All posts by phnseo

Jonathan Schoop reaches one-year deal with Twins

Schoop signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Twins on Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Schoop will move west to Minnesota after being non-tendered by the Brewers earlier in the offseason. The 27-year-old struggled between Milwaukee and Baltimore in 2018, hitting just .233/.266/.416 across a combined 131 games at both stops. That said, he owns a career .258 average and has topped 20 homers in each of the past three seasons, so he could make for a sneaky late-round target in fantasy drafts given his open path to playing time in Minnesota.

Schoop’s deal would allow him to earn a $100,000 performance bonus for reaching 600 plate appearances, plus additional award bonuses. He was an All-Star with Baltimore in 2017 when he hit .293 with 32 home runs with 105 RBIs, all career highs.

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He was traded to Milwaukee last summer right before the non-waiver deadline and became a free agent last week, when the Brewers declined to offer him a 2019 contract rather than allow him to be eligible for salary arbitration. Schoop made $8.5 million in 2018.

The 27-year-old native of the Caribbean island of Curacao made his major league debut with the Orioles in 2013 and spent five seasons as their regular second baseman, until their salary dump triggered the deal that sent him to the Brewers for second baseman Jonathan Villar and two minor league prospects.

The Twins also added middle infield depth by agreeing Thursday to a one-year contract with Ronald Torreyes that has an $800,000 while he is in the major leagues and $225,000 while he is in the minors. Torreyes batted .280 in 100 at-bats with the New York Yankees last season. He has played in parts of four years in the majors, also logging time with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Kelvin Benjamin signing with Chiefs after being cut by Bills

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is signing with the Kansas City Chiefs, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal is for one year, the source said, meaning Benjamin will be a free agent this offseason.

The Chiefs, who recently released one of their top offensive threats in running back Kareem Hunt and have another, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, limited by a sore foot, are hopeful Benjamin can help fill the void.

Benjamin, 27, was released by the Bills earlier this week and cleared waivers Wednesday. He caught 23 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown in 12 games for the Bills this season.

Benjamin’s best season came in 2014 for the Carolina Panthers, who drafted him that year in the first round. Benjamin caught 73 passes with nine touchdowns as a rookie.

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Benjamin missed all of 2015 because of a torn ACL and hasn’t been the same player since. His production has decreased each season, and the Panthers last year traded him to the Bills.

The Chiefs released Hunt last week after video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman. Watkins has missed two of the past three games because of a sore foot but has practiced both days this week on a limited basis.

The Chiefs have used Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson in Watkins’ absence. Benjamin could challenge them for playing time later in the season, particularly if Watkins’ absence continues.

Benjamin, 27, initially was selected by the Panthers with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2014 draft. He then was acquired by the Bills in November 2017 for third- and seventh-round picks in the 2018 draft.

He now joins the NFL’s third-best offense (437.2 yards per game) and third-best passing offense (316.5.)

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Lakers’ Brandon Ingram with ankle sprain

Los Angeles Lakers swingman Brandon Ingram suffered an ankle injury during the first half of Wednesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

This is another setback for Ingram after he suffered a concussion, groin strain, ankle and quad injuries during the 2017-18 campaign after he was healthy for much of his rookie season and played 79 games. He appeared in just 59 contests last season.

The Duke product showed flashes of his potential as a rookie with 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game but made noticeable strides in his second season with 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game behind 47.0 percent shooting from the field.

He was averaging 15.7 points on 46.6 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Ingram can attack opposing defenses off the dribble as a matchup problem but also extend his offensive attack to the perimeter with his three-point shooting. He can also serve as someone who handles the ball and facilitates or scores from the wing.

Ingram suffered the injury when he came down on LaMarcus Aldridge’s foot and turned his ankle.

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After officials reviewed video of the play, Aldridge was called for a Flagrant 1 for not giving Ingram a chance to land after his shot.

LeBron James described losing Ingram as “huge” — during Wednesday’s game and for however long he might be sidelined.

“Obviously, we’ve had a pretty dang-gone good rotation of guys knowing who’s going to play and where they’re going to play, and the lineups out there,” James said. “For our starting two guard to go down in the first couple minutes of the game, it just derailed our offense, taking one of our best ballhandlers and midrange scorers out of the game. Unfortunately, he’s probably going to be out for a little while [so] we have to have guys step up. That’s the nature of the game.”

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Patriots go for AFC East clinch against Dolphins

The Patriots (9-3) can clinch the AFC East for the 10th consecutive season with a win over the Dolphins on Sunday, extending the longest streak of division titles in NFL history.

The Chiefs, who are atop the conference playoff standings entering Week 14, can clinch a playoff spot with a win or tie against the Ravens or with a Miami loss or tie plus a Tennessee loss or tie plus an Indianapolis loss or tie.

New England holds the tiebreaker over Houston (9-3), which has won nine straight games, and Kansas City (10-2) thanks to wins in Weeks 1 and 6, respectively.

New England would have to fall two games back over the final four weeks to lose a first-round bye.

Still, despite New England’s overwhelming dominance over the AFC East for the past decade, the road to the titles has been a bit bumpy when the Patriots take their talents to South Florida. Miami (6-6) has won four of the past five at home in the series.

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“I think the climate plays some role and they always seem to play well when they play us down there,” said Brady. “We are not going to get beat by the weather, we’re going to get beat by the Dolphins. That is what we realize. We’re going up against a good opponent that plays us very well at home. We play them very well at home. It is just one of those series where it is kind of like that.”

The Patriots have struggled away from home, splitting six road games and suffering double-digit defeats at Jacksonville, Detroit and Tennessee. Conversely, Miami is 5-1 at home this season and is among four teams sitting one game behind Baltimore for the final playoff spot in the AFC.

Rookie running back Sony Michel could see a heavy workload against a Miami run defense that ranks 30th in the league with an average of 144.7 yards allowed per game. He had his first 100-yard game in the NFL in Week 4 against the Dolphins, rushing for 112 yards on a season-high 25 carries.

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Raiders signing former Broncos and Panthers RB C.J. Anderson

The Oakland Raiders are signing veteran running back C.J. Anderson, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Anderson has been looking for work since Nov. 12, when he was released by the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina had signed Anderson to a one-year, $1.75 million deal during the offseason, but with Christian McCaffrey seeing most of the volume in the team’s backfield, Anderson managed only 104 yards on 24 carries in nine games.
Anderson, who spent his first five seasons with Denver, had visited the Chiefs earlier this week in the wake of Kareem Hunt’s release. Kansas City ended up signing Charcandrick West instead.

Anderson, who played for the Cal Bears from 2011-2012, won a Super Bowl with Denver in 2015 and was a key contributor on that Broncos team with Peyton Manning being largely ineffective. Anderson joined the Panthers in May, but was waived last month because he felt his role on the team was too small (with the emergence of Christian McCaffrey as Carolina’s every-down back) and he wanted a bigger workload elsewhere.

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Whether he gets that big workload in Oakland remains to be seen, as Anderson will be competing with Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. But even though it seems like Anderson has been around forever, he’s still just 27 years old and has rushed for 3,155 yards and 20 touchdowns. With a strong performance in the final few games of the season he can put himself into Oakland’s plans for the coming seasons.

Anderson posted unspectacular numbers with the Panthers this year, rushing for 104 yards with zero touchdowns on the ground in nine games. A single 24-yard TD represented the entirety of his receiving production.

Anderson is a year removed from a 1,000-rushing yard season with the Denver Broncos, so it’s hard to believe he’s over the hill.

The Raiders’ signing at least represents a homecoming for Anderson, who grew up in the Bay Area and attended Cal.

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Packers fire Associate head coach Winston Moss

Joe Philbin wasted no time exercising his new authority as the Green Bay Packers’ interim head coach.

Two days after replacing Mike McCarthy, Philbin fired associate head coach/linebackers Winston Moss on Tuesday night.

“We thank Winston for his contributions to the Packers over the past 13 years,” Philbin said in a statement. “We hope for the best for Winston and his family moving forward.”

Moss, a member of McCarthy’s original coaching staff, was passed over in favor of Philbin for the interim coach role. As associate head coach in title the past four seasons, he could have been seen as being next in line when the Packers fired McCarthy. Instead, team president/CEO Mark Murphy promoted Philbin from offensive coordinator.

Moss’ tweet Tuesday is not the first time his public communication has cast the organization in a poor light. So awkward were his media sessions at the podium the past couple of years that Moss was the lone assistant coach not made available to reporters this season.

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A tweet authored by Moss earlier in the day, which criticized the Packers for firing McCarthy and the lack of accountability for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, probably didn’t help matters.

“Ponder this,” Moss wrote. “What Championship teams have are great leadership! Period! It’s not the offensive guru trend, it’s not the safe trend. Find somebody that is going to hold No. 12 and everybody in this building to a Lombardi standard! Period!”

McCarthy hired Moss to be his linebackers coach in 2006. He has overseen the development of all linebackers – both edge rushers and off the ball – the past five seasons.

“I have serve the Packers with all my heart and soul,” Moss tweeted Tuesday night. “I’ve given it my all. no regrets!”

Moss was hired by McCarthy shortly after McCarthy assumed the team’s head coaching vacancy in 2006 and was considered to be the head coach’s right-hand man.

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Japanese star Yusei Kikuchi available to MLB Teams

Star Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will be available to major league teams starting Tuesday, with the New York Yankees expected to be among those interested.

The 27-year-old Seibu Lions ace will have until Jan. 2 to sign a contract with a big league club. The Lions would then receive a posting fee based on the dollar amount of the pitcher’s contract.

If Kikuchi doesn’t reach a deal with an MLB team, he remains with Seibu.

Kikuchi has been very open about wanting to pitch in the big leagues for years now, and in fact he very nearly came to MLB back in 2009, when he considered signing with a team out of high school rather than going through the NPB draft. NPB eventually persuaded him to stay in Japan, unlike Junichi Tazawa, who did jump to MLB rather than pursue an NPB career.

The 27-year-old Kikuchi was arguably the best pitcher in Japan the last few years, and no, he is not a two-way player like Shohei Ohtani. He is a pitcher only. Kikuchi threw 163 2/3 innings with a 3.08 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 23 starts this season.

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Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said last month that he was aware of Kikuchi’s ability.

“I saw film on him during the pro scouting meetings,” Steinbrenner said. “We talked about that individual. We’ve always been paying attention to that area of the world — some unbelievably great players came out of there. So it won’t be any different this year.”

Kikuchi joins a free-agent class dominated by left-handed starters. Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin are the best available free agent starters and J.A. Happ might be third best. Kikuchi is at least three years younger than each of those guys, and he could very well come on the most affordable contract.

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Redskins QB Colt McCoy fracture right fibula

The Washington Redskins are accustomed to the knot in the stomach and the bad news that inevitably hits when a quarterback goes down: Colt McCoy is done for the year with a broken right leg, the same fate as his predecessor, Alex Smith.

Mark Sanchez now has his shot to morph from stay-at-home dad to stretch-drive starter.

“Your heart definitely breaks for them,” Sanchez said. “They’re great competitors and great people. You never want it under those circumstances.”

The Redskins have tasked Sanchez with keeping the Redskins afloat in the NFC playoff picture after McCoy suffered a fractured fibula in his right leg in the first half of their 28-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

McCoy ran to avoid a sack and tried to slide as the Eagles defense rushed toward him. McCoy’ planted his right leg into the turf and the lower part of the leg and ankle viciously whipped into safety Malcolm Jenkins’ knee.

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McCoy stayed in the game and completed two short passes before limping off with the Redskins trailing 7-3 to the Super Bowl champion Eagles (6-6). He made his second straight start since Smith was knocked out with a gruesome season-ending leg injury last month against Houston. McCoy helped Washington score a pair of TDs, including a 9-yard TD pass on the backup’s first pass in a regular-season game since 2015.

His start in the Thanksgiving game against Dallas was his first since 2014 and he won’t get another one this year. McCoy, who started for Cleveland and San Francisco earlier in his career, had appeared in nine games over the last three-plus seasons with Washington, until Smith was injured.

The Redskins could use a QB and PR boost after they claimed linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers following a domestic violence arrest. He remains on the commissioner’s exempt list and is facing league suspension.

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Phillies near deal for Mariners All-Star Jean Segura

The Philadelphia Phillies are nearing a deal to acquire All-Star infielder Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners, according to multiple reports.
The deal would involve multiple players, and Segura will need to waive his no-trade clause to join Philadelphia, according to reports.
Segura batted .304 with 10 home runs, 91 runs and 63 RBIs in 144 games last season and was named an American League All-Star.
In June 2017, Segura agreed to a five-year, $70 million contract with the Mariners spanning 2018 to 2022. The deal has a $17 million option for 2023, with a $1 million buyout.

Since the season ended, the Mariners have traded ace James Paxton, catcher Mike Zunino and pitcher Alex Colome, along with Segura, Cano and Diaz. They have virtually every veteran on the trade block.

Segura will play shortstop for the Phillies in 2019. The team will still pursue free agent Manny Machado with the hopes of convincing him to play third base, which is his best position

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With Santana moving on, the Phils now have a clear path to move Rhys Hoskins from left field to first base. That was a major offseason objective for the club.

Segura can also play second base, but the Phillies still have Cesar Hernandez at the position for another season before he becomes a free agent. The Phils have considered trading Hernandez, but the market is flush with second basemen. If the Phillies hang on to Hernandez for 2019, Scott Kingery could move into the super-utility role that the team envisioned for him last spring.

The team remains in pursuit of free agent starting pitcher Patrick Corbin. The left-hander is also being pursued by the Yankees and Nationals and is expected to make a decision soon.

The Phils are also pursuing lefty relievers Zach Britton and Andrew Miller, both free agents.

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Green Bay Packers fire coach Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy has been fired as coach of the Green Bay Packers, the team making the announcement about 3 hours after an embarrasing 20-17 loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field.

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will serve as the interim coach for the final four games. Philbin returned to Green Bay as offensive coordinator this season. He was Miami’s head coach for three-plus seasons, going 24-28 from 2012 through the first four games of the 2015 season.

“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately,” team President and CEO Mark Murphy, McCarthy’s boss under the team’s new leadership structure, said in a statement.

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“Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field.  We want to thank Mike, his wife, Jessica, and the rest of the McCarthy family for all that they have done for the Packers and the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers.”

Murphy, who made the decision in concert with general manager Brian Gutekunst, will hold a press conference at 1:45 p.m. Monday. Philbin will speak at 2:15 p.m.

McCarthy guided the Packers to a Super Bowl championship in 2010 and three other trips to NFC Championship Games. From 2009 through 2016, the Packers and Patriots were the only teams to reach the playoffs eight consecutive seasons.

Prior to his time in Green Bay, he served as offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints (2000-2004) and the San Francisco 49ers (2005).

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