* Justin Upton talks heated up in the GM meetings, with conculded yesterday. The team we heard the most were the Boston Red Sox, but according to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for Daniel Bard and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Red Sox are unlikely to part with those two, when they can sign Jayson Werth for just money.
Other teams interested are the Yankees, Rockies, Padres, Dodgers and Rays.
* Derek Jeter was reportedly offered a 3 year $42 mm contract by the Yankees. If I were him, I would jump on that. But according to sources, Jeter is looking for at least a four year deal, and maybe up to six.
* The Tigers began talks with Adam Dunn yesterday, and even thought reports origanlly indicated they were deep into talks, they were just preliminary. The Tigers are also known to be targeting Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez and Manny Rameriz. It is possible they could sign Martinez and Dunn
The Rockies are interested in both Upton and Gavin Floyd and Kevin Millwood
Jonathan Papelbon is unlikely to be traded
Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays interested in Miguel Olivo
Orioles interested in De La Rosa
Josh Willingham getting trade interest
Yesterday we took a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates, now it is time to look at Seattle.
The Mariners were predicted by most people to win the American League West this season, because of their off-season additions. They added Cliff Lee in the trade with the Phillies, signed Chone Figgins, and acquired Brandon League for Brandon Morrow. They were projected to be one of the best defensive and pitching teams in the league.
…..That was not really the case. The Mariners finished 10th in the American League in fielding, only Boston, Kansas City, Cleveland and Anaheim behind them. Figgins had 19 errors, primarily at second base. Josh Wilson had 20, playing shortstop and third base. Jose Lopez made 18 at third base. So that must be the primary concern for the Mariners, right?
No. Have you seen their hitting stats? They finished worst in the American League in runs scored and batting average. And can you see why? Their cleanup hitter, Lopez, hit .239 with three home runs! Their first baseman, Casey Kotchman, hit .217 with nine home runs. Other than Ichiro Suzuki, who hit .315, their highest batting average was .259, by Figgins.
The Mariners will probably look at a first baseman next season. They have Justin Smoak, but he hit only .213 on the season, in both Texas and Seattle. They have Russel Branyan, but despite the twenty five home runs, he hit only .237. And do not be surprised to see Kotchman be non-tendered.
The rest of the infield does not look so pretty. They still have Figgins locked up another four years, and they are stuck with Jose Lopez and Josh Wilson. There is not too much infield depth after that, with Chris Woodward, Matt Tuiasosopoo, and Mark Mangini. I gave you the stats on Lopez, Figgins, and Wilson. The other three? Woodward hit.158, Tuiasosopoo .173, and Mangini .211. So that infield is not looking sharp heading into 2011. They might pick up a guy like Mark Ellis or Bill Hall to backup the infield and solidify some depth.
Now the outfield, which has some promise. Of course you have Ichiro, but what else? The Mariners are very high on left fielder Micheal Saunders. Saunders hit only .211 when he was up this year, with ten home runs. But it was his first year, and he is a top prospect of Seattle. He was ranked as their third prospect going into the season.
Their center fielder, Franklin Gutierrez, is an interesting case in himself. Gutierrez was acquired from Cleveland before the 2009 season. He did not hit for a high average in Cleveland, but he looked like a promising young player. When he was traded to Seattle, he had a career year, hitting .283 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Seattle had thought they had something in Gutierrez. This season, he hit .245 with 12 home runs. At age 27, in his fifth year, it’s time to say he is what he is.
The Mariners had yet another problem this season, and that is pitching. Many people,myself included, were calling Seattle the best pitching staff in the league because they had Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. Hernandez had a terrific year, putting up Cy Young numbers with a 2.27 ERA to lead the American League. His WHIP is 1.06. Cliff Lee had himself a good season too…. Just not all in Seattle.
When Seattle knew they had no shot in mid July, they traded Lee to the New York Yankees. The deal was done all but the paperwork, and Seattle was getting Jesus Montero, one of the best prospects in the game. But Texas jumped in at the last second, and offered Justin Smoak, their top prospect. Seattle ripped up their deal with New York, and sent Lee off to Texas, who won their division.
The rest of their rotation served a problem. Ryan Rowland-Smith, who they considered a promising young player, put up an ERA of 6.35 in 27 games. He will most certainly be non-tendered. Luke French, who Seattle acquired from Detroit for Jarrod Washburn, posted a 4.83 ERA. Jason Vargas, who was acquired from the Mets, had a decent year, with a respectable ERA of 3.83. His career best before that was 4.03 with Florida in 2005. Doug Fister’s ERA soared to 4.11, after leading the American League in ERA for around three months. The last pitcher on the Mariner’s staff was David Pauly, with a 4.07. So that pitching and defense thing? Yeah… That didn’t really work.
The bullpen was not much better. David Aardsma, who was Seattle’s closer last season, five blown saves and an ERA of 3.44. Brandon League had a good year, with an ERA of 3.42 13 holds. He did, however, have six blown saves. Garret Olson, who was acquired from Baltimore, had an Earned Run Average of 4.54 with a WHIP of 1.51. Sean White had an ERA north of five. Two young pitchers who had okay years in the M’s pen were Jamey Wright and Brian Sweeny.
So, what do the Mariners have to fix? Not much, just the bullpen, rotation, hitting and defense. That’s all. Some players Seattle may target in the offseason, trade or free agency, are Daisuke Matsuzaka, Juan Uribie, or Cody Ross
A lot has gone wrong for the 2009-2010 Boston Bruins. Opening Night 2009 was on October 1, 2009 vs the Washington Capitals. The Capitals won, 4-1. Now the Bruins are in the second round. And the Caps… Lost to the eight seed Montreal Canadiens.
As much that has gone wrong, (where to start?) so much has gone right. It all started the night Bruins leading goalscorer Phil Kessel was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first and second round draft pick this year, and a first round pick the next. Kessel was coming off labrum surgery in the offseason, so his season did not begin until November. He still had more goals than any Bruins player.
The Bruins where coming off a season where they lost veterans Aaron Ward, Shane Hnidy, Manny Fernandez, Stephane Yelle, PJ Axelsson, and later Chuck Kobasew. They brought in Derrek Morris, Steve Begin, and Daniel Paille.
More went wrong when it was announced five games into the that Kobasew had been traded to Minnesota, but also Milan Lucic had broke his finger. Things got worse when Marc Savard aggravated a broken foot before a game vs Nashville.
The Bruins goal after that was to tread water. They learned early they would not be that offensive juggernaut that got them to first overall in the east the season before. They would have to be more like the 2007-2008 Bruins who took the number one Canadiens seven games. The Bruins got Lucic back in late November vs Atlanta. Savard returned four games later in Minnesota, a game that was won in a shootout. But Lucic was re-injured when he took an awkward pass from Dennis Wideman, and he had a high-ankle sprain.
December would be highlited be the return of Phil Kessel to Boston. The Bruins won, 5-2, with Savard’s hat trick. Going into late December, many worried about the Bruins getting distracted by the upcoming winter classic at Fenway park. They showed this losses to their opponet, the Flyers, and a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Bill Guerin scored with 0.4 left in the game to tie it. After that Tuukka Rask, a rookie goaltender, started eight straight games opposed to last year’s Vezina trophey winner Tim Thomas.
Thomas was in net for the Winter Classic, and he was the biggest reason they won. The Bruins where down 1-0 with time ticking off the third period clock, and most where thinking “here we go again”. But Derrek Morris made a bueatiful slap-pass that Mark Recchi tipped in to tie it. It would be the second of the three Winter Classics to go to Overtime. The Bruins started off on the power play, but could not score. Thomas then made a fluery of saves the other way. Bruins MVP of the season Patrice Bergeron made a pass to Marco Sturm, which he tipped in. The Bruins did not know that would be the last home game they would win into Febuary.
A few nights later the Bruins misfourtone returned, when 22 seconds into the the game Savard injured his knee. It was revealed he had a torn MCL. In the stretch of his abscence, the Bruins went on a 10 game winless streak, started by a shootout loss in Los Angeles. The Bruins did get Savard back in Buffalo, a game where it showed how much the Bruins missed him, but they lost, 2-1. More bad news would erupt when rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk was hit in the face by a puck vs the Vancouver Canucks. However, the winless streak would be snapped the next day in Montreal, Super Bowl Sunday.
The Bruins went on a four game winning streak before the olympics, all road games, in Montreal, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Florida. Six Bruins would go to the Olympics: Thomas (USA), Bergeron (Canada), Zdeno Chara and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia), David Krejci (Czech Republic), and Sturm (Germany).
After the Olympics, the Bruins hit another tough stretch. They lost their first night back on home ice to the Canadiens, 4-1. The Bruins bounced back in games vs Toronto and the Islanders before things would take a turn for the worst. In a game vs the Pittsburgh Penguins the next day, Matt Cooke, a known cheapshot artist around the league, concussed the Bruins best player in Savard. He would need a stretcher off the ice, and would be out indefinetly. Cooke was not suspended by the league. There was a lot of aftermath to follow the incident, from Bruins coach Claude Jullian and GM Peter Charelli stating their displeasure, to former Bruins coach and now Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry bashing Cooke. The Bruins would meet the Penguins again on March 18, eleven days after the hit. The Bruins lost, 3-0 in a completey heartless game where many wrote the Bruins off afterward. But the Bruins continued their theme of the season and never said die.
Two days later they would face a team fightning them for a playoff spot, the New York Rangers. The Bruins beat them, and then the Atlanta Thrashers, in convincing victories. Later, they would lose to the Lightning in maybe their best effort all season. But they never said die.
In turned around on March 30, when the Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils in OT. After that they gained points in every game but one.
That’s when the good luck began to turn their way. The Bruins finished as the nukber six seed in the east, with a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres. They got the number two draft pick overall, thanks to Toronto. They beat Buffalo in six games, and would have their star playmaker Savard return. And they would have home ice vs the Philadelphia Flyers.
The season is far from over, but it’s hard to not appriciate what the Bruins have overcome this season. Sometimes good things come to those who wait. Maybe that will be the case for the Bruins. Or maybe their new hope will be shatered. Hopefully the former will come true, but either way, the Bruins have already amazed many. They never said die.
The Boston Bruins are currently fighting the Montreal Canadiens, Philly Flyers, New York Rangers, and Atlanta Thrashers for the playoffs. Meanwhile, they also want the Toronto Maple Leafs to stay in last in the Eastern Conference. So, what can happen?
Montreal 3 GR 86 pts
Boston 3 85
Philly 3 84
New York 4 82
Atlanta 3 81
The Rangers, Canadiens, and Flyers took the season series with the Bruins. But the Bruins have the advantage on Atlanta. The Bruins play Buffalo, Carolina, and in Washington to close out the season. The Maple Leafs, two points behind Florida and Tampa Bay, play the Canadeins, Flyers, and Rangers. The Rangers and Flyers play each other twice. The worst case scenerio would be the Bruins not winning another game, and the Flyers and Rangers geting three points out of ther games, and the Maple Leafs move out mof the celler. best case? Bruins win all their games, other teams lose as muh as possible. Here is a scenerio where the Bruins can stay in the playoffs:
Bruins win two games=89 points
Flyers win all games=88 points
Rangers win two games=86 points
That would mean the Bruins would have bat two teams, and the Flyers would have swep New York. Another scenerio:
Bruins win one game=87 points
Flyers win two games=88
Rangers win two games=86 points
I don’t know who won the Flyers-Rangers games, just that they each won two games. In this scenerio the Bruins would be behind the playoffs, but still in. One more:
Bruins win one game, lose in OT= 88 points
Philly loses one, beats New York twice= 88 poins
Rangers win two, lose to Philly twice= 86 points
The Flyers would get the tie breaker, I believe. In these scenerios, the Bruins can make the playoffs still. They are still in control of their own destiny. But they play some tough teams, and will need some help. Remember to keep coming to Total Bases and BestBostonSports for more info and coverage!
I made my before-Spring Training predictions, here are my Opening Day Season predictions. Plus, check out the player to watch feature which gives you a player to watch on each team during the reaguler season.
AL East Player to watch:
Boston Red Sox (Jacoby Ellsbury)
New York Yankees (Marcus Thames)
Tampa Bay Rays (Ben Zobrist)
Baltimore Orioles (Nolan Reimold)
Toronto Blue Jays (Adam Lind)
Minnesota Twins (Orlando Hudson)
Chicago White Sox (Jake Peavy)
Kansas City Royals (Rick Ankeil)
Detroit Tigers (Austin Jackson)
Cleveland Indians (Micheal Brantly)
Seattle Mariners (Chone Figgins)
Anaheim Angels (Kendry Morales)
Texas Rangers (Neftali Feliz)
Oakland Athletics (Brett Anderson)
Philadelphia Phillies (Jayson Werth)
Atlanta Braves (Jason Heyward)
Florida Marlins (Mike Stanton)
Washington Nationals (Nyjer Morgan)
New York Mets (Kiko Calero)
St.Louis Cardinals (Colby Rasmus)
Chicago Cubs (Randy Wells)
Cincinatti Reds (Aroldis Chapman)
Milwakee Brewers (Alcades Escobar)
Houston Astros (Hunter Pence)
Pittsburgh Pirates (Garrett Jones)
Colorado Rockies (Jason Hammel)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
San Fransisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner)
Arizona D-backs (Justin Upton)
San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard)
1. Evan Longoria
2. Joe Mauer
3. Kendry Morales
1. Albert Pujols
2. Chase Utley
3. Ryan Braun
AL Cy Young
1. Jon Lester
2. Cliff Lee
3. Zack Greinke
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Tim Lincecum
1. Brain Matusz
2. Austin Jackson
3. Desmond Jennings
1. Jason Heyward
2. Mike Stanton
3. Madison Bumgarner
1. Don Wakamtsu
2. Ron Gardenhire
3. Joe Maddon
1. Bobby Cox
2. Tony LaRusa
3. Freddi Gonzalez
AL Comeback Player
NL Comeback Player
Those are my predicitions. My Internationl League predictions will be sometime next week.
Tomorrow the Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins in one of their most inticapated games of the season. The Bruins are currently in eighth place in the East after their win vs the Hurricanes last night. The New York Rangers lost, so the Bruins remain three points ahead of the team they will play Sunday. The Penguins are in second place in the East and lead their divison. This is the first time the teams have met since Matt Cooke cheapshot Marc Savard and ended his season.
Stats: Leading goal scorer: Marco Sturm (21)
Points: Patrice Bergeron (above)(Credit: SI.com)
Assists: Zdeno Chara
Goalie: Tuukka Rask
Most games played: Blake Wheeler, Mark Recchi (above) (Credit, Bruinscrew.Word press)
Penguins: Evgeni Malkin (knee, questionable)
Bruins: Patrice Bergeron (Knee, questionable)
Andrew Ference (Groin, out)
Marc Savard (If you don’t know the situation by know, you live under a rock)
* Malikn and Crosby will have some excuse to sit out the game. Probally Cooke as well.
* Big win last night. Good to see a 60 minute effort by the whole team. Goals by five different players is always a good thing. It was Bergeron, Ryder, Recchi, Krejci, (who all have double figures in goals) and Boychuk. It was only Carolina, but other thn Montreal they have been the hottest team in hockey.
* X-rays on Bergeron’s knee where negative after taking a Mark Stuart slapshot to the leg. Bergeron is questionable for Thursday. Claude Jullian says the prognosis is a bad bruise.
* If Matt Cooke does not come out of the game peeing his pants, I will be very disapointed. Remeber the Dallas game last year? Seems like a different team now.
* Daniel Paille better start scoring. If he scoes 16 goals, the Bruins get an additional third round pick. If he doesn’t, they lose thier fifth rounder. Come on Paille!
* Tyler Seaguin. Remember tht name. Come on Toronto, keep losing!!
You can predict the goal scorers on the BBS Message Boards at the Bruins Predictions Page threads. You can discuss and chat about the game here. Check out the Video Vault at BBS for Bruins videos.
Here is your Sunday recap in Boston sports.
The Red Sox beat the Orioles, 5-4. The Sox where down in the eigth inning, but an Angel Sanchez double and Gil Velezquez single tied it. Mark Wagner homered in the ninth inning to win. Casey Kelly picked up the win and Robert Manuel the save. David Hernandez got the L for the O’s.
The Bruins lost to the Penguins, 2-1. Marc Savard was taken out on a stretcher after a dirty hit from behind by a dirty player, Matt Cooke. Savard took an awkward pass from the left wing and dumped it in, and Cooke came from behind and slammed his elbow into his head. Obvious intent to injure. The NHL says they want to get rid of head shots, but no penalty was called on the play. I expect Cooke to be let of the hook with a two or three game suspension, though he deserves a season suspension in my mind. I’ll talk more about this at news and notes.
The Celtics beat the Wizards, in a comeback win. Down by as much as thriteen in the fourth quater, Ray Allen hit two key three pointers in the comeback. Rajon Rondo missed a free throw down two, and Kendrick Perkins picked up the rebound and passed to Ray who was beyond the arc. He hit it, of course.
The Sabres beat the Rangers, 2-1 in OT. The Rangers gain a point on the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings, and now sit only two points behind them after the Bruins loss.
The Canadiens beat the Ducks, 4-3 in a shootout. Montreal entered the third period down three goals, and came back to tie. Tomas Plekanic sealed it in the SO. Montreal is now two points behind the Bruins.
The Magic beat the Lakers, 96-94. Kobe Bryant could not hit the buzzer beater this time. Vince Carter threw down 25 points in the win. The Lakers have now lost three games in their west coast swing, to the Bobcats, Heat, and now Orlando.
The 76ers beat the Raptors, 114-101. Yes, the C’s actully have to worry about the Raptors, who are behind them in the divison. Good to gain a game on them. Expect a Celtics-Raptors first round playoff series.
The Oilers beat the Devils, 2-0. Always a good thing, as the B’s need the Oilers to heat up if they want Taylor Hall in the draft. Can Toronto catch them?
News and Notes: I promised I would touch on this topic again and I will. That hit Cooke had on Savard was the second dirtiest hit I have seen this year. The only worse was Mike Richards on David Booth in an almost identical situation that took Booth out 45 games and he missed the Olympics for team USA. Did Richards get suspended? Of course not. Welcome to the NHL. This is the second time Cooke had handed out a hit like this. It’s time the NHL does something.
I was at the Red Sox game yesterday afternoon. Right behind the Sox dugout. Victor Martinez tossed me a ball! That was sweet. I got to see Casey Kelly pitch live for the first time. That kid has some sick stuff. I can see him in the big leagues next year. Or maybe this year. If Kelly is what they think he is, then they can just let Beckett walk without a problem.
Thanks for all the mailbag questions. It will be back again at it’s reaguler time Sunday. Sorry for no recap yesterday, I was at the Red Sox game, then I watched the Bruins and Celtics. Today the Red Sox play the Cardinals at 1:05 pm. Josh Beckett will face off vs Chris Carpenter. I will be in Ft. Myers Wednesday when the Red Sox play the Rays. I expect to see either Lester or Lackey.