Monday, August 31, 2009

Nightmare for Royals Fans Set to Continue

Unbelievably, Royals' GM Dayton Moore had his contract extended through 2014.

He inherited one franchise player (Greinke) when he took the post in 2006. Now, the Royals have one franchise player (Greinke). That's right, not much has changed.

Of all the articles I have read, Royals Authority summarizes it best.

HBT also weighs in.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Headline that makes me want to puke...

... and I'm not even a Royals fan: "Royals Considering Extension for Moore."

When will it end in Kansas City? Probably only when the Banter is running the show. In other words, it could be a while.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stat of the Week

The University of Oklahoma has never produced a quarterback who has started an NFL game, this despite having a Heisman Trophy winner and another Heisman Trophy finalist in the last decade alone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Separated at Birth?

As suggested by loyal reader and new father, JohnnyStef (aka georgekaplan):

Actor Kevin Pollak and NY Yankee OF Nick Swisher

Friday, August 21, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Does Robinson Cano have a day job at Cafe 28?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stream of Consciousness While Watching MLB Extra Innings

As I have written countless times over the past four and a half months, I am a proud owner of the MLB Extra Innings package. "Up to 95 out of market games per week" was more than enough to sway me. I have not had much time to watch recently so I figured I would take advantage on a night that offered 11 out of market ball games.

Here are my thoughts while watching:

**Whatever happened to Delmon Young, uberprospect? Terrible build, no power, gomp-filled. It's awful. The guy was the first overall pick in 2003 for crying out loud.

**With Pablo Sandoval out of the lineup, the Giants offense is embarrassingly terrible (or terribly embarrassing). Never a good sign when Randy Winn hits in the heart of the order.

**Cliff Lee is dominant.

**There are an awful lot of balding baseball players. That can't all be steroids-related, can it?

**Is it too late for the Mets to have a fire sale? Would anyone buy any of these guys even at drastically reduced prices?

**Ian Kinsler does not get cheated when he swings; neither do Marlon Byrd or Josh Hamilton or David Murphy or any other member of the Rangers. Maybe that's Rudy Jamarillo's "secret to hitting": swing as hard as humanly possible in case you make contact.

**As much as they have been struggling, no American League team wants to face the Red Sox in the playoffs with Beckett and Lester atop the rotation.

**Mike Macdougal throws cheddar despite tipping the scale at <150lbs.

**The Padres announcer, while introducing the lineup, says "Hank White doing the catching" in reference to Henry Blanco. I love it. All names should be translated like that.

**Jose Reyes would be a lot less cool if he went by "Joe Kings".

**Not sure who has the better mullet-in-the-making: Jered Weaver or Mat Latos.

**If Kurt Suzuki is your cleanup hitter, it's probably best to plan for next season....immediately.

**My fantasy team is an absolute train wreck right now.

**HD is slimming (Exhibit A: John Kruk looks svelte).

**How dumb are these people going to feel if the tests come up clean?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mock Draft Voting

Some readers have complained the links below do not work. Fret not.

1- Go to

2- Find the article entitled "Results from the 2010 Mock Draft"

3- Vote for the team you think did the best (probably the Banter)

Preseason NFL and Mr. Strasburg

I went to the Giants-Panthers game last night. Unfortunately, after travelling a... umm, circuitous route, we arrived late in the first quarter to see the first overall pick under center. Unfortunately, it was the first pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, David Carr, but the game was enjoyable nonetheless. (This portion of the post would have been better conveyed on Twitter but whatever.)

Speaking of Twitter, I'm testing it out. Here's a shameless plug: follow me here @mspici


I cannot express in words how much I love the Stephen Strasburg deal. It's great for both sides and the city of Washington. Finally, Nats' fans have something to look forward to.

Side note: In general, I like Keith Law's work. However, in this article, I take a bit of umbrage (h/t Ryan MacAvery) with the following:

They [Washington] just added a potential No. 1 starter to their organization for maybe 10 percent of what an established No. 1 starter would cost in free agency, and Strasburg gets the opportunity to walk in as the savior for a franchise that desperately needs a pitcher just like him. That's a win-win.

10%??? How does Law come up with this number? Strasburg signed a four-year deal for $15.1m. Is Law suggesting Strasburg is worth ~37.5m / year? I'm assuming not (since that would be 150% more than any pitcher in history has ever received); so, he must mean over the life of a longer contract, Strasburg would be paid in the ballpark of $150m. I have no idea how he arrives at this number. Only one pitcher in history has seen more money than that (CC Sabathia), and Strasburg is a completely unproven commodity (unless you consider the WAC a baseball proving ground). Johan Santana signed a 6-year, $137.5m deal last year, but Stephen Strasburg is worth $150m? Please.


If you have some time to kill, check out this site. It's awesome.

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part VIII

The final two rounds of the 2010 Mock occurred last night. I nabbed Mark DeRosa and Brian Fuentes.

The Sports Banter's final roster.

C: Matt Wieters
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: Mark DeRosa
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: Adam Wainwright
SP: Tommy Hanson
SP: Matt Garza

RP: Brian Fuentes

The final rosters can be found here. (Feel free to vote at the bottom of the page.) There is also a story here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part VII

After adding Banter favorites Matt Wieters and Matt Garza, the catching and starting pitching spots have been solidifed.

My roster now looks like this:

C: Matt Wieters
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: Adam Wainwright
SP: Tommy Hanson
SP: Matt Garza

RP: (None)

I can't see this team losing any category.

Top 8:

1. Mark DeRosa
2. K-Rod
3. Joakim Soria
4. Brian Fuentes
5. Bobby Jenks
6. Brian Wilson
7. Jose Valverde
8. Brad Lidge

Saturday, August 15, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part VI

Adam Wainwright and Tommy Hanson are the newest memebers of The Sports Banter.

My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: Adam Wainwright
SP: Tommy Hanson
SP: (None)

RP: (None)

I can't see this team losing any category.

Top 20:

1. Matt Wieters
2. Chone Figgins
3. Roy Oswalt
4. Matt Garza
5. James Shields
6. Jered Weaver
7. Rich Harden
8. Edwin Jackson
9. Max Scherzer
10. Derek Lowe
11. Ted Lilly
12. Scott Kazmir
13. Jair Jurrjens
14. Brandon Webb
15. Carlos Zambrano
16. Jon Broxton
17. K-Rod
18. Joakim Soria
19. Brian Fuentes
20. Bobby Jenks

Friday, August 14, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part V

I nabbed Alexei Ramirez and Jon Lester with picks seven and eight. Feeling very confident.

My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: (None)
SP: (None)
SP: (None)

RP: (None)

Let the arms race begin:

Top 20

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Pablo Sandoval
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Chris Carpenter
5. Cole Hamels
6. Tommy Hanson
7. Roy Oswalt
8. AJ Burnett
9. Jake Peavy
10. Matt Garza
11. James Shields
12. Jered Weaver
13. Clayton Kershaw
14. Edwin Jackson
15. Rich Harden
16. Max Scherzer
17. Derek Lowe
18. Ted Lilly
19. Scott Kazmir
20. Jair Jrrjens

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part IV

I nabbed Dustin Pedroia and Alfonso Soriano with my 5th and 6th round picks, respectively. Again, both of these guys were very high of my "Best Available" list.

My offense looks incredibly well-balanced.

BA: 4 of 6 are great.
R: All 6 are great.
HR: 4 of 6 are great.
RBI: 3 of 6 are great.
SB: I will get contributions from 4 of 6. (Might address this with my next pick.)

My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: (None)
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: (None)
SP: (None)
SP: (None)
SP: (None)

RP: (None)

It might be time to start thinking about some arms...

Top 20

1. Alexei Ramirez
2. Pablo Sandoval
3. Josh Beckett
4. Josh Johnson
5. John Lester
6. Adam Wainwright
7. Yovani Gallardo
8. Chad Billingsley
9. Matt Cain
10. Cliff Lee
11. Justin Verlander
12. Chris Carpenter
13. Cole Hamels
14. Jake Peavy
15. Roy Oswalt
16. Tommy Hanson
17. AJ Burnett
18. Matt Garza
19. James Shields
20. Jered Weaver

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part III

I picked up Ichiro and Josh Hamilton with my 3rd and 4th round picks. Again, I'm thrilled as they were both atop my "Best Available" Board.

My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: (None)
3B: (None)
SS: (None)
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: (None)
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: None
SP: None
SP: None
SP: None

RP: None

I have a minor dilemma with the next pick. I have nine outfielders rated very similarly but only one OF spot remaining. Do I lock up another position with my 5th round pick and hope one of my outfielders is still on the board when I pick in the 6th? Yup.

1. Aramis Ramirez
2. Jacoby Ellsbury
3. Nick Markakis
4. Curtis Granderson
5. Brian McCann
6. Alfonso Soriano
7. Carlos Quentin
8. Shane Victorino
9. Carlos Lee
10. Nate McLouth
11. Troy Tulowitzki
12. Adam Jones
13. Robinson Cano
14. Alexei Ramirez
15. Jayson Werth
16. Felix Hernandez
17. Josh Beckett
18. Josh Johnson
19. John Lester
20. CC Sabathia

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part II

In the first installment of the mock draft, I selected Albert Pujols and Justin Morneau. Although I'm not a huge fan of using my Utility spot in Round 2, I am thrilled with this start.

Pujols (my #1 overall player) and Morneau (8) are studs in 4 of 5 categories.

By taking Ichiro with the first pick of the third round, I will lock up BA meaning I can take someone like Adam Dunn in the later rounds without thinking twice.

Here's my next 20. (Note: I have included no first basemen as I have no room in this format.)

1. Ichiro
2. Jimmy Rollins
3. Brandon Phillips
4. Duston Pedroia
5. Carlos Beltran
6. Josh Hamilton
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Jacoby Ellsbury
9. Nick Markakis
10. BJ Upton
11. Johan Santana
12. Jason Bay
13. Aramis Ramirez
14. Joe Mauer
15. Brian Roberts
16. Curtis Granderson
17. Carlos Lee
18. Carlos Quentin
19. Nate McLouth
20. Shane Victorino

Um, What?

How can the following sentence be published in a real newspaper with real editors:

When the Kings were preparing to retire the numbers of Vlade Divac and Chris Webber last season, some fans said they was undeserving of the honor because neither had won a championship in Sacramento.

That is a direct quote from The Sacramento Bee. Sure, it's not the most trusted name in news, but this is a publication with a circulation of about 300,000.

...some fans said they was...

Is that Ebonics? Was that a purposeful butchering of the English language? Come on.

Monday, August 10, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft

The Sports Banter gets the first pick and will select Albert Pujols. No drama here.

Potpourri of Thoughts

I'm a bit late the party here, but a few weeks back, Dave Cameron at put together his annual "Top 50 MLB Trade Value" articles (there are about 10 in total, but here is the recap). His goal is rank the 50 players with the highest trade value while taking into account contracts (full intro here).

Overall, Cameron does an excellent job, but I have a few qualms.

-Prince Fielder belongs in the top 25. Prince has 141 home runs in the equivalent of four seasons while maintaining a career OPS+ of 136. Sure, he's not fleet of foot, but he plays a passable first base.

-David Price does not. Were his 19.2 innings in 2008 (5.2 in the playoffs) really enough to warrant the rating he has received? I don't buy it. Plus, he's not all that cheap since he was signed to a ML contract after being drafted.

-Gordon Beckham belongs in the Top 40. Beckham made his ML debut one year after being drafted. He has become a fixture at the hot corner and has impressed from Day 1.

-Joba Chamberlain does not. Joba has been a product of the New York media hype. His results have been far from overwhelming.

-Josh Beckett belongs above Dan Haren, not 28 slots below him. Color me mystified at this one. Beckett has two rings.

-Clay Bucholz should not be on this list. Perhaps in time he will prove to be more than a AAAA player, but right now what separates him from Homer Bailey aside from the hype and the no hitter (admittedly, no small feat)?

-Matt Wieters has to do a whole lot more to earn top 6 status. I understand he is a switch-hitting catcher but let's relax a bit before crowning him a Hall of Famer.

Best Quote of the MLB Trade Season:

"Frankly, I am flabbergasted that the White Sox would want to make this deal with him in his physical condition." -Agent Barry Axelrod in reference to his injured client Jake Peavy

White Sox fans rejoice... or not.

MLB Post-Waiver Deal That Make Sense:

Houston trades Miguel Tejada to Boston for prospects. As the Astros fall in the standings, it makes sense for them to dump salary. Tejada has been fantastic this season with the stick and fits in perfectly with the Red Sox as a plodding runner and subpar defensive player.

Beginning on Tuesday, I will be taking part in a 2010 Mock Fantasy Baseball Draft on


-10 team snake draft.
-5x5 roto format.
-Each team will draft nine batters (one utility player), four starting pitchers and a closer.

We will go through two rounds per day for the next seven days.

Check back to see what you think of my team.

Sneak preview

Here's my Top-20

1. Albert Pujols
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Chase Utley
5. Alex Rodriguez
6. Ryan Braun
7. Mark Teixeira
8. Justin Morneau
9. Evan Longoria
10. Prince Fielder
11. Tim Lincecum
12. David Wright
13. Jose Reyes
14. Carl Crawford
15. Ian Kinsler
16. Matt Kemp
17. Ichiro
18. Grady Sizemore
19. Matt Holliday
20. Ryan Howard

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Best Seven Free Agents After '09 Season

Best Seven Free Agents After '09 Season

If you are a Royals, Mariners, Padres, or Nationals player or fan, here's what you have to look forward to next year. Warning: These pickings are slim.

1. Matt Holliday, OF, StL - Trade to the Cardinals could net him millions.

2. John Lackey, SP, LAA - I'm not sure why the Angels haven't locked him up long term.

3. Jason Bay, OF, Bos - Quiet, dependable, solid.

4. Chone Figgins, 3B, LAA - Table setter that makes a lot of sense on the South Side of Chicago.

5. Rich Harden, SP, Chi - When healthy, he's been dominant. Could fit into the category below.

6. Bobby Abreu, OF, LAA - His one year gamble should pay dividends.

7. Orlando Hudson, 2B, LAD - See Abreu, Bobby.

Others To Watch: Healthy (alphabetical)

Johnny Damon, OF, NYY
Aubrey Huff, 1B, Bal - Quietly won the AL Silver Slugger Award this season. He'll be 33 at the end of the upcoming season so he'll be looking for his last long-term contract.
Marco Scutaro, SS, Tor
Miguel Tejada, SS, Hou - Does anyone know his actual age yet?

Others to Watch: Injury Concerns (alphabetical)

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Sea - Probably on the downside of the career but still only 30 years old.
Erik Bedard, SP, Sea - Will he ever be the dependable workhorse he was? Doubtful.
Hank Blalock, 3B, Tex
Carlos Delgado, 1B, NYM
Vladimir Guerrero, OF, LAA
Brandon Webb, SP, Ari

Notes: I fully expect the following team options to be picked up or these players would rank much higher: Victor Martinez (Red Sox), Carl Crawford (Rays), Cliff Lee (Phillies) and Jermaine Dye (White Sox).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

AL-NL Realignment

Why are there 16 teams in the National League and only 14 in the American League?

I assume the rationale for moving the Brewers between leagues in 1997 was to put an even (as opposed to odd) number of teams in both leagues so one team from each league would not sit idle every weekend. However, now that we have interleague play, why not move them back?

Makes no sense.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Tonight, I had the privilege of attending a fundraiser for the Pediatrics Department of Mt. Sinai. The night was hosted by Sadina Gadecki, host of the World Poker Tour and girlfriend of New York Knick (for now) power forward David Lee. There was a silent auction and half-hearted attempt at a poker tournament.

Sabina Gadecki
I got a chance to talk to New Jersey Nets C Josh Boone, John Starks and the aforementioned Lee and Gadecki. Any preconceived notions I had about any of these individuals has evaporated as they turned out to be incredibly generous, wholesome people.
Most importantly, I implored / begged / pleaded with Mr. Lee to re-sign with the Knicks. So, if he does and you are a Knick fan, you can thank me later.

David Lee, Mary, and Me

David Lee = the man

John Starks and Me

Guess which one is me.
For what it's worth, Starks was a really enjoyable person to talk to. Very down to Earth. I'm a fan.