Sunday, December 13, 2009

Can the Wolfpack Compete in the ACC?

The NC State Wolfpack is set to enter ACC play against Wake Forest with an 8-1 record, provided State takes care of business at home against Georgia State and Elon.

The Wolfpack is coming off a surprising upset victory on the road against a tough Marquette team, and the game before that, the Pack lost a very winnable game at home against Northwestern.

Those past two games the Wolfpack looked like two totally different teams, against Marquette the team shot 53.6 percent, and against Northwestern it shot 33.9 percent.

The Wolfpack also played much better on the defensive end against Marquette, allowing the Golden Eagles to shoot only 37.9 percent, while Northwestern shot 49 percent in State's previous matchup.

Javier Gonzalez is a very important part of this young Wolfpack team.

He is one of the team's veteran leaders, and he is needed to step up and make plays, whether that means for him to drive to the basket and score, or for him to step back and make the occasional three, or even to be a better "field general" by making better passes and limiting turnovers.

Javier played well against the Golden Eagles, scoring 15 points while shooting 5-of-8 from the field, 3-of-5 from the three-point line, along with having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.75.

The Northwestern game was a different story. Javier scored 10 points, but shot 3-of-12 from the field, and 2-of-6 from the three-point line while having a lesser assist to turnover ratio of 1.5.

Another key for the Wolfpack is that its bench plays a more important role, specifically players such as Josh Davis, DeShawn Painter, Richard Howell, and Jordan Vandenberg.

I like Dennis Horner as much as the next guy, but I don't think he can bang inside with the big guys on teams like North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Florida.

A combination of DeShawn Painter and Richard Howell and even Jordan Vandenberg should prove sufficient against those teams.

My take on Scott Wood is that he is talented and young, but he needs to take smarter shots, and maybe even fewer shots because he is costing the team valuable possessions.

Josh Davis is a better player right now because of his ability to drive to the basket, his ball handling skills, and his ability to step back and make mid-range jump shots.

I really feel that, at this point in the season, Josh Davis is the better overall player, and could contribute more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rafael Soriano for Jesse Chavez: Braves Drop ex-Closer for...Who?

I learned of the news today in my fourth period AP US History Class.

And when I saw it, I scratched my head a bit.

"So, the Braves just traded what likely would've been the second-hottest closer commodity for...Jesse Chavez?"

I'm sure many of you shared the same sentiment.

So, I did what comes natural.

I googled Jesse Chavez.

This is what I saw: 26 years old, only one sub-three ERA year in the minors (2.22 in eleven appearances a couple of years back), and lots of home runs.

"What's this crap?!?!"

I was a bit perplexed, so I sat back and thought.

"Elite--for ehh...experience--for not so much...expensive...EXPENSIVE...THAT'S IT!"

It was then that I began to put all of the pieces together that had fallen down in the past few hours following Rafael Soriano accepting the Braves' arbitration offer.

Every team that was interested in trading for Soriano knew that the Braves were desperately (no matter what they said) trying to become sans-Soriano.

Every team also knew that they didn't want to be pegged with all of his eventual salary PLUS loose a couple of descent pieces.

So, a day passed, and most team were probably saying things like "Frankie, we'll give you good Prospect A as long as you eat half of the salary the arbitrator hands it out," or "Wren, we'll give you Bat B if you eat half of Soriano's salary AND throw in one of your bench players or MiLB pitchers."

Then the Rays probably came along and said "Hey, here's a guy to give you some depth where you're losing it...and we'll take on his entire post-arbitration salary."

When you weigh the options, the option the Rays offered really isn't half bad.

While it's not likely as good as what the Braves' scouting team could have turned the two picks Raffy would've netted into, it's better than A) eating a pretty big chunk salary for someone else, or B) non-tendering Soriano and getting jack-squat.

While this certainly isn't a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, at some point, you have to acknowledge that there would be no David Wright's coming in, and that the Braves really don't have the financial flexibility to keep all of the guys they have AND add a couple of other pieces.

This move, despite the small return, gives the Braves the ability to go get two descent-to-above-average players to man left and first base.

For that, I like it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Granderson Lands In The Bronx As Part Of Blockerbuster Deal

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 27:  Center fielder Curtis Granderson #28 of the Detroit Tigers on July 27, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Tigers, Yankees, and the Diamondbacks have came together during this years winter meetings and have agreed on a major blockbuster trade.

The Yankees get speedy center-fielder Curtis Granderson, while giving up Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy. Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy were sent to the Diamondbacks and the Tigers get Ma Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke.

This trade was pulled off without the Yankees having to give up Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, or Mike Dunn which came as a surprise to many including myself

Curtis Granderson is a speedy center-fielders who also possess the ability to hit the long ball, which was indicated in his 30 home runs this past season.

Granderson did have an off year in terms of batting average he hit a horrible .249, but in terms of his career averages he has hit .280 and .302 in his previous full major league seasons.

Granderson still has three years of guaranteed contact left before his 2013 club option, in terms of money Granderson is owed 5.5 million in 2010, 8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012, with a $13 million club option/$2 million buyout for 2013.

This trade leaves one of my favorite Yankees left out for dry as Melky Cabrera no longer has a job as starting center-fielder, and may be expendable as these winter meetings continue on.

In my opinion, I'm not a fan this trade because not only are the Yankees giving up a good relief pitcher but they also are giving up another young talented player in Austin Jackson. My main problem in giving up Austin Jackson is that he was an important part of the package that would have been involved in acquiring Roy Halladay.

This also makes me wonder if they are going to bring back Johnny Damon and/or Hideki Matsui.

Let me know how you feel about this trade, whether you a fan of the Yankees or not all comments are appreciated