MLB Rumor Central: Mark Melancon weighing multiple offers?

Free-agent closer Mark Melancon appears to be in line for a big payday when he chooses his next team.

Rumor CentralThe 31-year-old has received multiple contract offers of four years and more than $60 million, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports, citing sources. The San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals are two teams involved, while “perhaps one other” club appears to be in play.
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That other team isn’t expected to be the Colorado Rockies, who have shown interest in the right-hander this offseason, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post notes, writing that Melancon has indicated he would take less to pitch for his hometown club.

Rosenthal writes that the Giants’ offer is thought to be the strongest. San Francisco pursued Melancon “fervently” before he was dealt to the Nationals ahead of last season’s trade deadline and looks like an obvious fit, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets.
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Melancon posted a 1.64 ERA and 47 saves between the Nats and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016. For what its worth, ESPN’s Keith Law wrote earlier this offseason that he wouldn’t give Melancon more than a one-year deal due to his checkered injury history.

“My job is pretty simple,” Mbah a Moute told ESPN.com. “Stand in the corner and make plays.” He’s doing just enough so far; Mbah a Moute has canned 42 percent of his corner 3s, and he looks more comfortable pumping-and-driving.

Steve Ballmer, L.A.’s moneybags owner, has already said he’ll pay the cost. Maxing out Griffin is a no-brainer, and the team expects Paul to demand the full five-year max (or whatever the longest possible deal ends up being in the revised collective bargaining agreement) to stick around, per several league sources. That would take him well past age 35. Gulp. Suitors will line up for Redick.

Nationals keep hot stove burning, bring Derek Norris back

Executives like Mike Rizzo are what keep the hot stove burning.

On Friday afternoon, two days before the start of MLB’s annual winter meetings in Rizzo’s backyard, the Washington Nationals general manager acquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league pitcher Pedro Avila. Even though the swap solidifies Washington’s backstop situation and basically takes them out of the running for free agent Matt Wieters, you can expect Rizzo and the Nats to be plenty active going forward.

Derek Norris’ relatively bargain price gives the Nationals latitude to concentrate on more pressing roster needs.

A 2007 fourth-round pick of the Nationals, Norris — who hit .186 last season but was an All-Star with Oakland in 2014 — fills the void created by the departure of free agent Wilson Ramos. More accurately, he’ll try to fill that void. It’ll be nearly impossible for Washington to replace the offensive production that Ramos — who had a career year, hitting .307 with 22 homers and 80 RBIs — gave them last season.
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Assessment: You’re either indifferent with this or you just checked your copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia. (That’s an old reference for you kids; back in the old days you used to have to look up statistics in a book.)

Assessment: Excellent rule. It will lead to more roster maneuverings — perhaps one reason the 26th-man roster move wasn’t agreed upon — but I like the idea that if a player sprains his ankle and is going to miss a week, a team doesn’t have to either (A) play a man short for a week, or (B) disable a player for longer than necessary. It’s also a little easier with this rule to stash a pitcher who has a tired arm or sore elbow or something, where he can go on the DL and miss one or two starts, and maybe that will prevent a few injuries.

Authentic Womens Josh Sitton Jersey Assessment: But the season will start four days earlier, giving the players a few additional off days during the season. At least the games will start earlier instead of pushing the playoffs back even deeper into November. In the past, Manfred has discussed cutting the season down to 154 games, but you can imagine how the owners feel about cutting four games of revenue.

So the union is still selling out the young Latin players to some extent, hoping the owners will reinvest some of that money into the major league payroll.

KAT puts up a historic night despite Timberwolves loss

Karl-Anthony Towns scored a career-high 47 points in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 106-104 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Towns became the youngest player in franchise history to record a 40-point game.

Here is a By the Numbers look at what Towns accomplished:

2 — Towns becomes the second player to record a 40-point, 15-rebound game this season, joining Anthony Davis, who has two such games. All three of those games were losses.

3 — Adding the 18 rebounds he grabbed, Towns became the third-youngest player to record a 45-point, 15-rebound game. Only Kevin Durant (20 years, 116 days) and Shaquille O’Neal (20 years, 347 days) were younger than Towns (21 years, 15 days) when they accomplished the feat.

4 — Towns is also the fourth-youngest player to record a 40-point, 15-rebound game, trailing Durant, O’Neal and Davis.
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Authentic Womens Justin March-Lillard Jersey 6 — It is the sixth straight game in which a Kentucky big man scored 40 points and grabbed 15 rebounds (Davis did so four times, and DeMarcus Cousins once). Russell Westbrook was the last non-Kentucky player to record a 40-point, 15-rebound game in the NBA.

22 — Towns’ career high while playing at Kentucky was 25 points. He nearly doubled that total Wednesday, scoring 22 more points than his college best.

100 — It took Towns 100 games to record his first 40-point game. It took Kevin Garnett 353 games at the age of 23 to score 40 points in a game.

LEAN MUSCLE: Over the past 18 months, Antetokounmpo has put on an impressive amount of muscle-his weight went from 196 pounds on draft day to 222 this season. But, crucially, he’s managed to do it without bulking up. “To be big is one thing, but to have muscles that are tuned to their optimal characteristics is another,” says Troy Flanagan, Ph.D., the Bucks’ director of performance. All that lean muscle mass allows him to generate force quickly, which gives him the agility and explosiveness that the NBA game demands.

CORE: Typically, in players of Antetokounmpo’s length and power, sports scientists see core instability, but this is yet another area in which the big Greek resembles more compact players. Other long players will have stability in the sagittal plane (which divides the trunk down the middle) but not in their frontal or horizontal planes. Antetokounmpo checks all boxes. The result? The aerobatic ability to dribble the length of the floor, elevate for a rebound, fly laterally through the air for an alley-oop-all complex movements that originate from the core.

Rams ending popular St. Louis fan events, promotions

The St. Louis Rams are canceling a series of events for fans and season ticket holders, including the popular Fan Fest held in August and the Cheer for a Cure breast cancer awareness fundraiser held in October, sources confirmed Thursday.

Rams staffers were recently notified that the activities were canceled via internal memo on Feb. 12. The team is not expected to officially announce that the events are canceled, opting instead to move Cory Harkey Youth Jersey forward with a reduced promotional schedule.

The Rams have not responded to SB Nation’s request for comment.

Fan engagement has been an important part of the team’s marketing efforts in recent years, with an increasing number of events added to the calendar. One of the more popular events, Fan Fest, began in 2012. Free and open to the public, it’s centered on the team’s intrasquad training camp scrimmage that includes an autograph session with players afterward and other activities. Last year’s Fan Fest drew more than 15,000 fans.

Harvin was traded to the Jets from the Seattle Seahawks in October, yet was far from impressive in his eight-game audition with the team. He caught 29 passes for 350 yards and one touchdown, and added 110 yards on the ground. Harvin is signed through 2018 with a cap charge of $10.5 million for next season. All of that money is in his base salary, so the Jets would save $10.5 million against the salary cap in 2015 if they release Harvin this winter.

So when League Official 2 came in, he tried to replace that football, League Official 1 Coty Sensabaugh Youth Jersey noticed the ball was missing, noticed that people knew, he brought the ball back into the game. So there were then two different league officials handing balls to Jim McNally for use in the game. And so it sounds like a very unique, murky, cloudy situation.

Peterson has three more seasons left on the seven-year, $96 million contract he signed with the Vikings in 2011.

Russell Wilson proving to be Brett Favre-like with awkward arm angles

In the second quarter of last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson felt some pressure off the left edge, stepped up in the pocket and started scrambling to his left.

He stayed behind the line of scrimmage Joel Bitonio Womens Jersey and kept his eyes downfield. With his body turned towards the sideline, and his legs still moving, Wilson somehow was able to deliver a perfect pass to tight end Jimmy Graham, who broke a tackle and sprinted to the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown.

A now-healthy Russell Wilson is back to throwing on the move and making use of his extraordinary ability to throw from any and all angles. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
It was an incredibly awkward arm angle with a high degree of difficulty. But Wilson somehow makes these throws with regularity — especially now that he’s getting healthier.

The Patriots return to MetLife on Sunday, still a winning machine even though they lost their star quarterback for four games to a silly NFL penalty. The Jets are 3-8 since that day, trying to salvage their pride in a lost season. It’s funny: The Patriots got busted for deflating footballs and the air came out in New Jersey, 200 miles away.

To paraphrase Vince Lombardi’s famous sideline rant, What the hell is going on?

“That’s the million-dollar question,” Fitzpatrick said. “That’s what we’re John Greco Womens Jersey all searching for.”

Eight of the 11 players who were on the field for Decker’s touchdown remain on the Jets’ roster, although two have missed significant time because of injuries — Decker (season-ending shoulder and hip surgeries) and center Nick Mangold (poised to miss his fourth game with a severe ankle sprain).

The three goners are left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson (retired), running back Chris Ivory (free agent) and receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (cut in the preseason).

There was certainly enough holdover talent to be better than 3-7, but the Jets have regressed in stunning fashion. The biggest one-season drop off in franchise history is six wins (10-6 to 4-12, twice), and this team could threaten that ignominious mark.

Vikings’ offensive line issues might be too much to overcome

A 22-yard reverse to Cordarrelle Patterson. A 15-yard pitch to Matt Asiata, out of a split backfield behind a three-receiver set. A steady dose of the Wildcat snaps they’ve used to inject some variety into their offense in recent weeks.

The Minnesota Vikings tried David Amerson Authentic Jersey it all in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, and for a while, it appeared they might have been able to conjure up enough productivity to get out of Ford Field with a win. Instead, the Vikings fell 16-13, and headed home staring at this cold reality: No matter how resourceful their offense or how valiant their defense, their offensive line issues might be too great to overcome.

I missed it. My teammates in St. Louis did too.

Matt Bowen’s Thanksgiving turkey as a rookie didn’t look quite like this.

As you get older in the league, you become more accustomed to missing holidays at home. It will never be ideal, but it’s also part of the gig as a pro. And your family adjusts too.

But that first one? Yikes. I had a hard time. It was the first Thanksgiving I ever missed. I played under the old college football schedule of the ’90s. At Iowa, we would wrap up the regular season versus the Gophers the weekend before Thanksgiving before heading back to our respective homes for the holiday.

But when you’re not there, it’s the small things you miss.

We used to have a family Turkey Bowl every Thanksgiving in Peoria, Illinois, across DeAndre Washington Authentic Jersey the street from my aunt and uncle’s house. Bad playcalling. Jump balls in the end zone. Quarterback scramble drills. Lots of turnovers. And some injuries. I busted up my dad’s knee once. And the adults capped off the game with Old Styles, mudslides and vodka tonics. Me too when I turned 21.

the NFL has been limited by technology that is deemed unreliable when buried among humans

To this point, the NFL has been limited by technology that is deemed unreliable when buried among humans.

Last year, I spoke with a representative of a company that produces the Hawk-Eye data chip used to assist referees in soccer’s Premier League. Developers said that the chip would not work unless a minimum of 25 percent of the ball is exposed to daylight. If a running back has the ball tucked correctly, and/or he is at the bottom of a pile, the chip cannot transmit its location consistently enough for confident use.

New hope emerged this summer when the NFL John Cyprien Authentic Jersey placed RFID chips in footballs it would use in the preseason and also Thursday night games. But even if they prove reliable enough to merit further testing, they would only provide half of the information needed to spot the ball.

Then they used a 10-yard link of chains to determine whether Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller had reached the line to gain. The measurement showed he had not, despite what appeared on the ESPN broadcast to be a successful run.

Texans running back Akeem Hunt was ruled short of a first down on this fourth-down attempt on Monday night.

The same thing happened again on fourth down; Texans running back Akeem Hunt was ruled down just short. The spot was upheld on replay, a key fourth-quarter swing in what became a 27-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Social media, and the Texans to a lesser extent, exploded. Why is the NFL still using such an inexact Julius Thomas Authentic Jersey method to measure ball placement? How, in an age of driverless cars and diaper delivery by drone, can there not be a way to use technology to pinpoint a more precise and consistent spot?

I’ve been reporting on this issue for several years and, as reasonable as those questions sound, I’ve found no satisfying answers. The best solution might be to experiment with a Canadian Football League innovation that uses a centralized video official to assist with spots and other administrative matters. But even then, the NFL would be limited by what can be seen on the broadcast.

Will the Colts be able to win even one Super Bowl with Andrew Luck?

Andrew Luck appeared destined to surpass Peyton Manning’s individual and team accomplishments not long after he took his first snap as the Indianapolis Colts’ franchise quarterback in 2012.

Luck led the Colts to 11 victories while throwing for an Dainius Zubrus Authentic Jersey NFL-record 4,374 yards that season. But it wasn’t all about the quarterback for them. The Colts had a vision that was bigger than simply Luck.

Owner Jim Irsay talked about wanting to surround Luck with a complete team. He didn’t want one that put up “Star Wars” type offensive numbers like they did during Manning’s 13-year career with the franchise only to end up not having a lot to show for it in terms of Super Bowl titles.

The Colts thought they had only a brief hiccup when they missed the playoffs in 2015 after they reached the AFC Championship Game in 2014. They were supposed to get back on track with a healthy Luck in the lineup this season, but that has been far from the case.

But logging a whopping 3,681 minutes over the course of 80 games and hoisting 2,106 shots from the field — without the benefit of a 3-point line to pad his scoring totals and spare him some of that painful contact — definitely “took a toll on me” in the words of a 6-foot-1 guard who played at a mere 150 pounds.

“You pay for that, too,” Archibald said.

Not that he has similar fears for Harden or Westbrook.

“These guys are bigger and stronger than me,” Tiny said. “And Damon Severson Authentic Jersey the technology is different. The medical technology is different. Bernard King, who tore up his knee, he would be back quicker nowadays. He wouldn’t have to wait a year and a half or two years to come back. Everything is much better and I think that’s why guys last longer. These guys are equipped with a different century than we were.”

It’s an era he’s happy to take in as a fan like the rest of us, gasping at the audacious way Westbrook can finish a game with his left hand. Or wondering if Harden can really continue to be the first player this league has ever seen to generate in excess of 60 points a night with his scoring and passing in D’Antoni’s most free-flowing offense yet.

Bryant likes to think “good guys finish first.” Next comes marriage

At the plate he just keeps improving. The power numbers were great, of course, but perhaps his best statistic of 2016 was his strikeout-to-walk ratio. It’s down to 2-to-1 after Bryant struck out a league-leading 199 times in 2015. And he’s not done — his goal is an even 1-to-1 split. This year he covered more of the plate than in his rookie season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Bryant hit .217 and slugged .330 on outside pitches in 2015. Those numbers jumped to .289 and .474 this past season. This is what Bryant does: He sees a weakness and attacks it.

“I’ll continue to work harder than I have ever before to sustain that,” he said.

Bryant’s greatest asset, however, might be his demeanor. He takes every failure as a challenge and nothing seems to get him down. That extends off the field, where he possesses an MVP attitude.

The Diamondbacks announced the entire coaching staff Thursday. The newcomers are Tony Perezchica as third-base coach and a pair of ex-Diamondbacks — Mike Fetters as bullpen coach and Robby Hammock as quality control and catching coach.

“A well-deserved honor for a player that puts his name in the MVP conversation year in and year out,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Trout in a release. “Mike is the consummate team player and deserves every accolade he receives on the field just as he should off of it for the person he is.”

Odds are Bryant will have more years like 2016, as he and the young Cubs are just getting started. The win cemented an unprecedented four-year run for the 24-year-old. No other player besides Bryant has won the award for best amateur (University of San Diego, 2013), top Minor League Player of the Year (2014), Rookie of the Year and now MVP. In fact, none of the other five players to win three of those awards did so in consecutive seasons. Bryant accomplished the feat in four straight years.

“To hear that, see it, it’s Danielle Hunter Authentic Womens Jersey amazing,” Bryant said. “To even know I’m the first to do that is very humbling and I’m so grateful. I don’t know if that will ever set in.”

Kris Bryant earned 29 of 30 first-place votes in winning the NL MVP award.

Bryant’s ability to adjust quickly when struggles arise means he never slumps for long. He has dominated at every level, including the Arizona Fall Emmanuel Lamur Authentic Womens Jersey League, where he won MVP honors shortly after being drafted. His trophy room is filling up.

“It’s all downhill from here,” Bryant joked.

Bobby Johnson with Bill Parcells at the 25th anniversary celebration of the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XXI win

On Oct. 16, Johnson was invited to MetLife Stadium to attend the Giants’ Week 6 game against the Ravens, joining 74 other Giants alumni being honored in a pregame ceremony. But before the ceremony began, Johnson was approached by Giants personnel.

“He’s Robert Quinn,” Barron said. “He’s Eric Wood Authentic Jersey doing what he always does. To see him back, after his situation, it’s good.”

“Thirty years ago, my dad presented you with a Super Bowl ring,” Mara told Johnson. “Through the efforts of some very good people, we were able to recover your ring after all these years. We want to present it to you today.”

Johnson was stunned. “I just couldn’t believe it. It was like a dream. It really was,” he said. “I just remember putting it on and crying. For Glenn Gronkowski Authentic Jersey five to 10 minutes, that’s all I remember.”

“She asked me, ‘Are you my son? I didn’t raise you like this. This is not you.'”

Johnson has been clean for 14 years. ESPN learned his story, and shared it before this season’s Giants-Vikings matchup in Week 4.

Within hours, a campaign to get Johnson’s ring back to him began.

Leading the charge was Lee Einsidler, a sports fan who was deeply moved by Johnson’s recovery and positive outlook.

Einsidler, who declined to be interviewed for this story, reached out to his close friend Bill Parcells with his idea. The two had bonded 10 years ago through a shared passion for horses in Saratoga, New York.

“Lee had seen the piece that ESPN had done on Bobby, on being homeless and selling his Super Bowl ring,” Parcells said. “Right after that aired, Lee called me and he said, ‘You know, Bill, we need to try and get this guy his ring back.’ And I said, ‘Well, Lee, I would like to assist you in doing that, if you would be gracious enough to let me.’ Which he was.”

Einsidler pursued the trail of Johnson’s Super Bowl ring to a memorabilia dealer’s collection on Long Island. From there, he and Parcells split the cost to purchase it.

“I felt like I failed with him in some respects,” Parcells said of that 1986 season. “I wasn’t able to keep him from going off the deep end, so to speak. We wound up having to trade him, and then football ended for him. Most of us thought that when we did hear about him, it wasn’t going to be that good of news.”

Parcells crossed paths with Johnson five years ago, when the 1986 team celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Super Bowl win.

“He was different,” Parcells said. “He was good. He came right up to me, he gave me a big hug, told me the dark days were over. You could just tell that things were a lot better for him.”