Just when it was starting to look really ugly for the Tribe, the pathetic Royals limped into town. C.C. Sabathia celebrated his new contract by combining on a 3-hit shutout, and the offense woke up for six runs. Boone went hitless again, so Wedge will have to address that situation soon. C.C. on the other hand looks awesome. Hopefully the Tribe can sweep the Royals and get the season back on track.
ESPN Insider Chad Ford laid out his reasons as to why he feels Phil Jackson should choose the Cavaliers over the Lakers, Knicks, Blazers and any other team competing for his services. He made several great points, among them:
*The Cavs could have nearly $20 million under the cap to work with, depending on what they do with Z.
Of course, the main selling point is having the league’s brightest young star, a surefire future MVP, on your roster. LeBron alone will perk Jackson’s interest.
Again, I have a hard time believing that Phil could pass up this kind of golden opportunity. Ford basically confirms that Jackson would have free reign in Cleveland, and combined with the chance to coach a kid like LeBron, you’ve got the league’s most attractive coaching vacancy. In fact, in Ford’s words, “The Cavs’ gig is the best open job in the NBA right now.” I couldn’t agree more.
Okay, enough is enough. In last night’s pathetic display of baseball that is becoming all too common in this town, the Tigers, in the 8th inning, INTENTIONALLY walked the winning run to first base in order to face the worst hitting third baseman in baseball, Aaron Boone. Boone, obviously not bothered by this utter lack of respect for his hitting ability, then cooperated by striking out on 4 pitches. Look, either this guy is still injured or he’s totally lost it. It’s not like he was ever that great a hitter in the first place — he has a career .266 B.A. — but he’s downright killing this team now. Last night he left another five men on base as he went 0-4 with 3 K’s. It’s time to sit this guy and let him either get healthy or figure out what’s wrong with his swing. Again, I am not quite sure if Wedge and this front office, or most fans in this city, for that matter, understand this simple fact: although it’s early, THESE GAMES STILL COUNT.
In the year that the Tribe was supposed to “contend,” they’ve dropped 12 out of their first 20 games after Wednesday’s 10-3 loss to Detroit. It’s not like they’re losing dramatically — they’re losing without any passion, without any fire, without any sense of urgency whatsoever. After the game, Wedge will say his usual crap…”We’ll start hitting”…”it’s early”…”can’t get too down or too high”…. I have no desire to buy a ticket to see this uninspired baseball. Spare me this “what does Wedge have to do with it” crap. This guy needs to start sitting players who can’t even bat their playing weight. Do something — sitting on your ass waiting for things to happen isn’t why you’re paid the big bucks, Wedge.
The Indians have already signed Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner to long-term extensions this season, and now it looks C.C. Sabathia is on the verge of inking his own deal. The Plain Dealer reports that Sabathia and the Indians are closing in on a contract extension that’ll keep the lefty in Cleveland at least through 2007 and pay him between $8 to $10 million during the first year of the deal.
Hmm…. I’m all for locking Sabathia up long-term but that dollar figure seems pretty high for a guy with a somewhat sketchy injury history, has battled weight problems throughout his brief career and has yet to develop into the legitimate #1 starter that his skill set suggests he should be. He won 17 games as a rookie (with a 4.39 ERA), but since then Sabathia has never topped 13 wins, bottoming out at 11-10 last year. His career 4.07 ERA is solid, at least in this day and age, but for a kid with so much promise he just hasn’t been able to take a pronounced step forward in his development. Granted, he’s still only 24 years old, he’s got one hell of an arm and he’s a lefty, all of which make him more valuable than his career numbers would indicate. It just seems like an awful lot of cash to throw at a guy who’s basically underachieved the past three years. Then again, we haven’t seen the contract’s official numbers — it may very well be heavily front-loaded, which would certainly make me feel better about the signing.
It seems inevitable that Phil Jackson will be back on the NBA sidelines in 2005, but what team he’ll be coaching is very much still in question. Jackson has already met with Lakers owner Jerry Buss and, reports say, Knicks president Isiah Thomas, and now a meeting with the “uncoachable” Kobe Bryant is next. Although it has yet to be reported, you’ve got to think Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is somewhere on Jackson’s list as well, with several NBA analysts saying the former Lakers and Bulls head coach will ultimately have to decide between LA, New York and Cleveland. ESPN’s Mark Kreidler, meanwhile, sets Jackson’s asking price at a steep $10 million per year.
So where’s the Zen Master going to end up? Call it wishful thinking if you want, but I honestly see the Cavaliers coming out on top in this one. The Knicks are a mess — no cap room, a selfish point guard and an absolute train wreck of a roster. I just don’t see it happening. And while I’m sure Jackson’s interest in the Lakers is genuine, considering his familiarity with the franchise (not to mention his familiarity with the owner’s daughter, Jeanie Buss), I have a hard time believing that Jackson’s turbulent relationship with Kobe, whom Jackson called out in his tell-all book “The Last Season,” can so easily be repaired. He called the kid uncoachable, for crying out loud, and gave the Lakers an ultimatum: trade Kobe or I’m gone. We all know how that one turned out. So what’s changed in the last year? The Lakers are a mess, sure, which no doubt strokes Phil’s ego, but if he couldn’t make it work with Kobe before why would he assume he could make it work now?
And why even take on that headache when you’ve got someone better than Kobe waiting for you in Cleveland? LeBron’s unselfish. LeBron doesn’t come with the baggage that Kobe brings. LeBron won’t give Phil nightly migraines. LeBron actually makes his team better by getting his teammates involved in the offense rather than trying to be the offense. LeBron is the best young player in the game and in another year or two, he may very well be the league’s best player period. How could Phil pass that up? Some say Gilbert stands as a potential deterrent, but if he was able to land Jackson he’d keep his trap shut and let his new Hall-of-Fame coach run the team. Plus, the Cavaliers have the kind of cap room that’ll allow them to make a much-needed splash in free agency. ESPN’s Michael Wilbon and Tim Legler, among others, say Jackson will choose LeBron over Kobe. Let’s hope they’re right.
An earlier rumor had new Browns RB Reuben Droughns ready to hold out for a new contract. Mary Kay Cabot from the PD is now confirming this story, reporting that Droughns left the team’s off-season conditioning program and won’t return until he’s got a new deal.
Unfortunately for Droughns, who’s set to make $950,000 in 2005, he doesn’t have much leverage. Sure, he ran for more than 1,200 yards last season for the Broncos but with Lee Suggs and William Green currently on the roster, the Browns aren’t going to rush to give Droughns a raise. They want him to prove himself this season before they throw more cash his way, and for a guy who’d spent his entire career as a fullback before last year, that sounds pretty reasonable.
Tom Friend from ESPN The Magazine wrote a great column before the draft arguing that Braylon Edwards should be the #1 pick for the 49ers due to his passion and work ethic. Friend discusses Edwards?s amazing work ethic and his desire to emulate the great Jerry Rice:
?Yes, the player’s son should go first overall. People don’t realize that Edwards, besides being an obvious talent, has a freakish work ethic. While he watches TV in the evening, he’ll do flexibility work, or sit-ups or pushups. He refuses to just lie down on the couch.
The only time he’ll sit still, in fact, is when he pops in a video tape of Jerry Rice. His father has compiled an extensive football video library, and Rice is the one player who gives Edwards the chills. He noticed how Rice would run just as hard in practice as in games, and that became Edwards’ approach at Michigan. That’s why he wore Rice’s No. 80 his first two years in Ann Arbor. That’s why sometimes he’d head to the track, after practice, and run extra sprints by himself. That’s why Michigan coach Lloyd Carr says no one is as gung ho as Braylon Edwards.
The kid has been thinking like a pro player for years. In college, he got a massage after every game, which is what the NFL studs do. His dad, who used to play for the Oilers and Lions, introduced him to the Rams’ Torry Holt, and Holt took him out to the field to tutor him. Holt let him have it, too, critiqued his pass patterns, and Edwards wasn’t offended at all. Now, every day, he’s working on hitches and digs and post corners, working on disguising his routes. He’s proud to have Randy Moss’s downfield speed, but also wants the route-running feet of Marvin Harrison.
He’s also the kind of kid who cried after Michigan losses, who played his junior season with a broken finger, but never mentioned a word of it. After games, while wearing a suit and tie, he’d throw passes to little kids in the Michigan parking lot. When the Lions’ M&M Boys, (Matt) Millen and (Steve) Mariucci, interviewed him this spring, they asked if he’d mind going to a team that already had Charles Rogers and Roy Williams. And Edwards answered: ‘No offense to those guys, but I love the game too much, and I’m gonna play.’ This could be the one player in the draft who has it all: Rice skill, Rice heart. The 49ers, 20 years later, should draft the reincarnate.?
Browns fans have to be excited after reading this description. This is exactly the kind of player you want to draft high in the first round. Edwards appears to have that unique combination of exceptional athletic ability, the burning desire to be the best and the willingness work harder than everyone else. If he keeps this up, he will lead by example and be one of the cornerstones of the Savage/Crennel era.
Round 1: Braylon Edwards, WR
Round 2: Brodney Pool, S
Round 3: Charlie Frye, WR
Round 4: Antonio Perkins, CB
Round 5: David McMillan, DE
Round 6: Nick Speegle, OLB
Round 6: Andrew Hoffman, DT
Round 7: Jon Dunn, OT
Man, does Jamie Moyer have the Tribe’s number or what? The Indians haven’t beaten the soft-tossing lefty in Seattle since 1998 and in his last six starts against Cleveland, dating back to 2002, Moyer has four wins with a 2.52 ERA. So it wasn’t surprising to see Moyer and the Mariners shut down the Indians 9-1 Sunday afternoon. Moyer went eight, allowing one earned run (an Aaron Boone homer) on six hits with five strikeouts.
Moyer was good, Scott Elarton was bad. Awful, actually, giving up five runs in just over five innings. Elarton is now 0-1 with a 7.58 ERA and he hasn’t lasted longer than 5.1 innings in any of his four starts. It’s about time to pull the plug on the Scott Elarton experiment, though I’d probably give him a one, maybe two more starts to pull out of it.