Mike takes his monthly dive into his mailbag.
You've seen the opening salvo from the Capitals during the free agent signing spree. What do you think? Will the acquisitions of Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov and Michael Nylander be enough to rejuvenate the fan base, or are these just more mid-level stop gaps that will be traded mid-season for more prospects?
Had they stopped with Poti and Kozlov, I think Caps fans would have continued to be lukewarm about the team's chances next season. Kozlov has skills but he's not going to right the ship. Poti will help the power play, but I thought giving up roughly 28 million shots on goal was a bigger problem on the blue line last year. With Nylander on board, I think they're getting somewhere.
Not only will it help pacify a fan base eager to see the team improve immediately, I think he's exactly the kind of free agent the Caps should have been targeting. He can make you better offensively. When paired with Jaromir Jagr last season he tallied 83 points, 57 of those in the form of assists. Playing alongside Alex Ovechkin, he could have another monster year.
He helps too in terms of future free agent acquisitions. He's been in D.C. before and he's not afraid to come back, even when other options were on the table. That could help next year if the Caps decide to go for a stud like winger Dany Heatley.
In the meantime, I still wouldn't mind seeing a stay-home defenseman added before the end of this off-season, but I think even the most pessimistic of fans has to say that Ted Leonsis and the front office have taken a favorable tack thus far.
What the heck is Danny Ainge thinking? We nearly spit out our collective mouthfuls of chowdah when they announced the trade with Seattle. Please tell me you see something in this deal that we don't.
The Patrons of McMurphy's Pub
I'm not sure what the Celtics are trying to do up there. They spend the season saying they are positioning themselves to rebuild and then they trade their prime draft choice in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory to add a 33-year-old jump shooter with bad ankles? Growing up in Connecticut, I loved Ray Allen as much as the next Nutmeg Stater, but why are the Celtics trading away the future to add to a present that is about as bright as a brick of charcoal in a midnight fog bank?
If I'm Seattle, I'm loving that deal and will be smiling all season long. Seattle GM Sam Presti may not have worked out Jeff Green, but he did his homework. He knew exactly what type of player he is. He's the J.C. Chasez, not the Justin Timberlake standing in the spotlight. Working with Durant, Green will almost certainly make Boston regret saying “Bye, Bye, Bye” to him for a long time to come.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Yanks should trade A-Rod and concede that this just isn't their year. Since A-Rod is your boy, I'm betting you think otherwise, so let me point out the fact that you said last year the Nationals should trade Soriano at the deadline.
Bobby Pots and Pans
There's a lot that goes into this issue, first and foremost the fact that A-Rod has a no-trade clause scrawled somewhere on the back of one of those $252 million George Washingtons he collected from the Texas Rangers.
I argued for trading Soriano because I didn't think the Nats could resign him. A-Rod will opt out of his contract at the end of the year. Even Miss Cleo's sixth-sense-inhibited half-sister Miss Rio can see that one coming, given agent Scott Boras' continual quest for top dollar. Even still, the Yankees could afford to resign him.
What it comes down to is whether or not Brian Cashman thinks that Rodriguez is the cause of most of the commotion that surrounds him, or is simply caught up in the perpetual spin cycle that is the New York media. Regardless of which it is, it's hard to replace the numbers Rodriguez puts up every year. The knock on A-Rod was his disappearance in the clutch. This year he's answered that bell better than anyone else on the roster. So, at least in a baseball sense, what more do you want from him?
And there's the rub. If this was only a baseball question, it would have a simple answer. But when was the last time baseball in the Bronx was just about the national pastime?