Monday, March 12, 2012

March Madness and Manning

No baseball for this post - wanted to comment on two things - Peyton Manning and March Madness.

Manning: Every team should be lining up to sign this guy. And in the Giants case, maybe not as QB, just fire Gilbride and put Peyton as the OC. With Manning and Jacobs on the market, a GM has the possibility at creating an instant playoff contending team.

March Madness: Interesting matchups. Unlike prior years, the top seeds definitely do not have an air of invincibility. They won, but not by big margins - they are vulnerable.

Do not agree with Michigan State as a top seed.

I hate the Big 10, therefore will have all those teams gone by the second round.

The IQ Bowl - smartest matchup ever between Vandy and Harvard. I'm rooting for Harvard as they've been there once post WWII.

Glad to see another NY team in there other than 'Cuse, but St. Bonny will be out in round one - Florida State is a really good team and could take the whole damn thing.

My Final Four
: Duke, New Mexico, Syracuse, North Carolina

Full disclosure, any bracket contest I have ever entered into, with the exception of '03, I've been bounced by the first weekend - so this means nothing, but wanted to comment on it anyway!


Crash said...

I have not seen the brackets yet, but I heard that the Big East had 9 teams make the tournament. I thought the Big East had a down year this year. Syracuse was really the only highly ranked team, Georgetown was consistently between 10-15, Notre Dame was toward the bottom of the Top 25. UConn wasn't great, Louisville wasn't great, Pittsburgh, Providence Cincinnati were not good teams either.

Anyway, I think Manning ends up in Arizona or Miami.

CC, Hughes, and Garcia have pitched well. Pineda and Nova not so much. Kuroda will be fine. Banuelos has pitched well so far. If both Nova and Pineda struggle and Banuelos continues to throw well I wouldn't be surprised if they use him as their #5 until one of the other guys can prove they can take it. Rivera looked like Rivera. No worries there.

old professor said...

Mid, where do you get off putting New Mexico in the final four. Kentucky, North Carolina and Michigan State will be three of the four finalists. Not sure Syracuse has what it takes to get there.

As for Manning, I would be willing to guess it is going to be Denver. Arizona needs and answer this weekend because of the the salary that becomes guaranteed to Kevin Kolb. Miami doesn't have the line or the running game to protect Mannning. Actually if he doesn't chose Denver, he may decide to retire. Realistically, he doesn't need the money, he has his health to this point and he has nothing more to prove.

It may be the better part of valor to walk away before you have to be carried away.

Crash, I think Garcia and Hughes have made the case to be in the starting rotation. I believe the individual planning himself out of the rotation is Nova.

Crash said...

Way to go out on a limb with your Final Four Old Prof.

Crash said...

On Thursday Chien-Ming Wang is schedule to pitch...against the Yankees.

old professor said...

Is Wang a lock for the Nationals rotations or is he fighting for a spot?

As for the bracketology - the way dark horses come around none of the top seeds could be there in the end: realistically, UK lost to Vanderbuilt or Wake or some lesser school, Syracuse got beat and shouldn't have, Michigan State has also lost a couple of games. So the bottom line - anything can and will happen.

Can't get really excited about a field of 68 teams though I believe Drexel should have gotten a bid.

Too much going on in Spring Training - really disappointed in Jorge Vasquez's numbers so far. Guy hit last spring hit at SWB and hit in the Mexican League and now when he can make a statement, he is hitting the weight of a new born baby.

Crash said...

Just looked at the brackets. Here is my Final Four:
Syracuse, Mizzu, Georgetown, and Indiana. I think it's only proper that Syracuse and Georgetown meet in the Final Four as 'Cuse prepares to depart to the ACC (is that next season or the season after???). Syracuse v. Mizzu in the Championship and SU pulls out a close victory.

For the record, I always finish in the $$ at my work pool. The last time I won it all was when SU won it all. I'm smelling repeat.

Crash said...

Yankees square off against Boston tonight for the first meeting of the spring. I'm sure Valentine will be running his mouth already. Girardi is already trying to reduce the emphasis on it. It's really just another spring game. No meaning to it at all, unless something happens. Like a beaning or a hard play at the plate or something like that. That will add to the rivalry all year.

old professor said...

Kuroda pitched okay, Betances was outstanding. Maybe the time has come for the younger players to begin filling roles.

The young catcher JR Murphy had a nice game yesterday as well.

Interesting items for the football Giants - Jacobs is gone, they resign a couple of their free agents and there are some indications that Steve Smith and Kevin Boss could be back.

Crash said...

Giants do not have a lot of cap space to sign free agents. I didn't know Boss was a free agent, thought he signed a multi-year deal with Oakland. Both Boss and Smith should have never left.

old professor said...

Boss signed a multi year deal but wa released by the raiders this morning. He has guaranteed money coming from the Raiders and the Giants picked up additional cap room with the penalties leveled against the Redskins and Cowboys. I believe it is an additional 1.6 million for each teams violation.

Smith was also released. I believe both of the Giants tightends will be unable to perform due to the ACL surgeries so both will be out until late in the season. Boss would make sense. Only problem is that both Boss and Smith left with some hard feelings at being disrespected by the GM. The GM took a lot of heat for letting both go so who knows where it will end up. They are also looking at the big back from San Diego who wants out of SD and indicated he would love the opportunity to play for the Giants - amazing what a super bowl win will do for your chances to sign a free agent.

old professor said...

Two teams meet for the first time in the Spring and combine for a total of 8 hits and one run (unearned).

Yankees are going to have some interesting pitching decisions to make. Nova finally pitched well, Hughes has pitched well, and Garcia has pitched well. Would it not be an odd turn of events if the odd person out is Pineda.

Crash said...

Saw Boss was released by Oakland. Hope he does comeback, he never wanted to leave NY.

Only got to watch 2 innings of the game last night and Nova pitched well. His velocity on the fastball was decent he hit 96 a couple of times, but it seemed he was throwing a lot of breaking stuff. If Pineda's velocity doesn't come back they should DL him to start the season.

May need to rethink my NCAA picks as Syracuse again loses Fab Melo for academic reasons. I have no doubt that if he wasn't suspended before SU would have run the table in the regular season. Not sure they're a Final Four team now. I think the possible Vanderbilt matchup in the Sweet 16 would be tough for them.

old professor said...

Garcia has a hand bruise - may not be serious, but could end the debate about who is going to be number 5.

Bauuelos looked terrible yesterday. Mitchell again has an outstanding outting - three innings no runs four strike outs.

Chances of Boss coming back to the Giants looks slim as they sign Bennett away from the Cowboys.

old professor said...

The Yankees Triple A affiliate will play all 144 games on the road this year. However 37 "home" games will be played in Rochester. Additional Home games will be played in Buffalo, Batavia (you have to be kidding this is a Class D stadium) and Syracuse as well as Pawtucket.

This will make it tough for the parent club to judge talent because of the differential of all of the parks they will be playing in. In addition, this will mean for the most part all of the players will be living in Hotels versus apartments or homes. Not an ideal situation. You would think the renovations to SWB Stadium would have been completed before the start of this season.

Crash said...

Pineda's fastball touched 92, averaged 90. Not good. Results were still decent really only 1 hard hit ball this afternoon. But Yankees have to be worried.

old professor said...

Crash, the velocity was up over his previous start. He is also working on arm slot and to get comfortable throwing the change. If this were the last spring training start, I would be concerned.

Crash said...

There's a write up in the Post about how the Jays are quietly catching up on the Yankees.

Last time I checked the Blue Jays were at best a 4th place team in the AL East. They do not have the consistent pitching necessary to compete in the AL East. If they still had Halladay (who is also having some velo concerns this spring) then maybe they contend for that 2nd wild card this year. But lets not forget they are a 4th place team. Yankees were the best team in the AL last over the regular season. Blue Jays need to jump over the Rays (not going to happen), and the Red Sox (not going to happen) then still make up about 5 games before they come close to the Yankees.

I certainly like the direction the Jays are heading in but they are still a far cry from a contender let alone "quietly becoming a threat to Yankees". Give me a break.

Crash said...

Long list of spring injuries for Yankees: Jeter (calf), Martin, (groin), Swisher (groin) Nunez (hand) Pena (knee), Garcia (hand). That's 3 SS out right now. Jeter won't play until Tuesday.

Crash said...

HOLY CRAP! Yankees just signed Andy Pettitte to a minor league deal, worth $2.5MM. Don't know if there are other incentives to increase that or not.

Special YES report coming on at 1pm to discuss.

old professor said...

It is hard to believe that Pettitte is coming back - hey here is a scenario: Pettitte has signed a one year deal that puts three of the core four back on the team. Jeter, Mo and Pettitte all announce on September 1 they are retiring together at the end of the season, win one last world series and ride off together.

Crash said...

That would be a good ending. But Jeter will mess it up, he's not ready to retire.

Crash said...

Cashman stated there are no incentives in Pettitte's contract so $2.5 is the max he will earn. In December before the Yankees signed Kuroda, Cashman and Pettitte had initial talks that would have paid him $10-12MM. So he ain't doing it for the $$.

old professor said...

Pettitte made the mistake of attending spring training as an advisor and probably realized he missed it and had the competitive spirit began to flow. Either that or he and his family realized they could not have a 39 year old retired guy around the house twenty-four seven.

It will be interesting to see if he can do what is necessary to get back into major league readiness.

Crash said...

Well this was supposed to be the trip through the rotation that Girardi was going to start his evaluations. And promptly Nova gives up 4 runs in the first inning. Not good for Mr. Nova.

old professor said...

Nova indicated the homeruns were not his fault -and I quote: "there was a lack of communication with his catcher". Appaently Molina called for two pitches that Nova did not want to throw - result a three run homerun and a solo shot.

As a young kid take responsibility for what happens and don't make excuses. Bottom line is Nova has not pitched well this spring and may find himself in the minor leagues.

It also appears that Freddie Garcia is not necessarily happy with Andy Pettitte's return.

Crash said...

A lot of people are saying Garcia to the Marlins makes a lot of sense. Garcia enjoyed his time in Chicago and got along well with Ozzie Guillen.

But the Yankees do not have to be in a rush to trade him. Pettitte is not going to be ready until probably June.

old professor said...

There should be no rush to trade Garcia. First and foremost, Pettitte may get to the point where there is a realization he doesn't have anything left. In addition there is no clear indication that Nova will be the same pitcher he was last year (if Spring Training is a future forecast!!). And there is no guarantee that Pineda is the real deal or just someone who burst on the scene for half a year and flamed out (can we say Joba Chamberlain).

I would not put too much stock into Pettitte's return until he takes the mound in a major league game, goes more than six innings and gets the win.

Garcia is younger and has proven his worth.

Crash said...

Peyton Manning to the Broncos. Broncos looking to trade Tebow. Broncos would be lucky to get a 3rd rounder for him.

Crash said...

YES Network announces that Meredith Marakovits will replace Kim Jones as Yankees Clubhouse reporter. She has worked for WFAN and SNY.

Oh yeah, most importantly, she's kind of hot too.

old professor said...

First and most importantly, does your announcement on Kim Jones mean she is out at YES? If so where to?

Now regarding Tebow. Based on the fact the Broncos don't have a reliable backup. Why not keep Tebow and let him learn from one of the best? In addition, Manning's surgery (that would be four surgeries) were of the neck variety. One has to wonder how many hits can a guy take after having that many surgeries on his neck and why at his age is he willing to take such a risk?

Crash said...

Yes, Kim Jones is no longer with the YES Network. She has not officially announced her next career stop, but said she would announce it soon. She was with the YES Network for 7 years.

Peyton's neck is fine. It's actually stronger than before so taking hits isn't the problem. It has to do with the nerve that goes to his triceps and whether that will regenerate enough to given him arm strength. As for Tebow you don't draft a first round QB then have sit for 5 years behind Manning. Trade him to Miami or Jacksonville and he can relive his college glory days.

Crash said...

Pineda has a decent outing. Velocity is increasing slightly, hit 94 last night.

Pettitte had a great first bullpen session. He needs to slow down though. I don't want him rushing back too soon and risking injury. Speaking from experience all of sudden 40 year old bodies don't heal quite as quick as they did in the past.

Swisher was nursing a soar left groin. Last night he strained his right groin. Came out in the 3rd inning. Jeter was suppose to be back last night but he's now out until at least Friday.

old professor said...

Pineda's velocity went up slightly after the first inning in which he gave up two runs. Why is it when a pitcher is doing something mechanically wrong, he doesn't realize it is wrong until someone tells him in the dugout. If he is missing his spots and velocity is off it should register in the gray matter that mechanically something is not going right.

Crash said...

Wow some harsh penalties coming down from the NFL on the NO Saints bounty-gate. Head Coach gets suspended for the entire year, assistant coach and GM get 8 games, the D coordinator now with the Rams gets suspended too. Goodell making an example out of the Saints to make sure "management" doesn't let it happen again.

I said Denver would be lucky to get a 3rd rounder for Tebow. Well he has been traded to the Jets...Jets agree to send a 4th and 6th for Tebow and a 7th.

Hughes is hitting 93 on the gun today. Yankees rotation is so jacked this year.

old professor said...

Goodell is not done yet. There will be players that will be suspended as a result of this issue. Sean Payton will never coach again. He indicated he didn't know about the bounty. So he is either a liar or neglagent in not knowing what is going on for a team he is head coach for.

Williams being suspended indefinately leaves the Rams without a coach for an indefinate period of time. He will never coach again either. A review of some of the tapes being aired on ESPN will draw the conclusion that there were borderline late hits. Players will be without a paycheck by the time this is over.

Hughes pitched well. The Yankees have a real dilema coming at them. Hughes has pitched well, CC is the #1 stud, Garcia has pitched well, Koroda is going no where, Pineda has increased velocity and confidence. Nova could be on the bubble. And Pettitte is in the wings impressing people with bullpen sessions.

old professor said...

Hughes pitched well as did the rest of the bullpen. It is obvious there are going to be some tough decisions made when it comes to the rotation and bullpen.

There is also going to be some tough decisions regarding the bench. Ibanez has hit at all this spring. Justin Maxwell may have made his case to be the #4 outfielder ahead of Andruw Jones as has Dwayne Wise. Both Wise and Maxwell are hitting well over 400 for the Spring. Ibanez is hitting the weight of a new born baby.

Yankees may regret not bringing in Matsui or Damon for the DH role - both of whom are still sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring.

Crash said...

Hughes is getting a lot of good support and press about how good he looks this spring compared to last year. Everyone seems to think they have the old Hughes back. I have to think if he has one more good start he has made the rotation.

Ibanez is always a slow starter. He's making the team regardless of his poor spring (I think the last time I checked he had 2 hits in about 30 ABs). But there's a bunch of guys hitting under .200 (Cano, Gardner, Chavez, & Jones).

I would start to worry about Jeter and Swisher not getting enough ABs this spring. I think each are under 20 right now due to the injuries and there's only 2 weeks to go.

Think the Yankees play the Red Sox tonight. Don't know who is starting or making the trip to Ft. Myers. I do like what the Red Sox have done there. An exact replica of Fenway.

Crash said...

Yankees pitching looked pretty good last night until Cory Wade blew up in the 9th.

Syracuse gets a big win over Wisconsin and advances to Elite 8. Think they face Ohio St now. I personally think the Big 10 was overrated all year. Syracuse should win this game...but in Syracuse fashion, meaning it will be a lot closer than it should be, and advance to the Final Four. Kentucky and Syracuse have been ranked #1 and #2 for pretty much the whole year. It would be fitting if the 2 best teams meet for the championship.

Crash said...

Jeter is back in the lineup today against the Twins. First time since he injured his calf (I think...can't really remember right now). He needs to get some ABs this spring.

old professor said...

It is odd how all of a suddent the Yankees may have too much pitching. Warren was impressive and has been scheduled to go to Triple A since the beginning of Spring, Bettances pitched real well and probably will hed to SWB. Odd, Wade has not pitched what can be termed well this spring (up and down) and he will make the team.

The other day, I mentioned Justin Maxwell playing well and he continues to do so. Unfortunately he is out of options so the Yankees cannot automatically send him down.

Ibanez continues to struggle and it is beginning to look even more evident there was a preason the Phillies let him walk and that the Yankees may have made a mistake signing him.

I believe Syracuse will have trouble controlling Sullinger in the paint due to a lack of a big man. And this could be the difference between moving on or going home.

Crash said...

Joba Chamberlain suffered an open dislocation of his ankle jumping around on a trampoline with his son last night. He had surgery last night, Cashman and Girardi call it a significant injury. He could be done for the year now.

old professor said...

Joba's career is now over. All of the work he was doing to come back and he has to act like a kid and get on a tramp.

Well this removes one of the arms from the conversation about the bullpen.

Crash said...

Joba's career is not over by any stretch...but I would not expect to see him this season at all.

Nova finally pitching well...6 up, 6 down, 16 pitches.

old professor said...

Crash, the Yankees paid Joba last year for two good months and two wins. He is now being paid over 1.6 million to sit home for the remainder of the season. They could be having flashbacks to Carl Pavano and his contract. Joba was on a one year contract and may no longer be worth the risk.

I am hoping that Nova threw more than 16 pitches in his outting. If not he is destined for something else than the starting rotation.

Crash said...

Wow 2 big closers are done for the year with TJ surgery. Soria and Madson both done for the year. Yankees inquired on Soria all last year and off season. Some of the best trades are the ones that are never made I guess.

old professor said...

I am not convinced that Pineda is going to be the real deal. He pitched well, but threw a lot of pitches in five innings and the majority of his fastballs were in the91-92 mph range.

He hit 94 only once. He may be the one that heads to triple A at the end of the spring

old professor said...

It is really too bad the Yankees had their roster pretty much set prior to spring training. Some of the minor leaguers have had impressive springs. Justin Maxwell is hitting well over 400. Has scored more runs than anyone else and is tied for first in stolen bases. Jose Gil has had a spring better than any of the catchers in camp and should be considered for the backup position, but Cervelli has that locked up after an anemic spring.

Doug Grenier has had a spring and should have been considered for a backup infield position. Instead it goes to Chavez who may be hitting his weight.

Ibanez hits one home run is hitting under 100 and everyone is happy with his performance.

The one big disappointment for me was Jorge Vasquez after leading SWB last year in home runs and the Mexican league in hitting this past winter, I would have given him a shot a impressing people and maybe sticking with the team. Instead he hit under 200 and at 30 years of age may not be headed any where but home.

Crash said...

If Vazquez had a decent spring the Yankees probably could have traded him. But his value at the moment isn't all that high.

Pineda probably had his best start of the spring. He did get up to 94 on the gun, but his change up and slider and really impressive. What worries me is that he is throwing those pitches too much. If you don't throw the fastball, you lose it. Those other pitches play off the fastball. He needs to be able to throw the fastball in any count to any location. I haven't seen that yet from him.

After bragging about my NCAA picks I had my worst year ever. I went from 10th place (and just a couple points out) to 80th in the blink of a weekend. Unreal. Think this place jinxed me. And for the record I think Syracuse would have beaten Ohio State and won the championship if Fab Melo was an idiot and suspended for academic reasons.

Crash said...

Think all the starters get one more start. Girardi and Cashman need to make up their minds about the rotation this week. Opening day coming fast.

old professor said...

As for the Yankee rotation, I still believe having a 5 1/2 man rotation is something to consider. Why not allow Garcia or Pineda go five innings (or substitute in Hughes) and allow the individual with the sixth man in the rotation finish the game. Next time around they simply change position the individual who started now comes in for the last four innings. This allows you to maintain arm strength for all of your starters should; if one of them goes down you have someone to step right in.

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