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Pure Unadulterated Gibberish…Conclusion…

Continuing on with more nonsense from the piece the other day…

*While we were talking about trade deadlines for the Celtics, we are less than impressed with the Danny Ainge’s winter partner, Boston Bruins GM Donnie Sweeney’s performance.

Donnie Hockey was able to unload Danton Heinen and his putrid contract (that Sweeney gave Heinen of course).  But Ondrej Kase?  Nick Ritchie?

Underwhelming.

Yeah, they both have “term” left on their contracts.  Love how “term” has become a hot word at each NHL trading deadline in recent years.  But a first round pick for Kase?

I guess unloading David Backes in that deal was a positive too…but the Bs are still on the hook for 3 mil of his dough.

And Kase doesn’t exactly have a storied NHL history, except for being injured.  Haven’t seen him do much since he’s been here either…other than him getting sent to the box for embellishment on Saturday night.

Sure it’s only been a handful of games.  But Kase isn’t what I envisioned for a second line right wing.  The pundits seem to love the deal and him in particular, so I guess I’ll have to give it time.  What else can I do?

Ritchie…whatever.  Heinen is gone and that makes his deal an overall plus.  But he’s miscast on the second line, I can tell you that much.

The Bruins needed scoring and they simply didn’t get it.  With Jake DeBrusk in a long funk and the Bruin power play scuffling a bit in recent games, the lack of scoring punch has been exacerbated perhaps.

I suppose nothing will matter if Tuukka plays like he has been for the most part recently…giving up some nice softies.

The Bs will be alright.  But how far “alright” takes a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen.  At least they didn’t give up any of their highly touted kids.  Though a lot of their most recent highly touted kids haven’t exactly panned out…so there’s that.

Especially if they suffer from the “President’s Trophy Curse.”  Also especially, if the Tampa Bay Lightning are on a mission to avenge the first round sweep last season after winning the President’s Trophy last year and setting records in the process.  With or without Steven Stamkos.

*NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION SOCCER!!!  Started Saturday.  I’m excited!!  Are you??!!

Wait a minute, no I’m not.

And guess what?  They played to a tie in their opener.

Shocker.

*XFL.  Still no interest.

Moving on.

*The Patriots have OTHER free agents besides Tom Brady?

GO FIGURE!!

We kind of went through it all 6 weeks ago or so.  But we will take another look as the onset of free agency is upon us.

It goes without saying that I don’t think anyone really cares about the likes of Phillip Dorsett, Elandon Roberts and Shilique Calhoun.  Or even Danny Shelton, Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner or Justin Bethel.  I’d say the same about Ted Karras.

At least I feel that way.

After Brady, the key four are Joe Thuney, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Devin McCourty.  Love to have them all back.  And I may actually pay Van Noy.  And slightly overpay McCourty for his leadership.

I have a hard time seeing any of that though.  Especially if Brady leaves.  The Pats may let them ALL walk as part of a total rebuild.

Thuney for sure is gone.  He will command huge dollars.  And the Pats already paid their other guard, Shaq Mason, huge dollars.  Even though the offensive line was fairly putrid overall last season, the feeling here is that they can plug in another serviceable guard for a fraction of Thuney’s cost.

I’d be wary of handing Collins another huge contract.  He wanted one the first time around here.  Got dealt for pennies on the dollar.  Then signed a huge deal with Cleveland.  And didn’t seem to make much of an impact.  He was dominant on a cheap contract early last year.  But the competition was weak.  He sort of disappeared as the schedule got tougher.

I really would consider paying Van Noy.  He fits well in the system and has turned into a very good player.  But at 16 mil plus, will the Pats pay him?  I have my doubts.

If anyone gets overpaid, it’s Devin.  But how much is too much?  He was extremely overpaid in his last deal.  He is getting up there in age.  Who is going to open the vault for him?  His leadership is invaluable, but how much is that worth?  His brother Jason is due 5.5 mil, a ton for him.  The Pats are supposed to keep him at that number.  But what if they don’t?

I do feel like Devin and the Pats work something out.  Maybe at the expense of all the other free agents.  But maybe for the leadership, it will be worth it.

That all being said, it still comes down to Brady.  If he walks, this team could possibly look entirely different next season.  Even if Brady stays it will look different.  But it could be drastic if he goes.

Fun times indeed!

*Last but not least, YOUR BOSTON RED SOX!!

Speaking of fun times!!

This honestly will be a whole nutha column upcoming.

But the Chris Sale situation last week was fun, wasn’t it?

Look, I am not a doctor, but the guy is still going to need Tommy John surgery at some point, no?  So why are they messing around?  Just do it, get him recovered and back for…I guess 2022.  He honestly should have had it last year.  All reports seem to indicate that anyway.

Ownership and Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom can call it what they want.  But this year is some sort of bridge year, right?

The offense should still be fine.  But the pitching staff?  Gross.  Especially if Sale eventually is shut down…which EVERYBODY expects.

Eduardo Rodriguez had an awesome year last year.  But would anyone be surprised if he goes something like 13-11, 4.28 this year?  I won’t.

Counting on Nathan Eovaldi to be a key guy?  Not a great idea.

And the nickel and diming the Sox brass just did to Rafael Devers?  In case you missed it, the team “came to an agreement” with all of their pre-arbitration players on contracts.  Like 20 of them or something.

The Sox “renewed” Devers’ contract.

Big difference.

Yes, the Red Sox are completely within their rights to renew contracts when they can’t come to an agreement otherwise.

But to do it to one of your best players?  Stupid.

If Raffy was asking for 10 million this year, ok.  But I am betting he wasn’t.  Probably more than the almost 700k he got.  But seeing as how all these players have to kind of “pay their dues” before they get PAID, I am betting it wasn’t an outrageous ask.  Something should have been able to have been worked out with his agent.

Again, stupid.  Great way to alienate your players.

Just ask Mookie Betts.

Just like Betts, and especially if he keeps trending up, Devers is going to remember this one.

Guaranteed.

Again, more on the Sox coming up.

But who is excited about the upcoming season?

Not many, I am afraid…

Mookie!

FINALLY.  Mookie Betts has been traded.  Officially.

Leave it to Red Sox ownership.  Ask for two players they know are already injured in the initial Mookie Betts/David Price deal.  Then when they find out they are REALLY injured (one of them anyway), proceed to hold up all the teams involved in the deal by demanding more compensation.  And yes, I blame ownership and not Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom.  The owners were the impetus for the deal, no two ways about it.

Actually, come to think of it, former GM Dave Dombrowski would have taken the injured players, even if they were more seriously injured than previously thought.  Then have the chance to back out, but say, “nah, we are good!”  Drew Pomeranz deal anyone?

It’s absolutely mind boggling how this ownership group, you know, the ones that oversaw a team that ended an 86 year World Series drought, then proceeded to win three more titles under their stewardship as well, can be so despised.  How’s that for a run-on sentence?!  The answer is:  cry poor mouth when you have more money than you know what to do with.

Listen, when one runs a business, you don’t want your costs spiraling out of control.  In this particular case, it’s paying an incredible amount of luxury tax.

But the Red Sox have the money.  They print their own money for Chrissakes.  Oh, and they charge an arm and TWO legs for EVERYTHING that revolves around the local nine.  Please buy a brick everyone!!

I cringe when I think of primary owner John Henry once calling the Sox a “small market team”.  Sigh…

The Sox could have gotten under the luxury tax by trading the useless Jackie Bradley Jr. and assorted other flotsam and jetsam.

But they chose their best player, and when all are healthy, their second best pitcher.  While eating half of that pitchers’ remaining salary.

For some fans, that is hard to swallow.

Me?

I actually don’t mind the deal.  Despite the fact that I too, feel like this ownership group is a bunch of arseclowns.  And that includes the spirit of Larry Lucchino, who was around for the early days.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again:  I was never trying to run Mookie Betts out of town.

All I know is that if I worked for the Sox and I felt that I could not re-sign Mookie before he hit free agency, I would explore all deals for him.  I do not want to lose him for a mere compensatory pick in return.

Betts was hell bent on getting to free agency.  And that is every bit his right to do so.  He presumably would be looking for the biggest contract.  Again, his right.  Only a handful of teams could pay him big dollars.  But there would be teams willing to do that, that much is for sure.

My feeling is that if Mookie got to free agency, he would not be coming back.  Even if the Sox ended up opening the vault, in the end, he would have been offended that they did not do so right from the get-go.  No doubt in my mind.  He would have felt disrespected.  That’s just what happens with athletes.

He was going.  And the Sox needed to get something in return.

As an aside, I am not giving out 12 year, 420 mil contracts to ANYONE, unless his name is “Mike Trout”.  And even then it’s a lot of commitment.  If I am in charge, no matter how much dough I have at my disposal, those deals are a little too long and risky for me.  In any sport.  Sorry.  But if I am running the business no way I do that.  Then again, no way I pay JBJ 11 mil this year either.  So, there’s that.

Could they have traded Betts at the deadline and gotten a bigger haul?  In my mind that was unlikely.  Not for a mere two months of service time.  Not to mention that if the Sox are in contention (which they should be EVERY YEAR), trading your best player at that time might not be received kindly by Red Sox Nation.

Poor Bloom.  He came into this sorry situation.  Once again ownership didn’t help by publicly announcing their desire (mandate?) to get under the luxury tax limit.  Tying Blooms’ hands a bit.  Then again, he didn’t have to take the job I guess.

But now he has to find a manager too.  Well, I guess he didn’t really have to look hard if they are just going to announce bench coach Ron Roenicke as the hire soon.  Nevermind…

The rest of the players involved?

I would have eaten 95.9 of Prices’ 96 mil remaining on his contract to get him the hell out of town.

Sorry.

This guy is a loser.  Good riddance.

Yeah, he won a couple of games in the 2018 World Series and should have been MVP.  Good for him.  The rest of his tenure other than the last two weeks of the 2018 playoffs (no one remembers he sucked early in those playoffs) was less than stellar.  Especially for 31 mil per.

Sure he had a great record in Boston.  And started out nice last season.  But the overall body of work was less than impressive…of course when you factor in what you would expect for 217 mil overall.

And the attitude?  Ugh.  Yeah, his teammates loved him.  But was that a good thing?  He got them all to gang up on former Sox pitcher and now broadcaster Dennis Eckersley.  All because Eck said he took too long in between pitches.  Or mildly criticized Eduardo Rodriguez in one of E-Rods’ starts.  Or so says Price anyway.

Please.  The subtraction of Price has me overjoyed.  I don’t care if I have to look at Ryan Weber and Hector Velasquez every five days.  I already have to look at Martin Perez every five days now.  Can Weber/Velasquez be worse?  Brian Johnson sure could be, so hopefully, he stays buried in Pawtucket.

The return?  Jury is out.

Alex Verdugo supposedly has talent.  We will see.  Just hope he doesn’t beat up a homeless guy outside Fenway after he goes 0-5 one night.  Ok, that was harsh.  But there is supposedly some “off field” stuff with him.  So we will see how all that goes.  Oh, and a back injury at 23 years old can’t be promising.

The other two guys I know zero about.  Jeter Downs may have some promise, but who knows?  This Wong dude can catch and play infield.  Nice.  But let’s see that in the majors.  By 2025 I would say.

And the “one that slipped away”?  Brusdar Graterol?

I don’t know much about him either.  Except he throws gas.  And is apparently on his way to 400 lbs.

The Twins had no problem dealing him, so maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about what he MIGHT do.

Until he goes 21-2, 2.34, 322 Ks in 2022 I guess…

Alex Cora…

…so I feel like I should comment on the whole cheating scandal going on in Major League Baseball.  Not only because it involves the Boston Red Sox.  But also because the New England Patriots have been known to ummmmm…push the envelope a time or three as well.  So I guess it is in the water here.  Or it’s prevalent around all leagues.  Either way…

The punishment has not come out against the Red Sox as of yet, so I am not really sure how I feel about them in particular.  Though the punishment has been levied against the Houston Astros already, they still seem to be the focus of the public somehow.  I’ll take that.

There is nothing really to write about the actual Red Sox team either.  Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom has spent the offseason basically exchanging bum/unproven relievers for…bum/unproven relievers.  And NOT cutting payroll, as he was apparently “mandated” to do.  He also got rid of some AAAA infielders and signed a backup catcher.  So there’s that.  Oh, and now he has to find a manager.  Seems pretty productive thus far, right?

So instead of wasting any words on Sam Travis, Bobby Poyner, Jeffrey Springs or Matt Hall, here are some completely random thoughts on the cheating coming out of my head, in no particular order.  And I am not even guaranteeing they will make any sense either:

*As written in an ESPN article, “Cora is described by commissioner Rob Manfred as being “involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.””

YIKES!!

Yeah, based on that, I can’t say I am surprised by the Sox firing him…oops, I mean, “agreed with Alex to mutually part ways…”  Sorry about that.

But what penalty can Cora expect?  Based on the year that former Astro manager A.J. Hinch received, is there a chance Cora gets banned for life?  Is it worse than what Pete Rose did to get him banned for life?

I may be the wrong guy to ask about Rose.  Truly an abhorrable (abhorrent?) individual, he bet on his own team while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds.  He may have not been the only one doing it, but he was dumb enough to get caught.  And, not to mention, dumb enough to do it in the first place.  Some may point out that he may have been showing confidence in his own team that day.  But he also likely tanked other days to assure the team was at its best the day he threw money down on them.  Or something like that.  In any event, despite being a colossal scumbag, Rose should be in the Hall of Fame as a player.  Since he would be far from the only scumbag in the Hall.

But I digress.  As for Cora…I don’t even know the answer.  It would seem kind of obvious that he would get more than Hinch.  But life?

I can’t go there unless I hear more damning evidence against him.  Perhaps that comes when the Red Sox investigation is complete.

*What does MLB do from here?  I mean, video is everywhere.  Some dude can take video from the 6th row and get valuable information, can’t he?  The Astro dude that was standing in plain view and recording in games against the Red Sox, Indians and who knows who else…was that even necessary?

I know the teams have some sort of video rooms in the back and all.  But even if they were eliminated, would that make a difference?

I’ve actually been wondering for years how on an NFL telecast in any year someone like Tony Romo, Troy Aikman or Cris Collinsworth say stuff early on like, “when we spoke to the quarterback and coaches on Friday, they told us they were going to do (this) to (combat the other team)”.  I mean, no one listens to the telecast and communicates that to the opposing sideline?  Yeah, it isn’t the whole game plan.  And maybe what was said was kind of obvious.  But still…

Video and recording devices are all around us.  How do you stop it?  I don’t know.  And I am not sure MLB does either.

*What about player suspensions?  Will we see any of those?

My guess is no.  For several reasons.  Are any of the reports going to single out any of the players?  Are there really any players that took advantage more than others?  Did some players frown upon it, but had no choice to go along with the plan due to pressure from their teammates/coaches (reports are that Hinch didn’t love what was going on and broke two monitors at some point.  But ultimately did nothing to stop it, so of course he is paying the price),

And above all, how can you suspend 25-40 players?

Perhaps heavy manager/GM penalties may discourage players from engaging in this practice going forward.  But can we count on that?

*And if they are going after General Managers, why not the owners?  I guess the draft picks and the 5 mil takes care of that part.

However, Marge Schott and George Steinbrenner faced some personal penalties years ago.  So who is to say the owners shouldn’t pay some sort of personal price here as well?

We know for these guys 5 mil is pocket change.

More questions than answers, I know.  But MLB is undoubtedly in the same spot.

And one thing is for sure, cheating is never going away…in any sport.

If it’s not video, it’s Apple watches, it’s performance enhancing drugs, it’s deflating footballs, or it’s something else.  And then something new will inevitably come along.

Sign stealing has been happening for years, in fact.  We all know that.  It’s just a little more high tech now.

So as the world becomes more complicated, busy and distracting…good luck to every sport for figuring all THAT out…

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