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MADRID (AP) — As Spanish league president Javier Tebas sees it Cheap Nigeria Soccer Jerseys , expanding internationally is the only way to stay competitive.And following the model of the American sports industry will help that happen, so playing a regular-season match in the United States will remain an important part of the league’s strategy to grow globally.Tebas tried to play a match near Miami this season, but the attempt failed because the league couldn’t get the approval from the Spanish soccer federation and from other stakeholders. The game between Girona and Barcelona, which was supposed to take place last weekend, ended up being played in Catalonia as originally scheduled.“With all the controversy that was created, I thought we were trying to play all the league matches in the United States,” Tebas said Wednesday in an event organized by Europa Press. “We are talking about one match in a total of 380. It’s very important for us to be able to play this match in the United States.”The game would be part of the league’s 15-year agreement with sports and entertainment group Relevent to promote its brand in the Americas.The Spanish federation was against the idea because of concerns that the overseas game would not comply with Spanish and international regulations and TV broadcast contracts , and because it could harm the other 18 league clubs. Spain’s players’ association said the long trip across the Atlantic in the middle of the season would hurt the players’ interests.“Some 20 days ago they played an NBA game in London,” Tebas said, defending his project. “Do we want to compare ourselves to the American sports industry or not? We should try, while keeping our peculiarities.”Tebas has always noted that American sports leagues such as the NBA, NHL and the NFL have been playing regular-season games abroad to help expand their brands.“This game is not only about the 90 minutes, it’s about everything that comes along with it, about how much people will talk about it Cheap Portugal Soccer Shirts ,” Tebas said. “If the NBA brings an official game to Spain, it creates a connection with all the basketball fans here. If we do the same in the United States, all the soccer fans there will follow our league a lot more closely.”With not a lot of room to grow locally, Tebas said there is no other alternative for the league than to focus on thriving outside of Spain.“What is important for us is the international market,” Tebas said. “I always tell the clubs that we need to make a decision about what we want. If we want our football to remain a reference internationally, then we need to know where we have to go. And we need to keep growing.”Tebas said it has been difficult to compete with a league like the Premier League because it can earn more from television rights thanks to England’s much bigger market compared to Spain’s.“In the international market, we are all equals Cheap Russia Soccer Jerseys ,” he said. “That’s where we need to focus on.” Barely 24 hours after he lamented Juventus dropping points against Parma, Cristiano Ronaldo was spotted at the Estadio Jose Alvalade looking on as his boyhood club Sporting took on Benfica. The 33-year-old Juventus forward who grabbed a brace in Saturday's 3-3 draw, was pictured with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez and best friend Miguel Paixao in the stands.However, the outcome of the first 45 minutes was probably not what the ex-Real Madrid superstar envisaged. A Haris Seferovic strike in the 11th minute set Sporting C.P. on course for its first home defeat in the league this season. 25 minutes later teenage sensation Joao Felix expertly scored Benfica's second of the night.Bruno Fernandes subsequently restored a slight glimmer of hope before half time by pulling one goal back for Sporting inside the 43rd minute. However, the optimism only last for the half-time break with Benfica center-back Ruben Diaz restoring the two-goal lead a minute after the second half was resumed. Cristiano Ronaldo's appearance at the Portuguese blockbuster clash was nothing out of the blue. Earlier on Sunday, Juventus revealed in a statement that all the players have been given two days off following a busy week of fixtures. The statement read: "The Bianconeri have featured in three games over the course of the seven days, and will now have time to rest and regain their energy before they resume Serie A action."Juventus will return to training at Continassa on Tuesday afternoon replica football jerseys from China , where they will begin their preparations for their next match away to Sassuolo on Sunday, 10 February, at 18:00 CET."

Lifelong Steelers fans have grown accustomed to a great deal of stability at the receiver positions from year to year. Whether you’re talking about the storied Swann-Stallworth tandem that played a central role in four league championships or the Hines Ward-Heath Miller combo (with celebrated sidekicks such as Emmanuel Sanders , Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace), we’ve always pretty much known who would be in the starting lineup.But as things stand today, the situation at receiver positions is a lot more unsettled than it’s been in the past. Probably the most obvious example is that three players — Vance McDonald, Jesse James and Xavier Grimble currently are sharing snaps at Tight End. But the musical chairs don’t stop there. While Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are firmly entrenched as the starting tandem, the presence of Justin Hunter and Ryan Switzer, plus the availability of the raw-but-talented James Washington, makes that situation somewhat of a mixed bag as well.It’s difficult to understand exactly what the Steelers’ coaching staff is trying to accomplish by continuing to platoon receivers at mid-season, rather than sticking with their best players at each position and thereby enabling Big Ben to develop greater chemistry with them — perhaps even the same kind of sixth sense he’s developed with No. 84. In watching the Steelers’ offense during the first half of the 2018 regular season, there still appears to be considerable unfamiliarity between No. 7 and those receivers who play mainly supporting roles in the offense. And in a game where precision timing and consistency are crucial factors, it’s reasonable to suspect that having too many receivers in the mix might not be the best recipe for a team whose ultimate goal is another Super Bowl berth. We might suspect, given the injury issues he’s had in the past, that the Steelers don’t want to press their luck by giving McDonald more snaps at tight end. On the other hand, it’s pretty obvious McDonald is the most potent weapon in Pittsburgh’s current triumvirate. He certainly looks like the guy who ought to be filling the same role that Heath Miller did for so many seasons. With rookie James Washington becoming less visible in the Steelers’ offense recently, it’s possible he’ll be added into the mix more often as the second half of the season plays out. When that happens, it will add yet another less-familiar element to the offense. At any rate, it seems the Steelers are still searching for the same kind of spark-plug player at the No. 3 receiver position that James Conner has become this season at running back. To the extent that the Steelers’ offense has sputtered at various times this season, it appears to do so when opposing defenses have done a good job covering Brown and Smith-Schuster. Because the No. 3 receiver position still isn’t solidified on the Black-and-gold Maurkice Pouncey Jersey , this enables teams with strong secondaries to force Ben and Company to play out of character, and the results usually aren’t very good. Eli Rogers had been filling that role in the past but, so far, the Steelers haven’t found a replacement capable of making a comparable or better impact. Of course, if McDonald blossoms into the kind of durable performer that Heath Miller was for so many years in Pittsburgh, he could become that third ace the team needs in its receiver corps. Likewise, if James Conner continues on the pace he’s set so far in 2018, that also might compensate for the team failing to settle on any particular No. 3 wide receiver.As strong as the Steelers’ offense might be, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that they still need to add one more reliable piece to their receiver corps — a player who can provide the same kind of punch that young players like Conner and Smith-Schuster have brought to the team. On Sunday in Baltimore, we’ll have another opportunity to see the Steelers matching up against a team with a solid secondary. For Pittsburgh to prevail and do so convincingly will require the emergence of one more offensive weapon. Otherwise, we’re probably looking at yet another typical Steelers-Ravens slugfest with the outcome still unclear in the final quarter. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how former outside linebacker Mike Mitchell Color Rush Jersey , James Harrison, is now turning his attention away from the football field, and to — the big screen? According to ESPN, Harrison is seriously considering trying to start up an acting career, and he wouldn’t be the first athlete to do so. The question is, would he be any good?Let’s get to the news:‘The Rock better watch out’: How James Harrison plans to sack HollywoodBy: Jeremy Fowler, ESPNAnd James Harrison thought beating a tackle off the edge was tiring.Try logging a 16-hour day on a television set or hitting up multiple auditions throughout Los Angeles.The two-time Super Bowl winner and Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-time sack leader gained a new appreciation for the Hollywood grind during his acting debut on the CBS show “S.W.A.T.,” which shot every scene from multiple angles.”It’s like repeating the same play 30 times,” Harrison said with a laugh. “After about five, you’re like, ‘I’ve got it.’”If Harrison has his way, and he usually does, the guest spot as a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department will vault him into acting stardom.He isn’t looking for a hobby. He wants a legitimate post-football career. He has signed with Mosaic Entertainment, hired an acting coach and taken dozens of meetings with producers and casting directors since he began flying from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles more frequently.Harrison, who’s also appearing on Fox Sports 1 as an analyst, first considered acting when he retired the first time in August 2014. He added four more seasons and 18.5 more sacks before retiring for good in 2018.As a Steeler, Harrison thrived off toughness , strength and intimidation. He’s finding that he doesn’t need that persona all the time now.”It’s a little different [from football]. They look different. They’re not as big,” Harrison said of his Hollywood encounters. “It’s a different atmosphere. It’s something I had been looking at the last few years, thinking hopefully this would lead to other things.”Harrison has a non-exclusive contract with Fox Sports, so while he’s out in Los Angeles working for Fox, he can take meetings and table reads.Known as one of the NFL’s most prolific weightlifters, thanks to workouts posted on Instagram, Harrison admits that action films would be “preferable, no question.” He’s built for that. But he’s open to all ideas. He recently read a dramatic part about a family member getting kidnapped and surprised himself with his depth.”I would say I’m not actually skilled in it as far as a student of it. What I bring is raw,” Harrison said. “I’m trying to get that refined. Emotional responses, that’s the hard thing. Being able to be, like, extremely compassionate. Actors like Denzel [Washington] being able to go that whole spectrum. I think that’s what I’ll have to get a lot of help on refining.”(To read more, click the link in the headline...)Tim Benz: Antonio Brown misses one important detail from his goodbye tweetBy: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewTuesday was the ultimate Antonio Brown day.Shortly before news broke from ESPN that the disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver hadformally requested a trade , Brown sent a tweet, bidding a fond farewell to Pittsburgh.It was a pleasant, grounded message. It was a kind outreach. The video even included hugs and warm moments with Ben Roethlisberger Antonio Brown Jersey , the apparent subject of Brown’s discontent in the ’Burgh.When I saw that post, it struck me as the lone mature, sane, human thing Brown has done during this whole divorce he is trying to force.Then I thought about it some more.That’s when I realized: This is “as AB as AB gets.”I’ll grant him this. He was trying. His heart was in the right place. He — and whoever he hired to edit that video — tried to hit the right notes.Keep something in mind, though. Just because Brown is asking for a trade doesn’t mean he is going to get one.Not yet anyway. Nor has he been guaranteed a release.Unless Brown — and his agent Drew Rosenhaus — know something we don’t, no deal is in place.If general manager Kevin Colbert doesn’t get return to his liking, the Steelers may not trade Brown. If Art Rooney II is so nauseated by the notion of Brown engineering his own ticket out of Pittsburgh, he may not acquiesce by cutting his pouting star.Let me be clear. Those options would be the best possible outcomes to end this ridiculous situation. Get Brown out of town and perhaps get some sort of return in a deal. The Steelers need to find a partner, however. Or they need to accommodate AB’s whim and cut him.Isn’t this latest development, “Sooooo Antonio Brown?”(To read more, click the link in the headline...)49ers have much to consider in potential pursuit of Antonio BrownBy: Nick Wagoner, ESPNThere has been nothing subtle about the flirtation between Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and the San Francisco 49ers. Or, better put, between various players on the Niners’ roster and Brown.Before we dive into the pros and cons of a potential union between the 49ers and Brown, let’s recap the very public evidence indicating that Brown would like to be a Niner and that potential Niners teammates would like to remove the potential qualifier from the equation.Soon after rumors of a potential divorce between Brown and the Steelers began to spread in January, 49ers tight end George Kittle tweeted at Brown, a move that Kittle told Jim Rome during Super Bowl week was the result of a dare from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Brown responded positively to Kittle’s tweet and his response spurred a retweet from Garoppolo himself. Brown then followed various 49ers-related accounts.All the emojis and tweets were one thing Stephon Tuitt Color Rush Jersey , but Brown’s apparent interest in the 49ers seemed far more real when 49ers legend Jerry Rice joined the fray, telling 95.7 The Game, a radio station in San Francisco, that Brown wants to come to San Francisco “really bad.” That was after Brown posted an image on his Instagram of a FaceTime conversation he’d had with Rice. Brown even went so far as to post a doctored photo of himself in a Niners uniform embracing Rice.In the end, even after Brown officially requested a trade Tuesday and thanked Steelers fans via Twitter, none of that stuff matters much because it doesn’t account for the only variables that truly count: whether the Steelers will actually trade Brown, what the price would be if they do, whether the 49ers decision-makers are truly interested, what they’d be willing to give up and how that would compare to other offers the Steelers could get.At this point, the Steelers haven’t been in a hurry to move Brown, though owner Art Rooney II has acknowledged that it’s “hard to envision” Brown still with the team come training camp while also keeping the door open for a reconciliation.For their part, the Niners have not and will not publicly comment on potential interest in Brown out of deference to the NFL’s tampering guidelines.(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

IRVINE , Calif. (AP) — While Aaron Donald‘s second consecutive contract holdout drags deep into training camp, Todd Gurley and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams‘ offense have identified a silver lining to the persistent absence of the NFL’s defensive player of the year.“We were talking about that last night,” Gurley said with a grin. “We were like, `Literally, if A.D. was here, he would (mess) up the whole practice.’ Because it’s like, you get the handoff and he’s right there. A guy like that, you have to sit him back and tell him to tone it down a little bit just so you can get some good reps.”Although Donald’s menacing presence looms large in his teammates’ minds, he sometimes seems a distant figure to the Rams, who have completed their entire offseason program and all but the final few practices of training camp without their All-Pro defensive tackle. His teammates check Twitter and ask each other for news about the negotiations, but significant updates have been scarce.Donald is holding out while seeking a contract that would make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players regardless of position. The Rams and Donald’s representation have made almost no public pronouncements about the state of their negotiations, and coach Sean McVay dutifully provides daily updates about the talks despite having no new information almost every day.Something appeared to move last week when general manager Les Snead said the sides were “in the same ZIP Code, area, ballpark John Franklin-Myers Color Rush Jersey ,” and McVay expressed optimism about increased momentum.But until a significant move happens, the Rams will wait: Ndamukong Suh will continue to practice without his new teammate alongside him, while Gurley and Jared Goff will continue to practice without the threat of Donald looming just across the line.“We’ve talked about that for two offseasons now,” Goff said. “It’s not nice not having him here, (but) it’s nice being able to get off some good plays and not have to worry about him ruining the play, I think is a better way to put it. Yeah, we miss him and hope he comes back soon.”The Rams have designs on Super Bowl contention after their breakthrough year under McVay, and they downplay the notion that Donald’s continued absence will hurt their plans in any significant way. Donald didn’t rejoin the Rams last season until the day before their opener, and he still had no problem fitting into new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme once he returned to the field in Week 2.With a full year of Phillips’ coaching behind him, Donald should know what to do from the moment he arrives. McVay also said the Rams aren’t worried about Donald being in top physical shape, since they know he is working out aggressively at home in Pittsburgh.Yet the Rams obviously would prefer to build their defense around several weeks of work and film study with Donald. McVay acknowledged he speaks to Donald regularly, but the coach largely exchanges pleasantries and inquires about Donald’s family instead of asking about contract talks.When Donald reports, McVay laughs at the notion it would disrupt anything about the defending NFC West champions’ preparations.“That would be a disruption that would be more than welcomed right now,” said McVay Marcus Peters Jersey , who had been disappointed with his club’s focus in practice earlier in the week.The Rams have already showed their willingness to ink long-term contracts during this offseason when they signed Gurley and receiver Brandin Cooks to lengthy, lucrative deals.Donald missed a reporting deadline last week that consigns him to restricted free agent status in the upcoming offseason, but neither side appears to be worried about it. The Rams have always said they would prefer a long-term deal with Donald, but they also have the option of using their franchise tag on him in 2019.Until Donald and the Rams figure out a way forward, Gurley will continue to burst through the line at practice without worrying about Donald — and McVay will continue to answer questions about the negotiations in each of his daily media briefings.“I don’t really know anything else,” the second-year coach said with a laugh.—— As the NFL’s regular season came to a close, the annual purge of head coaches led to a unified search for the eight teams looking for a replacement: find the next Sean McVay. In the most simplified way, these teams may see themselves as the 2016 Los Angeles Rams team, a poorly-coached group with remarkable under-performance and an abysmal record to boot. Their goal is to be more like the 2017 Rams club, who saw one of the greatest single-season offensive turnaround the league has ever seen, as well as winning seven more games than the prior season.And while the Kliff Kingsbury’s and Matt LaFleur’s of the world were getting hired to “be the next Sean McVay,” the sharpest point of criticism was that the prototype himself hadn’t even won a playoff game. A few weeks later, McVay is looking to be the youngest Super Bowl-winning head coach, all while beating some of the most experienced head coaches in the league.A head coaching job in the NFL is a hard job to keep. Twenty of the current thirty-two head coaches have been hired in the last three offseasons. Coaches have a remarkably short leash for a league that doesn’t boast a lot of season-long parity.Say what you wan’t about Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. Despite having the constant vote of confidence from owner Jerry Jones Aqib Talib Color Rush Jersey , Garret has had his share of ups-and-downs since taking over in 2010. He’s the 5th-longest tenured head coach in the league today (tied with Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll) and the 2nd-longest in the NFC (again, tied with Carroll). McVay and the Rams beat Garrett and the Cowboys 30-22. This was McVay’s first playoff win as a head coach, and the first Rams playoff win in 15 years.For the NFC Championship, McVay and the Rams took on the New Orleans Saints, coached by Sean Payton. Payton was hired back in 2006, making him the longest-tenured coach in the NFC and 2nd-longest in the NFL. For reference, the top song on Billboard at the time of his hire was Laffy Taffy by D4L, soon to be replaced by Grillz by Nelly and the other half-dozen people who were featured in that song. Payton’s resume boasts a Coach of the Year Award, several division titles, as well as a Super Bowl. Again, McVay and the Rams came out on top, erasing a 13-0 deficit and winning, 26-23.Sean McVay has already accomplished a lot in his second season as a head coach. His sharpest criticism, which was that he hadn’t won in the playoffs , has been put to bed. But for his final act, to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as the confetti flies inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, he has to face his toughest test. Bill Belichick and the Patriots are like the final boss of North American sports. In the 19 years of the Belichick era, the Patriots have made it to the Super Bowl 9 times. He has an entire hand’s worth of Super Bowl rings. He’s been named Coach of the Year 3 times, though it’s easy to argue that hes often overlooked, seeing as his bar is his own past accomplishments. While some instances may skirt the rules, Belichick’s gameplanning is the stuff of legends. Countless times over the years, we’ve heard stories about the Patriots isolating and shutting down their opponents’ greatest offensive threat and exploiting defensive weaknesses. And with the extra week to prepare, it would be fair to assume that both coaches will be operating at their best. That’s exactly what McVay needs to be if he is going to become a Super Bowl-winning head coach.

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t impressive. It wasn’t overwhelming.It was a win.The Patriots did their job Rob Gronkowski Color Rush Jersey , beating the Vikings 24-10 on Sunday. It was New England’s eighth victory in its past nine games and moved the Patriots to 9-3 and keep them in the second spot in the AFC playoff standings with a head-to-head victory over Houston. The Vikings, who had a chance to pick up a game on the Bears , fell to 6-5-1.It was an uneven performance by the Patriots, one that likely won’t please Bill Belichick.Tom Brady threw an interception; Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal; and the Patriots had seven penalties for 60 yards.They still did enough to pull away early in the fourth quarter and assure an 18th consecutive winning season. That is the second-longest streak in NFL history behind only the Cowboys’ 20 straight winning seasons from 1966-85.Brady completed 24 of 32 for 311 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He completed passes to nine different receivers. He was one of seven ball carriers.James White caught seven passes for 92 yards; Josh Gordon caught three passes for 58 yards and a touchdown; and James Develin ran for two touchdowns.The Patriots shut down Adam Thielen Dwayne Allen Color Rush Jersey , who had only five catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. Kirk Cousins threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter with the Vikings fighting to come back and ended his day 32-of-44 for 201 yards and a touchdown.Dalvin Cook ran for 84 yards on only nine carries. The Dolphins wrapped up interviews with two of their current assistant coaches on Friday, but it does not appear Dowell Loggains or Darren Rizzi is in a lead spot as they search for Adam Gase’s successor.Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team has “narrowed the focus” of their search to Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and has heard the same. Flores also served as the de facto defensive coordinator in New England last season despite not getting a title bump after Matt Patricia left for the Lions.Adam Beasley of the reported earlier this week that Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier “has long thought highly” of Flores and that there was strong buzz in league circles about Flores’ chances of landing the job in Miami.Rapoport stresses that there’s no deal in place yet and nothing can become official until the Patriots are done playing this season. The earliest point they could be done is after they facing the Chargers at home on Sunday.

1: Any time a starting QB goes down Darius Philon Color Rush Jersey , it’s a huge blow for the team. How well was Dalton playing before the injury, and how has Jeff Driskel looked since taking over. Is there any chance (even slim) of a quarterback controversy next year?Dalton started off the season extremely hot. He had all his weapons around him including Tyler Eifert, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross. The Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who officially took over this offseason, had even reworked Cincinnati’s offense from the ground up for the first time since Jay Gruden took over in 2011. However, his play dropped off after that, and it hard to blame Dalton entirely for that. It depends on who you ask if there will be a quarterback controversy. The one thing that is for sure is that it won’t be with Jeff Driskel. It will be a matter of if the Bengals decide to draft a quarterback early.As someone who thinks Dalton is a capable quarterback in the NFL, it feels like Dalton and the Bengals could benefit from a fresh start. Although, it would be shocking for the team to move on from Dalton if Marvin Lewis is still the coach.2: The Bengals had such a promising start to the season, but are currently on a four game losing streak. What was working at the beginning of the season that has stopped working lately Adrian Phillips Color Rush Jersey , and what’s gone wrong for the Bengals since then?To an outsider, the instant answer would be injuries, which do play a part. However, for the Bengals to have been competitive this season they would have needed to stay pretty much 100 percent healthy. That just isn’t a reasonable expectation. This team looks like it is poorly coached. Players aren’t being used correctly at times, we keep seeing the same players struggle week after week without a thought of trying to mix things up and the general depth of the team is just poor. The short of it is Mike Brown and Lewis don’t know how to run an NFL team in 2018.3: Marvin Lewis. Is the end of this season finally the end of his reign in Cincinnati, and do you want it to be?After the team re-signed him last season, I’m not going to hold my breathe on him getting fired. A far more likely scenario is that he’d decide to retire or walk away himself.At this point I think Mike Brown is the only person who is content with Lewis as the head coach. Any other organization would have fired after the Browns loss (or years ago).4: With AJ Green on IR, some other WRs are going to need to step up. Tyler Boyd has had a fantastic year, but who else should we be looking out for on Sunday? Is it John Ross’ time to shine?John Ross has shown flashes of being a capable wide receiver. It just doesn’t appear this team knows how to use him. It feels like they treat him mostly like a deep threat decoy, but Ross is capable of running a full route tree. Honestly, aside from Boyd the Chargers won’t have much to worry about from the receiver position. Auden Tate should be active with Green out Drew Kaser Color Rush Jersey , and he is a big bodied receiver, but he is still learning how to play the position in the NFL.5: I have to ask, just for my own curiosity. How is Vontaze Burfict viewed by Bengals fans? Do you see him as a talented player who just needs to rein it in at times, or do you see it as anything more nefarious?Before this season, he was seen as a talented guy who liked to toe the line. He has crossed it a few times with the ankle twisting and things of that nature. However, a lot of what the national media blows some of his stuff up just because it is Burfict.This year he has looked like a shell of himself. We don’t know if it is still him dealing with his hip injury, but he just looks two steps slower than he ever has. I don’t think fans would be that upset to see him go at this point. He isn’t a bad guy to have on your team though.Bonus Question (if you’re up for it!): Could we get a score prediction?You can expect very little resistance from this Cincinnati team. They can’t move the ball on offense or stop anyone on defense. Chargers 41 Bengals 13. Last week: 7-5-1Weeks 1 through 10: 70-66-5Home team shown in聽bold.聽Odds taken from Odds Shark.Carolina (-4.5) vs. Detroit聽The Panthers聽were rolling up until last Thursday night, when the Steelers put up 52 points and beat them soundly. They’re a better team than that, and they come out with an edge against a Lions team that continually looks to be going through the motions.Pick: Carolina (-4.5)Baltimore聽(-5.5) vs. CincinnatiLet the Lamar Jackson era begin!Pick:聽Baltimore (-5.5)Atlanta (-3) vs. DallasI, like everyone else, had Dallas dead to rights heading into last Sunday’s matchup in Philly… and then they promptly outplayed the Eagles and took home a big win. The Falcons Hunter Henry Color Rush Jersey , meanwhile, went to Cleveland and got shellacked by the Browns. This one should be close, but I’ll take the home team.Pick: Atlanta (-3)Houston (-3) vs. Washington聽Deshaun Watson has a big game against a聽Redskins聽defense that allowed 406 yards passing last week, and the Texans win their seventh straight.Pick: Houston (-3)Pittsburgh (-5.5) vs. Jacksonville聽The Jaguars’ season has taken a nosedive. The Steelers are currently rolling and coming off a mini-bye after a big Thursday night win. Plus, they also don’t have the Le’Veon Bell saga hanging over their heads anymore.Pick: Pittsburgh (-5.5)New York Giants (-1.5) vs. Tampa BayOdell Beckham Jr. thinks the Giants can run the table. His squad keeps that dream alive… at least for one more week.Pick: New York Giants (-1.5)Indianapolis (-1.5) vs. TennesseeAndrew Luck’s last game in which he did not throw for three or more touchdowns?聽Week 3 vs. Philadelphia.He is having a fantastic season.Pick: Indianapolis (-1.5)Los Angeles Chargers (-7) vs. DenverThe Bolts are hot.Pick: Los Angeles Chargers (-7)Arizona (-5) vs. OaklandAnd, the award for worst NFL game of the week goes to…Pick: Arizona (-5)New Orleans (-8.5) vs. PhiladelphiaLast year’s Eagles team beats this year’s by how many points? 20? 30? They just aren’t the same.Pick: New Orleans (-8.5)Chicago (-2.5) vs. MinnesotaIf you like defense, this is the game for you.Pick: Minnesota (+2.5)Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) vs. Kansas CityIf you like offense, this is the game for you.Pick: Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

This series has been and always will be about being real. I write these to lend my voice to Broncos Country on what we see in the games from and around our team.That being said , my apologies, Broncos Country for skipping out on the final two games of the year.I’ve been on holiday break from work and from college courses and doing a lot of well earned resting and enjoying family.But I did watch the games for what it is worth (though that isn’t much given the state of the season) and it is worth talking about the last two games because they say an awful lot about what is now happening with a new head coach search.I still love this talented defenseI think the defense overall represented itself as well as it could in the final two games. I think there is still a bucket load of talent on this defense. Some of it is very young which is a good thing (Bradley Chubb, Adam Gotsis, Shelby Harris, Josey Jewell to name a few).Let’s also remember that the best player on the team hands down is Von Miller and he’s still playing premiere football. He can talk about needing to do better all he wants, but what you saw this year out of him is probably the best you can expect out of him without a secondary behind him that forces teams to hold the ball another half second.The main problem on defenseWe have some pretty significant holes in the secondary that honestly cause Joe Woods to be unable to use likely half of his play book (and that’s the half he wants to be in over 60% of the time). If you don’t have two corners you can rely on to lock down primary and secondary receiving targets Adam Gotsis Color Rush Jersey , you can’t run man schemes. The back end of this defense has been completely predicated on that idea since before our magical 2015 season.Denver lacked 2 corners of this nature the whole season long. Add to that Chris Harris Jr. going down to an injury and you have a grand total of 0 corners available to do the job that needs to be done to make this defense work.Then add the safety situation in which was front and center in the final two games of the season. Darian Stewart has lost a step. It is what it is and he’s just not being on top of plays like he used to be. Maybe it has to do with the lack of ability at corner or the change in how the scheme is being executed with lesser talent, but he has looked slower to react and attack plays all year long.Justin Simmons also seemed to take a big step back and wasn’t able to fly around the field like he did last season. Though to be fair to him, this defense has asked him to do everything from corner to both safety positions this year. If he’s going to be an impactful NFL safety, he needs to be able to focus on one position and get excellent at it instead of trying to be a versatile mediocre player like we saw this season.I did like what I saw from Will Parks this season. He looks like a guy who got a fire lit under him when the Broncos traded for Sua’ Cravens. Even in the last two games he often times looked like the best player in the secondary.I like nothing about the offense Seriously the last two games of the year as far as the offense goes can fly a kite. Without Phillip Lindsay the team looked largely impotent. Sure, here and there we saw some sparks from some of the young players and from Case Keenum. But like much of the season, they were not able to consistently string together anything that looked like success.The passing game looked like it was possessed by the spirit of a tired old Bon Jovi tune Phillip Lindsay Jersey , “Living on a Prayer.”Our tight ends were flaccid. The running backs looked like a couple of JAGs. Our young, talented WRs looked like rookies.I do think the offensive line is doing a pretty solid job (especially considering the loss of starters there). That’s the bright point from the last two games. I think Connor McGovern is a clear-cut starter in this league. I liked a lot of what Jared Veldheer put on tape as well as Garrett Bolles (minus the holding penalties).But the biggest issue of all was the coachingFront, back, and inside-out this coaching staff clearly dropped the ball this season. The Denver Bronco team has a lot of talent on it. It was not used well by this group of coaches. While I liked a lot of what the play calling on offense did with Phillip Lindsay and Emmanuel Sanders on the field, once those two guys were gone, they looked like what the overall Broncos season in 2018 was: impotent.That could be because we have the completely mediocre starter in Case Keenum at QB. It could be because our rookie WRs need polish (they do...more on that when I do the roster review series). Whatever the cause though , my eyes tell me the coaches could have and should have gotten more out of this offense to win a couple more of the close games they were in this year.And it all boils down to the head coach. I was talking with a buddy as we watched the Broncos get trounced by the San Diego Chargers and asked him one big question: “What one thing does Vance Joseph do at an above average level as an NFL coach?”He and I both were speechless. I couldn’t think of least nothing that correlates to wins in the NFL. I think the best quality he has is that he can relate to the players. That means nothing to me in regards to winning in the NFL. I don’t care if you can relate to players. I, like most of Broncos Country I expect, care about winning football games.11 - 21Bye, FeliciaFinal ThoughtsOne of my favorite things about being a football fan is that the process is an annual one. Our season is over and now we get to look forward to a new beginning. I don’t like changing coaches as often as we have. I don’t like that we don’t have an answer at quarterback. But the opportunity is now upon the Broncos franchise to seek those answers.And more importantly, we’ve moved on from the biggest problem the Broncos have had for the past two years. I think Pat Bowlen would approve of this move wholeheartedly. When the Broncos traded wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Texans on Tuesday, General Manager John Elway said the team made the move because they wanted to give more playing time to their young wideouts.The top name on that list is 2018 second-round pick Courtland Sutton. He’s already playing on nearly 70 percent of the snaps and the rookie said he is “for sure” ready to see more action now that Thomas is off the roster. Sutton added that he doesn’t “flinch from situations like this” because of the way he prepares.“It鈥檚 just a theme that goes all the way back to OTAs for me: showing up and giving my all every single day Todd Davis Color Rush Jersey ,鈥?Sutton said, via the team’s website. 鈥淪howing up and [making] sure I鈥檓 working on my craft to where I can be the best version of myself, because I ultimately believe that if I鈥檓 the best version of myself, I can be one of the best receivers in the league. [I鈥檓] just coming to work every single day and [making] sure I do my job, not only for myself to move forward but for the team ultimately.”Head coach Vance Joseph said that Sutton can be a “special” player for the Broncos and promised he’ll get “plenty of reps and time to prove” that’s the case over the rest of the season.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman died as a result of being struck in the head by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium last August , according to a coroner’s report obtained by ESPN .Linda Goldbloom was celebrating her 79th birthday and 59th wedding anniversary at a game Aug. 25 when a ball hit by a San Diego Padres player traveled over an area protected by netting and struck Goldbloom in the head. She died four days later at L.A. County-USC Medical Center.The Los Angeles County coroner’s report said trauma from the batted ball was the cause of death.The Dodgers said in a statement they were “deeply saddened” by Goldbloom’s death and the “matter has been resolved between the Dodgers and the Goldbloom family.”For the first time last season, all 30 major league ballparks had expanded protective netting that reached to at least the far ends of each dugout. The push for expansion increased in 2017 after a series of spectator injuries. TORONTO — Blake Snell tied a Tampa Bay Rays record when he reached 20 wins Tuesday against the Texas Rangers.The left-hander will try for No. 21 on Sunday afternoon in the finale of a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Rays will be going for a split in the series after losing 5-2 on Saturday. They lead the season set 10-5.Snell allowed one hit in five innings against the Rangers in tying David Price’s club record for wins and becoming the first 20-game winner in the majors since 2016. Price won No. 20 in his final start of the season in 2012 and took the American League Cy Young Award. Obviously, Snell is one of the top contenders for the award this season.Article continues below ...Snell (20-5, 1.97 ERA) will face Blue Jays left-hander Ryan Borucki (4-4, 3.86).Snell helped the Rays (86-68) enter contention for a wild-card spot in the American League. Two losses in three games to the Blue Jays, however Francisco Liriano Jersey , has been a big setback for the Rays, who are on the verge of elimination.“We’ve had to play very well for the last couple of months and the wild card wasn’t in the discussion outside the clubhouse until recently,” Rays infielder Joey Wendle said after the game Saturday. “We played our tails off to get into contention and we’ll continue to do that and see what happens.”Snell has won eight consecutive decisions, tied for the second longest streak in franchise history behind Matt Moore’s nine from Sept. 29, 2012 to May 19, 2013. He has won a club-record eight straight starts (without a no-decision in between) , the only pitcher to do that in the majors this season.The 25-year-old is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays and is 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA in four starts at the Rogers Centre. He has faced the Blue Jays once this season and was removed after five perfect innings on Aug. 10 at Toronto, his second start back from the disabled list. He threw only 47 pitches (33 strikes) in the outing.“It’s cool,” Snell said after winning No. 20. “It means we’ve been playing good team baseball when I pitch. Guys have been helping me — swinging it, playing defense, the bullpen has been coming in clutch. And I’ve been doing well as well. There’s a lot. I haven’t thought about it honestly.”Snell also emerged from his start against the Rangers with five strikeouts to reach 200 for the season.“Pretty special that he got his 20th win and 200th strikeout on the same day,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He deserves all the credit that he’s getting right now. People are noticing for good reason. To go and get the wins he has against some really Andy Pettitte Jersey , really strong teams and what he’s done recently has to put him in strong consideration (for the Cy Young Award),” Cash said.Snell has defeated the Boston Red Sox three times, the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Indians twice, and the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees once apiece.In Borucki, the Blue Jays have a promising young pitcher of their own. He is 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts in September. The rookie allowed two runs in six innings of a 4-0 loss on Sept. 4 in his only appearance against the Rays. He will be making the 16th start of his major league career Sunday.The Blue Jays are getting good play from some September callups such as Rowdy Tellez, who had three hits Jose Cruz Jr. Jersey , including a two-run homer and three RBIs on Saturday.And left-hander Thomas Pannone improved his record to 4-1 with a 3.58 ERA after holding the Rays to two runs in 6 2/3 innings Saturday in his fifth major league start. It was the third straight quality start for the 24-year-old — all against good teams in the Indians, Yankees and Rays.“It definitely gives me the confidence that I know my stuff can play here facing good lineups, good hitters, and I’m turning them over pretty well,” Pannone said. “I just want to continue doing that.”The Blue Jays (71-84) have won six of their past eight games.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Once Aaron Nola got an early lead , he was home free.Nola struck out 11 in seven impressive innings to stay unbeaten at Citizens Bank Park, pitching the Philadelphia Phillies past the New York Mets 4-2 on Friday night.Asdrubal Cabrera hit an RBI double off former teammate Noah Syndergaard during a three-run first inning, and Nola made the early lead stand up.Nola (14-3) allowed one run on three hits with one walk while lowering his ERA in 2.24. The All-Star is even better at home, improving to 9-0 with a 2.00 mark in 12 starts in Philadelphia this season.“There’s been a lot of Cy Young Award chatter leading up to today. Obviously, you can see why,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.“He rises to the occasion. he’s ready for the biggest moment. And it’s just like no spot is too big. No spotlight is too bright. He just elevates his game, and we saw that tonight,” he said.Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save in as many chances.Syndergaard (8-3) allowed four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. The tall right-hander has battled injuries again in 2018 Chris Tillman Jersey , missing two months with a finger injury and then 10 days last month due to hand, foot and mouth disease.“Today was more of a step in the wrong direction,” he said.Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro also drove in runs for the playoff-contending Phillies.Austin Jackson had three hits and an RBI for the Mets.Cabrera’s double put the Phillies ahead and Williams followed with an RBI single. Cabrera, traded from the Mets to Philadelphia last month, scored on Carlos Santana’s double-play groundout.That was more than enough for Nola, who struck out the side in the first and retired nine of the first 10 Mets. The only batter that reached during that stretch, Jose Bautista, got on because of an error by second baseman Cesar Hernandez.“Just trying to make quality pitches Eddie Murray Jersey ,” Nola said.New York got its lone run off Nola in the fourth. Jeff McNeil led off with a single, the first hit off Nola, went to third on Jackson’s single and scored on Todd Frazier’s sacrifice fly.RUNNING WILDThe Phillies stole a season-high five bases, including the first two of the season by the catcher Alfaro, against Syndergaard.“Definitely an Achilles’ heel,” Syndergaard said of holding runners. “Embarrassing tonight.”Mets manager Mickey Callaway said it’s an area Syndergaard will continue to work to improve.“Bottom line is he needs to get better and I think he will,” Callaway said.ERROR PRONEHernandez’s misplay made it 94 errors for Philadelphia, which began play second in the majors to St. Louis (95).TRAINER’S ROOMMets: An MRI on the left index finger of RF Brandon Nimmo revealed no structural damage. Nimmo Kevin Gausman Jersey , who was injured on Thursday, was not in the lineup Friday but could play on Saturday. … Reliever Bobby Wahl was placed on the DL with a right hamstring strain and LHP Daniel Zamora was recalled from Double-A Binghamton. Zamora made his major league debut, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts.UP NEXTMets ace Jacob deGrom (7-7, major league-best 1.81 ERA) opposes RHP Jake Arrieta (9-7, 3.33) in the fourth game of the five-game set on Saturday afternoon. DeGrom is 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 career starts against the Phillies and struck out seven in eight shutout innings of a 3-0 win on July 11. Arrieta is 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Mets. A look at what’s happening around the majors today:CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich is heading home for Game 3 of the NL Championship Series with the matchup against the Dodgers tied at 1-all. Yelich, the favorite for NL MVP, was born in Thousand Oaks, California , and went to Westlake High School before he was selected by the Marlins in the first round of the 2010 draft. The 26-year-old Yelich is a .326 hitter with six homers and 17 RBIs in 37 career games against the Dodgers, but he went 1 for 8 with three strikeouts in the first two games of the series against the NL West champions.DOING BETTER?The Red Sox will see how ace Chris Sale is feeling after a stomach illness sent him to the hospital. The team said Sale was spending the night at Massachusetts General Hospital for observation after being admitted earlier Sunday.Boston and the Astros have a day off before the AL Division resumes in Houston on Tuesday with the clubs tied at one game each.The 29-year-old Sale struggled with his control in Boston’s 7-2 loss in the opener Saturday night. He missed nearly six weeks from late July into September with mild left shoulder inflammation.PAST PERFORMANCEMilwaukee right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who gets the ball in Game 3 of the NLCS, is 3-0 with a 1.15 ERA in his last three starts going back to the regular season, but he hasn’t fared very well in Los Angeles. Chacin had his worst start of the season at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 2, allowing nine runs, eight earned, and five hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 21-5 loss. He is 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 12 career starts at Los Angeles.“I’m just going to go out Zach Britton Jersey , just try to give my team a chance to win the game and just have fun,” Chacin said.NICE JOBThe Braves might be set to announce a new contract for manager Brian Snitker. General manager Alex Anthopoulos is going to address the media, and Snitker’s future is expected to be a main topic.Snitker, who turns 63 on Wednesday, guided the Braves to a surprising NL East title with a 90-72 record. A longtime member of the Atlanta organization, he took over as manager during the 2016 seasons after Fredi Gonzalez was fired.

Edgar Martinez got in just as his chances were running out Jose Fernandez Jersey , meaning baseball’s Hall of Fame will have yet another designated hitter. Three pitchers are in the newly elected class, too, including one whose credentials weren’t good enough in the decade his name came before baseball writers.Harold Baines will also be inducted with Lee Smith this summer, but don’t blame writers for that. A 16-member veterans committee that included Baines’ biggest backer — White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf —decided last month that Baines and Smith should go in because, well, the Hall of Fame apparently needs more players.It now has more, a half dozen more if you’re keeping score at home. The most hallowed of halls is becoming a very welcoming place, thanks to an accommodating committee and members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who are swayed more and more by the advanced metrics that define the game today.In keeping with full disclosure, I’m one of those 425 writers. My ballot went public Tuesday along with others who didn’t disclose their picks in advance, as about half of those voting did.Along with everyone else, of course, I voted for Mariano Rivera. There was no reason not to pick baseball’s greatest closer, and he was rewarded with the first unanimous ballot since Hall of Fame voting began in 1936.Rivera’s the best of the best, with five World Series titles and more saves than anyone who has ever pitched. His advanced metrics are off the charts, but here’s a stat I like best: Rivera retired the side in order in 229 of his 491 three-out saves, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.Good cases can also be made for the other inductees, who all have one stat or another that signify greatness. But at the same time baseball purists have to wonder just what defines a Hall of Famer anymore.The case of Baines is exhibit A among those who argue for a less inclusive hall. Baines played 22 years in the bigs, mostly as a designated hitter, but never reached the 3,000-hit mark that so often defines Hall of Fame players.More tellingly, he never finished in the top eight vote getters for MVP consideration any year he played.Baines is as marginal as it gets, and Mike Mussina’s credentials were questioned by some, too, though his 270 career wins are tied for 33rd with Burleigh Grimes on the all-time list.The trend today seems to be to add players in bunches. And that’s not necessarily a good thing for a hall that was once reserved for only the best of the best.Baines’ place in the hall can be debated, as can a plaque for any player not named Ruth, DiMaggio or Koufax. And it will be debated, because baseball’s Hall of Fame remains the gold standard for all sports and baseball fans love to argue about who should be in it.Still, six players this year, six last. In last three years , 15 players have made the Hall of Fame, bringing the total to 234 former major league players, and 331 members overall.It may not be too many, but it’s becoming too much. And it shows no signs of slowing down, even with a lack of star power in upcoming classes (Derek Jeter will almost surely be the only new player elected next year).That’s partly due to the influence of advanced stats that can be used to promote candidacies, along with an influx of voters from a younger generation of BBWAA members. We saw that with Martinez, who was the beneficiary of an election campaign that got him in on his last year of eligibility.It’s also partly due to voters loading up their ballots. The ballot allows for 10 votes and the average number of players named on early public ballots was 8.7.You can’t tell me there were 10 players deserving of the Hall of Fame this year or any other. I personally voted for six, and thought that was high.Still, I can live with most of the selections, though I wouldn’t have voted for Baines or Smith. They got in because of a veterans committee that offers second chances to players the baseball writers reject for 10 years.But I’m a bit worried about next year. That’s when voters will put their X next to Jeter’s name and then go searching for others to fill out the Hall of Fame class.That likely means more votes for Barry Bonds (59.1 percent) and Roger Clemens (59.5), who will be in their eighth year of eligibility. Thankfully, other known PED users haven’t yet gotten the magical 75 percent, but the trends are moving in their direction.It also means Curt Schilling (60.9 percent) will receive more votes, and I don’t view him as a Hall of Famer for more than one reason.There’s nothing wrong with a good debate over who should be in and who shouldn’t. That’s part of the fun of the best hall in any sport.But there’s no debate that the last thing any baseball fan should want is a bloated Hall of Fame. As it turns out, owners haven't slammed shut all of the financial spigots that run to the players. It just depends on which players.Bryce Harper, 26, set a record Thursday for the largest contract ever awarded to a free agent in professional sports, landing with the Philadelphia Phillies for a reported $330 million over 13 years. That's a heck of a lot of cheesesteaks.Manny Machado had set a record for the largest contract ever awarded a free agent just nine days earlier, signing with the San Diego Padres for $300 million over 10 years. That's a heck of a lot of fish tacos.Nolan Arenado set a record for the highest average annual salary for a position player with his Colorado sandwich deal鈥攐ne year away from free agency, he re-signed with the Rockies on Tuesday for eight years and $260 million with an average annual value of $32.5 million鈥攂etween the Machado and Harper agreements. That surpasses the $31 million Detroit's Miguel Cabrera will earn annually through 2023.Harper, Machado, Arenado, three rich鈥攁nd patient鈥攄udes. Each waited well into spring training to get what they thought they were worth.Since he wasn't a free agent, Arenado was on a different program. But for Harper and Machado, whose momentum toward this winter had been building and building for the past few seasons, each had to negotiate into overtime to get the deals they sought.However long it took, the end result was, unquestionably, a big win for the players Andre Dawson Jersey , who have been growing increasingly agitated over the past two free-agent freeze-out winters.But no matter how many zeroes are attached to these contracts, call this one battle won while the overall war still rages."The volume of good players out there not getting signed is disappointing," Houston starter Gerrit Cole told B/R at Astros camp last week after the Machado contract had dropped but before Harper and Arenado signed. "We still have time left; these guys can sign whenever they want. But I feel like they know what their value is, and they're not receiving anywhere close to what they think they should bring."Manny Machado waited until after spring camps had opened before he signed his $300 million contract with the Padres.Jennifer Stewart/Getty ImagesThere are more than 30 free agents still outside spring training camps looking in, including World Series champions and All-Stars like closer Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel, and outfielders Adam Jones, Austin Jackson, Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and catcher Martin Maldonado.The common denominator is that each of the aforementioned players' ages begin with a three. As the analytics movement has set up shop in the baseball operations offices of all 30 clubs, players are being evaluated in a dramatically different way than they were even just a few years ago. Executives are studying players through the prism of WAR and other advanced analytics, which show deterioration in production once a player crosses the threshold of 30.This new breed of executives is conservative and loathe to bet too highly on future performance. Mostly, the days of emotional decisions made by general managers looking to win goodwill from a city's rabid fanbase by overspending to lure a marquee player are relics.This has left players scratching and clawing for every last scrap during a time of their careers that once was viewed as the reward for years of making minor league nickels followed by being "underpaid"鈥攔elatively speaking鈥攚hile under club control for the first six years of their MLB careers."Players are feeling it for our brothers out there who are just getting hosed," Cole said. "I think that a lot of guys are really pissed off. I don't certainly want to speak for everybody, but we continue to grow more and more unified by the day and more informed by the day."While the players are thrilled to see Harper, Arenado and Machado get theirs, they remain wary and mostly view that trio as exceptions. As one person close to the players union texted on Thursday, everybody knew those three guys would get paid, but there are still too many major leaguers without jobs or signed to one-year deals, club-friendly pacts or minor league contracts.The union still sees too many teams collecting revenue-sharing money without making a strong effort to win at the major league level in a game that, for the sake of its integrity, demands full effort from its players."That's certainly what the club demands of you every time we walk in here," Cole said. "I think the players are asking, Are they doing the same? And it's not just doing right by the players鈥攊t's doing right by the fanbase, too."In Philadelphia, fans clearly favored Harper over Machado, and the adrenaline was at such a level that in January when Vegas Gambling Steamtweetedthat the club and Harper had agreed to a multiyear deal, the Phillies were besieged by calls the next day and sold several season-ticket packages based on what turned out to be an erroneous report.Still shy of his 28th birthday, Nolan Arenado negotiated a deal for the games largest annual average position-player salary with Colorado in recent weeks.Chris Carlson/Associated Press/Associated Press"Ultimately, it is about more than [a few players]; it's the big picture Wei-Yin Chen Jersey ," St. Louis Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller, an MLB Players Association representative, said the other day in Jupiter, Florida. "And even guys getting deals that they're happy with, the timing of it, in the past it used to be maybe a couple of guys played the long game [in negotiations], but now it seems like guys have no choice."The stories we hear when guys show up to camp is that they had no offers. Teams said they'd check in, but they're really not getting a firm offer or numbers exchanged until camp opens, and that's a problem. Or, it's at least new to us."Jones, the former Baltimore center fielder, is consistently brought up this winter as an example of a true pro who should still have a place in the game. A 13-year veteran with postseason experience, the 33-year-old could be a final piece on a team that's hoping to contend, or he could be a veteran mentor on a rebuilding club. Jones helped lead Team USA to its first World Baseball Classic championship in 2017, playing the role of goodwill ambassador in an event that many other players want no part of (Angels outfielder Mike Trout, for example, has never participated).And in a game in which African American representation is dwindling to embarrassing levels鈥攐nly 7.8 percent of the game's players were black last season鈥擩ones' absence is big.And yet, nothing. That's largely, it is assumed, because his offensive WAR dropped to 2.6 last summer from 3.8 in 2017 (according to theBaseball Referencemodel) and his defensive WAR dropped to minus-2.3 from minus-0.8.Clearly, his best days are behind him, and if and when he does play again, he should be moved from center field to a corner outfield spot. Still鈥?People want to watch Adam Jones play," Cole said. "I still want to watch Adam Jones play."When I talk to [players from] teams that have won the World Series, this team [the Astros], my brother-in-law's team [shortstop Brandon Crawford's Giants], the common theme is how well they played together, how smartly they played together. And, sure , you need to have talent. But at end of the day, all teams who get to the playoffs have talent. What puts you over edge is those intangibles that aren't being valued analytically."A career .278 hitter with good defensive skills, Adam Jones has been unable to find a team to employ him at age 33.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated PressIn adding Harper, the Phillies rounded out one impressive winter that may well have made them NL East favorites going into 2019. Already, they'd added J.T. Realmuto, who may be the game's premier catcher, shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and closer David Robertson.The Padres, with a woefully inexperienced rotation, don't appear ready to win yet, but adding Machado was a statement, and when rising phenoms such as Fernando Tatis Jr., Logan Allen and MacKenzie Gore arrive, San Diego should reap some rewards on its whopping investment.And Arenado already was a franchise player in Colorado who now will stay put and, in all likelihood, go into the Hall of Fame one day wearing the Rockies logo on his cap.As for the rest: Stay tuned."There's a lot of different angles we have to be concerned with," Miller said after Machado signed but before Harper did. "The work-stoppage stuff has been bandied about a little bit, but, ultimately, that's bad for all of us. We all lose in that situation. And you're talking somebody's willing to make a lot of sacrifices in order to make the future better down the road. You're talking we all don't benefit immediately when something happens."The owners lose. The players lose. You're fighting for bigger-picture items. We have a long time until we get there, and hopefully we can sort it out."Thankfully thecurrent CBAruns until 2021, so there's no immediate need to panic. But for now, Miller noted, things aren't functioning the way they're supposed to, "and there's a lot of red flags."Not as many as there could have been had Harper and Machado not reached the predicted stratospheric economic heights. But enough to bear watching even in the midst of the suddenly flowing financial spigots of these past 10 days. Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. FollowScott on Twitterand talk baseball.

ST. PETERSBURG , Fla. (AP) — Outfielder Tommy Pham asked an arbitration panel for a raise from $570,100 to $4.1 million, and the Tampa Bay Rays argued for $3.5 million.Arbitrators Margaret Brogan, Andrew Strongin and Gil Vernon are expected to decide the case Tuesday, a day after hearing arguments.Pham hit .275 with 21 homers and 63 RBIs for St. Louis and Tampa Bay, which acquired him on July 31. He batted .343 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 39 games for the Rays.He set career bests in 2017, when he hit .306 with 23 homers and 73 RBIs.Players and teams have split the two decisions thus far: Oakland closer Blake Treinen won at $6.4 million rather than the team’s $5.6 million offer, and Washington outfielder Michael A. Taylor lost and was awarded $3.25 million instead of his $3.5 million request.A decision also is expected Tuesday for Houston shortstop Carlos Correa, whose case was heard last week.Eight players remain scheduled for hearings through Feb. 15.Houston reliever Chris Devenski avoided a hearing when the team announced a deal Monday for a one-year contract worth $1 Dave Winfield Jersey ,525,000. The agreement contains a $2,625,000 team option for 2020, and the option price could escalate based on games this year: $2,725,000 for 50, $2,825 Jack Morris Jersey ,000 for 60 and $2,925,000 for 68.Devenski’s agreement is at the midpoint of the $1.4 million the 28-year-old right-hander asked for and the $1.65 million he had been offered.He was 2-3 with a 4.18 ERA last year, striking out 51 and walking 13 in 47 1/3 innings. He was sidelined between July 27 and Aug. 30 because of left hamstring tightness, the first time in his big league career he was on the disabled list.He had a $599,200 salary last season and was eligible for arbitration for the first time.Astros starter Gerrit Cole remains scheduled for a hearing. He has asked for a raise from $6.75 million to $13.5 million and was offered $11,425,000. LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers will send their longtime staff ace to the mound Tuesday in a key National League West clash, while the Colorado Rockies will have their difference maker poised for another second-half masterpiece.September matchups with a division title on the line do not get much better than three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw against outside Cy Young contender Kyle Freeland in a must-see duel of left-handers.The Dodgers will enter Tuesday with a half-game lead on the Rockies after beating their division rival 8-2 on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.Article continues below ...“In September (great matchups) get elevated because of the situation ,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “(Tuesday) is a good one just because our guy has been pitching great and their guy has been pitching great for about 10 years. What can you say? The left-handedness is pretty cool too.”Freeland is not only 15-7 with a 2.96 ERA this season, he is 9-2 at Coors Field with a 2.36 ERA. Numbers like that should give him extra credit in the Cy Young chase, but he probably is not going to get enough of it to edge out other award contenders like Aaron Nola of the Phillies, Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Jacob deGrom of the Mets.In three starts against the Dodgers this season, Freeland is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA.Kershaw has been there and done that when it comes to a late-season Cy Young Award drive. He has gone through two separate disabled-list stints this season, and even though he hasn’t looked like a no-hitter waiting to happen like in recent years, he has been plenty good enough.Kershaw is 7-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 15 starts since returning from a back injury that wiped out three weeks in June.“I think that people want to look at, I guess, the strikeout percentage , but if you look at what he’s done and how efficient, how successful he is, he is our ace,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s doing it a little bit of a different way, but he might argue that. He’s still an elite pitcher and he’s our No. 1.”Kershaw will be tasked with facing what Roberts called one of the best top of the orders in the game from Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon to DJ LeMahiey, Nolan Arenado and cleanup hitter Trevor Story. In the fourth inning Monday, though, Story left the game with an apparent back injury.That foursome has been the heart and soul of the Rockies for a few years now. Freeland at the top of the pitching rotation has turned the Rockies into a title contender. But even though Colorado has appeared in a World Series, it has never won an NL West title.After Tuesday Matt Adams Jersey , the Rockies have just one more chance on Wednesday to create some space between them and the Dodgers.The offense in L.A. is currently being powered by a focused Yasiel Puig, who was named NL player of the week, mostly for a two-game flurry over the weekend in St. Louis when he hit five home runs in two games. But Joc Pederson emerged Monday to hit a pair of home runs.

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