Passan: When aces could move, and more big trade deadline storylines

One week before the trade deadline, teams around Major League Baseball are starting to get antsy. For 10 consecutive days in what is supposed to be the most intriguing, transaction-heavy time of the year, teams have not struck a single player-for-player deal. This July has put the dead in deadline.cheap youth nfl jerseys

MLB had hoped eliminating waiver trades in August would supercharge the weeks leading up to July 31. On the contrary, since Philadelphia acquired Jay Bruce in early June, only three teams have endeavored to enhance their playoff chances via trade: The New York Yankees dealt for DH Edwin Encarnacion in mid-June, the Boston Red Sox got starter Andrew Cashner on July 13 and the Oakland A’s picked up Homer Bailey on July 14.7

Since then, nothing. July has provided little, if any, clarity in standings rendered opaque with mediocrity. Of the 15 teams in the National League, 12 are on pace to win between 74 and 86 games. When one team struggles and starts to look like a seller (Pittsburgh), another goes on a run and plays itself out of that designation (San Francisco).cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

The lack of clear sellers has emboldened them to ask for strong returns. Buyers are waiting for prices to come down, fearful of overpaying. The ever-shifting market — players available one day may not be the next and vice versa — makes it especially difficult to read. Grinding it to a halt even more is that some of the best available players are not slated to hit free agency this winter. It’s quite the security blanket: Sellers can compare offers now to what they believe they can get this offseason and hold out for the right package.

“Would someone just please make a trade?” one manager said Tuesday, as if uttering the words would will it to be. His wish is likely to be answered sooner than later, though executives do believe the vast majority of deals will occur closer to July 30 and up through the 4 p.m. ET deadline on the 31st. Currently, they say, the stalemate that has manifested itself over the past month or so remains in place, with the exception of a few players. Generating the most buzz Tuesday night was …

Yankees’ Sanchez lands on IL with groin strain

The New York Yankees have placed All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain.

Sanchez suffered the injury and came out of the game after stepping awkwardly on first base while hustling out a ground ball during Tuesday night’s 14-12 victory over the Minnesota Twins. He underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning that revealed a Grade 1 strain, manager Aaron Boone said.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“On the scale of strains, I guess it’s minor — which is somewhat good news,” Boone said. “But still it’s going to be some time. We’ll just kind of see how the next few days, how the next week unfolds, and how he’s feeling, and when he gets to start back up baseball activities.

“But I don’t want to put a timeline or anything like that on it in these early days. We’ll see how he responds.”5

Sanchez was not in the Yankees’ clubhouse when it opened to reporters before Wednesday night’s game at Target Field, but he said just after Tuesday’s game that the injury felt different from the right groin strains he had last season that twice landed him on the injured list.

“It felt kind of like a cramp,” Sanchez said Tuesday through a translator. “It’s nothing like what I had last year. The pain is completely different. It just feels a little tight, and it’s not preventing me from walking or anything like that. So I’m positive about that.”

Sanchez, 26, is batting .229 with 24 home runs and 58 RBIs this season.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Catcher Kyle Higashioka and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. were recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Higashioka will replace Sanchez on the active roster, while Cortes takes over for right-hander Jonathan Holder, who was optioned to Scranton in a corresponding move.

Backup Austin Romine was scheduled to start for Sanchez on Wednesday, but Boone said Romine and Higashioka likely would split time behind the plate until Sanchez returns. It’s possible that Higashioka will get the start Friday in the Yankees’ series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boone added.

“You’ll see them both a lot,” Boone said. “You might see it alternate while we’re in Boston, but we’ll also see how it plays out and see how it unfolds.”

Undrafted Elijah Holyfield has a fighter’s chance to make Panthers

Carolina Panthers running back Elijah Holyfield was 14 when he stepped into the boxing ring against a highly ranked 16-year-old. It was a chance to make a name for himself in a world where his father achieved greatness, maybe even carve a path to his own career in the sport.

Evander Holyfield, a four-time heavyweight champion and the only boxer to hold undisputed titles in two weight classes, was confident that his son was up to the challenge.

“I remember saying, ‘He can handle that guy. Just don’t tell his momma, because I know she’s going to think about all the fight this guy has,'” the elder Holyfield recalled last week during quarterback Cam Newton’s celebrity kickball tournament, which was held while Elijah participated in a Panthers rookie minicamp.

“He was rugged and hit real hard.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale8

Elijah hit real hard, too. He was holding his own in the match, but unlike his father he had a habit of holding his head up and exposing his face to punches instead of his forehead. That led to a nosebleed and a disqualification.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Elijah never stepped back into the ring competitively.

“I was, ‘I don’t want to get hit that much,'” Elijah recalled. “So I just kept with football, and it’s worked out for me.”

Whether Elijah becomes the real deal in the NFL the way his father was in boxing remains to be seen. The Panthers signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia after a slow 40-yard-dash time of 4.78 seconds at the NFL combine hurt his draft stock.

His undrafted status means he has a lot to prove in the hotly contested battle to back up Christian McCaffrey, who last season fell just shy of becoming the third back in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

Among Holyfield’s competition is fifth-round pick Jordan Scarlett out of Florida and 2015 fifth-round pick Cameron Artis-Payne, along with Elijah Hood and Reggie Bonnafon.

Again, Evander believes his son is up to the challenge.

“It’s kind of disappointing he wasn’t drafted,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, it’s part of life. If you’re fast enough and score touchdowns, what difference does it make [what your 40 time was]? If it just had to do with how fast you are then they would have all the track stars go in the NFL.”

2019 fantasy football handcuffs: Austin Ekeler among top options

On one hand, you want to protect yourself from injuries by warehousing your star player’s backup.

On the other hand, the opportunity cost of expending that roster spot could cost you a valuable waiver pickup.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The fact is handcuffing is a valuable tool if used correctly.

Some backups are very good players, while others are not. In the event of an injury, some would be positioned for a clear path to a large share of touches, while others would see only a slight uptick in work. Most of your opponents will be thinking only about handcuffs at running back, so you can gain an advantage by considering those at other positions as well.6

When evaluating handcuffs, the best game plan is to select players with high ceilings should the player ahead of them on the depth chart miss time. For example, should Alvin Kamara get hurt, Latavius Murray would take on a workhorse role in New Orleans and would be in the RB1 discussion. If Saquon Barkley goes down, however, the likes of Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins and Rod Smith would figure to share touches and none would be a clear fantasy starter. If you selected Barkley and not Kamara, don’t cross Murray off your draft board and force a dart throw at Gallman. Pick the guy who can win you a league championship, not a player who would barely be worth flex consideration.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Below is a two-part examination of the 2019 handcuff landscape. Because handcuffing is most relevant to the running back position, the first part is a ranking 1-to-32 of the top RB handcuffs for each team, as well as some thoughts on how the backfield might look if the starter goes down. Part 2 runs through a few notable handcuffs at other positions.

For updated handcuff information and advice throughout the season, be sure to keep up with our fantasy depth charts.

Reds’ Brewster nightmare for defenders – Sancho

Jadon Sancho was not surprised to see Rhian Brewster strike a supremely confident penalty in Liverpool’s 3-2 friendly loss to Borussia Dortmund, and he predicted Brewster would put it in the top corner, while adding that his England teammate is a nightmare for defenders.

The pair, who won the Under-17 World Cup with England in 2017 and finished as runners-up in the European Championships that year, featured in different halves at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, on Friday.

Sancho started the first 45 minutes for Dortmund and was on the bench to watch Brewster score his fourth preseason goal for Liverpool, from the spot after Ben Woodburn was impeded by Mateu Morey on 74 minutes.

“I knew it was going in as soon as he put the ball in his hands,” the BVB forward, described by Jurgen Klopp as “one of the biggest talents in world football,” said.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Why? England! I’ve seen him do it all the time, top corner. I just knew what was coming.7

“He spends time after training, practising and practising his technique. I always used to see him out on the pitches. Penalties, free kicks, he took them all. Playing for Dortmund, I couldn’t say what was going to happen, but I knew.”

“He is a great player. I played with him a lot for England and he scored a lot of goals for us and I have assisted him! It’s a good thing for us to have someone like him.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I feel like he is at the right club, he is developing and he is still so young. Just give him the time and patience and you will see.”

Sancho is confident that 19-year-old Brewster will command the attention of a bigger audience by the end of 2019-20 as he provides cover for Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino along with Divock Origi.

“I definitely think so,” he said.

“He is so focused and will keep working hard. I feel like he can do it. I have played with him.

“I know how good he is. He causes defenders nightmares.”

Sources: De Gea saga to end with six-year deal

David De Gea’s new Manchester United contract is set to keep him at Old Trafford for the next six years, sources have told ESPN FC.

The Spaniard is expected to pen his new deal, worth more than £110 million, before the start of the season to bring an end to 18 months of talks.

Sources told ESPN FC the goalkeeper, rated as one of the best in the world, has been given assurances that United remain committed to challenging for the Premier League and Champions League after a sixth-place finish last season saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side forced to settle for a place in the Europe League.

His new contract will keep him at the club until he is 34 and he will be eligible for a testimonial in two years after moving to Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid in 2011.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale6

Sources also told ESPN FC one of the reasons behind his decision to stay at United, shunning interest from Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, was the support he received from Solskjaer during a disastrous end to the season.

A series of high profile mistakes, including a terrible gaffe in the 3-0 defeat to Barcelona at Camp Nou in April, hit his confidence, but despite calls for the 28-year-old to be dropped he kept his place — a gesture appreciated by De Gea.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Confidence over De Gea’s new deal should mean that Dean Henderson is allowed to return to Sheffield United on loan.

The England Under-21 goalkeeper, who has attracted interest from Bayern Munich, spent last season at Bramall Lane and manager Chris Wilder is keen to have him for their first season back in the Premier League following promotion in May.

Henderson is in negotiations over a new contract and sources have told ESPN FC that after fresh talks in London last week there is confidence on both sides the 22-year-old will sign a new deal before heading back to Sheffield United.

Darvish wins at Wrigley for first time with Cubs

It took 14 home starts spread across two seasons and 17 calendar months, but Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish finally earned his first win at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

“It’s amazing,” Darvish said after leading the Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. “First win at Wrigley. I was always looking for that first win.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

It marked an important step for Darvish since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February 2018.

He spent most of last year on the injured list, then started this season slowly. But after asking for the ball in the Cubs’ first game coming out of the All-Star break, Darvish has put together two gems. On Friday, he threw six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Wednesday, he went six shutout innings again, this time giving up just two hits while striking out seven.5

“It’s not a fun at-bat,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said of the few hitters who have reached first base. “Everyone says it … He just trusts his arm. He’s pitching with conviction. He’s getting stronger and stronger, more and more comfortable.”

Darvish indicated that until recently, despite being healthy, he was favoring his arm angle on his fastball simply because of the pain he used to feel in his elbow. Now he’s just letting it fly, using the proper mechanics and delivery.

The results are showing.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

He threw a first-pitch strike to 82% of the hitters he faced Wednesday, the second-highest rate of any start in his career. Reds hitters were 1-for-14 with five strikeouts after falling behind 0-1 in the count.

“He still takes some time in between pitches, but how he’s spending that time seems to be better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t think he’s wondering what to do next. I think he’s calculating what to do next. And when he gets back on the rubber, ‘here we go.'”

There might have been no better example of that “here-we-go” attitude than when Yasiel Puig stepped into the batter’s box as the tying run, with one man on and two outs in the top of the sixth inning Wednesday. After pitching coach Tommy Hottovoy visited the mound — building drama to the at-bat — Darvish came out firing. He threw five pitches to Puig, and three reached 98 mph, including what turned out to be his final pitch of the game — one that blew Puig away.

Chants of “Yu!” followed as he walked off the mound, showing plenty of emotion after the strikeout.

“The people yelling for him as he comes off the field was awesome,” Maddon said. “I know he feels that in a positive way. And he deserved it.”

Added Darvish: “I’m almost 120% right now. I don’t need anything right now. It’s perfect, everything.”

That’s music to the ears of Cubs fans who have been waiting for this version of Darvish since they said hello to him and goodbye to World Series hero Jake Arrieta two years ago. It has taken a while, but the electric stuff often advertised but sometimes not delivered with Darvish is everything and then some right now.

Catch-22: Reds scramble to fill spot after injuries

The Reds are down to their fourth and fifth catchers after placing two more on the injured list Thursday.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Curt Casali went on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain that manager David Bell said could keep him out for as long as a month. Casali is expected to spend two weeks wearing a brace.6

Kyle Farmer was placed on the seven-day concussion list after taking two foul balls off his mask in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Cubs in Chicago.

Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart has been out since June 28 with a right oblique strain.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Juan Graterol was promoted from Triple-A Louisville and rushed to Chicago to start Wednesday’s day game. The Reds shored up the position on Thursday by signing Ryan Lavarnway, one day after he was released by Yankees.

Pistons claim F-C Christian Wood off waivers

The Detroit Pistons have claimed Christian Wood off waivers.

The Pistons announced the move Wednesday. The 6-foot-10 Wood appeared in 21 games last season for Milwaukee and New Orleans, averaging 8.2 points. He’s averaged 5.3 points in 51 career NBA games for Philadelphia, Charlotte, Milwaukee and New Orleans.3

Wood, who can play forward or center, averaged nearly 17 points and eight rebounds during the eight games he played for New Orleans at the end of last season, but he was still waived by the Pelicans.

Josh Jackson in diversion program for arrest

Memphis Grizzlies forward Josh Jackson was entered into a diversion program to settle a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest stemming from his arrest at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami in May, according to online court records.

Jackson was entered into the program on July 2, according to the records. He also was charged with a felony charge of escape when he was arrested on May 10, but that charge was dismissed last month, according to the records.

It is not clear from the records what the details of the diversion program include. If he successfully completes the diversion program, the charge will be dismissed.7

TMZ first reported the news that Jackson was entered into the diversion program.

Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Grizzlies earlier this month.

He was arrested at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami Gardens, Florida, after he attempted to enter the VIP area too many times without a proper pass. He was handcuffed by police and then ran away from the officers before being detained, according to the police report.

Jackson, 22, averaged 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 79 games (29 starts) last season, his second in the NBA.

Before entering the NBA, Jackson agreed to enter a diversion program in 2017 to settle a misdemeanor count of criminal property damage stemming from a confrontation with a University of Kansas women’s basketball player in 2016.