March 9, 2007

Raiders do a million things

Check it.

Just when you thought they weren't doing enough. They were already quieting restructing deals, signing current players, and making position changes. But today they made their national splash, signing Dominic Rhodes in the biggest deal for the Raiders in quite a while. They didn't stop there, however.

They resigned Alvis Whitted (no word on the Chipmunks) today, not sure how you feel about that. I don't really care.

They also picked up two tight ends - Fred Wakefield formerly of the Arizona Cardinals and Tony Stewar formerly of NASCAR.

Just kidding, Tony Stewart formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals.

I don't know much about Wakefield or Stewart, but you could tell that the Raiders were not pleased with their tight end production. I still like Courtney Anderson and I don't know why. I think he can be good. I think John Madsen could be really good as well, but is more of a receiver. But anyway, we got two tight ends, not sure if we are going to keep either of them, but it's worth looking at.

In bigger news, the Raiders picked up Justin Griffith on free agency. The deal is 3 years, $3.8 million. Another million-a-year deal that the Raiders are playing safe. I like this move as well. We are definitely attempting to upgrade our offense, I just hope we don't consistently overlook defense and assume everything will be as good as it was last year. But that's a topic for another day. Griffith was with the Falcons last year, meaning he knows Greg Knapp well. Hopefully that works in everyone's favor. I think it well. We need a true fullback and we have one. Not one of the top fullbacks in the league, but a serviceable player. Griffith leading for Rhodes.........that's better than anything you've heard around Oakland in a while. Except maybe Crockett leading for Wheatley.

I like these moves. Smart moves. GO RAIDERS.

Indians 7, Reds 3


Pitching: Arroyo started, pitched the first 2 innings, allowed just 1 hit and had 3 K's. Nice stuff. Hermanson made his debut, pitching a clean inning. Weathers was adequate. Victor Santos was strong yet again, starting to like this guy. Shackelford & Salmon did well, Ligtenberg had some struggles. The big story here is Homer Bailey. And he finally lived up to his name, giving up a 3-run shot to Rouse and a 2-run shot to Sizemore. He got 2 outs in total, 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 hit batter, 1 K, and 5 earned runs. So much for that fifth slot, as I think this pretty much does knock him out of the face. I don't think this is too disheartening for Reds fans, but maybe on a subconscious level because we expected him to be lights out every time he pitches and to be the savior of the team. He still might be able to do that, he just looked awful today.

Hitting: Well, the offense sure has been in a rut ever since I was talking about how great it was. That's what you'll get if you stick around with me long enough. You'll learn to bet on the opposite of whatever I say. Freel led off and was 0/2. Hamilton was 1/2 and scored a run. Conine had a 2-RBI double, and Bellhorn got the other RBI. Conine also hit into a double play, something I'm sure we will see a lot of. Nothing else stands out really, Denorfia needs to get back on track, but he did get a hit today.

Fielding & such: No errors today. Dewayne Wise had a nice throw from center field to get Rouse out at home.

Dominic Rhodes signs with Raiders

It's official.

Two years - about $7.5 million.

I just read about the rumor this morning and didn't think anything of it. Wow. This is great news. Simply great.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am pumped up. Not just because he was the running back on the Super Bowl winning team, but because I think he has legitimate stuff to help us out immediately.

I have always thought Rhodes was a very solid player. Granted, he is making the move from the team that won the Super Bowl to the team with the worst record, a jump that is difficult to understand. Why would anybody make this move? Well, hopefully he saw something he liked with Oakland. Hopefully he liked more than one thing. Hopefully he sees that progress is being made. I think his stats were amazing for what he was asked to do. Again, he was playing for the Colts. With a great offensive line. And Peyton Manning. But he played well and he ran smart. He can do the same thing here in Oakland. I would prefer to see him the #1 guy and delegate back-up duties to Jordan. Or at least split the carries, with Rhodes getting 60/40. But I don't want LaMont being the #1 anymore. He did run for 1000 yards a while ago, that's true. But I am high on the prospects of Rhodes and I don't think he's even run the ball to the best of his ability yet.

The thing that does bother me is his character issues. He was arrested not very long ago for drunk driving. I am not one to shove this issue off to the side, this is a very big problem that a lot of athletes have and is so dumb and reckless, and yet you get used to it because it happens all the time. Hopefully this is the only mistake he has made and I hope he can change himself, it just bothers me slightly that the Raiders are looking past character issues when it seemed Kiffin was going to be a very stand-up guy about guys being held accountable. I am just assuming they are looking past the DUI and realizing his ability is extremely solid.

All in all, despite the character issues, this is a very encouraging sign and I hope he can be the running back that we can count on and that we need in Oakland.

The Playoff Picture

Look at it right now. It's ridiculous.

Four of the five teams in the Atlantic Division are in it. I dislike these teams. With a passion. They are the enemies of the New Jersey Devils and because the Islanders lost back-to-back games to the Rangers, the Rangers are now at the #8 slot, when they should have been knocked out of the playoffs a long time ago. The Islanders are at #7 and the Penguins, who are going to remain in the playoffs, are currently at #5.

If it can narrow itself down to just the Pens and the Devils, that would be much better. And it could happen. Carolina and Toronto have the same number of points as the Rangers and no doubt will finish the year on a better note. So the Rangers are probably out. The Islanders are harder to figure out and have gotten better lately, so they might be in. That would be sad.

Another big thing to look out for is Buffalo. They are at 93 and the Devils just joined the 90-club last night. If the Minnesota Wild beat them tonight and the Devils beat them tomorrow night, only 1 point will separate the teams, making the battle for the #1 spot that much more interesting. It's a battle the Devils would like to win, considering they will face, as it stands right now, the winner of Tampa Bay/Atlanta and those teams have had their way with the Devils this year. Not to mention the first round opponent Islanders wouldn't be all that easy either. It would be good for them to get the #1 spot, but Buffalo is dang good. If the Wild take care of them tonight, which will be very difficult, the Devils have a great shot tomorrow.