QUITE FRANKLY: Yanks are lucky Johan isn't in Boston

Johan Santana is coming to New York. That's exciting - even if you're a Yankee fan. No he's not coming to the Bronx, but he isn't going to Boston either, and for the Yankees, that's the best part.

johansantana-blue.JPGOf course the Bronx would've welcomed Santana with open arms but at the expense of phenom Phil Hughes and fan favorite Melky Cabrera, there might've been some negative backlash. The Yankees could've gotten Johan months ago, but Yanks GM Brian Cashman was against the idea because the Twins wanted the Yanks to part with their top young pitchers (a combination of Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlian.) The Twins asking price was just too high for Brian's liking and so Santana ends up taking the 7 train to Queens instead of the 4 train to the Bronx.

The Red Sox were also on the verge of acuiring Santana, it was all set, just needed the trigger to be pulled and it would've been offical. But something happened....both the Yankees and the Red Sox realized the Twins were using them in a game of cat and mouse and wanted each team to up the anty with prospects and prospects and more prospects. Both teams decided to stand their ground, with each proposing their "best offer" to Minnesota. The Twins decided not to take them. Bad move on their part. They overplayed their hand big-time and for them being greedy they end up losing.

I have to commend Cashman on sticking to his guns and putting up a fight to keep his young prized pitchers. He has developed an abundance of young talent over the last few years and has finally realized that over paying for All-Stars doesn't result in a championship. The equation for success is to build a nucleus of talent and let them grow and develop together. That worked for the latest Yankee dynasty, let's just hope Cashman is right about the young 3 and it ends with the same result.

philhughes-road.JPGIt was a great trade for the Mets, I mean they pratically stole Santana and now it's puts them as the elite team in the National League again. That's great and all, I'm really happy for them. I'm just glad he didn't end up in Boston. Could you imagine the 1-2 punch of Josh Beckett and Johan Santana? The thought scared me so much it made me question the Yankees' stance on the issue and question the franchise. They had a chance to acquire the best pitcher in baseball and if they didn't, they'd risk Johan going up to Fenway. Cashman and the Yankees held firm as they refused to be suckered into the Twins' evil scheme. Boston GM Theo Epstien was right along with Cashman on the same path. He didn't give in either. It turns out both parties win. Not only did Santana not end up in Boston or the Bronx, but he's out of the American League. I'd say thats a victory for both teams.

the-cash-man.jpgNow with this Santana business behind them, it's time to focus on Spring Training, which is only two weeks away. It's time to see if Cashman's idea to hold on to his youth was pure genius or pure stupidity. Only time will tell, but Brian's a smart man, and the Yankees entrust him with making the big decisions. If his word is good enough for the Yanks, then it's good enough for me. While Johan makes a splash at Shea, the Yanks will continue their winning ways with the Young 3, so we hope...right Brian?

(Frank's articles can also be read at OnTheBlockNY ) and HotStoveNewYork )
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Kidd wants out of Jersey

"It is time for us all to move on."

That was what Jason Kidd told ESPN The Magazine in an interview on Monday. A day earlier it was reported that his agent had asked the Nets to trade his client to a contender. Kidd said he had no knowledge of the situation, but now the truth is out. Jason Kidd and the Nets appear to going in two different directions.


kidd-red5.JPG

"It used to be if I got a triple-double, that was an automatic win. That's just not the case now. We tried to make this work," he told ESPN The Magazine. "We have found out it doesn't."


The Nets ended their 9-game losing streak Tuesday Night against the Milwaukee Bucks as Kidd had 9 points and 11 assists to help end the worst losing streak in over three years. The hometown fans at the Medowlands still cheered Kidd as he was introduced prior to the game.

Kidd has started 43 games this season, with an average of 11.3 points, 10.4 assists, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals. He's earning $19.7 million and is set to make $21.2 million next season.

"The reality is we are only looking to make deals that make sense for us," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "If every time someone said, 'I want you to trade me,' you acquiesced, then you put yourself in a very vulnerable position because you have a revolving door."


Should the Nets trade Kidd away, they have second year point guard Marcus Williams of whom they think will make an impact in the league in the years to come. The Nets almost traded Kidd away last season to the Los Angeles Lakers but ultimately the deal never went through.

Kidd leaving the Nets is not a good thing, for the fans, the team or the franchise. He's one of the NBA's elite point guards and is electric on the court, especially when he's on his game. We've seen that when Kidd is on and his supporting cast around him is on, there are endless possibilties for this team. As they've shown before, they can be a threat in the Eastern Conference. They've made it to the NBA Finals twice under Kidd so maybe it's not Kidd who's causing the losing. Could it be the players around him? Rebuilding a team around an aging point guard is alot to ask of a GM, but so is trading away your best player. Maybe Jason Kidd won't go to the All-Star Game representing the Nets, I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this develops...I mean we have seen this before so I won't hold any truth to the matter until I see Kidd in another uniform.


(Frank's articles can also be read at OnTheBlockNY andHotStoveNewYork.com )
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Nets lose again, drop 8th straight

j-boone.jpgLife doesn't look good for the Nets these days. After losing last night to the Denver Nuggets 100-85, the Nets have now lost eight straight. It's their longest losing streak in over three years. They are now 0-5 on a six-game road trip.

It was only a few weeks ago where they were at .500 for the season but now find themselves fading. It didn't help that New Jersey started out shooting 5 for 22 and scored only 11 points in the first quarter. At halftime, they trailed 47-31.
"We just didn't have the energy and they did," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "They were much more aggressive and really attacked us in the paint."

Jason Kidd did what he could to help the struggling Nets by posting his 98th career triple-double and 11th of the season (13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.) Richard Jefferson contributed 19 points to lead the Nets scoring but that proved to not be enough. The Nets got within 5 points in the fourth quarter before Denver started to pull away.

The Nuggets (26-16) were playing without All-Star Carmelo Anthony who missed his second straight game with an ankle sprain. Fellow All-Star starter Allen Iverson carried most of the load as he scored 30 points. Former Net Kenyon Martin scored 20 points before he fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
"We need wins and we need them badly," Nets' Josh Boone said. "It would help if we got off to better starts and played better defense."

The Nets (18-25) head to Minnesota to complete their six-game road trip. Yesterday Jason Kidd was named as a starter for the East in the All-Star Game on Feburary 17 in New Orleans. Hopefully by then, the Nets will turn things around and not be so dreadful. Otherwise Kidd participating in the All-Star Game will be one of the only things to cheer about this season for Nets fans.

Frank's articles can also be found at OnTheBlockNY.com and HotStoveNewYork.com
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QUITE FRANKLY: Giants like it this way

Sunday night the Giants face the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. It's a big game for so many reasons. So many reasons for so many people.

For the Giants, Eli Manning and coach Tom Coughlin it's about proving all the critics wrong. Over at FOX, all of their analysts chose the Cowboys to win last week and the Bucs the week before. So much for in-depth analysts. alg_manning.jpgYou will get a few people in the media rooting for the Giants Sunday night but they'll be in the minority. Everyone in New York and New Jersey (the Giants' real hometown) will be rooting for Big Blue. Ask any Giants fan and they would tell you they would love to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Their week 17 meeting caused so much attention because the Pat's perfect season was on the line and if they meet again in two weeks in Arizona, it will be again. The Giants came as close as anyone else to beating them this season so what makes you think they can't pull it off when everything is on the line? Ok so I got a little ahead of myself there...they do have to beat Brett Favre and the Packers Sunday in Lambeau Field, the Yankee Stadium of football. They would have to do it in single digit temperatures and freezing conditions. If the G men can win, it makes it all the better.

It's interesting to note that Mike Lupica has said this is the kind of game New York needs. I happen to concur with his notion. New York's last big game was in 2006 when the Mets lost Game 7 to the Cardinals when they were one win away from the World Series. Now, Manning can follow in his brother Peyton's footsteps and win the "big" game. This is as big as it gets for the Giants. The game gets bigger and bigger by the week and the Giants seem to rise to the occasion. Their playoffs started Week 17 against the Patriots and even though they lost, they gained so much. If it wasn't for Eli's interception in the fourth quarter that night, they might've beaten Tom Brady and his crew. That "almost" turned into two consecutive wins and put them into a championship game.

The Giants once again have their backs against the wall and they seem to like it that way. Whenever you have them as the favorite they tend to disappoint. So let them be the underdog, let them be the ones fighting an uphill battle. That's the way they like it and if it results in a win, then so be it. That's the way we like it and that's the way we want it.

(Frank's articles can also be read at www.HotStoveNewYork.com)
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Wizards halt Knicks streak at three


All good things must come to an end, and for the Knicks Friday night was the end of the winning streak. After winning three in a row, the Washington Wizards put Isiah’s gang back in the loss column beating them 111-98.

The Knicks were without Stephon Marbury again, but nonetheless, it likely wouldn’t have helped if he did play. Quentin Richardson scored 21 points (19 in the first half) to lead New York’s scoring. They also continued thier new found ability to “share the rock” as they collected 25 assists. The defense allowed Washington to shhot 57% from the field, a mark that Isiah and his team need to improve on if they are going to make us believe this team is moving in the right direction.

Via NY Daily News:

“I wasn’t dissatisfied at all tonight,” Thomas said. “Sometimes the other team plays better than you and sometimes you run into a team that has it going. And tonight, they had it going.”

Washington’s Antawn Jamison scored a game-high 32 points while Caron Butler added 22 points. Butler went 4 for 4 at the foul line extending his own franchise record for consecutive free throws and passing Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash’s 53-shot streak this season. The Wizards scored 92 points through three quarters last night, showing you just how horrid the Knicks defense was.

The Knicks (12-27), play another dreaded team tonight, the Miami Heat. Let’s see which Knick shows up in Miami tonight, the team that won three in a row or the team that gave up on it’s coach several teams already this season.
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Clemens denies steroid use...files suit

clemens-60minutes-denial.JPGRoger Clemens on Sunday night told the world again, that he did not use steroids and also filed a deflamation lawsuit against former personal trainer Brain McNamee. Monday afternoon, Clemens will hold a press conference to address both topics.

In an interview that aired Sunday night on 60 Minutes, Clemens continued to deny his steroid use.
Via NY Daily News/60 Minutes interview:
"Never happened," Clemens insisted. "Never happened."

"It's hogwash for people to even assume this," Clemens said. "Twenty-four, 25 years, Mike. You'd think I'd get an inch of respect. An inch."

"If I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, where did I get 'em? Where is the person who gave 'em to me?" Clemens asked. "Please come forward."

Again Clemens aggressively denied ever using performance enhanching drugs. He did admit to being injected with B12 and Lidocaine by McNamee. Clemens on Sunday night filed a 14-page lawsuit against his former personal trainer. In the suit it listed 15 alleged statements made by McNamee to George Mitchell for his Mitchell Report and Clemens sated those statements are "untrue and defamatory." The suit also says that when McNamee was first interviewed by investigators last June, he denied Clemens ever using steroids or HGH. It also states that these investigators, who were part of the Balco case, pressured McNamee into implicating Clemens.

Via ESPN.com:

"After this exchange, and for the first time in his life, McNamee stated that he had injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001," the suit said. "Following his recantation, McNamee has relayed that he magically went from a 'target' in a federal criminal drug investigation to a mere 'witness,' so long as he continued to 'toe the line.'

The suit said that when McNamee initially refused a request from federal authorities that he speak to Mitchell, he was threatened with prosecution. Clemens said McNamee decided only then to cooperate with Mitchell and the suit said McNamee said the interview "was conducted like a Cold War-era interrogation in which a federal agent merely read to the Mitchell investigators McNamee's previously obtained statement and then asked McNamee to confirm what he previously stated."

Clemens asked that damages be determined by a jury.

"Clemens' good reputation has been severely injured," the suit said. "McNamee's false allegations have also caused Clemens to suffer mental anguish, shame, public humiliation and embarrassment."

clemens-steroids2.JPG It's also worth mentioning that on Friday that McNamee and Clemens spoke on the telephone after both were invited by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to testify under oath at a Jan. 16 hearing on Capitol Hill. Clemens was asked about his thoughts on Andy Pettitte,who admitted to using HGH in 2002 and Roger said he was "shocked."

In the interview Clemens also stated he will not pitch again and will probably retire. Let's see if this holds true, he has "retired" three times already, only to come back and pitch the next season. Right now, it appears Clemens has his hands full and his playing days might be over. As always, we'll just have to wait and see.


(Frank's articles can also be found at OnTheBlockNY and HotStoveNewYork.com)
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Nets win fourth straight, now at .500

carterdribble.jpgFriday night was another step in the right direction for the New Jersey Nets, as they won their fourth straight game. The 102-96 win over the visting Charottle Bobcats .was the Nets' sixth win in their seven. It also put them at .500 (16-16) on the season.
"We haven't turned any corner," said Jason Kidd. "What are we? 15-15? 16-16? Have we turned the corner? Until you get 10 games over [.500] you haven't turned the corner. We're just at the starting line."

Kidd finished with 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Vince Carter contributed 30 points and 7 rebounds to go along with Richard Jefferson's 28 points and six assists. The Nets were down as much as 13 in the first half and didn't take the lead until the final seconds of the third quarter.
"We're getting extra efforts," Carter said. "Guys are focusing. We are limiting our lulls. During the course of this game, we didn't have as many."

For the Bobcats (11-20), the loss was thier 11th straight on the road. Jason Richardson scored 33 points while Gerald Wallace had 25. Charottle turned the ball over 21 times which resulted in 29 New Jersey points.

Next up for the Nets, Saturday night against the Altanta Hawks.

(Frank's articles can also be found at HotStoveNewYork.com )
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