Today's Names to Know: Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose, Tim Tebow, Tommy Bowden, Tommy Tuberville, Anderson Varejao, Amare Stoudemire, Eric Rivera, Sean Taylor, Travis Henry and More!
Brett Favre is SI Sportsman of the Year: I neglected to mention this earlier this morning. Here's my instant reaction: WHAAAAA?!
What a lousy pick. I appreciate his Renaissance this season, but he isn't even the best quarterback of 2007 – that would be either Tom Brady (this season) or Peyton Manning (for his Super Bowl "finally" win). Hell, I'd even do something inspired like "College Football's Spread Offense QBs," who are revolutionizing the game. I'll have my own pick for who they should have picked as Sportsman (or, hint: SportsMEN) of the Year tomorrow.
MLB Sizzling Stove: Marlins trade Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers. Wow. This is huge.
The Tigers instantly become the offseason's biggest winners: (At least until the Red Sox get Santana.) The Tigers get arguably the best hitter in baseball under the age of 25 AND a pitcher who, as recently as a few seasons ago, was the guy I considered the REAL "Face of Baseball."
And the Tigers got Willis without giving up any of their established pitchers. Granted, Andrew Miller could be a future stud – and so might Maybin. But Willis and Cabrera are stars NOW. (Imagine Cabrera hitting in a lineup with Magglio Ordonez and
Pudge Sheffield. Yikes.)
It was a bold move by a franchise that needed one to keep pace with the World Series champs, the Yankees and the Angels. Arguably, this was the best, most valuable offseason acquisition of any of them. Huge kudos to the Tigers.
As for the Marlins, I would have thought they would have gotten more if they had done individual deals for each player. But if you think of it as Willis-for-Miller and Cabrera-for-Maybin, they traded age (relative age) for youth and cost (eventual cost) for cheap. If you're the Marlins, it's not a bad deal; they could have done worse.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are out of the Johan Santana trade talks, opening the door for the Red Sox to get him... and dominate the AL East for the rest of the decade and beyond. I never thought I would see the day when there was a price too rich for the Yankees to pursue (and claim) a top-tier player. The George Steinbrenner Era is truly over.
College Hoops Year of the Freshman Awesomeness at Madison Square Garden: Kansas State's Michael Beasley had 19 and 13 in a loss to Notre Dame; OJ Mayo led all scorers with 16 in a USC loss to Memphis; Derrick Rose didn't score much (9 points) but had a team-high 10 assists and 4 rebounds to lead the Tigers to a gritty win. If I was an NBA scout, I would have graded their potential: Beasley, Mayo, Rose. (But, as always, it really depends on that elusive "team need.")
Steroids Scandal, Cont'd: A wild study to be released today says that the seemingly "clean" supplement that your favorite athlete might be mainlining could, in fact, have steroids in it.
Now, we don't know whether athletes take supposedly "clean" supplements knowing they have steroids in them (Shocked! Shocked!) or whether athletes are taking supplements laced with steroids unknowingly, or at least willfully blind to perhaps better improvements from the supplement than expected ("Wow, that seemingly innocuous powder really works!").
The bottom line: Yet another issue in the scandal, although perhaps a bit of cover for athletes who test positive. "It must have been that my seemingly clean supplement was secretly spiked with steroids! I would NEVER have taken them if I knew that!" At least, that's what I would claim.
CFB: Heisman Watch. You all know who I think should win, and would have voted for if I had a vote. (My ballot, in order: Tebow, McFadden, Brennan. Tebow optimally combines talent, "valuableness," stats and team success. McFadden is a close second. Brennan gets third on the strength of the classic "Ron Dayne Lifetime Achievement" rationale.)
Much more on the Heisman tomorrow and Friday, but in the meantime, if you aren't looking at StiffArmTrophy.com, you are missing out on one of the best single-issue Web sites out there.
It's like Wiki-Heisman: SAT effectively becomes the leading independent exit poll: It tracks the Heisman votes made public by voters, as they make them, by harnessing the help of a national network of fans who tip off the site. Site founder Kari Chisolm then uses the data to make projections which have been staggeringly accurate.
For now, StiffArmTrophy has Tebow in the lead, followed by McFadden in a strong second, with Brennan and Chase Daniel locked in a battle for third. They have 151 ballots counted, which is more than statistically significant enough to "call it" (you'd be shocked at how much vastly less a news network uses to call a race on Election Night). It's looking good for Tebow, but I don't wan't a "Dewey Beats Truman" moment on this.
CFB Coaching Carousel: Apparently, Tommy Bowden won't be going to
Good day for Tommys: Tommy Tuberville – another rumored candidate for
More MLB Hot Stove: Jake Peavy is going to become the highest-paid Padre of all time (as he should be)... I'm sorry: Joe Morgan for the Hall of Fame's Frick Award for Media Excellence? (My god: FireJoeMorgan.com might implode.)
NBA: Bobcats want to sign Cavs exile Anderson Varejao. You know: That wouldn't be a terrible nucleus of Gerald Wallace, Jason Richardson, Raymond Felton, Emeka Okafor and Varejao. If they didn't waste those draft picks on Sean May and, especially, Adam Morrison, things would actually be looking promising. (It's hindsight, but imagine that team with David Lee instead of Sean May, and Brandon Roy instead of Adam Morrison.) (Yeah, yeah: I originally screwed this item up.)
NBA Stud Last Night: Amare had 42 in a 4-point win for the Suns over the Pacers. (Dud: Billy King, the 76ers GM finally axed by the team, who looked across state lines for the Nets' Ed Stefanski, an immediate upgrade.)
NFL: Know the name Eric Rivera, because you'll be hearing it a lot today. That's the 17-year-old who a grand jury said was the gunman in the death of Sean Taylor.
Travis Henry wins his appeal on the drug stuff and will NOT be suspended. Good news for fans who are counting on Henry to help them through their fantasy playoffs.
Pats-Ravens RefGate: From the questionable calls to the stuff about Samari Rolle being called "a boy" by one of the refs, it's a few too many days after the game for this to continue to be an issue people are talking about.
CFB Coach of the Year Update: The 10 finalists (for 1-A) and five finalists (each for 1-AA, D2 and D3) come out today. I suspect that names like Mangino, Croom and Zook will make the cut. It'll be interesting to see who else makes the cut. Don't forget to vote, starting today. And if you've got a comment about the finalists, leave them on my special Coach of the Year blog, done in partnership with the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Would love to hear your analysis over at CoachOfTheYear.com.
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