Which prospects will break through and deliver 2018 fantasy value?

It seems oh-so-silly today, but one year ago the main point of conversation and/or contention surrounding Los Angeles Dodgers slugging prospect Cody Bellinger was actually a giant veteran roadblock by the name of Adrian Gonzalez. I put the qualifier on Gonzalez in quotes for emphasis because that is how ridiculous it feels today, a season after the so-called safe, reliable veteran hit all of three home runs before a back injury shut him down and eventually ran him out of town. Meanwhile, all Bellinger did was bash 39 home runs over 132 games. It could have been more games but, well, Gonzalez had to play, right?

That might be a wrong interpretation, but it’s certainly more realistic than concluding a guy who hit .226/.309/.347 as a 29-year-old limited-range left fielder in Class-A is going to get good enough to even match those (terrible) numbers in the majors.

It’s also more realistic than thinking that Alderson — Marine, lawyer, seminal sabermetric figure, World Series champion GM, influential league office executive, plausible Hall of Fame candidate — wants his legacy to be as a second-tier Bill Veeck.

A right-handed batter, Gomez had a .255 batting average with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs last season.

The Dominican Republic native came to Texas as a free agent in 2016 after being released by the Houston Astros amid a seasonlong slump. He rebounded to hit .284 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games over the next month as the Rangers won the AL West title. His MLB résumé also includes stints with Minnesota, Milwaukee and the New York Mets. He won a Gold Glove in 2013 while playing center for the Brewers.

An All-Star in 2013 and ’14 with Milwaukee, Gomez has a .257 average with 133 home runs and 504 RBIs in 10 big league seasons.

The move comes a day after Tampa Bay traded Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three-team deal with the New York Yankees. The Rays have made a series of cost-cutting moves in recent weeks, also trading pitcher Jake Odorizzi and designating Corey Dickerson for assignment.
royals_040

Watch Bud Light’s ‘Dilly Dilly!,’ ‘Bud Knight’ Super Bowl commercials

Bud Light is continuing its hugely popular Middle Ages-themed “Dilly Dilly!” ad campaign for Super Bowl 52.

The beer brand will air two Super Bowl commercials — “Ye Old Pep Talk” and “The Bud Knight” — to complete a trilogy for the campaign, which started with “Wizard.”

“He’s played a long time,” Brees said while speaking with Sporting News before last year’s Super Bowl. “He’s about to wrap up his 17th season. In those 17 years, it’s 14 division championships, 11 AFC championship games, seven Super Bowls, potentially five Super Bowl wins. That’s quite remarkable, that level of consistency for that period of time.”

In only three years during his career has Brady has won nothing. In one of them, 2000, he was a developmental rookie backup to Drew Bledsoe as a sixth-round draft pick. In another, following a 16-0 regular season in 2007, he suffered his lone major injury, to his knee, in Week 1 of 2008.

In the history of the Super Bowl there have been only five players to receive the game’s Most Valuable Player award more than once, and all of them are quarterbacks. In fact, quarterbacks have won the award 28 times.

The Patriots’ Tom Brady (four Super Bowl MVP awards), of course, is on the list of players with multiple Super Bowl MVP awards, along with Bart Starr (2), Terry Bradshaw (2), Joe Montana (3) and Eli Manning (2). Brady broke a tie with Montana when he won his fourth MVP award in Super Bowl 51.

When you look across sports at potential GOATs, including Jordan, Jim Brown and Wayne Gretzky, the others were phenoms who came in as can’t-miss chosen ones. Like LeBron James now, they experienced success at every level. Pro awesomeness felt like the natural progression.

That Incognito, college man, very likely is a career creep would be far more shameful if he wasn’t just the latest in a long, ceaseless series. It’s not, after all, as if the NFL or NCAA long ago determined to dam the flow or even plug a leak.

What were Incognito’s deterrents to being a creep? It couldn’t be what college did for him. It couldn’t be the NFL. It couldn’t be TV. It couldn’t be Ray Lewis, who now, as if ESPN couldn’t anticipate such grotesque farce, appears on TV to make shame-shame at players accused of misconduct.bills_013

The league is going to find out, because all evidence suggests no NFL team is going to sign Kaepernick.

“Our hearts are broken for them,” Pearl said.

But he doesn’t want sympathy right now. Would they be a better team with Purifoy and Wiley? “We would,” he said, while insisting that he isn’t focused on that.

“Two man down, not just man down,” he says. “It forced everybody to pick it up.”

Can they keep it up?

On the eve of rivalry week, Pearl seemed keenly aware of his team’s slim margin for error. He shouted at one of his assistant coaches down the hall for some numbers.

Auburn, he’s told, ranks 305th out of 351 Division I basketball teams in average height. Its next two opponents, Alabama and Georgia, are both in the top 30.

Pearl raised his eyebrows. This two-game stretch could expose his squad as a paper Tiger or signal that despite everything going on, this team could be in line for a good seed in the NCAA tournament.

While there’s no doubt Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs can beat Philadelphia’s secondary on intermediate routes, their quarterback must have time to make the required drops. If he’s bailing as soon he plants that back foot, no bueno.

It may be time to admit, if not accept, that NFL teams will not permit Kaepernick back into the league.

Player leaders voted to keep DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA head, as Mark Maske writes. The main upshot is that Smith will lead the union in the next round of collective bargaining agreement negotiations. There was some intrigue in the voting. From Maske’s story:

If the Redskins aren’t forced to spend their first-round pick (13th overall) on a quarterback, that would free them to use it on a top defensive lineman for a second consecutive year. In doing do, they’d adhere to the philosophy former general manager Scot McCloughan ushered in of building the team in the trenches. It would also please former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot, a firm believer in prioritizing linemen.jaguars_087

Can the Falcons make another run in defense of their NFC title?

Will Sean McVay’s offensive sorcery translate in the playoffs? Could Rodgers scare the daylights out of a top seed? (If the Packers can win out behind the presumed return of Rodgers next week, they have a 93 percent chance to make the playoffs, per the New York Times’s playoff odds calculator.) The Eagles will be pursuing the franchise’s first Super Bowl title and first appearance in more than a decade. The Vikings will be vying to be the first team to play the Super Bowl at its home stadium.

Further injury, as this season has so harshly reminded, could still spoil the NFC playoffs. For now, they are the league’s best hope to salvage an unpleasant year.

According to sources, the meeting was held without knowledge of anyone else in the organization. Allen notified the Trail Blazers’ basketball operations and business branch afterward.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Allen feared Lillard would request a trade, sources said, but a trade request was not made. The two-time All-Star made it clear, though, that he has championship aspirations and wanted to fulfill those lofty goals during the remaining years of his prime window.

Portland, winners of three of its past four, is currently 25-22 and stationed seventh in the Western Conference standings. The 2012-13 Rookie of the Year has led his team to the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, but has yet to advance past the second round.

It’s not unprecedented for Allen to meet with marquee players of his franchise. He is also the owner of the Seattle Seahawks and frequently has sit-downs with some of the key players, a source said.

Forcing players to stand isn’t the answer, according to the Eagles’ Chris Long. A native of Charlottesville, he has endowed two scholarships at his high school alma mater in the wake of violence there in August and has stood with teammate Malcolm Jenkins as he has protested during the anthem.

Trump’s awareness of Parks’s legacy goes back at least 30 years to when both he and Parks were among 80 people honored at the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations first awards ceremony on Ellis Island in 1986 by William Fugazy, Trump’s real estate broker, according to HuffPost.

Trump was photographed beside the activist at the event, but years later, he appears to believe that activists protesting racism don’t deserve honor.jaguars_024

Week 16 NFL Kickoff: Happy holidays with a playoff-impactful slate

The Raiders desperately need to win on the road to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. Oakland has to beat the Eagles and then the Chargers (7-7) next week and hope the Chiefs (8-6) stumble in order to claim a playoff berth. The Eagles, on the other hand, have clinched the NFC East and can earn homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win Monday.

The Monday night game in Philadelphia is the second of two on Christmas, following the Steelers-Titans game (4:30 p.m., NBC, NFL Network, Amazon Prime). The Steelers (11-3) will clinch a first-round bye with a win in Houston and a Jaguars loss to the 49ers (4:05 p.m., Sunday, CBS). Pittsburgh has clinched the AFC North and will have to protect against a letdown against the Titans (4-10) after Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Patriots.

Burfict was making his way toward Bell when David Decastro came for the block and hit Burfict helmet-to-helmet.However as stated at the beginning, this is not any ordinary story and even with Spygate before it, it certainly makes for some interesting television.Barring any injuries, should enter 2017 as the clear lead back a hopefully improved offense.Marquette won the championship 65 to 53.

When he did the field, however, Sankey was very inefficient according to our metrics.He swatted 83 homers, 566 hits and likely leaves with an Adjusted OPS+ of 100.Nine months after shoulder surgery, and 11 since he appeared…It was the proudest day of his life, says Bratton.teaching philosophy is based around the three R’s: relationships, relevance and rigor.

Coach Ben McAdoo is familiar with Gould, having faced him 17 times his eight seasons as assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers.White, Ottawa Senators prospect, had surgery on his left wrist two months ago and was not expected on the ice during camp.It was a direct response to Boucher’s defensive formation.He pitched very well as a rookie starting 28 , posting a 3 earned run average, and striking out 173 batters 171 innings.GOOLD: This is a question of .chargers_035

Jason Witten denies rumor he’d leave Cowboys to coach Vols

After Tennessee’s attempted hire of Greg Schiano as football coach broke down on Sunday following fan and social media backlash, multiple names have been floated in the rumor mill as possible candidates for the vacant head coaching position.

“People around you can say ‘Oh, maybe one day he’d be a good coach,’ and I could consider something like that,” Witten said. “Certainly, I could see that happening — but no time soon. I’m enjoying and loving what I’m doing right now.”

Tee Martin, the Tennessee quarterback who led the team to victory in the BCS title game following the 1998 season, is being considered by the university for the head-coaching vacancy, according to Fox Sports.

The head coach position at Tennessee has been open since Currie fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12. Currie promised to spearhead “an exhaustive search” to replace Jones. Former Buccaneers coach, and current ESPN broadcaster, Jon Gruden is the coach most Tennessee fans would like to see in Knoxville next season.

One of the main selling points in Boras’ Arrieta binder is career workload. Arrieta has pitched 1,161 regular-season innings in the majors. When Zack Greinke agreed to a $206 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in December 2015, he had almost 2,100 innings on his résumé.

The exchange between the two had occurred after the Patriots’ first drive in their 23-3 win over the Bills. Brady had fired an incomplete pass on third-and-11, and as he came to the sideline, McDaniels said something to him that led to a pointed reaction.

Where does the betting value lie in the New England-Miami matchup? ESPN Chalk experts provide against-the-spread and over/under advice on the Monday night game.
The situation simmered quickly, and soon enough, the two were sitting side-by-side going over pictures from the game.ny_rangers_003

Rivers leads Bolts to 4th straight win, 30-13 over Redskins

Chargers: Left tackle Russell Okung went down heavily in the first quarter and limped off the field with a knee injury. He returned later in the first half, however.

“For the talent that we have, obviously this is not where we want to be,” Thunder forward Paul George said. “But we’re going to remain optimistic, though, about the future and what we can do. Once we can find a way to really do it night in and night out, it’s no panic mode, but we have to start playing better. It’s getting to a point where we can’t allow ourselves to be at this point. We can say we’re going to figure it out, we can say all that. But at some point it’s gotta stop.”

After 26 games, the Thunder sit ninth in the West at 12-14. They entered Monday having won four of their past five, showing signs of correcting their rugged start to the season. After starting 0-9 in games decided by eight points or less, the Thunder’s past four wins were all decided by two possessions or less.

“It’s a wake-up call, and I take full responsibility,” Atkinson said. “I know I need to be way better, and I will be.”

The Oilers’ last game also ended 1-0 with the only goal 34 seconds into the opening period, but they were on the losing side Sunday at Toronto.

That result is indicative of what is happening recently with Edmonton (12-16-2). The Oilers put 41 shots on goal Sunday to the Maple Leafs’ 23 but couldn’t get anything past Toronto backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney.

“Hockey is a weird game,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “Some nights you don’t do anything and you get one or two (points), and some nights you have your legs and you get nothing.”canadiens_1238_3df17376da6a2688-140x140

He found it when the Blues needed it most.

“Tough loss on the road,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We’ve just got to keep competing for more of the 48 minutes and stay together . and find a way to win on the road in a tough environment.”

The Hawks led 75-71 after Miles Plumlee’s jumper with 1:28 left in the third quarter.

Porzingis answered with a pair of free throws that sparked an 11-0 run during a four-minute span. It ended with two free throws from Lance Thomas that increased New York’s lead to 82-75 with 10:33 remaining in the fourth.

Of course Cleveland went Cleveland and didn’t even try to block Smith, which forced Kizer to try to scramble to his left almost immediately. Unfortunately for Kizer, Ngakoue wisely decided to stop at the level of the quarterback, which put him in perfect position to take Kizer down.

Logan Shaw had a goal and an assist, and Silfverberg returned from a five-game absence to score the tiebreaking goal late in the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.

Mired in a scoring slump, St. Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko was looking for that lucky bounce.

Tarasenko scored with 36 seconds left in overtime, and the short-handed St. Louis Blues beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Sunday night.

“I think when so many chances and the puck doesn’t go in, you just have to play simple and get that lucky bounce,” Tarasenko said. “But I think overall our line is playing better every game. We’re getting more chances all the time.”canadiens_013_d3f4a2d9e61f7c90-140x140

Verizon, NFL agree to new 5-year deal worth nearly $2.5 billion

One of the NFL’s biggest sponsors is coming back.

In addition to live streaming, Verizon will have broader highlight rights and plans to experiment with augmented reality and virtual reality. It also hopes to use the NFL deal to produce original content across Verizon’s network of sites organized under a new content company called Oath.

Miller went down in a heap after getting shoved out of bounds and left the game with a leg injury, in what would be a significant loss for the Texans. D’Onta Foreman is already out for the year and newly claimed Andre Ellington is inactive.

Ravens 14, Texans 7 The Ravens went for it on fourth down and flipped the ball outside to Alex Collins, who took it 28 yards down to to the 8. Collins hit paydirt on the next play and Baltimore now has 14 unanswered points.

With Roberto Luongo sidelined by a leg injury that is expected to keep him out of action for what first-year head coach Bob Boughner has called an extended period of time, the Panthers are going with James Reimer and rookie Harri Sateri in goal for now.

One of their best chances to tie it came with about six minutes left in the second when Brendan Perlini sidestepped the Blue Jackets’ Lukas Sedlak and charged on a breakaway, only to have Bobrovsky knock down his shot. That was typical of the Coyotes’ evening.

They couldn’t capitalize despite skating on a power play for the last 2:53 of the game. They played 6-on-4 after pulling Raanta for the last 1:12, but Bobrovsky held them off with the help of two key blocked shots.
mariners_001

I can own up to that. I’ve got to improve, no doubt.

From the Packers’ end, it’s simple: They must run the table to match their 10-6 finish of 2016, when they won their final six games. Backup quarterback Brett Hundley, fresh off Sunday’s 26-20 overtime victory over the Buccaneers in Lambeau Field, must play well enough to help them beat the Browns, and then starter Aaron Rodgers needs to return from his collarbone injury in Week 15.

“I want to apologize to Josh for last week in Buffalo. I know our coaches work really hard, and they are responsible for putting us in a great position to succeed. I just want to get that off my chest,” Brady said in opening remarks, before he answered any questions.

When Brady was asked if those types of outbursts were part of the emotion of football, he replied, “Yeah, but a lot of people see it and they think the nature of our relationship might be something like that, but it’s really the exact opposite of that. I’ve been feeling bad all week and haven’t had a chance to say it. He knows how much I love him.”

“I’m good. It happens,” Siemian said Wednesday, via the Denver Post. “You look around the league, you see quarterbacks take their licks. I feel like I’ve taken my fair share, no doubt. But it’s all on me. I’ve been reckless with the ball at times, made some bad throws.”

Siemian, who ranked fifth in the NFL in passer rating (106.9) after victories over the Chargers and Cowboys before plummeting to 31st (72.7), specified that the nature of his downturn has been mental struggle.

“I’m kind of out of sync at times,” Siemian said. “In times I haven’t played well, there hasn’t been a real rhythm with me and that trickles all the way through the offense.
panthers_054