30 Teams in 30 Days – Washington Nationals

There have been some great moments in sports over the last five years, there was the Cardinals World Series run, the Giants upsetting the Patriots in the Super Bowl… twice, VCU going first four to final four, but my favorite moment of the last five years still has to be on April 17th 2009, when Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman walked out on to the field with “NATINALS” written across the front of their jerseys, to this day, I still call them the Natinals. Anyways, let’s see how they did in 2011.
Washington Nationals
Record: 80-81 (rained out game not made up)
Finish: 3rd in NL East
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Jordan Zimmerman 8-11, 3.18 ERA, 124 SO
Top Hitter: Michael Morse .303 AVG, 31 HR, 95 RBI
Manager: Davey Johnson
Important Off-season Acquisitions: Ryan Perry, Andres Blanco, Jason Michaels, Jeff Fulchino, Mike Cameron, Chad Tracy, Xavier Paul, Gio Gonzalez, Mark DeRosa, Brad Lidge, Chad Durbin, Edwin Jackson
Important Off-season Losses: Todd Coffey LAD, Alex Cora STL, Jonny Gomes OAK, Livan Hernandez HOU, Laynce Nix PHI, Ivan Rodriguez FA, Collin Balester DET

The Natinals had a pretty good season last year, finishing at 80-81. That may not sound great, but it was an 11.5 game improvement from 2010, and a 21.5 game improvement from 2009. They did this without having 2009 1st overall pick, Stephen Strasburg pitch until September, due to Tommy John surgery. Despite this, pitching was still their strength, finishing seventh in the league in ERA. They got great help from their Starting pitching, 6 of their 7 pitchers with 10 starts or more had an ERA under 4.05, Livan Hernandez was the only one over that mark with an ERA of 4.47, and he’s gone this year. Their offense did struggle throughout the year, finishing 27th in the league in batting average, and 24th in the league in runs. They didn’t get the production they wanted from Jayson Werth, as his batting average dropped .064 points, he had seven less home runs, 27 less RBI and 37 less Runs than he did in 2010, giving him a total of a .232 AVG, 20 HR, 58 RBI and 69 R.  However, Michael Morse was able to pick up his slack, with a breakthrough season, recording a .303 AVG, to go along with 31 HR and 95 RBI. Ryan Zimmerman, battled some injury problems, meaning Morse was really the only difference maker in the lineup last year. However, this year, if Morse can keep it up, Zimmerman can stay healthy and Jayson Werth can bounce back, this offense can greatly improve, and If 2nd year catcher Wilson Ramos and 3rd year shortstop Ian Desmond can improve, then the Natinals could become a top 15 offense, accompanied with a top 7 or 8 pitching unit, they could become a tough team in the NL East. Earlier today, the Natinals sent 2010 1st overall pick, Bryce Harper to AAA, so one can only assume that they want to keep him in the minors for one more full season to keep up his development. The Natinals made some confusing moves with their Starting Pitching, they acquired Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez despite already having 6 potential starters in Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler and Tom Gorzelanny, so we’ll see what ends up happening there. They lost some pieces to their bench and added some pieces to their bench, but some of the bench players they added may be able to steal a spot in the lineup with a lackluster Washington offense. They lost Coffey and Balester from their bullpen, but with the acquisition of multiple relievers including Brad Lidge, who will most likely be the set-up man for Drew Storen, who put up amazing numbers in his first year as a closer, going 43/48 in save opportunities (89.6%). All in all, this team should be improved, and MAY potentially make a playoff run, with that 2nd wild card spot in play this year. However,  I ultimately see them falling a few games short, having one of, if not the toughest division in the league, with the improved Miami Marlins to go along with the Braves and the Phillies. However, in a few years, if they develop their players properly, they could become a force to be reckoned with.
Prediction
Record: 83-79
Finish: 4th in NL East
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Jordan Zimmerman 12-11, 3.24 ERA, 143 SO
Top Hitter: Ryan Zimmerman .301, 25 HR, 93 RBI
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-Vernon Smells

The 2016 Super Bowl Champions… The St. Louis Rams and Peyton Manning Watch Day 2

In the last hour the St. Louis Rams cemented them selves as the 2016 Super Bowl champions. The Rams traded the 2nd overall pick to the Washington Redskins for three first round picks and a second round pick. The Dallas Cowboys-Minnesota trade has been considered the greatest trade in NFL history, as it led to the Cowboys dominance in the 90s. For now, at least until we see how these picks pan out, it shall remain a close second.

The Rams have been lacking a receiving core that their former first overall pick QB Sam bradford could throw too. Well now with the 6th overall pick, the Rams may be able to select OK ST WR Justin Blackmon. Bradford and Blackmon could prove to be a lethal combination. As well, with 4 first round picks in the next two years, the Rams will be able to add as much depth as a team could possibly need.

Now on the Redskins front, the ‘Skins have now shown that they intend to draft Baylor QB Robert Griffin the 3rd. Although this could prove to be a great pick, the trade doesn’t make a lot of sense. Let’s say Griffin proves to be everything we thought he could be and more, who will he pass the ball to? Who will block for him? Who will play defense on the ‘Skins? Even with a great QB, you still need a great team to win a Super Bowl and you can’t have a great team without draft picks. If free agency is all you needed then the ‘Skins would have been a contender for the last 10 years.

From the beginning St Louis has been trying to shop this pick and the only possible team to make the trade was the Washington Redskins. The asking price was too high for any other team and the ‘Skins Owner, Dan Snyder has been known to make insane moves (i.e Albert Haynesworth’s 100 million dollar contract…).

Peyton Manning Watch Day 2

As of today QB Peyton Manning is talking to the Denver Broncos. This is the first of plenty of teams that the future hall of fame QB will talk to. Now a lot of people seem to think that Manning could end up there and with the ‘Skins, who were already a long shot and have now all but dropped out, the Broncos have moved into 4th place in a lot of peoples minds. I can’t see Manning signing with the Broncos. Manning is a future hall of famer why would he want to sign with a team that already has a famous QB in John Elway, Manning doesn’t want to compete with that legend. Now many people say that the trade would end Tim Tebow’s career but really it would only improve his career. Manning could teach Tebow the way of the QB or they could trade him to the Jaguars, who have been rumoured to be shopping for the Floridian legend. The Broncos aren’t stable enough for Manning, John Fox has not proven to be a great Coach, granted he made the Super Bowl with the Panthers, but since then all his teams have been failures. I still see Manning either going to the Cards, Fins or Jets.
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-McFultz

 

The End of An Era

Although it is not official…yet. It is rumoured that the Indianapolis Colts will release  star quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning was drafted in 1998 by the Colts with the first overall pick, his first season he went 3-13, but in his second season he went 13-3. He brought the Colts to 9 consecutive playoff appearances, before missing last season. With the Colts, Manning won 4 MVP awards (an NFL record), he won one Super Bowl and a Super Bowl MVP award. He is 3rd in every major passing category and he’s face of the franchise… or was. With Manning gone, the Andrew Luck era shall begin, pending the Colts draft Luck. The best situation to happen for the Colts is that Luck goes 3-13 (like his predecessor) and gets the Colts another first overall pick so they can build a team around Luck.

Now for Manning, he now has the option to sign wherever he pleases. The top four teams I can see Manning go to are as follows.

1) The New York Jets, the Jets have a great defence and a great run game. The one thing they’ve been missing is a consistent QB, Mark Sanchez has been less then stellar in his time with New York. Manning’s father Archie during an interview a few months ago almost hinted that Peyton could end up there. If Peyton were to land in New York it would really heat up the Manning-Brady rivalry, as well there would be two Mannings’ in New York.

2) The Arizona Cardinals, the Cardinals have been one of the teams that are consistently mentioned. Arizona is a very stable environment (which Manning likes), they also are the city that took in an old Kurt Warner.  Arizona also has one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald. A Manning-Fitzgerald combo would be killer, as well the Cardinals are in the NFC West, a division that has been the weakest division in the NFL in recent years. With that being said the 49ers were stellar last season but Manning could easily dissect the 49ers defense. Also the Cardinals hired Manning’s ex QB coach Frank Reich.

3) The Washington Redskins, the Redskins are a team that have been known to sign older players and have always been willing to pay top dollar. The Redskins have been known to look for the quick fix and if your looking for a quick fix, Peyton Manning is your man. The Redskins also hold the 6th pick, with that pick they could possibly draft Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. With Manning and Blackmon the ‘Skins could tear up almost any defense. Now their main competition would be the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who are led by non other than Peyton’s younger brother Eli. The Giants made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, Peyton hasn’t won less then 10 games since 2001. Now, even if the Giants were once again to finish first in the division, it’s safe to say that Manning would lead the Redskins to a  wild card spot

4) Last but not least, the Miami Dolphins, The ‘Fins have been a team always in the mix of the “where will Peyton end up talks”. Although the ‘Fins had a pretty bad season at 6-10, they were not actually as bad as their record suggests, they finished the season 6-3. The ‘Fins also hold the 8th pick, with that they can improve an already pretty solid o-line, fix up some of their defensive problems or if around, draft WR Michael Floyd from Notre Dame or Kendall Wright from Baylor, with one of these  two start wide receivers plus Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins could torch any opposing defense.

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-McFultz

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Say

As a die hard Colts fan it’s been very a very difficult year. With the loss of our star quarterback and my longtime hero Peyton Manning, the Colts finished with the worst record in football, 2-14. This was the first time in 9 years that the Colts didn’t make the playoffs. With the first overall pick it was clear that the Colts would draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

From the beginning I’ve been saying that the Colts could draft Luck and then have Manning mentor him. This would prevent a David Carr type situation, especially with an aging Colts team. As time goes on it seems that there’s no way my dream will come true. The Colts have also stated that they intend to release Manning. Which now brings me to the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say… The Colts must trade Manning. If they release him they’re wasting a great opportunity. On October 12th, 1989 The Dallas Cowboys traded Herschel Walker and a few other picks and players to the Minnesota Vikings for three first round picks, three second round picks, one third round pick and a sixth round pick. The Bengals also received two first round picks from the Oakland Raiders for quarterback Carson Palmer, who had been home playing Madden for half of the season. The three teams that are being continuously mentioned for wanting Manning are the Redskins, Dolphins and the Jets. The Redskins hold the 6th overall pick, if the Colts trade Manning to the Redskins they could hold the first and sixth picks, plus they would at least receive the Redskins 2013 first rounder and probably multiple other picks. With all these picks, the Colts could build around Andrew Luck and bring back the Colts dynasties of the 2000′s.

So for the sake of the Colts future, I’m begging you Mr Irsay, trade Peyton Manning

 

-McFultz