All posts by phnseo

Jorge Posada to join ex-teammate Derek Jeter in Marlins’ front office

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has done plenty to remake his new franchise in the image of his former team, the New York Yankees. He brought over Gary Denbo to be their VP of scouting and player development and even traded the reigning NL MVP to New York for prospects.

Now he’s bringing a fellow member of the Core Four to bolster the front office.

According to a report from SiriusXM’s Craig Mish, the Marlins are expected to bring in former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada as a special adviser to baseball operations. Posada, who spent 17 seasons in pinstripes, retired after the 2011 season and rejoined the Yankees in 2013 spring training as a guest instructor. That’s been a fairly common role for Yankees legends, including fellow Core Four member Andy Pettitte, who actually came out of retirement after briefly attending 2012 spring training as a guest instructor.

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Already a South Florida resident, Posada will relinquish his role with the Bronx Bombers now that he’ll be working for a new franchise, and he currently does not have plans to take the field as an instructor during the Marlins camp in Jupiter, Florida.

Despite finishing with four World Series titles, five All-Star appearances and five Silver Slugger awards, Posada fell off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2017 after garnering just 3.8 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility. His 275 career home runs is tied for the 15th-most of all time among catchers, while his .474 slugging percentage ranks 17th. All eyes now turn to the remaining members of the Core Four: Pettitte and the recently enshrined Mariano Rivera. Will either of them join the Marlins? JT Realmuto has already been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, but maybe one of them can assist in a Drew Steckenrider deal if the Yankees need another reliever.

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Steelers’ Antonio Brown asks for trade

The Pittsburgh Steelers still haven’t decided whether there’s a path for wayward wide receiver Antonio Brown to return in 2019.

Not that it matters to Brown. He’s already made up his mind.

A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press the perennial Pro Bowler has formally asked the Steelers for a trade, the latest move in a game of brinksmanship by the 30-year-old designed to force Pittsburgh to move him by the start of training camp this summer.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to publicly discuss personnel matters.

Brown appeared to make his decision official in a social media post released on Instagram on Tuesday. The video includes highlights from Brown’s career with the Steelers while lyrics from “Do What I Want” by rapper Lil Uzi Vert plays in the background. “SteelerNation thank you for nine big years!!!” Brown wrote. “Time to move on and move forward.”

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The post came shortly after Brown was found guilty in absence on a charge of reckless driving in a suburban Pittsburgh court on Tuesday morning. Brown was charged in November for driving his black sports car over 100 mph in a 45 mph zone. He paid a $426.77 fine. Brown did not attend Tuesday’s hearing.

Brown still has three years remaining on the $72 million contract he signed in the spring of 2017, and remains one of the most dynamic performers in the league. He is the only player in NFL history with six consecutive 100-catch seasons and he hauled in 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and a franchise-record 15 touchdowns in 2018. There is no major rush with another month before the new league year begins, though Pittsburgh could work out the parameters of a deal by March 13. Brown’s contract counts $21.12 million in 2019, a number that inches north to $23.62 if Brown receives a $2.5 million roster bonus he’s scheduled to receive on March 17.

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Knicks set franchise-record 17th straight loss

The New York Knicks’ franchise-record 17th straight loss might have been the toughest one to take.

The Knicks erased a 17-point deficit in the second half and had several chances to take the lead or tie the game in the final minute before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-104 on Monday night.

“It’s incredibly hard,” said guard Dennis Smith Jr. “No one wants to lose, especially 17 in a row. Tonight would’ve been major for us if we’d have pulled it out.”

Collin Sexton, who led Cleveland with 20 points, hit two free throws with 17 seconds remaining to put the Cavaliers up by three.

John Jenkins missed a 3-pointer from the right corner, but Smith grabbed the rebound and dribbled to the left corner. He also missed a 3-pointer and Larry Nance Jr. tapped the rebound to midcourt as time ran out.

Luke Kornet, who hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch, missed a wide-open 3 with 21 seconds remaining that would have put the Knicks ahead.

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“When you’ve got a chance at the end, if you don’t win, it hurts,” coach David Fizdale said. “We had a shot — actually two — and we got the look we wanted. It just didn’t go down. And before that, we got a real good look from one of our best shooters in Kornet.”

Kevin Knox scored 13 points while DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 10 rebounds for New York.

Both teams are in the running for a prime spot in the draft lottery, which takes place May 14. The three worst teams in the league will have a 14 percent chance of getting the first pick in the draft and a shot at grabbing Duke center Zion Williamson.

Phoenix (11-47) and Chicago (13-44) are also possibilities for a top-three pick.

The Cavaliers led wire-to-wire and jumped to an 8-0 lead, leading Fizdale to use a timeout less than 90 seconds into the game. The Knicks, who traded injured star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas on Jan. 31, have their longest skid within one season. New York lost 20 in a row over two seasons, March 23-Nov. 9, 1985.

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Kareem Hunt signs with Browns

The Cleveland Browns are giving Kareem Hunt another chance in the NFL.

The team announced Monday it had signed the former Kansas City Chiefs running back, who was waived in late November after a video emerged depicting him shoving and kicking a woman last February in an incident at a Cleveland hotel. 

Hunt was not arrested and no charges were made, but the Chiefs parted with him after the team said he “was not truthful” in discussions with management.

“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said in a statement through the team. “What I did was wrong and inexcusable. That is not the man I was raised to be, and I’ve learned a great deal from that experience and certainly should have been more truthful about it after the fact. 

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“I’m extremely grateful that John Dorsey, Dee and Jimmy Haslam and the Cleveland Browns organization are granting me the opportunity to earn their trust and represent their organization in the best way possible on and off the field. I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation. I also understand the expectations that the Browns have clearly laid out and that I have to earn my way back to the NFL. I’m a work in progress as a person, but I’m committed to taking advantage of the support systems that I have in place to become the best and healthier version of myself.” Hunt remains ineligible to play or practice while he is on the commissioner’s exempt list. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said before the Super Bowl the league was still investigating three separate off-field incidents involving Hunt, who could be subject to a suspension as part of the league’s conduct policy.

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Stephen Vogt agrees to minors deal with Giants

The Giants are in agreement with catcher Stephen Vogt on a minor league contract, reports Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (via Twitter). She notes that he’s yet to begin throwing from a crouch following shoulder surgery last year. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets that Vogt is expected to be in MLB camp but adds that Vogt has yet to take his physical. While the timing is sheerly coincidental, it’s nevertheless a bit odd that the news of Vogt landing in San Francisco comes on the heels of the Athletics’ announcement of a minor league deal with veteran backstop Nick Hundley. Vogt was a wildly popular catcher across the bay with the A’s a few years back, while Hundley had become something of a fan favorite among Giants fans from 2017-18. The two will now suit up on opposite sides of the bay, both hoping to ultimately secure roster spots with their new organizations, although it’s not fully clear exactly when Vogt might be full-go for baseball activities just yet.

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Vogt, who turned 34 this offseason, didn’t play in 2018 due to the aforementioned shoulder procedure — one he feared at the time to be a career-ender. That, it seems, is not the case for the affable veteran, who is a known commodity to Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi dating back to the pair’s days together in Oakland, where Zaidi was an assistant general manager at one point. The Giants are currently navigating some uncertainty surrounding their own veteran catcher, as Buster Posey is on the mend from hip surgery, leaving Aramis Garcia as the only fully healthy catcher on the 40-man roster. Vogt will have company in MLB camp, though, as the Giants have also previously added veterans Rene Rivera and Cameron Rupp on minor league contracts of their own this winter.

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Cardinals sign LB Brooks Reed to 1 year contract

The Arizona Cardinals announced Saturday that they’ve signed the former Atlanta Falcons linebacker to a one-year contract.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Reed’s deal is worth roughly $2 million, per a source informed of the situation.

The signing is a homecoming for Reed, who is a Tucson native and also played collegiately at the University of Arizona.

The Falcons parted ways with Reed earlier this week after four seasons with the team, along with other notable veteran players. An eight-year NFL veteran, Reed has played in 120 career games (86 starts) and has 269 tackles (179 solo), 21.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. He entered the league with Houston as a second-round selection (42nd overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft.

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The 31-year old Reed played in 60 games (34 starts) with Atlanta the past four seasons at defensive end, including appearing in all 16 games last season with eight starts. Reed played in 60 games (52 starts) at linebacker in his four seasons with Houston. He has also played in nine postseason games (five starts) in his career, collecting 29 tackles, six sacks, one forced fumble and four tackles for loss.

Reed attended Sabino High School in Tucson and played at the University of Arizona from 2007-10 where he was named first-team All-Pac-10 as a senior after starting all 13 games and collecting 6.5 sacks, 47 tackles and 10 tackles for loss. He was released by Atlanta on Thursday.

His best statistical seasons are as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme rather than as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.

The Cardinals will be looking to improve at outside linebacker as the team is going from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 scheme under new DC Vance Joseph and defensive end Markus Golden is expected to become a free agent in March.

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Grizzlies trade Marc Gasol to Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors have pulled off one of the league’s biggest deals at the NBA trade deadline, acquiring Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. Miles and Delon Wright and a 2024 second-round draft pick.

The blockbuster deal, which was completed late Thursday evening, brings a player long coveted by Raptors president Masai Ujiri to Toronto. It’s also a power move for a Toronto team looking to at least keep pace with Milwaukee and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference.

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet spoke highly of Gasol shortly before Toronto tipped off against the Hawks in Atlanta.

“(Gasol) is one of the best fives in the league for a long time now, perennial all-star, defensive player of the year,” VanVleet said. “Just really excited to see how we can acclimate him to what we do and see how much he can give us a boost. Obviously we’re very excited about that.” Gasol is a three-time all-star and the 2013 defensive player of the year. He’s averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals a game, and his 4.7 assists a night is second best in the league behind Jokic. The seven-foot-one Spaniard is a two-time Olympian, and will be reunited with Spanish coach and Raptors assistant Sergio Scariolo in Toronto.

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Gasol, who played 11 seasons in Memphis, is slated to make US$24.1 million this season and has a player option for $25.6 million next season.

Last summer, Gasol volunteered as part of a Spanish rescue effort in the Mediterranean Sea, plucking people from the water who were fleeing Africa. A photo showed Gasol helping lift a woman onto a stretcher. He voiced his “Frustration, anger and helplessness” on Twitter, writing “It’s unbelievable how so many vulnerable people are abandoned to their deaths at sea. Deep admiration for these I call my teammates at this time. ↕openarms–fund” In Valanciunas, the Raptors’ lose of their most popular players. The 26-year, who was drafted by Toronto fifth overall in 2011, was finally cleared to play Thursday after missing 25 games with a dislocated left thumb. The team posted a photo of the big Lithuanian on social media with two words: “I’m back.”

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CB Robert Alford signs with Cardinals days after release by Falcons

It didn’t take long for Robert Alford to find a new NFL team.

On Thursday, the Arizona Cardinals announced that they signed the veteran cornerback to the roster two days after he was released by the Atlanta Falcons organization.

Alford signed a three year contract with the Cardinals, an agreement worth a base of $22.5 million, but can rise in value up to $24 million, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. In addition to those terms, the player will get a $13.5 million guarantee.

The opportunity to play opposite Patrick Peterson was a decisive factor for Alford in choosing Arizona. The Cardinals finished 3-13 last season, have a first year head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, and what appears to be a talented secondary with Alford, Peterson, and David Amerson at the corners, in addition to Budda Baker and D.J. Swearinger at the safety positions.

Alford played in 88 games for the Falcons and started 76, intercepting 10 passes, including an 82 yard pick six against Tom Brady in Super Bowl LI. By releasing Alford, Atlanta will save an approximate $7.9 million in salary cap space, while absorbing a smaller $1.2 million dead cap hit, according to figures calculated by Spotrac.

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That $1.2 million number represents the signing bonus that Alford earned in his final contract with the team and is the 15th largest dead cap hit for the organization in the 2019 offseason.

While Alford lent the Falcons secondary some credible experience, and a few highlight plays, the organization had been scouting a viable replacement for a few years now, including the drafting of Jalen Collins four years ago, and picking Isaiah Oliver in the second round this past year.

It appears Oliver passed the test playing in place of Alford this season as a rookie.

Atlanta was interested in featuring a less penalty-prone player in the corner. This past season, Alford led the Falcons as a team with 12 called penalties against him.

Before the team made the news of Alford’s release public, the player did it first on Twitter. “Thank you Atlanta for (six) incredible seasons,” Alford said. “Sucks that it ended on this note. I enjoyed playing in this incredible city. (I’ll) miss my dawgs, but I’m excited for the next chapter.”

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Dolphins hiring Chad O’Shea as OC

Brian Flores isn’t wasting any time poaching from the New England Patriots coaching staff.

The Miami Dolphins are set to hire Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea as their offensive coordinator, per Field Yates of ESPN.com.

O’Shea, 46, has been expected to take the position since the Dolphins settled on Flores as their new head coach. He served as Bill Belichick’s wide receivers coach since 2009.

O’Shea said of his philosophy, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald:

“I truly still believe in the player. I think that you can have a system in place, but if you don’t have the right players to fit within that system, the system isn’t going to work. I think it’s important to identify what your players that you have available to you do best and to try to build the system around what those players do.” The Dolphins are expected to undergo some level of organizational upheaval in 2019. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Dolphins plan to rebuild during the 2019 season, with an eye toward taking a quarterback at the top of the 2020 draft.

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That would require some patience from two coaches very accustomed to winning in New England. Flores is fresh off being the play-caller for a Patriots defense that held the Los Angeles Rams to just three points in Super Bowl LIII. Flores has never coached a team with a losing record; O’Shea hasn’t been part of a losing campaign since 2006.

“We’re going to look to really build this organization based on our needs,” owner Stephen Ross told reporters, “and if it takes a year or so—two years, three years—we are going to be there.”  O’Shea, a Houston native who played at UH, will inherit an offense that’s expected to move on from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and had 35-year-old Frank Gore as its leading rusher. 

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Falcons part ways with kicker Matt Bryant

Kicker Matt Bryant, affectionately known as “Money Matt,” will not return for the 2019 season after the Atlanta Falcons declined his team option on Wednesday.

Bryant, 43, signed with the Falcons prior to the 2009 season, and leaves Atlanta as the leading scorer in franchise history with 1,122 points. His 158 points in 2016 is a Falcons single-season record.

Kicker Matt Bryant, affectionately known as “Money Matt,” will not return for the 2019 season after the Atlanta Falcons declined his team option on Wednesday.

Bryant, 43, signed with the Falcons prior to the 2009 season, and leaves Atlanta as the leading scorer in franchise history with 1,122 points. His 158 points in 2016 is a Falcons single-season record. “Matt Bryant will be remembered as one of the greatest Falcons of all time,” Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank said.

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“He is the leading scorer in the history of the team with 1,122 points and made countless memorable and game-winning kicks. His reliability and dependability were unmatched and he has been unflappable in pressure-filled moments. Matt has represented our organization and city so well on and off the field by living our core values through hundreds of hours of community service. He was rightfully recognized as our Walter Payton Man of the Year in both 2013 and 2014. We are deeply grateful for his contributions to the Atlanta Falcons and wish Matt, his wife Melissa and their children all the best in the future.”

Bryant owns a slew of other team records and earned his nickname after nailing a number of game-winning kicks. Bryant owns franchise records for most points in a season (158), most point after touchdowns (372), and field goals made (250). In 2018, Bryant made 20 of 21 field goal attempts (95.2 percent) and 33 of 35 extra point attempts (94.3). For his career, Bryant has made 388 of 450 field goal attempts (86.2 percent) and has converted 553 of 560 points after attempts (98.8 percent).

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