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Sunday, August 2, 2015

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David Price traded to Blue Jays

David Price

The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly traded for Detroit Tigers pitcher David Price.

Shortly after reports surfaced indicating that the Los Angeles Dodgers were considered the favorites for Price, the Blue Jays are said to have ramped up their pursuit of the 29-year-old.

As we learn every year, things can change quickly at the MLB trade deadline.

Price is 9-4 this season with a 2.53 ERA. The Blue Jays are currently seven games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East, but they obviously feel they can make a serious playoff push. They already acquired an All-Star infielder earlier this week, and Price would give them a true ace down the stretch.

Report: MLB execs are ‘convinced’ David Price is going to Dodgers

David Price

With Cole Hamels having been traded to the Texas Rangers, David Price is now the biggest prize remaining on the MLB trade market. While a number of teams are interested in landing the left-hander, the Price sweepstakes may wind up being a one-horse race.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that MLB executives are “absolutely convinced” that Price will wind up with the Los Angeles Dodgers. L.A. would likely have to part with left-hander Julio Urias — the best pitcher in the team’s farm system — in any deal for Price.

Nightengale adds that the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros all intend to make serious offers for Price. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays are making a “strong run” as the deadline nears.

The Astros could be a team to watch, as they missed out on Cole Hamels earlier this week. The Philadelphia Phillies had apparently accepted a deal from Houston, but Hamels exercised his no-trade rights. The fact that the Astros offered a package the Phillies deemed fair indicates they are serious buyers.

Price will be a free agent after the season, but the Dodgers have shown in recent years that they are not going to let money stop them from trying to build a championship roster. There was no better example of that than the blockbuster trade they made a few seasons ago. The Dodgers currently hold a half-game lead over the San Francisco 49ers in the NL West division, and a playoff rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Price could make them a World Series favorite.

UPDATE: Price ended up with the Blue Jays. More on that here.

Jets fans fly ‘Cheaters look up!’ banner over Patriots practice

Cheaters-look-up-banner

The New England Patriots began their official training camp just 48 hours ago, and already New York Jets fans have found a way to poke fun at them for their eventful offseason.

On Thursday morning, a banner flew over Patriots practice that read “CHEATERS LOOK UP!”

In case you didn’t know, Jets fans generally aren’t the happiest bunch of people. Last year, a different group of New York fans raised money for a billboard that called for the firing of one of their own.

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to support a link between disgruntled billboards and increased odds of winning a championship.

Photo via 98.5 The Sports Hub on Twitter

Tom Brady better off with case not in Minnesota court?

Tom Brady Fif

The NFL scored a major victory on Thursday in its impending legal battle against Tom Brady when a Minnesota judge ruled that Brady’s lawsuit should be heard in a New York courtroom. Given how offended U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle seemed, you have to wonder if he did Brady a favor.

Neither Brady nor the case have any connection to the state of Minnesota. The only reason the NFL Players Association filed the lawsuit there is that the NFLPA has enjoyed a history of favorable rulings when fighting the NFL in Minnesota. It was almost like Kyle interpreted the filing as a kid asking the more lenient of his two parents if he can stay up past his bedtime.

“The Court strongly suspects the Union filed in Minnesota because it has obtained favorable rulings in this Court in the past on behalf of its members,” Kyle wrote, as noted by Will Brinson of CBSSports.com.

That’s exactly why the Union filed in Minnesota, and Kyle may have done Brady and the NFLPA a favor by tossing the case to Manhattan.

For the sake of argument, let’s say Kyle accepted the case. I don’t know how the legal process works, but it may have ended up in the hands of U.S. District Judge David S. Doty, who overturned Adrian Peterson’s suspension last year and has given the NFLPA favorable rulings in the past. What if — like Kyle — Doty felt that the NFLPA was trying to take advantage of his court and decided to make an example out of Brady by coming down hard on him?

It should also be noted that the New York case has been assigned to Judge Richard M. Berman, who was appointed to the bench by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and is seen as a more liberal judge. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk pointed out, liberal judges are more likely to side with labor than management.

In a certain sense, Brady is probably better off not having his case heard in Minnesota court if that’s the way Kyle felt about the filing. Whether he’ll get a favorable ruling in Manhattan using arguments like this remains to be seen.

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

cole-hamels-bryce-harper

The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, but they may have been forced to turn down a team that was offering a better package. That team is the one that is currently eight games ahead of the Rangers in the AL West division, but Hamels blocked the trade.

That team is the Houston Astros.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, Hamels exercised his no-trade rights after the Phillies and Astros agreed to a deal. The Astros have been the biggest surprise in baseball this season, as they are currently 57-54 and leading the AL West after losing 92 games last year and more than 105 games in each of the three seasons before that.

Either Hamels simply likes one Texas city better than the other, or he believes the 48-52 Rangers have a better chance of succeeding than the young and hungry Astros.

The Astros, who are clearly looking to make a run, will now turn their attention toward other pitchers who could be on the move before Friday’s deadline, including David Price.

“A player like (Price) that would be valuable for not only the next two months, but the next three months, could probably command a pretty high premium, irrespective of what your chances are of signing him,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said. “We’re not ruling anything out.”

Again, I’m man enough to admit that this is a team I laughed at last year because of the way a concert was scheduled at its ballpark. This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been wrong.

Tom Brady lawsuit transferred from Minnesota to Manhattan

Tom Brady

The NFL has already won an early battle in its impending legal war against Tom Brady.

On Wednesday, the NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit against the league in Minnesota — a place where players have had success in court against the NFL in the past. However, a judge ruled on Thursday morning that the suit should be transferred to New York, which is where the NFL is seeking to have a federal court confirm its ruling in the Brady appeal hearing.

“This court appreciates no ‘compelling circumstances’ undermining application of the first-filed rule to transfer this action from Minnesota to New York, where the first action was filed,” U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle wrote in his decision, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. “Indeed, this court sees little reason for this action to have been commenced in Minnesota at all. Brady plays for a team in Massachusetts; the Union is headquartered in Washington, D.C.; the NFL is headquartered in New York; the arbitration proceedings took place in New York; and the award was issued in New York. In the undersigned’s view, therefore, it makes eminent sense the NFL would have commenced its action seeking confirmation of the award in the Southern District of New York. Why the instant action was filed here, however, is far less clear.”

While that doesn’t mean Brady stands no chance, it’s great news for the NFL for obvious reasons. From a legal standpoint, the league’s decision to immediately seek confirmation in a federal court in Manhattan was very wise.

U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty, who presides in Minnesota, has been heavily involved with the NFL and its collective bargaining agreement. He’s the same judge who ruled in favor of Adrian Peterson last year, though it made sense to have the case heard there since Peterson plays in Minnesota.

No matter how strong his case or how much he actually cooperated (Brady says he did), this is not good news for the Patriots.

LeGarrette Blount failed conditioning test

LeGarrette BlountIf Tom Brady ends up having to serve his four-game suspension, the New England Patriots will likely need to lean heavily on their running game in the early part of the season. Unless LeGarrette Blount can get himself into shape, he won’t be much help.

Ben Volin of The Boston Globe reports that Blount failed his conditioning test at the first day of training camp on Wednesday. The veteran back was was asked to run 20 sprints of 50 yards in under eight seconds each, and he was only able to do 12 of them. As a result, Blount has been placed on the non-football injury list.

It’d be one thing if he just barely failed, but it doesn’t sound like Blount was close to passing if he gave up with eight sprints remaining. Perhaps the 28-year-old has been slacking this offseason since he is suspended for Week 1 as a result of his role in this incident with former teammate Le’Veon Bell last summer.

The Patriots leaned on Blount heavily last season against specific opponents, most notably when he ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. He was the favorite to win the starting job heading into 2015 before he showed up with cement in his cleats.

Trent Richardson project not going well with Raiders

Trent Richardson

There have been very few players in the NFL over the past four years that have been more disappointing than Trent Richardson. The former Alabama star and No. 3 overall draft pick was virtually useless in two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, and he may be heading in that direction with the Oakland Raiders.

In his Raiders training camp preview, Vic Tafur of The San Francisco Chronicle reported that third-year running back Latavius Murray should be able to win the starting job. Apparently Richardson is already failing to impress.

“Latavius Murray will get every chance to be the lead running back as whispers are that the Trent Richardson reclamation project is not going so well,” Tafur wrote.

What a shock.

Richardson has averaged 3.3 yards per carry for his career. He showcased a complete inability to hit a hole or pick a running lane during his tenure with the Colts, and Indy undoubtedly regrets giving up a first-round pick to acquire him. Richardson’s career with the Colts ended with a bunch of drama.

Murray, on the other hand, broke out late in the season last year with a few massive runs against the Kansas City Chiefs. He rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries in Week 12 and looked strong down the stretch. There’s no reason to believe Richardson will challenge him for a significant number of carries.

H/T Evan Silva

Mets’ trade for Carlos Gomez called off after reports leak out

Carlos Gomez

Reports said that the New York Mets had acquired Carlos Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night, but the team later said that was not the case, completing a bizarre and emotional evening for fans and players alike.

Late on Wednesday, reports first started to leak out saying the Mets had acquired Gomez in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores. News circulating about the trade led Mets fans to celebrate that they were re-acquiring a player they had traded years ago. It also left Flores emotional as he was crying while on the field during a game, thinking he had been traded. Many wondered why the team left him in the game if he had been traded. Ken Rosenthal explained why:

As Rosenthal stated, the trade was not official. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman pointed out that all players involved in the trade would have to pass physicals for it to be completed:

About an hour later, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media that there was no trade

“There is no trade. Unfortunately social media etc. got ahead of the facts, and it may have had an adverse effect on one of the players rumored to be involved. It was an unfortunate situation. It was something we’ve addressed personally with the player involved,” Alderson said.

The Mets took a lot of heat for the way things transpired, but can you really say they did anything wrong? The most logical explanation for the deal not being completed as reported is because there was an issue with a player’s medicals. Some speculated that the Brewers did not like what they saw with Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery this year. Reports later said the Mets were the ones who balked and it was because of a concern over Gomez’s hip.

Plus, Flores says he heard about the trade from fans. Can you blame the Mets for that?

We often take it for granted that players will pass their physicals or have their medical charts approved, but that does not always happen. Back in 2009, Tyson Chandler was sent back to the Hornets because he failed his physical with the Oklahoma City Thunder; this sort of thing happens from time to time.

Wilmer Flores emotional on field after finding out he would be traded (Video)

On Wednesday, the Mets agreed to trade Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler to the Brewers in exchange for Carlos Gomez. While word of the trade began to circulate as the Mets were taking on the Padres, it’s obvious Flores was made aware he would be on the move.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, fans at Citi Field gave Flores a nice ovation. Many were probably surprised to see him on the field for the top of the eighth.

Flores was back at his usual shortstop position and visibly shaken up. As noted on the SNY broadcast, it was quite odd to see him back out there given circumstances that would certainly lead to Flores’ concentration level not being at 100%. Needless to say, the Mets were not roundly applauded for the decision.

The Mets are the only organization Flores has known, having signed with them in 2007 at the age of 16, so it’s understandable he would not be thrilled with the idea of leaving the club. However trades are part of the game. That said, seeing Flores in the state he was in was indeed tough to watch.

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