Ramirez’s deal is said to be for five years, and $90 million dollars.
Source: Hanley Ramirez headed to Boston tomorrow to finalize deal with #RedSox.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 24, 2014
But, MLB’s twitter later sent out a tweet where they basically unofficially confirmed these rumors:
.@HanleyRamirez, @RedSox reportedly agree to 5-year, $90 million deal. Club has not confirmed: http://t.co/M1qf6hSe2y #HotStove — MLB (@MLB) November 24, 2014
Boston is also in the mix for free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, where they offered him a deal worth around $90 million as well.
If the Red Sox pull off both of these signings, they would be completely re-designing the left side of their infield, with Sandoval at third, and Ramirez at short. But, yet again, the Red Sox haven’t confirmed.
A source tells me the #Athletics have acquired Ike Davis from the #Pirates for international slot money. It’s strictly a move for depth.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 23, 2014
Davis, 27, was DFA’d by Pittsburgh three days ago, after coming off another disappointing season. He hit for a .233 AVG in 2014, along with 11 homers and 51 RBIs. Davis still possesses massive power though, and could find his way into the A’s lineup fairly regularly against right-handed pitchers.
With this move, Oakland is acquiring even more depth at the first base position, after acquiring Billy Butler earlier this month.
QB – Kyle Orton/BUF – Just last week Kyle Orton failed to get anything going for the Bills offense, throwing for 193 yards and two interceptions against the Dolphins. But this week will be a different story against the Jets. The last time Orton faced the Jets he threw for four TDs in 17 attempts. That was the only game this season he has thrown less than 38 times. With this week’s matchup now moved to Monday in Detroit and out of the snow storm look for the Bills to take advantage of a Jets’ secondary that allows opposing QBs to complete 64% of their passes and had given up the most passing TDs of any team this year (25).
Last week QB – Josh McCown – 15/23, 288 yards, 2 TDs
RB – Trent Richardson/IND – In Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots the Colts lost Ahmad Bradshaw for the season with a broken fibula. Bradshaw had taken over as the number one option in the Colts backfield and with him done that will bring more opportunities to Trent Richardson. Richardson will still lose some carries to Dan Herron, but he will play the majority of the snaps. This week against the Jaguars, Richardson will get every chance to get in a rhythm.
Last week RB – Jerick McKinnon – 38 rush yards, 4 receptions, 20 receiving yards
RB – Frank Gore/SF – . The 49ers offense has been successful when they have done one thing – get Frank Gore the ball. In the four games the 49ers lost this season, Gore had 14 carries or less. In every game won, he had at least 16. The 49ers have won back-to-back games and are looking for a playoff push. This is the time of season where they need to be playing their best ball and they will do so on the ground.
Last week RB – Shane Vereen – 18 rushing yards, 4 reception, 59 receiving yards
WR – Odell Beckham Jr/NYG – Each and every week Odell Beckham is on the field, he impresses more and more. In the past three weeks he has been Eli Manning’s most productive receiver with 21 receptions for 357 yards despite having three less targets than Rueben Randle. This week, the Giants are playing the Cowboys in primetime – Sunday Night Football. Last time Beckham saw the Cowboys he reached the end zone twice, chances are he will have plenty of success.
Last week WR – Brandin Cooks – 5 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 5 rushing yards
WR – Vincent Jackson/TB – In the last few weeks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Mike Evans has gotten plenty of exposure because of the success he has had on the field. In three weeks he finished with 21 receptions for 458 yards and 5TD. Even though he is playing well he is still tied with Vincent Jackson in targets over that time. Josh McCown has played well since he has been back from injury. This week they will have him air it out plenty, as QBs average 32.9 attempts against the Bears. With all eyes on Evans, it might be Jackson’s turn for the big game.
Last week WR – Brandon LaFell – 3 receptions, 62 receiving yards
TE – Jason Witten/DAL – Jason Witten has had a down year. The Cowboys have run the ball more and Witten is on pace for his worst season in ten years. Over the past three weeks though, he has been a lot more involved and has looked like his old self. Averaging 7.3 targets per game over than span, he had been able to grab 16 receptions and get in the end zone twice. This week the Cowboys are facing the Giants and one weakness for New York’s defense is in the middle of the field. Witten is sure to keep the trend going this week.
Last week TE – Coby Fleener – 7 receptions, 144 receiving yards
Follow us on Twitter: Nathan Castaneda – @PBPnate; Bret Emineth – @PBPbret
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Free agent Pablo Sandoval, will reportedly choose between the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, as his new team, and he’ll do it next week.
The Boston Globe reported on Saturday, that the Red Sox had made a five-year, $95 million offer to Sandoval. Yet, Sandoval is not the only major target for the Red Sox, as Boston also sent an offer to left-hander Jon Lester this week.
Boston and San Francisco have been considered the favorites to land the 28-year-old, though San Diego also has jumped into the mix recently.
The Padres are making a “very serious” offer, according to CBSSports.com. So serious, that the club would send an offer that blows past the largest contract in club history: Jake Peavy’s three-year, $52 million extension, which he signed in 2007.
But, the Padres, who are also bidding strongly for free-agent Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas, still are considered long shots for Sandoval.
All the while, the Giants remain strong contenders for their Panda. The Chronicle reported that they would make a strong offer for Tomas if they are unable to land Sandoval. But, it all depends on his choice next week.
Sacramento has been one of the worst teams in the league for a better part of the last decade, as they’ve dealt with coaching changes, ownership futility and draft pick misses. They’ve slowly assembled a nice collection of pieces through draft picks, mid-level free agent signings and low-risk trades.
While it is difficult to see the Kings making a great deal of noise given the incredible depth of the Western conference, they do have a roster that can challenge for a playoff spot. They are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA and have the requisite “star power” to beat a lot of teams this year. They have arguably the center in the league in DeMarcus Cousins and an elite offensive wing in Rudy Gay, who make up one of the better one-two punches in the league. Cousins has dealt with a myriad of issues and maturity questions throughout his young career, but after a summer with Team U.S.A, Cousins is off to a monster start. His talent has never been the question and he is showing that this year, averaging 22.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Rudy Gay has developed a reputation as a ball stopper and a selfish player who plays too much “hero ball” but since being traded to Sacramento, Gay has seemingly reinvented his style of play. He has become a much more efficient player and has improved his playmaking in Sacramento as well.
While Sacramento has the star power, their depth is something that is worth noting as a potential cause for downfall. Only three players score in double-figures and they still have a lot of young and inexperienced players. Starting point guard, Darren Collison is off to a terrific start, but he’s never been great as a starting point guard (elite as a backup, average as a starter), and past him there isn’t a great deal of depth behind him, Gay or Cousins.
If the Kings are going to stay competitive in the West, Cousins and Gay will need to continue to produce at a high level. Both guys are certainly capable of carrying the load for stretches, but I question whether they have enough experience and supporting players to survive an entire year. They are certainly a great story and a fun team to watch if you are like me and tired of the same teams always dominating in the NBA.
Feature Image: standingosports.com
The Chicago #WhiteSox just signed 1B Adam LaRoche to a 2 year, $25 million contract.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 22, 2014
LaRoche, 35, brings left-handed power to Chicago’s lineup, something that has been a priority for the Sox this offseason. He has averaged 26 homers per year over the past three seasons, as well as a solid .256/.346/.458 slash line in that same span of time.
LaRoche will partner up with American League Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu, to form a solid one-two punch in the middle of Chicago’s order.
A plus defender at first base, LaRoche may see more time at designated hitter, with Abreu being a lock at first for the Sox.
During the last few seasons, EVERY Leafs win at Air Canada Centre has been celebrated with players skating to centre ice and raising their sticks in the air as a salute to fans – every win, except Thursday’s.
The Maple Leafs decided to skip tradition by not participating in the customary salute to fans following a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and it has not gone unnoticed.
In an interview with Breakfast Television on Friday morning, Don Cherry was asked about the apparent Leafs snub.
Cherry said that if it was a snub, the team has to “win every game now at home or the fans are gonna give it to them.”
“They’ve really set themselves up,” he added.
Coming off of arguably two of the most embarrassing losses in recent memory, a 6-2 loss in Buffalo and 9-2 loss at home against Nashville, the Maple Leafs sent a message to their fans on Thursday.
They will not go down without a fight.
“I hope they know what they’re doing. And I know how they feel. The last couple of days have been pretty tough,” Cherry said.
Cherry also referenced the recent round of “Let’s go Raptors!” that broke out a recent Leafs game.
After putting an end to the three-game losing streak that included the two horrible losses mentioned above, there are still signs of anger between the players and the fans.
Fans are fed up, continuing to throw jerseys and other Leafs items on the ice during poor performances, and some of the players have taken it personally.
“Very disrespectful … we don’t need fans like that,” Kadri said in October when asked about the first fan to throw his jersey on the ice. “Guys were going up to him and giving him high fives like he won the Oscar.
“I’m not sure what his deal was. I’m sure once we string a few wins together in a row he’ll be back at the front of the line trying to purchase another jersey.”
Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle was also asked about the first fan to throw his jersey on the ice in October,
“That’s just a frustrated fan with the way the game was going,” Carlyle said of the incident, which took place in the third period with his team trailing 5-2. “We were (frustrated) as a group.
“We have no control over that.”
If the Maple Leafs want the fans respect, forgetting to salute them after a win is not the answer.
Follow me on Twitter @SamDFriedman
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It’s the closest it’s been all season with weekly predictions. Nathan Castaneda and Bret Emineth breakdown this weeks headlines, recap week eleven, and preview week twelve. All the NFL stats and facts you need for every week of the NFL all in one place.
Follow us on Twitter: Nathan Castaneda – @PBPnate; Bret Emineth – @PBPbret
These are our NFL power rankings…..Point Blank.
1. New England Patriots – After last week’s beating of the Colts, the Patriots now have back-to-back, non-questionable victories over two top teams in the AFC. With Jonas Gray emerging in the backfield, the Patriots have as many weapons as any other team. Last week – 1
2. Arizona Cardinals – It doesn’t matter who is under center; when the Cardinals defense is 3rd in rushing yards given up per game (80.5) and have forced the second most interceptions (15). Last week – 2
3. Green Bay Packers – The Packers sole weakness all year has been their rush defense. They rank 29th in rushing yards given up per game (139.2), but over the past two weeks with (Clay Matthews at MLB) they have given up 82 yards per game on 2.9 ypc. Last week – 7
4. Dallas Cowboys – The only two losses since week 1 have been when Tony Romo left the game with an injury and didn’t play in the next. He now has one game back and a bye week to get as close to 100% as he can be. The Cowboys will continue as a top team as long as everyone is healthy. Last week – 8
5. Detroit Lions – Against the Cardinals on Sunday the Lions defense started slow, giving up TDs on the first two series. But after that they didn’t allow another score and only gave up 195 total yards. The Lions played very well against the only one loss team in the league, but not quite good enough. Last week – 5
6. Denver Broncos – For the first time in Peyton Manning’s career as a Bronco his offense only scored 7 points. Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas both left the game with an injury and the constant pressure on Manning made him less effective. The Broncos will be a better team if they have a solid run game. Last week – 3
7. Philadelphia Eagles – Chip Kelly is a mastermind on the offensive side of the ball. But what he can’t do is keep Mark Sánchez from being Mark Sánchez. Four turnovers in a game against the NFC’s best doesn’t win football games. Last week – 4
8. Kansas City Chiefs – Now ten weeks into the season and the Chiefs have yet to give up a rushing TD. They also rank 3rd in sacks with 30. Their defense is what makes this team elite. Last week – 10
9. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts got embarrassed at home against the Patriots on Sunday night. All four games where they have given up at least 30 points they have lost. Andrew Luck is a really good QB, but he can’t outscore everyone. Last week – 6
10. Seattle Seahawks – At what point does Russell Wilson get some of the blame for the Seahawks struggles? Four straight games without 200 yards passing and only four total TDs. Last week – 9
11. Pittsburgh Steelers – A sneaky victory for the Steelers on Monday night over the Titans. The offense is top flight, while the defense is the bottom of the barrel. This week on their bye tending to their defensive game plan is high on the agenda. Last week – 12
12. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Bills Thursday. Their defense ranks 2nd in opposing passing yards given up per game (208). They will have to continue with excellent play this week against the Broncos. Last week – 15
13. Baltimore Ravens – When the Ravens are at their best it’s because of their defense. In their six wins they are giving up 11.3 ppg. In their four losses they are giving up 28.2 ppg. Defense wins games and the Ravens know this. Last week – 13
14. San Diego Chargers – After starting the season with a 5-1 record, the Chargers are 1-3 since then. The offense has struggled the past two games, getting shut out by the Dolphins and only scoring 13 against the Raiders. Ryan Mathews could be a big help in that area as soon as he is back completely healthy. Last week – 14
15. San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers have gotten to the NFC Championship three years in a row because of one thing – defense. The past three weeks the defense is playing very well because of rookie LB Chris Borland, and now Aldon Smith is back from suspension. If they keep it up this team could get very hot down the stretch. Last week – 17
16. Cleveland Browns – This past week the Browns got away from what they have done so well. Instead of running the ball and controlling the clock they let Brian Hoyer throw it 50 times and he only completed 40% of his passes. That’s not how the Browns should do things. Last week – 11
17. Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton went from a rating of 2, two weeks ago to last week a rating of 143.9. It’s not every week that the Bengals play the Saints defense though. Last week – 16
18. Houston Texans – In Ryan Mallett’s first game as a starter there were flashes of some good things. Coach Bill O’Brien was smart and ran the ball 50 times with his trio of RBs to take pressure off of Mallett. Completely opposite from what the Browns did. Last week – 19
19. St. Louis Rams – The Rams have played better football as of late because their defensive line has stepped up and put pressure on opposing QBs. In the past three weeks they have sacked the QB 13 times and forced 5 turnovers. In the seven games prior they had only sacked the opposing QB 6 times and forced 9 turnovers. Last week – 23
20. Chicago Bears – In the four games the Bears have won their defense has given up less than 20 points in each game. In the six they have lost they are giving up 37.5 ppg. That doesn’t play well into Jay Cutler’s gun-slinging strengths. Last week – 24
21. Buffalo Bills – With back-to-back losses it would seem the Bills playoff hopes are all over. With not a lot of optimism left it looks like it will be a cold winter in Buffalo. Last week – 21
22. Atlanta Falcons – The NFC South is up for grabs by any of the four teams this late in the season. It’s not because they are playing good, it’s that no one can run away with the division. Right now the Falcons are in the lead and have given up 17 ppg on the road the past two weeks. If their defense plays well to finish the year they have a shot at making the playoffs. Last week – 25
23. New York Giants – The Giants had every opportunity to win last week’s game against the 49ers. But Eli Manning’s five interceptions were too much to come back from. The Giants are not a good enough team to still win games when they turn the ball over that much. Last week – 21
24. New Orleans Saints – The Saints had the division in their lap several times now, and they find a way to mess it up. The offense will be without Brandin Cooks for the rest of the season. But if the team will turn it around it will be because the defense plays better. Last week – 18
25. New York Jets – Michael Vick was able to snap the Jets’ eight-game losing streak because he did not turn the ball over against the Steelers. Now, coming off of their bye, he will try to continue the trend and only better football will come from that. Last week – 25
26. Carolina Panthers – Yes. The division is in reach but the Panthers really should be thinking about next season and fixing their offensive line. They will never be contenders as long as Cam Newton is teed off on a weekly basis. Last week – 22
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers do have a lot of talent on their roster. Their issues have been defensive players not fitting Lovie Smith’s scheme and turning the ball over offensively. The team is still a ways away from being relevant, but they have played better since Josh McCown’s return. Last week – 30
28. Minnesota Vikings – Last week the Vikings were only able to score 13 points. This is after the Bears gave up over 50 points in the two weeks prior. The defense is slowly getting better but getting more weapons around Teddy Bridgewater will be the only way this team has success in the future. Last week – 27
29. Washington Redskins – Not only is RG3 having issues on the field, he also doesn’t know how to handle a post-game interview anymore. The defense has been bad, the offense has been worse, and Colt McCoy still has the most wins for this team this season with two. Last week – 28
30. Tennessee Titans – The Titans had a good game on Monday that ended in a three-point loss against the Steelers. The problem is a good game from the Titans is an average game for the rest of the league. There are still a ton of pieces that need to be added to this roster for them to become competitive. Last week – 29
31. Jacksonville Jaguars – The defense has given up 27 points or more in seven of their ten games. That doesn’t bode well for a team that only scores 15.8 ppg. Last week – 31
32. Oakland Raiders – It’s very hard to go a whole season without a win in the NFL. But looking at the Raiders schedule to finish the year, well, it won’t be easy. There is only one team with a sub-.500 record (Rams) and the rest of the teams they face combine for a 32-18 record. Last week – 32
Follow us on Twitter: Nathan Castaneda – @PBPnate; Bret Emineth – @PBPbret
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Boris Diaw-San Antonio Spurs
Poetry in motion. That may be the best way to describe the San Antonio Spurs playing style. They move the ball flawlessly, everybody is always moving, and everybody can pass. It’s incredibly simple, yet somehow most NBA teams rely on one or two guys to do all the dribbling, passing, and in the Lakers case, shooting. Boris Diaw is just one of the several multi-talented players on the Spurs roster, as he is a power forward who can shoot, pass, play without the ball, rebound and defend. Diaw was excellent on Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers as he scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out seven assists. He was aggressive early in the game looking to score and did a great job facilitating on swings, setting up easy scores on numerous occasions. He was also excellent defensively, as he was matched up with Kevin Love for a majority of the time he was in. Love only scored 10 points and looked frustrated for large stretches of the game, as he couldn’t get anything going offensively.
Kevin Martin-Minnesota Timberwolves
Moving from an ex-Timberwolf to a current one; Kevin Martin was fantastic Wednesday night against the New York Knickerbockers. Martin dropped 37 points on only 20 shots. Martin hit 7 threes on only 11 attempts and was scoring early and often throughout the game. The Wolves have one of the younger teams in the NBA and are playing without their starting point guard, power forward and center, so Martin is expected to carry a bulk of the scoring load, and he certainly responded Wednesday.
People guarding Kobe Bryant
Yes I know, Kobe just scored over 25,000 points a few games ago and will most likely pass Michael Jordan by the end of the calendar year if health permits. There’s no disputing how great of a career he’s had, but unlike many at ESPN, I am not married to Kobe’s greatness or status as an NBA player because of his accomplishments. Right now, Kobe kind of stinks. Granted his entire team stinks and I get that Bryant has to shoot a lot, but he’s averaging over 24 shots per game. I can’t imaging taking that many shots in one game, let alone averaging that many (My career high is 17, and I felt the need to apologize afterwards). Of those 24 shots per game, my guess is that over half are contested. Bryant is shooting only 38% from the field, and on just about every shot I’ve seen from him this year (which I’ll admit isn’t all) is contested. Instead of talking about how great Kobe is, lets give some props to the guys guarding him. He is a faking machine and a lot of the guys guarding him are doing a great job not fouling or giving him easy buckets. Bryant may end up leading the league in scoring this year, but he will probably break the record for shot attempts per point in a season too.
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