Monday, December 29, 2008

Fewest Turnovers EVARRR!11!!!11

Via Ralph Vacciano's fantastic Daily News Giants blog, Blue Screen (pretty far down the post):
By not turning the ball over yesterday, the Giants ended the season with just 13 turnovers (10 interceptions, three lost fumbles). That’s the lowest number ever for an NFL team in a 16-game season, eclipsing the mark of 14 set by the 1990 Giants. Interestingly, a few hours later, the Miami Dolphins tied the record. They entered Week 17 with just 12 turnovers, but turned the ball over once against the Jets yesterday, giving them 13, too.
Really? I've only heard this mentioned in conjunction with the Dolphins. The Giants powerful running, strong pass rush and protection of the ball are all attributes that are going to aid them in their title defense, especially with the road to the Super Bowl going through the windy Meadowlands. (And are a big reason that at least one of these coaching vacancies that Joe mentioned this morning is probably going to rob the Giants of a coordinator)

Carl Crawford: 2010

Last week, my esteemed GMail Chat compatriot and future Fack Youk contributor, Cliff and I were debating whether the Rays would pick up Carl Crawford's $10M option for the 2010 season.

Today, Tim Dierkes at MLBTR put together a list of players with Club Options for 2010 and listed Carl Crawford under "Likely To Be Exercised", which is what Cliff had been saying last week.

Looking Cot's MLB Contracts, my argument is that there are several other players with escalating salaries that the Rays can not get out of paying, via an option. Carlos Pena is making $10.125M in 2010, Scott Kazmir is owed $8M, Dan Wheeler $3.5, and being that they are a young team, they are going to be facing some arbitration-forced raises. The Rays had a payroll of a little under $44M this year and if they include Crawford along with the guys above, they will be paying $31.625M for four players.

There are other factors at play here. The Rays have back loaded most of their long term contracts, all of which were signed before the breadth of the current economic downturn was apparent. Much hinges on the Rays ability as an organization to leverage their postseason success last year into a larger and more profitable fan base. Also, Florida has been hit specifically hard by the sub-prime crisis, and it would not surprise me to see the familiar site of an empty Tropicana Dome this year partially as a result of that. If the Rays can pull themselves up from the one of the very lowest grossing teams in the MLB to something closer to a mid-market team, they will be able to retain some of their relatively expensive players.

Like Thurgood Jenkins said in Half Baked, "Samson Simpson, ah stick bah my storiee. (If I wasn't Jamaican, den why would ah be wearin dis hat?)".

Joe Girardi, Take Notice

Since the baseball season ended, stories have drifted out of the Yankees Clubhouse, indicating that the atmosphere was tense and the players didn't like Girardi's tight laced managing style. Sounds pretty similar to the situation with Mangini, which led a Jet player to compare a trip to Mangini's office to the principal's office.

The incomparable Peter Abraham hinted about the comparison in this post without directly saying it. Mike Silva has a much more comprehensive take.

Please, Mr. Girardi, look at the coaches of the two NY football teams, and ask yourself who sets a better example for leading professional athletes. Is it Mangini who has had some success, but is disliked by his players and not transparent with the media? Or is it Tom Coughlin, who adjusted the way he did things by listening more to his players, at a time when almost no one is any walk of life makes major adjustments? Just look at the results.

A Question For Eric Mangini

Is it "schtill all about the processch"?

Cause this seems like it was about the results. It was interesting to hear Mangini go on and on about "the processch" in his mind numbing press conferences, and his supremely bland radio interviews with Michael Kay. In doing this, he was parroting his mentor Bill Belichick, who is also supremely bland guy to listen to in press conferences. Except there is one difference.


When someone is committed to their way of doing things, it initially sounds respectable, and gives you the indication that the person is diligent, and disciplined. But the truth is, this is an extremely arrogant way of managing other people. I can think of another person who has a ton of faith in his "process", and is very inflexible. His name is George W. Bush and if America could have fired him 3/4 of the way through his presidency, I think we probably would have.

Mike Vaccarro gave a great stat on the Max Kellerman show this morning. He said the Jets outscore their opponents in the first, second, and fourth quarters, but are outscored soundly in the third quarter. His theory was that Mangini was failing to make adjustments at the half and the opposing coaches were exploiting that. When you stick to your convictions, you are predictable.

Belichick sticks to the process in terms of preparing for the game, but is possibly the best coach in the league at adjusting to the other teams' gameplan. Tom Coughlin changed his process at an insanely late stage of his career, deferring at times to veteran leaders on the team, and loosening the reigns a bit. I don't need to remind anyone where that took the Giants.

There are plenty of good times to stick to your convictions, be disciplined and adhere to a certain process. It could be a daily routine of exercise and eating. It could be the way that you accomplish a great number of simple tasks at work. Unfortunately for "ManGenius", working in an outrageously competitive business, when your competitors want nothing more than to out-strategize you, is not one of them.

Sawx Sign Brad Penny

Per Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald, the Sawx signed RHP Brad Penny, formerly of the LA Dodgers and Florida Marlins.

The agreement, a one-year deal with a base salary of $5MM, will be finalized Monday. Incentives and performance bonuses can increase the total deal another $3MM if Penny pitches more than 160 innings, McAdam reports.

Good News For Yankee Fans: Penny's Interleague numbers: 7-11 with a 5.08 ERA in 24 appearances against American League opponents. Penny has spent his entire career in the National League.

Based on his contract, I expect him to occupy one of Boston's rotation spots. As with all deals, I like the incentives. However his interleague numbers suggest that this Penny should be more worthless than the one cent currency denomination of the United States.

Here's $8MM more that could have went to Teixeira. Brillinat, Sawx, brilliant!

NFL Coaching Carousel Turns

As I write this, it looks like 3 NFL coaches have been ousted following abysmal seasons in which much was expected of them. Wade Phillips, Puppet Extraordinaire, appears to be safe. With the success of rookie head coaches Mike Smith, Tony Sparano and John Harbaugh, I would expect a lot of new coordinators/position coaches to be hired instead of head coach retreads.

Eric Mangini, New York Jets: After beating the hated AFC East rival Patriots and the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans, the Jets lost 4 out of their 5 to Denver, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle to finish at 9-7. Mangini in his three seasons with the Jets was 23-26 and 0-1 in the playoffs. Chalk this firing up to Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum trying to cover his rear and deflect any criticism from him for signing #1 NFL Girly Man Brett Favre. As for the future, the “Mangenius” should have no trouble latching on as a defensive coordinator with a solid franchise or as a head coach at a destination like Detroit. It’s too bad the Sopranos is over so he can no longer make guest appearences. However, maybe James Gandolfini can teach him a few ways to off Favre for killing his season and coaching career.

Rod Marinelli, Detroit Lions: Coach Marinelli’s Lions finished 0-16 in 2008, the only team in NFL history to do such and 10-38 in 3 seasons. Don’t blame Marinelli for all of this, folks. This is Matt Millen’s work. Marinelli should latch on somewhere as a position coach, without his son-in-law in tow. No decent coach in his right mind should take this job.

Romeo Crennel, Cleveland Browns: After finishing 10-6 last season, the Browns were expected to be a playoff team. Instead, three starting quarterbacks and 16 dropped Braylon Edwards passes later, Crennel’s team finished 4-12, good for last in the AFC North. Despite the Browns having had 10-12 players who were either selected to the Pro Bowl or who were Pro Bowl alternates during the past two years, along with Romeo, GM Phil Savage is also expected to be canned. Like Mangini, Crennel should latch on with a team as a defensive coordinator. The Browns are expected to make runs at former Steelers coach Bill Cowher (I doubt he has any interest coaching in the same division as the Steelers) and Patriots vice president of personnel Scott Pioli.