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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Tony Romo

Happy 42nd Mo

November 29th 2011 19:23
The greatest closer in MLB history turns 42 today, and his number is also 42 because he played before Jackie Robinson's number was retired league-wide. Mariano Rivera is obviously a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and anyone who suggests otherwise is toiling in idiocy. Happy birthday Mo, and I hope you don't retire after the 2012 season. He's still going strong into his 40's, and that's something I can say for maybe a handful of other players in history.

I would like you all to check out My2Cent's take on some really crazy blockbuster MLB trade that is hypothetical, but interesting all the same. If you like these sorts of mulling posts, then this one is for you.

Another link I want to lay down on you is the offseason notes for November 29th on FanGraphs that are always a must-read provided by the great Carson Cistulli. Every hardcore baseball fan should try and keep up with his notes daily, and I hope you guys check it out; it's well worth your time. And oh yeah, you can also vote on whether or not a team's broadcaster's are good in their Crowdsourcing Broadcasters feature.

For those of you Tool fans, I'm hearing that Maynard James Keenan is letting Adam Jones and Danny Carey come up with lyrics for their upcoming album. Their last album was in 2006 (10,000 Days) and their next one is sure to be a hit. I'll just sit hear listening to "H." while waiting anxiously for whatever the heck they want to call the next one. Jones and Carey come up with deep and insane lyrics, and their songwriting skills are seriously underrated. Not only that, but Jones and Carey are one of the best guitarists and drummers in rock respectively.

Christian Bale is going to stop playing the Batman, so it's time to cross our fingers and hope that they somehow find a worthy replacement. Bale has fit the role well, so the scavenger hunt begins that will hopefully lead us away from the Wild Goose Lounge; even if we need the help of James Roday (which wouldn't be a bad thing).

I leave you with these random thoughts, because Pro Sports Wrap is all about the random, the geeky, the insightful, and the just plain dumb. This is a very paradoxical blog, and it takes on the (split) personality of the blogger behind it. I hope you guys start checking out Tim Holland's blog, as he is easily the best sports historian on the Orble Network.

11/24 MLB Rumors: Reliever Rumblings

November 24th 2011 09:48
The New York Times reports that Joe Torre could be interested in owning- mostly partially owning- the Los Angeles Dodgers. While this doesn't seem likely, there is a chance that Torre ends up teaming up with somebody like Rick Caruso to own the team.

The Minnesota Twins are interested in re-signing Matt Capps and implementing him as their closer after Joe Nathan signed with the Texas Rangers. Capps is a slightly below-average closer, but he's the best option they have and will likely be cheaper than making a move like trading for Francisco Cordero or Huston Street.

Speaking of which, there are six teams interested in acquiring the Rockies closer. Street, like Capps, is 28 years old, and he was also the 2005 Rookie of the Year. He's about a league-average closer, and the six teams interested (per Sports Illustrated) are the Red Sox, Jays, O's, Mets, Marlins and Reds. The Reds are also trading their closer, and Street would present a minor upgrade over Cordero. The Jays, O's, and Mets have a huge need at closer, but it is interesting to note that the Mets rejected a previous deal from the Rockies in a proposed Street-Pelfrey swap.

According to the New York Post, Mariano Rivera might retire after the 2012 season. Mo has one year left on his contract, and below are two quotes to mull over. The best closer in history is about to turn 42, and he has saved a record 603 games over his Major League career so far. I don't think he should hang up the spikes now, as he has still been pitching at a very high level. However, he knows his body more than we all do, and I'm sure that the future Hall of Famer will make the best decision for himself.

"I don't know what will happen,'' said Rivera. "I have one year left. I might call it over. I will know more in spring training.''

"Every time I talk it gets worse and worse,'' Rivera said when asked about his vocal chord problems that have arisen this offseason which may require surgery.

There are a lot of replacement-level to average starter middle-infielders who are making bank this offseason, and Jerry Hairston Jr. could be among those guys. Hairston is really just a utility backup guy. Hairston is an above-average defensive outfielder, and he plays at a high level at second. However, he is considered to be mediocre at the hot corner. But with his positional versatility, Hairston is an intriguing option and provides value to a ballclub. He was worth 1.2 WAR in 376 plate appearances, so he is an inexpensive option who would be a solid stop-gap option.

In fact, there are three teams interested in signing Hairston; the Dodgers, Brewers, and Giants all want to sign him. The Dodgers lost Jamey Carroll to the Twins in free agency, the Brewers have a hole at short, and the Giants are obviously in the market for a shortstop with their situation at the position. The 35 year old did get a one-year offer from the Brewers to re-sign with the team, but it seems like the Brew Crew want to get a marquee shortstop. They have also made it clear that signing Yuniesky Betancourt is also an option, although everybody will agree that it's not exactly a good option.

The Nationals are fighting with the Miami Marlins to sign solid veteran free agent starter Mark Buehrle. The Nats have made him their number one priority this offseason Buehrle has been worth over 3 WAR for the past three seasons, and he will definitely bolster this rotation and is worth about 10-12 million on the open market.

Count Sandy Alomar Jr. out of the race for the Boston Red Sox manager opening, as Bobby Valentine has been swooning the Sox brass recently. I expect the Sox to name Valentine their manager, but there are still a couple of candidates remaining.
Will he retire after 2012?

10/2011 Player Profile: Mat Latos

October 31st 2011 15:31
To celebrate Halloween, I have another exclusive Player Profile/Scouting Report of a current MLB player. Appropriately, for the holiday, my shuffled song is currently "Enter Sandman". It would have been plain freaky if I was planning a piece about Mariano Rivera, but I have an equally interesting piece written about a young pitcher on the Padres.

Last season, Mat Latos was a 4 WAR pitcher who was getting a ton of recognition as one of the best young pitchers in baseball. His fastball was sizzling as his slider electrifying. This season, his fastball is still relatively effective but is considerably worse. Last season, he was just mowing down hitters. All of his pitches have been worse this season, especially his curveball. Each of his pitches have also been much slower this year, and it is obviously a concern when a pitcher's fastball is ticks below what it was the previous season.

Although his BABIP rose this year, that is negated by a slight decrease in walk rate as well as a decrease in HR/FB ratio. Not only that, but his peripherals were worse in 2011 (9.21 K/9 to 8.57 K/9 and 2.44 BB/9 to 2.87 BB/9). I don't think he has been tired, and I actually think he was struggling from the lingering effects of an injury at the beginning. His FIP got much better as the season wore on. In fact, if you took out the first month, Latos was just as good this year as he was last year in terms of FIP.

Arguably the best stat out there for pitchers, Latos's FIP rose by only 0.16 this season. His WAR went down to 3.2, but he still pitched well this season and should continue to do so. I don't have any concerns for Latos's pitcher at this point, and I think he can continue to do well. While he was certainly nowhere near his 2010 form, Latos wasn't exactly awful this season either.
Watch for a bounce back year

6/19 Daily Rundown: Crawford on DL

June 19th 2011 05:53
1. Hamstring Sends Crawford to DL

Carl Crawford was put on the 15-day DL for a minor hamstring injury. The injury happened in a 10-4 win over the Brewers, and the hamstring was viewed as a Grade 1 strain. The medical staff thought it would be best for him to rest up his hamstring. Crawford was injured after beating it out for an infield single.

2. Tiki Barber Battled Depression

Tiki Barber said that he needs football and is actually looking to come back to the NFL. The year after he retired, Barber battled depression for a year thanks to events that occurred off the field. Barber was fired from working at NBC, and there was a chain of events that has led to what is happening now. He's serious about playing in the NFL, but the odds are certainly against him. One thing though: if anyone can make a comeback to the NFL as a 36 year old running back, it's Tiki.

3. Holliday's Big Day Snaps Seven Game Skid

Matt Holliday hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh, and that was all the Cards needed to beat the Royals 5-4. Holliday also had a double and a walk. Matt Treanor went 2-4 with a homer and two runs. Jake Westbrook labored through seven innings and 121 pitches. Vin Mazzaro was slightly better, but the Cardinals' bullpen fared out much better than their opponents' pen did. Trever Miller, Jason Motte, and Fernando Salas gave up just one hit in two innings with two strikeouts (combined).

4. Yanks Scrape by Cubs

The bases were loaded in the bottom of the six thanks to errors from the Yankees' middle infield. Geovany Soto hit one to left, and Brett Gardner came up with the out. Carlos Pena was barreling towards the plate, and Brett Gardner threw a beauty to Russell Martin. Pena slammed into Martin, but the Yankees' catcher absorbed the hit and got Pena out. Brett Gardner showed us why he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Why do other Yankees fans want to replace him so much?

Mariano Rivera got another save in a poorly pitched ninth; a rarity for the best closer in history. The Cubs always tried to rally in this one, but the Yankees would hold them off each time. Robinson Cano hit two doubles and drew two walks, and Pena hit a two run shot to right. Ryan Dempster was clearly outpitched by A.J. Burnett's eight K's, and Dempster walked six and threw 119 pitches. Jeff Samardzija was also poor as he walked three in 1.1 innings pitched.

5. College Football Player Shot

Brandon Wimberly was shot in the stomach after a fight in Reno. Wimberly was with other football players, and they were in a fight with some other people. Nevada's starting receiver went up to the car, and he was shot by somebody inside the vehicle. The injuries sustained are considered serious but not life-threatening. Thank God Wimberly is OK. I would hate to see somebody killed, especially a young man with untapped potential.
15 Day DL

5/2011 Closer Rankings

May 12th 2011 14:23
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Jonathan Papelbon
3. Heath Bell

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