Archive for June, 2009

Nationals Acquire Nyjer Morgan For Stretch Run

June 30, 2009

Thirty games under .500 and a hefty 17 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East, the Washington Nationals shrewdly traded 24-year-old ex-top-prospect Lastings Milledge to the Pirates for 29-year-old occasional-base-stealer Nyjer Morgan, whose hustle and grit and hustlegrit should have the Nationals back in contention by the end of the month. The month of JUNE, I mean.

In the meantime, the Pirates will have to make due with a player who’s 5 years younger than Morgan, and despite marginal defense in the past and reputed attitude issues, hit .268 / .330 / .402 with 14 HR, 24 SB and 9 CS in a full season as a 23-year-old. Morgan, at 29, is currently hitting .277/.351/.356 with 18 SB and 10 CS. So basically, the Pirates got a former top prospect whose supposedly underwhelming 2008 campaign was still equally or more productive than Morgan’s current 2009 season. If you factor in Morgan’s ’09 left field defense, the edge at this exact moment probably goes to Morgan, but at 5 years younger and already showing flashes of power that Morgan will never replicate, Milledge is just unquestionably the more valuable player at this point, especially to two teams that aren’t even in the same hemisphere as Ready To Contend City.

Morgan lamented his departure with this unexaggerated statement:

“I definitely loved going to war with these boys here. It’s unfortunate that I have to go. But that’s part of business.”

Like most people, when Morgan says “going to war” he means “playing regular season baseball games against the Milwaukee Brewers.”

Always quick to put things in perspective, Neal “I Don’t Give A Dead Hippo’s Asshole What You Think Of Me” Huntington, offered this sobering quote:

(more…)

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Penguins Agree To Donate $2 Million To Elderly Bearded Man

June 30, 2009

Bill Guerin Playoff BeardIn an act of admirable charity, Penguins GM Ray Shero announced that the team would donate two million dollars next year to a nice elderly bearded man.

“Mr. Guerin is just one of those old fellas you just love to have around,” Shero said. “Everyone treats him politely, he calls everyone ‘whipper-snapper’ and it’s kind of funny, the children love to tug on his beard and make wishes… so we just said, what the hey, we got a couple mil lyin’ around, let’s keep ’em!”

Butserrrriouslyfolkzzz… Not a bad deal for the Pens. It gives them a right-handed shooter who can one-time the puck and theoretically finish, and despite turning 39 this coming November, he’s played 77, 81, and 78 games the past three regular seasons, so he’s reliably durable. The deal is for only one year and only $2 million (cheaper than Satan was this past season) which gives the Pens a known quantity who’s capable of playing responsibly on a top line at a price far cheaper than any other respectable UFA winger would’ve cost the team.

By contrast, the Devils signed Brian Rolston — who is only two and a half years younger than Guerin — to a four year, $20 million deal last offseason, and he finished with only 15 goals to Guerin’s 21. This doesn’t necessarily justify the Guerin deal so much as again raise the question, what the hell were the Devils thinking? They’re normally so annoyingly shrewd; the Rolston deal was their version of the straight-arrow nerd finally deciding to drink one night, doing way too many shots way too early, then blacking out at 8:30 face-down inside a beehive. But I digress.

Another one-year winger deal from Shero, eh? If you love one-year deals for wingers so much then why don’t you MARRY a one-year deal for a winger (for one year)??? High five.

Penguins Re-Sign Craig Adams To 2-Year Deal, Literally Win Cup Again

June 29, 2009

The Penguins literally won the Stanley Cup again today by re-signing fourth-line forward Craig Adams to a two-year deal.

Ray Shero was cautiously optimistic about the signing, proclaiming “With this move, we have literally just won the Stanley Cup again, which is awesome.”

The city of Pittsburgh has planned another Stanley Cup victory parade to honor the Adams signing, scheduled for Thursday, July 2nd. Five million people are definitely attending.

The Amusing GM Quotes Keep On Comin’

June 29, 2009

Two more quotes that made me laugh, the first from Ray Shero attempting to compliment Rob Scuderi:

“When I first got here and found out he had a one-way contract, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” Shero said. “But he just kept improving. Now, I wish I had signed him for three years instead of two [after the ’06-’07 season for a $1.425 million].” (P-G)

To be fair, “Are you kidding me?” was actually the least angry thing Shero said about any of the things he inherited from Craig Patrick; when he reviewed the Pens’ recent draft history, trade records, and Mellon Arena facilities, he unleashed sentences that included between sixty and seventy F-words apiece.

The next hilarious Free Agency Week GM quote comes from the Master of UFA week (or whatever the opposite of the word ‘Master’ is – ‘dumbass?’), The Rangers’ Glen Sather, ripping on Nik Antropov’s agent for demanding $5 million a year:

“There’s a snowball’s chance in hell that’s going to happen. It’s ridiculous. I hate to criticize an agent, but let’s have a little bit of reality here.” (NY Post)

Sather added, “I mean, who do I look like, current general manager of the New York Rangers Glen Sather? Gimmie a break.”

Elvis Has Left: Your One-Stop Shop For “Jeff Goldblum Dies” News

June 26, 2009

A quick perusal of my blog stats from yesterday revealed that apparently, six people found Elvis Has Left by searching for the phrase “did jeff goldblum die”.

I’m surprised that six people even searched for this random phrase in a given day, let alone worked their way to the fourth or fifth page of Google results to stumble across a post on here that happened to mention Jeff Goldblum and “dying” in two separate unrelated sentences. Basically, people aren’t just casually poking around for news about Jeff Goldblum’s theoretical death, they’re doing extensive, effortful online research about it.

I therefore promise you, Googlers, that if Jeff Goldblum ever dies, I will DEFINITELY post about it on this website (he is, after all, from Pittsburgh). Then I will make fun of Hal Gill. Deal?

Rangers Desperately Trying To Start Some Wade Redden Trade Buzz

June 26, 2009

I couldn’t help but laugh at this quote from Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke from Pierre LeBrun’s NHL Draft Blog:

Burke also shot down one rumor that he was trying to acquire Rangers blueliner Wade Redden and his $6.5 million salary. “I don’t know where that got started,” Burke said. “We’re not in discussions on that player.”

The rumor-starter, one New York-based indvidual who has asked to be referred to as “Slen Gather”, responded that Burke is “lying” and is actually “extremely interested in acquiring really awesome not-overpaid seriously you guys defenseman Wade Redden, as are a whole lot of teams. Hoo-eee, you all better hurry up to trade for Wade Redden before someone else takes his salary off our books oops not our books I mean the New York Rangerses books they’re a team I’m not the GM of no sirree but do hear lots of truthful rumors about their really awesome defenseman people. Whew, covered that up nicely. But seriously, trade for him like, now.”

Ian Snell Wanted To Get Sent Down To The Minors No Seriously You Guys Really

June 26, 2009

You know that friend who gets tipsy and starts hitting on some freshman at your party, even though he’s not aware of how obviously drunk and stupid he sounds, then when she ends up blowing him off, he goes on and on about how much she sucks and how funny it was that he pretended to hit on her but really wasn’t actually hitting on her no seriously you guys seriously?

Well…here’s Ian Snell’s quote about being sent down to AAA Indianapolis:

“I wasn’t going to allow them to say what they want. I told them I wanted to go down. It’s best for the team… I don’t want to point fingers and make excuses. I just made a better decision for myself, my career and my life.”

Hmm…knowing what I know about Ian Snell and his tendency to publicly blame his teammates for missing a ground ball that scores the nineteen runners he walked that inning, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Ian Snell prooooobably didn’t go to Neal Huntington and ask to be sent down to the minors. In fact, no pitchers ever do this, ever. In fact, no employees in any field do this, ever. Who’s ever gone to their boss and been like, “I know I haven’t been doing such a great job lately – I want you to demote me to the Akron branch office, I think it’d be best for all of us.”

The P-G’s Dejan Kovacevic then asked Snell “what he feels he needs to do,” and Snell offered this response to further confirm that Ian Snell is insane:

“Nothing. You guys don’t understand it unless you played baseball. You don’t understand it, and the people at home don’t understand it. I’m just going down there, get my thoughts together and do well.”

What does any of that mean? Is Snell some eccentric, Parisian modern artist who’s just had it with society’s inability to comprehend his brilliance? We simply cannot possibly understand the deep, spiritual healing Snell must undergo by his self-imposed journey to a league for worse professional ballplayers.

It’s naive to think we can ever actually come to know a player from their random quotes to the press, and equally meaningless to demand unwavering interview clichés of reassurance, but Snell’s words are just constantly, confoundingly meaningless. What is this guy talking about? Ever? Why does he agree to speak English words to a person whose job it is to convey those words to other human beings who try to make sense of those words?

Someone please be sure to teach Charlie Morton how to say “Eh, I had a bad outing, but it happens, I’m moving forward.” No matter how robotically clichéd it ends up sounding, at least we’ll know he’s not completely and utterly insane.

Random Speculation: Adam LaRoche To The Mets?

June 25, 2009

Keeping this week’s theme of random predictions, the Pirates have acquired AAA first baseman Brian Myrow from the White Sox, forcing us to ask the question: Does this mean Adam LaRoche is on his way out?

Myrow is a 32-year-old journeyman (albeit with monster AAA stats),  so he’s likely gonna stick in Indianapolis barring a wave of injuries, but he gives the Pirates the organizational depth at first base to free up a LaRoche trade and allow Steve Pearce to take over at-bats at 1B with Eric Hinske as a backup/spot-starter.

But who would trade anything of value for a veteran 1B who’s four months from free agency? Well, take a look at the New York Mets’ lineup from their 3-0 loss on Tuesday, when they were shut out by right-handed-pitcher Joel Piniero, with their respective home run totals in parenthesis:

1. Cora, SS (0)

2. Murphy, Dn, 1B (5)

3. Wright, D, 3B (4)

4. Tatis, LF (2)

5. Church, RF (2)

6. Santos, O, C (4)

7. Martinez, F, CF (0)

8. Castillo, L, 2B (0)

They’re protecting David Wright with FERNANDO TATIS, a right-handed backup corner infielder with 2 HR in 133 AB this year who probably wouldn’t even make the Pirates’ roster right now, let alone bat cleanup against a right handed pitcher. How much instantly better would this lineup look with LaRoche (11 HR) playing first and batting behind Wright, freeing up a Murphy-Church-Martinez/Tatis-Sheffield platoon in the outfield (and Tatis to spell LaRoche against lefties occassionally)?

The Mets are desperate for a bat, they’re desperate for a first baseman, and they’d be getting three-plus months of a reputed “strong finisher” who’s hit .297/.360/.548 in the second half over his career, if you believe that sort of thing is significant (it certainly doesn’t hurt the situation, at least). It’s already late June anyway, and the Mets would theoretically give up more for LaRoche if they got an extra month out of him, so there’s no reason for either team to wait til the deadline to make this deal, unless posturing for a bigger/smaller return — especially when Omar Minaya is probably extra-gunshy to give up prospects after the Santana deal — holds up trade talks.

And if the Mets don’t want to make the deal, we’ll get LaRoche to change his name to “Jorge Sanchez” so that every publication can trod out its tired “this player should connect with the Mets’ significant Latin fanbase” column, and everyone’s a winner.

Random Prediction: Jay Bouwmeester To The Maple Leafs For Lots Of Money

June 24, 2009

I’ll probably do an NHL Free Agency Predictions post closer to July 1st, but in the meantime, I keep reading rumors about the Flyers being interested in Jay Bouwmeester, which makes theoretical sense, but through no investigative avenues other than basic logic, I can’t imagine a situation in which Bouwmeester doesn’t immediately end up with the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason.

The Flyers currently have an ungodly $54.926 million committed to the cap for the ’09-’10 season, with no relief in sight; Kimmo Timmonen is locked up through 2013-14 at a passable $6.3 mil annually, Daniel Briere is owed an absurd $6.5 mil per season through 2014-15, and Mike Richards is locked in for varying cap hits from $5.4 to $8.4 million over the next eight years, with his overall contract not expiring til 2021, or sooner if the earth turns into a WALL-E-esque wasteland and humanity vacates the planet before then.

The Maple Leafs, conversely, have only $42.937 mil committed to the cap for 2009-10, with no cap hit larger than Pavel Kubina’s $5 million, which expires after this season. Toronto is the most valuable franchise in the NHL, they sell out every single home game, they have $15 million of cap space heading into the offseason, they have zero significant free agents to re-sign, and GM Brian Burke’s Ducks won a Cup in 2007 after Burke had signed Scott Neidermayer to a huge free agent deal then traded for Chris Pronger the following season.

Burke loves franchise defensemen. Jay Bouwmeester is by far the best defenseman on the market this offseason, and if you factor in that he’s only 25, probably the most valuable defenseman to go UFA since Zdeno Chara. The Leafs have tons of cap space and the added cachet of giving someone a chance to be the biggest star on the most prominent hockey city in the NHL; even if the Flyers Tom-Sawyer-bamboozle some other team into whitewashing Briere for them, they wouldn’t be able to offer as much money as the Leafs.

The prediction: Brian Burke makes his much-needed splash on the first day of free agency, locking up Bouwmeester for 7 years, $52 million.

That is, of course, if the NHL doesn’t let the Rangers unload Gomez, Drury, and Wade Redden on the Coyotes.

Shero Admits He Won’t Re-Sign Everyone, Keeps Coughing The Words MIROSLAV SATAN

June 23, 2009

Dave Molinari reports that Ray Shero won’t be looking to re-sign all the Pens’ free agents this offseason, but hasn’t officially named the team’s priorities.

Here’s Shero’s quote about the situation (brackets mine):

“There are a few guys who won’t be offered contracts,” he said, “but I haven’t spoken to [Miroslav Satan] yet.”

“I’m just in the process of talking to [everyone except Miroslav Satan’s] agents,” he said. “It’s pretty premature at this point [except the Satan decision, which is a no-brainer]. I’m just touching base with [everyone but Satan’s] agents and going from there [and by that I mean making sure that we are never in the same room as Satan, a pen, and a piece of paper this offseason, to ensure he doesn’t throw the paper at us and claim that because it touched us it counts as an NHL contract].”