April 20, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Antonetti’s Gamble, Hardesty’s Return and LeBron’s Homecoming

Chris Antonetti, gambling man: “Just as $5 million is an adequate investment into a back-end innings eater like Derek Lowe, so, too, is $5 million a suitable guarantee for a player who dangles on that thin line between risk and reward. And the $4 million in incentives (which, I’m told, actually max out with fewer plate appearances than Grady had in any season from 2005-08), as well as a reported $500,000 bonus if Sizemore wins Comeback Player of the Year honors, ensures that Grady can earn just as much with this deal as he would have with his option, provided he holds up his end of the bargain. This appeases those who wanted the Indians to re-negotiate the option with Sizemore in the first place — something that always seemed unlikely, given the assumption that players are always going to be prone toward feeling out their market before committing to a pay cut.” [Anthony Castrovince/CastroTurf

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Some more excellence from a site everyone should be reading daily: “Of course, those athletes have another alternative: Punt baseball, and go play another sport. Unlike in football or basketball, draftees and international signings in baseball stood to make guaranteed money years before they ever stepped on a major league field. So if an MLB team wanted to persuade a two-sport star to forsake all others in favor of a guaranteed contract and a potential path to the big leagues, that team simply needed to dig into its pockets and make it happen. With that money now restricted, we could see 18-year-old multi-sport stars decide that the long road to the big leagues and the long odds of making it aren’t worth giving up other opportunities. The next Grady Sizemore might decide that playing quarterback and being a big man on campus for a powerhouse college is a more attractive path than riding buses all night for Beloit Snappers road trips. At a time when teams are fretting about the overall talent pool and the lack of star players, there’s a good chance baseball just made things considerably worse.” [Jonah Keri/Grantland]

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It looks like – despite Chris Ogbannaya’s career week against the Jags – Montario Hardesty will be getting the starting nod this Sunday when the Browns travel to Cincinnati. [Dawgs by Nature]

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Just how will his return factor into the fantasy arena? “Hardesty (calf) was also able to practice Wednesday and the Browns have plans for him; Pat Shurmur says Hardesty will be the starting tailback if he’s able to dress. That’s a big statement given how effective Chris Ogbonnaya has been the last two weeks (40-205 rushing, plus four catches for 38 yards).

The Browns offense has been a joke most of the year; Cleveland has scored just 84 points over its last seven games. That established, we can feel good about two things here: the Browns want to run with a conservative offense every week, and the offensive line isn’t that bad. Anyone who starts at tailback in Cleveland figures to see 15-plus touches every week, and in our numbers racket, opportunity is king. Don’t let the stench of Cleveland push you off the case; find a bench spot for Hardesty. And forget about Peyton Hillis, he’s already been ruled out for Week 12.” [Scott Pianowski/Roto Arcade]

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The Orange and Brown Report has a letter from an angry season ticket holder you won’t want to miss. [Delco/The OBR]

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I’m sensing this Pestano guy has a future around these parts: “That camaraderie is carried throughout the entire team. When Pestano isn’t working out at the team’s facilities, he’s often chatting with fans and teammates on Twitter, playing Modern Warfare 3 or participating in the Indians fantasy football league. The league has been around for several years and is known to be pretty competitive. “Jason Kipnis and I are sharing a team, and it has been an up and down year so far,” Pestano said. “We have a solid club, but it’s very unpredictable right now. We’re hovering around .500 and still have a shot at the playoffs. Last I saw I think Shelley Duncan had the best record, with Chad Durbin, Haf and Frank Herrmann close behind.”

While Pestano and his teammates have a good time off the field, their goals and expectations for 2012 are all business. Pestano doesn’t have any personal goals, but wants to avenge that final game defeat and more.” [Brandyberry/Did the Tribe Win Last Night]

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Terry Pluto will not be paying for a Homecoming ticket this Thursday: “If anyone wants to pay at least $40 and as much as $160 to watch LeBron James and some other NBA stars playing an exhibition game at the University of Akron next Thursday, that’s their business. But the idea of the four-city “Homecoming Tour” featuring Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and James bringing any sympathy to the players in their labor dispute with the NBA is very doubtful. Not at those prices.” [Terry Pluto]

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Would a “Franchise Tag” do enough to help small-market NBA teams? [Zach Lowe/Point Forward]

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Does McCoy have what it takes to win consistently at the NFL level? “With McCoy, I see the determining factor being his ability to be accurate and develop timing with his receivers. If he’s accurate and can get the ball into tight windows, whether with arm strength or due to preparation, then he does have a chance to remain the man at the helm for the Browns.

I find it most interesting and a positive that since head coach Pat Shurmur basically called out his play a couple weeks ago, McCoy has thrown the ball down-field a bit, and completing passes other than the intermediate route types.” [Lane Adkins/The OBR - S/R]

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McCoy, from a different perspective: “McCoy and the Browns may not be putting as many points on the board as we’d like, but they are doing a good job protecting the ball, especially McCoy, who has yet to have a multiple-interception game this season. Meanwhile, 34 of the 44 starting quarterbacks this year have a multi-interception game. Add in relievers Mike Kafka and Jon Kitna, and there’s 36 quarterbacks in total who did that. Overall, only three teams haven’t thrown multiple interceptions in all 10 games: the Browns, Rams and 49ers.” [Red Right 88]

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And finally, some shameless self-promotion time: My profile on Lamond Murray, the leading scorer from an era most fans choose to forget: [Scott Sargent/Still WFNY]