Thursday, November 09, 2006

Don't Worry About Matzusaka

Oh they put in a bid, but it ain't happening...

The bidding for 26 year old Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matzuska, you know, "gyroball" guy, is officially over, and his current club, the Seibu Lions, have been informed of the highest offer. Now these offers the Lions are receiving are just for the opportunity to negotiate with the winning team over a 30-day window. That's right. Just because a team is willing to fork over upwards of $20 million does not even guarantee they will end up signing this guy. Worst of all, Matzusaka is represented by "superagent" Scott Boras, and we all know that the price is going to be inflated heavily because of this fact, reportedly ranging from $10-12 million a year. The teams reportedly submitting bids are your Boston Red Sox, the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, and the Cubs. So you can see, the Yankees are amongst the teams interested, so right there, it's all over for the Sox. There is absolutely no way the Yankees are about to get outbid by us. No chance. Also, the Sox will always play conservative with overseas talent after the Yankees burned them on the Contreras negotiations. Apparently, a wild card in these dealings is Texas, whose owner, Tom Hicks, is looking for "one more good young arm" and may be willing to make a splash in the offseason market. So it may be the Rangers, and not the Sox, who are driving up the price on the prized young Japanese pitcher. They say we will have an answer by Friday on who won, but I'm telling you, the guy is getting fit for his pinstripes right now. It's not a question of "if" but "when" will this guy become a Yankee.

Another note on the Sox front, they just re-signed Alex Cora to a two-year contract. This could be one of the most underrated moves of the offseason for not only the Sox, but for anyone. Cora is a guy who is so fundamentally sound in the field and, surprisingly, can come off the bench and provide a little pop when needed. Also, he can play three infield positions (second, third, short). This kind of guy is invaluable coming off the bench. A utility infielder who is multi-dimensional and, when you put him in, the lineup doesn't skip a beat. So, the first good move was that one. Second, declining Keith Foulke's $7.5 million option. Good move. However, this has a chance to end up biting them if Foulke decides to exercise his player option, which would give him $3.75 million for next year. If the Sox then don't want him to pitch, they would not only have to pick up that option, but would have to give Foulke a $1.5 million buyout, which means Foulke would be owed $5.25 to not pitch next year. $5.25 million seems steep even if he were to pitch, let alone not pitch at all. Hopefully he will see the writing on the wall and try and "test the market," even though you have to know he will not get nearly as much as he got three years ago when he signed with the Sox. Theo has basically made it known that the Sox are in the hunt for a closer. Who that will be is clearly unknown. As I reported before, Danys Baez, Joe Borowski, and Brad Lidge through a trade are their best options. Then again, the Sox have seen a decline in the output they get from their moves over the past few years, so it remains to be seen if they follow the "smart" path and go after one of these established guys.

The 49ers have stopped talks with the city of San Francisco about building a new stadium around the Candlestick Park area. Instead, the team is looking at the Santa Clara area to build. On the outside, you would think that the city of San Francisco would be losing a lot of revenue by allowing the Niners to skip town, but you have to look at the logistics of the deal to realize how little sense the 49ers' proposition was to understand why it ain't happening. The amount of infrastructure, including boosting the public transportation situation and building an enormous parking garage, would have cost somewhere between $600-800 million. Also, the expected project would not have been completed until at least the 2012 season, creating a giant construction headache for the city in the next five years. Also, the Niners have not exactly done very much to persuade the city to spring for a new stadium. This team is the doormat of the NFL right now. This has everything to do with the hard salary cap. Before then, under the regime of GM Eddie DeBartolo, the Niners were a free-spending squad, having the ability to lock up most of their key players (Montana, Craig, Taylor, Rice to name a few) for the bulk of their careers and during their collective primes. Now, with the cap in place, and new owners not willing to unload like their predecesors, the Niners are in ruins. So, perhaps a change of scenary would be good for this once-proud franchise. This team has the potential to be good, however, it made a couple of key mistakes. The first, and most obvious to me, was drafting Alex Smith with the first overall pick two years ago. Why didn't they just trade down? Seriously, a team with that many needs should be looking to acquire as many picks as they can possibly get. Same thing happened this last year with the Texans. The Niners have gaping holes in their defense. Letting Julian Peterson walk this year to Seattle was another big mistake. Just letting their best defensive player by far slide on past is not the way you win in the NFL. The thing about it is that the Niners are in easily one of the weakest divisions in all of football, save for the NFC Norris. A division title in the next few years is certainly a possibility, but they are going to need to make some moves over the next couple years. Antonio Bryant has turned out to be a good acquisition, and Frank Gore has blossomed this year into a legitament starting running back in the league. There is promise on the offense, but there needs to be more emphasis on the defense, especially the secondary, in the next few years for this team to start talking about playoff contention.

I know I'm kind of late on this, but what's with Kobe switching his number from 8 to 24? Are you serious? He says this suppose to be like "turning a new leaf?" Yikes dude. Apparently he has no idea how much money he is costing the Lakers and the NBA in general. 24? For a basketball uni? Not a good look there. I'm trying to think of noteworthy 24's in the last decade or so and all I can think of is Jamal Mashburn. Anyway, someone should have put a stop to that before Kobe got the ball rolling. Look at what happened to Reggie Bush. If you know me, you know this has been something that really "grinds my gears." Bush made it known he wanted #5 and was going to give 25% of all jersey royalties he received to the Katrina fund. Although he is still doing the same with his #26, Bush will always be known as #5 from USC. There are no household names wearing #5 in the NFL, but the league decided against it, citing that single-digit numbers are reserved for quarterbacks and kickers/punters. I was actually going to buy a #5 Saints jersey, just because Reggie Bush is an incredible talent, and also, that jersey (was gonna get the away white by the way) looked incredibly tight. Anyway, if the NFL can stop Bush from choosing his number, why couldn't the NBA do the same? Kobe is #8. Again, outside of Spree, there aren't a whole lot of #8's that are big names. I think once you have a number that people associate with, you should not be able to change under any circumstances. Do you remember Jordan as #23 or #45? Exactly. When you say certain numbers, you can associate them with the greats of all time (#99, #33, #66, for us #4, #9, and your favorite, #12). Kobe should change back. Jordan did it, Kobe should as well.

Stick a fork in the Giants, they're all done. Amani Toomer went down with an ACL injury and is out for the year. You couple that with the temporary loss of Strahan and Umenyiora, this team is about to go on a free fall in the next few weeks. Losing those guys for this stretch, which includes a home encounter with the Bears, on the road against the upstart Jags, and a big divisonal rematch with the Cowboys at home. Now, though, teams will be able to pay extra attention to Plaxico and Shockey and allow the Giants to try and depend on the run and intermediate passing to guys like David Tyree. On the other side of the ball, the G-Men have no pass rush. Their secondary has been banged up all year, and without their outstanding D-ends, they will be put to the test in a big way the next few weeks. The Cowboys have found rejuvenation and, if hadn't been for one of the most bizarre finishes in NFL history, would have been one game back of the Giants in the NFC East. When I say the Giants are all done, this doesn't necessarily mean they won't make the playoffs. I mean the NFC is just that bad. But when you are the second ranked team in the NFC, you are expected to at least attempt to make the Super Bowl, but the Giants have fallen victim to the injury bug, and their collapse is almost inevitable.

Oh, one last thing, extremely large propers to Ryan Gomes, who scored his first triple-double of his career in the Celts first win of the year last night, an OT thriller against the Bobcats, ending on a last-second shot by Delonte West. That made this Celts fan, and Gomes owner, quite happy. Also, big up to Wally throwing down 35. Where was this last year?

That's all for now. If I think of something else, you'll be the first to know. Until then, go Scarlet Knights. Peace.


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