Thursday, December 28, 2006

2007 Pac 10 Basketball preview

Pac 10 play starts tonight, and Washington plays at USC and then at UCLA on New Years Eve. Tough two games. The Pac-10 is the best conference in basketball, and I'm going to review each team in the Pac 10, then predict who'll get the player of the conference for each conference, and which teams will make the tourney cut.

Preaseason top 10 by most for good reason. They have a solid starting 5, great depth, and a hall-of-fame coach. Their loss to Virginia was a fluke, and now they'll show the nation that they're capable of playing like a number 1 seed.
PG Mustafa Shakur A 6-3 190 pounds Senior
A highly touted propect who never lived up to his billing til now. Averages 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists (unreal for college), while shooting 52% from the field, 1.5 steals, 72% ft, and 43% from 3 point range. He has also displayed excellent floor leadership as a senior on the team.
SG Jawann McClellen B+ 6-4 225 pounds Junior
I liken him to a Reyshawn Terry type, sort of burried on the bench of a perrenially deep team until now, now it's his time to shine. He averages 13 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2 assist, while shooting 45.5% from the field, and an excellent 40% from three point land. He's also made a three in every game. If he was on Arizona State or some lesser school, he'd be Rodney Stuckey Light.
SF: Chase Budinger A 6-7 190 pounds Freshman
One of the best freshman prospects along with Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Thaddeus Young, and Spencer Hawes. He has gotten off to a hot start average 17.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.7 assist, .8 steals and blocks, on 55% shooting 82% ft, and 37% 3 point shooting. A freshman red headed pogo stick who is already a stud on a very talented lineup. He doesn't get his looks all the time, but seems to be tied with Durant for freshman of the year.
SF: Marcus Williams A 6-7 205 pounds Sophomore
A great Seattle product who was arguably the best player on Arizona last year. He's basically Budinger except more skilled and less of a jumper. He averages 15 points 7.5 rebounds 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1 block, on 49% shooting, 49% FT, and 36% 3 point shooting. I'm not sure why his FT's are so low, but except for that, he plays the swing forward positiong flawlessly.
PF/C: Ivan Radenovic A 6-10 245 pounds Senior
Everyone in the Pac-10 knew about this guy before, but now the rest of the nation will. He's basically a better version of James Augustine. He's averaging 17.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2 assists, .8 steals, .4 blocks, on 58% FG, 87% FT, and 50% 3pt shooting.
Bench: They were supposed to have Kirk Walters and JP Prince there to solidify their bench with a good big man and a good swing man, unfortunately, both are injured. Their bench consists of a 5'10" freshman combo guard a-la Kyle Lowry in Nic Wise, a 6'3" junior point guard in Daniel Dillon, and a 6'8" freshman forward in Jordan Hill. Not a very deep bench, and this gets a C unless Kirk Walters and Prince are back, in which case an 8 man rotation will suffice and it's bench will be an A-.
Overall: A-, weakness is the bench, and if Radenovic gets early fouls, they really just have 3 small forwards as their big guy option. The plusses on this team are that they have 4 NBA caliber players, and everyone on the starting lineup can shoot lights out.
Arizona State:
PG: Antwi Atuahene C+ 6-4 205 pounds Junior
He averages 8.6 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. A serviceable all-around point guard, but nothing spectacular.
SG: Christian Polk B+ 6-3 175 pounds Freshman
Only a freshman, and already the star of this team. He's averaging 14.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. One of a few reasons people think the Pac-10 is getting stronger because of Arizona State's rise to being good.
SG: Jerren Shipp B- 6-4 200 pounds Freshman
A good freshman, but nothing compared to Polk. He's averaging 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game and already playing 30 minutes a night.
SF: Serge Angounou B+ 6-8 230 pounds Senior
A solid senior and needed big man, he's averaging 11 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2 assists per game.
PF: Jeff Pendergraph A- 6-10 210 pounds Sophomore
The other star of this team, and another young reason to think that Arizona State could be good in years to come. He's averaging 11.6 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, and .9 assists per game. A good big man that every team in nation would love to have.
Bench: A sophomore and three freshman at heights of 6-9, 6-2, 6-1, and 6-4. As with most benches, its guard dominated, but the fact that it's young gives this team hope. C+
Overall: A solid team, and for being the 9th best team in the conference, pretty damn good. B-
PG: Ayinde Ubaka B 6-4 200 pounds Senior
A solid point guard who averages 13.8 points, 2 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game.
SG: Omar Wilkes B- 6-4 185 pounds Junior
Another solid, but unspectacular guard who averages 10.5 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game.
SF: Theo Robertson C 6-5 200 pound Sophomore
Decent role player who averages 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
PF: Ryan Anderson A 6-9 225 pound Freshman
The new Leon Powe, and star of the team, he's averaging 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block a game. He might beat out Hawes, Pondexter, and Budinger for freshman of the year at this rate.
C: DeVon Hardin B 6-11 235 pounds Junior
A pretty good center, worthy of starting on Arizona, UCLA, or Oregon. He averages 10.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2 blocks a game.
Bench: Two freshman and a junior who are 5-9, 6-5, and 6-7. The 5-9 guy averages only 19 minutes a game, but gets 8 points and 3 assists per game. B-
Overall: It seemed like with Leon Powe, this team would flounder, but with Ryan Anderson, and 2 good freshman off the bench, this team is still good and could make the tournament. B-

PG: Aaron Brooks A- 6-0 165 pounds Senior
This stud from Seattle Washington competed with Adam Morrison for best Washingtonian in High School He's averaging a studly 16.6 points 4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He has 1.4 steals per game, along with 44% fg, 83% FT, and 26% 3 points.
SG: Tajuan Porter A- 5-6 160 pounds Freshman
Short freshman dynamo averages 18 points 2 rebounds and 3 assists a game. A pleasant surprise for Oregon, as the successor to Aaron Brooks is found. Also another strong candidate for Freshman of the year. Lot of good freshman this year putting up big numbers, considering Marcus Williams and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute were by far the strongest candidates last year.
SG: Bryce Taylor A- 6-5 205 pounds Junior
17.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 58% fg and 48% 3 pointers. Taylor rounds out a brilliant three guard starting lineup for Oregon, and Oregon looks like its chomping on the bit to join the ranks of Arizona, UCLA, and Washington.
SF: Malik Hairston A- 6-6 200 pounds Junior
This Carmelo-like small forward predicted a win early on and never got it. Him and Brooks never got it done, but with their new supplementing cast, (remains to be seen how much longer they will be supplementing before taking over) Oregon has a chance to go far in the tournament.
PF: Marty Luenen B+ 6-9 215 pounds Junior
Good big man averages 10 and 10. Solid and reliable.
Bench: Consists of three swingmen at 6-5 range, including Chamberlain Oguchi. Good bench, but needs more big men. B
Overall: Not quite up to a sweet sixteen team, but could be ranked by end of year, and definetley a tournament team. B
Oregon State:
PG: Josh Tarver B 6-3 175 pounds Freshman
Solid freshman, averages 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. One of three solid players on Oregon State.
SG: Wesley Washington C- 6-3 175 pounds Junior
An ok swingman, shows why Oregon state is the worst team in the Pac-10 because a guy like him is in their starting lineup.
SF: Marel Jones B+ 6-8 215 pounds Junior
Good all around play, 16 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists. Would just be 6th or 7th guy on Washington, UCLA, or Arizona though.
PF: Sasa Cuic B- 6-10 253 pounds Junior
Not quite up to his billing, for all his height and skill, just a 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds kind of guy.
C: Kyle Jeffers C 6-9 258 pounds Senior
Ok for a center, he's tall enough and wide enough, averages 6 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Bench: A sophomore, 2 freshman, and a junior off the bench at all kinds of heights including a 6'11" freshman with promise. B
Overall: Not bad for the worst team in the Pac-10. The recruiting has been strong as of late, as this years freshman class is one of its best classes ever. C+
PG: Mitch Johnson C+ 6-1 185 pounds Sophomore
Is a good distributor, but not much more, as he averages 5.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in 30 minutes a game.
SG: Anthony Goods B- 6-4 170 pounds Sophomore
Good all around player who'll just get better. 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
SF: Fred Washington B- 6-5 210 pounds Senior
Protypical all-around sophomore. 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, with good senior leadership.
PF: Lawrence Hill B 6-8 205 pound Sophomore
Good power forward, but a bit skinny. Averages 15 points, 6 rebounds a game.
C: Robin Lopez B 7-0 245 pounds Freshman
The star recruit of the class, along with his twin brother Brook. Big man with weight and skill. Him and his brother make two top 20 recruits for a young Stanford team.
Bench: Brook Lopez, a backup 7 foooter, a SF junior, 6-5 freshman, and 6-10 junior make up the bench. This team clearly isn't lacking height, but they're just too young. B-
Overall: This year they're goal is not finish bottom 2 or 3 in the Pac-10, next year they can make the Tourney a goal. They already have solid wins, crushing Denver, and beating Texas Tech handily, but they got demolished by Airforce 79-45. 7-2 record is pretty good though. B-
PG: Darren Collison B+ 6-1 165 pounds Sophomore
He looked good of the bench last year, but with Farmar getting so many minutes, the question was could he handle the point and distribute the ball. He has answered the question with a definite yes, as he is average 13 points and 6 assists. He's a smart speedy guard who can distributed and is a good on-the-ball defender. Lets see how much he develops.
SG: Arron Afflalo A- 6-5 215 pounds Junior
Pre-Season Pac-10 player of the year, he hasn't lived up to his billing, because UCLA plays good team ball, and because they're deeper than people thought. For his reputation as a shooter, he only shoots 39% from 3's and 46% from FG. He has played a good role as a leader this year. He decided to not go to the draft last year, and it looks like he might stay for a fourth year, which is good, he needs to polish his game a bit and learn to take over at times, which he hasn't done yet.
SF: Josh Shipp A- 6-5 220 pounds Sophomore
Another Reyshawn Terry type, who is a bigger bodied SG/SF. He is averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He could be the best player on UCLA.
PF: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute A 6-8 230 pounds Sophomore
The best player on this team, and last year's Pac-10 freshman of the year. He has a huge wingspan, and plays a bit bigger this year than last. Last he seemed to play a similar game to Marcus Williams, this year he's getting to the basket more. He could be the Pac-10 player of the year, but UCLA's slow game is bad for stats, and the ball gets distributed pretty well also.
C: Lorenzo Mata B- 6-0 230 pounds Senior
A serviceable center, he averages 7 points 6.4 rebounds a game. Not too much height behind him, but he doesn't play a ton of minutes becuase he's just not that good.
Bench: Backup center, Alfred Aboya, Sophomore Michael Roll, and freshman Westbrook are all serviceable, but not great. I'm not a huge fan of roll because he's kind of chubby, but he plays good team ball, is an ok defender, can knock down the three. B-
Number 1 ranked team so far, but I think Arizona has more talent. Ben Howland seems to be a really good coach though, although I'm not sure he did a great job recruiting this year with Westbrook and Keefe being his best recruits. Like Arizona, I'm not sure they have a lot of big men. I guess this doesn't matter in most cases, but their height depth, and their depth overall could come back to hurt them. A-
PG: Gabriel Pruitt A- 6-4 170 pounds Junior
He's been injured this year thus far, but he's a good talent averaging 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists per game last year. One of the more underrated players in Pac-10.
SG: Lodrick Stewart B+ 6-4 210 pounds Senior
One of the Stewart twins from Seattle, he's averaging 14 points and 5 rebounds per game. He hasn't improved all that much since his sophomore year in terms of stats, but that's because he has to share the ball with Pruitt and Young.
SF: Nick Young A 6-6 195 pounds Junior
Potential Pac-10 player of the year. He averages 17 points, 3 rebounds 1.6 assists. He dominated Washington last year, and now he finally got rid of his stupid mohawk. Just a good small forward who does everything right.
PF: Taj Gibson A- 6-9 210 Freshman
Another surprise freshman and potential Pac-10 freshman of the year. He's averaging 13 points and 9.5 rebounds. Didn't play so hot against Wichita State because of foul trouble, but he'll learn how to get his calls.
C: Abdoulaye N'Diaye B- 6-11 230 pounds Senegal
Injured for some of this year, this first year player from Senegal shows potential. He's got height, and he's from Senegal, so he can't be much worst than the Sonics first round pick this year.
Bench: Great bench. Dwight Lewis, Daniel Hacket, RouSean Cromwell, and Keith Wilkinson coming off the bench. These young guys can really play, and make the USC that much more dangerous. A-
Overall: A dangerous team with a mixture of good old leadership, and hungry young talent. Their victory against Wichita State was no surprise and more victories against ranked teams should come. I'd rank them just a bit behind Oregon. B+
PG: Justin Dentmon B+ 5-11 185 pound Sophomore
Matured quickly as a freshman and is a solid point guard. Not a highly touted prospect when he came here, but now is commanding attention. I never really loved this guy, especially after the Chris Hernandez foul last year and the fact that he's taking away time from my favorite player, Appleby, but he's a solid point who averages 12 points, 4 boards, and 5 assists. He's really improved his distance shooting and shooting overall too.
SG: Ryan Appleby B 6-2 170 pounds Junior
Sharp shooter. Love this guy because he can handle point, yet he is also a bit like McNamara or Redick. Shooting 43% from 3 range this year and last, and most of those are NBA threes. Plays solid D that doesn't show up on stat sheet, and recently had his starting job, but not minutes, taken away from him by Oliver. Oliver plays better defense, and is a good shooter in his own right, but makes several dumb mistakes at times.
SF: Quincy Pondexter B+ 6-7 220 pounds Freshman
Surprise of the year. We knew he'd be good, but no one thought he would have lead the team in scoring in the beginning. Hawes has finally surpassed him, but he plays solid D, and has a long reach for a SF. He's averaging 14 points 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game, and has shown 3 range. He's starting to slump a bit though.
PF: Jon Brockman A 6-7 245 pounds Sophomore
Captain as a sophomore, part of the dunk contest in Highschool, bruiser in the paint. He is a great boarder, and a feirce competitor. He dominated Big Baby in their matchup, and has shown that he is the heart and soul of this team. He could get a big stronger and toned, and if he was 6-9, NBA teams would be crawling a his door. He only averages 12 points, but he averages 10 boards a game. What can I say besides I love Brockman.
C: Spencer Hawes A 6'11 225 pounds Freshman
Starting to show that he's the most skilled big man in the NBA along with Josh McRoberts. He has an array of inside moves, can shoot from the outside, is a great passing big man, and is a great shot blocker. He leads the team in points per game, and has 16 points 6 rebounds, 2 assists per game. His achilles hill is that he doesn't rebound as well as he should. Usually that doesn't matter because of Brockman, but Brockman won't be in the game 40 minutes a game. He deserved Pac-10 player of the week last week, but Brockman should have also gotten it as co-award.
Bench: Good young bench, Adrian Oliver has shown he is college ready, and Phil Nelson seems to be a blend of Appleby and Pondexter. Artem Wallace is a solid big man off the bench, and Senior Brandon Burmeister is a solid defender, and a good shooter. A-
Overall: This team is still a bit young, and is sweet sixteen contening with Final Four hope on it but it probably will succumb to the older more experienced teams. It has shown it can win big at home, but can it do the same away? We'll see this week. A-
Washington State:
PG: Derrick Low A- 6-1 196 pounds Junior
Best unknown player in Pac 10 not named Nick Young. Good all around player. Switches from PG to SG sometimes. Averaging 15 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists, and is the clear leader of this team.
SG: Kyle Weaver B+ 6-5 185 pounds Junior
Another SG/PG, he averages a nice healthy line of 10.4/5/3.9. Good size, and uses it well.
SF: Ivory Clark B- 6-5 212 pounds Senior
A solid all around player. He doesn't fill out the stat sheet, but puts down some respectable numbers at 9 points and 5 rebounds.
PF: Daven Harmeling C 6-7 216 pounds Sophomore
A decent player, but still the worst on his starting lineup. Averages of 8 points and 3 rebounds.
C: Robbie Cowgill B- 6-10 208 pounds Junior
A pretty good player. Plays big and has talent. Numbers are only 7 and 5, but he plays good defense and is a good inside presence.
Bench: Lots of bench players are used, as 5 players average more than 10 minutes a game. It's almost a whole other lineup 3 smaller guards, a big guard, and a center. Bench is pretty deep, and they're all freshman and sophomores. B-
Overall: Washington State's strength is it's toughness, defense, and bench. They play slow ball, so their stats are all skewed. Remember the 50-30 win UCLA had when they beat WSU last year? That's what happens when two teams slow it down. The new coach is very good and really knows what he's doing. This team is on the rise, and while not a top 25 team, should definetley be a tourney team. B

1st Team Pac 10
PG: Mustafa Shakur
SG: Arron Afflalo
SF: Marcus Williams
PF: Taj Gibson
C: Spencer Hawes
2nd Team Pac 10
PG: Darren Collison
SG: TaJuan Porter
SF: Chase Budinger
PF: John Brockman
C: Ivan Radenovic
3rd Team Pac 10
PG: Derrick Low
SG: Christian Polk
SF: Nick Young
PF: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
C: Ryan Wright

First Team All American:
PG: Mustafa Shakur
SG: Alando Tucker
SF: Jared Dudley
PF: Nick Fazekas
C: Aaron Gray
Second Team All American:
PG: Derek Raivio
SG: Rodney Stuckey
SF: Mario Boggan
PF: Tyler Hansbrough
PF: Josh McRoberts
Third Team All-American
PG: Taurean Green
SG: Acie Law
SF: Jermareo Davidson
PF: Glen Davis
PF: Greg Oden
Honorable Mention:
Corey Brewer, Jeff Adrien, Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Arron Afflalo
Player of the Year: Nick Fazekas

Teams in Tourney and player of conference
ACC: (6) Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina (Tyler Hansbrough)
Big 10: (6) Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin (Alando Tucker)
Big 12: (5) Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M (Kevin Durant)
Big East: (6) Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Villanova (Aaron Gray)
Pac 10: (7) Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State (Mustafa Shakur)
SEC: (6) Alabama, Florida, LSU, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee (Glen Davis)

Two Lefties: Zito and Randy Johnson

Well, besides Aubrey Huff and maybe Mulder, the last big free agent has been signed to a whopping 7 year deal with a $18 million a year with a 1 year team option for another $18 million. Obviously this is overpaid, but what people are overreacting about is the 7 year part. After 7 years, he'll be in his mid 30's and last time I checked, pitchers don't deteriorate that quickly, look at all the good pitchers who do well into their late 30's and even mid 40's nowadays. Heck even decades ago pitchers did well into their 40's. The part I don't like is that San Francisco outbid themselves and gave Boras his exact demands. Zito is no longer a top pitcher, he's a very good, very consistent lefty pitcher. I'm glad the M's didn't overpay, but he was our chance of having a great shot of making the playoffs. As usual, Boras proably used the M's to get the team Zito really wanted, San Francisco or the NY Mets, to bid higher. Oh well, luckily we didn't trade Beltre to clear payroll.
Also of news is that with the Kei Igawa and Andy Pettite signing, Randy Johnson is on the trade block. A big power lefty with not many years left on his contract, closing in on 300 wins, and finishing off where his career (essentially started) sounds like a great idea. Him and Felix would be a good one two punch, and I'm a big advocator of needing two solid pitchers to do well in the playoffs. Many question if Randy is a good mentor, but just being a workhorse for the last 20 years I think is good enough to show some of the younger guys on the staff what its all about, especially Felix because Felix is so young and probably aspires to have the career Randy has had. Batista also seems like he would be a pretty good mentor.
Who would we trade for Randy? Sexson is a big obvious choice, as well as Sherrill. People have said Sexson straight up, or both of those guys AND pay part of Randy's contract. Last time I checked, Randy wasn't THAT good, and Sexson wasn't THAT bad. Sexson does give 35 hr a season while playing pretty good defense. Not great GG defense like he was once hyped to have, but pretty good (especially compared to Broussard). I don't know why people give Beltre a free pass for Safeco affecting his power while not giving Sexson one. I also think Sherrill is a really good LOOGY and can be more than just a LOOGY. He's amazing against lefties, and pretty good against righties. I guess I'd pay some of Randy's contract while offering Sexson, but not if Sherrill was in there too. Randy does have good K's, and his HR's ratio has to drop at some point and his LOB% has to go back toward normal. I also think his back will be better after the surgery and he still has a few more years in him.
Why would Randy come back to the M's? I'd like to think that he actually did have fun being on the M's and that like most great players they would want to come back to where they were first great. The fan base would LOVE him, and Seattle is close to his family in Arizona. He could go to Arizona, the Dodgers, or the Padres, but the Diamondbacks are a horrible team with some young talent (Yeah I know, the M's aren't hot shit either).
Chances aren't great that we get Randy, but with the best trade pieces that the Yankees want (Lefty relief for Ortiz and 1B for the only missing piece in their lineup) I can say that if we honestly wanted to make the trade, we could. As long as Cashman isn't unreasonable and demands some good prospects, the Mariners could get this deal done if they wanted to as long as Randy waived his no trade clause.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hindsight is 50/50: What the Mariners should've done looking back so far

Mariners fans seems to be split 80 20. 80% saying that Bavasi is an idiot and 20% saying that Bavasi has made some good moves in a market gone crazy. Because of these moves, 50% of fans say that to have any chance of being a competitive team, we need to sign Barry Zito, the only big name left on the market to give us 2 "ace" pitchers. The other 50% say that giving Zito the amount of years, or the $16 million plus in salary is a waste and a better deal will be around next year. Almost 100% of the fans, however, agree that something should have been done before this, and that having Zito shouldn't be our only option left to salvage the offseason.
Remember when everyone was shocked at how much Matsuzaka's bid was for? Before the bidding started, people were astounded at the possible $30 million dollar posting fee, and it went to $50 million. With Boras's unreasonable demands that Matsuzaka be paid like a free agent at around 7 years and $100+ million dollars (2 years and roughly 25 million more than Roy Oswalt, arguably a perennial top 5 pitcher) people were hesitant to jump into the bidding. The Mariners were supposed to be the front runner, but for some reason, either the money or the disrespect the Mariners' FO or owners felt they were receiving, the M's decided to forego putting a real bid and go after more reliable proven starters who had played Major League players on a consistent basis. Well, the Red Sox showed everyone by paying Matsuzaka $50 million for 6 years, for a total cost of $103 or so million dollars for 6 years. This is about $17 million a year which is about what Zito is supposedly getting paid. Looks like the Red Sox did their homework because that's a STEAL. I'd gladly pay that on the open market for him because he'll bring in so much extra revenue from new fans, fan mania, and Japanese tourism. Not only this, but I'd be willing to bet against 3:1 odds that Matsuzaka outperforms Zito, and I'm one of the few people who thinks that Zito will bounce back and perform well in the next 6 years. An acquisition like Matsuzaka can turn around a lot, it can save the Mariners franchise, restore attendance to 2001 status, and possible cement Ichiro's status as a Mariner for life.
Obviously another mistake was Igawa, whom I refer to mini-Matsuzaka. He's not a power guy, and he's a lefty, so they're not too similar, but they're both fairly young, and they both have really good japanese league stats. Here are Igawa's stats ( and here are Matsuzaka's ( Matsuzaka is basically a 15 win, 200k, 2.5 ERA guy (only 140 games in the Japanese leagues) while Igawa is an almost equally impressive 15 wins, 160k, 3 ERA guy. Igawa was posted for $26 million, which again, at first seemed atrocious, but then was signed to a 5 year $20 million dollar contract. This comes to roughly $9 million a year for a pitcher who was the MVP of the central league in 2003, and with the market value of other pitchers, I'd rather pay that for a guy who'll bring more fans then a Vicente Padilla.
Ok Ok, you're saying yeah yeah, everyone knows about the Japanese guys, but what else could the M's have done. Well Freddy Garcia was traded for 3 prospects, and while Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd are good prospects, I think the White Sox just wanted to get rid of their extra starter to lower payroll. Gio Gonzalez is a good prospect, the 38th pick overall in the 2004 draft, and he was a traded by the White Sox to get Thome before. He's 21, and in double A this year he got 166 k's in 155 innings along with 81 BB's and 24 HR's allowed. I don't know much about the park he pitches in, so I can't tell if he's serves up a gopher ball a lot or not, but he clearly has stuff. His ERA was only 4.66, but he seems to be a low Grade A prospect that hasn't really fulfilled his potential, but could. In 2004, Baseball America rated him the White Sox 7th best prospect, with the best curveball in the organization (excluding major league players). To put this in perspective, at the time, Brendan McCarthy was rated 3rd on the list, and he is now the 5th starter now that Garcia is gone, and Chris Young, was rated the 6th best prospect, and he was traded away from Javy Vazquez, and he is apparently tearing things up and is a can't miss OF prospect who was ranked as the best athlete and fastest base runner at the time.
Gavin Floyd was a 4th overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft, and is almost 24. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the major leagues, but has a career ERA of 6.96 so far. He lacks the control that he needs and hasn't shown that he can make the next jump. He pitched 115 innings in Triple A Scranton and had a 7-4 record with a 4.23 ERA. At his age, he should start dominanting triple A.
Anyways, what was the point in all this? The point was that the Mariners could have traded some of their excess products like Jeremy Reed, Ben Broussard, Rafael Soriano, and maybe an enticing prospect such as Jeff Clement for a starting pitcher such as Freddy Garcia, or maybe even Mark Buehrle. The White Sox might not want all these players, but packaging them up with perhaps a few more prospects should do the trick. Buehrle had a 5 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP, 200+ IP, and 100 K's, and his contract pays hims $8 million a year. Freddy Garcia had a 4.5 ERA witha 1.28 WHIP, 200+ IP, and 135 K's, and his contract pays him $9 million dollars. It's pretty much a toss-up between the two, and because Buehrle is a lefty, and Ozzie Guillen is probably more partial to Venezuelans, Buehrle might be easier to get. Gillick probably just wanted Freddy Garcia to unite him with Moyer and Franklin.
Another target who would be good for our excess lineup and prospects would have been Jason Jennings, a guy the Mariners were targeting. I figure that that package I made up is about as good as Willy Taveras, Taylor Buchholz, and Jason Hirsch. Taveras is a more established Reed, but his upside isn't more. Buchholz is a fring starter who could be good. Hirsch is a good prospect who is a little old, but was rated by Mariners scouts after Jon Papelbon, Jon Lester, Adam Jones, and Phillip Hughes before 2006 season started, but before Anthony Reyes, Bobby Jenks, and Gio Gonzalez.
Anyways, I love the Jose Guillen move because it gives us little risk with the short term contract and the team option, but a lot of reward because he's showed that he can be a plus defender, and a plus average and power hitter. The Batista signing is fine, but wouldn't be necessary because we would already have 5 pitchers. If payroll was too high, we could always trade away Sexson and get some prospects back, but here is my 2007 Mariners lineup if everything had went right.
2007 Lineup: 2007 Pitching:
C Johjima 5.2 Mil Matsuzaka 17 Mil
1B Sexson 14 Mil Igawa 9 Mil
2B Lopez .4 Mil Felix .4 Mil
SS Betancourt .4 Mil Buehrle 8 Mil
3B Beltre 13 Mil Washburn 10 Mil
LF Snelling .4 Mil
CF Ichiro 11 Mil Bullpen:
RF Guillen 5 Mil CP Putz 2.5 Mil
DH Ibanez 5.5Mil SU Sherrill .4 Mil
Bench: SU Huber .4 Mil
C Quiroz .4 Mil MRP Mateo 1 Mil
1b/3b Dobbs .4 Mil MRP O'Flaherty .4 Mil
CI/OF Morse .4 Mil LRP Baek .4 Mil
UTIL Bloomquist 1 Mil LRP Woods .4 Mil
Battting: 57.1 Mil Pitching: 49.9 Mil
Total: 106 Million
I know, 106 million dollars! That's a lot of money. I have three things to say. One, the expectations would be so great that the ticket sales would be incredible. Posting fees aren't always included in payrolls. The Mariners have been one of the most, if not, the most profitable team in baseball in the last few years. I haven't won a Seattle professional male championship in my lifetime, and if it means cutting into profit (which if the owners sold the Mariners they would make a huge profit off of that anyways), then so be it. Give one of the most loyal and best fans what they deserve. We aren't Yankee fans, we don't boo A-Rod because he slumps a bit for a month. We're not Philly fans, we don't boo for no reasons. We're not Red Sox fans, we don't say that one championship is all we need, and then bitch and moan about not winning the next season, we're Mariners fans, we're graetful to be part of the 90's Mariners with some of the best talents ever and some class act Mariners guys, and glad to be part of the 2000's Mariners with the beginning of Ichiro and tying the major league record for wins. Give us a championship. Even though this was an outrageous market, we still could have made do and gotten a championship team, all we needed was guts, and a a willingness to think outside the box and get creative.

Washington vs. LSU

Well, like everyone who watched the game last night, I witnessed what the Huskies could do when they were on all cylinders. Brockman was a beast down low grabbing boards and shutting down Glen Davis, Hawes was making turnarounds and 20 footers, and the other three freshman showed why this is possibly the best recruiting class in Washington history. The game was pretty much a 20 to 25 point game, and while LSU did make a run with about 12 to go, Washington came back with an equally strong run.
Hawes should that he could be the most versatile big man in the game.
Brockman, who disappears at times and has never really lived up to his "top 20 player and recruited to go to Duke" billing showed that when he's against the nation's best, he can bang with the big boys. Giving up 2 inches and 40 pounds, he showed what he was made of.
Oliver and Nelson showed that they are great shooters and will be great contributors in the next few years. Nelson is a three machine, a taller Appleby if you will, and Oliver played great defense while showing a good shooting touch.
This team has so many options, it doesn't really need anyone to step up, Pondexter didn't really get it on until late in the second half, we didn't even need Appleby's spark, and our bench is so deep that we can play full throttle basketball without getting tired.
While Brockman did well, he missed a few layins and tipins, and most of his points came off offensive boards or reverse layups. I'd like to see him create off a low post move like Hawes did.
Oliver played out of control at times and had a few key turnovers, including his intentional foul, which was a dumb move beyond belief.
This game was a really good game, and it showed that we can beat any team on any given night, however this wasn't necessarily a sign of greatness. We know the Huskies are good at home, we want to know if they can beat someone on the road. Seattle's pretty far from the south, and it showed in LSU's play that they were tired from the get go. We'll see that in Pac-10 play and against Pittsburgh.
LSU, is overrated in my opinion anyways, and while Brockman handled Big Baby, I wonder if he could handle a taller power forward such as Fazekas or Josh McRoberts.
Overall, I'm extremely proud of this team, and I think great things are to come. I didn't think with such a young team that we would get far in the tournament until this game, but now, anything short of an Elite Eight would be dissapointing.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Vidro, Matsuzaka, and Vernon Wells

Well... Everyone has been talking about the Chris Snelling and Fruto for Vidro and essentially 4 million dollars. I've been trying every way to think about it, and I've come up with the conculsion that its crap. If this is all we do, then we essentially traded a pretty good defensive young hitter who can walk and is left handed along with a relief pitcher with upside for a old 6 million a year (normally 8) infielder who can no longer field, switch hits, and has shown that he can hit, just not in spacious parks (RFK, which is not all disimilar from SafeCo). So we traded for a worse guy with a guy who is similar but younger and cheaper, and we threw in a decent reliever. They both get injured fairly often, so the injury factor is pretty moot. Why pay $5.5 million extra per year for this? No clue, although many have speculated that this allows us to trade Beltre or Lopex for a frontline starter. This is great and all, but since we just signed a bunch of starting pitching that gets ground balls, what would be the point in making our infield worse defesively? I'm also really high on both Beltre and Lopez, and I was also really high on Snelling. Any guy who can flat out hit and is young and cheap, you trade only because you package him for a better deal, or you get a ton of good prospects because you know he won't sign with you later. I find it hard to root for the Mariners like this, but there'll probably only one more year of Bavasi and Hargrove. Which is part of the problem. Maybe if Bavasi didn't have a one year ultimatum, he wouldn't bet trading for now. A one year ultimatum give him no incentive for preparing the franchise for a few years from now.

Next topic, Matsuzaka. $104 million for 6 years? This works to around $17 million a year. You have to figure you'll make $3 million a year from increased fan interest and Japanese interest, and this is a conservative estimate. Would you pay a $14 million a year for a guy who could be the best pitcher in the world? Of course, this is a no brainer. MVP of the World Baseball Classic. This guy has a whole genereation of japanese people named after him, "the Matsuaka generation" which are the people born around his time, and he's only 26. This guy is going to be good, and I would've given him $20 million a year. Especially when guys like Gil Meche get $11 million a year and Schmidt get $16 million a year. Red Sox have made all the right moves, maybe too expensive for Lugo, but with Drew, they're lineup and their rotation is stacked. They also have enough pitching prospects to keep their bullpen decent.

Last topic, Vernon Wells just signed for 7 years $126 million, which comes to $18 million a year and the 6th biggest contract ever. This is a guy who plays .285 .335 30 hr a year ball, with a gold glove in center field. I know Toronto has to spend to keep players in Canada, but $18 million a year seems like a lot when people are complaining about Manny getting $20 million a year. I don't know if the market will be as crazy next year as it is this year, but it seems Toronto is betting they are and hedging on that bet now by buying futures of Vernon Wells. I'd love to have a guy like Vernon Wells, but I'm not sure if a guy who hit .270 with a .320 obp last year deserves that much money.

Seahawks are BAD

Well, the Seahawks got swept by the 49ers confirming what I have LONG suspected (since week 4 or 5): the Seahawks are BAD. Before, we could chalk it up to injuries, but lets face it. Alexander is BAD this year, and Hasselbeck can't aim for crap for some reason. He's throwing up picks like none other and Alexander is getting so many rushes for negative carries because he does that cutback crap which doesn't work as well without Hutchinson.

Our defense is crap too. Lofa can't tackle worth crap. Boulware doesn't start anymore. Kelly Herndon sucks and has always sucked. We give up a BIG play every game. We can't guard the run at all.

ALSO, HOLMGREN has never looked dumber. His play calling is horrendous. If it's 3rd and long, you can almost guarantee it will be MACK STRONG the FB up the middle. What are the chances that this will work out? ZERO.

There are only TWO positives to this season: Hackett and Josh Brown (and maybe Julian Peterson, although i think he's more of stat sheet filler than a great player.) The worst Offseason move was OBVIOUSLY not signing Hutchinson, and then getting Burelson, who is a good return man, but not needed, especially for 49M for 7 years. NOT resigning Andre Dyson (2nd CB), Joe Jurevicious who has HANDS, and Marquand Manuel was dumb of us since all of them were available for a reasonable price.

We'll probably make the playoffs, but I can GUARANTEE we won't get anywhere. Might win the first game, just cuz its at home and the NFC isn't that good this year, but that's it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Seattle Mariners Offseason so far

I've been reading up a lot at LookoutLanding, USSMariner, and Detecovision, and I wanted to write a summary of the offseason so far and the franchise of the Mariners look forward.
Jose Guillen A
For the price, he's great. Someone made the mention that getting Ichiro in center and him in right is like having Ichiro in right and Vernon Wells in center. Vernon Wells was just reportedly offered a $18 million per year contract for 7 years, so, getting Guillen at $5 million with incentives is awesome. Guillen can obviously hit, and the only real negatives about him are that he might take away time from Snelling, he is right handed, his arm isn't completely stable after surgery, and he doesn't walk a lot, which is a team need. Otherwise he gives us a legitmate power bat that can hit 5th in the lineup and put up 280 325 wtih 25 hr and 100 rbis.
Horacio Ramirez C+
We had to give up Soriano for him, who's one of my favorites, but Soriano is a relief pitcher, and we seem to have tons of those. Ramirez is good at ground balls, and he is a lefty, but he gets injured and just isn't that great at missing bats. I like this move to get less downside risk in starting pitching, but the questions are, couldn't we have gotten more out of Soriano or a Soriano package and how much better is Ramirez compared to Woods, Baek, or Feierabend?
Miguel Batista B
He's another solid groundballer, who doesn't get injured. $8 million per may seem like a lot, but its only 3 years (although he is 36) and this market seems to be insane. Solid addition to a solid lineup.
Justin Lehr B+
He's cheap, fairly young, and could be a useful pen arm. He's not very expensive, so I say sign tons of these guys and see if they pan out.

Gil Meche A+
I'd like to have Gil Meche on my team. I think he' s a solid 3 or 4 pitcher, problem is is that he got a $55 million over 5 year contract, something I'd never pay especially when Schmidt only got $16 million a year for 3 years.
Joel Pineiro A
I used to love this guy, but a junkballer out of the bullpen just isn't appealing. For some reason he lost his stuff, and that just sucks for him because he seems like a great guy.
Rafael Soriano C
Great live arm, question marks with his injury problems, and he seemed to lose velocity at the end of the year before he got hit on the head. Like I said before, we should have gotten more for him.

We seem to have a great bench, but we're still one starting pitcher off. I don't know if Zito is what we need, and I don't know if I'd want to pay him $120 million over 7 years, but I feel like we need one number two guy or a power bat or something. The Cardinals won it all last year with just Carpenter and a bunch of solid guys in the rotation, but to do what they did, we'd actually have to make the playoffs. We need to get rid of an excess guy like Ben Broussard, Jeremy Reed, maybe even George Sherrill or a prospect to get a decent pitcher. I was all on the Jason Jennings bandwagon like most people, but he's already been traded. Any kind of solid 2 or 3 pitcher I say we get. I don't want to trade Adam Jones, because I think he could be very good, but I'd be willing to part with Clement, because I wouldn't mind having Johjima for a few more years.
Another possibility is just to sign a guy like Mulder and take our chances. Free Agency seems to be drying up, so we need to do something.

I'm an optimist, and I see our team doing well. Felix will show up in shape and ready to get groundballs and will contend for the Cy Young. Ichiro will be excited about a team in the playoff hunt in August and get 240 or so hits. Beltre and Sexson will finally get a decent entire season that they've shown flashes of, Lopez will blossom for the full season too and be a 25 25 man. Snelling will not be injured as much because him, Guillen, and Ibanez will be switching to the DH spot and will get a 420 obp. Guillen and Ibanez will be solid corner outfielders and hit 280 25 hr. Betancourt will continue to get a high average and show why Bavasi was so intent on getting ground ball pitchers. Johjima will be even better now that he's had a full year of mlb pitching under his belt. Washburn, Batista, and Ramirez will be solid pitchers worthy of making a playoff push. Our bullpen will be lights out, with Putz again being dominant, Sherrill and Huber doing well, and Mark Lowe possibly making a comeback. I'm also going to predict Ryan Feierabend coming up big as either a bullpen arm or a 5th starter.
Predicting Record, 87-75 possible playoffs, but most likely just off the pace. Who knows because the A's didn't get much better with the loss of Zito and Frank Thomas. The Angels signed no one although they do get Colon for a whole year maybe and their prospects are a year older. The Rangers are never any good in my opinion, their trade to the Padres last year shows that.
Playoff push? Here we come hopefully. Mariners Baseball, My oh My.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

First posting ever

Here is my first ever on this sports blog. First a description about myself. I'm a 21 year old sports fan from a Seattle suburb (Washington) who loves pretty much all sports. I went to boarding school in Massachusetts and am currently in college in Missouri, but I still root for my Seattle teams. I'm happy with the Huskies football title in 1991 with Steve Emtman, with the Seattle Storm title in 2004 with Betty Lennox, Sue Bird, and Lauren Jackson, with the Sonics 1996 Finals appearance, and the Seahawks 2006 Superbowl appearance, but still want that first professional mens title that I have yet to experience in my lifetime.
Currently I'm upset with the Seahawks. 8-5 is good, but we should be 10-3. I don't think this team can make it deep in the playoffs, but you never know, I never thought Pittsburgh would go anywhere this time last year, and they wouldn't have if the refs didn't cheat.
I'm also pretty excited about the Mariners this offseason. I like the Guillen pickup, and Batista and Ramirez could give us two dependable starters. A big time acquisition or a trade would put us over the top, but I like this team the way it is and if the Cardinals won last year with Pujols and Carpenter, we can win this year with Ichiro, Beltre, Sexson, Johjima, Lopez, Snelling, Betancourt, Guillen, Ibanez, Felix, and Putz.
Huskies Basketball is looking awesome. We just got creamed by Gonzaga at Gonzaga to drop us from 8 to 14 in the rankings, but at Gonzaga is hard, and this team is really young, we only have two juniors who are any good, and one senior who can play. I'm not that mad because I like Gonzaga as my secondary team anways with Duke probably getting the third spot. I love Raivio, and Matt Bouldin showed that he can play. I can' t wait until Micah Downs starts playing. Its hard to hate Gonzaga when they have more Washington boys than Washington (lots of Oregon and California guys). Back to Washington: Appleby looks like he's on fire and can shoot lights out, and Hawes and Pondexter should be on the all rookie Pac-10 team along with Chase Budinger and maybe one of the Lopez's. Brockman may never be the top prospect we thought he was, but he is a good leader, and a board machine. Unfortunately Harvey Perry is transferring, which sucks because he provided good depth, but that just means more minutes for Joel Smith, Adrian Oliver, and Phil Nelson. Plus next year Terrence Morris and Isaiah Thomas will need more minutes.