Orbiting Cleveland: NFL quarterbacks and sustained success

Orbiting

(John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)

(John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)

$41.6 million. That’s the remaining dollar amount that the Cleveland Browns have available in cap space.

Why are they not using that to sign any high-level free agents? Well, that’s the $41.6 million question, isn’t it?

So far, the Browns’ two big moves this offseason have revolved around the signing of journeyman quarterback Josh McCown and wide receiver Brian Hartline. Both players were cut from their previous team, and neither signing has created much of a buzz within the fan base.

The criticism that this franchise has faced since 1999 has become laughable at this point. Every year, it seems to be the same story with the Browns, and EHC’s Brian McPeek helped outline that a couple weeks ago in his piece, Set Your Watch By It.

I, too, have been critical of the Browns. This was true no less than three days ago when it was falsely reported that the Browns had re-signed tight end Jordan Cameron, only to watch him bolt to the Miami Dolphins just hours later. Same-old Browns, right?

Call me crazy though, but when it comes to the Browns’ conservative approach to free agency, this is one instance where I have to say that I’m on board. Completely.

Let’s take you for a trip down memory lane.

January 18, 2004. Do you remember that date? Continue reading

The View from the Porch: The Chisenhall Conundrum

ChisenhallA lot of the Indians content here at EHC has largely been in support of the team and its players. This is a dangerous line to walk in the Cleveland media world and, yes, I consider us part of that because we have an audience (thank you!) and some guys that really understand the sports landscape in the city. The reason it’s dangerous is because supporters are labeled as apologists or shills for the team. Those that criticize are welcomed with the “one of us” mentality.

As I suggested during a conversation on Twitter with some of my EHC colleagues and other respected Cleveland sports blogosphere residents, this happens because it’s far easier to criticize than to acknowledge. Fans that are still hellbent on voicing their anger over the CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee deals seem content to forget that Michael Brantley and Carlos Carrasco came out of those trades. Fans that feel the need to consistently belabor the “Dolanz are cheep” argument conveniently ignore that the Indians have locked up in-house players to contract extensions and also went out and spent on free agents like Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Those that blame Chris Antonetti or Mark Shapiro for the team’s lack of success willfully ignore the moves that worked out handsomely. Yan Gomes, Corey Kluber, and Carlos Santana came from Esmil Rogers, Jake Westbrook, and Casey Blake. Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw came from one season of Shin-Soo Choo. Marc Rzepczynski came from Juan Herrera, a light-hitting infielder that has not played above Single-A. They’ll also ignore that the Indians have a playoff appearance and 177 wins over the last two seasons, which is hardly a lack of success.

Those that complain about the draft tend to forget that TJ House was a 16th-round pick. Cody Allen was a 23th-round pick. Kyle Crockett was a fourth-round pick less than two years ago. Tyler Holt was a 10th-round pick. Roberto Perez was a 33rd-round pick. Jason Kipnis was a second-round pick who changed positions and made it to the Majors in two seasons while on the fast track to the bigs. Continue reading

Orbiting Cleveland: James Jones has become an asset to the Cavaliers

Orbiting

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(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

Eighty-two games.

For any team to be successful over the long haul that is an NBA season, contributions must come far and wide. Everyone needs to step up to the proverbial plate when that time comes.

Over the last few weeks, perhaps no player on the Cleveland Cavaliers has personified that idea more than James Jones.

Admit it, when the Cavaliers signed Jones this past August, your response was somewhere along the lines of, “Well, they’re just signing another one of LeBron James’ buddies,” “Who cares, he won’t play anyway,” or “James Jones? Really?”

That type of response was justified, especially considering Jones’ recent track record.

Last season, the small forward played only 20 games for the Miami Heat while averaging 4.9 points. His three-point shooting percentage (51.9 percent) was impressive, but we’re talking about just 20 games here.

Keep in mind that Jones had not averaged more than 13 minutes per game since the 2010-11 season. In fact, over entire 12-year career, he has averaged more than 20 minutes per game on just two occasions.

So yes, by all accounts, it appeared as if this signing was simply an effort to appease the King.

But here is what many of us seem to forget. Continue reading

Orbiting Cleveland: Kyrie Irving’s rise to greatness

Orbiting

hi-res-183664824-kyrie-irving-of-the-cleveland-cavaliers-brings-the-ball_crop_exactAt some point this season, Kyrie Irving made the jump from very good NBA player to great one.

Maybe that moment was Nov. 10 when the All-Star point guard scored 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting while recording nine assists and just one turnover in helping the Cleveland Cavaliers earn a 118-111 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Or, perhaps, it was Dec. 9. In a night that offered quite the juxtaposition from what we had come to expect from previous seasons, Irving gladly took a backseat after realizing his shot was not falling, finishing with 13 points and 10 assists as the Cavs grinded out a 105-101 win over the Toronto Raptors.

No, let’s be honest. Irving’s real graduation into the elite class of NBA players came on Jan. 28. That was the evening in which Irving scored 55 points, the second-highest total in Cavaliers’ history, while leading the team to a 99-94 win over Western Conference power Portland. To cap it off, he did it all while teammate LeBron James sat on the sideline. Continue reading

Prospecting on a Lazy Sunday: System Overview and Prospects #30-26

1If you’re rubbing your eyes wondering why in the world “Lazy Sunday” is appearing here at #EHC, you aren’t dreaming. About two months ago, I reached out to the resident Diatribian, Al Ciammaichella, and asked him if he wanted to partner up with our growing little web site. No, we didn’t have a plan back then, but from the start, Al has been an integral part of our soft re-launch. We will be posting all of his work from The Diatribe here, at Everybody Hates Cleveland, but might I suggest you check out all of his work at http://www.thediatribe.com. It’s brilliant.

Al will also be contributing some original content here at EHC, and if I can con him into it, a podcast or two. We’re glad to have him aboard.

In the coming week, Al will be posting his complete top 30 here at #EHC, but don’t forget to check out http://www.thediatribe.com as well!

So I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty lazy…aren’t you? Continue reading

View from the Porch: Critics Get Left Behind

1In my quest to continue dispelling the myth that the Cleveland Indians have a poor offense, I decided to do some more digging. In this week’s View from the Porch, I’ll address why the Indians don’t need the #righthandedpowerbat that everybody thinks they need and I will also talk about what makes the Indians offense so good.

Look at any post on Indians social media and there will be at least one person complaining about the lack of a right-handed hitter with power. Want proof? Here you go:

The Indians are better off not focusing on right-handed hitters. Power is power, no matter what side it comes from, and that’s the important part. All sports have home field or home court advantages. Baseball is no different. The home team always has a chance in the bottom of the ninth if they need it and all ballparks are different. In the case of Progressive Field, left-handed hitters have a major advantage. The home run park factor in Cleveland, overall is 101, which is one percent above league average. Lefties have a home run park factor of 109, while righties have a home run park factor of 93. In essence, lefties have a 16 percent advantage over righties when it comes to hitting home runs at Progressive Field.

Enter Brandon Moss, the Indians lone offensive acquisition of the offseason. Moss bats left-handed, much to the chagrin of some in the fan base. A lot has been said about the supposed lack of power in the Indians lineup, even though their 142 home runs were right in line with the 144 home run average in the American League. Continue reading

Cleveland Indians State of the Union at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario

Can Michael Brantley rub off on Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn? I sure hope so.

Can Michael Brantley rub off on Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn? I sure hope so.

You can almost smell it, can’t you.

If you close your eyes and take a deep breath, you can catch a distant whiff of baseball at Progressive Field; the hot dogs covered in Ball Park Mustard, the leather of freshly oiled baseball gloves, and the fresh cut grass of finally coiffed turf.

You can hear it too, that symphony of sound that any true baseball fan dreams of on the coldest of nights during the dead of winter.

If you tilt your head just right, you can hear a Corey Kluber fastball popping into Yan Gomes framed glove. You can catch the crack of Carlos Santana‘s bat after working a 10-pitch count before lacing a home run. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing spikes on cement, or the tapping of a bat on home plate, or a sliding runner, or a middle infielder and basestealer hitting the bag at the same time.

It’s almost spring here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, and while the North Coast has been overcome by what can only be described as the second ice age, visions of baseball sugar plums have begun to dance in our heads.

Spring training has arrived. Continue reading

Orbiting Cleveland: Appreciating the spectacle that is LeBron James and the Cavaliers

Orbiting

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Photo by Nathaniel Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Perspective is everything. I gained a little bit of that Sunday.

Fifteen years ago, when I first fell in love in with the NBA, it was because of Allen Iverson.

Sure, I, like many other elementary school students at the time, proudly wore a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey incessantly throughout my early formative years.

M.J., I would tell you, was the greatest basketball player on the planet. He was the ultimate professional — a champion — and no one could top him.

But did I really and truly appreciate Jordan? I was, after all, just 11 years old when he played his final game with the Chicago Bulls.

Iverson was a different story though.

From the moment I witnessed his signature crossover, I was hooked. The tenacity, bullish attitude, competitiveness — I fell in love with every bit of it. Continue reading

The View from the Porch: The Age of Realistic Expectations

MLB: SEP 21 Indians at Twins

Santana is better than you think, you just have to really pay attention to the reality

“WE NEED BETTER HITTERS!”

“WE NEED A RIGHT HANDED POWER BAT!”

“ANTONETTI SUCKS!”

“SHAPIRO SUCKS!”

“SANTANA’S AVERAGE WAS .231! HE’S A BAD HITTER”

If you look around Twitter, Facebook, message boards, or wherever else Indians fans go to vent, you would think that the Indians lost 90 games last season. They didn’t. They won 85 games. They were one of 10 teams to have an above average offense per the sabermetric stat wRC+. If you disagree with the above “quotes”, you probably already know what wRC+ is. If you agree with the above “quotes”, then you don’t care what wRC+ is. You should, but that’s another discussion for another day.

The Cleveland mentality is, and it always has been, to dwell on the negative rather than celebrate the positive. Does the Indians front office wish that they had a .300 hitter that cranked 30 home runs every season? I’m sure they do. I’m sure 28 other teams do as well because two players accomplished that feat last season. Continue reading