Sunday, 10 July 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs - Off Season Thoughts.

I'm going to be honest. I am a very optimistic Leafs fan. I am one of those guys who in past years thought, "Hey maybe we can grab a 7th or 8th seed." And while I am not afraid to admit that, I also came to terms thatwhen Brian Burke took over that this team needed a full makeover, and while I commend Brian Burke on being able to completely revamp our farm system and actually bring in young studs (Kessel, Phaneuf, Kadri), I believe that this off season has been completely counter productive. I was okay with the Kessel trade. We got a potential 40-50 goal scorer for 3 unproven commodities. However at the same time I thought that they'd be around the 10th pick. But still I defended Burke. However we all knew the Leafs needed that 1st line centre for Kessel.  In my opinion we still do not have one so that is a failure in and within itself. But aside from that let me explain what I hate about the Leafs off season so far.

First off, the draft. I WAS PISSED! Okay can somebody here please explain the rationale of trading up 8 spots to draft a 3rd liner. We need scoring and Burke should have gone with the best scorer on the board. I do not care if I am not a scout, but why the hell would you trade a late first and early second rounder to take a third liner while there will be plenty of third liners on the board in the 2nd round. A top 6 player is a commodity in the NHL and lets be serious they are harder to sign than the average 3rd liner. We are a team desperate for goal scoring and a playmaker. You have Zack Phillips on the board. A 90 point centre with a memorial cup on his resume, a guy with a chance to be the next Adam Oates and yet you draft a harder hitting Colby Armstrong like player in Tyler Biggs who may have been there at 25. SMH. Moving on. Stuart Percy I am okay with but lets be honest. He could have been had at number 30. At pick 39 is where you can take your 3rd liner. There were plenty on the board and this included Brandon Saad who was considered a top 5 pick before the season and scored at a point per game pace in the OHL. He has 1st line potential but if that fails, can play on the third line like Tyler Biggs. So instead of Biggs and Percy we could damn well have had Phillips, Percy and Saad. Huh. Shoot me now.

Now we move on to free agency where everyone and their mother in T.O wanted Brad Richards. Let me say this. Brad Richards was never coming to Toronto. He had his mind made up from the trade deadline. I am not going to get into the whole Burke in Afghanistan thing because the fact is we have things nowadays called computers and telephones. Anyways,  I get that Richards wasn't coming here and I doubt Stamkos, Malkin and Parise were available for a trade. But here is the thing for a rebuilding team what was the point of adding Tim Connolly. Brian Burke said himself that he wants to build a winner, not a team that makes it as an 8th seed and gets their asses handed to them. So why Connolly Mr.Burke? He improves the team to the point where we can possibly make the playoffs but at the same time fails to deliver what we need most. AN ELITE PLAYER. If you want to win the cup people you need an ELITE PLAYER. Pittsburgh had Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar and Fleury, Chicago had Toews, Keith, Seabrook, Hossa and Kane, Detroit had Zetterberg, Lindstrom and Datsyuk while even Boston had Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara. Had they had Marc Savard, a 90 point player then there is no doubt they are the favourite going into that cup final versus Vancouver. Who do the Leafs have I ask? A rookie goalie who captured the hearts of an entire city, a young shutdown defenseman, a sniper without a great centre and a former star defenceman who is trying to get back in the groove. The Leafs are full of good players, not elite. The Schenns, Kessels, Phaneufs, and Kulemins are great pieces but where are our point per game players or 60 point defenceman. We only have potentially one of those unless Kadri in the next two years turns into a 90 point guy.

My point here is simple. Why not refrain from signing Connolly and hope for a bottom 5 pick where we can get ourselves that ELITE player, like a Nail Yakupov or his teammate Alex Galchenyuk who is a traditional centre? You tell me would you rather lose for the next 3 years and win a cup in 5 or just make the playoffs as a fringe team and never advance past the second round. Leave comments at the bottom and I'll get back to you.

New York Yankees - Derek Jeter Hits No. 3000

OK let me get this out of the way. I hate the Yankees. I hate all their bandwagon fans, I hate the money they through at players who don't deserve it, I hate how they and their fans have an elite sense to them and most of all I hate that the Jays are in the same division as them. Moving on.

Now that we know that I hate the Yankees let me say this. I'm not jealous of them. I have no problem that they spend all that money or that they destroy the Jays. However I am jealous of Mr. Derek Jeter. The man has everything I want. Women, money, good looks, and the ability to swing the bat. I respect Jeter though. He is a class act and because of that I want to say congratulations. Out of all the great players to ever play for your prestigious team, you are the only one to get 3000 hits. That is a list of stars that include Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra and Babe Ruth, the player many consider the greatest ever (even though I think he is VERY overrated but that's a story for another day)

So today I stood up for you, gave you a round of applause but next time you come to Toronto I'm going to be behind the plate heckling you, you can make damn sure of that, but today I cheered for you. And that is something that you should take solace in. Today people who hate you or are jealous of you stood up and cheered because you are such a class act and while I am infuriated that you have the swing, 3000 hits, make millions of dollars and get to go home to Minka Kelly, know that I respect you. However when A-Rod hits his 3000th I'm going to fucking rage because that guy is such a douche knob.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Toronto Blue Jays - Frank Francisco. Is his future in jeopardy?

Lately, anywhere Blue Jays fans are interacting with one another it is becoming increasingly obvious that most Jays fans HATE Frank Francisco. And with last nights epic meltdown in the 9th against the Indians the FF hate has only multiplied. In fact it is becoming quite ridiculous with a group of fans actually suggesting we let McCoy pitch before Frank Francisco ever pitches again. Over the last week we have seen Jason Nix and Juan Rivera, two major fan headaches, designated for assignment. And this naturally begs the question is our incumbent closer next in line.

So far this season, Frank Francisco has an ERA of 4.81 coming out of the pen. Let me repeat that 4.81. Now it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that is bad but lets delve deeper into his stats. He has 10 saves this year compared to 4 blown saves so basically for out of every 3 games we entrust with him to win with the lead he will lose 1 of those. Simply not good enough.  Now I can sit here and keep writing about his horrible stats this year like his 1.85 WHIP, (which for you non fanatics means walks and hits per innings pitched), .380 BABIP, (Batting average on balls in play) or his ATROCIOUS -0.1 WAR (Wins above replacement) but I am not going to. Instead I'm going to answer the question people seem to be asking. Should we get rid of Frank Francisco? I am going to say no. He has gotten off to a rough start but if you watch him while he is on like that Boston game than you know what he is capable of, especially with that nasty splitter. My solution is give him time. Give him time to adjust to the AL East because this season is a season for finding our identity. It is a season where we are evaluating our talent and making plans for our future and considering he is basically an added bonus in the Vernon Wells trade it cannot hurt to give this man a chance. Am I confident he'll be the closer that we have longed for. I do not think so. Remember that 2:1 save vs blown save stat? Well that is also his career mark. 42 saves against 21 blown saves. However I believe he can be a very good bullpen arm for the next 3-5 years if he can get out of his current funk. If I was John Farrell I would have Frasor as my closer and Frank Francisco as my 8th inning guy, because that's what I view him as in the future. A guy to come in and bridge the gap between our starter and our closer whoever that may be. And if he does not work out, oh well we are not competing this year and all he cost is a little bit of salary. You ask me the reward is well worth the risk. So overreacting Jays fans remember when you said Jose Bautista was a waste of a spot in the line-up? Don't jump to conclusions.