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Thinking out loud: Should Red Sox really trade Mookie Betts?

John Rooke
December 20, 2019 - 4:47 pm
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Thinking out loud…while wondering if our political process needs a mental enema…

 

  • No, no and no.  You just don’t trade ‘franchise’ players.  Would you ever have considered trading Ted, or Yaz?  Big Papi?  C’mon, man.

 

  • Of course, if the first two had played during the current era of baseball with free agency, I shudder to think what might have happened. 

 

  • There’s still enough on the Red Sox roster to make another run next season, Gerrit Cole’s arrival in New York notwithstanding.

 

  • So put the Dodgers-Red Sox trade talk of Mookie Betts on a back-burner.  Shouldn’t the Sox give it their best shot to keep him around, first?  Trade him if you must when all else has failed and he’s told you to your face he won’t stay. 

 

  • But not until.

 

  • And if the Sox are hell-bent on getting under the luxury tax limit on salary, a notable and seemingly futile gesture, I’ve got four words – David Price.  Buh-bye. 

 

  • Are the Patriots back on track?  Just when did they actually leave the track?  Last I checked, they’re 11-3, and in the postseason for an unprecedented, NFL-record 11th straight season.

 

  • But it’s not the same, I know, I know.  They have issues.  They had issues last year, too, and managed to squeeze into the two-slot in the AFC and still won it all.  With a mediocre-to-poor defense in tow.

 

  • It’s just a mediocre-to-poor offense this time around.  You bettin’ against TB12 turning it around?  And how many times has he done this in his past? 

 

  • Oh, right.  The cliff is here.

 

  • It’s liable to get rough against the Buff Saturday.  A de-facto playoff game, in essence.  Division on the line.  First downs should be cherished.  Turnovers will be like gold.  Points will be at a premium. 

 

  • Now watch it become a 31-27 shootout.

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but it’s not even close.  Stephon Gilmore is most-worthy of the Defensive Player of the Year honor in the NFL.  The passer rating against him is LOWER than if a QB simply threw the ball away on every attempt.

 

  • Think about that for a sec and get back to me on that honor.

 

  • And I’ll throw this in for good measure.  2nd year CB JC Jackson reminds me of a wild colt.  All of the natural ability you could ask for, but he’ll buck you and throw you off every now and then. 

 

  • That the Pittsburgh Steelers (5) had more Pro Bowl picks than the Patriots (3) is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen this season.  But snubs are nothing new in New England.  Fuel for the fire.

 

  • But Julian Edelman’s snub?  Second in receptions, 3rd in yards in the AFC?  Did his NFL-leading eight drops (officially) keep him off the list?

 

  • I know I’m not the first to say this – TB12 should consider retirement after this season, win or lose.  It ain’t a cliff he’s approaching, but we can see the bottom from here. 

 

  • He is third, at last check, in the league with 21 drops this season, however.  It’s not all on him. 

 

  • Brady can’t make the Pro Bowl, but he can be named Sporting News’ NFL Athlete of the Decade.  Which he was this week.  So, there’s that, too.

 

  • And the flip side?  The Bengals’ game was the 106th career game with at least 2 TD’s and 0 INT’s for TB12, and no other QB in NFL history has had more than 79 of those.  Just sayin’.

 

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @MarkDanielsPJ: “Some blame the offensive weapons. Others point to Tom Brady himself for the offensive issues. However, the culprit may just be his right elbow: Pre-elbow injury – 281.8 pass yds/game, 64.8 completion%. Post-elbow injury – 203.3 yds/game, 50.3% completion.”

 

  • If he actually departs in the off-season, then who replaces the legend in Foxboro?  I’ll take Cam Newton with a chip on his shoulder for (a bit more than) $200, Alex.

 

  • The Detroit Lions are keeping ex-Pats and Belichick disciples Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, even though the team started well this season and faltered badly.  And just why do BB’s underlings seem to fare so poorly elsewhere?

 

  • One theory – they try too hard to copy their former boss with the “my way or the highway” routine.  Some teams just don’t want to win badly enough.  They aren’t desperate – yet. 

 

  • Remember, the Patriots were the sad sack of the NFL, and had no place to go but up when Belichick arrived.  They were ready to be told what to do.

 

  • I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit sad over the Raiders.  That’s quite a legacy they leave behind in Oakland after their final home game last week.  Sounds like politicians screwed things up there like they’ve done around here, know what I’m sayin’?

 

  • So now we know, perhaps, why the Patriots passed on the Josh Gordon era continuing any further than it did.  I will also root for Josh the person, if not Josh the athlete. 

 

  • And Josh the person needs help and support, wherever and whoever he can get it from.

 

  • Tuesday night in Brooklyn reminded me of a couple of cold, winter nights 20 years ago, during the 1999-2000 Friar season – which ended up 11-19 when it was over. 

 

  • Said it before, said it Tuesday in Brooklyn, said it to Joe Hassett (who we all know could shoot it).  And he agrees.  This Friar team cannot, for the life of it, shoot the ball. 

 

  • Shooters – not just athletes – need to be a priority from this point forward.  Free throw shooters, too. 

 

  • Thought maybe the torch of leadership was being passed to David Duke, until the torch burned everyone, except for Florida, at the Barclays Center. 

 

  • So where is the disconnect?  It starts with shooting, shooting and shooting.  And the lack of confidence in shooting.  Everything else is fixable, to a large degree.  Not sure what else to do here, except see that the team lives in the Ruane Center 24/7 and doesn’t leave until someone can hit a jump shot.  Or a free throw.

 

  • I also believe the bright lights of the regular season in the Big East are a bit too bright in some places, allowing everyone to see where the flaws are with a team that had so much expected of it at the start.

 

  • Elsewhere in the Big East, think you’re the only ones who are wringing their hands, Friar fans?  Try Seton Hall, with Myles Powell out indefinitely thanks to a concussion and Sandro Mamukaleshvili out with a broken wrist.  From nationally-ranked-to-7-and-4? 

 

  • But the Pirates found a way, thanks to their defense, to beat 7th ranked Maryland this week without either Powell or Mamu.  Senior Quincy McKnight stood up and stood out.  That shows depth. 

 

  • And character. 

 

  • Georgetown, PC’s Big East opening night opponent, seems to be flourishing with subtraction over addition.  Mac McClung is a B2B Big East Player of the Week.  It’s his team, now.

 

  • Still don’t see it with Butler, but let’s give them credit.  Their defense has measurably improved over last season, which is probably why they’re 10-1. 

 

  • DePaul has four road wins out of 11 wins thus far.  Last time the Blue Demons did this?  1993-94. 

 

  • Tweet of the Week II, from @GoodmanHoops: “Things I never thought I would tweet – DePaul has a better resume right now than Kentucky.”

 

  • Even when shots don’t fall, defense can still win you games – something the Friars are having a very hard time figuring out for themselves.

 

  • This week is the first time in the history of the Associated Press poll there have been five different #1’s before the New Year. 

 

  • Oh, there are other disappointments, doncha know?  North Carolina lost to Wofford this week, with star Cole Anthony out 4-6 weeks; SHU, Michigan State, Syracuse?  Take your pick. 

 

  • All are, or have, struggled mightily living up to expectations.  It’s been going around.  Providence isn’t alone.

 

  • No surprise over the first NET rankings released.  That PC was the only Big East school not in the Top 100 is shocking, but not unexpected, given the results thus far.  The good here?

 

  • Every game left on the schedule is a Top 100 opponent.  Win your share, put the system to the test.  Let’s see if there’s still time to dance in March.

 

  • URI is in solid shape.  But as I said last week, the opportunity for big wins will be scarcer from this point forward than it will be for the Friars.  Will one win define their season?

 

  • Having lost two in a row, Brown is in the midst of an 18-day layoff and won’t lace ‘em up again until Dec. 28th at Duke, followed by a Jan. 2 date at home against Rhody.  Opportunity will be knocking, won’t it?

 

  • Or, knocking ‘em out.

 

  • Bryant faces Dartmouth Saturday with big ‘mo’ right alongside.  A first-ever win over an A-10 team (Fordham) and a new face in the crowd making his mark in freshman Benson Lin, a two-time NEC Rookie of the Week.

 

  • And this is after rookie Charles Pride won the award twice in a three-week span at the start of the season.  The Bulldogs apparently have some young ‘uns worth watching.

 

  • The James Wiseman saga at Memphis isn’t over yet, even though he’s decided to forego his eligibility – whatever he actually had left – to turn pro.  He’s moved on, because Memphis had to move on. 

 

  • If the NCAA gets around to them, the Tigers will get hammered for this, um, recruitment.

 

  • USC’s basketball program has also been put on notice by the NCAA, receiving a Notice of Allegations last week.  Not a surprise, with former assistant coach Tony Bland involved in the FBI investigation-for-corruption scandal. 

 

  • It’s a too-slow process, but in case you’ve lost count at home – USC, Kansas, Oklahoma State and North Carolina State are all on the hook with Memphis standing in line, waiting for the guillotine to mete out its punishment.

 

  • How big was Georgetown’s winning the national soccer championship?  A first-ever, yes, for the Hoyas in men’s soccer and 3rd all-time (men’s basketball, women’s cross-country).  Six goals scored in 90 minutes was exciting, sure, for the sport.  Another natty for the Big East, too.

 

  • But deciding a national championship on PK’s (7-6) in the win over Virginia?  C’mon, man.  That’s the equivalent to deciding the College Football Playoff on a field goal kicking contest. 

 

  • Or the College World Series on a home run derby.  Or March Madness with free throws.  Wait, wut?

 

  • A shout out to PC women’s basketball and head coach Jim Crowley, after an 8-1 start heading into tournament play in New Mexico this week, where they dropped two straight.  Perhaps the rebirth of a once-potent program comes just in time, since UConn returns to the league for next season?

 

  • PC hockey returns to the ice next week, with dates against Lake Superior State and Union in Vermont after a three-week layoff. 

 

  • Former Friar, NY Ranger and Hartford Whaler defenseman Scot Kleinendorst passed away this past week after suffering a traumatic injury in a paper mill where he worked in Minnesota.  He was 59 years old, having started his career as a Rangers’ draft pick in 1982 and ending it with Washington in 1990.

 

  • Not sure yet what it might mean for us around here, but the Mountain West Conference struck a new media deal with Fox for football and basketball, moving over from ESPN.  Each school in the league will roughly triple what they made previously from TV rights.

 

  • Expect the Big East, when it comes to renegotiating with Fox or looking to another entity (ESPN again?) to heavily lean on UConn’s re-admission to the league as a big-time bargaining chip.

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez he was in the county courthouse this week when he overheard a judge ask someone what he was in there for.  “What are you charged with?”  The defendant replied, “Doing my Christmas shopping too early.”

 

  • “That’s no offense,” the judge said.  “How early were you shopping?”  And the defendant answered, “before the store opened.”

 

  • I have never had more displeasure with elected officials in this country than I have had in the past year.  Locally or nationally.  Think about that for a sec, and if you share the sentiment, do something about it when you can.

 

  • Or just impeach them, which is what our pols seem to be all about these days.  Never mind we have other things like education, taxes, roadwork, healthcare and general life to think about, too.

 

  • Steve in Connecticut emailed last week: “How about a little mention of the PC WBB team?”

 

  • Steve:  Duly noted and see above.  Although, and I’m sure Jim Crowley would agree, stubbing their toes in New Mexico this week is a downer…but no doubt about it, the 8-1 start is as good as they’ve had in some time – since 1990-91, to be precise.  It’s a long time coming.  Good thing, too, as I mentioned above since UConn re-enters the league next season. 

 

  • Merry Christmas, Edward in East Providence!  Santa told me this is what you wanted under your tree – women’s college hoop talk.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.