Saturday, July 09, 2005WSOP Update...
Besides the Hopkins-Taylor fight, I'm also going to be covering the World Series of Poker final table Friday night at Binion's.
So here's a quick update.
Still Alive: Greg Raymer (2004 Champ), Chris Moneymaker (2003 Champ). Moneymaker is short stacked though. Sam Farha is also around and in good shape.
Goners: Phil Hellmuth (Damn!), Annie Duke, Doyle Brunson, T.J. Cloutier, Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.
Winner will receive a cool 7.5 million.
Who's Down With the King?
After being spurned by Ray Allen and Michael Redd, the Cavaliers finally found someone willing to play Pippen to LeBron's Jordan in Larry Hughes.
I'm not sure if I'm willing to throw back five years and 70 million for Hughes, but I will say that it's a better signing than Michael Redd would've been. Hughes is a great defender, he can dish, he can assist and he can keep up with a talent like LeBron.
That being said, Hughes is a little brittle and the Cavs still need to sign a shooter or a power forward with their mid-level money. This is a two-year experiement, if it doesn't work LeBron is gone. He might be gone anyway, but if this pairing isn't successful he'll definitely leave.
The Cleveland front office has all but shown LeBron the door. They completely messed up the Carlos Boozer situation (although Boozer lied through his teeth as well), they harassed and fired the coach that he loved playing for and now they couldn't get the best free agent on the market to buy into playing with the NBA's top star. In 2007, don't be surprised to see a LeBron-for-Kobe deal being swung. I'm not saying it will happen, just don't be surprised if it does.
Hughes Was Best Option All Along [Akron Beacon-Journal]
Update: Well the Cavaliers are now searching for their bodyguard and according to the Miami Herald, they have set their sights on Udonis Haslem. Haslem is a restricted free agent, but Miami is restricted in their ability to pay him.
Cavaliers Making Run at Haslem [Miami Herald]
A Grand Re-Opening
Yes, I've just been lazy and it's starting to show. However, my lazy period for 2005 is finished and I'm coming back with vengence. So I'm going to do a little soft opening before I take my trip to Vegas to see Hopkins-Taylor (July 13-18) and when I come back, it'll be on.
Maybe I'll post a couple of times from Vegas to give an update on my bankroll and report any Jessica Alba sightings.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005The Semi-Hot Corner (#4)
1) Washington: Good thing for the Nationals is that they've already reported around $20 million in revenue. And there's no way Bug Selig is going to stand for the owners to ruin this good market. The Nationals will make trades with teams that have owners who want to dump salary. Hello Devil Rays! Hello Royals!
2) Atlanta: The Braves have rebuilt on the fly. They get Chipper Jones back so that's a huge acquisition. They won't add much salary, but they will find a closer and more bullpen help. Might be the landing spot for Eddie Guardado.
3) Florida: Lots of talk of A.J. Burnett heading to Toronto and Mike Lowell could also be on the move so already the Marlins look like sellers. What they get in return will show how serious they are about challenging in the second half.
4) Philadelphia: Not wanting to add salary, I can't expect Philadelphia to be too active in the trade market this year. They could definitely use a starter and something to get Jim Thome out of his slump.
5) N.Y. Mets: The ultimate buyer/sellers in the National League. With Steve Trachsel returning they've love to dump one of the starting pitchers. They would prefer to part ways with Tommy Glavine, but his contract is a sore spot. Victor Zambrano or Kaz Ishii would be next, but what could they get for those guys. The Mets need a big bat and bullpen help. They would like Todd Helton but the Rockies will have to eat a good part of the 97 million dollars left on his contract. As always the Mets will make moves and as always they will have me scratching my head or pouring champagne.
1) St. Louis: If Steve Kline and Tony LaRussa can make it, the Cardinals will definitely take him back. The average age of the outfield is 36 so the Cardinals would like some bench help there to give the older veterans more rest down the stretch.
2) Houston: Forget about trading Roger Clemens, ain't gonna happen. The Astros are interesting because they being only two games below .500 are not in a position to fold. They could make a big acquistion in hopes of gaining momentum for 2006 and keeping Clemens around for another year. The Rocket isn't going anywhere.
3) Chicago Cubs: Pitching, pitching, pitching and a healthy Garciaparra. The Cubs have bullpen needs and another starting pitcher to supplement such a fragile staff.
4) Milwaukee: The trade to acquire Carlos Lee has worked out so well I don't expect the Brewers to any serious dealing and ruin the karma of an improving team. If a team needs Ricky Bottalico, the Brewers will move him.
5) Pittsburgh: They will have some calls for Matt Lawton and rightfully so, the Pirates could land a strong prospect or two for him. Daryle Ward could also get a new address. As for pitching, both Rick White and Jose Mesa will be on the market.
6) Cincinnati: The Reds hold a lot of cards. Ramon Ortiz will be in demand as the starting pitching market is thin. Joe Randa and Rich Aurilla will be available for teams who need veteran infielders. Sean Casey and his three home runs will also be on the market. In the outfield, Griffey is probably untradeable but Adam Dunn can bring in attractive offers. Wily Mo Pena is probably untouchable.
1) San Diego: The Padres lead in the West is only at 4.5 games but it's a comfortable margin. They are good e\nough to win the West but probably not good enough to last four games in the playoffs so they need a player, probably a nice infield bat. San Diego already acquired Paul Quantrill so they are bolstering the bullpen.
2) Arizona: A team that's destined to be a little below .500. It's possible Luis Gonzalez could net them some strong prospects. It'll most likely be a trade of Royce Clayton and several teams will inquire about Javier Vazquez but will be offered Shawn Estes.
3) Los Angeles: On the road to nowhere. With the Dodgers' best players injured it's tough to gauge how good they could be. This is about the time that Jeff Weaver is rumored to move and I'm sure Jeff Kent has become a pain in the ass but the extra years on his contract will keep him a Dodger.
4) San Francisco -- I believe Jason Schmidt will stay because the Giants want to have a contender in 2006. They will look to deal Jason Christensen and possibly LaTroy Hawkins. With Lance Neikro the first baseman of the near future, the Giants will accept takers for J.T. Snow.
5) Colorado -- How much of Todd Helton's $97 million will the Rockies eat? That will determine their action. Even though he has slumped, Helton's presence on the market will demand 2-3 top flight prospects in return. In a thin pitcher's market someone will overpay for Joe Kennedy and the Rockies will also offer Preston Wilson. The Rockies can build many blocks for the latter part of the decade if they can pull major deals this month.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005The Semi-Hot Corner (#3)
So we'll start with the AL East.
1) Boston -- Well the Red Sox acquire a top 10 pitcher in Curt Schilling already. Otherwise I would expect them to make a trade for some extra bullpen help and possibly some speed on the bench. Otherwise there are few weaknesses on the team outside of Keith Foulke.
2) Baltimore -- The Orioles need a legit starter and they will get Javy Lopez back. Can a starter stop the slide? There won't be a "stopper" available, but what about a middle rotation guy like Joe Kennedy? At best the Orioles can find a younger starter or two to build for a run in 2006. Steve Kline will probably get dealt to an NL team.
3) N.Y. Yankees -- They can't do much outside of the trade they made with the Padres. They don't have parts anyone wants (well there's A-Rod and Sheffield) and no one is lining up to take the 15-19 million dollar contracts of Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina.
4) Toronto -- The Blue Jays are in a better position than the Yankees because they've got some semblance of a farm system. They will be pushing for a starter to supplement Roy Halladay. Being only 5.5 games out, they are contenders.
5) Tampa Bay -- Teams will look to the Rays for Aubrey Huff, who is a powerful bat, and probably Danys Baez along with anyone else. The Rays will trade anyone except for Carl Crawford, Scott Kazmir, Rocco Baldelli and Jorge Cantu.
1) Chicago White Sox -- When you are 30 games over .500 and nine games up on the Twins, you don't make many drastic moves. Expect the White Sox to make safe moves not to disrupt the roster and team chemistry. They will look for infield and outfield bench help.
2) Minnesota -- With such a delicate payroll the Twins will look for guys in the final years of their contracts. Another team that will search for bullpen help.
3) Cleveland -- The Indians are challenging for the wild card. Can they get a big-time slugger for the outfield? They will be looking at Huff and they've got the system to make an attractive deal.
4) Detroit -- The Tigers already traded for Placido Polanco to solidify the infield. If someone wants Jason Johnson, they can have him as the Tigers are loaded with good pitching in the farms. There will be some offers for Dmitri Young, but it'll be tough for the Tigers to part with their clubhouse leader and one of the few guys who kept the organization afloat through their darkest times.
5) Kansas City -- Mike Sweeney is going to be shipped more than likely. Probably to an NL wanna-be contender, maybe the Cubs, maybe the Mets. Otherwise Matt Stairs, Terrance Long, Angel Barroa, Jose Lima, Matt McDougal, etc. etc. will find new addresses. Sad thing for a town with such great sports fans eager to support a winner or at least a team with a chance to win.
1) Los Angeles -- Yeah, I'm calling them the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, don't like it? Stop me. :) Far as I'm concerned once they stopped being the California Angels it doesn't matter. With Orlando Cabrera, Tim Salmon and Steve Finley on the DL, I would expect them to get a bat-for-hire. Whatever they need, ownership will get.
2) Texas -- Good news is they are only a starting pitcher or two from a consistent playoff team, the bad news is there's no starting pitching out there. But rest assured they will be looking and will probably be looking for a pitching for the next few years given the unsure status of Kenny Rogers.
3) Oakland -- Well Barry Zito is the name. From Cy Young to trade bait. He's available but it won't be cheap. So Oakland will only deal with teams that can give them everyday players in return. So the entire NL East, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers and others will be in the fight. I doubt they will trade Zito to an AL team.
4) Seattle -- The kids are all right! So what about the adults. Want bullpen help? Well Eddie Guardado and Jeff Nelson can be had. How about a starter? Maybe Jamie Moyer, definitely Aaron Sele. Anything is possible. Want to save the Mariners from a headache? Adrian Beltre could probably be had too. :). Seattle will be getting a LOT of phone calls in the next few weeks.
Tomorrow I'll hit the NL.