Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ramblings (or: Possible Future Column Ideas)

  • Former Indians GM John Hart said that the new MLB CBA was a good thing because "it gets the best players on the best teams, and that's what fans want." No, fans want their own team to be competitive.
  • The new CBA limits spending on the draft and international amateurs, but does nothing to limit spending on free agents. Why? Well, look at the parties involved. One one side, the owners want to save money (and some/most care about saving money more than winning). On the other side is the Players Association. Draftees and international amateurs aren't in the union yet (neither are signed minor leaguers until they're added to a 40 man roster), so cutting their money keeps the owners happy without taking money away from those in the Players Association.
  • There are some that say the Moneyball approach is stagnating, some 10 years after the book was published. Well, now the arms race begins again as smart teams who had been spending their resources on the draft and international amateurs will now spend their time and effort trying to get ahead in the climate of the new CBA. It sucks as a fan of a small team, but it will be fun to watch nonetheless.
  • No, the Albert Pujolses and Chris Pauls of the world shouldn't be "well-paid slaves" - they should be able to play wherever they'd like. That doesn't make it any easier for the clubs they're leaving though.
  • That being said, the NBA needs to watch that they don't become a league consisting only of the Lakers, Heat, Celtics, Knicks, and 26 feeder teams. Of course, the only way for the "feeder teams" to counter their unattractiveness to superstars, they will need to develop their own Moneyball approach to roster construction, whether through underrated veterans, four-year college players, or even a return to a team-first college approach that simply out-hustles the superstar teams.
  • Robert Blanton is expected to be a mid-to-late round draft choice. But I wouldn't be surprised if his career outshines his draft position. Blanton has always been a hard-hitting ballhawk, and could easily play both corner and safety. That versatility can keep him in the NFL for a long time, much as it has for Cleveland's Mike Adams.
  • Those few people still complaining about Brian Kelly running the new-fangled spread offense at Notre Dame remind me of the people who complained about Frank Leahy going with the new-fangled spread over Knute Rockne's traditional box formation. And for what it's worth, Kelly's "spread" looks a lot like Charlie Weis's "pro-style," which to me means there's a lot more to an offense than just the name.
  • Moneyball is a recurring theme in this post, and there's a point where Billy Beane asks why his [stuff] doesn't work in the playoffs. Arguably, it's because his hitters' top ability is taking walks, which works over the course of the season against a variety of pitchers, but fails against the best teams and their shortened rotations. But I digress. A similar question is, "Why doesn't Mike Brey's [stuff] work in the tournament?" Is there a specific component of Brey's gameplan that works well enough during the long season against a variety of opponents, but fails against the best team? Definitely worth further research.
  • Speaking of Brey, should he be praised for his great ability to bring in transfer students like Ryan Humphrey and Ben Hansbrough? Or does it just seem like the basketball team takes in a lot of transfers since the football team takes in almost none? How many transfers do other schools take in, in basketball and in other sports? Yet another component of Brey's legacy worth looking into.
  • I can't understand the (mostly national) media calling for Colt McCoy's replacement as Browns quarterback. He's a second year starter who had about a month to learn a new system before the start of this season. Plus, as other clubs have shown, it doesn't matter how good the QB is if he's surrounded by a good run game and good defense. (Sorry Dave, it's not the best Obligatory Tebow Reference, but it's the best I could do.) The Browns have too many other holes right now to waste a high draft pick on another quarterback who may or may not work out.
  • Speaking of the Browns defense, they have some good pieces in their front seven, but have been pretty bad against the run. Is it because the unit hasn't played together enough yet? Or because the young guys like Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard focusing too much on the pass rush because it's their specialty? Or is this unit just not as good as the sum of its parts?