Mike Moustakas, Joakim Soria officially join free-agent class

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Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas is becoming a free agent again, and so is reliever Joakim Soria.

In addition, the Brewers exercised a $3,175,000 option on All-Star right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who would have been eligible for salary arbitration if it had been declined.

Moustakas declined a $15 million mutual option on Tuesday.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

He rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer and left Kansas City after the 2017 season but was unable to find a long-term deal he liked. He returned to the Royals in mid-March for a one-year contract that included a guaranteed $6.5 million — a $5.5 million salary and $1 million option buyout. Moustakas earned an additional $2.2 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances, raising his total earnings for 2018 to $8.7 million.10

A 30-year-old left-handed hitter, Moustakas had a .251 average with 28 homers and 95 RBIs. He hit .256 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 54 games for the Brewers, who acquired him from the last-place Royals on July 27.

“I think he provided our team with what we were looking for when we acquired him: a powerful left-handed bat, he played a really quality third base and we had a guy who’d been there before contributing to our clubhouse culture,” Milwaukee general manager David Stearns said last week.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Soria declined a $10 million mutual option and gets a $1 million buyout, completing a $25 million, three-year contract he agreed to with the Royals in December 2015. The right-hander was acquired from the Chicago White Sox on July 26 and was 3-1 with a 4.09 ERA in 26 games with the Brewers.

Soria had an 18.00 ERA without a decision in two innings over four appearances in the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was 1-0 and allowed just a hit and no runs in 2⅔ innings in the division series sweep over the Colorado Rockies, appearing in all three games.

Moustakas and Soria follow left-handed starters Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley, along with veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, in Brewers who elected free agency this week. Gonzalez and Granderson also had been acquired in separate deals to bolster the Brewers for the stretch run.

Brodie Van Wagenen says Mickey Callaway will stay

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New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen says Mickey Callaway will remain New York’s manager and hopes ace Jacob deGrom stays with the team “for a long time.”

Van Wagenen was officially introduced as the Mets GM on Tuesday, switching roles to the front office after being an agent at CAA Sports since 2006.

When asked about Callaway, who managed the Mets to a 77-85 record in his first season with the team, Van Wagenen said: “I fully support him.”cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

DeGrom, 30, is signed through the 2020 season and is a former client of Van Wagenen’s. The All-Star right-hander led the majors with a 1.70 ERA this past season, going 10-9 with 269 strikeouts in 217 innings.9

“I believe Jacob deGrom is an incredible talent and I hope to keep him for a long time,” Van Wagenen said.

Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon called the GM search exhausting. He said it began with a list of about 40 names that was narrowed to 10-12 candidates and then three finalists. And he detailed why he and his father, Mets owner Fred Wilpon, chose Van Wagenen to replace Sandy Alderson and build a “sustainable” winner.

“He’s a leader. He’s organized. He’s going to be collaborative with our entire staff,” Jeff Wilpon said. “He’s got a plan. He’s got a deep analytic background. He’s got deep scouting background. He finds players before we even get to see them in the minor leagues and things. His player development and scouting will be tremendously important to the entire organization.

“He’s going to bring some excitement. He’s going to bring a different look at things than we’ve had from traditional GMs,” the COO added. “We’re really energized by this.”

Van Wagenen represented big names all around the majors, including Mets stars deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier. Seven players on the team’s current 40-man roster are clients at CAA Baseball, where Van Wagenen was co-head after co-founding the division in 2006.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

Jeff Wilpon said he spoke with the commissioner’s office and players’ union chief Tony Clark about the hire, and there are provisions in Van Wagenen’s contract “to deal with any conflicts of interest.”

Rajon Rondo’s bid for a tie fails as Lakers fall to Spurs

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However, San Antonio’s defense didn’t bite, and LeBron James was unable to knock down a contested, overtime-forcing 3-pointer for the second time in a week against the Spurs. San Antonio won another nail-biter over the Lakers 110-106 on Saturday at AT&T Center.

After the Lakers (2-4) had their two-game win streak snapped, Rondo and the Lakers explained what happened when they were down three with a chance to cut the lead to one and foul or tie the game.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“We didn’t have any more timeouts,” Rondo said. “You know, I thought I could probably suck somebody in [on the Spurs’ defense off the Lakers’ 3-point shooters], but they did a great job of staying home. The layup would have gotten us one point closer. We’d still have to foul, but we didn’t have any timeouts, so maybe … I just made a split decision, and we didn’t get what we wanted.”

The Lakers thought they let one get away in San Antonio after leading by 11 with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter. They fell behind by eight with 1:34 left in the fourth but scored seven straight points.10

After DeMar DeRozan (30 points) scored to push the San Antonio lead to 108-105, James hit a wide-open cutting Rondo. Rondo, who had just returned from a three-game suspension for his role in a fight with Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets a week ago Saturday, then opted to turn down a layup. As he went to pull the basketball out of the paint, he nearly lost the ball before passing it to Josh Hart. Hart, covered by DeRozan, immediately fed James, who missed a contested 3.

Hart was able to draw a foul while crashing the glass, and he made the first free throw before saying he intentionally missed the second.

James took an inadvertent elbow from Pau Gasol to the neck as they went for the rebound. Gasol got the rebound and was fouled before making both free throws to seal the game.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

James, who poured in 35 points and 11 rebounds, saw what Rondo was trying to do.

“I was looking for a 3 and then ‘Do opened up wide-open, and I put the ball in his hands to make a play,” James said. “And sometimes when you drive it, you kind of mess with the defense, and they start to shrink in, and you’re able to get a 3, and that’s what ‘Do was thinking, trying to get Josh Hart one. But they stayed home and got it back to me, and I took one that missed.”

LeBron James not shying away from MJ’s challenge: ‘I’m ready!’

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LeBron James served up a tweet late Sunday night that, if the stars align, could serve as a flash point to one of the greatest, most anticipated modern-day duels in history — a one-on-one with Michael Jordan.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Or maybe not. But James’ sarcastic reply to a tweeted NBC Sports promotional video featuring Jordan teasing about solving the GOAT debate — about Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers — could go a long way toward stirring the pot.

The jest came just a day after James continued to climb the career scoring list, passing Dirk Nowitzki for sixth place in the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Nowitzki told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that James will end up as the top scorer ever to play the game.9

It was also James’ 432nd career 30-point game, which passed Kobe Bryant for fourth on that list and evoked a number that Jordan fans knew well with a season-high 35 points, putting his career total at 31,202.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

James has Jordan’s 32,292 points for fourth place in his sights and could pass it this season.

But James would have a tough time catching Jordan in career scoring average — James boosted his to 27.2 after Saturday’s game, with Jordan at 30.1 — and of course NBA titles, with James holding three to Jordan’s six. James does hold the edge in rebounds, at 7.4 vs. 6.2 per game, and assists, with a 7.2 average vs. Jordan’s 5.3.

Loss in Pittsburgh adds water to Browns’ sinking ship

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Now add on drama within the coaching staff that may have already short-circuited the team’s effort to build a successful offense and bring along said young quarterback.

Forget who bears main responsibility and ask this question: Can a team make more of a mess of things?

The Browns have lost three in a row and are 2-5-1 at the midpoint — after they beat Baltimore in overtime to reach .500. They face Kansas City and Atlanta at home before a bye. And the status of relations between coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley seems, at best, rocky.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Reports surfaced Sunday that Jackson may wish to fire Haley and take over the offense himself. He tried to light a fire a week ago by saying he would jump into helping the offense, but a coach coming off a winless season followed by a one-win season won’t win that public battle.10

Bottom line: Teams can’t win with this kind of in-house drama. And teams cannot properly develop a young quarterback caught in the middle. The Browns made no immediate moves after the game, and none sounded imminent. Instead the team will try to bring the two parties together so they mesh as the season continues.

The offense started fast Sunday, but got only two field goals out of three excellent scoring chances in the first half. From then the same problems arose that have plagued the Browns all season. Youth, lack of consistency, mistakes, clock managemen — it’s hard to see how changing coordinators or, for that matter, firing the coach and bringing in an interim will make any difference in the short term.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The Browns talk over and over about being close, close to winning in overtime, close to getting over the hump. With this team, close doesn’t matter. The Browns have had double-digit losses in nine of the past 10 seasons – and are headed for a 10th.

Jackson is the head coach who will have this record on his resume; if he wants to do things a certain way Haley should be doing them that way. But the bigger problem is the lack of respect that seems evident between them. Jackson talks of helping the offense, Haley doesn’t even mention the head coach by name in his news conference.

Bengals limp into bye week with mixed feelings about win

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There was happiness about the Week 8 win, eagerness to get out the door for the Week 9 bye, sadness about the loss of defensive end Carl Lawson, and general puzzlement about what to take away from the game.

“A win is a win, so you feel good, but this one feels a little weird,” linebacker Preston Brown said. “We’ve got to find a way to do it on defense, but luckily our offense helped us out.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

If it was possible to be elated and frustrated at the same time, that was certainly the postgame mood. The Bengals (5-3) picked off quarterback Jameis Winston four times — enough to get him benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick — but they also gave up 576 total yards of offense and 18 points in the fourth quarter alone.

On the other side, the offense raced out to a 27-9 lead in the first half, put up more than 400 yards of total offense, and executed a last-minute drive that ended in a game-winning field goal. But their lead evaporated in the second half thanks to a combination of poor defense and four straight three-and-outs that netted a total of 14 yards.

“Obviously we wish we would have played better in the second half and made the game a little easier than having to drive down and kick a field goal with no time left. We had the opportunity to do that, but we didn’t. That is where it’s disappointing. Offensively we didn’t play the same way we did in the first half and we weren’t getting first downs. We had way too many three-and-out drives, and in that way, it’s disappointing. But we won. To be 5-3 right now is huge.”

It’s no wonder Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he was disappointed in how the team played.9

“We’ve got an opportunity to keep playing and make plays, and we’re not making plays,” Lewis said. “Those are makeable plays we have to do and we have to understand. We’ve got to figure it out.”

Lewis noted several issues with the defense, which features several young players who he said need to adjust and mature quickly.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“They’re trying to do too much at times,” Lewis said. “They’re trying to get out of their job to do something else. Just do your job first and everything will happen. Everything will fit together. You don’t have to [do everything]. Make sure you understand the urgency of what [your] responsibility is on this particular play — plain, flat and simple, that’s what it is. Just do [your] particular job with the urgency on this particular play and let the other guys work and understand it.”

The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for the Bengals, who need to do a serious reassessment of their defense, which has given up at least 480 yards of offense in each of their past three games. Their offense has been inconsistent for weeks. And their injury list has seriously piled up, with seven starters out before Sunday’s game. Clint Boling also left the game because of an injury and Lawson tore his ACL and is out for the season.

Red Sox light up Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers to take Game 1

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Benintendi went 4-for-5, with three singles and a double, drove in the first run of the game and scored three times. All of Benintendi’s hits came off left-handed pitching, including three against Los Angeles ace Kershaw.

Benintendi became just the fourth Boston player with a four-hit game in the World Series, joining Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007 and Wally Moses in 1946. At 24, he’s the second-youngest Red Sox player with a four-hit game in the postseason.

The young left fielder had plenty of help. J.D. Martinez had a couple of searing RBI hits, Mookie Betts scored a couple of runs, and Rafael Devers had a key RBI single. And Nunez provided the big blow.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Still, the Dodgers hung close, tying the game 2-2 in the third and 3-3 in the fifth. They closed within 5-4 in the seventh on Manny Machado’s sacrifice fly. Boston protected the lead when Eduardo Rodriguez got Cody Bellinger out on a shallow fly to center with two men on base.10

That set the stage for Nunez, who hit for Devers with two runners on after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called lefty Alex Wood in from the bullpen. Nunez turned on a Wood offering and rifled it over the Green Monster in left. According to Statcast tracking, Nunez’s blast had an exit velocity of 106.8 mph, his hardest-hit dinger in the past two seasons.

The offensive fireworks occurred despite the much-anticipated showdown between Kershaw and Boston ace Chris Sale. Neither pitcher recorded an out after the fourth inning. It was the first time in World Series history that two pitchers who had recorded 300-strikeout seasons had faced each other.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Martinez gave Boston the lead with a rocket double off the center-field fence in the far expanses of Fenway Park, a 109-mph shot that drove in Steve Pearce from first to put the Red Sox ahead 3-2 in the third. Martinez slipped on the damp infield while rounding second base and limped around for a bit under the watchful eye of Boston’s trainer. He remained in the game.

The Dodgers had tied the game with three hits off Sale in the third, the last a single to left by Machado, the subject of the expected robust round of boos during pregame introductions. Machado drove in three runs in the contest.

L.A. needs to solve Boston’s deep, talented, relentless lineup

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During the regular season, the Boston Red Sox had the best offense in the majors, leading everybody in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. “We’ve been doing this all year, especially in the postseason,” Brock Holt said after the Red Sox beat the Dodgers 8-4 on Tuesday, pounding out 11 hits and the five hardest-hit balls of the game. “We’ve been giving good at-bats, not going out of the strike zone. We have a lot of guys who can get the job done and a lot of guys who have stepped up.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

That was the big lesson from the first game. This lineup is deep, talented, relentless and shows absolutely no fear with two strikes. J.D. Martinez hit two rockets and Mookie Betts reached base twice, but Andrew Benintendi chipped in with four hits, three of them off Clayton Kershaw, and when Martinez was intentionally walked with the score 5-4 in the seventh inning, Eduardo Nunez came off the bench after Xander Bogaerts struck out and delivered the decisive blow with a three-run home run.9

The Red Sox attacked Kershaw right out of the gate: 14 pitches into the game it was already 2-0. “That was huge for us,” Holt said. “I’m sure there were some nerves, but when you get up like that right away, it’s like, ‘OK, this is just baseball.'”

Indeed, the Red Sox seemed locked in on their game plan against Kershaw. They got five hits off his slider — more than Kershaw had allowed in any one start this season, no surprise since batters hit just .179 against his slider in the regular season. Four of those hits were over 100 mph.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Red Sox bench coach Ron Roenicke had high praise for hitting coach Tim Hyers after the game and the team’s success against Kershaw and the four relievers who followed. “That’s as good a job as I’ve seen of a guy breaking down a pitching staff,” he said.

Benintendi didn’t want to give away any state secrets about their approach against the three-time Cy Young winner. “Obviously we’re facing a guy who’s one of the best of all time,” he said. “And a lot of guys didn’t have a lot of experience off of him; the first time a lot of us have faced him. … Just (wanted) to get him in the zone and try not to chase. I don’t want to say too much. We’ll probably face him again. But we swung at strikes for the most part.”

In the end, Dodgers’ talent trumps Brewers’ moves

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That’s the lingering feeling from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in Saturday’s Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. The best of the best of the Brewers can hang with anybody on the Dodgers. But in a matchup between teams that rely on depth and matchups more than any other teams in baseball, that’s a battle fought on the Dodgers’ turf.

“We definitely are going to tip our cap to the Brewers,” NLCS MVP Cody Bellinger said, while sitting behind the comically large statue he had just won. “They were a great team. Obviously, they put up a really tough fight. Like I said, we’ve been there, we’ve done that.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

We know it didn’t have to end this way. The better team doesn’t always win in baseball. If fact, it often doesn’t. It’s what makes baseball unique among the major sports. Unsung players get hot, superstar players slump, Lady Luck pays a visit and teams get kneecapped by a poor decision.10

Even in Game 7, which was never really in doubt after the middle innings, the Brewers were inches away from snapping a 36-year pennant drought.

Chris Taylor, who according to unimpressive catch probability readings from Statcast, turned what apparently should have been a ho-hum play into a highlight catch. Well, sorry Statcast — that was a highlight catch.

The drive Taylor caught, off the bat of Christian Yelich, came in the fifth inning, with Lorenzo Cain dancing off second base and the Brewers still trailing by just a run. Taylor raced over from left field and laid out to snag the ball in the webbing of his glove, while Bellinger leaped over his tumbling torso.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“That was the catch of the year,” Bellinger said. “I don’t know what would happen if he doesn’t make that catch. It would have been a tie game, who knows. That was an unbelievable catch. And it was really cool to see it firsthand.”

The next inning, Yasiel Puig’s three-run homer broke the game open. The ball was a laser beam that reached the fence so quickly that even Cain could not track it down for one of his signature home run robberies. The ball had a launch angle of 9 degrees, according to Statcast, the lowest homer Puig has hit since these measurements began. The ball actually skipped off the top of the fence.

LeBron’s L.A. debut comes crashing to a reality-show-level halt

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So said Ice Cube as he concluded the opening invocation that greeted fans on the video screen as they filed in from the buzzy concourse into the bowl at Staples Center. Among the promises offered to those in attendance were “the dawn of a new kingdom” and the restoration of Showtime. The monarch in question, naturally, is LeBron Raymone James Sr. And with his arrival in Los Angeles, basketball’s most prominent star is now the face of the NBA’s premier franchise.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

For about two hours on Saturday, the electric current pulsating through the arena during James’ regular-season premiere in a Lakers uniform appeared to be the NBA at the height of its cultural power. If the league could order up a custom product for the global masses, might it be a rapid-fire shootout featuring its global star on its global team, facing an opponent with a presence such as the Rockets, led by the reigning MVP?9

Then, with just over four minutes remaining in a one-point game, the Lakers’ welcome wagon was hijacked by fisticuffs. In a league whose players reputedly never truly want to fight, this game was abruptly rattled by a melee that saw three players land close-fisted punches: Brandon Ingram (who started the brawl with a shove of James Harden) and Rajon Rondo of the Lakers, as well as Chris Paul of the Rockets. After players were separated multiple times as emotions continued to run hot, officials took several minutes to adjudicate the incident. All three players were ejected and face certain suspensions.

If James started the night as the game’s honoree, he ended it as its peacemaker. While tempers festered, James could be found with his arms around his close friend Paul in an effort to de-escalate the madness. LeBron has always thrived in chaos, but Saturday night’s delirium was a little too much drama even for him.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

As is so often the case in today’s NBA, the scripted events on Saturday night were subsumed by the spontaneous and the absurd. No league in recent memory has generated more excitement from its unrehearsed, reality-show escapades. The Lakers tried to orchestrate a showcase of their showtime revival, but the garden party was crashed by vagrants. The Rockets pulled away in the moments following the fracas for a 124-115 win, dropping the Lakers to 0-2.