Welcome to The Blog About Nothing. It’s the 5th of August, and Friday is upon us once again. Today is the opening ceremony of the Olympics, although I’m not really looking forward it, and the NFL preseason is about to kick off. Good times, my friends, good times. As I promised in last week’s blog, I’m going to keep this space free of politics, so you’re not going to get that this week. Instead you’re going to get some basketball and baseball talk. Let’s do this!
Not too long ago I blogged about the Oklahoma City Thunder needing to trade Russell Westbrook because he won’t commit his future to their franchise. Well, he may not have committed his future to the franchise this week, but he absolutely made a short term commitment in signing a three year, eighty five million dollar extension this week. When the news broke, I struggled with a reaction until the light bulb went off in my head.
Russell Westbrook is a smart man. Yeah, I said it. He’s a smart man. My initial reaction was “why would he do that?” but after some thought and analyzing the terms of the agreement I said “he’s a damn genius”.
In agreeing to the extension Westbrook earns a $9 million raise for the upcoming season, a max contract for the 2017-2018 season, and he can opt out of the third year of the contract after the 2018 season and place himself in a position to pull down a new contract that could pay him up to 35% of the cap number at that time.
Basically, he put the ball back in General Manager Sam Presti’s court by signing a wait and see contract. For at least a season and a half he can play with whatever roster Presti can place around him and if it does not work out the Thunder can still deal him if the team gets the feeling that he will leave at the end of the 2018 season, or he can leave and join a new team at a much higher cap number than he would have been eligible for if he left after next season.
It’s a smart move for Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Fans of free agency might be disappointed that Westbrook will not be an option for their team next summer, but by waiting until the summer of 2018, Russell can sit back and see which teams might be pushing for contention at that time. So, for those teams who were going to put their chips in on the Westbrook sweepstakes next summer, they now have one more year to make their teams even more attractive for him. Smart man, that Russell Westbrook, smart man.
The Major League Baseball trade deadline has come and gone and my thoughts are about a player that was not traded, but might have a new team in the near future. In the past I have advocated for the New York Yankees to release Alex Rodriguez from his contract, and it appears that the Yankees might finally be at the point of doing that. At 41 years old, Alex has nothing left as a player but he is still a professional that can add to the clubhouse with his presence and his willingness to help younger players. However, as a Yankee, he has worn out his welcome and needs to move on.
So assuming the Yankees cut him, will someone pick him up? I don’t think so to be honest but I would not be surprised if one of three teams takes a chance on him. The first team that I think might take the chance is the New York Mets. The Mets cannot hit worth a damn, and their season is going nowhere fast but they are desperate and desperate teams do desperate things. Giving Alex a shot would not be out of the norm for the Mets but I would put this move as extremely doubtful.
A second team that I think might take a chance is the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are not going anywhere either but as an American League team, Alex can be the Designated Hitter, and as a former Yankee he would be a good draw for the fans. The Rays have to do something, and adding Alex might be an oddity that draws a few more eyeballs to the organization.
Finally, I think the Miami Marlins will be the team that takes the chance. Alex is a Miami native, has a good relationship with the owner Jeffrey Loria, and he gets along well with hitting coach Barry Bonds. Add to the fact that a former Yankee in Don Mattingly is the manager, and I see a fit worth pursuing. A-Rod can’t play 162 games, and he would be better suited as a designated hitter in the American League, but I can see the Marlins giving him some at bats, and he can be a big draw to a stadium that needs one.
If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t place a bet that Alex plays again but if I have to play the speculation game, I’m going to play it. So, in the speculation game I’ve got A-Rod and the Marlins as a perfect match. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. We will see.
I’m done. Thanks for reading and supporting all we do here at 7Poundbag.
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