Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Boras:Heyman as McGavin:Jackass Guy

Reenactment of conversation that transpired between Scott Boras and Jon Heyman on Monday morning July 9th:

Scott Boras
Jon Heyman
Boras: Hey Jonny.  How you doing?

Heyman: Great to hear from you. What’s up Scotty?

Boras: Don’t ever call me Scotty again.

Heyman: Yes, sir.  I got a little excited since I hadn’t heard from you since January 25th at 3:09am.

Boras: Right, the day before Prince signed his mega deal.  Well, I haven’t needed you since then, err, I’ve been super busy.

Heyman: All forgiven.

Boras: Are you in Kansas City for the All Star game?

Heyman: Yup, just enjoying my one day off this year.  

Boras: I was thinking about grabbing some lunch.

Heyman: I was gonna spend some time with the fam-

Boras: Sizzler.

Heyman: See you there in an hour.

At lunch:

Boras: Boy do I have a scoop for you- Appel is thinking about going back to Stanford for his senior year.

Heyman: Gimme a second.  Let me tweet that immediately despite the fact it makes absolutely no sense, and you are obviously using me as a ploy in your negotiations for the 205th time since 2010.

Boras: Terrific.  An article wouldn’t hurt either.  

Heyman: I’ll get right on that once we are done here.  I didn’t want to see the family anyway.

Boras: Great.  Here’s 10 bucks.  This meal’s on me.

Four hours later:


If you read the article - and I hope you didn't because it was a colossal waste of time - Heyman's "reasoning" for why Appel would go back to school is that his dad is a rich lawyer for Chevron.  Earth shattering stuff there.

Appel has every incentive to leave school now and would be a fool to go back.    He was drafted 8th overall, not 28th like Gerrit Cole was in 2008.  So, yes, he could be drafted higher next year, but he would have no eligibility remaining, and therefore, no leverage.  

Does having a college degree make you more qualified to pitch in the Major Leagues?  Is Appel really going to Japan after next year's draft so he can be a free agent in 2014?  Do the Long Island Ducks pay seven-figure bonuses? No, no, and no.

The most money a senior has ever received through the draft: Matt LaPorta, $2.1m as the 7th overall pick in 2007 (back in the pre-draft-pool-dollar-restriction days)

Go start your career and form the best Big 3 since Izzy-Pulsipher-Wilson. Fine, not a great example, but still... you can always finish college after your playing career is done. 

Follow @mspici

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Stupid Moves Made By NBA GMs

+Maybe I'm beating a dead horse (see here and here) but Daryl Morey is at it again. The Rockets waived Jeremy Lin on December 24, 2011.  Just over six months later, Houston has reportedly offered Lin a $30m contract. If I'm Rockets owner Leslie Anderson, I would flip out.  They could have had Lin for 10% of this amount.

+Days before the 2010 NBA Draft, the Timberwolves offered the fourth overall pick to the Blazers for Nicolas Batum, and they were rebuffed. Now, Batum is leaning towards signing with Minnesota, leaving the Blazers with nothing to show.  Former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard probably wouldn't be "former" if he had accepted this joke of a deal. You want Greg Monroe or DeMarcus Cousins for the next four years at about $4.5m per or would you rather have Nicolas Freakin Batum for the next two years?

+What do Daryl Morey and Kevin Pritchard have in common?

Among other things:

-they are both currently serving as General Managers in the NBA
-both rely heavily on analytical data
-neither has ever overseen a team that won a playoff series
-neither should be trusted to run an NBA organization

+Bryan Colangelo's antics were incredibly stupid, and I wrote about it briefly here.

+Not sure which GM it will be, but one will acquiesce and give into this ridiculous demand from Goran Dragic:

+The NBA is a business. I guess it's a nice gesture by the Phoenix Suns to let Steve Nash go wherever he pleases, but why would you help one of your biggest rivals?  Here you go Lakers, we'll take the 28th and 56th picks in next year's historically terrible draft and a few similar picks in the years ahead.  In return, you take our best player and ensure we never make the second round of the playoffs. Deal?

Maybe David Stern can veto this one somehow.

Moral grade: A; Business grade: F.

+I wanted to write an entire article on this but haven't had a chance so I'll throw it here.  The Indiana Pacers took Miles Plumlee in the first round of the Draft last week.  As someone that watched at least 75% of Duke games over the last four years, I find this hysterical.  Good luck with this one.

That Worked Out Well...NOT

I like Landry Fields and all, but $20m for this guy over three year is hilarious.

Have fun with this guy for the next three years.
Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo's attempt to offer a backloaded contract to a league-average (at best) player completely blew up in his face. He had hoped the offer would prevent the Knicks from getting Steve Nash. Then Nash asked to be traded to the Lakers. Whoops! Now the Raptors are stuck with Fields.

Colangelo's next move should be resignation.

Is This a Joke?

Let me open this by saying I’m actually a fan of women’s sports.  Would I ever attend a WNBA game?  Of course not, but I will definitely watch Olympic swimming and gymnastics this summer.  I’ll admit to watching some of the Women’s Final Four (both basketball and soccer), and I enjoy the Women’s College World Series even if I’m not proud of it.

However, this whole Olympic-qualifying, deadheat situation would never occur in men’s athletics.

To those not following, here’s a quick summary: the top three finishers in the women’s 100m race would earn a spot on the team.  Jeneba Tarmoh thought she finished third, but upon further review, it was deemed Allyson Felix had tied her.  There were no rules in place for what happens in these situations.  So, since it was a running race, the higher ups decided to have a race between these two competitors tonight with the winner making the team.  Seems like it makes perfect sense, no?

Not to Tarmoh who feels “kind of robbed.”  WHAT?  No one robbed you of anything.  If you had beaten Felix, you would be on the team.  Felix tied you, though.  Who robbed you exactly?

Tarmoh was so upset that she backed out of this race.  Why?  I HAVE NO IDEA.

Can you imagine a dude ever doing this?  Me either.  They should just give the spot to Felix.

You are a runner, Jeneba.  Go run faster than your opponent and represent your country in London.  Don’t go making excuses that you were robbed.  If you are faster than Felix, prove it.  You aren’t winning Olympic gold in the event anyway.  I mean you finished third in your own country’s qualifying event.  Show a little competitiveness.  Let’s go.

This article originally appeared on sportscensure.blogspot.com

Morey's Just Messing With Us Now

After we made mention of Houston GM Daryl Morey's unhealthy obsession with middling power forwards, he goes and offers Omer Asik a 3-year, $25m deal that includes $15m of salary in 2014. Um, what?

Thankfully for Rockets' fans, the Bulls might actually match this absurd offer.

This article was originally published on sportscensure.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Give It A Rest, Jim Bowden

Here are six other managers (three in each league) who have done very well with much less than what Girardi and Washington have. They are my choices for the best managers in baseball thus far in 2012.
1. Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox
Fans and the media have criticized Valentine more than any other manager this year. However, when the dust settles, the fact remains he’s been the AL’s best manager in the first half of the season.

It has been a Boston baptism by fire for Valentine, as he’s had to contend with major injuries to his bullpen (Andrew Bailey), outfield (Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury) and starting rotation (namely Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz), unpopular trades (Kevin Youkilis) as well as failed trades (Marlon Byrd), and rotation experiments (Daniel Bard). He inherited unhappy coaches and players who obviously weren’t ready for a new leader and a different way of doing business.
Despite all of this, Valentine’s squad sits 38-34, a mere 1 1/2 games out of the second AL wild-card berth. Valentine has done a tremendous job of managing his bullpen. Alfredo Aceves has been a revelation as the closer, going 18-for-21 in save opportunities. Scott Atchison, Matt Albers, Rich Hill and Andrew Miller all have ERAs under 3.00. Their success stems mostly from Valentine’s ability to put pitchers in the best position to succeed. Will Middlebrooks and Felix Doubront are developing into good big leaguers while the decimated outfield has somehow helped contribute to an offense that has scored the second most runs in baseball. Love him or hate him, Valentine has this team within striking distance of a wild card berth despite a plethora of obstacles.

These are the words of ESPN’s Jim Bowden.  He’s working for ESPN and not a Major League organization because his observations of talent are clearly lacking, both on and off the field.  I’m guessing every current GM (and agent) is pissed this guy isn’t running some organization so they can rip him off in trades.  There’s probably a good reason the last seven teams under Bowden’s control failed to have a winning record.


Bobby Valentine, the best manager in baseball so far in 2012?  Are you nuts?  Not only is his opinion incorrect in my mind, but he also determines his opinion to be a “fact.” Ha!

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, but I’ll start with the “unpopular trades” section where Bowden references Kevin Youkilis. Bowden clearly fails to remember that Valentine was the one calling Youk out for underperforming nine games into the season, tearing up the locker room.  There was almost a mutiny led by Duston Pedroia.  Does that really seem like good managing to you?

 David Ortiz isn’t happy and he’s speaking out about team chemistry.

Buster Olney said he's heard of unhappiness "not in just one corner, but multiple corners, different parts of the organization -- on issues of communication, on issues of how things are handled, and it was really striking."

Nice work, manager.

Valentine also had a reported rift early in the year with GM Ben Cherington about Daniel Bard’s role and keeping Jose Iglesias in the bigs.

At the time Valentine wrote this article, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz had missed a combined three starts.

It’s disingenuous to claim that guys outperforming expectations (ie Atchison) have done so because of Valentine’s tutelage but guys underperformers have only themselves to blame.

So, many of his players hate him, the locker room is in turmoil, he called out one of his most popular players for no great reason, and his team is in the middle of the standings. 

Come on, Jim.

This post was originally published on sportscensure.blogspot.com

Chad Ford, NBA GMs are NOT Your Friend

Chad Ford put together no fewer than 14 mock drafts over the last few months. Today's version had a whole bunch of nuggets, tidbits, and "inside info"...or so he thought. It even included each team's draft board as if the guys in charge would actually tell him the truth so he could publish it on ESPN and all the other teams could read it.


He confidently tweeted earlier in the week that he was feeling good about his top 13:


Turns out in his last mock he went 3-for-the-first 21 (including Anthony Davis whom everyone knew was going number 1).

Maybe, he will finally figure out that no intelligent team would allow their employees to give true information to a writer.

This post was originally published on sportscensure.blogspot.com

Daryl Morey Covets Middling Forwards, Not Dwight Howard

I’m pretty sick of the Daryl Morey love going on with NBA talking heads.  From Bill Simmons calling him Dork Elvis to all sabermetrically-inclined analysts wetting themselves over Morey’s work, I can’t take it anymore.

Two years ago on The Banter, I wrote this:

As the Rockets' season comes to yet another disappointing close tonight, I am left asking myself a potentially blasphemous question: is Daryl Morey overrated?

On a personal level, I am enamored with Morey. I have met him twice while attending his MIT Sports Analytics Conference (each of the last two years) and came away extremely impressed both times. He's approachable, well-spoken, and genuinely likeable in a Seth Rogen kind of way. Bill Simmons christened him "Dork Elvis" for his popularity among statheads.

Professionally, Morey is credited with revolutionizing player analysis by using quantitative analysis to greatly supplement his and his scouts' views. Many in the industry believe him to be one of the game's brightest managerial stars.

In a recent edition of his "NBA Future Power Rankings Column" (Insider access required), ESPN's Chad Ford ranked the Rockets 10th, based largely on the team's "management." In fact, of all 30 teams, he rated Houston second best in this category. Granted, this category takes into account more than just the GM, but Morey clearly steers this ship.

So, where's the problem?

Simple. The performance of a GM's team, not his academic credentials (Morey received his MBA from MIT), should do the talking, and in this case, I am not wowed. Despite inheriting a 52-win team, Morey's teams have won only one playoff series in his three years.

Let's look at Morey's history.

Less than two weeks into his new role as front office boss in Houston, Morey fired head coach Jeff Van Gundy on May 18, 2007 (after the team's third first-round exit in four seasons under JVG) and replaced him with Rick Adelman. Aside from JVG's disastrous 2005-6 season, these two coaches have had virtually identical success in Houston. A lateral move for the most part - although ESPN greatly benefited since JVG has proven to be a great TV commentator.

Under Adelman, in the 2007-8 season, the Rockets finished with the sixth best record in the Western Conference and lost to the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.

In the 2008-9 season, they finished with the fifth best record in the Western Conference and beat the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs before succumbing to the Lakers in the second round.

This year, they will not make the playoffs.

Morey might not have an open checkbook, but over the last three years, Houston has been in the top half of the NBA in terms of dollars spent on salary. Now, I understand injuries have played a role as Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady have missed significant time over the last three years for a variety of ailments. But again, the mark of success in the NBA lies in a team's performance, namely its playoff performance, and Morey's squads have failed in this regard.

Has he made good moves (his draft history includes the likes of Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry)? Yes.

Has he made great moves (ripping off the Knicks and Kings at the 2010 trade deadline)? Absolutely.

In the end though, just because a General Manager uses numbers in an innovative way, hires a dozen interns, and gets a nickname from a famous sportswriter, it does not make him great at his job.

Bottom Line: Morey might turn out to be one of the game's all-time greats. Unfortunately, thus far, the team has not markedly improved since he took over three years ago. Until that happens and the team makes at least one deep run in the postseason, I believe it is premature to call him one of the game's best.


What has changed since then?

Aside from the Rockets missing the playoffs twice more, not much.  Just about everything I wrote still rings true.

What I didn’t realize then was that Morey was also a hoarder of middling power forwards.

Jared Jeffries, Brian Cook, Carl Landry, Jordan Hill, Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, Chuck Hayes, the list goes on.

His appetite is insatiable. How else do you explain trading for Jon Brockman and Jon Leuer?  Really, does anyone expect this Howard deal to go through?  I think Morey would be thrilled starting five of the guys I just mentioned.  

He’s not trying to trade for Dwight Howard.  He’s going to keep the 12th, 16th, and 18th picks so he can grab Andrew Nicholson, Arnett Moultrie, and Jared Sullinger.

This post was originally published on sportscensure.blogspot.com

Humblebrag or D-bag?

Should have read: I'm John Hollinger, and I don't give a f$&* about you. Too busy not improving my PER calculation.

John Hollinger, you are popular for about six hours per year, and that's only because information is limited around draft time. Someone wants your opinion? Be thankful.

This post was originally published on sportscensure.blogspot.com 

Time to Hang ' Em, Jamie

49-year old Jamie Moyer - and all his stirrup glory - just signed with his third team this season trying to give it yet another go.

This guy has won 269 games over his 25-year career.
Jamie, despite making only $60,000 in your rookie season, you have earned over $82 million in your playing career, and you are a dork. There's no way you blew through that money Antoine Walker style. I just can't picture you making it rain in South Beach. You are loaded.

There are ~200 players currently on big league rosters that were born after you made your Major League debut.

You pitched against a team that had a player-coach, Pete Rose. Oh yea, Rose just turned 71 years old in April.

You were the oldest player in the American League... in 2005.

You've given up the most home runs in the history of Major League Baseball.

Some players dream of reaching free agency. You've signed as a free agent 12 (!) times.

You throw 81mph. 

It's time to hang 'em and enjoy being old. And if you get bored, it won't be long before Just for Men comes calling.

This post was originally published on sportscensure.blogspot.com