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.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is taking the NBA to new heights

Giannis Antetokounmpo brought the NBA Jam video game to life in the 2016-17 season and leaped and dunked his way into the everyday talks of the league’s biggest and brightest in ways nobody saw coming.

Nothing about him makes sense, and flashes of his athleticism evoked external screams even when the play didn’t end in a score. The second he put his head down toward the rim, it was time to run to Twitter for the highlights. Even in blowouts, he made it tough to turn the television off.

He’s one of the league’s best scorers. But he’s also Detroit Lions Cheap Jerseys human. He’s a father, a son, a husband, and a brother. During this unfortunate stretch in his life, Thomas has somehow managed to balance it all.

At a time when many would have crumbled, Thomas has excelled. Boston’s rattled off five straight victories and has started its second-round series with a convincing win over a tough Wizards opponent.

The 5’9 guard destroyed the Washington Wizards on Sunday, scoring 33 points on 11-of-23 shooting to lead Boston to a 123-111 Game 1 win of its second-round playoff series. He shot 5-of-11 from downtown, snapping an abysmal first-round stretch of 3-of-26 three-point shooting.

Thomas did it under surreal circumstances, having lost his younger sister in a car accident just a day before the playoffs began and attending her funeral the day before the second round. The All-Star guard even lost his front tooth for good measure.

“Basketball, when I’m on the court it just keeps me going,” Thomas said in his postgame interview with Doris Burke. “I do everything for my sister now, and that’s all I can do.”

Hansen ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds at the NFL combine

The referees handed out technicals to Beal and Jason Smith on Washington, as well as Bazemore and Taurean Prince for Atlanta. (Smith and Prince exchanged some shoves after this gif ends, which is why they were lumped into the punishment.)

But the bigger issue is how strict the NBA will be with their longstanding rule that players who step onto the floor during a scuffle will automatically receive a one-game suspension. Infamously, Amar’e Stoudemire was suspended from Game 5 of the 2007 Western Conference semifinals after he did it. You can clearly see from the screenshot that Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris have moved from the bench to the court.

A feature of the modern spread is receivers running option routes that require them to read defenders and find grass.

“Honestly, I think that’s bigger than running the full route tree in college,” he says. “As a receiver, you pride yourself on being able to run routes, and I think that running routes isn’t all that hard. But something that is a little bit tougher for maybe some people is reacting and reading a defense on the fly, and I think that’s something that has really helped me in being in this offense.”

Hansen ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds at the NFL combine. He did 11 reps on the bench press, and jumped 35 inches vertically and 119 on the broad. His best combine Patriots Cheap Jerseys drill might’ve been the 20-yard shuttle, an agility test, which he completed in 4.13 seconds. That was ninth-best New York Giants Cheap Jerseys among receivers in Indianapolis.