Urban: MLB Power Rankings -- New club on top

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Urban: MLB Power Rankings -- New club on top

May 23, 2011

URBAN ARCHIVE
LAST WEEK'S RANKINGS

Editor's note: Mychael Urban's MLB power rankings -- detailing who's hot, who's not, a little why, a little how, and what it all means.

Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
1 (2)
Cleveland Indians (29-15) More than 14 of season is gone; its getting harder to call it fools gold. 2 (1)
Philadelphia Phillies (28-18) No fools gold here, but wheres the beef beyond Ryan Howard?
3 (8)
St. Louis Cardinals (28-20) Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman: best 1-2-3 punch going. 4 (5)
San Francisco Giants (27-19) Its not quite so torturous when you expect it to happen every day. 5 (4)
Tampa Bay Rays (26-21) 15-8 record on the road says a lot about this teams cohesion, character. 6 (6)
Florida Marlins (26-19) Josh Johnsons injury wont be as devastating as you might think. 7 (7)
Atlanta Braves (26-23) Batting average not always important. It is in the case of Dan Uggla (.185). 8 (13)
New York Yankees (25-20) One of three teams (w Phils, Fish) with winning record at home, on road. 9 (3)
Cincinnati Reds (25-22) Five-game losing streak after five-game winning streak typical of hotcold club. 10 (11)
Texas Rangers (24-23) If only because its wrong to leave division leader out of top 10. 11 (12)
Boston Red Sox (25-21) Adrian Gonzalez-fueled 8-2 run has them a half-game out in AL East. 12 (18)
Milwaukee Brewers (24-23) If they ever seriously consider dealing Ryan Braun, contract them. 13 (14)
Toronto Blue Jays (23-23) Underrated bullpen overshadowed nationally by Jose Baustista. 14 (9)
Los Angeles Angels (24-24) Bobby Abreu has as many career doubles (534) as Lou Gehrig? Wow. 15 (10)
Detroit Tigers (23-23) By far the best team in the game trailing division leader by seven games. 16 (27)
Chicago White Sox (22-26) Not a very good team overall, but this is what winning 7 of 10 gets you. 17 (28)
Seattle Mariners (22-24) By far the highest theyve appeared in these rankings; blame parity.
18 (16)
Oakland A's (22-25) Another month of wasted gems and you can forget about pre-season predictions. 19 (17)
Colorado Rockies (23-22) Simply cant afford Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki to not be great. 20 (25)
Arizona Diamondbacks (23-23) Have more than enough talent to get sneaky on everyone this summer. 21 (19)
New York Mets (22-24) Owner Fred Wilpons New Yorker interview sort of explains all the trouble. 22 (22)
Washington Nationals (21-25) Giants fans who wanted J.J. Hardy likely less enthused about prospect. 23 (20)
Baltimore Orioles (21-24) A lot of executives made a mistake in not taking a run at Vlad Guerrero. 24 (21)
Los Angeles Dodgers (21-27) With Matt Kemp cooling off, they need relief corps to get better fast. 25 (15)
Kansas City Royals (22-24) Early season feel-good story feeling very much like its run its course. 26 (23)
Pittsburgh Pirates (22-24) Perennial sub-.500 club only two games under is story worth tracking.
27 (24)
Chicago Cubs (20-25) They can hit with most everyone, but bullpen as a whole is beyond shaky.
28 (26)
San Diego Padres (19-28) Like Rays, better on road than at home. Unlike Rays, not very good anywhere. 29 (29)
Houston Astros (17-30) Wandy Rodriguez starts are worth watching. Take other four days off. 30 (30)
Minnesota Twins (15-30) Sad enough before Harmon Killebrew passed away. Now its depressing.
What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

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AP

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."