The Cubs broke an 108-year World Series drought last season

The Yankees are doing all of this damage without a true ace in their pitching staff. Masahiro Tanaka, their pitcher who most closely resembles an ace, gave up four runs (three earned) in seven innings Monday. He struck out six batters and improved to 5-1 on the season, but he also raised his ERA to 4.36.

While it’s easy to marvel at the Yankees’ early-season accomplishments, it’s worth speculating whether or not it can all last. Right now, New York is getting an explosive blend of young talent taking opposing pitchers by surprise and veterans greatly surpassing their career trajectory.

But this isn’t just any team. The Yankees know how to win.

The Cubs broke an 108-year World Series drought last season, sparking a revolution in Chicago. While the Yankees’ current drought is nowhere near that number, eight years might feel like an eternity to a New York fan base so used to winning.

Since their separation, it has been determined that neither would count as an at-bat, thus not harming a player’s batting average, but that sacrifice bunts would not be held against a Cheap Basketball Jerseys player’s on-base percentage. This, of course, raises an issue.

“How many base hit bunt attempts end up being sacrifice bunts because runners advance, but the batter was thrown out at first?” said Cody Asche of the White Sox. “At best you get a hit, at worst you don’t impact your numbers. Which is (essentially) the same as with a sacrifice fly. At best you get an extra-base hit, at worst a sacrifice fly. Don’t execute either way? It is a non-productive out.”

So why penalize a batter who produces an unquestionably productive out?

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred rips union for denying 2017 rule changes

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred blasted the MLB players’ association Tuesday for refusing to agree to “meaningful” rule changes in 2017 and said he would exercise his right to unilaterally implement new rules for 2018 if necessary.

The commissioner’s office had proposed a number of changes designed mostly to speed up the pace of play but made no headway with union chief Tony Clark and his charges.

Manfred then upped the ante Tuesday at Cactus League media day, acknowledging no major changes are forthcoming this season and blaming it on “lack of cooperation” from the union. While MLB needed the players’ cooperation to alter the rules this season, Manfred said the new collective bargaining agreement implemented over the winter allows MLB to make whatever changes it wants heading into 2018.

“We have, I think, a good relationship with the MLBPA; we were able to make a new basic agreement without any disruption,” Manfred said at a news conference. “We have a disagreement about the need to push forward on these issues. It’s a two-year process. Tony’s more than within his rights to say right now he doesn’t want to move ahead with those rule changes.

“We will continue the process and we’ll exercise the rights that we negotiated for and have under the basic agreement. Hopefully that process will lead to an agreement — I want an agreement on these issues. But I’m also not prepared to walk away on this topic just because Tony’s not ready to move forward now.”

Manfred expressed dismay that the union would not budge on even New Cheap Jerseys basic issues like limiting visits to the mound during innings. That is one of the key proposals the commissioner intends to keep on the radar and possibly install for the following season, along with a pitch clock, automatic intentional walks, and raising the strike zone.

Orioles GM Dan Duquette backtracks on Jose Bautista comments

Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said Sunday his comments about free agent Jose Bautista last month were “blown out of proportion.”

Duquette told Toronto’s Sportsnet Radio 590 The Fan in early December that the Orioles had no interest in signing the former Blue Jays slugger.

“We told [Bautista’s] agent that we are not interested because our fans don’t like him,” Duquette said at the time. “Our fans don’t like Jose Bautista, with good reason.”

New England seems ready to part with Butler, as his name was rumored in trade talks with the Saints for Brandin Cooks. At that time, Butler told ESPN about his future, “I’m just going [with] the flow. I can’t tell the future. I’m just a CB. I’m not a GM.”

Of course it’s not as easy as Butler would hope. He’s a restricted free agent with a first-round tender which means if another teams wants to sign them, they would have to give a first-round draft pick to the Patriots. Considering the Pats just gave up a first rounder to the Saints, they wouldn’t mind losing Butler in order to gain an early pick back.

If Butler’s agent can’t find a team to sign his client then he’d have to sign his tender and remain in New England for a 2017 salary of $3.91 million, which is a lot less than he’s asking for.

The Saints also gained a third-round pick — for a fourth-round pick — from the Patriots in this year’s draft, so even if New Orleans winds up with Butler it will still have four picks in the first three rounds.

New Orleans is in desperate need of cornerbacks, but is Butler worth the price?

The 27-year-old has proven himself as one of the top 10 cornerbacks Minnesota Vikings Cheap Jerseys in the NFL over his three years in the league. With 130 tackles, six interceptions and 32 passes deflected in the last two seasons, Butler would be an ideal No. 1 corner in the Saints’ man-coverage scheme.

The Saints would likely target a linebacker with the No. 32 pick should they sign Butler.

Pitching changes take up a lot of time

If Chicago doesn’t trade Jose Quintana, he’ll likely assume the top spot in the rotation after a 2016 in which he earned his first All-Star appearance and finished 10th in Cy Young voting. If the Sox ship Quintana away, the ball is in 24-year-old Carlos Rodon’s court. Rodon, who was Cheap USA Basketball Jerseys the third overall pick in the draft in 2014 out of N.C. State, has shown flashes in his first two seasons, averaging 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings, but likely can’t be relied on as a front-end starter until he cuts down on baserunners allowed, with his career WHIP sitting at 1.416.

As for Eaton, the White Sox don’t have a definite replacement for the speedy center fielder. As of now, it looks like 24-year-old Charlie Tilson is primed to start the season there, as Chicago doesn’t field much outfield depth. Luis Alexander Basabe, acquired from the Red Sox in the Sale trade, might eventually take one of the outfield spots, although he appears poised for a debut in 2018.

After losing Ricky Wagner in free agency and with Marshal Yanda set to be 33 next season, the Ravens could use another high pick invested in an offensive line. Receiver and even running back are options, but Ramczyk is a good value here.

The Bengals’ offensive line needs coupled with Foster’s incident at the NFL Combine could allow the GM-less Redskins an opportunity to get the draft’s best linebacker. If they trade Kirk Cousins, Mitch Trubisky is likely their target.

Pitching changes take up a lot of time, and being that relievers usually have to run all the way from the outfield bullpen, let’s expedite the process; just have relievers hop in a go-kart.

Diamondbacks’ Shelby Miller to undergo Tommy John surgery

All of that is easy to say about Pryor and his choices, of course, because he ended up, after a short stay on the free-agent market, not having as many choices as he or anyone else thought. Teams weren’t willing to give him a multi-year offer. Having only played his new position for one full season may not have helped. The intrigue over how good he could get and how far he could go did not, in the end, translate into a bigger commitment.

For those to be his choices, Pryor needed to make the most of it — and to make the most of this next season, so that he could have better choices next season. As he told ESPN 980 in Washington (the team’s flagship station) Monday: “I didn’t mind too much not having a long-term deal. I wanted to, but I wanted to make it fair for myself.”

And, as Pryor told team beat reporters on a conference call earlier Monday, things could change quickly with the aforementioned quarterback, now or at the end of the year.
Shelby Miller’s tenure with the Diamondbacks has been a volatile one to say the least, and it just got a little worse.

The 26-year-old who was traded to the D-Backs last season for former Top-5 prospect Dansby Swanson confirmed he will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2017 season.

It was discovered a couple of days ago that Miller had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but he had not decided whether or not to have the surgery that has one of the longest recovery times in baseball.

Miller had a tough first year with the D-Backs, but had been Create Cheap Jerseys better this season — going 2-2 with 20 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched as well as a 4.09 ERA in one of the best hitting ballparks in all of baseball.

The recovery time for Tommy John surgery varies, but it can take from 18 to 24 months to recover.

Johnny Cueto finally arrives at Giants camp, vows to be ready for opener

After spending the past three weeks in the Dominican Republic caring for his ailing father, Johnny Cueto finally joined the Giants in spring training Saturday.

Despite the late arrival, the right-hander vows he’ll be ready to open the season.

“It wasn’t like I was in the Dominican just sitting down not doing anything,” Cueto told reporters through a translater. “I was working really hard, because I knew that I was losing [training] time here.”

While in the D.R. tending to his father, who had a “pre-stroke” condition that required hospitalization, Cueto worked out at the Giants academy for Latin American prospects in Boca Chica, throwing batting practice and working in the bullpen.

“To me, this is just a regular year. I signed for five [more] years, and I’m not thinking anything past that,” he said. “It’s just another year for me.”

Other projected division winners include the Cleveland Indians (92-70) — the only AL Central team tabbed for more than 79 wins — Chicago Cubs (91-71), Boston Red Sox (90-72) and New York Mets (88-74).

On the bottom end, the Royals are pegged for a 71-91 season as their feud with the Baseball Prospectus computer continues. Heading into the 2015 season, PECOTA infamously projected just 72 wins out of the defending AL champion Royals, and Kansas City players actually cited the virtual snub as motivation when they rolled to 95 wins and their first World Series title in 30 years.

PECOTA, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, did pretty well in its 2016 forecast. It correctly projected all five NL playoff teams but was a bit optimistic on the Astros and Rays (as it is again in 2017). Those two ended up missing the playoffs as Detroit Tigers Cheap Jerseys the Rangers and Orioles exceeded the computer’s expectations and made it to October.

NFL free agency: Kalil brothers expected to reunite in Carolina

The Carolina Panthers are expected to sign Matt Kalil as their starting left tackle, ESPN reports. The former Minnesota Viking would be joining his brother, center Ryan Kalil, on the Panthers offensive line.

The contract is a five-year deal worth $55 million and $25 million guaranteed, according to USA Today.

Carolina’s need for a new left tackle to help protect star quarterback Cam Newton was clear — Michael Oher started in the position in Week 1 last season but has been in concussion protocol since Week 3. Once he’s cleared, Oher may be slotted at right tackle.

The series, from executive producer Michael Strahan, “pairs ex-athletes in serious financial distress with money-savvy mentors who can help them get back on their feet,” says a news release, tweeted by Politico’s Alex Weprin.

“It’s a story we hear all too often,” the release says. “A pro athlete heads into retirement, only to find themselves in financial free-fall. With no more games to play or paychecks to cash, the future can often look bleak to those athletes struggling to adjust and adapt. But help may be on the way.”

Say what you will about Rodriguez, but he’s had no trouble Cheap Mitchell And Ness Jerseys adjusting and adapting in retirement — because the paychecks keep coming.

After spending most of his adult life in front of cameras as an All-Star player and media target, the photogenic Rodriguez, 41, has shown no apparent desire to flee them in retirement. “Back in the Game” comes on the heels of Rodriguez’s widely praised run as an analyst during Fox’s coverage of the 2016 MLB postseason.

Dodgers remain ‘heavy favorites’ to acquire Brian Dozier, report says

The Dodgers and Twins have been playing cat and mouse for the better part of two months over second baseman Brian Dozier, but a conclusion could be imminent.

According to USA Today Sports, the Dodgers remain “heavy favorites” to acquire Dozier, but the Twins are holding out for more than just promising pitching prospect Jose De Leon.

“We are aware of an incident last night in which a fan reported being struck by a stray bullet that presumably originated from outside of the stadium,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “The fan was treated for an abrasion and a bruise on her arm at First Aid and released. She was interviewed by police who are investigating the matter.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our fans, and the Cardinals are grateful that no one was seriously injured. We will be sharing more information with the media as further details emerge.”

Law enforcement officials said there was a report of shots fired at 14th Street and Chouteau Avenue, which is about a mile away from Busch Stadium on the other side of Interstate 64, around the time the woman was injured.

While having him in their organization was guaranteed to generate waves of publicity of a type not seen in minor league baseball since Michael Jordan’s cameo decades ago, there was also the matter of that inevitable circus detracting from their player-development mission.

The Mets, of course, were the team that decided to take that Cheap Jerseys With Numbers chance, and general manager Sandy Alderson explained why to Sports Illustrated as part of a lengthy piece on Tebow’s transition to baseball.

Jake Arrieta, Cubs avoid arbitration with $15.6375 million deal, report says

The Cubs and ace Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration by agreeing at $15.6375 million, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman first reported.

This was Arrieta’s final year of arbitration eligibility, and he earned his hefty price tag by winning the 2015 National League Cy Young award and helping the Cubs win the World Series in 2016.

Arrieta went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA and 190 strikeouts last season. He went 22-6 with a sterling 1.77 ERA in 2015.

In his contract year, Arrieta will try to help get Chicago back to the World Series, and have his numbers edge closer to the ones he posted in 2015.

Generally, we just thought it was kinda cool. We didn’t have any hesitation to it, Murphy said. Most of us just thought, This is a fun idea.’

The documentary-style approach was a new experience, for sure, but it was one that most were willing to accept — even if they didn’t know where it was all headed.

We didn’t exactly know what they were doing, Niekro said. I don’t Cheap Houston Rockets Jerseys think anyone ever told us why they were doing it.

From team meetings, to calisthenics, to infield instruction, to life on the bus, the routines of March were well-documented.

The Braves left West Palm Beach with an exhibition record of 18-6 — a meaningless stat, perhaps, but a prophetic one in hindsight.

Game 3 of Penguins-Capitals showed the series is must-see TV

So, Game 3 between the Capitals and Penguins is something else. With Washington down 2-0 in their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series, you just knew the intensity was going to ramp up as we moved to Pittsburgh.

No one, however, expected what Game 3 has wrought.

We’ve got big hits, injuries to big players, goals disallowed, and so much more. There’s a reason people billed this series as must watch entertainment, so let’s count the ways Game 3 has been utter chaos.

Why? Why would a shoe for a player who has yet to be drafted come in at such a high price point?

For reference, LeBron James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and three-time NBA champion, has sneakers currently retailing for $175. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry’s shoes sell in stores for $99.99, and James Harden’s adidas shoes come in at $140. Even Kevin Durant’s KD9s retail Dallas Cowboys Cheap Jerseys between $120-150 depending on the colorway, and Paul George’s inaugural PG1 sneaker debuted at $109.99.

The hype around Ball is undeniable. The talented sharpshooter had a standout freshman season at UCLA, leading the Bruins to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA tournament. He will undoubtedly be drafted in the top three of the 2017 NBA draft.

Maybe Big Baller Brand doesn’t have a distribution model just yet. The ZO2: Prime shoes likely haven’t been manufactured in mass amounts. After all, the sneakers have a shipping date of Nov. 24, nearly a month after the NBA regular season traditionally begins.