By Cullen Jekel, RahimAli Merchant, and Mickayeen Farner
Welcome to Buy or Sell!
In this new, weekly segment, Mickayeen Farner, RahimAli Merchant, and I will go through three current topics and discuss whether we’d jump on board with a certain idea, team, or player (“buy”), or run away from that same idea, team, or player as fast as we possibly can (“sell”).
Each writer will present one topic to the other two writers. The two writers may agree or disagree, but it’s the conversation that’s the meat of this segment.
For example, I could posit the notion that, based on the first two weeks of the NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars will return to the AFC Championship game. Both Mr. Farner and Mr. Merchant could agree, but for entirely different reasons.
Let’s get to it.
RahimAli: Dwyane Wade’s Return to Miami for One More Year Will Help the Team.
Mickayeen: I’m gonna go ahead and sell D-Wade helping the Heat. There are shades of the Kobe retirement tour. I just picture too much attention going to Wade while the future of the team is compromised a bit. It’ll distract from the fact that [Hassan] Whiteside is unhappy and take playing time away from someone else. They’re lucky to be in the East, because I don’t think they’re a better team than Dallas and would finish as the 10th seed at best in the West. This team is far from being an actual contender in the playoffs and a year of a Wade retirement tour is only going to distract upper management from doing what they need to in order to help this team rebuild.
Cullen: I’m buying Wade helping the Heat. Wade’s an experienced player, the face of the franchise, even during the Big 3 Era with LeBron [James] and [Chris] Bosh. Sure, he’s aged and lost a step, but this is a team that without Wade wouldn’t have made the playoffs. With him, they will win the Southeast and get probably the 4th seed in the East.
Will his return make much of a difference in the playoffs? I doubt it. But while the Heat have a playoff roster, they don’t really have a big name. Wade gives the fans someone to come out and watch, to cheer on, even if it is for old times’ sake. He’ll help, but not a lot.
Cullen: Florida State Fires Head Coach Willie Taggart After This Season.
RahimAli: I buy FSU moving on from coach Willie Taggart. He doesn’t have a good resume as it is and I believe he is just the placeholder for another coach they have their mind set on. Plus, Taggart’s coaching career was at Western Kentucky and South Florida before coaching Oregon last year, but even then he could not succeed. He isn’t going to succeed as a head coach and will be out of the college head coach picture by the end of season, when unknown replacement is found. Taggart is better suited as a positions coach than a head coach, especially at one of the biggest college football schools in FSU.
Mickayeen: I’m gonna sell the idea that they move on from him. I can see the argument being made that he couldn’t get his team ready for a game against Syracuse, but this is only his first year and the guys he recruited are not even upper classmen yet. I say they let it ride one or two more seasons after this.
Mickayeen: The Colorado Rockies Will Win the NL West.
Cullen: I’m selling on the Rockies, and I’ll bank on the Los Angeles Dodgers instead. They took over the West lead last night, and while it’s only by a half-game, they’ll hang on. They’ve got the better bullpen, they’ve got experience, they have one of the best pitchers in baseball with Clayton Kershaw, and their offense is hitting on cylinders. Yasiel Puig is hitting the cover off the ball right now, and that lineup looks pretty solid, with only 2B lacking–or slacking, rather.
The Rockies, unfortunately, have been playing with house money all year, and it’s finally catching up to them. They’ve been outplaying their Pythagorean projection as they’ve been leading the West, but with a run differential that is, once again, in the negative. Teams just don’t make the playoffs that way, and they especially don’t win tough divisions like that. In the offseason, the Rockies front office tried to re-make the bullpen on the fly with some high-priced relievers, including Wade Davis. That has not gone well. A group of big bats can only take a team so far with undependable pitching, even a group that has four guys with 20+ home runs, including two guys with 33 or more home runs. It’s been a fun season for the Rockies, and this current series is extremely pivotal. But L.A. won game one 8-2, and I expect the Dodgers to take at least one more, if not get a series sweep.
RahimAli: I sell the Colorado Rockies winning the NL West. The Dodgers also manage to find themselves in the postseason no matter what comes up. They have their young sluggers who can put up the runs and Yasiel Puig has turned into something else lately. The Dodgers pitching is also one of the best in the majors and with a healthy Kershaw and [Closer Kenley] Jansen, they will once again be hard to stop in the postseason. The Rockies tend to fall apart near the end of the season and it will be hard for Wade Davis to get saves with the explosive bats in the Dodgers lineup.
I do however, see the Rockies getting one of the wild card spots, as the Atlanta Braves look to take care of the St. Louis Cardinals to help Colorado’s chances. Nonetheless, it’s going to be an exciting finish in the National League playoff picture. But Go Dodgers!