Tim Cahill Arrives in New York, Makes Red Bulls Championship Contenders

 

Seemingly out of nowhere the New York Red Bulls landed Everton attacking midfielder Tim Cahill for a reported fee of $1.5 million. The 32-year old Australian international is New York’s third Designated Player along with Thierry Henry, and Rafa Marquez and he is already thinking championship for the team as he joins his new teammates at practice in New Jersey.

Cahill spent eight seasons at Everton where he scored 68 goals in 278 appearances, where he made a name for himself after his move from Millwall. The attacking midfielder also represented his country at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup, scoring 24 goals in 55 caps for Australia.

Cahill brings great attacking skill to the midfield, while adding to the offensive firepower with strikers like Henry, Cooper, and Le Toux. The Aussie will play just behind the two strikers, allowing Henry to stay up front instead of tracking back to receive the ball. Along with Cahill, the Red Bull midfield will include the resurgent Dax McCarty in a defensive midfield position, Le Toux wide on the right flank, and Joel Lindpere on the left. It is to be seen whether Marquez will be traded or remain in the starting lineup for Hans Backe.

With a potent offense with the likes of Henry, Cahill, Cooper, Le Toux, and Lindpere, it is now up to New York’s defense to perform. The team will score plenty of goals but the leaky defense will have to hold up and key players like Wilman Conde and Heath Pearce need to stay healthy and contribute.

Just think of this 4-4-2 starting lineup:

Goalkeeper: Ryan Meara

Defenders: Jan Gunnar Solli, Wilman Conde, Heath Pearce, Roy Miller

Midfielders: Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Sebastien Le Toux, Joel Lindpere

Forwards: Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper

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Mets Make Roster Changes, Harvey Could Debut Thursday Vs. Arizona

41-year old Miguel Batista claimed that the Mets were “the best team in baseball” last week. Now he will no longer be part of the club as he has been designated for assignment after yesterday’s start in which he surrendered 4 ER in 3.2 innings. The Mets clearly saw enough out of Batista the last few times around to earn him a demotion. This season he has a 4.82 ERA while starting and relieving games in the absence of Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee.

New York has announced corresponding moves with RHP Elvin Ramirez being promoted back to the majors after struggling with his control in his first stint with the big league team. He will go to the bullpen while the Mets will need a starter for Thursday’s game in Arizona.

Jeremy Hefner, who was called up to replace Johan Santana, will start on Wednesday and could also work out of the bullpen if they need him to. There is speculation about whether Matt Harvey will be called upon to pitch in Arizona, but after his last start for Buffalo, the Mets are having second thoughts about handing him the ball. He was roughed up in an outing in which he allowed 6 runs on seven hits. Harvey threw 96 pitches but only 61 for strikes as his heavy pitch count has ruled him out of starting Wednesday for the Mets.

With Harvey being lit up in AAA, Sandy Alderson and the Mets front office is a little frustrated with the recent slew of injuries that has devastated the starting rotation. Surprisingly, the team is considering calling up Collin McHugh instead of Harvey for Thursday’s start. McHugh, who is not as highly touted a prospect, is similar to Dillon Gee in that he does not throw hard but has good breaking pitches. He is 1-3 in seven starts for AAA Buffalo, with an ERA of 4.54 after being called up from AA Binghamton.

The Mets rotation is getting really thin all of a sudden with three out of the five opening day starters on the DL. New York is running low on options and needs to make a move to help the struggling rotation and horrendous bullpen. Whether it is Harvey or McHugh, it is hard to expect either to do much in their first major league experience. The season is fading fast and this might be the last chance for the Mets to stay relevant this season. Pitching needs to be better than it has been so far in the second half of the season and it needs to give the team a chance to win on a regular basis.

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Is It Time to Start Worrying About Johan Santana?

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Just over a month ago, Johan Santana did the unthinkable and threw the first no-hitter in Mets history. While in the moment, fans pushed for Terry Collins to leave him in to complete the no-hitter despite a high pitch count. Collins had a dilemma and let everyone know that he would feel awful if the 135-pitch no-hitter had a negative impact on Santana’s health in the future.

Though Mets fans were ecstatic about the no-no, many are far less impressed with Johan as of late. The man who came off serious shoulder surgery has an ERA of 6.54 and a record of 3-5 since throwing the no-hitter on June 1. He has allowed 6 or more earned runs in 3 straight starts, earning him a 13.54 ERA in 3 straight losing decisions.

This is the worst stretch of Santana’s career and many are beginning to question how much the southpaw has left in the tank after the shoulder surgery. Certainly he is not the pitcher he was in Minnesota, but his recent struggles are concerning as the Mets are beginning to question how much left they will get from him with $25.5 million owed to him next season. It will cost New York another $6 million to buy out his contract after the 2013 season, totaling a $31.5 million investment in a fading Santana.

It is clear that he needs rest as he looks tired on the mound and he is missing his spots badly. Maybe the Mets might decide to put him on the 15-day DL to give him some time to recover from whatever seems to be bothering him. While Santana insists there is nothing wrong with him physically, you have to think that Johan’s ultimate competitive attitude is holding him back from admitting that he is injured.

Whether he is simply hitting a rough patch or suffering from an injury, the Mets have to be concerned about what they are seeing from their $25+ million ace. At this point the team cannot trade him because there is no one out there who would take on such a large contract for a 33-year old pitcher that is coming off major shoulder surgery.

As Mets fans speculate on Johan’s future with the Mets, Matt Harvey looms in AAA Buffalo. Worst case scenario Harvey takes Santana’s place in the rotation and he gets to gain some major league experience without the pressure of competing for a playoff spot.

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Why Jeremy Lin Disrespected the Knicks

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The economics major from Harvard should have tried his hand at politics if his basketball career did not take off in the midst of Linsanity last season. Jeremy Lin clearly knows how to play both sides of the fence with lies, double-talk, and a falsified sense of happiness playing on a team he doesn’t actually want to be on.

Don’t make any mistake. Lin is only in Houston for the “ridiculous” money offered to him after playing just 25 games last season. All of the talk of wanting to join the Rockets because they are a good team is just complete nonsense. If Lin really wanted to win he would have stayed in New York and played alongside Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler.

Lin’s decision was more than winning and cashing in on a huge paycheck. The point guard’s ego couldn’t allow him to play second fiddle to Melo and Amar’e. No, Lin wanted to be the center of attention on a team that has no other big names to steal the thunder from him. I guess the media capital of the world is not big enough for Lin and Melo.

He said he always wanted to remain a Knick at the beginning of free agency, but if this is true, why would he consult with Houston and make them raise the price of the offer sheet? The original Houston offer would have been matched by James Dolan. He and Houston knew the Knicks couldn’t match a higher offer of 3 years/$25.1 million contract because it would cause serious problems for New York with the salary cap in year three of Lin’s deal. A very sneaky move done by Lin behind the Knicks’ back.

One more thing that is hard to understand is why Lin would sign with the team that cut him on Christmas Eve last season. Instead of repaying the team that gave him a chance to play and made him a worldwide sensation, he basically told the Knicks that he was too good for them.

Even if it was all about the money, which it was, how could a Harvard graduate be so dumb to move away from the biggest media market in the world. Sure the Knicks couldn’t match the $25 million by Houston. But he had the chance to make a whole lot more money in sponsorship and advertisements in New York. Now he will be forgotten playing in Texas for a team that is not even going to make the playoffs.

It’s no big deal for the Knicks. They will not have to deal with the sloppy play and turnovers at the point guard position with Lin gone. When all is said and done Jeremy Lin needs New York more than the Knicks need Jeremy Lin.

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Mets in Free Fall With Season Hanging in Balance

The first half of the 2012 season couldn’t have gone any better for the New York Mets. The team of unknown young ballplayers surpassed all expectation and finished the first half six games over .500, which was a whole lot better than a team which was expected to lose 100 games by the end of the season.

However, all of the positive momentum from the first half has been undone by some very poor play by the Mets to open up the second half. With two extremely important series against the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, it was crucial for the team to win games to stay in the playoff race. Unfortunately, things have gone south in a hurry as the Mets have lost six in a row and have fallen eight games behind the Nationals and 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves.

After being swept in Atlanta, the Mets are now in danger of having the same happen to them in Washington. The team is in a complete free fall and they are fading fast as the playoff race heats up. The atrocious bullpen has coughed up many games this season, but none bigger than the one two days ago against the Nationals where they blew a save in the 9th and 10th innings. There is no one in the entire bullpen who can be called on to hold a small lead late.

Aside from the awful bullpen. another reason for the Mets struggles of late is the inconsistent starting pitching, which is coming back down to earth after an amazing first half of the season. R.A. Dickey has finished with no decisions in three of his last four starts while allowing five runs each of those starts. Ace Johan Santana has also struggled 25 earned runs in 7 games since his no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. Injury has gotten to Dillon Gee and now the Mets will have to find a capable replacement for the underrated Gee.

If the Mets continue to have poor starting pitching, they will have no chance at making the playoffs. And even with good starting pitch, they will go nowhere with a leaky bullpen that blows games late. This is the Mets first real test of the season. It is now when they will either pack it in and wait for the off season, or turn it around and compete for a playoff spot. While there is still plenty of baseball left but New York cannot afford to fall any further behind. Terry Collins needs to turn it around now and it starts with today’s series finale against Gio Gonzalez and the Wsahington Nationals.

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Thierry Henry’s Highlight Goal Lifts NY Red Bulls Past Chicago Fire

On a blistering summer day in which temperatures reached triple digits, Thierry Henry helped the New York Red Bulls put out the Fire in front of 15,814 spectators at Red Bull Arena. The intense heat was not enough to stop Henry from making his mark on the game. After missing six games with injury, the Frenchman got back on track when he settled a Sebastien Le Toux cross and fired a left-footed blast past goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the 71st minute. It was Henry’s 10th goal of the season and his first since scoring  April 28 against New England.

The stunning goal was all New York needed as they dominated from start to finish while enjoying 61% possession and managing four shots on goal against Chicago. The suspect defense of the Red Bulls held firm today to preserve a shutout for goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, just the fourth time this year that New York did not allow a goal in MLS play. The win breaks a three-game winless streak and propels the team into second place, just one point behind Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference.

New York’s next opponent will be the Philadelphia Union who come into the game coming off a 2-1 victory against the Montreal Impact. Henry and Company will look to build on today’s game and make it two wins in a row against their bitter rival.

Seeing Henry’s goal in person was amazing. It was the goal of a world-class player who knows how to finish in difficult positions. Other than Henry’s spectacular performance, several other Red Bull players impressed. Mehdi Ballouchy was a stabilizing force in the center of midfield, linking up with Le Toux and Henry. Wilman Conde was solid in the center of defense and played a big role in preserving the shutout. Substitute Connor Lade also impressed, bringing a great deal of energy to the team on a scorching day. His tireless work ethic and blazing speed helped set up New York’s goal and ultimately provided the spark that the team needed. Overall, a very good game for the Red Bulls who needed a win today. They dominated for most of the game, created many chances, and they finally played well enough in defense to win a game. Hopefully Henry has more in store for next game when the team faces the Philadelphia Union.

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by | July 18, 2012 · 6:32 PM

Harvey Sparkles in Buffalo

If you’re a Met fan today, be happy.  Yes I know the Mets just got swept by the Atlanta Braves.  And yes I’m aware the Mets are three games over .500 and are going through a rough part of their schedule.  But put that all aside for now because the Mets should be excited.

Highly lauded Met prospect Matt Harvey pitched last night for AAA Buffalo Bison.  Harvey was under the microscope this particular start.  Since the injury of Dillon Gee, the Mets are looking for someone to take his spot and ultimately be the number five starter for the Mets.  Some of the candidates include Jeremy Heffner, Miguel Batista, and Matt Harvey.

We’ve all seen what Heffner and Batista could do in the starting rotation.  Both of them had a couple of moments where they looked like a great pitcher to have in your starting rotation.  Other times you just want to turn away from what you are seeing from them.

Met fans have been hearing Harvey’s name for a while now.  The young right-hander out of North Carolina was picked seventh.  He was known to have electric stuff, but at times could be erratic.  Well Harvey has been working on his command and seems to have much more control than what he had once he was drafted.

Matt Harvey has had a spectacular season.  This season Harvey has a 2.53 ERA in the minors.  He has 106 strikeouts in 105 innings.  He’s the type of pitcher that could get out of trouble with his command of his pitches.  On Monday, Harvey gave up two runs over six innings pitched.  Not to mention he brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Look, the best option to replace Gee with is easily Harvey.  I have a lot of faith in the type of pitcher he is.  I wouldn’t want Batista or Heffner to start for my team.  The organization has been talking about Harvey for the longest time now.  Isn’t it about time they gave him a chance to pitch in the majors?

I get that the Mets don’t want to rush Harvey.  And neither would I.  But he’s ready.  Look at the numbers he has put up in the minors.  They’ve been impressive.  The guy strikes out a bunch of hitters and he’s proven to have much better command of his pitches.  Wally Backman agrees that Harvey is ready for the majors.  The Mets are flirting with going a couple of games under .500 so Harvey might be the spark the Mets need.  Now is the time of season when teams go from contenders to pretenders so the Mets need to stay in the thick of things to make it to October this year.

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Kris Humphries Re-Signs With Nets

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Sources have now learned that PF Kris Humphries will re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets for a two-year deal worth $25 million. He will be a part of the franchise moving to Brooklyn after spending two years in New Jersey with the lowly Nets.

Humphries’ stats were impressive as he averaged a double double last season with 13.8 points per game and 11 rebounds per game in his best season as a pro. He is a hustle player who fights for every rebound, plays solid defense, and scores when the team needs him to score.

Humphries’ signing is a great move by GM Billy King, as now the starting five is set. It will include Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez. Humphries has had two impressive seasons with the Nets after coming to the team as an unknown commodity. After the bogus Kim Kardashian wedding and some quality play at the Power Forward position, Humphries has made a name for himself. While Dwight Howard to the Nets would have been an enormous trade for Brooklyn, the Nets are better off with Humphries at the four spot and Lopez at center. The lineup is filled with solid players at each position, making the team favorites to reach the playoffs.

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SNY @ 7pm: Matt Harvey Starting For AAA Buffalo Bisons Tonight. Next Stop Flushing

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In what is a big game for the Mets and their AAA affiliate the Buffalo Bisons, Matt Harvey will be the center attention as he might very well make his final start for Buffalo before heading to Flushing. The game is being aired on SNY for Mets fans to have a look at whether or not Harvey is ready to be promoted. He will go against the Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers) with scouts, fans, and Mets front office watching him.

A good start for Harvey could very well punch his ticket to New York to face off against the Dodgers on Saturday. A bad start and he could remain in Buffalo for another start. With the pressure on the right-hander to perform, we will catch a glimpse of how he deals with the expectations of playing in a city like New York. 

Also playing for Buffalo tonight is Jason Bay, who is batting second and playing left field. Bay will be back for the Mets within the next couple of days as he is looking to rebound from a series of injuries. His return will provide New York with a right-handed bat in a lefty-heavy lineup.

If you are a Mets fan tonight’s Bisons game will be of great interest to you. Tune into see the impressive prospect make possibly his final tune up game before making his major league debut.

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Jason Kidd Pleas Not Guilty

Newly-signed Jason Kidd pled not guilty to the DWI charges he faces.  Kidd crashed his SUV into a ultility pole after a night of partying in the Hamptons.

The front of the SUV was totaled but Kidd did not suffer any serious injuries.  Kidd blew a stop sign while travelling back to his $6 million summer home at 2 o’clock in the morning.

When the cops showed up, Kidd reported reeked of alcohol and didn’t have the ability to stand up straight on his feet.  His eyes were bloodshot and watery.  He refused a breathalyzer and later turned away chemical tests at the Southampton Hospital.

Sources say he was not fit to drive at all.  He left the nightclub after breaking a light fixture he tried hanging from.  The club-goers are said to have seen Kidd dancing and drinking vodka throughout the night.

Not a good start for Kidd’s tenure with the Knicks.  I’m sure James Dolan isn’t pleased with him.  Jason Kidd was always looked at as a role model in the NBA community.  Hopefully this will be seen as a little blemish on Kidd’s goodie two-shoe career. 

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