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Trading Rick Porcello would be a mistake

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starting pitcher has been involved in trade rumors throughout the spring. The latest is that the and are “active” in talks on Porcello, . The Tigers reportedly would need a “strong” return to cough up Porcello, and it’s always worth listening to offers, so the Tigers aren’t doing anything wrong.

Yet.

If they do trade Porcello, however, I believe they will regret it down the road.

The folly would be to surmise that Porcello has had four years in the majors and has proven he’s not a quality starter. He was 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA last season and led the AL in hits allowed, sure, but he’s still only 24 years old. History is lined with both l tactical advice to the players.Ronaldo is now owner Real Valladolid, while Berlusconi controls Monza.”Why did you never make a goal from the corner? It’s so easy,” Ronaldo claimed Berlusconi said.“Put everybody outside the area and when he kicks iate bloomers and players who didn’t even hit the majors until they were 24. There’s a reason why Porcello was taken in the first round out of high school and landed a spot in the Tigers’ rotation at the tender young age of 20. He’s incredibly talented.

And we nue to grow.The 22-year-old has scored eight goals which is good enough to make him the joint-leading scorer in the Premier League.Although he didn’t score in Saturday’s win over Newcastle, Lampard is pleased with other facets of Abraham’s game.Lampamight just be seeing the start of something special this spring.

This obviously comes with a huge caveat. Spring stats for the most part don’t mean much. There are just far too many circumstances that don’t equate to success in the regular season. With someone young and on the trading block like Porcello, however, I feel like it’s worth a look. And he has a 2.50 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 18 innings this spring. Oh, and zero walks. That’s right. Eighteen strikeouts and zero walks in 18 spring innings.

So Porcello could very well be primed for a breakout season, meaning the Tigers have the potential to have an elite rotation.

The flip side to the argument would be that the Tigers are in “win now” mode and that holding a youngster in hopes that he breaks out goes against the mindset. I’d offer up two items in rebuttal:

1. Porcello is the fifth starter. Not a prospect. 2. What the Tigers reportedly seek in return — a right-handed hitting outfielder and/or a closer — isn’t worth coughing up a major-league-caliber starter with breakout potential like Porcello.

The Tigers might have no intention of trading Porcello and instead are merely listening to offers because they are .The 24-year-old rarely posts on social media, but took to Twitter just before 9pm to reveal his home down south had been broken into while he popped out for some food with his partner, Lauren, reports the Evening Chronicle.Hayden had been spending tgetting them. If that’s the case, they are doing exactly what they should — because trading Porcello right now would be a mistake.

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astle United and Aston Villa are eyeing the defend

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second baseman had another productive day at the plate in Sunday’s Cactus League contest against the Dodgers. He went 3-for-3 with a homer, four RBI and two runs scored. Hill doubled home a run in his first at-bat before driving in two with a base hit in the third inning. Then in the fifth, he launched a solo shot ering an injury setback during their FA Cup win at Portsmouth.The Uruguayan midfiat at hooking to build on the last campaign’s successes, while not planning too far into the future.”From the first day he’s (Dawson) a very good professional and is always focused on the way to help the team,” said Gracia to the Watford Observer.”I think iome to Liverpool.City had their openings against the World and European champions but they were punished for not taking them on 78 minutes.Sadio Mané struck the decisive blow to take all three points back to Merseyside.Farke said, “The qualelder appeared to be in agony following a robust challenge from Pompey’s James Bolton, and after a lengthy delay he was eventually replaced by Dani Ceballos.There were ioff Peter Moylan for his first long ball of the spring. Hill, who signed a four-year, $40.5 million contract in the offseason, is batting .452 (14 for 31) through 11 Cactus League games with nine RBI and a .710 slugging percentage. Despite the big contract, Hill said, “you never want to get comfortable” in this game.”It is comfortable, yes, family speaking,” he said. “Everyone’s happy. We love it here. So it’s nice knowing you’re going to be in a spot for a couple of years, but every year you’ve got something to prove. You want to go out and you want to be better than the last year.”

Cardinals camp report: If anyone can take loss of Carpenter, Lohse …

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JUPITER, Fla. — Every year it seems, the lose a star, a legend or an icon — sometimes for the year, and sometimes for good.

So if any team can absorb the sudden loss of perennial October hero , it is St. Louis. Carpenter isn’t coming back this season, no matter what the rumor mill spins out. His nerve condition was causing pain or discomfort in his shoulder and his back, and discoloration in his fingers. Retirement seems more realistic than return.

So it’s not a matter of Carp doing what he usually does, which is toughing it out. There’s no amount of tough to combat this sort of pain, numbness and discoloration.

“We just want him to be happy. We don’t want him to walk around with a numb arm the rest of his life,” said , who will be counted on to be the ace in the absence of both Carpenter and , the real 2012 ace who’s still job seeking though perhaps not on the Cardinals’ immediate radar.

Wainwright’s comments epitomize the Cardinals way in recent years. Whether it’s Tony LaRussa managing or now able replacement Mike Matheny, no group seems to have a greater sense of team, a greater resolve or more intense focus. They come together, time and again.

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Carp, they all say, is going to be missed as much for chemistry as sabremetry. Around here, cohesion counts.

But while they won’t have Carpenter around to watch their bullpens, to cheer them on from the bench and advise them from the foxhole, like usual, the impression he left will live on.

“He left his mark,” said. “Now it’s our job to continue to carry it on.”

Two years ago, it was Wainwright who went down for the year, and the Cardinals were counted out, several months before they won World Series No. 11. Last year, it was a trio of legends who left — , La Russa and Dave Duncan. Now Carpenter is out for the year (more likely forever) and Lohse is probably going elsewhere.

Carpenter is the loss that’s recalled today because Lohse was presumed gone as soon as he turned down the team’s $13.3 million qualifying offer. Carpenter was assumed back, especially after his first several Busch stadium workouts with young fireballer went without a hitch. Then suddenly, there was pain, numbness and discoloration, a trifecta that would KO anyone, even the beloved Carp.

In a way though, Lohse, who is fielding interest from others right now (and could become of interest to St. Louis, but likely only if its starters aren’t panning out here) is the bigger loss. He went 16-3 last year, and that’s with three one-run defeats and six late leads blown by the bullpen. He was more the man than even the vaunted Carpenter in 2012. “Let’s be honest,” once Cardinals person said, “Carp threw only 17 innings last year.”

Whether it was 17 or 170, the Cardinals will find a way to overcome, because that is what they do. Which brings us to the big question: How do they do it? And more, to the point, can they do it again?

The easy answer is: Why not?

Seeing as how they defender Jan Vertonghen is not ruling out a move away from the club.The veteran defender has been at Spurs since 2012.But he is unsure whether his long term future lies in North London, especially given Spurs’ policy of wanting a younger squad.He sa endured the loss of Wainwright for a season to the win the 2011 World Series, the retirements/defection of La Russa, Duncan and Pujols plus the loss of Carpenter (for all but 17 innings plus postseason) to make it within one game of the World Series in 2012, who’s to say they can’t make it without Carpenter and Lohse (plus , the ’11 hero who recovered and is with his home-state Rangers)?

Here are six reasons the Cardinals are playoff contenders yet again:

Their lineup is AL-caliber once again. , Holliday, , and form one of the deepest batting orders in the game. Plus, the little guys can hit, too. Veteran shortstop , assuming he’s back to health (he says he is), improving and second-base hopefuls and (especially Carpenter) are all threats , too. “One through eight, we offer tough outs,” Holliday said.Even without Carpenter and Lohse, the rotation looks better than most, and maybe even better than that. Wainwright is a bona fide ace when right, and should be even better his second year back after Tommy John surgery. , and provide viable alternatives for the middle of the rotation, though with Garcia comes the obvious question of the health of his shoulder after he was shut down last October, along with some ultra-fastidiousness that can worry the bosses, too.Between , and , they have not one or even two but three top pitching prospects who could more than adequately replace Carpenter, at least in terms of numbers. “We’re going to miss Carp. But I think all three can do it,” Molina said. All three are upper-90s throwers, and Rosenthal hits 100 with ease. “The nation got to see what they could do. Their demeanor is way beyond their years,” said Freese, who showed poise early when he was a World Series hero his second season. All three bring reason to believe their time is now. Kelly impressed in 16 starts for the Cards last year, Rosenthal wowed them out of the ‘pen and Miller, with a superb repertoire, is maybe one of the top two or three pitching prospects in the game. This trio is the envy of just about every other team. “Good young pitchers in this game, it’s like gold,” Holliday said.Molina is one of the best players in the game. He’s no longer a secret star after his third-place National League MVP finish, but this two-way gem is no less valuable. The worth of the best defensive catcher in the game who also is a .315 hitter (with .874 OPS) is close to incalculable. “If he’s not one of the top five players in the game, I’d be surprised,” Holliday said. To which Molina responded, “That’s what you do the work for, to be considered like that.”Their depth is perhaps better than ever. If Furcal can’t make it, , who helped get the Cardinals into the NLCS last season and “opened eyes” in the words of GM John Mozeliak, plus provide two more options. Descalso, another September/October hero, plus Carpenter, who could be explosive offensively, are two viable second-base options (with Kozma). is .It was the first time in two years the former Ajax captain had been benched.”Naturally, I would have preferred to play and I had no clue in training so I didn’t expect to be on the bench,” said De Ligt after the victory.”I respect the decision. “Thea nice bat off the bench while Kolten Wong, and power hitting provide further infield depth. They did lose a bit of veteran leadership with Berkman and gone to the Rangers and Dodgers.If they are missing something truly vital, the front office will figure it out. Their top-ranked system is a reflection on the job the front office does, and it is also adept at filling in the gaps. Mozeliak, who just received a well-deserved extension, added to the depth by acquiring the type of help one doesn’t normally get from the farm, namely a veteran bench hitter (Wigginton), a lefthanded reliever (, who held lefty hitters to a .405 OPS last season) and the versatile Cedeno. In mid-2011, the initially much-criticized trade of for relievers was a key to the championship. “It starts with the front office,” said Freese, who was acquired in Mozeliak’s first trade for aging veteran Jim Edmonds, who is now working with the front office. “The Cardinals’ front office is top notch. Our organization speaks for itself.”

With the Cardinals, their play is the thing, not their words.

It goes without saying, the Cardinals’ greatest attribute may be their resolve to win. It’s not clear whether that’s a carryover from the LaRussa-Duncan era (Matheny had a nice first season) or something more deeply ingrained, perhaps even steeped in the tradition of the organization.

Clearly, they didn’t rest after their fantastic come-from-behind 2011 World Series win, forging a 3-1 NLCS lead in games before falling to the eventual champion Giants. Most of them seemed to spend the winter not luxuriating in another success story but raths has offers arriving from Brazil.Off contract at the end of the month, Juanfran has been contacted by Sao Paulo and Corinthians.Efe says Sao Paulo chief Rai has spoken with Juanfran directly about a move to South America.Earlier this month, the fuller thinking about what might have been. Freese ultimately concluded the Giants simply deserved the ring. Speaking of the trio of gems spun by , and , Freese said, “I haven’t seen three games pitched like that in a row, especially in a high-pressure situation.”

That certainly doesn’t mean these Cardinals brushed it off easily because, if anything, the opposite is true. They take defeats personally. Asked if the anguish of a tough finish lingers more than the joy of a great one does, Wainwright answered, succinctly, “Apparently, because I’m still hurting.”

The talent in the Cardinals’ room is obvious, but the success goes way deeper than that. The loss of Carpenter (and Lohse) will be felt, at least initially, but their trio of kid pitchers has a chance to be special. If it is, don’t be shocked if they win a 12th World Series title. Even if they all aren’t quite ready to take Carp’s place on the mound or in the clubhouse, the Cards will still be a threat. You know they will.

Report: Michael Bourn still too expensive for Reds

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general manager Walt Jocketty says free-agent center fielder is still out of their price range, Mark Sheldon of .com reported Friday.

Bourn, 29, made just under $7 million last year, his last arbitration season. The center fielder hit .274/.348/.391 with the in 2012 with 42 stolen bases. Although he isn’t expected to pull in a contract like ‘s five-year, $75-million deal with the Braves, Bourn should pull in at least $10 million per year for at least four years — a deal similar to or better than the one receivee style of manager Graham Potter.The stats say Newcastle had less of the ball against Albion than Manchester City managed versus Watford. Asked whether he had played in a side quite like that which Graham Potter is moulding, the Albion midfielder told fmidfielder Scott Banks.The Dundee-United-Scott-Banks-latest” target=”_blank”>Daily Express says Palace have agreed a substantial transfer fee with Dundee United to sign their talented youngster Banks. Sources close to the Premier League side have conrom the .

The Reds had an $87 million opening-day payroll last season andlam Slimani at AS Monaco.On-loan from Leicester City, Slimani has been a revelation for ASM so far this season, hitting four goals and providing six assists.”Slimani is walking on the water, doing exceptional things in a moribund team,” declared Belm the club isn’t expected to significantly raise salaries. The club already has roughly $85 million committed to 2013, not including the contract Ryan Ludwick agreed to with the Reds on Friday. As Jocketty said, Bourn “would have to really fall” to end up in Cincinnati.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow

Dodgers keep spending with winning bid on Ryu; assume they’re not done

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With the Dodgers winning the bidding for Korean lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu, the lesson is not to count them out of anything.

The Dodgers won the right to negotiate for $25,737,737, as was reported on CBSSports.com, a subtantial sum for a pitcher some aren’t sure is a starter. (The Dodgers, and others, disagree.)

Sources say at leasta midfielder Jorginho has warned Maurizio Sarri that the Napoli fan base could feel “betrayed” if he joins Juventus.Reports have claimed Sarri is on the verge of swapping Stamford Bridge for Turin.Jorginho followed Sarri to the Blues last summer from one other team was in “the $20 million range” so their bid isn’t completely out of line, assuming Ryu is the starter they hope. The and also were very interested, with word coming that at least the Cubs “bid aggressively.”

Ryu is a stocky lefthander — he’s listed as 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds — with a nice touch. He’s also a plus for the Dodgers, with ‘ huge Korean population. But for this money, they have to have faith he’ll fit into their rotation.

The Dodgers have 30 days to sign Ryu now, but assuming they do, don’t assume this means they are set on starting pitching. was hurt in the second half, and Chad Billinsgley had a late injury, as well.

No matter, the new Dodgers are in a mode to spend to win.

They are like the , the old Yankees, who had money and spent it.

The Dodgers have interest in , , and , and figure they’ll make sure to get one of them, too. The Yankees are favored for Kuroda, but the Dodgers seem to have few limits.

The Dodgers spent an unheard-of $260 million in August betyween , , and . But assume there’s more where tIslam Slimani.On-loan with AS Monaco, there’s every chance the deal is set to be terminated in the coming days as offers arrive for the Algeria internatio any thoughts of retirement.The 35 year-old fullback is off contract in June.”Don’t stop playing. Stay with us for the next year,” Ancelotti said of Baines.”We would like to keep him and are going to talk with him. It would be good for us if he can snal.Foot Mercato says PSG have made contact with Slimani’s agent, Federico Pastorello, to discushat came from.

Top free-agent hit list: Projected salaries for Greinke, Hamilton, Bourn and 39 more

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will be pursued by the and . (US Presswire)

Pay no attention to the weak World Series ratings. Revenues in baseball are up, franchise values are way up and a free-agent class that is interesting but almost devoid of major stars (after the top few guys) should benefit greatly.

After all, this is, as Bud Selig has reminded us many times, the golden era of baseball.

And these guys are the luckiest of all the beneficiaries.

With help from an unnamed expert source on the player side (not an agent who represents these players), here are predicted dollar amounts for 42 top names in this year’s class, with my own guesses, as well.

With a potential bidding war between two big-market crosstown rivals (the two L.A.’s), he stands to be the big winner. My expert has him No. 1, and I agree. Expert: $147 million, 6 years. Me: $150 million, 6 years. 

One of the more interesting markets in years. One management source predicts a small-to-mid market could break the bank. I could see , whether it be the US Bank (Brewers GM Doug Melvin joked they might need that particular bank), or whatever bank. Expert: $137 million, 5 years. Me: $140 million, 6 years.

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The Nationals and Phillies could do battle for this prototype center fielder/leadoff man. Expert: $83 million, 5 years. Me: $80 million, 5 years.

The same two teams should play here (as could the Giants, who may also be in on Bourn). Expert: $70 million, 5 years. Me: $65 million, 5 years.

5. , OF. Regular-season numbers aren’t far off those of , who got $126 million for seven years. But how much with defense and October matter? Expert: $67 million, five years. Me: $39 million, three years.

Very good postseason should help. Incumbent have said they be will be in mix. Expert: $65 million, 5 years. Me: $70 million, 5 years.

Superb and consistent season and postseason (this time without guru Dave Duncan) followed a very good one. Expert: $64 million, 4 years. Me: $70 million, 4 dio Mane says his brace in the UEFA Super Cup final win over Chelsea was down to the play of Roberto Firmino.Firmino came on at half-time and set Mane up twice to fire home for Liverpool.”To be honest, I think I was just a lucky boy,” the Senegal intyears.

His big year in changed his image. No one benefited more from his walk year. Expert: $45 million, 4 years. Me: $30 million, 3 years.

Monster year should pay off. The Red Sox, who had him briefly, should covet LaRoche. The incumbent Nats surely do, too. Expert: $39 million, 3 years. Me: $56 million, 4 years.

Replaced Mariano Rivera and put up a Rivera-like year. Could see the Tigers making a play. Expert: $39 million, 3 years. Me: Agree.

The Nationals turned down a $13.3-million qualifying offer, which ought to be a clue. But who knows? Pitching is so scarce, he is undeniably durable and consistent, and now he doesn’t have a draft pick attached to him. Expert: $37 million, 3 years. Me: $36 million, 3 years.

He should probably return to the National League after slipping somewhat as the Rangers’ late-deadline afterthought pickup. Expert: $33 million, 3 years. Me: $25 million, 2 years.

Big postseason will help, though personality quirk may be an issue with some. Expert: $28 million, 3 years. Me: $12 million, 2 years.

He encountered rough seas last offseason, but a cameo in should help. Expert: $25 million, 3 years. Me: $15 million, 2 years.

Terrific finish showed he has plenty left. Expert: $22 million, 2 years. Me: $30 million, 2 years.

Inspirational pick was having a nice year before the unfortunate liner. Expert: $22 million, 2 years. Me: $20 million, 2 years.

His off year will hurt a little, but probably not as much as you think. Expert: $21 million, 2 years. Me: $30 million, 3 years.

18. , 3B. He fit nicely on the South Side but his overall numbers still diminished. Expert: $18 million, 2 years. Me: $20 million, 2 years.

Huge year in perhaps makes him feel better about Petco difficulties. Expert: $17 million, 2 years. Me: $24 million, 3 years.

Very nice bounce back season. Expert: $16.5 million, 2 years. Me: $15 million, 2 years.

He’s solid and consistent, which plays pretty well this year. Expert: $16 million, 2 years. Me: $24 million, 3 years. 

Big walk year helps. have replacement ready, but watch if Jerry Reinsdorf brings back a favorite. Expert: $15 million, 2 years. Me: $20 million, 2 years.

Very good lefty reliever who should be appreciated this winter. Expert: $14.5 million, 3 years. Me: $16.5 million, 3 years.

Nice set-up man, but was better in than . Expert: $16 million, 3 years. Me: $15 million, 3 years.

Had a very nice year in but could surely use competition from the other two big spenders, the Phillies and . Expert: $14 million, 2 years. Me: $21 million, 3 years.

Postseason hero should cash in, but it’ll be a surprise if he leaves San Francisco. Expert: $14 million, 2 years. Me: $15 million, 2 years.

He resurrected his career in after not dealing well with Coors Field. We can rule out , anyway. Expert: $14 million, 2 years. Me: $27 million, 3 years.

He’s willing to do a one-year deal so he has something left when he finishes his career later in Japan. The Yankees should be able to make a deal here after giving him the $13.3-million qualifying offer. Expert: $14 million, 1 year. Me:sted in the vacant Newcastle job.The Dutchman has been unemployed since leaving Feyenoord and becomes the first name to publicly declare his interest in replacing Rafa Benitez, who will leave at the end of this month.”I think the rumours have come a $15 million, 1 year.

He consistently outpitches his stuff, though he had a bit of injury trouble last year. Expert: $10.25 million, 1 year. Me: $20 million, 2 years.

He resurrected his career once with the Yankees. Maybe the Giants make a play this time. Expert: $11 million, 1 year. Me: $10 million, 1 year.

His huge postseason should make him coveted. Expert: $11 million, 2 years. Me: $18 million, 3 years.

Everyone is assuming the Yankees will automatically give him the same money or more. But being that he won’t pitch elsewhere, is 43 and returning from a knee injury, that’s not quite a certainty. Expert: $10 million, 1 year. Me: $12 million, 1 year.

The ’ trade fell through at the last minute, so he’s probably not too far off the difference between the $15.5-million option and $3.5-million option. Expert: $10 million, 1 year. Me: $20 million, 2 years.

Nice solid starter is better than you think. Expert: $10 million, 2 years. Me: $14 million, 2 years.

An off year offensively could hurt him. But his ability to play first base or DH helps. The Red Sox, who have eyed him for years, make sense. Expert: $9 million, 1 year. Me: $16 million, 2 years.

The .211 batting average is a detriment, even at a time where BA has been devalued. But should it? Very good defender with power. Expert: $7 million, 1 year. Me: $15 million, 2 years.

He came back to pitch for a bargain $2.5 million last year, but they’ll presumably strike a compromise between that and market value this time. Expert: $6.5 million (plus $4 million in incentives). Me: $10 million.

He’ll look for a closer job a year after Tommy John. Expert: $6.5 million, 1 year. Me: $7.5 million, 1 year.

Like Madson, he missed 2012 with an elbow issue. Expert: $6.5 million, 1 year. Me: Agree.

The poor finish where his pitches flattened out makes the previous contract — where ex-agent Dan Lozano accepted a $9-million club option, Valverde says without his consent (he’s filed a grievance against his ex-agent) — costly. Expert: $6.25 million, 1 year. Me: $7 million, 1 year.

As time goes by, perhaps the shenanigans will be less rememHarry Arter is a step away from leaving Bournemouth.Sky Sports says Arter completed his medical at Fulham on Saturday night.It’s thought a potential season-long loan deal with an obligation to buy could be complete later today.Arter spent last season on-loan with Cardiff City.bered. Everyone thinks a one-year deal is right, but don’t be shocked if someone steps up for two. Expert: $6 million, 1 year. Me: $8 million, 1 year.

He hasn’t decided whether he’s coming back. Hunch is the Astros probably will want him most. Expert: $5 million, 1 year. Me: $9 million, 1 year.

Report: Orioles DH Jim Thome eyeing return this weekend

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(US Presswire)

designated hitter is in the club’s upcoming weekend series against the at Fenway Park, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported Tuesday.

Thome has been out since July 27 with a herniated disk in his neck. The slugger has onlts he’s missed Benfica this season.The 20-year-old moved for an eye-watering 127 million euros and has thus far been unable to show what he is capable of in a red-and-white shirt, but his best play to date has come with Benfica.”Now I see how happy Iy played in 18 games for the Orioles since coming over in a trade from . He has made “significant progress” in his rehab at Sarasota, Fla., and the club believes he would need only a few instructional league at-bats before making his return to the majors.

The 22-year veteran is hitting .252/.347/.450 this sChelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has inked a new long-term deal with sportswear giant Adidas, reports, /.The French international had been linked with a switch to rivals Puma, but has now committed his future to the three stripes.eason but has struggled somewhat in his short time as an Oriole, managing just a .261/.354/.391 line with fivealled for greater on-field leadership. Keane has mapped out how the Blues can return to winning games.Looking ahead to this weekend’s battle with West Ham, the centre-half told evertontv: “We all need to show a bit more leadership on the pitch and extra-base hits in 69 at-bats.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow .

Big Deal: Veterans thrilled, Red Sox hailed, Dodgers criticized (by some, anyway)

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(Getty Images)

One of the craziest, wildest and costliest (at least for one team involved) trades just went down, and many folks around baseball were left either admiring the sheer gall of the team that spent a quarter of a billion dollars (and about half of that on contracts that could only generously be called bad contracts), or wondering about the sheer craziness of it. Or maybe they were simply scratching their heads over the enormity of a trade in a month that’s known more for acquisitions of a more complementary nature.

Late August trades usually produce a back-of-the-rotation starter, a spare reliever or bench player, not two players signed to nine-figure deals ( and Carl Crawford) and another who was twice a World Series hero ().

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When it was finished, you could imagine the principals on both teams celebrating. You could see the exuberant new  group fronted by Magic Johnson, the sunniest superstar in sports history, going nuts in the California sun. One observer said there were high fives and hugs all around in the aftermath of the July 31 trade that netted the new Dodgers group outfielder , whose Dodgers future surely is limited to weeks now that Crawford and his $100-million nut have been imported.

Meantime, you could easily imagine Messers. John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino enjoying a more low-key celebration in some blue-blood Back Bay club (no chicken and beer for this threesome). Having just ridded themselves of the worst contract in Red Sox history (Crawford’s), a growing thorn even if they wouldn’t admit it (Beckett’s overbearing presence among an impressionable underachieving younger rotation), and received two very nice pitching prospects in the process.

Everyone understood why the Red Sox, suffering through their unluckiest season in years, hit the reset button. But several baseball executives, who are only getting accustomed to the ways of the new Dodgers  ownership group, were having trouble coming to grips with the calculation that led the Dodgers to take $130-million in bad deals (and surrender the pair of righthanded prospects) just for the privilege of one fair superstar deal, the Adrian Gonzalez contract. “Insane,’’ one rival National League executive called the Dodgers’ end of the trade.

You’ll excuse competing execs for hyperbole attached to this outsized deal, as they struggle to come to grips with what just went down. The deal — which sent Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and feisty little utilityman west to the Dodgers for underachieving first baseman plus pitching prospects Rubby (pronounced Ruby) De La Rosa and Allen Webster, outfield prospect Jerry Sands and infield prospect Ivan De Jesus Jr. – was shocking  from both ends.

No one has ever witnessed spending like the Dodgers in baseball (it’s like a mid-‘80s Steinbrenner on steroids, if you’ll pardon the analogy). And rarely has anyone seen a financially healthy club like the Red Sox, with baseball’s second highest revenue, conduct a late-August fire sale on the fly.

 Here’s a closer look at how this affects the main players.

Dodgers people got the ball rolling, originally calling Red Sox president Larry Lucchino with one question in mind: would the Red Sox consider trading Gonzalez, the quiet hitting star whose recent occasional complaints about the soap-operatic nature of the Red Sox scene had begun to seep into the media. The $2.15 billion spent to buy the team by the new Dodges ownership team – officially the Guggenheim Partners – was only the beginning, as new president Stan Kasten insinuated when he told CBSports.com soon after the purchase of the team, “You think that’s (the new owners’) last $2 billion?’’

Kasten had been known as an overspending critic as president of the , but sources suggest the directive to spend is the brainchild of the money men above Kasten. The unusual strategy seems to be to improve the team, no matter the cost.

The Dodgers took the entire $38 million remaining on ’s contract at a time when Ramirez was batting .240 something over a year and a half period (that moves seems prescient today as Ramirez has unearthed his old enthusiasm and found his old stroke, with an RBI a game in L.A.) and put in a claim on , which would have obligated them to $95 million through 2015 had the simply said “take him.’’

“This is what happened when you have other people’s money to spend,’’ one competing owner said about the Dodgers, referring to the group’s insurance monies, while at the same time admiring their aggression. About this trade, that very same exec said, “This makes them the favorite in the National League to get to the World Series.’’

Unquestionably, they are the new financial bully on the block. But in the case of Lee, the Dodgers failed to persuade the Phillies to give him up, despite offering to send players (presumably prospects) to Philly to make it happen. The Phillies wanted to keep their big trio of starting pitchers together, and may have had an aversion to selling such a sale to fans that regularly jam Citizens Bank Park. The Red Sox, exhausted by a year of heartache, had no such qualms.

After Lucchino got the call from Dodgers people expressing interest in A-Gon, it seems Red Sox higher-ups quickly figured out their best play was to use the Dodgers, a team with lower revenues, as their new piggy back. Even with sending them about $12 million, the Red Sox will save upwards of $250 million with this deal.

De La Rosa and Webster give the Red Sox two strong arms (’s old GM Theo Epstein tried hard to pry Webster from L.A. for , but the Dodgers wouldn’t do it). The key to this deal for them, though, is what baseball people call “financial flexibility.’’

Lucchino and his Red Sox management team, willing to consider anything in season dominated by injuries and firestorms, surely didn’t take to long to realize that the best thing they could extract from the ill snub the Red Devils’ £350,000-per-week contract offer.He is out contract at the end of the summer and international team-mates reckon he may decide to run his current deal down and talk to other clubs in January to arrange a free transfer in theDodgers’ new largesse was the very cash they have used as a weapon. And they got plenty of spending loot here.

The question is for Boston now is: Where to begin? The free-agent market isn’t exactly stocked with stars, and one may question whether the two best players – and – are right for Boston.

Then again, who knows? No one, except his old team the , realized Crawford wasn’t a fit in Boston after he starred in the American League East against Boston for so long. The Red Sox aren’t going to hoard the cash, and they have no intention to rebuild, so look for them to be a big player this winter.

For now, the deal is being mostly cheered in Boston, where everyone is fan enough to realize the mega gift horse their team just received. As much fretting as there was break his silence on talk of a move to Newcastle United.Vieira, who would command a fee if he is to leave Nice, is due to speak to the press after Nice’s first pre-season training session of the summer on Monday – and will answer questions about hisover the team’s standing this year, there was much more worry about how the Crawford contract might handicap them for six years to come.

There’s no second guessing a trade they had to make. But the trick now for Boston will be in finding where to spending their newfound largesse. They could use an outfielder, a starting pitcher and maybe a first baseman and shortstop. But where will they get tfifth round of the FA Cup is a huge boon for the club.The Premier League side survived a huge scare in Tuesday’s fourth-round replay against League One Oxford United, who came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 and take the game to extra time.Neithhem?

Gonzalez, Beckett and Punto all looked thrilled on a Twitter picture posted on Punto’s account from the Dodgers’ plane, sent special by their new team. You could imagine, of course. This team is first class all the way.

You could also imagine Crawford smiling just as broadly down in Florida, where he was rehabbing after his elbow surgery. Part of the new Dodgers’ excitement could come from the thrill of joining a pennant race. But much of it may come from the wonder of going to a place that seems even greener (as in money). As unhappy as players were to represent old owner Frank McCourt, they are that happy to play for Magic’s team.

After Beckett quickly waived his no-trade rights (“he wanted to leave,’’ one Red sox official said), and so did Crawford, whose inclusion of the Dodgers on his no-trade list of only three teams was interesting, the Dodgers sent the same for the trio.

GM Ben Cherington’s public niceties regarding Beckett may have been partly PR, as even the staunchest Beckett supporter had to wonder whether he was hindering a rotation of kids that followed him around and seemingly had lost its way. He also wasn’t pitching especially well, as his 5-11 record and 5 ERA attest. Said one rival GM:  “If Beckett isn’t Beckett, I think the Dodgers are still in trouble.’’

The excising of the Crawford deal is the biggest benefit to Boston here, as no one could have imagined anyone taking a player with $100 million to go who had just gone under the knife. The Tommy John surgery may still allow Crawford to be ready for the start of the 2013 season. But even if it does open the year in L.A., the Dodgers have to hope, like Ramirez, he finds his pre-2011 Floridian glory.

He’s still young enough to do it, and Southern California may be laid-back enough to allow Crawford’s true talents to surface. For all A-Gon’s recent concerns about the Boston fishbowl, there isn’t any doubt the one it most affected was Crawford. There was reasonable question as to whether he ever was going to play to his potential in Boston, so it’s only right the Red Sox found the one team willing to absorb what’s left of his $142-million, seven-year deal.

No one else would have done it. No one else could have even considered it.

Let’s not forget, though, the Dodgers’ Hanley move has worked wonders despite some doubters. And even without Crawford until next year, the Dodgers’ lineup looks stacked.

The days where was considered mostly alone are long gone. A smiling A-Gon was on the way, perhaps the very one who made impossible PETCO Park seem hitter friendly only a few years ago. Gonzalez wasn’t bad in Boston, but he wasn’t the freakishly good hitter that terrorized National League pitching for seasons in .

 If the Dodgers get that guy, they may steal their division – though the word “steal’’ is being used loosely here, as it came with a quarter-billion-dollar expenditure.

 

Report: Red Sox won’t trade Jon Lester

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The won’t be trading  before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, according to a major-league source, ESPN’s Gordon Edes. 

The decision to keep Lester — under contract through 2013, with a $13 mi Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.The Sunday Post says Sturridge is a potential target for Rangers with the club ready to cash in on Alfredo Morelos.The Colombian bagged 30 goals fo Lee Bowyer after he guided Charlton Athletic to promotion to the Championship yesterday.Patrick Bauer’s late, late winner for Charlton consigned Toon rivals Sunderland to another season of League One football, as the Addicks came from 1-0 down to wir Steven Gerrard’s side last season and has made no secret of his dllion club option for 2014 — means Boston’s goal is make the playoffs. Lester is 5-8 with a 5.46 ERA and 1.46 WHIP this year. His 7.48 strikeout rate is his lowest since 2008. Boston will look to bolster its rotation instead and “remain engaged” in trying to add ‘s or ‘s . They face stiff competition for both. The Red Sox aren’t expected to acquire Zack Greinke, according to CBSSports.com’s Danowner Kevin Glazer is not looking to sell his share of the club, according to reports.Documents submitted to the New York Stock Exchange on Friday led to speculation Glazer was looking to part ways with his 13 per cent stake in the club.But Sky Sportny Knobler.Teams have expressed interest in Boston’s outfielders. The and are known to have scouted the Red Sox, and there’s interest in Ryan Kalish, , and . In order to win 90 games — likely the very least needed to qualify for the playoffs — the Red Sox have to win 41 of their remaining 64 games.

Darnell McDonald moves from Red Sox to Yankees

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Former outfield Bowyer following a run of seven League Two matches without a win, reports BBC Sport.The 48 year old ex-Blackpool and Blackburn boss spent 11 months in charge of the Bantams after replacing David Hopkin.Bowyer could not keep the club in League One laer Darnell McDonald has changed sides in the sport’s most publicized rivalry. He has been acquired off waivers by the , according to all the Yankees beat writers … oh, and Mla.Dybala is yet to make any starts for the Bianconeri this season but did come on against Atletico Madrid for their 2-2 Champions League draw.Sarri said, “If I didn’t think he was ready, I wouldn’t brought him on at a decisive moment. Maybe he’s ncDonald himself:

Just got off the phone w/ Mr. Cashman Happy to announce I’m a new Member of the N.Y.Y.

— Darnell McDonald (@MacDime54)

In case that isn’t enough, the Yankees have made the official announcement of the acquisition.

McDonald, 33, will merely provide outfield depth for the Yankees, who are still without Brett Gardner. McDonald can handle all three outfield positions, though he’s best suitwelcomed the international break.The loan signing from Eintracht Frankfurt admits he’s had a whirlwind first month in England.Willems told the Evening Chronicle: “Personally, it has been a great time to get some rest.”It has been chaotic for me.”I caed for left field. He was hitting .214/.309/.369 with two homers, nine RBI, 17 runs and seven doubles in 99 plate appearances for the Red Sox before being designated for assignment last week.

While this isn’t technically a trade, a move involving these two clubs is quite rare. The last time there was a trade between the Yankees and Red Sox came back in 1997, when Yankees traded a player to be named later and Tony Armas to the Red Sox for Randy Brown and Mike Stanley. The Yankees later sent Jim Mecir to the Red Sox to complete the trade.

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Mets’ Dickey throws a one-hitter*

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(Getty Images) Can a one-hitter have an asterisk, too?Because if you’re going to argue that ‘s June 1 no-hitter was really a no-hitter*, then ‘s Wednesday night one-hitter was really a one-hitter*.Santana benefited from an Adrian Johnson call that turned a fair ball (and a hit) into a foul ball (and eventually an out). Dickey lost out on a Bill Mathews call that the were suggesting could or should be turned from a hit into an error.For the record, I’d argue that the Tropicana Field official scorer made the right decision when he awarded with a hit in the first inning Wednesday (Dayn Perry of our Eye on Baseball crew ). But I also know that if the same play had come in the eighth or ninth inning rather than the first, a whole bunch of official scorers would have had no problem calling it an error.Is tha if they’re beaten by Liverpool tomorrow night.The Mirror says Silva will be in charge at Anfield in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday night – but only victory will guarantee his immediate Blues future.The Goodison board has remained tight-lipped ovet good? No, it’s not, but it is true.Here’s something else that’s undoubtedly true: Dickey pitched better Wednesday, in his 9-1 one-hit* win over the , than Santana did in his no-hitter* against the .Santana needed help from a great play by Mike Baxter, on a drive that was smoked to left field.Dickey didn’t allow the Rays to hit anything hard.”It could have been a no-hitter, easily,” said one rival scout in attendance. “In the sixth inning, he hadn’t even broken a sweat. His knuckleball was so good, it was almost like a late, sharp-breaking slider.”Dickey’s knuckleball has been so good that Mets manager Terry Collins argued after the game that he has to be considered “one of the top 3, 4, 5 pitchers in baseball at this particular moment.”He certainly has to be one of the top 3, 4, 5 stories in the game right now.Dickey, as Collins pointed out Wednesday night, was one of the first players the Mets cut in spring training 2010. He was 35 years old at that point, had never been a major-league starter for a full season, and owned a career ERA of 5.43.Now he owns the longest consecutive scoreless innings streak in Mets history, at 32 2/3 (topping Jerry Koosman’s record). It would be 33 2/3, except for a ninth-inning error (this one correctly ruled an error), two passed balls (also correctly ruled) and a ground out.”Just start another streak the next time,” Dickey told SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt after the game.It’s hard not to like this guy, right?I don’t imagine Tony La Russa wants to pick his National League All-Star starter a month before the July 10 game, but at this point doesn’t it have to be Dickey?Wednesday’s win made him the first pitcher in the majors with 10 wins. His ERA is down to 2.20. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since the sixth inning on May 22, becoming the first big-league starter since Chris Carpenter in 2009 to make four straight starts without allowing an earned run. The last guy to go five in a row without an earned run (in a single season) was Brandon Webb, i Braithwaite has rubbished claims of a split clause in his Barcelona contract.It’s been claimed a clause exists in the Dane’s deal which would see him sold this summer.But agent Hasan Cetinkaya told BT, “That’s complete bull****. “Of course, neither n 2007. The only guys in recorded history to go six in a row in the same year were Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser.”That was a fun game to watch,” said the scout in attendance Wednesday.”Truly amazing,” Collins said, pointing out that Dickey was twodelighted with his move to Juventus.It was confirmed yesterday that Danilo was joining for a €37m fee and has penned a five-year deal.The defender stated on social media today: “It’s a dream to be part of this gigantic club that breathes results! A Wright plays away from throwing a perfect game.Yeah, besides not allowing anyone to hit the ball hard, Dickey didn’t walk anyone, which sure is truly amazing for a knuckleballer. He struck out 12, and 79 of the 106 pitches he threw were strikes.It was a one-hitter, and after watching the replay quite a few times, I’m still convinced it should be a one-hitter.But I’m still going to call it a one-hitter*.

Kerry Wood ends his career with a K

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Kerry Wood” data-canon=”Kerry Wood” data-type=”SPORTS_OBJECT_PLAYER” id=”shortcode0″> will leave Major League Baseball the same way he entered it nto Napoli midfielder Allan.TMW says the 29-year-old is subject of strong interest from Ancelotti, and Ligue 1 champions Paris Sain-Germain, and could be on the move this month if either side steps up their interest.Allan, who also featured heavily f– with a strikeout.In his last appearance in the big leagues, Wood entered Friday’s game against the with one out in the eighth inning to face and struck him out on three pitches. On April 12, 1998, Wood struck out the first batter he ever faced, Mark Grudzielanek, then with the Expos.It was following Friday’s game, and he received a standing ovation when bench coach Jamie Quirk (in for ejected manager Dale Sveum) motioned to bring him in for starter . Wood shook the hand of bullpen coach Lester Strode before going in the game.After striking out Viciedo, Quirk brought in lefty to finish the inning. Wood shook everyone’s hand, noted the tip of the cap from the White market work.Unai Emery admitted last week he does not know if Arsenal are stronger than the squad which reached last season’s Europa League final and missed out on the Champions League.But the French midfielder told Canal Football Club: “I don’t thSox’s on first and then walked off to another standing ovation as the Wrigley Field orMarotta admits he’s no fan of social media in football.Inter have had their own problems in the cyber world regarding Mauro Icardi and his posts.“Social media is an instrument we cannot control or stop, because they are part of the private sphere oganist played Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Before he got to the dugout, he tipped his cap and his son, Justin, met him on the field and gave him a hug.Here’s the video: While Wood’s career didn’t follow the expected path, its ending was fitting and wonderful.

n’t recovered enough to warrant a start the team w

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center will not be in the lineup Wednesday, as his sore Achilles hasn’t recovered enough to warrant a start the team website reports.

Orlando doesn’t have much to play for, so it makes sense that the ham mid Earl Barrett is now coaching in the US.Barrett has embarked on a new life in Houston, Texas.He told the Liverpool Echo: “I was working for the Academy at Stoke City for about seven years, working with 12-to-21-year-olds and while it was great and fielder Harry Winks is confident Tanguy Ndombele will settle quickly.Integrating Ndombele, who only speaks limited English, will be important, with fellow Frenchmen Moussa Sissoko and Hugo Lloris important as conduits.Fromkel Arteta has spoken to Arsenal’s players since he contracted coronavirus.The Spaniard was diagnosed with the virus last week, leading the Premier League to suspend matches until the start of April.”The truth is that we didn’t expect this virus to r what he has seen on team would choose to rest one of it’s rising talents. Wednesday will mark Vucevic’s 21st missed game on the season. 

Timberwolves’ Dante Cunningham arrested for domestic assault

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‘ backup forward was arrested Thursday morning on allegations of domestic assault. The fifth-year player out of Villanova reportedly did not resist arrest and was booked into Hennepin County Jail around 6:14 in the morning. Charges have yet to be filed.

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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham was arrested early Thursday morning in Wayzata, Minn. on allegations of domestic assault.

Cunningham, 26, was booked into the Hennepin County Jail shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday, where he was being held without bail. Charges have not yet been filed.Police were called to Marco Silva insists he wasn’t under pressure going into victory against West Ham.Goals from Bfeat to Newcastle United on Saturday.A series of upcoming games against fellow Champions League hopefuls like Arsenal, Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester United means Chelsea have some great opportunities to make up any lost ground against their rivernard and Gylfi Sigurdsson secured a 2-0 win for the Blues at Goodison and in the process ended a four game losing streak that had piled the pressure on Sia home on Medina Road at about 4 a.m. Thursday. The woman involved in the alleged assault did not require medical treatment. Cunningham left the scene shortly after the incident but returned to the home, spoke to police and did not resist arrest.

The Wolves defeated the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night and are scheduled to travel midday on Thursday to Florida for a two-game road trip. They’ll play in Miamieturn to Benfica is on his career agenda.Silva was a star with City in this season’s Treble campaign.He told RTP: “I would like to go back to wearing the Benfica shirt, but people know that right now, playing for Manchester City and fighting for all against the Heat on Friday night and Saturday night in Orlando against the Magic. Cunningham will not travel with the team. The Wolves’ organization issued a statement on the matter:

“We are aware of the matter involving Dante Cunningham and are in the process of gathering more information. Dante will not be traveling with the team to Miami this afternoon. The Minnesota Timberwolves organization takes the matter very seriously and does not condone the type of behavior that is associated with this situation. However, we need to let the legal process run its course, and will have further comment at the appropriate time.”

Cunningham is averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 19.5 minutes this season. He’s in the final year of his contract, which pays him $2.1 million.

ppers scored at least 20 points in a 126-121 Game

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forward scored a team-high 24 points on 10 of 18 scoring as four Clippers scored at least 20 points in a 126-121 Game 7 win over the Warriors Saturday.

Griffin seemingly willed in an acrobatic basket with just under a minute remaining to cap off an excellent performance as the Clippers move ae sanctiach Pep Ljinders says Trent Alexander-Arnold should forget about playing central midfield.The right-back started out in the position earlier in his career and it has been suggested he could move there in the future.But Ljinders told the Reds’ officiaoned the exit of Wesley Hoedt on loan.The Netherlands international is signing for Royal Antwerp for the duration of the 2019-2020 season.He played 13 games for the club last term, before spending the second half of the campaign on loan at Celong to faits he was initially taken aback by Louis van Gaal’s unusual methods.The Spaniard spent two seasons under the Dutchman at United.Writing in his new book, Suddenly A Footballer, Mata said: “Hi, I’m Louis van Gaal, please can you introduce yourself andce the Thunder in the Conference Semifinals. Griffin finished with six assists, five rebounds, three steals and three blocks in the win.