Kerry Wood being shopped around, Arena Football returning, NHL News

Good Morning Sports Fans!

Reports surfaced yesterday at the MLB Winter Meetings that the Indians are planning on shopping around closer Kerry Wood. According to team officials, Wood, who signed a $20.5 million deal a year ago, is “not in the Indians” plans for rebuilding the franchise. Wood was 20 for 26 in save situations last season while serving as the Indians closer.

The Indians do need to cut costs but trading Wood could be a mistake. Wood is a veteran with closing experience, which is what the Indians will need going into this season. Despite several arm operations, Wood still has great control of the ball and can get the job done. If the Indians have games that are close, having an experienced closer can help put some more wins on the scoreboard. The team also needs a veteran leader for the younger players to look up to as well.

The Indians have the ability to trade Wood but will need players who are ready for the Major Leagues, not hope-to-be prospects. Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro’s plan of trading veterans for prospects has yet to pan out and most of the trades he’s made have been failures. In the CC Sabathia trade, we ended up with Trevor Crowe, who got shipped back and forth between Cleveland and AAA Columbus this past season, and Matt LaPorta, who had to learn a new position just to get a roster spot. Other trades in which we have gotten rid of Cliff Lee, Ryan Garko, Ben Francisco, Victor Martinez and many have only brought up minor league players who either will never live up to expectations or are still ways away from putting on an Indians uniform.

Moving from Major League Baseball to the indoor gridiron, it was announced yesterday that Arena Football will be returning to Cleveland. Original Cleveland Gladiators owners Bernie Kosar and Jim Ferraro announced that another Gladiators franchise will take the field inside Quicken Loans Arena this upcoming spring. In 2008, the Cleveland Gladiators reached the Conference Championship game and built a local following within Cleveland. Relocation fees, other monetary losses, and the Arena Football League’s instability forced the league to suspend operations the following season.

Arena football proved to be a big draw in Cleveland in 2008 and could be successful if done right. The team will need to market themselves heavily and could have an opportunity to draw some fans early on. The team might get lost in the shuffle at times with the Cavaliers in the playoffs but if marketed right, fans will at least know the team is around. If the Indians start off slow, the Gladiators could have a shot at drawing in a lot of fans. If the tickets are reasonably priced too, it will be an easy sell for fans.

Last night in the NHL, in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Carolina Hurricanes froze the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Carolina started off quickly with two goals by Jussi Jokinen and Andrew Alberts in the first period. Ray Whitney would add in another goal for the Canes in the second period to go up 3-0 but the Penguins quickly countered with goals from Sidney Crosby and Michael Rupp. The Penguins ended up outshooting the Hurricanes 32-21 but Carolina’s quick start at the beginning proved to be key to winning this hockey game.

The Penguins may have had a slow start last night but coming back from a 3-0 deficit is not easy. The Penguins do have lots of offensive weapons to work with and this game shows that no lead is safe against this team. Sidney Crosby has proven to be a great leader on the ice and with veterans like Michael Rupp and Bill Guerin, the Penguins rarely panic.

In other NHL news, New Jersey Devils goaltender tied Terry Sawchuck’s career record for shutouts but blanking the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 last night. With his 103rd career shutout, Broduer proves he has not lost a step in his game. The veteran goaltender is still among the NHL’s best and he is well on his way to being a Hall of Famer.

That’s it for now. Keep it real.

Jeff

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~ by jeffrsabo on December 8, 2009.

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