Thursday, December 13, 2007

NBA, hot stove league, and Mitchell report hap'nins

Sports postpourri. First, from my basketball insider newsletter:

Steve Nash handed his tooth to a trainer after a Carlos Boozer elbow dislodged it and then gave a hilarious halftime interview to the cameras on his way to a 29-point night. Nash finished with six boards, 11 assists and three 3-pointers on a 10-of-12 shooting night as the Suns beat the Jazz. He gave the interview with an exaggerated lisp, highlighting part of his missing tooth, which was fun to watch.

-- The Astros made a big trade yesterday. I think it'll work out OK for them; Troy Patton's stock has dropped a bit over the last year. He projects as a third or fourth starter, though he's not ready for the bigs yet. Luke Scott should start over Jay Payton in left field for the O's, at least against righties, but he may not be more than a one- or two-year solution. Matt Albers has fourth-starter potential but belongs in the pen right now, as he's primarily a two-pitch pitcher. Dennis Sarfate, a waiver claim from the Brewers, emerged as a viable late-game relief candidate at the end of last season; he has, however, a long history of command problems. Mike Costanzo was the strikeout-prone third base prospect the Astros picked up from the Phillies in the Brad Lidge deal.

I'd say the Orioles got about as much as they could for Tejada, and the Astros -- provided they do something in a trade for pitching with Chris Burke, Adam Everett, or Ty Wigginton, or all three -- improved themselves the most with this deal.

Update: Richard Justice seems to have a mixed opinion. And Adam Everett signed a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Twins shortly after this posting.

--Start rehearsing your "Fukudome" jokes now:

The Cubs reeled in another marquee free agent, reaching a preliminary agreement with Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome on a four-year, $48 million deal to be their right fielder. ...

In Fukudome, they have added a needed left-handed bat who can get on base, hit with power, run and play strong defense.

"He's been our target acquisition from day one," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Wednesday when the Cubs announced the deal pending Fukudome passing a physical next week in Chicago.

Considered one of the best outfielders in Japanese baseball, the 30-year-old slugger was a key member of the team that won the inaugural World Baseball Classic in March 2006.

If Harry Carey was still alive, there wouldn't be a green leaf on the outfield walls of Wrigley Field this April before WGN lost their broadcast license.

-- The Rocket was allegedly on the juice. More names this afternoon. "It's going to be a rough day in the Bronx," the Bergen Record quotes the source -- a strength coach employed by the Yankees as well as a personal trainer to Clemens and Andy Pettitte.

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