Monday Morning Coffee

August 7, 2023

Everybody wants to beat up the Dodgers for coming up empty on pitching at the trade deadline. You all know how critical I am of these guys in general, but I can’t blame Andrew Friedman and Stan Kasten on this one. They went hard for Justin Verlander, and hard for Eduardo Rodriguez, but neither one wanted to be Dodgers, no matter how good their offer was. Sure Verlander would have been nice with the Mets covering most of his salary and Rodriguez as a rental, but it’s not exactly like the Dodgers were acquiring Nolan Ryan in these deals. The team has a lot of pitching issues, but the good news is they may be getting help soon. Clayton Kershaw is due back next week after being on the injured list for a month, and Walker Buehler might come back to the starting rotation in September. That would be huge for a team in desperate need of good starters. There’s also a chance Gavin Lux could be available in a bench role come September, which could be significant if he’s on the playoff roster. The bullpen has even pitched a bit better, but this team still has more holes than swiss cheese for a potential division winner.

As for the Angels, it was a rather disastrous week, losing 6 straight games. This team is a complete tragedy at times. On the nights where the starting pitching looks good, the offense disappears like the USWNT (more on that later). On the nights where the offense is clicking, the pitching looks awful. They just find a way to lose when it matters most. They entered Sunday 10 games back in the division and 7 games back in the Wild Card. On paper, this team is one of the best they’ve assembled in 10 years. However, they don’t play on paper. On the field, the pitching isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, the leadership isn’t great, and neither is the in-game management. This is sadly going exactly like we thought it would after the trade deadline, and after seeing the Angels brutal schedule. Mike Trout can’t get back soon enough, but by the time he does, it will probably be too late. Meanwhile, Anthony Rendon is still being an idiot, on the IL and just refusing to talk to the media because he can since he claims he’s not active.

The Lakers have signed Anthony Davis to a three-year contract extension worth $186 million. My initial reaction here is that this is a wise move. You may not like the fact AD misses a lot of games, but when he is on the floor he is among the best players in basketball, and arguably the best defensive player in the game. If you were to trade Anthony Davis you would be getting lesser parts in return. In any case though, even when Lebron James move on, at minimum, Anthony Davis is an asset worth retaining to try and get value out of. He’s only 30 years old, so he still has some good basketball left in him. In general though, I wish teams would play hardball a bit more with players on these negotiations. It seems to be all or nothing on these max contracts. Why can’t it be something in between? I guess the precedent has been set that you will piss off your star players if you don’t offer them the max.

The collapse of the PAC-12 is just sad. You can no longer blame UCLA and USC for making the decision to leave last year, because 6 other teams just decided to in the past week. The saddest part about this is that the rivalries are going away. With Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah going to the Big 12, what will become of the UCLA and USC rivalries with the Arizona schools? With Oregon and Washington going to the Big 10, what will happen to the Ducks rivalry with Oregon State, and the Huskies rivalry with Washington State? Also, since the Big 10 now has 18 teams, we should probably stop calling it the Big 10. At this point the PAC 12 would struggle getting the University of Phoenix and Trump University to join their conference. Time to Pac it in. Ultimately, College Football is going to start looking incredibly different in the next 5 years with the conference realignment and the next phase of NIL. The only problem with this is that the much smaller schools, or schools with less media draw are going to get left behind.

Last week UCLA Basketball announced the signing of 7’3 Spanish center Aday Mara, who is projected to be a potential lottery pick. They also announced the signing of Berke Buyuktuncel, a Turkish wing/forward who has 1st round NBA draft pick potential. To be honest, I don’t really know what this means because nobody has seen a lot of these dudes play. The Bruins now have 7 freshman, they have a a lot of big bodies, and what appears to be a lot of skilled Euros, but not necessarily a lot of proven players in the backcourt. That part concerns me, but given the size and skill set of the freshmen they have acquired, they should be coming into the pre-season as a Top 25 team.

To the NFL, where the Rams are already dealing with an injury to Cooper Kupp. The All-Pro wide receiver pulled his hamstring and is considered week-to-week. This brings up an interesting concern. The Rams are going to be extra reliant this year on Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Donald. When you have these 3 and you’re coached by Sean McVay, I expect them to compete for a playoff spot. However, if any of those 3 stars get injured for a significant length of time, there isn’t nearly enough depth to overcome that. The Rams also own their own 1st round pick for the first time in a while. With that being said, if these stars get injured, don’t be surprised if they shut it down to get involved in the “Caleb Williams sweepstakes”. Injuries aside, the national outlook on the Rams isn’t great, but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as the media is making it out to be. The NFC isn’t that strong, neither is the NFC West, which makes me think the Rams could actually be a playoff team again.

Finally, the US Women’s National Team lost to Sweden in the round of 16 on penalty kicks yesterday. I certainly feel bad for Megan Rapinoe to end her career the way that she did, missing a PK. I’m also extremely annoyed that the USWNT made it political, and that the political crowed attacked them. Megan Rapinoe and others can have their opinions like anybody, but we don’t need to hear them when it’s about the soccer. Sports are supposed to be unifying. By bringing your political views on wages and inequality, you are bringing that into a platform that is not the time and place. As a result, we now have all these idiots, Donald Trump included, who are coming out of the woodwork to criticize them, instead of getting behind them and uniting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *