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: Timberwolves among least-efficient NBA spenders last year

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated June 30th at 7:09pm

loverubioESPN.com took a look at all 30 NBA teams in 2013-14 to determine which were the most efficient spenders. The Timberwolves finished 21st out of 30, at least when ranked by marginal dollars per marginal victory. What does that mean? Per the article:

I’ve used team salary figures compiled by ShamSports.com, which are updated through the end of the season but aren’t final until the close of the fiscal year. The key measurement is marginal dollars per marginal wins (MDMW), or how much it costs a team to win a game.

Seems straightforward enough. Also, per the article, the teams were divided into eight “buckets” to sort out the efficiency of spending:

The buckets are listed in order from most desirable (playoff teams below the salary cap) to least desirable (teams over the tax apron that managed to miss the postseason).

The Wolves were in bucket 6 of 8 along with seven other teams — the dreaded “above the salary cap, below the tax threshold, but missed the playoffs” category.

It is written of this category and these teams:

You really don’t want to be in this class. You’ve exceeded the cap, suggesting you want to win, but you didn’t win, suggesting you don’t know how. There are a number of possible foundation players in this group on rookie scale contracts: Ricky RubioAndre DrummondAnthony DavisKyrie Irving. Their teams haven’t yet capitalized on the flexibility created by having players that productive for that little money. 

Mid-day talker: Hopefully, the Twins know they are sellers not buyers

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated June 30th at 2:39pm

The Twins added Kendrys Morales to their roster three weeks ago. At the time, Minnesota was playing pretty good baseball and making bold statements about perhaps challenging for a playoff spot. Why not us? That was the message that was sold.

But it wasn’t really a message most rational fans believed. Rather, the hope all along this season has been for 2014 to be a bridge to the future. The Twins needed to win 75-80 games and return to competence. They have played most of the year as though that is possible, this latest tailspin notwithstanding.

Contention? That will come if and when Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano arrive and dominate the middle of the order while Alex Meyer and Trevor May join the rotation. That means 2015, at least in a meaningful way, at the earliest.

It seems now as though there is some debate among Twins folks as to whether they will be buyers or sellers at the July non-waiver deadline. We hope this is just PR phrasing because, again, the answer is pretty simple: the Twins are sellers. Even the most optimistic among us can’t imagine Minnesota overtaking the Tigers, let alone all three of the other teams currently above the Twins in the Central.

They should sell veteran pitching like Kevin Correia. They should move Josh Willingham if there is decent return. Same for Morales, who looked all along that he could be a two-month rental instead of a four-month rental. Don’t gut the team because respectability is still important.

But buyers or sellers? The Twins are the latter.

Monday (Minnesota's lack of minor league baseball) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated June 30th at 11:36am

minorleaguemapWe’ve come to that glorious time of the year when we set about to plan the annual Great Baseball Road Trip. This year’s trip provided many challenges, including the fact that the four presumed participants have, respectively, in 2014: gotten married, gotten married, become a father and moved across the country. But we have somehow wrangled a long weekend in which everyone is available to leave from Minneapolis. A trip with the Twin Cities as a starting point keeps costs down (no flight for most of us, while the cross-country mover has to be here for a different trip anyway) and allows us to hopefully maximize our time for a trip that has been going strong every year since 2000 but has dwindled to 3 or 4 days in recent years instead of the 7-8 day trip of years past when time was more plentiful than responsibilities.

The downside of a trip from Minneapolis is that it severely limits our options for where to go. In recent years, the trip model has come to include at least one major league game, but also a handful of minor league games. Our crew has determined that the lower levels are fun, with jewels for ballparks, cheap seats right by home plate and the chance to yell a lot without much consequence.

In browsing our trusty map from MILB.com (shown above and linked here, pretty much the best thing ever), however, we were struck once again by the dearth of options we have around here. A total of 42 states have at least one affiliated minor league team. Minnesota is one. Of the eight that do not, Alaska and Hawaii are included. So of the contiguous 48 states, just six are minor-league free. Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota are among those six.

Iowa has five. Wisconsin and Illinois have two apiece. So it’s not like we have to go a LONG way to get to some, but it does limit the options. We’ve already been to five of those nine minor league destinations between the three states, and our route this year includes another (Burlington, Iowa).

Yes, it would not be a true road trip if we didn’t have to drive to get places. But we do find ourselves thinking, yet again, that a couple of Minnesota franchises in the Class-A Midwest League — one in St. Paul, as will apparently be discussed between the Twins and Saints — and another in, say, Rochester — sure would be nice not just for the trip but for local fans of minor league ball in general.

The Saints are fun, while the Northwoods League and amateur town teams help fill the gap. But as the GBRT can tell you, they don’t quite compare to the lure of minor league baseball.

TFD: Randy Moss is now a high school football coach

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated June 28th at 8:42am

moss2Randy Moss had a long, awesome and interesting NFL career. We had no clue what he would do in his retirement, but to be honest given his history of squirting officials with water bottles and paying fines in cash, coaching high school football was not the first thing that came to mind. But that’s apparently what Moss is doing now, according to the Charlotte Observer:

Former All-Pro NFL receiver Randy Moss is now the associate head coach at Victory Christian Center School. Moss was at Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s 7-on-7 tournament Thursday coaching the Kings from the sideline. His son, Thaddeus, plays on the team after the family recently moved from the New England area, Victory Christian head coach Dee Brown told the Observer. Thaddeus Moss is reportedly 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, and he was clearly the biggest player on the field during the Kings’ loss to Hough on Thursday morning.

Moss coaching his son … what could go wrong?

NBA Western Conference power forward opts-in, signs extension

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated June 27th at 8:30pm

randolphloveKevin Love and Zach Randolph are power forwards who swallow up rebounds. Their overall games are different — Love has more range, Randolph is more of a banger — and they are certainly at different stages in their careers with Love at age 25 and Randolph at age 32.

But while all the talk around Love centers around him leaving Minnesota — just as Randolph did when he was traded to New York after spending his first six years in Portland — the chatter around Randolph now is much different.

Memphis represents the next level up for the Wolves after respectability — a team that routinely contends for and makes the playoffs while posing at least a threat to advance. And Randolph wants to be there, agreeing to a player option for next season and reportedly adding another two-year deal on top of that. The deal starting in 2015-16 will reportedly be for two years, $20 million.

“This is where I want to be,” Randolph said.

Love? Eh, not so much. While Ricky Rubio tweeted a welcome to first-round pick Zach LaVine last night, Love was tweeting about the draft but made no mention of the fellow UCLA product or anything Wolves-related. When asked which Wolves player they were most looking forward to playing with on Friday, both LaVine and second-round pick Glenn Robinson III said Rubio. Maybe they’re just excited about his passes. Or maybe they can read between the lines like the rest of us and know Love probably won’t be their teammate for long.

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Los Angeles - LP: Z. Greinke 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 4
San Diego - LP: J. Benoit 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: B. Logan 6
Toronto - LP: A. Loup 7 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Grilli 8
Miami - LP: S. Cishek 3 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 4
Washington - WP: D. Fister 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2
NY Yankees - WP: C. Whitley 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: V. Pestano 4
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 4
Chicago Cubs - LP: D. Beeler 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 4
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Guerra 4 FINAL
Boston - WP: K. Uehara 5
Kansas City - WP: A. Crow 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 8 FINAL
Texas - LP: Y. Darvish 4
Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 4 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse 1
Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 5
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Oakland - LP: J. Hammel 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Cain 5
Winnipeg 7/11/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 7/11/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 7/12/14 5:30 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 7/12/14 8:30 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 7/17/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 7/18/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Hamilton 7/18/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Montreal 7/19/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Washington 72 FINAL
Chicago 65
Seattle 58 FINAL
Phoenix 78
New York 66 FINAL
San Antonio 80

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