Ezekiel Elliott agrees to deal with Patriots


Ezekiel Elliott has a new home and will join the New England Patriots. The former Dallas Cowboy has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million. Elliott is expected to sign the deal in New England before boarding a plane to join the team in Green Bay. The Patriots have joint practices with the Packers ahead of their preseason matchup later this week.

While Ezekiel Elliott’s effectiveness has decreased in recent seasons, New England will use him in a different capacity. Third-year back Rhamondre Stevenson should continue to get the bulk of the carries for the Patriots. Elliott should be able to provide production in a complementary role behind him. The Patriots do not need him to be a star, only a cog in a much larger machine.

The Patriots have a way of getting the most out of players who fall out of favor with their previous team. It would not be surprising to see Ezekiel Elliott carve out a meaningful role and show that his career is not over.

Ezekiel Elliott was originally a first-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft. Elliott rushed for 8,262 yards and 68 touchdowns in his seven years as a Cowboy. The emergence of Tony Pollard made Elliott expendable in the eyes of the Cowboys. If things go well in New England, Elliott can rebuild his value and look for a new deal next off-season. If not, it may be hard to find work in the future, considering how long it took this deal to develop.

James Harden calls Daryl Morey a liar


76ers star James Harden made some comments about Philadelphia’s President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey that were not flattering. Harden referred to Morey as a liar in addition to stating that he will not play for an organization that he is a part of.

This comes one day after it was reported that Philadelphia has ended their trade discussions involving James Harden. Apparently, Harden’s public comments have not done anything to convince Morey to change his stance on not trading Harden.

With both sides standing firm in their stances and do not seem to be budging any time soon, this is a saga that is going to continue for the foreseeable future.

Pete Alonso “dangled” by Mets at trade deadline


Could the Mets have traded first baseman Pete Alonso before this past trade deadline? It appears that was something that could have been on the table, according to one report.

The New York Post’s Mike Puma stated this was possible before the deadline. Puma mentions that Alonso was someone the Mets “dangled” at the deadline with other players that were eventually dealt. However, a deal for the Mets’ star first baseman was not close at any time. This was due to the reportedly high asking price and unknown willingness to deal Alonso.

If the Mets would have received an offer good enough to deal Pete Alonso, it would have signaled an entirely different direction than that championed by new owner Steve Cohen. Cohen has been vocal about spending money and putting a team together to compete for a World Series title. Trading Alonso after moving Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and a few others would indicate something more substantial than the soft rebuild they are currently in position for. While it would not be a total teardown, it would be closer to it rather than further from without Alonso.

Pete Alonso has one more year of arbitration before becoming a free agent. This was the driving force behind entertaining any offers about his availability. The Mets, driven by Cohen, will attempt to sign Alonso long-term. But it was the uncertainty of a deal being agreed to which led to this development.

The Mets would be wise to move forward with Pete Alonso on their roster. Alonso is a special talent that makes the team better. Having this type of player under contract for a considerable amount of time would help solidify the foundation of their team moving forward.

MLB trade deadline: More teams in the mix for Justin Verlander


At least one mystery team has emerged as a potential suitor for New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander. This is according to a report from Jon Heyman via Twitter.

Mystery team(s) emerging for Justin Verlander. In other words “other significant interest” beyond the known Astros and Dodgers

Jon Heyman on Justin Verlander’s market via Twitter

The Dodgers and Astros were mentioned as teams interested in Verlander previously with Houston being seen as an also-ran of sorts due to difficulties they could have in making a deal. The Astros are still in the mix and should be considered as such until Verlander lands elsewhere. Los Angeles still appears to be a very likely destination but the presence of at least one mystery team could alter the chances of Verlander donning a Dodgers uniform.

New York is clearly in sell mode. Pulling the plug on the Justin Verlander era in Queens is far from ideal but appears inevitable. It has been a season full of underwhelming performances for the Mets, leading to the team trailing by nearly 20 games in the division.

The Mets have already made several trades ahead of Tuesday’s deadline and a deal involving Verlander appears all but certain. New York is looking to reset and regroup for next season. This would be the correct course of action with how the season has gone up to this point. Looking forward with a younger pitching staff should be the priority for 2024.

Is Justin Verlander the next to go? Mets could trade another starting pitcher


Even after trading Max Scherzer to Texas, the New York Mets could continue to sell. Plenty of teams have expressed interest in Justin Verlander and he could be the next arm making his exit from Queens. Verlander was reportedly a target for the Giants, but those rumors appear to have gone by the wayside.

A reunion with Houston was rumored to be on the table, but it is now considered unlikely. A more realistic landing spot appears to be in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. Verlander would certainly be a big-time pitcher for a contender that is still looking to add to their rotation. The Dodgers will be able to make things work out from a prospect and financial aspect. This would be appealing to the Mets should an acceptable offer be on the table. But as far as Verlander being on the move is concerned, he would have to waive his no-trade clause as Sherzer did Saturday.

Going down this route is a wise move for the Mets. The 2023 season has been a failure and looking to regroup for next season is the correct course of action. New York is clearly in sell mode and getting something in return for Justin Verlander is the right move. It is a tough pill to swallow for Steven Cohen, but selling rather than throwing more money at the current version of the Mets is a tough, but wise decision. Getting younger in the rotation after moving two players on the back end of their careers should help from a long-term perspective and that should be very appealing to the decision-makers in the Mets’ front office.

Shohei Ohtani taken off the market, Angels make moves in an attempt to make a run


After plenty of speculation and possibly coming to the realization that there was no way to positively spin trading a generational superstar, Shohei Ohtani is no longer an option for any team that may make an inquiry.

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reported this new development Wednesday night. This is despite heavy interest from several clubs trying to pry the two-way superstar away from Los Angeles. It does not stop at taking Shohei Ohtani off the market, as the Angels have found themselves in a position to buy at the deadline. That process began shortly after the report about Ohtani no longer being available.

The Angels went out and acquired Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox to improve their pitching staff. Do not expect the improvements to stop there as the team is still looking to make additions ahead of the deadline. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi has reported that the Angels are also interested in adding a bat in Washington’s Jeimer Candelario.

Los Angeles trying to capitalize on Shohei Ohtani in case this is his last season with the Angels

There is a very good chance that Shohei Ohtani is not with the Angels after this season. Considering the extended playoff drought and the overall lack of success the team has experienced during Mike Trout’s time with the team, it is not necessarily a true now or never situation, but it is pretty close to it.

It would be a pretty bad look down the line if the Angels are not even able to get to the postseason while having not one, but two of the best players to ever play the game on their roster. With a roster that has plenty of talent and being within reach of a possible postseason berth, going for it while they still can is the way to go. It is better to go down swinging rather than wondering what could have been and it appears that the Angels have made their choice, a choice for the better.

Shohei Ohtani rumors: Two teams have contacted Angels


The Los Angeles Angels are uncertain about which direction they will take with the upcoming trade deadline, but that has not stopped contending teams from calling about the availability of Shohei Ohtani. The Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks have contacted the Angels according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Morosi had the following to say about the inquiries.

Both clubs’ interest has been described as due diligence; both teams have the young talent base conducive to making a trade.
Jon Morosi on Shohei Ohtani rumors

This does seem to be the early stages of a potential deal involving Shohei Ohtani. It is wise to get the conversations started now with the deadline being a week away. Any potential deal of Ohtani will be quite complex and have a lot of moving parts. As Morosi notes, both Arizona and Baltimore do have pieces that could be used in a trade to land Ohtani. Either team landing Ohtani would have a tremendous impact on their postseason chances and could solidify them as the favorite to win their respective division.

So far a trade of Shohei Ohtani is still considered unlikely. However fielding trade inquires about a player who could walk in free agency is the right path to take. The uncertainty of Ohtani’s future in Los Angeles does seem to be very murky. If the Angels are able to get a valuable return for someone they are not confident in re-signing they must seriously consider any and all offers. It may not be popular, but is just the unfortunate circumstances the Angels have found themselves in. A delicate balance is required in walking this line and one misstep can have catastrophic consequences.

Reds trade rumor: Cincinnati willing to trade Jonathan India


In what came as a surprise to most, the Cincinnati Reds are reportedly willing to trade second baseman Jonathan India. This is a according to a report from MLB Network’s Mark Feinsand. Feinsand had the following to say in regards to what he is hearing.

“they are willing to trade 2021 NL ROY Jonathan India for young, controllable starting pitching per sources. Cincinnati has a glut of young infielders (Steer, De La Cruz, McLain, Encarnacion-Strand) with more on the way (Marte, Arroyo, Collier)”.

It is not exactly shocking to see the Reds be looking for young, controllable starting pitching. The Reds are a team in the mix for postseason play with the fourth-best record in the National League. Finding a way to upgrade a pitching staff that has given up the fifth-most home runs should be a priority. Even if that means moving a player like India to do so.

Jonathan India is a very talented player and is still yet to enter his arbitration years (they begin in 2024). Cincinnati should be able to get a pretty good haul for the 26-year old if a trade indeed happens.

The important takeaway here is that the report states “willing to trade” and not looking to trade, as there is a difference. This seems to be like the team is floating this out there as an option should a team come calling with an acceptable package. Whether or not India remains in Cincinnati appears to depend on how desperate a contender is for infield help. All it takes is something to happen between now and the deadline for a team to suddenly meet what is a lofty, yet predictable demand.

Justin Verlander on the move? Trade rumor has Mets starter heading to the Bay Area


Justin Verlander only has a handful of starts under his belt with the New York Mets, but he may be on the move. According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, Verlander is drawing interest from the San Francisco Giants should he be willing to waive his no-trade clause.

While the Giants are looking to be aggressive before the upcoming trade deadline, Verlander waiving his no-trade clause is far from a guarantee. There is a reason why Verlander has the clause in his contract in the first place as he would prefer to control any future landing spot. Additionally, the Mets would also have to punt the rest of the 2023 season and move on from potentially having Verlander in their rotation for next season. This is a likely scenario considering where they are in the standings currently. New York has no shot at the division, but a well-timed run could make them relevant in the Wild Card race.

There has been some rough spots in the 2023 season for Justin Verlander. The 40-year old right-hander has given up nine home runs in 83 innings, nearly matching his total from last season (12 in 175 innings). While Verlander has 10 starts giving up three runs or less, it is the occasional blow ups that are concerning. It must be said that those starts drawing concern appear to be behind him, but that does not mean that they will not resurface at some point down the stretch.

Utah Jazz make Collin Sexton available in trade talks


It does not appear that Collin Sexton will extend his stay in Utah. The Jazz are making the former Cavaliers guard available in trade talks according to reports.

Collin Sexton landed in Utah as part of the trade that sent Donovan Mitchell to the Cavs last offseason. Acquiring Mitchell was a massive upgrade that also allowed them to get out from any contract talks with Sexton. That four-year $70 million agreement ended up in the hands of Utah who is now looking to move on from that deal.

Properly evaluating what Collin Sexton is not necessarily an easy task. Sexton was able to put up some good numbers on bad Cavs teams that were all-in on playing the kids. Sexton’s third season saw him score a career-high 24.3 points per game on a then career-high 47.5% from the field. In 2021 Sexton was limited to just 11 games due to injury, but his scoring numbers and overall effectiveness plummeted before playing his final games as a Cavalier (16 PPG, .450 FG%, .244 3P%, .487 eFG%).

Collin Sexton is clearly entering a redemption season in 2023-24. The past two years have not gone well for Sexton and as a result his stock is at an all-time low. If Sexton is truly going to redeem himself, he would be best suited as a sixth man off the bench on a good team. This would allow him to demonstrate his own value while being part of a successful team. If he ends up on a bad team, it could be very similar to his first few seasons with Cavs. Putting up empty numbers on a team that is nowhere close to being competitive.