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Taking a Look at Jon Niese’s Actual Trade Value

In Sports on June 24, 2015 at 11:04 am

By: Brian Mangan

With the news that the Mets are actively shopping Jon Niese, I took a look at what the Mets might expect to be able to acquire in exchange for their cost-controlled, league-average lefthander. After looking at a few recent trades involving similar pitchers, I agree with Matt Cerrone who said that a package involving Niese could get the Mets an “an out of favor or boxed out youngster or a veteran” nearing free agency.

To establish this comparison, I looked for pitchers aged 32 or younger who within the last four years had an ERA within a quarter point of Niese, with 35 or more wins, 650 or more innings, and a K-BB ratio of 2 or better. Surprisingly, I found only 9 comparables:

No Matter What You Think of his Defense, Flores was the Right Move

In Sports on June 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm

By: Brian Mangan

It is June 19th, 2015, and we are more than 1/3 of the way through the 2015 season. On this date, the New York Mets are in first place. No matter what happens today, the Mets will be in first place tomorrow. It is a nice place to be.

One issue which has lingered from the outset, however, is uncertainty about whether the Mets made the right decision to go with Wilmer Flores at shortstop instead of signing or trading for another player. It’s an issue I discussed here often, as well as over at MetsBlog, where I wrote several columns on the topic. The most recent of these, “Sandy Alderson was right to stand pat at shortstop,” was not well received by frustrated fans.

I understood the frustration, but still, I felt strongly that the Mets made the right move in giving the job to Flores. Many times last year I stated my belief that Flores would play good enough defense to justify sticking his bat into the lineup, especially on a team starved for offense. I had a three-part series on it last July, which you can read here: #FreeWilmer.

Why I’m No Longer a Fan of Game of Thrones; How Thrones Went from Avant-Garde to Pornographic

In Entertainment on June 17, 2015 at 11:35 am

By: Brian Mangan

The penchant for “realism” in Game of Thrones has simply become an excuse to rely on shock value.   

[Note: This is a reaction to Game of Thrones, Season Five. Spoilers abound]

I’m not going to say that I “quit” Game of Thrones but, for now, it has lost me as a fan. For the last two seasons, I’ve stood by and watched with varying degrees of disgust as the show has assaulted viewers with death, rape, and torture. Finally, I can stomach no more. The show that I once lauded as the “best on television,” whose DVD boxed set I bought for my mother, even, has lost the benefit of the doubt.

Thrones has been applauded by critics for years for being “gritty” and “realistic.” The author of the books upon which Thrones is based, George R. R. Martin, has outwardly preened about his own authenticity, taunting other fantasy novels as “Disneyland Middle Ages, where they had castles and princesses and all that.”

In an interview with the New York Times last year, Martin was asked about the amount of rape in the show, justifying it by saying:

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