All posts by The Jack

Rutgers Student and Intramural Softball player extraordinaire, I could've gone pro if it wasn't for my bum knee. Currently not banned from TopGolf. If you ever catch me watching the Celtics or Yankees and I look calm just know that I'm probably screaming on the inside. Doing my best to bring you some mediocre sports takes.

Stop Stealing From My House, I’m Running Out of Sweatshirts and Cereal

I was told not to but I did it anyway. My mom practically begged me not to live in a fraternity house, and I almost listened. Almost. We all know the appeal; you get to live in a big house with close to 30 of your friends and basically do as you please. Maybe it’s a little dirty and maybe people hang around in your room until three in the morning, but hey you’re young there’s plenty of time to be clean and sleep when you’re dead. Nothing could have prepared me for the horrors that I experienced however.

Parties happen. People love parties. Seriously, who doesn’t love a party? You get to have a great time with a bunch of your friends, maybe you meet a nice guy or girl, maybe you don’t even remember the night. One thing is for sure though, after a party in a fraternity house, some of your stuff will be stolen…without a second thought. I’ve seen everything from a flag with letters on it, to personalized paddles from a little brother, to an entire xbox one stolen out of my house in the two years that I have lived there. I’ve seen sweatshirts, shirts, food (at least one brave container of cereal is lost to the wind after a nights events), and even composite pictures go missing without a trace.

Image result for thief gif

Continue reading Stop Stealing From My House, I’m Running Out of Sweatshirts and Cereal

Chad Green Flame Throwing Maniac

More often than not a pitcher will get every chance possible to be a starter when attempting to make the major leagues. You don’t have to look much farther than Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer who ever lived, who started for his first full year in the majors. Archie Bradley, once the Diamondbacks top pitching prospect was moved to the bullpen and has been one of the most dominant relievers in 2017. Teams simply place more of an emphasis and importance on starting pitchers. Spring training usually starts with a couple minor league pitchers vying for one or two of the remaining spots in the rotation or else their banished to the bullpen or worse…the minors. Chad Green was no different.

Image result for chad green news

After the trade that sent him and Luis Cessa to the Yankees in exchange for Justin Wilson (now with the Cubs due to the Tigers roster full of Crypt Keepers), the 26 year old Green flashed some promise as a rotation fill in at the end of the 2016 season. There were warning signs of inconsistency that hinted he may never be more than a serviceable fifth man or even rotation insurance down in Triple-A, he got only one start this year for the Yankees and lasted just 2.1 innings. For those of you that don’t know, generally you want your starting pitcher to last a little longer than an out into the third inning otherwise you’re bullpen will be decimated for the next day. It seemed like Green’s major league career was destined to be that of the low leverage variety, maybe as the second long reliever in the bullpen thanks to the sheer dominance of Adam Warren this year (another starter converted to the bullpen).

Continue reading Chad Green Flame Throwing Maniac

Yankees Trade Deadline Predictions and Recap

Recap:

With the MLB trade deadline quickly approaching, Brian Cashman, alias Cash Daddy has been pretty busy trying to upgrade the Yankees’ roster as they look to make the post season for the first time since 2012 (and no I don’t count that one game joke of a wild card game against the Astros in 2015 as “making the playoffs”). Just before the Red Sox game, Cashman dealt lefty reliever Tyler Webb to the Brewers for first baseman Garrett Cooper who was absolutely tearing it up in Triple-A to the tune of a .366 BA, 17 HR and 81 RBI…all in the first half of the season. Webb was having an okay start to the season with only 6 innings under his belt pitching to a 4.50 ERA with 5 Ks and 4 walks but he was expendable with Chasen Shreve having a bounce back year after getting lit up last year.

With Greg Bird out for the season, the Cooper trade is great especially for what the Yanks gave up to get him, a rookie reliever who struggles to throw strikes consistently and isn’t especially tough on lefties. While Cooper’s numbers may have been inflated due to playing his home games at Colorado Springs, they are still far too gaudy to pass up on. Couple Cooper’s huge first half and the fact that Greg Bird is now lost for the season and this is a fantastic trade for the Yankees to make for this year and years after if Cooper pans out better than Bird.

Cashman wasn’t done dealing. On Tuesday night he flipped first round pick from 2016, standout outfielder Blake Rutherford, Tyler Clippard, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo (fantastic name) for Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle. With the bullpen in disarray over the better part of June and July this was a move that needed to be made. Clippard had worn out his welcome in New York, us over at BTB actually had a petition going around to get him DFA’d; he is no big loss as he had recently been completely pushed out of the seventh inning role by the always reliable Adam Warren and the surprisingly dominant Chad Green. Getting down to the prospects: Rutherford was the 18th pick last year and is only 20 years old, the Yankees thought that he would be on the fast track to the major leagues when they took him out of high school and they were probably right. After hitting a crazy .351 in 33 games last year for Class A Charleston River Dogs, Rutherford is hitting in the high .280 range this year and shows no sign of slowing down. Clarkin was taken a pick after Judge in the 2012 draft and is seen as a middle-top of the rotation arm…if he can stay healthy, he has been battling injuries since he was drafted. Finally Polo is a light hitting prospect who projects more as a fourth outfielder than an every day starter.

With this trade the Yankees effectively fixed their biggest needs, David Robertson after leaving the Yankees for the White Sox has returned posting 12.7 K/9 and has cut down on his walks, making him a perfect fit for the seventh in front of Betances and Chapman. It also gives the Yanks a proven closer when Chapman needs a day or if he falters. Kahnle has been a stud all year for the Chi Sox posting a 2.50 ERA and an unreal 15 K/9 giving the Yankees four of the top strikeout relievers in all of baseball, not bad after dealing with Clippard give up Grand Slams like he’s Oprah for the better part of two months. Kahnle is also under contract for three more years and Robertson for two.

Image result for david robertson

Finally Frazier. If Garrett Cooper shows that he deserves to play first base every day then the Yankees run into the great situation of keeping him there and playing Frazier at third, relegating Chase Headley and his up and down bat to corner infield insurance (probably where he belongs given his light hitting just doesn’t play well at the corner and his glove has been suspect at best this year). While Todd Frazier is only hitting .207 his batting average on balls in play is an ugly .216 leading many to believe he has hit into a lot of bad luck and positive regression is in the cards. After all he does have 16 HR and 44 RBI, and if the Yankees want to re-sign him after this year he offers far more versatility at the DH position than Matt Holliday who handcuffs Girardi by not being able to effectively play a position.

Even with both of those trades the Yankees still have some glaring weaknesses and potentially intriguing prospects to pull off another deal if they want.

First Base

First base has been a huge issue for the Yankees but with the addition of Garrett Cooper and now Todd Frazier the Yanks appear to have answered their corner infield questions for the second half. I would imagine, as I’m sure everyone else would, the Yankees are no longer in the market for further first base help behind those two. However, Yonder Alonso is still on the market if they really wanted to make a move to put him at first and Frazier at third but that would be an unnecessary trade to make for New York.

Bullpen

Again, similar to the situation at first base, the Yankees have more or less solved this problem with the return of David Robertson and the addition of Tommy Kahnle. If they choose to keep adding to their already fearsome bullpen there are plenty of relievers left. Veteran Pat Neshek will definitely be available from the Phillies but their asking price may be steep, that goes double for Brad Hand on the Padres who is having a huge season and was rewarded with his first All-Star nod. Mark Melancon may be on the move from San Fran but his huge contract will scare most teams from making a move for him not to mention reports that he may not be the best clubhouse guy. Anthony Swarzak (former Yankee) is having a strong season for the White Sox as well but all you need to do is look at their trades from the past two years to see that the asking price would be steep. Justin Wilson (another former Yankee) is having a great season for the Tigers but may also have too steep an asking price, especially with the Tigers in desperate need of prospects to rebuild around. The best option for the Yankees is to stay out of the battle royale that is sure to ensue over Neshek and Hand and be happy with their already strong haul from the White Sox.

Starting Pitching

The biggest and relatively only need for the Yankees after Cashman worked his magic is to bolster the rotation with reliable starting pitching. Cash has repeatedly stated that he would rather top pitching prospect Chance Adams refine his game at Triple-A a little longer; Justus Sheffield is still only in Double-A and James Kaprielian underwent Tommy John for a second time. With Michael Pineda going under the knife Tuesday for the same procedure the Yankees now have a bunch of question marks in the rotation. Jordan Montgomery and Luis Severino have been the most reliable starters all year and represent the future of the staff, but CC Sabathia has shown he still has something left in the tank after all these years. Masahiro Tanaka has been a question mark at best pitching to a very un-ace like 5.33 ERA and a 7-9 record on the year, although over his last four starts he has looked like he may have figured things out. The Yankees have plenty of stop-gaps on the roster to slide in and take Pineda’s spot but will Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa or Chad Green really bring the team to the post season? No.

There are plenty of starting pitchers for the Yankees to go after without breaking the prospect bank, especially after giving up their second best prospect in Rutherford and a top pitcher in Clarkin.

The biggest concern for Yankee fans now is that Cashman gets overzealous and decides to overpay for an ace or rental. The Oakland Athletics are aggressively shopping Sonny Gray leading up to the trade deadline and have no shortage of interest in the young right hander. In my opinion the Yankees should not be in on him, while Gray has pitched well in his last four starts he still sits at a 3.72 ERA and is two years removed from his best season. Not to mention the injury concerns that have popped up over the last two seasons. Gray is a good pitcher but the Yankees should be in the market for cheaper rentals rather than searching for an ace to replace Tanaka at the top of the rotation.

Justin Verlander’s asking price will be through the moon knowing how the Tigers operate and is pitching extremely ineffectively this season (I would know he’s on my fantasy team). It would appear that last year was a flash in the pan for a 34 year old former ace that walks the entire league and has 2450 innings of mileage on his arm. The Yankees shouldn’t even entertain going after Verlander, whether Detroit makes him available or not.

Scott Feldman and Trevor Cahill would be far more in line with the Yankees time line than Gray, who the A’s are asking a lot for. Both Feldman and Cahill are both free-agents at the end of the year and would cost Cashman far less than some of the supposed aces still on the market. After seeing what Jose Quintana cost for the Cubs I would be wary of the market on top tier pitchers.

Both Feldman and Cahill are having solid seasons for the Reds and Padres respectively with Cahill being the far more attractive option, he is pitching to a 3.17 ERA with Feldman pitching to 4.34 ERA. Cahill comes with injury concerns and Feldman is really best suited for a back end of the rotation or long relief gig at this point in his career. Neither is going to slot in at the top of the rotation for New York but at least the Yankees would know what they’re getting with them and the Reds and Padres would not be asking for much for two soon to be free agents.

I don’t see the Pirates moving on from Gerrit Cole and the asking price for him may be too much to stomach. Yu Darvish has been very good for the Rangers this year as they chill at the bottom of the standings but also comes with significant injury risk and is 30 years old, not to mention he is a free agent at the end of the year. Dan Straily of the Marlins becomes an attractive piece, coming into his own this year with a 3.31 ERA and a controllable contract for the fish; given their propensity for making bad trades, the Yankees may be able to steal him from them for a bargain price.

Image result for know when to hold'em meme

The pitching market is pretty saturated with Aces, former aces, mid rotation guys and back end guys alike. However the best move for the Yankees after solving their corner infield and bullpen problem could be to just stand pat at the deadline and see how far this rotation can take you. While they are contending this year, it is a surprise contention. It was never about 2017, always 2018, and with this team being in the thick of things towards the middle of July the front office should be content with seeing where the roster they have now can take them. With Sabathia, Castro and Holliday all back from injury this is starting to look like the team that started off hot as hell in the first half not to mention Aaron Hicks coming back soon as further reinforcement I would say let’s see if the guys can stay hot coming off the DL and live with what happens if they don’t. After working so hard to build up a decimated farm system there is no reason to throw it all away to have a chance at taking down the seemingly invincible Astros. Do not mortgage the future for less than a surefire option, which are not on the market as of now, the rotation has not been the issue the bullpen has and now that it is fixed there is far less pressure for the starters to give length. I say ride out the rest of the season with the players you have and see what happens. If not the Yankees can roll the dice and live with whatever happens.

Rockets Decide Not to Roll Over and Die for the Warriors by Acquiring Chris Paul

Just when you want to stop watching the NBA forever because you’re finally starting to get sick of the inevitable Warriors-Cavs finals showdown, they pull you right back in. The Clippers somehow convinced Chris Paul to opt into the final year of his contract by dangling the possibility of playing with MVP runner-up James Harden on the Rockets. The trade sent Paul to the Rockets in exchange for basically every player on Houston’s roster. Sam Dekker, Patrick BeverleyLou WilliamsDeAndre LigginsDarrun HilliardMontrezl HarrellKyle Wiltjer, a top-three-protected 2018 first-round pick and $661,000 were all shipped to the Clippers.

At first glance the trade doesn’t look all that great on the Clippers end, especially considering they’re trying to keep Blake Griffin from jumping ship and signing a mega-deal outside of LA (as long as it isn’t Boston I really don’t care where Justin Bieber’s biggest fan ends up). Not to mention JJ Redick is another huge flight risk for the Clips along with sneaky-valuable Luc Mbah a Moute and things are looking bleak for the Clippers.

Image result for blake griffin sad

Lou Williams is a great scorer off the bench and he would be a great addition if they didn’t already have basically the same player in Jamal Crawford, not to mention Williams may offer less defense than Isaiah Thomas. Beverly is a solid pickup but I would rather have him back up than get starter’s minutes. Dekker, Harrell and Wiltjer can all develop into solid role players but none of them has the ceiling of a star. Hilliard is a non-factor and Liggins is now on his sixth team in six years. That 2018 pick basically means nothing since the Rockets obviously aren’t collapsing enough that it cracks the top 5 in 2018 especially now that they have Paul for next year. The best part of this trade for the Clips is the fact that they got that $661,000 because you know they’re offering all of that to Griffin right off the bat. They also clear up a ton of cap space by getting out from under Paul’s contract

Image result for sinking ship gif

While the return for the Clips is pretty mediocre for one of the best point guards ever, you also got rid of the biggest selling point for Griffin when it comes time to decide his future. Playing with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan sounds a lot more appealing than playing with just DeAndre Jordan who brings next to nothing offensively unless you’re giving him the ball within 5 feet of the basket. Griffin may want to be the alpha dog on this team, why I have no idea but that’s the pitch I’m making to him if I’m LA (can we also talk about how messed up it would be for Blake to leave LA after locking Jordan in his home and refusing to leave until he signed a new contract with the Clips, some friend). Blake has transformed himself into one of the best passing big men in the game averaging at least 4.9 assists the last three years and his game has become less predicated on his athleticism as he’s also become a knockdown mid-range shooter while improving at the free throw line too.

On the Rockets’ side, I love it. You already had the MVP runner-up and one of the best offenses in the league, add Chris Paul and his legendary basketball IQ and you can tell the Rockets aren’t just going to roll over and give the West to the Warriors next year. Most people will use the argument, “there’s only one ball, how will Harden and Paul cooexist”, and to that I say shut up. We just watched the Warriors win a championship with Durant and Curry, two ball dominant players, along with Klay who still gets his touches and Draymond Green who is most effective when directing the offense. My biggest concern for the Rockets is in their pace of play, Paul loves to slow things down and methodically work in the half-court while Harden loves to get out and go and toss his alley-oops to Clint Capela, who should only get better now that he has Paul tossing him lobs in the pick-and-roll along with Harden. Paul also happens to be the superior defender when stacked up against Pat Beverly so you aren’t losing anything on the defensive end while gaining massively on the offensive end.

This should also finally give Harden a capable running mate to share some of the scoring load. I don’t care what anybody says about Dwight Howard he brought next to nothing to the table for Harden during his time in Houston. Chris Paul will allow for D’Antoni to rest Harden more than he was able to this season and keep him fresher come playoff time, we all saw how run down and over matched he was against the immortal Spurs. Hopefully it also takes some of the burden off Paul too since he has ended his last five seasons injured to some degree. The Clippers free up a ton of cap space by trading Paul which will help them to be big players in free agency this summer but the appeal isn’t the same without Paul and the uncertainty surrounding Griffin and Redick. This looks and feels like a desperation move for both teams; the Rockets chasing after the Warriors and the Clippers trying their best to advance past the second round of the playoffs.

New Study Finds Fantasy Draft Busts Are The Leading Cause of Depression in American Sports Fans

This one goes out to my man Stanzo sitting pretty at a 2-9 record and currently tied in the cellar of our league with Tat (in all honesty they make a great couple). Now you and I both know Stanzo isn’t an idiot when it comes to baseball (Tat is a different story, I mean the dude IS a Mets fan), there’s no reason his season has been such a disaster for him…aside from the fact that his first ten rounds of the draft ended up netting him some pocket lint and a stick of gum rather than any impact players.

We’ve all been there before, doesn’t matter what fantasy sport you play. I can picture it now, a naïve young man (or middle-aged dude, I don’t judge mostly because I’ll also be the middle-aged dude still playing fantasy in my parent’s basement), wide-eyed and excited to draft his team. The team that is going to take him to the Promised Land…would be a shame if something happened to that perfect lineup he envisioned. You know something like the ace you drafted pitching like a Double-A fourth starter (see Danny Salazar and/or Jose Quintana). Sometimes you just don’t have it, but when your entire team ends up being full of busts that’s the moment when you 1. Start to believe in God and 2. Start to wonder what you did to him to piss him off so bad that he completely screwed your season. Now I don’t know God personally but I’ve got to believe he’s got some kind of grudge against Stanzo, I mean look at his first 10 picks and you tell me the guy upstairs didn’t have something to do with this nightmare of a season.

Image result for screaming at computer gif
Round 1: Manny Machado

Round 2: Miguel Cabrera

Round 3: Trea Turner

Round 4: Carlos Gonzalez

Round 5: Aroldis Chapman

Round 6: Jose Quintana

Round 7: Danny Duffy*

Round 8: Julio Teheran

Round 9: Danny Salazar

Round 10: Addison Russell

Start of the season this is a squad I absolutely do not want to play against. I mean Quintana and Salazar should have both been fantasy aces with Duffy and Teheran slotted in to be above average starters. Instead Salazar pitched his way to the minors and then the bullpen and then the DL, Quintana won his first start since May 2nd and has pretty much pitched just as bad as Salazar. Duffy is on the DL and Tehran has been a joke for the Braves this year after pitching like a future ace last year. The position players haven’t been much better with CarGo basically contributing nothing to the Rockies being in 1st, Machado batting close to the Mendoza line and Addison Russell playing closer to my skill level than the one that saw him hit 20+ dingers last year. The only thing Turner can do is steal a base, and that’s if he even gets on base, Cabrera is Cabrera but even he is having a down year by his standards, and Chapman was on the DL for all of May and most of June. I feel bad picking on Stanzo, but this is the worst collapse of a great team since the 2011 Braves and Red Sox both blew huge leads going into the final month of the season to miss the playoffs. Side note: That Red Sox season was my favorite since they missed the playoffs with a 90-72 record, but like senile John Sterling always says “You can’t predict baseball Suzyn.”

Sometimes you just don’t have it in the cards, and I can tell you right now that Stanzo is a stronger man than I am because if this ever happened to me I would question my entire existence and give up sports forever. Pour one out for a lost season for my man, he could use the prayers.

Related image

This is a cautionary tale for all of you fantasy players out there that think “oh that’ll never happen to me”, because it can and it will. Beware of the collapse, it can come at any time and without warning. If you feel a sudden onset of losses and slow starts have since turned into slow seasons call one of our hotlines so that our trained professionals can keep you from giving up on sports forever. Call before it’s too late.

Tyler Clippard Majored in Blowing Close Games

So last night, like any natural Yankees fan I was watching the game against the Angels. I’m pulling for my guys, watching them fight their way all the way back against the freaking Angels who seem to have their number this year. The sixth inning rolls around and Gary Sanchez comes up. My boy. The goddamn Kraken sends a dinger over the right field wall, classic Yankee stadium homerun but I’m not complaining about it. Chase Headley gives a quick softball swing for strike three and we’re on to the seventh.

THE NEXT PITCH! The literal next pitch Tyler Clippard comes in and tosses a nice juicy meatball to Cameron Maybin. Let that sink in for a sec. Maybin is a 10-year vet and obviously he’s a huge power hitter so you understand Clippard giving up the homeru…what’s that? Cameron Maybin has 50 homeruns in his entire career!? Yeah you read that right. But he wasn’t done there, because that wouldn’t make sense. If you’re gonna give up a run might as well make it three, or at least that’s what I imagine Clippard’s thought process was. The flaming dumpster fire that the Yankees re-signed to be their 7th inning guy has basically been about as good as I would be against major league hitters recently.

Now don’t get me wrong there are a lot of reasons why the Yankees lost this game against the Angels. You could point out the four hits that they had all game against a no-name reliever turned starter, you could call out the fact that they would be better throwing some garbage cans at the corner infield positions and still be better off than they are with Headley and Chris goddamn Carter. Me? I choose to blame that glasses wearing, kid from Stuart Little looking ass, poor excuse for a major league pitcher that is Tyler Clippard.

Image result for stuart little kid

Quick look at Clippard’s last couple of weeks. He blew a tie game against the Blue Jays by giving up a homerun to Josh Donaldson, the first batter he faced; Yankees lose. Comes into the first game against the Angels on the West Coast trip with a man on second and immediately gives up the lead surrendering a RBI double; Clippard got away with a win thanks to the God that is Aaron Judge. Second game of the Angels series, Clippard comes into the 8th inning with another lead and gives up a game tying homerun; Yankees lose in extras. Clippard comes into the game against the Oakland A’s with the score tied, starting to see a trend? Yankees lost that game too.

Image result for tyler clippard bad

And then last night’s game; the team works their asses off just to get back to a tie game after Big Mike Pineda just didn’t have his stuff. Great fight from this young team, that you love to see, but what’s the point if their so-called “seventh inning bridge to Betances” is only good for losing the game. At some point you’ve got to think Clippard is in contact with Pete Rose and the two of them are making a boatload of cash throwing these games away. You know the two of them are getting together after the games and swimming in a Scrooge McDuck pool of money, having money fights or just sitting there counting it all. As soon as you see those goggles get up in the bullpen you basically know the game is over, and not in a good way.

The highlight of the game was the fact that at least the Yanks were at home so that Clippard could be properly serenaded by a storm of boos from an angry New York crowd. The dude has got to go and fast, especially since the Red Sox have taken over first place. We are all watching the Yankees slip out of first place and Tyler Clippard is a huge reason why.

P.S. If the Yankees insist on letting Al Leiter commentate on games he better not be standing up for the worst pitcher on the team. I get that it’s a pitcher defending a pitcher but if I hear him try and justify trotting Clippard out there one more time I think I might punch a hole in my TV.