Tuesday, March 03, 2009

So Guess What Everyone Is Still Talking About?

"Put your hands on the wheel
Let the golden age begin."

So days after the fact, people still can't get by the Matt Cassel trade, and I guess it is justifiable when you consider the return, the fact that Cassel is a comparable starting QB, and Mike Vrabel's impact on the Pats throughout the years. However, what people have to understand is that they, themselves, maybe do not understand everything that goes into these negotiations. The market was shallow, the Denver-Tampa Bay three-way didn't come in until after the KC deal was done...I think we really need to move on. If anything, the thing I take away from this is that if Tampa and Denver had to wait until a proposed deal was announced to conjure up on of their own, they don't really have any balls. I mean how else am I supposed to look at this? A Pats-KC trade is rumored as being done, and all of a sudden, Tampa and Denver suddenly enter into the equation with a better deal? This is also the sign of two teams with two new regimes taking over, and at least to me, it's obvious that their heads were in different places. Denver was too busy signing free agents. Tampa was too busy cutting their entire roster. If they really had any "real" discussions about Cassel, then I would think they would have been brought up when the Pats were shopping him to every team that would listen, and not wait until a deal was done to lay down their deal. In the end, the Pats may have been impatient, but their impatience is also justifiable because from all that I hear, the Chiefs were the only legitimate suitors. So, did we guess less in return than we should have? Probably, but the fact remains that the Pats have $18 million and another second-round pick. I know we were ready for a landslide of bounty to come our way, but the market dictated that it would not, and that's the end of it.

Jason Taylor was released by Washington yesterday apparently over an off-season workout clause in Taylor's contract which he was not willing to uphold. The obvious question now is what this could potentially mean for the Pats in an attempt to fill Vrabel's spot at OLB. Despite spending most of his career at defensive end, Taylor has the speed to move to the outside and become a speed-rusher. I know many in this area have been clamoring for Julius Peppers, which in a perfect, non-money related world I would love, but in the real world just doesn't make sense for the Pats right now. In Taylor, you have a player who is similar to Peppers in ability, albeit older (Taylor will be 35 at the start of the '09 season, Peppers is 28), but the financial commitment will be nowhere close to what Peppers will command (consider this: in cutting Taylor, the 'Skins will save $6.5 million next year; Carolina franchised Peppers for $16.5 million...again, kind of a financial disparity). So, basically what I'm saying is this: The Pats obviously would love to have Peppers, but they do not have the kind of cap structure to pull the trigger on that deal. With Taylor, you are looking at around a $4-5 million commitment for two years. All things considered, that's not a bad asking price. He fills a need, he's an upgrade from Vrabel and yet would be making about the same amount Vrabel would be...it makes sense. Sure, the Pats could gamble and wait for the draft, but Taylor, to me, has sky-rocketed to #1 on the OLB list, and if the Pats want him (and judging from the fact that they have tried trading for him for about five years, I would say they would), they are going to have to act swiftly (Tampa has already been rumoured to be concocting a deal).

The Pats re-signed James "The Colonel" Sanders to a three year, $9 million deal. However, I officially want it to be known that "we can do better" (the last part in quotes because I'm sitting at my computer talking out loud in my Kennedy voice). I like Sanders, but right now, they need someone who can at least push Sanders in terms of competing for the starting spot. I will continue to beat this into the ground, but Darren Sharper is the answer to the safety spot. Sharper will be going into his twelfth year, and yes, I realize that's a lot of years, but I believe we just said goodbye to a safety who was fifteenth year (Rodney) and one of the better safeties in the league just got a five-year deal in his thirteenth season (Brian Dawkins), so I can't really believe that just because a man is experienced doesn't mean he still can't play at a high level. Sharper is still at a Pro Bowl level. He has a nose for the ball, he has all the tools, and while I'm almost positive the Pats will not go after him based on the Sanders' signing, he is the guy. He would be perfect in this system playing next to Meriwether, who is definitely of the strong safety persuasion, but again, it's probably not going to happen. Still, I think you have to throw out the possibility, especially because of how weak the production was at that position last year.

The B's are on tonight against the Flyers. It pains me to do this, but I have to look back to the last game against the Caps and scratch my head. First of all, the B's just do not have the ability to close games out. Granted, they were not in the lead for a single, solitary second against Washington, but still, they tie the game up at three, send it to OT, and they couldn't really get anything going, which led to Semin's absurd goal from beyond the blue line. Second, the B's have got to get more consistent goaltending from the Thomas/Fernandez tandem. They allow four to the lowly Lightning, then get red-hot against the Panthers and Ducks, only to see it fall off again vs. the Caps. If the Bruins have any Cup aspirations, they are going to need these two to really come through for them. Of course in addition to the goaltending, the defense needs to improve. I've heard some rumblings about Chris Pronger, and while it would be an exciting possibility to have Chara and Pronger on the ice at the same time, the B's need to be wary as to what they are willing to give up. From the reports I've heard, a deal for Pronger will most likely have to involve Phil Kessel...okay, immediate red flag there. Any deal involving Kessel that does not include the name "Ovechkin" you simply cannot do (although I don't even think anyone here would like an Ovechkin-for-Kessel trade because everyone up here hates that guy). Kessel is young, he's a brilliant goal scorer, he's not even close to hitting his prime, he's signed for cheap money, he's one of the faces of the franchise...need I say more? If the B's are looking to improve on their blue line, and they absolutely should, they can't give up the cornerstones of the franchise. If you don't know what I mean by "cornerstone," here's an easy test. Take your favorite team, then go down the roster of players, and ask after each one "what if they traded this guy." If your face starts to look like you just ate a hot pepper, and you make any time of audible sound, that guy is a cornerstone. For example, Chuck Kobasew: (silence) Milan Lucic: "geeeessshhhh!" with the hot pepper face. I like Kobasew, and I think he's played so well in his time with the B's, but this team is poised to make a run for their first Cup in over 35 years, and right now, you have to do whatever is in reason to reach that ultimate goal. There has to be a list of "untouchables" though, because after all, it was those "untouchables" that played a huge role in getting you there in the first place. So, I like the idea that the B's will be buyers before the deadline (2:00 tomorrow) for the first time in quite a while.

Sources from ESPN Deportes, my favorite Spanish-speaking sports news outlet (and the one I have heard of) is reporting that Manny is about to sign a one year, $25 million contract with a player option worth $20 million in 2010. The reason this is of any note is that this has to be one of the most drawn-out contracts in the history of negotiations. Basically, the terms of this deal have been known for almost three months. We have known about the 25 mil, we've known about the player option, and yet there was a stalemate. So, in case you were curious, here, apparently, it is: Boras and the Dodgers, specifically GM Ned Colletti, were in a deadlock over the amount of deferred money. The deferred money aspect was an especially prudent issue considering how Manny's last deal with the Sox was laid out. The contract he received back in 2000 called for a fairly good amount of the back-end of the deal to be deferred (from what I have gathered, $4 million from each year of Manny's deal from 2002-2008 will get paid in installments of $1.875 million each year from 2011-2026...so the last of his deal that he signed in 2000 will not be seen until 18 years after his last season). Also, think about how Ramirez ended up in Boston in the first place. Ramirez had $28 million of the 160 total deferred with Boston. While Cleveland offered a similar deal, their package included a substantially longer payout system, and that's how many became a Red Sox. So, this was not the first time that the payout schedule became a breaking point for Manny. While the deal is not official yet, and Manny still hasn't signed on the dotted line, it really makes you wonder about how greedy one man and one agent could actually be. Sure, there is an amount that will get deferred anyway, but from the early reports, the difference in Boras' and the Dodgers' figures was $5 million. Really? 11%? This is just a really poor message to be sending in these times. Everyone hates Boras because he's a ruthless, greedy individual, and I know that he's doing his job in terms of getting the most money in the shortest period of time, but are there not limits? Boras was going to hold Manny out of this season potentially over $5 million? The whole thing was just a giant waste of time. We knew where he was going, we knew what the deal was, why the hell couldn't they just get it done? The more it was in the press, the worse everyone looked...it just wasn't done very well, and this is not and likely will not be the last time we hear about Scott Boras churning out negative press about his clients, and furthermore alienating them from ball clubs (just ask your Boston Red Sox).

Random List: The Top 10 Shows That Have Come Out In The Last Ten Years:
  1. The Sopranos (1999)
  2. Family Guy (1999)
  3. The Office (2005)
  4. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)
  5. Scrubs (2001)
  6. Mad Men (2007)
  7. House (2004)
  8. Weeds (2005)
  9. The Wire (2002)
  10. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005)
Honorable Mentions: The Shield (2002), Rescue Me (2004), Heroes (because I feel like if I didn't mention it, people would slit my throat) (2007), Lost (same reason) (2004), 24 (2001), Arrested Development (2003)...and a side note, South Park did not come out until '97

Okay, one more...

The Top 10 Non-Bob Marley Reggae Songs:
  1. The Harder They Come- Jimmy Cliff
  2. 54-46 Was My Number- Toots and The Maytals
  3. Israelites- Desmond Dekker and The Aces
  4. Legalize It- Peter Tosh
  5. Armagideon Time- Willie Williams
  6. Rivers Of Babylon- The Melodians
  7. Books Of Rules- The Heptones
  8. Police And Thieves- Junior Murvin
  9. I Am The Upsetter- Lee "Scratch" Perry
  10. Here I Come- Dennis Brown
Honorable Mentions: Natty Rebel- U-Roy, Marcus Garvey- Burning Spear, Many Rivers To Cross- Jimmy Cliff, Pressure Drop- Toots and The Maytals, A Love I Can Feel- John Holt

Okay, so I hope this was helpful, and if anything, you got some tunes you should definitely check out. I actually have to go to work tomorrow, so I will be seeing everyone very soon. Cheers. Peace.


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