1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Wednesday “Baseball–Nuclear Winter to Begin?”

Posted by on December 2nd, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Baseball–Earthquake Coming?”

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The Baseball Free Agent Window has been open for two weeks.  None of the top rated stars have been signed.

As MLB reels under the weight of some 3B in losses in the pandemic season, teams are trying to juggle payrolls.  Move players, find budget space, and then wait to see who becomes available next.

No one has yet signed Trevor Bauer..George Springer…DJ LeMahieu…JT Realmuto…Marcel Ozuna or Justin Turner…the elite names atop the free agent list.  They will be signed.

But what happens after that could be a financial bloodbath.

At 5pm tonite, some more big names are likely to be dumped on the open market.  That’s when teams have to decide whether to tender big money contract offers to a select group of players, who would become free agents.

You can add as many as 50-more names of recognizable players to the 197-free agents already on the open market.

Catch up now, via CBS Sports, who might be dumped on the open market as ‘non-tenders’

An earthquake is coming, and the damage afterwards may be big paycuts for lots of name players.

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Diamondbacks
Biggest non-tender decision: C Carson Kelly ($1.3 million projected salary)

The Diamondbacks do not have any serious non-tender candidates now that Junior Guerra has been released, so Kelly gets the nod by default. He followed up his breakout 2019 season with a down 2020, though I doubt the team will cut bait over that. A 26-year-old catcher with four years of control and one comfortably above-average big-league season under his belt is incredibly valuable. Caleb Smith and Luke Weaver are Arizona’s only other arbitration-eligible players. They don’t have a big decision coming. Those two and Kelly will be tendered contracts and remain with the team.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Braves
Biggest non-tender decision: IF Johan Camargo ($1.9 million projected salary)

Adam Duvall’s huge 2020 season took him off the non-tender chopping block and solidified his spot with the 2021 Braves. Camargo has been hurt and ineffective since his 2018 breakout, with his swing-and-miss issues particularly surprising. Atlanta has Austin Riley at third and they’ve been connected to some bigger-name third basemen in recent weeks (i.e. Kris Bryant), so they do not seem likely to give Camargo another go next year. A soon-to-be 27-year-old switch-hitter who can play all over the infield (and some outfield) is a useful piece for a contender, just not at nearly $2 million.

Other non-tender candidates: LHP Grant Dayton, RHP Luke Jackson

Orioles
Biggest non-tender decision: IF Hanser Alberto ($2.6 million projected salary)

Elite contact ability and near-league-bottom exit velocity have allowed Alberto to dink and dunk his way to a .317 batting average on balls in play the last two years, though he doesn’t do much else other than put the bat on the ball, especially with his glove having gone backward. The Orioles aren’t exactly flush with infield depth, though a rebuilding team spending nearly $3 million on a no power, middling defense journeyman isn’t a thing that usually happens. With Renato Nunez having already been released (and replaced by waiver claim Chris Shaw), Alberto is Baltimore’s biggest non-tender decision.

Other non-tender candidates: C Pedro Severino, IF Pat Valaika

Red Sox
Biggest non-tender decision: RHP Matt Barnes ($4.1 million projected salary)

All you need to know about the current state of the Red Sox is that they’ve had eight pitchers clear waivers this offseason — any team could have had them for free and they all passed — and those eight pitchers threw more than one-quarter of Boston’s innings in 2020. Ouch. Ryan Weber was one of those eight pitchers, leaving Barnes, the team’s nominal closer, as Boston’s only real non-tender decision. His big strikeout rates will get him paid well through arbitration, though his walk and homer issues limit his on-field value. The bet here is the Red Sox keep Barnes.

Other non-tender candidates: RHP Austin Brice

Cubs
Biggest non-tender decision: 3B Kris Bryant ($18.6 million projected salary)

Wouldn’t it be something if the Cubs non-tendered Bryant after all the service time shenanigans (and the grievance that took nearly five years to resolve)? It’s insane Bryant, a 28-year-old former MVP who played at an All-Star level as recently as 2019, is being discussed as a non-tender candidate — teams that are trying to contend don’t even entertain such ideas — but such is the state of Chicago’s finances, or so owner Tom Ricketts claims. Bryant had a miserable 2020 season while playing hurt and, if the Cubs are unable to find a suitable trade prior to Wednesday’s deadline, they very well might cut him loose. I think it’s far more likely they keep him and hope he rebuilds value next year so they can flip him at the trade deadline (or, gasp, contend), but it is not set in stone. Chicago has several non-tender candidates and Bryant is easily the most notable.

Other non-tender candidates: OF Albert Almora Jr., 1B Jose Martinez, OF Kyle Schwarber

White Sox
Biggest non-tender decision: LHP Carlos Rodon ($4.5 million projected salary)

The White Sox are likely to non-tender outfielder Nomar Mazara, a former top prospect who’s spun his wheels in the big leagues and is projected to make close to $6 million in 2021. Rodon is much more up in the air. Tommy John surgery and shoulder trouble have limited him to fewer than 50 innings the last two years and, when he did pitch, he often showed reduced velocity. The ChiSox are a contender now and there is no such thing as too much pitching depth, so I suspect they will keep Rodon even at his projected salary. The same applies to Reynaldo Lopez. He’s projected at nearly $2 million.

Other non-tender candidates: Lopez, Mazara

Reds
Biggest non-tender decision: OF Brian Goodwin ($2.7 million projected salary)

The Reds gave up two mid-range prospects to get Goodwin at the trade deadline this summer but I don’t think that means his place on the 2021 roster is secure. Depending where Nick Senzel plays, Goodwin might only be their sixth-best outfielder, and teams on a budget usually don’t commit nearly $3 million to role players. Squint your eyes and you could see Archie Bradley as a non-tender candidate given a projected salary close to $5 million. Michael Lorenzen’s expected move into the rotation all but ensures Bradley will open next year in Cincinnati’s bullpen though.

Other non-tender candidates: C Curt Casali

Indians
Biggest non-tender decision: C Austin Hedges ($3 million projected salary)

Hedges was part of the Mike Clevinger trade and, truth be told, Cleveland is probably too thin behind the plate to cut him loose. That said, they picked up Roberto Perez’s $5.5 million option earlier this offseason, and a small payroll team may not want to commit $8 million or so on two all-glove, no-hit catchers. Remember, money is apparently so tight in Cleveland that they put Brad Hand on waivers in an effort to avoid the $1 million buyout of his club option. It’s not often you see a team with a small payroll spend roughly $3 million on a backup catcher.

Other non-tender candidates: OF Delino DeShields Jr., OF Tyler Naquin

Rockies
Biggest non-tender decision: RHP Jon Gray ($5.9 million projected salary)

Earlier this offseason Rockies ownership sent season ticket holders a letter strongly suggested payroll will come down — “There will be nothing normal about this offseason as the industry faces a new economic reality,” the letter said, according to The Athletic’s Nick Groke — and the easiest way to chop about $6 million off the ledger is non-tendering Gray. The 29-year-old had shoulder problems and was ineffective in 2020, two things that were very likely related, and if the Rockies don’t believe he is fixable or are confident in their ability to find a trade partner, they could make a clean break at the non-tender deadline. The guess here is they keep him, though I think it’s 50/50 at best.

Other non-tender candidates: C Elias Diaz, RHP Jairo Diaz, RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez, C Tony Wolters

Tigers
Biggest non-tender decision: LHP Matthew Boyd ($6.2 million projected salary)

The Tigers badly overplayed their hand when dangling Boyd on the trade market — they wanted Gleyber Torres from the Yankees — and he’s taken an enormous step back since the 2019 trade deadline, so much so that teams may balk at taking on his projected salary even with a thin free agent pitching class. Miguel Cabrera is the only player on Detroit’s roster with a guaranteed contract, so the Tigers are not desperate to cut payroll this winter. The bet here is they keep Boyd and hope he rebuilds value next year so they can flip him at the trade deadline. Definitely not a good sign that non-tendering Boyd is not completely insane though.

Other non-tender candidates: UTIL Niko Goodrum, RHP Buck Farmer, RHP Michael Fulmer, LHP Daniel Norris

Astros
Biggest non-tender decision: UTIL Aledmys Diaz ($2.8 million projected salary)

The Astros already answered their biggest non-tender question when they outrighted Roberto Osuna a few weeks ago. He’s now a free agent and would have banked more than $10 million through arbitration thanks to his 155 career saves. With Osuna gone, Diaz gets the nod by default because Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr. are the only other arbitration-eligible players on the roster. Diaz is a good enough hitter and a good enough defender at multiple positions to be worth a roster spot on a contending team. The only question is whether the Astros want to commit nearly $3 million to such a player.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Royals
Biggest non-tender decision: 3B Maikel Franco ($5 million projected salary)

Franco’s huge 2015 breakout feels like it was just yesterday, doesn’t it? The Royals signed him to a low risk one-year deal last winter and he responded with his best season since that 2015 breakout. As a reward, he may get non-tendered for the second straight winter. That’s a hefty salary projection for a player who will qualify for free agency next year and may not have a long-term spot in Kansas City. When you have exit velocity darling Kelvin Gutierrez in the organization at the same position, spending roughly $5 million on Franco isn’t the best use of resources.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Angels
Biggest non-tender decision: RHP Hansel Robles ($3.9 million projected salary)

Very quietly, the Angels have had strong success on the waiver wire in recent years, including getting 125 2/3 innings of 3.67 ERA ball from Robles since his 2018 claim. He was the team’s regular closer in 2019, but diminished velocity led to 20 runs in 16 2/3 innings in 2020, putting him in the non-tender crosshairs. The Angels aren’t blessed with great pitching depth, so hanging on to Robles and seeing whether he rebounds with a normal-ish spring training would be justifiable. The guess here is they cut bait entirely and redirect the money toward a pitcher who didn’t allow more than a run per inning this summer.

Other non-tender candidates: RHP Justin Anderson, RHP Keynan Middleton, RHP Noe Ramirez

Dodgers
Biggest non-tender decision: LHP Scott Alexander ($1 million projected salary)

Even with a pricey seven-player arbitration class (Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias are all arbitration-eligible this winter), the Dodgers don’t have any obvious non-tender candidates. Alexander has spent the last two years as a solid up-and-down depth arm and his projected salary is a drop in the bucket for Los Angeles, plus Caleb Ferguson’s Tommy John surgery creates an opening for another lefty in the bullpen. That said, Victor Gonzalez and Adam Kolarek remain, and the Dodgers have a small army of interesting (and cheap) young arms they could turn to instead. Ultimately, I think Alexander stays.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Marlins
Biggest non-tender decision: 1B Jesus Aguilar ($3.9 million projected salary)

The Marlins have two prominent non-tender candidates in Aguilar and righty Jose Urena, who is also projected for a $3.9 million salary next year. Miami is fairly deep in arms and Urena hasn’t pitched well the last two years, so I think he’ll get non-tendered. His situation is more predictable than Aguilar’s. The Marlins have an extremely similar player to Aguilar in Garrett Cooper, and top prospect Lewin Diaz is knocking on the door. Spending roughly $4 million on a one-dimensional first baseman who can be replaced from within is not usually something a small-payroll team does. Aguilar’s clubhouse leadership and the inevitable approval of the universal DH just may keep him on the roster another year though.

Other non-tender candidates: LHP Richard Bleier, RHP Yimi Garcia, RHP Ryne Stanek

Brewers
Biggest non-tender decision: RHP Corey Knebel ($5.125 million projected salary)

Few teams have been as aggressive with non-tenders as the Brewerslately — they non-tendered eight players the last two years — and they’ve spent the early part of the winter cutting payroll through option declines. Probably not a good sign for their non-tender candidates. Knebel was as nasty as they come from 2017-18, but Tommy John surgery sidelined him in 2019 and hamstring trouble limited him to 13 1/3 ineffective innings in 2020. Milwaukee already has one reliever making big money through arbitration (Josh Hader), and Knebel at more than $5 million just might not be feasible. No doubt the Brewers will scour the trade market before non-tendering him.

Other non-tender candidates: OF Ben Gamel, C Manny Pina, C Omar Narvaez, UTIL Jace Peterson

Twins
Biggest non-tender decision: OF Eddie Rosario ($9.6 million projected salary)

Power pays in arbitration and Rosario’s 96 home runs the last four years are the 30th most in baseball. The problem is he doesn’t do a whole lot other than hit homers. He’s a low on-base hitter, he doesn’t contribute much on the bases, and his left field defense is adequate more than an asset. Alex Kirilloff is one of the top prospects in the game and he’s MLB-ready — the Twins think so much of Kirilloff that they let him make his big league debut in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series — and could easily step in to replace Rosario in left field next year, allowing Minnesota to reallocate that projected salary toward pitching. I think Rosario’s a goner.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Mets
Biggest non-tender decision: LHP Steven Matz ($5.1 million projected salary)

The Mets have a massive 13-player arbitration class and yet only one of those 13 players is on the non-tender fence. Extra outfielder Guillermo Heredia will be non-tendered — that’s not a decision the Mets will have to debate much — and Matz’s spot is up in the air. Matz allowed 33 runs in 30 innings this past season and surrendered his highest average velocity in years, and those numbers usually equal a non-tender. That said, he made 30 league-average starts in 2018 and again in 2019, so you needn’t look back far to see the last time he was an effective pitcher, plus the Mets need rotation depth. New owner Steve Cohen is ready to spend and Matz’s projected salary isn’t onerous. I think this one’s 50/50. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Mets keep Matz or cut him loose. Could go either way.

Other non-tender candidates: Heredia

Yankees
Biggest non-tender decision: C Gary Sanchez ($5.5 million projected salary)

Sanchez had a “worst player in baseball” kind of season in 2020 and it put his future with the Yankees in doubt. The Yankees are not blessed with much depth behind the plate, however, and it was only a year ago that the soon-to-be 28-year-old Sanchez hit 34 home runs and was an All-Star. I think non-tendering Sanchez is something fans are debating and reporters are speculating about more than the Yankees are seriously considering, though he does stand out as New York’s most notable non-tender candidate heading into Wednesday’s deadline.

Other non-tender candidates: RHP Luis Cessa, RHP Ben Heller, RHP Jonathan Holder

Athletics
Biggest non-tender decision: UTIL Chad Pinder ($2.2 million projected salary)

It has been three years since Pinder’s out-of-nowhere great 2018 season. In the two seasons since, he’s posted a sub-.300 on-base percentage with underwhelming defense no matter where he’s played, and budget teams like the Athletics can’t afford to spend $2 million or so on utility guys. Their current middle infield situation is unsettled, but I don’t think that will be enough to keep Pinder in the green and gold through the non-tender deadline. The A’s have to spend every dollar wisely and there are better ways to use Pinder’s projected salary given their roster needs.

Other non-tender candidates: 2B/OF Tony Kemp

Phillies
Biggest non-tender decision: RHP Vince Velasquez ($4 million projected salary)

There are days you watch Velasquez and wonder how anyone ever gets a hit off him, and days you wonder how he ever made it out of Double-A. The 176 strikeouts in 151 1/3 innings the last two years are nice, but the 5.06 ERA is not, and the Phillies can’t seem to find a good role for him. Velasquez has started and relieved and is a great change-of-scenery candidate — what are the odds he has success with a new team next year and we’re all wondering why the Phillies couldn’t get that out of him? — but at some point you have to move on when things don’t work out, and they aren’t working out. Philadelphia declined its $7 million option for Hector Neris a few weeks ago but I think that’s just an indication the team believes it can retain him at a lower salary through arbitration (he’s projected for $5.3 million) than a sign the Phillies are planning to cut him entirely.

Other non-tender candidates: Neris

Pirates
Biggest non-tender decision: IF/OF Colin Moran ($1.9 million projected salary)

Not counting Ke’Bryan Hayes, who was called up in early September, Moran was the Pirates’ best hitter in 2020. Unfortunately for him, Pittsburgh has younger players who need at-bats at first base (Josh Bell), third base (Hayes), and left field (Bryan Reynolds), the three positions Moran plays. The universal DH is expected to be made permanent at some point this offseason but it may not be soon enough to save Moran’s roster spot. Not sure I’d count on the small-market Pirates spending $2 million on a one-dimensional player with no obvious lineup spot. Bell and Adam Frazier have gone backward the last 18 months or so but non-tendering either would be very shortsighted.

Other non-tender candidates: RHP Michael Feliz, IF Erik Gonzalez, RHP Chad Kuhl

Cardinals
Biggest non-tender decision: RHP John Brebbia ($800,000 projected salary)

The Cardinals don’t have any non-tender candidates other than Brebbia, who had Tommy John surgery in June and will miss most if not all of 2021 while rehabbing. The question is whether St. Louis wants to pay him roughly $800,000 to rehab next year so they can retain him as an arbitration-eligible player in 2022 (and 2023 as well). Declining Kolten Wong’s reasonable $12.5 million option is a strong indication the Cardinals will cut back on spending this winter, though I don’t think they’ll cut back so much that they’ll let Brebbia go just to save six figures.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Padres
Biggest non-tender decision: OF Tommy Pham ($8 million projected salary)

Non-tendering Pham would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago, even after a down 2020 season in which he missed time with a hand injury. Then Pham got stabbed during an altercation in October and suffered what he called “catastrophic injuries” that will “cause him significant economic damage.” If the Padres are concerned he will not be healthy or productive in 2021, they very well might non-tender him rather than gamble $8 million or so on his recovery. I think they will keep him — Pham said he is “on the road to recovery and I know I’ll be back to my offseason training routine in no time” — but it is no longer set in stone. A non-tender is a distinct possibility.

Other non-tender candidates: IF Greg Garcia

Giants
Biggest non-tender decision: LHP Tyler Anderson ($3.7 million projected salary)

Last offseason the Giants signed Anderson one day — literally one day — after he was non-tendered by the Rockies. He turned in a solid yet unspectacular 2020 season in his return from knee surgery, though the underlying data (hard-hit rate, spin rate, etc.) was much more promising than the surface stats (4.37 ERA and 1.39 WHIP). I think the Giants will keep Anderson because they’re looking for pitching and they’re one of the few teams with money to spend this winter, so gambling close to $4 million on Anderson is worthwhile. Ultimately, this may come down to how confident the front office is in their ability to find a similar (or better) version of Anderson at a lower salary in free agency.

Other non-tender candidates: RHP Trevor Gott, IF Daniel Robertson

Mariners
Biggest non-tender decision: C Tom Murphy ($1.6 million projected salary)

The Mariners only have three arbitration-eligible players and it’s safe to assume J.P. Crawford (this year’s Gold Glove winner at shortstop) and Mitch Haniger (All-Star and MVP vote-getter in 2018) will be tendered contracts. Even though injuries have kept him off the field since June 2019, Haniger’s projected salary is in the $3 million range, and Seattle won’t walk away from that. That leaves Murphy as the team’s biggest non-tender decision. He missed the entire 2020 season with a broken foot but did hit 18 home runs in 2019, and catchers who can bang are always in demand. The projected salary is not exorbitant, so yeah, Murphy will be tendered. It’ll be an uneventful deadline for the Mariners.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Rays
Biggest non-tender decision: 1B Ji-Man Choi ($1.6 million projected salary)

The Rays have already opted to release Hunter Renfroe rather than pay him close to $4 million next year, answering one non-tender question. That leaves Choi. He is very popular, both in the clubhouse and among fans, but he’s essentially a league-average first baseman, and Tampa has depth at the position, including Yandy Diaz and Nate Lowe at near league minimum salaries (plus they owe Yoshitomo Tsutsugo $7 million in 2021). We know money is tight because they walked away from Charlie Morton’s reasonable $15 million option (plus money is always tight with the Rays), and they may believe they can better allocate Choi’s projected salary elsewhere. Non-tendering him would be unpopular but Tampa is not afraid to make unpopular decisions.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Rangers
Biggest non-tender decision: UTIL Danny Santana ($3.6 million projected salary)

Santana slugged 28 home runs in 130 games in 2019 after hitting 13 homers in 349 games from 2014-17. Elbow trouble hampered him throughout 2020 and limited him to a .145/.238/.273 batting line with one homer in 15 games. The ability to play just about any position and the potential for a bounce-back season with a healthy elbow next year would make Santana an interesting free agent target. I just have a hard time seeing the Rangers gambling nearly $4 million on it. They may non-tender Santana and try to re-sign him at a lower salary ($2 million or so?). Joey Gallo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Rafael Montero are Texas’ only other arbitration-eligible players and all will be tendered.

Other non-tender candidates: None

Blue Jays
Biggest non-tender decision: 1B/3B Travis Shaw ($4.5 million projected salary)

The Blue Jays took a smart one-year flier on Shaw last offseason and it didn’t really work out. He wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t good either, and there are better ways to use his projected $4.5 million salary. Shaw’s ability to competently play third base separates him from all the other one-dimensional lefty hitting first basemen sitting in free agency and will help land him a job next season. It’s just hard to see him getting something in line with his projected salary. He was non-tendered last offseason and, even though the Blue Jays have money to spend this winter, he is likely to be non-tendered again this offseason.

Other non-tender candidates: RHP A.J. Cole

Nationals
Biggest non-tender decision: RHP Joe Ross ($1.5 million projected salary)

The Nationals have three arbitration-eligible players this offseason and something tells me Juan Soto and Trea Turner aren’t at risk of being non-tendered. That leaves Ross as the only player worth mentioning here. He opted out of the 2020 season and has been injured and ineffective in recent years — Ross has not had an ERA that started with something other than a five since 2016 — but Washington is not blessed with great rotation depth beyond their big three, and Ross’ salary projection is not going to make or break the team’s budget. He’ll be tendered.

1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Tuesday “NFL-vs-Covid–Welcome to Reality”

Posted by on December 1st, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“NFL–Welcome to Real Life”

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The NFL has gotten thru 12-weeks of its regular season.  In doubt now is whether they can finish the season and get to the most important part of the year, the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

A league that has spent over 75M-to do daily Covid-virus testing, now looks as if it might have to take a pause in its schedule.

Baseball shut down spring training then got thru a 60-game season and the playoffs and World Series before the outbreak occurred a second time.

The NBA shuttered in midseason, and restarted in the bubble in Orlando and got to crown a champion.

The NHL, with the toughest challenge of all, crossing the border, and players coming from Canada-USA-Europe…shutdown, and reopened in Hub Cities without a positive test and got thru the Stanley Cup playoffs.

College football was delayed…started…then has had to cancel games every Saturday as their situation worsens.

College basketball just started in delay status but is already encountering problems, one week into the season.

The Covid outbreak that has struck down the Baltimore Ravens is the worst of any team in pro sports.  Worse that the Miami Marlins or St-Louis Cardinals in baseball for sure.

The NFL soldiered on, holding its draft, its free agency, its start of the regular season.  But now, as the country has been brought to its knees, so has Park Avenue, New York, despite its valiant efforts.

The Baltimore Ravens haven’t practiced in 9-days.  Their players were ordered out of their bubble on Monday as they tried to get in a walkthru before the supposed plans to fly to Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning, and play on Tuesday night.  Now the league has pushed the game back a 3rd time-to Wednesday afternoon so long as there are no more positive tests.

The NFL has 23-players on the Ravens IR-Covid list, including star QB-Lamar Jackson and 10-other starters.

Denver lost all 4-QBs and had 4-hours to get a taxi squad WR-ready to play QB in losing horribly to the Saints.  Denver had 1-pass completion in the game and 13-yards passing, taking us back to the 1944-era to see those type of stats.

The Bengals were without 5-assistant coaches.

Jacksonville, in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, lost all its defensive coaches to quarantine.

The Broncos have had 4-different coaches test positive.

The Raiders have had two player outbreaks, but contact testing has saved them more troubles.  They had 7-defensive starters out for nearly a week of practice before reinstatement.

Tennessee had an outbreak with a coach getting ill as the team was arriving for a road game, leading to others testing positive in short order.

The Steelers are without two assistant coaches this week-and have lost their top running back, who is a cancer survivor, but is now positive.

Arizona’s future Hall of Fame receiver is positive.

Teams and players are starting to fray, showing the emotional wear and tear of the Covid crisis, in the lockerroom and at home.

The Broncos quarterbacks and the club will likely get socked with fines..for the violations.

Baltimore’s outbreak dates back to a strength coach, who did not tell doctors he was feeling ill, and infected players in the weight room for more than 24-hours before his test was positive.

New Orleans just got hit with a 500,000 fine for another series of violations.  The Patriots were docked with 350,000 in fines, their second set of discipline action from the league.

The Raiders have been penalized 4-times in the first 8-weeks of the season.

There are solutions, even if nationwide, we cannot put a lid on the virus, positive tests, hospitalizations, ICU issues or deaths.

The NFL could invoke a “Hotel Bubble Plan” now…with five weeks left in the regular season.  Put players, coaches and staffs in lockdown mode for the next five weeks to stop the spread.  Yes the players would be away from their families, but the NBA-NHL did it for 8-to-10 weeks and it worked.

The NFL can hit the pause button on the season if they want.  Cancel the next week of football…and add the missed week of games as a Week 18 to the regular season.

It triggers the expansion of the playoffs to 16-teams, but that means bonus money from the TV contracts they have, and more money for the players too.

The NFL does not want to get into ‘forfeiting games’….is tired of handing out massive fines to owners too and is struggling the police the policies they are demandingl.

Stopping play for one week isn’t the end of the world.  Baseball survived missing nearly two thirds of its season.  Hell, the NHL stopped play for one entire winter in a dispute with its union.

The NFL’s TV ratings are spectacular.  This is always about money, and money will be there at the end of the Super Bowl.  This should be about health and safety, keeping the players well, and making sure games of credibility are being played.

Chargers fans won’t miss Anthony Lynn’s (3-8) team.  The Jets will be winless whether they play or sit.  Denver does not want to do the taxi squad QB thing again.

The NFL is now dealing with things they can no longer control.  The outbreak is in virtually every lockeroom in the league.  A 1-week pause, hell a two week pause if need be, would be the solution to the situation.

Yes the Covid-Virus-Crisis looks like it is about to sack Roger Goodell and the owners….unless the owners do the right thing.

Pause this thing..the season…and the virus.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Monday “Chargers Losing….Head Coach Lost”

Posted by on November 30th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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Chargers Losing…Head Coach Lost”

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Anthony Lynn is coaching himself into the NFL unemployment line.

His team is (3-8) this season.  They have lost 20-of-28 games dating back to the end of the 2019 season.

If not now blowing big leads, they get blown out, as exampled by yesterday’s 18-point deficit to the Buffalo Bills, a loss caused by a sea of mistakes from the coach and the players.

Justin Herbert and Joey Bosa cannot win these games by themselves.  The coach has shown the ability to make so many mistakes in game management of the clock and down and distance and playcalls, you wonder if he deserves any more time to coach the troubled team.

HMS Lightning Bolt was like a troubled boat in the waters right off Lake Ontario, taking on water everywhere, with a stoic coach making mistake upon mistake, complicated by mistakes by his players.

Pick any and all off the Sunday afternoon menu in Buffalo and see  this is an example of a (3-8) team, who probably cannot save his job now, no matter what philosophy he waxes in his Monday press conference.

..Gerry Tiller 2-personal fouls..blow to head of QB and facemask
..Denzel Perryman helmet hit personal foul
..12-on the field penalty
..Missed extra point
..Allowing 38-26-43Y-kickoff returns
..Bringing a kickoff out of the end zone to the 11-yard line
..Wasting (:15) end of first half on scoring drive-then burning timeout punt
..Burning timeout on 4th and 3-rather than kick FG
..Running the ball twice from the 2-yard line with (:15) left in game
..Offensive pass interference at 1-yard line wiping out 55-yard pass
..Burned on a Buffalo wide receiver option TD pass
..Throwing interception into double coverage killing drive
..Running Aaron Ekeler on the goal-line rather than the tougher Josh Kelly
..Trying to QB-sneak Herbert on a 4th and 2.
..Not targeting Keenan Allen-Mike Williams for long periods in game.
..Not going for a FG early on the final drive-so you could onside kick and try for a game winning TD if you got possession again.

The Chargers spent the entire day running uphill, trying to dig out from an 18-point deficit they created with the lousy playcalls, coaching and execution in the opening half.

Under-seige QB-Justin Herbert threw for (316) and a score.  Austin Ekeler came off the IR to have over 110-all purpose yards.  Joey Bosa may have had his best day in years with 2-sacks, 4-tackles for losses and a pressure.

But the Chargers are porous.  RT-Trey Pipkens gave up 2-sacks.  C-Dan Feeney got beat badly on a sack.  RB-Josh Kelly missed a block and saw his QB get crushed.  The no name secondary kept getting beat.

The Bills tried to self-destruct too with 3-turnovers in an 8-play span, and they too were guilty of major personal foul penalties.

But in the end, Buffalo went to (8-3) and the Chargers got on the plane dragging behind that (3-8) record and an obviously beaten down psyche and a defeated coach.

Nobody in their 4th year as a head coach like Anthony Lynn should be struggling to make the right decisions, instead making these kinds of mistakes Sunday-by-Sunday.

Injuries are one reason for losing.  Incompetence, coaching incompetence is another too.  He already fired Ken Whisenhunt a year ago as his Off Coord.  He just axed special teams coach George Stewart. And yet the problems carry on.

When do we reach the front door of the coach, as being the problem.

Take control of the damn team.  Be decisive.  Call the timeouts at the right time.  Know what play should be called if its 4th and 1.  Be ahead of the curve instead of acting like you are always behind the power curve.

Paychecks are delivered the 1st and 15th of the month.  Anthony Lynn’s may come with a pink-slip soon.

He’s not the only problem of what ails the Chargers.  But he is a problem ailing this team.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Friday “Thinking About Teams in Town”

Posted by on November 27th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

“This-N-That–After Thanksgiving”

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AZTECS….Grit beat Glitz in the San Diego State win over UCLA.  That was so impressive.  The Bruins supposedly the best team in the PAC-12.  Maybe SDSU should file an application to join that league.  Name the game, Brian Dutcher’s team can play it and win.  They beat UCLA, a team laden with 5-star recruits.  They grinded their way to that win.  They forced UCLA into a half-court game the Bruins could not operate.  They defended them all over the court.  They hit three point shots all night.  The bench was as impressive as the starters.  And this with so many new people on the roster, stepping in as if they had been there for years.  Mountain West Conference look out, can you say ‘Best in West’.  For UCLA, alot of work to do.

AZTECS…I have had great regard for what San Diego State’s athletic leadership has accomplished, but I question this move right now.  The Thursday night decision to send SDSU on the road to play the Colorado Buffaloes in a non conference game doesn’t feel right.  No prep time for SDSU, a team struggling right now.  Sending them into Boulder to play a Buffs team that beat up UCLA just a couple of weeks ago.  I know Brady Hoke keeps saying his kids want to play, but they are not ready for this test.  I hope this wasn’t about SDSU getting some 175,000 to have their players go in there to get pounded.  I don’t understand why Air Force wasn’t a better opponent, unless the Covid situation was worsening in Colorado Springs.

CHARGERS…Off to Buffalo they go, the cold and wind and the fury that Bills football is this season.  Won’t be an easy game for QB-Justin Herbert, ringing up great numbers while surrounded by a poor team.  The demotion of Special Teams coach George Stewart was long overdue, not just from this year’s breakdowns, but years of struggles.  But they have more problems that special teams breakdowns.  And after they get blasted by the Bills to go (3-8) you wonder if Anthony Lynn is living on borrowed time as head coach.  This sure feels-looks like the waning days of the Mike McCoy mess.

PADRES….Up next might be some surprise decisions from GM-AJ Preller when it comes time to tender contracts.  The team may not offer super utilityman Greg Garcia a deal.  Do they give up on struggling catcher Francisco Mejia?  Would they entertain an idea on bringing back Hunter Renfroe to be their 4th outfielder after hwas let go by Tampa Bay?  Might there be interest in relinking with just released Indians reliever Brad Hand.  Would they trade young pitching for an established veteran pitcher now that Mike Clevinger is gone for a year?  Stay tuned.

USD…In this fractured year, something to look forward to, USD will play spring football in March and April…a 6-game Pioneer Conference schedule, if this virus is tamped down.  Of course it entails 3-long flights to get back to the Midwest or South.

USD…They won’t be ready to open the season.  A 14-day pause in workouts because of a positive test, has put them behind the practice curve.  No non conference tuneup games.  Alot of new players and a conference schedule ahead.  It will take alot of work by Sam Scholl to be better than last year’s (9-23) collapse.

UCSD…A debut year for Eric Olson as the Tritons start play as a new member of the Big West Conference.  But the same issues there too, late start to practice, no early season games, and a move up to Division 1-status in a much tougher league.  This will be a long run up hill.

GULLS…The NHL has still not announced when their season starts.  No announcement when training camps start and we are up against December 1st.  And the American Hockey League now says they won’t play till February 5th, and don’t know if they can have fans in the stands.  This is a league that needs gate receipts to survive.  The Gulls will have a collection of really good young Anaheim Ducks draft picks coming in, but who knows when this starts and how long they play.

COVID CALENDAR….Root for the vaccine.  Bring on the vaccine.  Sooner than later.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Thursday “NBA-Report Card-Free Agency”

Posted by on November 26th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“NBA Reports Card-Free Agency”

 

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A wild week in the NBA.  When they were done with the first week of free-agency, some 72-players changed teams and there were 9-trades involving any combo of players and draft picks.

 

Courtesy of SI.com, a look at each team in the NBA.

 


Atlanta Hawks: A-
The Hawks are all-in on the chase for a 2021 playoff spot, and their roster projects to be a potential No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the East. Atlanta has added two impressive rim protectors dating back to last February, and free agency provided the chance to add playmaking around Trae Young. Bogdan Bogdanovic should fit right in as a starting two guard (if the Kings do not match). Rajon Rondo should add stability as he mentors Young. Perhaps you can quibble with a three-year deal for Danilo Gallinari as he enters his age-32 season. But this is a team now ready to chase a playoff berth with Young leading the way.

Boston Celtics: C-
Danny Ainge has now lost Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward for nothing in back-to-back offseasons, a bitter pill for Boston to swallow as it looks to keep up in the East. But in terms of the 2021 roster, losing Hayward isn’t a tragic blow. The Celtics have plenty of wings and playmakers. They lack frontcourt size. Adding Tristan Thompson should help to a degree, and while he isn’t a player of Hayward’s caliber, perhaps he’s a better fit. Boston’s title hopes took a hit with the loss of Hayward. But the Celtics remain a legitimate threat to win the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn Nets: B-
Brooklyn’s offseason could certainly take a dramatic turn in the coming weeks, but for now, it’s been relatively quiet for the Nets as they prepare for Kevin Durant’s return. Sean Marks and Co. made a sensible decision bringing back Joe Harris despite a hefty contract, keeping a premium spacer on the roster. Jeff Green should also bring some value as a small-ball five. The Nets’ roster isn’t perfect, but there’s plenty of talent on hand for Durant and Irving to make a run at the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Charlotte Hornets: C
It’s easy to disparage the Hornets for their decision to pay Hayward. The Butler product isn’t a premier scorer by any margin, and Charlotte has spent much of the last half decade hamstrung by serious overpays. There’s a good chance the Hornets regret Hayward’s contract in the final year of his deal, and the peak of this team with Hayward is questionable. But it’s worth considering the conditions surrounding Hayward’s deal. Charlotte will never be a destination for top-end talent, and there’s legitimate incentive for this team to become respectable sooner than later with LaMelo Ball. Small markets often have to pay up to bring their team into the playoff conversation. With the addition of Hayward, Charlotte has a plausible path to the No. 8 seed.

Chicago Bulls: C-
We won’t spill too much ink on one of free agency’s least active teams. Garrett Temple is a nice player, but the Bulls will miss Kris Dunn’s defensive prowess, and they could also use another point guard. It remains unlikely we see Chicago in the 2021 playoffs.

Cleveland Cavaliers: C
It was likely a sensible move for the Cavaliers to let Tristan Thompason walk, and Damyean Dotson should add some solid shooting on the wing. This is similar to Chicago, where a lottery team didn’t boost their postseason chances by any considerable margin.

Dallas Mavericks: C+
Dallas missed out on a number of center options, settling instead for Willie Cauley-Stein on a two-year deal. It seems as though the Mavericks are putting their chips into the 2021 free-agent market, which is likely a prudent move given the potential prize at play. But in terms of competing for the 2021 title, Dallas has yet to make up any ground on the Western Conference.

Denver Nuggets: B-
The Nuggets lost a valuable player in Jerami Grant, but they should be able to match much of his value with their offseason additions. JaMychal Green is an underrated asset at the four, and Paul Millsap still provides quality minutes on a one-year deal. Denver still feels a piece away from truly contending for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But losing Grant doesn’t necessarily knock this team from the top half of the West playoff picture.

Detroit Pistons: D+
It makes sense for Atlanta to splurge in the offseason given its roster construction. Detroit’s spending spree doesn’t follow the same logic. The Pistons shelled out over $25 million per year for Grant and Mason Plumlee, and they let Christian Wood walk in the process. Perhaps both additions will have a nice year, but punting on a player with Woods’s upside is certainly a questionable decision. The Pistons remain outside the top eight in the East despite their best efforts. Prolonging a true rebuild is an increasingly questionable decision.

Golden State Warriors: B
Acquiring Kelly Oubre will help mitigate the loss of Klay Thompson to a degree, and signing Kent Bazemore adds another quality body on the wing. The Warriors have faced an avalanche of bad luck in recent years, though they’ve managed their misfortune well from a roster construction standpoint. There’s little telling where this team will land in the West, but Golden State helped its postseason chances with its offseason moves.

Houston Rockets: B+
The future of this franchise remains in serious flux, though the tweaks made to the current roster should help matters in 2020-21. Wood will likely thrive as a roll-man and pick-and-pop threat alongside James Harden, while young wing Sterling Brown and international import Jae’Sean Tate can add secondary playmaking. Parsing Harden’s future is a difficult task. But the former MVP does have quality pieces around him entering 2020-21.

Indiana Pacers: C
Losing out on Hayward is a difficult pill to swallow for Indiana as it seeks relevance in the hunt for the East crown, and it remains surprising that the Pacers couldn’t execute a sign-and-trade with Boston. Indiana was able to salvage its offseason by re-signing Justin Holliday, but this remains a franchise stuck in the middle of the Eastern Conference

Los Angeles Clippers: B
Losing Montrezl Harrell was a bit of a surprise, but Serge Ibaka could ultimately be a better fit alongside Kawhi Leonard and Co. in 2020-21. The former Raptors big man provides considerable stretch on the perimeter, and while he’s not the leaper he once was, Ibaka remains a quality rim protector. Los Angeles now has plenty of versatility on its front line with Ibaka, Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac. The Clippers haven’t made a big splash since their bubble collapse, but a couple tweaks may have put them in better position to win the 2021 championship.

Ashley Landis/USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers: A-
Los Angeles has seen plenty of departures from last year’s roster, but the continued re-tooling around LeBron James should pay dividends next spring and summer. Harrell and Marc Gasol will both be valuable frontcourt pieces, and it’s easy to see the Spanish center thriving as a pick-and-pop option alongside James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers could still stand to add another point guard in place of Rondo, but that’s a minor concern at the moment. LeBron and Co. remain the 2020-21 title favorite after a quality offseason.

Memphis Grizzlies: C+
Memphis didn’t make any major additions in free agency, but signing De’Anthony Melton to a long-term deal should add some stability to the backcourt behind Ja Morant. Even as the Grizzlies face an uphill climb in the Western Conference, the franchise continues to head in the right direction with a budding star at point guard.

Miami Heat: B+
Losing Jae Crowder will hurt to a degree, but the Heat remain serious Finals contenders after retaining Goran Dragic and adding Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless. Miami was able to have the best of both worlds as it kept Dragic without eating into its 2021 cap space. We’ll see if Pat Riley’s prudence pays off in a major way next summer.

Milwaukee Bucks: B
Losing out on Bogdan Bogdanovic is a difficult blow for Milwaukee, but this is still a likely better roster in the aggregate than what the Bucks trotted out in 2019-20. Torrey Craig could be featured in Milwaukee’s closing five, and Jrue Holiday is a marked upgrade over Eric Bledsoe despite the exorbitant trade price. It remains in question whether the moves will be enough to get a long-term commitment from Giannis. Yet considering the stakes, it’s sensible for Milwaukee to sacrifice draft capital as it looks to improve the 2020-21 roster.

Minnesota Timberwolves: C+
Malik Beasley should be a valuable asset for Minnesota in the coming years, and his stretch from beyond the arc should prove helpful on the wing as Anthony Edwards adjusts to the professional game. Ed Davis and Juancho Hernangomez are additionally capable bodies in the frontcourt, making 2020 a muted, yet effective offseason in the Twin Cities.

New Orleans Pelicans: C
It’s hard to determine whether the Pelicans can take a step forward in the West in 2020-21, even if Zion Williamson can log a healthy season. Both Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors provided positive value at their respective positions, and we’ll see if Steven Adams or Eric Bledsoe are long-term fits. There was no shortage of movement from New Orleans this offseason, though it remains to be seen whether any addition will have a marked impact in 2020-21.

New York Knicks: C+
The Knicks continue to be patient in their quest for a rebuild, and they deserve credit for holding their fire despite considerable cap space in free agency. The additions of Nerlens Noel and Elfrid Payton won’t make a big impact on the 2020-21 Knicks, but perhaps they’ll be flipped for draft capital at the trade deadline. Adding Austin Rivers should also help stabilize the point guard position as New York looks for growth from R.J. Barrett and Obi Toppin.

Oklahoma City Thunder: C
It was an uneventful free agency period for Oklahoma City as the Thunder continued to build an astounding amount of draft capital. Let’s check back in next year as Sam Presti and Co. likely look to accelerate the rebuild at hand.

Orlando Magic: C
Keeping Michael Carter-Williams likely offsets the loss of D.J. Augustin, and forward Gary Clark is a worthwhile developmental project on a cheap contract. We’ve yet to see Orlando make a marquee move, even with a considerable log-jam in the frontcourt. Perhaps the Magic will swap a forward for a playmaking guard before opening night.

Philadelphia 76ers: B+
Adding Dwight Howard and Tony Bradley will provide a pair of quality bodies behind Joel Embiid, and Daryl Morey added a flurry of perimeter pieces via the trade market. Philadelphia now has the appropriate pieces around its dynamic duo, a far cry from last year’s misshapen roster. Perhaps the flood moves from Morey will pay a major dividend in 2020-21.

David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated
Phoenix Suns: B+
The Suns should be able to withstand the loss of Aron Baynes as Deandre Ayton continues his development, and Phoenix’s other additions should help push this team toward a playoff berth in 2020-21. Crowder will provide stretch and defensive versatility on the wing. Dario Saric should thrive as a backup center behind Ayton. The Chris Paul trade will define Phoenix’s season, though we shouldn’t overlook the moves on the free-agent market.

Portland Trail Blazers: A
The Blazers continue to build splendidly around their dynamic backcourt, and the 2020 offseason has been defined by Portland’s maneuvers in the frontcourt. Robert Covington brings impressive defensive versatility–as does Derrick Jones Jr.–and Enes Kanter adds a legitimate center alongside Jusuf Nurkic. This Portland roster is deep and malleable, able to upsize and downsize seamlessly depending on the opponent. Neil Olshey may have built the third-best team in the West as we approach 2020-21.

Sacramento Kings: D+
Sacramento has seen a flurry of departures from its 2019-20 squad, the most notable being Bogdanovic if the Kings don’t match his offer sheet from Atlanta. Perhaps it’s wise not to overpay for middling veterans, but it’s hard to see Sacramento making any legitimate progress in 2020-21 given the roster at hand. A 14-year playoff drought is unlikely to be broken next season.

San Antonio Spurs: C
San Antonio had one of the NBA’s quietest offseasons, with the departure of Bryn Forbes marking the most notable move. We’ll see if the Spurs ship one of their marquee veterans in the coming months as Gregg Popovich and Co. transition into a new era.

Toronto Raptors: C-
The Raptors accomplished their main objective as they retained Fred VanVleet, but Toronto is likely to take a step back in 2020-21 considering their free-agent losses. Nick Nurse will have to manage the losses of both Ibaka and Gasol, though the addition of Baynes should mitigate the pain to a degree. Toronto is smart to keep their cap space open ahead of next year’s free agency, even if its 2021 Finals chances took a step back this offseason.

Utah Jazz: A-
Utah remains a fringe Finals contender considering its deep roster, and signing Derrick Favors will do wonders for Quin Snyder’s frontcourt rotation. Bringing back Jordan Clarkson should help add scoring punch, and securing Donovan Mitchell long-term likely provides a sigh of relief. The Jazz still sit outside the very top of the West, though this should remain a competitive playoff team for much of the next decade.

Washington Wizards: B
Perhaps $80 million is a bit of a premium price for Davis Bertans, but the sharpshooting forward has emerged as a critical piece of Washington’s attack. Let’s hope a healthy John Wall can make the Bertans signing worthwhile as the Wizards eye a return to the playoffs in 2021.

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