August 15, 2014

Alex Mack, Andrew Hawkins, Brandon Weeden and Tribe outfielders: While We’re Waiting Weekend

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It’s early on a Saturday morning, and I’ve been a bit out of the loop lately, so I figured I’d fire up a weekend edition of While We’re Waiting.

I’ve been thinking a lot about NFL free agency. It’s really hard to figure exactly what the Browns have accomplished this off-season because they did kind of let two veterans (Ward and Jackson) go to bring in two more veterans (Whitner and Dansby.) Combine that with Andrew Sharp’s rules about NFL free agency, most specifically the idea that the bigger the name in free agency, the worse it is, and it’s somewhat difficult to make sense of what the Browns have done. Or is it?

The Browns looked to accomplish something with their first two big moves and it seems fairly obvious. The Browns took two productive players and replaced them with two more productive players, who both happen to excel more than their predecessors in pass coverage. So, it isn’t just a straight trade of player for player. It’s a subtle switch in philosophy, I think. We’ll see if it works, but expect a variation to the 3-4 from what we saw out of Ray Horton’s defense.

Speaking of NFL free agency, I’m sick of all the worrying about Alex Mack. The Browns are in the driver’s seat. They continue to have plenty of money, and unless they find someone who will front load Mack $20 million in his first year on their cap, I just don’t see what Mack’s agent can do to remove the hammer from Ray Farmer’s hands. It is somewhat problematic that Mack might be forced to play where he doesn’t want to play, but as I intimated before, maybe the Browns can work out a trade. I know that isn’t common NFL practice to sign and trade, but it seems to me it should be an option on the table with the transition tag.

I don’t know how Andrew Hawkins will turn out for the Browns, but the strategy the Browns have used to try to get him is really interesting. I hadn’t really thought about the order of events until I was reading Ryan Alton’s post at Draft Browns. The Browns deal with Hawkins hit the sourced NFL rumor mill. The Bengals said they’d match. The Browns seemingly adjusted the deal so that it was incredibly front-loaded and then the Bengals reportedly wouldn’t match it with $5.8 million being pushed into the first year of the deal.  I’m excited to have a speedy guy like Hawkins available to Brian Hoyer, but his signing is not without risk. Still, it’s incredible to see how the Browns worked over the Bengals in the poker game to this point.

I really loved TD’s post talking about the best outfield and DH crews of the past 20 years. If I didn’t read it just yesterday to remind me of watching the Tribe as a 16 year-old, I’d have a tough time believing the 1995 Cleveland Indians offense actually ever happened. Go read the whole thing, but look at these four hitters and the numbers they put up. They may not have won it all, but sometimes it’s hard to remember just how lucky we’ve been to see some of the athletes we’ve seen come through Cleveland.

LF Albert Belle .317/.401/1.091/50 HR/126 RBI/121 R/52 Doubles

CF Kenny Lofton .310/.362/.810/7 HR/53 RBI/93 R/54 SB/13 Triples

RF Manny Ramirez .308/.402/.960/31 HR/107 RBI/85 R

DH Eddie Murray .323/.375/.891/21 HR/82 RBI/68 R

Last, but not least, the Cowboys are apparently interested in Brandon Weeden as a backup quarterback. Good for him and good for them. I don’t have much ill will for a guy like Brandon Weeden now that he’s gone. If he ever had any chance to be a legit NFL quarterback, we all know that the Browns’ situation wasn’t exactly conducive to facilitating it between head coaching switches and everything else. That’s not to say I pity Weeden. I’m too busy worrying about myself and other followers of the team to care about a guy who made millions of dollars during his failures. And yes, I think maybe Brandon Weeden spent too much time worrying about his golf game, so he’s not without his own share of the blame, but I don’t begrudge him his next move whether it’s Dallas or somewhere else.

Gotta finish off with some pop culture notes.

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First of all, Soundgarden’s performance of Superunknown during the iTunes music festival taking place at SXSW in Austin Texas was awesome. There might be no better rock singer in my formative music generation than Chris Cornell. To hear the band plow through some of their classics like Limo Wreck to this day is so much fun.

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Secondly, now that the show has finished its first season, I’m in the middle of True Detective on HBO Go. I won’t tell you exactly where I am in the show because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but to consider that television has come to the point where the reigning Oscar winner for best actor is putting on a performance like Matthew McConaughey is putting on alongside Woody Harrelson is incredible. It’s yet another example of how we’re living in the greatest time in history for entertainment. Things like HBO, and Netflix and the shows like True Detective and House of Cards just go to show how great we have it. I don’t want to take this for granted.

That’s it from me in the WWW today. Have a nice weekend everyone.

  • saggy

    Kenny Lofton only scored 93 runs that year? how is that even possible? i would have figured he scored 120 times.

  • MrCleaveland

    I don’t consider ourselves lucky. We had all that talent, and we still didn’t win a title. Yeah it was fun and it was a great ride, but it ended in disappointment again.

    So I’m not feelin’ lucky, punk.

  • http://www.eclecticworld.org/ Jim Macdonald

    In 1995, I certainly felt lucky because at that time just to win the pennant felt like a major accomplishment – having not even been in a World Series since 1954. I was in college over at Ohio Northern, and so was my sister. I remember us driving across the state to see our other sister at BW; we watched Game 1 from a restaurant in Berea. The atmosphere was electric; a Browns player even showed up (remember, this is just before Modell moved the team – we were blissfully innocent, and the World Series that year felt like a bonus; I honestly believed that despite our record that we were not going to beat that Braves pitching staff).

    Now, 1996 didn’t feel so lucky, and while the 1997 team didn’t feel like it deserved to be there, that was awful the way we lost in the World Series. And then year after year of contending and not winning, yes, that grew old. But, I cannot forget that 1995 feeling. It did feel at that moment that we were blessed to have that team, that atmosphere, that sense of arrogance we had about our team. I was dating the woman who became my first wife; she was from Seattle – we just knew we were going to beat Seattle. The Red Sox didn’t scare us, either. How often can we say we felt that and had a fighting chance against a team that featured Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I like the free agent moves thus far especially if it includes Hawkins and possibly Tate. But even after these there is plenty of room left for those 10 draft picks. I’m sure they won’t use all 10 but there are enough holes that a majority should be utilized.

    Btw True Detective was a great series. I went back on multiple episodes to catch things I had missed in particular all of the mentioning of “The Yellow King.” Well besides the scenes for Alexandra Daddario and Lili Simmons of course! ;-)

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Whoa, look who’s alive! Good to see you back in these parts, Shamrock.