Mets acquire OF Jake Marisnick in trade with Astros

The Houston Astros have traded outfielder Jake Marisnick to the New York Mets in exchange for two prospects, it was announced Thursday.

Marisnick, 28, a smooth-fielding center fielder, wasn’t an everyday player for the Astros because of his inconsistency at the plate. He batted .233 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs for the Astros last season in 73 starts.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“Jake is an elite defender who is an incredibly smart baserunner,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “Among our offseason plans was to improve defensively and he is one of the best in the game.”

Marisnick, who has one year left on a contract that will pay him $3 million in 2020, is a career .227 hitter, with 54 home runs and 178 RBIs in seven seasons with the Marlins and Astros.8

Juan Lagares, who was the backup center fielder for the Mets last season, is a free agent.

Marisnick was suspended for two games last season after his violent home plate collision with Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who suffered a concussion and a broken nose. Marisnick apologized after the incident.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

In return, the Astros get lefty relief pitcher Blake Taylor and outfielder Kenedy Corona from the Mets.

Taylor, 24, was 2-3 with 10 saves, a 2.16 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings over 40 appearances as he rose through the Mets’ system at Class-A Port St. Lucie, Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse.

The 19-year-old Corona hit .301 with 23 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in his first professional season that spanned the Dominican Summer League, the Gulf Coast League and Class-A Brooklyn.

Theo Epstein confident in imminent Kris Bryant grievance ruling

Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein is confident in the pending outcome of star third baseman Kris Bryant’s service time grievance and doesn’t believe it’s impacting any trade discussions for the team.

“We’re fairly confident in what the outcome is going to be, but the timing is a bit frustrating,” Epstein said from the winter meetings on Monday. “It would be nice to know. We’re at the winter meetings, and there hasn’t been a ruling. I understand these things take time. It’s not going to be more than a couple weeks away, but it would be nice to have that final confirmation.”new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Bryant, whose name has surfaced in trade rumors this offseason, contends he should have started the 2015 season with the big league club, allowing him to become a free agent after the 2020 season. Instead, the team sent him to the minors out of spring training, then brought him up 10 days later due to an injury, allowing them to keep him an extra year and making him a free agent after the 2021 season. The union filed a grievance on Bryant’s behalf with the sides finally presenting their case this offseason.7

If the arbiter rules in his favor, Bryant would be granted free agency after next year — immensely affecting his trade value.

“We’re operating with what our understanding of what the likely outcome will be and moving forward that way,” Epstein said. “I don’t think we look for the whole service time structure to be upended in any one ruling.”nfl cheap nike jerseys

The Cubs have vowed to make changes to their team, which features four key players up for free agency at the same time, after the 2021 season. Epstein said he won’t force anything but admitted some turnover might be in order after missing the playoffs in 2019 and losing out on the division the year before.

“We can benefit from some change in certain areas,” Epstein said. “There are a lot of promising leads [potential trades] out there.”

A decision on the grievance isn’t expected until the New Year, a source told ESPN.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks rout Clippers for 14th straight win

Doc Rivers emerged from the locker room Friday night and tried to come up with a clever reason for the LA Clippers’ worst loss of the season.

“It was Giannis’ birthday, and we searched all over the city to find a gift, couldn’t find one, so we gave him this one,” Rivers said.

On Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 25th birthday, the Milwaukee Bucks celebrated by stomping the Clippers 119-91 to win their 14th straight game, the franchise’s longest winning streak since 1973.

The Bucks have won by a total of 137 points over their past four games, which is the second-best point differential over a four-game span in a season in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Bucks (20-3) beat the Clippers 129-124 in Los Angeles earlier this season, but neither Kawhi Leonard or Paul George played in that game. On Friday night, it didn’t matter as Leonard, George and Lou Williams combined to shoot 15-for-39 while each turned the ball over five times.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

The Clippers came into this game having scored 130 or more points five times, reaching 150 twice. But Rivers wanted everyone to know the Clippers’ offense isn’t nearly as good as the statistics indicate as he tries to integrate Leonard and George amid disruptions due to injuries and little to no practice time.8

“We have not maximized them offensively yet,” Rivers said of Leonard and George. “We keep looking at our offensive numbers, and I’ve been saying it: It’s fool’s gold. We’re not ready offensively yet. And our numbers say different. But this is where analytically, I’m right. I can see it.”

With just under 10 minutes left in the fourth, Rivers began clearing his bench with the team falling behind 101-67. The Clippers felt the Bucks wanted this game more, and it showed.

“Sometimes you just get your ass kicked,” said Williams, who called the loss humbling. “It won’t be the last time we get our asses kicked this season.”new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Williams added, “Sometimes teams play better than you, they want a game more than you. I think tonight they showed that we just showed up to play and they showed up to kick our ass, and they did that.”

Before Friday night’s blowout loss, in which the Clippers trailed by as many as 41, their largest deficit was 23 against the Jazz on Oct. 30. They also had their worst night of the season on uncontested shots, with 38 percent from the field and 21 percent from 3.

“Obviously, one of our best efforts on both sides of the ball,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “To do what we did defensively, offensively and just getting closer to 48 minutes of what we want to be.

“I think to come out and throw a great punch in the first quarter, kind of take one in the second quarter, then respond in the third was really impressive. I think lots of guys played well.”

Leonard led the Clippers with 17 points and five turnovers on 5-for-14 shooting in his first matchup against Antetokounmpo since last season’s Eastern Conference finals, when Leonard was a member of the defending champion Toronto Raptors.

While Antetokounmpo celebrated his birthday in style, the reigning MVP remained focus, even turning down his mother’s homemade birthday cake before the tip-off.

Meanwhile, Leonard left Milwaukee with the Clippers’ worst loss of the season as he says the Clippers are still learning their playbook.

“We’re just a work in progress,” Leonard said. “This team is just really kind of put together this year. We’ve got to figure it out. Some of us don’t know the plays coming down, and it’s hard to get in our sets. We’ve just got to keep striving.”

Giannis and the Bucks clearly had something waiting for Kawhi

On any given night, Giannis Antetokounmpo succeeds at suspending fans’ disbelief and completing the unthinkable.

Antetokounmpo has levitated on blocks. He has spiked balls into the Fiserv Forum stands with superman strength.

On Friday night, Antetokounmpo came as close to flying as most can get — soaring over LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac and clobbering him with a gasp-worthy dunk to highlight a 119-91 Bucks win to improve to 20-3, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for best in the NBA.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

These are the games in which the “Greek Freak” revels.

“Now he is eating players,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, cracking a smile. “Great players do that. They understand when someone gets the best of them or a team gets the best of them, they don’t cry about it. They look at it and say, I’ve got to get better.”

On the court, Antetokounmpo believes in serving piping hot platters of revenge. He was determined to seek retribution over Kawhi Leonard — the player most responsible for sending Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks home in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals as a member of the Toronto Raptors.7

Antetokounmpo already used his animus to overpower the Raptors on Nov. 2, scoring a then-season best 36 points. After that game, he said he had “a lot of motivation” to beat the defending champions, but they were “obviously a different team.” Toronto was missing the man Antetokounmpo craved to play against the most: Leonard.

Friday wasn’t the first time the Bucks had faced the Clippers this season. Milwaukee had already gone Los Angeles to beat the Clippers at Staples Center. But at the time, Paul George had yet to debut after offseason shoulder surgery, and Leonard was taking the night off for load management, returning to action the following night in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

In some ways, Zubac was a surrogate for his teammate, Leonard. Antetokounmpo and Leonard did not go head-to-head often, so instead, Antetokounmpo unleashed in other ways. Essentially, Zubac was just a guy in Antetokounmpo’s way. Don’t get in Antetokounmpo’s way.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

The first half lacked the razzle-dazzle expected of a matchup between two of the best players in the league. Antetokounmpo scored only 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting, and Leonard’s first six shots were from at least 12 feet. Milwaukee’s first-half lead wasn’t built by Antetokounmpo manhandling defenders and skillfully bullying his way to the rim, but rather by Milwaukee’s second unit.

With just over five minutes left in the first quarter and the Clippers leading by two, Antetokounmpo sauntered over to the bench. Without him, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run and built a double-digit advantage. He returned with a minute and a half left and the Bucks up by 11. Overall, the Bucks were outscored by 10 points in Antetokounmpo’s 16 first-half minutes, and the Bucks outscored the Clippers by 19 in the 8:44 that Antetokounmpo was off the floor.

Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) out vs. Cardinals

Despite returning to practice as a limited participant a week ago, Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner said he will be out Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He isn’t speculating on his availability after that, either.

“I don’t want to look too far ahead because it’s still going to take some time,” Conner said Thursday. “We’ll see. Hopefully I can get out there as soon as possible, but this week? Nah.”

Conner, who hasn’t played since a brief appearance against the Browns on Nov. 14, said he’s been taking scout team reps this week.

“Just don’t want to take none of the game reps away from some guys that are going to be active,” said Conner, who was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. “Nice to get out there and just run around.”7

Conner injured the AC joint in his right shoulder during the final two minutes of a win against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 28. He was wrapping up his best game of the season: 145 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Conner missed the next two games against the Colts and Rams before trying to play against the Browns in the Thursday night game. Conner realized after a quarter that his body wasn’t ready.

“I just wasn’t ready to come back,” he said. “I just tried to fight through it, but I wasn’t able to.”

Rookie Benny Snell Jr. has stepped up in Conner’s absence, particularly in the past two games. He scored his first NFL touchdown this past Sunday against the Browns, a 1-yard run to give the Steelers a 17-10 lead. He finished the game with 16 carries for 63 yards. A week earlier against Cincinnati, Snell led the Steelers with 21 carries for 98 yards.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“He prepared himself well,” Conner said. “My job is to be there [for] anything he needs, questions that he has. He’s been doing great.”

Before he played against the Browns, Conner said playing with the injury was a matter of pain tolerance. He said he’s “day-by-day” at this point but isn’t ruling out returning to the field in the final three regular-season games. The Steelers are in contention for the final AFC wild card, holding the No. 6 spot if the regular season ended today.

“Honestly, taking it day-by-day,” Conner said. “So whatever that may be, I’m not going to count it out until I’m done for sure.”

Oakland Raiders’ Derek Carr mourns loss of former teammate George Atkinson III

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr opened his weekly media conference by eulogizing former teammate George Atkinson III, who died Monday, three days after turning 27.

“It’s crazy how quick life can come at you, and I love George,” Carr said Wednesday. “We had a lot of fun playing basketball at 24 Hour Fitness, as well as playing football games together and competing together. He was always so joyful, man. So happy every single time. It felt like he was cut and re-signed a whole bunch of times, and every single time, he just looked so thankful to be here. So I just wanted to say that we’re thinking about him and his family that we love.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Atkinson was the son of former Raiders strong safety George Atkinson, a two-time Pro Bowler who played for Oakland from 1968 to 1977 and had 30 interceptions, and he appeared in five games with the Raiders in 2014, returning seven kickoffs for 134 yards.

An undrafted running back from Notre Dame, the younger Atkinson also played for the Cleveland Browns in 2016.5

His twin brother, Josh, who also played for the Fighting Irish, died last December, and Atkinson recently wrote an open letter in TheUnsealed.com describing his rough upbringing with their mother, who he said had paranoid schizophrenia and drug addiction and died in October 2018. He also wrote that his brother killed himself, about his own struggle with mental health and how he had tried to harm himself before, and about his father entering their lives when he and his brother were 13 and instilling discipline.

“Like you, I am still struggling,” Atkinson wrote. “My mother’s birthday just passed and I know the holidays this year won’t be easy. But I am trying to take life one day at a time.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

It has been a difficult year for the Raiders, as many former players, coaches and family members have died since last December: Josh Atkinson, Warren Wells, Duane Benson, Cedrick Hardman, Ron Sabal, Clem Daniels, Dan Conners, Bob Zeman, Gunther Cunningham, Cliff Branch, Willie Brown and George Atkinson III.

“I heard about what he wrote, obviously, but I would have never guessed that he was struggling that hard,” Carr said of Atkinson. “I know things had happened in the year prior and things like that make you hurt, but every time I was around George, I never thought that he was hurting that much, to be honest. Every time I was around him, he was full of happiness, full of joy, always joking.”

Tammy Abraham returns with a goal and assist as Chelsea edge Aston Villa

Tammy Abraham scored a goal and set up another on his return from injury as Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Wednesday to put their Premier League campaign back on track after two straight defeats.

Abraham, who played for Villa last season on loan, headed home from close range in the 24th minute after a lofted cross by right back Reece James, another of Chelsea’s home-grown players who have flourished under coach Frank Lampard.

Villa equalised with their first real chance of the game in the 41st minute when Egyptian Trezeguet headed a cross from his compatriot Ahmed El Mohamady on to his own foot and the ball crossed the line.nfl nike jersey cheap

Chelsea regained the lead in style three minutes into the second half when Abraham chested a cross by Willian invitingly for fellow academy graduate Mason Mount to volley home.3

Abraham, 22, missed Chelsea’s 1-0 home defeat by West Ham United due to injury and Lampard heaped praise on the forward whose form has earned him a call-up for England.

“He’s showing his all-round game, he stretches defences, he starts our press,” Lampard said. “He’s a personality that has grown in our dressing room every day with his enthusiasm and his will to win, and of course with players on such a good run, when they come out of the team you can miss them.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Chelsea went in search of a third goal and Willian came closest to getting it when the Brazilian’s free kick was touched onto a post by Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga denied Ezri Konsa Ngoyo an equaliser in the dying moments.

The result left Chelsea in fourth place, six points above fifth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers. Aston Villa are 15th and only one point clear of the relegation area.

“That shows me where we are to have a real potential to getting where we want to be, but also aware of the little tough bumps in the road.”

Villa coach Dean Smith said his team were second best to Chelsea and started both halves on the back foot unlike in their previous game when they battled to a 2-2 draw at Manchester United.

“I feel that we can be as good as teams like Chelsea. We have got to be more consistent in our play to do that,” he said. “Tonight we weren’t as consistent as we were on Sunday against Manchester United.”

Former Chelsea captain John Terry, now Villa’s assistant head coach, stepped on to the pitch after the match to applause from the home fans. The former England captain played 717 times for Chelsea.

Southampton see off Norwich in relegation battle

Southampton boosted their hopes of staying in the Premier League after a fine first-half performance garnished by goals from Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand helped them to a nervy 2-1 home win over struggling Norwich on Wednesday.

The Saints dominated the opening exchanges of the relegation dogfight and Ings fired them ahead in the 22nd minute when he headed home a James Ward-Prowse free kick.

Moussa Djenepo drove a shot over the bar for the home side before left-back Bertrand made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute, capitalising on another fine set piece by Ward-Prowse as he slotted in the midfielder’s corner at the far post.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl was pleased with the outcome although he acknowledged the battle to stay up would be a long one.6
Southampton almost netted the third on the stroke of half-time when Norwich keeper Tim Krul only just managed to tip Pierre Hojberg’s deflected shot over the bar.

The tide turned after the break as Teemu Pukki’s fierce shot was parried by Alex McCarthy and the Finland striker pulled one back for Norwich in the 65th minute when he beat the Saints keeper with a clinical finish from inside the penalty area.

Norwich launched a fierce onslaught in the closing stages and substitute Emiliano Buendia missed a gilt-edged chance to salvage a point for the visitors when he headed wide of the far post in stoppage time.nfl nike jersey cheap

Daniel Farke rued his Norwich team’s poor start to the game but believed they deserved more from an improved second-half display.

“I’m a bit annoyed in the first half we weren’t brave enough,” said Farke.

“It was a really good reaction in the second half but it is important to play this way for 90 minutes. We showed a great reaction and in the end we deserved at least a draw.”

Jose Abreu agrees to 3-year, $50 million contract with White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a three-year, $50 million contract with Jose Abreu, the team announced Friday.

Abreu, who made his third All-Star team in six seasons with the White Sox, led the American League with 123 RBIs in 2019 while batting .284 with 33 home runs.

“This is a dream come true for me and my family,” Abreu said in a release by the team. “To the fans, I told you I would come back. I never doubted it. Everybody knows the group of talented players that we have, and I want to help guide them and together make the Chicago White Sox a championship team.”

The first baseman/designated hitter, who will turn 33 in January, showed he can still catch up to fastballs as he ranked among the leaders in overall exit velocity, but he struggled with breaking pitches and rarely walks.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Under the new deal, Abreu will receive a $5 million signing bonus, $11 million in 2020, $16 million in 2021 and $18 million in 2022. Abreu also has a full no-trade clause in 2020 and a limited one in 2021, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by ESPN.6

Chicago is deferring $4 million of his 2022 salary, payable in equal installments each July 1 from 2023 through 2026.

“From the moment he stepped into the major leagues, Jose Abreu has been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “He has consistently delivered run production at a historic pace, and with each passing season, his leadership role within our clubhouse — with both American-born and Latin-American players — has repeatedly grown. It’s certainly no surprise that both Jose and the White Sox were comfortable with a multiyear commitment moving forward.”

Abreu’s signing is the second big move of the offseason for the White Sox, who announced Thursday that they had agreed to terms on a four-year, $73 million contract with All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Both Abreu and Grandal have a rewards package that would earn them a $100,000 bonus if they are voted AL MVP. They also could get $90,000 for finishing second, $80,000 for third, $70,000 for fourth and $60,000 for fifth. They would get $100,000 for World Series MVP, $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $50,000 if selected an All-Star by The Sporting News, $25,000 each for starting an All-Star Game or winning a Gold Glove, and $15,000 apiece if named an All-Star reserve or winning a Silver Slugger.

Catcher James McCann stays with White Sox on one-year deal

All-Star catcher James McCann agreed to a $5.4 million, one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox on Monday, more than doubling his salary.

The 29-year-old McCann was eligible for arbitration. He signed a $2.5 million, one-year deal with Chicago last December after Detroit didn’t offer him a contract for the 2019 season.

McCann set career highs with a .273 batting average, 18 homers and 60 RBI in his first year with the White Sox. He also was an All-Star selection for the first time.nfl nike jerseys for cheap5

The White Sox signed free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a $73 million, four-year contract last month. But McCann played a pivotal role in the development of Lucas Giolito into a front-line starter, likely cementing his return to Chicago.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

McCann was selected by the White Sox in the 31st round of the 2008 amateur draft, but he decided to go to the University of Arkansas instead. He then was drafted by the Tigers in the second round in 2011.

McCann made his major league debut in September 2014 and spent his first five seasons with Detroit, batting .240 with 40 homers and 177 RBI in 452 games.

In other moves Monday, Chicago declined to offer 2020 contracts to Gold Glove second baseman Yolmer Sanchez and relievers Ryan Burr and Caleb Frare, making the trio free agents. Right-hander Thyago Vieira was released to pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.

Left-hander Carlos Rodon, closer Alex Colome, reliever Evan Marshall and utlityman Leury Garcia were tendered contracts, making them eligible for arbitration.