American League Fliers

Orioles Kevin Gausman  Breakout in 2nd half is worth reaching for a bit in upcoming drafts.

Red Sox 3B Pablo Sandoval  Resumed switch hitting, and looks to be in better shape coming into 2017. Kung fu panda will never be confused with Billy Blanks in terms of physical fitness. Young enough that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he bounces back.

White Sox OF Avisail Garcia  Having a good spring so far, should pencil in as White Sox everyday RF. Post hype sleeper could be a late round lottery ticket.

Indians SP Carlos Carrasco This past season, he posted a 3.32 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 150/34 K/BB ratio across 146 1/3 innings (25 starts). If he can stay healthy, he offers fantasy upside galore.

Tigers OF Justin Upton  Tied a career high 31 ding dongs despite down year. 5 straight seasons of declining OBP’s with last years bottoming out at .310 OBP. Upton should slide in drafts but not too far. He’s still young enough to adjust.

Astros 3B/1B Yulieski Gurriel  Cuban hitter got his feet wet last season with Astros. Move to 1B full time gives him dual position eligibility. Solid all around hitter.

Royals OF Jorge Soler  25 yr old was never able to put it together in Chicago. A change of scenery and regular playing time could be just what the doctor ordered. Kaufman stadium may run on Soler Power at times this season.

Angels 2B Danny Espinosa  20 plus bombs with 2B/SS eligibility makes Espinosa worth a late pick for those looking for power.

Twins 1B Joe Mauer  Production at this stage doesn’t match the contract as Mauer is one of the most overpaid players in all of baseball. However that shouldn’t matter to fantasy owners. A .363 OBP can be used by all fantasy owners.

Yankees DH Matt Holliday  With OF/1B eligibility Batman will hold more value due to his multiple position eligibility. The plan is for Holliday to serve as the Yankees DH. The time off the field may help Holliday to stay fresh for a full season.

Athletics SP Jharel Cotton  Pitched well late last season after coming over in trade from the Dodgers. Cotton has the stuff to pitch anywhere, but pitching half of his games in Oakland is an added bonus.

Mariners SP Felix Hernandez  Stock is sliding with fantasy owners as his velocity goes down. King Felix knows how to pitch and while maybe no longer a 1st rd pick at some point will be a value pick.

Rays SP Jake Odorizzi  Peripherals last season were terrific, pitched well enough to certainly win more games. On a good club would have won more than 10 games.

Rangers LF Jurickson Profar  Durability has cut short Profar’s career to date. Multiple position eligibility with the hope that he’s finally health may be worth the risk. Remember Profar is only 24 years old.

Blue Jays SP Francisco Liriano  I believe Liriano bounces back pitching in meaningful games in Toronto. Worth a late pick to fill out your rotation.

National League Fliers

Diamondbacks SP Shelby Miller  I highly doubt Miller repeats his 2016 performance of 3-12. Worth a late flier to fill out rotation.

Braves RP Jim Johnson  Bad Clubs win close games. Johnson signed a 2 yr deal for $10 million dollars should be able to provide cheap saves.

Cubs OF Jason Heyward  Looked like he was swinging a hollow bat last season. Played better in the World Series. Come Back Player of the Year for 2017. You’ll see the production the Cubs expected this year. If Heyward slides too far, go up and pounce.

Reds 2B Jose Peraza  Finally gets to have the 2B job to himself with the Brandon Phillips in Atlanta. Peraza is a late round flier that provides speed.

Rockies RP Greg Holland  Velocity looks to have returned in spring training. Holland was a stud before Tommy John and is young enough to be one again. Could provide cheap saves.

Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig  At 26, its time to shit or get off the pot for Puig. Getting demoted and almost traded is multiple slices of humble pie. If he doesn’t get it now, probably never will.

Marlins OF Marcel Ozuna  23 ding-dongs in 2 of the last 3 seasons. Solid choice as an OF 3.

Brewers RP Neftali Feliz  1.14 WHIP last season in 62 games with Pirates. Brew Crew pitchers saved 46 of 69 games last season. Feliz should be a cheap late round flier for those that hold off spending big on Saves.

Mets 3B/SS Jose Reyes  I wouldn’t bet on David Wright leading the club in starts at the hot corner. Reyes with multiple position eligibility will be valuable in daily formats.

Phillies 1B Tommy Joseph  Hit 21 ding dongs last year, possibly hit more in full-time role. Playing everyday should help Joseph provide higher numbers.

Pirates RF Andrew McCutchen  There are a lot of players that would like to have McCutchen’s down season of 2016. Draft slot will slide, but don’t let him fall to far. Never underestimated a pissed off superstar with something to prove.

Padres OF Hunter Renfroe  Should see a lot of at-bats in the heart of the order this season. My pick for Rookie of the Year.

Giants SP Matt Moore  Pitchers park will help Moore keep the ball in the park a bit more. Pitching coach Dave Righetti is one of my favorites. If anyone can get the best out of Moore, it’s Righetti. Making Moore worth the selection.

Cardinals 3B Jedd Gyorko  Hit 30 Bombs last season in a utility role. The OBP was low but Gyorko flashed the power the Padres expected when he was signed to an extension.

Nationals RP Koda Glover Power arm has seen more late inning work this spring. My bet to win the closer’s job in DC.

My Keepers for a 5×5 Categories League

These are my keepers for a 10-team 5×5 daily categories league.  The auction budget is $260 with 23 total roster spots 5 of which are bench spots.  The 7 keepers eat up $122 dollars of budget giving me $ 138 dollars to spend on 16 players. These are the 7 players I’m keeping based off their costs and what I perceive as upside.  WHIP, K, Speed, and Batting Avg are the categories to build around.

($36) for Madison Bumgarner is a little more than I wanted to spend, but I figured his draft cost would be close to that anyways in this league. Bumgarner is the most expensive starting pitcher kept in the league.  Bumgarner has 6 straight seasons of 190 plus K including 251 last season. The career high of 226.2 innings doesn’t both me too much. If I’m going to spend a lot on a pitcher it’s going to be Mad Bum.  ($20) Gerrit Cole is a value in my opinion since I believe he will bounce back this season. I’m willing to gamble that the 2015 Cole with 19 wins, 202 K, and 1.09 WHIP returns.  ($19) Carlos Martinez putting together a Cy Young caliber season is my prediction. At age 25 Martinez should continue to come into his own.  The 1.22 WHIP could drop into the 1.10’s this year.  ($11) Carlos Carrasco had a 9.2 SO/9 and a 1.148 WHIP last season. Carrasco has dominating stuff and pitches for the defending AL Champions. I doubt I could get Carrasco at that price if he was part of the draft.

Hitters I’ve decided to keep are based off value, versatility, and speed.  ($16) JD Martinez would be unrealistic in a redraft scenario at that price. Martinez has been a different player since coming to Detroit. I expect the high OBP and power numbers to continue. ($11) Ian Desmond will provide 1B/OF eligibility while playing in the launching pad that is Colorado. 20 plus steals along with more expected power numbers playing in Colorado is worth the cost. Steals from the 1B position are tough to find.  Only 3 1B eligible players had double digit steals last year. (Goldschmidt 32, Myers 28, Gonzalez 12).  My biggest gamble is ($14) Billy Hamilton. Is the 41-point jump in OBP from 2015 to 2016 a sign of progression? The 2nd half numbers of a .293 avg and .369 OBP have me willing to gamble that Hamilton may have turned the corner.

The keeper costs are too expensive for ($27) Wade Davis, ($25) Craig Kimbrel, ($24) Adam Wainwright, ($20) Zach Britton, ($20) Mark Melancon, (12) Marcus Stroman, and ($9) Tony Watson.  Hitters I’ve deemed too expensive are ($26) Jonathan Lucroy, ($24) Todd Frazier, ($16) Evan Longoria, ($16) Adrian Gonzalez, ($16) Jason Kipnis, ($14) Byron Buxton, ($6) Brad Miller.

Since I can’t attend this draft due to work, I’ve instructed my friend on which players to target.  My rotation features younger power arms with high strikeout rates and low WHIP’s. My strategy this year is to watch my team WHIP like a hawk.  Kyle Hendricks will be a priority add to this roster.  A late auction flier will be Jharel Cotton. The league as a whole didn’t keep too many closers so filling out the bullpen is possible without going nuts on costs.

Pairing Starling Marte with Hamilton would give me 2 elite speed options. Dee Gordon is another elite speed option to pair with Hamilton if Marte’s cost is ridiculous. Odubel Herrera will be a fall back option depending on costs.  Doubling down on elite speed is important. All of the big name power hitters were put back into the player pool due to high keeper costs. Filling out the roster with power hitters and multiple position eligibility is the goal.  Feel free to comment on my keepers or lack there of.

I Would Move On From Lacy

The Packers running game has been hindered the last 2 seasons with the inability of Eddie Lacy to stay healthy or in-shape.  The Packers as a team ran for 106.3 yards per game with a 4.5 avg on 374 attempts for 1,701 yards and 11 TD.  The Packers had 13 runs of over 20 yards with 2 over 40 yards.

The Packers have one of the top 3 QB in the NFL still in his prime. Without Aaron Rodgers last year’s squad doesn’t come remotely close to playing in the NFC Conference Championship. That team should be proud of how far they went. So much pressure is put on Rodgers for the Packers to win a game. More production from the running game in short yardage and goal-line should be one of the top priorities of Ted Thompson and Co. this offseason.  Too many 3rd and short plays end with Rodgers chucking the ball downfield for an incompletion. Green Bay often blows leads because they can’t run the ball to salt away games. The Packers are built around the passing game so pass protection is crucial to playing time for running backs.

Ty Montgomery led the team in rushing with 457 yards a 5.9 ypc and 3 TD. Eddie Lacy carried 71 times for 360 yards for a 5.1 ypc and 0 TD. Aaron Rodgers led the team in rushing TD with 4. Montgomery looked explosive after finally making the position switch to Running Back. Durability concerns for me keep Montgomery as a back that should play a significant part of a rotation instead of a bell cow role.

Lacy the last 2 seasons has disappeared in games with an inconsistent workload. The YPC is manipulated with a lack of carries. Lacy has scored 3 TD in the last 2 seasons and consistently been inconsistent. The ankle surgery was more complicated than originally reported as Lacy revealed. Multiple screws, wires, and a plate were added to his ankle to help with a deltoid ligament injury.  Reportedly Lacy should be ready to go by training camp.

Odds are Lacy will be back in Green Bay on a cheap 1-yr prove it deal. I would look to move on from Lacy completely. Spend that money on your defense or to help keep an offensive lineman. Playing in the NFL is a privilege and Lacy has proven to be out of shape each of the last 2 seasons. As an organization why settle? Your championship window is still open. I’ve dismissed Christine Michael as a contributing NFL Running Back at this stage of his career.

A high priced free agent running back would take away money from filling another need. Adrian Peterson and Latavius Murray may be out of Ted Thompson’s price range.  AP would have to come cheap to play in Green Bay while Murray is looking to break the bank.  A lower cost free agent paired with a mid- to late round pick would be the route I would pursue. Rashad Jennings looks finished, but if there is one veteran running back that I would pursue if released.  The Cowboys are reportedly trying to trade Alfred Morris for a late round pick. Morris doesn’t fit in as a backup to Zeke Elliott because of his inability to play in the passing game. Morris only rushed 69 times last season. With 3 seasons of 1,000 plus yards at age 28 I believe Morris can still play. Morris would give a different look next to Ty Montgomery and leave money to pursue other free agents.

This years draft provides potential backs to upgrade the position.  Young running backs often struggle in pass protection and blitz pickup, that’s where Montgomery comes into play.  LSU’s Leonard Fournette, FSU’s Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford are regarded as the top 3 backs of a deep class.  The Packers may have to trade up quite a bit to get Fournette or Cook. The Packers have other holes and may fill a need on defense instead of drafting McCaffrey that early.

Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon will probably be off some teams draft boards due to character concerns. At some point in this upcoming draft Mixon’s talent will outweigh the character concerns based off the draft slot. I don’t believe the Packers would take a chance on Mixon.  There are a lot of running backs eligible in this draft, but these are the few that I believe would fit draft cost wise for the Packers.

Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara is an all-around back could that make the adjustment quickly to blitz pickup in the NFL.  Kamara is an explosive runner-receiver. The threat of the screen has been missing in Green Bay for years.  Kamara needs improvement in setting up blocks reading lanes. The 4.56 40 yard time doesn’t change my opinion of him. I value game film more so than combine statistics.  Special team’s contributions would help as the Packers returners averaged 19.7 yards per kickoff return and 9.0 yards per punt return. Squeezing out a few more short fields would help the offense.

Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine is a banger that could be paired with Ty Montgomery in short yardage or goal-line situations. Perine would be more of a check down or screen threat than Lacy.  Speed isn’t his game, it’s running thru defenders. Perine avoided workload concerns by splitting time with Mixon in college.

Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T is one of the players I plan to follow closely this draft. Cohen is nicknamed “The Human Joystick.”  You can’t teach a player that type of footwork.  I believe many of the knocks on Cohen can be corrected with proper coaching. Lack of special teams experience may also hurt his draft stock.  I’m willing to gamble on coaching up Cohen.

There are plenty of options out there at Running Back if the Packers decide to move on from Eddie Lacy. Free agency and or the draft provide solid options. You now know where I stand on the issue.

Bears Won’t Tag Alshon Jeffery

The Chicago Bears reportedly will not use the franchise tag on WR Alshon Jeffery for the upcoming season. Using another franchise tag would have netted Jeffrey $17.5 million dollars for the 2017. Coming off a 3-13 record the Bears have spent a lot of money in free agency recently, yet still have a lack of talent across the roster. Jeffery in 5 years has missed 17 of a possible 80 games played. 4 games were lost due to a suspension in 2016.  Lower body soft tissue injuries have plagued Jefery for his NFL career. Those injuries happen to all football players, but Jeffery is on the injury report too much for my liking. At age 27, this South Carolina product should be able to command a sizeable contract in free agency.

Supporters will point to the 2013 and 2014 campaigns of 89 catches for 1421 yards, 7 TD and 85 catches 1,133 yards, 10 TD.  Imagine what numbers Jeffery would put up with a top flight NFL QB instead of Jay Cutler. (That’s an argument for another time.)  Jeffery has great ball skills in traffic and can help take the top off a defense.  This skill set should be in high demand on the free agent market. Chicago has so many holes that paying Jeffery premium dollar wouldn’t solve the problem.  The free agent class for Wide Receivers this year is also thin with DeSean Jackson, Terrelle Pryor, Kenny Britt, Pierre Garcon, Kendall Wright, and Terrence Williams all looking for work.  Connect the dots reporting would link the Rams, 49ers, Eagles, Bills, Browns, Bucs, and Titans to Jeffery.

Many fantasy football analysts view Jeffery as a WR 2 in drafts. His value theoretically should go up in a new situation. The new QB Jeffery gets to play with has a direct impact on his value.  Conversely, I’ve always avoided him in drafts due to injury concerns. I hate having to check Alshon’s status nearly each week. I will drop Jeffery even farther down draft boards if he signs with a team that plays on turf. Maybe a new training staff can help keep Jeffery healthy.  Risk-reward isn’t there for me with that high of a draft choice or auction cost.

 

Finally Portis Gets Unleashed?!?

The two worst 3-pt shooting teams in the NBA made a deal at the deadline involving multiple players that specialize in perimeter shooting. The Bulls trade of Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 2nd round pick to the Thunder for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the surface. The Bulls shoot a league worst 31.6% from downtown while the Thunder shoot next to last in the league in 3-pt shooting at 32.1%.  The players involved in the trade should fit better in their new respective teams to improve those 3 pt percentages.  Gibson should help provide the Thunder some toughness up front with Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.  McDermott should be able to break thru as the starting small forward in OKC. His 37.6% from downtown should improve playing alongside Russell Westbrook.

The 2014 NBA Draft saw the Bulls give away the 16th and 19th overall pick along with a 2015 2nd rd pick to the Nuggets for the rights to Doug McDermott. The Nuggets ended up getting the better end of that deal drafting Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, and moving the 2nd rd pick to the Cavs. (Nurkic has since been moved to Portland in another weird trade.) McDermott’s Bulls career was marred by injuries and a lack of athleticism to play on the defensive end.  With the additions of D-Wade and Rajon Rondo, McDermott was blocked from starting this year in Chicago. I wasn’t a fan of the trade of McDermott at the 2014 NBA Draft and hope the Bulls can muster something out of Cameron Payne. I’d take Nurkic over anything that was drafted or acquired at this point. However I’m not relevant.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne have the opportunity to battle to be the “Point Guard of the Future”. The exodus of Gibson allows the Bulls hopefully unleash Bobby Portis. Nikola Mirotic and Lauvergne will be fighting for backup minutes off the bench to fling 3’s. Lauvergne is shooting 35% from the 3-pt line this season. Morrow will help in the short term as an effective perimeter shooter to help in floor spacing off the bench. Having started just 142 of 555 career games played, Morrow should be comfortable in his role. Morrow is only shooting 29.4% from downtown this year, but is a career 41.7% shooter.   The trade should help the Thunder immediately while defining roles on the current Bulls roster and providing hope for the future.

Fantasy implications of this trade are that daily fantasy players or categories leagues players may view McDermott in a better light. Portis’ value goes way up with the opportunity to start. Payne was road blocked behind Westbrook, but keeper league owners out of the playoffs should instantly cut bait on a filler to speculatively add Payne.

Which Peralta Shows Up in 2017?

Starting Pitcher Wily Peralta has consistently been inconsistent during his time with the Brewers.  A 42-48 career record 4.18 ERA and 1.415 WHIP show a bottom of the rotation pitcher that club’s would look to upgrade. Flashes of brilliance have taken place in Peralta’s time in the Majors.  Peralta was phenomenal in 2014 going 17-11 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.304 WHIP. How do you explain 2015 and first half of 2016? I believe what happened to Peralta happens to many young players around professional sports. The league gets more tape on you and makes adjustments accordingly. Then Peralta failed to adjust to what the league was doing to him. The first half of 2016 was atrocious 4-7 6.68 ERA, 1.879 WHIP, 5.7 SO/9 in 13 starts.

Making 10 starts at Triple A Colorado Springs helped Peralta get his groove back. The 6.31 ERA at Colorado Springs isn’t pretty, but that’s a hitter’s park.  Coming back to Milwaukee in August, Peralta seemed to have much better command.  A 3-4 2.92 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 7.4 SO/9 in 10 starts upon his return gives hope for this season.

My eyeball test showed Peralta came back from his demotion with more command and more of a willingness to attack hitters. Early in the season, Peralta didn’t have command and got rocked coming over the plate to get back into the count. The overall numbers in 2016 of 7-11 4.86 ERA, 1.527 WHIP, and 6.6 SO/9 in 23 starts don’t jump out to fantasy owners.

Is it possible Peralta is back to being the pitcher he was in 2014 with a 17-11 record?  Entering his age 28 campaign Peralta could possibly gain sizeable raises in arbitration before reaching free agency in 2020. A rebuilding club like the Brewers can use cost effective pitching. If Peralta takes a step forward this year at the deadline possibly GM David Stearns could flip Peralta for another asset.

I believe its well within the realm of possibility that Peralta’s 2nd half resurgence carries over into 2017.  I plan to spend more time this winter researching 2nd half performances and gambling on those players late in fantasy drafts this season.  Fantasy owners may want to consider a late round flier on Peralta or be prepared to track him as an early waiver wire claim.

Windlass Tip Ups Should Be In Your Arsenal

HT’s Windlass Tip up is one of my favorite setups to use for ice fishing. I love watching that pan move with the wind. The slow pull of the pan down and the flag popping off can’t be beat. I try to use at least 1 of my 3 Windlass tip ups each time I go out ice fishing. I can easily target Walleye, Northern Pike, Bass or panfish by switching out bait.

My strategy in fishing is to fish differently from everyone else and consistently experiment with different techniques. I’m always trying to present as many options as I can when out there to trying to catch fish. The Windlass allows me to fish many different ways. I’ll target Walleye with a fluorocarbon or superline leader. More often times than not I’m fishing with superline leader even for Northern Pike. Often I’m attempting to catch a Walleye, but hauling in a Northern Pike. On days where I’m actually targeting Northern Pike, I’ll put a smaller steel leader on the Windlass. Dead shiners also work well on a Windlass. One concern with catching Pike on a Windlass is the line coming off the spool so fast and tangling up. I’m an attentive fisherman so that’s yet to have been an issue. Vertical jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads for Crappies, Perch, and Walleye have also been presented. The jig size dictates which spring setting I’ll use. My next route will be to see how smaller crank baits work with the Windlass.

https://www.facebook.com/adam.burnett.108/videos/1463934123617201/

Just because game fish season closes, doesn’t mean my ice fishing stops. I’ll change out baits and set up my Windlass for panfish. In Wisconsin we are allowed 3 lines so I’ll use 3 lines. One line is set for jigging while the other 2 are often a Windlass with a smaller spoon and a wax worm. Another route I’ll go for targeting Crappie is fluorocarbon leaders tipped with rosie reds.

 

Temperature and wind conditions play a huge part in which days to use the Windlass tip ups. I’ve used them in the low teens with minimal wind without the line freezing. The holes may freeze, but I’ll use a hole cover along with a line tube to keep the Windlass in the game. 15mph winds are my wind limit for the Windlass tip ups. High winds force me to spend too much time keeping the Windlass upright.

If you’re looking to try new techniques to try to catch more fish thru the ice, invest in an HT Windlass tip up. I can attest it’s worth adding to the arsenal and made my time on the ice more enjoyable.

 

 

 

Rams Can Only Go Up From Here

A listless 42-14 thrashing at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons was the nail in the coffin for the Los Angeles Rams to finally fire Head Coach Jeff Fisher.  A 31-45-1 record with 5 losing seasons was enough (2012-2016) 7-8-1, 7-9, 6-10, 7-9, and 4-9. Fisher finished his NFL head coaching career at 173-165 just one loss from breaking Dan Reeves record for most losses in NFL history. In 22 seasons at the helm, Fisher had only 6 winning seasons. I viewed Fisher as a solid coach in Houston/Tennessee during his 17 years there. Jumping into the Rams job with just 1 year off may not have been the best choice. Fisher seemed out of gas at the end in Tennessee. The tenure with the Rams was an unmitigated disaster that went on far too long. Fisher should have never made the trip out west with the Rams organization. Owner Stan Kroenke was too loyal to Fisher.  The million dollar question is why?

The first year back in Los Angeles hasn’t gone as planned for the Rams. With QB’s Case Keenum and first-overall-pick Jared Goff leading the charge, the Rams average a league worst’s in 286.2 yards per game and 14.9 points-per-game. Rams QB’s have combined for the 2nd worst passer rating at 73.3, 3rd most INT at 16.

Running back Todd Gurley in 13 games last season rushed for 1,106 yards, a 4.8 ypc, and 10 TD on 229 carries. In 13 games this year Gurley has rushed 227 times for 740 yards and 5 TD. Gurley hasn’t regressed as a player, the Rams offense around Gurley has regressed significantly. WR Kenny Britt has responded with a career high 63 catches for 937 yards. High draft choices spent on wide receivers Tavon Austin and Brain Quick haven’t panned out. The Rams offensive line is serviceable enough to have won more games with better talent at the skill positions.  Offensively have scored 20 touchdowns this season one more than the Brock Osweiler led Texans.

The Rams defensive numbers are skewed a bit due to the offensive ineptitude. The Rams defense in my opinion is good enough to make the playoffs with an average NFL offense.  The defensive unit has solid core players to build around in Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, Alec Ogletree, and TJ McDonald.

Since offense is the major problem in Los Angeles, I would gear more towards an offensive minded coach. A coach to develop Jared Goff should be the first priority.  LA is a major media market and the ability to handle the spotlight is another critical factor with this job more so than others. I wouldn’t go after a defensive minded coach with the current stage the organization sits.

Stanford Head Coach David Shaw fits the bill, but doesn’t have NFL head coaching experience. Shaw has NFL coaching experience with the Eagles, Raiders, and Ravens. His NFL positions ranged from Quality Control coach, to Quarterback and Wide Receiver coach.

New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels was the Rams OC in 2011 after a failed stint as the Broncos head coach. McDaniels is a hot commodity and can be very selective in his coaching endeavors. Has McHoodie learned enough from the failure of being a head coach to do it better the 2nd time around? It will cost a lot of money to find out.  Maybe McDaniels never leaves and waits for Belichick to hang it up.

Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan is also linked to Head Coaching openings. Shanahan has worked in the NFL since 2004 and as an offensive coordinator since 2008.  Shanahan has worked as offensive coordinator in Houston, Washington, Cleveland, and Atlanta.  The experience in Houston and Washington was for Gary Kubiak, and his father Mike Shanahan. Kyle was in charge of running the offense in Cleveland and Atlanta. Shanahan will be a head coach some day, but I’d rather see more success as an OC before giving him a Head Coaching job.

Tom Coughlin’s overall track record speaks for itself as a possible hall of fame worthy coach. At age 70 I’d go in another direction since Coughlin’s teams failed down the stretch in recent years. Coughlin should remain in the league office.

University of Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is often linked to NFL openings despite leaving the league to coach his alma mater. An eventual return to the NFL for Harbaugh is expected, but would he spurn Michigan after just 2 years? X’s and O’s Harbaugh is a terrific coach and also has the personality to deal with the spotlight. He also brings credibility to Rams. I believe his personality leads to a shorter tenure on the job. His act carries more weight in college; NFL guys can tune him out.

Jon Gruden is linked to job openings every year, but this could be the one to pull him out of the Monday Night Football Booth and back down to the sideline.  Gruden hasn’t coached since the 2008 season and holds an overall NFL record of 95-81. Gruden won a Super Bowl in 2002 against the team he built in the Raiders. This hiring would provide instant credibility and star power. Gruden would be a great fit to tutor Goff. The defense is in place the offense is the problem, but could be put in the hands of one of his former pupils that is expected to be fired soon.

Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is coaching out the string and could rehab his career as the defensive coordinator in Los Angeles.   Bradley could also bring along a few assistant coaches in Nathaniel Hackett, Ron Middleton, and Monte Kiffin to fill out Gruden’s coaching staff.  All of these coaches worked under Gruden previously.

Does GM Les Snead remain to fix this mess or get shown the door as well? Did Fisher have more power than Snead in running the Rams?  I find it hard to believe a big name coach would come in to work under Snead.  A big name coach is going to want his own personnel director. Kroenke has the money to pay for the Head Coach he wants. As owner of the Rams I’d send Snead packing, then go after Gruden, McDaniels, and Shaw.

White Sox Should Sell This Offseason

The Chicago White Sox are one of the most interesting clubs this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 78-4 finish, which featured a 17-8 start in April, the White Sox are a club at a crossroads. The club added new Manager Rick Renteria to replace Robin Ventura. The club could try to piece to their core of veterans to contend for 2017. The better option in my opinion is to blow up this whole roster and acquire as many assets as possible. Starting Pitcher Chris Sale has been linked to the Nationals, Astros, and Braves. A perennial Cy Young candidate should be able to bring in major league ready players in return. It takes two to tango however, as we shall see if clubs are willing to give up their top prospects. Whether the Sox could get Trea Turner, Lucas Giolito, Alex Bregman, or Dansby Swanson remains to be seen. GM Rick Hahn should be holding out for a franchise building block in return in any package. The time may come later this winter where lower level prospects with upside may be the route the acquiring clubs would be willing to go.

The White Sox are a viable option because they have assets to move as this is weak free agent class in 2017.  Take into account some of the contracts already signed this winter and compare those to players available in a trade.  Rich Hill signed a 3-year-deal worth $48 million dollars. The soon to be 37-year-old southpaw has 610.1 career innings and is getting paid for finding the fountain of youth.  While Sale is soon to be 28 and has 3-years of team control at $38 million dollars.  Sale has also finished in the Top 6 in AL Cy Young voting each season since 2012.  Which player is the better value?

Other players in Chicago could fetch solid returns in trade due to age and team control. None of these players are in the twilight of their careers.   Closer David Robertson has 2 years and 25 million dollars left on his deal. Clubs that don’t want to spend on Chapman, Jansen, and Melancon could pursue Robertson, who turns 32 next season.  Melancon signed a 4-years $62 million dollar deal with the Giants. Roberston is nearly the same age as Melancon on a shorter deal.  SP Jose Quintana has 4-years and $37.85 million dollars remaining on his deal. Quintana is a soon to be 28-year-old middle of rotation arm with a career ERA of 3.41 and 1.242 WHIP.  3B Todd Frazier has 2 years of arbitration eligibility left and is coming off a year with a career high in HR (40) and RBI (98). Frazier will turn 31 this offseason.  Right Fielder Adam Eaton has back to back seasons of a plus .280 avg and .360 OBP. A 28-year-old leadoff hitter under team control of 5-years for $38.4 million dollars could be attractive to clubs. Eaton is a terrific defensive right fielder, not so much in center field. At $15 million on the last year of his deal, Melky Cabrera should still retain value at his age 32 campaign.  Cabrera may be an add on in one of the blockbuster deals. An outfielder with a career .286 avg and .337 OBP should retain value.

Rebuilding and contending at the same time is tough to do in sports. The White Sox farm   system may have some talent that helps down the road in RHP Carson Fulmer, RHP Spencer Adams, C Zach Collins, RHP Zack Burdi, 3B Trey Michalczewski, and RHP Alec Hanson. GM Rick Hahn has to opportunity to acquire assets to help the White Sox get younger and possibly better.  I believe if the White Sox don’t take advantage of this weak free agent class and selloff, it will set the club back longer. After years of trying to contend and failing, its time for the White Sox to go in another direction.