Friday, January 25, 2008

The Good Doctor and Cuddyer

If you had told a Twins fan that the Minnesota Twins had signed a player to a 6 year deal today you would have thought that they were talking about Johan Santana. The Santana question still goes on but today the Twins signed 1B Justin Morneau and RF Michael Cuddyer to 2 big contracts. Morneau's is worth 6 years and $80 million. I am happy about these signings because it shows that the Twins still want to compete. They had just been granted a new ballpark that will open in 2010, and then ownership lets Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva leave, and prepared to trade away the best pitcher in the game, Johan Santana. But now they have signed the 2006 MVP in Justin Morneau and the best right field arm in Michael Cuddyer. Both are homegrown talent and it is nice to see the Twins hold on to them. They signed Joe Mauer to a 4 year deal last year. Now can the Twins resign Santana after showing that they still want to compete now, or will they trade him away? I say at this point keep him, and try to sign him. With Francisco Liriano coming back, Santana/Liriano forms the best 1-2 punch in the game. Here is the potential opening day lineup:

CF Kenny Lofton
DH Jason Kubel
C Joe Mauer
LF Delmon Young
1B Justin Morneau
RF Michael Cuddyer
3B Michael Lamb
2B Brendan Harris
SS Adam Everett

SP Johan Santana
SP Francisco Liriano
SP Scott Baker
SP Boof Bonser
SP Kevin Slowey

Looks pretty solid to me, a team that could definitely make the playoffs.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Bigger the Better the Jazz

The Utah Jazz take on the Milwaukee Bucks tonight.

There have been two thoughts in my head about the future of the NBA and the Jazz.
First, The Jazz hold a future first-round draft pick of the New York Knicks. I believe that it is up until 2010. If the Knicks do not turn around their franchise quickly, then the Jazz could easily end up with the #1 draft pick in the 2010 draft, and even if they don’t then they could end up with a top 5 pick.
Jazz fans - be sure to root against the Knicks and hope Isiah Thomas keeps messing around there. So I got to thinking, who would the Jazz draft with this pick? Their biggest weakness now is probably in backup positions, now that Ronnie Brewer has officially cemented himself as the starting shooting guard with his breakout season. But when you draft in the top 5 you don’t draft for a backup anything. My guess would be that they grab a small forward, because AK’s contract will be up and Matt Harpring’s knees won’t last that long, and presumably that small forward would be able to play shooting guard in case none of the Brewer/Korver/Miles/Almond group turn out as the Jazz hope. That would be the ideal situation, but the Jazz should probably end up taking the best available player so that they don’t repeat Portland’s infamous choice of Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.

Second, LeBron James will be a free agent in a year or two I think. I would be shocked if he stayed in Cleveland even though they did make it to the NBA Finals last month. I know it is a long shot at best but if the following happened LeBron could end up on the Utah Jazz.
LeBron would have to do the following:
-Realize that he is becoming like Kevin Garnett was in Minnesota - an MVP caliber player stuck on a team with no help.
-Want to play for an up and coming team that is loaded with good players (The Jazz are the 2nd youngest team in the league)
-Not sign with a team coming to the end of it’s run (like the Spurs or the Suns.)
-Realize that with all the endorsement money he gets, he doesn’t have to be like Kobe and sign a contract for all the money he can. If he does that then the team won’t be able to provide him with adequate teammates.

The Jazz franchise would have to do the following:
Open up cap space. Williams will get max money next year, and with him, Boozer, Okur, and AK-47 there will be no room for King James.
The best solution is get rid of Kirilenko. Trade him now that his value is higher and get a player who’s contract will be up shortly.
Harpring’s contract should be up as well and with Kirilenko’s and Harpring’s money they could sign LeBron and he would take over that position.

Ok so that will never happen. But if it did, David Stern would have to give the Jazz the championship trophy for the next 8 years. Look at the starting lineup:

PG Deron Williams
SG Ronnie Brewer or Kyle Korver or Morris Almond or C.J. Miles or 2010 #1 draft pick
SF LeBron James
PF Carlos Boozer
C Memo Okur

That is four guys who could go off for 30 points any night. How many games would that team win? All 82? Of course not, but they would come close. That looks like an all-star lineup rather than a regular NBA team’s starting lineup. Well this happening is extremely unlikely but it sure is fun to daydream and speculate isn’t it? That’s one of the fun parts about sports, until you realize that it is just that - a dream.

Johan Santana

The #1 question facing the Minnesota Twins and perhaps all of baseball is if, when, and to who Johan Santana will be traded. The rumors have been swirling for months, before the winter meetings started. It has been quiet on the Red Sox and Yankees front since the winter meetings. The Red Sox wish to center a trade around CF Jacoby Ellsbury, SS Jed Lowrie, and SP Justin Masterson, or a different package which substitutes CF Coco Crisp and SP Jon Lester instead of playoff hero Ellsbury. The Yankees have an offer of SP Phil Hughes and CF Melky Cabrera. The Mets have suddenly popped up in discussions and are the front runners now with an offer of SP Deolis Guerra, CF Carlos Gomez, SP Kevin Mulvey, and SP Philip Humber. If they add the Dominican outfield prospect Fernando Martinez, they will likely be the winners in the Santana sweepstakes.
All the offers are solid but I don't think the Twins should take one yet becaue the other teams should offer more. Santana is the best pitcher on the planet, and it's not even close. The Red Sox could package Lester and Ellsbury together, or offer Clay Buchholz. The Yankees could add Robison Cano or Joba Chamberlain or Ian Kennedy, and the Mets, as previously mentioned need to add Fernando Martinez. The thing I don't get is why these teams are so afraid to part with these prospects. Sure, they will probably turn into solid baseball players, perhaps All-Stars, but do any of these guys have even a chance of turning into a Johan Santana type player? I think not. Sure he will cost more money than any other pitcher in history AND some top of the line prospects but he will definitely be worth it. This is the best pitcher on the planet we are talking about.