Is Geno Smith Worth $33+ Million On The Open Market?

At some point, I talked about how I’d gladly re-sign Geno Smith for $20-$25 million. That’s assuming, of course, that Shane Waldron is still here – and isn’t hired as a head coach somewhere after this fantastic performance – but it goes completely out the window if he’s gone. I base that on Geno Smith being a pretty great fit for this very specific scheme.

I also think there’s a lot of risk that comes with giving Geno a big-money extension after one great season. At this point, it’s not even one great season, with six games left to play. But, it’s hard for me to reconcile what we’ve seen from him in his career to date.

I understand where this $33ish million figure comes from. That’s right around what he would cost on a franchise tag. At this point, I think Geno would readily accept a franchise tag at that cost; I don’t think the Seahawks want any part of that, since the entire tag becomes fully guaranteed, and cripples your salary cap accordingly. If you’re the Seahawks, you want a 2+ year deal, to spread out the signing bonus, and limit the number of guaranteed money over the long haul.

What I don’t understand is why the franchise tag is automatically the floor. Is Geno Smith going to command $30+ million on the open market? Is he nearly as valuable in any other system? With a lesser offensive line protecting him? With lesser targets to throw to?

The last thing I want to do is get into a bidding war for Geno Smith, who has a definite shelf life. Even if we assume this is the new normal for Geno, I give it two years before we start seeing a decline. The Seahawks need to address the quarterback position not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. I have no problem handing him the team in 2023. But, in 2024 and beyond, I’d like to be looking towards a younger franchise quarterback to take over. It’s why you build through the draft, so you can use your cap dollars in other ways, with the quarterback position not taking such a significant portion of the pie.

The lone upside – as I see it – to extending Geno is the fact that we can use all of our draft capital on other areas of need. It sure would be nice to have both first round picks available to bolster our weak defensive line. Maybe grab a high-level linebacker early in the second round, and then either grab a guard/center with the other, or just take the best player available, regardless of position. But, my concern with that is similar to my concern about drafting a quarterback: what if they’re not good right away, or ever? Sure, we’d have Geno Smith, but if we’re still having the same problems stopping the run and rushing the passer, then we’re no better than we are now, with the limited shelf life of a competent Geno Smith.

I guess my whole thing is: I’m never going to be happy if we don’t select a quarterback in one of the first two rounds next year. But, regardless, if some other team is willing to throw gobs of money at Geno, godspeed. Let them have him. What I think this year has shown me more than anything else is that you can plug & play pretty much anyone in the Shane Waldron (née Sean McVay) system and get serviceable results. Just like Jared Goff a few years ago taking the Rams to the Super Bowl; we don’t need to break the bank on Geno Smith or anyone for that matter. Let the rest of the NFL ravage that carcass. The Seahawks can carve out their own path.

The Seahawks’ Rush Defense Is Atrocious Right Now

Two weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Bucs ran all over the Seahawks in Germany. We didn’t make a huge deal out of it because the final score was only 21-16. We fell to 6-4 (after a 4-game win streak, where our defensive woes felt like they’d been shored up a great deal), and we were headed into our BYE week, which we’d hoped would lead to the proper tweaks being made to right the ship.

What that game boiled down to, reportedly, was the defensive game plan focusing much more on stopping the Bucs’ passing attack, while neglecting the running game. Surely, THAT wouldn’t happen again!

Except here we are, losers at home to the Raiders – 40-34 in overtime – giving up 283 yards on the ground, on 40 carries, for a whopping 7.1 average per attempt, while we reportedly spent the last two weeks focusing on how to stop Davante Adams and the Raiders’ passing attack.

At some point – and I think that point is now – I’m going to stop believing this is a game plan shortcoming, but rather just a plain ol’ scheme/talent deficiency.

Josh Jacobs came into this game as one of the most proficient running backs in the NFL this year. It’s a phenomenal personal turnaround – one that’s severely underreported, when you think about how mediocre he’s been up until this year – so I’m having a hard time understanding why we’d take him so lightly. This is Pete Carroll, we’re talking about. He never fucking shuts up about running the football and stopping the run. That’s his whole fucking thing! There’s no way we’re going into these game plans completely overlooking these running backs! I might – for half a second – believe such when it comes to the Bucs (who have been inept running the ball all year), but not with the Raiders. Running the football is the one thing they actually excel at. If we’re being perfectly honest, they’ve yet to fully unleash Davante Adams, and probably never will get him back to the heights he saw with the Packers. So, don’t give me this bullshit.

Josh Jacobs ran for 229 yards on 33 carries (a 6.9 yard per carry average) and 2 touchdowns. The yards are a franchise-worst given up by the Seahawks to an individual rusher, surpassing that infamous Bo Jackson game way back when.

I don’t know what’s more at fault, the scheme or the talent, but I’m leaning towards talent. I’ve seen the Vic Fangio system work with flying colors with countless other teams. But, you can’t convert a defense overnight. It takes a year or two before things start clicking, and you’re able to get the guys in here who will buy in. I think the Seahawks are severely lacking – especially in the front seven – and that’s only going to be held together with duct tape until 2023.

That doesn’t mean we’re doomed. That doesn’t mean we’re going winless the rest of the way. But, the division is probably out of reach, and any sort of significant playoff run is wishful thinking at best.

Getting off the defense a bit, I’ve got a couple thoughts about the offense. My overarching sentiment is that if your score 34 points, you should win 100% of the time. It’s unforgivable for a defense to blow it in such spectacular fashion. We were up a touchdown with under 6 minutes to go, and promptly gave up a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie it up. Then, the cherry on top – after holding the Raiders to a missed field goal in overtime – was allowing an 86-yard game-winning touchdown. WHAT?! How is this a Pete Carroll defense?

That being said, I’m perturbed that we had two shots at winning the game, and the offense came up empty both times. With just under two minutes to go in regulation, the Seahawks went 5 & Out. Granted, one of those plays was a hard-luck overturning of a D.K. Metcalf first down conversion, but we still had another play after that and ended up taking a sack, which forced a punt. Then, we got the ball back after that missed field goal in overtime, and promptly went 3 & Out. You hate to have the ball with a chance to prevail on any type of scoring drive, and give the ball right back. There are only so many possessions at your disposal with 10 minutes of game clock. With how shaky the Seahawks’ defense looked all game, you don’t want to have them try and get a stop twice in a row, even if you don’t expect to give up an 86-yard run.

That’s on Geno Smith. That’s a concern I’ve had about Geno Smith dating back to before the season. And, quite frankly, that’s not something I’ve really seen him prove he’s capable of achieving. Where’s the game-winning 2-minute drive at the end of the game? You haven’t seen it! Not in a Seahawks uniform, anyway. You’ve seen many of his attempts fall short. And you’ve seen him seal a game much earlier in the 4th quarter, when there were still possessions left for the defense to defend. But, no miracle comebacks unlocked. And, not even a field goal drive in a tie game late? If you’re going to pay a guy $33+ million per year, you need to know he’s capable of doing that!

It’s just a total breakdown on a team-wide level. It isn’t the first time that’s happened this year, and probably won’t be the last either.

The good news is that the schedule still favors the Seahawks the rest of the way. We get to play the Rams twice – including next Sunday in L.A. – and they’re absolutely falling apart at the seams. Yet, the Raiders were also part of that easing of the schedule – they came into this game a disappointing 3-7 on the year – so now I don’t know what to think. Could the Rams and Panthers do what the Raiders just did? I wouldn’t doubt it.

The Washington Huskies Could Very Well Make The Rose Bowl

Saturday was as enjoyable a day of football as I’ve seen in quite some time. Everything sort of opened up for me and I had an opportunity to sit down and watch almost nonstop from about 3pm until 11pm (while taking a brief intermission to go out and buy a Christmas tree with my dad).

Now, obviously, it wasn’t perfect. But, Friday’s mini-slate of games had a lot to do with that, thanks to Cal blowing it against UCLA. The Huskies were iced out of the Pac-12 Championship Game when the Utes blew out the Buffaloes, but that game was over before it started. Colorado is one of the worst teams in all of football. They’re an embarrassment to the Power 5 conferences, and deserve to be relegated to a lower level until further notice.

It’s unfortunate, because the biggie improbably worked out, as Oregon State defeated Oregon in a thrilling matchup, where the Beaves overcame a 31-10 deficit late in the third quarter to prevail 38-34. In really dominating fashion, by just running all over the Ducks to the tune of 268 yards on 43 carries (that’s a 6.2 average for those following along at home), while their quarterback only completed 6 passes for 60 yards all game. I don’t know how you come back from being down 21 points by only running the ball, but this was straight out of the 1920’s. The Ducks didn’t do themselves any favors by making a lot of mistakes, and coaching their way out of any shot at the Rose Bowl by going for it deep in their own territory with a quarterback run that was doomed to fail.

There were other great outcomes throughout the day. 5th ranked LSU lost to a Texas A&M team that didn’t even qualify for a bowl game this year. USC handled a 15th ranked Notre Dame team by double digits. Michigan absolutely destroyed Ohio State on the road to lock in their spot in the playoffs (as probably a 2-seed).

It all led up to the Apple Cup at 7:30pm in Pullman. If the Huskies won, they would create a 3-way tie for second place in the Pac-12, with Utah and Oregon. With the tiebreaker system set in place, that gave Utah the nod to play USC in the conference championship. If the Huskies lost, it would’ve been a 2-way tie for second with just Utah and Oregon, with the Ducks having the head-to-head victory over the Utes. So, this was an opportunity for the Ducks to lose twice in the same day, which is why it was so great!

The Apple Cup was an intense scoring festival through the first half. The offenses sputtered a tiny bit through the first three possessions, with the Cougs improbably doinking in a 50-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. But, once the quarterbacks got used to the cold, they were gripping it and ripping it like nobody’s business. After those first three drives, there were a whopping SEVEN consecutive touchdown drives before the Cougs had to settle for a field goal just before halftime to only be down 28-27. If the clock wasn’t a factor, they’d still be out there trading TDs!

Somehow, the defense stepped up in the second half, limiting the Cougars to only 6 points (should have been 8 points, but quarterback Cameron Ward had the ball in the wrong hand as he ran for the front left pylon on the 2-point conversion – the first of two such instances where he failed to simply reach the football over the line to gain while running out of bounds – in one of the most baffling displays of low football IQ I’ve seen in a while), which was pretty necessary since the Huskies had a couple of uncharacteristic turnovers to keep things interesting. But, we got things on track after a brutal pick in the endzone, pulling away from a 35-33 lead to a 51-33 end result.

Interception aside, Michael Penix was a wizard out there, throwing for 485 yards and 3 TDs (on 25/43 passing), while adding 34 rushing yards and 2 TDs on the ground. His regular season with the Huskies looks like this:

  • 330/500 for 4,354 yards, 29 TDs, 7 INTs, and only 5 sacks in 12 games. He added 86 rushing yards and 4 TDs on the ground

This is, without question, the greatest season I’ve ever seen from a Husky quarterback. It might literally be the best season ever by a Husky quarterback; I’ll defer to the experts on that one. But, this is legitimate pro-level talent we’re watching! I can only imagine what it would’ve looked like to have Kalen DeBoer, Ryan Grubb, and Michael Penix together for four years. Penix still technically has a year of eligibility left, but I would be absolutely shocked if he opted to stick around for another season, especially given his injury history.

Our top three receivers also, by consequence, had huge games. Rome Odunze led the way with 5 for 157 and a TD. Jalen McMillan had 6 for 150 and a TD. And Ja’Lynn Polk had 4 for 82 and a TD. On the year, here’s how they shake out:

  • Odunze – 70 for 1,088 and 7 TDs
  • McMillan – 71 for 1,040 and 8 TDs
  • Polk – 38 for 649 and 6 TDs

The Huskies haven’t stopped recruiting receivers at a high level since the likes of John Ross and Dante Pettis went pro, but they simply haven’t had a quarterback capable of getting the ball to their most talented weapons. Instead, we’ve been Tight End University in the interim, which is fine, but unless you’re cultivating the next Travis Kelce, your tight end shouldn’t be your best weapon on offense. It’s long overdue that we’re seeing our wideouts getting this kind of attention. As you can see, it opens things up tremendously for everyone else.

The running game gets overlooked in all this, but Wayne Taulapapa had another wildly efficient game, running it 13 times for 126 yards and a TD. Cameron Davis also had a fine day, rushing it 6 times for 55 yards. On the year, they weren’t ever the headline stars, but they accounted for a lot of our scoring:

  • Taulapapa – 126 carries for 779 yards and 10 TDs
  • Davis – 107 carries for 522 yards and 13 TDs

It’s definitely a pass-heavy attack, but the offensive scheme takes advantage of that by gashing teams in the run. I think it’s exactly the right kind of balance for today’s game, and I couldn’t be happier with how the offense performed this year. I guess it’s all downhill from here!

So, here’s where everything stands. On Friday at 5pm, USC plays 14th ranked Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. At the moment USC is ranked 4th in the AP Poll (the official college football playoff rankings come out later today, I believe). The Top 4 in the AP Poll are Georgia, Michigan, undefeated TCU, and USC. TCU will play the 12th ranked Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday morning in the Big-12 Championship Game. Also in play we have a 1-loss Ohio State team playing for jack shit since they lost to Michigan. How this week’s rankings shake out will speak volumes. If USC is also ranked 4th in the college football playoffs, then I think it’s a foregone conclusion: win and they’re in. If Ohio State is still the 4th team, then all bets are off (though, in all likelihood, they’ll be in with a win, but you never know). I don’t think anyone believes that a 3-loss LSU team would make it, even if they beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but let’s hope the Bulldogs take care of business just to be safe.

Anyway, if USC makes the college football playoffs, then that sets up the Huskies for a Rose Bowl berth. That would make the Utes a 3-loss team in conference (with 4 losses overall). Meanwhile, the Huskies and Ducks would both have 2 losses in conference (with Oregon having 3 losses overall), and the Huskies BEAT the Ducks. So, that should give us the edge.

Even if things go wonky on us, and USC has to “settle” for the Rose Bowl, there’s still an outside chance – as a 10-win team – that we might qualify for the Cotton Bowl, and be part of the big New Year’s 6. That’s fun! I’d be happy with that!

I’d be less happy if we are iced out completely, but that’s always a possibility as well. I would think – given our offensive firepower – that we’d be an attractive team to put into ANY bowl game.

Of course, a Rose Bowl showdown would be a rematch with Ohio State from the 2018 season, which was a tough-luck 28-23 defeat. Ohio State is always a scary team to play, but I’d still love the opportunity.

We’ll see what happens! Regardless, this season has surpassed my wildest expectations for the Huskies. I’m just tickled pink with how it all has gone so far.

Fun Husky Football Scenarios Heading Into The Apple Cup

The chances are remote, but the possibilities are endless for the Washington Huskies, heading into our regular season finale.

At 9-2, the Huskies have alread surpassed our wildest dreams for what this season could be. After a COVID-shortened 2020, and a disastrous 2021 that saw the university clean house, I think most of us had tempered expectations heading into 2022. I wouldn’t have predicted we’d be at the bottom – though I did see that bandied about in some circles – but it felt like a middle-of-the-road kind of year where maybe we’d get to 6-6 and play in a crappy bowl.

So, to have a remote possibility of actually making the Pac-12 Championship Game, and/or somehow making the Rose Bowl, is pretty thrilling!

To get here, I should mention the Huskies just throttled the Buffaloes last week, 54-7. That was after we shocked the world – winning in Oregon – to make all this possible. We’re officially 6-2 in conference, tied with Utah for third. USC is first, at 8-1, and have already clinched their spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. They also sit at 6th in the nation, with an outside chance of cracking the college football playoffs (more on that in a bit).

Here are the scenarios, as they stand:

Oregon plays at Oregon State tomorrow at 12:30pm. If the Ducks win, they advance to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon State is 21st overall, so they’re no pushovers. But, the odds are pretty heavily in favor of the Ducks taking care of business.

Should the Ducks lose, that opens up a cavalcade of possibilities! Most importantly, Washington would advance if they beat Wazzu and UCLA loses at Cal this afternoon. Should the Bruins prevail, the Huskies can still make it with a win and a Utah loss at the hapless Buffaloes. So, that’s why it’s a remote possibility. The Ducks are favored, the Bruins are heavily favored, and the Utes are a shoo-in. My hunch is all three of those teams win and it’s USC at Oregon in the title game.

The Utes could still make it with a victory if the Beavers beat the Ducks, the Huskies beat the Cougars, and the Bruins beat the Golden Bears, which actually isn’t crazy, and is the second-likeliest scenario.

I, as a Husky fan, expect to be bummed out when all is said and done, but not making the Pac-12 Championship Game isn’t the end of the world. Assuming Oregon makes it, and if USC defeats the Ducks to take the conference, there’s a very good chance that the Trojans make the top four and advance to the college football playoffs. At which point, the Huskies – by virtue of having beaten the Ducks – could be selected to represent the Rose Bowl as the second-best team in the Pac-12. That’s a helluva consolation prize! And, arguably, would be an easier path to the Rose Bowl (since there’s no chance whatsoever – even if we beat USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game – that we’d make the college football playoffs).

So, that’s something! If all else fails, though, we’re still a Husky football team looking to get to 10 wins in the regular season, which hasn’t happened since 2016-2018 of the Chris Petersen era. Which is why Kalen DeBoer earned himself a contract extension. He gets two extra years added to his deal – now through the 2028 season – with a $1 million raise added immediately (escalating $100K every year).

The money and everything is pretty meaningless, given that if he keeps doing well, he’ll keep getting extensions and raises. If he does poorly, he’ll be fired. And, if another team wants to buy him out and poach him away, they’ll pay whatever it takes if he proves he’s worth it. But, it’s cool for him to have this happen, and it’s cool for us as fans because that means the Huskies are playing well.

I’m excited – regardless of the post-season outcome – for the Apple Cup this weekend. The Cougs have been hot of late – winners of three in a row – after losing 4 of 5. All of their losses so far have come to ranked teams (Oregon, USC, Oregon State, Utah). The Cougs beat a ranked Wisconsin team early in the year, but at 6-5 the Badgers have sorely disappointed. Nevertheless, I think the Cougs are better than we expected, and could surprise us if we’re not careful. They’ve played most everyone tough – even in their losses – so I would expect this one to be close to the bitter end. I’ve got the Huskies by 3.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: I’ve Got Good News & Bad News

Damnedest thing: I won again! That’s three wins in a row, for those keeping track. This time, it was a pretty healthy 161.00 to 136.90 victory over Toot Cannons. That brings my record to 4-7, and my place in the standings ALLLLL the way up to 8th place. I have a one-game lead over the two teams below me, but of course, I have the fewest points in the league, so tying in record with those animals will put me right back in last place where I belong.

I will say that I’m slowly, but surely, creeping up on The Lance Petemans in points. He has less than a 10-point lead, with three weeks to go in the regular season. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we don’t play one another in any of those games; I’ll see him next in the Consolation Bracket (which doesn’t factor into who gets the Toilet Trophy).

The bad news is: my meal ticket might be going away, as Justin Fields injured his non-throwing shoulder. That’s not always the end of the world for a quarterback, but it can be pretty devastating for a quarterback who’s better at running with the football than throwing it.

Fields had another respectable week, getting me over 24 points. Christian Watson kicked off the week strong wth 21. The Jets defense did me proud (a couple weeks after I traded away the Eagles) with 19, and Evan McPherson kicked in 17 points in The Week Of The Kicker (where Tyler Bass got over 20, and Brett Maher tied the single-game record for kickers, all-time, with 29).

The star of my team was Tony Pollard. He’s been thrashing the league during my winning streak, thanks in large part to Ezekiel Elliott being injured. Zeke returned this past week and got 17 points for my bench. But, Pollard’s big-play ability netted me almost 37: 2 touchdowns, 109 receiving yards, and 80 rushing yards to boot. My dream for this offseason is the Cowboys cut Zeke in a cost-cutting measure, and make Pollard the full-time #1 running back. He’ll set NFL records!

My big boner of a move was benching Matthew Stafford in favor of Davis Mills. Stafford got me 20 points for my bench, while Mills needed garbage time to get up to 7.45. Mills had the better matchup, and was projected to out-score Stafford (who is without Cooper Kupp for the foreseeable future), but at some point common sense needs to prevail.

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen, the second place team in our league. I’m just happy I get to play him both times without Deshaun Watson, as he doesn’t need any extra help to lay me to waste. Here are my guys:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ NYJ
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Min
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Det
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. LV
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. NE
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LV
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Ten
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Chi

I might have to start BOTH of my backup quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford had another concussion late in the game last week, which almost guarantees he sees time on the IR. I don’t like Mac Jones, but I’m going to hope he has a little something left in the tank against the Vikings, in what will need to be a high-scoring affair if the Patriots hope to win. If Fields goes down, I’ll have to start Davis Mills against the Dolphins (assuming he’s still starting for the Texans).

It’s a toss-up between Zeke and Pollard as long as both are healthy. When they’re both healthy, they split carries pretty evenly. Pollard gets the advantage of being a bigger factor in the passing game, but Zeke gets the advantage of being the goalline back by and large. Pollard is more boom-or-bust as a result, but also somehow has a higher floor. That isn’t to say Zeke won’t out-score him on the regular, because their offense is very efficient, so he’ll get his opportunities to punch it in. But, I’m sort of resigned to being disappointed whenever my guy isn’t in there.

This might be the last week I play Gabe Davis over Christian Watson. The Lions stink. I know they’ve been a lot better of late, but Davis should have no problem scoring in bunches in this matchup. The concern is that the Bills get Diggs going and forget about Davis, which is a nightmare scenario. I kinda need Davis to be The Guy since I’m going up against Josh Allen (spoiler alert). Taking away his touchdowns would be a big help. On the flipside, Watson is going up against the Eagles’ defense, which is very good against the pass. My hunch is that he comes down to Earth a little bit this week. However, if he puts in a third consecutive humongous week, then it’s time to set him (in my lineup) and forget him.

Here’s the list of players who figure to destroy me:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Det
  • Tom Brady (QB) @ Cle
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) vs. GB
  • Amari Cooper (WR) vs. TB
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Phi
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ Ten
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. LAR
  • Christian Kirk (WR) vs. Bal
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ Det
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. LAR

A lot of these guys had big weeks LAST week, so my hope is that they … don’t have big weeks this week.

Julio Rodriguez Won Rookie Of The Year; Scott Servais Didn’t Win Manager Of The Year

2022 will go down as one of the greatest years of all time to be a Mariners fan. Which speaks to the utter travesty of this franchise that we got swept by the fucking Astros in the ALDS, and it’s still one of the greatest seasons in our history.

Anyway, blowing past that, 2022 was super fun, and we’re hoping the start of something major. As we head into steamy, Hot Stove action, it’s also time to give out some awards.

In the least-surprising news ever, Julio Rodriguez was named the American League’s Rookie of the Year. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t following the race all that closely, but this is really one of those No Brainer situations. As one of the 2022 outfield Silver Sluggers, he hit 28 homers, 25 doubles, and swiped 25 bags, while hitting .284/.345/.509. He’s a superstar. He’d never even whiffed the Major Leagues before this year, and now he’s under contract for the next decade-plus, making hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s the greatest player we’ve had since A-Rod in 1996 (the rightful MVP, who had it ripped away because Juan Gonzalez was a thing).

What’s super cool is that the Mariners – by Julio winning this – get to receive a free draft pick at the end of the first round. It’s a means of rewarding teams who refrain from monkeying around with service time (if that’s even a thing anymore). How cool is that?! We have the best rookie in baseball AND we get a high draft pick next year to throw onto the pile? Outstanding!

What’s the opposite of outstanding (in-sitting?) is the fact that Scott Servais was 100% snubbed from Manager of the Year. Not only did he not win, but he came in THIRD! What in the actual living fuck?

I try not to get all worked up about sports awards – or ANY awards – because it’s all subjective and it’s all pointless. What effect does Servais not winning have on my life? None. No effect.

That being said, what more does a guy have to do?! This is two years in a row now where he’s taken a team with questionable all-around talent – and clear deficiencies in major areas – and exceeded expectations by a wide margin, leading us to back-to-back 90-win seasons. I don’t know which year is more impressive, to be honest! In 2021, we were unquestionably less-talented, so to get to 90 wins felt like a miracle of modern managing. He was making all the right moves and pushing all the right buttons. I’m willing to admit that giving a guy Manager of the Year when that team fails to make the post-season is a bit of a stretch, but a strong argument could be made that he was even more deserving of the award for that 2021 season.

So, if anything, 2022 was the make-up opportunity! Not only did he exceed expectations once again, but we pushed through as the 2nd wild card team, making it to the ALDS in dramatic fashion. With this offense? That’s something special!

I get that he’d be neck-and-neck with the Cleveland manager (who ultimately took the prize), but what’s extremely obnoxious is the fact that Servais landed behind the Baltimore guy. Baltimore, mind you, did NOT make the playoffs. It’s hard not to scream East Coast Bias, but it’s been that way since the dawn of time, so what are you gonna do?

I guess, as always, Servais is just going to have to blow his competition away. If getting to 90 wins with mediocre hitters isn’t enough to float your boat, maybe winning 100+ and making a deep run in the playoffs will do the trick! Let’s see if we can get there in 2023.

The Mariners Traded Away Kyle Lewis

It’s not so much about who they traded FOR, since I’ve never heard of Cooper Hummel, but that’s who we got from the Diamondbacks, in a one-for-one trade.

It sounds like the Mariners wanted to get this done last week prior to the non-tender deadline. It wasn’t the money – he was projected to get significantly less than a million dollars – so much as the guaranteed roster spot. But, I dunno, maybe it was the money. Maybe the Mariners knew they wanted to deal Lewis no matter what, and this saves a few pennies somehow.

Anyway, the 2020 A.L. Rookie of the Year is gone. He was a bright and shining star for the most part when he was out on the field, but ever since he was drafted, he’s had to endure many multiple injury issues with his knees. He’s missed countless hundreds of games as a result, and at this point probably isn’t suited to play in the outfield full time. Hell, he might not even be able to tolerate outfield part time. I guess we’ll see.

It’s a shame, because he’s so naturally gifted. He was a rockin’ centerfielder, he had power in his bat, and he could speedily run around the bases.

Last season was kind of the breaking point in his Mariners career, though. In the not-so-distant past, we had envisioned an outfield of Julio, Kelenic, and Lewis for the next decade. How cool would that’ve been?! But, like the trio of erstwhile Mariners starters (Paxton-Walker-Hultzen), it wasn’t meant to be. In 2022, once we got him upright, we figured maybe he could DH and occasionally play in the field. But, then he got concussed, and when he returned from the IL, the bat didn’t come with. He finished out the year in Tacoma and it was time to move on.

Cooper Hummel isn’t TOTALLY uninteresting, but I’m also not holding my breath. People seem to want to compare him to Austin Nola, because he’s both an outfielder and a catcher, but I don’t know about his defense behind the plate. I won’t rule him out as a potential backup, because I don’t think Tom Murphy or Luis Torrens have guaranteed themselves squat (indeed, Torrens was recently non-tendered, spoiler alert), but I think you need to see more consistency swinging the bat – and a little more pop – if you want Hummel to stick around.

He’s got a good eye at the plate and can draw a walk. That seems to be his skill. It’s not nothing! That’s a pretty good foundation to start with. But, he also strikes out more than you’d like to see, likely as a result of trying to chase dingers. Also, apparently he’s another switch hitter with zero pop whatsoever from the right side. In other words, he’s not a switch hitter, so much as a guy who flails around with the bat against lefties.

The good news is, Hummel has options. While I’m sure he’ll get a chance to compete for a bench spot right away, he can also be sent to Tacoma to work on some things.

If you told me in 2020 this would be what we’d get for Kyle Lewis, I would’ve been devastated. But, all we can do now is wish him all the best. He got the short end of the stick with injuries throughout his career. There’s a world where – maybe he’s not Julio – but he’s a regular All Star and a top 20 baseball player in his prime years. I wish I had a glimpse into the alternate universe where Kyle Lewis is a superstar. It would be a sight to behold.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: RoundTine Is On A Roll!

It’s crazy to me that I’ve won two games in a row. It’s even crazier to me that I outscored every single person in the league, one week after setting my previous season-high in points. It’s crazier still that I’m not even in last place anymore, in spite of me having far and away the fewest points in the league (and over 200 fewer points than the actual last place team at the moment).

None of this is supposed to happen! Yet, here I am, 3-7 on the season, 3-2 in my last five games, with four weeks to fuck around and see if I can sneak into the sixth and final playoff spot (currently held by a team that’s only one game – and hundreds of points – better than me).

This is the kind of optimism you can get out of me when things start going my way. It’s taken A LOT of patience so far this season (starting out 0-5, you kinda have no choice BUT to be patient and wear some of these lopsided losses), but I finally feel like the tide is turning.

RoundTine defeated Space Forcin’ 186.90 to 178.21. It’s supremely unlucky for him that he scored the second-most points this past week, and just so happened to run into a juggernaut, but them’s the breaks.

Justin Fields got me another 43.05 points, one week after putting up almost 50. CeeDee Lamb got me an even 38 points. Gabe Davis and Tony Pollard each got me over 20. Everything pretty much went my way, except the kicker and defense I picked up for BYE replacements. Philly’s kicker only got me 3 points, and the Rams D only got me 4. But, everyone else did their jobs, and that’s all I can ask.

We’re getting pretty far into the season, and I’ve been hanging onto this #1 waiver priority for quite some time. I figured it was time to cash it in on a potential stud. So, I put in a claim for Christian Watson, who caught 4 balls on 8 targets for 107 yards against the Cowboys last week. The big thing was that three of those catches went for touchdowns. Also, he’s like 6’5 and was their highest-drafted receiver in ages. I’m fully expecting him to disappoint the rest of the way (just kidding! Two more TDs and 21.1 points last night). But, if there’s even a sliver of a chance for him to blow up in the back-half of this season, I’m willing to try it out.

I also, not for nothing, have a couple BYEs I’m worrying about this week (both Seahawks players), so I’d like to actually fill out a roster in the short term. In the long term, though, I’m not entirely sold on Gabe Davis as a viable fantasy keeper. He seems better suited as roster depth. Watson – if he blows up – could be a top 10 receiver in this league, as long as Aaron Rodgers is there throwing him the ball, anyway.

This week, I go up against Toot Cannons, who has a number of BYE issues of his own. Here’s who I’m rolling out:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ Atl
  • Davis Mills (QB) vs. Was
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Min
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Cle
  • Brian Robinson (RB) @ Hou
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Min
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Dal
  • Christian Watson (WR) vs. Ten
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Pit
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ NE

Losing D.K. and Walker this week is a blow, but I don’t mind those guys getting a week off to rest and recover. Mac Jones gets to ride my bench for … the rest of the year? That guy’s a total trainwreck. It really says something when I don’t even think twice about ranking Davis Mills ahead of him. It looks like Stafford returns from injury this week, though I hate him even more now that Cooper Kupp is on IR. Also, at this point, consider me among the loud majority who are calling for Zeke Elliott to take a backseat to Pollard.

Here’s who Toot Cannons might be playing:

  • QB Cardinals (QB) vs. SF
  • Baker Mayfield (QB) @ Bal
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) vs. Dal
  • Tee Higgins (WR) @ Pit
  • Saquon Barkley (RB) vs. Det
  • Najee Harris (RB) vs. Cin
  • TBD (TE) vs. TBD
  • Chris Olave (WR) vs. LAR
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ LAC
  • San Francisco (DEF) vs. Ari

Rough week to lose your top two tight ends, as both Waller and now Goedert are out. He’s also missing Tua, which is a huge blow. But, there’s a significant amount of talent at the skill positions to make this week challenging as hell for RoundTine.

The Mariners Traded For Teoscar Hernández

It’s our first big deal of the offseason! The Mariners sent Erik Swanson and prospect Adam Macko to the Blue Jays for outfielder Teoscar Hernández.

Hernández, you may recall, hit two home runs off of Robbie Ray in that 10-9 wild card clinching performance, so there’s a little bit of a reverse If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em thing going on. We’re stuck with Robbie Ray for a while, so we might as well acquire all the guys who kick his ass.

Expanding beyond that, though, it’s hard not to see this as a huge upgrade for our offense and specifically for our outfield. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know what he brings to the table defensively, but that didn’t stop us with Winker or anyone else. My guess is he’ll slot into left, which will still free us to re-sign Mitch Haniger and possibly platoon him in right with Kelenic or whoever else we bring in.

I should point out that I’m under the assumption we’re going to cut and run with Winker, so this feels like his replacement, and a huge upgrade at that. Whereas Winker struggled to hit for power in Seattle, Hernández should have no problem whatsoever. He’s among the league leaders in hard hit balls. He has a track record of 20+ home runs in 4 of the last 5 years (the holdout being the 2020 COVID year where he still hit 16 homers in 50 games). He’s also hit for a pretty good average in each of the last three years.

This type of deal doesn’t come without downsides, though. He’s going to strike out a lot. Like, A LOT a lot. I also wouldn’t expect a huge on-base percentage boost out of him. He’s here to sit in the middle of our lineup and mash dingers; being our 5th hitter is probably his most likely landing spot. If I had to venture a guess at our lineup – extremely premature, I grant you – it’ll look something like this:

  1. Julio (CF)
  2. Ty France (1B)
  3. TBD (SS/2B)
  4. Suarez (3B)
  5. Hernández (LF)
  6. Raleigh (C)
  7. TBD (RF)
  8. TBD (DH)
  9. Crawford (2B/SS)

I’ll be curious to see how this morphs and changes over the offseason.

Anyway, the other main drawback is that Hernández is on the final year of Arbitration. He’s set to earn a reasonable amount of money in 2023 (projected anywhere from $10-$14 million), but he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. Presumably, if we like his fit, we could extend him during the season. But, by the same token, presumably he’ll want to see free agency and cash in as a guy who just turned 30 this past October.

In spite of the rental status – and the fact that he’s another righty, when we could really use a quality left-handed bat in the middle of our lineup – I would do this trade 100 out of 100 times. We’ll see if it pans out, of course, but knowing what we know now, the cost isn’t extreme.

We lost Erik Swanson, which is tough, but not heartbreaking or anything. He had a great 2022 season – after a few years struggling with command/control – but I don’t know how sustainable his stuff is. The key was figuring out a quality Out Pitch, which he seems to have found. But, his fastball doesn’t seem all that impressive; this really feels like we’re selling at the height of his value. We got an elite 2022 season out of him (1.68 ERA in 57 games), but he didn’t often have to take on those high-leverage situations, since we had more elite relievers ahead of him. I was happy we were finally able to get him into a playoff game – in that 18-inning barnburner – but it was odd that it took us five games before we finally trusted him enough to let him in there (and, even then, it wasn’t until the 13th inning).

My ultimate feelings about Swanson are largely positive, even though his career in Seattle started out very negative. He came over with Justus Sheffield in the James Paxton trade, with both guys expected to be starters. Swanson was converted to a reliever fairly quickly -after making 8 starts in 2019 – but even then he looked mediocre-to-bad. So, I was quite impressed with how he worked on his craft and continued to improve every season. I wish him nothing but the best. He might not ever be an elite closer or anything, but he should be a steady presence for years to come.

I don’t know anything about the other pitcher we sent over. Apparently he’s a lefty starter from A-ball. So, he’s a lottery ticket. Odds are, he won’t be anything. And, if he DOES turn into someone great, we’ll all be screaming about it in a few years.

Solid start to the offseason, but there’s a lot more left to do.

Seattle Sports Hell 2022 NFL Power Rankings #4

How many weeks in a row will the top team lose and fall in my rankings?! I can’t wait to find out!

High Tier

1 – Minnesota Vikings
2 – Kansas City Chiefs
3 – Philadelphia Eagles
4 – Dallas Cowboys
5 – Buffalo Bills
6 – Miami Dolphins

The Vikings impressed the shit out of me by going on the road and taking it to Buffalo. The Bills disappointed the shit out of me by blowing it at the end. Either way, part of me wonders if Kansas City shouldn’t be the top-ranked team here. But, the Vikes are on a roll and deserve all the glory. Philly had to lose sometime, losing at home to a pretty solid Washington team isn’t the worst thing in the world. And, kudos to the Dolphins, who look pretty great with Tua in there!

Medium-High Tier

7 – Baltimore Ravens
8 – San Francisco 49ers
9 – Tennessee Titans
10 – L.A. Chargers

The upper tiers are starting to dwindle, while the lower tiers are starting to balloon. I like these teams right where they are.

Medium Tier

11 – Cincinnati Bengals
12 – Tampa Bay Bucs
13 – Seattle Seahawks
14 – New York Giants
15 – Washington Commanders

Couple of missed opportunities for the likes of the Bengals and Seahawks not moving up a tier. The Bengals were on a BYE, so that would be idiotic to jump them a level when they didn’t even play. Also, part of me wonders if Washington isn’t too low! Who’da thunk it?

Medium-Low Tier

16 – Green Bay Packers
17 – Atlanta Falcons
18 – New England Patriots
19 – New York Jets
20 – Arizona Cardinals
21 – L.A. Rams
22 – Chicago Bears

Is that Packers win over the Cowboys the start of a breathtaking turnaround? Or is it just a fluke? The Falcons really biffed it against an inferior Panthers team. The Pats and Jets were on a BYE last week and I gotta admit, they were NOT missed on my TV screens. The Rams are a flat-out joke. And the Bears are more impressive and fun to watch with Fields running all over the place, but they’re not winning games, which hurts their stock.

Low Tier

23 – Detroit Lions
24 – New Orleans Saints
25 – Cleveland Browns
26 – Denver Broncos
27 – Indianapolis Colts
28 – Jacksonville Jaguars
29 – Pittsburgh Steelers
30 – Las Vegas Raiders
31 – Carolina Panthers
32 – Houston Texans

I might be a little hard on the Browns. I enjoy those plucky Lions! I think the Saints will be a lot better when they come to their senses and start Jameis again. The Broncos are going to need to do A LOT to get to my predicted 12 wins. The Colts won with Jeff Saturday as their coach! Because the Raiders are fucking atrocious! Of these teams, I think the Steelers have the potential to move up significantly. If Kenny Pickett can get going, and T.J. Watt can stay healthy, I’m not saying they’re a playoff team, but they could certainly play spoiler to one.