Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tiger trade possibilities

There are lots of rumors that the Tigers are looking to add some pieces for a pennant chase this year. I'd first like to point out that I don't think it's a given that they will or should be looking to deal. They are a team with lots of young talent that should still be building for the future. That said, if you have a chance to win you must explore the possibilities. I think the 2 weakest spots on the team are LF and a lefthanded bat. With that in mind, here are some names to toss around.

3B/LF Chipper Jones (Atl) - his contract has 2 years and $22 million left on it after this season which is a lot for a guy that just turned 34. But he's a switch hitter with awesome career numbers and a .375 OBP this year and a .444 SLG this year. Not sure what the Braves would ask for, but they are struggling this year and he is not part of their longterm plans. There is a chance they could swing him for a nice price if they are willing to eat his contract.

LF/1B Raul Ibanez (Sea) - 2 years and $11 million left on his contract. He's a cheaper option than Chipper Jones, but actually is a better player at this point. Both are 34 years old, but Ibanez can still rake in a pitcher's park. He's got a .353 OBP and a .514 SLG including 13 home runs playing in Safeco Field. Seattle is in a bit of a rebuilding process, but I'm not sure what it would take to get Ibanez. Maybe a Craig Monroe/Zach Minor sort of package. He might be one of my #1 priorities if I were the Tigs GM. He's 34, but only has 2 not terribly expensive years left on his contract and he's still a very good hitter.

LF Jeromy Burnitz (Pit) - has a mutual option for 2007 left, but they buyout is only $700,000 if the club declines. Not as good a hitter as the first two, but he can still put some pop on the ball. His .281 OBP this year is brutal, but he does have 11 HRs and could be a decent bat off the bench. Wouldn't take much at all to get in a trade, but would add very little other than a left handed bat.

1B Nick Johnson (Was) - 3 years and $16.5 million left on the contract of this 27 year old. His contract is actually a bargain considering his age and production at the plate. He's got a phenomenal .438 OBP this year to go along with his .561 SLG. Those numbers should make him an All Star. I doubt he can play LF, but if the Tigs could get a player in his prime with that kind of hitting talent they would have to seriously consider it. Unfortunately it would probably take a pretty good offer to get him.

I'd also think Alfonso Soriano is a possibility. No, he isn't a lefty. But the guy can play. I have a feeling Washington will ask a lot for him, but he's a FA to be with little interest of staying in Washington so they will feel some pressure to deal him before the deadline. I hope Dombrowski keeps his ears open in case they want to unload him for cheap.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Random musings in the dead season of sports

Thank God the Tigers are smoking hot this year because after the US Open, the sports scene turns pretty dreadful for the most part. NFL and CFB are a ways off. The Stanley Cup has 1 game left. The NBA finals are almost done. Well, I guess the World Cup counts as something. Anyways...

  • The U.S. just got bitched by the ref against Italy in Europe and still outplayed them and got a draw. When is the last time we could whine about only getting a tie against a European power in Europe?
  • Phil Mickelson is a hell of a player, but I'm still feeling bad for Monty. He has always been the crusty and boorish Scotsman that didn't get along with the crowds in America. But if he would've held on for a par at the 72nd hole and won the U.S. Open I think it would've been one of the most emotional scenes ever at a major. He's a gamer and has been in the hunt on numerous occasions. Now that he's softened a bit in his old(er) age, he had the U.S. crowd behind him. It would've been special to see him get the win. Alas, it might have been his last and best shot at a major. Hats off to Tiger for even showing up and trying. The fact that he missed the cut in a major for the first time in his career shows exactly how mentally into it he was.
  • The Detroit Tigers are still smoking. 46-24 on the season and a 1.5 game lead over the White Sox for the best record in the majors. Kenny Rogers is a machine. Curtis Granderson is on fire. Carlos Guillen is fun to watch. It's been so damn long since the Tigers were this good that I don't think any Detroit fan can remember what it was like.
  • Mike Hart is healthy. Considering he's a threat to go for 200 yards against anybody, Michigan opponents should be very afraid. Because Lloyd Carr magically becomes an excellent coach when he has a powerful rushing attack.
  • For the love of God the Hurricanes better win the Stanley Cup tomorrow. If the Oilers win, the NHL will completely turn into a laughingstock. Their clutch and grab play has gotten them through the Western Conference despite the NHL's insistance on a crack down on this. But alas, they are 1 game away from being the worst team in American pro sports history to win a championship. I normally root for the underdog, but they are a joke.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Some Heisman names to consider

Last July I took a stab at predicting the Heisman favorites and in hindsight, it was a little too easy last year.
I would be shocked if they beat the Buckeyes and Sooners, but if they do the Heisman is Young's for the losing.
So yeah, that turned out to be about right. But what about this year? I'm just gonna toss some names out there with a very brief thought or two. I'll get a little more indepth later this summer.

Brady Quinn - the poster child for the media's love affair with Notre Dame will likely have big numbers this year

Troy Smith - the ultimate dual threat at QB, though their offense might struggle a little without Santonio Holmes but he is the most gifted quarterback in the nation and he's on a high profile team.

Adrian Peterson - he's the prototypical TB and could put up monster numbers this year for the Sooners (2000 yds and 15 TDs aren't out of the question)

Marshawn Lynch - a superstar out west in an offense designed to get him the ball he could rack up big time numbers as well

Michael Bush - in Louisville's offense against their schedule, he could once again lead the nation in TDs


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Offensive Indicators of Victory Revisted

Last August, I surmised that by looking at Michigan's average gain per rush and pass in a game you could get a very good idea of their chances of winning.

Well, let's take a look back at this last season (as not fun as that may be) and see how those numbers held for the Wolverines. The magic numbers were >7 yards per pass and >4 yards per rush compared to <6 yards per pass and <3 yards per rush. Game by game:

Northern Illinois, 4.3 yards per rush, 7.2 yards per pass --- WIN
Notre Dame, 3.9 yards per rush, 5.1 yards per pass --- LOSS
Eastern Michigan, 4.1 yards per rush, 8.3 yards per pass --- WIN
Wisconsin, 4.1 yards per rush, 7.6 yards per pass --- LOSS
Michigan State, 5.4 yards per rush, 7.1 yards per pass --- WIN
Minnesota, 2.8 yards per rush, 5.3 yards per pass --- LOSS
Penn State, 4.2 yards per rush, 5.9 yards per pass --- WIN
Iowa, 3.0 yards per rush, 10.0 yards per pass --- WIN
Northwestern, 4.4 yards per rush, 5.8 yards per pass --- WIN
Indiana, 4.4 yards per rush, 5.6 yards per pass --- WIN
Ohio State, 1.3 yards per rush, 6.0 yards per pass --- LOSS
Nebraska, 3.1 yards per rush, 6.3 yards per pass --- LOSS

So there you have the numbers. What to make of it? Well Michigan was 3-1 in games where the offense hit both marks with the only loss at Wisconsin in what was truely a strange game (it marks the first loss for Michigan in 4 years when both the rushing and passing attacks were that proficient at moving the ball). Michigan was 6-1 when rushing for > 4 yards per carry, and they were 4-1 when passing for > 7 yards per attempt. Michigan was also 0-2 when failing to rush for 3 yards per carry and 3-2 when failing to pass for 6 yards per carry.

Not a lot of data, but it would be interesting to see what sort of marks other teams put up in similar categories. For instance, does a great defensive team become almost unbeatable when rushing for 4 yards per carry or is their passing game more important?