Friday, December 9, 2011

Mark Cuban tries to build Championship Mavs2.0 with same blueprint

At this point it looks like the Mavericks will go with last years backup Brendon Heywood to replace Tyson Chandler who is now a New York Knick. There shouldn't be much of a dropoff in offensive production in any real noticeable way but where that could really show up is on the defensive end and in the locker room where Chandler has a reputation for accountability and intensity. When he walks into the Knicks locker room he may want to bring in some visual aides like graphs, photos, and some video maybe because no one has confused any of the recent New York teams with anything resembling a hard nosed get in your face defensive squad. Put it this way, your more likely to see the Knicks out on the break 5-0 with the entire team cheating then have all 5 players in the paint on the glass when a shot goes up.

Where Mark Cuban is getting creative is by trying to reunite his all-star point guard with the once high-flying, shot taking, if he's hot shot making, slam dunk champion, Vince Carter. At this point in his career Carter isn't anywhere near the player he once was when he played for the Raptors or the Nets while winning that amazing slam dunk contest. Injuries have ravaged him of his signature athleticism and leaping ability but he still can make shots and would be a great addition for a spark off the bench possibly.

What do you guys think???

Say your offered $14 million to work for the next 5 years guaranteed, sound acceptable to you???

Well, it sounds more then ok to me, it sounds like a dream come true, add in the fact that my "job" would be pitching in the A.L. East against teams like the Yankees and Red Sox and I don't even think I could dream it. Then again, i'm not Matt Moore.

Matt Moore is a left-handed pitcher who at last count was ranked as the 2nd best prospect in  the entire minor leagues to only phenom Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. Moore dominated both double a and triple a with ease last year and was called up with much of the same expectations and same type of results. Between double A and triple A his record was 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA. Then pitched 10 innings in the ALDS against the Texas Rangers only allowing 1 earned run.

The total contract actually includes 3 additional years that are team options with escalator clauses attached to games started along with innings pitched and including those years the contract could jump up to just over $40 million. Pretty good for a kid that will be entering only his 2nd major league season. The deal is a record for the largest amount of guaranteed dollars and potential dollars for a player with less then 2 years service time.

Another great story of the Rays building their team from within and locking up talent early before players start testing arbitration and free agency. Could be another talented young staff of pitchers ready to have a break-out season. Who knows, it could happen again, watch out Red Sox and Yankees, here come the Rays.....AGAIN!

Continuing knee problems forcing Blazers star to call it quits

With so many huge stories coming out daily, hourly, seemingly nearly every other minute in the sports world maybe this one got lost in the shuffle a little but for a promising young career to end is sad. The way that it ended though makes it a step beyond sad, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer, more genuine, respectful, professional player. 

Through the rehab, comeback, losing his starting job, the wins, the loses, the whispers, the articles, the questions and then repeat Brandon Roy has continued to support his teammates, say the right things(99%) of the time, and come in and give a spark off the bench when his number was called. At this point in his career there no longer is an explosive, athletic, bruising sharpshooter that could post up any guard the defense threw at him or shoot that smooth jumpshot over the bigs that were too slow to guard him. For a reason we will never know many of the qualities that made him a star have been robbed from him seemingly all at once when the problems began. 

We all kept hoping that with his hard work and dedication of course he'd come back, maybe even better then ever, why not? Look how hard he was working, he's doing everything asked of him and more! He's doing all that rehab work and still cheering on his team every night, waving a towel on big plays, guiding the younger players who were holding his spot in the lineup. Who would've thought that he was guiding the men who would eventually replace him for good? 

My best wishes go out to Brandon Roy, you really were one of my favorite players and I loved watching you in that last playoff game. We all got to see why you were so loved by coaches and players. Shooting that silky smooth jumper, throwing dagger after dagger and still smiling, that's how i'll remember Roy, how about you??

Thursday, December 8, 2011

With the news tonight that the LA Angels didn't just sign the biggest bat and one of the best hitters of all time, Albert Puljos, but they also went out and signed the best pitcher available sans the previously eligable CC Sabathia, in CJ Wilson. Between the two signings they now have spent $331.5 million on free agency in less then 24 hours and are widely considered the big winner across MLB.

Albert Puljos signed for 10 years and $254 million dollars, has a lifetime batting average of .328 and has 445 career home runs. His BA dropped to a career low .299 this past season and also didn't top 100 RBI's for the first time when he batted in 99 with 37 home runs. Some are skeptical if it's wise to give a 31 year old hitter who just previously posted his worst statistical season a 10 year contract but Puljos has a track record that spans over a decade, has proven himself in the clutch and playoffs and will be hitting several major milestones during this next contract that could help the Angels supplement his salary such as his 500th and 600th home run and possibly many more if his body holds up along with others. 

Albert Puljos Story from

CJ Wilson signed for 5 years and $77.5 million and posted a record of 16-7 this past season while having a 2.94 Earned Run Average per 9.0 innings pitched over high league and career high 34 starts with the Texas Rangers. Wilson made his first career all-star team this past year in only his 2nd season starting full-time with the Rangers after coming out of the bullpen previously for them. It's significant to note that the Angels are division rivals of the Rangers and it shouldn't be lost on everyone that he took less money then he was previously offered by the Miami Marlins to sign with them.

CJ Wilson story from

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jose Reyes was just introducted as the biggest(and most expensive) free agent signing ever but is this the right play?

Jose Reyes hasn't even officially been on the Marlins for 24 hours and it's already shaping up to be a rocky start because of incumbant all-star shortstop Hanley Ramirez. The way the Marlins went about aggressively persuing and then signing Reyes it looks as if they didn't cover all their bases(pardon the pun, sorry). The way they've responded it looks like they didn't expect any real problem with having to move Hanley to 3rd, now it's pretty clear they should have. 

Ramirez is now pretty clear in his desire to continue to play shortstop and with Reyes just signing a contract for over 100 million I doubt they are going to make him fit into another position when he's clearly a defensive upgrade over Ramirez and this past year even batted better...but in the long-run i'd think that the batting numbers will even off or show Ramirez ahead as long as he continues to develop the amazing raw talent that saw him playing full time in mlb from such a young age.

Now, if you read the link and the comments just about fans from every team in baseball can think of some trade to take Mr. Ramirez off the Marlins hands and are more then happy to put him at shortstop whether it means moving their all-star already there or not. I saw one that suggested the red sox trade Adrian Gonzalez AND the Red Sox top minor leaguer. I can promise you this, the red sox won't be trading gonzalez ANY TIME SOON, and sure as hell not for a error prone shortstop(with a over .300 lifetime BA or not). Especially when they have a kid that's coming up within the next year possibly thats already an above average major league player in the field. 

Would I like the sox to trade for him? Sure, I say maybe Youkilis and some prospects and then put Lowrie at 3rd and we've got our bridge until our prospect pans out, or if Ramirez straightens out his swing we can always re-sign him and have a gold glove prospect to trade, either way is cool with me. But wait, this is ALL SPECULATION! Would teams want Hanley? Absolutely! But, the Marlins are going to try and just hope that he gets comfortable with 3rd and winning some games pacifies him a little before they trade a big piece of their future. But we can always dream right guys?

+Joshua Hastings

Buehrle in and Puljos out in a span of 29 minutes.....

It took 29 minutes between the espn report surfacing that the Marlins were prepared to move on from Albert Puljos since he hasn't accepted there latest serious offer and the announcement by espn that confirmed Mark Buehrle has signed to be a veteran leader on a staff with many young and developing possible stars in the making.

While Buehrle is no where near the star that Puljos is, what Buehrle can do is take the ball and pitch every 5th day and give you a solid 200+ innings of work, 12-14 wins and a great guy in the clubhouse. I initially didn't believe the Miami Marlins were serious about signing Puljos but after the last few days I can see that they are really trying to be competitive with the big names in MLB and put a winner on the field for the fans. This is really the first time they have went out tried to bring in a free agent.

A for effort so far Miami and as far as actual results i'd have to say B as of now. Jose Reyes would have been a fantastic pick-up if you had spoken to incumbent all-star shortstop, Hanley Ramirez. Without Ramirez on board and all-in the team isn't going to be serious contenders. He's the longest tenured player on the team and is the best position player by far as well as offensive leader. I'd imagine that he'll have a quick transition to 3rd base once he sits back and thinks about everything and embraces it. A little bit of stroking his ego and letting him know that you still love him and no one is replacing him, they are just trying to give him some help. He'll be happy with the move eventually, we hope.

What do you think, does Ramirez have a right to be mad or is he being selfish and the Marlins didn't have to run anything by him, they are the owners and he is a player.

UPDATE: Miami Marlins getting the first bit of bad news

Wait, so your telling me that the best player on your team, their "Super-star", only player that the team has EVER signed longterm with a significant contract(at a bargain price none the less), who is a 3 time all-star and bats over .300 lifetime does not want to change his position as he's entering the prime of his baseball career for a new guy you just brought in and paid somewhere around $30-$40 million more then him??? REALLY?> NO WAY! Typical baseball executives.

An espn writer has touched on this before in another article i've read also but i'll reiterate. How is it that you don't have this private conversation with your centerpiece before making this move? I understand your motives for wanting to sign Reyes but Ramirez is still young and already a seasoned veteran, at least show him the respect of talking to him face to face and explaining how important he is to the team and WHY you want to make the move. As of now from what i'm hearing, I know basically just as much as Hanley Ramirez. That shouldn't even be a statement that's close to reality if you really did value Ramirez. 

If Hanley Ramirez really was ok with it like you supposedly figured he'd be, then he would've came out before even being asked and said "i'd love for the team to sign Jose Reyes, he's a great player and I can't wait to get back to baseball. You'll be seeing the best left side of the infield in baseball for the next decade maybe." He'd of called Reyes on the phone and been recruiting him to play in Miami with him and help him build a winner again. None of this happened and now we get THIS.

I hope it eventually works out but who knows. We have all seen what an unhappy player in a dugout can do to a good team. It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. It's looking like a good start for the Miami Marlins, now maybe it's time for a owner, manager and Super-star to have a nice little steak dinner with a big plate of ass-kissing for dessert before we get into a big problem down the line, these guys got to play together for the next 5 or 6 years hopefully!

Personally, i'm a red sox fan and although trading him brought us a championship and i'd do it over and over a million times, i'd love the shot to get him back. He would've been great at short with those great sox line-ups and still developing, crazy to think about....

+Joshua Hastings

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My take on Bill Simmons "Grantland" article- The 2nd day of NBA Christmas

Notice a trend below? Anything jump out at you when you glance over the numbers real quick? If you didn't guess the word "overpaid" then your either drunk, stoned, stupid or any combination of them. Didn't I keep hearing throughout the NBA lockout that the whole point was that the owners weren't going to accept a deal where they were forced into those long, overpriced, guaranteed player contracts that were successful about half the time in one way or another but still considered overpaid in relation to statistics. 

I mean, if you throw out some of these numbers, say 5 years and $100 million, give me a name that you think should match with that contract? It doesn't really matter who you say, the point is, for $100 million a team should be getting a franchise player they can think about building around. What would you do with Nene? On a championship team he's going to be your 3rd best player at most, and I really mean AT MOST! So what are you going to be paying players 1+2 then? They're going to want $140 and $190 million each after you bring in that stiff and insult their hometown discount they signed for to help you sign a star so they can get closer to said championship. They didn't envision Nene when they said "star", I really really really can't see him on your wishlist for centerpiece on an NBA powerhouse caliber team to compete with the Lakers, Heat, Mavericks ect. 

A piece sure, an average center overall with above average quickness and mobility/energy when he's actually on the court, with below average rebounding and defense in reality. You can hope that teams see him and think he's that stopper down low but if you check out the stats there is NOTHING TO BACK THAT UP. He wasn't even in the TOP 25! THAT'S RIGHT, THERE WERE 25 OTHER PLAYERS WHO OUTREBOUNDED HIM LAST YEAR, HOW INSANE IS THAT FROM A GUY THAT BIG PLAYING 32 MINUTES PER GAME? 

And as far as keeping him on the court, you pay 100 mil and your going to be spending the days counting down until he's off the books with one more bad landing after a dunk in warmups. That's a long time in NBA years, especially if you put him on a playoff team. I wish him all the best, I just can't see it working out that way....good luck mystery team.

Full article from Grantland on is the link and the rest below is a piece of that same article,  Bill Simmons, the Grantland article.

Let's make some predictions for those 12 centers. Important note to Kendrick Perkins: Stop reading right now. Just trust me.
1. Nene
Prediction: Signs with New Jersey (five years, $100 million, thanks to a sign-and-trade with Denver3)
2. Marc Gasol
Prediction: Re-signs with Memphis (five years, $78 million)
3. Tyson Chandler
Prediction: Re-signs with Dallas (four years, $69 million)4
4. DeAndre Jordan
Prediction: Re-signs with Clippers (five years, $46 million)5
5. Chris Kaman
Prediction: Traded to Sacramento (for Jason Thompson)
Verdict: One year away from being OVERPAID AGAIN
6. Sam Dalembert
Prediction: Signs with Denver (four years, $40 million)
7. Brendan Haywood
Prediction: Traded to Houston (for Patrick Patterson and a future no. 1 pick)
8. Greg Oden
Prediction: Re-signs with Portland (one year, $8.9 million)
9. Andris Biedrins
Prediction: Stays put, much to the chagrin of every Warriors fan
10. Josh McRoberts
Prediction: Signs with New Orleans (four years, $26 million)
11. Spencer Hawes
Prediction: Signs with Detroit (three years, $18 million)
12. Aaron Gray
Prediction: Signs with Indiana (three years, $15 million)
A quick recap: eight "overpaids," one "slightly overpaids," one "comically overpaid," two "properly paids" … and that's just the center position, (the team that, other than New Jersey, seems most desperate to irrationally overpay somebody). Come on out, NBA Groundhog … I have a feeling you're going to see your shadow.
Bill Simmons is the Editor in Chief of Grantland and the author of the recent New York Times no. 1 best-seller The Book of Basketball, now out in paperback with new material and a revised Hall of Fame Pyramid. For every Simmons column and podcast, log on to Grantland. Follow him onTwitter and check out his new home on Facebook.
As the re-named Marlins, now referred to as the Miami Marlins move into their new ballpark they have so far made the biggest splash in free agency as well. First they signed a solid all-star closer in Heath Bell and then just yesterday signed the top of the order short stop in Jose Reyes. Reyes was probably the 3rd biggest name in free agency behind Albert Puljos and Prince Fielder who are both power hitting superstar first basemen that will command far more money then that of Reyes and his $106 million. The thing is, the Marlins aren't done yet, after making an initial 9 year contract offer to Puljos at their initial meeting the Marlins are now said to have made a new 10 year offer just today. Looks like the team with a new ballpark and a new name would like a whole new group of players to mix in with their own talent such as pitcher Josh Johnson and shortstop Hanley Ramirez. It's been said that the plan is to move Ramirez to 3rd base to make room for Reyes but at this point, we haven't heard much from the all-star Marlins shortstop about his real feelings on the matter, for what its worth the Marlins ownership says that he's ok with it.

What could be the biggest pick-up for the Marlins this off-season could be acquisition of Spanish speaking Ozzie Guillen. Guillen is know as a tough hard working manager that goes all out for his players, due to his background in the game he is respected when he talks but sometimes speaking his mind gets him in a little hot water. Between the foul language on live television broadcasts to calling out opposing teams, players, ownership, fans and anyone else that gets in his way his straightforward attitude has its positives and negatives obviously.