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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:33 pm

16. Arizona Cardinals
Record: 8-8
Biggest needs: OLB, CB, TE, RB, DE
Projected pick: Jonathan Stewart*, RB, Oregon
The Cardinals have more pressing needs on the other side of the ball -- like defensive tackle and cornerback -- but there isn't a player available at either position who is as valuable as Stewart. He has the speed to provide a big-play element that is missing in the Cardinals' rushing attack while splitting carries with Edgerrin James early in his career. Stewart also could offer a boost as a kickoff returner.

17. Minnesota Vikings
Record: 8-8
Biggest needs: DE, WR, S, QB, TE
Projected pick: Derrick Harvey*, DE, Florida
Believe it or not, Minnesota is still in the market for a pass-rushing defensive end despite investing recent back-to-back first-round picks in Kenechi Udeze (2004) and Erasmus James (2005). Harvey isn't quite as explosive as former teammate Jarvis Moss (first round to Denver last season), but he is more naturally athletic and if groomed properly should become a more complete player in the NFL.

18. Houston Texans
Record: 8-8
Biggest needs: CB, G, WR, S, OT
Projected pick: Kenny Phillips*, S, Miami
The Texans boast arguably the best young defensive line in the NFL thanks to former first-round picks DE Mario Williams (2006) and DT Amobi Okoye (2007), and now they need a ball hawk in the secondary who can capitalize when that line forces bad throws from opposing quarterbacks. Phillips could be the right man for the job. He needs good coaching to improve his consistency, but there isn't a defensive back in this year's class who can stack up with Phillips' overall blend of natural physical tools.

19. Philadelphia Eagles
Record: 8-8
Biggest needs: OT, S, WR, LB, TE
Projected pick: Malcolm Kelly*, WR, Oklahoma
Current Eagles OTs Jon Runyan and William Thomas aren't getting any younger, so Jeffrey Otah (Pittsburgh) and Michael Oher (Mississippi) are possibilities here. However, the Eagles are still in search of a big-play threat at wide receiver and Kelly could finally be the answer. Unlike most big receivers, he's a smooth route-runner who knows how to separate from man-to-man coverage. Kelly also might have the strongest hands of any receiver in this year's class.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Record: 9-7
Biggest needs: OT, WR OLB, CB, QB
Projected pick: Sam Baker, OT, USC
Cornerback is also an area of need but Baker would be a steal this late in the first round. He suffered through an injury-plagued senior season and he still needs to get stronger, but no tackle in the 2008 is better equipped athletically to step in immediately and improve the pass-blocking situation for coach Jon Gruden's West Coast offense.

21. Washington Redskins
Record: 9-7
Biggest needs: WR, DE, S, OT, CB
Projected pick: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
The Redskins' top priority this offseason is to add a playmaking receiver to the roster. There projects to be a run of wide receivers in the bottom half of the first round before the shallow talent pool dries up and if the Redskins don't get involved here they're likely to get shut out of the wide receiver market. Sweed could become one of the steals of this year's draft; he possesses top-10 talent but will no doubt be undervalued due to a wrist injury that cut short his senior season but should have no long-term affects on his pass-catching ability.

22. Dallas Cowboys (from 10-6 Cleveland)
Record: 13-3
Biggest needs: CB, WR, OT, ILB, RB
Projected pick: Mario Manningham*, WR, Michigan
Manningham is an underrated talent who could be special at the next level if he keeps his head on straight. With his good deep speed it wouldn't take Manningham long to take over Terry Glenn's role in the Dallas offense as the vertical threat opposite Terrell Owens. However, Manningham needs to get stronger in order to deal with physical press coverage.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 10-6
Biggest needs: OT. C, DE, G, RB
Projected pick: Jeffrey Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
The Steelers could use two of their first three picks on offensive linemen. They have bigger holes to fill inside at center and guard, but with his combination of size and skills Otah is far and away the best lineman available in this scenario. G Roy Schuening (Oregon State) and C John Sullivan (Notre Dame) could also become Steelers in later rounds.

24. Tennessee Titans
Record: 10-6
Biggest needs: WR, CB, TE, WR, OL
Projected pick: Early Doucet, WR, LSU
Considering the Pacman Jones fallout, it wouldn't be surprising to see Tennessee pass on the more naturally gifted James Hardy, who has off-field baggage. The Titans need to draft a legitimate weapon for QB Vince Young to target in the passing game, and although Doucet battled injury during his senior season, has the quickness and playmaking ability to help Young.

25. Seattle Seahawks
Record: 10-6
Biggest needs: OT, DT, RB, TE, G
Projected pick: Rashard Mendenhall*, RB, Illinois
It is unlikely that current Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander will ever return to his 2005 MVP form, and Maurice Morris has proven to be most effective in a complementary role. This year's crop of running backs is unusually deep, but Seattle might not want to wait; Mendenhall is an underrated receiver, has limited wear on his tires and is coming off a very impressive showing against the speedy USC defense in the Rose Bowl.

26. New York Giants***
Record: 10-6
Biggest needs: OLB, CB, S, OT, DT
Projected pick: Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
The Giants are in need of a legitimate upgrade at linebacker and Rivers is instinctive and athletic enough to contribute immediately on the weak side. Arkansas RB Felix Jones is another possibility here; his world-class speed makes him an ideal complement to current Giants power back Brandon Jacobs. Jones also can add value as a big-play threat as a receiver and in the return game, so keep an eye on this selection.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Record: 11-5
Biggest needs: WR, DE, SS, CB
Projected pick: Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn
The Jaguars should use this pick on the best available pass-rusher. Although Groves struggled through an injury-riddled senior season, there isn't an edge rusher in the 2008 class with better top-end speed. His stock is likely to soar following what should be impressive showings at the combine and individual workouts.

28. San Diego Chargers***
Record: 11-5
Biggest needs: G, OT, NT, FB, RB
Projected pick: Dan Connor, MLB, Penn State
Connor is a versatile prospect who spent most of his collegiate career at outside linebacker before moving inside as a senior. Similar to former teammate Paul Posluszny (second round to Buffalo last season), Connor is a bit overrated at this early point in the draft process. Regardless, he's athletic and tough enough to warrant late-first round consideration from a team like the Chargers, who are in need of an upgrade at inside linebacker.

29. Dallas Cowboys
Record: 13-3
Biggest needs: CB, WR, OT, ILB, RB
Projected pick: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
After nabbing a vertical threat at wide receiver five picks earlier in the person of Manningham, Dallas can take a chance on a potential shutdown cornerback in McKelvin. He has excellent speed and can also be a contributor in the return game, and McKelvin held his own against big-time competition this season.

30. San Francisco 49ers (from 13-3 Indianapolis)
Record: 5-11
Biggest needs: WR, OT, OLB, DE, QB
Projected pick: James Hardy*, WR, Indiana
The 49ers need a playmaker at wide receiver to take the attention away from TE Vernon Davis and some pressure off QB Alex Smith. And although Hardy comes with some baggage and he needs some polishing, no receiver in this class possesses a more imposing combination of size and natural athleticism.

31. Green Bay Packers***
Record: 13-3
Biggest needs: OT, S, CB, TE, P
Projected pick: Fred Davis, TE, USC
Former first-round pick Bubba Franks never developed into a difference-maker in the passing game and his career is on the steady decline. Davis emerged as the Trojans' go-to-receiver with 62 receptions as a senior, finally getting a chance to showcase his outstanding athletic ability. Packers QB Brett Favre would certainly welcome the addition of a tight end like Davis, who can stretch the seam and generate yards after the catch.

32. New England Patriots***
Record: 16-0
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: ILB, CB, OLB, OL depth
Projected pick: Pick forfeited.
The Patriots forfeit this pick as part of the penalty handed down for illegally taping Jets coaches from the sideline in Week 1.

Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. [/quote]

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:36 pm

Mel kiper chat- question about jets
Kyle (Pa): What are some other options for the Jets at #6 besides Gholston? Possibly trading down?

Mel Kiper: (1:07 PM ET ) First of all the Gholston scenario is the best scenario. He's exactly what they need. They need the combo DE/OLB. He played with his hand off the ground this year. Other needs for this team, OG, DE and a big time WR. They also have to assess Clemens.

Mel Kiper: (1:08 PM ET ) Chris Long would be ideal, but he'll be off the board by then. There's no WR worthy of being that high a pick at No. 6. So, the best option is Gholston.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:39 pm

Ray (NJ): All due respect to Dixon, because he is a great athlete, but dual threat QB's are generally not elite passers, and you need to be a great passing QB to get to the Superbowl. Look at the last four QB's left in the playoffs this year - Brady, Manning, Favre and Rivers - none of them are running threats.

SportsNation Buzzmaster: (12:58 PM ET ) Okay folks, Mel will be here shortly!

WE WANT MEL...: Where is Mel?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:01 PM ET ) We had my first first round projection of the year going up yesterday. We can get into where players are going and go from there.

Ted - Wilmington, DE: Question for Mel once he arrives....I understand that the Ravens & Dolphins have interest in Flacco (spent a bit of time interviewing him yesterday). Is it possible the Fish could target Flacco with the 1st pick in round 2, or would that seem a bit un-realistic for him to go that high? Thanks.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:03 PM ET ) I think they have to assess John Beck. We can't write him off. He was a second round pick by the previous front office. Obviously, Parcells and Sparano have no ties to him. The two teams that have decisions to make on QBs are Miami and KC, on Broyle. If they don't like their QBs they have to go after another one. Joe Flacco will be a second round pick, but not an early one. He has a big time arm and in the mid-second round is an area where you have to think about him. Miami has a lot of needs. They need help at CB, WR. They have a lot of holes on this team.

matt (colorado): Mel, how about sam baker to the broncos. we love athletic lineman, who dont have to be powerhouses in term or strength.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:05 PM ET ) They need a LT. Desperately. They're trying to develop a young QB in Cutler. He runs hot and cold, but has a great arm. What he needs to do is get more consistency, which will help him, is better pass protection. The key will be the LT. They will be looking at a chance at a number of LTs. They could look at Ryan Clady, Jeff Otah, Chris Williams, and Sam Baker. And with Jake Long being the top guy, you have five guys right there.

Kyle (Pa): What are some other options for the Jets at #6 besides Gholston? Possibly trading down?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:07 PM ET ) First of all the Gholston scenario is the best scenario. He's exactly what they need. They need the combo DE/OLB. He played with his hand off the ground this year. Other needs for this team, OG, DE and a big time WR. They also have to assess Clemens.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:08 PM ET ) Chris Long would be ideal, but he'll be off the board by then. There's no WR worthy of being that high a pick at No. 6. So, the best option is Gholston.

pat, pa: Only one qb in the 1st round Mel? What do you say to other mock drafts that include Brohm and Woodson in the 1st?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:09 PM ET ) That's the say I see it right now. It's not any surprise that it worked that way. Brohm had his injuries. He's not at the Senior Bowl this week. He's a good QB, but there are some reasons that he'll be a second round pick. Booty will be in the second round. Henne as well. Ainge, Woodson, Flacco all second rounders. I think Ryan goes to Atlanta.

Cory (PA): The steelers o-line is in disarray, but other than that, what do you think is the second most pressing need for them?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:11 PM ET ) I think right now, you have to say o-line. If you can get CB/S, a versatile DB, that would be something that's intriguing. More depth at WR. And at LB. Definitely OG is an area they have to address. Chilo Rachal, an outstanding pure guard out of USC. Another underrated player. You're going to hear a lot about him. He would be an excellent pick at No. 23.

Tim (IL): Mel - Please tell me the Bears will take an OT in the first round and worry about everything else later.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:13 PM ET ) Yeah, I think they will. They could look at a couple of spots. I have them taking Sam Baker from USC. That's a need they have to address. If you look at the Bears, they have to determine who their QB is. It's going to be primarily an offensive draft. They have to assess this very bad QB situation. They need a LG, OT, because they would like to move John Tait from LT to RT. They need a WR and a RB. There's no QB to take at 14. It's either going to be a LT like Baker or Clady or Chris Williams. One of those three. OR, they could go RB. Stewart could be there at 14. I have him going 16. They could go WR. Maybe a Manningham or Kelly. They'll have options.

Elliott (Charlotte, NC): You had Otah going to the Panthers at #13. What are some other options at #13, maybe Kenny Phillips or a DT,DE?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:15 PM ET ) Otah makes a lot of sense. He can help you at RT or LT. They could also look at WR. I think that's early for Phillips. He's more of a late first rounder or second rounder. I don't have him in the first round projection right now.

Joe (PA): What other options are available to the Vikes at #17? DE like Campbell or possibly a safety?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:17 PM ET ) Their No. 1 need is WR. I have them taking DeSean Jackson. They need an option across from Sidney Rice. That's why I think they look at Jackson. They also need to get a DE. They've tried, but they need a 10-sack a year guy. They could also need a talented young safety and a pass-catching TE.

Kyle (philly): Mel, You have dan connor listed as the top linebacker on your big board. Do you see him still being around for the eagles pick and if so would they take him? He's a hometown product and would be an instant fan favorite

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:20 PM ET ) Connor is one of many late first or early second round LBs. LB is loaded with guys that are late first or early second. The LBs in the group are Jerod Mayo, Curtis Lofton, Keith Rivers, Erin Henderson, Ali Highsmith. A lot of those guys will be in that mix. The Eagles need a pass rusher to work opposite Cole. They need a LT. They also need a CB. They have no true No. 1 WR and no depth at WR. They need to develop a safety. They could also use a TE.

Paul (Boise, ID): Shaun Alexander looks done. Do the Seahawks spend there first round pick on a RB or and OL?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:21 PM ET ) They could. They also need a TE. Where they're picking, Felix Jones from Arkansas could be there. Rashard Medenhall could be there. I think they need a TE that can catch the football. They've been searching for it and haven't found it. I think there will be a good one on the board at that point and that's Fred Davis from USC.

Fred (Virginia): Is Matt Ryan really a franchise QB, or is he just the best QB in this draft? How often do true franchise QBs come along anyway??

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:23 PM ET ) I think he's a very good prospect. Not a great prospect. When you look at him, he's comparable to what we thought Eli Manning, Roethlisberger and Rivers to be when they were coming out. All of whom have done solid jobs. They're not great. They're not elite, but they're very very good. They've all established themselves in this league. That's what I think Matt Ryan will be.

Steve (Chicago, IL): Hey mel, its pretty easy to say the 49ers need a WR. But with the loss of Allen and possibly Smiley, if we dont block, it doesnt matter. What OL do you see the niners targetting with #29 and then at the top of rnd 2?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:25 PM ET ) You have a couple of guards - Rachal is a guy that is excellent. Branden Albert is a guy that has G/T capabilities. Those guys will be there in that area. The guy I have them taking is James Hardy. He's 6-6 220 pounds. He's had double digit TD receptions each of the last three seasons. The 49ers need a quality WR. That's what he would provide for Alex Smith.

Jeremy (SF): Where do you see Lavell Hawkins going?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:27 PM ET ) He's one of those guys that's a yo-yo this year. He entered the year with an average grade. He rose significantly. Then he dropped. He played extremely well early on and then had some dropped passes late in the year. He has great feet. He can catch in traffic. At one point, I thought he could have been a second round pick. Now it's more of a fourth round pick.

Brian (Dallas, TX): I just heard Jason Garrett on the radio say that the Cowboys are looking at Early Doucet where do you have him going?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:28 PM ET ) I think he'll be a second round pick. He's an excellent slot receiver. He's been schooled against the top corners. He's worked against good CBs in practice. He's played in pressure packed environments. If he runs that 4.4, he goes in the second round. I think he'll be a very nice addition. He's very very battle tested.

Jeremy (St. Louis, MO): Who do you see the Rams taking 2nd overall?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:29 PM ET ) I think that's a hard one. Either Jake Long or Chris Long. I'm going Chris Long right now. They went with Carriker last year. If they can get Chris to go with Carriker, that will help. I think Jake has to be in the discussion. He can play G or T.

Scott (Dayton , Ohio): what would be the best pick at 15 for the Lions? they have a ton of holes to fill and need D. But a left tackel may help them more.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:32 PM ET ) When you look at the Lions, major issues at CB. They need a shutdown CB and a good No. 2 CB. I have them taking Leodis McKelvin from Troy. He's also a great return man. No. 2, I think pass rushing DE. In this scheme, they've seen some good pass rushers evolve. No. 3, I would say a RB. Kevin Jones has been banged up a lot. They need a quality RB. They have a new offensive mindset now. They'll run the ball more. OT and I would say MLB are other areas to address.

Jake, NC: How does the talent in this year's draft compare to the past two classes? It seems after the top 5 guys the talent level drops off considerably, making picks 5-10 just as valuable as a picks 15-20.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:34 PM ET ) It's interesting. Every draft is a good draft. It really is. Every draft produces a lot of players. One of the drafts that has been criticized, because some of the top guys didn't produce is 2005. Merriman, Luis Castillo, Lofa Tatupu, Michael Boley, Trent Cole, Brady Poppinga, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Roydell Williams, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Derek Anderson, Ryan Grant are all guys that came out of the 2005 draft. It turned out to be excellent overall, even though we had some busts in the early round.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:35 PM ET ) You can find players in every draft.

K. Davis: How is Owen schmitt looking? Any chance he goes higher than 3rd-4th round even tho he is a FB? What team does he go to? Anyone in need of a FB?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:36 PM ET ) I think FBs recently have been phased out. You have the TEs that can move in and play FBs when you need him to. I think Schmitt is the No. 1 FB, I think he is a 3rd round pick.

william (cleveland): what defensive line or outside LB do you see available for the Browns with their 2nd round pick?

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:40 PM ET ) The Browns have needs at NT, DT. There's no standout in the front three. They need a WR. A quality backup RB. And some guys they can look at are Marcus Harrison, Bruce Davis, Devin Thomas. Another guy moving up is Josh Morgan. He could be a second rounder. Some late round RBs that they could look at are Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles, Kevin Smith. There are always good running backs that drop out despite their ratings. You'll always get good value at RB. Another guy that has speed and HR ability is Steve Slaton from WVU.

Greg (Rochester, NY): Can the Bengals get Sedrick Ellis at No. 9? If not who else will be there - they need d-line players to help their young but promising secondary (J.Joseph, Leon Hall)

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:42 PM ET ) I have Ellis going 8. to get him at 8 would be a good pick for Baltimore. Cincy needs a tackle and could also get a DE. LB, they don't have a top drawer LB right now. I don't think they'll see one at No. 9. If Ellis is gone, you look at other d-linemen. They need defensive help.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:43 PM ET ) You could see no LBs coming off the board until late in the first round. That's why I was shocked that Laurinaitis returned. In a year with few LBs to choose from, he's a complete player. He didn't have his best game against LSU, but hey AJ Hawk went in the top 5 to the Packers. If he would have been there, Cincy would have looked at Laurinaitis. He would have been an outstanding pick. But he's going back to OSU, which is good for the Buckeyes.

SportsNation Mel Kiper: (1:44 PM ET ) I'll have a new first round projection coming out at the end of the next week. I just updated the ratings today. You could see the new top 5 at each position. We'll be back next Wednesday.

SportsNation Buzzmaster : (1:46 PM ET ) Thanks Mel!

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:36 pm

Nespn - World Series champ Red Sox spent $155.4M, far less than Yankees' record

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3210779

NEW YORK -- The Yankees did finish first in something last year -- spending.

While their streak of AL East titles ended at nine, the Yankees wound up with a record payroll of $218.3 million.

The World Series champion Boston Red Sox were a distant second at $155.4 million, according to information received by clubs from the commissioner's office. The Los Angeles Dodgers were third at $125.6 million, followed by the New York Mets ($120.9 million), Chicago Cubs ($115.9 million), Seattle ($114.4 million), Los Angeles Angels ($111 million), Philadelphia ($101.8 million), San Francisco ($101.5 million) and the Chicago White Sox ($100.2 million).

In addition to the largest payroll, the Yankees have the highest revenue in the majors. New York took in $415 million last year, giving about $100 million of it away in the sport's revenue-sharing plan.

Both the Yankees and New York Mets will receive revenue boosts in 2009, when they move into new stadiums.

"We're always working on increasing revenues, but it's getting harder and harder to do," Red Sox owner John Henry said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "The Yankees and the Mets will be greatly helped by their new ballparks which look to be state-of-the-art. They seem very well designed to maximize revenues and to greatly improve the fan experience. The renovations we have been at work on within Fenway, the new ballparks in New York, Washington, Minneapolis -- everywhere -- these are great for baseball."

At the back end were Tampa Bay ($31.8 million), Florida ($33.1 million), Washington ($43.3 million) and Pittsburgh ($51.4 million).

In all, teams spent $2.71 billion on players last year, up from $2.49 billion in 2006 and $2.35 billion in 2005.

The 30 clubs estimate they took in $6.075 billion last year, an increase from $5.2 billion the previous season and $4.7 billion in 2005.

New York has had the highest payroll for nine straight years. The Yankees' total rose from $207.5 million in 2006 and $206.6 million in 2005.

The Yankees were set to fall under the $200 million mark before signing Roger Clemens, who increased their payroll by $17.4 million. He went 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 18 appearances.

In addition to the largest payroll, the Yankees have the highest revenue in the majors. New York took in $415 million last year, giving about $100 million of it away in the sport's revenue-sharing plan.

New York is on track to lead the major leagues in payroll again but its total appears likely to drop. The Yankees have committed $198.6 million to 19 signed players on their 40-man roster. Adding in the midpoints for their three players remaining in arbitration -- Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano and Brian Bruney -- the total increases to $207.6 million.

Payroll figures are for 40-man rosters and include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses, earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercised options and cash transactions. In some cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Wait a minute Did Redsox spent money last year and Yankees brought Three young pitchers Hughes,Joba,Kennedy?

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:44 pm

World Series champ Red Sox spent $155.4M, far less than Yankees' record


http://myespn.go.com/s/conversations/show/story/3210779?prosaction=newpost&status=ok

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NEW YORK -- The Yankees did finish first in something last year -- spending. While their streak of AL East titles ended at nine, the Yankees wound up with a record payroll of $218.3 million. The World Series champion Boston Red Sox were a distant second at $155.4 million, according to information received by clubs from the commissioner's office. The Los Angeles Dodgers were third at $125.6 million, followed by the New York Mets ($120.9 million), Chicago Cubs ($115.9 million), Seat ...

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* Comments (1-12)
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ver1246
ver1246 (Less than a minute ago)

I think Nespn and Mlb are doing this on purpose by trying to embarrassed The Yankees and their spending free. Wait a minute Did The Redsox spent alot money last year and Yankees brought Three young pitchers Hughes,Joba,Kennedy?
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vladsmith1
vladsmith1 (11 minutes ago)
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Hey frostdude and friends---get a life you myopic apologists. Your loser Yankees have a payroll more than TWICE the size of 25 of the other 29 teams in MLB. Having the second-highest payroll, as the Red Sox do, does not put them in the same ridiculous strata as the Yankees. The Yankess paid $63 million in salaries more than the Sox did---to stars like Clemens and Giambi.
While you might not like to hear it, the Red Sox team salary is closer to the NY Mets, LA Angels, Chi White Sox, LA Dodgers, Seat Mariners, Chi Cubs, Det Tigers, and Balt Orioles than it is to the Bronx Underachievers.
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cmarnell2
cmarnell2 (15 minutes ago)
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How is this story loving Boston? Its an accounting fact. And regardless of who spent the second most, the Yankees still spent $62.9 million more than them, or to put it in different terms, they spent almost the entire payrolls of Tampa AND Florida more than the next highest payroll.

P.S. As TyCobbTigerz said, its an AP story
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TyCobbTigerz
TyCobbTigerz (16 minutes ago)
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frostdude1
Read: Associated Press!!!
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frostdude1
frostdude1 (32 minutes ago)
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Typical boston loving ESPN. Always trying to make the Sox look like the biggest underdogs in the game when they have the SECOND highest payroll in the majors.
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brncofn16
brncofn16 (37 minutes ago)
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the yankees are pathetic...spending all that money and not winning anything except a first round loss in the playoffs.
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TyCobbTigerz
TyCobbTigerz (50 minutes ago)
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soundadvice
Read: Associated Press
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soundadvice2k7
soundadvice2k7 (56 minutes ago)
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What a worthless story. ESPN is a bunch of Sox sympathizers.
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BullpenAl
BullpenAl (1 hour ago)
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What did spending all that money get the Yankees? Answer 2nd in the Division and a first round lost in the Playoffs.
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SOXteamofthiscentury
SOXteamofthiscentury (1 hour ago)
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In statistics, it is called an 'outlier'
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v_ball_addict
v_ball_addict (1 hour ago)
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yanks over pay everybody who doesnt perform good. once they become a yank they suck
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raymondmagnetic
raymondmagnetic (2 hours ago)
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"In addition to the largest payroll, the Yankees have the highest revenue in the majors. New York took in $415 million last year, giving about $100 million of it away in the sport's revenue-sharing plan."

Why are teams like the Marlins allowed to spend 20 mil on payroll and the Twins ready to let Santana walk when the Yankees are basically supporting all of the poorer teams around the league. This makes absolutely no sense.

As far as what the Yankees spent, I guess they can afford to when they're raking in the dough at that clip. It'll be interesting to see what the Yankees do next year when they have 60mil coming off of the books.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:46 pm

A few thoughts from the Sandman

http://yankees.lhblogs.com/

Mariano Rivera held a fan function at Mo’s New York Grill last night. Michael Kay was the host. The night included a Q&A session with the legendary closer.

One of our readers, J.J., was on hand and reported that Mo had some interesting things to say.

Rivera is against the Johan Santana deal because he believes Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy will develop into top-flight players

He’s sentimental about leaving Yankee Stadium and suggested he might retire if the Yankees win the World Series. “I will be hanging on to the columns and you will have to pull me out of there,” he said.

Mo told the fans that Jorge Posada is very tight with Joe Girardi and he believes their relationship will be a positive one.

1. JBRO January 23rd, 2008 at 5:35 pm

I agree with everything Moe said..
2. Jaewon January 23rd, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Go Mo!

Yankees and Giants are starting to show Boston what’s up. (OK, so the last time the Yanks and Sox were in action the Sox won the WS and the Yanks won the WC, but still.)
3. Bronx Liaison January 23rd, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Hughes had a chat on his blog today, I found the part about his velocity particularly interesting:

http://bronx-bomberz.blogspot.com/2008/01/hughes-accounts-for-velocity-loss.html
4. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 23rd, 2008 at 5:41 pm

I love Mo.
5. Jaewon January 23rd, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Rebecca: Is that you on Hughes’ blog under rebeccaoptimist?
6. JBRO January 23rd, 2008 at 5:45 pm

I hate how you have to sign up for an account at Phils blog…

And I wish Joba had a blog, actually I wish they all had em, that would be sweet.
7. Jaewon January 23rd, 2008 at 5:51 pm

JBRO: You don’t really need any info it took me 2 secs
8. mel January 23rd, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Awww. You mean Mo’s not in it for the money?

Big ups for the Baby Bombers! Seems like Mo has some inside information.

Bronx,

Thanks for the link to the link of the chat. That’s a big endorsement for Eiland. I can’t wait to see if he’s a positive influence on the whole pitching staff.
9. raymagnetic ™ January 23rd, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Mo’s going to forfeit 30Mil dollars and just retire? He’s not going to want to be the closer when the new stadium opens? I’ll believe it when I see it.
10. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 23rd, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Jaewon: Yep
11. mel January 23rd, 2008 at 6:00 pm

raymagnetic,

I don’t even want to think about salaries. There was an article about the Yankees spending a record $218 in ‘07. I didn’t even click on it. I want to ignore the whole issue because it just sucks when you keep breaking your own record like that.
12. Phil January 23rd, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Mo will be in pinstripes in the new stadium…you can etch that in stone.
13. mel January 23rd, 2008 at 6:02 pm

lol. $218M. The last time the Yankees spent $218 in a year was 1492.
14. i miss bernie January 23rd, 2008 at 6:06 pm

i love mo but he has said each time he signed a contract that he would retire at the end of it. thank goodness he didnt go through with it.
15. Doreen January 23rd, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Of course Mo is going to be at the new Yankee Stadium. Mo loves to tell a story, doncha know?

It’s nice to hear he has such a high opinion of the young guys, Melky included.

I really can’t wait for the season to start.

And now, to go to Phil’s blog….
16. Ranting Guy January 23rd, 2008 at 6:12 pm

So Octavio Dotel got signed?
For $11 million?
Sounds like a good deal to me.
How many years did they give him?
7? 8? 9?
17. JJ January 23rd, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Last night was such a great time, because Mariano is such a humble guy. The fact that he is the G.O.A.T at his position has not changed him. On that topic his quote was: “That is just what I do, not who I am.”
18. Doreen January 23rd, 2008 at 6:21 pm

I love Mariano!
19. Old Goat January 23rd, 2008 at 6:31 pm

I can imagine the closing of a stadium that has hosted so many legendary players would affect players like Mo in a hard way. While I like what I see of the new stadium, even the revamped, re-modeled stadium lost some of what the original had. At least it was on the same hallowed grounds, the shell was there.

I had the opportunity to watch some great players prior to the 70’s at Yankee stadium, it was old, but you felt so on top of it there.

I tend to doubt that the new stadium will give the other teams and the players the same “fans are right on top of us” feel that the original and remodeled ones did. The second tier is too far back for that.
20. Yazman January 23rd, 2008 at 6:32 pm

Mariano is my favorite Yankee (and I like a lot of ‘em) — career value, peak value, clutch value, leadership value, class value — what more can you want? The fitting final torch bearer for #42.

Maybe every young pitching stud should have to spend some time in the pen, for no other reason than sitting next to Mo and learning.
21. saucy January 23rd, 2008 at 6:32 pm

lol ranting guy… Very Happy
22. Fran January 23rd, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Mariano is truly one of the great guys in the game today. I am glad that he is a Yankee.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:47 pm

Nespn - World Series champ Red Sox spent $155.4M, far less than Yankees' record

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3210779

NEW YORK -- The Yankees did finish first in something last year -- spending.

While their streak of AL East titles ended at nine, the Yankees wound up with a record payroll of $218.3 million.

The World Series champion Boston Red Sox were a distant second at $155.4 million, according to information received by clubs from the commissioner's office. The Los Angeles Dodgers were third at $125.6 million, followed by the New York Mets ($120.9 million), Chicago Cubs ($115.9 million), Seattle ($114.4 million), Los Angeles Angels ($111 million), Philadelphia ($101.8 million), San Francisco ($101.5 million) and the Chicago White Sox ($100.2 million).

In addition to the largest payroll, the Yankees have the highest revenue in the majors. New York took in $415 million last year, giving about $100 million of it away in the sport's revenue-sharing plan.

Both the Yankees and New York Mets will receive revenue boosts in 2009, when they move into new stadiums.

"We're always working on increasing revenues, but it's getting harder and harder to do," Red Sox owner John Henry said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "The Yankees and the Mets will be greatly helped by their new ballparks which look to be state-of-the-art. They seem very well designed to maximize revenues and to greatly improve the fan experience. The renovations we have been at work on within Fenway, the new ballparks in New York, Washington, Minneapolis -- everywhere -- these are great for baseball."

At the back end were Tampa Bay ($31.8 million), Florida ($33.1 million), Washington ($43.3 million) and Pittsburgh ($51.4 million).

In all, teams spent $2.71 billion on players last year, up from $2.49 billion in 2006 and $2.35 billion in 2005.

The 30 clubs estimate they took in $6.075 billion last year, an increase from $5.2 billion the previous season and $4.7 billion in 2005.

New York has had the highest payroll for nine straight years. The Yankees' total rose from $207.5 million in 2006 and $206.6 million in 2005.

The Yankees were set to fall under the $200 million mark before signing Roger Clemens, who increased their payroll by $17.4 million. He went 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 18 appearances.

In addition to the largest payroll, the Yankees have the highest revenue in the majors. New York took in $415 million last year, giving about $100 million of it away in the sport's revenue-sharing plan.

New York is on track to lead the major leagues in payroll again but its total appears likely to drop. The Yankees have committed $198.6 million to 19 signed players on their 40-man roster. Adding in the midpoints for their three players remaining in arbitration -- Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano and Brian Bruney -- the total increases to $207.6 million.


Payroll figures are for 40-man rosters and include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses, earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercised options and cash transactions. In some cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values.

I think Nespn and Mlb are doing this on purpose by trying to embarrassed The Yankees and their spending free. Wait a minute Did The Redsox spent alot money last year and Yankees brought up Three young pitchers Hughes,Joba,Kennedy?

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:18 pm

Steroid Yankees? You have Proof? Pettite use after 2003 season. I suggest you Please Re- Read Mitchell Report aka Boston Redsox Director. I wonder Why Redsox players weren't name in Mitchell Report, oh that's right Mitchell is on Redsox payroll and he hid the Redsox players name... Players like David ortiz, Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek. 20004* Redsox put an asterisk.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:23 pm

I really believe that if anyone gets Santana this off season it’s going to be us.
The Red Sox & Yankees (except for Hankee) don’t want to pay the price in both prospects & money. Even Mariano Rivera was quoted today as not wanting to the Yankees to trade for Santana because he strongly believes that those young Yankee pitchers are going to be great. I’m telling you this is the Mets deal to lose. The Red Sox & Yankees are just in it to keep the other honest & make sure neither one get him for a song.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:24 pm

"Senior Bowl Tuesday South Team Practice: Two small school corners -- Troy's Leodis McKelvin and Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also enjoyed strong performances. McKelvin was the more consistent of the two. He has the speed to turn and run with receivers downfield and has both the change of direction and instincts in coverage to play early at the next level. McKelvin played aggressively Tuesday, closing on the ball with reckless abandon. He read Limas Sweed's quick out route and slapped the ball out of the big receiver's hands just as it arrived for one of the more impressive plays by a corner all day long. Shortly thereafter McKelvin dropped off his receiver and closed on a running back making a reception in the flat. McKelvin's feel for the play and explosive burst to close showed a level of instincts and physicality that few non BCS corners have shown in recent Senior Bowl history." - nfldraftscout

I've heard he loves to tackle too and doesn't miss many. The size shouldn't be an issue at 5'11 and 190. His only knock is ball skills right now Mayock was saying. He gets his hands on a ton of passes but doesn't pick many.

You can watch these senior bowl practices if you have the NFL network.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:30 pm

Ok, just a little research, for arguments sake. I put each player to a position to show the roster, not where they might actually start. With Pavana on the DL or DFA'd, I have 23 roster spots so I will add 10M in payroll for 2 more spots, plus demotions (like Igawa). Also, I wasn't able to find actual figures on Duncan, Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy but they will all be less than the 500K estimated. CMWang and Cano were also put in at their asking price in arbitration. Melky and Bruney were arby estimates as well.


Yankees actual payroll luxury tax payroll

C Posada.........13.1.............................................13.1
1B Giambi .........21 ..............................................17.2
2B Cano.............4.5 (est).......................................4.5 (est)
3B A-Rod.......... 29 (27sal + 2SB)...........................27.5
SS Jeter ...........22 (20sal + 2SB)...........................18.9
RF Abreu...........16 *16
CF Cabrera........ .650 (est) .650 (est)
LF Damon .........13 13
DH Matsui .........13 13

B Molina ........... 2 2
B Betemit 1.165 *1.165
B Duncan .500 (est) .500 (est)

SP CMWang 4.5 (est) 4.5
SP Pettitte 16 *16
SP Moose 11 *11
SP Hughes .500 (est) .500 (est)
SP Kennedy .500 (est) .500 (est)
SR Chamberlain .500 (est) .500 (est)
RP Igawa 4 4
RP Bruney .800 *.800
RP Hawkins 3.5 *3.5
RP Farns 5.5 *5.667
RP Rivera 15 15
DL Pavana 11 *10
ADDITIONALSpots 10 10


TOTAL 218.715 209.482

So that is what I figure payroll to be, barring any major changes. I think the 10M for the 2-3 additional spots is high, but lets just say actual is 215 (10 comes from insurance) and 205 for luxury tax (155 threshold) so additional 20M in tax for '08.

The 9 *s on the luxury tax side shows contracts that expire at the end of '08. 9 contracts (but 8 roster spots) totaling 84.965 actual dollars and 81.332 off the tax figures. Keep in mind those 8 spots must be filled and all the increases in contracts, so the Yanks do not have 80M to spend!

At some point I will figure the committed money to '09 and the roster situation, so we can have some fun speculating about the future!

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:31 pm

Yankees actual payroll luxury tax payroll

C Posada.........13.1.............................................13.1
1B Giambi .........21 ..............................................17.2
2B Cano.............4.5 (est).......................................4.5 (est)
3B A-Rod.......... 29 (27sal + 2SB)...........................27.5
SS Jeter ...........22 (20sal + 2SB)...........................18.9
RF Abreu...........16 *16
CF Cabrera........ .650 (est) .650 (est)
LF Damon .........13 13
DH Matsui .........13 13

B Molina ........... 2 2
B Betemit 1.165 *1.165
B Duncan .500 (est) .500 (est)

SP CMWang 4.5 (est) 4.5
SP Pettitte 16 *16
SP Moose 11 *11
SP Hughes .500 (est) .500 (est)
SP Kennedy .500 (est) .500 (est)
SR Chamberlain .500 (est) .500 (est)
RP Igawa 4 4
RP Bruney .800 *.800
RP Hawkins 3.5 *3.5
RP Farns 5.5 *5.667
RP Rivera 15 15
DL Pavana 11 *10
ADDITIONALSpots 10 10


TOTAL 218.715 209.482

So that is what I figure payroll to be, barring any major changes. I think the 10M for the 2-3 additional spots is high, but lets just say actual is 215 (10 comes from insurance) and 205 for luxury tax (155 threshold) so additional 20M in tax for '08.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:42 pm

218 - 155 = 63 million difference between The Yankees and Redsox payroll

Meanwhile The Redsox have $35million more than Mets .

Redsox payroll 155 -120 Mets Payroll = 35 million difference

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:44 pm

4:33 PM (report inappropriate content)

1 yankees $218.30 $62.90
* red sox $155.40 0
1 dodgers $125.60 $(29.80)
2 mets $120.90 $(34.50)
3 cubs $114.40 $(41.00)
4 angels $111.00 $(44.40)
5 white sox $100.20 $(55.20)
These are the numbers. The gap between the Red Sox and Yankees is larger then the gap between the Red Sox and the next 5 lower teams

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:56 pm

Yes the Red Sox are what they hate.They are now the big budget team beating the small market team in the world series.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:17 pm

Crown elusive for Yankee team in transition

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/yankees/2008-01-23-organizational-report_N.htm


Veteran catcher Jorge Posada and rookie pitcher Joba Chamberlain provide a metaphor for the state of the Yankees franchise as the club looks to mix in a group of talented newcomers with its established veteran stars.
Enlarge image Enlarge By Jim McIsaac, Getty Images
Veteran catcher Jorge Posada and rookie pitcher Joba Chamberlain provide a metaphor for the state of the Yankees franchise as the club looks to mix in a group of talented newcomers with its established veteran stars.

ORGANIZATIONAL REPORTS
Index: Sports Weekly's in-depth look at the 30 clubs
About this series: Sports Weekly is taking an in-depth look at each major league organization during the offseason. We analyze what teams must do or are doing to improve, look ahead to 2008, share fun facts and more.



By Paul White, USA TODAY
Two years ago, when New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman signed a three-year contract, he said, "We have three years to try to deliver a championship and try to rebuild the system."

With a year left, Cashman can claim to have succeeded on one count, but it's not the one that seemed more likely back then.

The Yankees still haven't won a World Series since 2000, but the farm system has been restocked to the point that a group of young pitchers are the focal point of Yankees hopes as the franchise goes through the most extensive retooling in recent history.

The pitchers Cashman has refused to part with are the key to winning, the Yankees have a new manager for the first time since 1996 and control of the franchise has changed for the first time in 35 years. And on top of that, they're entering the final season at storied Yankee Stadium.

Joe Girardi has replaced Joe Torre as manager, and Hank Steinbrenner has taken over day-to-day control from his father, George, but this is hardly a franchise in turmoil.

They're still the Yankees — as Cashman says, "still the Steinbrenner Yankees" — with the offense that scored 76 more runs than any other team in the major leagues in 2007. They have the game's best player in third baseman Alex Rodriguez and arguably its best leader in team captain and shortstop Derek Jeter.

They have been in the playoffs 13 consecutive seasons, but is the streak in jeopardy? Possibly, with the Boston Red Sox having ended the Yankees' run of nine division titles in a row on the way to a second World Series win in four years and an improved Detroit Tigers team combining with the Cleveland Indians for a potent 1-2 punch in the AL Central.

Those three teams will likely make winning the AL East or repeating as the wild-card team more difficult for the Yankees.

That means pressure in the win-now world of the Yankees. But Cashman stuck to his vision of creating a core of homegrown players last season, even while the team struggled early in the year and the temptation grew to trade some of the prospects for veteran reinforcements.

Now Girardi finds himself comparing the first Yankees team under his control to the one Torre took over in 1996, another team that was counting on a trio of young players.

"You can compare a little bit to 1996," Girardi says. "Obviously, the pieces were spread out a little bit, but you had a rookie shortstop (Jeter), you basically had a rookie pitcher in Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera (both in their second season), and think about the roles they played that year for the New York Yankees in winning the championship. I'd like to parallel it to that."

All homegrown players, Jeter hit .314 that season, Pettitte won 21 games and Rivera was the key setup man for John Wetteland on a team that won the World Series.

Girardi's three key youngsters are pitchers —Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy— and their emergence is especially important given that Pettitte (35) and Mike Mussina (39) are at the back end of their careers. That's why the late-season performances of Chamberlain and Kennedy — a combined five earned runs allowed in 43 innings — plus Hughes' 13 starts as a rookie has the Yankees excited. Remember, none of the three had reached his 23rd birthday by season's end.

"Yeah, two of them might be starters, one might be in the bullpen or three of them might be starters or one of them might be a starter," Girardi says of the young pitchers' roles in 2008.

"They are expected to step up, and I think they are ready to make that step."

Chien-Ming Wang, who led the team with 19 victories last season, is the No. 1 starter, and Mussina and Pettitte will be counted on as much as the youngsters. The Yankees aren't turning everything over to their kids.

Mussina will be watched most closely. How well he pitches could determine whether the Yankees need all three of their young arms in the rotation. Mussina's 5.15 ERA last season was a career worst, and his 11 victories matched his low since he became a full-time starter in 1992.

"You know, a lot of people had some question marks on Mike Mussina, but he had some pretty good months last year," Girardi said. "He had a bad month. And it seems when you get older and you have a bad month, people automatically think that you are done. If you're young and you have a bad month, you need more seasoning. And if you're in the middle of the career, you just say you're having a bad month.

"I don't think Mike Mussina has forgotten how to pitch, and I still think that he can be successful."

Indeed, Mussina had an 8.87 ERA in August but rebounded to 3.49 for September.

For all of the attention on the young pitchers, plus several others who could find spots in the bullpen this season, the Yankees haven't backed away from veterans or their free-spending ways.

After all, since the end of last season, they kept Rivera, their 38-year-old closer, with a three-year, $45 million contract and catcher Jorge Posada, 36, with a four-year, $52.4 million deal after the best offensive season of his career.

Most of the everyday lineup will be over 30, the only exceptions being second baseman Robinson Cano, 25, and center fielder Melky Cabrera, 23.

The next wave of offensive players from the system is probably a year or two away, but the Yankees enter 2008 with their most promising group of 20-somethings in more than a decade. The future is looking up while the present has avoided a downturn, unless a mere wild-card berth counts as an off-year.

Cashman doesn't have long to wait to find out what's acceptable for the next generation of the Yankees.

---

Yankees prospect report: Outfield, pitching are assets

The pitchers providing immediate impact will get the most notice this season, but the Yankees have plenty more coming — including position players — in what has become one of the deeper farm systems in baseball.

General manager Brian Cashman focused on pitching as he used trades in recent seasons to help beef up a system that already was doing a pretty good job of developing talented arms, several of which should be playing in the Bronx this year.

Minor league players Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson were among the three pitchers the Yankees received from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the trade for Randy Johnson last January.

Two months earlier the Yankees sent Gary Sheffield to the Detroit Tigers for a package that included Humberto Sanchez, a talented right-hander who missed all of last season and probably won't be ready for spring training after Tommy John surgery. But he's only 24 and could be called up to the Yankees later this year.

The best position players in the system are outfielders, led by Jose Tabata, who won't turn 20 until August but already has moved up through three levels. The one infielder with a chance to contribute soon is Alberto Gonzalez, a strong defensive shortstop acquired in the Johnson trade. He can play any infield spot and could be ready for a major league utility role.

The best in the system:

•RHP Joba Chamberlain: The late-season relief sensation will be moved back to the starting rotation this spring and, barring an unexpected flop, will be in the major league rotation and one of the preseason Rookie of the Year favorites.

Chamberlain struck out 135 of the 346 batters he faced in the minor leagues last year and did most of it as a starter. He had 15 starts among his 18 appearances in his first season in the minors after being taken as a sandwich pick after the first round of the 2006 draft.

•RHP Ian Kennedy: He was drafted 21st overall, 20 picks ahead of Chamberlain, in 2006 but is behind Chamberlain, albeit ever so slightly, in the pecking order for a major league rotation spot.

He's not as big (barely 6-0) nor as hard-throwing as Chamberlain and teammate Phil Hughes, but Kennedy has outstanding command, especially of his two-seam and four-seam fastballs. Kennedy, 23, also has a slider and curve.

•OF Jose Tabata: He's not quite as polished as some of the other top outfielders in the system, but he is on the fast track and has handled the quick movement through the system reasonably well.

Tabata had hand problems after being hit on the wrist by a pitch in 2006 and missed part of that season but bounced back last year to hit .307 at Tampa in the Florida State League.

He will move up to Class AA this year and is being groomed as the right fielder of the future.

•OF Austin Jackson: The athletic Jackson is the most likely center fielder among the Yankees' top outfield prospects. The 20-year-old split last season between the two full-season Class A teams and even got to play one game at Class AAA.

He has made progress in cutting down his strikeouts since choosing baseball over a basketball scholarship to Georgia Tech, but that's still his biggest challenge in order to advance through the system.

•OF Brett Gardner: He is the closest to the majors among the organization's outfield prospects after hitting a combined .281 at Class AA and AAA last season.

Gardner, who can handle center or left field, has the most speed among the outfielders, stealing 97 bases while hitting one home run in 833 at-bats during the last two seasons.

The Yankees outfield remains filled for the time being, but if a short-term call-up is needed this season, Gardner is a likely candidate.

2007 minor league wrap-up

•Class AAA: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Yankees, first place in the International League North; lost in the first round of the playoffs

•Class AA: Trenton (N.J.) Thunder, 83-59, first place in the Eastern League North; won league championship

•High-A: Tampa Yankees, 83-56, first place in the Florida State League West; did not make playoffs because team didn't win first or second half

•Low-A: Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs, 78-62, four place in the South Atlantic League Southern

•Short-season: Staten Island (N.Y.) Yankees, 47-28, second place in the New York Penn League McNamara

•Rookie: Gulf Coast (Tampa) Yankees, 42-17, first place in the Gulf Coast League North; won league championship

---

Where the Yankees stand at each position:

Catcher

With no replacement in sight, the new four-year contract Jorge Posada signed solved a potential problem. He is coming off the best offensive season of his 10 years as a starter, and the 144 games he played were his most since 2000.

First base

Jason Giambi remains the first baseman, though, like last year, he's probably better-suited to be a DH. Shelley Duncan's strong power performance after his call-up last year makes the 28-year-old rookie a right-handed alternative to lefty Giambi. Like every other infield position, first base is something utilityman Wilson Betemit can handle.

Second base

Robinson Cano is beyond having a breakout season. He is a career .304 hitter in three major league seasons and didn't turn 25 until after last season.

Third base

Alex Rodriguez is coming off the best season of his career and has a new contract. He has averaged 159 games over the last seven seasons, playing in 162 in three of those years. So much for opportunities for anyone else.

Shortstop

Derek Jeter has sat out 25 games over the last four seasons, so there's almost no need for a backup on the roster. The Yankees captain remains a fixture at 33. The top infield prospect in the system, Alberto Gonzalez, is a shortstop. He'll spend the season waiting at Class AAA.

Left field

Johnny Damon moved out of center field because of Melky Cabrera's emergence, Hideki Matsui's broken wrist and Damon's back problems. Damon and Matsui will split the left field and DH time most of the season. Damon covers more ground in the outfield but has the weaker arm. Duncan can fill in if necessary, while prospects Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson could be future left fielders.

Center field

Cabrera claimed the job last season, and the Yankees expect him to keep it. Damon remains capable of playing the position at which he has spent most of his major league career.

Right field

Bobby Abreu will play every day for the foreseeable future, though prospect Jose Tabata is coming fast. Don't expect to see Tabata for another year, though.

Designated hitter

Damon and Matsui will share the bulk of the job, though Giambi will also be used.

Starters

Nowhere is the transition of the Yankees more apparent than in the starting pitching. They are counting on one more solid season apiece from veterans Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte, but Chien-Ming Wang has emerged as the most dependable and consistent pitcher in the rotation. After that, the future is now. Phil Hughes got 13 major league starts last year in the season in which he turned 21. The fifth spot belongs to Joba Chamberlain after one pro season, which culminated in dominant major league relief work. It's unlikely Chamberlain will get bumped back to the bullpen, at least in the near future, but the Yankees have options should Chamberlain or anyone else falter. Rookie Ian Kennedy is next in line from a long-term standpoint, but Kei Igawa will try to bounce back from a disappointing first year in the USA.

Bullpen

The Yankees are deeper in relievers than they've been in several years. Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins will be the key late-inning setup guys. Rookie Jonathan Albaladejo, acquired from the Washington Nationals in December, is a strong candidate to make the roster. Sean Henn is the only lefty on the 40-man roster unless Igawa or Class AAA starter Chase Wright gets moved into the bullpen.

Closer

Mariano Rivera signed a three-year contract after last season, so there's little chance he's going to give up the role he's held and dominated for the last 11 seasons.

---

Yankees' top salaries

Their seven-year deal with Jason Giambi expires after 2008, though he'll be due a $5 million buyout.

Player, Salary

Alex Rodriguez, $27M

Jason Giambi, $21M

Derek Jeter, $20M

Bobby Abreu, $16M

Andy Pettitte, $16M

Arbitration eligibles

Even their young players don't come cheaply anymore: Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang will see their first seven-figure salaries this year and could be in line for multiyear deals if so inclined.

Player, Salary

Robinson Cano, $490,800

Chien-Ming Wang, $489,500

Wilson Betemit, $405,000

Brian Bruney, $395,545

Division power rankings

Barring any movement on the Johan Santana front, these rankings figure to hold up.

AL East rank, League

1. Boston Red Sox, 1st

2. New York Yankees, 3rd

3. Toronto Blue Jays, 7th

4. Baltimore Orioles, 13th

5. Tampa Bay Rays, 14th

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:32 pm

Rob Neyer- Ranking the best second basemen

QUOTE
http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob
Today we continue our series of ranking the best players at each position, with an eye on the next five years ...

Last season there was one great second baseman and a passel of good ones. Chase Utley was the great one, but aside from him there were 10 everyday second basemen with OPS's between .805 and .875, and worthy candidates Howie Kendrick and Ian Kinsler weren't far behind. How to sort through all of them? Well, fair or not, I'm going to summarily dismiss (for the moment) anybody who's 30 or older this season, which eliminates Jeff Kent (40), Placido Polanco (32), Brian Roberts (30) and Orlando Hudson (30). That still leaves nine candidates.

Player Age OBP SLG OPS+ WARP
Chase Utley 29 .410 .566 145 9.3
Robinson Cano 25 .353 .488 120 9.2
Kelly Johnson 26 .375 .457 117 6.7
Dustin Pedroia 24 .380 .442 112 5.3
Ian Kinsler 26 .355 .441 109 5.4
Howie Kendrick 24 .347 .450 108 2.0
Dan Uggla 28 .326 .479 108 7.9
Rickie Weeks 25 .374 .433 108 3.5
Brandon Phillips 27 .331 .485 105 7.6

That last column is a new one: WARP, Wins Above Replacement Player, arrives courtesy of Baseball Prospectus and incorporates defensive value (in the form of Fielding Runs Above Replacement, which I believe is a generally worthy metric). Kendrick and Weeks both drop quite a bit with the inclusion of FRAR, while Uggla and Phillips both move up quite a bit.

The biggest mover, though, is Cano, who's credited with 50 FRAR, a gigantic number for a second baseman. Even if you don't believe he was that good with the glove, he still has to rank as one of the two best second basemen in the majors, right? Considering the league in which he plays?

For me, the options are clear: If you're looking for a second baseman for the next five years, you must choose Utley's bat or Cano's youth, and all the rest is just fighting over table scraps.

I'll take Cano, because I don't think we've yet seen his best work and because he plays in the toughest division in the toughest league. So here's how I've got them, with (as usual) the last spot held open for the next great second baseman who hasn't established himself yet. Remember, we're talking about value over the next five seasons ...

1. Cano
2. Utley
3. Pedroia
4. Phillips
5. Johnson
6. Kinsler
7. Weeks
8. Kendrick
9. Hudson
10. ????

One could definitely make the case for Roberts instead of Kendrick or Hudson, and maybe even Weeks (because of the latter's poor defense). The real surprise here is Johnson. He got a late start, but his hitting seems to be legitimate and defensively he's better than most. I'm not at all sure he'll have a better career than Weeks or Kendrick, but I do think he'll have a better next five years.


I gave Mr. Neyer's credit even though He's a Yankees hater for picking and recognizing Robbie's value over Pedrioa, Utley next five years

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:45 pm

Gunslinger mentality getting Brady in trouble
Joyner


http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/insider/columns/story?columnist=joyner_kc&id=3209816

Tom Brady's 2007 season will take its rightful place among the legendary seasons of all time, but his recent struggles are a big concern.

In three of his past five games (New York Jets, Miami and San Diego), Brady's passer rating has been below 80, and in two of the games his passer rating was below 70. Brady also threw six of his 11 interceptions overall (eight regular season, three postseason) in those three games.

I reviewed the metrics from those games to see what specifically caused Brady to falter. The first reason I found is that these defenses took away the Patriots' vertical passing game. To illustrate this, just look at Brady's yards per attempt (YPA) by route depth in these three contests:

Tom Brady
Route Depth Att Comp Yards TD INT Pen Pen Yards YPA
Short 55 44 354 3 1 0 0 6.4
Medium 21 7 105 0 3 3 19 5.9
Deep 8 2 59 1 1 1 13 9.0
Bomb 8 1 46 0 1 0 0 5.8

It is never a good sign when a team's short pass YPA is higher than its medium (11-19 yards) and bomb (30-plus yards) YPA, yet that was exactly the case for New England.

The Patriots' numbers were down in large part because these defenses were primed to eliminate long passes. When Brady was faced with this type of coverage scheme in the past, he would show incredible patience with the dink-and-dunk short passing attack and beat teams with a collection of 5-yard passes.

The divisional playoff game against the Jaguars proved that Brady is still capable of effectively utilizing the safe, short-pass approach, but he didn't do that during the three games of this study. Not only did Brady throw 37 vertical passes versus 55 short passes, by my count Brady had seven bad decisions in his 103 total drop-backs in these contests.

That equates to a 6.8 percent bad decision rate, and that number has to be the most disturbing and surprising part of this analysis. Over the years, Brady's bad decision percentages have usually been at or below 1, which placed him at or near the top of the list of the most consistent good decision-makers in the NFL. To put it another way, Brady had more bad decisions in this study than he did in the entire 2006 season.

The totals are bad enough, but the variety of bad decision types is also unsettling. He stared at a receiver on two occasions, forced a pass into coverage on three others and didn't see a zone defender in the passing line two times, as well. These are quite simply the kinds of mistakes that Brady never used to make.

This might sound like piling on, but it actually could have been worse given how often Brady was forcing passes to Randy Moss. Three of Brady's bad decisions came on throws to Moss, but there were four other passes where Moss was either double- or triple-covered, yet Brady chucked the ball to him.

Having to force passes into coverage to keep Moss happy is exactly what caused a ton of friction between Daunte Culpepper and Moss when they were paired up in Minnesota, so this does beg the question of whether Brady is doing this to keep Moss happy.

What all of these notes say to me is that we might be seeing a new Tom Brady. For years, the one comment that could be safely made about Brady is that he was not going to beat the Patriots with his mistakes.

After seeing this metric review, I am beginning to wonder if Brady's playing it safe all those years was a byproduct of the below-average receiving corps that New England possessed during its earlier Super Bowl runs. Now that he has a top-of-the-line group of receivers, Brady seems quite willing to tap into the gunslinging part of his psyche and take many more chances.

The extra risk-taking has made for a very exciting year, but if Brady doesn't cut back on his mistakes against an opportunistic Giants defense in Super Bowl XLII, he may very well regret getting away from his safe tendencies.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:53 pm

So close, yet so far from immortality

[quote]By David Schoenfield, Thomas Neumann and Mike Philbrick
Page 2

Updated: January 23, 2008, 6:02 PM ET

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=teams/080123

For a team to enter the pantheon of greatness, there is one minimum requirement: a championship ring. Don't believe us? Just ask Marty Schottenheimer and his 5-13 playoff record.

So here are the 18 greatest teams (beware, New England Patriots!) that were cruising to immortality … but took a detour to the world of Marty.


1. 1996 Detroit Red Wings

Record: 62-13-7 (131 points), lost Western Conference finals 4-2 to Avalanche

What went right: The Wings set an NHL record for victories, even though 4-on-4 overtimes and shootouts had yet to be adopted. They won the President's Trophy by a whopping 24 points and boasted six players with 60 or more points.


Steve Yzerman scored 95 points, including his 500th career goal, for the Red Wings, but his team faltered in the playoffs.

What happened in playoffs: Detroit was taxed from the outset; it labored past eighth-seeded Winnipeg in six games and needed an overtime winner by Steve Yzerman to beat St. Louis in seven. And the Wings couldn't match Patrick Roy and upstart Colorado in one of the chippiest series in NHL lore, losing in six and setting the stage for the terrific Wings-Avs rivalry of the late 1990s and early 2000s. … We still can't believe Dino Cicarelli shook Claude Lemieux's "freakin' hand."

Marty factor: Five. When you set a league record for victories, you're expected to win the championship.



2. 2001 Seattle Mariners

Record: 116-46, lost ALCS in five games to Yankees

What went right: After losing Alex Rodriguez to free agency, the Mariners responded by signing Ichiro Suzuki from Japan and free agent Bret Boone. Ichiro hit .350 and energized the team with his baserunning and defense; Boone had one of the great years ever for a second baseman, hitting .331 with 37 home runs and 141 RBIs. They finished first and third, respectively, in MVP voting. The Mariners led the AL in runs scored, fewest runs allowed, fewest errors, stolen bases, attendance and karma. They went 20-5 in April and never slowed, reeling off winning streaks of eight, nine and 15 games. No wonder they tied the major league record for wins in a season.

What happened in the playoffs: After beating Cleveland in the ALDS, the Mariners' bats hit a cold spell against the Yankees. They lost the first two at home, 4-2 and 3-2, getting just 10 hits combined. After Seattle's 14-3 win in Game 3, Alfonso Soriano's bottom-of-the-ninth home run off Kaz Sasaki won Game 4 for New York. Game 5 was a forgettable 12-3 blowout. Maybe if the Mariners had kept A-Rod, they would have won it all (ahhh, who are we kidding).

Marty factor: Three … no shame in losing to the 2001 Yankees.




3. 1998 Minnesota Vikings
Record: 15-1, lost NFC championship game 30-27 to Falcons

What went right: Minnesota scored 556 points that year, an NFL record until the Patriots scored 589 this season. Randall Cunningham enjoyed the best season of his career with a 106.0 passer rating, and Robert Smith racked up 1,478 yards from scrimmage. Cris Carter and rookie Randy Moss teamed up for 2,324 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns.

What happened in playoffs: The Vikings cruised past Arizona in the divisional round before losing to the surprising Falcons. Minnesota kicker Gary Anderson, who made his first 39 field goals of the season, missed a 38-yarder near the end of regulation, allowing Atlanta to win in overtime. So unexpected was Atlanta's victory that the Miami Herald announced "Denver Broncos vs. Minnesota Vikings" across the top of an early edition of its Sunday paper.

Marty factor: Four. The Falcons did go 14-2 behind Jamal Anderson, but how did a team with Cunningham, Smith, Moss and Carter lose at home?



4. 1995 Cleveland Indians

Record: 100-44, lost World Series in six games to Braves

What went right: In a season shorted to 144 games, Cleveland still won 100 games. The offense was devastating, featuring seven .300 hitters and a strong middle in the lineup -- Albert Belle (.317, 50 homers, 52 doubles), Jim Thome (.314, 25 HRs), Manny Ramirez (.308, 31 HRs) and Eddie Murray (.323, 21 HRs). Kenny Lofton (54 steals) set the table and Omar Vizquel cleaned up on defense. The pitching staff also was the best in the AL. Dennis Martinez, Orel Hershiser and Charles Nagy headlined the rotation, while Jose Mesa was clutch as the closer (46 saves, 1.13 ERA, second in the Cy Young voting).

What happened in the playoffs: After beating Boston and Seattle, Cleveland starting hitting like the days of Mike Fischlin and Pat Tabler. The Indians hit just .179 in the World Series, including one hit in the 1-0 clincher.

Marty factor: Two. Cleveland was the better team, but no hanging your head in losing to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.



5. 1992 San Francisco 49ers

Record: 14-2, lost NFC championship game 30-20 to Cowboys

What went right: Steve Young took over full time from Joe Montana and threw for 3,465 yards and 25 touchdowns while rushing for 537 yards. Jerry Rice caught 84 passes for 1,201 yards. Ricky Watters was a dual running/receiving threat, and tight end Brent Jones was a Pro Bowler. But this team had more than the best offense in the NFL -- the Niners allowed the third-fewest points. Their only two losses were by three points to Buffalo (in a game in which San Fran had 598 yards of offense) and 24-14 to Arizona.

What happened in the playoffs: They faced another dominant team, the 13-3 Cowboys, that's what. The 49ers had four turnovers, including two Young picks in the fourth quarter. "How 'bout them Cowboys!" Jimmy Johnson yelled after the game. And we've never been the same since.

Marty factor: Two -- for the two fourth-quarter picks.


MLB needs to put a strict salary cap in place and enforce the heck out of it. In fact, Congress should put a salary cap on individual athletes. It's obscene that anybody makes that much money for hitting a ball or throwing it in a hoop or whatever it may be.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:58 pm

Eli, Giants, title weekend fantasy thoughts




http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/karabell/index


posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Fantasy NFL, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers

There's only one game left in the 2007 NFL season, and while I can't believe anyone would be surprised that Tom Brady and his Patriots are back in the Super Bowl, how about those Giants? The New York Giants in the Super Bowl? How did that happen?

Well, everything comes down to fantasy, you know, and if the Giants making the February game doesn't prove to fantasy owners that all you need to do is qualify for the playoffs and then let nature take its course, then I don't know what does. Not that I'm jealous or anything. The Giants have played very good football this month. Congrats to them.

The past two Wednesdays I blogged about the quarterbacks and running backs in fantasy football, recapping the 2007 season, placing them into categories and then ranking the top-20 quarterbacks and top-30 running backs for 2008. I was planning on covering the wide receivers in this blog, but man, we just saw a pair of exciting conference championship games and I have thoughts about those events. And we have many months to cover the wide receivers (though I plan to do it next week).

So, while this stuff is still fresh in my head, here are random thoughts I have from the NFC and AFC title games, with a fantasy spin of course.



Eric on fantasy football; look for new blogs each Wednesday
Jan. 16: Grant, RB revue, 2008 top-30
Jan. 9: Brady, QB revue, QB top-20 for 2008
Jan. 2: Peterson's rank, overall top-20 for 2008
Week 17 wrap
Week 17 start, sit
Looking at free agents for keepers

Eli is no stud: Hey, if you had told me Eli Manning would even play three postseason games, I wouldn't have believed it. If you had told me he wouldn't turn the ball over even one time in those three road games, I really wouldn't have believed it. I would have laughed. Called you names. Ordered drug testing. Look, I do think Manning is going to be a good, consistent regular season quarterback at some point, but what I've seen in January hasn't convinced me to move him into the top-10 for fantasy in 2008. Manning is on a hot streak, and numbers-wise he looks a bit like Jeff Garcia. He's making smart decisions, he has been opportunistic, has one big-time receiver ... You must give him credit, but Garcia wasn't a great fantasy quarterback in 2007, he just avoided mistakes. As I wrote in this spot two weeks ago, when I ranked Elisha -- that is his given name, you know -- No. 18 at the position, there was plenty of reason to not be high on him. He produced double-digit fantasy points three times in the final nine games, and nobody threw more interceptions this season. I guess it makes perfect sense that Manning would be near perfect in the games that matter most, right? Maybe I'll move him up to No. 15 or so at some point, but I'm not going crazy with newfound respect here.

LT is the opposite of Eli: Where was LaDainian Tomlinson for the biggest game of his life? Oh, sitting on the bench getting warm, taking himself out of the game on the first drive. I'm not going to pretend to know how much his knee hurt, or whether he could have played against the Patriots. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. The fact Philip Rivers had surgery six days earlier and played hurts LT's case, but I'm not here to judge. No, really. In the regular season, when fantasy football is played, LT remains a monster, the anti-Eli, the leading contender for first overall pick in 2008. Tomlinson might never get a chance to play in a conference title game again, but if you own him in a keeper league, would you have preferred he play in that game while hurt and fully tear his knee? Then you wouldn't have him at all in 2008. I have to think the future was on LT's mind, and maybe some fantasy owners as well, though not mine. And by the way, Rivers will need surgery for his ACL tear, and isn't likely to be ready for September. Billy Volek gets his shot. Where's Drew Bennett when you need him?



Check out Eric on the ESPNEWS "Hot List" every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 3:50 p.m. ET.

Eric on fantasy baseball; look for new blogs on Tuesdays and Fridays

Tue: Gallardo, forgetting pitchers with bad outings
Fri: Kemp, outfielders who need playing time
Jan. 15: Rolen, Cameron, yay defense!
Jan. 11: Pujols and poor protection
Jan. 8: Pros and cons of Josh Hamilton
Jan. 3: Early draft trends

• Jan. 16 chat session
• Jan. 9 chat session

Impressive Turner: While it seems all but assured that free agent Michael Turner will bolt this offseason and become a starting running back for one of the 15 or so teams that could really use him, will the fact Tomlinson showed his age a bit in the postseason change the Chargers' minds? Even if the team wants a solid backup for the day LT runs off into the sunset, can they afford Turner? The Chargers stayed in the game against those unbeaten Pats, driving repeatedly inside the 20 but settling for field goals. Turner didn't have a noteworthy statistical game, with 65 yards on 17 carries, but he certainly seems like a guy who should be starting somewhere. Even if Turner finds a new home, pay close attention to who the San Diego backup is in 2008. I don't often recommend handcuffing durable running backs, but I did it with Turner this season and would certainly do the same with Darren Sproles. Just to reiterate, LT remains my No. 1 player for 2008 drafts, but in a Shaun Alexander way he just didn't look good lately, and that should scare his keeper owners a bit. If anyone's stock falls, it's Favre's, but I doubt he was going to be overrated for 2008 anyway.

So much for that Packers RB: A week after proclaiming Ryan Grant the greatest thing since fantasy football was invented, is it time to eat those words after a 29-yard effort? Nope. Grant didn't do much with his 13 carries, by my count having one good run (13 yards), but considering the -- pardon the pun -- run he's been on for more than two months, I wouldn't quibble with a strong Giants defensive line shutting down the running game and making Brett Favre beat them. Favre beat the Giants on about one play, finding Donald Driver for the 90-yard touchdown; the rest of the time he looked like the 2006 version who simply threw the ball up for grabs and hoped one of his guys would catch it. I would have given Grant more carries, especially later in the game and in overtime, but I'm not a coach. Grant's stock didn't fall for me after this game; he's an early second-rounder.

New York's timeshare: Maybe we've been looking at Brandon Jacobs wrong all season. Maybe Tom Coughlin is on to something here, copying Jacksonville and other teams and going with a two-headed backfield monster instead of wearing one guy out. Plus, Jacobs hasn't proven to be durable yet. Is he just Maurice Jones-Drew with more carries? When Jacobs was out in September, Derrick Ward became one of the league's leading rushers. Then Jacobs looked like a star, averaging nearly 100 yards per game, but he still wasn't the only back getting carries, and he was hurt again in December. On Sunday, a non-descript rookie named Ahmad Bradshaw continued a strong postseason, gaining 63 yards and scoring a touchdown. My first reason to give pause to Jacobs's immediate fantasy future deals with his health, but it might be more prudent to worry about the play-calling. Can we expect the Giants to continue using a smaller, run-on-the-edges running back like Ward or Bradshaw to keep defenses honest? This would certainly remove some value from Jacobs, whom a week ago I ranked just outside the top 15 at his position, but felt bad about it. Now, maybe that ranking is too high?

What, nothing about the Patriots? What do you want me to say? Laurence Maroney raised his stock in these playoffs, but only if the team continues to depend on him so much in the fall of 2008. There's no guarantee Maroney gets the touches, though I do think he's emerging and will be better than people think in 2008. While everyone expects Brady and Randy Moss to have a big Super Bowl, why can't it be Maroney? He has been very good in January, and it's not like the Giants have showed a consistent, dominant run defense. In the win at Dallas two weeks ago, Marion Barber exploded for 129 yards and a score. Tony Romo was the problem. In the Week 17 finale Maroney didn't get the yards, but he did score twice. I think Maroney has a big Super Bowl, frankly. For now, unless we hear otherwise this summer from Bill Belichick himself, I wouldn't count on Maroney being a No. 1 fantasy back, and he's borderline No. 2.

The other thing that could come from these surprising playoffs is how teams view Week 17 in the future. I don't expect top teams who are 13-3 and have clinched everything to believe that sitting their stars in the regular season finale is really that bad an idea. Yes, the Giants played their guys, played well, and haven't lost since. It's impressive. But it's not necessarily a blueprint for future teams to follow, either. The Buccaneers rested stars for more than the final week, but was that team all that good in the first place? Does Tony Dungy have regrets about Week 17, when he sat his starters most of the game? I think not. That's not why the Colts lost to the Chargers. The point is, if you're the commish of a fantasy league and thinking about changing your Week 16 fantasy championship to Week 17, don't assume what the Giants did alters anything. I'm fine playing fantasy championships in Week 16 or 17 anyway.



Eric on fantasy hoops; look for new blogs on Mondays and Thursdays

Mon: Fantasy All-Star lineups
Thu: Lakers, fantasy move on sans Bynum
Jan. 14: Some Wolves fantasy-worthy
Jan. 10: All the Kings men returning
Jan. 7: Kirilenko's back woes
Jan 4: Shaq, others to give up on

So those are my thoughts from the weekend that was, with one more game to go. Even in games in which fantasy wasn't on my mind, any football action can get you thinking that way. Oh, I do have one more thought, after watching a Giants team that started 0-2, featuring a struggling quarterback, a lame-duck coaching staff and won 10 games in part because the NFC was so bad: That could have been the Eagles slipping into the playoffs and going all the way. Hey, I did say this was fantasy.

Your thoughts

Josh (New York City): "Eric, just a thought on Reggie Bush. I was one of those who drafted him too high based on potential this year, taking him at No. 9, just after Fast Willie Parker and Brian Westbrook, and ahead of Peyton Manning and Willis McGahee. I don't really have any regrets. I played in a PPR league, and Bush actually did pretty well considering where I took him. I just wanted to make sure that Bush still has pretty significant value in this format."

Eric: Yes, I have no reason to believe Bush is going to stop catching passes, and right now he's the preeminent pass-catching running back in the game. I don't expect the Saints to let him run the ball as much in 2008, but then again, we don't know if Deuce McAllister will be 100 percent healthy, or what happens with Aaron Stecker. Someday Bush will be a good running back, too, wouldn't you think? Anyway, I tend to write to standard-league settings, but of course, in a point-per-reception league, Bush has more value, since that is what he does best. Is he a top-10 pick in 2008 in that format? I'd say he slips in.

Want your question answered by an ESPN fantasy expert? The Answer Guys is a new service exclusive to ESPN Insiders, with a 24-hour response guarantee!

Todd (Sydney, Australia): "Eric, love the blog, there are always new and helpful insights. I have a problem, though. In a 12-team, head-to-head keeper league, with three keepers and standard scoring but extra points for every fifth reception, my options are LaDainian Tomlinson, Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Bush. I was leaning towards LT, Palmer and Fitzgerald. I figure Palmer will cut down the interceptions and Fitzgerald is a stud. What do you think? I also thought of packaging Palmer/Bush for a top running back, but what back should I expect in return? Someone like Joseph Addai? Cheers."

Eric: And cheers to you as well. First thought on this is I can't possibly know what someone in your league would deal for Palmer/Bush, but I'd shoot for the best and work your way down. If someone in your league believes Bush will become LT, then they might send you Addai. As for your take on Palmer, I don't know about assuming he cuts down on the interceptions. His 20 were a career-high, and much more than he threw the previous two seasons, but what if that is how he's evolving? Palmer can't blame a knee injury, or his running backs, or Chad Johnson. He just threw a lot of picks. He still had value, just not what everyone thought. When you talk about keepers, normally a good gauge will be where these players would be drafted. LT goes first, or certainly in the top few picks, but who is next? I ranked Palmer No. 5 at quarterback, but he might still be around in the fifth round. By that point Fitzgerald will be long gone, and so might Bush. So I'd argue that unless all the other teams in your league are keeping quarterbacks, I would still stay with Bush over Palmer. Shocking, ain't it?

Thanks for reading. Please keep sending comments by clicking here. I read all feedback, whatever the topic, and post at least one e-mail in every blog. Also, if you have topics or general thoughts, send them in. Enjoy your Wednesday.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:21 am

QUOTE(RollingWave @ Jan 23 2008, 03:18 AM) *
Wingack has essentially summed up everything, of the 3 young pitchers Kennedy is clearly the one they can ride on the most this year, he has the most inning under his belt and he (apparently) have probably the less stressful mechanics.


Actually, I think he might have the most stressful mechanics. In this order IPK, Joba and Hughes.

While we are on the subject of mechanics..

QUOTE
metalboy15 asked: Your mechanics/delivery seemed to get a lot closer to where it was before the hamstring injury (first 2 starts) upon the arrival of Dave Eiland back in September of last years, do you credit your late season success to this

PH: After coming back from my injury last season my mechanics were a little out of whack. This led to a little loss of velocity and command. When Dave arrived in September we were able to work out some things and I think that had a lot to do with the success I had at the end of the season. It was nice to finish off the year on a good note so I have something to work toward to get back to my normal self in 2008.


Link

I always felt it was his mechanics that made him lose his velocity and not his injuries.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:21 am

Wingack has essentially summed up everything, of the 3 young pitchers Kennedy is clearly the one they can ride on the most this year, he has the most inning under his belt and he (apparently) have probably the less stressful mechanics. I suppose starting the year using Wang / Pettitte/ Moose / Kennedy / Hughes in that order with Joba in the pen would be a better idea (of course this is assuming everyone's healthy...) and slowly move Joba in when someone inevitablly get hurt or if Moose bombs.

As for expectation of finish. I think this is a year where they might miss the playoff, though having seen how they made it through the past few seasons it really seems that they have a knack for pulling through adversity. (and a lot of luck on their side... seriously.. .Wang / Cano / Small / Chacon in 05 anyone? the first two was lucky that no one bothered to plunk them away in those trades and the other two was just luck beyond all imagination. ) Still though, I belive they should easily be in the playoff hunt. but may or may not make it.

It would be interesting to see how the Yankees spend their money in the comming off season though. they have plenty of spots opening up ( RF / DH maybe 1B and some of the pitching spots ) and there's a big jack pot of FAs out there ( Teixeira / Dunn / Santana maybe.../ Sabathia maybe / Nathan / K-rod .

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:22 am

QUOTE(billy ashley @ Jan 20 2008, 08:08 PM) *
On the main board there is a thread discussing what should be done as the season draws near. As a Red Sox fan, I can think of a couple things but am largely comfortable with the position the Red Sox currently find themselves in. That situation being a World Championship defense aided by a solid offense, very deep rotation, above average defense and a solid back end of the bull pen.

The purpose of this thread is to find out from our Yankee fan friends (and anyone else for that matter) feel about the following questions:

-In what ways can New York improve its teams before Opening Day?
-Should the Yankees be comfortable with the team as it currently stands?
-What should the expectations for 2008 be for the New York Yankees?
-Have the Yankees had a good off-season thus far?
-Where are the New York Yankees likely to finish in the AL East should the rosters remain in large part the same?
-How should the Yankees incorporate Hughes and Joba into their starting rotation while limiting the chances of either pitcher getting hurt?

The American League East is looking brutal these days. With Boston and New York obviously being big spenders with deep pockets and deep farm systems it’s easy to understand why so much focus is placed on them. However the Blue Jays, Orioles and Rays could cause problems for the two frontrunners given the Blue Jays very promising rotation, the Rays depth of interesting young offensive players and damn solid front end of rotation and even Baltimore may look deeper should they receive a large haul for Bedard.

That said; both New York and Boston look like legitimate 92 win teams. The question will be as it usually is, which team fares better through injuries and where the balls happen to bounce in whose favor over the course of the season.


I really think this is mostly likely what it will come down.

As far as answering your question:

QUOTE
In what ways can New York improve its teams before Opening Day?


I would like to see them acquire a high end bullpen arm, but other than I am pretty satisfied with the best offense in baseball and the starting rotation with bigtime upside.

QUOTE
Should the Yankees be comfortable with the team as it currently stands?


Tough to say, I would probably say no since this is virtually the same team that fell short last year, on the other hand it blew through the league in the second half of the season. As I said above I would probably like some more stability in the bullpen but I am glad they didn't give big money to the overrated bullpen FA's.

QUOTE
What should the expectations for 2008 be for the New York Yankees?


Good question. I would hope for a smooth transition from Torre to Girardi. A step forward for Hughes, Kennedy and Joba as significant and reliable components of the starting rotation. Some development of the younger bullpen arms (Edwar, Ohlendorf). Healthy rebound seasons for the slew of young arms returning from arm surgery (Sanchez, Melancon, Cox, Garcia). Lastly, I expect them to be in the postseason, they are the Yankees after all.

QUOTE
Have the Yankees had a good off-season thus far?


It was a meh offseason. Signing ARod was hugely important as was bringing back some of the other players (however it was for too much money). I am glad they let Vizcaino go though, they were able to net a sandwich pick for a replaceble bullpen arm, I consider that a success.

QUOTE
Where are the New York Yankees likely to finish in the AL East should the rosters remain in large part the same?


I honestly think this is a toss up. First or second, let's just say I expect them to be in the playoffs. If they don't it would be the perfect time for them to not make the postseason as it can be written off as a transition year (new manager, breaking in young pitching) and they have a ton of deadweight money coming off the books at the end of the year (Moose, Giambi, Pavano, Farnsworth).

QUOTE
How should the Yankees incorporate Hughes and Joba into their starting rotation while limiting the chances of either pitcher getting hurt?


I think perhaps that Joba should start the year in the pen, then moving him into the rotation and skipping him when they get a chance. I am strongly against either one of them wasting innings in AAA.

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