Monthly Archives: December, 2014

How the Hell Is Ndamukong Suh Playing?

So part of me feels really dumb for this post saying that Suh was suspended, but most of me thinks that the NFL and NFLPA’s joint arbitrator is far more dumb.

Suh said that his feet were cold, which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, because you can always tell if you are standing on normal ground or elevated ground.  And I know that this is a playoff game, but this is an instance where his previous history should absolutely play into the decision, if not be the most important factor.

Playoff game or not, you have to send this guy a message.  Even Rodney Harrison once said that he didn’t pay much attention to when he was fined, but he really started getting the message that he had to change once a suspension came into play.  Too bad the arbitrator didn’t realize that with Ndamukong Suh, the dirtiest player in the NFL.

Bruins Destroy Red Wings 5-2, Get 45 SOG

The Bruins finally looked like the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winner tonight.  They took the team who could be considered 1st in the division given that they had a game in hand, and beat the crap out of them.  The shots were 45-30, with every line playing well (even the scotch-tape-level-of-patchwork line of Matt Lindblad, Craig Cunningham, and Seth Griffith.  Tuukka Rask finally looked like the Vezina winner again, although the defense still needs improvement in front of him.

The key focus when analyzing this game has to be the Soderberg-Eriksson-Kelly line.  They were awesome tonight, even though they were playing tougher minutes tonight now that the normal 1st and 2nd lines were consolidated with Bergeron and Lucic out.  (I’m kind of assuming that they played harder minutes, but I’m confident that the fancy stats would back me up on that one.)  That line is amazing, and may be the difference maker in whether or not the Bruins go on a deep playoff run.  It now makes a lot more sense that Claude is reluctant to move Eriksson off of that line and alongside Krejci.  If the B’s trade for someone to play alongside Krejci and Lucic, then suddenly they have a great Top 9 rotation just like a year ago.

It’s onto Toronto on New Year’s Eve, when tons of fans, myself included, will be spending the night at the TD Garden and then downtown in Boston after to ring in 2015.  Hopefully the B’s make the night truly special by killing the victims of the Raycroft-Tuukka trade.

Bruins Lose Fraser to Oilers Because… WHY???

What the hell is going on out there? Seriously, what was Peter Chiarelli thinking with this one?  The B’s called up Jordan Caron, and decided to make room for him by placing Matt Fraser on waivers, evidently before Bergeron and Lucic were deemed out tonight, as they would have needed him anyway.  The Oilers then picked up Fraser because they’re the Oilers and they need warm bodies who know how to play hockey.

But who in the world would pick Jordan Caron over Matt Fraser, even for one game?  Seriously, didn’t we all see the playoff last year, when Matt Fraser, Justin Florek, and Jordan Caron all tried to play on the 3rd line with Soderberg and Eriksson, and only Fraser held his own?

So this is ridiculous.  The Bruins have lost Fraser for nothing, and to rub salt in the would, tonight is a night they really could’ve needed him.  He plays best on the left side, and with Lucic’s absense, they’re playing Matt Lindblad at 3LW.  He kinda sorta coulda helped there, as he could’ve helped there for the rest of the season.  What a joke.

Brady Clears Money For Patriots… Again

So if you don’t understand the way that the salary cap works, don’t feel left out.  This stuff makes no sense to half the GMs in the NFL (I purposefully said “half” because there’s no way that Jerry Jones, John Idzik, his predecessor with the Jets, Mike Tannenbaum, or a bunch of other guys understand it), and I honestly think that no one understands it as well as Bill Belichick does.

Tom Brady allowed the Patriots to change the designation in his contract from “guaranteed for skill and injury” to just “guarantee for injury,” meaning that the Patriots no longer have to set aside the money that would be guaranteed for skill in an escrow account.  That means that they have now opened up $24 million in cash flow.

Now, it’s important to note that changing Brady’s contract does NOT change cap space, unless Brady were to be cut.  Even if the unthinkable were to happen there, Brady is protected by the simple fact that he would make a billion dollars on the open market.

But this opens up space for the Pats to do something weird with a signing bonus for Darrelle Revis, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley (probably not, as he’ll likely move on from the Pats), or Devin McCourty.  The target there is probably Revis, as it would shock no one if he and BB did a crazy type of deal that only top level accountants could really think of, just like they did last year because they’re two of the best businessmen in football.

So Brady is a beast and we already knew that.  He just opened up more signing bonus money for the Pats going forward.

Ndamukong Suh Suspended for a Playoff Game

And, with this cushy, easy story to write about, I’m easing us back into the writing game after a hiatus.  Sorry for the delay, but we’re back for the long haul now. Let’s just jump right in…

Anyone who says that Ndamukong shouldn’t have been suspended because a playoff game is too important is being a fool.  Suh is the dirtiest player in the league, per a poll of his peers.  And that poll in early November 2012 was a few weeks before “accidentally” kicking Matt Schaub in the nuts, two hefty fines for dirty plays in 2013, and now this.  The guy is an asshole, and, just like with his teammate Dominic Raiola, the NFL has to realize that the history of his actions outweigh the importance of the game.

Also, conspiracy theories like “Roger Goodell is doing his boy Jerry Jones a favor” or “The NFL loves their quarterbacks too much, this only happened because it was Aaron Rodgers,” are just stupid.  Yes, the NFL is too loyal to its most important owners, and yes, its even more too loyal to QBs, but this suspension was about Suh, as it should have been.

He can come back in the NFC Divisional game to (hopefully) wreak havoc on Russell Wilson, but he’ll rightfully be sitting at home watching his team play against the Cowboys without him.  Suh would’ve made a huge difference against that beastly offensive line in the Big D, but that’s why a player shouldn’t put his selfishness and overall patheticness over the team.

Bruins Are Finally Back… WITH CHARA??!

After 4 days off, the boys are back, and tonight, they’re led by their captain once again.

Since Pastrnak has been called down, the question remains what to do with the lines tonight. I’m writing this during warmups, for the record.  Here is what Dailyfaceoff has listed for the Bruins.

bruins lines 12 11 14

…but now we know that Krejci isn’t on the ice for warmups, so that means that Craig Cunningham will likely get a shot.  Probably Kelly centering Lucic and Eriksson… if those are actually the lines, which I doubt.  I’d have Kelly, Lucic, and Griffith together again with the 3rd line of Soderberg, Eriksson, and Fraser back on the left side where he’s better.  Cunningham with Paille and Campbell.  Yeah, that works.

I’m less concerned about the defensive pairings, because they’re probably gonna change a ton even during the actual games for the next few contests.  Chara is just coming back, so they’ve gotta work him in easily.  I’d probably go with Chara-Hamilton, with Hamilton being leaned on a little more heavily than he usually is in that duo.  Then it’ll probably be Seidenberg-Miller and Krug-Trotman.  Fine, whatever.

Really, tonight is about 2 things.  1) Getting 2 points.  2) Seeing how Chara does against really, really good competition.  It’s not about settling old scores, because you can’t change the past anyway.  And tonight’s lines don’t matter that much, because they won’t be the same lines come April, especially with Krejci out (still).  Actually, tonight is about a 3rd thing, though.  Let’s not get any more injuries tonight, ok? Cool.

Red Sox Sign 3 Low Risk Starting Pitchers

Well, it’s not Jon Lester, but the Red Sox do have some pitching for the first time since July 31.

First, the Sox dealt Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster for Wade Miley of the Diamondbacks.  This one I’m not too high on.  Miley is 28, has 3+ big league seasons under his belt, but just 1 that actually makes us feel really good about him.  His ERA the past 2 years were 3.55 and 4.34, respectively, and his FIP was an identical 3.98 both years… in the NL West and in Arizona’s ballpark.  How much better will a guy like this get?  Your feelings on this trade should come down to De La Rosa and Webster and your thoughts on how well they’ll be.  The duo will turn 26 and 25 before the season, respectively, so their ceilings won’t be that high, either.  But couldn’t the Red Sox have gotten a pitcher on the free agent market for pennies, or couldn’t they have traded for a guy, who would bring as much value as this trade?  That being said, if Cherrington was willing to trade both guys for a back end starter, it probably means we shouldn’t have had a ton of faith in them.  So maybe my reaction is just based on the fact that Wade Miley doesn’t excite me at all.

The Justin Masterson signing excites me.  His past 4 years have been all over the board.  Two, 2011 and 2013, were great.  Two, 2012 and 2014, were bad.  But even if there’s a 50% chance at “good,” not even great, and a 50% chance at being bad, that’s worth $9.5 million for a single year.  That’s worth about 1.5 or 1.75 WAR on the free agent market today, and Masterson is more than capable of providing that.

Then the big catch from today: Rick Porcello for Yeonis Cespedes.  Count me among the guys who loves this move.  Porcello is a grand total of 3 months older than De La Rosa and already has 5 big league seasons under his belt, but this past year was his best.  His FIP has declined from a little above 4 to a little above 3.5 in the past 4 seasons or so, and he posted 4.0 WAR this past season by Baseball Reference’s calculations.  And the prime for most players is about ages 25 to 29, meaning that 4-5 WAR per year is a pretty reasonable expectation.

Like Cespedes, Porcello will be a free agent after the year, which will be too bad if he performs.  But at least there’s no long term committment, unless Cherrington can lock Porcello up for a below market multiyear deal right now, which I’d absolutely love.  Something in the range of 4 years $70 million.  Whoops, guess I shouldn’t use those terms with Red Sox fans.  My bad.

As for losing Cespedes, well, I don’t need to say much.  Good player, but Sox have too many outfielders.  Not rocket science.  Bye to the Cuban Missile.

David Pastrnak’s Contract Will Now Slide

So the kid actually played well enough for Bruins fans to consider the idea of keeping him up at the NHL level.  After just 5 games, which admittedly doesn’t prove much, Pastrnak’s corsi numbers were otherworldly.  He was playing with Bergeron and Marchand after all, but he wasn’t all that hidden, and still did really well.  The eye test would seem to back this up, as Pastrnak seemed to really like the idea of his team always having the puck with how much he cared about possession.

But it was still the right move for the Bruins to send down Pastrnak.  After a few years, the core of the team will be getting old but not cheap, and having a guy like this on the roster for a cap hit of under a million bucks through 2018 is too appealing to pass up.

Farewell, Jon Lester

Not too much to say here.  The Red Sox didn’t offer enough money.  Not in April, not in December.  Either tried to take advantage of his statements about a hometown discount or simply didn’t think he was worth decreasing the gap between the Sox and Cubs’ final numbers.  Either way, I’m not pleased.

Payroll flexibility doesn’t start Game 1 of the World Series.  Jon Lester is the kind of guy that a team that prints money should have no problem with paying a premium for, even if that’s “overpaying.”

But for now, let’s just say good bye forever to a guy who grew up with the Red Sox, beat freakin cancer, came back to win the deciding game in the World Series, threw a no hitter, developed into an ace, and then was probably the 2nd most important player on the Sox during last year’s World Series run.

Thanks for everything, Jon Lester.  Sad to see you go.