Now arriving: A blast from Michigan
Jan. 14, 2013
It's 39 degrees at 2 p.m. in Phoenix, so it's only fitting that Monday's wide-ranging bits of tid include a couple of items that have blown in from the great white north of Michigan.
First, there's Jon Paul Morosi's report on FOXSports.com of the Diamondbacks' interest in Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello.
Porcello, a fifth starter type for the Tigers, is still only 24 and was a can't-miss prospect for the Tigers a few years back -- which says a lot about can't-miss prospects and the potential dangers of trading an establish star (read: Justin Upton) for prospects.
Porcello clearly is not suitable compensation for Upton, but perhaps he could be Jason Kubel-worthy. One problem with that scenario is while Detroit is looking for outfield help, its preference is for a righty bat, according to Morosi. Plus, many believe Kubel's defense leaves him better suited for DH, a position where the Tigers are overloaded.
The other possibility is Porcello as part of an Upton package. Upton hits right-handed, covers plenty of ground in the outfield and would be a smashing addition to a lineup that includes Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez. In case you're wondering, the Tigers' list of top prospects includes a third baseman (Nick Castellanos) and an outfielder (Avisail Garcia)
* * *
Also from up yonder by way of Doug Haller's report on azcentral.com, former Michigan State wing man Brandan Kearney is transferring to Arizona State. Kearney, Haller reports, is enrolled for the spring semester and would be eligible to play midway through next season.
Kearney, a 6-foot-5 wing player, hadn't played much in his two years with the Spartans, but Tom Izzo runs a top-10-caliber program, so you've got to believe he's a talent. In 13 games this season, he averaged 16.9 minutes, 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds.
* * *
More Sun Devil basketball, courtesy of ASU publicist Doug Tammaro:
Jahii Carson is averaging 17.1 points and 5.2 assists per game. No freshman has averaged 17/5 since Seton Hall's Shaheen Holloway in 1996-97.
Carson is also the first ASU freshman with back-to-back 20-point games on a Pac-12 road trip since Steve Beck in 1984.
Arizona visits a sold-out Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday with a 15-1 record. Never before has ASU hosted a Pac-12 opponent with a 15-1 record. The previous best mark for a one-loss team was Oregon (14-1) in 2007. Arizona did bring a 20-2 record to Tempe in 2003 -- plus a No. 1 national ranking.
One last ASU hoops tidbit, also via Tammaro: The last time the Sun Devils hosted a team ranked No. 7, James Harden, Jeff Pendergraph and Co. pinned a 72-68 overtime upset on Brothers Lopez and the seventh-ranked Stanford Cardinal, circa 2008.
* * *
On to football: Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez can't seem to escape each other's shadows.
Athlon put out its grades on first-year coaches, and the major domos of our state's two D-I programs were right alongside each other: Graham at No. 8 (out of 28 new coaches) and RichRod at No. 9, both with letter grades of B+.
For Graham, Athlon cites the victory over Arizona, a dominant performance in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and the dramatic improvement in disciple as "what went right" and said that, barring unexpected injuries, the Sun Devils are positioned to start next season in the top 25.
For Rodriguez, the "rights" included doubling the Wildcats' 2011 win total, wins over USC and Oklahoma State and a near-upset of Stanford. The "only real negative" was that pesky loss to ASU.
Elsewhere among the Pac-12's newbies, UCLA's Jim Mora was ranked fifth with an A- and Washington State's Mike Leach was 18th with a D.
* * *
We'll close with a link to another evaluation of the ongoing Upton saga, by Grantland.com's Jonah Keri, examining similar scenarios of teams that were seemingly eager to rid themselves of marquee talent. Among the comparisons: Tom Seaver, Gary Sheffield and Ubaldo Jimenez. Some worked out, others not so much.