Monthly Archives: December 2016

A key Cub to St. Louis? Bold December predictions

Jarrett Jack Youth Jersey The Major League Baseball winter meetings are right around the corner, and almost every industry insider will be in Washington, D.C., starting on Sunday, now that we have a new labor pact. With that huge “maybe” no longer hanging over the entire industry, the hot stove is heating up, and deals are well on their way to getting done. Even after this week’s $110 million pact for Yoenis Cespedes, there are plenty of big-name free agents who are still available — and plenty of teams hustling to make major moves. Here are my predictions for where some of those star players end up and who gets something done during December.

Dodgers president Andrew Friedman would like to bring back both infielder Justin Turner and left-hander Rich Hill, but Friedman is not sure he likes the length (in years) and average annual value it¡¯s going to take to get either deal done. However, his team matches up really well with his former club, the Rays as Longoria and Archer would actually be upgrades at both positions for the Dodgers, and both are already signed to reasonable multiyear contracts. The Rays are always looking for young prospects and non-arbitration-eligible players, and the Dodgers have plenty of those with which to make a blockbuster trade of this magnitude happen.
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New rule: Details are still being worked out, but what we’ve learned: (A) Only teams losing a player who signs a $50 million contract will receive compensation; (B) teams that have exceeded the luxury tax threshold and sign another team’s player who received the qualifying offer will surrender second- and fifth-round picks, plus $1 million in international pool money; but (C) if a club hasn’t exceeded the tax threshold and signs another team’s player who received the qualifying offer, it will surrender a third-round pick.

Assessment: Score one for the players, as tying free agents to first-round picks limited the demand for all but the very elite players. For example, Mark Trumbo is still operating under the old rules this offseason.

Piniella and Johnson: They have pretty good cases when compared to many Hall of Fame managers, although Johnson probably didn’t manage long enough and both have just one World Series title. Piniella is hurt by the fact that Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were just elected in 2014 and his record doesn’t match those three. Plus, Bruce Bochy and Terry Francona are active managers with stronger cases down the road.

Patty Mills shows Spurs have something in reserve

Patty Mills glanced down and let out a sigh, knowing this sequence likely meant the end.
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¡°It was like in a matter of 30 seconds,¡± Mills said. ¡°I knew if we lost the game, it was because of that.¡±

So instead of sulking, Mills tightened up and combined with Kawhi Leonard to pour in 24 of San Antonio¡¯s 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 94-87 on Wednesday to avoid dropping back-to-back games to teams with records below .500 for the first time since February 2010.

Early in the fourth quarter, such an undertaking seemed daunting.

With 10 minutes, 20 seconds remaining, Seth Curry drained a 3-pointer to give the Mavericks a 71-65 lead. Then Curry drove into the teeth of the defense for an 11-footer as Mills and Leonard erred in communicating the correct responsibilities on the play. As the duo discussed the defensive miscommunication on the ensuing inbounds play, Wesley Matthews swiped Leonard¡¯s errant pass only to be fouled by Mills, and sent to the line where he¡¯d put the Mavericks ahead 74-67.
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¡°I know I was involved in two or three plays there where defensively we screwed up,¡± Mills said. ¡°We let a 3-[pointer] in, a layup, and then a foul. So that was seven points there that I wasn¡¯t happy at all with. The mindset [was] aggressive, and not giving in. I thought that was the moral of that victory; not giving I no matter what. So it was a big grind game.¡±

The Spurs left center Pau Gasol in San Antonio along with reserve guard Manu Ginobili, as coach Gregg Popovich said the duo was ¡°banged up¡± and needed rest. In addition, starting point guard Tony Parker suited up, but didn¡¯t play a single minute as Popovich opted to rest him, too.

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