A year ago, Yorvit Torrealba was playing for Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League. On December 23 he was suspended for hitting an umpire. Like, straight out smacking him while arguing a call. For his transgression he was suspended for 66 games. Per the suspension, he would have been eligible again this coming January 3rd.…
The only difference between the Houston Rockets and Wizards is that they were in different conferences. Both were 41-41, except the West was weaker top to bottom so Houston had the No. 8 and final seed while Washington finished 10th.
The Wizards' goals are to get younger, more explosive and identify a few two-way players in the process to improve their 21st scoring defense. Adding players indiscriminately isn't an option because of the salary cap. The big fish (meaning, big-name free agents) will get signed first. Assuming the Wizards land one, even if it's not named Kevin Durant, they'll construct the roster with the remaining money with as many as eight other spots open. More than likely they'll retain 2-4 of their own free agents which will cut that number of open slots from 5-7.
They'll need a solid backup for Marcin Gortat at center, a true scorer behind Bradley Beal and a backup point guard for John Wall.
These are Houston’s free agents, in order of best fit (and realistically in the Wizards' wheelhouse cap-wise):
Donatas Motiejunas: He’s got the size at 7-foot tall and plays facing the basket. Injuries slowed him as he played in just 37 games for 6.2 points, after averaging 12 a year ago when he started 62 times, but Motiejunas can be a complementary player off the bench or a spot starter with three-point range. He’s also 25 and made just $1.6 million. Coming off a sub-par season with a dysfunctional roster, he can get a raise but still be very affordable.
Terrence Jones: Before the Wizards acquired Markieff Morris at the trade deadline, Jones was in the conversation but giving up a first-round pick for an unrestricted free agent this summer with no commitment long-term would’ve been silly. Plus, Jones is not better than Morris. Jones averaged 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 50 appearances. The 6-9 forward unrestricted and made $1.8 million this season. A good backup with stretch potential at 31.6% from three, he can be an fill-in starter and probably acquired for a moderate raise.
Jason Terry: The Jet, an unrestricted free agent shooting guard, will be 39 soon coming off averaging 5.9 points in 72 games. He still shot a respectable 35.6% from three-point range but Terry is a few years past his best. A player of his caliber is an ideal sixth man and he was a key reason the Mavs upset the Heat for the NBA title. But that was five years ago. If he continues to play, he’s a late rotation, end-of-the-bench guy for the veteran minimum who plays in a pinch. He played for the $1.5 million minimum.
Josh Smith: The unrestricted free agent ($1.5 million) has gone from being a double-digit scoring average from 10 seasons in a row to a bench player who has fallen out of favor because of his low-efficiency scoring. Smith is 6-10 and can be a good defender. He's also just 30, roughly the same percentage he shoots from three-point range which he does too liberally for a player with his accuracy. Smith isn't in demand. He'll be a cheap pickup. If he plays to his strengths, and Doc Rivers couldn't make him work with the L.A. Clippers, what are the chances that Wizards coach Scott Brooks would succeed?
Nats (16-7) vs. Cardinals (12-12) at Busch Stadium
The Nationals enter Sunday with a chance to do something they've never done before, sweep the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. It is an unexpected turn of events after they were swept by the Phillies in their previous series, but here we are.
The Nats will aim for the sweep in a game with quite the starting pitching matchup in store. Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.35) will face off against one of the best young hurlers in the game, right-hander Carlos Martinez (4-0, 1.93). Martinez throws triple-digit heat and has held opponents to a .162 batting average against this year.
Scherzer has been one of baseball's best pitchers in recent seasons, but is off to a rough start this year. He aims to bounce back from a four-walk performance his last time out against the Phillies.
For the Nats, Michael Taylor and Ryan Zimmerman are getting the day off. The rest of their lineup, though, is as expected.
First pitch: 2:15 p.m.
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Cardinals - Carlos Martinez
CF Matt den Dekker
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Max Scherzer
3B Matt Carpenter
RF Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
1B Brandon Moss
C Yadier Molina
CF Randall Grichuk
2B Kolten Wong
SS Aledmys Diaz
RHP Carlos Martinez
Big fish are being caught and if the weather holds up, this could be one of the best weeks of the year.
Water temperature is in the upper 60s. NBC Ch. 4 meteorologist "Weather Kim" Martucci says, “Looks like a cloudy and rainy week, with highs on Monday around 80, slipping into the mid 60s on Tuesday and bouncing between 65-70 into the weekend.”
While aggressive baits like Lucky Craft LVR D-7 lipless crankbaits are good to snap free from grass and slow rolling spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits will also produce, it's soft plastics in the grass that will land the big ones consistently. Texas rigged Mizmo tubes, green pumpkin with orange will be the best bet. Use 16-pound test GAMMA Edge Fluorocarbon line and a 3/16-ounce weight with a 3/0 Mustad tube hook. Pitch to grass and shake. Locate groups of milfoil clumps of 3 or more and pitch into the center. Also pitch along side of the clumps with the current. Add a spray of attractants like Jack's Juice garlic.
Drop shot rigs with 6-8 inch leaders using a 20-pound Torque braid mainline and a 12-pound Edge leader. A 2/0 Mustad Megabite hook and a finesse worm will entice bedding bass into biting. Also a shaky head stickworm with a Mizmo BarbWire jig head will keep baits in beds to provide hits.
On wood, I still use the plastics, but add in a dose of Mann's Baby 1-Minus crankbaits on 12-14 pound Edge. Crank these baits along lay downs and make contact. Pause and retrieve.
With boat traffic, lower Power Pole shallow water anchors and turn off electronics. Make repeated casts in an area before moving.
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. email@example.com