Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quick Hits - Hoffman on Fumes & Fielder's Contract

- Is Trevor Hoffman officially running on fumes? He has remained effective the past few years despite the lack of an overpowering fastball due to an above average slider and changeup. Yet in the first week of the season he blew two saves against the Cardinals by giving up gopher balls. On Friday night, the homer he gave up was a slider that stayed in the zone a little too long and it was golfed out of the park. On Sunday night he gave up consecutive dingers to Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday when he couldn’t get a fastball by either one of them. Hoffman is 42 years old and his fastball tops out at 87, which makes his change-up at 82-83 less effective. If the Brewers are going to stay close to the Cardinals, they are going to need Hoffman to be like Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair – a strong closer able to slam shut games when the starters and set up guys give him a lead.

- Speaking of the Brewers, this article from John Heyman of Sports Illustrated reaks of a PR ploy from Scott Boras about a contract for Prince Fielder. Prince Fielder is NOT going to get a $200 million contract from any team in baseball. I like Prince a lot. He is one of the most fearsome power hitters in all of baseball. But the Brewers cannot and will not give him that big of a contract. The Yankees are already locked into Mark Texeiria at first base, so there goes the next big team that would spend on him. Combine that with the potential of Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard also being free agents at the same time and suddenly the market for Prince drops dramatically. I’m not smart enough to know the angle Boras is trying to play (make the Brewers look cheap when they offer him $160 over 8 years?) but I can’t see how this helps either side in the negotiation. Joe Mauer got $184 million from a bigger market team in Minnesota as the #1 catcher in all of baseball, and one of the best hitters in the game. Fielder may be the 4th best hitting first baseman (Pujols, Howard, Texiera) and is not a gold glove defensive player. As much as I want him signed, I’m concerned about how his portly frame will hold up in 6 or 7 years when he is 32 years old and there is no DH in the National League.

- Ben Roethlisberger is an idiot. We’ve already established that based purely on the circumstances of whatever happened at the Midgeville, GA bar. But listening to the details that the DA laid out in his press conference made it obvious that he thought Big Ben was a scumbag but he didn’t have the evidence needed to prosecute him. And Ben, when you’re about to go on national television and read a contrived apology, maybe you could shave or trim the hair? Just a thought so you don’t look like you just crawled out of your double wide down by the river and you’re in search of your smokes and another can of PBR. (Update: Ben shaved his face and his head before meeting with the Commissioner)

- Could there have been a more anti-Tiger story to win the Masters this weekend? Phil with his perfect family, and winning for his wife while she recovers from cancer. Absolutely incredible story, despite the fact that CBS and its announcers kept trying to make us believe that Tiger was going to make a run at him. Phil now has 3 green jackets and officially shed his choker label. He has become a guy that everyone can feel good rooting for.

- While out in Northern California this week, one of the news stories that was littered in all the newspapers was Don Nelson breaking the all-time wins record in the NBA. The national media didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the story, but being near the Bay Area, the local papers were all over stories of how Nellie revolutionized the game with his “small ball” approach and the invention of the “point forward” position. Does anyone know who the first point forward was? Paul Pressey of the Milwaukee Bucks. I guess I always thought of Pressey as a point guard and never realized he was actually a forward. I also didn’t know that Nelson turned down an offer to coach the Celtics at the tail end of the Bird/McHale/Parrish era out of loyalty to the Bucks general manager at the time. Had Nelson went to the Celtics, he would have certainly won the NBA title that has always eluded him and kept him out of the conversation for the leagues greatest coaches ever. And I thought all he did was revolutionize fashion with his fish ties. (I can’t find a picture of Nellie in a fish tie anywhere. Did he not wear them as much as I recall?)

- I can’t remember an NFL off-season where so many trades have taken place of big name players. The latest is Brandon Marshall being traded to the Dolphins. It follows the trade of Santonio Holmes, Donovan McNabb and Antonio Cromartie earlier in the off-season. In every case except McNabb, the teams tired of dealing with the turdish behavior of talented players and took discounted deals to get rid of them. A 5th round pick for a 26 year old former Super Bowl MVP coming off his best statistical season? Then again, if Hollywood could trade out of Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Kate Gosselin any other number of pathetic divas, I’m sure they would. Even for a 5th round pick like Australian Michelle Hunziker.

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