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MLB Offseason Sleeper: Jayson Werth Not Only Richer But Smarter as a National

Initially, when hearing a productive and established player such as Jayson Werth signed with the Washington Nationals, it was bewildering.

The Nationals had stunk for years now with the only shining start, pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg already out for the entire 2011 season, as he needed Tommy John surgery. Not good news for any pitcher, especially a 21-year-old as the blame is on the organization. The Nationals’ meager fanbase turned up in droves for Strasburg, only to have him taken away—an all-too-common theme since settling in Washington five years ago.

Regardless, the Nats’ 2010 record speaks for itself, as it was the NL East’s worst finish with 69 wins and 93 losses. At home, they were above .500 closing out 41-40; but on the road, 28-53 is nauseating and not numbers that draw big stars.

Then consider facing the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, the unpredictable New York Mets and the up-and-coming Florida Marlins 18 games a season doesn’t help the Nationals’ cause either.

With crappy stats the only resolve is to go after a semi-star, like Werth, then pay up with a big contract. Werth is a star but he not the same level as Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee, making the dollars number so outrageous that the player will at least meet with you. The Nationals came with a plan, first by promising Werth that his money would not cap out the club, as the Nats pockets ran deeper to find him some more help.

That is still just talk about things that had not happened yet, and it is the Nationals making it easier said then done. What must have caught Werth’s attention was the Nationals farm system because this club is stacked for the next few seasons.

I guess sucking for so long does have its positives—just look at the Tampa Bay Rays, who made a 180 from bad right into the World Series in what seemed like nano-years.

Unlike down in Tampa Bay, the Nationals claim to have money to spend. So, presumably holes can be filled and if not by the green, then the Nats can head on down to the farm.

Remember that quality not quantity does apply here, meaning talent doesn’t come in numbers so it is taking a chance. Any club who wants to win now has to think like the Yankees or Red Sox. The one or two times trading works out has usually been the difference maker for a successful season.

So, who are these youngsters? Other than Strasburg, I watched the other three in the Arizona Fall League and each caught my eye.

Stephen Strasburg, SP

The most hyped rookie in MLB history. Strasburg is an outstandingly talented pitcher that every baseball fan salivated over during his brief stint in 2010. This is a special kid, as he won games, is only 22-years old, sold 78,00 jerseys in June and literally filled an empty Nationals ballpark. In his first 68 innings pitched in the bigs, Strasburg finished with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts.

Bryce Harper, OF

The 2010 No. 1 draft pick will be just 19 on his next birthday. Harper bats with plus-power, attacks pitches and can hit to the opposite field. He already posses the ability to make changes at the plate and has an above-average throwing arm in the outfield. This kid will make his debut in 2011 and you can bet Harper will be a superstar.

Derek Norris, C

Norris is 21-years old, hits with power, has long at-bats and draws ample walks. Norris has a strong arm, but mechanics and technique need some improvement but experience can fix any slight flaws. Keeps getting better. Continue reading ‘MLB Offseason Sleeper: Jayson Werth Not Only Richer But Smarter as a National’ »

I-70 Baseball Announces First Writers Conference

I-70 Baseball is proud to announce the organization of the first Midwest Baseball Writers Convention to be held on February 12, 2011 in Springfield, MO.

What a great opportunity for baseball writers to network, while learning from the variety of speakers with vast experience in the baseball writing field.

Details are below:

MLB Hot Stove: New York Yankees Are Pitching With What They Got Not By Choice

It is no secret that the New York Yankees are winning the biggest losers contest by a landslide this off-season.

As they cross their fingers hoping Andy Pettitte sends word he wants to play, the waiting is making things look less hopeful.

GM Brian Cashman made it clear:

“He’s not in it. He’s told me not to rely on him, so I’m focusing on what he’s told us.

Not great news….but let’s look at the situation for what it really is, as the Yankees head  into the New Year:

Off-Season Pitchers Who Passed:

  • Cliff Lee brought his talents back to the Phillies.
  • Zach Greinke wasn’t worth the price, as the Royals tacked on serious demands.
  • Veteran and member of the Yankee core-four, Andy Pettitte has turned into as subtle version of Brett Favre.
  • Felix Hernandez would rather stay on the Mariners than pitch in the Bronx, as the Yankees are in his no-trade list.
  • Marlins Josh Johnson was a long shot, but worth a try.

Outlook Heading Into New Year

The Yankees are not accustomed to leaving gaping holes open via rejection.

So, don’t think for a minute this was Plan B, as Brain Cashman had one plan and it was Cliff Lee.

Now it is look internally or bust to complete the gaping hole in their starting rotation. Continue reading ‘MLB Hot Stove: New York Yankees Are Pitching With What They Got Not By Choice’ »

New York: David Letterman Top Ten Giants Excuses

Worth the watch…. David Letterman’s “Top Ten New York Giants Excuses” , which aired on December 20, 2010.

NFL: Does Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Conduct Merit An Investigation?

English: After legally changing his name to Br...

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talks about his tough “conduct policy” requiring all players to behave accordingly both on and off the field.

Goodell has made his stance very clear:

“We hold ourselves to higher standards of responsible conduct because of what it means to be part of the National Football League.”

When Goodell was less than two weeks into the “investigating” stage of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s behavior, he had a lot to say.

When asked by ESPN’s Dan Patrick on his radio show whether or not Roethlisberger had violated the NFL’s Conduct Policy, Goodell’s answer was the following:

“Yes, there has been a violation of that. The issue here is with respect to a pattern of behavior and bad judgments,” Goodell said. “You do not have to be convicted or even charged of a crime to be able to demonstrate that you’ve violated a personal conduct policy, and reflect poorly not only on themselves, but all of their teammates, every NFL player in the league and everyone associated with the NFL. And that is what my concern is, and I have expressed that directly to Ben, obviously, and I will be making a decision as soon as I possibly can.”

Roethlisberger’s behavior did not get a grace period, as the incident happened in March 9, 2010. So, even with no formal police charges, Goodell initially suspended Roethlisberger for the first six games of the season, with an official announcement made on April 21, 2010.

In a letter to Roethlisberger, Goodell wrote this: Continue reading ‘NFL: Does Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Conduct Merit An Investigation?’ »

Giants vs. Eagles: New York Gets Vick-Timized Again by Philadelphia

With just eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, New York Giants fans were having a grand old time at the Meadowlands yesterday.

The Giants defense had been relentless against their division rival Philadelphia Eagles and Eli Manning had yet to let things get of hand.

Holding up the Eagles dynamic duo of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson is no easy task, but the score remained 31-10 and Big Blue looked to prevail.

Well, the Giants learned the hard way that it’s not over till the game clock reads zero, being ahead three touchdowns or not.

It’s a timeless sports rule that both athletes and fans struggle to control. Blame it on just pure anticipation or being overly confidant, experiencing a catastrophic collapse stings.

The Giants did just that today, right in their own house, surrounded by 60,000 of their biggest allies.

Call it heartbreak, disgust, pathetic all wrapped into a ball of disappointment.

The Eagles kept believing nothing was over, a motto that has now beaten the G-men six times in a row.

You can only hope that “hitting rock bottom” is exactly what happened this past Sunday afternoon. Continue reading ‘Giants vs. Eagles: New York Gets Vick-Timized Again by Philadelphia’ »