The annual war of words between the Giants and Cowboys have begun. CP3 talks have slowed to a crawl. The Marlins continue to shop and continue to shop in the expensive stores. Some scheduling news and why the best owner for the Dodgers could be….oh you’ll have to wait for it. Finally a crazy wrestling link and more in today’s edition.
–Justin Tuck does not like the Cowboys and it appears the feeling is mutual. DeMarcus Ware fired back which is unusual for him since he doesn’t usually entertain such back and forth usually but perhaps the tone is changing given how important this set of games are for both teams as they are the only ones left in the race for the division. Ebenezer Samuel of the Daily News has more on that.
The Cowboys and Giants don’t need any added fuel to the fire but that’s what we got and from a very unlikely source. The Giants on Sunday played valiantly and more importantly had a fire that they lacked for two weeks prior to that when they basically pulled a no-show against Philly and New Orleans. Philly they could’ve beaten while New Orleans just absolutely decimated them. Now comes the real challenge thanks to Sunday’s gaffe by the Cowboys. If you’re not familiar, here is a short summary of events. With the score tied at 13, the Cowboys were driving to set up for a field goal attempt. When Dan Bailey went for the attempt at a 48 yard field goal, Jason Garrett decided to call a timeout effectively icing his own kicker. The kick went up and it was good. The explanation Garret gave was that the play clock was running down and he couldn’t risk them not getting it off which is a viable excuse and if he had been called for the delay of game penalty the level of difficulty would’ve been raised and in a game the Cowboys HAD to win to give them separation from the Giants, they had to ensure the shortest field goal attempt they could. They kicked it a second time and wouldn’t you know it? No good. You know how the story goes from here, they go into overtime. The home team gets the ball and they score on a short bubble screen that goes for 52 yards. The Giants who had lost four in a row now effectively control their own fate. Win out, and the Giants are in. Win 3 out of 4 and the Giants probably need some help. But thanks to the Cowboys mishap, the Giants are masters of their own destiny which is where you want to be as a football team regardless of what anyone says.
As for wanting to be a Cowboy? Let’s be real Ware. The Cowboys have been colossaly overrated for years now and every single season they seem to have a stretch where they invite fans to hope and dream again before they make one bone headed play after another. The Cowboys could’ve opened the season 6-0 and there’s a fair argument to be made there but the coaching up and down of Tony Romo due to his rib injury earlier in the season and the constant miscues continue to haunt the Boys as they look to get to their first Super Bowl since 1995. In fact, the Cowboys would like to win a playoff game, which would be their first since 1996. Meanwhile Tuck’s New York Giants annual December slide notwithstanding, he has a Super Bowl to his credit. One that came on the back of a victory over the Cowboys when the Boys were the number two seed in the NFC and the Giants were a measly six seed. Sunday’s game is must win for both so the SNF game should be entertaining and hard hitting and could get chippy.
While the Mets and Yankees were rather quiet on the trade/acquisition front another rivalry was beginning to fizzle. Bobby Valentine fired the first salvo which should make Yankee-Red Sox games even MORE fun given the new manager’s experience against the Yankees as Mets manager. Ken Davidoff says he’s just having fun. Meanwhile the Jose Reyes press conference introducing him as a Marlins player happened yesterday and it was painful for any Met fan to watch as Jose Reyes said what every Met fan probably thought: they never made a real offer. They didn’t want me here. Sandy Alderson also had something to say about that. Ken Davidoff says the Mets were in a no-win position during the Reyes derby. John Harper of the Daily News says the hurt kid in Reyes came out during the press conference.
Yesterday’s press conference was admittedly tough to watch but even tougher when Reyes said what was virtually on every single Met fan’s mind. He felt the Mets never went out to retain him like the Marlins did and that’s the plain old facts no matter what great line that Sandy Alderson had in response to Reyes’ sad story about the Mets (lack of) pursuit of him this winter. And trust me it was a good one. But like Sandy said, his gift bag of flowers and chocolates would not have cost $106 million and that signals a significant rift between what Reyes felt his value was and what the Mets determined it to be. Remember, the Met front office now are inundated with stat geeks who make personnel decisions based on projection models and come up with contract figures they feel comfortable in giving and their admitted comfort in handing a long term contract in the range of six years and north of $100 million was a problem.
Here’s the problem: I don’t think the Mets WANTED to go for six years and I don’t think the Mets COULD go over $100 million. Two of Reyes’ major qualifications for resigning him. Meanwhile the full court press was on Reyes by Jeffrey Loria who came into his meeting with Reyes wearing a Jose Reyes Miami Marlin uniform underneath a trench coat which sounds about as odd and weird and endearing as he could make it sound. The Mets were in kind of a pickle and despite all the referendum about Reyes’ legs being a concern given his style of play, he was a home grown player and a New York team should be able to resign that home grown player if not for anything other than the fact than as a good faith effort to their fan base which is who is really being affected in all of this. A fan base who’s heard rumors abound that every player NOT named David Wright is being put on the block. In fact, the Mets were listening in on offers on Jon Niese who got several nibbles and Ike Davis, surprisingly, who got several nibbles notably from the Pirates who came away disappointed in how high the price tag was.
The Mets are asking for a lot for many of their players as they should. They are giving up salary controlled players years before arbitration in hopes they get strong positional talent of which they have very little of in the minor leagues. The Mets have future aces in Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, Jenry Mejia, and Zach Wheeler but very little in terms of positional talent which is what they are seeking. The Mets are right to be shopping everyone BUT Wright and I believe they should trade Wright but they are correct in not dealing him now while his value is low. Let him get some hacks at the shortened fences in Citi and hopefully it will help.
Meanwhile, Davidoff is right, for all the love and angst over Reyes leaving this is a guy that in 9 years has led the Mets to one postseason appearance. Let’s not make him out to be this all time great. Of course I’m in the bandwagon that the Mets should’ve made some sort of pursuit during the beginning hours and perhaps he would not have felt like they had no intent on signing him but it is what it is and we can move on. Either way Reyes was going to take the money, money the Mets did NOT have.
By the way, in other Winter meeting news, the Marlins struck out on Albert Pujols who was thought to be re-signing with the Cardinals until a mystery team entered the fray and now that team is known NOT to be the Angels because they are no longer a mystery team. They are the second team in pursuit of Pujols while there are sources who indicate that the mystery team are the Cubs who just want to drive the price up. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports finds a report indicating the Angels only having a certain amount of money to spend laughable considering their true intentions on signing both CJ Wilson AND Albert Pujols. Meanwhile, the Prince Fielder market won’t shape up until Pujols is signed and don’t be surprised if you see the Marlins go hard after Prince who is after all 4 years younger than Pujols’ given age and is a rock though not as defensively inclined given his body can’t cline as much as Pujols if you know what I mean. The Gio Gonzalez trade market is all but done as no team is willing to give up the Ubaldo Jiminez package for him as A’s GM Billy Beane had been hoping.
Amazing that the Marlins are continuing to spend that kind of money though the no, no-trade clause in contracts should scare any free agent given the Marlins history of winning a title and then throwing away expensive parts as far away as possible for cheaper ones. Its a business model that works for them so the promise of winning a title may be enough to lure these guys and then they can worry about the other stuff later but I’d be kind of worried also given their SEC case pending. As for the Gio Gonzalez trade market, I think that was kind of a tester to feel out what teams were inclined to give and who would give up more or stay firm. Billy Beane is smarter than you or me and it would appear he’s setting up the pieces to score big on Gio Gonzalez as it is a buyer’s market on pitchers with no free agent pitcher looking like a safe bet. Would YOU give CJ Wilson a 6 year contract? Sure he doesn’t have the wear and tear on his arm that Mark Buerlhe does but Buerlhe isn’t a hard thrower. I like the Buerhle signing for one reason: he gives you stability. With the condition of Josh Johnson’s arm you never know how long you will have him in any given season and Buerhle is an innings eater and a consistent presence on the mound. Not great performance but good and he gives you plenty of starts. Meanwhile, I expect Prince to get his 8 year $200 million contract especially if the Angels are going to be spenders and especially if the Marlins are uber aggressive and then you add the Cubs and perhaps a late push by Mark Attanasio and the Brewers. There could be even more hype and hysteria behind Prince once this Pujols to St Louis thing gets sorted out because let’s face it, nobody believes that Pujols is leaving St Louis.
The NBA season is soon to begin and by that I mean the trades, signings and all that will turn from rumor and innuendo to fact and misery for teams who will eventually sign one player to a long term extension that their fan base will immediately be pissed off about. Happens every year, and no new CBA will change that. Speaking of CBA, more facts keep coming out about the CBA every day like a clause that gives teams up to $500,000 to spend on freeing up players from their contracts overseas which is important for those trying to free up the JR Smiths and Wilson Chandler’s of the world and Howard Beck of the New York Times looks back fondly on his days spent in hotels and 4Am Press conferences. Meanwhile, with NHL announcing realignment, JA Adande wonders openly about what the NBA would look like under that same process. Sam Amick of SI.com AND Bill Simmons look at the leaders in the CP3 sweepstakes (hint: they’re all from California) which went quiet yesterday but are soon to pick up as most insiders believe a deal will be announced in 48 hours. His label mate Zack Lowe (who writes one of the more underrated sports blogs in Point Forward) writes about how the new schedule with its back to back to backs may be….fair? Marc Berman says the Knicks have officially bowed out of the CP3 trade-a-thon believing they will get their guy in free agency.
The Dwight Howard trade talks are just plain weird. But the CP3 sweepstakes should be interesting given that CP3 will most certainly welcome a change but won’t commit and will definitely opt out at the end of the season. It looks as though the Knicks won’t have the ability to trade for him so that means he won’t be able to get his max contract there unless something crazy happens in the next 48 hours. Simmons is right, Hornets GM Dell Demps is playing this right. Since he took the job he’s been preparing for this moment and the time has come and he’s moving swiftly and decisively. Unfortunately the Clippers wont give up Eric Gordon (understandably), the Warriors won’t give up Stephan Curry (curiously) and the Lakers want Dwight (I get that) more than CP3.
I’ve said I could live with Deron Williams if they don’t get CP3 and that looks realistic. CP3 will have to make a huge pay concession to play in New York and I hope he’s willing to do that as a Knick fan, if not I go back to that Melo trade as to why we didn’t get CP3. Remember that trade.
Although I’m sure they wouldn’t want those crazy Dodger fans who attacked Brian Stowe. I’m sure those guys watched a ton of wrestling growing up…and now.