All posts by phnseo

Tigers agree to 1-year deal with veteran IF Josh Harrison

The Tigers have struck a one-year deal with infielder Josh Harrison, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Harrison will step in as the regular at second base for Detroit, per the report, though he’ll need to pass a physical for the deal to be finalized.

Harrison, 31, is a versatile defender and quality baserunner whose bat has seen its ups and downs in recent years. Defensive metrics have favorably reviewed his work at both second base and third base, and he also has ample experience in the outfield corners. He hit the open market when the Pirates declined a $10.5MM option at the end of the 2018 season in which he managed just a .250/.293/.363 batting line in 374 plate appearances. While he has had one big season at the plate, back in 2014, Harrison hasn’t come close to replicating it. Since, he has alternated between league-average and lesser seasons, with a cumulative .274/.319/.396 slash line in the four subsequent seasons. That sort of slightly below-average offensive output seems a reasonable expectation moving forward. Statcast hasn’t seen cause to expect better results in Harrison’s batted-ball profile; last year, for instance, he was graded at a meager .275 xwOBA that lagged his .285 wOBA.

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Harrison will follow former Pittsburgh teammate and double-play partner Jordy Mercer to Detroit. They’ll bring plenty of experience and familiarity with one another to the Tigers’ middle infield mix. That doesn’t leave a ton of room for young players to emerge, but there really aren’t any who seem ready to force their way up at those positions, as the bulk of the high-end talent acquired in the Detroit rebuild to this point has been of the pitching variety. The short-term nature of the contract makes it likely that Harrison will emerge as a trade chip alongside Mercer, Nicholas Castellanos and other appealing short-term Tigers assets this summer as Detroit continues stockpiling youthful pieces with an eye toward a return to contention in the American League Central.

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Steelers GM says team will not use tag on Le’Veon Bell

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert spoke to the media on Wednesday. And at his press conference, he announced the team would not be using the franchise or transition tag on running back Le’Veon Bell.

Without the tag, Bell becomes an unrestricted free agent and will be able to sign with any team beginning on March 13. By not using the transition tag, the Steelers lose the right of first refusal but do greatly improve their odds of landing a compensatory draft pick once Bell signs elsewhere.

In Bell’s absence, James Conner emerged as the team’s feature back. This gives Pittsburgh the freedom to finally divest itself of Bell and end what has been a tumultuous relationship over the past two seasons. Over the past couple weeks, sources in the know had floated to various outlets the possibility of the team using the transition tag for Bell. A third franchise tag always seemed like an extremely unlikely possibility, but it was also an option.

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The theory behind using the transition tag, which would have given the Steelers the right to match any offer sheet, wasn’t that the Steelers wanted Bell back. Instead, they could work out a deal with an interested team, signing Bell (which would require his cooperation) and then trading him to that team. If Bell signed an offer sheet that Pittsburgh couldn’t match, the Steelers wouldn’t get any draft pick compensation. And it’s unclear how much more than the expected third-round compensatory pick the Steelers could have gotten in a trade.

Instead, the Steelers are just going to let it go. After Bell held out all last season, this seems like the best move for everyone.

Many teams aren’t paying running backs top dollar anymore. The weird Todd Gurley playoffs story, when the Rams say they just decided to use C.J. Anderson about half the time, can’t help the market for expensive running backs. But, it only takes one team to believe Bell is worth an enormous contract. Bell is a great player, arguably the NFL’s most talented running back, and he got to rest his legs all last season while he sat out on his second franchise tag.

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Cardinals to sign TE Charles Clay to one-year deal

Former Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay is signing a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals that is worth up to $3.25 million and includes a $350,000 signing bonus, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

Clay, 30, was scheduled to count $9 million against the Bills’ salary cap in the final season of a five-year, $38 million contract. He finished last season with a career-low 184 receiving yards while averaging a career-low 8.8 yards per catch.

Despite playing in 13 games and making 12 starts, his 21 catches were his fewest since 2012.

The signing continues to bolster the Cardinals’ depth — the team has already added former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford and defensive end Brooks Reed — as general manager Steve Keim and new coach Kliff Kingsbury head into free agency and the NFL draft.

Kingsburgy is familiar with with Clay’s play from college, and he sees an important role for him in Arizona’s potentially dynamic offense, a source told Schefter. Bills general manager Doug Whaley made signing the transition-tagged Clay away from the division-rival Miami Dolphins one of his signature moves of the 2015 offseason. The Bills guaranteed $24.5 million of Clay’s deal, but his production in Buffalo never matched what remain his two best seasons — for Miami in 2013 and 2014.

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Clay’s most recent touchdown came in Week 3 of the 2017 season. He surpassed 30 receiving yards in only two games during the 2018 season and was made a healthy scratch for a Week 16 contest at New England.

In eight NFL seasons, Clay has caught 339 passes for 3,631 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also rushed for a score in 2013.

Despite his lack of production offensively which Sporting News points out, it might not completely be on Clay. For his entire career in Buffalo, Clay has had Tyrod Taylor as his quarterback.

One knock on Taylor during his tenure with the Bills was an inability to find targets over the middle of the field, where a tight end often roams.

Furthermore, Clay’s numbers might not stack up across the NFL, but they do in his own Buffalo locker room. With only 558 yards, Clay was the Bills’ leading receiver in 2017. In 2016, he was second in yards (552) and first in receptions (57). On top of his offensive abilities, Clay is also viewed as an all-around type of tight end, displaying a solid ability to block.

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Cowboys’ Terrance Williams becomes free agent

The Dallas Cowboys are moving on from Terrance Williams.

The Cowboys have declined Williams’ contract option, which will make him an unrestricted free agent when the NFL’s new year kicks off on March 16, the team announced on Monday.

Williams had just two receptions for 18 yards in three games for the Cowboys this season. He was moved to the injured reserve after three games due to issues with his right foot.

The 29-year-old was also suspended three games last year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy when he was arrested in May for public intoxication after an incident with his Lamborghini near the team’s practice facility. That charge was later dismissed. In 2017, his last full season with the team, he had 53 receptions for 568 yards but failed to score a touchdown for the first time in his six-year career with the Cowboys.

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Williams played six seasons with Dallas after the franchise selected him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He appeared in 83 games (68 starts) and recorded 232 catches for 3,377 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Williams had signed a four-year contract extension in 2017, and was set to make $3.5 million next season and $4 million in 2020. The move will end up saving the Cowboys $2.25 million against the salary cap, according to the Dallas Morning News.

This won’t be the first time that Williams enters free agency as he did so after the 2016 season and chose to return to Dallas. Unlike then, it seems like he and the team are heading in different directions so if he does play football again it will likely be for someone else. He seems like the prime candidate for a bet on himself 1-year type contract. Jon Robinson hasn’t bet on many guys with off the field issues, so it is hard to know if this is something he will be interested in chasing. My guess is no, but for the right price it would be stupid not to at least kick the tires.

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Dolphins adding Reggie McKenzie as senior executive

The Miami Dolphins have added another high-profile name to their decision-making brass. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins will be bringing in longtime league talent evaluator Reggie McKenzie as a senior personnel executive.

McKenzie first rose to league-wide prominence in his post-playing days as the Oakland Raiders’ general manager. He was hired for the position in 2012, almost immediately implementing an aggressive re-structure of the team’s roster to inject it with some much-needed youth and shed the onerous salaries of several notable veterans. Though the Raiders failed to post a winning record in each of his first four seasons on the job, management nevertheless saw enough progress to reward him with a four-year contract extension in 2016. Oakland proceeded to go 12-4, leading McKenzie to be named the NFL’s Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. The Raiders’ success proved a one-season anomaly, however, as the team went just 6-10 in 2017, leading to the firing of coach Jack Del Rio. He was replaced by former Oakland coach Jon Gruden, who was afforded decision-making power with regard to the roster in addition to normal coaching duties. Though McKenzie remained with the team for the majority of the 2018 season, he was eventually fired in December.

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This hiring marks another significant move for the Dolphins in an offseason that’s already proven quite busy. One day after the Super Bowl, Miami introduced Brian Flores, the New England Patriots’ defensive play-caller and de facto defensive coordinator, as the team’s new head coach.

The Dolphins hired former Buffalo Bills national scout Marvin Allen as assistant general manager earlier this offseason along with a number of internal promotions.

Grier was promoted to oversee football operations after the 2018 regular season when coach Adam Gase was fired and former executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum was reassigned. McKenzie will try to help Grier and new coach Brian Flores steer the Dolphins out of mediocrity. Miami has finished between 6-10 and 10-6 in each of its past 10 seasons, and owner Stephen Ross has made it clear he wants that to change beginning in 2019.

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Mike Moustakas returning Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers have addressed their second base opening by signing a free agent third baseman. According to multiple reports, the Brewers have signed Mike Moustakas to a one-year contract, which will presumably push Travis Shaw back to second base. 

Moustakas, 30, split last season between the Royals and Brewers, hitting .251/.315/.459 (108 OPS+) with 28 home runs overall. That includes a .256/.326/.441 (104 OPS+) batting line with eight homers in 54 games with Milwaukee.

“He’s a great player, a great clubhouse guy, and he definitely helped us on the field,” reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich said last week when asked about speculation that a reunion might be in the works.

The Brewers have Cory Spangenberg and Hernan Perez penciled into a second base platoon prior to the Moustakas signing. Last year Shaw, a natural first baseman who moved to third base upon joining the Brewers two years ago, played 39 games at second base following the Moustakas trade. Both Ultimate Zone Rating (-1.5 runs) and Defensive Runs Saved (-1) had him just a touch below average, which, all things considered, is pretty good for a guy who never played the position before.

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This is the second straight year the frigid free agent market forced Moustakas to take a one-year contract. Last year he returned to Kansas City on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million. The Brewers have an elite second base prospect coming in Keston Hiura. The one-year deal for Moustakas lets the team remain patient with Hiura without blocking him long-term.

We ranked Moustakas the 19th best prospect in the 2019-20 free agent class. Twelve of the top 50 free agents remain unsigned, including the top two and three of the top seven. Including Moustakas, the Brewers currently have $123.3 million on the books for 2019. That would be the highest payroll in franchise history.

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Pelicans’ Anthony Davis with bruised shoulder

An MRI on Pelicans star Anthony Davis’ left shoulder Thursday evening revealed a muscle contusion however “nothing too unhealthy,” a supply advised ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

Davis was injured within the ultimate second of the primary half throughout Thursday’s 131-122 win over the Thunder, when he crashed into Oklahoma Metropolis’s Nerlens Noel, committing a foul whereas attempting to dam Noel’s shot. Davis didn’t return to the bench after halftime and left Smoothie King Middle with agent Wealthy Paul throughout the recreation to get an MRI.

A supply advised Shelburne that Davis will head to Charlotte, North Carolina — website of Sunday’s All-Star Recreation — and get therapy on the shoulder over the subsequent few days. Davis will see how he feels earlier than deciding whether or not he can play Sunday.

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Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who knowledgeable reporters after Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Orlando Magic that he was executed discussing the drama ensuing from Davis’ commerce request, praised his gamers for pulling out the win amid a tumultuous previous couple of weeks.

“I am joyful for all of them,” Gentry stated after the Pelicans handed the Thunder solely their second loss throughout Russell Westbrook’s document streak of 11 consecutive triple-doubles. “As a result of to inform you the reality, this entire factor has been a dumpster hearth. … We would like guys to be skilled and we wish them to do that, nevertheless it’s laborious for guys to undergo what they have been via. And to have the ability to come out and beat a workforce of that high quality, I am joyful for all the fellows. I simply thought they did an ideal job.” Requested if it bothered him that Davis left the constructing, Gentry repeated that he was “joyful for the fellows that performed the sport and we received.”

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Twins extending contracts for Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler

The Minnesota Twins reportedly agreed to contract extensions with both outfielder Max Kepler and shortstop Jorge Polanco on Thursday.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Kepler’s extension is worth $35 million over five years with a sixth-year option for $10 million, including a $1 million buyout. Passan added that Polanco agreed to a five-year, $25.8 million deal with two club options.

The 26-year-old Kepler is set to enter his fifth MLB season and has spent his entire career with the Twins. Last season, the Germany native hit just .224, but he popped a career-high 20 home runs, scored a career-high 80 runs and registered 58 RBI.

Kepler’s most productive season to date was 2017, when he slashed .243/.312/.425 with 19 homers, 69 RBI and 67 runs. Minnesota had previously avoided arbitration with Kepler for 2019 by signing him to a one-year, $3.1 million deal.

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“It’s kind of a statement for what my life is,” Lambo said. “Obviously, my wife is here and my dogs because I wanted them here. It is a big day for me, so it’s a big day for them. I think we are all going to go home and get some treats tonight.”

Polanco, 25, has appeared in games across five MLB seasons, but he has only been a significant part of the Twins’ roster over the past three.

Last season, Polanco appeared in 77 games and hit .288 with six home runs and 42 RBI. It was a significant drop-off from his career year in 2017, when he slashed .256/.313/.410 with 13 homers, 74 RBI, 60 runs scored and 13 stolen bases.

Part of the issue for Polanco in 2018 was the fact that he was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs. Both Kepler and Polanco are penciled in as starters and important parts of Minnesota’s lineup in 2019 and beyond.

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Jaguars sign kicker Josh Lambo to 4-year extension

The Jaguars signed kicker Josh Lambo to a four-year contract extension Wednesday, keeping one of the team’s most consistent performers in their future plans.

Lambo made 19 of 21 field goals last season, including 4 of 5 from 50 yards or longer.

Since joining the Jaguars in October 2017, Lambo has made 38 of 41 tries, a 92.7 percent success rate that ranks highest in franchise history among players with at least 10 attempts.

In 2018, Lambo became the first Jaguars kicker to make at least 90 percent of his field goals in consecutive seasons.

“I’m not quite sure it has set in yet,” Lambo said in a statement released by the team. “This whole NFL journey has been a little wild and very unexpected. Now that I’ve gotten to the point where I can sign an extension with this club, it’s really special, and it’s a great day for myself and [wife] Megan and our dogs and our whole family.”

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Lambo’s extension is worth $15.5 million ($6.5 million guaranteed).

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“It’s kind of a statement for what my life is,” Lambo said. “Obviously, my wife is here and my dogs because I wanted them here. It is a big day for me, so it’s a big day for them. I think we are all going to go home and get some treats tonight.”

The Jaguars originally signed Lambo on Oct. 17, 2017, after they waived Jason Myers, who missed two 54-yard attempts during a 27-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Lambo set the franchise record for consecutive made field goals last season, converting 24 straight from Nov. 19, 2017, to Nov. 11, 2018. The previous mark of 20 had been shared by Josh Scobee and Mike Hollis. Lambo missed the final two games of 2018 because of a groin injury but is optimistic about his recovery.

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Corey Liuget’s option won’t be picked up by Chargers

The Chargers announced Wednesday they will not exercise the option on their longest-tenured defensive player, Corey Liuget.

The tackle was scheduled to make $4 million in base salary in 2019 and will become a free agent March 13.

General manager Tom Telesco left open the possibility of Liuget re-signing with the team.

Liuget, who will turn 29 in March, was a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2011. He appeared in 108 games with 103 starts, compiling 237 tackles, 80 tackles for loss and 24 sacks.

“Corey’s made major contributions to this organization since being our first-round selection in 2011 both on and off the field,” Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco said in a statement. “He was our Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2018 for a reason and you won’t find a player who made a bigger contribution in the community than Corey. While we did not exercise the 2019 option in Corey’s contract and he will now become a free agent on March 13, the door is certainly not closed for a possible return in the future.” Last year Liuget was limited by injuries to just six games.

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Liuget had surgery in December to repair his torn quad in New York and returned there to rehab. He said he hopes to be on the road to recovery by March and available to participate in some aspects of offseason work.

Liuget is suing former trainer Ian Danney for $15 million in damages due to lost wages, pain and suffering he believes were caused by his positive test.

“To know that the team looked at me as a guy that’s always doing something good in the community and they can count on me to go and represent them as a good, outstanding person in the community is important,” Liuget said.

A South Florida native, Liuget last year met and worked out with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team to honor former assistant coach Aaron Feis, one of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting. Liuget donated $10,000 to the team and created the Coach Aaron Feis Scholarship Fund to help support members of the team. The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating member of the team who exhibits characteristics representative of who Feis was and the traits he valued.

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