Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at 10:20 AM
THE JIM SEZ MID-WEEK UPDATE:
CAN WE EXPECT ANY BLOCKBUSTER DEALS IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO NEXT WEEK'S ALL-STAR GAME?
PLUS MORE NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM REPORTS AS WE TACKLE THE JETS, COLTS & 'SKINS
We know that you've all heard the arguments that with Major-League Baseball having two wild card teams in each league, more teams than ever believe they "have a shot" at making it to the post-season but - let's face it - there are a handful of squads already out of it and three of those teams are the focus of our attention here in today's Jim Sez when it comes to potential blockbuster deals in the next few days:
OAKLAND (38-47) - The A's blew up the whole operation following last year's second-half collapse and then wild card game loss in Kansas City and really nothing's gone right for this American League West crew. In fact, hope you noticed that the A's are 6-21 in one-run games so far this season and that means they are "on the pace" to sport the worst-ever win percentage in one-run games in the sport's history! Both of last year's mid-season pitching pick-ups - RHP's Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel - are long gone off the Oakland roster and general manager Billy Beane would rather not ship out any other hurlers (no, All-Star RHP Sonny Gray isn't going anywhere!) but 3B Brett Lawrie (team-leading .291 batting average) and closer Tyler Clippard (15 saves) could be part of a monster deal and we're hearing both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers could be interested parties.
PHILADELPHIA (28-57) - Okay, so the laughingstock Phillies were pretty much eliminated from any/all post-season talk by late April but that doesn't mean they don't have any key pieces that could be slung together in a blockbuster-type deal. In fact, with closer Jonathan Papelbon - just named to this year's All-Star roster for the National League - publicly begging to be dealt, you could see a monster-sized move where Papelbon (14 saves) and LHP Cole Hamels (1.13 WHIP and a team-best 119 strikeouts) get shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays for a batch of prospects and you might even see 1B Ryan Howard (14 HR and 41 RBI) sent with another player or two to Cleveland for additional prospects where Howard could serve as the club's DH this second half of the year. The truth of the matter is the Phils do have some young talent on this team including OF Odubel Herrera and 3B Maikel Franco (hitting .297 with 10 HR and 34 RBI in 195 at-bats) and they'd love to pawn off the older guys mentioned here for a bunch of Double-A or Triple-A prospects.
COLORADO (35-47) - You might have caught Rockies' manager Walt Weiss on the MLB Network on Tuesday afternoon explaining how his club needs to win a lot of games and "right away" following this stumbling/bumbling first half of the year and you got the impression that if Colorado entered next week's All-Star Game break getting hammered at home this week by the Los Angeles Angels and Atlanta Braves then it could be time to shoot up the white flag. Okay, so the usual suspects would be named in any/all trade conversations and that means SS Troy Tulowitzki (team-best .358 on-base percentage) and OF Carlos Gonzalez (11 home runs) should be considered trade chips here and one scenario is that the Rockies deal away "Tulo" plus another body or two to Texas while Gonzalez could be bound to the New York Mets who sorely need some outfield punch.
BTW, a couple of "name players" that we don't expect to get moved this summer include Boston LF Hanley Ramirez (contract's way too hefty and he's simply turned off too many team in baseball) and Cincinnati 2B Brandon Phillips who simply isn't gonna bring back the mother lode of prospects the Reds would like in return.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for the baseball winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear on August 9th with the NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Minnesota Vikings - can't wait, right?
NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM GLANCES
It is summertime and that means the annual Jim Sez report on all 32 NFL teams with our quick-hitter looks continuing today with the New York Jets, the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins … and check out our quickie pointspread ditties too:
NEW YORK JETS (4-12) - Once upon a time, the Jets believed they had an "embarrassment of riches" along the defensive line after having USC's Leonard Williams fall to them at pick #6 in last spring's NFL Draft but now DL Sheldon Richardson will miss the season's first four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy and Muhammed Wilkerson is an unhappy camper with contract issues and so suddenly depth along the D-line isn't as big a factor as everyone thought it would be. The Jets have been wowed by Williams in OTA work and we'll now see how he fits in this new Todd Bowles-coached defense.
Pointspread Notes - Last year's Jets started off regular-season play by going 0-5-1 ATS (against the spread) but, for the record, the six-year NYJ coaching career of Rex Ryan finished up a dead-even but vig-losing 50-50-2.
INDIANAPOLIS (13-6) - The MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas actually has the Indy Colts as the favorite among AFC teams to win Super Bowl 50 as they're listed at 8-1 to win it all (note that defending Super Bowl champ New England is priced right now at 9-1) but if Chuck Pagano's club is gonna take that "next step" then upgrading the league's 22nd-best ground game is a must and that's why long-time San Fran 49ers RB Frank Gore will be a central figure this year (although he won't play much in the preseason) plus we'll be watching sixth-round pick Josh Robinson (Miss State) to see if he can crack the Colts' roster.
Pointspread Notes - The Colts have banged out a super-impressive 37-20-2 against-the-odds mark since late in the 2011 season and that includes last year's 10-5-1 ATS mark as betting favorites.
WASHINGTON (4-12) - Can you believe it's been 10 long years since the Redskins last won a playoff game? It's true and if the D.C. gang has any designs on getting back into the post-season for the first time since 2012 then getting off to a quicksilver start is essential and note that Washington is home in three of the season's first four weeks (versus Miami in Week 1, St. Louis in Week 2 and Philadelphia in Week 4). One player the 'Skins desperately need to play at a Pro Bowl level is LB Ryan Kerrigan who claims he's ready for camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that kept him from the team's OTAs.
Pointspread Notes - The 'Skins unfortunately have put up back-to-back 5-11 ATS campaigns the past two years and note that Washington's failed to cover eight of its last dozen NFC East games.
NOTE: There's plenty of College Football goodies comin' your way soon right here in the pages of Jim Sez.