Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Tigers Have Become the Latest Version of the Post-2009 Phillies

             Remember when the Philadelphia Phillies were really good? They had one of baseball's best rotations consisting of Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee. They also had players like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard. They won the 2008 World Series and returned the next year, only to lose to the New York Yankees, 4-2. After that, it was a steady drop-off that devolved into monstrous contracts and a barren farm system. Now, the Phillies are in another year of rebuilding, stuck near the bottom of the National League.
             Enter the Detroit Tigers, a team that had a fantastic run when Dave Dombrowski was general manager. They made two World Series appearances, won four straight division titles from 2011 to 2014, and even had a Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera (2012). Unfortunately, they didn't win a World Series during that run. Ever since their 2013 ALCS loss to the Red Sox, it has been a steady decline for the Tigers that has been comparable to the Phillies. Anchored by fat contracts to the likes of aging superstars Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, the Tigers have plenty of bad contracts on their payroll. Instead of retaining Max Scherzer, who has continued his assent to becoming the best pitcher in baseball, they re-signed Victor Martinez, an aging veteran who can barely move around the basepaths. They also signed Mark Lowe, Mike Pelfrey, and Francisco Rodriguez last year, players who are no longer on the team.
            The Tigers also have a bare cupboard in terms of their farm system, only boosting one player in MLB.com's Top 100 prospect list (Matt Manning at No. 63). The main cause of this has been Dave Dombrowski's willingness to trade prospects for superstars. This was made evident by the trade he made to acquire Chris Sale for the Boston Red Sox, which saw Boston send MLB's No. 1 prospect, Yoan Moncada, and No. 11 prospect, Michael Kopech, to the Chicago White Sox. Players like Avisail Garcia, Andrew Miller, and Robbie Ray were a part of the Tigers' farm system, but were traded to acquire players like Yoenis Cespedes and Cabrera.
            The Tigers might attribute their misfortunes to Brad Ausmus, who has done little to fill the void Jim Leyland left as the manager of the Tigers. Critics are quick to point out Ausmus's inability to engage with the players, probably explaining why players like Cabrera, Verlander, and Nick Castellanos are underperforming this year. Currently, the Tigers are on an eight-game losing streak that includes a winless West Coast trip (at least so far). Who would replace Ausmus as manager? One rumor, and perhaps a favorite name among Tiger fans, is Ron Gardenhire, the former manager for the Minnesota Twins. But one name that could really help is Omar Vizquel, who managed the Venezuelan team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Vizquel is said to have developed great chemistry with the Hispanic players on the team, which could help the Tigers going forward.
            Regardless, there seems to have been plenty of regrettable decisions for the Tigers' future in the past few years. From Verlander's $180 million extension to re-signing aging players like Victor Martinez to giving away the farm system, the Tigers will have no choice but to wipe the slate clean. They can start off by trading superstar J.D. Martinez for a prospect or two, but this will be the best they can do. Ian Kinsler has a laundry list of teams he doesn't want to be traded to, Cabrera's contract is enormous and so is Verlander's. And what team would want Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann with those contracts? These are the reasons why the Tigers should just tank it the rest of the way, start from scratch, and not get stuck in a long rebuild the way the Phillies are right now.


Friday, June 23, 2017

The Warriors' Championship Run Has Sparked An Offseason Madness

            When Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors last summer, it left no doubt as to who would be appearing in the 2017 NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers would meet up with the Warriors in those finals only to get steamrolled, 4-1. The ensuing offseason has sparked a plethora of rumors and moves that have teams scrambling to form their own supersquads. The concept of the "superteam" isn't anything new. After all, the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers tried this with Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Gary Payton, only to be usurped by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.
            One example of this is the Bulls trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for no reason at all. Granted, Minnesota hasn't made the playoffs in over a decade and needs an additional superstar/dual position player to compliment Karl Anthony-Towns. However, the Bulls got very little back from the T-Wolves, even going as far as to surrender a first round pick to Minnesota. Butler's been linked to the likes of Boston and Cleveland, but those trades fell through due to the asking price not being ripe enough or due to a toxic culture in the organization.
            That hasn't been the only rumor swirling. Chris Paul has been linked to the San Antonio Spurs and Pau Gasol has taken on a contract with less money just to help the Spurs add Paul. Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers that this will be his last year, leaving George to be linked to the Cavs and Lakers. New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis is also being shopped around by Phil Jackson and New York's front office. Even LeBron James has been discussed in potential rumors, possibly looking into one of the two Los Angeles franchises.
            Whatever the case, the Warriors have sparked a madness in the NBA that won't be going away any time soon. Teams will be looking for any combination of superstars that'll put them over the top. However, the Warriors will still be on top until that one team knocks them off their perch.

Photo courtesy of HoopsHype.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grading the Vegas Golden Knights' Expansion Draft

            The Vegas Golden Knights have taken their first cracks at comprising an NHL roster tonight. There were notable names like James Neal, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Jonathan Marchessault that have been picked up by Vegas. Remember that some of these players won't be sticking around with the Golden Knights. So how did Sin City's inaugural pro sports team do?

What I Liked: Vegas added plenty of goal scorers like center Marchessault, forward David Perron, and right wing James Neal. So the Knights should have no problem putting the puck in the net. General Manager George McPhee has stated that he wants to contend right away and he seems well on his way to doing so. The blue line has some experienced players who can hit opponents hard and block shots. Fleury is also a nice veteran pickup between the pipes for the Golden Knights. Vegas also added some prospects such as Tomas Nosek, which should help Vegas with the first youth movement.
Growing Pains: The team does have plenty of veterans on the squad, but the team mostly consists of >26 year-olds. However, that's usually the case for many expansion teams drafting players. Players like Neal and Methot will add leadership to a young squad.
Overall Grade: A-: It wasn't a bad draft and the Golden Knights' front office hit the notes they needed to hit. They went for the experienced veterans while picking up young players. Vegas also acquired numerous draft picks, leaving a blueprint for future success. The draft has left people like Mario Lemieux in awe, leaving many to believe that the Golden Knights are serious about competing.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Teams That May Sneak Into the Playoff

             Believe it or not, college football season is quickly approaching. With the season just two months away, it'll be that time where you should be spending your Saturdays watching the best college football games. Now there are some teams that have favorable schedules that can help them get into the playoff if they play their cards right. Granted, these teams need to win their conferences in order to get to the playoff. Still, which teams have a chance to sneak into the playoff based on their schedules?


  • Michigan: This may sound funny, but Michigan has a winnable schedule that can benefit them greatly. If they beat Florida in Arlington, either Penn State or Wisconsin on the road (preferably both), and Ohio State at home, the Wolverines should be sitting pretty heading into the Big Ten Championship.
  • Oklahoma State: The only tough road game will be at West Virginia on October 28, with a road game at Pitt on September 16 possibly being a trap game. Other than that, they get Oklahoma at home along with Baylor and TCU. 
  • Washington: Surprisingly enough, the Huskies make the list despite making the College Football Playoff last season. Still, they avoid Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans and play only two tough road games (Colorado on September 23 and Stanford on November 10). 
  • Florida: The Gators have a chance to go undefeated heading into the SEC Championship with their 2017 schedule. They only play three(!) road games this season and all three road games are against the SEC's worst teams. What's more is they get to avoid Alabama in the regular season. 
  • Miami: A September 16 date at Florida State is the only game the Hurricanes should sweat. Otherwise, they have the opportunity to build on a nine-game slate that only consists of three road games. 
Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Greatest Sports Moments For Dad

             Sports are an easy way to bond with your old man. Both of you share a love for the game(s) and you're passionate about your team winning. That's why this blog is dedicated to those who raised you and taught you life's essentials. Here are some of the greatest moments concerning athletes and their fathers.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Best Mike Francesa Moments

            Mike Francesa is known for being one hell of a professional sports broadcaster. He's also known for some serious gaffes on the air. Here's a little tribute to America's favorite unintentional goof, Mike Francesa.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Biggest Questions Heading Into The NBA Offseason

           Another NBA season is in the books, with Golden State returning to the throne. Now that one of the most milquetoast, boring seasons is in the books, will we have an off-season that can add more flair than the 2016-2017 regular season? Here's some of the questions that will be asked in the NBA off-season.


  1. Will the Cavaliers Add Another Piece or Trade For a Better Player? The hope in Cleveland is that the Cavaliers will add another big piece to their line-up. The problem is that they'll need a great amount of contract restructuring or pieces given up to do so. The Cavs have given up a considerable amount of draft picks, so they'll have to pull some strings if they want to get a player like Paul George or Carmelo Anthony. 
  2. Can the Spurs Acquire Chris Paul? Clippers point guard Chris Paul is in the last year of his contract, which makes him some valuable trade bait. While his contract may seem lofty ($24,268,959 cap hit) and Paul may be on the wrong side of 30, taking a rental on Paul seems quite feasible, especially if the Spurs are to compete with the Warriors. Paul is great at ball distribution and running the floor, making him a valuable piece for the Spurs. 
  3. Who Will the Celtics Take With the No. 1 Pick? Markelle Fultz seems like the consensus No. 1 pick, but the Celtics do have options. They can trade the pick for the likes of Jimmy Butler or Blake Griffin (yes, Griffin's in the last year of his contract as well, although the 15% trade kicker could make things interesting). Still, Fultz is an offensive force who can score in bunches and is reminiscent of James Harden.
  4. What Will the Clippers Do With the Expiring Contracts? The aforementioned Paul and Griffin are in the last year of their contracts, so Doc Rivers has some things to consider and do. Will the Clippers begin the rebuilding process or will they still go for the gold? Rumors are circulating that Lebron James may leave Cleveland again for the likes of Los Angeles or San Antonio, so the Clippers' future looks very intriguing. 
  5. Where Will Lonzo Ball Fall? The speculation around Lonzo Ball is interesting. Reports have stated that the Lakers aren't as interested as LaVar Ball would like. This is due to Lonzo looking out of shape to observers at a recent workout. Both LaVar and Lonzo might scare away the Lakers and someone might not be happy about the outcome if it happens.
Photo Courtesy of SI.com