Nets Out On Howard With Lopez Injury?
Brook Lopez’s injured ankle will keep him out of action for three weeks, and it could potentially prevent a Dwight Howard trade to New Jersey/Brooklyn. The Nets, Mavericks and Lakers are still Howard’s three preferred landing spots if he’s traded, but the Magic still don’t know what to do with nine days remaining before the deadline. Meanwhile, serious trade discussions around the rest of the NBA are on hold, according to Ken Berger, until the Howard situation is resolved.
A Howard trade to the Nets would not be blocked by Lopez’s injury, says Fred Kerber. A framework for a Nets-Magic deal does not exist, perhaps because Orlando is still reportedly “clinging to the hope” that Howard will stay. Orlando’s owner, 86-year-old Rich DeVos, does not want to trade Howard but 6-8 teams are still actively interested in dealing for him.
Wolves Eye Crawford
Minnesota, which lacks a two-guard, is actively pursuing Jamal Crawford, according to Alex Kennedy. The TimberWolves are at 20-19, 1 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and have been giving the bulk of their minutes at guard to Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour and JJ Barea, three point guards. With Portland struggling at the PG position and Raymond Felton also in many trade rumors, it would make sense to base a deal around Crawford and Ridnour.
-The Boston Celtics are listening to offers on Ray Allen but are not actively shopping him, says Alex Kennedy. However, there haven’t been many calls for the Big Three, says the Boston Herald.
-Lamar Odom will stay in Dallas and neither side has a desire for that to change.
-With a large contract, Boris Diaw and Charlotte may agree on a buyout that would release the French forward from his contract. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer confirms that Diaw has asked for a buyout or trade.
Plenty of pitchers had high expectations and fell short of them with subpar 2011 seasons, hurting actual and fantasy baseball teams alike. Some of those pitchers didn’t fare as well as they should have because of bad luck or some set of unusual circumstances. In this first sabermetric baseball post of the new year, we’ll give you pitchers due to bounce back based on their 2011 E-F. E-F is the difference between ERA and FIP, fielding independent pitching. FIP adjusts the ERA and eliminates factors the pitcher cannot control, like defense. Here are six pitchers who were better in 2011 than their ERA indicated for a number of reasons.
|Pitchers Due To Rebound- E-F||Innings||ERA||FIP||E-F|
|Derek Lowe, CLE (ATL)||187||5.05||3.70||1.35|
|Ricky Nolasco, MIA||206||4.67||3.54||1.14|
|Brandon Morrow, TOR||179.1||4.72||3.64||1.08|
|Ubaldo Jimenez, CLE (CLE/COL)||188.1||4.68||3.67||1.01|
|Zack Greinke, MIL||171.2||3.83||2.98||0.85|
|Rick Porcello, DET||182||4.75||4.06||0.69|
Derek Lowe, Cleveland- Lowe suffered through injury issues with the Braves last year that he may not encounter with his new team, the Indians. Cleveland is betting that Lowe will get back to 200 innings after 2011 was his lowest innings pitched season since Boston’s curse-breaking year of 2004. He technically should have had an ERA under 4 based on FIP, but that could be negated by his switch to the American League. However his ground ball percentage was 59 percent last season, second in baseball to Jake Westbrook, and that will translate well no matter where he goes.
Ricky Nolasco, Miami- He allowed the most hits in the NL with 244 (only Carl Pavano allowed more hits last season) but that also came with an astronomically high .331 BABIP, the highest mark in the major leagues. We don’t know how the Marlins’ new ballpark will factor in to his success, but the pressure is off Nolasco after Miami added Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano to team with Nolasco, the returning Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez.
Brandon Morrow, Toronto- Morrow was second in the major leagues (behind fellow column subject Zack Greinke) in strikeouts per nine innings with 10.19, but his ground ball percentage was extraordinarily low, at 36 percent it was the sixth worst mark in baseball last year (only Jered Weaver, Ted Lilly, Colby Lewis, Javier Vazquez and Jeremy Hellickson were worse), and his career low 65.5 percent strand rate (third worst in baseball behind Fausto Carmona and fellow column subject Ubaldo Jimenez) meant that big hits and home runs allowed drove home more runs. If Morrow improves his ground ball rate, expect his ERA to improve as well.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Cleveland- Jimenez dealt with injuries and a trade last season and a career high .317 BABIP. Perhaps some more stability, and a larger ground ball rate, will help him in his first full season with the Indians. His strand rate also had a one-season drop of 11 percent, and getting out of some jams will obviously help his bottom line going forward.
Zack Greinke, Milwaukee- His ERA was still below four, but it should have been below three for a number of reasons. A whopping 13.6 percent of fly balls hit off Greinke were home runs, the fifth highest mark in baseball behind A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo, Chris Volstad and Mike Leake. Greinke led the major leagues in strikeouts per nine innings, so if he gets more ground balls and fly balls stay in the park, he should do just fine.
Rick Porcello, Detroit- He plays for a strong offense in a big ballpark, so he has a lot of things going for him. Porcello’s big issue? He doesn’t strike enough people out, just 5.14 per nine innings in 2011. Fewer strikeouts means more balls in play, which made his .316 BABIP look even worse. If Porcello fans more batters, his 4.75 ERA from 2011 should improve dramatically.