1, Did the Twins do the right thing by selling before the trade deadline?
Nate Leer: Twins management did well getting RHP Zach Little and LHP Dietrich Enns from the Yankees and LHP Tyler Watson from the Nationals for LHP Jaime Garcia and RHP Brandon Kintzler, respectively. Both players are free agents after the season so the Twins really had no choice if they wanted to get anything for them. Both vets are pitching well but could certainly regress and/or experience health issues in the 2nd half of the season. The Twins are realistically not going anywhere this season and, while they may have been able to move these 2 after sending them through waivers before August 31st, they also could have lost any value they currently have. In my opinion, the Twins certainly made the right moves adding a few young arms to the organization.
JJ Benz: I am with Nate on this one. The Twins were considered sellers but they didn’t give up Santana which helps with the growth of young pitchers. Kintzler I don’t think is a true closer so getting some value for him while giving young pitchers the opportunity to close is key. I wish that a couple more players would have been moved, but if they couldn’t get the right deal they proved they wouldn’t pull the trigger (see Dozier 2016). I believe this team is 2 or 3 years away from a substantial playoff run. The over achieving of this year’s team and Molitor’s first year team is interesting. With more talent coming up through the system shortly, this adds confidence to young players already on the roster.
2. What do you make of the news that Riley Reiff and Jerick McKinnon left with injuries in week one of training camp? Is it worth noting or nothing too much to worry about given how early it is?
Kras: It is never to early to be concerned about the condition of your starting LT and any injury that keep Reiff from meshing with this O-line is crucial. Not to mention he is their best option on the O-line and without him they are no better than where they were last season. Not much has been said about Reiff’s injury since it happened but it was enough to cause him to be sidelined over the weekend. McKinnon’s injury is not nearly as much of a factor to the team as he is at best working as the team’s 3rd RB at best. Any time missed will will surely hurt McKinnon more than it will the team but it is still another early blow to the O that has had trouble gaining any traction over the past few years. The Reiff injury will be worth monitoring as we move forward.
Nate Leer: The McKinnon news is really just a side note as he hopefully is a non factor for the most part this year. However, as Kras points out, it is certainly a bit distressing that the prize free agent and starting LT went down right away. Hopefully this is mostly just Reiff working out the kinks but it is one more indication that the team needs more depth on the O line. I would like to think that this injury will convince management to look at the veterans that are on the market and sign the one with the most tread left on the tire.
3. Would you like to see Kyrie Irving on the T-Wolves even if it means giving up Andrew Wiggins? Do you think it would work well for this team if Kyrie were here?
Kras: Yes, I would like to see Kyrie on this team even if it meant giving up Wiggy. That said, I would be just fine if this team stuck with Wiggy and moved forward with what they have. Kyrie is an elite talent who is a few years older than Wiggy but brings unrivaled experience, not only in big moments but in big playoff moments, which is hard to put a price on. I do believe, if the Wolves are able to make a play and get Kyrie, he would fit into this team and help them get to the playoffs and hopefully a deep run at that. As I said, I will be content with or without Kyrie on this team as the Wolves have had a far better offseason than at any other point in the franchise when they were able to make the move for Jimmy Butler. Butler was a major win and any addition would be welcome but is not needed.
Nate Leer: This is a tough one for me because I think Wig can become an elite scorer and maybe much more. I would love to see if he can develop as a complete player next to a hard nosed baller like Butler. However, getting Kyrie would give the Wolves elite players at each level – PG, wing and big. That would be an attractive balance to the team and KAT gives them a player that Golden State and other small ball teams will have trouble matching up with. With or without Irving, they are still a player or 2 behind the Warriors but who isn’t?
1. With the Chicago Cubs surging as of late, do you think the Milwaukee Brewers still have a chance to win the division? If not, can they be a wild card team?
Kras: The Brewers are already 2.5 games back of the Cubs and only 2 games ahead of the Cardinals, who are also unlikely to make the playoffs, The Brewers will likely not even make the playoffs. Assuming the Cubs win the division, the Brewers will have to snag a wild card spot and they are already behind the Diamondbacks and Rockies in that race by a handful of games. It was a nice run for the Brew Crew with guys like Eric Thames bringing excitement to the ballpark in the first half of the season. However, the fun ride is coming to an abrupt halt, very similar to their neighbors to the west.
Nate Leer: Yeah, Kras nails it with his comparison of the Brew to the Twinks. Both teams overachieved but will fade quickly in the August heat. Kras mentions Thames who provided early power but faded hard. He has rebounded a bit of late and Ryan Braun is back in the lineup as well. They will probably continue to be a decent offensive team but they just don’t have the pitching, especially starting pitching, to be real contenders. One big difference between the Brewers and Twins is in the bullpen. The Brew Crew has a dominant closer whereas the Twins had an overachiever in the closer role who was likely to regress as the season went along. The Brewers are likely to be a .500 team by the end of the year but that won’t be enough to get them into the playoffs.
2. Which current NFL free agent do you think will make a 53 man roster this season?
Kras: I am going hop over to the D-side of the ball and say Brandon Flowers. Coming off a concussion last season which forced him to miss some games and the fact that he is 31 sf not the most attractive offer. I, however, believe there will be a market for the veteran CB. When camp starts rolling along and injuries and mistakes start to pile up, teams will look to add a guy who they think can help fill a void. I think that gets Flowers another chance to play.
JJ Benz: There are a lot of interesting names on the list of the top 50 free agents. The one name that stuck out to me was a former super star, Darrelle Revis. I had heard rumors that he might be moved to safety. He is 32 years old and may have lost a few steps but it’s hard to deny the experience and smarts he has shown.
3. Can Derrick Rose help the Cavs close the gap on the Warriors?
Nate Leer: Here’s a strong answer: maybe. I am not sure he and Kyrie Irving can play on the same team. They seem like a poor fit offensively and defensively. That said, if the players can find a way to work together for stretches, the addition could help both be fresh and effective in the playoffs. A new wrinkle is the ever increasing Irving trade speculation. If Irving is moved, the assets the Cavs get back will go a long way toward determining how much impact Rose actually has this year. A trade for another top notch PG would keep Rose on the bench especially if that is a score first player like Eric Bledsoe. Conversely, a trade for a wing like Andrew Wiggins could make Rose the lead G and an important piece for another Lebron title run.
Kras: This is a tough one. Although Rose can be a factor when he is healthy and feeling good, is that enough to make a difference? I think it would be a tough sell to have both these players on the floor at the same time. Both Rose and Kyrie are at their best with the ball in their hands and, last time I checked, it is hard for both of them to hold the ball at the same time. Rose, at this point in his career, is a very poor man’s Kyrie Irving. Rose’s best role in Cleveland would be coming in and spelling Kyrie for some minutes throughout the game. As much of a fan of Rose as I am, I just don’t think it’s an ideal fit for him to start with. Now, under the assumption that Kyrie will be gone before the 2017 – 2018 NBA season concludes, I think there can be a role, and maybe even a significant one, for Rose. Rose will turn 29 in October and should have some slashes to the lane left in him, as long as he trusts the knees… and they hold up