Record: 23-12-5, 51 points
Last Two Weeks: 4-0-1
Place: Tied for first in the Southeast, Fifth in the East
We’re pretty much at the halfway point of the 2010-2011 Season, and the Caps have settled into a winning groove after their brutal losing streak in early December. They’re about to be tested, though, as January looks to be a defining month for the season. Two games against co-leader of the Southeast Tampa Bay, tough games in Philly and Atlanta, and home matchups against the Rangers and Senators, with just a few matches against teams they should beat.
Looking back on the Winter Classic, we saw a Caps team that continued their first period struggles, their second period explosion, and a third period full of fight. That’s been this Capitals team all season long, and until they can figure out their first period struggles, I think they’re not going to be strong contender for Lord Stanley’s Cup. There’s much to work on this season, and still a good amount of time to see it happen.
Wizards Home Opener by MudflapDC
Last Two Weeks: 2-5
Place: Fifth in the Southeast
It maybe 2011, but it definitely looks like the Wizards of 2010 are still around.
You would think that off-the-court hijinx would be at an all-time low now that Gilbert is a Orlando Magic, but the Wizards have been up to all sorts of things when they aren’t losing games to the Bulls or Hornets. John Wall spent his New Years doing the Dougie with Chris Brown at Love. Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee recently had club experiences that didn’t turn out as well. The two served a one-game suspension after getting into an altercation outside Shadow Room before Christmas.
On the surface the post-suspension trade rumors surrounding Blatche look like a reactionary move similar to the Arenas trade. However some say that Blatche has been shopped all season long, which brings up a bigger question: is Blatche going to be a part of the rebuilding Wizards? Blatche’s current situation looks all too similar to Arenas: a player with a malcontent rap who could easily be replaced if dealt. Newly acquired Rashard Lewis could play Power Forward, the position he played in Orlando, if Blatche is gone.
Meanwhile the team is slowly getting back into health, John Wall appears to be back after battling a few early season ailments and Kirk Hinrich (thigh) and Yi Jianlian (knee) have returned to practice. With the team at full strength the Wizards can put up more of a fight than they have the past month, which is good since their next six games are against sub .500 teams. We might just have a chance now.
Schedule: Wednesday at Philadelphia, Friday vs. New Jersey, Saturday at Charlotte
Last Two Weeks: 1-1
Place: Tied for third in the NFC East
I think the best you can say for the 2010 Season for the Redskins is that it’s over. Between all the player drama, the on-field struggles of the team, and the shaky future profile, I think it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie at this point. We’ll come back in a few weeks with a forward look.
The Hot Stove has cooled off, but there’s still a fire burning over at Nationals Park. Rumor has it that when white smoke emerges from the Nats Park chimney, GM Mike Rizzo has chosen a new starting pitcher. A little archaic, sure, but it gives us a reason to stare at the stadium this afternoon. Rumors are flying about a two-year deal with first baseman Adam LaRoche, and about a three-year deal with hurler Carl Pavano.
LaRoche, though not quite a replacement for Dunn’s power, brings a left-handed bat to the Nationals in a position they sorely need. He put up 100 RBI in Arizona in 2010, hitting .261/.320/.468. That’s a steep decline from Dunn’s OBP and Slugging, but at this point, the Nationals are facing a barren market for first basemen. LaRoche earned $4.5M in 2010, and is said to be pursuing a 3-year contract, but some have said he might come down to two years. A 2-year/$8M deal would be an acceptable deal for LaRoche, but I think we’ll likely pay at least $10M.
Carl Pavano has spent the last season and a half with the Twins, amassing a 22-15 record over two seasons, with an ERA just under 4. He would likely be a #2 starter for the Nationals, depending on the spring of Jordan Zimmermann, and would held to solidify a Nationals rotation into something bearing resemblance of a major league pitching staff. There’s no question this remains the weakest single area for the team. Pavano has been offered 2 years by the Twins, and I’m hearing he’s been offered 3 by the Nationals, meaning we’d keep him through age 37.
Should the Nats bring in both of these gents, I think we’d be looking at an acceptable off-season haul for the team. There’s been a lot of frustration over not being competitive for Cliff Lee, or for a few of the other free agents that have signed elsewhere, and I think that’s natural. Not every player is going to respond well to Rizzo’s pitch, and the Lerners’ purse, some will go where their chance at winning is immediate and good, instead of a place where they’ll have to struggle and work for it. Should they lose LaRoche or Pavano, or badly overpay, it will likely be seen as a failure to the fans, despite the signing of Werth.