It’s Tuesday…. The Browns are bad and not interesting….The Cavs season still hasn’t started and we still don’t know when free agency and training camp will begin…. The Indians offseason is in full swing, but no games are being played….Sure, their is plenty of things Buckeye to chat about, but this is a slow time right now….so here are 10 quick thoughts on a Tuesday afternoon to chew on.
1. I’m no Ohio State fan, but if you are, you have to look back on the 2011 season and realize this was a GREAT thing for your program. Sure, you were dragged through the mud, you lost your legendary coach, and you finished the regular season with a 6-6 record, but it all happened for a reason and you will come out ahead and better for it.
Think about what would have happened if Luke Fickell’s bunch had gone say, 10-2 and won the Big Ten. There may have been a string groundswell to keep him on as the Head Coach. Their last unheralded guy turned out pretty well. As I told so many of my Buckeye loving friends – the 6-6 record was the best thing that could have happened to your team because there was no way Fickell would stay at the top.
Instead, you ended up with the Grand Slam of Home Run hires, Urban Meyer, the Ohio native, with two National Championships under his belt.
2. Lost in all of the Meyer hoopla is the fact that the OSU Men’s Basketball team plays in a monster game tonight in Columbus. The #2 Buckeyes take on the #3 Duke Blue Devils at 9:30 on ESPN. It is one of three marquee early games that Thad Matta has scheduled. On November 15th, they took down fellow top 10 team Florida 81-74 and coming up December 10th, OSU goes to Lawrence for another power matchup with Kansas.
But tonight’s game is must see TV if you are a basketball fan. It will be interesting to see how Aaron Craft and company defend Duke perimeter shooters Andre Dawkins, Seth Curry, and Tyler Thornton. They hit 11 threes in their win over Kansas in the title game of the Maui Invitational last Wednesday. Watch out for Duke Freshman Austin Rivers – he can get to the basket essentially whenever he wants off the dribble. Expect to see the longer William Buford man up on Rivers.
3. The Free Agency period in the NBA will be fast and furious whenever the O.K. is given to start. As many of you know, I am officially NBA free. However, I have one piece of advice for Cavs GM Chris Grant – stand pat and do nothing. If there was ever a time to tank a season, it’s now. If the NBA draft age stays at 19 years old, the 2012 draft will be as deep as it’s been in a decade. Guys like UNC’s Harrison Barnes, Kentucky’s talented trio of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Terrance Jones, Baylor’s Perry Jones, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, and UConn’s Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb are all expected to make themselves eligible.
If the draft age moves to 20, as some have speculated, ending up in the top three is even more important than ever.
4. One more sliver for you, Chris Grant. No need to be a hero here. You have the amnesty clause available – use it to rid yourself of the Baron Davis contract. Its got two years left and while he said and did all the right things here in his brief time last season, is that really going to continue? His history would suggest otherwise. Cut him loose and let him walk to the Lakers, where he can be happy back at home in LA.
5. Let up on Greg Little, people. He had one bad game where he had the dropsies. I think he is a keeper and he has impressed me being thrust into the number one receiver role. He will be fine. Meanwhile, does anyone think that GM Tom Heckert will go another offseason without bringing in a legit, veteran wideout?
6. December 5th-8th are Baseball’s Winter Meetings where the General Managers, owners, team presidents, and player agents get together and talk shop. Lots of deals, both trades and free agency, are launched during this time period. Tribe GM Chris Antonetti must come out of the meetings with some sense of what he is going to do in his vast search for a right-handed bat.
A guy that is rumored to be out their and available for trade is the White Sox OF Carlos Quentin. He has never played first base and is probably best suited as a DH. But with the always iffy status of Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, the at-bats will probably be there. That said, I can’t see White Sox GM Kenny Williams dealing Quentin in the division.
7. Speaking of Sizemore, I was out last week when the Indians made their move to re-sign the oft-injured CF to a one year, $5 million contract plus incentives. I want to go on record – I think bringing back Grady is a mistake.
Sure, he will be very motivated to play for another contract elsewhere, but I think their were more creative ways to spend that $5 million dollars. I’d have made a trade for a right-handed outfielder and let Carlos Santana play more first base with Lou Marson getting most of the run behind the plate.
Mostly, I am against the move because I think Grady is finished as a player. The multiple surgeries have robbed him of what made him great – his speed and reckless abandon style of play. He strikes out way too much for my liking and is another left-handed bat.
I was ready to move on. Apparantly the Indians were not.
8. The move to get that right-handed bat is to deal one of the two established left-handed relievers – Tony Sipp or Rafael Perez – in a package with a prospect or two. Hard-throwing Nick Hagadone is ready to take a major league spot. Hagadone is the second fruit to bare from the Victor Martinez trade. The first one. Justin Masterson, has turned out pretty good I’d say.
9. Anyone else annoyed that the Browns/Ravens game this Sunday has been moved to 4:05 PM from 1 PM? Will be dark, damp, and cold AND we get to watch that Ravens D completely shut the Browns offense down.
10. The 6-1 Cleveland State Vikings were on the cusp of the top 25, before their unexpected loss to Hofstra 63-53 in Kingston, Rhode Island over the weekend. They recovered a day later, beating Rhode Island 67-45 on the road. Center Aaron Pogue led the way with 20 points and eight boards. Now comes Horizon League play, starting Thursday night at 2-4 Wright State. Saturday they take on the preseason choice to win the league, 3-4 Detroit on the road as well.
UDM’s already thin front court took a big hit last week when the lost starting PF Nick Minnerath to a torn ACL. All-league Center Eli Holman is still suspended indefinitely. With Butler in a down year and UDM battling to stay healthy, all of a sudden, Cleveland State looks like the odds on favorite to win the Horizon League.