Inking Anderson A Great Sign for As

Inking Anderson A Great Sign for As


Back when As general manager Billy Beane was building theteam that reached the playoff five times between 2000-2006, one of hissignature moves was to sign a young player on the verge of greatness and gethim to sign a multi-year deal.On Friday, Beane basically announced to the baseball worldthat hes putting the finishing touches on the construction of another team heexpects to contend for years to come.He signed 22-year-old lefty Brett Anderson to a four-yeardeal that includes club options for 2014 and 2015, and that pretty much makesit a six-year deal. These As are this close to beingperennial contenders again, and just like the previous As team that madesummers in Oakland so much fun, this version is going to lean heavily on youngpitching.Back in the day, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito werethe anchors of success. Soon -- very soon -- the 24-and-under foursome ofAnderson, Trevor Cahill (22), Gio Gonzalez (24) and Vin Mazzaro (23) will beexpected to lead the way.Thats not to discount the considerable talents of DallasBraden, 26, or rehabbing Josh Outman, 25, or even recently reacquired ChadGaudin, 27. They, and others, could play major roles in the coming years.But it all starts, in the minds of Beane and able assistant,David Forst, with Anderson.He proved as a rookie last season, as a full-time starter at the remarkable ageof 21, that hes one of the most promising young hurlers in the game -- maybethe best young lefty, period.Locking up Anderson -- expect catcher Kurt Suzuki and maybecloser Andrew Bailey to get a similar deal soon -- sends multiple messages fromBeane and Forst, the most important being to the players and fans. Dont believe a word of what you might hear or readabout us not caring about you or about winning. Were close. Believeit. Beane certainly didnt pioneer the notion of locking upyoung talent. Its a no-brainer, really. It provides the player with securityin the form of guaranteed dollars at a time when a career-ending injury couldstop his earnings cold, and it provides the club with a measure of costcertainty for future planning.In this case, it provides As fans with more of what theyvealready gotten with the clubs surprisingly strong start.Hope.--Mychael Urban

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 3-0 loss to Sounders


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 3-0 loss to Sounders


What a difference a week makes.

The San Jose Earthquakes entered their two-game, coast-to-coast swing of road games in playoff position. 

But now, after a 5-1 loss to the Red Bulls in the middle of last week and on Sunday, a 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, the Quakes are in seventh place in the Western Conference -- on the outside looking in. 

Here are five takeaways from defeat number nine on the season:

-- For the first 53 minutes there, it looked like San Jose had corrected what ailed them against the Red Bulls. They bent but did not break. 

But Christian Roldan opened the flood gates in the 54th minute, capitalizing on a defensive miscue and then it didn't take Seattle too much longer to put the game out of reach -- and make the Quakes look completely out of place. 

Roldan scored again in the 56th minute and Kelvin Leerdam, starting in his first game for the Sounders, scored nine minutes later. 

Roldan came inches away from his hat trick -- hitting the post in the 79th minute. 

-- Again, it's tough to criticize the play of one player, but in both Roldan goals -- that came within a minute of one another -- Andres Imperiale looked like the target of Seattle's attack -- he got caught flat footed on the first goal and on the second, the Argentinean was beat in the air. 

His defensive partner Victor Bernardez was victimized on that second goal too. 

It's probably not a coincidence then, that the Quakes signed Swiss defender Francois Affolter during the week. 

-- Speaking of Affolter, we've yet to see him at Avaya Stadium. And just like Jesse Fioranelli's other signing, little is known of the international player. Yet, at this point, with injuries and a deep run in the U.S. Open Cup tournament, the Quakes are in need of able bodies. 

Affolter, a center back, does have five international caps and over 200 caps in the Swiss Super League and German Bundesliga. 

-- After losing to New York last week, the Quakes moved below the magic red line in the Western Conference. Sunday's loss to the Sounders is critical -- with 21 games played, the Sounders not only creeped ahead of the Quakes, but are now four points clear of their Western Conference rival for that sixth (and last) playoff spot.  

Over a two-match stretch, the Quakes went from fifth and in the playoffs to seventh and knowing the latter part of the season (13 games) will be an uphill climb. 

-- San Jose got another look at Vako. The midfielder scored against the Red Bulls but, after checking in during minute 62, Vako did not figure into the attack. 

And, in the interest of the aforementioned able bodies, it was positive to see Quincy Amarikwa put in another shift ... and almost score in the 83rd minute.

Reports: Former Warriors center agrees to one-year deal with Magic


Reports: Former Warriors center agrees to one-year deal with Magic

After one season with the Clippers, free agent Marreese Speights is headed back to the state of Florida.

The former Warriors center has agreed to a one-year deal with the Orlando Magic, according to USA Today Sports.

News that the two sides were closing in on a deal was first reported by David Pick.

The deal is reportedly worth the veteran's minimum of $2.1 million.

In his lone season with the Clippers, Speights averaged 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 82 games.

Speights played three seasons was the Warriors and was part of the 2014-15 championship team.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old Speights was born in St. Petersburg, Florida and played his college ball at the University of Florida.