- Sources everywhere are reporting that the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners have collaborated on a deal that would send Michael Pineda to the Yankees in exchange for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. This deal is shocking on many levels, but before we get there, Montero is the Yankees top prospect who is a "catcher" who can't catch, but he's an elite hitting prospect that profiles as a DH, while Pineda is a big-time young pitcher with top-of-rotation stuff, and an already impressive rookie season under his belt. Noesi is the secondary portion of the deal, but there are some scouts that really like his stuff as a prospect pitcher. All that said, this deal is confusing. The Yankees side of the deal is kind of a no-brainer because of their pitching woes in the past (and they also signed Hiroki Kuroda to a 1-year deal which I loved) and the fact that Montero is position-less and would've been penciled in at DH prohibiting them from saving the legs of their older position players. On the M's side, it's less clear what they're doing. Pineda had a big-time year, their home stadium (Safeco Field) is notorious for killing right-handed power (Montero fits that bill), and young, stud pitchers are generally more prized than a position-less bat. But, the craziest part of the deal is this: when is the last time you saw a prospect-for-prospect deal of this magnitude? Easily the #1 prospect in each organization, and 2 of the most talked-about young players in baseball. Just a wild deal here, and with the Pineda move and the Kuroda move, I'd have the Yanks as the favorite right now.
To the NFL...
- Saints (-4) @ Niners - Saturday 4:30 FOX - This is the closest matchup of the four on paper and in the mind of Vegas. The Saints have it going on all cylinders offensively right now, but set foot on the road, outdoors and against one of the best defenses in the league. I absolutely think San Fran will at least slow the Brees show because the Saints aren't the same team outside, and I do trust the San Fran defense, but this game will unquestionably come down to Alex Smith, and that's a terrifying proposition. I will give him props in that he played better this season that I ever thought he could (I'm a notorious Smith hater), but do you really trust him against an opportunistic defense in a playoff game? I don't. Give me the Saints.
- Broncos @ Pats (-13.5) - Saturday 8:00 CBS - This is the most-hyped game of the four simply because of Tebow, but I'm going to stay away from that story as much as I can. It comes down to the fact that I absolutely don't believe Denver can slow down Brady and company enough to let Tebow work the magic late. If it gets into an ugly game, Denver has the better defense, and a play-making QB, but I think New England scores at will and cruises.
- Texans @ Ravens (-7.5) - Sunday 1:00 CBS - I'm torn on this one. I'm more anti-Ravens than just about anyone because I think Joe Flacco stinks, I don't trust a single player on that offense not named "Ray Rice", and they are famous for laying eggs in really random, inopportune spots. That said, am I really supposed to take someone named "TJ Yates" on the road in a playoff game against that Ravens defense? I think it would take a Flacco meltdown for the Ravens to lose here, and while that's in play, I can't pick it. Ravens by 10.
- Giants @ Packers (-7.5) - Sunday 4:30 FOX - The Giants hype has gotten out of control. There are certain things that justify it (their pass rush, Eli is playing great, their running game has emerged), but take a look at who they've beaten (that ridiculous Cowboys team twice, the hapless Jets, and the bland Falcons) and that stinker they laid against Washington, and remember this: Green Bay is 15-1, and if anything went right in that KC game, they're 16-0. Stop it. Take the Packers.
Enjoy the slate...