Tuesday, July 27, 2010

T.O. to Cinci, Chris Paul looking for Trade?

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to be able to branch out and give my opinion on other things happening across the nation in the sporting world. I started my Giants Baseball Blog in late 2005 and then a Golden Stat Warriors Blog in early 2008, but I've never really dedicated posts to topics outside of these Bay Area Teams. We've done that occasionally here at BASJ, but with the Major League Baseball playoff race heating up, NBA free agency in full swing, and the NFL training camp underway, I am going to start doing it with more frequency.

Today, we'll be taking a quick gander at some of the hot topics going on in sports this week, starting with Terrell Owens pending nuptials with the Cincinnati Bengals... Two wide receivers on one team with their own reality show? Seems like a lot of drama from the outside, but I have a strange feeling that this is going to be a good thing for both the Bengals and T.O. It immediately gives the Bengals the best receiving corps in the game, all-in-all. Say what you want about New England, or New Orleans, opposing defenses are going to have a hard time figuring out how to contain not only Ochocinco, but now Owens, Antonio Bryant (122 catches, 1848 yards, 11 TD's in his last 29 games) and their prize new rookie target, tight-end Jermaine Greshem. Add those options to a fully recovered Carson Palmer and you may have the best aerial attack in the NFL. They also have the late-blooming Cedric Benson (1251, 6 TD's in '09) handling the rushing duties, and as long as they can keep everyone happy, should have the premiere offense in the NFL.

Also grabbing some headlines this week is the Chris Paul/Hornet's fiasco that may end with Paul playing in a new city. If Chris Paul is indeed on the outs in New Orleans, the Warriors should seriously consider putting together a package. They did deal away a few of their bullets when they added David Lee a couple weeks back, but they still have enough that could entice New Orleans I think. Any potential package would have to start around Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry, but it would be well worth it. Bringing Chris Paul to Oakland would be 3-times as big as when they got Baron Davis from those same New Orleans Hornets. My guess though is that he makes well with Hornets' management though and sticks around, if not, Cleveland needs a new face after LeBron left them high and dry and could see Paul as the perfect fit.

Note: As always, if your looking for more in-depth news on the San Francisco Giants or the Golden State Warriors, be sure to check out The Giants Baseball Blog and The Warriors Rundown. We'll certainly discuss both teams here when relevant, but if you've been following us, and as you can tell by the post distribution, we save the majority of our Giants and Warriors talk for their specific sites.

Monday, July 26, 2010

MLB Trade Deadline Approaching

We're just 5 short days away from the most active trade deadline in all of professional sports, and it's been eerily quiet so far.

Normally there are a few big moves in the weeks leading up to the deadline, as teams want to try an avoid bidding wars, but there really hasn't been much so far. The biggest move to date has been the Dan Haren/Joe Saunders deal in which the Los Angeles Angels made out like bandits. Dan Haren is a perennial Cy Young candidate who is just entering his prime, the type of pitcher you build rotations around, and the D-Backs let him go for a league average left-handed starting pitcher. I don't mean to bash Saunders, but the stacked Angels teams of recent years is really the main reason Joe Saunders' career record is at 54-32. His era, outside of 2008, has actually been below league average. So obviously, I see the Angels as the big winners in that deal, and that's really the only big one to talk about so far and I think it's going to stay relatively quiet this year. There's really only one other big name that is likely to be dealt, and that's Roy Oswalt, but outside of him, the names out there haven't been to exciting.

As far as some of the hitters go, Jose Bautista, Jorge Cantu, Cody Ross, Derek Lee and Garrett Jones have been the names tossed around in recent days. The Giants have apparently contacted the Marlins about one of or both Cantu and Ross, but I don't think either of those guys are big upgrades over the people they'd be replacing. The one guy I like in that bunch for the Giants is Garrett Jones. The 29 year-old came into his own last year with Pittsburgh, and is on pace for a 25 homer, 100 RBI season again this year. He hits for a respectable average (.273 in 758 at-bats) and can play either corner outfield position or first base and is a solid defender. Most importantly though, I don't think the Giants would have to give Pittsburgh the farm to get him. Maybe a Travis Ishikawa/Joe Martinez combo could do it, especially with the way Ishikawa has picked up his offensive game. Also, if the Giants are going to deal with an AL team, they have 26 year-old Jesus Guzman (20 hr, 90 RBI, avg over last 3 seasons), a prototypical DH, waiting in AAA hitting .307 with 14 bombs who could draw interest. Jon Bowker is another guy who just can't seem to find his way into a crowded outfield mix with the Giants and could use a change of scenery. In his last 148 AAA games, the 27 year-old has hit .330 with 33 hr, 113 RBI and is a couple points shy of a .600 slugging percentage. Not saying a contender will come calling for him, but there are plenty teams like the Royals, Nats, Marlins, Pirates, Astros ect..... that could take a flier on a 20-something hitter with some real upside.

I would certainly take Jones over the other outfielder's/infielder the Giants are supposedly looking at, Toronto's Jose Bautista and Kansas City's Scott Podsednik. Not saying Baustista's 27 homers wouldn't look nice in the Giants lineup, and even though his patience and high OBP help make up for his low batting average, I just wouldn't give up a top prospect for him and I know Toronto will be looking to cash in. That holds true for Podsednik as well. Is he really that much better than Andres Torres anyway? If somehow the Giants could get Bautista for more middle of the line younger players like Nate Schierholtz and Ryan Rohlinger, or a package along those lines and stick him out in right field, then sure, he'd be a good add. But if they're going to put together a package of relevant young prospects, that list consisting of the top-12 in my mind at this point (Thomas Neal, Brandon Belt, Francisco Peguero, Charlie Culberson, Ehire Adrianza, Zach Wheeler, Brandon Crawford, Roger Kieschnick, Tommy Joseph, Chris Dominguez, Eric Surkamp and Jorge Bucardo), it better be for someone who's proven himself for a few years at least and will stay around. Dan Uggla is someone who is a realistic possibility and someone I'd consider parting with a couple of those guys for, granted the Giants could keep him around for a few years. If the Giants want a veteran rental they should look at Lance Berkman or Jose Guillen.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

NFL Training Camp Just Around the Corner

It's been a while since we've talked football here at the Bay Area Sports Journal, but with training camp just around the corner, and the exhibition season set to begin in just about a month, it's time to start getting back into football mode.

Things have been extremely quiet though lately on the 49ers and Raiders front though anyway, so there really hasn't been and still isn't many new happenings to report on. I'm just starting to get anxious to see how Alex Smith and the 49ers take to actually having an offseason to work together and get some kind of cohesion. There are still a bunch of people who aren't quite sold on Smith as the QB of the future, and the Niners went out and added David Carr this spring in order to provide some depth in case Smith struggles or gets hurt. I was kind of hoping that the Niners would give Nate Davis a shot at QB 2, but that's not happening now that Carr's aboard. The Niners also added another element to their offense this spring in getting Ted Ginn Jr. from Miami, and he's a guy who I will be covering closely throughout camp and the preseason. He's a guy who could really help this Niners offense stretch the field, and I think he's in a prime situation now where there isn't all that pressure on him. Ginn will have an oppotunity to play alongside Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree and provide the Niners with a vertical threat in the passing game. Not too mention, he'll hopefully provide some stability to a Niners return game that has been a revolving door throughout the last few years.

The Niners also will have a much different look on their offensive line this year, and that's another area that I'll be watching closely this July and August. The Niners selected two premiere O-lineman in April's draft, and both are expected to start and pay immediate dividends. I really think that line holds the key to the Niners offensive success. They're the ones that will determine how well the Niners run game and ultimately pass game produces, and it's key they get in synch before the seasons starts. Defensively, the Niners are returning much of the same unit, they're just hoping to get better health and hoping the addition of a couple of solid rookies will help to improve an up-and-coming unit. Not too mention, they'll also be getting a full, playing season out of Ahmed Brooks, who didn't get steady playing time until the 2nd half of the year, but produced with 5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles over the final 6 games of the season. They should have an improved pass rush this year, even though they really didn't add anyone. Parys Haralson is primed for a 10+ sack season, and I think Manny Lawson, Ahmed Brooks and Justin Smith all have that capability too with an all-around improved defense. Definitely a lot of things too look forward to with the Niners this year.

Raiders Update: Things aren't quite looking as good for the Silver and Black. Now that JaMarcus Russell is officially off the roster though, I think they can start to move forward now. Like I said when they added him this spring, I think Jason Campbell is a nice fit here in Oakland and could provide the Raiders with a Rich Gannon type, but they need the pieces around him to fall into place in order for them to be watchable this year. What I really want to see is a full year out of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush and have them take over the Raiders rushing attack. Secondly, I want to see a group of 3 or 4 receivers emerge as reliable targets. They now have an accurate arm behind center who should be able to deliver, so there are no more excuses. Derious Heyward-Bey needs to step up and Louis Murphy and Chaz Schillens need to play all year like they did the 2nd half of 2009.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Warriors Add David Lee In Sign-and-Trade

The Warriors made their first, and probably their only, splash on the free agent market this summer, as they've agreed to trade Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike to the New York Knicks in exchange for David Lee. The Knicks first had to sign Lee, then do the deal since the Warriors didn't have the cap space to add him without them being able to ditch Turiaf's contract.

Now, the Warriors have a legit power forward for the first time ever to team up with Andres Biedrins in the front-court. I really liked the player that Kelenna Azubuike had become and I think there was still some growing room for him, and Anthony Randolph still has tremendous upside, but I actually do really like this move for Golden State. They've needed size and a skilled big man for years. They even tried to bring Chris Webber out of retirement a few years ago in attempt to fill the void, but they just keep swinging and missing when it comes to the power forward position. So, instead of waiting for the injury prone youngsters to pan out, Larry Reilly got pro-active and went out and added a 27 year-old all-star power forward/center. The only small negative I can think about regarding this deal is the fact that the Warriors lose a lot of depth with the 3 players they gave away, but the return is well worth it. Lee averaged 20.3 points, 12 boards and 3.5 assists per game in the 'o9/'10 season, all career highs. He was the one player on the Knicks who they could consistently count on, night in and night out over the last few years and I think Warrior fans are going to really like what they're getting in Lee.

After they drafted Epke Udoh last month, the Warriors felt like they had a legit replacement for Randolph, but now I'm curious to see what goes on at small forward with 'Buke gone and Anthony Morrow on his way to Jersey. Reggie Williams, who played very well for Golden State after they added him from the D-league in mid-season, is penciled in there right now and could win that spot, but there is still a lot of time between now and training camp, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Reilly go out and add another player. If they don't and Williams gets the nod, it won't be such a bad thing though. Reggie Williams is just 23 years-old, and averaged about 15 points and 5 boards last year, but he's sized more for the shooting guard position rather than the small forward position. With the roster as is now though, I don't really see a better option. They did add Dorrell Wright over the weekend, who could enter the starting mix, but I'd honestly rather have the undersized Williams out there. So, as they stand now, the W's lineup is looking a little something like this:

PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Monta Ellis
SF: Reggie Williams
PF: David Lee
C: Andris Beidrins

G: CJ Watson
F: Brandon Wright
C: Dan Gadzuric
F/C: Anthony Tolliver
G: Charlie Bell
F: Dorrell Wright

Thursday, July 8, 2010

BASJ'S MLB All-Star Selections

Since every year, there seems to be a handful of deserving players left out of the mid-summer classic, I always like to make out how the roster should look. Setting aside politics and popularity, here is how the starting lineups would look for both squads

National League:

1. SS Hanley Ramirez Fla.
2. 2B Brandon Phillips Cin.
3. 1B Albert Pujols Stl.
4. DH Joey Votto Cin.
5. 3B David Wright NY
6. CF Carlos Gonzalez Col.
7. RF Corey Hart Mil.
8. LF Adam Dunn Was.
9. C Miguel Olivo Col.

SP: Josh Johnson Fla

This year I actually like the NL's chances to break their 12-year losing streak this time around. They are stocked with starting pitching, starting Johnson, then bringing Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum after that. Gonzalez and Hart are both having huge seasons and really should be starters. Olivo is the only catcher in the NL really worthy of an all-star selection, it's just too bad Buster Posey didn't start a month earlier, or else it would probably be him.

American League:

1. LF Carl Crawford TB
2. 2B Robinson Cano NY
3. CF Josh Hamilton Tex.
4. 1B Miguel Cabrera Det.
5. DH Vladimer Guerrero Tex.
6. 3B Evan Longoria TB
7. RF Alex Rios Chi.
8. C Joe Mauer Min.
9. SS Derek Jeter NY

SP: David Price TB

The AL has some surprises for sure. If you would have told me Vlad Guerrero would have 75 RBI by the all-star break, I would have called you crazy, but he's having an MVP type season for the Rangers. As is Josh Hamilton. This years AL squad just doesn't seem as deep and dominant as they usually are. David Price is having a great year, but the AL is used to starting guys like Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay in these events and Price just isn't in that class yet. The AL is thin at catcher as well, where Joe Mauer's "off year" is still better than any other overall season other AL catchers are having.

Friday, July 2, 2010

NBA Free Agency Starts, Warriors Quiet

The NBA free agency period is starting to materialize, and some of the top free agents in the league are setting meetings with different teams, and this year their is no shortage of premiere-level free agents.

The 2010 free-agent class is quite possibly the best one to date. The two big dogs of the bunch, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James are both set to visit New Jersey and Chicago, and apparently have mutual interest in trying to land at the same destination. Wade is also apparently keeping a close eye on what happens with Chris Bosh, one of the premiere big men on the market this summer. Among the other free-agents available right now are Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer, David Lee, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. That list also included Rudy Gay up until this afternoon, but the 24 year-old swingman signed a 5-year, $82 million deal to stay in Memphis. I think Nowitzki will end back up in Dallas, and it looks like Joe Johnson is headed back to Atlanta as they're trying to do all they can to bring back their leader. Other than those guys though, things look wide open right now for the rest of the bunch.

Although there are a handful of guys available that could come right in and help the Golden State Warriors, It doesn't appear as if Larry Reilly and Co. are ready to go down that road. The last time they dipped into free agency with big dollars, they ended up with Corey Maggette, and I think that may have scared them away from spending big in free agency. It's just that this year, there is are a couple of guys that could really help steer this franchise in the right direction, much like Baron Davis did for them after coming over in 2006. Those two guys are Carlos Boozer and/or Amare Stoudemire. I personally would like to have Stoudemire, as he's a 27 year-old. just entering his prime, with monster talent and the size/strength that this team needs. I think a bold move like that would not only put them back in the playoff hunt, but make them a factor in the Western Conference. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on at the very least, as I hope Nelson and Reilly are doing the same.