Romelu Lukaku’s agent claims to have spoken to Tottenham about his client. Chelsea striker Lukaku is currently in the middle of a second successful loan spell away from his parent club, playing a key role with Everton in their bid for Champions League football. His 13 goals for them come on the back of 17 for West Brom last season, with his form making observers question why Chelsea have not given him a first-team chance. It remains to be seen whether he will get one next season too, and agent Christophe Henrotay says he has been speaking to other clubs – of which Tottenham are one – about the 20-year-old. He told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: “I’m looking for a club for Romelu. And yes, I’ve talked to [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy once, but that doesn’t mean Romelu will definitely join Spurs. That’s not a talking point at this moment.” He added that not every club will be able to afford Lukaku should Chelsea decide to sell him. “There aren’t 20 teams that can afford to buy Romelu,” he said. “He won’t go from Everton to, let’s say, Swansea. There’s also a difference between Everton that plays against relegation and an Everton that fights for European football.” Chelsea’s decision to loan Lukaku out for a second season has become an increasingly difficult one to understand, with Blues boss Jose Mourinho constantly bemoaning his poor options up front. Press Association
However what seems to have angered the legendary cricketer is BCCI CEO Johri’s letter (in consultation with CoA) to Jain where just like Ganguly, Tendulkar’s issue has also been termed as a case of “tractable Conflict of Interest”, a contention that the iconic cricketer firmly rejected.The most pertinent points where Tendulkar has given a strong rebuttal are points 10, 11 and 12.”Without prejudice to the aforesaid, the Noticee submits that it is surprising that the BCCI, being the very authority responsible for the Noticee’s empanelment to the Cricket Advisory Committee (“CAC”), is presently taking a position that the Noticee is exposed to an alleged conflict of interest. It is reiterated that, the Noticee was declared as the Mumbai Indians ‘ICON’ post his retirement in 2013, which was much prior to his appointment to the CAC in 2015,” Tendulkar has stated in his response.Just like Laxman, Tendulkar also reiterated that neither the CEO nor the CoA had ever clarified the terms of reference with regards to his appointment in CAC.”The Noticee (Tendulkar) has time and again sought clarification from the BCCI on the scope of his role in the CAC – but has not received a response from BCCI till date. BCCI is aware that the CAC merely performs an advisory / recommendatory role – and therefore, the Noticee’s role as a Mumbai Indians Icon (which in fact has always been in the public domain) cannot, in any practical way, conflict with his involvement in the CAC.What has possibly irked Tendulkar is BCCI’s contradictory stand which he has specified in point No 12.”The Noticee fails to understand how the BCCI (after having appointed him to the CAC) can now maintain its current stand that he is in a position of ‘tractable’ conflict of interest. The BCCI Response does not clarify this variance in its stance and the Noticee requests the Hon’ble Ethics Officer to call upon BCCI Officials, Mr. Rahul Johri and Mr. Vinod Rai to clarify this position.”Tendulkar also pointed out how he had recused himself from recruitment process of the national U-19 selection committee as his son Arjun was a contender in the colts team.”It is critical to note that the Noticee had specifically written to the BCCI in respect of the potential conflict of interest that could have arisen in the aforesaid scenario,” he wrote referring to that particular situation.What has hurt Tendulkar is the fact that he is being asked questions despite serving Indian cricket for two decades.”The Noticee has served the Indian cricket team for more than 2 decades and accepted empanelment with the CAC to help and contribute towards the growth of Indian cricket. It is unfortunate that the Noticee has to clarify the questions raised in the Complaint and BCCI Response.”The Noticee repeats that BCCI is responsible for the situation created in terms of the Noticee’s honorary empanelment to the CAC even though he was a Mumbai Indians Icon at the relevant time. The BCCI shall be called upon to clarify the issue,” Tendulkar also mentioned in his response. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar has rejected BCCI’s observation that his alleged Conflict of Interest falls under “tractable category”, terming the parent body “responsible for the current situation” arising due to his role as a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee and an ‘Icon’ of Mumbai Indians.In fact, Tendulkar in his 13-point response (in possession of PTI) to BCCI Ethics Officer DK Jain has requested him to call Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai and CEO Rahul Johri to “clarify their position”.According to the BCCI’s constitution clause 38 (3) (a): “Tractable conflicts are those that are resolvable or permissible or excusable through recusal of the individual concerned and – or – with full disclosure of the interest involved”.All three CAC members — Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman — have been served notices by the Ombudsman cum Ethics officer DK Jain and all three have rejected in their initial affidavits.
SAVVY VETERANS: Senior leadership has been on display for both of these teams. Diarra, Xavier Sneed and Makol Mawien have combined to account for 54 percent of Kansas State’s scoring this season. For Oklahoma State, Waters, Cameron McGriff, Isaac Likekele and Thomas Dziagwa have collectively accounted for 59 percent of all Oklahoma State scoring.FACILITATING THE OFFENSE: Likekele has either made or assisted on 47 percent of all Oklahoma State field goals over the last three games. The sophomore guard has accounted for 13 field goals and 22 assists in those games.SLIPPING AT 73: Kansas State is 0-7 this year when it allows 73 points or more and 9-7 when holding opponents to fewer than 73.ASSIST RATIOS: The Cowboys have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Wildcats. Kansas State has 31 assists on 62 field goals (50 percent) across its past three matchups while Oklahoma State has assists on 40 of 75 field goals (53.3 percent) during its past three games.STINGY STATE: Kansas State has forced opponents into committing turnovers on 24.3 percent of all possessions, the highest rate among all Big 12 teams. February 10, 2020 Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditOklahoma State (11-12, 1-9) vs. Kansas State (9-14, 2-8)Fred Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kansas; Tuesday, 9 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: Two senior guards will be on display as Lindy Waters III and Oklahoma State will go up against Cartier Diarra and Kansas State. Waters is averaging 7.4 points over the last five games. Diarra has scored 20 percent of the team’s points this season and is averaging 14 over his last five games. Diarra, Kansas State host Oklahoma St. ___For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com,Update on the latest sports,Update on the latest sports
THE heavy downpour of rain the City folk experienced outdoors on Sunday was no different from the punches that rained inside the National Gymnasium that night when the curtain came down on the second edition of the Caribbean Schoolboys and Juniors boxing tournament.The three-night championships concluded with seven international fights, five of which were stopped inside the three-round distance while the two others saw one ending with a split decision and the other by a unanimous points-decision victory.At the end of it all, Guyana won two of the three Junior finals that were staged while Trinidad and Tobago won the other.In the four Youth finals hosts Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Lucia won one each.Guyana’s Shaquille Wright was adjudged Best Boxer.Barbados’ Dario Cheeseman (left) parries a left jab from Guyana’s Brian Harris during their 75kg final of the Caribbean Schoolboys and Juniors boxing championships which concluded last Sunday at the National Gymnasium.Winning for Guyana in the Junior championships were Wright and Brian Harris who both won their contests via second-round stoppages.In Wright’s 57kg fight against Trinidad and Tobago’s Blessing Waldropt, the referee stopped the contest at one minute 15 seconds of round two, while in the Harris fight the referee stopped his 75kg contest against Barbados’ Dario Cheeseman at one minute 15 seconds of the second round.Guyana’s other international victory on the night’s card saw Ryan Albert register a two-minute 40-second stoppage of his Youth 60kg fight against St Lucia’s Kareem Boyce. It was the first of the seven international contests.In the other Youth contests, Jamaica’s Rushwan McKinney caused the referee to stop his 81kg bout against Barbados’ Donte Powlett at one minute 30 seconds of the second round and Trinidad and Tobago’s Nickel Joseph forced the referee to stop his 75kg bout against Jerone Ferrari of St Lucia at two minutes 40 seconds of the third round.Guyana’s 57kg boxer Shaquille Wright connects with an overhand left to the head of Trinidad and Tobago’s Nickel Joseph during their final at the National Gymnasium on Sunday evening.The other Junior final on the night’s card saw Nathan Ferrari of St Lucia win by a unanimous points decision over Jamaica’s Daniel Hylton.There were two all-Guyanese Schoolboys bouts that opened the card and results from those are as follows; Shaquancy Wright scored a unanimous points-decision win against Martin Mugabe in a 35kg contest and Jaquwan Milo secured a split decision win against Kome Keiler in a 52kg contest.There was also an exhibition bout between Caribbean 52kg gold medallist Keevin Allicock and Junio Henry which was well received. … Five stoppages highlight final night
Manchester City breathed fresh life into their Premier League title challenge as they came from behind to secure a crucial 2-1 win over Arsenal, while Tottenham beat Burnley 2-1 to close the gap on the top four on Sunday.Pep Guardiola’s side recovered from Theo Walcott’s early opener as second half goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling delivered the knockout blows in a heavyweight clash at Eastlands.City’s second win in five days lifted them into second place and closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to seven points ahead of the busy Christmas period.“At halftime I told them not to think about the score, I told them to keep going. Arsenal were lucky in the first half,” Guardiola said.“The guys give everything in every game. I’m happy to be City coach. In terms of spirit it’s always there.”Just days after squandering the lead in a late loss at Everton, Arsenal’s second successive defeat leaves the fourth placed Gunners languishing nine points behind Chelsea as their 14-match unbeaten run suddenly becomes a distant memory.”“Of course I’m disappointed and frustrated. We had a very good first half and then we conceded two offside goals,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.“It’s difficult to accept. I believe there’s a lot going on (regarding refereeing decisions). It’s hard going into game like that and get decisions go against you.”Guardiola’s latest stab at finding the right formula in City’s creaky defence saw the Spaniard again leave out John Stones and deploy full-back Aleksandar Kolarov alongside Nicolas Otamendi.But it took Arsenal only five minutes to expose City’s soft centre as Alexis Sanchez caressed a fine pass behind Otamendi to Walcott, who dispatched a cool finish past Claudio Bravo from close-range.Showing impressive composure, Guardiola’s team monopolised possession after that and Sterling almost equalised when he headed just wide from Kevin de Bruyne’s cross.City’s territorial dominance was rewarded in the 47th minute when David Silva’s pass picked out Leroy Sane and the German winger beat the offside trap to slot home.Unable to stem the tide, Arsenal needed a series of saves from Petr Cech to keep them level, but the Gunners defence was finally breached again in the 71st minute when England forward Sterling beat Cech at his near post.While Arsenal stumbled, their north London rivals Tottenham battled back to defeat Burnley at White Hart Lane.Burnley stole the lead against the run of play in the 21st minute when George Boyd’s cross came off Moussa Dembele and Ashley Barnes was alert to convert his side’s first away league goal in open play this season.But Mauricio Pochettino’s men were level five minutes later through England midfielder Dele Alli, who made a well-timed run to meet Kyle Walker’s cross with a lethal finish.Tottenham’s winner arrived in the 71st minute when Moussa Sissoko’s found Rose in space and the England left-back smashed home at the near post to move his fifth placed team within one point of the top four.“We knew Burnley are a team that fights a lot, but we played in a very good way and fully deserved the victory,” Pochettino told AFP.Elsewhere on Sunday, Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez bagged a brace to inspire his side’s 3-1 win against local rivals Bournemouth.Rodriguez hadn’t scored in the league since August but he ended that barren stretch with a second half double in the south coast derby at Dean Court.Claude Puel’s team had fallen behind to Nathan Ake’s early opener, but Ryan Bertrand levelled soon after to set the stage for one of the better days in recent memory for the injury plagued Rodriguez.Southampton’s second win in their last nine away league matches lifted them into seventh place, while Bournemouth remain in mid-table.PREMIERSHIP TOP FIVETeam P W D L GF GA GD PtsChelsea 17 14 1 2 35 11 24 43Man City 17 11 3 3 36 20 16 36Liverpool 16 10 4 2 40 20 20 34Arsenal 17 10 4 3 38 19 19 34Tottenham 17 9 6 2 29 12 17 33Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
“It’s nice to be recognised for the hard work I’ve been putting in but I’m happier to be part of the team to have conceded the least amount of goals in Serie A after eight rounds.“This fourth clean sheet of the season is something we have to keep up and build on for a successful year,” he twitted yesterday.The Nigeria international has played six league games for Udinese this season.He made five clearances, blocked four shots, made one interception, won one aerial ball and made three tackles.However, it was Dejan Kulusevski that emerged as the ‘Player of the Week’ despite teammate Andreas Cornelius netting a first Serie A hat-trick during Parma’s 5-1 mauling of Genoa.His form will no doubt excite coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria Gernot Rohr as he get his team set for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers games against Benin Republic and Lesotho respectivelyShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Femi SolajaSuper Eagles and Udinese defender William Troost-Ekong is excited with his inclusion in the Serie A Team of the Week in Week-eight. The strong Nigerian defender made an impressive performance for his club Udinese in lone goal win against Torino last Sunday.Troost-Ekong had a strong 90-minute performance for Udinese and secured maximum points over Torino to better the performance of his team in the current placement of teams in the elite division of Italian league. William Troost-Ekong
StumbleUpon Share UK Racing pushes for drastic levy reforms as deep recession looms August 25, 2020 Related Articles Submit Unibet backs #GoRacingGreen as lead racing charity July 28, 2020 The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed that it has ratified proposals from the Racecourse Association (RCA) via the sport’s “Racing Group” to adjust the conditions of selling races from 1 October 2018.The objective of the proposals is to make the conditions of selling races much clearer to owners and trainers considering running horses, or bidding for the winners of these races in the post-race auction.The most notable adjustment is that the commission retained by racecourses on the sale of any winning horse sold through the post-race auction, including those horses which are bought back by the existing trainer or owner, will be capped at 10% of the sale price, although racecourses do have the option to charge less than this should they wish.Currently the amount of commission charged can vary from racecourse to racecourse, which causes uncertainty for owners, and can be anything up to 50% above the minimum bid, which can be off-putting for anyone considering putting their horse forward to run in these races.In the view of the RCA and the Racing Group, these factors are causing a lack of interest in running horses in Selling races, and hence they are becoming less attractive for racecourses to stage. This is supported by data which has shown a steady decline in the number of Selling races staged and a stagnation in the field sizes of the races that have been programmed.The other changes are that the minimum bid at post-race auctions will be set at £3,200, or higher at the option of the Racecourse, and that auctions of the winning horse will now be held in pounds, rather than Guineas. The proposals will be implemented on an initial 12 month trial basis.Paul Johnson, Head of Racing for the BHA, commented: “Having once been a popular race type, in recent years we have seen a decline in the attractiveness of sellers. We hope that these steps will go some way to revitalising sellers and make them a more appealing proposition for racecourses to stage as an alternative to handicaps.”Andy Clifton, Racing Director at the RCA, added: “Racecourses are keen to boost the attractiveness of Selling races, as they add variety to the race programme and produce popular post-race theatre when the winning horse is offered for sale. We have suggested the changes to make the conditions of these races as clear as possible in the hope that Sellers continue to be supported at racecourses around the country, providing a different winning opportunity for the connections of lower grade horses.” Racing DiRSG launches LGBT+ awareness module for PRIDE June 25, 2020 Share
Sunday morning offered a good visual measuring stick for Ryu’s progress.At one point he, Brandon Beachy and Brandon League were all throwing in the outfield at Dodger Stadium. Beachy, who is 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery, was easily the most advanced. He was playing long toss from left-center field to the left-field foul line, winding up and throwing from a crow hop.On the other end was League, who is still tossing somewhat leisurely from approximately 75 feet. Like Ryu, there is no timetable for League to return from his shoulder problems.In the middle was Ryu, hurling fastballs and changeups and spinning his curve.“There is no pain right now,” he said. When Hyun-Jin Ryu first experienced shoulder inflammation in spring training, it appeared to be a minor injury. He received an injection and was shut down from throwing for three days.When the inflammation and pain didn’t let up, Ryu was shut down for another two weeks. He didn’t start throwing until early April, about two weeks ago, and still hasn’t received permission to throw off a mound.There is no clearly defined timetable for his return. Ryu said he doesn’t even have a target date to be pitching in games again. How about before the All-Star break?“Of course,” he said through an interpreter. “I have to come back before then. I’m confident about that.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error But the Dodgers’ need for a fifth starter persists. They don’t need one until Friday in San Diego, but manager Don Mattingly said he is contemplating giving Zack Greinke an extra day’s rest and using his fifth starter on Thursday in San Francisco instead.David Huff made a spot start Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners and was subsequently designated for assignment. Scott Baker, Zach Lee, Joe Wieland and Mike Bolsinger are all candidates to be recalled Thursday.Ryu went 14-7 with a 3.38 earned-run average in 26 starts last season, and the Dodgers might miss him more if they were not riding a seven-game winning streak. Ryu said in spring training that he’d like to pitch at least 200 innings this year, something he hasn’t done in his first two major league seasons. That won’t happen now, and Ryu is in no hurry to rush back.“At this condition, I’m sure I could (throw off a mound) at some point,” Ryu said, “but I haven’t gotten far in the long toss yet so we’re just being cautious.”AlsoYasiel Puig (sore left hamstring) was not in the starting lineup for the fourth time in the last five games, but Mattingly said that Puig was available if needed in case of a double-switch. Puig could return to the starting lineup Tuesday in San Francisco. … Carl Crawford (flu) was not available off the bench after receiving IV treatment Saturday night. … Joc Pederson felt he was safe at third base after apparently eluding a rundown in the second inning. The umpires agreed until they discussed the play and overturned the initial call, ruling that Pederson left the baseline. The play could not be challenged. … Pederson is 1 for 4 in stolen-base attempts this season.
The free-agent market heads into spring training in the worst shape of its life.Another painfully, disgustingly slow offseason results in some of baseball’s biggest stars still unemployed as pitchers and catchers report. Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel all are without jobs, which means a lot of teams should (deservedly) get Fs. Additions: D.J. LeMahieu (free agent), Adam Ottavino (free agent), James Paxton (trade from Seattle), Zack Britton (re-signed)Grade: B+Some Yankees fans are upset the Bombers didn’t open up the wallet to sign either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper (yet). Both would, arguably, be a fit on the Opening Day roster, and both would potentially help put the team over the Boston hump. But the Yankees are at least equal to the team they were in 2018: They signed D.J. LeMahieu, a contact-hitting second baseman; they brought in Adam Ottavino, coming off a massive year for Colorado; they brought back J.A. Happ; they traded for James Paxton. That’s a full, complete offseason, with or without Harper and Machado. They could definitely have used help at first base — Greg Bird has an injury history and Luke Voit shined, albeit in a small sample size — but the Yankees are deep enough and good enough to solve that issue at the deadline. But I, your teacher, am a fair and generous grader, because spring brings hope and hope springs eternal and hope brings optimism, or something. There’s a lot that goes into grading a team: state of the franchise, the moves that were made, prior offseasons and so forth. Putting context behind everything is important, so on a grading scale of A through D, here are key additions, departures and grades for every team’s offseason heading into spring training.MORE: Your favorite spring training clichés, dissected, translated, explainedNational LeagueDodgersDepartures: Outfielder Yasiel Puig (traded to Cincinnati), Manny Machado (free agent), Yasmani Grandal (free agent)Additions: Relief pitcher Joe Kelly (free agent), outfielder A.J. Pollock (free agent)Grade: BThe Dodgers were a pretty complete team heading into the offseason, having represented the NL in the World Series once again in 2018. They did well to alleviate some of their bloated outfield, shipping Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds. With Clayton Kershaw’s injury history in recent years, Rich Hill aging and other question marks across the rotation, Los Dodgers lose points for not bringing in another rotation arm to help solidify the top end. Also, the Joe Kelly deal was questionable but acceptable for a team in need of bullpen help.GiantsDepartures: Hunter Pence (free agent), Nick Hundley (free agent)Additions: Derek Holland (re-signed)Grade: CWith Farhan Zaidi trying to align his vision for what the Giants should be this offseason, it’s been a quiet few months in the Bay Area, save the Bryce Harper rumors. It’s hard to fault the Giants for not making moves without knowing what direction they’re heading in right now, so they get a Gentleman’s C for their troubles.RockiesDepartures: 2B D.J. LeMahieu (free agent), RP Adam Ottavino (free agent)Additions: 2B Daniel Murphy (free agent)Grade: C+The Rox opened up their wallets after 2017, bringing in Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee for the 2018 season in what should have been baseball’s next super bullpen. Unfortunately, that supposed blockbuster bullpen was nothing more than box-office bomb; Shaw (5.93 ERA), McGree (6.49) and Davis (4.13) all underperformed, while the Rockies let their best reliever (Adam Ottavino) walk in free agency this offseason. With the Diamondbacks reeling, the Giants and Padres rebuilding and the Dodgers down after a second consecutive World Series defeat, the window is open for the Rockies to do damage in that division. But, to this point, they haven’t really capitalized.MORE: The 79 best free agents — Who’s left?PadresDepartures: Clayton Richard (traded to Toronto), Cory Spangenberg (released),Additions: Ian Kinsler (free agent), Garrett Richards (free agent, likely out for 2019, recovering from Tommy John surgery)Grade: B-The Padres are rebuilding, but they brought in some solid players to help them stay relevant on the field. Ian Kinsler had a rough go of it as a Red Sox (Red Sox? Red Sock?) in 2018, and his power numbers have been a bit down over the past two seasons, but he’s still a great defender and getting him on the cheap over the next three seasons is a wise addition. The Padres are in a spot where they can “afford” to be lean on the free-agent front as they wait for their prospects to make The Show, so they get something of a pass. They also gave Eric Hosmer a big-time contract before the 2018 season, so don’t expect them to back up the Brinks truck this offseason for any other big-name free agents.DiamondbacksDepartures: Paul Goldschmidt (traded to St. Louis), Patrick Corbin (free agent), A.J. Pollock (free agent)Additions: Carson Kelly (trade from St. Louis), Luke Weaver (trade from St. Louis)Grade: DDoes anyone really know what the Diamondbacks are trying to be? The Paul Goldschmidt trade torpedoed the Snakes’ odds at challenging for an NL West crown and Arizona doesn’t seem willing to compete, despite being in the NL West hunt in 2018 until faltering down the stretch. Not bothering to get better in a division that’s essentially the Dodgers and everyone else is bothersome, and fans should be bothered by their offseason, too.CubsDepartures: Justin Wilson (free agent), Jesse Chavez (free agent), Daniel Murphy (free agent)Additions: Daniel Descalso (free agent), Tony Barnette (free agent)Grade: DThe Cubs’ offseason has been mired in disappointment more than anything else. Saddled with big contracts from previous offseasons, they have been reluctant to involve themselves in the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes, despite both players being an apparent fit. They also controversially opted to keep shortstop Addison Russell, who is serving a suspension amid domestic violence allegations. While Descalso is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, he pales in comparison to the division rival Cardinals prize of Paul Goldschmidt. — Jacob JanowerRedsDepartures: Billy Hamilton (free agent), Homer Bailey (traded to Dodgers)Additions: Sonny Gray (trade from New York), Yasiel Puig (trade from Los Angeles), Matt Kemp (trade from Los Angeles)Grade: BThe Reds freeing themselves of Homer Bailey’s contract — all but a disaster, it was — is big for them, and acquiring Yasiel Puig will give Cincinnati a jolt of energy and flair. The Sonny Gray trade could also benefit the Reds, if you believe in the whole change-of-scenery thing. It remains to be seen whether the Reds can contend — a betting man would lean no, given their rotation — but it’s hard to argue that they haven’t improved this offseason. Just not enough to really be taken seriously in the NL Central.MORE: Sonny Gray trade grades — Who got better end of three-team deal?BrewersDepartures: Mike Moustakas (free agent), Jonathan Schoop (free agent), Wade Miley (free agent)Additions: Cory Spangenberg (free agent), Yasmani Grandal (free agent)Grade: BWith Yasmani Grandal as the new Brew Crew backstop, Milwaukee solved one of its most glaring holes in its lineup this offseason. The Brewers lose a few points on letting Mike Moustakas walk — for now — and not being more aggressive on the starting pitching market, especially with Wade Miley hitting the market. But for a team that didn’t have many holes to start and boasts the National League MVP, they’ll be better suited to chase what needs come the trade deadline.CardinalsDepartures: Matt Adams (free agent), Bud Norris (free agent)Additions: Paul Goldschmidt (trade from Arizona), Andrew Miller (free agent)Grade: A-Anytime you can bring in a player the caliber of Paul Goldschmidt for what amounts to spare parts, you smash that button harder than Tom Cruise did at the end of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.” For the Cardinals, winning the NL Central will be “Mission: Difficult” more than “Mission: Impossible,” but the additions of Goldschmidt and lefty reliever Andrew Miller will help in the quest. All things considered, St. Louis did exactly what it had to do; supplement a solid group of players with effective upgrades.PiratesDepartures: Josh Harrison (free agent), Jordy Mercer (free agent)Additions: Lonnie Chisenhall (free agent)Grade: DThe Pirates did their big shopping during the season in 2018, acquiring Chris Archer from the Rays for quite the haul, which featured Austin Meadows and pitcher Shane Baz. Simply put, a franchise can’t make the moves it did and then not bother to improve the team whatsoever this offseason. The rotation could be good enough (Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams), but there are serious depth and offensive questions to answer.MetsDepartures: Jay Bruce (trade to Seattle), Wilmer Flores (free agent)Additions: Jed Lowrie (free agent), Robinson Cano (trade from Seattle), Edwin Diaz (trade from Seattle), Wilson Ramos (free agent)Grade: B+Working within their means actually left the Mets and new GM Brodie Van Wagenen with decent results this offseason: They shored up the back end of the bullpen after acquiring Edwin Diaz and added a legit middle of the order bat with Robinson Cano. They also solidified bench depth, signing Jed Lowrie to a two-year deal, and also brought in Wilson Ramos to solve their catching woes. All in all, health and depth have always been the biggest issue for Gotham NL, and the Mets seem to have solved at least the depth issue heading into 2019.MORE: Newest Met casts doubt on MLB teams’ desire to winNationalsDepartures: Bryce Harper (free agent), Tanner Roark (trade to Cincinnati)Additions: Brian Dozier (free agent), Patrick Corbin (free agent), Kurt Suzuki (free agent), Matt Adams (free agent), Yan Gomes (trade from Cleveland)Grade: B+While the door for Harper to return to Washington is wide open, the Nationals might be well off enough without him. Juan Soto was a breakout star in 2018, while Victor Robles is right behind him ready to make an impact. Trea Turner is still a young stud and the Nats still have a good rotation, even better now with the addition of Patrick Corbin. (Side note: They also kept Corbin away from division rival Phillies, who were also in the Corbin hunt.)The Nats have quality depth, which is sure to help them in a race for another title in one of the most loaded and improved divisions in baseball.PhilliesDepartures: Wilson Ramos (free agent), Asdrubal Cabrera (free agent)Additions: J.T. Realmuto (trade from Miami), Jean Segura (trade from Seattle), David Robertson (free agent), Andrew McCutchen (free agent)Grade: BThe Phillies have made a lot of good moves this offseason, culminating (so far) with the acquisition of J.T. Realmuto. They still need bullpen help, though, and Craig Kimbrel is out there for the taking as of this writing. While the Phillies haven’t exactly been stupid with their money — not yet — they’ve done a good job bringing in veterans to try to bolster the depth and quality of the lineup. MarlinsDepartures: J.T. Realmuto (trade to Philadelphia), Derek Dietrich (free agent)Additions: Neil Walker (free agent)Grade: IncompleteThe Marlins are the only team on this list that gets an incomplete grade because their additions have been Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson (signed to a minor-league contract). The Marlins are years away from competing, and trading away their last big piece in Realmuto signifies the rebuild is in absolute full swing — as if we didn’t know that already.BravesDepartures: Kurt Suzuki (free agent)Additions: Josh Donaldson (free agent), Brian McCann (free agent)Grade: BJosh Donaldson signing with his childhood team to a one-year deal is a smart gamble for the Braves, to complement an already potent lineup that features SN NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna and SN All-Star Freddie Freeman. Though the Braves didn’t do enough to strengthen their rotation — an apparent weakness — they have enough in place on the 40-man to be able to afford not having a massive offseason. American LeagueAthleticsDepartures: Kendall Graveman (free agent), Jed Lowrie (free agent), Jonathan Lucroy (free agent), Jeurys Familia (free agent), Trevor Cahill (free agent), Brett Anderson (free agent)Additions: Marco Estrada (free agent), Joakim Soria (free agent), Jurickson Profar (trade from Texas)Grade: B-The Athletics are a team that has to operate within its means, but Oakland has made several smart moves this offseason. Getting Marco Estrada and retaining Mike Fiers will boost the rotation, trading for former wunderkind prospect Jurickson Profar could be a boon for Oakland’s versatility, and snagging Joakim Soria should ensure a lights-out bullpen stays that way. But the A’s lost a lot in free agency, most notably Jed Lowrie, who was arguably the team’s most consistent hitter in 2018. Plus, ace lefty Sean Manaea is expected to miss the season due to injury. The A’s will suffer for not doing more to address their rotation when affordable options were on the market.AngelsDepartures: Garrett Richards (free agent)Additions: Tommy La Stella (trade from Cubs), Justin Bour (free agent), Trevor Cahill (free agent), Matt Harvey (free agent), Jonathan Lucroy (free agent)Grade: C+Shohei Ohtani can’t pitch while recovering from Tommy John surgery, making the Cahill and Harvey additions necessary for Los Angeles’ rotation depth. But is that really all the Angels could do? Why not go all out to supplement a lineup boasting Mike Trout, one of the best MLB players of the past 50 years? Whether the pitching staff can outperform expectations will make or break this regime’s tenure in Anaheim.MarinersDepartures: Robinson Cano (trade to New York Mets), Edwin Diaz (trade to New York Mets), Nelson Cruz (free agent), Mike Zunino (trade to Tampa Bay), James Paxton (traded to New York Yankees), Jean Segura (trade to Philadelphia)Additions: Domingo Santana (trade from Milwaukee), Yusei Kikuchi (free agent), Hunter Strickland (free agent), Edwin Encarnacion (trade from Cleveland)Grade: C+The Mariners didn’t make a lot of trades to help them now — they can all be viewed as rearranging deck chairs — but they did a decent enough job to rebuild a farm system and head in a (somewhat) clearer direction. Seattle’s constant “reimagining” of rosters has to end at some point — the Mariners haven’t been to the postseason since 2001, despite flirting with a berth in 2018, and these shake-ups have rarely seemed to help. For Jerry Dipoto and Co., this season is the one that has to bear some sort of fruit, to show that all the hustle and bustle and Twitter memes have actually been worth something.AstrosDepartures: Brian McCann (free agent), Marwin Gonzalez (free agent), Dallas Keuchel (free agent), Charlie Morton (free agent)Additions: Michael Brantley (free agent), Wade Miley (free agent), Robinson Chirinos (free agent), Aledmys Diaz (free agent)Grade: BThe Astros were at one point in on catcher J.T. Realmuto and it’s unclear why they didn’t pull the trigger. This is a team with a window to win right now, making it to the ALCS in 2018 after winning it all in 2017. But not having any intention of re-signing Dallas Keuchel (at least as of this writing) and trying to replace a rotation spot with Wade Miley — very good in 2018 but not good the rest of his career — seems shortsighted. In recent years we’ve seen teams rely on cores without making the effort to improve each year, which has hurt some would-be dynastic teams (Cubs, Line 1), so for the Astros to not make marked improvements heading into 2019 seems like a pretty big gamble. If nothing else, the signings they’ve made put them pretty much in the same spot they were in 2018.RangersDepartures: Jurickson Profar (trade to Oakland), Adrian Beltre (retired), Robinson Chirinos (free agent)Additions: Asdrubal Cabrera (free agent), Zach McAllister (free agent), Lance Lynn (free agent), Shelby Miller (free agent)Grade: DThe Rangers have done nothing to solidify what they’re doing now or for the future. They had pieces to move and only moved Profar to the A’s in a three-team deal. They traded for Drew Smyly (who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016), signed Shelby Miller (10.69 ERA in 2018 with Arizona) and Edinson Volquez, who actually signed in 2018 but spent the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Not exactly a competitive rotation for not exactly a competitive team.White SoxDepartures: Matt Davidson (free agent), Avisail Garcia (free agent), James Shields (free agent)Additions: Jon Jay (free agent), Kelvin Herrera (free agent), Yonder Alonso (trade from Cleveland)Grade: B-The White Sox are another one of these “stay the course” teams that didn’t do much this offseason, at least to this point. Who knows whether their overtures to Manny Machado and Bryce Harper were legit or just window dressing for the fan base, but kudos to Chicago for trying. All things considered, the White Sox have a solid young core, but they need to start producing and winning games.TwinsDepartures: Joe Mauer (retired)Additions: Lucas Duda (free agent), Nelson Cruz (free agent), Jonothan Schoop (free agent), Martin Perez (free agent), C.J. Cron (waiver claim)Grade: BThe Twins brought in C.J. Cron and Nelson Cruz, adding two legitimate power threats to the middle of their lineup to hit in the cavernous Target Field. They also signed Lucas Duda to a minor-league deal. That’s three legit power guys to add to incumbents Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano. The Twins have built an offensive identity, but we’ll see whether Duda and Cruz are here to stay or merely trade bait come the deadline.TigersDepartures: Jose Iglesias (free agent)Additions: Jordy Mercer (free agent)Grade: C-The tumult surrounding Nicholas Castellanos and his reported trade demand has been the highlight of the Tigers’ offseason. Really. Everything else in Mo Town has stayed pretty much the same, but Detroit is in Year 2 of its rebuild, so expect more tearing down before the wins start coming.IndiansDepartures: Michael Brantley (free agent), Josh Donaldson (free agent), Josh Tomlin (free agent), Lonnie Chisenhall (free agent), Andrew Miller (free agent), Yan Gomes (trade to Washington)Additions: Carlos Santana (trade from Seattle)Grade: DThe Indians are banking on the rest of the AL Central to be bad, as their window is closing fast. They did well to resist the urge to trade ace Corey Kluber, because trading him would have been a massive gamble on expecting the rest of the rotation to stay healthy and the rest of the division to stay bad. But with Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco under contract, Cleveland needed to improve its team and just … didn’t. Even with payroll limitations, there’s no reason why the Indians couldn’t have bolstered an outfield that features Greg Allen, Tyler Naquin and Leonys Martin. It will surprise no one if they win the division — and it also won’t surprise anyone if they get stomped in the first round of the playoffs once again.RoyalsDepartures: Alcides Escobar (free agent), Jason Hammel (free agent)Additions: Brad Boxberger (free agent), Terrance Gore (free agent), Billy Hamilton (free agent)Grade: B-Speed kills, and the Royals are going to test that theory 2019. Bringing in Hamilton and Gore will up their speed alongside Whit Merrifield, who signed a shiny new extension this offseason (very favorable toward the team, mind you), and Adalberto Mondesi. Their rotation is serviceable and their bullpen is ripe with question marks. If nothing else, the Royals built an offensive identity and are hoping for big-time returns in 2019. Don’t count on it, though.Red SoxDepartures: Drew Pomeranz (free agent), Joe Kelly (free agent), Ian Kinsler (free agent), Craig Kimbrel (free agent)Additions: Nathan Eovaldi (re-signed)Grade: BThe Red Sox had a historic season in 2018, winning 108 games and the World Series. There’s no doubt Boston is still good, but expecting the Sox to be that good one more year seems like a bit of a stretch. All things considered, the Red Sox have a young core that is going to be the backbone of this team for a long time, but not re-signing Kimbrel seems like a bit of a head scratcher. He’s still available, so a reunion is a possibility, but with Boston wanting to slash payroll, it seems unrealistic.RaysDepartures: C.J. Cron (waived), Jake Bauers (trade to Cleveland)Additions: Yandy Diaz (trade from Cleveland), Mike Zunino (trade from Seattle), Avisail Garcia (free agent), Charlie Morton (free agent)Grade: AThe Rays had a sneaky-good offseason, and the addition of Charlie Morton will only help solidify that. Morton will either be really good for the Rays, continuing to capitalize on his career renaissance, or he’ll be traded at the deadline for more pieces. The Rays can’t count on the devil magic from last year that pushed them to 90 wins under Kevin Cash, and they’ve had a very good offseason that’s made them better. Expect the Rays to make noise in 2019, as long as they can stay healthy and keep their rotation intact.OriolesDepartures: Adam Jones (free agent), Caleb Joseph (free agent), Tim Beckham (free agent)Additions: Nate Karns (free agent)Grade: IncompleteThe Orioles are the second team to earn an incomplete mark here because no one is sure what they’re going to be for years to come. To say their 2018 season was a train wreck would be an understatement, so for them to have hit rock bottom — assumedly so — means it’s only up from here. It seems unfair to give them a bad grade because of the state of the organization, so we’ll see how their current roster performs in 2019.Blue JaysDepartures: Marco Estrada (free agent), Troy Tulowitzki (free agent)Additions: Clayton Richard (trade from San Diego)Grade: B-The Jays are another team waiting on their core to come up, headlined by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The Jays probably should have been better than they were in 2018, but injuries ravaged the team and left them generally uncompetitive for the rest of the season. We’ll see what new skipper Charlie Montoyo has to offer in 2019 and whether he’ll bring some of that Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays magic with him. The Jays should have done a bit more to help shore up the bench and the bullpen, two areas they’re lacking in depth.YankeesDepartures: Sonny Gray (trade to Cincinnati), Neil Walker (free agent), Ronald Torreyes (waived), David Robertson (free agent)
AAF TRACKER: Follow which Alliance players have signed in the NFLObviously success in the AAF won’t necessarily translate to success in the NFL. Just because you shined against players who couldn’t even get a practice squad spot doesn’t mean you’re suddenly ready to start. But there are a few players who made a case to at least get an invite to training camp.Let’s take a look at some of them.AAF TIMELINE: Events that led to league’s demiseQB Garrett GilbertGilbert was likely going to be the AAF’s first MVP if the league made it that far. The quarterback, who turned down an NFL futures contract to play in the AAF, shined in his eight games. He completed 60.6% of his league-high 259 pass attempts for a league-high 2,152 yards and 13 passing touchdowns. He had just three interceptions, which is fewest among QBs with at least 80 pass attempts (or 10 attempts per game). He also ran for a score, and caught a touchdown. He also led the league in yards per attempt (8.3) and QB rating (102.0).He did have some struggles late in the season, but his bad games looked like other quarterback’s good games in the AAF. He didn’t tear teams apart, so he’s not getting a starting NFL job any time soon, but he played well enough I could see him earning a backup role somewhere. Update: Gilbert has signed with the Browns, per Cleveland.com.Position note: Gilbert is really the only QB who showed much promise. Luis Perez had some buzz early in the season, but really started to struggle and was even benched at one point. Zach Mettenberger played really well, but had a small sample size due to his injury. John Wolford was the second-best QB statistically, but wasn’t that impressive.WR Charles JohnsonGilbert and Johnson complimented each other well on the Apollos. Johnson earned Pro Football Focus’s highest grade for a receiver (85.5) in the league as he led the AAF in receiving yards (687) and receptions (45). PFF says Johnson quarterbacks had a 123.8 passer rating when throwing in his direction, which is pretty remarkable.Johnson was a seventh-round pick in 2013 and spent some time in the NFL before winding up in the AAF. He struggled with injuries during his short time in the NFL and could never quite stay on a roster. But maybe now that’s he’s finished as the AAF’s all-time leading receiver, teams might take another look at him.Update: Johnson has signed with the Eagles.Position note: Commanders WR Mekale McKay could draw some interest from teams as well. He earned the nickname “Big Play McKay” as he led the AAF (out of receivers with 10+ catches) in yards per catch (17). Stallions WR De’Mornay Pierson-El could be a nice slot receiver option as he finished with the fourth-most receptions. PFF says Pierson-El forced nine missed tackles after the catch, most in the AAF.WR Rashad RossRoss finished with PFF’s second-highest grade for a receiver (83.2) and wasn’t too far behind Johnson in terms of production. Ross caught a touchdown in all but two games, and in one of those games he was clearly dealing with a bad injury so he wasn’t quite his full self. He ended up leading the league in touchdown catches (7).Ross managed to finish with at least 50 receiving yards in every game this season, making him a very consistent threat. Similar to Johnson, Ross bounced around some NFL teams. He was on a different roster eight times before landing with the Hotshots. Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Ross has signed with the Panthers.RB D’Ernest JohnsonJohnson did a lot with very little. He wasn’t used in heavy rotation like other backs in the AAF, but he turned his 64 carries (7th in the league) into 372 rushing yards (2nd in the league) which comes out to 5.8 yards per carry. He also caught 22-of-30 targets for 220 yards (most for a running back) giving him 592 scrimmage yards on the year (2nd in the league).He finished with PFF’s highest grade for a running back (78.2) as he was pretty dominant with the ball in his hands. From PFF’s Cam Mellor: “[Johnson forced] 12 missed tackles on just 65 attempts while averaging 3.40 yards after contact per attempt and leading the league with 13 carries of at least 10-plus yards.”I’m not sure what role Johnson would have in the NFL, but he put on enough impressive tape to warrant a camp invite.Position note: Iron RB Trent Richardson finished with the most touchdowns in the league, but overall he wasn’t too impressive. He was a good goal-line runner, but is that valuable in the NFL? Jhurell Pressley led the league in rushing and could also get some looks, although his play wasn’t too eye-popping.S Derron SmithSmith earned PFF’s “Player of the Year” honors as he finished with the highest overall grade of all players (93.1). The Commanders safety is better in coverage than run defense, as he finished with three interceptions and eight pass deflections.Smith was a fifth-round pick by the Bengals in 2015 and lasted two seasons with them. He’s only 27 years old, so it’d seem silly for a team to not give him an opportunity considering the production he had in the AAF. He’s not quite starter material right now, but he’d provide solid depth for a club in need.Update: The Vikings announced they signed Smith.CB Keith ReaserSo this is sort of cheating as the Chiefs have already reportedly signed Reaser. But I promise he was going on this list anyways. Reaser was No. 1 on my defensive MVP awards list at the midway point of the season and he played just as well in the three games that followed.Reaser had PFF’s second-highest overall grade (92.7) finishing with three interceptions, seven pass breakups and no touchdowns allowed.Update: Commanders CB De’Vante Bausby signed a deal with the Broncos, per The Athletic. Commanders CB Duke Thomas signed with the Vikings.Position note: Iron CB Jamar Summers started off the season really well, but fell off a little bit towards the end. He still played well enough to likely pique the interest of some teams. EDGE Damontre MooreThe former third-round draft pick by the Giants didn’t last in the NFL mostly due to off-field issues. He put those aside and absolutely dominated in the AAF as a pass rusher. He earned a 90.8 overall grade from PFF as he tallied 7 sacks with 25 quarterback hits (league-leading). He also forced two fumbles and had four pass deflections.He had 41 pressures on 220 pass rushes, per PFF, which is a high rate for an edge defender. Assuming his off-field issues are past him, there’s no reason not to take a chance on 26-year-old pass rusher. Update: Moore has signed with the 49ers, the team announced.Position note: Stallions edge defender Karter Schult played really well, but he’s a bit undersized for his position. I imagine there’d be interest in him due to just how well he played, but it’ll be interesting to see if his production keeps up in the NFL.EDGE Jayrone ElliottElliott was almost as dominant as Moore was, earning an 87.7 grade from PFF. He led the league in sacks (7.5) and forced four fumbles. From PFF’s Mellor: “Elliott led the league with his 91.9 pass-rushing grade and finished with 13 of his 28 total pressures resulting in sacks or hits on the quarterback.”Elliott spent some time on the Packers after going undrafted in 2014. Packers beat writer Mike Clemens said Elliott “had a tremendous training camp in 2014, had some good games in 2015. The rest is a mystery.” Elliott is just 27 years old and after putting up 7.5 sacks in 8 games it seems like he should at least get a camp invite.Update: Elliott has signed with the Dolphins.Kickers/PuntersIf you didn’t follow the AAF you may not know the rules didn’t exactly favor kickers. There were no kickoffs or extra points in this league, so seeing kickers was a pretty rare occasion. Nevertheless, a few of them shined in limited action.There were three kickers who were perfect this season:Nick Rose: 14-of-14, 54 longYounghoe Koo: 14-of-14, 38 longElliott Fry: 14-of-14, 47 longI’m not saying all of these guys will get a look at an NFL roster, but teams might want to look at them if there’s an injury or they just want some competition. Rose is a good candidate as he was on the Chargers’ roster in the playoffs for his kickoff ability. The Alliance of American Football has suspended its football operations, and announced Thursday players from its league are now eligible to sign with NFL teams.Players in the AAF didn’t get a full opportunity to impress NFL clubs. The league ended just after its eighth week out of 10 in the regular season. But some players clearly shined more than others and if an NFL team watched any of the games, they no doubt saw potential in some of the players. As for punting, Colton Schmidt seems like he’d be a lock for a roster spot. He led the league with 44 punts, booting them for 2,024 yards (46 yard average) with a 42 net average. For reference, that net average would rank seventh among NFL punters last season.Not only did Schmidt boom it deep, but he often pinned teams inside the 20-yard line.Update: Rose and Koo have reportedly scheduled workouts with the Bears.