Sunday, January 22, 2006

Transaction Wire - Notre Dame in the NFL Edition

12/13 Cardinals activate WRCarlyle Holiday from the practice squad. Holiday was listed as inactive for the Houston and Philadelphia games on 12/18 and 12/24, respectively. He played on New Year's Day against the Colts, but did not touch the football.

12/18 Rams activate TE Jerome Collins from the practice squad. Collins played in the last three games of St Louis' season, but he did not have a catch.

12/20 Redskins sign OL Jim Jones. Jones had been on the San Francisco pratice squad.

12/28 Browns sign TE John Owens. Owens was signed as an emergency plan after all three of Cleveland's top tight ends were battling injury at the end of the season. Owens did not see game action in the final contest of the season.

12/31 Bears activate DT Darrell Campbell from the practice squad. Campbell was added to the Bears travel roster, but he was inactive for the Bears final regular season game and their lone playoff game.

01/02 Patriots sign OL Brennan Curtin to the practice squad. A week later, Curtin was released.

01/06 Bills fire offensive coordinator Tom Clements. Clements, a finalist for the Notre Dame job last year, started as a quarterbacks coach under Lou Holtz. After a year as Lou's assistant head coach, Clements took a job as Bill Cowher's QB coach in Pittsburgh. He is complex and creative in his playcalling, but Clements could only muster 271.8 yards and 15.2 poinst per game out of Willis McGahee and the two-headed QB monster that was JP Losman and Kelly Holcomb. Both numbers ranked 30th out of 32 teams. I doubt anyone can get much out of Losman and Holcomb. Clements will surely find a job somewhere, even if he has to once again step down to quarterbacks coach.

01/17 Patriots promote linebackers coach Dean Pees to defensive coordinator. Pees was the Notre Dame secondary coach in 1994. 2006 will be Pees' 34th season as a college or pro coach.

01/17 Giants sign CB/PR Vontez Duff. This comes on the heels of the news that the Giants also re-signed Ryan Grant through next season.

01/19 Bills sign K Nick Setta. Originally signed by the Saints, Setta has also spent time in the camps of Chicago, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland. He spent a season in Europe with the Rhein Fire.

01/20 Buccaneers sign CB Dwight Ellick. Earlier this season, Ellick was on the Redskins practice squad.

...and one baseball rumor.

Boston papers report that the Indians and Red Sox have agreed in principle to a deal that would send OF Coco Crisp to Boston for 3B Andy Marte and RP Guillermo Mota. Rumors have it that the trade would be contingent on the Tribe being able to land OF Jason Michaels from the Phillies. Those rumors have Philadelphia asking for RP Rafael Betancourt, Arthur Rhodes, or David Riske.
Marte is a great 3B prospect acquired by Boston from Atlanta in the Edgar Renteria trade. Last June (scroll down a little), I mentioned that I was a fan of Marte's glove but not his bat. But, he's only 22 and has potential written all over him. With no one in the third base cupboard at any level for the Tribe, he's definitely a great pickup. Mota is a solid reliever that is often said to have closer ability. Coco Crisp is a very popular player here in Cleveland, but Marte and Mota are far too much to pass up.
Of course, with Crisp gone, the Indians are left with just Grady Sizemore, Casey Blake, Jason DuBois, and Franklin Gutierrez in the outfield. Blake and DuBois struggled with the Mendoze line last year. Blake is a very unselfish player who will do whatever asked (during the 2004-05 offseason, he was rumored to move from third to second, then to first, then to left, then finally to right). But, he looked very replaceable last year. It's hard to tell if DuBois is a year away or a total bust. Gutierrez has all the physical skills, but you don't want to rush him. What's my point? The Indians need another outfielder. Michaels looks like a natural to replace Crisp. Like Crisp, Michaels can play LF and CF. He doesn't have outstanding power or speed, but he does have a great knack for getting on base. This could make him perfect to take over Crisp's #2 spot in the batting order. If a deal for Michaels doesn't work out, there are other options. Free agent Jeff DaVanon was a fourth outfielder during his time in Anaheim. But, when he did play, it looked like he could start for most teams. Another possibility is young Ryan Langerhans from Atlanta. The name of Texas' Kevin Mench has come across Cleveland's lips many times over the past few years, as their biggest need is a right handed power-hitting corner outfielder.
As mentioned above, the Phillies are asking for a relief pitcher in return for Michaels. This is likely the reason why Mota was "thrown in" the Crisp deal. Arthur Rhodes is a veteran lefty who had an ERA of 2.08 in 2005. He's obviously the best of the three relievers Philadephia is asking for. Righty Rafael Betancourt has been a pleasant surprise for the Indians over the past few years. David Riske has had an inconsistent career. He played well enough to earn the closer's role a few years back, then struggled. In 2005, there were periods when he was unhittable, and then there were periods when everything he threw was a home run. I'd definitely give Riske for Michaels. Considering the quantity of young bullpen talent waiting in the wings for Cleveland, I'd also be willing to give up Betancourt for Michaels, especially knowing it could get me Mota. I'd also be willing to give up Rhodes if only the Indians had another lefty in the bullpen besides the wild Scott Sauerbeck.