Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Daniel Cormier Gets A Title Shot

The much-anticipated Jon Jones/Alexander Gustafsson will have to wait. The UFC announced late Wednesday "The Mauler" has suffered an injury in training this week. Jones was scheduled to take on Gustafsson for the 2nd time at UFC 178 in September. Their first fight pushed Jones further than any other in his career thus far, with many thinking the champion should have lost the fight. He won via unanimous decision.

Stepping into Gustafsson's spot is Daniel Cormier. Cormier is unbeaten and a two-time Olympian who has been yearning for a shot at Jones for some time now. Back in May after beating Dan Henderson, Cormier told Joe Rogan "“Jon Jones, you can’t run away from me forever.I’m the kid at the wrestling tournament that is always in your bracket. No matter where you go, I’m coming. You better hurry because I’m getting better.”

The announcement is actually probably pleasing to the reigning champion. Jones expressed his interest in fighting Cormier before the rematch with Gustafsson was announced. When people called him out for making the remarks he responded by saying, "asking for an undefeated Olympic wrestler, Strikeforce champion makes me somehow a coward?”

Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm a huge Jones fan. Have been since he came onto the scene. I'm also a big Cormier fan though. That being said, I'll be pulling for Jones in this fight. More than that, I'm hoping for a good fight. However, I don't think they match up very well. Cormier has cinderblocks for hands but I'm not sure he's going to be able to get close enough to use them. Jones is going to utilize that ridiculous reach and keep him outside. Cormier's best shot is to take the fight to the ground and we already know how good Jones is at stopping takedowns. Then again, I don't think he's faced anyone who has the wrestling skills Cormier does. 

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trade Talk: Who, Where, When, Why?

We're less than two weeks away from the MLB trade deadline and so far there hasn't been a ton of noise. Yes the Angels traded away way too much of their farm system for a few months of Huston Street, and there was the deal between Chicago and Oakland, but there haven't been any real big names changing teams, at least not yet anyway. But there is no shortage of rumors, so let's take a look at the biggest players who are rumored to be on the trading block.

David Price has to be the biggest name people are expecting to see traded. Price himself sounded like he thought he was on his way out of Tampa Bay just a few weeks ago. But with the topsy-turvy AL East, the Rays have held off dealing him. Not only that, but the Rays control Price through next year. They have no real reason to trade him right now unless they're getting A+ prospects in return. Price is definitely one of the best pitchers in the game, and he's young enough to be good for a long time. I'd be surprised if Price gets moved this year. Maybe next year if the Rays struggle again, but I think he at least finishes the 2014 season in a Rays uniform. 

Matt Kemp has been in the news in terms of being traded lately too, mainly thanks to his agent. While he might want to be, Kemp isn't an everyday center fielder anymore. I've been a Kemp fan since I saw him hit his first MLB home run in person. But he's not the same guy he was a few years ago when he should've won the NL MVP award. He's also signed to a massive contract. The Dodgers would have to eat a huge amount of money to trade him. He's another big name I don't see going anywhere. Yes, the outfield situation in LA is frustrating. But with the amount of injuries they've had over the past season and a half, they know they need to hold on to everyone they can.

Jake Peavy has been mentioned in trade rumors for the past 2-3 months it seems. His stat-line isn't what you'd call impressive, 1-8 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP, but he's been much better over his last 3 starts. In those last 3 games he's thrown a total of 19 innings and given up 7 earned runs while striking out 19 and walking only 5. Again, not great but it's certainly serviceable. Rumors have been going around that St. Louis is interested in him, and he'd make a lot of sense for the Cardinals as they're missing Garcia and Wacha and he already has NL experience. Plus Boston has young pitchers waiting in the wings. Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman have shown at times they belong with the big league club, and Anthony Ranaudo continues to impress in Pawtucket. Peavy is a free agent (he does have an option) after this year. It's time for him and the Sox to part ways.

Nick Cafardo has reported the Phillies are willing the trade Cole Hamels, but they're asking for an absolute haul for him. Hamels is signed to a big deal through 2018, so it's doubtful he's getting moved this season. That being said, I can see him being traded before Price. The Phillies seem to be in rebuild mode, whereas the Rays are always shifting things around. Freeing up that money would give the Phillies a lot of room heading into free agency. Then again, there aren't a ton of trade partners for them right now. The Dodgers come to mind, and they need another starter as the Dan Haren experiment has come crashing back to Earth, but will they be willing the gut their farm system? Hamels is a SoCal guy, and he seems like the kind of guy who would fit in well with the team, but the asking price may just be too high. Then again, the Dodgers don't seem to know the term "too high" lately, so we'll see. 

Chase Headley seems to always be mentioned as a trade target. He's not having a good year, though much of that can be attributed to injuries, and he's a free agent after this season. The Padres really have no reason to hang on to him. It's very unlikely he stays in San Diego, sorry Padres fans but your squad doesn't look like a playoff team for at least another two or three years, and while they're only 11 games out of first in the NL West, they're 12 games under .500. The time to deal Headley is now. The Blue Jays and Yankees make the most sense, and the Yankees have been interested in Headley for a long time now.

However it shakes out, these next few weeks should be interesting. There always seems to be big moves, especially when teams realize their season is all but over. Stay tuned as I'll be writing much more often again. And as always, follow me on Twitter- @TwittinSports