Deal or No Deal: MLB Trade Predictions 2 Weeks from the Deadline

Anything could happen in these last couple of weeks before Major League Baseball’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

As for what will happen, we have a few ideas.wholesale nfl jerseys

What follows is one trade-deadline prediction for each of MLB’s 30 teams. These are strictly speculative, but nonetheless based on reported rumors and the general realities of each squad.

We’ll go in alphabetical order by city.

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As they seek their first National League West title since 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks have their sights set on Manny Machado.nfl jerseys wholesale

According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Arizona has already made the Baltimore Orioles an offer that supposedly ranks second among the ones they’ve received for the slugging shortstop.

The field is a crowded one, however, and the D-backs are disadvantaged in a bidding war. They’re short on top prospects, and the best of theirs (RHP Jon Duplantier) was recently shut down with biceps tendinitis.

The Diamondbacks will need an impact bat even if they miss out on Machado. The best pivot they could make would be to a different rental infielder: breakout Minnesota Twins star Eduardo Escobar. He’s racked up an .844 OPS and 51 extra-base hits while playing shortstop and third base.

Call it a hunch, but they’ll ultimately make that pivot.

If the Atlanta Braves want to outlast the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals to win the NL East, they must address their bullpen.nfl jerseys china

Atlanta’s pen has come undone with a 5.38 ERA over the last 30 days. Although there’s nothing it doesn’t need, a tried-and-true relief ace is the best it can shoot for.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Braves’ focus is on relievers who are controlled beyond 2018. Among the players on that list, none suits them better than Brad Hand.

The two-time All-Star owns a 2.63 ERA and a rate of 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings since 2015. He’s also signed for cheap through 2021.nfl wholesale jerseys

Of course, the San Diego Padres will need a serious offer in order to give up Hand. The Braves, however, have plenty of prospects. It wouldn’t be shocking if they gave up a few to get a guy who would stabilize their bullpen for this year and beyond.

The Rockets’ Backup Plans Are Good

The Rockets got themselves one of the best three-and-D options left on the market in James Ennis, who agreed to a two-year deal with the team Wednesday.

This doesn’t force a re-evaluation of how much they’ll miss Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. Their departures are still borderline catastrophic for a Rockets team that built its defensive identity on switchable wings. But perhaps we can ease off Houston for its decision not to overpay role-fillers, even when those roles seemed so important.wholesale nfl jerseys

There’s a parallel here to the Rockets’ unwillingness to match the poison-pill offer sheet Chandler Parsons signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. Parsons wasn’t a star, and Houston refused to pay him like one, even if it meant losing him for nothing.

The Rockets replaced Parsons with Ariza then,nfl jerseys wholesale  and it seems as though they’re doing something similar now by slotting Ennis into a key role.

Ennis projects as a starter, and he’s a decent facsimile of the guys Houston let go. A career 35.9 percent shooter from deep, Ennis can guard several positions and gets most of his offense on the catch. B/R’s Dan Favale noted that his standstill game will play well in Houston’s attack, as Ennis took over 63 percent of his shots without a dribble last season.nfl jerseys china

“Obviously, losing Trevor and losing Luc, it’s going to hurt,” head coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN.com’s Tim McMahon. “You don’t replace that, but we’ll figure it out. … There’s different ways to go. We’re going to be good. Like Chris is saying, we’re going to run it back at Golden State. We’ll see. We’ll be ready.”nfl wholesale jerseys

It’s likely wrong to say this is how the Rockets wanted free agency to play out all along, but it’s still fair to trust general manager Daryl Morey and his contingency plans. They’ve worked out well in the past.

Predicting Where Top Remaining NFL Free Agents Will Sign

With training camp only a few weeks away, most NFL players are enjoying one last vacation before the 2018 grind begins in earnest.

Others can’t wait for vacation to be over.cheap nfl jerseys china

Though the calendar has flipped to July, a number of well-known veterans remain without a team. For some, it’s a matter of money. For others, it’s age or injury.

Whatever the reason, these players are still waiting for the phone to ring.

For the most part, these veterans will find work at some point, whether it’s with a team that loses a player to an injury in training camp or one looking to shore up an area of weakness.

Let’s play matchmaker, pairing the best available free agents with a prediction for where they will land.authentic nfl jerseys

Dez Bryant already had a chance to sign with a new team. The Baltimore Ravens made him a multiyear offer in April, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but he declined it.

If Bryant is willing to settle for a short-term prove-it deal—which he’s what he’s going to get at this point—teams will show interest in him, even if he’s not as dominant as he once was.

On the surface, the San Francisco 49ers don’t appear to be in need of wideout help. San Francisco has 11 wide receivers on its roster, including a pair it added in this year’s draft.

But as CBS Sports’ John Breech noted, the Niners do need help in the red zone.wholesale nfl jerseys

“In 2017, the 49ers ranked second-to-last in the NFC in red-zone scoring percentage, ahead of only the Arizona Cardinals. Although Bryant has had some trouble staying healthy over the past few years, he did manage to make it through the entire 2017 season unscathed nfl jerseys china and he put up some decent numbers in the process (69 catches, 838 yards, six touchdowns).”

Five of Bryant’s six scores last season came in the red zone.nfl jerseys wholesale

With north of $45 million in cap space, the Niners have more than enough room to bring Bryant in, and they’re looking to make the jump from a rebuild to a contender. Bryant has also indicated his interest in joining them, according to Breech.

John Lynch hasn’t been shy about getting aggressive during his tenure as San Francisco’s general manager. It’s time for him to make another splash.

NBA Players Who Will Never Live Up to Their New Free-Agency Contracts

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Sometimes, the best way to avoid spending too much money is to not have any money to spend. With a number of NBA teams falling into that category during free agency, 2018 hasn’t been the worst for bad contracts.

Still, even in a year when most franchises have shown thrift by necessity, there are certain deals teams will be eager to watch expire…eventually. Not all of these deals will look rough right away, but as players fail to live up to expectations—whether because of age, health, one-dimensional play or overall production—fans will ogle their newfound cap space when these contracts are no longer on the books.

Though there are a number of eyebrow-raising contracts around official nfl jersey the league, we won’t focus on deals that aren’t for much money or are only for one year.

Here are six players who will struggle to be worth their dollar amount at some point in their contracts. They’re listed in ascending order of how likely their respective teams are to be in states of regret by the end of the deals.

In a “never thought I’d see the day” highlight of the summer, Los Angeles Lakers fans around the world celebrated as Kobe Bryant’s biggest rival agreed to save the franchise from its state of demise.

The idea LeBron James’ contract is something the Lakers will eventually regret sounds preposterous right now. Even at age 33, the King just had one of the best years of his career, finishing second in the MVP voting. And sure, he may cover the cost cheap womens nfl jerseys of the Lakers’ investment in off-court value alone, but we’re here to judge its basketball merits.

There’s a decent chance he won’t live up to his four-year, $154 million deal.

With each subsequent season, that contract will look more precipitous. To put things in perspective, James has already played 54,347 combined playoff and regular-season minutes—the most of anyone through their age-35 season, according to Basketball Reference.

What’s remarkable is James has two more seasons to go.nfl jerseys cheap collection

In fact, he’s ninth in total minutes played, and he’s just 2,931 behind Kobe Bryant for third all-time. Bryant trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (66,297) and Karl Malone (62,759). If James averaged the same number of minutes over the next three years as he played this year (3,948), he’d pass Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time lead with nearly a year to go on his contract.

Sure, he’s been superhuman his whole career and avoided injuries, but that’s part of why he’s also played so many minutes. And while he might seem more machine than man at times, he’s made of flesh and blood, and there will be a time when he’s not the same anymore.nfl jerseys authentic

It’s probably going to happen within the next four years, and the Lakers will pay $41 million on the last year of that contract.nfl womens jerseys

You can argue that if he brings a title to L.A., it won’t matter. But there’s a chance he never will. If he doesn’t and only adds dead weight the final year or two of the contract, Lakers fans’ joy could get exhausted.

LeBron Trusting the Process?

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No, this doesn’t mean LeBron James is backtracking on his four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and instead deciding to join the Philadelphia 76ers. Sorry!

But the four-time MVP still seems content to sit back and accept everything that’s nfl youth jerseys  happening around him as Magic Johnson endeavors to build a competitive, albeit unorthodox, roster for the Los Angeles Lakers. The signings of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee remain questionable (even if you look at the silver linings and focus on the defensive upside and maintained cap flexibility for 2019), but they apparently represent the actual plan in Tinseltown.

As Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst reported for ESPN.com, these moves were planned from the onset of free agency: cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“Here is the answer: exactly what James and Lakers president Magic Johnson planned when they met for more than three hours on the first night of free agency. According to multiple sources within the Lakers and close to James, this is the rollout of a plan Johnson outlined for James the night of June 30 at James’ home. The subsequent deals, which sources say James has consulted on but have been executed at Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka’s direction, follow this vision.

“It may seem like an unconventional plan, considering current trends. It may be a plan that takes time to come together, especially early in the season, when new habits will be tested. It may, in fact, be a plan that ultimately fails.

“But the Lakers are indeed attempting to chart a new course for James’ Lakers future, one that is vastly different from the style of basketball he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers.”

That’s…interesting. And it’s important to note that successful execution of a plan does not mean the plan was logical in and of itself. But here we are, and there’s no going back as the Lakers attempt to maximize the next year of James’ extended prime.  nike jersey nfl cheap

Also worth noting? The league’s best player doesn’t seem intent on forcing the title window open with the acquisition of a celestial sidekick. Cue cheap youth nfl jerseys  Zach Lowe:

“LeBron is a Laker, and he is not pressuring L.A. to acquire a second star now, per sources familiar with his thinking. His decision to come alone for three guaranteed seasons speaks for itself. He knows Ingram has at least borderline All-Star potential, and that the 2019 free-agency class is loaded beyond Leonard. He has faith in the combined powers of his supernova talent and the Lakers brand.youth nfl jerseys cheap

“His patience will have limits. But reading between the lines, the Lakers probably have the next calendar year before LeBron applies urgent pressure.”

If you’ve been hoping against hope that the current Los Angeles depth chart was only a placeholder before the Lakers acquire more established talents and avoid wasting a year of peak James, it’s time to start accepting reality.youth nfl jerseys

Yes, it’s probably a painful process.

Warriors Redefine the Superteam Again with DeMarcus Cousins Signing

Apparently, the Golden State Warriors weren’t already good enough.

After using four All-Stars to win a third title in the last four years by sweeping LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, they made yet another power play in free agency to steal the spotlight away from a certain four-time MVP and his new fit with the Los Angeles Lakers. DeMarcus Cousins is now aboard on a one-year deal worth $5.3 million, as first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, to give the team an All-Star at every one of the five traditional positions.

Yes, that means the Warriors essentially upgraded from JaVale McGee to Cousins. Yes, that means they used the mid-level exception to add Cousins shortly after the Lakers built around James by using the MLE on Lance Stephenson. Yes, that means the league’s pre-eminent superteam is getting even more super.

From a skill perspective, this is obviously great news for the Warriors. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green already made for an unfair collection of talent capable of storming past anyone and everything thrown at them by the NBA. But Cousins, when healthy, is one of the game’s premier bigs, and he plays a style that should fit nicely with the system deployed by head coach Steve Kerr. authentic nfl jerseys cheap

As Marcus Thompson of The Athletic tweeted, the Warriors had been coveting a scoring big:

Well, they found one. nfl jerseys for cheap

Cousins is a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA representative coming off a season with the New Orleans Pelicans in which he averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks. That was the fewest points per game he’s posted since his 2014-15 efforts for the Sacramento Kings, but he made up for the slightly diminished volume by slashing 47.0/35.4/74.6—the middle number coming on a whopping 6.1 three-point attempts per contest.

Oh, and Cousins was also playing some of the best defense of his professional tenure before suffering the Achilles injury that allowed him to come aboard on a one-year deal. His effort levels sometimes lapsed, but he was figuring out how to leverage his physicality and surprising quickness alongside Anthony Davis en route to posting a career-best 3.6 defensive box plus/minus.

Cousins likely won’t make his debut in the Bay Area until late December or early January, given the typical recovery length of an Achilles rupture, though he told The Undefeated Marc J. Spears that he’s targeting a training camp return. It’s not like the Warriors need to rush him, either; they’re not exactly lacking for talent in his absence. But when he returns, he’ll still be attempting to fight his way past a malady that has severely affected the careers of many before him—a far more difficult task than returning from an ACL tear. cheap nfl jerseys

Still, if he’s able to serve as a convincing simulacrum of his pre-injury self, he’ll turn the Warriors juggernaut into a superuberjuggernaut. You almost have to send doubles to help against Cousins when he’s playing bully-ball from the post…except you can’t do that against a Golden State lineup featuring three of the deadliest shooters in NBA history on the perimeter. And if he’s hitting threes, it’s game over.

That’s still not the best news, because the risks here are so ridiculously minimal. nfl jersey cheap

What if Cousins doesn’t return to form? Well, it’s not like he needs to occupy a role bigger than the one McGee filled during the last title run. What if he gets disgruntled and starts demanding more touches? Just ship him off for a second-round pick, since he’s only coming aboard on a one-year deal.cheap nfl jersey

Do we have a winner of the Winston-Mariota debate?

The Buccaneers have never given a quarterback they drafted a second contract.

Winston could break that streak, but remember something as we discuss his future: He was picked first overall, and the Titans took Marcus Mariota second. There was intense debate before that draft about which player was better, and that argument continues to this day.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Since the NFL draft began in 1967, quarterbacks have been drafted first and second overall only seven times:

In 1971, it was Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning.

In 1993, it was Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer.

In 1998, it was Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf.nfl nike jersey cheap

In 1999, it was Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb.

In 2012, it was Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

In 2015, it was Winston and Mariota.

In 2016, it was Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.cheap nike nfl jersey

One of the quarterbacks often ended up being pretty good, while the other…not so much. (Goff and Wentz might break this trend.)

We may already have a winner of the Winston-Mariota debate. We’re closing in on one, at least.

Winston is coming off the better year statistically, but he also went 3-10 and is now potentially out for the beginning of the season. His future could go either way. Mariota, meanwhile, is coming off a 9-6 season, has the better career record and passer rating and has been drama-free. cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

NFL Rookie Minicamp Roundup: Ravens Will Unleash Rookie Lamar Jackson Upon NFL

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The Baltimore Ravens are prepping their offense so Lamar Jackson can make some noise this fall.

These preparations don’t automatically entail Joe Flacco’s authentic nfl jerseys cheap as the team’s franchise quarterback, but the Ravens will find ways to get the rookie involved. One sentiment from minicamp should strike fear into all Baltimore’s future opponents.

When asked what stood out during the year’s first practice, one Ravens staffer told The MMQB’s Albert Breer, “Lamar’s speed. Wow.”

Quarterback succession plays are often messy. Ben Roethlisberger’s recent comments and Joe Flacco’s usual stoicism highlighted the conundrums organizations face: trying to prepare for the future without upsetting the team’s starting quarterback.nfl jerseys for cheap

The Ravens present the most intriguing situation since Flacco has been a mediocre to below-average quarterback the past four seasons and because general manager Ozzie Newsome decided to trade up for the most exciting player in this year’s draft class.

Quarterback life drives the NFL news cycle. cheap nfl jerseys

The Cleveland Browns are making plans to tailor their offense around Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield’s similar skill sets. The New York Giants took the opposite approach by leaning heavily on their 37-year-old quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, know Dak Prescott is well on his way to becoming the league’s highest-paid signal-caller.nfl jersey cheap

Also, roles for Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice and three rookie offensive tackles are being decided.cheap nfl jersey

Jackson’s dynamism already has those in Baltimore excited, though, and rightly so.

Kevin Durant, Warriors Blow Out Anthony Davis, Pelicans to Take 3-1 Series Lead

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The Houston Rockets are one win away from their second trip to the Western Conference Finals in four years.

Houston seized a 3-1 lead in its playoff series against the Utah Jazz on Sunday with a 100-87 victory in Game 4 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. As a result, all four second-round postseason series are 3-0 or 3-1 as the Rockets, Golden State Warriors, cool nfl jerseys Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics close in on the next round.

Chris Paul led the way with 27 points, 12 rebounds and six assists behind 12-of-23 shooting from the field, while James Harden added 24 points, four rebounds, three dimes and four steals. Donovan Mitchell spearheaded the Jazz’s offensive attack with 25 points, nine rebounds and four steals, but his side didn’t have the firepower to counter the top seed’s All-Star backcourt.

Sunday’s matchup—and the series as a whole—set up as a defensive battle considering the Jazz boasted the league’s second-best defensive rating during the regular season compared to Houston’s sixth-best nfl jersey authentic

The defensive prowess on each side was on display for stretches with Clint Capela and Rudy Gobert protecting the rim and wings swarming outside shooters, which put the onus on the individual offensive players to execute difficult shots and plays.

The difference was the Rockets have two of the best offensive playmakers of their generation handling the ball on almost every possession to do just that.wholesale jerseys nfl

Harden did much of his damage early with a combination of pick-and-rolls, step-back jumpers and drives, where he would either draw contact, finish at the rim or free up his teammates. It wasn’t all great for the MVP candidate, though, as he struggled with turnovers (eight) and finding his rhythm (8-of-22 from the field) down the stretch when Utah dialed up the defensive pressure.

That’s when Paul took over.cheap china nfl jerseys

The nine-time All-Star played early stretches with the second unit and extended the advantage to double digits with a mix of floaters and mid-range jumpers. He also served as the primary ball-handler after the Jazz closed to single digits in the fourth quarter and probed the defense in critical moments to create looks at the rim for Capela (12 points and 15 rebounds) or himself.

His presence helped keep Utah at bay even with Mitchell doing his best to penetrate and find some type of offense against the stout Houston defense.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

This is the best running back class in years! cheap nfl authentic jerseys To help keep things straight and minimize the jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents our first installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!

Athleticism: Outstanding. Like, Avengers-franchise worthy.

Every-down rushing: Very good, though with a tendency to rely too much on the highlight stick when he cannot find running room.

Open-field rushing: Excellent, because of all the combo cheap authentic nfl jerseys moves on said highlight stick.

Receiving value: Excellent. Saquon Barkley has soft hands and is deadly on wheel routes.

Pass protection: Not terrible, though Barkley often doesn’t pick up the right blitzer until it’s too late.

Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: Barkley is secretly Trent Richardson 2.0. He lacks vision and will become tentative after a few 21-44-1 stat lines (those were his numbers against Ohio State last year) at the NFL level. This is a one-way ticket to Bust City; population: overdrafted running backs!cheap nfl jerseys from china

Bottom line: Barkley will make the Giants better immediately, take pressure off Eli Manning and help the work-in-progress offensive line find itself. But while Barkley is more of a Todd Gurley than a Richardson, it’s important to note that Pat Shurmur coached Richardson to a grinding 3.6-yard-per-carry season in 2012, and that Gurley proved in 2016 that even a great running back can only do so much when the system around him goes kablooey.nfl cheap jerseys  If Manning’s play continues to slip, the line doesn’t jell or the defense doesn’t rebound quickly, the Giants will wish they went in a different direction with this pick.

The Giants could have addressed harder-to-fill needs here. It’s hard to quibble with the selection of a player as good (and exciting) as Barkley. But quibbling is what draft grades are all about.

Grade: B-minus