financial chicken with Scott Boras. The Red Sox thought they were in the driver's seat for Mark Teixeira and wound up standing when the music stopped. The Mets need a starter. A veteran, who can stablize the middle of the order and give them consistent innings every fifth day. Lowe fills their needs perfectly as will he blend in very well with the Met defense behind him.

It is silly for the Mets to think that they are in the driver's seat and that Boras will at some point come groveling to them and accept these initial terms. The first offer they made has already rubbed Lowe the wrong way and they shouldn't be playing hard to get when they are the ones who are trying to do the getting.