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“These moves look likely to make the team better; the Indians also finished second-to-last in runs scored last year, so really, adding almost any sentient human could qualify as an upgrade. Just how much better they figure to be is an open question. The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog runs forecasts for all 30 teams using the CAIRO projection system plus some manual depth-chart input. For the latest update, made before Dice-K, Giambi, and Bourn signed on, CAIRO pegged the Indians at 74-88. Acknowledging that this is simply a back-of-the-napkin, hypothetical projection, it can be tough to reconcile a team picked to finish below .500 with spending more than $100 million on a pair of over-30 outfielders.
On the other hand, sometimes you just have to take what the market gives you. In the case of Bourn, what the Indians are getting is a bargain.” [Keri/Grantland]
Some Browns that might be ‘cap casualties’– “3. Usama Young, S (9th Highest Cap Figure) – Entering the final year of his contract, Usama Young’s base salary has increased from $1.55 million to $2.15 million. Right now, it’s tough to gauge how new defensive coordinator Ray Horton views the safety position, except for T.J. Ward, who he already praised in his opening press conference.
Last season, Young, Tashaun Gipson, and Eric Hagg all rotated in starting roles. Of the three players, Young has the most NFL experience, but Gipson seemed to show the most potential. In his two years with Cleveland, Young has been average at best. If Cleveland can acquire a high-profile safety through free agency or the draft, the team can afford to let Young go. Cutting him would only cost the Browns $150,000 in 2013.” [Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature]
If you think recruiting is crazy now… “In a statement sent out by the conference the Big Ten’s coaches and athletic directors argued that the implementation of the proposals, of which there are 26 including some that could go into effect on July 1, should be tabled for more discussion. There were three proposals in particular the Big Ten is not pleased with.
The proposals the Big Ten are concerned about: lifting the rule requiring recruiting coordinators to come from the coaching staff that would in effect allow programs to build large non-coaching recruiting staffs (proposal 11-2), the lifting of limits on communication including text messages (proposal 13-3), and the elimination of restrictions on sending printed recruiting materials to prospects (proposal 13-5-A). All three proposals would broaden recruiting in a huge way.” [Schwab/Dr. Saturday]
“I’ll acknowledge that the Cavaliers have had to struggle with injuries, and I’ll give Scott some credit for the development of Tristan Thompson, but that’s all the warm fuzzies I have to hand out. His most used lineup this season is Irving – Waiters – Gee – Thompson – Zeller, a group that has been outscored by an average of 7.9 points per 100 possessions. That’s the worst differential of any lineup in the league that has played more than 300 minutes together. He has continued to use that lineup nearly twice as often as any other, despite the fact that swapping C.J. Miles in for Waiters makes them 12 points per 100 possessions better. Or that swapping Marreese Speights in for Zeller makes them 11.8 points per 100 possessions better. Dion Waiters has been given the green light to shoot anytime for anywhere, the perfect recipe for developing control in a young guard. With a talent like Kyrie Irving on the roster, everything should be focused on incremental steps forward. Instead the Cavaliers appear to be hopping backwards as quickly as they can manage.” [Levy/Hickory High]
“There’s two other pieces to this puzzle that will have to be figured out. Mike Aviles and Lou Marson already have bench spots locked up, but the other two positions are wide open. I think Bourn’s signing makes Ezequiel Carrera expendable, as the Indians are certainly not lacking for center fielders or speed. Between the starting nine and the accounted for bench spots, the Indians have both a starter and a primary backup set at all eight positions, so the Indians can use those open spots for a limited role player (Jason Giambi, for instance) or to stow Chris McGuiness, the Rule 5 selection on the roster. I actually think McGuiness fits fairly well on this roster as an extra first baseman (if Drew Stubbs gets pinch-hit for late in a game, moving Swisher to right) or getting some starts for Stubbs against some right-handed pitching. But there will time enough over the next five or six to break the NRI crop down.” [Ryan/Let’s Go Tribe]
“The Cavs are seeking (more) draft picks. In order to land one, they’ll supposedly take on a player whose contract expires at the end of next season (such as Humphries). But if anyone in the league plays the role of Brad Pitt playing Billy Beane, it’s Grant. In other words, Grant is known for changing terms of a deal if he thinks he can do better — or backing out altogether at the 11th hour.” [Amico/FSO]