Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Redskins Lose LB Goff, OG Lichtensteiger

The Redskins suffered to setbacks yesterday. Linebacker Jonathon Goff tore his ACL so he will undergo season ending knee surgery. Offensive guard Kory Lichtensteiger had arthroscopic knee surgery done to clear particles out of his knee.

For Goff, this will be the second straight season that he will miss due to a torn ACL. Lichtensteiger is expected to return by the season opener.

Two other Redskins that got injured yesterday: fullback Darrel Young strained his hamstring and left tackle Willie Smith twisted his knee.

The Redskins have now seen three of last years starters, and this years projected starters, on the offensive line go down with injuries this preseason. Tackle Jammal Brown, guard Kory Lichtensteiger, and tackle Willie Smith will all be missing time for one reason or another.

To fill the empty camp roster position left by Goff, the Redskins signed the nine year veteran and former Saints and Jaguars offensive tackle Jordan Black. In 2010 for the Jaguars, he played in 15 games and started nine of them. He was cut in the third week of preseason by the Saints in 2011.

Over his nine year career, Black has played for three teams (Saints, Chiefs, Jaguars). He was a fifth round draft pick of the Chiefs in the 2003 draft and started 15 games for them in 2006. He has played in a total of 80 games including 40 starts.

Losing Goff isn't going to effect the defense that much. They played without him last season, they'll play without him this season.

Losing another offensive lineman is a different story. Those guys all need to play together in order to form a bond and become one unit. We saw the same problem last season. Early on, guys got banged up and it took a really long time for the Redskins front five to come together. We're looking at the same problem this preseason. The Redskins need all of the offensive lineman healthy and participating or the offensive will suffer like last season.

For now, Maurice Hurt will move over and split time with Josh LeRibeus at left guard. Black and Tyler Polumbus will share the reps at at right tackle will Jammal Brown is out.

Hopefully, the injury bug will leave Redskins camp soon. A number of key players are going down due to injury and the Redskins can't afford to lose anyone else.

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Source: Washington Post

Monday, July 30, 2012

LaRoche Day-to-Day

Adam LaRoche's back will be reevaluated on Tuesday. For now, he will sit on the bench. He may make an appearance as a pinch hitter, but I doubt it. He'll be a last resort.

LaRoche left Sundays game due to back tightness. Following yesterdays game, team doctors told him that it was a muscular issue. It has been bothering LaRoche for a few days. Now, it's finally getting some time to recover.

Back tightness for a baseball player really isn't that uncommon. They spend much of a game hunched over in the ready position waiting for the play. For first basemen, they stretch all over the place trying to field balls and catch balls thrown to them. Their backs are likely to feel a little stiff. Another place where the back might get stiff is at the plate. While LaRoche's pre-pitch stance is open and straight up, he does coil up (like most batters) while the ball is on it's way. That constant tightening/coiling will take it's toll on the back.

LaRoche will be reevaluated on Tuesday and he will probably sit today's game. I don't expect him to miss much time. He may just need a good back massage to loosen up his back.

In the mean time, Tyler Moore will most likely get the nod to start at first base. The Nationals won't be losing much with LaRoche out. Just experience. Tyler Moore is a rookie in the MLB, but he's got incredible power and does well in the field.

LaRoche is listed as day-to-day.

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Source: Washington Times

The Skinny On Sports Show

Here is the first edition of The Skinny On Sports show! This ran live last night so if it seems weird with the timing that's why. Here I talked about the Redskins and the Nationals. The show runs from 11:30 to Midnight every Sunday night. Tune in next week and call the show to join the debate!

Capitals Sign Kostenko

Capitals 2012 draft pick Sergey Kostenko was signed to an AHL contract over the weekend. It is a one year deal and he will be with the Hershey Bears for the 2012-2013 season.

Kostenko was taken in the seventh of the draft this year. The goaltender had a 2.98 Goals Against Average and an .897 save percentage in 40 games in the Russian junior league.

Last season, the Capitals weren't really sure who their starting goalie was. At the beginning of the season, it looked as though it was going to be either Braden Holtby or Michael Neuvirth. Then Tomas Vokun stepped up and played in 48 games and had a 25-17-2 record. Vokun finished up the regular season with a 2.51 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

In the postseason, however, it was all Braden Holtby. He did well, too. He finished the postseason with a 1.95 GAA and a .935 save percentage.

If Braden Holtby can play in the regular season like he did in the postseason, he'll easily keep the starting spot. Inconsistency was bit of an issue for the all of the Capitals goaltenders last season. The Capitals have two very capable goaltenders. All they need is a little consistency.

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Source: Capitals.NHL.com

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Opening Ceremony: My Opinion

It sucked. Not all of it. Just most of it. If I had to give it an overall grade? D+ or C-. Let's start from the beginning.

I will say, I lov-...liked the beginning. Flying the Queen in with James Bond was a nice touch. Well done. I was very surprised that she agreed to something like that and it added a sense of fun to the show.

The way they showed how the farm period transitioned into the industrial revolution was neat. The characters, the buildings, the movements really fit perfectly together and that part came together well. There was a very smooth transition between the two time periods and it actually took on the look of the time periods.

The way they poured the "steel" to look and smell like the real thing was neat. Again, it added another dimension to the opening ceremony that we don't usually see: smells (wait, what?). An odor was released when the "steel" was poured that made the arena smell like a steel mill. Very neat.

Expressing the medical advances of Great Britain was a huge slap in the face of the Americans. We get it. Also, nice touch with the 50 foot Voldemort (oops!! I meant "He who shall not be named!!").

Then the wheels fell off the whole show....

They transitioned into that AWFUL 1960s-1980s period. I understand what they were trying to do. They were expressing how a British man created the world wide web. That would have been neat had they incorporated the world wide web into that segment other than just a few Facebook blurbs. Most of the time during that awful back and forth, the main characters were using cell phones.

I then got fed up with that and went to get some food. I came back, and thankfully the show part was over. It started great, and then went straight downhill following the Industrial Revolution time period.

The introducing of the countries...well...that always bores me. It takes too long. And for countries that only have single digit athletes, group them all together! That would seriously cut about two hours. If not that, then at least this: for countries that only have 2-9 athletes, don't just name the flag bearer. Name them all!

Then came possibly the most important...and worst...part of the opening ceremonies: the lighting of the torch.

Before we get to the actual lighting of the torch, let me address one MAJOR thing that really bugs me now-a-days...LET MOHAMMAD ALI BE!! He is quite possibly one of the GREATEST athletes of ALL TIME!! Now...he's been reduced to someone who can barely stand and that gets paraded around hopelessly on national television. Pay the man his respect and leave him alone.

Back to the torch...

There was a ton of excitement surrounding who it should be. Personally, I was pulling for the guy that broke four minutes in the mile. Maybe even Bradley Wiggins (Note to self...if you win the Tour De France during the Olympic year, you get to ring a big bell!!).

But no....a bunch of British teenagers lit the most iconic symbol in all of sports. I understand that they are "the future of British Sports" (which is probably not true) but come on...let's have an iconic British athlete - *cough* David Beckham *cough* - light the stupid thing.

They didn't even put the torch in its rightful place high above the stadium for all to see. Instead...they put it right in the middle of the floor so it can get hit by a discus, javelin, or throwing hammer. ("You may have won gold, but I broke the Olympic torch!")

One more thing...how can you have a cover band for a Beatles song when one of the most iconic members of the original band is standing backstage?! Better yet...why did you have to resort to a cover band? You could simply open the show with a different band all together! What? You weren't good enough for the Rolling Stones?

Another quick note...anybody else realize that these are the 30th Summer Olympic games? You know what that means...oh yeah...Summer Olympics XXX. (Sorry! Only 18+!)

Oh well. The ceremony has finally come to an end and the Queen has finally said those beautiful words:

Let's the games begin!

Go America.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Redskins Claim Briscoe

Well...we couldn't really expect the Redskins to not take a shot in the dark and sign a player that makes you think...Why?...this offseason did we?

Today, that is exactly what they did. The Redskins claimed former Buccaneer's receiver Desmond Briscoe off of waivers. Briscoe was waived by the Buc's yesterday. In order to make room for Briscoe, the Redskins released receiver Brian Hernandez from Utah.

Would you like to know why Briscoe was removed from the Buccaneer's? He couldn't pass Greg Schiano's conditioning test. He's out of shape. Briscoe wasn't a regular at the Bucs offseason workouts and therefore failed the conditioning test with flying colors.

Sooooo that makes him a perfect fit for the Redskins right?! NO!

The Redskins recent craze with wide receivers has continued. Briscoe now marks the third receiver that the Bruce Smith and Dan Snyder have signed. Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon were two good receiver signings...Desmond Briscoe...not so much.

He's out of shape and I don't think he stands that much of a chance of making the Redskins 53 man roster. He'll have to battle Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, and Aldrick Robinson for the final spots on the Redskins receiver depth chart.

Last season, Briscoe finished with 35 catches for 387 yards and six touchdown catches. He'll need a lot more than that if he wants to make the 53 man roster.

Personally, I'm just not feeling it. I don't think the Redskins really needed to go out and add another wide receiver. He's young, yes. But, young talent is always good talent. Briscoe will have to really show himself early if he wants any consideration for the final roster

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Source: NBC Sports

Nats Release Ankiel

Today, the Washington Nationals released outfielder Rick Ankiel. Ankiel was released after the Nationals decided to designate him for assignment.

In his two, well...one and a half, year career with the Washington Nationals, Ankiel was never quite the player they hoped they'd get.

A once 25 homer in a season outfielder, Ankiel managed just nine home runs in 122 games for the Nationals in 2011 and just five in 68 games this season. Ankiel's strikeouts have been close to an all time high since entering the majors.

Many of you remember Ankiel being the pitcher turned slugging outfielder who had an impressive 2007 season and followed that with an even better 2008 season. Since then, his numbers have been on the decline.

The only thing, at least for me, that kept Ankiel on the MLB roster, was his ability to pinch hit and his cannon for an arm. Having Ankiel and Harper in the outfield would have been an incredible defensive combination had Ankiel been able to hit. Those two easily are in the top 10 for outfield arms in the MLB.

The only problem, like I said before, was that the man couldn't hit. Prior to being sent down, Ankiel had a .228 average with a .282 on base percentage. With bats like Jayson Werth, Michael Morse, Tyler Moore, and Bryce Harper, Ankiel just couldn't keep up and was eventually going to get lost in the Nationals system.

I am slightly saddened by the departure of Rick Ankiel. He was a great story back in 2007 and really had, still has, potential. His ability at the plate just wasn't cutting for the Nationals. I don't expect Ankiel to be on the market for very long. While he may not have made it with the Nationals, I'm sure that there is another team out there that is willing to take a chance on him.

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Source: Nationals PR

So Long, Semin!

The saga of "what will happen to Alexander Semin?" has finally come to an end. For Capitals fans, it may not be the ending that most of them wanted.

Yesterday, the winger signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. This is the second straight year in which he signed a one-year contract. Semin was inked to a $6.7 million deal to play for the Capitals this past season.

You know what I say? Good riddance.

Semin is coming off of one the worst years in his hockey history. Whether it was poor performance on the ice or calling out his teammates off of it, it was just bad and he was a distraction more than anything.

He only scored 21 goals and tallied just 33 assists in 77 games. While Semin matched a career-high in games played, he recorded his lowest goals and assists numbers since 2005.

It's sad, too. Semin has a lot of potential. Remember when he and Ovi played on the same line and would toy with the opponents defense and goaltender and just score with ease? You have to think back real hard don't you! Yeah...those days are long gone.

Resigning Semin would have just cost the Capitals too much money that they don't need to spend. The Capitals, while replacing Semin will be a tall order, are making the necessary moves to stay competitive for years to come.

They've added depth to their farm system and have added a few players that will be in the NHL for years to come. They are doing the best with what they got and what they have really isn't that bad.

Don't worry about the Capitals losing Alexander Semin. While, when he's on, his game is better than a lot of other wingers in the NHL, he can be a bit of a distraction. It's time to move on. As for Mr. Semin...

See you on December 1st, Alexander.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Redskins Training Camp Notes

Rex Grossman, left, and Robert Griffin III, right, doing quarterback drills. (Photo: sbnation.com)

As the Washington Redskins kicked off Training Camp yesterday, there were a few story lines that emerged.

The first being the absence of offensive tackle Jammal Brown. Brown saw significant playing time by the end of last season and is expected to compete for a starting role this season. Brown suffered a setback with his surgically repaired hip while running gassers on Wednesday.

Now, usually when a player suffers a "set-back" while running gassers during the pre-camp conditioning test, that can mean one of two things: either he really did re-injure his hip or he's out of shape. It's not quite clear which it is. Either way, Brown is in serious danger of losing his spot and any hopes of making the starting front five fast diminishing. Maurice Hurt and Tyler Polumbus will split his Browns reps while he is on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

We received an update as to what exactly happened to Chase Minnifield that caused him to be waived by the team three days ago. Head Coach Mike Shanahan said yesterday that Minnifield tore his ACL on the final day of minicamp this past June. Last we heard, the Redskins surprisingly put him on the waiver wire three days ago. Minnifield cleared waivers and has been added to the Redskins IR where he will stay for the 2012 season.

The circus that is going to be the Redskins backfield got underway yesterday, as well. Evan Royster took the first team reps and Roy Helu Jr ran with the second teamers. Tim Hightower mixed in for a few reps, but his time was limited since he is coming off of injury. It will be interesting to see how the Redskins plan on intermixing all three throughout the first couple weeks of camp.
Redskins Training Camp is in full force and this season has no shortage of story lines. Whether its players on the PUP list, on/off the field drama, or just my own evaluation, stay tuned to The Skinny On Sports for Redskins Training Camp news and analysis.

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Source: CSN Washington, Washington Times, Rotoworld

Redskins Roster Moves

Yesterday, the Washington Redskins made two roster moves. The first move they made was to release Gard Nevin McCaskill. The second, the team signed fullback Dorson Boyce.

Neither of the two are marquee names by any stretch. McCaskill was signed to a reserve/future contract which basically means if he showed anything on the practice squad, the coaches would pay more attention to him. As you can probably guess, he didn't show anything and ended up getting released yesterday without ever seeing the playing field.

Boyce was an undrafted free agent out of Washington in his 2011 rookie season. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks. Boyce only saw time in preseason when he appeared in three games. In those three games combined, Boyce had two carries for 11 yards and four receptions for 28 yards.

Boyce was signed simply to fill the empty training camp roster spot left from the release of Nevin McCaskill Boyce will have to battle the much better Darrel Young for playing time at fullback. In other words, he's another body the Redskins have in camp and is somebody the Redskins hope to challenge Young to be a better player.

Also, cornerback Chase Minnifield made it through waivers and has been added the the Redskins IR.

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Source: Rotoworld

Redskins Training Camp Storylines

Robert Griffin III, 10, leads the Redskins into Training Camp today. (Photo: rantsports.com)
As Redskins Training Camp gets underway at Redskins Park today, there are few things that you should keep in mind....

Roster Battles
There really is only a few positions on this team that already have their regular season starters in place. Those being defensive end, middle linebacker, and quarterback. The rest of the roster is completely up for grabs.

On offense, everything but the quarterback should be listed as a position battle. It seems, and I don't  know why, that Roy Helu Jr. needs to prove himself all over again and Tim Hightower needs to show that can still play at high level following season ending knee surgery. With the emergence of guys like Willie Smith and Josh LeRibeus, there is a lot of promise on the offensive line and some surprising players could be left on the outside looking in. Chris Cooley and Fred Davis will be battling all season long for the starting tight end spot. All signs point to Davis, but Cooley has been electric in the past and he is certainly someone to keep an eye on. With the offseason signings of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, the receiving corp looks as lethal as ever. Leonard Hankerson, one of the Redskins leading receivers last season, has some injury concerns so it will be interesting to see how he stacks up against the rest.

The edges of the defensive line seem pretty set. With Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo playing defensive end, they'll look to improve to becoming the best tandem in the league. Barry Cofield had good season last year with the Redskins and will look to build off that this preseason. London Fletcher will be leading the linebacker corp in the middle, but the edges are wide open. New comers like Keenan Robinson will be looking to take advantage. Perry Riley could also be a name that steps up and finally asserts himself as one of the Redskins top linebackers. The Redskins secondary is a complete mess. DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Kevin Barnes, and Cedric Griffin will all be fighting for the top cornerback spots and Reed Doughty, Madieu Williams, and Brandon Meriweather will all be fighting for the two safety spots. Rookie Jordan Bernstine could be a name that jumps up and surprises everyone at safety.

Time To Put The Pads On!!
An aspect of football that many forget is that there is a big difference between drills and putting the pads on and playing real live football. Forget what we saw at minicamp. OTA's don't matter anymore. There were no pads and live hitting during those events. Training camp is when we find out what these players are all about. Anybody, including me (don't laugh), can look good in drills. It's a whole new ball game, well...it's a REAL ball game, once the pads are put on and everyone begins to play real football at 100 miles per hour. Keep that in mind when your watching practice at Redskins Park. Make a note of who stands out in drills and see if they can translate that into success when the team comes together for the end of practice scrimmages.

Stay Positive, Limit Mistakes
It's Training Camp. Mistakes will be made. Fans, analysts, players, and coaches need to stay positive and remember that mistakes are made to be learned from. Where there's a mistake, there's a teaching moment and a moment for one guy to shine. If he continues to make the same mistake, he's not coachable and possibly not even reliable. If he learns from his mistake, he just might catch the coaches eye and may get another big opportunity to perform. Making a mistake is one thing, learning and improving from is what separates the players from the bench warmers. Keep a positive outlook when mistakes are made early. Once we get later into Training Camp, mistakes should be limited to few or none at all. If guys are still making the same mistakes, that means more than you think. That player may not be as good as you think they are.

Did you honestly think I would write this whole "Preseason Preview" post and not even mention his name? The success of this entire season hangs on whether this kid can play or not. Notice I have never once called him the savior of the franchise or the real deal. Why? Because I don't know. Nobody knows. If they do...they have a special gift and need a TV show. Like I said earlier, nobody cares about drills. It's all about what happens when the pads are put on. I'm excited about seeing what the new guy can do. He has a lot of great attributes for a winning quarterback. Now, he needs to show those attributes on the field. The Redskins run a complex offense. His patience, athleticism, and football IQ will all be tested within the first couple weeks of camp. He'll need to find his rhythm early if he wants to maximise his success.

These are just a few things I want you to keep in mind while you're following Redskins Training Camp 2012. The Redskins did some positive things this offseason. Hopefully, that translates into positive results on the field. All I know is...


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meriweather Found Guilty of DUI

Today, Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather has been officially found guilty of DUI. This dates back to an incident that occurred this past April. He has been given a suspended 180 day in jail sentence with a $300 fine.

Meriweather signed a 2-year contract with the Redskins this offseason and is expected to compete for a starting safety spot. Meriweather was inconsistent in his time with the Patriots and the Bears, but has the potential to be a starting safety in the NFL.

In terms of what disciplinary action Roger Goodell might take, this is Meriweathers first offense. I don't expect Goodell to discipline him past what the court has already done.

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shannahan has yet to say what exactly his course of action will be for Meriweather.

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Source: Bleacher Report

Werth's Rehabbing

Jayson Werth began his rehab in Triple A Syracuse last night. Werth has been out since early May due to a broken wrist.

The Nationals star right fielder went 0-3 including grounding out into a double play.

The Nationals have said that they aren't going to rush him back. And why should they? They have three very capable outfielders in Roger Bernadina, Bryce Harper, and Michael Morse. Bernadina has been swinging a hot bat lately and Morse and Harper are as good as ever.

Some reports have stated that the Nationals are planning on having Werth back in the line-up soon. He could even return as soon as the end of the month.

Once Werth does return, the Nationals have a very important decision to make: With Roger Bernadina swing a .400+ bat right now, do you sit him for somebody returning from wrist surgery?

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Source: CSN Washington

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Redskins Release Minnifield

In a sad turn of events, the Redskins have waived rookie cornerback Chase Minnifield. Minnifield was supposed to start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Following OTA's and minicamp, the UVA grad was expected to have a significant impact on the Redskins secondary. He impressed a lot coaches, scouts, and analysts (myself included).

Following his senior season for the Cavaliers, he underwent micro-fracture knee surgery. That procedure caused him to fall out of the draft completely. He was once expected to go in the third or fourth round.

According to Minnifields agent, his knee condition has since gotten worse. It is now to the point where Minnifields agent says his client won't be able to play football for at least a year.

If Minnifield is not claimed off waivers, he will automatically be added to the Redskins injured reserve list.

To fill in the open spot at cornerback, the Redskins have signed veteran free agent cornerback David Jones. Jones was originally a fifth round draft pick of the Saints in 2007.

Jones has played in 54 regular season games over five seasons. He has started 12 of those games and has recorded 75 total tackles.

Jones could benefit the Redskins on defense and special teams. He has recorded 13 special teams tackles over his career.

Expect Jones to see significant playing time throughout the preseason. The only set in stone Redskins starting defensive back is DeAngelo Hall. Jones will compete with Kevin Barnes, DeJon Gomes, and Josh Wilson as the teams number 2-3 cornerback.

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Source: Redskins Website

Wizards Sign Guard

Price, above, adds depth to the Wizards backcourt. (Photo: nba.com)
Today, the Washington Wizards signed former Indiana Pacers guard A.J. Price. Price is expected to back-up star point guard John Wall.

In three seasons with the Pacers, Price averaged six points and two assists per game. As you can see, this is more about depth than production. Price, like I said earlier, will back-up mainly John Wall. Price will only see the floor if Wall gets hurt or is too tired to even walk up and down the court.

This can come as a surprise since the Wizards also have Shelvin Mack on the roster. Mack, in my opinion, would better serve the team coming off the bench to replace a tired Bradley Beal or Jordan Crawford. Mack saw very little time last season, but is a good three point shooter so he is a good player to have on your bench.

Price, brings some experience to the point guard position. Wizards President Ernie Grunfield used that as a reason for bringing him to Washington D.C.

"A.J. is an experienced and dependable player," said Grunfield. "Adding him will help bring depth to our backcourt rotation."

It isn't at all surprising that the Wizards signed Price not long after officially declaring that second round draft pick Tomas Satoransky will stay in Europe to play with his Euro-League team.

Also, I would like to point out that the Wizards could have avoided having to make this signing. If they wouldn't have wasted a draft pick on a player that wasn't ready for the NBA, then they wouldn't need to go out and spend the money to get one. Satoransky is a guard that lacks the necessary tools that he will need to be successful in the NBA. The Wizards could have drafted a more NBA ready player instead of him.

Regardless of the draft, I don't think the Wizards really needed to sign Price. While he does add some sort of depth to the Wizards backcourt, the Wizards already had four guards on the roster. I just feel that they could have spent their money elsewhere to pick up maybe a forward or center.

Either way, A.J. Price brings his six points per game average to the Wizards. Terms of deal have not been released. I, however, would be surprised if Price was signed to a deal longer than two years.

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Source: NBA.com

Nats Sign Pitcher

Late last night, the Washington Nationals signed right handed pitcher Brian Broderick to a minor league contract. Broderick will report to Double-A Harrisburg effective immediately.

Broderick was recently released by the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday. With the clubs Triple A affiliate, Broderick posted a 7.32 ERA in 78.2 innings of work. Broderick was originally a 21st round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2007.

An interesting little bit: the Nationals selected Broderick back in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft, but he then went back to the Cardinals organization. The Nationals must have seen something special in him then and have to believe that they can bring it out of him now.

Of course, and this is speculation, the Nationals could be bringing him in to create a trade package. The team could be adding depth to its farm system so they can put together a decent trade package without giving up a lot of young talent.

Is that the case? No...probably not. But, it does add a fun little wrinkle for you all to go crazy about.

Anyways, Broderick does have the potential to be a decent bullpen pitcher for the Nationals. While he held a 7.32 ERA and a 3-8 record as a starter this season, he was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in seven appearances out of the bullpen last season.

Broderick will join the likes of Ryan Perry and Ryan Tatusko on the Senators pitching staff. The Nationals would be wise to give him an opportunity to pitch both as a starter and out of the bullpen to see where he fits best. As his numbers indicate, he could likely find himself in the bullpen as a reliever.

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Source: Rotoworld

Capitals Add Hunter

Yesterday, the Washington Capitals announced the hiring of Assistant Coach Tim Hunter. Hunter now joins Head Coach Adam Oates, Assistant Coach Calle Johansson, and Associate Goaltending Coach Olaf Kolzig on the Capitals coaching staff. All four coaches have either played or coached for the Capitals before.

Hunter has been coaching in the NHL for the past 13 seasons following his retirement from the game. He has coached 1,041 total games. From 1997-2002, he was a coach for the Capitals. Hunter coached Oates, Kolzig, and Johansson when they all played for the Capitals.

Throughout his 16 year career in the NHL, Hunter played for Calgary, Quebec, Vancouver, and San Jose. In 1989, he won the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames.

I like the fact that the Capitals are staying with their own people. They haven't gone out and signed a coach that has no affiliation with the Washington franchise. Everybody on the coaching staff has either coached or played for the Capitals at some point in time.

In this particular case, Hunter at one point coached the rest of the coaching staff. They have worked together before and under the same roof. They already have an understanding of each other and that will make the gelling process much smoother as we reach the beginning of the season.

The Capitals have assembled quite a coaching staff. All of their coaches have immense experience in the game that includes both time as a player and as a coach. They have all played on the Capitals, as well. They understand D.C. fans and know what is expected of them. The coaching staff alone should have fans excited for the upcoming hockey season in D.C.

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Source: NHL.com, Washington Times

Satoransky to Stay In Europe

Satoransky, above, will play in Europe this year. (Photo: weei.com)
As expected, Wizards second round draft pick Tomas Satoransky will remain in Europe this coming season to play with his Euro League team. Unless he showed something incredible in Las Vegas, this was always the plan for the guard.

Satoransky did show off his ability to pass the ball. He made excellent behind the back passes here and there and was able to find the open man on the perimeter when he drove to the basket. However, his shooting could improve and that is a big thing the Wizards are looking for him to do when he returns to Europe.

In reality, the Wizards don't expect to see Satoransky in a Wizards uniform for another two years. They want him to remain in Europe to work on his shooting and improve his already somewhat impressive passing ability.

Many, including me, are still puzzled as to why the Wizards would select a player that they knew would not be good enough to play right away. To me, it seems like they wasted another pick on another over-rated player from the Czech Republic (*cough cough* Jan Vesely).

The Wizards must have seen some amazing potential in him in order to be able to wait two years like the original plan is. Hopefully, Satoransky can improve on his scoring abilities and work on that jump shot and improve his ability to put the ball on the floor. His passing skills are on par with the NBA, the rest of his game, however, has room for improvement.

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Source: Washington Post

Monday, July 23, 2012

Preseason ROY Candidates

As the NFL enters training camp, this seems like a perfect time to spark a debate as to who will win the NFL Rookie of the Year award. To spark my enthusiasm and to get the creative juices flowing, I decided to put out a simple tweet on Twitter saying: "NFL Rookie of the Year: @RGIII, Andrew Luck, or Other?".

Wow...the response really got the wheels turning. One name that was mentioned over and over again by numerous people from around the country was Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns. While this is primarily a D.C. sports blog, I reserve the right to write about whatever aspect of sports I want. BUT, keeping in the spirit of this being a D.C. sports blog, let's just say that Trent Richardson and Robert Griffin III are the top two candidates going into the season (which they very well may be).

Trent Richardson has something going for him that rarely do rookie running backs get: instant playing time with an instant chance to make a huge difference. Richardson is stepping into a team that has no clue who the starting quarterback will be. One thing for certain, Richardson will be the starting running back.

The game plan will be centered around Trent Richardson. It will be set around how many carries he gets, how many receptions he gets, and how many yards per game he gets. Richardson is going to get his touches and he is going to get his yards. He's going to be the stabilizer that keeps the offense from falling apart. He is going to be heavily relied on and that puts him at an advantage compared to the rest of the NFL.

The same thing can be said for Robert Griffin III. He has already been declared the starting quarterback and head coach Mike Shannahan is a quarterback guru. If the Redskins are smart, they will tailor the offense to fit Robert Griffin III's strengths by utilizing his legs and his ability to make something happen outside the pocket.

Robert Griffin III will be able to make an instant impact the way that Trent Richardson will be able to. Griffin III will get his touches (duh...he's the quarterback) and will always have a direct impact on the outcome of every game.

So how do you decide? Well, let me throw a few speculations at you...

I mentioned that Trent Richardson is going to be the focal point of the Browns offense. Honestly, he could be the Browns only source of offensive production. Quarterback Brandon Weeden has the ability to be a starting quarterback, but nobody is for certain as to whether Weeden or Colt McCoy will get the nod.

For Robert Griffin III, he will not be the Redskins only source of offense. Roy Helu Jr, Tim Hightower, and Evan Roster have established the Redskins running game. With the projected offensive line that the Redskins will have, they could rely on the running game more than people think.

Another thing that will be working against Robert Griffin III will be the memory of Cam Newtons rookie season. While it is totally out of line and unfair to compare the two totally different quarterbacks, it's going to happen whether it should or not. Unless Griffin III throws for over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns as well as rushes for close to 1,000 yards and 7+ touchdowns, Newton will have set the bar too high with his incredible season last year.

Bottom line people: the Redskins have a more complete offense than the Browns and that sets Robert Griffin III at a disadvantage.

Heading into the season, Trent Richardson should be at the top of the NFL Rookie of the Year watch list. While a lot can change throughout the season, Richardson is going to have a huge impact on the success of the Cleveland Browns. Unlike the Redskins, the Browns live and die by their top draft pick. Even if Robert Griffin III has an off day, the Redskins can still back him up with their explosive running game. If Richardson fails, the entire Browns offense will collapse around him.

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Zimmerman Wins Award

Zimmerman, above 11, has been doing a lot of that for the Nats this month. (Photo: pennlive.com)
Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been named the National League Player of the Week. He batted .444 with a double, four homers, seven RBI, and seven runs scored this past week.

Ever since Zimmerman got that cortisone shot in his shoulder, he has been lights out. He's been swinging the bat well and has really been seeing the ball big.

Surprisingly, Zimmerman hasn't been doing a majority of his damage with the ball up in the zone. He has been feasting on balls low and inside of the strike zone. That is indicative that his shoulder isn't bothering him since he is able to go down and make solid contact with those pitches.

Zimmerman has to be a front runner for the National League Player of the Month for the month of July. He is by far the teams best hitter batting .414 with an on base percentage of .481 and a slugging percentage of .886. He's hit six doubles, nine home runs, 19 RBI, and has struck out just 11 times in 70 at bats.

When compared to the rest of the NL (players with at least 50 at bats this month), Zimmerman is fifth in batting average, second in home runs, second in RBI, second in hits, and second in slugging percentage. He trails either Jason Kubel or Andrew McCutchen in either category. (NOTE: Kubel has had 51 at bats, McCutchen has had 64, Zimmerman has had 70)

Ryan Zimmerman is certainly beginning to come alive for the Washington Nationals. He is swinging a hot bat and is his usual web-gem-a-night self on defense. The Face of the Franchise is back.

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Source: Washington Nationals

NCAA Got It Right

This morning, the NCAA brought the hammer down on Penn State. No. They didn't get the "death penalty". No. They didn't get a TV ban. What they got...was much worse.

The official sanctions are as follows: 1. $60 million fine (which equals one year of revenue from football) that goes to charities of the sexually abused. 2. 4 year postseason ban (no Big Ten Championship game, no bowl game). 3. A reduction of annual football scholarships from 25, to 15. 4. All wins vacated from the year 1998 to 2011 (every single one of them, bowl games included).

The fine was a great move by the NCAA. What they're doing with the fine is even better. They shouldn't pocket the money for NCAA revenue. They should put it to some sort of sex abuse charity. It's their own way of literally making Penn State pay for the damage those men did.

The four year postseason ban is a much deeper penalty than I think some realize. Any incoming recruit will never go to a bowl game unless he becomes a fifth year senior. What recruit wants to go to a program that will never go to a bowl game? Not only does that impact the trophy case of Penn State, it effects their recruiting abilities.

Penn State is a program that gets judged based on whether or not they won a bowl game. Now, they won't even have the opportunity to go to a bowl game. The NCAA took a shot right to the heart of Penn States football existence: to go to the postseason...and win (isn't that what Joe Pa wanted?).

The reduction of the scholarships is going to piggy back on the reduction of players willing to go to Penn State. Those 15 annual scholarships may be just enough to cover whatever recruits want to go there.

The big kicker for me, though, is the vacating of the wins from 1998 to 2011. For those wondering, that puts Joe Paterno at 298 all time wins...officially. Want to know where he ranks on the all-time list now? 12th. Bobby Bowden now assumes his rightful place at the top of the all-time wins list.

I like the fact that current players on Penn State's football team will be allowed to transfer and will be immediately eligible when they arrive on their new campus. In doing so, the NCAA didn't punish people that were not responsible for those horrendous acts.

I also like what NCAA President Mark Emmert said in his press conference to announce the sanctions this morning. He said that he wanted to create a culture change within the Penn State program. He didn't want to do away with it completely. He just wanted to take their minds off of football for awhile.

Since the NCAA won't allow Penn State to go to bowl games for the next four years, they will be able to focus on the culture change that Emmert wants. The NCAA has asked Penn State to setup a compliance officer and the NCAA will conduct what could be called remedial sessions to aid in Penn State making the culture change.

What the NCAA did was worse than the death penalty. If Penn State got the death penalty, they simply wouldn't be allowed to play football. Now, they have to go out there with nothing to play for. All of the Penn State faithful will have to walk by that empty stone wall where Joe Paterno's statue once stood. The product on the field will always be a reminder of this teams heinous past.

Over the next four years, Penn State will get more and more embarrassed on the field while they lose top recruits to teams around the Big Ten and the NCAA. The quality of player that will sign with them won't be as top notch as the teams they'll be playing. Penn State simply won't be able to keep up with the rest of the NCAA football world.

The past eight months have been dreadful for the victims of Jerry Sandusky's terror. They've sat on the stand and have been forced to recall those terrible days numerous times in front hundreds of strangers. The damage done to those innocent people will never fully heal.

We've had the Freeh report, the Sandusky trial, Joe Pa's statue has been removed, and now today the NCAA has finally handed down the sanctions. Penn State's run of terror has officially come to an end. It's time to move on. It's time to rebuild. Penn State will be able to.

But, what about the victims?...

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Desmond to DL

Ian Desmond has been officially placed on the 15-day disabled list. The All-Star shortstop had an MRI done that revealed a tear in his left oblique muscle. Desmond has been battling the injury since the All-Star break and has been in and out of the line-up. After today, however, Desmond will likely be out for quite some time.

Usually, a torn oblique muscle can cause a player to miss close to a month of action. That means that Desmond won't return until late August. The Nationals thought that Desmond could recover from what was simply called a strain at first, but now, following the MRI, the injury has been upgraded to a tear.

The timing of this injury couldn't have come at a better time. With Jayson Werth on the cusp of returning to the outfield, manager Davey Johnson is left with some wiggle room in the line-up.

Danny Espinosa has been seeing a lot of time at shortstop since Desmond has not been the everyday starter for the past month. He will slide over to that position. Steve Lombardozzi will then be pulled from the outfield and he will get the start at second base. For now, it will be Michael Morse, Bryce Harper, and Roger Bernadina getting the start in the outfield. Once Jayson Werth returns, he will likely replace Bernadina.

The Nationals did call up outfielder Corey Brown from Triple AAA Syracuse. He and Roger Bernadina will share time in the outfield, but most of it will go to Bernadina due to his experience and the fact that he has been swinging a hot bat as of late.

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Source: NBC Sports

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Future of Fred Davis

Davis, above, lead the Redskins in receiving before being suspended last season. (Photo: blogspot.com)
While the deadline to sign franchise tagged players to long term contracts passed a few days ago and the sports world erupted with news of Ray Rice and Matt Forte receiving contracts, there was one Redskin that didn't receive a contract: tight end Fred Davis.

Reports from the Washington Post stated that Fred Davis was not looking for a "team-friendly" deal. In other words, Davis wanted the maximum amount of money that he could receive. The Redskins, however, weren't looking to give Davis a "player-friendly" deal. Basically, neither side is willing to negotiate enough at this point.

Davis will be playing this season under a one-year franchise tag tender of $5.446 million. Since the reports talk about a player friendly deal versus a team friendly deal, it might not be an unreasonable assumption to state that Davis' number is close to that $5.4 million.

Not looking at the contract, the Redskins certainly need Fred Davis. With Chris Cooley on  his way out, Davis is a more than capable tight end to come in and fill the void. He is a big body that can block, run sharp routes, and can catch the ball. Davis also has a high football IQ. He can find the hole in the zone and will sit in it and wait for the throw.

Davis is also the only player left from the second round of the Redskins 2008 draft class. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are long gone. Davis one of just a few players left from that entire draft class.

Prior to Davis' suspension last season, he was the teams leading receiver with 59 receptions for 796 yards and three touchdowns. Davis was well on his way to his best season yet and 1,000+ yards receiving.

The number that strikes me the most is the fact that he accounted for 39 first downs. That means that Davis a chain moving and reliable tight end.

In four seasons with the Redskins, Davis has 131 receptions to go along with 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averages 12.6 yards per receptions and has accounted for 82 first downs. He has only turned the ball over once.

Unfortunately, stats don't matter that much when it comes to who stays and who goes on an NFL team. Since Fred Davis has been one of the most productive Redskins, he's not going to be the cheapest.

Since Davis is going to be making $5.4 million (rounded) this season, it isn't entirely crazy to think that he could be asking for that, or more, a year for his future contract. Since he did have off-field issues this past season, the Redskins may not be willing to fork over that much money until he proves that he has matured.

Another factor into how much he gets paid is the Redskins cap penalty. They may be trying to wait and see which players become available next season and they still have to sign Robert Griffin III and Josh LeRibeus to their contracts. Right now, money isn't exactly something that the Redskins can spend wherever.

Fred Davis is a key player for the Redskins and has the potential to become the best tight end in the NFL. The Redskins would be insane to not want Fred Davis.

It's a two-way street, however, because Fred Davis has to want to be with the Redskins so he will have to be willing to give up some cash when the negotiations start up.

It's not that the Redskins don't want Fred Davis, that I don't want Fred Davis a part of the team, or that Fred Davis isn't good enough to part of the team. It's about whether Fred Davis will be willing to negotiate with the Redskins into a deal that is friendly to both sides.

Davis is going to become a top NFL talent in the near future. He's going to be a pivotal part of Robert Griffin III's success this season.

Next season, however, remains to be seen. The Redskins should do whatever it takes to keep Fred Davis past this season. However, if the price isn't right...then the price isn't right.

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Nationals News and Notes

My, my it was a busy day yesterday for our nations capital baseball team. The Washington Nationals were making moves early and often during a busy day which included a number of roster moves. For those that are confused on what all went down yesterday, let me recap (all times are approximate):

Rick Ankiel gets designated for assignment (10:00 AM)
After batting just .228 with a .282 on base percentage, Ankiel was not the stellar batter that the Nationals have seen before. While his outfield play is still one of the best on the Nationals roster, it appeared as though they could have been making this move to clear a spot for a player being called up.

Drew Storen gets activated (10:00 AM)
Finally, Drew Storen gets the nod as the Nationals brought him up and off of the 60-day DL due elbow surgery. Long term, Storen could combine with Tyler Clippard as sort of a Closer A, Closer B routine. For now, Storen will most likely pitch in a set-up role. Last night, he pitched a scoreless inning for the Nationals.

Jhonatan Solano goes to the DL (10:45 AM)
Oblique muscles seem to be the bane of the Nationals existence in the second half. Ian Desmond has been sidelined ever since the All-Star break due to one and now Solano has been placed on the 15-day Disabled List due to a strain to his right oblique muscle.

Sandy Leon get recalled from Double-A (10:45 AM)
After receiving word that Solano was, indeed, not available, the Nationals went to their farm system to find their replacement catcher. Sandy Leon, who's already had one stint in the majors this year, was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg. So far this season, the 23 year old is batting .313 with an on base percentage of .367 in the minor leagues.

Well, that about wraps up the roster move portion of this post. Now, onto some other Nationals news!

It's Rizzo's Call
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo stated yesterday that it is his call, and his alone, as to when Stephen Strasburg will be shut down for the remainder of the season. Currently, many believe that Strasburg will be shut down after 160 innings. Rizzo would say otherwise. "There is no magic number," Rizzo said. "It will be the eye test. Davey won't decide and ownership won't decide. It will be the general manager and that's me."

Werth to begin Rehab
After a successful batting practice on Wednesday and Thursday, the Nationals have now sent outfielder Jayson Werth to High-A Potomac to begin rehab on his broken left wrist. Since things are progressing so well, Werth could be back in the majors by the end of the month.

Rendon Returns
Nationals star prospect Anthony Rendon began rehabbing his left ankle that he fractured in April yesterday. In a game in the Gulf Coast League, the third basemen went 0-2 with a line-out and fly-out. Once the Nationals feel he's ready, he will be sent to High-A Potomac.

Lannan To Start
Former opening day starter John Lannan will get the nod Saturday night against the Atlanta Braves. He will be recalled from Triple-A to start the nightcap of the double header. Lannan has a 4.60 ERA through 17 starts in Syracuse.

Desmond Returns
After sitting on the bench and being listed as day-to-day with an oblique strain, Ian Desmond is expected to be in the starting line-up for today's game. Desmond has been out since the All-Star break due to his oblique troubles, but has made appearances as a pinch runner and pinch hitter. Davey Johnson confirmed yesterday that Desmond will play tonight.

So there you have it! You are now all caught up with the Washington Nationals! You've got the latest personnel moves and player news. Feel like an expert now?

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Source: CSN, ESPN, Rotoworld

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Capitals Sign Wilson

Today, the Washington Capitals signed their second first round draft pick Thomas Wilson to a three-year, $2.5 million deal. The deal is a two-way contract in which Wilson will make $832,500 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the AHL level.

Wilson, one of the most physical players in this years draft class, was drafted 16th overall out of the OHL. He currently plays on the OHL's Plymouth franchise where last season he was voted Best Body Checker by the OHL's Western Conference Coaches.

Many believe that Wilson, like the Capitals other first round pick Filip Forsberg, will stay with his current OHL team in Plymouth. Wilson needs to grow a little bit more as a hockey player. While being aggressive and tough is good, it is also important to channel that aggression to the right moments.

Wilson is a very aggressive hitter and is a threat to turn out the lights on anybodies night at any given moment. The problem is, however, is that Wilson needs to learn when it is and is not a good time to bring the pain. In 49 games last season for Plymouth, Wilson amassed 141 penalty minutes.

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Source: NBC Sports

Radio Show Appearance

I recently went on Moohead Radio and Bill Smith' "News, Notes, and Rumors" in Cleveland, Ohio. We talked about the Redskins training camp and Robert Griffin III. Listen to the entire interview right here!

Minnifield, Davis To the PUP List

Redskins cornerback Chase Minnifield and running back Tristan Davis are both expected to start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list when training camp opens next week on July 25th.

Many of you are thinking...What is the PUP list?...Well I'm glad you asked!

Starting training camp on the PUP list simply means you cannot practice until you are cleared by the teams medical staff. Heading into training camp, teams are allowed 90 players on the roster. Any players on the PUP list DO count towards that 90. Players are allowed to remain on the PUP list for the first six weeks of the season. Following that, they have three weeks to be cleared to play. If they are not cleared within those three weeks, they remain on PUP list for the remainder of the season.

Minnifield underwent microfracture surgery to repair his knee over the winter. He since recovered and was even able to participate in Redskins minicamp this past June. He impressed a lot of people around the organization with his abilities at the corner position.

Minnifield, the son of former Cleveland Browns cornerback Frank Minnifield, accounted for 50 total tackles his senior season including three interceptions and one that he returned for a touchdown. The Redskins certainly got a steal as Minnifield was at one point projected to be a mid-round draft pick.

Running back Tristan Davis is entering his third season in the NFL with his fifth different team. Davis has also played for the Lions, Dolphins, Vikings, and Steelers.

Minnifield, while he did play during OTA's and minicamp, will still be undergoing rehab and observation from the Redskins medical staff. I do not anticipate Minnifield missing more than a couple weeks or so. We may not see him in the first or second preseason game, but he should be good to go by the fourth preseason game and week one of the regular season.

The Redskins are simply being cautious with a player that many believe can make a difference in the secondary. Minnifield impressed a lot of people even when he was limited due to his knee injury back in June. Don't be alarmed by him starting training camp on the PUP list. Most likely, he won't finish training camp there.

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Source: ESPN 980

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Redskins Sign LeRibeus

It would surprise me to see LeRibeus, white, snapping to RG3, yellow, come week one. (Photo: rantsports.com)
Via the Washington Redskins Twitter page, the Washington Redskins announced the signing of third round draft pick Josh LeRibeus.

LeRibeus, the 71st overall pick from SMU, started all 13 games of his senior season for the Mustangs. LeRibeus blocked for the C-USA's leading rusher Zach Line who rushed for a whopping 1,224 yards in 2011.

LeRibeus has seen a lot of action at both guard and center throughout OTA's and minicamp for the Redskins. At 6-2 and weighing 311 pounds, LeRibeus has the size to play either position. This past June was the first time he ever tried the position of center and looked and felt pretty comfortable at it.

It would not at all surprise me to see LeRibeus getting reps with the first team offensive line at both positions. The Redskins guard and center spots have been a bit of a question mark so he will most likely get a look at both spots.

Now, the Redskins have signed all of their 2012 draft picks. Everyone who should be at camp is now at camp and ready to work. It is extremely important for LeRibeus since he will be working at two positions and will need to focus extra hard so he can master both of them. He will also have to start getting used to working with the other four players on the Redskins offensive line.

Coming out of training camp, I would be willing to bet that LeRibeus will be a starter on the offensive line. Whether it's at guard or center, LeRibeus has a great shot at running with the first teamers come week one.

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Source: Washington Redskins website

Nationals Trade Rumors

Yesterday, a report surfaced stating that the Washington Nationals are currently interested in acquiring the services of Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster and Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez.

In an interview with Adam Kilgore yesterday, Mike Rizzo neither confirmed nor denied those rumors when he said that the Nationals were basically weighing their options and seeing what's best for the team.

If the Nationals decide to make a move and trade for Dempster, that would all but seal the fate of Stephen Strasburg.

The Nationals don't need to go out and trade for a fifth starter when they already have one in Ross Detwiler. The only reason that they would need another starting pitcher would be if they were going to shutdown Stephen Strasburg in September.

Dempster is a very worthy candidate to become the fifth starter if Strasburg were shutdown. While there is no replacement for him, Dempster could at least get the job done. Gio Gonzalez would become the number on starter and Dempster would likely fall in behind him.

However, another report surfaced last night stating that the LA Dodgers were seriously pursuing Dempster. The Nationals and the Red Sox are two of the other teams interested, but, the Dodgers appear to be the front runners to land Dempster.

The other name that popped up in the report was Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez.

While the Nationals appear to be fine at the catcher position, they don't have a solid every day starter like they did in Wilson Ramos. Jesus Flores and Jhonatan Solano can get the job done, but having Hernandez would certainly upgrade the position.

While I'm sure many of you are taking an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to this, keep in mind that you can certainly improve on it! And while I don't think the Nationals will gain very much from either of these two players, they won't have a negative impact on the team.

It might be tough to go after Dempster. He has thrown 33 scoreless innings straight so he will not come cheap. The Nationals will most likely have to give up a few minor league players to acquire either Dempster or Hernandez.

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Source: FOX Sports

And Then There Was One...

LeRibeus, above white, snaps to RG3, above yellow, during mini camp. (Photo: go.com)
The Redskins have signed all but one player from their 2012 draft to rookie contracts. Third round draft pick Josh LeRibeus has not yet agreed to terms and his holdout continues.

LeRibeus, an offensive lineman from SMU, saw reps at both guard and center for the Redskins during mini camp and can play both positions very well. Standing at 6-2 and weighing 311 pounds, LeRibeus has the height of a center or a guard. It wouldn't be all that surprising if LeRibeus got the start at either position following training camp.

According to a report, LeRibeus' agent, Jordan Woy, has been in constant communication with the Redskins about his clients contract. However, a deal has yet to be reached. There is no word on how far apart the two sides are on negotiations.

It is far more important that LeRibeus be at training camp than Robert Griffin III (Griffin signed his deal this morning). LeRibeus needs to gel with four other players and all five have a direct impact on the success of the team. While Robert Griffin III needs to gel with his receivers, it is far more important that LeRibeus get to work with the rest of the offensive linemen so they can get used to working side by side.

The wait is now on for the final Redskins draft pick to be signed. There is no word yet on when LeRibeus might sign his deal.

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Source: CBS Sports

Redskins Sign RG3

Griffin, above, signed a four year multi-million dollar contract this morning. (Photo: wordpress.com)
As reported by the man himself, Redskins first round draft pick Robert Griffin III officially signed his rookie contract this morning:

"@RGIII: Well people....It's Time to go to Work!!!Off the unemployment line and yea HTTR!!!!"

Sources later confirmed that Robert Griffin III was indeed signing his contract to become a member of the Washington Redskins.

As reported by NFL.com, the deal is over four years with a fifth year option and is worth $21,119,098 over four years. The Redskins will have the option at the beginning of the fifth year to either keep Robert Griffin III or release him.

Now that he has signed his deal, Griffin can head to Redskins Park to begin working out with his fellow teammates. He has missed a couple days, but don't expect that make much of a difference. Griffin is a hard working player that will make up for lost time.

The Redskins need to work on signing third round draft pick Josh LeRibeus. The SMU offensive lineman has yet to be signed to a contract and there is not yet word on when that will happen.

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Source: CSN Washington

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wizards Amnestying Blatche?

The feud between the Wizards and forward/center Andray Blatche could be coming to an end...very soon...and very abruptly.

Last night, it was reported that the Wizards are leaning toward using the amnesty clause on the once highly touted and feared Blatche.

The amnesty clause sounds a little confusing, right? Please! Allow me...

The amnesty clause simply means that a team can release a player and wipe his salary completely from the books. All money owed to him is eliminated and the contract simply disappears. The league issues an allotted time frame for teams to use the clause and teams can only use it once.

For example, if a team has a total payroll of $50 million and has a player that is not producing but has a contract of $20 million, they can use the amnesty clause to wipe him from the roster and they don't owe him a penny. So their annual payroll immediately drops to $30 million.

Does that make any sense? Good!

That is what the Wizards are thinking about doing with Andray Blatche. A few years ago, Blatche was worth the multi-million dollar contract that he was given. This season, Blatche is set to make $6.4 million this season.

Ever since signing his big money, long term contract, Blatche hasn't been the player that the Wizards are paying for. Last season, he only appeared in 26 games of the already shortened season. He started just 13 of those games.

Blatche was supposed to fill the playmaker role that was left open when Gilbert Arenas left town guns blazing. He ended up just turning into a nuisance that has a problem with everybody. Whether it's his teammates, the head coach, or even the fans, Blatche has a problem with everybody and it's obvious that he's not happy.

For a strictly team morale thing, the Wizards should do whatever it takes to wipe their hands clean of Andray Blatche. He's been a problem ever since he got his multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. I don't think we'll ever see the days of him averaging nearly a double-double night in and night out.

If the Wizards decide to amnesty Blatche, it would certainly be a brilliant move and I don't think very many people would oppose of it. The moody, angry, and unproductive forward/center brings down the whole team and is just a pretty expensive bench warmer.

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Source: Washington Post

Green's Monster Contract

Green, above, signed a 3-year deal yesterday. (Photo: squidoocdn.com)
The Washington Capitals resigned defenseman Mike Green to a 3-year $18.25 million contract. Green was a restricted free agent that had been with the Capitals since entering the NHL in 2004.

The only question I pose, however, is why so much?

Usually, you only see top NHL talent receiving money like that. He'll be making $6 million every year. In the past three seasons combined, Green played in 156 games. If he matches that mark in the next three seasons, he'll make $116 thousand every game.

That's absurd for someone that hasn't played more than 50 games in either of the past two seasons. From 2006-2010, Green never played less than 65 games in a season. He only made 22 games in rookie season, but that's not a big deal since it was his rookie season.

From 2006-2010, Green appeared in 295 regular season games, scored 70 goals, tallied 147 assists, and a whopping 217 points. In the past two regular seasons, Green has appeared in just 81 games, scored 11 goals, 20 assists, and just 31 points.

Mike Green USED to be worth that kind of money.

Now, the team doctor should be worth that kind of money.

Last season, Green missed all but 32 games due to a concussion and a sports hernia. The guy is a health liability.

The Capitals were ready and willing to overpay the fragile skater. Over the weekend, the offered him a one-year contract worth $5 million. That would have been a much better idea. Now they owe him more money over a longer period of time.

A one-year deal should have been the way to go with this one. It is still up in the air as to his health and if he doesn't pan out, the Capitals owe him an awful lot of money to either be released or sit on the bench. Their best bet to be relieved of his contract would be to trade him, but nobody wants an injury prone defenseman.

Yesterday, Green said in an interview with CSN Washington that he's only getting into his prime. That's great, except that in order to be in your prime you have to be on the ice.

This town has seen a lot of players say that they are just entering their prime. Washington D.C. is smarter than that.

Talk is cheap. Your contract isn't.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Desmond To Miss Time

Desmond, above, missed the All-Star game due to his oblique injury. (Photo: fantasysmacktalk.com)
Nationals All-Star short-stop Ian Desmond is going to sit for the next few days to recover from an oblique injury that caused him to miss the All-Star festivities.

Luckily, this injury happened just before the break so he had plenty of time to recover. Now, however, he's just getting a little more time.

Oblique injuries are something that can cause a player to miss a lot of time and even be sent to the DL. While it doesn't look like this could happen to Desmond, he played on Saturday, the Nationals are sitting him just to be sure.

In the meantime, Danny Espinosa is going to slide over from his second base spot to fill in at short-stop. The Swiss Army knife that is Steven Lombardozzi is going to take Espinosa's spot at second base.

Not having Desmond didn't seem to hurt the Nationals too much yesterday. They took game three of the four games series from the Marlins 4-0. Lombardozzi knocked through two hits and one-RBI to help the cause.

Desmond is batting .287 this season with a .317 on base percentage and a .511 slugging percentage. He's hit 24 doubles, 17 home runs, and has collected 52 RBI. He is well on is way to having career highs in all three categories.

Expect Desmond to return late in the week or even over the weekend. The Nationals should do just fine without him in the line-up so there is no need to rush him back. Oblique injuries can cause players to miss a lot of time so the Nationals should treat this with a lot of caution.

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Source: CSN Washington

Let's Make A Deal!!

RG3, above, wants to sign today. (Photo: foxsportssouthwest.com)
Today is the day that Redskins first round draft pick Robert Griffin III declared would be when he and the Redskins would make a deal. The watch is on as we wait for the news.

Last we checked, the reason that Griffin hasn't been signed is due to offset language in the four year contract.

Offset language? Allow me to explain...

What "offset language" is referring to is how much of Griffin's contract the team would be responsible for should he be released and sign elsewhere in the next four seasons. ($$$$$)

The likelihood of him being released in the next four seasons is about as high as Dan Snyder selling the team in the next four seasons. It's not happening.

So what's the hold up?

A deal really should be reached today. The length has been finalized, the dollar amounts appear to be finalized, now everyone wants a "just in case" clause in the contract.

The last thing Robert Griffin III wants to do is go into a holdout. By signing on the dotted line today, he will avoid just that.

Nobody knows for sure when RG3 will sign his contract. Most likely, it will get done by today. This whole "offset language" hints that they are pretty much done figuring out the rest of the contract.

Keep an eye on The Skinny, folks, you never know when this story might break.

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Source: ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com

Friday, July 13, 2012

Caps Sign Forsberg

The Washington Capitals have signed their top draft pick, Filip Forsberg, to a three year entry level contract.

According to Chuck Gormley, it is a two-way deal is worth $832,000 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL.

Forsberg, the eleventh pick in this years entry level NHL Draft, is a 6'1" 188 pound winger from Sweden. Many see him as a steal at the eleventh spot.

In 95 games in Sweden, has 30 goals and 29 assists to go along with 59 points and 57 penalty minutes.

Forsberg is not expected to be with the Capitals next season. The 17 year old will most likely stay with his team in Leksand, Sweden for another season.

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Source: CSN Washington

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Nationals Second Half Storylines

Strasburg, above, could be done in early September. (Photo: pennlive.com)
As we finish up the All-Star break and get back down to business, there are a few things you should keep an eye on for the Nationals in this second half.

The Nationals  have never been in this position before. They currently sit atop the NL East standings by four games over the Atlanta Braves and 14 games ahead of the last place Philadelphia Phillies.

As the second half kicks off, here are a few things to keep in mind...

It's All NL East From Here
Well...not quite. But, a majority of the remaining games, about 70-80%, for the Nationals are all against the NL East. Any kind of losing streak now could blow the lead and their chances of winning the division this season. To combat that, when the Nationals play teams not in the NL East, they need to at least win the series. They don't need to sweep teams, they need to win the series. Taking 2-out of-3 or 3-out of-4 games against non-NL East opponents will go along way in the standings.

Key Players Return
Some of the Nationals best players have yet to even take the field this season. With the likes of Chad Tracy, Drew Storen, and Jayson Werth currently on the DL, this team has a lot of talent that isn't yet available. The sooner those players get back, the better. The complete list of players on the DL include Chad Tracy, Xavier Nady, Jayson Werth, Chien-Ming Wang, and Drew Storen. As you can see, a lot of power hitting and power pitching is not currently available. If those five can return soon, and to form, the Nationals will be a lot better off for the playoff push.

Strasburg Shuts down in September
The Washington Nationals are holding firm in their decision to shutdown ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg after 160 innings. At the rate he's going, that means that he will be shutdown for the season sometime in early September. Strasburg has been the teams savior this entire season. Many times he has stopped a losing streak and kicked off a winning streak by being the fantastic pitcher that he is. If the Nationals stay true to their word and shut him down after 160 innings, their most lethal weapon won't be available for the playoff push or the playoffs. The teams that the Nationals will play after he gets shut down? (In the scheduled order) Mets, Braves, Dodgers, Brewers, Phillies, Cardinals, Phillies.

The Nationals are in prime position to make a huge playoff run. There is more and more buzz around the league about the capabilities of this team. The remaining schedule, the players on the DL, and the Strasburg situation are all aspects of the game that can have a major effect on this team's chances of winning it all.

Grab a seat, Nationals fans, the second half of the season is going to be crazy.

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Wizards Re-Sign Martin

Martin, above, was good off the bench last season for the Wizards. (Photo: sbnation.com)
Yesterday, one of the Washington Wizards biggest surprises from last season, forward/guard Cartier Martin, was resigned to the team. Per team policy, terms of the deal have not been released.

Martin first came to the Wizards by signing a consecutive 10-day contract. He performed well enough in those ten days and the Wizards signed him on for the remainder of the season.

Martin then became one of the Wizards most consistently productive player. While he was not a big name star like John Wall or Nene, Martin still contributed night in and night out.

Twice last season Martin scored more than 20 points in a single game. His most memorable performance came not long after he signed for the remainder of the season when dropped 22 points on the eventual NBA Champion Miami Heat in Miami, Florida.

Martin, statistically, had his best season last season. He averaged a career 9.3 points per game as well as 3.4 rebounds per game. In 17 games, two starts, last season, he shot 44% from the field and 38% from behind the arc.

Martin brings depth to the forward and guard positions. While he may not be a nightly starter, he can come off the bench and get the job the done. The Wizards did themselves a favor by retaining Martin. He will only continue to grow and get better. By seasons end, Cartier Martin could be the Wizards best bench player.

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Source: Washington Wizards website

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Should the Redskins Get Gordon?

Morgan, above, played with Robert Griffin III at Baylor. (Photo: wordpress.com)
No. Absolutley not. Why? What does he bring to the table? Don't act like you know. You have no idea. He hasn't played a down of football in over a year.

I'm talking about Josh Gordon. The wide reciever from Baylor/Utah is eligible for selection in todays NFL Supplemental Draft. Many experts don't think the Redskins are in any contention for the wide receiver. Robert Griffin III, however, is reportedly trying to push the Redskins front office into drafting him.

Trying to draft Josh Gordon would be an absolute mistake. It would be a waste of time. The Redskins cashed out this offseason when they signed receivers Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon. It makes no sense to even bother with Gordon.

Gordon hasn't played a down of football in over a year. Sure, he was measured at 6'4" and weighed in at 224 pounds and runs a decent 4.52 40, but that doesn't mean he's the real deal. Scouts are putting too much emphasis on his combine drills. His true colors will show when the pads are put on.

Another reason why he has gained so much attention in the past month is that there is really nothing else to do for NFL teams front office executives. There are no mini-camps. There are no college scouting opportunities. The only thing that's going on is team bonding and conditioning sessions.

Taking a shot in the dark at an unproven rookie is well...a rookie mistake. He's been off the field for too long and who knows what kind of shock he'll get when he returns. He won't be returning to the NCAA, he'll be making his comeback in the much faster NFL.

I don't expect the Redskins to even blink an eye at Josh Gordon. The smart money says that the Browns will go after him and I think that's a wise prediction.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Capitals Add Center

Today, the Washington Capitals resigned Center Zach Hamill to a one-year, two-way contract.

The Capitals originally acquired the 23 year old Canadian in a trade that sent Chris Bourque to the Boston Bruins this past May. In 20 career NHL games, he has four assists, four points, and four penalty minutes.

Since this is a two-way contract, it suggests that Hamill will be with the Capitals AHL affiliate and that Hamill is a depth signing. The eighth overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Level Draft, Hamill has the potential to become a solid center for the Capitals.

Like stated before, don't anticipate Hamill making an appearance on the Capitals NHL roster early in the season. Most likely, he will start off in the AHL and he may get called up late in the season.

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Source: CSN Washington

Redskins, RG3 Close To A Deal

The Washington Redskins first round pick in the this years draft, Robert Griffin III, has yet to sign his contract making him an official player for the Redskins. However, the rookie quarterback said that he will "hopefully" sign by Monday, July 16th.

The Redskins and Griffins agent have been negotiating for a while now. Until Griffin signs his contract, he won't be allowed to participate in team activities starting this Monday at Redskins Park.

An interesting wrinkle into this story is the fact that Andrew Luck hasn't signed yet. It wouldn't be that surprising if Griffins agent is waiting to see what the Colts give Luck.

Griffin has said that he is "not trying to hold out" and miss training camp due to this contract dispute.

There are no clear signs on how far apart the two sides are on a deal. Although Griffins attitude is positive, depending on what Luck signs for, things could either fall right into place or come apart in a dramatic turn.

The wait continues for the Redskins and Robert Griffin III. Hopefully, the Redskins and their very coveted new quarterback can reach a deal by Griffins Monday, July 16th goal.

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Source: Washington Post

Wang Ready For Rehab

Chien-Ming Wang will begin his rehab assignment this Friday in AA Harrisburg. Wang was originally on the disabled list due to his hip.

Wang threw a bullpen session this past Saturday and the Nationals cleared him for live action shortly after that.

What to do with Wang has been a debate that the Nationals have had all season long. When he returned from his first stint on the DL he was used in a long relief role. Davey Johnson then took a gamble and inserted him into the starting line-up in place of Ross Detwiler. Detwiler was moved to the bullpen.

After a few disastrous starts by Wang, Johnson then switched back and took Detwiler out of the bullpen and put Wang into it. When the 32 year old Wang returns from his rehab, he will likely head to the bullpen to pick up his long relief role.

Chien-Ming Wang has not quite turned out to be the pitcher that the Nationals had hoped he would be. After making a name for himself when he was with the Yankees, Wang hasn't been the same pitcher once he changed uniforms. Wang is here on a one year deal and don't expect the Nationals to give him another contract next year.

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Source: Amanda Comak

Nats All-Star Roundup

Harper, above, gained a lot attention last night. (Photo: bloomberg.com)
Last night, three Washington Nationals played in the MLB All-Star game in Kansas City. Two of them made the highlight reel and one of them made the blooper reel.

Gio Gonzalez was the first Nationals player to appear for the National League Team when he pitched the third inning. He struckout one batter en route to pitching a scoreless-hitless 11 pitch inning to make way for another familiar face for Nats fans.

Stephen Strasburg then took to the mound for the fourth inning. He gave up one hit and one walk and pitched a scoreless inning on 17 pitches. That's when another familiar name entered the game on behalf of the Nationals...what was his name?

Bryce Harper!! That's it! Bryce Harper!

Bryce Harper stepped to the plate to pinch hit to lead off the fifth inning. He took the first three pitches for balls. American League pitcher Jared Weaver then worked a full count and Bryce Harper took ball four on the at-bats sixth pitch. Not bad!

NOTE: Harper was then caught in a run-down between third and second after he got a little too aggressive on the bases following a David Wright infield roller.

Bryce then moved to the outfield and his first fielding attempt in the All-Star game was...well...interesting. Do you remember that game in Cincinnati when Harper completely lost a pop-up and it landed 20 feet behind him? Yeah...

Mike Napoli launched a ball high into the blue Kansas City sky in the bottom of the fifth. Bryce Harper moved under it, like usual, and then promptly...lost it. It was oh so reminiscent of Cincy in that he even put his arms out. Fortunately, the ball only landed a few feet behind him and he turned and picked it up. David Ortiz moved to second on the play.

Two batters later, National League pitcher Clayton Kershaw walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases. With the bases loaded and two outs, AL hitter Ian Kinsler would test the range of Bryce Harper.

Kinsler crushed one that moved Harper all the way back to the left field wall. Harper was able to stay under this one and it dropped into his glove for the out. Nice clutch catch...rookie.

Harper then rounded out his night back striking out swinging.

It was a good night for the Washington Nationals organization. Their two aces, Strasburg and Gonzalez, pitched very well in their respective appearances and the Nationals sent one of the youngest players ever to the All-Star game.

Forget all about Bryce Harper's blunders from last night. I have a feeling that this won't be the last time we see these three at the MLB All-Star Game.

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