GM Brodie Van Wagenen among those leaving New York Mets after sale to Steve Cohen

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen and much of his front office are leaving the New York Mets, the team announced Friday.

The moves were announced less than an hour after hedge fund manager Steve Cohen completed his $2.4 billion purchase of the team.

Special assistant to the general manager Omar Minaya, assistant general managers Allard Baird and Adam Guttridge and executive director of player development Jared Banner also are leaving. The status of senior vice president and senior strategy officer John Ricco was not mentioned.

Cohen ended the Wilpon family’s control of the franchise after 34 mostly frustrating years and took the title of chief executive officer. He hired former Mets general manager Sandy Alderson as team president in his first move and ended Jeff Wilpon’s tenure as chief operating officer.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Alderson, not Cohen, announced the baseball staff departures and said he had started the process of building a leadership staff.

“I want to thank Brodie, Allard, Adam and Jared for their contributions over the last two years,” he said in a statement. “I especially want to thank Omar for his long and distinguished service to the Mets in many important capacities.”8

Van Wagenen was a player agent and co-head of CAA Baseball before Wilpon hired him to replace Alderson after the 2018 season. The Mets went 86-76, finishing third in the NL East, and Van Wagenen fired manager Mickey Callaway and replaced him with Carlos Beltran.

But when Beltran was implicated in January by commissioner Rob Manfred in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal during Beltran’s final season as a player in 2017, he lost his job within days without managing a game and was replaced by quality control coach Luis Rojas.

New York went 26-34 and missed the expanded playoffs in the shortened 2020 season.

Many of Van Wagenen’s moves failed to work out, including acquiring second baseman Robinson Cano and signing free agents Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie. All three were among his former clients.nfl cheap nike jerseys

Van Wagenen congratulated Fred Wilpon for “an intelligence and love that made all of us feel that we were a part of his family” and Jeff Wilpon for an “incredible opportunity and the unwavering support” and for “unrivaled work ethic and sacrifice” to create Citi Field, which opened in 2009.

“We took a team that had suffered losing seasons in 2017 and 2018 to contention in 2019 and onto a chance for real success in 2020 prior to the pandemic,” Van Wagenen said in a statement that thanked staff, players and fans. “While we didn’t reach our goal in 2020, the work that you put in to keep everyone safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 threat played a significant role in the return of and the successful completion of the Major League Baseball season.”

Friday’s moves make Rojas’ future uncertain. Fired Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who completed a season-long suspension last week, could be a candidate for the analytics-oriented Cohen.

Atlanta Braves decline $3.5M option for reliever Darren O’Day

Right-hander Darren O’Day’s $3.5 million club option for 2021 has been declined by the Atlanta Braves, making him eligible for free agency.

O’Day receives a $250,000 buyout, completing a deal originally set to guarantee $2.5 million. He had a $2.25 million salary this year, which wound up being worth $833,333 in prorated pay for the shortened season.cheap nike jerseys nfl7

O’Day was 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 19 relief appearances this season, striking out 22 and walking five in 16 1/3 innings. He made five postseason appearances, allowing two runs and four hits in 2 1/3 innings.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

O’Day gave up singles to Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series, and both runners scored when Corey Seager homered off A.J. Minter in the Braves’ 8-7 win.

Colts’ No. 2-ranked defense respects Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, can’t ‘fear him’

The Indianapolis Colts made the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins look like an overpriced free-agent quarterback. They helped make Sam Darnold’s future with the New York Jets even cloudier. They stifled Nick Foles in his first start with the Chicago Bears, holding the Bears to 11 points.

Those accomplishments have the Colts sitting at No. 2 in the NFL in total defense.

But now they’re about to face a different kind of challenge on Sunday: the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Jackson, who former Colts general manager Bill Polian believed should have switched positions to receiver when he came out of Louisville in 2018, presents multiple obstacles to defenses attempting to slow him down because he’s a threat to run the ball out of Baltimore’s option-type offense. The Ravens use a lot of motion and deception, and they attempt to disguise things offensively with Jackson leading the way.

Veteran pass-rusher Justin Houston didn’t hesitate in calling Jackson the fastest quarterback he has faced in his 10-year NFL career.8

“I played against him, so hands down and by far the quickest, fastest quarterback,” Houston said. “That’s no knock to any other quarterback. There are a lot of quarterbacks with speed, but no other quarterback moves the way he moves in that pocket. When he gets out of the pocket, he is so dangerous.”

Jackson obviously leads the Ravens in passing, but he also leads them in rushing with 411 yards this season. The difference in Jackson this year compared to his NFL MVP season in 2019 is that he hasn’t been as accurate. A season after completing 66.1% of his pass attempts and throwing only six interceptions, the third-year player has completed just 60.5% of his attempts, which ranks 29th in the league, and he has already thrown four interceptions in seven games.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“I think what we bring to the table is an 11-on-1 mentality,” coach Frank Reich said. “I think what we bring to the table is — I know every defense in this league runs to the ball, I’m obviously very biased — I think our defense has a commitment of all 11 guys running to the ball. I think the speed and talent level of our defense as a unit is at a spot that can match up against players like this.”

The weight of the Ravens is on Jackson’s shoulders even more now because they’re dealing with injuries and COVID-19 issues on the roster. Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley is out for the season with an ankle injury. All-Pro Marlon Humphrey will miss Sunday’s game after testing positive for the coronavirus.

But that doesn’t mean Jackson won’t be effective. The Colts know they can’t be timid against Jackson.

“Biggest thing is don’t play scared,” Houston said. “Respect him, but don’t fear him. Don’t let that slow you down in your rush.”

Those are the two words that will be talked about nonstop this week when it comes to defending Jackson. The defense, as Houston said, has to play fast in pursuing Jackson. At the same time, they can’t be wild while playing fast. That’s where the discipline comes into play.

“The way we talk about it is two sides of the same coin,” Reich said. “Lamar is a great player. He’s going to make his plays, but our goal is to minimize those the best we can. One we way can do that is with speed and discipline. Has to be the combination of both. Like a two-sided coin. One is not more important than the other. They’re equally important. You need both of them to give yourselves a chance to try to stop a guy like Lamar.”

Will Chargers receiver Mike Williams put it all together after up-and-down start?

Mike Williams is everything you’d want in a wide receiver. Big — 6-foot-4, 220 pounds — fast (4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and able to land in the most awkward positions imaginable. And get up standing. Unhurt. Well, maybe with a few aches and pains.

“I don’t even think about it,” said of his often-acrobatic landings. “My mind is ‘catch the ball.’ When you land it can be pretty violent.

“But I don’t think about it. However I land, I land. I’m just trying to make a football play.”

He’s made plenty of football plays for the Los Angeles Chargers thus far this season, developing an early connection with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. He is averaging 17.3 yards per reception, hauling in 18 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, despite dealing with nagging injuries.

Williams has always stronger and bigger than just about everyone dating back to his childhood growing up in Tampa, Florida, playing both football and basketball for Plant High School. He signed to play football at Clemson but the hops from hoops always stayed with him.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap7

“Me and the homies playing in the backyard,” he explained. “Throw the ball up … we all made catches like that. It’s nothing to the people back home.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Herbert took notice once he got settled into the starting role and coaches pulled out the playbook. He discovered that Williams is a matchup nightmare for nearly any cornerback or safety.

And that’s why Herbert said he knows now that anytime he sees Williams, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 draft, on the sideline covered by a single player, he’s going to Williams because he knows the receiver will make a play on the ball.

“It’s on tape,” Williams said. “I’ve shown I can do it. He [Herbert] has seen it. Coaches have seen me multiple times doing it.”

And so he does and, at times, is very successful. After a shoulder injury before the season began (from diving in practice, something Chargers coach Anthony Lynn obviously frowns upon) he has, also at times, been show-stopping. But is this the year that he finally breaks through?

In 2019, he had 49 receptions for 1,001 yards and a 20.4-yards-per-catch average (which led all receivers) and two touchdowns. He caught 10 touchdown passes in 2018, a season in which he had 43 receptions for 664 yards. He leads the league in receptions of more than 35 yards dating to the start the 2019 season.

When Keenan Allen left the Week 5 game against the New Orleans Saints with back spasms, coaches told Williams to “go out and play.”

He did that, and then some. He caught a dazzling 64-yard touchdown pass with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter to give the Chargers a 27-20 lead, one of his five receptions for 109 yards against the Saints while battling a hamstring injury.

He also put the Chargers in position to win by making a leaping, 29-yard catch in double coverage with 15 seconds left to play and the game tied at 27-27, setting up Michael Badgley for a game-winning field-goal attempt. Badgley missed the 50-yard try, but Williams put him in position to be the hero.

Colorado knocks Seattle out of first in West

Keegan Rosenberry scored the go-ahead goal late in the first half as the Colorado Rapids defeated the visiting Seattle Sounders FC 3-1 Sunday night.

Andre Shinyashiki and Cole Bassett also scored for the Rapids (6-6-4, 1.38 points per game), who moved into seventh place in the Western Conference based on points per game.

Jordan Morris scored the lone goal for the Sounders (10-5-5, 1.75 ppg), who dropped out of first place in the West behind idle Sporting Kansas City.

MLS announced last week that qualification for the playoffs would be determined by points per match, as Colorado had five games postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shinyashiki opened the scoring in the 11th minute, taking a cross from Sam Vines and putting a header from 10 yards out just inside the right post. Nicolas Benezet also was credited with an assist.

Morris tied it in the 22nd minute, redirecting a cross from Cristian Roldan into the net from close range.nike cheap nfl jerseys8

Rosenberry made it 2-1 in the 42nd minute. A Colorado corner kick was headed away by Sounders defender Yeimar Gomez Andrade, but the ball fell to Rosenberry, who was about 23 yards out in the middle of the field. His low volley made it through a maze of players and just inside the left post.

The defending MLS Cup champion Sounders nearly tied it in first-half stoppage time, but Colorado goalkeeper William Yarbrough made a left-footed kick save at the near post on a 5-yard shot by Raul Ruidiaz.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Bassett extended the Rapids’ lead to 3-1 in the 75th minute, scoring on a header from 7 yards out off a free kick from Jack Price.

Yarbrough made two saves for Colorado, and Sounders goalie Stefan Frei stopped seven shots. Colorado outshot Seattle 16-9, including 10-3 in attempts on target.

CONCACAF Champions League set to play out in U.S. in December bubble

The conclusion of the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League will be played out in a centralized location in the United States between Dec. 15-22, after the competition was suspended midway through the quarterfinal stage in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The games will be played behind closed doors and will be one-leg knockouts rather than the usual two legs, CONCACAF said on Monday.

However, the quarterfinal first legs that had already been played will count and those second legs will be played as part of the December tournament.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“The football community across the region, and the fans of the remaining eight teams in particular, can look forward to an exciting centralized finale of the competition in December and the crowning of a regional club champion,” CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani said in a statement.7

There will be high-frequency COVID-19 testing in the bubble-like environment for the tournament, with no fans allowed into the games.

The second legs of the quarterfinals already started — Olimpia vs. Montreal Impact, Atlanta United vs. Club America, Tigres vs. NYCFC — will take place over Dec. 15 and 16, although the times and locations are yet to be announced. Honduran side Olimpia take a 2-1 lead from the first leg against Thierry Henry’s Montreal, while Tigres are 1-0 up versus NYCFC and America thrashed Atlanta 3-0 in its first game.nike cheap nfl jerseys

The LAFC against Cruz Azul game will be a one-game shoot-out, as will the semifinals and final. The winner of America against Atlanta will face LAFC or Cruz Azul in the semifinal with Tigres/NYCFC to play Olimpia or Montreal. Both games will be on Dec. 19.

There will be no extra-time at the quarterfinal or semifinal stage, with games instead going straight to penalties, although there will be extra-time for the Dec. 22 final, should the teams be level after 90 minutes.

Monterrey is the current CONCACAF Champions League holder, with Mexican teams having won the last 14 editions of the region’s club tournament.

Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila says AJ Hinch, Alex Cora being considered for manager job

Tigers general manager Al Avila said Friday that Detroit is not ruling out the possibility of hiring AJ Hinch or Alex Cora for its manager vacancy.

Hinch and Cora were suspended through the 2020 postseason for their roles in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. The Astros fired Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow on Jan. 13 and Cora lost his job managing the Boston Red Sox the following day. Cora spent the 2017 season as bench coach on Hinch’s staff with Houston.

The Tigers are in the market for a replacement for manager Ron Gardenhire, who retired on Sept. 19 with a little more than a week left in the season. Avila was asked about Hinch and Cora, and while Detroit’s search appears to be in a very early stage, the GM at least seemed open to the possibility of hiring one of the suspended managers.cheap nike nfl jersey

“Really, I can’t say that I’ve eliminated anybody,” Avila said. “The cheating scandal is not a good thing, obviously. They’re serving their suspensions, and once their suspensions are over, then they’ll be free to pursue their careers. So we have not eliminated anybody from our list at this point.”8

Avila said interviews will be conducted by video, but he could meet face to face once the list of candidates is down to a small number.

“We could finish this sometime in October. It might go into November,” he said. “Really, we’re not in a rush. We’re kind of taking our time with it.”

The Tigers went 23-35 in the shortened season, finishing in the AL Central cellar for the third time in four years. They did bring up two of their most highly touted pitching prospects in Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, so that duo got some experience in the big leagues.

Avila said it is important that the next manager be able to help with talent evaluation, since there are important decisions to make throughout the roster. He sounds open to a variety of experience levels for managerial candidates.

“I guess one thing you could eliminate is a guy that maybe played and has absolutely no coaching experience, no managerial experience, and goes from being a player directly to a major league manager,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t go that way, but everything else I would say is in play.”nfl cheap jerseys nike

Avila also said the Tigers are making changes in the pro scouting department and that a few people there are not having their contracts renewed.

Jon Lester hopes to remain with Chicago Cubs after team declines $25 million option

The Chicago Cubs declined the $25 million team option on pitcher Jon Lester on Friday, but did pick up the $16.5 million option on first baseman Anthony Rizzo before Sunday’s deadline.

Lester, 36, was at the end of a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs and still could return on a lesser deal. He’s owed a $10 million buyout.

“I know there is some doubt as far as the money that’s out there but I would like to think we can definitely get this thing done,” Lester said on ESPN 1000 on Friday. “I think it’s going to be a long offseason for everybody.”

Lester is a three-time World Series winner and was considered a culture-changing addition to the Cubs when he signed with them before the 2015 season. He struggled in the middle of the 2020 campaign but pitched well down the stretch after fixing his mechanics. He has won 193 career games and has previously stated he would like to win No. 200 as a Cub. Lester was 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA in 2020.cheap nike nfl jersey7

Rizzo, 31, joins players around the league to have his team option picked up for 2021. The Cubs did the same with him before last season, picking up an option for the same price, $16.5 million. He has been a stalwart at first base and a leader in the clubhouse during the Cubs’ competitive years over the past half-decade.

Rizzo struggled some during the shortened 2020 season, hitting .222 with 11 home runs, but over the course of his career he has been a great value for the team after signing a seven-year, $41 million extension in 2013.nfl cheap jerseys nike

The Cubs also declined a $3.5 million option on infielder Daniel Descalso. He’ll be owed $1 million.

Lester was asked when he was hoping to know if he’ll be back with the Cubs on a smaller deal.

“Things don’t happen until after Thanksgiving for a lot of guys,” he said. “Hopefully sooner rather than later.”

Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles have ‘trust and faith’ in Carson Wentz amid struggles

Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that he did not consider replacing Carson Wentz with Jalen Hurts during Sunday’s night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, adding that Hurts and Nate Sudfeld need to be ready in case that situation comes up down the road.

Wentz turned the ball over four times and ended 15-of-27 for 123 yards with a pair of touchdowns in a 23-9 win over the Cowboys.

“Carson is our starter, and we’ve got a lot of trust and faith in him that he can get the job done. By no means was I in a position to make a decision or make a move [Sunday],” Pederson said. “It’s just something that we’ve got to continue to coach, we’ve got to continue to get better. He understands he has to get better in that area. We also understand that our backup quarterbacks here, Jalen and Nate, have got to be prepared, whether it’s a situation like that or an injury situation where they have to go in and play. My mind wasn’t there. I wasn’t going there. I was going to give Carson every opportunity to win that game for us. He’s capable of doing that, and I wasn’t in that frame of mind.”nike cheap nfl jerseys

Wentz is on pace for the worst statistical season of his career. He leads the league in turnovers (16), interceptions (12) and sacks (32), is 31st in completion percentage (58.4) and 29th in yards per attempt (6.1). His play had picked up over the past few games as he led multiple comeback efforts before tailing off against Dallas, which entered the game as the most giving defense in the NFL.8

Hurts, the team’s second-round pick this past April, has been sprinkled into the offense over the first half of the season, lining up all over the formation including at quarterback, where he’s completed two passes on as many attempts for 27 yards. Hurts has played 23 snaps total. The offense has generated 215 yards (9.3 average) and two touchdowns on those plays.

“Jalen’s doing a nice job. He’s prepared during the week, and he understands the game plan,” Pederson said.

“I think that you can’t do go in and say, ‘hey, learn the offense like Carson knows it right now,’ but I think you can do some things with him that allow him to be successful if we had to. But he’s in a good position. He studies hard during the week with Nate, and he’s prepared if called upon.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Pederson referenced his experience during the 2015 season, when he was offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, in explaining why he is sticking with Wentz. The Chiefs started 1-5 but the coaching staff kept Alex Smith at quarterback, and Kansas City rattled off 11 straight wins from there.

“Not saying that we are going to win 11 straight here, but what I’m saying is, we are going to work through our issues. We are going to work through our problems,” Pederson said. “Carson understands that we’ve got to hold everybody accountable, and it starts with me, and I’m going to look at myself in the mirror. I’m going to look at some of the decisions and calls I’ve made in the first eight games, and that’s part of what this [bye] week is about, and it’s about getting better. The only way we get better, especially with some young players on offense that are playing, who are getting valuable reps, is to continue to work, and they have to work with Carson. That’s what we are going to do, and that’s our focus moving forward.”

New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley begins journey to become next Adrian Peterson

The surgery on New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s right knee came on Friday, 40 days after it gave out while he was trying to break a tackle in a game against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 20. It was considered a success with the ACL being reconstructed and meniscus repaired.

It was the first step in a comeback Barkley hopes will get him back into the conversation surrounding the best running backs in football. And a comeback that perhaps can make him the next Adrian Peterson, in more ways than one.

A year ago, Barkley was mentioned alongside Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey as one of the NFL‘s top running backs. Then a high ankle sprain hampered Barkley’s 2019 season before the knee injury took him out in Week 2 this season. Barkley totaled 1,037 rushing yards in 15 games over the past two seasons, and will spend Monday night recovering in Los Angeles while watching the Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Barkley was said to be in “good spirits” in the weeks leading up to the surgery, according to a source. He was seen in a maskless viral video with quarterback Daniel Jones and other teammates during a night out last week that earned the group some ridicule. At one point, the video showed Barkley riding a bicycle and doing what appeared to be wheelies on the street.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Barkley had been waiting for the swelling in his injured knee to go down, which is often the case when there is MCL damage. Then, the procedure was delayed until the World Series ended and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams, was available to perform the surgery.7

Even though Barkley is on injured reserve and his season is over, Giants coach Joe Judge has kept him around the team, in meeting rooms, and had him travel to Los Angeles and Philadelphia for road games.

“We count on those guys for leadership and being involved, and that was it right there,” Judge said recently of Barkley and then-injured safety Jabrill Peppers, both team captains.

Now, Barkley is ready to get to work on rehab. It will take time and effort. Sweat and pain. Nobody wants to put an exact time frame on it, but the recovery process from a torn ACL with accompanying MCL and meniscus damage is generally nine to 12 months.

He will have about 10½ months to get himself right for Week 1 of next season, so he shouldn’t rush his recovery. Knowing his tight relationship with Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who also recently tore an ACL, expect the two to intertwine their rehab this offseason while they experience a similar process.

Barkley, 23, has something to prove, as he will be entering the fourth year of his rookie deal. A lucrative new contract almost certainly awaits, but first he needs to prove he’s healthy, and as good as — or better than — his former self.

It’s possible, although there could be obstacles. Meniscus injuries complicate the rehab because repair or removal takes away some of the protective power for the knee. While ACL injuries aren’t the career-enders they were decades ago, a player’s effectiveness after returning can vary.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

The good news for the Giants: Barkley isn’t just another running back. He is the generational talent with quads as wide as bookshelves who Giants general manager Dave Gettleman once said was “touched by the hand of God.”

“He is [an] Adrian Peterson-like [marvel],” one NFL general manager said of what he expects from Barkley’s comeback.