Archive for January, 2008

Quick thoughts on the Johan trade

I have been planning a more in-depth Hot stove post, but I had to at least post a quick thought on the trade of Johan Santana to the Mets. It’s been said already (by Keith Law) but it looks like the Twins dropped the ball here. They didn’t get the Mets top prospect or anyone with significant Major League experience.

It’s been noted that the Yankees and Red Sox offered better packages so there must be something we are missing. The only theory I have is that they wanted to keep him out of the American League. The Twins are serious about contending in the next few years and with all the talent they are stockpiling they could pull a Clevenland-esqu run off in a couple of years. You don’t want to have to face Johan twice before the playoffs.

As a [White] Sox fan, this works for me. According to Baseball Reference, Santana was 13-6 with a 3.24 ERA against the Sox in his career. I thought he was a lot more dominate but that is actually higher than his career ERA. Still, it’s a good thing not facing him 2-4 times a year.

Edit: When I said Sox in the last paragraph, I meant White Sox. Sorry for the confusion.


Where can Terrelle Pryor get the most playing time?

If you haven’t seen highlights of Terrelle Pryor playing football, just search YouTube. I have, and let me tell you the hype seems to be accurate. Pryor doesn’t seem to have the same level of fanfare as last year’s Rivals #1, Jimmy Clausen. Clausen was the youngest of a trio of solid QB brothers (joining Rick and Casey). Some say he is destined to become better. I don’t remember enough about ’06 #1 Percy Harvin’s decision or much about ’05 #1 Derrick Williams decisions. Looking back at those two, Williams had an amazing freshman year but has been lackluster since. Harvin seemed to breakout this year as sophomore and could be a Heisman contender this year. Clausen was hurt and had a horrible O-Line so we don’t know what his deal will be. But back to Pryor.

The Vince Young comparisons seem fair. Pryor was a lot bigger than I expected to be and seemed like a much better passer than you would expect an 18-year old who is that big to be. The consensus seems to be he is more “polished” at this age than Young was, but as Brian from mgoblog eloquently put it, Young improved about 1,000x at Texas. One thing about Young that a lot of people take for granted, is that he redshirted his first year (how often does the #1 recruit do that?), then only started 7 games as a redshirt Freshman. Even then it wasn’t until the end of his 3rd year that he really broke out (see the Michigan Rose Bowl as what I consider his breakout game). The rest is history.

Pryor’s situation will likely be different. If he goes to Michigan he will start from day 1. He will take his lumps and learn on the job. The college game is obviously different, but this doesn’t often work in the pros. The thing is, Michigan will be learning a new offense and have nothing to lose. If he goes to Ohio St. he won’t start in ’08 because Todd Boeckman will be using his experience to lead a MNC contender. In all likelihood Pryor would own the job in ’09 after a year as backup (Antonio Henton is his best competition and it’s not a lot). We have heard Florida, LSU, Oregon and Penn St. are still in the mix.

Obviously Florida means he has at least one year to wait behind Tim Tebow. My gut says Tebow comes back in ’09.  Even so, they recruited two solid guys in ’07, Cameron Newton and John Brantley. Newton will be a sophomore in ’08, Brantley a redshirt freshman. Meaning unlike UM and OSU, if he goes to Florida he will have some serious competition in ’09, even if Tebow leaves.

At LSU, he would spend at least one year behind Ryan Perrilloux who has bided his time and earned his chance. He has two years of eligibility left but might be cocky enough to test the pros next year. If he’s smart he stays through ’09. LSU has picked up 4-star QBs in both ’07 and ’08 so there would be some competition here, but Pryor still would be the front-runner as soon as Perrilloux left. Although it’s worth nothing that Perrilloux doesn’t own the job as tightly as Boeckman or Tebow so I guess Pryor could work his way in somehow.

Oregon has redshirt sophomore Jason Roper has the likely QB in ’08. He’s nothing to get crazy about, and they do have a solid 4-star dual threat, Darron Thomas, coming in this year. He is likely the future without Pryor. Pryor wouldn’t be handed the job here but could probably come in and win it, if nothing else by midseason. The downside to Oregon is that they don’t have the same level of talent Michigan does, and they play in a tougher conference.

Penn St. will have a new starter at QB in ’08, likely redshirt junior Daryll Clark is the guy. Redshirt sophomore Pat Devlin is the only other likely option. Pryor would have a shot in ’08, but would have a very solid chance in ’09 to be the starter.

So realistically LSU and Florida seem out due to lack of playing time. Oregon is a longshot because of the talent level and distance. So it’s really the three Big Ten schools.

Norm Chow: What now?

Norm Chow is out as Titans offensive coordinator. The quick question is, does Hawaii have a coach yet? Supposedly they are about to announce defensive coordinator Greg McMackin as new head coach as early as tomorrow. The question is, will they backpedal and hire Chow? Chow was born in Hawaii and has been a coveted head coaching candidate in college and the NFL. If Hawaii doesn’t hire him, Chow is likely out of luck for ’08 in the NCAA.

He could become a candidate elsewhere in the NFL for an offensive coordinator, but since he only lasted three years before getting fired, the odds aren’t good. My prediction is that he takes the offensive coordinator position somewhere and then gets a head coaching job next year (Washington perhaps?).

My thoughts on the White Sox 2008 lineup

I truly don’t believe Kenny Williams is done wheeling and dealing yet. I believe Joe Crede will be gone by opening day. It’s also possible the rumors are true and Paul Konerko gets dumped by then as well.

As for the current state of affairs, the Sox still lack a true leadoff hitter and the latest guy they traded for, Nick Swisher, fits the #2 spot which Orlando Cabrera likely owns. Here is my prediction with analysis to follow:

  1. CF – Nick Swisher
  2. SS – Orlando Cabrera
  3. DH – Jim Thome
  4. 1B – Paul Konerko
  5. RF – Jermaine Dye
  6. C – AJ Pierzynski
  7. 3B – Joe Crede/Josh Fields
  8. 2B – Juan Uribe
  9. LF – Carlos Quentin

Even though Swisher hit .262 last season, his OBP was .381, better than anyone on the Sox but Jim Thome. He finished 6th in the league in walks which means he is plenty capable of getting on base. Even though he is potential 35 HR guy playing half his games at US Cellular, there isn’t another option for this spot. Better still, where would you put him otherwise? He sees a lot of pitchers which helps the big bats in the middle and if he’s not batting leadoff, 6th is probably the next most likely place. He won’t see anything good to hit there with presumably AJ protecting him the order.

So barring a trade of Konerko that should be it. I think Fields/Crede are interchangeable. I think the bottom two could be as well. Uribe is just an awful hitter but 20 HRs from the 9 hole is fine with me.

Finally a BCS game that doesn’t suck

It’s been a while since I posted. I hope to get back to it more frequently in the near future. We will see how that goes.

In the meantime, it took me a while but I finally got into watching some bowl games. I just wasn’t motivated. I don’t know what it was. I spent New Year’s Day dedicated to the bowls and it started well. I saw my Michigan Wolverines pull out a big upset against Florida. Congrats to Lloyd Carr. He needed that to really end his legacy the right way. Now that he is gone it’s a lot easier to reflect on the fact that was a great coach. Carr coached for 13 seasons, won 5 conference titles and 1 National Championship.

Then I watched Illinois get their butt handed to them by USC. It wasn’t a shock. Vegas had them as two touchdown underdogs. The worst part for me was that it gives the anti-Big Ten folks more fodder. I will tell you though, USC looked really good. Subtract the disaster loss to Stanford and they are playing for and probably winning the National Title. That’s how good they looked. Joe McKnight looks like a terror in waiting and Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain give them great options at QB.

Then we saw Hawaii try to prove that the small schools belong with the big boys. It didn’t work out so well. It sucked for me because my pre-game prediction of Colt Brennan’s emergence failed. I said that by the time the game was over he would be a first round NFL pick. Instead he had one of the worst games of his life and Georgia dismantled them. Another team to watch next year.

Next the Mountaineers decided that RichRod’s departure wasn’t enough to hold them down and they went out and crushed Oklahoma. The Sooners lost another Fiesta Bowl. That’s four straight BCS bowl losses for OU.  Must be disappointing.

But last night we finally got ourselves a game. After 4 games that weren’t even close, we got Kansas/VaTech which was a pretty good game. Kansas proved they weren’t Hawaii or Illinois, teams that “didn’t belong” and beat a pretty good VaTech team that was ranked #3 before this game.

I gotta tell you, this to me, is just what makes us need a new system. They feel like we need to have this “bowl” structure. That a playoff system de-values the regular season or bowl games. And look where we are: two blowouts that were over by halftime and another game that got away in the 3rd.

Stop screwing around and FIX ITTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!