Mark Teixeira :: Jim Cowsert/Icon SMI
Clearly, the Angels upgraded their offense with the addition of Mark Teixeira from the Braves for Casey Kotchman and minor league hurler Stephen Marek. Fanball.com's Ray Flowers figures the Angels now sport one of the better meat-of-the-order lineups in the game now, especially considering Teixeira's usual second-half surge. With Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter batting around him, Teixeria should get the jump-start he needs to please the Angels and his somewhat disappointed fantasy owners.
As for the Angels, the deal arguably makes them the favorites to win the World Series, suggests SI.com partner, Baseball Prospectus, and the potential benefit to L.A.'s offense was worth the price.
The news isn't nearly as good for Kotchman and the Braves, who will be playing out the season together. A lineup without Chipper Jones for the next 15 days won't offer much of a welcome for the less powerful Kotchman. Still, for NL-only leagues, Kotchman is rare regular added to the league at such a late date.
When we first heard that the Rockets had acquired Ron Artest from the Kings Tuesday night for Bobby Jackson, this year's No. 28 draft pick, Donte Greene and a first-rounder next year, we thought the price was a little steep for someone with a habit of ruining teams. But when you consider that the Kings were about nine points better per 100 possessions with Artest in the game than without him; and you take a leap of faith that on a team with two established leaders already in place, Artest will play nice and share the ball more than he did in Sacramento; and you find that Artest was one of the league's better crunch-time players last season ... well, maybe GM Daryl Morey's gamble will be worth it. This is a Rockets club who gave the Jazz a seven-game fight without Yao Ming in the playoffs; their title window is now. And Donte Greene and another low-round draft choice isn't going to get the Rockets closer to that title than Artest would.
Ever hear of Brad Ziegler. No, it's not that new guy in the cubicle down the hall. He's a middle reliever for the Oakland A's, and one of the better stories of the 2008 season, writes Fantasy Baseball Dugout. After suffering two skull fractures while pitching for the A's in the minors, the former Phillies prospect became a submariner and this year set a major league record for pitching the most consecutive scoreless innings to start a MLB career. Yes, middle relievers may not be much help at this point in the season, but wouldn't you rather roll Ziegler out each night than watching Barry Zito get hammered again?
Anquan Boldin :: Peter Read Miller
Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin is facing the last year of his contract. Oddly, he wants a new one from the Cardinals. Oddly, the Cards have been ambiguous in their desire to sign the star receiver to a new deal. Not oddly, agent Drew Rosenhaus is involved. A savvy team might be doing this to goose a career year out of Boldin. If history is a guide, though, the Cards are just spurring Boldin as a consequence of their thrift. Either way, it should be good for Boldin owners ? when they become Boldin owners.
It's Year Seven of NFL realignment. ... You can wake up now. Cold Hard Football Facts, though, has pieced through some of the league's bluster about how wonderful realignment has been to discern a few trends, which finds that parity isn't quite as widespread as fans might think, especially when it comes to winning in the postseason.
Whose stock is poised to rise the most after the first month of the NBA offseason? Our friends at RotoExperts.com pondered the question with a roundtable of experts. While there sill may be some moves to come, the early winner appears to be Corey Maggette. Of course, who wouldn't benefit playing for a coach who treats defense like disease.
With a new line coach and three potential starters, the Seahawks running game is a work in progress, reports SI.com's Jim Trotter in his Seattle training camp postcard. Yes, it may be more effective in total than last year, but uncertainty doesn't make for fantasy success. We'd lean toward Julius Jones early, but not until our starters are set.
Imagine if trading cards were a bit more ... truthful. RotoEvil.com has, at least in the case of soon-to-be ex-Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury.
At long last, SI.com has a fantasy football game, complete with all of the drafts, waiver wires, stats and analysis you need. Take the grand tour here and sign up a league. Heck, sign up two leagues if you want. We'll be waiting.