Quick-Hits: Like thieves in the night, the Eagles steal Nnamdi Asomugha

Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (L) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Oakland, California October 31, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

In Saturday’s Quick-Hits, the Eagles shock the masses by signing Nnamdi Asomugha, the Phillies get more bang for their prospects than the Giants, and the Bears’ questionable decision regarding Greg Olsen.

– Where did that come from? Just when it looked like free agent Nnamdi Asomugha was headed to New York to team with Darrelle Revis to form the greatest cornerback duo known to man, the Eagles swoop in and pull off a stunner. Asomugha’s deal is for five years at $60 million, which also includes $25 million guaranteed. There were a lot of people who questioned Andy Reid’s decision to make former offensive line coach Juan Castillo the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator, but now it might not matter who’s calling the shots on that side of the ball. After acquiring Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this offseason, the Eagles shouldn’t have as many problems in the red zone as they did in 2010. NFL.com’s Mike Lombardi reports that Philly is willing to trade Asante Samuel, which would be a mistake in my eyes. The Eagles are legit Super Bowl contenders now. There’s no reason to part with any talent at this pointt.

– One of the reasons I was so conflicted on the Carlos Beltran trade was because of whom the Giants gave up (top prospect Zach Wheeler) in exchange for the former Met. Granted, Beltran is good and there’s no doubt they needed him. But look at what the Phillies just did in acquiring Hunter Pence from Houston. They parted with two good prospects but landed a 28-year-old outfielder that remains under team control through 2013 – not a 34-year-old outfielder who might not be around in three months when he becomes a free agent. I think the Giants deserve credit for “going for it.” But when the Phillies “go for it” by giving up their top prospects, they land Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Pence – players whom they knew were going to be around a while (or thought they knew when it came to Lee, who was traded in order to acquire Halladay). It seems like the front office philosophy of the Giants is to get a player it likes no matter what the cost. Seeing as how they’re currently defending a World Series title, it’s hard to knock said philosophy. But after reviewing the trades that the two teams made this past week, I can’t help but to think the Phillies made the better overall deal.

– The fact that the Bears traded former first round pick Greg Olsen this offseason is hardly surprising. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesn’t use tight ends in his passing game, so the fact that Olsen racked up 41 catches last year was pretty impressive. But giving up a young talent just because your offensive coordinator doesn’t have much need for the player’s position is a risky proposition. For starters, what if Martz isn’t around in a year? Then what do the Bears have to show for Olsen besides a third round pick? It cost them a first round pick to draft him in the first place, so GM Jerry Angelo didn’t get good value here. (After all, it’s not like Olsen can’t play and the Bears were looking to get anything in exchange for him.) Granted, that third rounder could turn out to be a Pro Bowler someday (Angelo is good at finding gems in the middle rounds), but presently the deal doesn’t make sense when you get past Martz’s desire to exclude tight ends. Seeing as how he’s a receiver in a tight end’s body, if I were Angelo I would have rather seen my offensive coordinator try to work with Olsen instead of shipping him to Carolina for a third round pick.

– One player that continues to lose money by the hour is free agent defensive end Cullen Jenkins. The former Packer is a solid player, who that is scheme-versatile in that he can play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. But after the Panthers re-signed Charles Johnson, the Eagles landed Jason Babin, the Patriots acquired Albert Haynesworth, the Cowboys inked Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears, and the Falcons got a steal in Ray Edwards, there aren’t a lot of teams that are a fit for Jenkins. Granted, teams always need pass-rushers, but my guess is that Jenkins will wind up back in Green Bay on the cheap.

– The Rams made two moves on Friday that I really liked. The first was signing nasty offensive guard Harvey Dahl away from the Falcons. I keep reading how Sam Bradford will love the addition of Dahl, which is true. But he might not love it as much as running back Steven Jackson. Dahl is an absolute mauler in the run game and brings a much-needed nasty demeanor to St. Louis’ offensive line. The other signing I like was Mike Sims-Walker, who only received a one-year deal because the Rams want to make him prove himself. When healthy and motivated, he’s the big receiver that Bradford sorely needs. But if he winds up being a free agent bust, hey, no problem: he’ll be gone in a year.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Giants go all in with Beltran – as they should have

New York Mets batter Carlos Beltran follows through on his swing as he hits a three-run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of their MLB National League baseball game in New York, May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Zach Wheeler isn’t someone I would give up for a 34-year-old rental who probably won’t stick around for more than two months. But then again, when you have the opportunity to play in your second World Series in as many years, you do whatever it takes to get back there.

This Carlos Beltran trade has had me spinning. At first I was shocked when I heard the Giants were willing to part with Wheeler (their top prospect) for a potential rental like Beltran. Then I was downright furious when I got to thinking about how the Giants just gave up one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and only got Beltran in return. I even had a 700-word piece written on how Giants GM Brian Sabean once again overpaid in his pursuit for a veteran player.

But after sleeping on it, I’ve come to my senses. I still don’t like the fact that Sabean parted with his top prospect for someone who may not be around in two months. It’s too risky. If the Giants fail to make the postseason or get swept in the divisional round, then this trade was all for naught. The Mets wanted a top prospect for Beltran and they got one of the best in baseball. The Giants had money to burn and were (albeit seemingly) willing to pay most of Beltran’s contract in order to avoid giving up a good prospect. So instead they gave up their best prospect. As I alluded to in the intro, I wouldn’t have parted with Wheeler for Beltran. I would have parted with Wheeler in a deal for B.J. Upton, who hasn’t hit his weight since 2008 but who is just 26 and a potential five-tool player. He’s also under team control for the next several years, unlike Beltran, who becomes a free agent this winter.

No, I wouldn’t have traded Wheeler for Beltran. But then again, let’s stop and look at the big picture here. The Giants already have three young guns in Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, who all figure to be around a while. And the club’s scouting department is so good that they’ll probably draft three Wheelers by the time they need arms again. What they needed now was offense – and bad.

Pre-Beltran, I don’t think anyone could look at San Francisco’s lineup and say it was good enough to beat Philadelphia or Atlanta in the postseason. But Beltran gives them the middle-of-the-order presence that they sorely needed. For as good as Pablo Sandoval is, he isn’t enough and for God’s sake, Bruce Bochy has been reduced to batting Mike Fontenot third at times this year. If there’s any team that needed a Carlos Beltran, it was the Giants – Zach Wheeler be damned.

And for once, let me give Sabean credit. Some criticized him for trading Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez (another potential rental) a couple of years ago, and for dealing John Bowker in the deal that netted LOOGY Javier Lopez. But without Sanchez (whom Sabean wound up re-signing) and Lopez (who was virtually un-hittable in the playoffs), the Giants would have never won last year. Sabean has some downright nasty acquisitions on his resume, but the guy has been pretty damn good over the past couple of years.

Before the 2010 season, the Giants hoped they would have a team ready to seriously contend by 2011 or 2012. As it turns out, destiny brought them a title last year and now they have a great opportunity to win again this year. But they needed a big bat. That’s why you part with a Zach Wheeler for Carlos Beltran, even though the latter might only be around for another two months. You part with a Zach Wheeler so you can win. And really, isn’t that the point here?

Don’t count on Carlos Beltran landing with the Giants

New York Mets’ Carlos Beltran (L) is congratulated for scoring during the sixth inning playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers in their MLB National League baseball game in Los Angeles, California July 4, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Mets and Giants are having difficulty matching up on a trade involving Carlos Beltran. That’s not surprising considering the two clubs haven’t been a good match from the start.

The Giants need offense and Beltran could provide it. But that’s where the fit between the defending champs and the outfielder starts and stops. The Giants don’t mind paying the $6 million still left on Beltran’s contract, as long as they don’t have to give up a top prospect in the process.

But that’s exactly what New York is looking for. The name Zach Wheeler was thrown around a lot last week on New York sports talk radio. But the Giants aren’t going to part with their top pitching prospect, even with the three-headed monster of young arms in Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner already on the big league roster. The Mets (and every other team for that matter) can also forgot about acquiring first base prospect Brandon Belt as well.

New York would be better off sending Beltran to the Phillies for Domonic Brown, assuming that trade scenario is a possibility. (Rumor has it that it is.) Philadelphia’s window to win is now and adding another bat like Beltran could move the Phillies closer to another World Series appearance. Thus, they wouldn’t mind parting with one of their top young players to add someone that can help them win in the present.

The possibility of the Giants still landing Beltran is alive and well, but I just don’t see it. What I do see is more Jeff Keppinger-type trades in the Giants’ near future. And with that in mind, I’m willing to bet that Pudge Rodriguez is a Giant before Carlos Beltran is.

Thursday Quick-Hitters:

– I was so relieved when I saw the photos of Kenny Britt being handcuffed onstage at one of Britney Spears’ recent concerts. If there’s anyone that deserves a little “me time” right now, it’s Kenneth Britt.

– If I’m Steve Williams, I’m looking at Tiger Woods today and saying: “Really? You think I’ve been the problem?”

Kevin Kolb is apparently looking at real estate in Arizona. In other news, Nnamdi Asomugha is looking at real estate in Hollywood Hills, Manhattan, London, Paris, Brussels, Chicago, South Beach and just for the hell of it, a small place in Cabo San Lucas.

– Does the Giants front office just sit back and laugh when they hear that Osi Umenyiora wants to be paid like a top five defensive end? The guy is a fantastic pass rusher but someone please explain to me how he does for the Giants what Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney, Jared Allen, Mario Williams or even his own teammate Justin Tuck does for their respective teams.

Hawaii turned down Tate Forcier because he didn’t meet the university’s standards for academics. Maybe Forcier should give Ohio State a call. I hear they need a quarterback and they could always put him on the Andy Katzenmoyer academic program, which consists of beginners golf and basket weaving.

MLB Trade Rumors: Are the Rays willing to trade B.J. Upton?

Seattle Mariners catcher Josh Bard throws back the baseball after the Tampa Bay Rays B.J. Upton got a called strike during the third inning of their MLB American League baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

I’ve put together a small buffet of latest MLB trade rumors for your reading pleasure. So bon appetit, douche bag. (That wasn’t very nice.)

Rays listening to offers for Upton?
ESPN’s Buster Olney believes that the Rays “will listen to just about every trade proposal thrown their way” in regards to centerfielder B.J. Upton. The 26-year-old is hitting just .237 on the season and is due $4.825 million before hitting free agency. He has yet to match his output from 2007 when he slugged .508 as a 22-year-old, but he’s entering the prime of his career and his defense is solid. The problem is that the centerfield market is relatively strong this year compared to other positions. Coco Crisp and Marlon Byrd are viable options and David DeJesus sometimes passes as a Major League Baseball player. If Colby Rasmus and/or Michael Bourn become available as well, contenders won’t feel the need to pay big for Upton.

Mets 100 percent certain to keep Reyes?
Olney tweets that the Mets are now “100 percent certain” that they won’t trade shortstop Jose Reyes before the deadline. A couple of months ago it seemed like a slam-dunk that the Mets would trade the 28-year-old, but obviously their stance on the topic has changed. Even though they’re are a long shot to win the NL Wild Card this year, it appears as though they don’t want to anger fans by trading away one of their beloved players. Now they’ll have to figure out how they’re going to pay Reyes the Carl Crawford-type money that he’s allegedly seeking.

Beltran given a list of possible trade suitors
Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports are reporting that the Mets gave Carlos Beltran a list of possible trade suitors to consider. It’s unclear what teams are on that list but Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Cleveland have all been mentioned as potential landing spots over these last couple of weeks. That said, I want to officially go on record as predicting that the Giants will eventually bow out of the Beltran sweepstakes. New York sports radio was abuzz last week with the possibility of the Mets landing top prospect Zach Wheeler in exchange for Beltran. But New York sports radio is also drunk. The Giants aren’t going to give up Wheeler or Brandon Belt in any deal, so unless the Mets want to settle for a package centered around Johnny O. Sanchez (which is highly doubtful), I don’t think San Fran and New York will be a fit.

Pirates looking at the A’s Willingham, Breslow
It looks like the first place Pirates will be buyers at the trade deadline this year. I don’t know what alternate universe I’ve stepped into to start a paragraph by saying the “first place Pirates will be buyers” but I’ll go with it until I wake up. According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Bucs are mulling a potential trade with the A’s for outfielder Josh Willingham and left-hander Craig Breslow. I, along with other media members, believed that the offseason additions of Willingham, Hideki Matsui and David DeJesus would give the pitching-stacked A’s enough offense to win the AL West this year. But I, along with other media members, am not that bright. Biertempfel also speculates that Garrett Jones would likely be “out the door” in a potential swap with Oakland.

Reds targeting James Shields?
Olney tweets that James Shields is on the Reds’ radar right now, noting that the Rays’ scouts have been scouting Cincinnati’s minor leaguers this week. Shields signed a four-year extension with the Rays in 2009, but his contract is flexible in that he has club options for 2012, 2013 and 2014. The 29-year-old has been solid this season, compiling a 2.60 ERA with 145 strikeouts over 148 2/3 innings, so he won’t come cheap in terms of prospects. MLBTradeRumors.com speculates that other teams that may be interested are the Indians, Rangers, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Rangers.

Related Posts