At the trade deadline, many were easy to throw Chris Kreider's name into trade negotiations and it is safe to say that those same people are happy that Kreider is still here.
Kreider is an enigma who couldn't have emerged at a better time. When Carl Hagelin felt the cold swift justice of Brendan Shanahan's ban-hammer, it presented an opportunity for Kreider.
Six games later, Kreider has been a breath of fresh air and he became the only player in NHL history to start his career with two playoff game-winning goals. Kreider also assisted on an insurance goal scored by Brad Richards in the third period of the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
With Kreider in the lineup, the Rangers can dress two top-scoring lines that have a balance of skill, speed and finesse. The top line featuring Carl Hagelin, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik has been together for quite some time and is a line the Rangers can depend on.
Kreider has assimilated well with his former Team USA linemate Derek Stepan and fellow countryman Ryan Callahan. This "All-American" line has been one of the Rangers' best lines as of late because of its puck possession. Kreider has been able to work pucks from around the boards, Callahan can get physical in the corners and Stepan has rediscovered his on-ice vision.
During games one through four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators, Stepan looked lost and off his game. A steady effort in Game 5 was built upon in Game 6 and Stepan assisted on Kreider's game-winning goal.
There seems to be a theme to the Rangers' recent success and Kreider has been a huge part of it. Kreider's speed, on-ice presence and work ethic make him a great fixture in John Tortorella's system.
Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record had this to say about Kreider's integration into Tortorella's system.
Coach John Tortorella said the coaching staff went over the team concept with Kreider before he began playing but, for right now, they want him playing on instincts and then, with training camp and the offseason, they’ll begin refining his game. Totortella also said his assimilation into the team was helped because the coaching staff talked to the other players about Kreider and Kreider about his new teammates, plus, the other Rangers have been so open-armed.
The best part about Kreider is that he is a level-headed kid who is taking everything in stride. As he grows he will only get better, but in six games he has really exhibited that he has the potential to be a future star.
It is not often that a player emerges with size, speed, offensive instincts and a great attitude. In a New York Times interview with Christopher Botta, Kreider had this to say:
"The entire experience is pretty overwhelming."
"This was only my sixth game, but I feel like I’ve been around a lot longer," Kreider said. "I guess it feels that way because of all the help I’ve had."
Kreider has certainly given the Rangers a shot in the arm and they will continue to ride this euphoric high as long as they can. It could last a week, a month or even longer because Kreider has shown that in the time he has been a Ranger, he came to play and to make an impact.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a prime example of this over a seven year stretch in which they have not made the playoffs. Some will argue that the Maple Leafs just haven’t iced a good enough team to finish in the top eight in the Eastern Conference, which is a debatable point. What is not debatable is how inconsistent and below average their goaltending has been over that time period.
When James Reimer jumped into the Maple Leaf goal in the 2010-11 NHL season and posted an impressive 20-10-5 record with a 2.60 goals against average and a .921 save percentage it looked like the Maple Leafs finally had there answer in goal. Reimer looked so good in that he was rewarded with a 3 year deal at $1.8 million per season. Unfortunately Reimer suffered a concussion early in the season and never appeared to recover.
Ryback dominated two local jobbers at WWE Extreme Rules 2012 in a performance that will not only force the fans to take notice of him, but also the rest of the WWE locker room.
Santino Marella and The Great Khali watched Ryback absolutely slaughter two men in an impromptu handicap match. Though the match was going to be an obvious squash to all involved, the supreme power and athleticism Ryback displayed in the match was simply jaw-dropping.
The best part of the match was actually the Chicago crowd chanting "Goldberg." Ryback and the WWE creative team may not be happy about that, but let's face it, folks, it's damn true at this point. Ryback is being presented as a machine-like animal, much in the same way Goldberg was during his prime in WCW.
Considering Goldberg was one of the most popular wrestlers in the world in the late 1990s, there could certainly be worse comparisons.
If WWE wants to avoid any more Goldberg chants in the future, they'll have to find a way to work him into a feud, quickly. Until then, the fans will continue to see him as nothing more than a rip-off that they can having fun abusing with their chants, no matter what Ryback does.
At the end of the day, though, Ryback should be happy with his performance. His signature moves, which included a lethal clothesline and a Ryback-Pack Stunner, among others, looked simply phenomenal.
SmackDown has seen an influx of new superstars this month, including Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, but Ryback has the look and athleticism Vince McMahon covets and will push to the top.
Expect Ryback to make a massive impact in 2012.
As much as he is revered in Boston, forever to be remembered for playing every minute of the 2011 Cup run, Thomas turned 38 this month. Even with his pedigree, he can’t change his birth certificate (per government regulations, don’t ya know), which means he likely wouldn’t bring the Bruins more than, say, a second- and third-round draft pick this summer.
Maybe the offer would be higher come the February/ March trade deadline, and maybe that’s how best to maximize the asset: keep Thomas around, and if [Tuukka] Rask is everything that so many believe, dish Thomas in February to a playoff team in the Western Conference that is willing to surrender a first-round pick.
Continued, with mostly Bruins-centric topics…
It's been almost a week now since Virginia Tech made headlines by parting ways with Seth Greenberg after nine years together.
The Hokies said that they wanted to move quickly and they have done just that. After contacting some coaches and even confirming one interview, Virginia Tech appears to be narrowing down its pool of candidates and soon pulling the trigger.
Let us take a look at some of the names being mentioned, assessing not only the likelihood of them signing but also the impact they could make on the program.
NBC and the NHL have to like the taste of their 10-year television deal right about now. The first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in the books, and the American television ratings for this year's Quarterfinals are in the history books.
NBC Sports announced Friday that an average of 929,000 viewers tuned in for each first round Stanley Cup Playoff game on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC in Round 1, making it the most-watched first round of the NHL playoffs in history. That's what happens when you a) Put every game on national television and b) Get the luxury of 32 one-goal games and 16 overtime games.
Games on NBC Sports Network averaged 744,000 viewers according to an NBC press release, up 16 percent from a year ago when the network was branded Versus. Those are the highest numbers for hockey on cable since 2001, when ESPN's first round coverage averaged 745,000 viewers.
In addition to the impressive numbers, it seems as though Thursday's Game 7 strategy paid off for NBCSN. They opted to stagger the start times for the two Game 7's, and while 984,000 viewers tuned in for the 7 p.m. start time between New York and Ottawa, much of that crowd hung around late into the evening. 867,000 viewers hung around after the Rangers beat the Senators to watch Devils vs. Panthers, which ended in double overtime at 12:17 a.m. ET.
Oh, and then there are local numbers:
We'll see if NBC can keep the momentum going in the NHL's Conference Semifinal round, but right now, there's a lot for the league and it's TV partner to smile about.
If there's one big take away from Thursday night's first round of the NFL Draft it's this:
High-flying NFL passing offenses are here to stay.
As Don Banks of SI.com pointed out in his post-first round notes, seven of the first 10 picks were players who will either be tasked with being a big part of the passing game or stopping the passing game.
The list of seven includes quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Ryan Tannehill, defensive backs Morris Claiborne, Mark Barron, and Stephon Gilmore, and wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
And if you go even further than that and also include players taken for their pass protection or pass rushing skills, 21 of the 32 first round picks meet this criteria too.
With seven of last year's 12 playoff teams all ranked among the top 10 passing offenses in the league, this makes a lot of sense and is a trend that is likely to continue for years to come. (See: NFL rules changes favoring scoring over defense.)
In Case You Missed It: Every Pick From The First Round Of The 2012 NFL Draft →
Both teams won their opening-round series in five games. While the Blues erased their 10-year series-winning playoff drought in impressive fashion by dispatching the San Jose Sharks, the 8th-seeded Kings pulled off the Stanley Cup playoff’s biggest upset by eliminating the top-seeded and President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks.
This Graphic Welcoming Robert Griffin III To D.C. Was Created Using Pictures Of Fans Welcoming Robert Griffin III To D.C.
Go to Redskins.com today, and you can see the graphic below welcoming Robert Griffin III to Washington D.C.. The graphic was created by using the profile pictures of Redskins fans who have welcomed RG3 to the Redskins on Twitter or Facebook.
On the actual graphic, you can click on any of the "pixels" and see the profile picture of the fan along with their message to RG3.
In an era where teams are always trying to get fans more involved, this was a very cool move by the Skins.
Click on the image for a larger version...
“I view it pretty much the same way I saw it going into the last summer, the biggest difference being that Tuukka obviously didn’t play towards the end because of his injury,” Chiarelli said, before quickly adding, “for me there’s no uncertainty there with regard to him being back and healthy.
“I know I’ve seen speculation about moving a goalie and all that stuff, but certainly I’m not inclined to do that,” Chiarelli continued. “Tim didn’t have statistically the year he had before but I thought he had a very good year. We have, if not the best, one of the top two or three goalie tandems in the league.”
Rask is coming off a strained groin and abdomen that sidelined him for the final five weeks of the regular season and start of the playoffs, but he returned to dress as Thomas’ backup in the final two games against Washington. On Friday, Rask declared himself “100 percent” and was not worried about any future issues with the injury.
UNREAL AUDIO: An NFL Draft Prospect Breaks Down Crying When The Cowboys Call Him To Say He Has Been Drafted
The Cowboys shocked everyone by trading up to the No. 6-spot to draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne last night.
The team recorded the phone conversation that Cowboys brass had with Claiborne, and it's pretty fantastic.
Claiborne is clearly overwhelmed, and starts crying.
Here's the audio via The Big Lead:
A week ago, Brandon Allen was placed on waivers by the Oakland A's despite being named the opening day first baseman. The Rays quickly snapped him up.
Allen didn't make his first appearance with the Rays until Wednesday, when drew a bases-loaded walk. So entering Thursday's game, Allen still didn't even have an official at bat with the club.
That's when he hit what is the most improbable game-winning home run yet in this young baseball season.
On the next few pages we will take a look at how it happened, along with the video of the walk-off bomb.
With the lefty-hitting Matt Joyce leading off the ninth and the Angels up one, Mike Scioscia kept his lefty in to start the inning
And it worked as Scott Downs got Joyce to hit a weak groundball to first base
With one out, Scioscia turned to his closer Jordan Walden
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Brock Osweiler is easy to pick out of a crowd, and could be confused for a basketball player. Standing at 6'8", he is easily the tallest quarterback in this year's draft class, and is one of the most intriguing prospects of the entire 2012 class.
Before agreeing to play football at ASU, Osweiler turned down a scholarship to hoop it up at Gonzaga, which is something that not many other prospects can boast. Although he only spent one full season as the starter for the Sun Devils, he used that time to rewrite the record book, becoming the first ASU signal-caller to eclipse 4,000 yards passing in a single season, finishing 2011 with 4,036 yards.
Osweiler brings a tremendous physical presence to the table, but there are some concerns that his size is a hindrance to his ability to develop proper footwork and throwing mechanics. The other side of that coin is that Osweiler's mechanics didn't keep him from setting Sun Devil records for completions and completion percentage.
The draft team at ProFootballWeekly.com sees Osweiler like this:
Though still very raw and years away from prime time, Osweiler has rare size, surprising movement skill and plenty of arm strength to be groomed in a downfield passing attack. Can be drafted considerably higher than he grades on tape because of his upside.
Osweiler will need time to develop and likely doesn't have the ability to jump in and wrestle a starting position away in his rookie season in the NFL. However, Osweiler has been applauded for his leadership and on-field presence, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him start to win over the locker room as a backup and show flashes of brilliance in practice.
As mentioned by the scouts, his size and athleticism could be a once-in-a-generation mix that won't be seen in many drafts to come. Once he gets a handle on the NFL game, he could turn out to be the major steal of the 2012 draft.
The Denver Broncos currently have a quarterback of some note, but Peyton Manning ain't getting any younger. Consequently, it makes a lot of sense for the Broncs to go after a young, raw athlete who's got physical tools to burn. Osweiler won't be ready to step behind center for a few years, but that just means he's got more time to learn at the elbow of one of the greatest QBs of all time.
The Kansas City Chiefs have their entire fanbase torn after using the 11th overall pick last night on Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. But what’s done is done and now off to Day 2, where the Chiefs are currently slated to pick at No. 44 and 74—which could change if tonight mimics last night’s eight total deals.
With a few holes left to fill at offensive guard, middle linebacker and safety, and the possibility of still adding depth across the defensive line, the Chiefs will be very focused on certain players they have on their draft board.
However, some fans are geeked at the prospect of the Chiefs ridding their fear of selecting quarterbacks, and would like to see them draft an arm. Needless to say, the results of tonight’s picks could come with just as much reaction as the selection of Poe in Round 1.
Since the Chiefs decided to pass on offensive guard David DeCastro out of Stanford, it is imperative they address that need tonight. Bringing in an interior lineman will cap off what could be one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which also features tackles Branden Albert and newly-signed Eric Winston.
While Cordy Glenn, out of Georgia, would fit well, it is likely the Chiefs would have to trade up for a shot at him since he is one of the highest rated remaining players. This could lead them into taking a long look at Wisconsin center Peter Konz.
Although he played center throughout his college career, Konz is a very good candidate to switch to guard for teams that already have a snapper or need his flexibility. Although not as quick, his intense work ethic and determination allow him to make up for that.
With seemingly no huge weakness in his technique, Konz could come right in and start at guard for the Chiefs, pushing veteran Ryan Lilja to be the primary backup and helping Chiefs fans forget about them passing on DeCastro.
With defensive tackle and interior lineman checked off for the Chiefs, they should be looking in the direction of middle linebacker to help alleviate the pressure put on Derrick Johnson to make so many plays. However, cornerback Trumaine Johnson out of Montana might be hard to pass on in the third round.
The Chiefs have had success in the past in coaching up cornerbacks drafted in the later rounds in Brandon Flowers (Round 2) and Brandon Carr (Round 5), who signed with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
Although the Chiefs replaced Carr with former Oakland Raider Stanford Routt, you can never have too many cornerbacks in a league that has gotten extremely pass-happy over the past few years. If Routt’s penalty issues carry over to his new team, Johnson will pick up a larger role as the season progresses—something he should embrace.
Johnson is a big corner, standing at 6’2” and 204 pounds. And although he does lack top-end speed (4.61 in the 40-yard dash), he possesses just enough of it to stand out at the position in the NFL and would make a good complement to Flowers on the other side or in nickel situations.
If we look back at the first NFL Draft during the Super Bowl era (1966), we see that Luck's size would have been one of the largest players selected. But in last night's first round, Luck actually looks pretty small compared to some of his fellow draftees.
Here's a look at the height and weight of all first round draft picks from 1966 and 2012...
Data via Pro-Football-Reference.com
Greasy kielbasas and overpriced burgers have become the routine fare at baseball stadiums around North America, but that doesn't mean there isn't a secret collection of artery-threatening delights dripping in the shadows.
As we peruse the country's ballparks in search of the most unbelievable delicacies, we find quite the array of edible masterpieces.
Let's see which food ideas made the cut for the craziest in all of baseball.
Don't forget your Tums.
The NFL Draft is nice. But let's face it, doing mock drafts in which even the best prognosticator will only get one-third correct, and then handing out grades for each team that will mean nothing in three years, is kinda lame.
Now, if you really want to get pumped up for some football action, just watch the trailer for Madden 13 (via SportsGrid.com).
This game seven between the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers just had that feeling from the start that it was heading towards sudden death overtime. And the teams didn't disappoint, taking it into double-overtime before this game-winner by Adam Henrique of the Devils after the puck to a couple of fortunate bounces.
And with the Devils winning, the road team is now 13-5 in the last 18 game sevens to go into overtime.
Here's the video...
We've been waiting awhile for this series to happen. Ever since Carmelo Anthony got his wish and forced his way out of Denver for the bright lights of New York City, people have watched to see the Knicks and Heat face off. They'll get that in the first round of the playoffs this year.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, this one probably isn't going to shake out how they might have hoped.
The Knicks have had a season of ups and downs filled with plenty of turmoil. The Heat have bounced back after losing to the Mavericks in the Finals last season and look stronger than ever.
This one is easy: Miami is simply too good. LeBron James (who should soon win his third MVP award), Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Co. are on a mission to get back to the Finals. With the way James has played all season, I wouldn't bet against him.
Heat in five.
If you like this video, click here to check out more from Bleacher Report Productions.
With the first two picks of tonight's NFL Draft already predetermined, the key to the first round is now the third pick and what the Minnesota Vikings plan to do with it. And if the oddsmakers are right, Matt Kalil, the offensive tackle from USC, will be the pick.
According to Bovada.lv, Kalil is the favorite to be the third pick at -250. They also list LSU's Morris Claiborne (+120), Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (+500), and Riley Reiff (+1200) of Iowa.
Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean the Vikings will be the team making the selection. And another strong possibility for the third spot is Trent Richardson of Alabama.
Many people are speculating that the Vikings will trade down, possibly to the fifth spot. If that happens, the feeling is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would select Richardson (who may be coveted by the Cleveland Browns at no. 4), and that Kalil would still be there for the Vikings when they pick fifth.
Second-round picks in the NBA draft have an uphill battle facing them just to make the roster, but every so often a team stumbles on a hidden gem. Isaiah Thomas was the absolute last pick in the 2011 draft, but has become one of the most reliable players on Sacramento’s woeful roster this season.
This trio of players may not make quite as immediate a splash as Thomas, but they’ll be some of the best values available in the second round this spring:
Will Barton, Memphis
A likely victim of the draft’s depth on the wings, Will Barton was a dominating player for an otherwise underachieving team. Even if he doesn’t have the program pedigree of Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or UConn’s Jeremy Lamb, though, Barton has the athleticism and versatility to become a standout NBA player.
At 6’6”, Barton has NBA size, and his productivity is hardly in question after he averaged 18.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a night last season. He’s also an opportunistic defender who averaged 1.4 steals per game, and even his most obvious weakness (.346 shooting from long range) improved dramatically over his freshman year and could keep getting better in the pros.
Kim English, Missouri
Concerns about Kim English being one-dimensional are not unreasonable, but what a dimension it is. The Missouri shooting guard shot an absurd .459 from three-point range last year (and .521 overall), averaging 14.9 points a game for the Tigers.
English could also be a lot worse as a defender. He parlayed Mizzou’s high-pressure schemes into 1.3 steals a game, and at 6’5”, he has the length to match up with NBA 2-guards.
Henry Sims, Georgetown
With so many center prospects for this year’s first round, a few big men are sure to slip through the cracks. One of the most intriguing is Georgetown’s bruising Henry Sims.
Calling the 6’10”, 245-lb Sims a late bloomer would be an understatement: through his first three seasons, his best averages were 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. As a senior, though, Sims blossomed as a center with physicality (six boards and 1.4 blocks per game) and passing skills (3.5 assists a contest), and he gives every indication of developing into a top-notch NBA reserve.
Sean Payton won't be on the sideline for the New Orleans Saints this year, but he will be coaching.
When asked how he plans to spend his season-long, NFL-sanctioned vacation, Payton explained that he will help coach his 12-year old son's football team (via Yahoo! Sports)...
"One of the things I'm looking forward to doing this fall is helping coach my son's football team and doing a few things that you normally wouldn't be able to do [while coaching in the NFL]"
Let's just hope junior high football doesn't have bounty programs.
The New York Jets possess one of the league's least explosive offenses and that won't change until Shonn Greene is no longer the team's starting running back. That's why the franchise shouldn't hesitate to sacrifice future draft picks to trade up for Trent Richardson.
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York reports that the Jets have contacted the Crimson Tide star to ensure they had his correct information in case a trade occurs on draft day. It's a clear indication the Jets have at least considered moving up.
Richardson has established himself as an extremely rare talent. In today's NFL, where teams focus on building high-powered passing attacks, the fact that he's still projected to go in the first five selections says a lot about his talent level. There's a chance no other running back gets taken in Round 1.
He gained more than 2,000 total yards and scored 24 touchdowns in his only season as the starter at Alabama. Those numbers were accumulated while playing in the SEC, the home of college football's best defenses, so they aren't a fluke.
Richardson's ability to contribute in every aspect on offense makes him invaluable.
He can pound out yards between the tackles or get to the outside and outrun defensive backs. He's also able to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of his game is that he can block, which means he doesn't have to get taken off the field on obvious passing downs.
The difference between him and Greene when it comes to carrying an offense is enormous. With Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow under center, the Jets are doomed without a strong rushing attack and Richardson can actually provide it.
In order to become serious contenders, the Jets need to make a bold move. They aren't going to find a player that will be able to make the same impact of Richardson with the 16th pick, so they should be willing to take the leap to move up.
It will be costly, there's no doubt about that. The Jets will have to trade the No. 16 pick along with a sizable package of other picks from this year's draft and in the future, but that doesn't mean it's not a risk worth taking.
Another running back with the same amount of all-around talent won't be available later in the draft, on the trade market or even in next year's class. Right now is New York's best chance to provide a massive boost to its offense and they have the pieces to get it done.
Instead of sitting back and letting the opportunity slip away, which will undoubtedly lead to another lackluster season of offensive production, the Jets should be aggressive and do everything possible to move up.
Richardson would be well worth the investment and would give one of the league's best fanbases reason to get excited about next season.
Paul Konerko had Chicago White Sox fans watching his stat line in anxiety for 18 games before he hit the anticipated milestone, but he finally came through to hit his 400th home run on Wednesday. It took long enough for Konerko to reach 400, but the wait felt worthwhile as White Sox fans heard their favorite Hawk Harrelson phrase.
As Konerko rounded the bases after jacking the first pitch of the ninth inning off Oakland Athletics reliever Grant Balfour, White Sox fans were filled with ecstasy. No White Sox fan could settle down at least for the rest of the inning.
Once the feeling had worn off, White Sox fans were left to wonder how many more the 36-year-old slugger might hit in his career.
The average baseball observer could write him off as being incapable of hitting 50 more home runs, partly due to age and partly due to his plans to retire after the 2013 season, as he said in January.
However, the notion that simply due to his age he won't hit too many more home runs is short-sighted. Konerko has had a mid-30s renaissance after experiencing two down years in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he had a career year with 39 home runs (second in the American League), a .551 slugging percentage), a .393 on-base percentage and a .977 OPS (fifth).
He nearly matched that in 2011 with 31 home runs, a .388 on-base percentage (sixth), a .584 slugging percentage (fourth) and a .906 OPS (seventh).
Konerko has started his 16th season well, notching a .357/.423/.614 slash line through 18 games.
Also, Konerko has the demeanor to continue to knock a good number of balls out of the park. He's calm, healthy and doesn't party on a regular basis.
Konerko hits home runs at a nice rate. For his career, Konerko has hit a home run every 18.2 at-bats (17th among active players and 77th all-time). In 2011, he drove balls out of the yard once every 17.5 at-bats.
Taking into account some possible decline due to age, one could project Konerko to hit one every 18 at-bats this season and once every 20 at-bats next season. If Konerko collects 546 at-bats this season, as was his average for the last three seasons, then he would hit 30 home runs this season.
If he plays a fewer games in 2013 and ends up with 520 at-bats, then he would hit 26 home runs in what is expected to be his final season.
Interestingly, that would give Konerko 456 homes runs, including 449 with the White Sox, beating Frank Thomas' franchise record by one.
This is a rather moderate projection. It assumes that the White Sox won't have a first baseman waiting in the wings who they'd want to start for 40 games or more. Also, it assumes good health, which isn't guaranteed for someone who is in the latter part of his career.
Still, it's fair for Konerko, who has remained healthy for the last three years. Konerko's health and placid persona could be a great boost for him as he marches through the waning stages of his career.
White Sox fans love Konerko, and while it would be strange to see him unseat "The Big Hurt" as the franchise leader in home runs, it would be a welcome sight. Fans loyal to the team on the south side of Chicago want to see Konerko hit as many home runs as he reasonably can as his career comes to a close.
In between all of the complaints tossed Brian Sabean's way by Giants fans over the last few years, the Giants' front office continues to demonstrate a certain level of competence, especially when it comes to the pitching staff.
Recently, the Giants locked Madison Bumgarner into a deal that keeps him under team control potentially until 2019. The contract will pay Bumgarner, a potential annual Cy Young candidate, an average of $5 million per year.
For comparison's sake, Tim Lincecum will rake in $63 million from 2010-2013, his last four pre-free-agent seasons. Bumgarner, who could command Lincecum-level money if he keeps pitching the way he has, is set to make a little over $30 million during his last four pre-free-agent years.
Locking in players this early is always a risk. If Bumgarner continues his development into a Tom Glavine clone, the Giants will get away like bandits. In more ways than one. In fact, here are three ripple effects of the Bumgarner deal.