RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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TFD: Michigan reportedly offering 6-year, $48 million deal to Jim Harbaugh

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 17th at 5:18pm 286154151

Nebraska wouldn’t take [redacted] for an answer. And it appears that Michigan won’t take no for an answer.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Michigan is making another run at Jim Harbaugh to be its football coach, and this time they reached onto the highest branches of their money tree to put together a 6-year, $48 million offer.

That would make Harbaugh the highest-paid coach in college football, eclipsing the $7.16 million Alabama’s Nick Saban makes. Saban is the only current college football coach making even $6 million a year.

Heck, there’s only one NFL coach who makes $8 million: Sean Payton. And there’s only one coach who makes more in any U.S. pro or major college sport: Coach K at Duke, who pulls in close to $9.7 million a year.

Flipping expensive established MLB players for young talent works ... until it doesn't

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 17th at 2:54pm 286135291

wilmyersSmall payroll teams like the A’s and Rays have had loads of MLB success over the past several years, often doing so by staying one step ahead of the financial game.

Out of necessity, those teams have traded away established players nearing big paydays for younger, cheap talent years away from cashing in. Then when some of those young players approach their paydays, they start the process all over again. Along they way, they try to identify surpluses and players they really want to build around.

Again, this has worked very well for both organizations. Tampa has made the postseason four of the past seven years; The A’s have gone each of the past three years and had a similar run in the early 2000s.

But there are some subtle reminders of just how thin the margin is for both teams, and one of them came to light today with news that the Rays are close to trading outfielder Wil Myers to the Padres. Myers isn’t close to cashing in, and the Rays will reportedly get several players in return, so it’s not like this is a total loss for Tampa.

That said, Myers was the unquestioned prize for the Rays in a trade after the 2012 season that sent, among others, pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals. In 2013, it looked like a great move for both teams. Shields was great in his first year with Kansas City, and Myers was the AL Rookie of the Year with 53 RBI and an .831 OPS in just 335 at bats.

The Rays still had plenty of pitching without Shields, and Myers’ offense helped them get to the postseason. Everything was going great …

Until 2014. Myers hit a major second-year slump, batting just .222 with a .614 OPS. The Rays as a team finished last in the AL in runs scored, and despite a pitching staff that was still above-average, they plummeted to a 77-85 record. The Royals, of course, got another great year from Shields while Davis emerged as one of the best relievers in baseball as Kansas City went all the way to the World Series.

Long story short: the Rays gambled on staying ahead of the game, hoping that Myers would be a superstar making a pittance for years. He faltered, and now they’re flipping him for more prospects. If those players don’t pan out, they will have very little to show for the type of initial trade (Shields/Davis) that A) a larger-market team like the Yankees never has to make and B) a lower-revenue team like the Rays or A’s absolutely has to make and can’t afford to mess up.

Wednesday (Vikings' biggest position of need) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 17th at 10:39am 286103911

barrThe Star Tribune’s Mark Craig had a good piece today about just how far ahead the Vikings’ defense is from the offense — something that figured to be the opposite at the start of the season with a lot of question marks on defense and a lot of presumed playmakers on offense.

The Vikings have improved enough on defense this year to be considered at least middle-of-the-pack, if not better. It might not be a championship defense, but it is on the way to being a good-to-very-good defense. The offense has cost the Vikings multiple games, plain and simple.

As such, here is how we see the Vikings’ biggest positions of need going into 2015:

*Offensive line: We wouldn’t be upset at all if the Vikings spent two or more draft picks on the offensive line, including the first-round pick. If you had to point to one unit as the reason things have tended to fall apart for Minnesota this year, the line is it.

*Wide receiver: An infusion of talent here is needed. Even if Cordarrelle Patterson has a resurgence in 2015, the Vikings need to get better here in order to give Teddy Bridgewater a better chance to succeed.

*Defensive back: The biggest reason the Vikings took a defensive leap this year is the relative health and strong overall play of the secondary, led by Xavier Rhodes. But bringing in some more depth at both corner and safety would be wise.

*Linebacker: Anthony Barr was terrific before his knee injury, and the rest of the players at this position have held up at least adequately in most situations. Still, it’s another area that could use more depth for the defense to take another step.

If the Vikings spent most of their draft picks and overall attention on those spots, they would be wise. If Adrian Peterson is gone, they will surely need to address running back depth as well, but the role of feature backs in the NFL has been diminished to the point that we wouldn’t consider it a higher priority than any of the aforementioned positions.

Mid-day talker: Thinking back on 2009 Vikings-Cutler trade rumors

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 17th at 9:05am 285989271

cutlerMonths before the Vikings lured Brett Favre to Minnesota … and weeks before Jay Cutler was ultimately traded from the Broncos to the Bears … there was a steady stream of reports and rumors that the Vikings — coming off a 10-6 playoff season but still with questions at quarterback — were interested in making a deal for the QB.

Did you forget about this? Never forget it. Because with each passing Cutler game, we still wonder about it.

How different would 2009 have been? How different would the five seasons and many QBs after that have been? Would it have been worth it, possibly, in some ways? Cutler in purple? Here’s what was being written in the Star Tribune back in March of 2009:

The Denver Post reported the Vikings are among the teams that
have expressed interest in Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, and
talks between the sides were believed to be ongoing Monday. It
remains unclear what the Vikings might be offering.

The news broke three days after the Vikings completed a trade
that sent a fourth-round draft pick to Houston for Sage Rosenfels.
He and Tarvaris Jackson are expected to compete for the starting
quarterback job, but neither is at the level of Cutler, a 2006
first-round pick who made his first Pro Bowl this past season. The
Vikings made inquiries about Cutler‘s availability at the NFL
scouting combine last month.

Vikings coach Brad Childress was elusive when asked at Rosenfels’
introductory news conference whether the team would add a top-tier
quarterback.

“Don’t know, I’m not clairvoyant,” Childress said.

Cutler is 44-37 with an 84.4 passer rating in his Bears career. He’s the NFL leader in bad body language. How would his tenure have played out here? We’ll never know, but it’s a question we still, for some reason, think about.

Tuesday (Flip's third rebuilding project) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated December 16th at 2:08pm 285967551

flipfansFlip Saunders took over as head coach of the Washington Wizards in 2009. Armed with a lineup featuring Gilbert Arenas and a cast of others, Washington had slumped in 2008-09 but had made the playoffs each of the previous four seasons. Thinking the Wizards were in prime contention for a rebound year, they swapped the No. 5 pick in the 2009 draft with the Wolves for Randy Foye and Mike Miller.

The move backfired for Washington.  A whole host of problems with Arenas and others led to an eventual youth movement — one that didn’t involve that No. 5 pick, who the Wolves turned into Ricky Rubio. Flip started the process of that youth movement, coaching John Wall and co. to 23 wins in 2010-11 before getting fired 17 games (2-15 record) into the 2011-12 season. Now, the Wizards are one of the best teams in the East with a 17-6 record heading into a game in Washington tonight against the Wolves.

It’s a reminder — the second reminder — that Saunders can head into a rebuild and his teams can come out on the other side looking pretty good. The first, of course, was his work with a young Kevin Garnett in the mid-1990s, helping take the Wolves from perennial lottery team to perennial playoff team. His third such effort, of course, is pretty much the same as his first: getting the Wolves from the lottery to the playoffs again. Time will tell how that plays out — and it does take time — but the track record is at least encouraging for Wolves fans.

We had a chance to chat with Flip Saunders about the rebuilding mentality last week:

“When I was in Washington, they made a decision where we traded Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas had the situation with the gun so he was gone, traded Caron Butler, Brendan Hayward, (DeShawn) Stevenson, we (lost) our whole starting five. We had like nine guys with two or fewer years of experience. So what was going to happen is that we were going to lose. It’s frustrating, it’s hard to go through, but if you’re committed to that and to development, by letting those guys play and play a lot of minutes, you facilitate their development,” Saunders said.

“I look at them and where they were four years ago, and now they’re one of the best teams in the East. John Wall developed. And if you look at the league, and you look at all these players … when we traded (Kevin) Love, we became in essence what I would call a lottery team. We traded our best player for the No. 1 pick in the draft. If Love wasn’t on our team a year ago, we probably would have struggled. if you look at teams that have been lottery teams and gotten the first pick, whether it’s Cleveland with (Kyrie) Irving and Anthony Bennett, New Orleans with (Anthony) Davis, Wall with Washington, they don’t even win 27 games. LeBron James, he won (35 games) his rookie year. So there’s a process you have to go through. But what you have to understand is that there’s a history and that it will pay off. (Kevin) Durant and Russell Westbrook were (2-24) at one point (in 2008-09). It would be easy for people to put their head in the sand and say, ‘That’s not going to happen,’ but it’s kind of the reality. People that are basketball people understand what we’re going through.”

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Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
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San Francisco
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Miami
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Houston
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Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
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Tampa Bay
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Pittsburgh
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NY Jets
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St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
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Louisiana 115
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Loyola-Chicago 83
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Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
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Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
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SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
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Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
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Cal Poly 60
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New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
UNLV 75
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Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
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Louisiana
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Texas-El Paso
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Colorado State
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Air Force
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Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
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Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60

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