Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Furburgers: The Apocalypse is Upon Us

Dogs and cats living together! Hamburgers eating people! $8 gallons of milk! Vinny Cerrato making a smart personnel move! That's right, today is the end of days.

Because yesterday the four horsemen rode through town and announced that Vinny Cerrato had snagged another young stud defensive end in the supplemental draft, Jeremy Jarmon. It cost a 3rd round pick in the '10 draft, when Jarmon likely would have gone in the 2nd if not higher. In other words, Vinny got what is known as "good value" in a transaction, instead of creamed.

A few years back, the 'Skins missed the opportunity to solve their impending RT disaster when they passed on OT Jared Gaither in the supplemental (5th round). There were character issues with Gaither, who'd failed out of school. Fine. But now he's a starter for the Ravens, and the 'Skins are lining up scrubs to play RT. This year, Jeremy Jarmon was made available when he lost his NCAA eligibility after testing positive for a banned over-the-counter weight loss supplement. When you have a chance to snag a talented young player on the cheap, you do it.

There are those critical of the move because "a third round pick for anyone in the supplemental draft is a little high." And a pessimist might look at recent DE moves (Jason Taylor, Erasmus James) and expect failure. After all, the Redskins haven't had much success developing DEs. Ever. Kenard Lang is probably the best in-house developed DE of the last 15 years.

But Jarmon has a motor, the work ethic, and certainly the pedigree to make it. Most importantly, perhaps, his legs are younger than 35 years old. At 6-3, 278 pounds, the former All-SEC end is worth a look at least. Hey, better than keeping the pick next year and having Vinny be tempted by a punter or another pass-catching tight end.


Without further ado, and after a two week hiatus, your Friday Furburgers. Links from the past week (or two), for the weekend:

Obligatory video of newest draft pick sacking a QB. He doesn't beat his guy clean, but he doesn't give up on the play either.

Jarmon's statline last season: 38 tackes, 9 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 4 hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 6 passes broken up (12 games).
University of Kentucky

Jarmon runs the 40 in the 4.7-4.8 range and has a 31" vertical.

Matt Mosley posts a blog entry while drunk, declaring Devin Thomas the 'Skins' '09 breakout player. A coach has been "whispering" to him about this, apparently. I've been trying to get my girlfriend to whisper sweet nothings in my ear about Redskins wideouts for years. NFC East Blog

Adam Jones hit the game-winning RBI during the All-Star game. Probably because he can hit all pitch types with equal awesome (check bottom right sidebar).
BBTN Clubhouse July 9th

Maryland basketball fans are the ACC's "most irritating (and occasionally tasteless)." Better than "bandwagonning" or "nonexistent", which are the usual descriptors used for local fans. Progress people.
Pat Forde

Terps football: near unanimously expected to finish dead last in the ACC Atlantic.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Alex Ovechkin is the 3rd most exciting hockey player ever, and you and I are of the "it's-free-it's-me YouTube generation." I think I like that.
Michael Farber

There's been so much phenomenal blog coverage of the Caps' Summer Development camp scattered around the interwebz. Japers put all the Tweets into one widget feed (there's a sentence I couldn't have said a year ago), and from there you can find it all.
Japers Rink

As predicted, D John Carlson ('08 1st round pick) has been dominating the camp (video).
Capitals Insider

To catch you up: the Caps have now re-signed all the RFAs they were expected to (except for Jurcina whose contract will be decided in arbitration at the end of July): C Boyd Gordon, RW Eric Fehr, D Jeff Schultz, D Shaone Morissonn. They have $1.5 million in cap space and 8 NHL defensemen including Jurcina under contract for this season. Someone's gonna go.
Japers' Unofficial Salary Cap Info Tracker

Caps clear out some organizational depth, sending D prospect Keith Seabrook to the Calgary Flames for "future considerations."

I just hope for Gilbert's sake that Obama doesn't butt-sweat like I do.
DC Sports Bog

Random facts, which is a great way to kill time and break up a boring conversation. Things like "American car horns beep in the tone of F." Or "The average person spends 2 years on the phone in their lifetime." Or "Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both duelers are blood donors." Consider this my official duel challenge, Cerrato.
Carnegie Mellon - Random Facts

[Image via SEC Live News]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

'Skins Snag Kentucky DE Jeremy Jarmon with 3rd Round Pick in Supp. Draft
No word yet on which position he'll be arbitrarily switched to. My guess is RT or punter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Midseason DCLS Beltway Awards

It's the All-Star Break, and we at the DCLS would like to hand out the appropriate awards to our beloved miserable baseball teams. Categories considered but ultimately excluded were "Best Team", "Worst Team", and "Top Reason You May Not Want to Kill Yourself". Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2009 Midseason Beltway Awards!

Most Valuable Player: Luke Scott, Orioles

In only 66 games, Scott is sitting at .305/.384/.592 with 18 HR and 51 RBI. He ranks in the top 15 in the AL in slugging percentage (3rd), OPS (4th), and HR (15th). He has been the Orioles most consistent and dominant hitter since he came off the DL in late May. If for no other reason, he deserves this accolade because he is a notoriously streaky hitter who has yet to completely cool off. Until I just jinxed him.

-Honorable Mention: Adam Jones, Orioles; Adam Dunn, Nationals; Brad Bergesen, Orioles

Least Valuable Player: Daniel Cabrera, Nationals

0-5. 5.85 ERA. 16 K. 35 BB. 2.08 WHIP. $2.6 million. General lack of soul. Conned both area baseball teams into believing he was anything more than an awful basketball player stuck in an awful baseball player's awful team's uniform. Follow? Doesn't matter, he's our hands down loser.

-Honorable Mention: Mark Eaton, Orioles; Joel Hanrahan, Nationals

Best Hunting Beard: Joe Beimel, Nationals

Two words: Awesome.

More on that here.

-Dishonorable Mention: Sidney Crosby, Penguins

Best (Almost) Record-Breaking Performance: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals

His 30-game streak was only the 7th such streak of the past decade, so we applaud his effort to enter baseball lore.

-Honorable Mention: Orioles beat Red Sox, June 30

Best Single Game Performance: Luke Scott, Orioles, July 7

Just a double away from the cycle and with 7 RBI to boot, Scott's performance about a week ago goes down as the Beltway's best of the season.

-Honorable Mention: Brad Bergesen, Orioles, June 9 and July 1; John Lannan, June 6

Unsung Hero: Josh Willingham, Nationals

If only because that photo just has to be included here. No, but seriously, dude's hitting .304/.419/.576. That's a .995 OPS in case you can't add, good enough for 5th in the NL were he to qualify.

-Honorable Mention: George Sherrill, Orioles

Guy Who Needs to Produce in the Second Half: Brian Roberts, Orioles

Any way you choose to look at it, the guy has had an awful year. Perhaps our expectations are unfair of the O's unquestioned team leader and catalyst, but that's what happens when you sign a brand new contract worth over $10 million a year. Do better, Brian, because the lineup ain't as potent without ya.

-Honorable Mention: Matt Wieters, Orioles; The Entire Nationals Bullpen, Nationals

Most Overpaid Player: Dmitri Young, Nationals Potomac Nationals

$5 million for a 35 year old with no place in the future of the franchise to play zero games. That's a bad dollar to game ratio, if you ask me.

-Honorable Mention: Melvin Mora, Orioles; Daniel Cabrera, Nationals

Breakthrough Performance
: Nolan Reimold, Orioles

Although he's cooled down of late, Reimold has himself a comfortable position in AL Rookie of the Year talk. Yes, the AL Rookie class is somewhat lacking in production relative to hype, but Reimold is putting up above average power numbers and looks to be that 3rd outfielder of the future.

-Honorable Mention: Brad Bergesen, Orioles; Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals

Manager of the Year: Dave Trembley, Orioles

Because it's funny.

Honorable Mention
: Manny Acta, Nationals

Because it's funny-er.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Caps Re-Sign C Boyd Gordon to 1 year deal
Notice how that's re-sign not resign. Anyways, no surprises here, and the deal's likely under $1 million worth $761,250.

Culture of the Caps: Summer Development Camp

Easter Day 2003. Call it the tipping point. The cherry blossoms were in bloom. The news was confusing me and making me hungry for uranium cake. The DOW was at 35 trillion gazillion. The Caps were squandering a 2-0 series lead to a lower seeded team. I kissed a girl, and I liked it.

The tipping point in question here was, of course, the bitter 3OT loss to the Lightning that changed the course of Washington Capitals history forever. That Easter Massacre proved that the old ways of team building were fatally flawed and that the defeatist attitude that pervaded the team and its fanbase would have to be wiped clean. From the ashes of this ill-fated day would emerge the phoenix of Alexander Ovechkin and the new Capitals: a shrewdly built roster whose core talent was drafted and developed by Caps scouts and coaches. Leonsis and McPhee realized on that day that real champions are made from within.

Now, after five years of replenishing the prospect ranks, streamlining the scouting system, stabilizing minor league affiliations, building a state-of-the-art complex in Ballston and standardizing a hockey system from the NHL down to the ECHL, the Caps have created a cohesive organization top to bottom.

The inner-workings of the revamped Washington Capitals are on display during this week's Summer Rookie Development Camp when the organization's prospects get a taste of professional experience and begin their assimilation into Caps Culture. Boudreau on the camp:

Our whole thought process is to show these young players...what it's like to be in the NHL. How many meetings you go to every day, the video you see, the work ethic on the ice. And I think [last year] we accomplished all of that. So the guy's leaving here saying "You know what, I know what I gotta do to become a better player" and that's what we want them to do. And we also want them to say "You know what? What an organization. Look at the place we're playing in, look at the people who are watching." Get them hungry.
And they have good reason to be hungry: 9 Hershey Bears (AHL) made their NHL debuts with the Caps in '08-'09; seven current Caps were Calder Cup champion Bears before they made the big squad. Hope and promise are not empty words in the halls of Kettler Capitals Iceplex. You work hard, you get rewarded. The meritocracy applies to the coaching staff too: Boudreau and new assistant coach Bob Woods were promoted after championship seasons with the Bears, and Bears assistant Mark French is the new Hershey head coach.

As the prospects learn to play together, they also learn to like each other. Mike Green in a recent interview explained what makes these Caps different: "We have such a good group of guys. You get on a lot of teams and guys don’t care that much. Here, it’s a lot different. The guys are my family.” The cameraderie amongst familiar faces at Summer Rookie Camps is already evident after Day 1 on the ice. And free agents actually want to come to DC for less money now. "Hockey players enjoying their time and each other in DC" is the new "Jagr hates everyone and nobody gives a shit."

Most importantly, however, Caps Culture is about where the Caps are going and not where they have been. The likes of former Caps greats hang from the Kettler rafters, but otherwise the past and its spotty history has been left behind. Previous Caps squads have been good but not quiiiite good enough; gritty but unskilled; skilled but half-hearted; playoff flops. The team's rocky history has developed a cynical fan base bitter towards departed stars who couldn't get it done.

But that's over now. The organization is stocking itself with winners and getting it done in the minor leagues. Ovechkin is the world class player and leader around which the Caps have built a steady organization replete with hockey talent, with able coaches to mold it, and the infrastructure and ownership to support it. It's a positive place where nobody remembers Esa Fucking Tikannen and the future continues to look brighter by the day. It's on display this week at Kettler.

Camp Roster (not including free agent camp invites):

5 Star Prospects to watch:
D John Carlson ('08, 1st round pick)
C Anton Gustafsson ('08, 1st round pick)
D Dmitri Orlov ('09, 2nd round pick)

4 Star Prospects to watch:
G Braden Holtby ('08, 4th round pick)
RW Dmitri Kugryshev ('08, 2nd round pick)
LW Stefan Della Rovere ('08, 7th round pick)
C Mathieu Perrault ('06, 6th round pick)
LW Francois Bouchard ('06, 2nd round pick)

3 Star Prospects to watch:
G Dan Dunn ('07, 6th round pick)
D Josh Godfrey ('07, 2nd round pick)
D Joe Finley ('05, 1st round pick)
D Eric Mestery ('08, 2nd round pick)
D Patrick Wey ('09, 4th round pick)
C Jake Hauswirth (free agent signee)

Notable Absences:
D Karl Alzner, LW Oskar Osala, G Michael Neuvirth, G Semyon Varlamov are all too damned good at this point.
C Marcus Johansson ('09, 1st round pick) could not get out of a prior commitment to his Swedish team.
D Keith Seabrook ('04, 2nd round pick) hasn't been to a Caps camp yet. What's the deal Keith-y-poo?
D Sasha Pokulok ('05, 1st round pick) is officially a bust and will never wear a Caps sweater.
C Red Rover (undrafted free agent) has gained 15 pounds of solid beer gut and has lost a step, though he's now a monster in the corners like never before.

A likely scene at some point this week:

Nationals fire Manager Manny Acta on eve of All-Star Week, as predicted. The Nats are atrocious, not improving, and mailing it in. Too bad you can't fire the players too. Replacement Manager TBD, doomed.