Ross Verba is an idiot
As the Browns start training camp, Terry Pluto is reporting that Ross Verba has just receive an offer in the range of $1 million for one season. Verba, you’ll recall, is the idiot who stormed out of Berea claiming that he would insist on a contract in the range of $34 million.
I bring up Verba because his situtation speaks volumes about the new regime. They don’t take crap from their players, and they don’t have inflated views of their own players’ talents. Verba is addition by subtraction. The line this year will be better, and that alone will make this team better. If Dilfer can stay healthy, he has plenty of tools around him and the offense should be fine.
Many are worried about the defense, but Crennel’s dynamic 3-4 schemes should make them respectable. If the youngsters come through this could be a good unit.
With so many changes, this team might struggle, but frankly I don’t care. Anything is better than listening to Butch Davis’s bullshit. The guy belongs in politics because he is incapable of telling the truth. With Savage and Crennel the fans and the players will get some straight talk. Over time, they should be able to deliver a team that challenges for the playoffs and hopefully the Super Bowl. I’m willing to be patient.
Twins’ Torii Hunter injured
Torii Hunter was injured in the Twins’ loss to the Red Sox. He apparently tore a tendon in his ankle and will miss 4-6. (UPDATE: It now looks like Hunter will miss the remainder of the season with a broken ankle.)
Despite a slow start in the second half of the season, the Tribe is in the race for the Wild Card, and this injury will hurt the Twins. The Tribe has had to play recently without Travis Hafner, but they are thumping Seattle tonight and they can’t be counted out.
The key for the Indians is pitching. Other than C.C., the pitching is keeping them in it, and if they make it to they playoffs they can do some damage with this pitching staff. If C.C. wakes up and remembers how to pitch, then the Indians can be very dangerous.
Is Maurice Clarett finally growing up?
Maurice Clarett helped the Buckeyes win a National Championship, and then he turned on the school and his former teammates by trying to destroy the program. Fortunately, the NCAA didn’t believe his bullshit and the Ohio State football program dodged a bullet.
Since then, it has been easy to take shots at Clarett, and we’re more than happy to do so, but we have to give him credit for the new contract he signed with Denver. The details are spelled out in a post on The Scores Report. Basically, Clarett will not take any guaranteed money and instead will receive significant performance bonuses. He’s showing he has some balls, and maybe, just maybe, he’s finally growing up.
Ohio State QB Smith did not break NCAA rules
Ohio State QB Troy Smith has been cleared of NCAA violations by Ohio State and the NCAA following an investigation over his attendence at a football camp conducted by Steve McNair. This seemed like a very minor incident, so it should be a relief for Buckeye fans that Smith will not have to sit out any more games following the opener. Regardless of whether he starts, the Buckeyes will likely need him against Texas.
Jasikevicius chooses Indiana
The Cavaliers reportedly wanted Lithuanian point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius, but so did Larry Bird. Well, Larry got his guy. ESPN is reporting that Jasikevicius has agreed to sign a three-year, $12 million deal with the Pacers Sunday. Doug Neusted, Jasikevicius’ agent, told ESPN, “It really came down to who he could win a championship with next year. He saw a chance to contribute and win and couldn’t pass it up.” I guess you can’t blame the guy for picking a quality organization like the Pacers, but I’m surprised he chose to leave (reportedly) more money and more minutes on the table in Cleveland, not to mention the opportunity to play with his best friend, Z. That said, I wasn’t as sold on him as some other people were, not for the Cavs, anyway. After the Larry Hughes signing I thought Jasikevicius made sense because the team was still in need of a three-point threat, but with Donyell Marshall on board that became less of a concern. And considering Jasikevicius’ noted defensive shortcomings, he just didn’t seem like a great fit.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many appealing options out there for the Cavs now at the point. The ABJ is still talking about Marko Jaric, but it doesn’t sound like they’ve got enough cap room to sign him and, besides, Jaric is a restricted free agent. That may be good news for Cavs fans, though, as Jaric has been injury prone throughout his brief NBA career and may very well end up making more money than he’s worth. The guy who probably would’ve made the most sense right now, Antonio Daniels, has already come to terms with the Washington Wizards. Of course, a Drew Gooden trade can never be ruled out but with how thin the Cavs’ frontline looks at the moment, I doubt they’ll move him for a guard. Want a dark horse candidate? How about free agent Gary Payton? He’s way past his prime and he’s got a big mouth, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Danny Ferry was at least kicking GP’s tires. Considering the other options out there, it makes sense.
Millwood finally gets some runs
The Indians offense had scored a total of two runs in Kevin Millwood’s last four starts, dropping the right-hander to 3-9 on the year. But Sunday, the bats came alive for Millwood in a 6-3 win over the Mariners. Victor Martinez hit a big three-run homer in the seventh to put the Indians up by four while Jhonny Peralta, batting third again, knocked in his 41st run of the year. Millwood, meanwhile, improved to 4-9 by allowing an earned run on three hits in 7.2 innings, striking out five. The victory gave the Indians a 2-1 series win over Seattle, with a west-coast swing up next.
Indians thump Royals for series split
Whenever the Royals come to town, you’re hoping for a sweep but at least the Indians avoided losing the series by beating KC 10-1 Thursday afternoon. Jake Westbrook earned his seventh win of the year by allowing one unearned run in seven innings while Jhonny Peralta, Casey Blake and Victor Martinez each homered in the victory.
Up next for the Indians, currently at 49-47 and four games behind the Twins in the Wild Card race, are the Mariners, who come to town for a three-game series beginning tonight at 7:05.
PD: Jasikevicius on board
The Plain Dealer is reporting that Lithuanian point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius is expected to be the next free agent to agree to terms with the Cavaliers. Contract details weren’t reported but the PD says the deal with the 6-4 Jasikevicius could be announced in a few days. Stay tuned.
Cavaliers sign Donyell Marshall
Okay, now I’m really excited. All the talk recently has been about which point guard the Cavs were going to spend their remaining cap room on, but instead the team has apparently decided that power forward Donyell Marshall is a better fit. Cleveland.com is reporting that the 6-9 Marshall has agreed to a four-year deal worth between $20 and $25 million. What makes this such a great signing? First, Marshall is a tough rebounder who pulled down nearly 10 boards a night for Chicago and Toronto in 2003 and 2004. Second, he’s a solid defender, averaging a block and a steal per game throughout his 10-year career. But the best thing is that Marshall can flat out shoot, hitting better than 40% of his three-point attempts the last three years and shooting 35% from beyond the arch over his career. He’ll instantly bring a defensive presence down low while also providing the Cavs with another potent scorer and, most importantly, a lethal three-point threat. Think the term “lethal” may be an overstatement? Marshall drained 12 of 19 three-point attempts (that’s not a typo — a DOZEN three-pointers) in a March 13th game against Philly last year and, despite not being a starter for the Raptors, Marshall ranked 13th in the NBA with 151 made three-pointers and 11th in the league with a .416 percentage from downtown. Yeah, this guy can shoot, plus he still managed nearly seven boards and a steal and a block a night despite only starting two games for the Raptors and playing 25 minutes per contest.
Of course, what this means for the Cavaliers’ vacant starting point guard slot remains to be seen, but we can expect to see Drew Gooden shipped out of town soon, most likely for a point guard. I would’ve liked to have seen Sarunas Jasikevicius in Cleveland next year but Marshall is a great fit as well. Plus, maybe Ferry can still figure out a way to fit Jasekevicius in once he unloads Gooden. We’ll see.
Indians trade Gerut
The Indians traded Jody Gerut to the Cubs Monday for outfielder Jason Dubois, who spent most of the season in Chicago before getting sent down to Triple-A Iowa earlier this month. I’m not sure what this trade accomplishes for the Indians, other than the fact that Dubois is a righty and Gerut a lefty. Neither player has played particularly well this year, though Dubois had seven homers in 142 at-bats for the Cubs while Gerut had just one dinger in 135 at-bats. Still, if you’re thinking this is the “right-handed power bat” Mark Shapiro has been talking about getting, think again. Dubois will be nothing more than a right-handed stick off the bench and should also see time in place of Casey Blake, who has been awful all year.