Ohio State’s likely NCAA foe and Browns free agency contracts: While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner wwwAlmost Madness Time: Sunday is Selection Sunday. The Ohio State Buckeyes are currently slotted to be a No. 5 or 6 seed. Who will they likely play? Land-Grant Holy Land’s Matt Brown looks at a number of the possibilities, including potentially Xavier and Dayton. Obviously, regardless of who OSU plays in the second (née first) round of the tournament, it will certainly be nerve-wracking. But an All-Ohio game would be even more chaotic.

Speaking of the Buckeyes, there was a lengthy article by Grantland’s Matt Borcas about appreciating Aaron Craft. This line in particular puts Craft’s game into familiar context for fans: “You probably don’t know Aaron Craft personally, but you definitely know his type. At least, you did in sixth grade. If you doubt this, try to remember your youth basketball coach’s absolute favorite player.”

NFL Free Agency: If you didn’t see it yet, Draft Browns’ Mikey Tricharichi has a good post breaking down how NFL contracts work and the deals for Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner.

I also enjoyed this Dawgs By Nature roundtable about who they want next in free agency. The three top names: Alex Mack, Julian Edelman and Arthur Moats. Given those moves, what are other draft priorities for the Browns besides quarterback? An offensive guard? Another cornerback? Still plenty of roster moves to make – and lots of money to play with.

Closer Control: ESPN Insider’s Paul Swydan has positive words to say about the Indians new closer John Axford. He’s listed as one of the 10 best “changes of scenery” moves for the 2014 season: “Since the Indians didn’t make a large financial commitment to him (just $4.5 million guaranteed) and they have a closer-in-waiting in Cody Allen, Axford probably won’t have the longest leash in the world, but Terry Francona is generally a pretty patient manager. Axford probably couldn’t have landed in a better spot.”

If you recall, Axford believes that he solved a tipping-pitches issue that he had in Milwaukee. I’d expect him to have plenty of save opportunities early on for the Tribe, so he should be a somewhat interesting fantasy player to watch as well.

The Grand Experiment: We all know by now about Carlos Santana’s transition to hopeful occasional play at third base for the Indians. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal fills in the other details, sharing Santana’s work schedule from his long winter days in the Dominican and positive words from his teammates.

Mike Aviles said “it surprised me how far along he was when he got here this spring.” Nick Swisher said “his effort has been through the roof.” Yet, the experiment remains a work in progress. The transition remains one of the more intriguing storylines in all of Spring Training. I’d expect Santana to play a couple games at third each week, unless Lonnie Chisenhall can change around his fortunes ASAP.

Missing Livingston: The Cavs are now again only 3.5 games back of a playoff spot in the horrendous Eastern Conference. They’re not too far away now from Charlotte and Atlanta. But you know who we haven’t heard about in a while? Brooklyn. A major reason for their recent surge? Former Cavs backup Shaun Livingston. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann looks at the point guard’s tremendous on-court impact for the Nets of late. He would’ve been a much cheaper option than Jarrett Jack, undoubtedly.

  • boomhauertjs

    I was a big fan of Livingston’s last year and would have been perfectly satisfied if they had kept him. My guess is that Grant and others thought they needed a guy who could start in place of Kyrie (and his inevitable injuries) and they didn’t think Livingston was that guy and Jack was. Grant failed to recognize that Kyrie, Jack, and Waiters all have overlapping skills and that a guy like Livingston was a better fit. Part of the reason Grant’s a former GM.

  • mgbode

    only Aaron Craft could be embroiled in a scandal that involved photographs and have them turn out to be of a backyard barbeque.

  • For anyone having problems with comments not showing up, try changing the sort order to something else until they show up. Then you can set it back to your default sort order. That’s been working for me.

    I will continue to look into what’s causing the problem.

    (of course, anyone having comment viewing issues probably won’t see this…)

  • mgbode

    that is another great article about the work ethic and determination of Carlos Santana. they even go into all kinds of smart advantages of him being able to play at 3B. then, they ruin it with this nugget:

    creating more opportunities for Jason Giambi.

  • nj0

    Did you really fall for an analogous version of the “best shape of his life” spring training story?

  • mgbode

    no, not falling for it, just enjoying it. all baseball stories this month are essentially useless unless they are discussing injuries. but, why ruin a feel-good article by invoking the name of Giambi?

  • nj0

    Heart, hustle, clutch! The Giambi way…

  • mgbode

    Jason is getting a bit older. You might not want to mention heart & clutch in the same sentence with him.

  • Steve

    I wouldn’t say Grant failed to recognize it, I think he might have fell too much in love with how they approach the game. I would say he failed to recognize how the pieces have to fit together.

  • Steve

    The Axford deal is great not just because he’s a good bounce back candidate that they got for fairly cheap, but they also have two more years of team control at arb prices after this if they want them.

  • So, not totally hating, mg, as I used to be one of the louder(ist) voices against Giambi’s tenure with the team.

    It’s remarkable to hear people (off-the-record and who would interact with him and those around him) speak of him. It’s even more interesting to hear his thoughts.

    I may have to turn in my “sabr card” or return my copy of “Moneyball” or something, but I’m more believing in the idea of keeping a player on the roster whose value doesn’t show up in the statsheets thanks to them and Giambi. He gets a bit of a pass this year from me.

  • I was about to post “and keeps the potential open for trading him,” then I stopped and laughed cause relievers don’t have trade value, and THEN I remembered this wacky offseason when they sorta did. I is confused.

  • Steve

    I’m just not sure if you can carry Giambi and the eight man pen for long stretches again. They got fairly lucky with injuries last year and it worked out, but I don’t think they can count on it again.

  • Steve

    Yeah, I’m not expecting him to ever have much trade value, though if Toronto wants another one of our relievers, I’d say be all over that. But just the ability to lock up one more roster spot at non-FA prices is a nice plus for a small market team.

  • I agree that’s probably my preferred scenario. I guess just trusting Giambi is being honest with himself in regards to hanging on.

  • Steve

    85 wRC+ after a 77 the year before. Yes, he was BABIP-ed badly last year, but the BB and K rate moved exactly in the direction you’d expect for a 42 year old.

    But even if you do expect a bounceback, I’m not sure where he fits in the lineup, and I can’t get past that point. Only 15 of his 216 PAs came against LHP last year, and for good reason. And assuming that Chisenhall holds onto the 3B spot against RHP, the lineup is set quite well there. After using the DH spot to get some guys a half day of rest, I just don’t see where you find PAs for Giambi.

  • Indians announce broken rib for Giambi, out 3-4 weeks

  • mgbode
  • Steve

    They’d have to DFA someone to put Morgan, Cooper, or Francouer on the roster, so I guess congratulations to Mr. Sellers. Maybe I should be careful what I wish for with the 25th roster spot.

  • Pat Leonard

    Watching Hawes tear it up in that first quarter against the Suns last night was incredible. I mean holy crap that guy can shoot, and I’m not terrified to watch him put it on the deck and drive at the basket because he has all of these funky flip shots that go in. I know he’s not an exceptional rebounding big, and his defense isn’t that awesome either, but what he provides on offense is intoxicating. You simply cannot leave your center in the paint when he’s on the floor. He’ll kill you. Fun times. But yeah, you know… Cavs.

  • mgbode

    I would feel better about beating the Suns if it wasn’t Bledsoe’s 1st game back and he didn’t try so hard to prove that he’s healthy that he unwittingly gave us the game.

  • Pat Leonard

    I don’t know… he shot poorly, but he had like 4 assists in just a couple of minutes in the first quarter and finished the game with 9. He did everything well except shoot the ball from what I saw. I thought the way the team was able to bottle up Dragic in the 3rd quarter and do a better job covering Frye on the 3-point line were the keys to the win.

  • mgbode

    it was in my completely unprofessional opinion that Bledsoe really seemed to take PHX out of their offensive sets when he was out there. he just always looked like he was trying to do too much.

    then again, he finished with an overall +2 in +/-, so I could just be wrong here. i’m okay with that if it is the case.

  • Pat Leonard

    Either way, it doesn’t give me a ton of confidence that the team will be able to keep it up. They’ve played well on west coast trips before, only to come back home and lose to the worst teams in the NBA. I watched on League Pass last night and the Suns’ broadcasters basically said what I’ve been thinking this whole season: The Cavs have too much talent to have a record this bad.