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Monday, February 17, 2020

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Yoenis Cespedes says he will not talk to media this year

Yoenis Cespedes Mets

Yoenis Cespedes is back with the New York Mets and is expected to play a role this year, but it appears that he’s taking a vow of silence when it comes to the media.

The outfielder was asked for comment during spring workouts Monday, and he blew off the press, stating that he would not talk “at all” this season.

There was certainly no indication why Cespedes felt this way, but the safe guess is he didn’t appreciate the New York media’s reporting about the bizarre ranch accident that cost him all of last season. Such an odd story lends itself well to headlines, so plenty has been written about it. Cespedes has been painted as irresponsible in some quarters for the nature of that injury.

Staying on the field will be key for Cespedes this season. If he can do that and hit a bit, he may be able to silence the critics.

Teddy Bridgewater could reportedly get $30 million per year on open market

Teddy Bridgewater

The New Orleans Saints are hoping to bring Teddy Bridgewater back in 2020, but it is starting to look like the quarterback could price his way out of town.

Bridgewater is expected to generate plenty of interest on the free agent market as a starting quarterback, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Monday. Some teams may even be willing to pay Bridgewater $30 million per year, which would place him among the highest-paid players at the position.

All that really matters with NFL contracts is guaranteed money, so a $30 million salary could end up sounding like a lot more than it actually is. Still, that is a good indicator that there are clearly teams who consider Bridgewater a starter, which was not unexpected.

Bridgewater is now several years removed from his devastating knee injury, and he played well in place of an injured Drew Brees last season. He threw for 1,370 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions in six games. The Saints went 5-1 during that span, with Bridgewater keeping them in the playoff hunt.

There have been reports that Bridgewater wants to remain in New Orleans and will only leave for a perfect situation, but it would be extremely hard for him to turn down $30 million per year and a starting job no matter which team offered it.

Josh Reddick explains why he did not use Astros’ trash can banging system

Josh Reddick Astros

Josh Reddick has said he opted out of the Houston Astros’ trash can banging scheme in 2017, and he has his reasons why.

Reddick said Monday his decision to not employ the system had more to do with the fact that he found it distracting than anything else, adding that he didn’t deserve any credit for refusing to use it.

According to data compiled by Astros fan Tony Adams, bangs were heard on 28 of the 725 pitches charted in the 2017 season. That is a significantly lower number than most of his teammates. Bangs were audible during his plate appearances into late September, however, calling into question just how much Reddick was out of the system.

We do know that Reddick wasn’t the only Astro who said he didn’t use the system.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Philip Rivers to the Colts? Melvin Gordon thinks so

Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers has given no indication that he intends to retire now that he has officially parted ways with the Los Angeles Chargers, and one of the quarterback’s former teammates is already quite confident about where Rivers is going to end up.

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was asked during an interview with CBS Sports Network recently where he thinks Rivers is going to play in 2020. Gordon didn’t beat around the bush and without hesitation said the Indianapolis Colts.

“I think he goes to the Colts,” Gordon said. “I don’t know, that’s just my thought.”

Gordon said he believes Indy makes sense for Rivers because former Chargers offensive assistant Nick Sirianni is the offensive coordinator with the Colts. Head coach Frank Reich was also the offensive coordinator with the Chargers for two seasons in 2014 and 2015, so Gordon thinks the transition would be seamless for Rivers.

“They run the same playbook, so it’d be easy,” Gordon added. “He could come right in and he could be telling guys what to do, he knows what’s going on already. … I try not to talk to Phil about free agency, he has enough people in his ear about that. I think the Colts, though.”

Gordon also mentioned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been viewed as a logical fit for Rivers now that the 38-year-old has moved his family from California to Florida. The Bucs have also been openly evaluating their own quarterback situation, so they may pursue Rivers.

While he did not say he had any inside information, Gordon’s opinion is obviously worth more than most. He has been teammates with Rivers for the past five seasons and knows him well. We wouldn’t be surprised if Gordon’s prediction became a reality.

Mike Trout has ‘lost respect’ for Astros, thinks players should be punished

Mike Trout

Mike Trout is not known as one of baseball’s more outspoken or controversial players, so it’s quite telling to hear him talk about the Houston Astros with such candor.

On Monday, Trout spoke about his thoughts on the Astros, saying he “lost respect” for their players and felt the punishments levied against the organization were not harsh enough.

The Los Angeles Angels outfielder also joined the chorus of players who questioned Jose Altuve for not wanting his uniform ripped off after hitting a walk-off home run to clinch the 2019 ALCS, which has been at the heart of suspicion about the Astros using buzzers.

Trout is the best player in the game and not really one to rock the boat. While he isn’t saying anything that hasn’t been said by others, for him to put the Astros scandal in these terms is quite stark, and illustrates the level of outrage among players right now. That outrage is now being directed toward commissioner Rob Manfred for what is quickly becoming viewed as a failure to administer suitable punishment to the players who were largely responsible for the scheme.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Joel Embiid: Chatter about Ben Simmons issues is ‘BS’

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid is tired of the questions about whether he can coexist with Ben Simmons.

Embiid and Simmons have struggled to coexist offensively this season, with the Sixers ranking 20th in offensive rating. With both under the microscope, Embiid says there are no issues and expects improvement for the remainder of the season.

“I think it’s B.S., because when you look at the last couple years, the last two years that we’ve been playing together, it’s not a problem,” Embiid said Saturday, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “This year it’s only been a problem because our offense has struggled.

“It’s definitely going to be better after the All-Star break. I mean, just look at the last two years, what we’ve been able to do. I think it can work, and it’s going to work.”

The Sixers play inside too much and are hindered by Simmons’ refusal to take jump shots. That has made the Simmons-Embiid pairing a pretty easy target for pundits as the Sixers underachieve. Embiid is right that it’s worked before, but things are a bit different without a piece like Jimmy Butler on the team. A change is going to take a lot of effort during the second half of the year.

John Beilein will reportedly not coach Cavs beyond this season

John Beilein

John Beilein will not be the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers for much longer, and it sounds like the only question is whether he will leave the team immediately or at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.

Reports have indicated that Beilein is not expected to remain the head coach of the Cavs and could step down during the All-Star break. According to The Athletic, Beilein will meet with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on Monday to discuss his options, and the 67-year-old will either part ways with the team this week or after the season.

Cleveland is 14-40 and entered the All-Star break with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. This is Beilein’s first year as an NBA head coach after he had a successful stint at Michigan, and there’s a chance his parting of ways with the Cavs could truly be mutual.

There have been talks about issues with Beilein working as an NBA coach since December. A report at the time said players did not like the way Beilein was operating the team like a college program. There was another moment when Beilein received negative publicity in January when he inadvertently called his players “thugs” instead of “slugs.”

Given all that has transpired, it would not be a surprise if Beilein has quickly learned that coaching in the NBA is not for him. J.B. Bickerstaff, who is currently an assistant coach with the Cavs, has been mentioned as a possible replacement if and when Beilein steps away.

Report: Lions open Darius Slay trade talks

Darius Slay

Darius Slay looks destined to depart the Detroit Lions as the offseason gets underway.

The veteran cornerback has been the subject of trade talks with multiple teams, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Slay is heading into the final year of his contract with the Lions. He expects and deserves to get paid, but the Lions have been reluctant to give him what he wants. That led to Slay being shopped before the trade deadline last season, and it appears that will be happening again. That said, with the Lions still trying to compete, their desire to get a quality return for him is understandable, even if they don’t appear to have ample leverage.

The 29-year-old Slay is a three-time Pro Bowler and a former All-Pro. He’s made it pretty clear that he either wants the Lions to pay him or move him to someone else who will do it.

Gleyber Torres questions why Astros would stop cheating after 2017

Gleyber Torres

One of the assertions in Major League Baseball’s report on the Houston Astros cheating scandal is that the team stopped using sign-stealing systems at some point in 2018. That conclusion does not add up for most rival players.

New York Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres voiced that skepticism on Monday. Torres said he believed the Astros were cheating through the 2019 season because it simply did not make sense for it to stop after it was so successful in 2017.

Torres had a funny analogy to back up his assertion.

Torres’ assertion is echoed by at least one other player, and plenty of others in the game believe it too. Though MLB’s report indicated that the Astros played a clean season in 2019, that claim has been met with skepticism for this exact reason. It’s just not logical to expect cheating to stop if it’s both working and going undetected. Perhaps the Astros are an exception to that expectation, but it would be an odd exception, especially given some of the chatter that surrounded their 2019 playoff run.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Red Sox owner John Henry issues statement addressing Mookie Betts trade

Red Sox logo

Boston Red Sox fans were not happy when their team traded superstar outfielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers this month, and nothing John Henry can say will make them feel better about the deal. That didn’t stop the Red Sox owner from trying.

Henry issued a lengthy statement on Monday attempting to explain the Red Sox’s rationale behind moving on from Betts. He compared the trade to when Boston dealt fan favorite Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in 2004. Henry also rambled about how the current Major League Baseball system is good for players and allows them to seek new opportunities in free agency. He essentially said the Red Sox knew they wouldn’t be able to pay Betts when the former AL MVP became a free agent next year, so they had to make a move now.

The Nomar comparison is insulting to the intelligence of Red Sox fans. Garciaparra was battling injuries and seemed unhappy in Boston, and the trade — even if it was somewhat unpopular at the time — helped spark a World Series run. Betts is right in the prime of his career and had become the face of the Red Sox, while Nomar was a fading star when he was traded.

Henry would have been better off saying nothing, as his statement is surely just going to irritate Red Sox fans further. What Boston fans wanted was their extremely wealthy team to pay its best player. Even if the decision ends up being the right one in the long run, a billionaire owner talking about how he grew up idolizing Stan Musial doesn’t help the situation.

The way the Red Sox handled the logistics of the Betts trade has also been called into question, and that led to even more frustration for fans. Henry’s statement probably had the opposite effect of what he was going for.