MLB Trade Notes - NFC East Pointspread Report


By Jim Hurley

How 'bout a LeBron-less column here as we close out the first half of the 2010 Major-League Baseball season and close in on the National Football League Training Camps?

Glad it works for you too!

As it turns out, there was major news outside the NBA while heading into this second weekend in July as the financially-strapped Texas Rangers traded for Seattle lefthander Cliff Lee (8-3, 2.34 ERA) and thus averted a Lee-to-the-New York Yankees deal that had been very much in the works for much of Friday morning/early afternoon. Folks, the sports talk radio shows in New York City on Friday were running wild with Lee rumors with one specific report claiming the Yankees were "on the one-yard line and about to push things across (for a proverbial touchdown)" but - as we all learned - that didn't happen.

Now, nobody's saying Lee won't wind up wearing Yankee pinstripes come the 2011 season - he's a lead-pipe cinch to take the free-agent route following this 2010 season - but at least for now the balance of power hasn't swung ridiculously in NYY's favor ... can you imagine a starting rotation coming out of next week's All-Star Game break in which Lee joined forces with good pal CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Javy Vazquez (note that would have been four All-Stars in one rotation with Vazquez then the likely "odd man out").

So, the Rangers and Mariners got a real head start on this month's shop-and-swap and in this weekend edition of Jim Sez we'll focus on a trio of contenders who will surely be in the market for goodies between now and the July 31st deadline.

We'll get to that plus get you the final installment in our NFL Pointspread Reports - it's a closer look at the spread stuff involving the NFC East - but first here's a very important message:

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In case you're wondering, there are several MLB executives not real happy right now about the fact that Texas was able to secure Lee for the remainder of the season while facing major money woes (ESPN was reporting that the Rangers were gonna have to shell out some bucks for the $4 million Lee contract despite early reports that claimed otherwise) but the interesting thing here is that Lee could well be a "rental" and the Rangers dealt 1B Justin Smoak and three key prospects to Seattle - so the win-at-all-costs and win-now theories are very much in effect here for the American League West-leading Texas.

Hey, if the Rangers - who entered the weekend with a 5 ½-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels - wind up getting into the playoffs and then getting deep into the post-season they'll say this Lee swap was worth it even if they cannot re-sign the former Cy Young winner.

If the Rangers don't even get to the post-season this October, then this franchise will have taken yet another hard jab to the jaw.

Now, here's some quick-hitter comments about Three (3) other MLB teams that are in the market for marquee players right now (note records below are while entering this weekend's play):

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (46-38) - Now that the Chisox have heard the news that RHP Jake Peavy (right shoulder muscle) is gone for the year and maybe longer, always-aggressive GM Kenny Williams is out to secure an innings-eater hurler prior to the trade deadline and word is he has sights set on Baltimore RHP Kevin Millwood and/or Arizona righty Dan Haren. The Pale Hose's efforts to get Houston RHP Roy Oswalt failed on Friday and so securing either Millwood or Haren is the goal now and it appears the Sox will grab the one who's less costly in the trade route. The only real question we have is do the Chisox have enough young Triple-A type players who are attractive enough to either the Orioles or the Diamondbacks? Stay tuned.

NEW YORK METS (47-38) - All the talk in/around the Mets lately was that GM Omar Minaya was setting up a nice little package deal for Lee but nothing substantial ever came of things and so expect the National League East team to have a little change of direction here while trying to obtain bullpen help and a bat off the bench. It's possible that the Mets will be checking in with Houston but not for the aforementioned Oswalt who's made it pretty clear that he's not looking to settle in NYC. If the Mets could swing a deal with the Astros that would bring hard-throwing closer Matt Lindstrom (20 saves in 24 opportunities) and make him the eighth-inning guy (a major Mets problem spot all year long) and get a useful bat too such as 3B Geoff Blum than maybe some of those minor leaguers that were set to go to Seattle instead will make their way to the NASA city.

COLORADO ROCKIES (47-38) - It sure seems as if the Rockies are ready for one of their annual second-half surges as evidenced by the fact this NL West crew entered the weekend on a four-game winning streak (and winners of eight of its last 10 games). Jim Tracy's team isn't totally set in the pitching department where the return of LHP Jorge De La Rosa on Friday night following a two-month injury absence could be the necessary boon in tracking down the San Diego Padres. Still, the Rockies have made it be known that they are interested in Oswalt and could be in play for the aforementioned Haren although it's not terribly likely that the D-Backs will deal this stud inside their own division. Best bet is that the Rocks will get a front-line starter and some bullpen aid too but it might wind up costing 'em their best three or four Double-A/Triple-A prospects.



The National Football League Training Camps are just around the bend and all 32 teams will be in camp by the end of this month -- and so let's go ahead and continue to whet your gridiron appetite with our latest (and final) edition of Jim Sez NFL Pointspread News/Notes as we bring you the NFC East.

DALLAS - Maybe this won't come as any big surprise to you but the Cowboys are a collective 81-80-4 ATS (against the spread) the past 10 years and note last season's 10-8 spread log marked the only time in the decade of the 2000s that this NFC East crew registered double-digit pointspread wins in a single season.

The Cowboys covered four of their final five games last year to topple the .500 spread mark for the past decade - the season did end with a thud thanks to that non-competitive 34-3 loss at the 2 ½-point home favorite Minnesota Vikings - but recent Dallas editions have spiraled out of control spreadwise as the 2008 team staggered through a four-game ATS losing skid and the '07 bunch ended the year losing five in a row to the Las Vegas number.

Last year Dallas wound up going 4-3 vig-wise against divisional foes (including that 34-14 NFC Wild Card Round win against 3 ½-point underdog Philadelphia) but overall the 'Boys are a disappointing 12-19-1 ATS against the NFC East while dating back to the start of the 2005 season.

NEW YORK GIANTS - The numbers don't lie and they say that the G-men produced four consecutive winning spread seasons prior to last year's humbling 6-10 ATS campaign that included nine pointspread losses in the team's final 11 games ...gulp!

If you do go back to the start of the 2005 season and go through the end of 2008, you'll see that the Giants cranked out a 45-25-1 spread log (that's a .643 winning rate) during this four-year run that featured the shocking Super Bowl 42 win against 12-point fav New England. Overall, the Giants are 18-9 versus the vig as point-grabbers since the start of the 2006 season and Tom Coughlin's club is 21-11 spreadwise in non-divisional affairs the past three years even though the '09 team failed to cover its final seven non-NFC East tilts.

PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles have been a grand investment for years as Philly sports a 101-74-3 spread record since the start of the 2000 season (that's a .577 winning rate) but the Birds did end last year on a three-game spread losing streak that included back-to-back spread losses to archrival Dallas (a 24-0 loss as 3-point road dogs in Week 17 play and then the aforementioned 20-point loss to the 'Boys in the opening round of the NFC Playoffs).

Note that Andy Reid's club has stumbled inside divisional play the past three years with a 9-11 ATS mark but did you know the Eagles are 20-12 versus the vig when venturing outside the NFC East since the start of the 2006 season? Last year Philadelphia covered four-of-five non-divisional road games including the season-opening 38-10 win at 2 ½-point favorite Carolina.

If you're looking for one specific category where the Eagles have thrived spreadwise then check out the fact Philly's 34-19-2 against the odds as point-grabbers since the start of the 2000 season and note that includes a 7-2-1 ATS log as pups back in '00 and three different 4-1 ATS spread seasons.

WASHINGTON - In case you've lost count, the Redskins now have suffered through four consecutive losing spread seasons including last year's 7-8-1 ATS mark. Overall, this NFC East team is a collective 25-34-6 vig-wise since the start of the 2006 season and during this time frame the 'Skins registered a shoddy 8-16-2 spread record whenever in the favorite's role.

If you wish to discover a somewhat strong spread category for this team than check out the fact at least the Redskins are 10-8 ATS in divisional play the past three seasons and Washington's 7-3 ATS in its last 10 head-to-head battles with the archrival Cowboys.

Finally, you may wish to stay away from the Redskins in season-opening tilts as Washington is a lowly 3-6-2 ATS in Week One clashes dating back to the 1999 season.

NOTE: Stay on top of all the MLB, NFL and NBA happenings in the next edition of Jim Sez and don't forget that our College Football coverage will begin in a couple of weeks as we get you up to snuff on all the BCS conferences and all the non-BCS leagues too.

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