Archive for the ‘baseball’ Category

The NBA trading deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. and while there hasn’t been a lot of player movement just yet; there are a ton of rumors out there. It should be interesting to see who goes where or if it was just a bunch of talk.

The one official deal we have right now has DeMarcus Cousin and Omar Casspi going to the New Orleans Pelicans. While the Sacramento Kings will receive Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, a 2017 1st round pick and a 2017 2nd round pick.

Now it is being reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets have made a deal. The reports have Lou Williams going to the Rockets while the Lakers will receive Corey Brewer and a future draft pick.

Now the Lakers did make some big changes in the front office earlier in the week. Magic Johnson has taken over as President of basketball operations. Johnson’s first move was the fire General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Vice President of Public Relations John Black. Now Jim Buss will also leave his position as Executive Vice President of basketball operations. Since Buss is part owner of the team I’m not sure if this qualifies as him being fired, but wither way he won’t be making basketball decisions any more. Since Johnson pretty much cleared out the Lakers front office it looks as he’ll be in charge of any trades the team will make between and Thursday’s deadline.

Let’s take a look at some of the trade rumors out there. The Utah Jazz have talked top the Dallas Mavericks about guard Deron Williams. Williams is averaging 13.1 points per game and handing out 6.9 assists per game for the Mavericks this season. Williams was originally drafted by the Jazz in 2005 when he was the #3 pick.

The Indiana Pacers have spoken to the Philadelphia 76ers about Jahlil Okafor. The 76ers have quite a few front court players and there has been a lot of talks about them moving one of them. Since Joel Embiid has been the break out big man for Philadelphia you’d have to think that Okafor or Nerlens Noel would be traded.

The Boston Celtics have had talks with the Los Angeles Clippers about acquiring Blake Griffin. While this could be an interesting deal the Clippers are asking for quite a haul. The Clippers are looking for draft picks along with Jae Crowder and either Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley in return for Griffin. While Boston does have the draft picks to trade that would be a lot to give up for a player who’s contract expires at the end of the season.

The Brooklyn Nets are the worst team in the NBA and they don’t have the draft picks to rebuild the team with. They’ve made it known that they’re willing to trade there best player Brook Lopez. At first the Nets wanted two 1st round draft picks for Lopez, but they made it known this week that they would accept a 1st and a 2nd round pick in exchange for Lopez. Everyone is saying that the 2017 draft is one of the strongest draft in recent years and the more picks the Nets could get in it the better off they are.

Jimmy Butler’s name has come up multiple times in trade rumors, but now it seems as though the Bulls have decided to hold onto him. There are reports out there that the Chicago Bulls have made the entire roster available, but most of the stories I’ve heard have them looking to deal Nikola Mirotic. Taj Gibson’s name has also been mentioned in some trade talks; so maybe he’s the Chicago player traded.

Another deal that has come up had Derrick Rose reuniting with hos former head coach Tom Thibodeau as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In return for Rose the New York Knicks would receive Rickey Rubio from the Timberwolves. Rubio’s name has been mentioned a few times in different trade rumors, but this is the first time Rose’s name has come up. Rose is also in the final year of his contract; so he’d come right off the books for any team that would deal for him.

While we’re on the Knicks. There hasn’t been a lot of Carmelo Anthony trade talk; so it appears as though he’ll be staying with New York at least through the end of this season. Once the Cleveland Cavaliers said they had no interest in dealing for Anthony there wasn’t really another good match up for the Knicks out there. Now if Rose is dealt they could send Anthony to the Clippers for Griffin, but that’s only if Anthony would accept that deal. Remember Anthony has a no trade clause in his contract.

I guess will have to wait until Thursday to see if any of these plyers have new teams or who else might get traded by the deadline. Sometimes it’s the smaller moves that can really help teams. There’s also the teams that are looking for some salary cap relief and might try to move some guys so they could be a player in free agency this coming off season.

Rob Manfred the commissioner of Major League Baseball held a press conference yesterday to discuss speeding up the pace of play in baseball. Now MLB was unable to make a lot of the changes they where talking about because they couldn’t come to an agreement with the players union on them, but they did make one change. The intentional walk rule is going from the traditional four pitch walk to a dugout signal. I’m not sure how much of a difference this will make, but by getting rid of the old fashioned intentional walk would eliminate about a minute of dead time per walk. Last season in MLB there where 932 intentional walks. So that means there was 1 intentional walk for every 2.6 games played. I’m not sure how big of an impact this rule change will have, but it’s looks to be the start of baseball making changes to try and make the games faster.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com or you find it anytime you want at TuneIn.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

With pitchers and catchers just reporting the St. Louis Cardinals got some bad news already. The Cardinals top pitching prospect and the #6 rated minor league prospect overall Alex Reyes needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2017 season. An MRI revealed a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.Reyes had the MRI on Tuesday after letting the Cardinals of elbow discomfort. The scan was examined by team physician Dr. George Paletta; who confirmed that Reyes requires Tommy John surgery. The images have been sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, but the Cardinals do not expect the diagnosis to change. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Reyes will likely have the surgery on Thursday. It will be performed by Paletta. Reyes first notified the Cardinals of arm discomfort late last week, and the club recommended the imaging scan after running Reyes through a physical exam at their spring training complex. Reyes has been pitching with a compromised ligament in his right elbow since at least 2013; when he was diagnosed with an elbow strain. Reyes will no longer pitch for the Dominican Republic team in next month’s World Baseball Classic. Reyes pitched in 12 games last season for St. Louis making 5 starts. He pitched a total of 46 innings going 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 1.57 and getting 1 save. Reyes was expected to contribute at the major league level this season, but his role hadn’t been decided yet. While it was never announced you have to believe there was a plan in place to limit his innings this season be it as a starter or out of the bullpen. Not that you ever want to lose a player for the season this early, but the Cardinals do have Lance Lynn returning from Tommy John surgery which cost him the entire 2016 season. St. Louis also has 23 year old prospect Luke Weaver who made 8 starts for them last season to help in the rotation if needed. Weaver was 1-4 in those 8 starts with an E.R.A, of 5.70 over 36 1/3rd innings. Weaver did make one relief appearance last season.

Kyle Schwarber has said that he wants to continue to catch and the Chicago Cubs cane out yesterday and said that they will allow him to do some catching this spring. Schwarber  tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in the third regular season game in 2016 was examined by the Cubs medical staff yesterday and if they clear him he’ll catch one or two days a week this spring. Schwarber miss all but those first three games of the regular season, but he did return to serve as the Cubs designated hitter in the World Series. Schwarber will have to wear a brace on his left knee this season and possibly the rest of his playing career. The Cubs are working on creative ways for Schwarber to work with the catchers and not put any unnecessary stress on his knee. Coming into the 2017 season Wilson Contreras looks to be the Cubs starting catcher with Miguel Montero being his back up. If Schwarber can catch he could be a very valuable 3rd catcher for the Cubs.

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is scheduled to miss 6 weeks. Love began suffering from a sore left knee Saturday against the Denver Nuggets and sat out from the Cavaliers game Tuesday. An MRI on Sunday didn’t reveal any structural damage, but Love sought out a second opinion. If Love is out the 6 weeks he should be able to return at the start of April and that would give him 7 games to get ready for the playoffs. That actual should give Love enough time to test the knee out and get back into game shape. Love is currently 3rd on the Cavaliers in scoring averaging 20 points a game. He is the teams leading rebounder grabbing 11.1 per game. Love is also one of the Cavaliers best 3-point shooters making 38.4% from behind the 3-point line. Cleveland is 38-16 and have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. Will they still be in 1st place when Love returns? More importantly does it matter at all where the Cavaliers are seeded come playoff time? You have to think that even if the Cavaliers fall into 2nd or even 3rd place they would still be the clear favorites to win the conference and go to the NBA Finals.

The Anaheim Ducks beat the Minnesota Wild 1-0 last night, but they may lose Antoine Vermette to a suspension after he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso. After losing a face off with 7:33 left in the 3rd period Vermette slashed the leg of the linesman. This earned Vermette a 10 minute penalty for game misconduct and an ejection for abuse of an official. NHL Rule 40.3 explains that a player will receive a 10 game suspension for deliberately applying physical force to an official in any manner. Vermette’s slash fits into this category. Just last season Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames received a 20 game suspension for cross-checking a ref on his way back to the bench. Wideman’s suspension was later reduced to 10 games through an appeal. Vermette is in his 13th NHL season, but this is his 1st one with Anaheim. In 58 games this season Vermette has 22 points on 8 goals and 14 assists, but is a -10 for +/- this season. There is no timetable for an NHL ruling on Vermette’s slash, but you have to think there will be a suspension involved with this incident.

For the Super Bowl the Atlanta Zoo had a bet with the Rhode Island Roger Williams Park Zoo that the loser would name a baby animal after the winning team’s star quarterback. The Atlanta Zoo paid off there bet by naming a Madagascar hissing cockroach Tom Brady. The animal to be named had been agreed upon between the two zoo’s since it was expected the loser of the bet would be bitter. The zoo introduced a whole family of cockroaches in a video Monday, including a tiny Tom Brady.

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So the Super Bowl actually did turn out to be super. I am wondering how many people turned the game off when the Atlanta Falcons took a 28-3 lead early in the 3rd quarter. Of course as we all know now the New England Patriots scored the final 31 points of the game including the game winning touchdown in overtime to comeback and win the game.

In there comeback Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and running back James White set some new Super Bowl records. Brady set records for most passing attempts with 62. Most pass completions with 42 and most passing yards with 466. White caught more passes than anyone else in a single Super Bowl game with 14. His 110 receiving yards was also the most ever for a running back in a Super Bowl. The Patriots as a team set some new records as well. They had the most first downs with 37, most passing first downs with 26 and most offensive plays in a game with 93.  Plus there was the record-setting 19 point fourth quarter comeback and 25 point second half rally. The teams also combined to set three new records. Most 1st downs in a Super Bowl by both teams with 54, most passing 1st downs in a Super Bowl by both teams with 39 and most combined passing yards by both teams with 682. The Patriots now have the most Super Bowl appearances by a team with 9 while Bill Belichick is now the head coach with the most Super Bowl appearances at 7 and wins with 5. Tom Brady now also has the most career passing touchdowns in Super Bowl history with 15.

There where also five records tied in this Super Bowl. Most Super Bowl wins; Tom Brady with 5. Most sacks in a Super Bowl; Grady Jarrett with 3. They started keeping this record in 1982. Most 2-point conversions in a game with 2 and most 2-point conversions by teams combined with 2 and most 1st downs by penalties with 4 by the Patriots.

Now as a whole the NFL playoffs weren’t that great to watch. Did this type of a Super Bowl make up for it? These where the two top offenses in the playoffs and that did show through in this game and that made it fun to watch. There was some talk that this was the greatest Super Bowl of all time. While it was a good game to watch I’m not sure if it’s the greatest Super Bowl ever, but I’d love to know what you thought of the game. Feel free to leave me your comments about the Super Bowl.

With all the complaining LeBron James has done about his team this season you have to wonder if he’s concerned about a NBA Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors or if he thinks there’s a team in the Eastern Conference that the Cleveland Cavaliers have to worry about. The Cavaliers have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors 4 1/2 games out of 1st place and the Washington Wizards 5 1/2 games behind the Cavaliers.

Now we’ve seen the Raptors take a run at the Cavaliers the last few seasons; so I’m not sure anyone would consider them a challenger in the East.

The Celtics are currently on a 7-game winning streak and they try to make it 8 in a row as they face the Sacramento Kings tonight. The Celtics are led by Isaiah Thomas who is averaging 29.9 points per game and has proven that he is one of if not the top player when the 4th quarter rolls around. Thomas is also the team leader in assists per game with 6.4. Can a team with a point guard as there leading scorer take down the Cavaliers in a 7-game series? Now the Celtics do have some big men who can score and shoot the 3-pointer. Al Horford averages 15.1 points per game and makes 34.1% from behind the 3-point line. Jae Crowder averages 14.2 points per game and shoots a team high 42.2 % from behind the 3-point line. Now the Celtics are a young up and coming team, but are they ready to take that step and take the Cavaliers out in a seven game series. If we get this match up in the playoffs we might get the chance to see where the Celtics stand.

Now how about the Wizards. Remember this is the team that started the season off 5-10 and there was talk of what a disappointing season this was going to be. Washington is now nine games over .500 at 30-21. The Wizards just had there 7-game winning streak snapped on Monday by the Cavaliers. Cleveland won that game 140-135 in overtime, but the Wizards had to get an idea that they could play with the Cavaliers. Is an close overtime loss enough to build confidence in a team that can be up and won at times. I’m sure you’ve heard the reports that John Wall and Bradley Beal don’t always get along. That would be alright as long as they both continue to play well. Wall leads the team in scoring at 23 points per game while Beal is right behind him averaging 22.2 points per game. Wall is also handing out 10.4 assists per game. Both are shooting well from the field. Beal shoots 46.9% from the field and 39.1% from behind the 3-point line. Wall is shooting 45.8% from the field and 31.4% from behind the 3-point line. Otto Porter is shooting a very good 46.7% from behind the 3-point line and Marcin Gortat is grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game. The Wizards are run by there backcourt tandem and the team will go how they go, but they do have some pieces that could help them in a series against the Cavaliers. Could Washington be the team that gives the Cavaliers trouble in a playoff series?

We had a couple more free agents come off the market yesterday. Chris Carter signed with the New York Yankees for one year at $3 million dollars while Mike Napoli agreed to return to the Texas Rangers on a one year $8.5 million dollar deal with a club option. Carter’s deal does have incentives where he can earn an extra $500,000. With pitchers and catchers reporting next week you have to wonder how many more deals will get before then.

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The baseball Hall of Fame added three new members yesterday. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriquez will join the elite group of players in Cooperstown when they are inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame on July 30th.

I have no real issue with any of the players elected, but I will say that I’ve never been a Bagwell supporter. Bagwell got in on his 7th try while it took Raines the full 10 years to get elected. I have no idea why it took Raines so long to be elected, but he finally got in. Rodriquez was on the ballot for the first time in 2017. Rodriquez became the second catcher to be elected on his first ballot. The other was Johnny Bench.

I’d like to take a look at the players that didn’t get in. In his second year on the ballot Trevor Hoffman just missed getting in. Hoffman had 74% of the vote and missed getting in by five votes. With just a little bump he should find himself being inducted in 2018.

Vladimir Guerrero was on the ballot for the first time and also got very close to being elected. Guerrero got 71.7% of the vote and was just 15 votes short of getting in. Like Hoffman you think with a little bump next season Guerrero should be going in on the next ballot.

Edgar Martinez receiver his highest vote total since being on the ballot. In his 8th year Martinez got 58.6% of the vote and appeared on 259 ballots. Martinez has two year left on the ballot and you have to wonder if there’s enough time for Martinez to get the 73 votes needed to get into the Hall of Fame.

Interestingly in there 5th time on the ballot Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds made big jumps in the voting. Clemens went from 45.2% in 2016 to 54.1% yesterday while Bonds went from 44.3% in 2016 to 53.8% yesterday. No matter how you look at these two players it’s very clear that they both used performance enhancing drugs to help there game, but they continue to climb in the voting and have time to get elected. Now there’s no way I could ever support either of these guys, but with the crop of new voters now onboard it looks as though we’ll see Clemens and Bonds in the Hall of Fame eventually.

Rolling in 9th and 10th in the voting was Mike Mussina (51.8%) and Curt Schilling (45%). This was Mussina’s 4th year on the ballot and his vote total has increased every year. This was Schilling’s 5th year on the ballot, but his vote total dropped 7% from 2016 to 2017. Now I don’t buy either of these guys as Hall of Fame players. They where both very god and at times great, but neither of them sustained that greatness to the point where they should be in the Hall of Fame. With the path that Mussina is on it looks as though he’ll be voted in before his time on the ballot runs out. It was asked yesterday that if Schilling just kept his mouth shut would he be elected. It’s an interesting question as his vote total did drop this year and you have to wonder if voters will get back on board with him or if Schilling will say something else to turn more voters off.

Lee Smith was a hold over from the old rule and was in his 15th and final season on the ballot. Smith only received 34.2% of the vote and will now be moved to the old timers committee for consideration. Smith reached 50.6% back in 2012, but his totals dropped every year after that. Smith was a 7-time All-Star and won the at the time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year 3 times. Smith finished in the Top 10 of the Cy Young voting 4 times in his career. Smith led baseball in saves 4 times in his 18-year career. Smith was still a closer in the era when they had to pitch multiple innings to get a save and actually kind of led in to the specialization of the closers role. Being that Smith was a Chicago Cub for 8 seasons I always rooted for him to get in, but he just never got the support and I’m not sure the veteran’s committee will put him in.

Another first timer on the ballot was Manny Ramirez who received 23.8% of the vote. Ramirez is another interesting case as he has two failed drug tests on his record and part of the reason he retired was because he didn’t want to serve another suspension. Ramirez appeared on 105 ballots and I’d really like to know how these voters looked past not one, but two failed drug tests to vote for him. Ramirez has Hall of Fame numbers and if the new crop of voters decides that they don’t care if a player used a performance enhancing drug Ramirez has a very good chance to get into the Hall of Fame.

In his 7th year on the ballot Larry Walker got 21.9% of the vote. In his 8th year ion the ballot Fred McGriff got 21.7% of the vote. In his 4th year on the ballot Jeff Kent got 16.7% of the vote. While Walker and Kent each won an M.V.P. in there careers and McGriff was just 7 homers short of 500 I don’t think any of these three players will be getting into the Hall of Fame.

I need so much help understanding this next player and why his vote totals are so low. Gary Sheffield received just 13.3 % of the vote in his 3rd year on the ballot and it’s the first time his vote totals have went up. Sheffield is a 9-time All-Star, won a batting title and finished in the Top 10 of the M.V.P. voting seven times in his career. Sheffield is a career .292 hitter with 509 home runs and 253 steals. Sheffield did have some injury issues in his career, but he played in 22 seasons and 2576 career games. I have a difficult time understanding what a voter is looking at when they see Sheffield’s name on there ballot and don’t check it off. Sheffield was a better player than Walker, McGriff and Kent who finished just ahead of him in the voting and his career numbers are in line with what Ramirez did minus the failed drug tests. Take a look at how similar Sheffield’s numbers are to Vladimir Guerrero’s who looks like a sure bet to get elected next year. Sheffield is a Hall of Famer!

In his 2nd year on the ballot Billy Wagner receiver 10.2% of the vote. Wagner receiver 10.5% in 2016. I’m not sure Wagner will ever get the backing to get into the Hall of Fame, but he was a dominant closer for about an 8 year period. I’m not sure Hall of Fame voters know how to judge closers yet and with the new crop of voters being added it may change. I’m just not sure that Wagner will be on the ballot when that happens.

Another player that I’m not going to understand why his vote total is so low is Sammy Sosa. Sosa’s numbers jumped a little to 8.6%, but still far away from what he’d need to be elected. Now Sosa is someone who most if not all people believe took performance enhancing drugs, but he never failed a drug test and there was never the evidence brought against him like there was with Binds and Clemens. So why does Sosa struggle barely staying on the ballot while Bonds and Clemens have had a resurgence in there numbers? Sosa is still the only player on baseball history with three 60 home runs seasons. Think about that; not Hank Aaron, not Babe Ruth, not even Barry Bonds has three 60 plus home run seasons in his career. Sosa won an M.V.P. and has 609 career home runs, but yet he’s never receiver more than 12.5% of the vote for the Hall of Fame. Sosa has five more years on the ballot as long as he can stay above the 5% of the vote he needs to stay on the ballot. It’s a bit of a travesty that Bonds and Clemens have gained support while Sosa is still barely hanging on.

16 players didn’t receive the needed 5% percent to stay on the ballot. Jose Posada, Magglio Ordonez, Edgar Renteria, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Corey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Derek Lee, Melvin Mora, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez and Matt Stairs are the players who will come off the ballot.

There’s a quick recap of the Hall of Fame voting with some of my own opinion thrown in. I’d love to get your thoughts on the voting and who might or might not get into the Hall of Fame in the next few years.

The NFL is into the playoffs and they started last Saturday with wild card weekend. So since there where games we made picks. Schaumburg Stu and I went 4-0 for the first weekend of the playoffs while Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy went 3-1. Dan the Man thought the Oakland raiders would get a win with 3rd string quarterback Connor Cook under center while Mr. Fantasy’s loss was the Miami Dolphins.

Now we’re into the divisional round. There again are 4 games. Two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Saturday starts with the Seattle Seahawks at the Atlanta Falcons. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. The second game has the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots. The scheduled kickoff for this one is 7:15 p.m. On Sunday the first game is scheduled to kickoff at 12:05 p.m. as the Pittsburgh Steelers are at the Kansas City Chiefs. The second game features the Green Bay Packers at the Dallas Cowboys. The scheduled kickoff for this game is 3:40 p.m.

There where no upset in the wild card round and let’s face it the games where pretty boring. All the home teams won and the closest game was 27-14 between the won by the Houston Texans over the Oakland Raiders. Now the match ups look a little better this week; so we’ll see a higher seed lose?

It came as a little bit of a surprise yesterday when the Oakland Raiders announced that they wouldn’t be retaining offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. The Raiders offense was ranked 6th in the league in total offense and they scored the 7th most points in the NFL. With quarterback Derek Carr becoming an M.V.P. candidate before breaking his fibula in Week 16. It was reported that Oakland’s head coach Jack Del Rio told the rest of the staff Tuesday afternoon of the move. Musgrave was the Jacksonville Jaquars offensive coordinator in 2003 and 04 when Del Rio was the head coach there. Quarterback coach Todd Downing will take over the offensive coordinator duties. There where reports that Downing had a very good chance of getting an offensive coordinator job with one of the teams hiring a new head coach and there are people wondering if this facilitated this move. Musgrave did have his critics. They pointed out how the Raiders offense seemed to be slow starting and then when they got a lead Musgrave would get too conservative.  Now the Raiders defense finished ranked 26th on the season, but reports are that defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s job is safe.

I was stunned yesterday when I saw the headline that Carl Edwards was walking away from the Joe Gibbs Racing and the #19 car. It was announced that Edwards was retiring from NASCAR immediately. Joe Gibbs Racing has called a news conference Wednesday where Edwards is apparently going to example why he’s walking away from NASCAR. Edwards is 37 years old and showed no sign of injury after an accident, yet he is stepping away from the sport. Certainly any team would want him if he ever decides to return. The timing of the decision certainly leads to speculation of a variety of reasons Edwards could want to stop racing. Maybe Edwards was just mentally spent after another near miss at the championship. Maybe the Joe Gibbs Racing driving corps isn’t as tight as it’s portrayed. Maybe he really is a Ford guy who has a plan in the back of his mind to return to that stable in the future. Maybe he has another job lined up in television? Edwards has done some commentary before and is very good in the booth calling the races. Edwards does have 28 career wins, but never did win a Cup title. He does have two 2nd place finishes on his record. 2016 Xfinity champion Daniel Suarez is expected to take over the #19 car. Suarez, who helped bring the Arris sponsorship to Joe Gibbs Racing makes the jump, but it might of happened a year or two early. Joe Gibbs Racing seemed to have quite a stable of drivers and you had to wonder down the line which driver might lose there ride. Matt Kenseth signed a contract extension last season. It’s being reported that Denny Hamlin has signed a contract extension as well. Kyle Busch is one of the top drivers in NASCAR and Eric Jones has been set up with Furniture Row Racing for the 2017 season, but is expected to return to Joe Gibbs Racing in either 2018 or 2019. Maybe Edwards felt like the odd man out and just decided to walk away. It looks like the question now is; will we ever see Carl Edwards in a full time NASCAR ride again?

We had a couple of more free agents sign in the last couple of days. Outfielder Colby Rasmus agreed to a one year $5 million dollar deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Rasmus is coming off his worse season batting average wise. Rasmus hit .206 in 107 games with the Houston Astros. Rasmus did have 15 home runs and drove in 54 runs. Rasmus has played all three outfield positions, but it looks as though he’ll spend the majority of his time with the Rays as a corner outfielder.

The other signing has Trevor Plouffe going to the Oakland A’s on a one year $5 million dollar deal. Plouffe has spent his entire seven year career with the Minnesota Twins. Plouffe was limited to just 84 games last season do to injury. Plouffe is a career .247 with 96 career home runs. Plouffe spent time at 1st and 3rd base last season, but it appears as though the A’s will use him at 3rd and Ryon Healy will shift to 1st base and spend time at Designated Hitter.

While slowly, but surely players sign with new teams you have to wonder how much longer it will be before players like Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista and Matt Wieters sign new deals. It seems as just about every team in baseball has “checked in” on Trumbo and you have to wonder why he isn’t signed yet. Apparently the Texas Rangers are the team with the most interest in Trumbo right now. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have shown some interest in Wieters, but there seems to be very little interest in Bautista. Is Bautista the guy in this free agent market that’s going to have to take a one year prove it type of deal and then try the free agent market again next season.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com but you can listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com

You can find me o Twitter @Burketime

So Thursday night we had another uninteresting NFL game as the Seattle Seahawks easily handled the Los Angeles Rams 24-3. Unless you’re a Seahawks fan it had to be a tough game to watch. Jared Goff was 13 of 25 for 135 yards and was sacked 4 times in the game. Goff was actually knocked out of this game and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. With the won the Seahawks clinched the NFC West and are in line to get a 1st round bye in the playoffs.

Goff is now 0-5 as an NFL starter, but he appears to have made some progress even though the team hasn’t won with him under center. The Rams have two games left on their schedule and they’re both at home. In Week 16 they host the San Francisco 49ers and then in the final week of the season they host the Arizona Cardinals. There is a chance that the Rams could win one or even both of these games, but really that doesn’t matter. What has to matter to the Rams right now is to continue to have Goff improve and then try to find a head coach or a quarterback coach that can develop him into a quality NFL starting quarterback. The Rams don’t even have to hire an offensive minded head coach they just have to get the right guys under him that can work with Goff. The Rams gave up 6 draft picks to get Goff. Los Angeles gave the Tennessee Titans four 2016 draft picks; a 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks and a 3rd round pick. Los Angeles also sent a 2017 1st round pick and a 2017 3rd round pick in this deal. Besides the 1st overall pick the Rams used to select Goff they also got two 2016 draft picks in the trade a 4th round pick and a 6th round pick. Now Goff may never develop into a guy who should’ve been taken #1 overall, but he’s a quarterback and that’s where they get drafted at. Don’t forget Sam Bradford was also a #1 overall pick. The biggest question the Rams need to answer is; was Goff the right choice? While I don’t expect Goff to turn the Rams around by himself and lead them to a Super Bowl, but he can be a quality NFL quarterback on a playoff team with the right help. Where can the Rams look to help Goff. Well he’s been sacked 15 times I his 5 starts; so maybe an offensive lineman or two could help. Quick name the Rams leading receiver. Did you guess Kenny Britt? Britt has 67 catches for 987 yards and 5 touchdowns. Britt was a 1st round selection (#30 overall) by the Tennessee Titans in 2009 and was considered a bust for them. This is the most receptions and yards Britt has ever had in a season, but is he a #1 wide receiver? Those are just a couple of things the Rams can do to help Goff improve. Of course without a 1st round pick in next years draft they might have to find another way to get Goff that help. So let me know what you think. How do you see Jared Goff’s career going?

There’s also an NFL game tonight as the league moves into the Saturday market with the college football regular season wrapped up. Tonight will see the 8-5 Miami Dolphins at the 4-9 New York Jets in an AFC East match up. The Dolphins are tied with the Denver Broncos for the final AFC wild card spot, but the Broncos hold the tiebreaker; so Miami has to find a way to pass them in the standings. The Dolphins go into this game without there starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill sprained two knee ligaments in last weeks win over the Arizona Cardinals. Matt Moore will take over under center for Tannehill. Moore has been with the Dolphins since 2011, but that was also the last time he started a game. Counting coming in for Tannehill last week Moore has played in 7 games in 5 seasons. It’s a tough spot for Moore to be put in, but maybe it helps that his first start is against the Jets. New York seems to be having trouble on both sides of the football. The defense is ranked 19th overall; 17th against the run and 22nd against the pass. The offense is ranked 22nd overall; 10th running the football, 26th in passing. Ryan Fitzpatrick came back on a one year deal to quarterback the team, but has been inconsistent to say the least. Geno Smith took over and got hurt and is out for the season. It seems to be Bryce Petty’s turn and you have to wonder if we’ll see Christian Hackenberg before the season ends. Maybe the weather in East Rutherford will give the Jets an advantage as snow is in the forecast. Now I haven’t received Mr. Fantasy’s pick for the game, but Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu have picked the Dolphins to win this game. I actually did go with the Jets to win tonight.

The Miami Marlins weren’t able to sign Kenley Jansen, but they have added two relievers to there bullpen these last two days. First the Marlins announced the signing of Junichi Tazawa to a two year $12 million dollar deal. Then it was reported that Miami has signed Brad Ziegler to a two year $16 million dollar deal. Interestingly both of these pitchers finished last season pitching out of the Boston red Sox bullpen. Tazawa has spent his entire 7 year career with the Red Sox. Last season he was 3-2 with a 4.17 E.R.A, in 53 games. Ziegler started the 2016 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to the Red Sox. Combined Ziegler was 4-7 with a 2.25 E.R.A. with 22 saves in 69 games. These two signings add some more depth to a Marlins bullpen that loss Mike Dunn this week. Dunn signed a 3 year $19 million dollar deal with the Colorado Rockies earlier in the week.

If you where hoping your favorite team would add some bullpen time is running out. The relievers seem to be coming off the free agent board very quickly. Will have to see who the next reliever is to sign.

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The Oakland Raiders have to be considered one of the surprise teams of this NFL season. While I think most pundits had the Raiders improving on their 7-9 2015 record I don’t remember any of them saying the Raiders would get to double digit wins. Oakland has 10 wins right now and they have three games left in this season. The Raiders where in 1st place coming into Thursday nights game against the Kansas City Chiefs and they went out and had what was probably there worst game of the season. Oakland lost 21-13 to the Chiefs Thursday night and the game brought up some questions about the Raiders. Being that it was a short week; was it just a bad night? Is Kansas City that good? or the more pressing question could be; how hurt is Derek Carr? Carr injured the pinky on his throwing hand in the Raiders 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 13. Carr left the game for a short period of time, but returned to lead the Raiders to a victory. Carr had his worst game of the season, but even with that he had the Raiders in position to possible tie the game late in the 4th quarter. Oakland had a 4th and 1 on the Kansas City 14 yard line with 2:06 left in the game. A false start penalty made it 4th and 6 from the Kansas City 19 yard line. Carr tried to connect with Seth Roberts on a possible game tying touchdown, but the pass fell incomplete and the Raiders turned the football over on downs allowing the Chiefs to run out the clock. Carr was 17 of 41 for just 117 yards. He was also sacked 1 time for -8 yards. The loss drops the Raiders into the first wild card spot, but they are three games ahead of the next closet wild card team. Should Carr be rested to allow his pinky time to heal before the Raiders head into the playoffs? or should he try to play through it? Week 15 has the Raiders in San Diego to face the Chargers. Week 16 they’re home against the Indianapolis Colts and they end the season on the road in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos. Now winning the division still isn’t out of the questions as the Chiefs play the Tennessee Titans at home in Week 15. Week 16 they host the Broncos and the Chiefs also end the season on the road as they play in San Diego against the Chargers in Week 17. The Raiders advantage is that the Titans and the Broncos are still in playoff contention and the Chiefs have to face both of them while the Raiders will just see the Broncos. So that makes the quarterback question even tougher. Is winning the division enough of a motive to continue to play Carr or is resting that pinky injury more important? If you’re a Raiders fan; what would you like to see them do with David Carr?

There was an interesting debate this week on which running back either Ezekiel Elliott or David Johnson is he front runner for M.V.P. Elliott is currently the NFL’s leading rusher with 1285 yards and has 12 rushing touchdowns through 13 weeks. Johnson is 3rd in rushing with 1005 yards and has 11 rushing touchdowns. Johnson is more involved in the Arizona passing game than Elliott is for Dallas. Johnson has caught 64 passes for 704 yards and has 4 receiving touchdowns. Elliott has 28 receptions for 322 yards and a touchdown. Of course Elliott’s Cowboys are 11-1 and are the first team to clinch a playoff spot. Johnson’s Cardinals are 5-6-1 and are currently 2 games out of a wild card spot. In most cases a quarterback is the front runner for M.V.P. so it’s a little different to see a couple of running backs being talked about for the award. While I’m still thinking that Tom Brady will end up winning the M.V.P. award, but how would you separate these running backs. I guess it depends on what the word valuable means to you. (Valuable meaning) Is a running back who’s going to be on a playoff team more valuable than a all around running back on a team that looks like it won’t make the playoffs. The Cowboys are touted as having the best offensive line in the NFL. Does that diminish Elliott’s accomplishments? On the other hand the Cardinals have just 5 wins and you have to wonder where they would be if Johnson wasn’t on the team. With three weeks to go will have to see what kind of numbers these two running backs continue to put up and if they can stay even it will be up to the voters to decide. Now if you had a vote who’s your NFL M.V.P.?

The baseball winter meetings wrapped up with two veteran players finding new teams. Fernando Rodney signed a 1-year $2.75 million dollar deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. There are appearance bonuses in Rodney’s contract that could boost it up tp $4 million if he hits them all. Rodney turns 40 next March and split last season between the San Diego Padres and the Miami Marlins. With San Diego Rodney was 0-1 with an E.R.A. of 0.31 with 17 saves. In Miami Rodney went 2-3 with an E.R.A. of 5.89 and 8 saves. Will Rodney be used as a closer in Arizona or will the Diamondbacks find someone else to close with Rodney as the set up guy with closing experience. The other signing saw Dexter Fowler leave the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to join there division rival the St. Louis Cardinals on a 5-year $82.5 million dollar deal. The Cardinals where in the market for an outfielder; preferably a centerfielder; so I’m not surprised they signed Fowler. What is a bit of a surprise to me is the length and the dollars involved with the signing. Fowler hit .276 last season with 13 home runs. Fowler has always been looked at as a lead off type of hitter, but he had just 13 stolen bases last season. Fowler did walk 79 times last season and had an On Base Percentage of .393. Fowler turns 31 next March; so he’ll be in a Cardinals uniform until he’s 36 as his deal also includes a full no trade clause. Do you like Fowler as the Cardinals centerfielder?

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Pretty  much since the 2016 season the talk has been that the Chicago White Sox had to trade Chris Sale and start there rebuilding process. Now just about every team had been rumored to be in on Sale and you can’t blame them. It was looking like the Washington nationals where the front runner to land Sale, but they weren’t willing to give the White Sox two top prospects. In the end the Nationals where left holding the bag as the Boston Red Sox stepped up and gave the White Sox four of their Top 30 prospects for Sale. The Red Sox sent #1 minor league prospect Yoan Moncada, right handed pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz plus outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe to Chicago for Sale.

Sale was the 13th pick of the 1st round in 2010 by the White Sox. He made his debut that same year. Sale didn’t become a starter until 2012, but has finished in the Top 6 of the Cy Young voting since then. Sale is 70-47 as a starter. Sale has had over 200 strikeouts the last four seasons and led the A.L. in 2015 with 274 strikeouts. Sale led the A.L. in complete games last season with 6. It’s tough to give up a pitcher like Sale as he is a true ace. It will be a few seasons before we know how this trade will be evaluated. Moncada did play in 8 games and got 20 at bats at the major league level last season, but spent most the year in Double-A where he hit .277 with 11 home runs. It appears as though Moncada will play 3rd base, but he spent the majority of his time at 2nd base in the minors. Kopech finished last season at high Class-A where he made 11 starts going 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 2.25. Kopech throws 100 m.p.h. but is still a few seasons away from being a factor in the White Sox rotation. Diaz spent all of last season at Class-A. He pitched in 37 games all in relief and had 10 saves. Diaz record was 2-5 and his E.R.A. was 3.88. Basabe spent most of last season on the same team as Diaz before being moved up to high Class-A for 5 games. Basabe hit .264 combined with 12 home runs and 53 RBI’s. Basabe did steal 25 bases. Moncada is 20, Kopech is 20, Diaz is 22 and Basabe is 20; so while we may see Moncada in a White Sox uniform it will be a while before the other players acquired in this reach the major league level.

Sale will be added to a Red Sox rotation that features 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, David Price and it looks like the other two rotation spots are to be decided between Clay Buchholz, Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz  or Eduardo Rodriquez. Right now it doesn’t look as though the Red Sox other top pitching prospect Henry Owens will be in this battle.

While Sale was the biggest move the Red Sox made it wasn’t the only move they made on Tuesday. Earlier in the day they sent 3rd baseman Travis Shaw and minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington to the Milwaukee Brewers for set up man Tyler Thornburg. Shaw can play 3rd and 1st base hit .242 with 16 home runs with 71 RBI’s last season. Dubon is a shortstop who finished the year at Double-A where he hit .339 in 62 games. Pennington made 13 starts in low Class-A last season going 5-3 with a 2.86 E.R.A. Thornburg appeared in 67 games for Milwaukee last season gong 8-5 with an E.R.A. of 2.15. Thornburg did save 13 games, but blew 8 saves last season. Thornburg should serve as the Red Sox main set up guy and he did have 20 holds last season.

The other move the Red Sox made on Tuesday was the signing of Mitch Moreland to a 1-year deal worth $5.5 million. Moreland had spent his entire 7-year career with the Texas Rangers. Moreland had a down year average wise hitting just .233, but did have 22 home runs and drove in 60 runs. Moreland is a left handed hitter who has played mostly 1st base in his career, but he has played 45 games in rightfield. Moreland has a career .996 fielding percentage at 1st base; so it looks as though he may take over in the field and Hanley Ramirez will move into the DH role.

Not to be out done the other Chicago baseball team that just happened to win the World Series appears to have found their closer. With the prices for Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman get up around $20 million a season the Cubs turned to the trade market to get a closer. While it hasn’t been officially announced it’s being reported that the Cubs have agreed to send outfielder Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for Wade Davis. Davis did miss some time last season with a forearm injury, but still converted 27 of 30 save opportunities and had an E.R.A. of 1.87. Soler appeared to be the odd man out in the Cubs outfield; so moving him makes sense. Soler also had some injury issues last season. He played in 86 games, hitting .238 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI’s. While Davis is in the final year of his contract Soler still has 3 years left on a 9-year $30 million dollar deal.

There where a couple of other signings yesterday. Carlos Gomez agreed to return to the Texas Rangers in a 1-year $11.5 million dollar deal. The Rangers acquired Gomez as a free agent on Aug. 20 after he had been released by the Astros. He played in 33 games for the Rangers and hit .284 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. He had a .362 on-base percentage and a .543 slugging percentage. The other signing saw the Tampa Bay Rays ink catcher Wilson Ramos to a 2-year $12.5 million dollar deal, but the deal includes playing time incentives to make up to $18.25 million over the two years. Ramos is recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered last September; so he has to pass a physical for the deal to be completed.

Here’s how are NFL picks went for Week 13. Mr. Fantasy won another week going 12-3. Schaumburg Stu and I both had 10-5 records for the week while Dan the Man struggled going 8-7. Overall Schaumburg Stu still has the lead at 123-69. It’s looking like Schaumburg Stu is going to be tough to catch. Mr. Fantasy has moved into 2nd place by  a game as he is 118-74 overall with Dan the Man right behind him at 117-75. That of course means I am still in last place. My overall record is 110-82. I guess we’ll see how Week 14 goes for us.

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games last season games last season nd see how we did with our NFL picks for Week 12. It was a good week for everyone, but Mr. Fantasy led the way with a record of 14-2. HIs two losses where the Seattle Seahawks; like I’m sure everyone lost on and he had the Denver Broncos over the Kansas City Chiefs. Dan the Man and I finished a game behind Mr. Fantasy at 13-3 while Schaumburg Stu was well over .500 as well at 11-5, but for a change he ended up last. Overall Schaumburg Stu is still in the lead with a record of 113-64. Dan the Man is in 2nd place at 109-68. Mr. Fantasy gained some ground, but is still in 3rd place at 106-71 and I am still in the cellar with an overall record of 100-77. Will have to see if we can continue to pick this well in Week 13.

Now I’m an avid fantasy player. I play in yearly leagues for the big four sports and would like to think I’m an above average player. I play in yearly leagues and I also play daily fantasy on the FanDuel website. I try to take in my share of fantasy news be it through the television or what I can read online. I’m always interested to see who they think the hot players are going to be and hopefully they’ll give a reason why they’re going with that player. When it came to quarterback for Week 12 it was a lot of the names that you’ll always hear; Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson where three of the guys that most experts liked in Sunday’s games. Now the name I didn’t hear as a hot play for Sunday was Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers. I think most of not all experts had Kaepernick as a below average play against the Miami Dolphins defense. In just one of those odd fantasy twist Kaepernick ended up being the highest scoring fantasy quarterback for Week 12. Kaepernick was 29 of 46 for 296 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kaepernick also ran the football 10 times for 113 yards. Now Kaepernick did throw an interceptions and was sacked 2 times for 14 yards, but in a basic Yahoo Public Fantasy :League Kaepernick was worth 34.14 fantasy points. According to Yahoo Kaepernick is owned in just 24% of their leagues. So the question becomes; is he a good pick up for the final 5 weeks? This week Kaepernick faces a Chicago Bears defense that is missing quite a few players due to injury and suspension. In Week 14 he faces the New York  Jets. Week 15 it’s the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 16 it’s the  Los Angeles Rams and to wrap the season up Kaepernick goes up against the Seattle Seahawks defense. It looks as though you could get some use out of Kaepernick if you’re looking for quarterback help down the stretch.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals 19-14 on Sunday and while it wasn’t that interesting of a game it was the way it ended that has everyone talking. With 1:05 left in the game the Ravens got the football on there own 21 yard line. After three running plays that gained 7 yards total the Ravens where facing 4th down and 3 yards to go with 55 seconds left in the game. The Ravens took a delay of game call to make it 4th and 8 yards to go, but more importantly there was just 11 seconds left in the game. Baltimore sent out Sam Koch to punt, but when the ball was snapped to Koch he started to back up slowly into his own end zone as the clock counted down. Now to give Koch the time he’d need to run out 11 seconds all the blockers on the Ravens punt team held which every Bengals player that was closet to the and in some cases even tackled them. Koch worked his way to the back of the end zone and was able to run the clock out with yellow flags all over the field as I think every referee had throw his flag. What Ravens head coach John Harbaugh knew was that the game could end on an offensive penalty; so why take the chance on punting the football. This way there was no chance of a blocked punt or a punt return and he also took away the Bengals chance to throw a “Hail Mary” and win the game. Now there where quite a few people who didn’t like this play, but the Ravens didn’t do anything wrong. I thought that it was very smart of them to go this route. Just imagine the heat that Harbaugh would be taking if the punt had been either blocked and recovered by Cincinnati for a touchdown or if they would’ve returned that punt for a touchdown and what if they would’ve throw that “Hail Mary” for a game winning touchdown. This could turn out to be a big win for the Ravens as they improved to 6-5 and are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 1st place in the AFC North. Baltimore does currently hold the tiebreaker over the Steelers as they won their first head to head meeting, but the teams play again Week 16 in Pittsburgh.

The World Champion Chicago Cubs reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Jon Jay on a 1-year $8 million dollar contract. Jay missed about two months of the 2016 season when he was hit by a pitch and broke his forearm. The injury limited Jay to 90 games last season with the San Diego Padres. Jay hit .291 in those 90 games and has a career batting average of .287. Jay has played 7 seasons in the majors; his first 6 where with the St. Louis Cardinals before playing last season in San Diego. Jay has played all three outfield spots in his career and has a career fielding percentage of .995. It appears as though the signing of Jay ends any chance of Dexter Fowler returning to the Cubs. It looks as though Alberto Almora Jr. will be given a chance to be the everyday centerfielder with Jay serving as a back up to Almora and possible a late inning defensive replacement for leftfielder Kyle Schwarber.

Also on the free agent front one of the top names looks to be off the board as it’s being reported that Yoenis Cespedes as re-signed with the New York Mets on a 4-year $110 million dollar deal. Cespedes will get $22.5 million next season, $29 million in 2018 & 19 then his salary goes to $29.5 million for the 2020 season. The deal also includes a full no trade clause. It’s no surprise that Cespedes re-signed with the Mets as they seemed to be the front runners as soon as he opted out of his deal after last season.

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The NFL gave us another terrible Thursday night game as this time we got to see the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 28-7. With the win the Ravens took a 1/2 game lead in the AFC North. Of course the Pittsburgh Steelers still have to play in Week 10. The Browns on the other hand dropped to 0-10.

Now believe it or not the Browns had a 7-6 lead at halftime. Neither team as able to put up any points in the 1st quarter; so you got a hint of how the rest of the game was going to go. The Ravens got on the board first with a Justin Tucker 25-yard field goal. The Browns then out together a 7 play 75 yard drive that ended when Cody Kessler hit tight end Seth DeValve for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Cody Parkey extra point made it 7-3 Cleveland. Tucker got the Ravens 3 more points as he hit a 40-yard field goal the 2nd quarter clock expired and the teams went into half time with Cleveland leading 7-6. Of course as we know by the final score the Browns didn’t score again in the game. The Ravens used a 9 play 64 yard drive that culminated with Joe Flacco throwing a 4 yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Wallner. The extra point made it 13-7 Baltimore. The teams traded interceptions before the Ravens put together their next scoring drive. This time it was 6 plays covering 47 yards and it ended when Flacco connected with Steve Smith Sr. on a 11 yard touchdown pass. The Ravens successfully made the 2-point conversion when Flacco hit fullback Kyle Juszczyk. That gave the Ravens a 21-7 lead. With the game pretty much over the Ravens out together a 12 play 90 yard drive for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. The touchdown was a 27-yard pass from Flacco to Breshad Perriman. The Tucker extra point got the game to it’s final score of 28-7.

Flacco went 30 for 41 with 296 yards 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Terrence West led the Ravens in rushing with 65 yards on 21 carries while Perriman racked up the most receiving yards for the Ravens going for 64 yards on 3 receptions and a touchdown.

Cody Kessler went 11 for 18 for 91 yards and a touchdown. Josh McCown took some snaps for the Browns as well and went 6 for 13 for 59 yards with 2 interceptions. Isaiah Crowell was the Browns leading rusher in the game with 23 yards on 9 carries. Terrelle Pryor Sr. led the Browns in receiving as he caught 5 passes for 48 yards.

Some now the question is; will the Browns win a game this season. It look as they would get their first win three weeks ago against the New York Jets, but they found a way to give that game away. The rest of the Browns schedule looks like this. Week 11 vs. the Steelers, Week 12 vs. the New York Giants, Week 13 is the Browns bye week. Week 14 they host the Cincinnati Bengals, Week 15 they’re on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Week 16 they’re home against the San Diego Chargers and then they end the season Week 17 in Pittsburgh for their second game against the division rival Steelers. Let me know if you see a win in there because I don’t think I do. The other question for the Browns is with as bad as this team has been will they be replacing head coach Hue Jackson at the end of the season? Jackson is regarded as a quality coach in the NFL and I’m not sure he’s the issue with this team. Even if the Browns do make a coaching change is there a guy out there that could make this team better as the head coach. Of course you’d have to wonder if any of the top names would touch a job like the Browns.

We had some baseball free agent signings and a trade during the last couple days of the General Manager meetings. The Atlanta Braves made two of them. First they signed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to a 1 year $8 million dollar deal with an option for 2018. Dickey will be 43 years old at the starts of the season and has spent the last 4 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Braves then added to there starting rotation by signing Bartolo Colon to a 1 year $12.5 million dollar deal. Colon turns 44 in May and has pitched the last 3 seasons for the New York Mets.

The Blue Jays also made two signings. They inked Cuban infield prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a 7 year $22 million dollar contract. Lourdes is the younger brother of Houston Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel and is considered one of the top international prospects. Gurriel, a Wasserman client, was declared a free agent several months ago but waited to sign until after the completion of his 23rd birthday in order to be exempt from international spending limitations. Unlike his older brother, he’ll require some more time in the minor leagues before surfacing at the big league level. Gurriel Jr. had a showcase last month where it’s reported that 60 to 70 scouts representing 20 different teams showed up for it. Gurriel Jr. worked out at shortstop and centerfield and ran 6.65 in the 60 yard dash. It’s unclear where the Blue Jays play Gurriel Jr. as they have Devon Travis at 2nd base, Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop and Kevin Pillar in centerfield. All 3 of those players are under the Blue Jays control until 2020. It’s possible Gurriel Jr. fills a super utility type role until he fills a full time position. The Blue Jays also signed Designated Hitter (DH) Kendrys Morales to a 3 year $33 million dollar contract. Morales is 33′ he’ll turn 34 in June and spent the last two season with the Kansas City Royals. With the signing of Morales you have to wonder if the Blue Jays will pursue their own free agents Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista. While Encarnacion can play 1st base Morales is pretty much strictly a DH as he’s played just 30 games at 1st base over the last 3 seasons.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made a signing as well. They inked Jesse Chavez to a 1 year $5.75 million dollar deal with the intention of giving him a chance to win a spot in the starting rotation. Chavez started last season with the Blue Jays before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chavez appeared in  a total of 62 games last season; all in relief. Chaves did make 26 starts for the Oakland A’s in 2015.

There was another signing. but it didn’t involve a player. The Milwaukee Brewers announced that they extend manager Craig Counsell though the 2020 season. Counsell took over as Brewers manager in May of 2015 after the team fire Ron Roenicke. Counsell is 135-169 as manager, but it looks as though he’ll be the guy on the bench through the teams rebuild. Financial terms of Counsell’s deal weren’t announced.

Then the trade. The Philadelphia Phillies acquired 2nd baseman/leftfielder Howie Kendrick from the Dodgers for 1st baseman Darin Ruf and 2nd baseman/outfielder Darnell Sweeney. It’s not clear how the Phillies will use Kendrick, but he’ll provide a veteran presence on a young team. By dealing Kendrick who wasn’t happy with his role in L.A. the Dodgers cleared some payroll to pursue free agents. Could this be a deal that actually works for both teams?

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