Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gophers' Kick-Off The Season

I was considering making this a live blog of the Gopher/UNLV tilt, but there area few issues with that:

1.  I don't care enough about the Gopher football team to write about it exclusively, even in one post.  Honestly off the top of my head right now I can name exactly one player, MarQueis Gray, and that's probably only because his name is so sweet.  It's not that I never watch the team.  I probably go to 2-3 games a year at TCF Bank and watch a handful more on the tv.  It's not appointment viewing like the hoops team, but if I'm home and they're playing I'm watching.  The problem is that every time I watch a game I immediately forget every player whose name I learned.  Plus the Gophers are always so shitty that nobody is ever good enough to notice until they get to their senior year, and then they're gone.  So it's really not my fault.

2.  The game starts way to late for an old man who doesn't care.  I don't want to start a live blog and then end up bailing at halftime because I passed out fell asleep. 

Instead, I will watch the game and may write a thing or maybe two things or maybe more.  I don't know.  What am I, Kreskin?

Naturally, to make the game interesting I am involved in some wagering.  I have the Gophers -2.5 as the third leg of a three-team, six-point teaser with Vandy already having hit (need BYU to win by 5.5 or more as well to win this), OVER 52 total points, OVER 25.5 total points first half, Gray OVER 11 completions, and whoever UNLV's boner running back is over 69.5 rush yds.  Should be a hoot.  As Jack Napier once asked, "You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

-  Great, it's 10:02 and I still haven't found the game because it's on some weird channel.  I assumed I'd be able to handle this.

-  BOOM!  I'm there and I didn't miss a minute of action.  Although I'm guessing that's not necessarily a positive thing.

-  Troy Stoudermire is still on this team?  This has gotta be like, year 7.  He's stuck around college longer than older brothers Damon and Salim combined at this point.

-  UNLV just picked off Gray in the redzone on a batted ball that was only batted because Gray threw the ball so directly to a linebacker on the Rebels that he was too stunned to actually catch it.  And this on the same drive where Gray missed a wide open guy for a TD a few plays after missing a wide open guy for a first down.  Gonna be a long year.

-  Seriously remember how like, when Glen Mason was here he'd get your hopes built up that maybe this Gopher team was different before ripping your heart out midseason in some gruesome, Mola Ram style?  It's nice to not have to deal with that anymore.

-  Good thing the Rebels are terrible.  Field Goal.

-  Official Gopher basketball schedule was released today and there's really no way to sugarcoat this - it's freaking awful.  Gopher Nation spent more time on it here than I'm going to, but basically even though the overall non-conference schedule is good (Duke and likely two other quality teams in the Battle for Atlantis and a trip to Florida State) but the home slate is awful.  Check it:
  • American - a powerhouse in the Patriot, but likely staring at a down year.  Terrible.
  • Toledo - terrible
  • Tennessee State - a top tier team from a bottom tier conference.  Not an NCAA Team, but sadly probably the second best home opponent.
  • Richmond - a mid tier team from a mid tier conference.  And that's strong praise for this slate.
  • North Florida - terrible
  • South Dakota State - best home NC opponent by a significant margin, yet still the kind of team that has to win their conference tournament to make the NCAA tourny
  • North Dakota State - terrible
  • Lafayette - terrible
Oof.   Gopher Nation (at the link above) does a nice job of spinning seven of the eight games (you can't spin the Lafayette game) and if you're optimistic you can actually make an argument for Toldeo and NDSU being better than terrible, but really this is awful.  The U is basically stealing money from season ticket holders with this crap.  Richmond, in a down year, should not be a highlight of the home NC schedule for your fans.  Gross.

-  Wow this is absolutely terrible.  The Gophers have punted like twice or something and UNLV can't really do anything.  Pretty sure the Vikings are going to win more games.

-  Jesus this is just like watching a Twins/Royals game.

-  Gray with three completions in the first quarter, which is technically on pace to cover my "OVER 11 Completions" bet.  Not on pace?  The over 25.5 first half and over 52 game.  It's 3-0.  And I think it's actually been worse than that so far.  No chance I'm getting to a second half.

-  Is there anything better than a d-back picking up a clearly incomplete pass and starting to run it back as if it was a fumble?  No.  There's not.

-  If Gray and this UNLV QB guy had a contest where the balls were actually rigged so if they hit a live person they'd explode and you had to stand there and let them throw at you from 10 yards away you'd die of old age.  Or boredom.

-  Do you want to know what sucks about the Twins' training staff's complete inability to diagnosis, recognize, or treat any kind of injury?  Besides of course making it take longer from injury date to return date on guys like Kyle Gibson?  If Matt Capps and/or Carl Pavano were healthy these last 9 months or whatever and actually pitching the Twins could get value out of them.  If they held on to them all year and they were at least not totally putrid they could do that thing where you offer arbitration, then when they signed multi-year deals elsewhere the Twins would get draft picks or, to be safer because god knows you don't want Capps to sign anything to stay on your team, just trade them.  Assuming Pavano was doing his usual 200 innings, 4.50 ERA thing you know somebody'd give up something for him.  And Capps?  Even though he sucks he could be great Dodger bait right now.

The Dodgers' closer, Kenley Jansen, was just shut down indefinitely because of a heart condition.  This is a team so desperate to win and win now they took on a shitload of possibly dead money just to acquire a slugging first baseman (and a disgruntled pitcher) and gave up a couple quality pitching prospects for the privilege.  You're telling me at this point they're not panicking?  That they wouldn't overpay to get a "known closer" with 150 career saves (which he'd have if he pitched all year) and who had 42 just two seasons ago?  I mean, yeah he sucks, but teams are idiots about the save statistic, and team's who are panicking are even dumber.  Then add in their desperation to win and keep relevant compared to the Angels, the billions they falling out of their asses, and "shiny new toy" syndrome the new owners are falling prey too and you know the Twins could fleece them.  Well, I should say a normal team could fleece them, the Twins would probably end up trading Kyle Gibson along with Capps to get a slap hitting middle infielder.  Because lord knows they don't have enough of those.

-   Gopher TD!!!  I have no idea what happened.

-  These pictures of Vegas make me want to go gamble and play craps at the Tropicana.  Seriously, Tropicana is the second best craps run of my life.  First would be the San Remo, which is now Hooters, which is probably the most depressing thing ever.  That place blows now.

-  I know you can win in college ball with a QB who doesn't throw very well but who can run like a mo-fo, I know this.  But I really don't like it.  I want a QB who can sling that pill like Mox.  Is that so much to ask?

-  Gophers miss a 10 yard field goal with a minute to play in the half.  I'm going to bed.  All my bets suck.  The Gophers suck again.  This is all highly annoying.

-  And for the record no, I have not danced with the devil in the pale moonlight, but it sounds sexy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gophers @ UNLV Week 1 Preview

Where's Moses Scurry?

The Gophers open the 2012 season under the Thursday night lights (great show) at Sam Boyd Stadium.  Since I'm going there to watch the game and potentially Ben Sanderson myself, I'm going to have to hit you with the game preview early in the week. 

In many ways the UNLV football team is the Mountain West version of the Gopher football team.  They're young and scuffling to make it out of the bottom of their conference standings and into respectability.  Except that the Mountain West Conference seems to change each time you look at it and some of the better teams (BYU, Utah and TCU) have run off to other conferences.  Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State join the conference for 2012 and Utah State and San Jose State will join in 2013 after Boise State and San Diego State bolt for the Big East of all places.

The Sagarin ranking for UNLV is #140, while Minnesota is slotted at #82.  Vegas books have Minnesota at a 8 or 8.5 point favorite.  So, the Gophers are bound to roll, right?  There are a lot of reasons to think that is possible or even probable, but if you're not gun-shy for this non-conference tilt you've probably drank away all memory of September 2011.  Props to you for finding a way to obliterate those memories.

Check the slacks!


Head Coach Bobby Hauck enters his 3rd season after winning only two games each of the first two seasons.They've shuffled around the other coaches in a confusing game of musical chairs. The former DC is now assistant head coach and linebackers coach.  Former assistant coach, defensive backs coach and "pass-game coordinator" J.D. Williams is now the defensive coordinator.  The TE coach Brent Meyers is now the OC.  If you didn't understand any of that, just know that they're the same dudes, but with different titles, which ALWAYS works.

Marcus Sullivan Flails at an Errant Pass



Caleb Herring has been beaten by RS Freshman Nick Sherry for the starting quarterback position.  Sherry is big (6'5", 240lbs) and is more of a traditional pocket passer than Caleb.  That could prove useful since UNLV was 118th in passing with just under 110 yards per game.  *puke*  UNLV has a couple of Junior RBs that are effective with Tim Cornett and the smaller Bradley Randle.  Similar to the Gophers, there are a lot of young WRs looking to step forward, most notably Marcus Sullivan, Taylor Spencer and Marquis Thompson.  Sullivan has been off the practice field of late due to injury and if he plays Thursday will not be 100%.  The line is also very young with Boyko, Jefferson and Waterman starting as freshman last year; but at least they have experience now. 

Sidney Hodge will tackle your neck off.


The defense was 118th nationally in points allowed per game at 40.4.  They were especially stinky in pass defense.  Kellen Moore likely pleasures himself to his game tapes against UNLV.  They do return a decent defensive back in Junior Sidney Hodge, so he can try and shut down one side of the never-ending waves of Gopher receivers that will be thrown at the Rebels.  Senior John Lotulelei was the leading tackler at linebacker and has too many vowels in his name.  UNLV also has this odd thing about moving QBs to the defensive side.  A backup LB is a former QB and James Boyd, a transfer from USC is a DE.  Boyd apparently has some upside at his new position.  Tyler Gaston is a DT that is supposedly pretty good.  I know this because I looked at the "blue ribbon preview" and he's the only UNLV player listed on the All Mountain West team.

His mustache ride will end you.

Who Wins?

This game is less about the opponent and more about how much the Gophers improved in the off-season.  This is an early litmus test, but it could set the tone for the entire season.  A loss here and it's last season all over again -- a win sends them to a home opener against New Hampshire who just uses their football team as a proving ground for making the checking line on their pucks squad.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves too much, but if the Gophers have a 2-0 start maybe the student section will stay for four quarters for game three vs. Western Michigan before jell-o shotting themselves into oblivion.

Can the Gophers show composure traveling to Las Vegas and imposing their will despite some potentially tough conditions?  We've heard how much bigger and stronger the offensive line is. If this is the case, they should dominate on the ground and a more experienced MarQueis Gray should be able to use that to carve up the secondary through the air.  The defense should be in Nick Sherry's face early and often.  The veterans at linebacker and the man-beast that is Ra'Shede Hageman should control the run.  This is a Rebels team that should not be able to match up.  It's time for all of the work and preparation that the players and the staff and the media have all been talking about to show results on the field.
I expect the travel and first game jitters to make much of the first half too close for comfort for most Gopher fans.  However, eventually I think the Gophers settle into control and take over this game.  If you're joining me in Vegas I think the smart play might be a UNLV bet on the 1st half line if it's around +6 or +7 and a bet on the under 56.  If the line stays at -8.5 or better, I'd even plunk something down on the Gophers, but that might be because I have a horrible addiction. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why the Gophers Will Win More Games than the Vikings


In 2012, the Minnesota Golden Gopher football team will win more games than the Minnesota Vikings

There, I said it.  Neither of these teams are going to set the world on fire, of course.  This is more like a race between me and a one-legged dog dragging his ass across the ground. (the dog wins by a stump)  This is a matter of looking at two teams and their opponents and their potential to exceed expectations.  Point blank, there is very little chance the Vikings exceed expectations, but there is a chance that the Gophers will. Here are the top 5 reasons the Gophers will win more games than the Vikings this year.

I own TRE

The Schedule 

The Vikings start with a couple of winnable games early, but unfortunately, these are games where Adrian Peterson may not play or at least will have a reduced role.  Luckily, MJD might be holding out as well, so we might see a 6-3 shootout on Sept 9 vs Jacksonville.  The biggest problem with the Vikings' schedule is that the other teams in their division are much better than they are.  They could easily go 0-6 against Detroit, Green Bay and Chicago.  Winnable games include JAC, @IND, @WAS, ARI, @SEA, @STL. Only two of those games are home games though.  On the plus side, two of their three wins last season came on the road.

2012 Golden Gopher Schedule
Aug. 30at UNLV10:00pm
Sep. 8New Hampshire11:00am
Sep. 15Western Michigan11:00am
Sep. 22Syracuse7:00pm
Sep. 29at Iowa11:00am
Oct. 13Northwestern11:00am
Oct. 20at WisconsinTBA
Oct. 27PurdueTBA
Nov. 3MichiganTBA
Nov. 10at IllinoisTBA
Nov. 17at NebraskaTBA
Nov. 24Michigan StateTBA
The Gophers start with four games that they are likely to be the favorite in, with the possible exception of a solid Western Michigan team.  Then they go to Iowa to try to hold the Floyd of Rosedale trophy for a 3rd consecutive year.  Games at Wisconsin, at home versus Michigan (58-0) and at Nebraska are all virtual locks to be losses.  They've played Michigan State well and games like Northwester, Purdue and Illinois are winnable. 


Christian Ponder was a first round pick by the Vikings one year ago and was thrown into the fire in 2011.  He showed flashes and ended up with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, completing 158 of 291 pass attempts.  At times, he showed poor accuracy, but does appear to have an NFL caliber arm.  He has a tendency to roll out to his right side when the pocket breaks down and I wonder if/when defenses will start scheming for this.  I thought he was a reach at the time (Ryan Mallet lover alert) and although he hasn't been a total poopstain, I'm not sure there's a lot of upside there.

MarQueis Gray finally got his first full year at QB for the Gophers last year.  He only passed at a 50.7% clip and threw 8 TDs against 8 INTs, but whoa nelly can he run!  Gray ran for 966 yards and 6 TDs and had 3 games where he ran for 160+.  Not bad for your first year under center.  Think about this: he had 23 pass attempts total in the two years prior.  He's entering his senior year at the same position with the same coaches, which hasn't happened the Carter administration.  (FACT)  The Gophers' success this year will be directly attributed to how big of a leap that Quis can make in 2012.  I think it will be significant.



Young Players with Tremendous Upside

Anyone know who the Vikings drafted?  A tackle and a white defensive back from Notre Dame, right?  Anyone else?  Me either.  Actually, superfast corner Josh Robinson looks intriguing and Greg Childs out of Hawaii had some potential (RIP, Greg),  but I won't let that get in the way of a good story.  How about second year guys?  Something called Mistral is starting in the secondary I think.  One second year guy I do like is Kyle Rudolph.  That dude is a stud. Let's hope while Ponder (also a 2nd year guy) is running for his life he lobs it to Kyle from time to time. 

Virtually the entire Gopher team is young.  Many played as freshmen and more freshmen and sophomores (duh) will get time this year.  Gray and linebackers Keanon Cooper and Mike Rallis are some of the elder statesmen and hopefully they can provide leadership.  Many Gopher recruits were not super-highly rated by various publications, but we've seen Kill find diamonds in the rough at both Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois.  He poops on your publications.  Skill positions players like Harbison, McDonald, Maye and Nelson are all exciting.  There are some massive o-lineman that are underclassmen and well get opportunity.  The DEs other than Wilhite are young.  Even some of the old guys are new guys since they're Juco transfers.  This is the gift and the curse of the Brewster regime.  The slate has been virtually wiped clean there's plenty of opportunity for players to surge up the ranks like DWG climbing the Class E softball batting leaders.


I think the Vikings suffer greatly from a lack of depth.  If you look at the chart, we're an ACL away from Larry Dean and Tyrone McKenzie.  Former Minnesota Timberwolve Chris Carr is also on the two-deep.  God forbid we get into Quentin Saulsberry territory. 

On the flip side, the Gophers, while young seem to have depth at QB, offensive line and even at wide receiver (WHAT?).  My friend and honored scrub @FrothyGopher thinks the secondary is as deep as it's been since the Wacker era.  There are competitions and possible rotations all over the place, and this time I think it may not necessarily be because everyone sucks!

The Head Coaches

Leslie Frazier is just kind of a drip.  He knows football, but he kind of mopes around and bores the pants off of everyone.  My guess is there's a constant loop of the superbowl shuffle running through his head and it's driving him crazy. 

Jerry Kill gets so damned fired up that he seizes on the sidelines (please don't do that this year).  He's passionate and has a little twang in his voice that we all enjoy.  Also, he looks like a Gopher, how awesome is that?  I think that if you spend time around Kill you can see that players respect him and are buying what he is selling.  Of course, that's much easier to have happen in the college game.

Anything Can Happen in College Football

With a few big players stepping forward, teams can make titanic leaps in college football.  I'm not projecting tintanic, but I am expecting improvement.  Also, in college, big players can carry a whole team.  See Denard Robinson or Robert Griffin III or maybe a Montee Ball/Russell Wilson combo.  In the NFL, you need a great all around team to be succussful.  Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen are possibly the best players at their respective positions, and the team stunk like my dog's breath last year.  The point is, a leap by a few players can make a significant impact this year.


Both of these teams are not going to be great.  In fact, they are probably both 4-6 win teams.  However, the beauty of a 6 win Gopher football team is they're back in a bowl!  "Postseason!" If you put a gun to my head (you wouldn't be the first, you jerk).  My months of calculations say the Gophers win 5 games this year and the Vikings win just 4.  So, watch the Vikings, hope for them to improve or for Joe Webb to take over or for the Metrodome to cave in again.  But also, watch the Gophers...who knows, they just might play an extra game at the ALAMO BOWL or something.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Twins Prospect Update

With the Twins having been completely out of it since the second week of the season your thoughts end up turning to the future.  Then, when you realize all those guys suck too, you dig a little deeper into the younger prospects.  With that in mind, here are the first 10 guys I thought of to check on in the Twins' system.  They might not be the top 10 guys, but they're all definitely guys who, at one point or another, were well thought of in the system and most still all are.  I didn't look up Alex Wimmers because he blew out his arm and is thus dead to me because, much like the Twins' brass, I don't believe in that sissy shit like surgery.  If it can't be fixed with spit, dirt, or leeches then I'm not interested.
Twins training staff in action

1.  Miguel Sano, 3B, Beloit (A).  You probably know who this guy is because he's universally hailed as the Twins top prospect with Baseball America ranking him #18 in all of baseball and ESPN slotting him at #28.  And in a season full of disappointment, Sano has delivered once again with a .262/.382/.526 line with 25 dingers in single-A.  His average and power have dipped a bit from previous years and the .262 might not look that impressive, but considering he's only 19 (or so they say) it's nothing to get too worked up about especially considering his incredible power and plate discipline for that age.  He may end up out-growing 3B and end up at 1B or OF, but wherever he plays he can hit.  Plus he's built like an absolute monster.  I seriously can't wait for this guy to get to the bigs.  I might just get a Beloit jersey.  Also this,
Sano stood in the batter's box awhile to watch his homer against relief pitcher Carmine Giardiana. He trotted the bases, but virtually stopped a few feet before touching the plate, taking off his batting helmet as Kernels catcher Abel Baker barked at him.
Sano glared at the Kernels dugout after finally touching the plate, with Kernels players continuing to give him significant grief. He took a step toward Baker, and the dugouts began to empty, with umpires Fernando Rodriguez and Paul Clemons, as well as both teams' coaching staffs, doing a good job of squelching what could have been an ugly scene.
2.  Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Beloit (A).  Sano's teammate with the Snappers, Rosario also saw his numbers dip a bit with the promotion to A ball but also like Sano he's young (20) and the change isn't so drastic there's need to worry.  He's still hitting over .300 this year and although his slugging has dropped from high .600s to around .500 this season that's from a drop in homers as his doubles remain around the same.  Additionally, the move this year to second base means his offense is less important as long as he can field his position, so keep an eye on that.  Rosario was ranked #50 in the majors by ESPN and with the slight drop in production canceled out by the move to middle infield I'd expect him in about the same range next year.

3.  Byron Buxton, OF, Elizabethton (Rookie).  Buxton is the guy the Twins took #2 overall in this year's draft, and I'm interested to see what the early scouting on him is.  He hasn't exactly set the world on fire, hitting just .211 between two rookies leagues this year, but his OBP is impressive for such a low average and the biggest question on his was his power and he knocked out 4 homers in 102 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League.  His production won't matter for a couple of years - he'll continue to be highly rated based on potential and "toolsy-ness" - and he's just 18 and right out of high school afterall, but keep an eye on how he does repeating rookie ball next year.  My biggest fear is we have another Ndudi Ebi here.  And sure, I could have gone with Brien Taylor or Adam Johnson (go Twins) but come on, how many chances to you get bring up Ndudi Ebi in a conversation?

4.  Aaron Hicks, OF, New Britain (AA).  Buxton before Buxton was Buxton, Hicks was picked fourteenth by the Twins out of high school in 2008 as a toolsy guy and found himself ranked in the top 45 prospects by Baseball America each of the next three years, before being unranked this season due to diminishing returns.  Not that it's time to give up on him.  Athleticism doesn't just disappear unless you're Shawn Kemp or Willie Mays Hayes and there's no indication anything has happened to Hicks, he's just seen his numbers dip but this year has been a nice rebound in AA with basically his entire slash line going up (from .242/.354/.368 to .281/.381/.453) and a career high in homers with 12.  He's still just 22 and he's made a steady progression from Rookie ball to AA in his career thus far so there's no need to panic just yet, but next year is a big one for Hicks.

5.  Kyle Gibson, P, Fort Myers (A+).  If you're like me Gibson is one of the guys you care about the most, simply because he's a power pitcher with filthy stuff who struck guys out like it was his job (which it is) before getting hurt and needing Tommy John surgery (which I assume made the Twins' upper management happy since they'd probably hope he'd stop striking people out all the time).  He had made it all the way to AAA before he blew out the arm and although his numbers weren't great at Rochester they'd been stellar all the way through the system prior to that.  In his rehab so far this year (through 10 games between Rookie and A ball) he's put up an ERA of 2.55 with a 0.96 WHIP and 17 Ks in 17.2 innings vs. just 5 walks.  Good stuff.  Here's to hoping Gibson is in the rotation next season.  No, seriously, here's to hoping.  I have a vodka & tonic in my hand right now and I'm totally drinking it.

6.  Levi Michael, SS, Fort Myers (A+).  You probably remember Michael because he was the Twins' first round pick last season at #30, the 21-year old shortstop from North Carolina who everyone said like hurry up and get up to the majors because this SS situation blows.  Well don't hold your breath.  Despite Brian Dozier getting booted back to Rochester for some weird reason with two weeks left in the minor league season I don't think Michael will be there next year unless he gets some of those sweet Melky Cabrera roids.  He hit just .236/.327/.299 this year, and although the walk rate is nice pretty much everything else is awful, particularly he's Punto-ian lack of power.  Since he's a shortstop I'd make a comment on his fielding here, but I have to admit I have no idea what a .962 fielding percentage or 4.33 range factor mean, so instead look boobs:
Classic distraction technique
7.  Oswaldo Arcia, OF, New Britain (AA).  Arcia is an interesting case because he may have the best numbers of anybody on this list (possibly outside Sano) but he's never appeared on Baseball America's top prospects lists.  He hit .375 at Elizabethton in 2010, is hitting .315 this year between Fort Myers and New Britian, and has never hit below .290 once in five minor league seasons (.275 in 2009).   And he's done it the whole way with good power (more gap power, but he's still hit double-digits homers three times) and the last two seasons he's even learned to mix in some walks.  He's been so steady throughout his career I kind of think he's probably the most sure thing in the system.  He's still just 21 but in five seasons his career line between rookie ball and AA is .315/.371/.533.  Dude's a pure pimp, and he's finally starting to get recognized-getting a spot in the futures game this year (and going 1-2 with a double).  I'd bet he shows up on some lists somewhere this year.  CALLED IT.

8.  Jose Berrios, P, Elizabethton (Rookie).  This is the guy the Twins took at #32 this year with the draft pick they were awarded for losing husky camera whore Mike Cuddyer as an 18-year old out of Puerto Rico and he has been flat-out unhittable in rookie ball.  Between Elizabethton and the Gulf Coast League Berrios has thrown 25.2 innings with a combined ERA of 0.70 and WHIP of 0.55, striking out a staggering 43 while walking just 4.  Guys.  That's a 10-1 K-to-BB ratio.  Since hitting E-Town he's made two starts, going a total of 9 innings and allowing 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 runs, and striking out 16.  I mean holy F.  Small sample size and all yes, but, like the Shermanator, confidence is high.
Don't act like you didn't know exactly what I was talking about.
9.  Joe Benson, OF, New Britian (AA).  Benson's the one guy on this list we've already seen in the majors, putting up a .239/.270/.352 line in 21 games last season which was apparently enough to get Baseball America to name him the #99 prospect in baseball and for the Twins to assign him to AAA to start this year even though he'd never played there before.  And it was a disaster.  Benson hit just .179 in 28 games at Rochester before getting busted back to AA and then injured his wrist, required surgery.  The good news is that he completely tore up Rookie and A ball pitching upon his return.  The bad news is he's failed to break a .190 average at either AAA or AA this year with a Revere-esque slugging percentage and he's struck out nearly 30% of his at-bats through his minor league career.  I don't want to say he's a lost cause just yet, but at 24 it's time to shit or get off the pot.  Definitely the most disappointing guy on this list.  Like Cooper Manning.  Also this:
Look at this hair.  LOOK AT IT!
10.  Deolis Guerra, P, Rochester (AAA).   Although everyone on the list is more important to the future of the Twins, Guerra is someone I keep following because he's important to the past - the last link to the Johan Santana trade.   Humber is gone and threw a perfect game, Mulvey is dead or something I don't know, and Carlos Gomez was traded for J.J. Hardy (GOOD!) who was then traded for two shithead relievers (BAD!).  So Guerra is it.   There's good news and bad news here.  GOOD:  Dominated AA this year.  BAD:  Sucked at AAA, career ERA of 6 with a 5.55 this year.  BAD:  Basically has been given up on as a starter, not starting a game in 2012 and only 10 of 37 in 2011.  GOOD:  Has struck out more than a batter per inning since being turned into a full time reliever.  BAD:  Sucks.  GOOD:  Could maybe be a decent reliever.

So yeah.  The entire haul for Johan Santana has been 20 relief innings out of Humber where he got completely rocked, one+ inning out of Kevin Mulvey (that's it, really?) where he gave up 6 hits and 4 runs, two shitty fucking years of Jon Rauch who would later go on to fuck me over, two sometimes exciting but ultimately frustrating years of Carlos Gomez, an injury-plagued and mediocre year from J.J. Hardy (who would go on to become one of the best shortstops in the league the year after they traded him), and 24 absolutely crappy innings from one of the relievers they traded Hardy for, releasing the other one (or whatever) without getting a single major league inning out of him.  So yeah, you could say Guerra is pretty important even if his absolute upside is a decent set-up man.  Let's get 2-3 years out of him and call it a day.  Yes?  We all agree?  Sweet.  Time for some punch and pie.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm Back Now

What's up, nerds?  I've been in Denver this past week to visit Snacks, Mrs. Snacks, and new Baby Snacks and as such kept getting too drunk to post at night.  But now I'm back.  First, a few things about Denver:

1.  We went to a Rockies' game at Coors Field and I was impressed.  Very nice stadium, especially considering how old it is (relatively).  It reminded me quite a bit of the newer stadiums I've been too, including Target Field, but considering the Rockies' came into existence in 1993 and it went up a few years later, I was impressed.  Even more impressive was the security.  We had two tickets in their club level and two normal poor people tickets, so the plan was for me and the Mrs. to go into the club, then I'd go out with both tickets and get Snacks, then Mrs. W would go out and get Mrs. Snacks and everybody wins except for the Rockies.  The same scam Dawger used to get us into the Legends' Club at Target Field that worked flawlessly.  One problem - at Coors they're on the lookout for it.

When you go into the Club area they stamp the back of your ticket, and when you leave they stamp your hand.  Then when you try to get back in you can either show your stamp or you need an unstamped ticket.  If you have a stamped ticket but no stamp on your hand they won't let you back in.  Actually, Snacks managed to sweet talk his way in, but Mrs. Snacks was unable too.  So we all just went and sat somewhere else because nobody was there anyway because the Rockies totally blow.  Also Cuddyer didn't play that night which sucked because I wanted to be able to say I've booed him at two different parks for two different teams.  Ah well.

The other problem with Coors, besides the fun-hating, is that if you want to get a Rockies' shirt with one of their guy's names on the back you have almost zero options.  The only guys they had were Carlos Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, the manager, the mascot, or Giambi who I'm not even sure is on the team anymore.  I realize they're pretty faceless as a team and all, but when you can get an Alexei Casilla shirt at Target Field you'd think the Rocks would be a little more generous with the choices.

2.  Denver is right up there with Portland when it comes to homeless people, to the point where we could play the classic game, "Hippie or homeless" that we invented last time we were in Portland.  I'd give Denver the edge with the homeless dudes, but Portland wins for most hippies.  In both cities they're littered around the place to the point where you have to be careful you don't trip over anybody who is either passed our or sleeping on the ground.  Common denominators?  Horrid college basketball programs and a massive love of weed.  Drugs ruin lives, kids.  You'll either end up drunk under a bridge with a sign begging for money and claiming you're a veteran of some war or sleeping on the sidewalk with those weird holes in your ears wearing a knitted poncho and carrying around a skateboard.  Choose wisely.

3.   Denver was seemingly constructed by someone playing Sim City, and not just anyone but a child with severe ADD.  You can drive down a street and have some really nice bars next to some scary bars where you'd get murdered if you looked at them for too long.  Pretty much the same thing with houses - mansions next to houses that might actually currently be on fire.  Nothing makes sense.  A "long-term stay" business hotel a block from a Walgreen's in a neighborhood so bad the hotel clerk tells you "I wouldn't walk there."  A knock-off of Grand Avenue, but without any bars.  It was just weird and never made sense.  The only area I saw that made sense was the "Bail Bonds District", which was an intersection with seven different bail bonds places (no joke, seven.)  Normally you might feel a bit uneasy in that kind of neighborhood, but never fear because less than a block down was a restaurant that served things like duck liver mousse and escargot.  Bizarre.  Decent town, I had a lot of fun, but really kind of just ok. 

And that's that. Now for a couple real quick sports things because man am I tired:

1.  I kind of understand why the Nationals are planning on shutting Strasburg down when he hits 180 innings.  I completely disagree with it, however.   You're taking a positive (having Strasburg all year and for the playoffs) and eliminating it based on the fear of a negative (future arm issues for Strasburg).   I'm not 100% sure but I'm fairly certain there is no correlation between Tommy John surgery and future injuries, and Strasburg's surgery was basically two full years ago at this point, and it's generally said it takes 1 year to get back to normal.  His velocity is pretty close to what it was pre-surgery (pre = 97.3, current = 95.8) and although he's throwing his curve less it's been more effective - so yes, he's pretty much the same pitcher.  Smarter people and better writers than me (which is pretty much everybody) have tackled this already so I won't dwell on it, but it seems to me he's just as likely to get injured in his first Spring Training start next year, a random start in Mid-July next season, or at some point this year.  This is the opposite of taking a gamble - it's playing it safe to the extreme.  It's like having a 3-to-1 chip lead in a poker tournament and offering a 50/50 chop.  It's like getting 11 against a 6 in blackjack and not doubling down.  Horrid.

And if you're dead set on limiting him to 180 innings, why not skip a start earlier in the season here and there?  If you'd skipped a random start here or there vs. the Padres or Rockies or other shitty team he might still have 60-70 innings left instead of 40.  Or use him out of the bullpen.  Or do something.  By any metric you look at he and Gio Gonzalez have been the two most valuable players for the Nats this year, and Gio's probably been a little bit lucky while Stras is Stras.  I just don't get it.  How many shots do you really get at the playoffs?  Even if the future looks bright there's a billion things that could go wrong and this could be Washington's one and only shot.  And they're going to go into it without their best weapon.  Sad.  I almost hope Strasburg gets hurt early next year, but then I wouldn't get to watch him so I really don't.  Just almost.

-  I don't really want to talk Twins, so I won't much, but even if the lineup looks pretty much set already for next year (barring a trade of Morneau or Span) I'm very curious to see how the rotation turns out.  I mean, from 2-9 you have Mauer, Morneau, Carroll, Plouffe, Dozier, Willingham, Span, and Revere with Doumit your likely DH (along with M&M).  For better of for worse, that's probably what we're seeing next season.  They may sign a cheap free agent to help the middle infield like Jeff Keppinger (I would approve of this) or Maicer Izturis (I would not) or maybe some hitting type depth like Ty Wigginton (pass) or Ryan Spilborghs (omg gross) but basically that's your lineup.  The pitching though?

Lots of candidates.  Scott Baker will get a hell of a lot less interest as a free agent than he would have if he had, you know, pitched this year.  I can't see the Twins picking up his option at $9 million, but I can see them trying to resign him on the cheap so he could be back.  Pavano will hopefully not be around unless they can get him for super cheap, which again, may be possible since he's been injured nearly all year.  Nick Blackburn sucks donkey balls, but seeing as the Twins' are on the hook for $5.5m next year he's going to get every opportunity to be in the rotation.  Then you've got the young guys:  Scott Diamond (best pitcher on the team this and should be in the rotation next year for sure), Sam Deduno (his numbers mask how shitty he's actually been, but there is some potential here), P.J. Walters (remember when he had those couple good starts?), Cole DeVries (perfectly fits the teams no-walks no-Ks mandate), and Liam Hendriks (please god no).  Not to mention guys who have mainly been in the bullpen with starting experience in their past (Swarzak, Manship, Waldrop) and hopeful prospects (Gibson), guys picked up in trades (Pedro Hernandez), retreads (Luke French who the Twins apparently have), and guys I've never heard of (everyone at New Britain right now).

Let's be clear - it's a platter full of crap no doubt, but other than Scott Diamond nobody is guaranteed to be in the rotation next year.  You have four other spots and 13 possibilities (Baker, Pavano, Blackburn, Deduno, Walters, DeVries, Hendriks, Swarzak, Manship, Waldrop, Gibson, Hernandez, and French) not to mention a bunch of question marks at AA and the possibility the Twins sign a shitty free agent as per usual (Derek Lowe?  Joe Saunders? - both fit their shitty philosophy perfectly).  Free Agent wise your best (realistic) scenario is they find a way to sign Brandon McCarthy to a team friendly contract.  Worst case they sign one of the above dudes.  Actually worst case is they sign Dice-K, but I can't imagine even this team is that misguided.  It's a mess, but at least it's an interesting mess.  Or that's what I'm telling myself.  You have to be able to get a couple good pitchers out of 13 candidates, right?  Please?

- Lastly, can somebody help me out with the Luck vs. Robert Griffin III debate?  Luck started for three very productive years setting the single season and all-time records in the Pac-10 for completion percentage winning a dickload of awards (including two Hesiman runner-ups) and basically setting every Stanford record ever for a QB.  He also did it while running a pro-style offense under the tutelage of a former NFL QB, already known as a cerebral player, who then came in and made Alex Smith suddenly understand how to be an NFL QB, and did it while (in his senior season at least) basically calling all his own plays at the line like a second Peyton Manning.

Griffin won Big 12 freshman of the year in 2008 before missing 2009 with an injury, then had two awesome years culminating in a Heisman winning season in 2011 running the same offense under the same coach NFL superstars Case Keenum and Kevin Kolb ran in putting up insane numbers in college.  I get why Griffin is so tempting, particularly after Cam Newton's early season success, but if Newton doesn't get out to that hot start is Griffin even considered a rival to Luck at #1?  Everyone seems to point to his athleticism and runnability as to why he's so fascinating as a franchise player and granted his 4.41 forty-yard dash is a record for QBs and the 39 inch vertical is impressive, but he's not that far ahead of Luck, who ran a 4.67, had a 36 inch vertical, and actually beat RG3 in the broadjump at 10-4 vs. 10-0.  Actually Luck's measurables were very similar to Newtons (4.67 vs. 4.59, 36 inch vert vs. 35, and 10-4 vs. 10-6) and Luck's said to be a far better passer and the kind of guy who already understands the game at a veteran type level.

I'm not saying Griffin will be a bust, I'm just saying anyone comparing him to Luck is delusional at best.  And no I'm not just saying this as a fantasy smokescreen.  I'm taking Luck, assuming he's there for me. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Jerry Kill puns are still all the rage, so get ready for a boatload of them this season as our Gophers get ready to KILL the Big Ten.  Ok, maybe not, but there's some stuff going on in here that you might not know about.  Luckily, your good ol' buddy TRE is here to fill you in.

I've never seen Jerry so happy, thanks google images!

Like most Gopher football fans I have learned to deal with disappointment.  I self medicate. I cry. I shake my fist at the sky. I cry.  However, each year before the season begins there is a little bit of hope in my heart for the Maroon and Gold.  I know, realistically speaking, that there shouldn't be, but nevertheless there is.

This year, I'm showing what an ultimate fan I am by heading to Las Vegas, a place no one would normally ever bother to go to, in order to watch the Gophers take on the Running Rebels.  In preparation for this game and the upcoming season I stopped by one of the open practices at Gibson-Nagurski on Tuesday to KILL some time and get early impressions of the team.

Gray thinks about throwing me a pass.
 The quarterbacks appear to be as deep as I've seen them in a long time.  I'm pretty pumped our 3rd string quarterback doesn't also double as the towel guy.  "Here's your towel and Gatorade, Mr. Gray.  Nice throw!" 

Watching Marqueis Gray throw the ball was pretty impressive.  His delivery seems to be smoother and it seems to me he stood a little taller on his release.  Now this could be because he's doing 7-7 drills and isn't under pressure, but in the past I got the impression that he sort of crouched a bit more on his throws during games.  He's a big dude and standing tall is going to help him see the field.  The backups are sophomore Max Shortell and freshmen Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner.  They're young, they have size and they all can throw the ball well.  Leidner was all-time-quarterback with the freshman/leftovers and Gray, Shortell and Nelson where slangin' rocks with the ones and twos.

In fact, overall this team feels like it has more depth.  Sure they're young, but there's size and/or speed at a number of positions.  The young WRs really had some stand-out plays.  There are a number of battles on the offensive and defensive line that show players are working hard to make themselves better.  Our senior LBs of Rallis and Cooper are probably set as starters, but the other outside linebacker looks to be a battle and may be shuffled depending on the situation.  I really liked how James Manuel looked out there.  Manuel has transformed his body and looks like a legit linebacker out there.

In fact, a lot of these guys must have really worked hard this off-season.  Ra'Shede Hageman is absolutely massive. Coach Kill said that all of the o-linemen have put on 10-15 pounds in the off-season and it shows.  Coach Klein and Assistant Coach Thompson (Gracie Jiu Jitsu blue belt!) must have really had these guys working this past year. 

New Weight RoomHas New Weights

The running backs appear to be in a battle for carries that might carry into the season.  However, in doesn't feel as much like it has to mean in the past where everyone had a shot because no one was very impressive.  I saw some nice plays from a number of backs during the drills.  Redshirt sophomore Donnell Kirkwood is a bowling ball, and if healthy could be a player that carries the load.  He had a number of nice runs where he waiting for his hole and quickly hit it or made a nice cut to daylight.  Juco transfer James Gillum is thought to be either the favorite or co-favorite for the starting job by many.  I didn't see as many big runs by him, but I saw one catch on a swing pass that was very impressive.  Sophomores David Cobb and Devon Wright also had a bunch of good runs and I really thought Wright showed a bit of breakaway speed at times.
The defensive line is a big key for the Gophers this year.  As mentioned, Hageman is huge and he was like a bull in a china shop out there on the field.  I have the impression that he's really good at blasting lineman around, but at times that opened up big holes for the running backs.  I thought Jacques and Legania played well together and I could see either of them pushing for starting time over Botticelli at defensive tackle.  The drills I saw probably aren't the best to get impressions of the pass rush, but it was fun to watch Ben Perry and Ed Olson battle.

Who Made Some Plays? Obviously, this is just one practice, but a number of players made nice plays in the drills.  I saw interceptions by Cooper, Shabazz, Carter, Rallis and Boddy.  6'4" freshman Lincoln Plsek made a great catch on flag route from Mitch Leidner where he had to go up for full extension.  Jamel Harbison is very good at shaking loose from coverage and made a number of catches.  Isaac Freuchte caught a nice pass down the sideline.  Fellow freshman KJ Maye looks pretty electric with the ball.  I also saw some big hits in the rushing drills by Beal, Wells, Cooper and Cockran. 

Killzone: Engaged.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fare thee Well, Danny Valencia

In a move that surprised only people who are still surprised by a Jack-in-the-Box, the Twins grabbed the first opportunity that presented itself to get rid of Danny Valencia, forcing him to take the walk of shame across the diamond at Fenway like that chick you picked up at Applebee's, sending him to the Red Sox and receiving rookie league OFer Jeremias Pineda in return.  And thus ends the tenure of one of the most disappointing Twins' ever.

The Twins struggled to find a 3B for years following Gary Gaetti with guys like Scott Leius and Ron Coomer probably the best they've had (with Tony Bautista being the worst) so when reports starting coming out about this Danny Valencia character and how he could be the future at third for many years to come, it was a tiny bit extra thrilling - like a tramp stamp.  Valencia was consistently ranked as the Twins' 5th-10th best prospect from 2008-2010 by most raters, and made a great impression in his rookie season (2010), finishing third in the AL Rookie-of-the-Year voting despite only being up long enough to accumulate 322 PAs after hitting .311/.351/.448 with 7 homers while playing above average defense.  All was good. Confidence was high.  Spirits were good.  Of course, there were plenty of warning signs.  Valencia's BABIP was .345, one of the highest marks in the league and most likely a huge outlier, and Gardy was constantly dropping hints that he wasn't happy with Valencia for various reasons.  That, with a deep thinker like Gardy whose analysis is generally based on either hustle, grit, or how often he has the team over for a BBQ, was probably the kiss of death.

Following his breakout first year his stats fell off, with Valencia striking out more each year, walking less, chasing more balls and making less contact, and his defense consistently got worse as well.  This, along with Valencia not saying hi to Gardy in the halls one time even though he totally saw him and said hi to Jerry White right after and when Gardy wrote him a note in study hall about how hurt he was Gardy saw Valencia and Repko laughing and he just knows it was about him, led to more and more public criticisms which in turn led to more pressing by Valencia which always leads to more failure and so here we are.  Poor MLB numbers, poor minor league numbers this year that were well below what he did coming up, and Gardy's tender feelings meant the Twins would jump on the first offer to get him out, and they did.

In return for Valencia the Twins received Jeremias Pineda, and there's good news and bad news here.  BAD:  He's not Michael Pineda.  GOOD:  According to everyone he is already an elite level center fielder.  BAD:  He's still in rookie ball, for a second season, at age 21.  GOOD:  He's supposed to be crazy fast.  BAD:  He doesn't appear on any Red Sox prospect lists, even one I found that goes all the way up to 60.  GOOD:  Hitting .421 this year.  BAD:  Hit .188 in the same league last year and has a BABIP of .500 of this year.  GOOD:  Always invites the whole team over when he has a Karaoke party.  BAD:  Shows absolutely no power nor plate discipline. 

Really they didn't get much here, but they probably got more than you'd expect for Valencia, based on how they clearly feel about him ever since Gardy saw him holding hands with a girl Gardy fancied.  Pineda may never develop into a real live good hitter, but he already has one elite skill (defense) and one above average skill (running) so if he ever does learn how to hit he could be another Ben Revere, although it's likely he's more just organizational fodder.  Valencia, on the other hand, was under team control until 2017 and wouldn't even have hit arbitration until next year, and could have fulfilled the role of "back-up 3b" capably for at least another year.  Despite some rough numbers this year his line drive % is identical to his good rookie year and his BABIP this year is under .200, all of which means he's not as good as he was in 2010 but isn't as bad as his numbers suggest in 2012.  So yes, a good, cheap, back-up 3B with a little bit of upside.  But, as we all know, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so when Valencia didn't include Gardy on the emails where everyone was planning what to wear to the end of the year banquet he probably sealed his own fate. 

Bottom Line:  Pineda is probably the best the team could have hoped for in exchange for Valencia, but the team would have been better off keeping him, but couldn't because Gardy is Regina George.

Ohmigod you guys

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Five Best Trade Deadline Trades

1.  Pirates acquire Travis Snider from Toronto for Brad Lincoln.  This one doesn't get a whole ton of play in the media because it's not as sexy as a lot of the other trades that went down and if it does it's always mentioned as a "trade of two failed prospects, both of whom were drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft.  That may be true, but that doesn't mean Pittsburgh didn't get a steal here.  The Pirates have gotten nothing out of their left-fielders this year (mainly Alex Presley), with a combined .198 average, and Snider just so happens to play left field.  The Pirates also have an excellent bullpen with a combined 2.81 ERA out of the pen this year, so although Lincoln has pitched well this year they aren't exactly going to notice his loss.  Then there's their performance.  Before settling in the pen this year Lincoln was tried as a starter twice, finishing 2010 with a 6.66 ERA (9 starts) and 2011 with a 4.72 (8 starts).  He was always a starter in the minors, and outside of 13 double-A starts in 2009 (when he was already 24) and two AAA starts this year he's never posted an ERA below 4.00 at any level.  Safe to say he's a middle reliever, and as I've discussed here a lot middle relievers pretty much grow on trees.  Lincoln was worth little.  Snider, on the other hand, with five plus .300 average seasons in seven in the minors with good plate discipline and good power.  He also hit .300 his first year in the majors (.301 in 80 PAs) and hit 14 homers in 319 PAs in 2010, but he's battled a lot of injuries and been on the DL quite a bit.  He's also 3 years younger than Lincoln.  Basically the Pirates traded a player that plays a position they don't need who you pretty much already know his ceiling for a player at a position they need who has shown promise and if could stay healthy still has the potential to be an impact player.  Great trade. 

2.  Cubs acquire Arodys Vizcaino (and Jaye Chapman) from Atlanta for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson.  The Braves acquired Vizcaino in the trade where they shipped Javier Vazquez to the Yankees in 2009 when he was the #16 prospect in New York's system.  Since then he's ranked #5, #5, and #2 while in the Braves' system, and is now headed to the Cubs (along with a top-25ish reliever guy).  All they had to give up was a journeyman outfielder in Johnson and a back-of-the-rotation starter who, literally, anybody could have had for about $5 million this offseason in Maholm.  The downside of this trade for Chicago is nobody gives a shit.  Maholm is not going to develop into a Cy Young candidate, so no matter what happens the Cubs aren't hurt.  The upside is Vizcaino, who has #2 type stuff.  For a team that's been pretty smart about moves the Braves were awfully antsy this year, trying to give Randall Delgado (#3 prospect) to the Cubs first for Ryan Dempster before he blocked it and then following it up by trading prospect #2.  Epstein has actually done a nice job dealing with the hellhole that is Chicago's roster, and at some point he's going to find a taker for Soriano.  I have to admit, I have a feeling that nerd will get the best of that one as well.

3.  Angels acquire Zack Greinke from Milwaukee for Jean Segura, Ariel Pena, and John Hellweg.  The Angels certainly didn't underpay, giving up three prospects ranked in their top 15 but getting Greinke, and maybe more importantly not letting the Rangers or Yankees get him, will be a key to the Angels postseason success this year.  This move sets up their rotation as Jered Weaver, Greinke, C.J. Wilson, and Dan Haren, and if Haren wasn't having a pretty tough year I'd say that's one of the best rotation I'd seen in a while.  Certainly they have an edge when compared to the other contenders, with Haren their fourth starter compared to guys like Phil Hughes, Zach Britton, Clay Buchholz, Phil Humber, Doug Fister, Travis Blackley, Derek Holland, Jeremy Hellickson, and Brett Cecil - and they're better than almost every other team at the #2 and #3 spots, too.  The Giants showed in 2010 that pitching can win championships, and their rotation of Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and Jonathan Sanchez wasn't as good as what the Angels have now put together.  In fact, I just talked myself into a small bet on them to win the world series at 6-1.  Take advantage man, take advantage.

4.  Yankees acquire Ichiro Suzuki from Seattle for D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.  Mostly I like this one because the Yankees' risk is basically nil.  Farquhar is nowhere near a top prospect list and has already been traded 3 times and waived twice in his four year career and has an upside of a 7th inning reliever, while Mitchell is a meh starter who is in his third year at AAA at age 25.  For that low price they get a guy who, although he's been on the decline the last two years, did hit over .300 for 10 straight years, and a guy who agreed to hit low in the lineup, move positions, and sit against at least some lefties.  Ichiro wanted out (there is a theory he's just been bored the last two years playing for such a shitty team), Seattle wanted him out so they wouldn't have to deal with the headache of resigning/not resigning him, and so the Yankees swoop in with almost no risk.  Their production out of their left-fielders (Raul Ibanez/Andruw Jones) has been brutal, so if Ichiro plays as he has all year it's a small upgrade.  But if the move to New York and a contender lights a fire under his ass and he plays like pre-2011 Ichiro?  Look out.  And all for the cost of two non-prospects. 

5.  Royals acquire J.C. Sulbaran and Donnie Joseph from Cincinnati for Jonathan Broxton.  This is the exact kind of trade the Twins should have been making.  Broxton was only signed to a one-year deal, the Royals clearly weren't going anywhere this year, and several teams had interest so the Royals leveraged that and got the most they could.  They picked up Joseph, a top-25ish type prospect in the Reds system who has been a nearly unhittable closer in both AA and AAA this year, and Sulbaran, ranked 12th among Reds' prospects and a starter whose numbers are pedestrian but Baseball America said he had the best curveball in the entire Reds' system.  Sulbaran gives them another young arm as they try to figure out the whole pitching situation as they make the alleged run towards a division title everyone is telling us to expect, and Joseph can probably start in the big leagues next season so they have some flexibility with Soria coming off injury and owed $8 million (team option).  Good trade, and exactly the kind of thing the Twins could have/should have done.

I also think Jeremy Guthrie is a good pick-up for them.  I mean he sucks, but you know he's going to give you 200 semi-ok innings and you need at least one guy like that if you're going to be a contender.  Of course they have to resign him, find more talented pitchers to put around him, and then dudes have to hit to turn them into a contender, but like Leo Marvin said, "Babysteps."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Hey, Condoms!

Are you ready for some hot XXX Olympic action?  I know I am, or I was until NBC's coverage made me want wear Bob Costas' face like a mask and caper about on Hennepin Avenue.  Seriously, wtf are they doing?  And why does Bob Costas' head continue to grow while his body shrinks?  He's like 65% head now.

Somehow, last night's coverage of Michael Phelps swimming like there's a foot-long spicy Italian at the end of the race got a 20 rating.  This happened despite everyone that knows about the internet or has a radio already knew the results.  The women's gymnastics team was also competing, apparently against themselves, but they never fall or anything so that's no fun.  Hey NBC, are there any other countries competing?  The camera never leaves the team and the building might as well be empty except what these 5 gals and their scary Asian painted lady coach are doing.  The same thing happened with the hairless mens team.  I didn't see anyone else competing and the men aren't even that good (I think).

Pinky Injury?

Here are some other things I've noticed while sitting on my bum and watching the world's best whatevers:

We Need a Hairy Gymnast/How much do those highbar lifter guys get paid?

I'm tired of these tiny, hairless olympic gymnasts.  I want gymnasts with long flowing locks of chest hair that smoke cigarettes in between routines.  Danell Leyva is as close as it gets, but he's trimming down his man-pelt for the events.   Maybe I would cheer for them to succeed instead of fall every time if they looked a little more human.

Secondly, can anyone get a job being the high bar lifter guy?  You know, the dude that picks up all of the guys and gals to get them started on their high bar routine?  I'd be great at this.  I would do it just for a small daily stipend and a free trip to the olympics.  I would do my best not to laugh when people fall or cry.

Ancient Dudes on U-23 Soccer Teams

So, Olympic soccer has a rule that everyone must be under 23 years old.  That's cool, we have they Euro and and the World Cup and stuff, so it's not like we don't see all of the best from each country anyway.  The weird part though is they have a rule where you can add three guys over 23.  Why?  Are they used as chaperones in the Olympic village to ensure these soccer guys are banging the midnight oil?  So, Great Britain's captain is Ryan Giggs, a kick-ass Welshman that happens to be 38 years old.  They also have 33 year old Craig "Don't call me Jay" Bellamy.

BTW, the refs are AWFUL in Olympic play and there is much screaming at and bumping of the ref.  Things that would get baseball players 10 game suspensions.  So, that's pretty fun.

Hi, I'm on the under-23 squad.

5 Channels of "Action"

My Comcast feed has at least 5 channels that I've found so far that show the olympics, which is cool.  However, it's massively confusing because there's a lot of replays and often the channel guide doesn't tell you what is on.  I have seen some pretty weird stuff in addition to plenty of basketball, soccer, water polo, handball and..

Ranch Dressage

I have to tread lightly here because my good buddy @Frothygopher has a wife (I know, crazy) that's into dressage.  She tells me I watched the introductory level dressage, which is basically a horse prancing about with minimal instruction by the rider I think.  Also, people that are older than Ryan Giggs are among the riders proving that literally anyone can do this.  Seems like the horse does all of the work.

Does that horse have cornrows?

Badminton Tanking

Did you guys and gal hear about the tanking?  In order to face who they wanted in a later round, these badminton chicks tried tanking, but they were THE MOST OBVIOUS TANKERS IN THE WORLD.  Subsequently they were booted from the olympics.  Way to be your best ladies.  Here's a link to the vid for a chuckle:

16yo Chinese Swim Machine

There's a 16 year old Chinese girl that murdered her best time ever and set an Olympic record in some swimming event.  Now everyone says she's on roids.  She was more than seven seconds faster than the year prior.  I don't see what the problem is.  Here's a pic of her:

Her beauty is on the inside.

Water Polo

Chicks flat out try to drown each other in this sport.  It's kind of hot.   Especially when the suit gets tugged and there are tan lines.  XXX Olympiad, indeed!  This sport also looks incredibly exhausting without someone yanking you under the water every five minutes.  I dig it.


Enjoy the rest of the Olympics, knobs!  Spoiler alert: the Chinese robotos win the most gold medals.