Chris D: Thinking Out Loud
A few things that caught my attention:
The Cleveland Indians finally made the move, and CC Sabathia is now a Brewer.
In his first outing, CC was solid and gave the Brewers a glimpse of what the former CY Young winner brings to their ballclub. The trade was a win-win for both teams involved. The Indians got a future bat in Matt LaPorta, and the Brewers get an ace for this year to pair with Ben Sheets.
The Brewers not only increased their chances of making the playoffs, they have a legitimate shot at advancing to the World Series. With probably the best one-two punch in the NL, they can give any opposition fits.
The Brewers gave up a lot for a rental player, but it shows the team's willingness to take a shot. With LaPorta, the Indians have added a power right-handed bat to complement Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore in the years to come.
Not to be outdone, the Cubs made a move this week to acquire Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from the A's.
Harden, who has a history of injuries, can become another ace to pair with Carlos Zambano and Ryan Dempster.
Gaudin is a solid right-hander who can add depth to the Cubs' pitching corps. While other teams appeared reluctant to make a move for Harden, the Cubs showed the guts to take a shot on a player with tremendous upside.
This was a great move, and it should keep the Cubs in the mix. Gaudin is a nice piece to add to the staff as well.
His versatility as a starter and reliever give the Cubs options and insurance moving forward. I think Gaudin will make more of an impact than most people realize.
The A’s continue to unload and rebuild for the future, as always. The A’s seem to have been a bit desperate to unload Harden. They didn’t really get much in return, but Billy Beane does seem to usually make the right move for his ballclub.
The Mets, the most inconsistent team in the NL, have climbed back into the NL East race.
They have received decent pitching, and finally some offense. Smoke and mirrors will only get you so far.
They’re hot now, but it won’t last after the All-Star break. The Mets are a team that must make a move in order to stay in contention. They need bullpen help, especially in the eighth inning, another starting pitcher, and a power bat.
Lucky for the Mets, the rest of the division is just as inconsistent, which could keep their postseason hopes alive. But as this team is currently made up, they will get beat easily if they were to advance.
I don’t know what Toronto is demanding for A.J. Burnett, but it's time for some team to become more aggressive in acquiring him.
As many teams move towards trying to obtain B-list pitchers like Paul Byrd and Bronson Arroyo, Burnett seems to not being drawing much interest. That's just plain stupid in my opinion.
You know what Byrd and Arroyo are? Average pitchers with average stuff. But Burnett can be really good. He is inconsistent, but he has the stuff to dominate, and really help teams who lack starting pitching. He also tends to pitch better in the second half of the season.
Teams who should pursue him include the Yankees, who severely lack power arms, the Phillies, who have nothing after Cole Hamel, the Mets, who should not be relying on Pedro to be their third starter, the Tigers, who need another starter to replace Dontrelle Willis, and my sleeper team, the Cards.
Can you imagine what pitching guru Dave Duncan could do with Burnett's stuff? I know the Cards are not into spending money, but they need to keep up with the Cubs and Brewers. Besides, the last pitcher they got from Toronto turned out be pretty good and pivotal on their road to the World Series.
The Sixers have signed Elton Brand—the biggest move this offseason.
The Sixers really needed a guy who could play in the paint and demand double teams. If the Sixers can acquire a shooter, this team has a legit chance at winning it all next season.
They have a quick, athletic team with a legitimate low-post scorer, giving them the ability to play different styles. Brand will allow Samuel Dalembert to play help defense more and keep the opposition's bigs off his lean frame.
I expect Dalembert to have his best overall season yet, and the other players will be able to slide into more comfortable roles. The Sixers now have a legitimate go-to guy after having to depend on the other A.I. the last few seasons.
Watch out Eastern Conference, there is a new contender in town. On the other side of the country, the Clippers are back to being, well, the Clippers.
Keep your eye on James Posey.
One of the most underrated players in the NBA is one of the few unrestricted free agents out there. His versatile game and clutch shooting should have teams beating down his door. The guy only has two rings in the three years, provides an outstanding locker room presence, and hits big shots.
If Boston lets him get away, don’t be surprised if the team isn’t as good next year. Whichever team adds him will see a definite increase in their win totals.
Corey Maggette fits perfectly into the Warriors' team makeup.
He provides another ball hog who plays little defense. He is an incredible athlete and draws fouls, but does he really make the Warriors a better team?
Sorry, I don’t think so. They would have been better served going after a Luel Deng, Josh Smith, or even Ben Gordon. Sorry, but Corey is not a winner, he is a whiner.
I think the best move they could have made was to go hard after Emeka Okafur. They did make a great move in trying to sign Ronnie Turiaf. Yes, I used great and Ronnie Turiaf in the same sentence. His big body, heart, and hustle will really add to the team. He will do all the small things the rest of the roster doesn’t.
I’m telling you now….
Finally, we end in with the NFL.
I am not going to talk about Brett Favre because until anything is officially announced, I don’t care whom he texted and what his family is saying.
But I will give you a sleeper for this season.
Watch out for the St. Louis Rams.
They are going to be pretty good next year. After being devastated by injury last year, the Rams will contend for the NFC West. They still have a lot of talent on offense, and an ever-improving defense. I would not be surprised if the Rams win 11 games next season.
Scott Linehan will get this team back on track and will win Coach of the Year. This team has been written off way to easily. Watch out for the return of the Rams. You heard it here.
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