No Yu but no Prince, either; and some Raptors stuff
I can hear some of you now.
No Yu Darvish? Go get Prince Fielder! Spend that $100 million-plus. Show us you’ll do something.
No, no, no. A thousand times no.
This is a bit of a digression but not to worry, there’s Raptors stuff down below but the big story today is the fact the Texas Rangers beat out the Jays for the right to negotiate with the Japanese phenom.
(Oh and I wonder if all those guys who reported the Jays won the bidding rights the last few days are writing “I was wrong” pieces today?)
But the last thing Alex Anthopoulos needs to do is have some knee jerk reaction and run out to throw money at Fielder, the best free agent player still available.
Forget the fact that Fielder wants something ridiculous like an eight-year contract; even on a four-year deal – and I don’t imagine he ever goes that low on his demand – you cannot possibly imagine he will be any slimmer, quicker or less of a defensive liability than he is right now.
The Blue Jays will score enough runs; they need pitching and maybe what Alex needs to do is package up some of his excess farm talent and a position player or two and get busy in the trade world.
Griff’s got a bunch of possibilities in this typically good piece, that’s the route the GM has to go.
They have shown they are willing to spend significant amounts of money on what they see is precisely the right piece for where the franchise is today; on the cusp, needing more starting pitching depth and seemingly poised to take the next step with a good young group.
They were in on Papelbon, if reports are true they were in on Mat Latos, they were obviously in on Darvish. If Alex thinks it’ll make sense, he’ll do whatever deal is necessary; no one can have complaints about that. The fact Darvish didn’t work out; or that Papelbon spurned them or that Latos drew a better package somewhere else can’t hide the fact these guys are willing to make bold moves.
Fielder would be dead wrong on any long-term deal.
Sure, there’s a gamble with any major acquisition, especially pitching, but it’s more prudent to find youngish talent than a relatively older, far bigger – and I mean BIGGER – and potentially fast-fading physical specimen.
So a guy mentions that Leandro Barbosa may be a huge part of what happens and that day he misses a practice because he woke up with a stiff back after being drilled on a screen during the Sunday Boston game.
I’m telling you, with the number of games in such a short period that’s coming starting Boxing Day the most valuable employees may be director of sports science Alex McKechnie and head athletic trainer Scott McCulloch.
Now, there’s no sense that there’s anything to seriously wrong with Barbosa, who missed practice along with Anthony Carter (shoulder). But you know that injuries are going to be a factor throughout the league this season, simply because the wear and tear and number of games per week.
Starting off the season as healthy as you can be is paramount.
Okay, so we’ve got this poll going over at the Facethingy page (go here, please cast a vote, and “like” it; I’m still three short of 600 and that’s a nice round number the Tall Foreheads will appreciate).
I know the Peja era in Toronto was a bad one but he was never going to play here, he was cap ballast in a trade and a piece to be moved on; maybe he stayed out too long with bad back but that’s really neither here nor there.
What matters is that he’s probably second on my all-time list of guys I could watch shoot all day.
First would be Dell Curry, third would be Ray Allen and, reluctantly, I’d put Reggie Miller fourth because I never liked the way he flayed his legs or spread his elbow on his stroke.
What Dell and Peja and Allen did, and do, is elevate shooting a basketball to an art form. It is quick and seamless and simply delightful to watch. The release seldom wavers, in Dell’s case the ball never seemed to stop in his hand on a volleyball-like catch and shoot.
I could sit in a gym and watch those three guys work for hours on end and marvel at the consistency of the shot and the purity of it.
They don’t make ‘em like that any more, it seems. And that’s too bad.
This is an out-take from an e-mail I got yesterday and it’s kind of representative of several that have arrived over the last few weeks:
“i am cheering for raps loosing as much as possible. we really need that high pick next year. this is the only way we will see some good b-ball for a few seasons._all the best”
So, to this dude or dudette and all the other who have expressed the same sentiment I kind of demand this:
Do not dare to come here during the season and tell me how bad this team is. It’s what you want, right? You want ‘em to lose? You deserve bad games and have no reason to waste my time, or the time of others, by telling us how bad they are. It’s your wish; if it’s granted, you have to be quiet and take solace in it. Can’t have it both ways.
End o’ rant.
And, with that …
Nothing says Christmas better than a little Dee Snider.
Oh yeah, one more Raptors note.
Now that we know what “multiple stops” are (I’m sure you’ve all read this already; if not, take a look) there’s something for the stats-wonks to chart each game this season.
You know I’m not a huge fan of advanced metrics in basketball – they have a place in the process but shouldn’t drive it – but it’s pretty easy to see how getting three defensive stops in a row seven times in a game would prove that the defence is working.
So we’ll give you that one to check out as the games unfold.