Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bits

I regret that I haven't been able to post as much lately, but summer activities, vacation, and law school applications mean that I'm spending less time in front of the computer (which I suppose is a good thing). Nevertheless, it's time for an illicit post from work!

-A.J. Burnett to Baltimore makes sense only if they can retain him. As it is, the Marlins are only going to trade him if they can also package the horribly underachieving Mike Lowell. Acquiring Lowell makes absolutely no sense for the Orioles, as they already have the second best 3B in the AL, Melvin Mora, not to mention that Lowell is owed $21m through 2007. If the Orioles could somehow dump the overpaid ($13.5m through 2006) Sidney Ponson into the deal, then they should pull the trigger. With the graying of the AL East, the relatively young duo of Burnett and Bedard could put the O's in a position to contend through the end of the decade. There's still plenty of time before the deadline, so I wouldn't be surprised if the deal got changed so that Lowell was left out entirely.

-The NHL Draft is tentatively scheudled for July 30, but it should honestly should be called the Sidney Crosby Lottery. For those not in the know, Crosby is a lad of 18 from Nova Scotia, with breathtaking puckhandling skills and an almost omniscient offensive awareness that has drawn comparisons with Wayne Gretzky. Some of Crosby's more flabbergasting goals have already been shown on SportsCenter, the most memorable being when he drew the puck up on the blade of his stick and shot it into the net lacrosse-style...from behind the goal. The kid's got skillz; he's a natural; he's The One; yada yada yada. The question is, who's going to get him? Shockingly, the NHL came up with a pretty good solution. Each team starts out with three balls in the Lotto Machine (TM), but has a ball removed for each playoff appearance in the past 3 years and each #1 pick in the past 4. However, each team is guaranteed one ball. Only 4 teams have been bad/unlucky enough to retain all three chances: Buffalo, Columbus, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers. If Crosby ends up on the Rangers, expect the conspiracy theorists to come out of the woodworks. But the fact is, the entire landscape of the league will be changed with the new salary cap, and there will be real competitive balance no matter where Crosby plays. Crosby is as much about marketing as he is about actual skill, so I wouldn't mind if he ended up in New York. Anything to keep poker from outrating hockey.

-It may just be me, but I sense that the Oakland A's are inevitably headed for the playoffs. Guess what: Rich Harden is best young pitcher in the majors, Barry Zito has rebounded and is now better than Hudson and Mulder, and Huston Street and Justin Duchscherer are the best 1-2 bullpen combo (based on combined VORP) in the majors. The O.C. Angels should be terrified.

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