With no Gopher game until the weekend I should probably figure something else out to blog about this week. I also haven't done the random writing whatever strikes my fancy post in quite some time. The perfect storm!
- First off, don't forget to play this awesome time-waster of a game. It's basketball on the computer, so it's like basketball for white people. So far since I posted yesterday it's been played 45 times and I'm still the champion. I'm like the Blake Hoffarber of fake basketball. Try to beat me, I dare you. Come on, you're really not all that important at work, trust me. Just don't forget to put in a nickname so you can claim credit for your pitiful score.
- Speaking of basketball for white people, there's some not-at-all-rednecky guys trying to start up a basketball league for white people. According to the league's founder, "Moose" Lewis, "people of white, American born citizens are in the minority now" and the whiteys only league is a league "for white people to play fundamental basketball, which they like" rather than a league like the NBA which is just "street ball" played by "people of color."
This guy is a genius. A likely sociopath, but a genius all the same. Are you telling me you wouldn't want to watch a league where Blake would be an athletic superstar? Or watch Kirk Penny take David Grim to the hole? And imagine someone like Ryan Anderson in that league? He'd be like the white Larry Bird. Granted this idea is about sixty years too late, but who says we can't turn back the clock? Look at John Travolta or Julio Franco.
Credit given to With Leather, which is where I saw the story and also where I ganked that sweet image from above.
- Ok, with news from 1950 out of the way now we can get to the real important stuff: all those Twins' signings today. In case you missed it, the team signed all 8 of its arbitration eligible players today. Let's look:
- Brendan Harris, 2 years/$3.2 million. Interesting that Harris got two years on his deal, and it's good for him because he gets about a $1 million raise over his salary last year. I'd feel a lot better about this if he was the team's #1 utility guy but you know that's going to be Punto. Since Gardy refuses to play Harris at second and Hardy is hear now the Twins are now paying $1.6 mil per year for either a backup utility player who will get 250 at-bats which sucks or for their starting third baseman which sucks because that means Harris is the starting third baseman.
- Carl Pavano, 1 year/$7 million. That feels like an awful lot to pay Pavano, but if he stays healthy he's good for 200 innings and although his ERA was high last year it probably shouldn't have been because his secondary pitching stats were all pretty solid and his xFIP (Fielding Independant Pitching, sort of a way to attempt to quantify what you would expect a pitcher's ERA to be based on his secondary stats) was a nice 3.96. Fangraphs actually pegged his estimated value at $16.5 million last year and estimates it will be $13 million this year. Seems high, but if he stays healthy and pitches like he did last year that $7 million will be a steal.
- J.J. Hardy, 1 year/$5.1 million. Pretty much a no brainer after picking him up for Gomez and the Twins probably saved a little money by not going to arbitration. Even in a down year, and last year was way, way down, he's probably worth more than $5 million, so this is a good deal for the Twins.
- Matt Guerrier, 1 year/$3.15 million. Heath Bell just signed a 1-year/$4 million deal with the Padres, and it's hard for me to believe Guerrier is worth anywhere near what Bell is. But then you look at the numbers: 2.36 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, a league-leading 79 games and 76 very good innings, and I suppose he is worth quite a bit. A classic case of passing the numbers test but not the eye test, and since I'm a numbers guy I have to approve of this one, even if his middle name is Olson.
- Delmon Young, 1 year/$2.6 million. If he has that breakout season $2.6 million is a steal. If we keep saying "if he has that breakout season" over and over again, eventually those "low-salary" seasons are going to add up to a whole lot of wasted time.
- Jesse Crain, 1 year/$2 million. $2 million for a player who hasn't been good since 2005? I still have no idea why they offered him arbitration. Let him go and I almost guarantee the Royals would have signed him, then the Twins get to light him up 18 times or whatever. Win/win.
- Francisco Liriano, 1 year/$1.6 million. Good thing they didn't give him an Evan Longoria deal after that hot start in 2006, huh? Still, similar to Delmoney, if he does come all the way back $1.6 is a steal. Expect fluff pieces about how good Liriano's looked to start flooding in all spring training. Oh wait! They've already started (scroll down a bit, the actual article from pioneer press is already in the archives).
- Pat Neshek, 1 year/$625k. Pretty good living for never pitching, no? Is he ever coming back? Is he even still alive? Did he change his name to Clay Condrey and start pitching overhand?
- I feel like I should probably apologize to Andy Rautins. I know somewhere on this stupid blog I called something like "a shooting specialist who can't shoot" and although that might have been true in the past (37% field goal shooter his first three years) it certainly isn't anymore and he's a huge reason the Cuse are 18-1 and a viable national title contender. He's increased his shooting percentage to 46%, including 41.7% from three (#2 in the Big East amongst players with at least 100 attempts), and he basically runs the offense for the Orange in the halfcourt. Perhaps most telling, he's averaging the same amount of points as last year in the same amount of minutes but is taking 1.5 less shots per game and has upped his assists from 3.0 per game last year to 5.1 this year, good for fourth in the Big East. That, my friends, is how you take the senior year leap. Eric Harris did it. Travarus Bennett did it. Damian Johnson is trying to do it. And Lawrence Westbrook can go to hell.
- Finally, I've read two very disappointing books in a row ("Pirate Latitudes" by Michael Crichton which I would give a 1/10 and "Altar of Eden" by James Rollins which I would give a 5/10 but usually his books are at least an 8 so that's why it was a bummer) so I'm think I'm going to branch out and give this book a roll. I'll keep you posted, but it sounds pretty interesting. Plus I am a pretty big fan of sports gambling. Biggest downside here is that it could make me want to quit my job, leave my family, and move to Vegas. Or is that the upside?