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Saturday, July 22, 2017


NFL scout: Bill Belichick thinks Jimmy Garoppolo is ‘the next great one’

Jimmy Garoppolo

The New England Patriots stubbornly refused to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo over the offseason, and one NFL scout thinks he knows why.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the AFC scout told Mike Giardi of CSN New England that he thinks the Patriots’ refusal to deal Garoppolo is down to coach Bill Belichick believing he has the next great New England quarterback.

“He’s Bill Belichick. He doesn’t give a [damn] about what you, or me or anyone else thinks,” the scout said. “I know teams called about Garoppolo. I don’t believe they were ever given a realistic price. Why? To me, the answer is simple: Bill thinks he’s got the next great one. I watched his snaps. I think he can be that. [Garoppolo] has a great base, and his mechanics are close enough to [Brady] that you appreciate his willingness to learn and the coaching he’s gotten there.”

One team’s attempts to deal for Garoppolo were repeatedly rebuffed by the Patriots. Belichick is, quite obviously, a big believer.

Report: Astros ‘heating up’ Sonny Gray talks

The Houston Astros are reportedly stepping up their efforts to acquire Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics.

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported Thursday that Gray, one of the top starting pitchers available on the trade market, is the subject of escalating talks between the Astros and Athletics.

The Astros have long been linked to the 27-year-old, who has a 3.66 ERA in 15 starts for Oakland this season. Houston is seeking another starting pitcher, and Gray presents a young, controllable option who is just entering his prime and could provide a valuable secondary option to Dallas Keuchel.

Indians interested in acquiring Jay Bruce?

After acquiring Andrew Miller at last year’s trade deadline, the Cleveland Indians may be making a similar splash again this year.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports on Thursday, some believe the Indians could become interested in New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce.

The 30-year-old Bruce has had a strong 2017, hitting .266/.332/.529 with 24 home runs and 63 RBIs in 87 games. Though he is in the final year of his contract, Bruce is quite familiar with the state of Ohio, having played the first eight years of his career with the Cincinnati Reds.

Cleveland’s attention has recently seemed to be on trading for pitching. But at the same time, they’ve had a largely mediocre platoon of players rotating the reps in right field this season. The sub-.500 Mets have indicated at least some willingness to deal the three-time All-Star Bruce, and he would represent an immediate upgrade for the AL Central-leading Indians, especially at the plate.

Image via SNY on YouTube

Dodgers reportedly ‘in the mix’ for top left-handed relievers

Zach Britton

The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly quite interested in grabbing a top left-handed reliever to pair with Kenley Jansen at the back of their bullpen.

Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Dodgers are “in the mix” for Baltimore Orioles reliever Zach Britton and Detroit Tigers reliever Justin Wilson.

Both relievers will be quite costly, though Britton more so. We know that a third of the league has shown interest in Wilson as well. The strategy appears to be to shorten games and give Jansen a left-handed complement at the back of the Los Angeles bullpen, making an already-elite team even better.

Report: Blue Jays attempted to trade for Rougned Odor

Rougned Odor is perhaps Public Enemy No. 1 in Toronto, but some indications are that he actually almost became a Blue Jay.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Blue Jays attempted to trade for the Texas Rangers second baseman in the past, though it’s unclear if that was before or after his notorious fight with Jays slugger Jose Bautista.

Per Heyman:

Sources say that at some points in the past the Jays have tried for Rougned Odor, though it’s possible those efforts came before the famous punch-out incident of Blue Jays icon Jose Bautista. Anyway, the Jays are in the market for a second baseman now, so it would be interesting to see if they’d try to revisit that at some point. It isn’t certain when all the inquiries were made, and Odor isn’t the most popular fellow in Toronto now. But as one Jays connected person pointed out, “Bautista’s probably a short timer there.”

It has been over a year now since Odor threw hands at Bautista (video here), but the memories of the incident still linger. Nevertheless, Bautista will be a free agent after the season (as alluded to above) while incumbent Jays second baseman Devon Travis constantly struggles to stay healthy. Thus, it might not even be the craziest timeline to see Odor eventually end up in Toronto.

Tony Romo says he is ‘99.9 percent done’ with NFL

Tony Romo

Tony Romo won’t completely close the door on his NFL career.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback told 105.3 The Fan’s Ben and Skin Show that he is “99.9 percent done” playing in the NFL.

Romo retired during the offseason and took up a position on CBS’s lead NFL broadcast team.

Romo has said before he’s done. This isn’t a total repudiation of this, but he’s going to some lengths to keep his options open. Is he likely retired? Yes. But he’s certainly willing to keep just that flicker of hope alive for everyone.

Report: Brewers have interest in Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander

The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly made some calls about starting pitcher Justin Verlander.

According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, the Brewers have made their interest in the Detroit Tigers pitcher known. The Chicago Cubs are also still interested despite the fact that they have already acquired Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox.

It’s not clear whether Verlander would approve a trade to Milwaukee, as he has 10-5 rights, meaning he can block a deal to any team if he wishes to.

Verlander has drawn only modest trade interest, in large part thanks to a subpar year and a hefty contract. Something might get done if the Tigers are willing to eat some money.

Bulls return also possible for Derrick Rose?

How’s this for an unlikely reunion?

Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports reports on Thursday that in addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers being in the mix to sign former MVP point guard Derrick Rose, his agent BJ Armstrong is also having discussions with the Chicago Bulls.

Of course, the 28-year-old Rose, an unrestricted free agent this summer, spent the first eight years of his career in Chicago, catapulting his way into superstardom as a Bull before being derailed by multiple knee injuries.

Though Rose didn’t exactly depart on the greatest of terms, he had said as recently as last year that he wanted to retire in Chicago. One of the supposed causes of Rose’s discontent, Jimmy Butler, is no longer with the Bulls either.

What we do know is the Bulls could use another point guard after releasing Rajon Rondo this offseason, especially if the newly-acquired Kris Dunn goes kaput. Signing with the Cavs or the Lakers might be better for Rose at this stage of his career from a pure basketball standpoint, but don’t underestimate the appeal of a potential homecoming for the ex-All-Star.

OJ Simpson granted parole, will be released from prison in October

OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson was granted parole from a Nevada parole board on Thursday, and the Hall of Fame running back is expected to be released from prison in October.

Simpson was convicted of 12 charges related to robbery and kidnapping in a sports memorabilia heist back in 2008. He has served roughly nine years of a sentence that was nine to 33 years.

While he was not convicted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995, Simpson did lose a civil suit stemming from the case and has been ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages. He still owes much of that money and will be responsible for paying it back, though he could have a source of income from the NFL that cannot be touched in civil court.

Simpson, 70, could be set free as early as Oct. 1.

Lakers reportedly competing with Cavs to sign Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly closing in on a potential deal with Derrick Rose, but they may need to stave off one final push from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rose has met with a number of teams this offseason, and the Lakers are among them. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Magic Johnson is still trying to sell Rose on signing with L.A. instead of the Cavs.

Shelburne went on to note than Cleveland is “strongly positioned” to get Rose. The Cavs have very little cap space remaining, so they would likely be looking to sign Rose for close to the veteran minimum.

Rose is still just 28 and is a former NBA MVP, but his health is obviously a major question. He’d have a better chance to contend for a title in Cleveland, though he is likely looking for an opportunity to get as much playing time as possible. If the Cavs see him as a bench player, he could decide to sign with the Lakers.

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