Monday, January 05, 2009

Cleaning out the junk drawer of my mind for the new year

Just some random observations about a variety of things...

First, I want to address the NFL MVP - Peyton Manning got that on reputation alone. He did not deserve it this season as he was as culpable in the Colts record through the first seven games as he was responsible for digging them out of the same hole. A lot of people with the MVP vote claim the Colts would have been horrible without Manning under center, but I don't buy that they would have been any worse than 3-4 through seven games before Manning came back if they had Jim Sorgi taking the snaps.

Consider - Sorgi, for his career, has seen action in 15 games (14 if you don't count the one time in 2006 when he came in to take a knee). In those 14 games, Sorgi is 99 for 156 for 929 yards, 6 touchdowns, 1 interception and a QB Rating of 89.9. As that was a lot of partial games, break that down to five games with an average of 20 completions on 31 attempts, 186 yards, and 1 touchdown per game. Certainly passable and capable of winning three or four games over a seven game season.

There are at least five players that have had a bigger impact on their respective teams - Michael Turner, Matt Ryan, Chad Pennington, Ed Reed, James Harrison all significantly change the equation if they're not on their teams, and it's unlikely that any of their teams make the playoffs without them.

The Falcons were exposed as young and inexperienced in what I thought was one of the more boring playoff games I have ever seen.

I like the way the Red Sox rotation is shaping up, and have a hunch that a lot of people are going to panic because the Sox aren't overspending to get the big, sexy names in free-agency. If this works out the way I think it will, the Sox off-season is going to be compared to the Patriots' 2001 free agent signings. A lot of really solid guys that help make a winner, but aren't the biggest names out there.

How many times does Scott Boras have to publicly screw the pooch before his clients begin to get worried. He was publicly neutered in the last Alex Rodriguez negotiations, blinked in his game of chicken with the Sox during the Daisuke Matsuzaka negotiations, he got lucky in the Mark Texiera sweepstakes in that the Yankees swooped in and pretty much bid against no one, overplayed his hand with both Jason Varitek and Manny Ramirez.

Let's look at Ramirez for a second.

It's well known that Ramirez, likely on the advice of Boras, engineered his exit from Boston in an effort to get out from under his option years. That's not going to sit well with other general managers who will wonder if Ramirez will pull the same stunt on their teams.

Reportedly, Boras told Ramirez that he could get a four year contract for an average of $25 million per year, more than the two option years at $20 million each that the Sox would have had. Since the end of the season Ramirez has received a two-year $45 million offer from the Dodgers (since rescinded), and a three-year incentive-laden deal with a club option for a fourth year from the Giants. I'm guessing the dollars aren't in the right neighborhood based on the following from KPIX in San Fran -

The chances of the Giants signing Ramirez, a 36-year-old left fielder, were unclear. A team spokesperson told CBS 5, "it's not happening."
There was a lot of speculation that Roger Clemens would get a pardon from family friend George W. Bush and in so doing, avoid the legal implications of the federal charges that are likely to stem from the FBI investigation. Looks like charges aren't even going to get filed until after Bush leaves office. Sucks to be Roger.

I look at the Yankees off-season and can't help think that they learned nothing from the Carl Pavano signing. Nor have they learned anything from the history of fat pitchers.

The CC Sabathia signing might work well for them in the regular season for the first year or two, but eight seasons? That's nuts.

Sid Fernandez, who had weight issues, last started more than 20 games at age 29. Former Red Sox reliever Rich "El Guapo/the human zeppelin" Garces was respectable until the age of 30. At 31 he posted a 7.59 ERA and was out of baseball after that season. Once dominant Bartolo Colon had an eight season stretch wherein he pitched fewer than 200 innings only once (188 in 2000) and averaged 32.6 starts per season. When he turned 33 he went away - compiling a total of 35 starts and fewer than 200 combined innings over the final three seasons of his career. Sabathia turns 30 in 2010.

The future is not bright for him.

Congrats to the Cardinals who have finally won a playoff game after a 60+ year absence from the post-season.

I don't want to hear any excuses today regarding the Colts. They were beaten by a depleted 8-8 team - a team without its best running back, their best linebacker, and with their best receiving threat, Antonio Gates, hobbled by a high ankle sprain. The Chargers didn't even play that great a game, twice giving the ball back to the Colts in the red zone while threatening to score. And then the Colts defense imploded during the final drive - that was some of the ugliest play-off football I have ever seen.

On a final note - Matt Cassel is about to cash in on a great season. More power to him. I figure we'll know the status of Tom Brady well before the draft. If Brady is on or ahead of schedule, I expect that Cassel will be packaged for draft picks. If he's not, the Patriots have a salary cap issue to address.

Happy New Year all!


Suldog said...

Agreed on most of what you say here. I would have gone with Pennington, myself.

Insofar as Bush pardoning Clemens, the fact that charges haven't been filed doesn't have to make a difference. The President can issue a pre-emptive pardon, before any charges are made, thus making the filing of charges a waste of time. For an example of same, see Ford's pardon of Nixon. Nixon was never formally charged with any crimes.

Kevin Smith said...


Possible, I suppose, but this is also the president who has issued the fewest of any to hold office. Should be interesting to see what happens there.

Chris Stone said...

after watching some of the ravens miami game yesterday... Ed Reed has my vote for MVP. i've always thought one reason Peyton gets so many votes is all those commercials he does.

the cassell situation is interesting. think he'll wind up in tampa bay?

Kevin Smith said...

I think Tampa is unlikely. Sure, Jon Gruden likes to collect QB's, but it's really going to come down to who the best fit trade-wise is. I don't think that's Tampa.

As for the best fit for Cassel - I think that depends on where Josh McDaniels ends up. If Pioli and McDaniels end up in Cleveland, I wouldn't be surprised if Cassel ends up there. Other places that I can see making a run at him - Detroit, Minnesota, Chiefs, and to a lesser extent - Rams, 49ers and Cardinals.

The Cassel sweepstakes is going to be interesting.

Teresa said...

You know I love Peyton, so I am just going to keep my mouth shut. He did get an overwhelming number of the votes--as I am sure you know. You have a blog so you can voice your opinion.

You would have been entertained by the Indy media Sunday and Monday. Most people are calling for Tony Dungy to retire. While I wish we would do better in the playoffs, I think we should be careful what we wish for. Most cities would give their right arm for the seasons we have had.
I thank my lucky stars we aren't Detroit, Kansas City and about a dozen other cities.

Kevin Smith said...

My issue with Peyton as MVP is that he was just as culpable for the hole that the team was put in through the first seven games as anyone else and it's supposed to be a season long award, not an award for half the season. The other guys that I mentioned were consistently good throughout the season, and if removed from their teams, would have had a greater impact than if Peyton actually rehabbed to get to full strength and let Sorgi start.

He had a great second half, but the season as a whole didn't merit the award.