After quite the bender this weekend, I got home from work today and closed my eyes for a little nap. I woke up a few hours later to a number of missed calls, messages and ESPN alerts. I’m not sure what I dreamt about in my deep sleep, but no matter what it was, it couldn’t have possibly been as sweet as the news I received when I regained consciousness. As I’ve stated before, the three teams I am most passionate about in no particular order are the New York Rangers, the New York Yankees and the New York Jets. Today, as I was peacefully sleeping, each team made a deal to bolster their respective rosters. It was by far the best nap I’ve ever taken.
The first news flash I saw on my phone was that the Rangers completed a trade for the highly touted Rick Nash. Nash was the hottest player on the trade market and he greatly improves the Rangers in an area that they sorely needed help last year…goal scoring. Nash scored 30 goals and had 29 assists for the last place Columbus Blue Jackets, but he was on a team with very little support around him. He will have the opportunity to play with players like Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards next year, and I expect his production to increase. Look for Nash to light up the net next season and I think this trade has to make the Rangers an early Stanley Cup favorite. They were a first place team this year, made it all the way to the Conference Finals and improved on their one area of weakness. The Rangers gave up a decent package in Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixson and a first round pick, but Nash will be well worth it. He is a difference maker for a team that is on the verge of greatness.
After talking to a few fellow Ranger fans about our new acquisition, I caught another headline that the Yankees traded for Ichiro Suzuki for basically a bag of balls and a few bats (Thank you Ed B!). Now, we all know that Ichiro’s production has gone down over the past few years, but he’s also been on awful teams. I believe that both Ichiro and the Yankees will provide a spark for another, as there really is no downside to this trade. Ichiro will provide the Yankees with solid defense, great speed and the ability to work his way on base and steal a few bags. He is an absolute upgrade over the Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones platoon, which has performed really well. Ichiro is batting .261 this year, but I believe that a change of scenery will help Ichiro perform closer to his .322 career average. Ichiro has done everything imaginable that a player can possibly accomplish except play in the World Series. When you place him on a team like the Yankees, who are in first place in the bigs even after being swept in four straight one run games by Oakland, the possibilities are endless. I predicted the Yankees to win the Series this year prior to this deal and this transaction only fosters my belief that we will have a special fall in the Bronx.
How could a day that lands Rick Nash and Ichiro Suzuki get any better? How about finding out that the New York Jets upgraded their single biggest weakness, trading for Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Jeff Otah. Otah has battled injuries throughout his career, including playing in only 4 games last year, but the Jets seem confident that he will be available to start this year over the atrocious Wayne Hunter. The Jets had one of the best offensive lines a few years ago and as soon as they inserted Hunter into the right tackle spot, it crippled the team. Sanchez was on his ass all season long, the running game struggled and Hunter was often spotlighted by TV analysts as possibly the worst starting Tackle in football. If Otah is able to stay healthy, he has the ability to make the Jets offensive line one of the best in football again, which can possibly lead to a reemergence of the team as a whole. If he gets injured again, well then the team is in the same position as they were in yesterday regardless. In an offseason in which Mike Tannenbaum has received a lot of criticism (Tim Tebow), this is possibly the move that will save the Jets from another embarrassing season.
Overall, I am one very pleased sports fan. Hoping tomorrow I wake up and find out Dwight Howard is somehow a Brooklyn Net! Either way, can’t wait to see what my next nap brings me…