Sunday, January 23, 2011

A more reasoned (but still giddy) reaction to the Vernon Wells trade

The Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli/Juan Rivera trade is a tough trade to grade from a baseball perspective. If the Vernon Wells from 2010 shows up and the Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera from 2009 shows up, the trade is a win for the Blue Jays. If only one of Napoli or Rivera shows up, then the deal is a wash. If the Rivera and Napoli from 2010 show up, then the Angels win the deal. With that said, if the Wells from 2009 shows up, then it doesn't matter - the Jays will win the trade.

Another factor in the evaluation is defense. After being a good centerfielder in his younger years, Wells is now a liability defensively. If he moves to leftfield, he'd likely turn into an average defensive fielder, putting most of his value in his offense. Napoli is considered to be a weak defensive catcher, though how much of that is due to the Angels' reluctance to play him (instead choosing to play offensive sink hole Jeff Mathis) is not know. Rivera is an average left fielder. From a Jays' perspective, Rajai Davis takes over as the centerfielder, improving their defense if simply by subtraction. From the Angels', it will depend on where they play Wells. If they play him in left or right field, defense should not be an issue.

Of course, the elephant in the room is Vernon Wells' contract. Wells is owed $84 million over the next 4 years, which is still a ridiculous overpayment for his contributions to a team, even assuming that he produces at his 2010 levels. His contract was such that most people assumed that it would be unmovable unless the Jays picked up a significant portion of it. Instead, the Angels seem to not only want Vernon Wells, but also think he's properly valued. How they can do this, I have no idea. But if you approach the trade from this point of view, it at least makes a bit of sense. Whether they're right to approach it like this will be proven this year.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

A quick reaction to the Vernon Wells/Mike Napoli&Juan Rivera trade


(More reasoned reaction to come once I've calmed down.)

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Blogger Tournament Registration

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Ramblings about the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medal Game

It's tough to be incredibly critical of a team made of players who are under the age of 20. They are, almost by definition, lacking experience in these sorts of high pressure games, and don't necessarily know how to react. with that said, what happened in the gold medal game was rather dreadful.

For two periods, the Canadians dominated the game, building up a three goal lead. It seemed as though all was in control, and the Canadians took their foot off the gas pedal. This lead to a great comeback by the Russian team, scoring 5 goals in 16 minutes and winning the gold medal game.

One can only hope that the Canadian team learned a lesson in not letting up and that you do not earn the reward without completing the task. That this will make them better players in the long run. But for now, it sucks. And it makes one want to yell at his country's junior team.

(I don't mean to take anything away from the Russian team, who showed immense character in 3 comeback victories during the elimination round. They never gave up, and recovered from a disasterous start to the tournament to win the goal medal.)

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Monday Musings - Wednesday January 5, 2011 Edition

As good of time as any to wheel this out again...

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The hidden downside of Adrian Beltre leaving the Red Sox

Adrian Beltre does not like having his head touched. Unfortunately, his Red Sox friends liked to touch his head.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

The high and low of UFC 125

Going into UFC 125, there were two big strikes against it being a highly purchased PPV: It was held on New Year's Day, traditionally a day when people recover from partying on the night before; and it had no stars of note to draw in a larger than normal PPV crowd. One would expect that UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar would be that PPV draw, especially after defeating BJ Penn twice. However, his method of victory (decision by using technique to win each round) did not end up making him an elite fighter in the eyes of the casual MMA fan. Instead it made him champion, but one that might not be the best in his division or an exciting fighter.

Tonight, Frankie Edgar gave a performance in non-victory that elevated him to being a fighter that people will pay to see. In a scene reminiscent of the Brock Lesnar/Shane Carwin fight from UFC 116, Edgar survived a first round beating from Gray Maynard, and came back to fight a great fight (including a dominant second round performance) and end up with a well earned draw. Fans were amazed by Edgar's fighting spirit, his ability to rise to the occasion with his back against the wall. And in contrast to Lesnar, Edgar's opponent did not run out of gas after the first round. Maynard stood his ground and was willing to press the action. He was just unable to break Edgar's will and ended up not winning the title.

The decision leaves Joe Silva and Dana White in an awkward position. Surely an Edgar/Maynard rematch would do great business, and is likely needed to resolve who is the better fighter. However, Anthony Pettis has been promised the next title shot to unify the WEC and UFC Lightweight titles. An Edgar/Pettis match might catch lightning with Pettis' highlight reel kick helping to hype a fight, but that leaves Maynard on the sidelines waiting for the winner and could kill any momentum an Edgar/Maynard rematch would have. And if Pettis wins? So it's no surprise that we are going to get an Edgar/Maynard rematch. It will be interesting to see what they will do with Pettis in the meantime.

(Ironically, this might be one time when an injury to the champion would help UFC. Edgar being on the shelf for any period of time would allow UFC to make a Maynard/Pettis fight for an interim title (which is essentially what the WEC Lightweight title is), and would help build up an eventual Edgar title defense against the winner.)

In any event, Frankie Edgar had a star making performance tonight. We will see if he can follow it up by finally defeating Gray Maynard.
Tonight was likely the end of the road for 3 familiar faces. Phil Baroni, Marcus Davis and Brandon Vera all suffered humiliating defeats and are likely to be cut from their UFC contracts. while Baroni and Davis took their knockouts as the disappointments they are, Vera for whatever reason seemed unconcerned about his defeat. That confuses me.

Baroni and Davis could at least attempt to rationalize their losses away; they got caught by a great punch which caused their defeat. Avoid the punch and the fight could have gone differently. Vera, OTOH, was so utterly dominated by Thiago Silva that Silva resorted to slapping and spanking him while he had Vera's back in the third round. vera exited the third round with one the worst broken noses I have ever seen. And yet, instead of looking slightly disappointed at how badly he performed in his fight, Vera took pleasure in mugging for the camera, showing off his broken nose to amuse the crowd. while the crowd enjoyed it, Vera still came across as a man who had been handily defeated, someone who did not belong in a UFC Octagon. If you are unconcerned about your performance in what was a one-sided fight where you showed no will to even fight when you knew you had to, why should I care about you?

Vera would do well to go back to the other organizations and dedicate himself to improving. While he's at it, he should drop any talk about being lightheavyweight and heavyweight champion at the same time; he was dominated by a fighter who's essentially a heavyweight in Silva so why would that change with actual heavyweights?

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

UFC 125 Predictions

(1/01/11 9:25pm Note: For whatever reason, this post was posted with a date of 1/1/01, which meant that you would have had to look for it to find it. I present it unmodified - after this note, of course.)

Well, I'm going to make myself look like a fool again, and try to predict the outcomes fo fights on UFC 125 - Who's really watching this? I'll also throw in some thoeretical wagers from my friends at, just to show how easy it is to lose money. Without any further ado, let's start with the predictions:

Antonio Mckee over Jacob Volkmann

McKee has done everything asked by the UFC in order to get a contract - specifically show that he can finish people. He isn't going to blow this by losing, even if it means reverting to his old boring self.

Daniel Roberts over Greg Soto

Solely because of Roberts' victory with the Anaconda Choke in his last fight.

Mike Brown over Diego Nunes

Brown will want to get onto the UFC card, and try to make himself relevant in the Featherweight division once again.

Brad Tavares over Phil Baroni

Phil Baroni is an incredibly entertaining person on interviews. Unfortunately, I think he's done as a fighter.

Jeremy Stephens over Marcus Davis

More of a personal choice as I've turned into a Davis non-fan. Honestly, there's not too much to choose from here - both are fighting to keep their UFC contract, but both have been at best inconsistent in their last 5 fights.

Josh Grispi over Dustin Poirier

Grispi does not want to lose his title shot.

Clay Guida over Takanori Gomi

Really, the winners here are the fans. This should be a fantastic battle of two men who don't know much beyond go, go, go. Guida has the edge as he seems to have reinvigorated by joining Greg Jackson's camp.

Nate Diaz over Dong Hyun Kim

I like Kim a lot; however I've learned that Diaz tends to make me look like a fool when I pick against him.

Thiago Silva over Brandon Vera

Silva almost beat Rashad Evans; Vera was destroyed by Jon Jones. Need I say more? (Okay, Vera talks about his skill a lot, but doesn't like to show it very often.)

Chris Leben over Brian Stann

Leben star is on the rise after his June 2010 performance - with 2 wins in 2 weeks. Stann hasn't fared as well when challenged by good competition. I'll choose Leben.

Grey Maynard over Frankie Edgar

The only way Edgar wins is if Maynard decides to throw away his strength of wrestling to stand and fight with Edgar. I just don't see that happening.

Bets: $20 on Maynard to win (1.65) - Payout $33.
$20 on Thiago Silva to win (1.65) - Payout $33
$20 on Antonio McKee to win (1.45) - Payout $29

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