- The title of this post says it all. The Miami Marlins should be contracted... and no, I'm not kidding. In a laughable cost-slashing, no-baseball-consideration move, the Marlins have dealt SS Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, super-utility guy Emilio Bonafacio, and C John Buck to the Blue Jays for a 7-player package headlined by Yunel Escobar and prospects Jake Marisnick & Justin Nicolino. If you're scoring at home, Miami traded 4 of their best 6-7 players in one trade... without gaining a single above-average MLB regular in return. Read that again! It was basically a move to trade all of their significant contracts, and it was done so for no particular baseball reason. This isn't the first time this has happened in South Florida (hence my call for contraction), but it's probably the most egregious. Just one year after getting a publicly financed stadium, the Marlins will field a payroll around $25 million, pocket a ton of revenue-sharing money from MLB, and probably be the worst team in baseball. This is the same league that wouldn't let Mark Cuban buy a team. Godspeed.
- While we're here, the Blue Jays are legitimate AL contenders after making this deal. They've taken on significant salaries (5 years of big money on Reyes, 3 for Buehrle, and an 8-figure 1-year deal for Johnson), but the upgrades from Escobar to Reyes and Henderson Alvarez/average starter X to Johnson and Buehrle are astronomical. Add-in the ultra-talented and super-versatile Bonafacio and they make out like bandits. It's risky with the $ but I love it if I'm a Blue Jay fan.
- Bob Melvin (Oakland) and Davey Johnson (Washington) were named MLB Managers of the Year yesterday. These are probably the right choices, and the only guy with a legit gripe would be Buck Showalter of the Orioles. At any rate, no objections here.
- Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger may be out for an extended period of time. The division-leading Pittsburgh squad has two match-ups with Baltimore in the coming weeks, and being without him would be a significant blow.... Good God, that's Byron Leftwich's music!!! (copyright: Bill Simmons)
- College Hoops! - Michigan State knocked off Kansas 67-64 in the opener of the Champions Classic in the Georgia Dome. MSU guard Keith Appling led all scorers with 19 points, including two huge shots down the stretch to lead Sparty to the W. In the night cap, Duke held off a late charge from Kentucky to win 75-68. Seth Curry knocked shot 7 of 14, including 3 triples to score 21 points for Duke, and Mason Plumlee added 18 for the Blue Devils. Really quality hoops in this double-header.
- NBA Check - The Knicks still unbeaten at 5-0 after a 99-89 win over Orlando down in Disney territory. NY got 21+ points from Carmelo, JR Smith, and Ray Felton, and won despite getting massacred on the boards by a 42-31 margin. Toronto won a real, live NBA game on Tuesday by a score of 74-72 over the Pacers. Normally, I wouldn't touch this game, but I had to share that Toronto won the game despite scoring 5 fourth-quarter points. They won the game! Cleveland got 35 points and 18 rebounds from Andy Varejao and 34 points from Kyrie Irving... and lost by 13 to Brooklyn. And finally, Danny Green ice-colded the game-winning three to give the Spurs a 84-82 win over the coach-less Lakers. Green shot just 4-12 on the night, but the biggest shot of the night (with 9 sec left) was the difference. Tim Duncan (18 and 9) and Tony Parker (19/7/4) led the way for the Spurs. Kobe Bryant finished with 28 points and 8 assists in the loss.
What to watch for on Wednesday...
- NCAAB - #23 Wisconsin @ #10 Florida - 7:00 ESPN2 - A top-25 hoops match-up is never a bad thing. Wisconsin is adjusting to life without Jordan Taylor, and Florida is a very, very talented squad.
- NBA - Grizzlies @ Thunder - 8:00 ESPN - A pretty good match-up of high-tier Western playoff teams. Memphis should be a team that can give OKC fits with their size and I'm interested to see how OKC matches up.
- NBA - Heat @ Clippers - 10:30 ESPN - Chris Paul. Lebron James. Done and done.
- NCAAF - Toledo @ Northern Illinois - 9:00 ESPN2 - The battle for the MAC Western division championship! On a Wednesday! In all seriousness, Toledo is 8-2 and NIU is 9-1 so this shouldn't be an awful game if you need football in your life.