After a weekend with lots of news, "the stack" has plenty in it today. Preseason football, MLB and NFL trades, The Stack covers it all. So let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, August 27:
Red Sox-Dodgers complete mega deal
The Boston Red Sox decided it was time to cut their losses. The Los Angeles Dodgers decided it was time to take L.A. back. However you want to slice it, the fortunes of two franchises changed over the weekend when the Red Sox sent pitcher Josh Beckett, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder Carl Crawford to the Dodgers (oh yeah, Nick Punto too) for first baseman James Loney and a few minor leaguers including the Dodgers number two prospect. All said, nine players were traded. This trade took everyone by surprise. The Red Sox were able to unload over $260 million in contracts simply by trading three players. That's unheard of. This may be the largest amount of money in players traded ever. No trade clauses.
First to the Dodgers. They knew they needed to make a splash. New ownership. Re-newed sense of hope. Optimism a plenty. The Dodgers have surprised plenty of pundits and fans this year competing for the NL West. Before the traded deadline, the Dodgers got Hanley Ramirez. But that obviously wasn't enough. The Dodgers have seen other the other teams in L.A. have plenty of success. The Lakers have been dominant, winning multiple championships. The Kings just won the Stanley Cup last year. Even the Clippers now are generating plenty of buzz with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. And the Anaheim Angels made a splash this offseason bringing in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. The Dodgers wanted to make a statement. They wanted to back L.A. by storm. And they may very well have just done that with this blockbuster of a trade. And it should translate to a playoff birth this year.
As for the Red Sox side of things, this year has been a disaster. Whether it be the injuries, manager Bobby Valentine, etc., this year has just not been a good year. Some Red Sox probably expected it to be a down year, but not like this. After signing big name players, the Red Sox failed to live up to expectations. But perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Management obviously felt that they wouldn't be able to win with the current group of players they had and looked to the future. They shed over a quarter of a million dollars off their payroll. Does that mean they're going to throw some big money this offseason at a Zach Greinke or Josh Hamilton? Maybe. May history repeat itself with a move like that? Perhaps. But this move provides the Red Sox with lots of flexibility and makes them a very intriguing team to watch come the offseason. Wow! What a trade!
In other Dodgers news, announcer Vin Scully, 84 years old, will return to the booth next year for his 64th season. Such longevity, but one of the best voices in sports. Keep it going Vin.
NFL Week 3 preaseason thoughts, injuries and trades
Lots of NFL news over the weekend. First to some thoughts from the games. The third game is the most important game of the preseason. It is the dress rehearsal before the regular season starts. With that said...
- Peyton Manning looked really good against a tough 49ers defense. Ten for twelve (10-12) 122 yards, two touchdowns. And he got right up after taking a big hit. He looks ready for the regular season.
- If the Philadelphia Eagles lose Michael Vick at all during the regular season, they should be in pretty good hands with rookie Nick Foles. 12-19, 146 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Not bad at all.
- Speaking of rookies quarterbacks playing well, what about Seattle's Russell Wilson's performance against the Kansas City Chiefs? 13-19 for 185 yards and two touchdowns, and two rushes for 58 yards. The Seahawks paid a lot of money to bring in Matt Flynn, but at this point, go with the hot hand and that is Wilson which is why he was named the starter last night.
- The preseason battle of preseason battles between rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III commenced in D.C. and they each looked pretty good. Luck was 14 for 23 for 151 yards and a touchdown while RGIII was 11-17 for 74 yards and a touchdown. Both quarterbacks will have growing pains and this season will be a tough one for each team, but the future does look bright.
- Some teams aren't ready for the season to start it appears. The Kansas City Chiefs were trounced 44-14 at home by the Seattle Seahawks. This team has talent and is getting some guys back like Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry from injury last year, but so far, they have not looked very good. Another team headed for a bad year, the Miami Dolphins. They lost 23-6 to the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan Tannehill did not look good. Long year ahead in Miami. So to in New York if you're a Jets fan. Yeesh!
Every team's goal in training camp and the preseason is to get out healthy. Week three of the preseason saw some bad injuries. Thursday night, Titans return man Marc Mariani suffered a gruesome 'Theisman' like leg injury, ending his season. Pittsburgh Steelers rookie guard David DeCastro's season appears done after tearing his MCL and dislocating his kneecap. There was a fear that his ACL was torn, but that is not the case anymore. Not good news for the Steelers who were expecting DeCastro to provide stability to an offensive line that struggled to stay healthy last year. Does not look good. New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara is going to miss some time, but it's not due to a cold tub incident. Amukamara suffered a sprained ankle against the Chicago Bears and is likely to miss a few weeks. Maybe he'll be spending more time in the tub. And Houston Texans rookie kicker Randy Bullock is done for the year after suffering a torn muscle in his groin area. The Texans were excited about the Bullock's potential, but it looks like that will have to be shelved until next year.
Finally, as is every year, cuts are a part of training camp and the preseason that coaches dread. They hate telling players who worked their butt off for them trying to make it on the squad that their dream is ending, at least for now. Every year there are surprise cuts. Sunday saw a couple of them when the Seattle Seahawks released Terrell Owens and the Baltimore Ravens released kicker Billy Cundiff. The T.O. release isn't quite as surprising as Cundiff. I mean, after all, T.O. has been out of the league for a year and he had several drops in the preseason. His NFL career is probably done now after this. As for Cundiff, yes he missed the biggest kick of his career last year that would have put the Ravens in the Super Bowl, but he has been a very reliable kicker over the years. While the coaching staff and front office may say that they're not releasing him based on that kick, you have to think that their confidence in Cundiff has deminished greatly leading them to go with rookie Justin Tucker.
And the "trade winds" that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been tweeting about constantly over the past few days has finally brought in cornerback Vontae Davis from the Miami Dolphins for a second round pick. While Davis is a very good defensive player that definitely upgrades the Colts defense, the "big name" that Irsay was promising, well this isn't it. Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace would have been big. Jaguars running back Mauirce Jones-Drew would have been big. Davis is a good player, but not quite the "big name" Irsay was leading us to believe. Still, the Colts got better while the Dolphins did not. Long years in both Miami and Indianapolis, but at least there is a little more hope in Indy at this point.
Rick Majerus will not coach this year
Due to his heart condition, Saint Louis University men's basketball coach Rick Majerus is taking a leave of absense for this year and maybe longer. It seems as though we've been down this road before. Majerus left his job at Utah because of health matters eventually working for ESPN from 2004-2007 when he accepted the job at SLU. It will be interesting to see if Majerus does indeed decide to come back after this year or if his health will force him back to the studio and broadcast booth. He is 64-years old after all. He is a very smart coach. Very savvy. He'll be great back on television, but here's hoping he gets his health condition solved and is back on the court next year.
Japan wins LLWS
We know Japan produces some pretty good major league baseball players. A few years from now, we may be saying that about the kids on Japan's little league team who won the Little League World Series, defeating Tennessee 12-2. Japan was dominant in the LLWS, winning in large part with their pitching. Their pitchers struck opponents out at a stunning rate. At one point, they had 55 strikeouts in 29 innings of work. That is phenominal. Teams just couldn't hit them. The LLWS is always fun to watch because of the joy that these kids display playing the game they love. Unfortunately for the kids from Tennessee, they just didn't have an answer to Japan's pitching. Still a terrific showing by the kids.
Coming up later this week: College Football preview. Looking to role with it Wednesday. May have the NFL later this week or next Tuesday, Septermber 4th.