Who Do You Want in RF in 2012?

JD Drew is playing his last season as a member of the Boston Red Sox.  I am in the minority when it comes to an opinion on JD Drew.  I think he gave 5 quality years, playing the best defense in baseball (statistically proven) and making contributions to the club when they most needed them.

Now the question becomes, who is the heir apparent to JD Drew?

With speculation running wild that Andre Ethier is upset the direction of the lowly Dodgers and wanting to play in Boston with his best friend Dustin Pedroia, I have decided it’s a perfect time for a poll.

So…

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AFC East Free Agency Forecast

As with the NFL, and most recently the NBA, I have locked myself out of writing any posts for an extended period of time. However, with all of this hullabaloo (yea I said it) seemingly coming to an end with the NFL, I figured I would share some of my feelings with you.  You will have to keep in mind the whole restricted/unrestricted thing may change with a new CBA and some guys that I may list could be off limits. 

That being said The AFC East seems to be getting more competitive. The Jets are making a run of becoming the Eagles of this decade by losing two consecutive conference championships in a row. The Patriots still have Tom Brady and the young defense is starting to get it. The Dolphins defense looks to be even better this coming year and if they had a clue on offense could contend. The Buffalo Bills are no longer a scheduled win on the schedule and have a lot of young talent to steal some wins away.  Today I will be focusing on the offensive side of the ball and give you some names to look out for.

It would seem that there would only be two teams in the market for a quarterback, however the Bills seem to be standing by Fitzpatrick and in my opinion it’s the best move that Gailey has made since he’s been there.Miamiwill most likely be looking to land a veteran, some names I could see ending up inSouthBeachwould be Carson Palmer, Vince Young, Matt Hasslebeck, and possibly Mcnabb. I think the best fit would be Palmer however both he and Mike Brown seem to be sticking to their guns. I can’t see Palmer retiring and for the right price I think Brown would pull the trigger. Bottom line, Henne will probably start next year andMiamiwill run the ball about 60 times a game.

The running back position will probably see the most movement especially in this division.New Englandneeds more balance and an injection of some youth in the backfield. The law firm was great last season but with Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris applying for social security and Kevin Faulk most likely retiring, they need one or two guys to fill the void. The Jets simply cannot rely on LT and Shonn Greene to shoulder the load. They drafted McKnight out of USC last year and he struggled getting into the offense.Miami, similair toNew Englandneeds one or two backs. They drafted Daniel Thomas out ofKansasStateand the remaining backs from their roster are all free agents (Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs, Lex Hilliard).Buffaloseems to be the most stable at the position and may add someone to replace Fred Jackson

DeAngelo Williams is the biggest name and best buy in my opinion. I have sources (I really do) that have reported that Williams bought a home inMiami….coincidence? Probably, if I had the money I would have a home inSouthBeachtoo. That being saidMiamihas spent the most money in free agency almost every offseason in the past five years and I have a feeling Williams will end up inMiami. Another big name that will have some rumors swirling around it will be Reggie Bush. All signs point to the Saints moving on and you can’t tell me that a coordinator wouldn’t be able to find use for him.  Look for a Darren Sproles sighting in the AFC East next year as well. I could seeNew Englandlanding either player. Both can catch the ball out of the backfield and have the explosiveness that the current wide receivers are lacking. Ahmad Bradshaw would also be a good fit for the Patriots as well with his downhill running still. The Jets may want the players I just listed as well as any of the Ricky and Ronnie duo from the Phins. I could seeBuffalotaking a flyer on a guy like Mike Tolbert or Michael Bush to replace the hard nose runner they may be losing with Fred Jackson’s possible departure.

The wide receiver position will be interesting. The Jets would be dumb to not re-sign Santonio Holmes and they would be just as smart to re-sign Braylon Edwards. Edwars catches a lot of criticism and rightfully so, for his dropoff after his monster 2008 season. However towards the end of last season he came around. His catch against Indy was huge and if he does become a free agent he would command some decent cash from teams.New Englandcould be looking to add the stretch the field asset they once had with Randy Moss. Could that be Vincent Jackson? If so, there is no reason this team couldn’t make another Super Bowl run.MiamiaddedMarshalllast season and also drafted the speed guy they were lacking in Edmund Gates. They probably won’t be making a move for a wideout, however there has been some politicking going on from Brandon Marshall to add his best friend and ex-college teammate Mike Sims-Walker.Buffaloneeds another guy to help out Steve Johnson and lee Evans. They could be in the market for a guy like James Jones from Green Bay who I think is a poor mans Brandon Marshall, he is a big physical receiver just not a lot of speed.

I don’t see a lot of big time tight ends going anywhere. I also don’t see a huge need for the position within the division.New Englanddrafted a great pair with Gronkowski and Hernandez and should be set. The Jets have Dustin Keller and don’t use him enough in my opinion. The Dolphins could certainly use an upgrade at the position to help free up Fasano from blocking all the time. The Buffalo Bills have a number of young guys and could definitely bring in a guy like Owen Daniels who may move on from the Texans.

Offensive line will be interesting in this division. The biggest story will be what will happen with Logan Mankins. IfNew Englandparts ways with him depending on if they can and will franchise him again they have an issue in the middle of that line. They are very strong on the outside with Volmer and the new giant Solder on the other side. Light may resign for a hometown discount, but I’m not sure either side will be keen on that. The Jets lost Damien Woody and both Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano would love to add the high priced guard. If Mankins is off the table look forMiamito go after Davin Joseph hard. Carl Nicks, Ryan Kalil, and Harvey Dahl are all quality guys that again may or may not be available.  I’m not sure ifBuffalowould be in the bidding for Mankins but they could certainly use a tackle. The best options at Tackle are Tyson Calbo, Jared Gaither, and Doug Free. Who knows,Buffalocould keep Matt Light in the division and let Cameron Wake abuse him some more. Center is pretty solid in this division,Miamidrafted Pouncey to be their center in the first round of the draft  and the other teams in the division are pretty decent up the middle. If they wanted to upgrade they could try to pick up Olin Kruetz or Samson Satele, howeverMiamishipped Satele out of the division because he couldn’t handle the big nose tackles like Wilfork and Jenkins.

The Bills and Dolphins need the most help offensively ranking 28th and 30th in scoring offense but that doesn’t mean New England and New York won’t snag some of the players that I’ve listed. All four teams can improve in certain areas and it seems that we will soon be finding out who is going where.

Patterson’s Week 13 MLB Rankings

Sorry to the faithful readers of this blog for the late post of my rankings.  Over the Fourth of July weekend, I was busy enjoying the beach, cookouts, parades, and my close friends.  There was simply no time to get to a computer and quite frankly no desire to get to a computer either.  But good things come to those who wait and here you are with my Week 13 rankings!

1) Philadelphia Phillies (1)

Cliff Lee’s stat line for the month of June? 5-0 with an ERA of 0.21.¬† He pitched 42 innings giving up 21 hits with 29 strikeouts.¬† Lee gave up just 1 run in all of June.¬† If I had more time on my hands (or if this blogging was a full-time job) I would do some research and find if any pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball has had a comprable month.¬† I strongly doubt any one has.¬† Not Cy Young, not Koufax, not Gibson, not even Pedro.

2) New York Yankees ( 2)

After praising Cliff Lee, it would be unfair of me if I didn’t mention the recent run CC Sabathia has been on, thus eliminating my comparisons to Koufax, Young, Gibson, and Pedro.¬† CC is 4-0 in his last 4 starts having gone no less than 7 innings in each.¬† Overall?¬† 4-0 in 29.2 innings giving up 9 earned runs and striking out 32.¬† His last loss was to the Red Sox.¬† He is 8-1 in his last nine starts.

3) Boston Red Sox (3)

Last season Ryan Kalish had his opportunity to audition for the rights to replace JD Drew in right field for the 2012 season. ¬†Red Sox fans fell in love with Kalish’s grit and hustle reminding Red Sox fans of Trot Nixon. ¬†This year, its been Josh Reddick’s turn to audition for said job vacancy. ¬†And he has been…dare I say it…Reddickulous. ¬†In 18 games and 47 at bats, the Stifler look-a-like is hitting .404 with a home run and 10 rbi’s. ¬†When it comes time to decide who is trade bait and who is here to stay in Boston, the decision will not be an easy one and should get more press than LeBron’s decision.

4) Atlanta Braves (7)

I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t give the Braves a chance in contending for the playoffs this season.¬† I figured they would never compete with Philly and weren’t good enough to stay in a wild card race to boot.¬† So far they have proven me wrong.¬† They sit 4 games back of the Phillies and are 4 games up on the Diamondbacks for the NL Wild Card.¬† Brian McCann leads the team in all major offensive categories and Jair Jurrgens and Tommy Hanson have been nearly unhittable.¬† Craig Kimbrell and Jonny Venters have closed the door time and time again.¬† This is me eating my words.

5) San Francisco Giants (5)

The slogan for the San Francisco Giants 2011 campaign has been Pitching + Resilience = Victory. ¬†It is hard to argue that formula considering the Giants are 27th in all of baseball in runs scored with just 312. Yet they find themselves in first place in the NL West by 2 games over the Diamondbacks. ¬†John Shea wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that Giants have given their pitchers the worst home field run support since 1902. ¬†At this point what history tells us doesn’t matter as the Giants continue to defy anything that can demonstrate reasonable thought.

6) Tampa Bay Rays (4)

So just a quick look at the Rays through the first half of the season with a fun game called “Who’d you Rather?” Carlos Pena (.228,17, 44) or Casey Kotchman (.338, 3, 25)? Rafael Sorian0 (5.40 ERA and on 60 day DL) or Kyle Farnsworth (2.08 ERA with 17 saves)? ¬†or lastly Matt Garza (4-7, 3.77 ERA) or Jeremy Hellickson (8-7 3.21 ERA)? Keep in mind the Rays players are getting paid millions of dollars less than those they replaced. ¬†I’d say Tampa has been surprised many (including myself) with how they have been able to stay competitive in the toughest division in baseball.

7) Cleveland Indians (10)

Asdrubal Cabrera has gotten the start at shortstop for the American League in the 2011 All Star Game.  And it is much deserved.  Last season Cabrera played in just 97 games and hit .276 with 3 home runs and 29 runs batted in.  In 83 games so far this year, Cabrera is hitting .293 and has 14 home runs and 49 runs batted in.  I think he already has won the most improved player in all of baseball award.  The All-Star honor has been earned.

8) St. Louis Cardinals (12)

The Cardinals received news today that Albert Pujols is in fact, not human and is a machine. ¬†Pujols was activated from the disabled list today (a month ahead of schedule) returning from a broken left wrist. ¬†The injury happened back on June 19 and Cardinals brass were concerned that he wouldn’t be back until August. ¬†It is truly amazing that Pujols was able to recover so quickly. ¬†Okay, I’ll say it. ¬†HGH anyone?

9) Arizona Diamondbacks (8)

I have given props to Justin Upton, JJ Putz, Ian Kennedy, and Daniel Hudson for the Diamondbacks success this season.  Hell, I have even given Josh Collmenter a shout out.  But I have slept on Chris Young pretty much all year.  He is hitting .261 but has quietly put up some rather nice power numbers, clubbing 16 home runs with 47 runs batted in.  The 27-year-old has also stole 11 bases on the season.

10) Los Angeles Angels (19)

Since losing 6 in a row in early June, the Angels have gone 11-3 and gotten themselves right back in the thick of the AL West pennant race.¬†¬† I made it a regular habit in the season to blast Vernon Wells at every opportunity but now is a time to give the man his due.¬† He has homered 5 times in his last 10 games, has 10 rbi’s in those 10 games, and has seen his average climb from .205 to .213 in that time.

11) Texas Rangers (11)

One really has to wonder if there is anything to Josh Hamilton’s claim that his blue eyes are to blame for his day time woes at the plate. ¬†During the day Hamilton is hitting .113 in 15 games and 53 at bats. ¬†He has 4 runs batted in and 0 home runs. ¬†At night Hamilton is hitting .362 with 10 home runs and 37 runs batted in. ¬†Being that he is on my fantasy baseball team, I am seriously considering petitioning the MLB to allow Texas to play only night games the rest of the season.

12) Detroit Tigers (9)

As good as CC Sabathia was in the month of June, Justin Verlander was better earning him pitcher of the month honors.  Verlander was 6-0 with a 0.92 ERA.  He had 54 strikeouts and 6 walks, 2 complete games, 1 shutout, and 49 innings pitched.  I sincerely believe that Verlander is the best pitcher in the American League, period.

13) Milwaukee Brewers (6)

Prince Fielder wasn’t only named to captain the National League’s Home Derby team this year but he was also named the player of the month in June. ¬†I have no problem with Prince being named captain and no problem with him being named player of the month, but putting Rickie Weeks on the National League Home Run Derby squad? C’mon Prince! How can you snub the National League leader in home runs in Lance Berkman? Or pick Rickie over Jay Bruce? ¬†Weeks is 12th in the National League in home runs!

14) Pittsburgh Pirates (14)

I don’t know if I am more shocked about the Casey Anthony verdict or about the Pirates being contenders. The Pirates are 3 games over .500.¬† This is the latest the Pirates have been in contention since 1992, when Bonds, Bonilla, and Wakefield were the playmakers on the roster. Now they are led by Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, and Neil Walker.¬† They are just 1.5 games back of St. Louis for the division lead.¬† The question will remain all season how long the Pirates can stay in the pennant race.¬† With the talent of the Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers rosters, I don’t think they will be in the race come September.

15) New York Mets (17)

The only reason to watch the Mets so far this year has been Jose Reyes.  But he strained his left hamstring over the weekend and is listed day-to-day.  I am really interested to see if the Mets deal Reyes around the deadline.  They should receive a hefty return considering Reyes has been the best player in the National League this year.  I would think the Braves, Reds, Brewers, and Giants would be among the organizations calling the Mets front office.

16) Chicago White Sox (21)

I really need someone to explain to me why Carlos Quentin is going to the All Star Game as the White Sox representative and Paul Konerko was snubbed.  Paul Konerko is hitting .319, Quentin .253.  Konerko has 21 home runs, Quentin 17 home runs.  Konerko has 62 runs batted in, Quentin 47.  Am I missing something?

17) Washington Nationals (13)

The Nationals have surprised many by playing .500 baseball to this point in the season. Jordan Zimmerman is 5-7 on the season but his record doesn’t tell how outstanding he has been this season. ¬†Zimmerman has a 2.82 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. ¬†The 25-year-old has also struck out 92 in 91.1 innings pitched. ¬†When Zimmerman takes the hill, he always gives his team a chance to win.

18) Cincinnati Reds (15)

Ready for a name from the past?  Dontrelle Willis.  Yes, that Dontrelle Willis.  With Bronson Arroyo a bit banged up, there is rumors that Willis will get called up to replace Bronson in the rotation.  Willis claims he is in the best shape of his life.  He currently has a 2.63 ERA in 13 starts in Triple A Louisville.

19) Seattle Mariners (18)

The Mariners lost one of its three aces to injury earlier in the week when (you guessed it) Erik Bedard went on the 15 day disabled list with a leg issue. Bedard is 4-6 with an ERA of 3.00.  That is further proof that the Mariners need to do everything in their power to go out and get a bat to help their putrid offense.

20) Toronto Blue Jays (16)

Jose Bautista has 28 home runs and just 58 runs batted in on the season.  Could you imagine the numbers he would be putting up if someone could get on base for him?  He is basically averaging 2 runs per home run.  If the Blue Jays could surround him with some on base percentage guys, the Blue Jays offense would be very scary.

21) Colorado Rockies (20)

The All Star Break couldn’t come at a better time for the Rockies. ¬†Both Carlos Gonzalez (wrist) and Troy Tulowitzki (quad) are banged up. ¬†On a brighter note Ty Wigginton has heated up hitting 3 home runs and 8 runs batted in his last 10 games. ¬†With CarGo and Tulo out, the Rockies will need all the offense they can get. Wigginton can certainly provide it.

22) San Diego Padres (26)

Since the Padres lost 6 in a row in mid-June, they have gone 9-3 in their last 12 games. ¬†Don’t let the run fool you. ¬†They are still 9 games out of first in the NL West and will not get any closer to the pennant than that. ¬†The fire sale of their strong bullpen will be under way sooner rather than later. ¬†You know about Heath Bell but here are some other names to watch: Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson, Chad Qualls, and Ernesto Frieri.

23) Florida Marlins (25)

The Marlins acquired Mike Cameron from the Red Sox today for cash considerations and a player to be named later.  I was surprised the Marlins would be interested in Cameron because of what I thought was a logjam in the outfield.  The Marlins have Mike Stanton, Emilio Bonifacio, Logan Morrison, and Chirs Coghlan.  Upon further review, Coghlan is in the minors.  And none of the other three are hitting better than .270.

24) Minnesota Twins (28)

The Twins were bitten by the injury bug yet again on Tuesday night.  Scott Baker was removed from the game after sailing through 5 innings against the Rays because of a forearm strain.  The 2011 season has seen long stretches on the DL from Joe Mauer, Delmon Young, Justin Morneau, Jim Thome, Denard Spann, and now possibly Baker.  I still boldly predict the Twins will be in the AL Central pennant race come September.

25) Oakland Athletics (23)

The A’s dealt away Mark Ellis this week to the Rockies. ¬†This move assured Jemile Weeks of a starting job at second base without having him look over his shoulder the rest of the way. ¬†Now the A’s need to acquire some bats much like Seattle does to support their stellar pitching. ¬†Oh and a side note, Brian Fuentes is God awful.

26) Baltimore Orioles (22)

Mark Reynolds is so hot right now, if you were to touch him, you’d likely get first degree burns. ¬†Reynolds has 7 home runs and 12 rbi’s in his last 8 games. ¬†His average has also climbed to .233. ¬†The problem is he leads the majors in errors with 20.

27) Los Angeles Dodgers (24)

The news out of Los Angeles just gets worse and worse. ¬†The Dodgers have gone bankrupt. ¬†There are rumors that some of the Dodger employees’ checks have bounced. ¬†They still owe Manny Ramirez $8.3 million. ¬†And now one of their starters, Jon Garland is out for the season. ¬†He is expected to have season ending surgery sometime in the next few weeks. ¬†That would be another waste of $5 million for the McCourt’s.

28) Chicago Cubs (29)

There really isn’t much to say about the Cubs other than they continue to be the lovable losers. ¬†I honestly don’t think I would have the emotional stability to watch my team be so terrifically awful for so many years. ¬†The only bright spot for the Cubs is the play of Starlin Castro. ¬†Yes, he has made 16 errors but he is hitting .307 with 38 runs batted in.

29) Kansas City Royals (27)

Alex Gordon has made the ballot for the Final Vote in the 2011 All Star Game. I personally think Gordon should have made the first vote to go to Arizona.  He is hitting .296 with 10 home runs and 46 runs batted in.  It is sad that Gordon plays in such a small market and will in no way be voted the 34th man for the festivities.  What is also difficult is he is up against Paul Konerko who is the biggest snub in all of the All Star process.

30) Houston Astros (30)

Is it me or does Hunter Pence look like the most unorthodox baseball player in the history of the sport? ¬†Don’t get me wrong he puts up numbers. ¬†But his swing his ugly, the way he throws is ugly, hell the way he runs is ugly! ¬† .325, 10, and 47 is not ugly however.

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