Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baseball's Trade Deadline Rumors

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-Digger's Daily-

Save the date: July 31, MLB trade deadline.

Baseball's trade rumor mill has been swirling. Teams wishing to strengthen their playoff chances could soon be announcing major trades from cash strapped teams. Don't be surprised if soon to become free agents are dealt too. Let's examine a few teams which might become major players during the next six days.

Boston - starting pitching and bats. Injuries have Red Sox rotation in shambles. Lack of pop from OF puts Boston front and center in chasing after Carlos Beltran or another impact bat.

New York - Yankees need pitching of all types. Starters first and foremost. Bombers elder starters have been very effective at times but can't be counted on. Cashman's future is on the line should the Yanks fall from the pennant race. One more bat might be heading to NY too as they're known for late season slugging acquisitions.

Tampa - I don't think they have enough gas in the tank or depth at this point in time. On the outside looking in places the Rays in a precarious position. Spend wisely has always been their motto. However, Rays lineup lacks power and 1B has been a problem for a long time.

Pittsburgh - It's now or never in Steel City. Can they pull the trigger on a deal for a veteran bat without giving up too much future talent? Carlos Beltran to the Pirates as a rent a player would be worth dealing injured Doumit and players to be named... especially if New York picks up a hefty part of CB's lucrative contract. Wigginton is a perfect type of versatile player for a team in need of 3B help.

St. Louis - Cards need everything. Starting pitchers, relievers, closer, hitting, defense. They haven't made any late season impact deals in years. They'll need to do something if seriously considering a playoff run. Don't forget... Albert Pujols is soon to become a free agent!!!

Milwaukee - Are the Brewers planning on bringing back free agent to be Fielder? He can bring in plenty talent in a trade. Milwaukee's front office stumbles often. They acquired KRod to bolster bullpen. What next?

Detroit - A cost effective 5th starter is readily available. Phil Coke is a bust. Wigginton fits well here too at 2B/3B.

Cleveland - A curious team. They had a great first half. Injuries at key positions all season long. Currently fading in AL Central. Tribe doesn't appear ready to spend.

Angels - 31-36 on June 12, now at 55-47 and rising. They could use a boost to 4th & 5th rotation slots. Catching help is also needed (not available).

Giants - SF is nuts if they don't go hardest after Beltran. Strong pitching staff has propelled Giants into NL West lead. However, lack of power up and down their lineup could prove costly in playoff baseball. SF owns plenty of talent to offer up. SS is of concern too. Jose Reyes is another great target.

Phillies - Bullpen, either middle relievers or proven closer or both. Lidge just returned. However, he's always a single pitch away from another injury. Rent a closer situation is perfect here. RF could be in line. Perhaps Werth comes back?

Dodgers - Financially challenged LA needs to ditch payroll wisely. A few popular starts might get chopped but not much discussed yet.

Mets - Plenty of focus surrounding Carlos Beltran. Don't be surprised if David Wright is the first one gone! Owners clearly not convinced Wright is a winner. GM claims they want free agent to be Jose Reyes back in '12. It could be lip service and will be a MAJOR mistake for Mets to let him walk without securing talent now.

Astros - Pick one. This franchise is in reverse. Simple question... does Houston have any players other teams want?

Reds, Padres, Twins, Marlins might jump into the mix too.

Time will tell. The clock is ticking.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Power Rankings Movers & Shakers

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-Digger's Daily-

NFL is back in business. Owners and players ratified a new agreement. Training camp doors set to open. General managers ready to wheel and deal.
Baseball's trading deadline is July 31st. Plenty of big names could be on the move. Some dealt by cash strapped teams. Some to be acquired for a late season playoff push.
All World All Sports Power Rankings:

1 - Green Bay
2 - Atlanta
3 - NY Jets
4 - Pittsburgh
5 - New Orleans
6 - Baltimore
7 - Philadelphia
8 - NY Giants
9 - New England
10- Chicago

1 - Philadelphia
2 - Boston
3 - Texas
4 - San Francisco
5 - Yankees
6 - Atlanta
7 - Angels
8 - Milwaukee
9 - Arizona
10- Tampa

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Second Half Baseball Predictions

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-Digger's Daily-

Robinson Cano's created the most memorable All Star moment. He selected his own father to pitch. Robby responded by winning the Derby in record style. Father and son baseball. It doesn't get any better. NL All Stars secured home field advantage for NLCS winner by besting their AL counterparts 5-1.

Now it's on to baseball's second half of the 2011 season. MLB trade deadline is quickly approaching (July 31). Who will be wheeling and dealing? Dumping high salaries or going for big guns? Make a run for the pennant or pack it in? New York Mets & Milwaukee Brewers struck a deal announced right after Tuesday's ASG. Francisco Rodriguez is a Met no more. New York dumped their high priced closer off on the Brewers. Milwaukee needs bullpen help. KRod is expected to set up closer Axford. Is Beltran next to leave cash strapped Mets? Rumors state he'll be in Boston soon.

First half surprise teams Arizona, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington take dead aim at doing something no prognosticator predicted... advancing to playoff baseball. Plenty of teams in the hunt. Plenty of players riding the disabled list. Time to predict how the 2011 season will finish.

American League
Red Sox
Blue Jays

White Sox


ALCS: Yankees over Red Sox

National League



NLCS: Phillies over Braves

World Series: Phillies over Yankees

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 All Star Game Home Run Derby Preview & Predictions

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-Digger's Daily-

It's muscle flexing time for a select few All Stars. 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby is tonight. David Ortiz (AL) & Prince Fielder (NL) are contest captains who hand picked their squads. Four players per league participating this year. On paper, Ortiz AL teammates looking stronger than their NL counterparts.

All participants get 10 outs per round, with the four players with the most homers advancing to a second round. The two players with the highest cumulative number of long balls after the second round advance to the Championship Round, where first- and second-round homers do not carry over.

AL - Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz.
NL - Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, Richie Weeks.

Be reminded, this is glorified batting practice. Don't be surprised if some or all of these sluggers bring their personal bp pitchers with them to the event. On paper, AL hitters will be too much to handle. Bautista, Gonzo & Ortiz can knock the ball out of any park and the balls will be flying in Phoenix. Cano is the wild card here. His swing is one of the best in baseball. Smooth, line drive smacker. Not necessarily made for a home run derby ... however, one little upper cut adjustment could win it all. NL hitters, beyond Fielder, do not appear to be the same homer class. They're all great hitters but probably not the best picks for a HR contest.

Key to success is not swinging at every pitch. Sluggers will need to be patient to preserve endurance. Taking at least one pitch between swings is key. It's easy to get tired hacking at everything. Josh Hamilton put on a historic opening round ball smashing display to remember a few short years ago in Yankee Stadium. Guess what? He wasn't the victor. Stamina goes a long way to winning. Who will win it all in 2011? Place your bets!

1st Round totals
Bautista 15
Ortiz 13
Gonzalez 13
Fielder 10
Cano 9
Holliday 8
Kemp 5
Weeks 5

2nd Round
Bautista 11 (26)
Ortiz 10 (23)
Fielder 10 (20)
Gonzalez 6 (19)

All Star Break Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

2011 represents another great baseball season in progress. Pennant races continuing to amaze. Pittsburgh, Washington, Cleveland and Arizona have been playing an inspired brand of hardball. These perennial losers are winning and proving, once again, money doesn't necessarily buy success.
MLB 2011 reached the halfway point of the season. All World All Sports power rankings...

1 - Philadelphia Phillies
2 - Boston Red Sox
3 - New York Yankees
4 - Atlanta Braves
5 - San Francisco Giants
6 - Texas Rangers
7 - Tampa Bay Rays
8 - Milwaukee Brewers
9 - Detroit Tigers
10- Arizona Diamondbacks
11- St Louis Cardinals
12- Cleveland Indians
14- Pittsburgh Pirates
15- Washington Nationals
16- New York Mets
17- Cincinnati Reds
18- Toronto Blue Jays
19- Chicago White Sox
20- Colorado Rockies
21- Florida Marlins
22- Minnesota Twins
23- Seattle Mariners
24- Los Angeles Dodgers
25- San Diego Padres
26- Oakland A's
27- Baltimore Orioles
28- Kansas City Royals
29- Chicago Cubs
30- Houston Astros

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In Case You Missed It...

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-Digger's Daily-

Sports news is plentiful. In case you missed it, here's a few notable stories since our last installment.
Wimbledon crowns new champions. Serbian Novak Djokovic defeated former champ Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. His performance was nothing short of spectacular. Djokovic now sits atop fan lists as a player to watch.
Petra Kvitova won the Women's title with a hard fought straight set victory over Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4. The telling statistic from this match was Sharapova winning only 58% of first serves compared to 72% for Kvitova.

NBA follows NFL into lockout status. Money, money, money. Both sides have negotiated in good faith for 18 months with no conclusive results. Commissioner Stern states the sides are no closer now than when negotiations first began. The sides appear closer than they'll let on publicly. Perhaps to save face with union members. I have no sympathy for either party when it comes to sports related work stoppages. The fans always get the short end of the stick when all is said and done. Ticket prices, already skyrocketing, will surge again. So will game related apparel, trading cards and anything with a professional league logo affixed.
NFL lockout may delete 2011 games. Players will be nuts if they ever agree to an 18 game schedule. Careers will be dramatically cut short. Long term deals will soon evaporate and owners will walk away as fat cat champs. Add a new twist, retired players want in on negotiations. They've brought suit claiming current players and owners are "conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former NFL players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current NFL players." This labor impasse is a long way off. Neither side has acted in good faith.

MLB All Star Game rosters were announced. Get ready for plenty of commentary when it comes to snubbed players. It's the same old song. Deserving players left off rosters receive plenty of attention from local to national sports talk networks. It's unfortunate some deserving players sit home. It happens and will continue for years to come. Sometimes there just aren't enough roster slots. Other times, fan favorites override statistical achievements. There's only one change I'd personally enjoy seeing rectified. Add at least one rising star (rookie) to each roster if they weren't already selected by fan & player voting (AL - Michael Pineda, Mariners; NL- Danny Espinosa, Nationals).

Derek Jeter is healthy and back at SS for the Yankees. Six knocks to go for career hit number 3,000. Isn't it truly amazing in the glorious history of Yankees baseball they've yet to have any player with 3,000 hits? Not Gehrig (2,721), Ruth (2,518), Mantle (2,415), Bernie Williams (2,336) or DiMaggio (2,214).

Look out, the Pirates are coming. Better yet, they're here! Pittsburgh Pirates inspired brand of baseball has them within 1.5 games of NL Central leading Cardinals. It's about time! Pittsburgh has won more than 70 games only seven times since 1993. Manager Clint Hurdle is proving he's been the right choice for the job. Go Pirates!

Get ready for The British Open. US Open champ Rory McIlroy is ready to go and is the early favorite. Tiger Woods will be sitting this one out. Fan favorite Phil Mickelson needs to work out a few kinks. His swing and short game is perfect for this tournament but he never seems to put it together here. How much of a factor will strong winds play in this years event? Wind during British Opens has been prevalent in recent years which is why this event is one of the best tests for players all around games. There are three golfing events I never miss. The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

2011 All Star Game Rosters Announced

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 -Digger's Daily-

MLB: All Star Game Coverage

Save the date. MLB All Star Game takes place in Phoenix, July 12, at Chase Field. Get ready for plenty of All Star fan activities shadowed by political protests leading up to the Mid Summer Classic.

American and National League rosters were announced this afternoon. Fan voting selected starting players. Players, coaches and MLB selected the reserves. Every year controversy surrounds selections especially players left off ASG squads. Perennial ASG starters, Albert Pujols (injured) and Ichiro Suzuki will not play.

American League
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees
OF: Josh Hamilton, Rangers
DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox
C: Alex Avila, Tigers

Fans voted in the starters. Derek Jeter, always a fan favorite, is the only starter listed who probably doesn't deserve starting status based on performance. However, future Hall of Fame players (Jeter) always deserve recognition by fans. Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera was selected as a reserve and should see plenty of game action.

1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B: Howard Kendrick, Angels
3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
OF: Michael Cuddyer, Twins
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
OF: Matt Joyce, Rays
OF: Carlos Quentin, White Sox
DH: Michael Young, Rangers
C: Russell Martin, Yankees
C: Matt Wieters, Orioles

RHP: Josh Beckett, Red Sox
RHP: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
LHP: David Price, Rays
RHP: James Shields, Rays
RHP: Justin Verlander, Tigers
RHP: Jered Weaver, Angels
LHP: C.J. Wilson, Rangers
LHP: Gio Gonzalez, Athletics
RHP: Aaron Crow, Royals
RHP: Brandon League, Mariners
RHP: Chris Perez, Indians
RHP: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
RHP: Jose Valverde, Tigers

It's time to point out all teams must be represented. Inevitably deserving players often get left off initial rosters.

National League
1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers
2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers
3B: Jose Reyes, Mets
SS: Placido Polanco, Phillies
OF: Lance Berkman, Cardinals
OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
C: Brian McCann, Braves

Polanco and perhaps Weeks are a bit questionable. All other NL starters enjoying success in '11.

1B: Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
1B: Joey Votto, Reds
2B: Brandon Phillips, Reds
3B: Chipper Jones, Braves
SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
OF: Jay Bruce, Reds
OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals
OF: Hunter Pence, Astros
OF: Justin Upton, D-backs
C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

RHP: Matt Cain, Giants
RHP: Roy Halladay, Phillies
LHP: Cole Hamels, Phillies
RHP: Jair Jurrjens, Braves
LHP: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
LHP: Cliff Lee, Phillies
RHP: Tim Lincecum, Giants
RHP: Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
RHP: Heath Bell, Padres
RHP: Tyler Clippard, Nationals
RHP: Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
LHP: Jonny Venters, Braves
RHP: Brian Wilson, Giants

Let the debate begin on NL pitchers. SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy will be at the helm for the NL squad and selected 4 Giants pitchers. Brian Wilson has not been the same dominant closer from one year ago. Vogelsong is another questionable selection. It should be noted, most ASG managers do favor players from their own squads so Bocky selecting four Giants shouldn't surprise.

More to follow including All World All Sports first ever simulated All Star Game!