Month: February 2019

Was Signing Bryce Harper a Bad Move For the Phillies?

Adam Lott / February 28, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your horses because Bryce Harper has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. The former Nationals all-star now has the largest free agent contract in American sports HISTORY. The contract is worth $330 million dollars and lasts 13 years! I bet Kyler Murray wishes he would have stayed in baseball right now because players are getting paid a lot of money for not a lot of effort. But was this signing a mistake for Philly?

The Phillies came into the offseason ready to battle. They immediately stated that they had “stupid money” and that they were willing to spend most of it. Signing all-star middle infielder Jean Segura and young phenom J.T. Realmuto were only the small goals for the Phillies. The team knew that they wanted either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado from the beginning. But after months of relentless pursuit accompanied by an AGONIZING free agency finally landed Bryce Harper in the city of love.

My opinion is that the Phillies were too eager. The home run derby champion has been on and off his entire career. He had 3 extraordinarily mediocre years to start off his venture with the Nationals. Then in 2015, his MVP campaign, he batted .330 with 99 RBIs and 42 home runs. The next year, the 26-year old’s stats dipped. His batting average stood at a subpar .243 and only had 24 home runs. Then in 2017, he got his average up to .319! But alas, his stats dropped once again when Harper only batted .249 in 2018 with 34 home runs and exactly 100 RBIs. It boggles my mind how inconsistent this guy is. Not to mention that when his contract is up, Harper will be 39. Let that sink in for a minute. He will be 39 years old and still making millions of dollars. For the last 4-5 years of his contract, Harper will mean NOTHING.

Why would the Phillies jump the gun on this guy? If they would have waited one more year, they could have pursued PHILADELPHIA NATIVE MIKE TROUT. Trout will be a free agent after the 2019 season and the Phillies could have had him! The best player in the world could have got all of that “stupid money” that some guy with a few good years under his belt got instead. If I was from Philadelphia, I would be pissed. Not only did you screw the franchise over for a GOOD WHILE, but you also screwed over a dedicated fan base that won’t see another championship until the contract is over. But hey, at least we won’t have to worry about fans rioting in the streets like when they won the super bowl. Stay classy Philadelphia.

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Manny Machado Finally Signed, Here’s What It Means For the NL West…

Adam Lott / February 19, 2019

Well, it finally happened. After one of the most anticipated and grueling off-seasons in MLB history, Manny Machado found a team. Tuesday morning, the superstar SS/3B signed a 10-year, $300 million dollar contract with the San Diego Padres. We all knew that the contract was gonna be huge, but HOLY COW that’s a lot of money! His contract now stands as the largest free agent contract in American sports history, surpassing the previous record held by Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million contract.

With the Machado signing, the Padres look to rebuild a struggling franchise. They finished last in the NL West in 2018 and had the fifth worst record in all of Major League Baseball. The signing will allow the team to build their franchise from the ground up, using Machado as the base of their structure. But what does this signing mean for the other four teams in the NL West?

Nothing. It means nothing for now at least. Several years from now, the story may be different, but for the next couple of seasons, the division will look excruciatingly similar to its previous years. The only thing that this signing will affect the division is the placement of the Padres and the Giants. The HORRID San Francisco Giants will be the worst baseball team in the NL West for MANY years.

The Giants finished 7 games ahead of the Padres last year and I predict that, with the Machado signing, San Diego will pass up the Giants and the Giants alone. The Diamondbacks, Rockies, and the Dodgers will be first, second, and third in the division (No specific order). So nothing will change immediately. However, the Padres have a lot of money AND a newly acquired franchise player under contract for 10 years.

Headlines about 5 years from now may have the Padres listed as a top team in baseball. Or they could still be one of the worst teams in baseball. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Nobody can know for sure how anything will play out because of the inactivity of free agents. Bryce Harper’s inevitable signing can ruin everything, especially if he does end up signing with the Giants. What we do know is that his contract will probably be bigger than Machado’s. So Manny, enjoy your record while you can because one 26-year-old RF from Nevada is coming for you.

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Saints vs Chiefs; the Super Bowl that should have been

Adam Forsythe / February 2, 2019

By now, you’ve likely at least heard about the infamous no-call in the NFC Championship. The call changed the game and eventually, the Rams won as they advanced to the Super Bowl and sent the Saints packing. However, the AFC Championship was also plagued by poor officiating. The New England Patriots eventually won the matchup in overtime and the Kansas City Chiefs were denied a Super Bowl berth. Throughout the season, many sports fans and analysts alike had the Saints and the Chiefs as the favorites to reach Super Bowl LIII due to their dynamic offenses. In preparation for Sunday’s big game between the Rams and the Patriots, I decided to see just how explosive a hypothetical matchup between the Saints and Chiefs would be.

1st Quarter

The Saints won the opening coin toss and elected to receive the initial kickoff. Taysom Hill, the team’s Swiss army knife, zoomed past the Chiefs’ special teams unit as he brought the kickoff all the way to the 40-yard line in Chiefs’ territory. Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense quickly got to work. On their first offensive play, Brees threw a short pass to running back Alvin Kamara who turned the reception into a 23-yard gain. With 17 yards to go, Brees handed the ball off to running back Mark Ingram as he busted his way through the defense for a nine-yard gain. On the next play, Brees connected with wide receiver Keith Kirkwood for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone. Kirkwood made a spectacular catch, reminiscent of Santonio Holmes’ toe-tapping grab in Super Bowl XLIII. Kicker Will Lutz converted on the extra point attempt bringing the score to 7-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Lutz sent the ball through the back of the end zone, denying the Chiefs’ speedster Tyreek Hill of an attempt at a return. The young Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes started off shaky as he was sacked for a six-yard loss by Saints’ defensive end Cameron Jordan. However, Mahomes quickly responded by throwing a deep bomb to Hill as they connected for a 53-yard gain. Now set up in Saints’ territory on the 22-yard line, Mahomes handed the ball off to running back Damien Williams. Unfortunately for Williams, he was playing against the number two rushing defense in the league. Williams lost three yards on the play. With 25 yards to go, Mahomes threw a quick strike to tight end Travis Kelce for a touchdown as Kelce overpowered Saints’ safety Marcus Williams in the end zone. Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker tied the game with his extra point attempt at 7-7.

On the next offensive drive for the Saints, the Chiefs’ defense showed up as safety Eric Berry intercepted Brees on the Saints’ 35-yard line. However, the Saints’ defense refuses to allow another touchdown to the high-flying offense of the Chiefs. The Chiefs converted on a 26-yard field goal attempt, giving them their first lead of the game with a score of 10-7.

2nd Quarter

On the Saints’ first possession of the second quarter, wide receiver Michael Thomas showed the world why he’s one of the most dominant receivers in the league. Thomas hauled in a 25-yard reception followed by another 32-yard catch. The Saints’ offense continued marching towards the end zone as Brees handed off to Ingram who fought his way to an eight-yard gain. Thomas capped off his stellar drive as he hauled in a spectacular the second Saints’ touchdown of the game. The Saints were once again in the lead as they brought the score to 14-10.

On the next offensive drive for the Chiefs, the inexperience of Mahomes was evident as he fumbled the snap on an early third down. Saints’ rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport quickly got on top of the ball giving the Saints excellent field position on the 46-yard line in Chiefs’ territory. The Saints took advantage of this great opportunity as Brees connected with Kamara for a 17-yard gain through the air. The Saints managed to get within ten yards of the end zone but the Chiefs’ goal-line defense made a stand against Brees and company. Lutz converted on a short field goal adding to the Saints lead. The score was now 17-10.

Known for their ability to score quickly, the Chiefs took a different approach with their next drive as they attempted to drain as much of the clock as possible. The Chiefs were able to drive down and score a touchdown as Mahomes connected with wide receiver Sammy Watkins for the seven-yard score. The Chiefs tied the game up at 17-17 and left only 17 seconds on the clock.

The Saints elected to take a knee and bring the game to halftime.

3rd Quarter

As great as the Saints started off the first half, the Chiefs were determined to match it. After an electrifying kick return from Tyreek Hill, the dynamic speedster wasn’t done yet as he hauled in a 54-yard touchdown reception from Mahomes on the first play of the third quarter. The Chiefs quickly took the lead as the score was now 24-17. Drew Brees knew he needed to come out and show the world why he is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, and that’s exactly what he did. Brees conducted a perfect drive for the Saints as he completed eight passes on eight attempts. His eighth completion was a perfectly thrown ball to Michael Thomas in double coverage. Thomas’ one-handed grab will be one of the most memorable in Super Bowl history. Lutz connected on the extra point attempt as the Saints tied the game up at 24-24.

The Chiefs drove down the field forcefully on their next offensive drive, but they found it much more difficult to score in the red zone this time around. Cameron Jordan and the defensive line of the Saints stood strong and held the Chiefs to only a field goal. The Chiefs retook the lead with a score of 27-24.

The Saints began moving the ball quite well on their next drive but they were unable to get into the end zone. Not to be outdone by Harrison Butker, Will Lutz connected on a 53-yard field goal attempt to regain the tie at 27-27.

4th Quarter

The final quarter of this explosive game started off in the hands of the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and company were able to once again drive down the field against this Saints defense. However, this time, they were able to score a touchdown as Mahomes connected with Damien Williams for a 12-yard score through the air. The extra point attempt was good bringing the score to 34-27.

When the Saints got the ball next, Brees was determined to score a touchdown and tie this game once again. Brees sliced up the defense as he threaded the needle between two defenders, connecting with wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. for a 36-yard completion. The wheels on the bus went ground and pound as the Saints got the running game going. With back to back runs of 17 and 13 yards, Mark Ingram II was fried up and ready for more carries, so that’s exactly what the Saints did in the red zone as Ingram took the carry for a nine-yard touchdown and celebrated by doing the famous backpack-kid dance. The score was once again tied at 34-34.

Mahomes and the Chiefs offense got to work as Travis Kelce hauled in four catches for 48 yards on this drive. Kelce also caught the touchdown reception from Mahomes. The Chiefs once again took control of the lead as the score was now 41-34.

The next offensive drive for the Saints couldn’t have gone any worse. Head coach Sean Payton tried to dial up a trick play. Brees took the snap from the center then threw what looked to be a wide receiver screen to Taysom Hill, but Hill caught the ball, looked downfield, and attempted to connect with Alvin Kamara on a deep route along the sideline. Unfortunately, Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller read the play perfectly and intercepted the pass.

After the interception, the Chiefs took over on their own 40-yard line. Mahomes handed off to Damien Williams who took the carry for a four-yard gain. The next play would be a defining moment for one of the Saints’ young defensive stars. Mahomes room the snap and looked to the right side of the field where he saw Tyreek Hill seemingly wide open on the sideline. Known for his tremendous arm strength, Mahomes put a little too much on the ball as his pass was overthrown and landed right into the hands of Saints’ cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore quickly turned around and sprinted down the sideline. With blockers in front of him the entire way, Lattimore returned the interception for a touchdown as all of the Who Dat Nation witnessed greatness. The play, which many are calling “The Immaculate Interception”, will go down in Saints’ history. The Saints tied the game once more at 41-41.

Mahomes and the Chiefs took over once again with a little over four minutes remaining. They were able to drain the clock down to about 1:32 remaining but were unable to score as the Saints’ defense held them to a three and out as Sean Payton called a timeout prior to the fourth down punt from the Chiefs.

With no timeouts left and 1:25 remaining on the clock, Drew Brees had his mind set on one thing and one thing only; bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to New Orleans. Brees and the Saints methodically drove down the field as they crossed the 50-yard line with merely 26 seconds to go. Brees connected with Michael Thomas on the left sideline as Thomas dragged his toes for the reception similar to Mario Manningham’s spectacular catch for the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. Now set up on the 34-yard line with 21 seconds remaining, Brees handed the ball off to Ingram for a four-yard gain before Brees spiked the ball with three seconds remaining.

Will Lutz made his way out to the 30-yard line to attempt a game-winning field goal. The Chiefs were out of timeouts as well so they didn’t have an opportunity to ice the kicker. As Lutz prepared for the kick of his life, the entire Who Dat Nation stood silently in hopes that Lutz could come in clutch for the team. The ball was snapped perfectly to Thomas Morstead as he held the ball for Lutz. Lutz ran up to the ball and sent it towards the goalpost. The ball sailed perfectly between the uprights as the Saints lifted Lutz in the air as they began celebrating their victory over the Chiefs with a score of 44-41.

Coach Payton was doused in an orange Gatorade bath as pandemonium overtook the field. The New Orleans Saints had once again reached the ultimate goal of securing the Lombardi Trophy.

Overview

Brees’ spectacular performance earned him his second Super Bowl MVP honor. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore was named the defensive player of the game after “The Immaculate Interception”. This game was as explosive as advertised with these two dynamic offenses. Luckily for the Who Dat Nation, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints were able to outlast Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Although this year’s Super Bowl is already locked in to be a Rams vs Patriots matchup, perhaps next season the football world will be gifted a matchup between the Chiefs and Saints in Super Bowl LIV.

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The Pelicans need to send Anthony Davis East, The Lakers don’t want Davis as bad as they think.

I don’t personally believe Lebron James and Anthony Davis would have great chemistry in Los Angeles together and I don’t think New Orleans should send him to LA as he wishes.

Let me explain. I believe if the Lakers do decide to gut their roster and potentially mortgage their future for Davis it has a very high chance of blowing up in their face.

What proof have we seen that Lebron James can work with other forwards?

Antwan Jamison? No.

Chris Bosh? Kind of?

Kevin Love? They played better when they weren’t on the floor together.

It’s a wonder to me why the Lakers aren’t targeting someone like Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Kemba Walker, or Kyrie Irving, someone who is proven to benefit from Lebron’s presence and adds something to it on the floor.

Besides that point alone, the Pelicans shouldn’t be in a hurry to let the Lakers try their chances this season with Anthony Davis and Lebron.

For one, what’s the benefit to New Orleans? Why feed the Lakers ego by giving them what they’re asking for? What ESPN and other media outlets fed into? Who benefits besides the Lakers in this situation?

I read that Dell Demps the GM of New Orleans wasn’t answering the Lakers phone calls and none of the offers the Lakers front office has given have not been prompted a counter offer, good for him.

Sadly for the Pelicans, the best potential trade in my eyes is now off the table I think.

The Knicks in what looks like an emotional move pulled the trigger seemingly prematurely on a Kristaps Porzingis trade. In a perfect world, the Pelicans could have acquired KP and the Knicks #1 pick for Davis, which would’ve given New Orleans a chance at Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett.

However, since that ship has sailed, the mainstream sports media is telling us that the Lakers and the Celtics are the only destinations. 

The Pelicans are not in the playoff hunt, and still, have assets like Nikola Mritic and Jrue Holiday.

If New Orleans is serious about competing in the near future, they should not be interested in what the Lakers have to offer. Anything short of their entire young core; Kuzma, Ball, Hart, Zubac and Ingram, + 2 first round picks they should hang up the phone.

The benefits of trading Davis east far outweigh the benefits of trading him to the Lakers, especially if they have any type of roster left after the trade. A team like the Celtics, may not be as interested because of recent comments by Anthony Davis’s father about Danny Ainge’s treatment of Isaiah Thomas.

However, if the Celtics are willing to roll the dice Davis, they do still have valuable draft capital to offer. If it’s somehow possible to take for Dell Demps to get a combination of Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, and Jalen Brown from the Celtics with any type of draft capital for Anthony Davis and whoever, I think that is a much better trade for New Orleans.

Jayson Tatum showed us last year in the playoffs that he has the potential to be a franchise player. The Celtics to me look like they are giving the franchise to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, or at least they are conflicted on it at the moment.

If the Celtics are willing to take the risk of losing Davis after the season, New Orleans should pull the trigger on that young core.

Another team that could want Davis is the Chicago Bulls.

I don’t know what Chicago would be willing to give up as far as young players like Wendell Carter Jr, and Lauri Markkanen. However, similar to New York, their 1st round pick is most likely going to be a lottery pick. Davis is from Chicago, and I’m sure the Bulls would love to land Davis.

The Raptors could offer an attractive package of core players and draft picks in an attempt to try to keep both Kahwi and Davis, although I don’t think that would be a well-advised move for the Raptors.

The point is that the New Orleans Pelicans, because of Anthony Davis’s public announcement, have a lot more leverage than the media is reporting.

I’m sure they aren’t angry with Davis as he did give them two contracts and the team doesn’t look like it has any sign of improving around Davis.

I think this is an excellent opportunity for the Pelicans to form a core around players like Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Jayson Tatum, and Jalen Brown or Kevin Knox and one of the Duke Stars. The possibilities are pretty good, and New Orleans doesn’t owe Anthony Davis, Lebron James, Rich Paul, or Magic Johnson any favors.

Collect young stars, give them the reigns, and watch a contender become formed in New Orleans for the first time. Build that Pelican brand on the backs of young assets, look the Suns, Mavericks, Hawks, and 76ers. Young cores that will be with the teams predictably for a long time.

Don’t give the city that stole Chris Paul away from you another chance at stealing your star player, win this trade, and send him east.

 Los Angeles is trying to use their fan base and media power to control the narrative, and suggest that New Orleans best offer is in LA, but there is some value in not letting the Lakers do this, again.

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Benjamin Watson NFLPA Community MVP

With New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in a race for NFL MVP, there is another Saints player that actually won an MVP award.

In week 17, Saints tight end Benjamin Watson was named NFLPA Community MVP for raising more than $100,000 for multiple organizations. Watson is eligible to win this year’s Alan Page Community award which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can give to a player.

Earlier this season Watson announced his retirement from the NFL after playing 14 seasons. The former first-round pick in 2004 has played in all 16 games since 2014. Watson has 5,885 career receiving yards and 44 touchdowns.

One could even say Watson has played better as he has gotten older. Watson’s catch percentage has been 67.3%, 77.2%, and 76.1% over the last three seasons as well. With Watson retiring now and up for the high honor award Alan Page award for his community work, Watson has had an impressive career.

Foco.com has come out with a Benjamin Watson community MVP commemorative bobblehead that looks amazing. You can get yours at Foco.com and be sure to follow them on Twitter at @FOCOusa.

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