Archive for July, 2011

The “Colby Rasmus vs. the St. Louis Cardinals Era” finally came to a close yesterday, mercifully. It’s the end of what was like watching cancer in sports rumor/relationship form. Over the last month, the endless and increasingly shallow positioning and gesturing by John Mozeliak on Rasmus’ availability and value to the club. The goal of this tactic now was clearly just to try to rebuild his stock, which was so severely damaged after two plus years of public bickering over him, which was perpetuated by the team. However, in the end what the club did (once again – never forget Dan Haren and Daric Barton for Mark Mulder, as well as Chris Perez for Mark DeRosa…never forget) was get frustrated and make a rushed move that has little return that even makes much sense in the short term.

 

There's no doubt Rasmus had to go, but what does the return out to?

The deal, which moved Rasmus along with bullpen arms Trevor Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters, to the Toronto Blue Jays for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, outfielder Corey Patterson, relief pitchers Mark Rzepcyzski and Octavio Dotel, along three prospects to be named, is most likely the sole move the club will make in trying to pull away from the pack in the National League Central. In order to do so….

 

See the rest of this article, including where this places the Cardinals in both the now and immediate future at StLouisSports360.com

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In case you hadn’t heard, the NFL got its act together and football’s back. And not only is it back, but it’s breaking out at a full speed pace forward, with 4.5 months of activity being basically compressed into a week’s worth of time. Needless to say, there’s a lot of business getting hashed out at the same time. There are deals getting done at a break neck speed, and players coming and going in both directions on every roster around the league. From cuts, re-signings, rookie evaluations and finally the most hectic part of the entire scene: absolute free agency.

Bradford enters year two with a new playbook and potentially a much deeper unit to unleash it with.

The St. Louis Rams left off the season on sour note in Seattle, but finished with the promise much brighter days to come for the first time in years. The return to rebuilding one of the league’s biggest surprises from a year ago means finding ways to both capitalize on that momentum, while also filling in holes that are still in place from a team that on many accounts got better much better, much quicker than expected. Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo’s team is restructuring itself both from a personnel standpoint and tailoring itself to a new offensive approach under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. This is a team that could have a very new look to it during its attempt to build on its six game improvement last winter…

Read more at St. Louis Sports 360: http://stlouissports360.com/back-in-blue-a-look-around-the-rams-return/

The NFL’s roster turnover right now is incredible. After 4.5 months of being handcuffed to make any moves, outside of drafting players that couldn’t be signed either, the NFL roster reset button is getting hit at what seems like an every ten seconds pace. At no position is there more drama at than quarterback. The spotlight position in all of sports has a ton of subplots and stories running parallel to each other right now, and the rumor mill is in the full two-minute drill…mostly around who will run it next year and where.

There is wide mixture of types of QB’s on the market, and while none are expected to challengers for the Pro Bowl next season, each could play a vital role in restoring a team’s fortune, steadying a sinking ship or finding a place to right themselves after getting knocked off track for one reason or another. But as always, the goal is to take their new club to a new level, and as is the case with many clubs that are living the undetermined life behind center, picking the right gun slinger could be the difference between pushing for a division title, and being a runaway train for the top of the 2012 Draft.

Kolb represents one of the few long term fixes for many of the teams in need...if Philly lets him loose.

The Suspects: Tavaris Jackson, Matt Hasselbeck, Donovan McNabb, Vince Young, Kyle Orton, Kevin Kolb, Alex Smith, Troy Smith, Brett Favre, Marc Bulger…..

Read more at Suite101: A Passing Interest – The NFL’s Quarterback Carousel | Suite101.com http://www.suite101.com/content/a-passing-interest—the-nfls-quarterback-carousel-a381657#ixzz1TJmOFF2i

Welcome back to the CHEAP.SEATS. walk around the week that was, and is, Major League Baseball. As usual, the lineup reads the full power ranks for each team in the game, followed by Three Up/Down of the news week around that game, and finally leaders and miscellaneous info around the ballparks.

(Division Leaders in Bold)

 

1.Philadelphia Phillies (same)

2. Boston Red Sox (same)

3. New York Yankees (same)

4. Texas Rangers (same)

5. San Francisco Giants (6)

6. Atlanta Braves (5)

7. Detroit Tigers (8)

8. St. Louis Cardinals (9) (tie)

9. Milwaukee Brewers (7) (tie)

10. Tampa Bay Rays (11)

11. Arizona Diamondbacks (12)

12. Pittsburgh Pirates (13) (tie)

13. Los Angeles Angels (14)

14. Cleveland Indians (10)

15. Cincinnati Reds (16)

16. Toronto Blue Jays (17)

17. New York Mets (15)

18. Chicago White Sox (19)

19. Florida Marlins (20)

20. Washington Nationals (18)

21. Minnesota Twins (22)

22. Colorado Rockies (21)

23. Los Angeles Dodgers (23)

24. Oakland Athletics (25)

25. San Diego Padres (26)

26. Chicago Cubs (29)

27. Kansas City Royals (same)

28. Baltimore Orioles (same)

29. Seattle Mariners (24)

30. Houston Astros (same)

 

THREE UP

Blyleven, Alomar and Gillick joined the game's immortals formerly on Sunday in Cooperstown, New York.

1.Walk with the Giants: On Sunday, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven joined the ranks of the immortals and entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Alomar made it on his second year eligible, after coming up a few votes short a year ago (mostly due to a final punishment leveled on him by voters for the spitting incident in 1996. However, Alomar is by many accounts the greatest defensive second baseman ever and became the first player to be inducted into the Hall as a Toronto Blue Jay (but I’ve covered Alomar’s greatness before here).

Blyleven’s path was more travelled. He made it on his 14th year eligible, but deserves it none the less. His 60 shutouts are the ninth most ever, and his 3,701 strikeouts are fifth most in history still.

Former Blue Jays General Manager Pat Gillick, who constructed their Championship teams of the early 90’s as well as the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, was also inducted.

 

2. Godzilla Lives: The A’s Hideki Matsui hit his 168th career Major League home run this past week. Nothing to be too remarkable, right? Well that 168th home run on North American soil also was his 500th career homer as well, counting the 332 he hit in Japan before joining the Yankees in 2003. He is the first player to accomplish this task via the Japanese and American major baseball leagues combined.

 

3. From Ashy to Classy: The Pittsburgh Pirates held first place for their own over Tuesday and Wednesday of last week for the first time since 1997. They are still on track to have their first winning record since 1992, when Barry Bonds was still a member of the club in the old six-team National League East when they went 96-66, taking the division by 6 games over the Montreal Expos.

 

THREE DOWN

Nolasco is lucky to have escaped a disabled list trip due to whiplash after his last start.

1.M’s Down: Speaking of losing, there is nothing close to the free fall that is happening in Seattle right now. In last week’s Hits and Misses, they were in this section due to prolonged losing streak. Well, a week later they are still here…and still riding the same streak, which has reached 15 games. Yesterday’s loss in Boston set the club record for most consecutive losses, and is the longest losing streak since the 19 game mark the Royals hit in 2005.

 

2. Shell-shocked: The Padres pasted the Marlins on Tuesday, scoring 13 of their 14 runs for the night in the first two innings. What’s even uglier is that Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco was on the hook for nine of them (all earned) in only 1.1 innings. That gave him a robust 60.75 ERA for the day, and jumped his season total up half a run to 4.08.

 

3. Glass Cleats: The Indians’ Cinderella story may be coming to close. They enter Monday having fallen two games behind the Tigers in the AL Central and out of first place, and have dropped four games in a row to the two clubs immediately behind them, the White Sox and Twins.

Are they a threat to reach the longest ever? They’ve got a ways to go before they get in that neighborhood. Those “honors” belong to the 1961 Philadelphia Phillies, who took 23 straight L’s and set the modern record in the column along the way.

 

HITS AND RUNS for Monday, July 25, 2011

 

Jennings tallied two hits in his much awaited 2010 debut for the Rays on Saturday.

Biggest Lead: Philadelphia Phillies, 6 game in NL East

Smallest Lead: Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals & Milwaukee Brewers, tied in the NL Central

Leading Hitter: Jose Reyes, Mets (.353)

Top 3 Sluggers: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (31), Lance Berkman – Cardinals/Curtis Granderson – Yankees (27)

Most Wins: CC Sabathia, Yankees (14)

Biggest Debut: Desmond Jennings, Rays (July 23rd)

Best/Worst Record: Phillies (64-36; .640%) and Astros (33-68; .327%)

Headed into a new week of St. Louis Cardinals , here’s a trip around the diamond with the Redbird’s week that was…and to come.

LEADING OFF – Turnabout Is Fair Play: The Cardinals pulled off a rare feat for them this weekend: they won on the road in the division. More so than that, they won a series on the road (and came within a pickoff of a sweep, which would have been their first of the season on the road). Much has been made of Pittsburgh’s turnaround, and rightfully so. However they have stalled recently…

Flipping Rasmus' for a bottom of the rotation free agent to be or relief pitcher could be a sign of panic regarding his future.

More on the Cardinals reclaiming the Central crown, The Birds find the road back home…finally, Colby Rasmus’ apparent trade value and a record setting performance of the undesirable type in this week’s spin around Cardinal Nation via St. Louis Sports 360, right now.

It seems these days that nothing is what it seems in the NFL. Yesterday the owners agreed to terms with each other to end the lockout…at least on one half. However, the players have delayed actually signing it into action themselves, and it seems that the wording/details/gibberish of the deal isn’t up to speed yet, so the saga continues.

In other words, even the simple things are complicated, but what else is new? The free agency issue that awaits the resumed NFL is no different, and how it will revolve once it begins will be steadily changing picture. As always, any player is subject to the big chop for a club to make salary in the NFL. So really what is out there right now for each team looking to round out their roster is only the beginning, and the really big prizes could still be to come once some real talents are dropped due to their contract number…or other factors?

That is when Donovan McNabb, Vince Young, Albert Haynesworth Joey Porter and even Reggie Bush could join the fray and change the plans of a lot of teams in needs (and potentially create some perceived new needs for teams that are one piece away). In other words, the hysteria that could follow the tension around the end of these talks could make keeping up with everything this week look quite simple.

Reggie Bush could be a major player in the free agent scene, sooner than later.

For now Nnamdi Asomugha, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Champ Bailey and the newly returned to the land Plaxico Burress are just a few of the names that highlight the early phases of what may be the craziest free agent scramble in NFL history

 

Baltimore Ravens (12-4) – Needs: Offensive Tackle, Outside Linebacker, Safety

Michael Oher has posted himself in place on the left side of the line, but getting a solid option on the right is a must. Resigning Jared Gaither could be an option, but he could demand more than a right tackle should in this market. In that case they’ll need to lock in a new direction, all while staying cognizant of the fact their defense is aging and putting some new life in the mix there is a must, as well as holding on to Haloti Ngata, arguably the most important piece of the mix….

Read more at Suite101: Fixing A Hole: NFL Team-by-Team Free Agent Outlook (AFC edition) | Suite101.com http://www.suite101.com/content/fixing-a-hole-nfl-team-by-team-free-agent-outlook-afc-edition-a380882#ixzz1SqiJkBiG

With only a few signatures and press conferences left before the NFL can get back to the business of team building over business building, it’s time to take a look at what each club in the game is coming back to. It’s still impossible to get a complete grasp on what free agency could look like and all the players that could be in on the mix, but it is possible to get a look at what’s still secure about each squad’s core.

Free agency is going to look like a Black Friday sale this year, with nearly every team in the game unleashing their GMs to hand all of their affairs within a minute of calendar time to get ready for the rapidly opening training camps. As a result of the delay of business that is usually handled in March concerning free agents, the race to fill the existing holes that couldn’t get done during the draft could put any Olympic relay to shame.

Nnamdi Asomugha figures to be the most sought after and highest paid options available.

With those knowns and unknowns out there and established, let’s take a glance at what each NFC club needs to be looking to handle during the upcoming track meet through free agency, including where some the biggest FA’s to be would fit in best, and who could be likely to jump the gun and make it rain all over some these big name’s in the name of getting that big push into the rushed, yet highly anticipated run to the field.

 

Arizona Cardinals (5-11) – Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Outside Linebacker

The Cardinals had their growing pains year last season with the retirement of Kurt Warner, and now for the better part of a year they have been tied to every quarterback in limbo around the league. That has to be their top priority, because Larry Fitzgerald both needs to be fed and needs to see some reason to stay put. Kevin Kolb’s name is dropped everywhere, but when Donovan McNabb enters the market, this would be the perfect spot for him to sit back and pitch at….

Read more at Suite101: Fixing A Hole: NFL Team-by-Team Free Agent Outlook (NFC edition) | Suite101.com http://www.suite101.com/content/fixing-a-hole-nfl-team-by-team-free-agent-outlook-nfc-edition-a380707#ixzz1SklI7xsN