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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 …

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jadeveon Clowney playing on franchise tag is wrong step for Texans brass

the Houston Texans had two of the top pass-rushers in the NFL in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. By not reaching a long-term extension by the franchise tag deadline on Monday, the Texans risk losing Clowney — the first overall pick in the 2014 draft — at the end of the season instead of building around the core talent they have right now.

The Texans placed the non-exclusive franchise tag, which is worth $15.967 million for the 2019 season, on Clowney in March and the outside linebacker/defensive end did not attend any of the Texans’ spring workouts, including the mandatory veterans minicamp.

While the Texans could of course still sign Clowney to a new contract after the 2019 season — or tag him for the second year in a row — they likely wouldn’t match what the pass-rusher would get on the open market.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping5

The Raiders learned last season that you can’t let a player of that caliber go when they traded outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Bears for two first-round picks. Mack gave a huge boost to the Bears defense (12.5 sacks, 18 QB hits), while Oakland coach Jon Gruden said later in the season that his team was in need of a pass-rusher.

There are few teams that have a pair of defensive linemen like the Texans do with Watt and Clowney. Last season, Houston ranked 12th in total defense but third against the run. The 3.4 rushing yards allowed per attempt was an NFL low due to the performances of Watt and Clowney.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Last season, Clowney was named to his third straight Pro Bowl, and finished the regular season with 47 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. According to NFL NextGen, the Texans’ defender had a Pass-Block Win Rate of 35% — second-best among qualifying defensive ends/linebackers. He also had 16 tackles for loss, which tied for ninth in the NFL last season, and now has 53 tackles for loss over the past three seasons, third in the league.

According to Pro Football Focus, Clowney had the best season of his career “by far” in 2018. His overall grade of 89.5 was tied for seventh best among edge defenders. He had 28 run stops on 283 run-defense snaps, the 10th-best run-stop percentage at his position.

While Clowney is not expected to report to training camp on July 24 with the rest of his teammates because he did not get a new contract, it’s unlikely his holdout will continue into the regular season, where he would miss out on game checks worth more than $1 million per game.

De Gea on the brink of new deal – Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed David De Gea is on the brink of signing a new contract at Manchester United.

The Spaniard is on the verge of agreeing a new five-year deal worth in excess of £350k-a-week and Solskjaer is hopeful an announcement will be made soon.

“Hopefully we can agree with David as I’ve said a few times,” Solskjaer told a news conference at the WACA cricket ground on Tuesday.cheap nfl jerseys china nike
Solskjaer is also expecting Romelu Lukaku to be fit for the second game of the summer.5

The Belgian, who has been heavily linked with a move to Inter Milan, missed the game against Perth Glory through injury but trained with the squad on Monday and should feature against Leeds.

Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof should also be fit after missing out against Perth. Luke Shaw limped off with a hamstring injury and may not be risked on Wednesday.
Lukaku has travelled to Australia with United despite being keen to link up with Antonio Conte at Inter.

The Serie A side are yet to submit a suitable offer for the 26-year-old and Solskjaer is confident the former Everton man can have a positive impact at Old Trafford next season if his move to the San Siro does not come off.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“The day we start the league I’m sure everyone who’s here will give absolutely everything for Man United,” said Solskjaer.

“We want a strong team with players who give everything.

“There are always rumours speculation about Man United players but when the league starts we batten down the hatches and stay as a team.”

Cards place Molina on IL amid series of moves

The Cardinals placed catcher Yadier Molina on the injured list with a strained right thumb and activated infielder Matt Carpenter as part of a series of roster moves Thursday.

The Cardinals expect Molina back in action “within a three-week range,” manager Mike Shildt said Thursday.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

His move to the IL was retroactive to Monday. The nine-time All-Star, who missed 12 games in May and June with a similar injury, pinch hit on Saturday but hasn’t started a game since July 3.7

St. Louis will recall catcher Andrew Knizner from Triple-A Memphis before Friday’s game against Arizona to fill in for Molina. Knizner made his big league debut June 2, going 0-for-7 for St. Louis.

The Cardinals also brought up left-hander Chasen Shreve from Memphis, optioned left-hander Tyler Webb and outfielder Rangel Ravelo to Memphis, and transferred pitcher Jordan Hicks to the 60-day IL ahead of their series against Arizona beginning Friday night.

Carpenter has been sidelined since June 29 with a lower back strain.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Shreve appeared in 20 games for the Cardinals last season, and is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in 37 games for Memphis this season.

Lucroy recalls vicious collision, not much after

Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy remembers getting leveled by the Astros’ Jake Marisnick and nothing else until he was carried onto the golf cart in Houston.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“He knocked me out,” Lucroy said Friday, reliving the play that led to a hospital visit for Lucroy and a two-game suspension for Marisnick.

Lucroy was positioned in front of home plate to receive a throw from Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning of a tie game Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Marisnick made a last-second move to his left and collided viciously with Lucroy, seemingly regretting the decision instantly. Lucroy sustained a broken nose and his third diagnosed concussion. Marisnick reached out via text message later that night.5

“A situation like that, split-second decisions have to be made,” said Lucroy, who will have his nose repaired Monday and doesn’t expect to spend much time on the injured list. “I don’t think he was trying to hurt anybody. However, I did give him the whole lane, the whole foul territory, to slide. I did tell him that in the text. As a catcher, when the play’s at home, I always try to give the runner some place to slide. That’s what the new rule says. You’re supposed to do that. If you don’t, you can get called for interference. We communicated. And it is what it is.“nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Marisnick, who was also fined, appealed his suspension in part because he wants to elaborate on the matter with officials from Major League Baseball. In his initial statement, Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, said that though Marisnick might not have intended to injure, the Astros outfielder nonetheless violated rules designed to protect catchers from this.

The Angels have since added some depth behind the plate, activating backup Kevan Smith off the injured list and acquiring veteran Josh Thole — along with left-handed reliever Adam McCreery — from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations on Friday.

Lucroy has made it a point to position himself in front of home plate while awaiting a throw ever since he was called for interference while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers and facing the Angels a few years ago. He hopes baserunners will do their part to abide by the rules in the future.

“I mean, you can look at my face,” Lucroy said, pointing to his black eye. “There’s a reason why the rule is in place.”

Agent: Simmons ‘doubtful’ to play in World Cup

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is “doubtful” to play for Australia in the FIBA World Cup this summer, his agent Rich Paul told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Simmons, who debuted for the national team as a teenager and won gold at the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship, initially said he was “looking forward to representing my county Australia in the upcoming @FIBA World Cup in China” on social media in May.5

Simmons is now more likely now to spend his full offseason preparing only for the Sixers’ season — free of national team responsibilities. The 22-year-old also opted out of the 2016 Olympics squad to focus on his NBA rookie season.

The Australian national team, also known as the Boomers, will still feature a handful of other NBA players, including Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Aron Baynes.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The FIBA World Cup starts Aug. 31 in China and runs through mid-September.