Cost of Mets’ top starters; waiver watch; what are the Royals doing?

We’re entering the dog days of summer, which means the outcome for your team’s season is becoming increasingly apparent. That doesn’t mean there still aren’t questions to be answered.

Some folks — like Stacey, who might have won Tweet of the Week here — seem to be completely lost in the doldrums of the post-trade deadline season.

Here are some of the questions you passed along for this week’s MLB mailbag:

Which players do you see getting traded after clearing waivers that you think will make an impact on a contender this year?

Authentic Youth Jalin Marshall Jersey Rangers starting pitcher Nick Martinez allowed seven earned runs off of eight hits in an 8-7 loss to the Mariners. Martinez fell to 3-4 with a 5.07 ERA to spoil Joey Gallo’s two home runs.
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Not only did Lester hit his first career home run, he also joined the 2,000 strikeout club by punching out nine batters in four innings. The Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 16-4 on the strength of five home runs (two by Anthony Rizzo).

Who isn’t watching this game after Tuesday’s extraordinary contest? The two postseason contenders have put together a fascinating series so far, and the Indians will send Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA) to the mound to face off against Rick Porcello (4-14, 4.55 ERA).

This is not the first time Callaway has faced suspension during his time at Florida. He was suspended last spring amid sexual assault allegations. Callaway was accused of sexual assault in December of 2015 but testified that he was high on marijuana during the incident and was so stoned I had no interest in having sex with anyone.

Callaway was later cleared during his hearing in August of 2016 and was reinstated to the team after the hearing.

Astros acquire Francisco Liriano from Blue Jays

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The Astros agreed to acquire left-hander Francisco Liriano from the Blue Jays hours before Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline, MLB Network reported.

Houston will send outfielder Nori Aoki and a minor-league player to the Blue Jays, according to MLB.com.

Liriano has been a starting pitcher throughout the majority of his career, but the injury-riddled veteran could be set for a move to the bullpen in Houston.

After being traded to Toronto from the Pirates before last summer’s trade deadline, Liriano went 2-2 with a sterling 2.92 ERA in 10 appearances with the Blue Jays to close out the 2016 season.

This year, Liriano is 6-5 with a 5.88 ERA, but a move to the bullpen could allow him to throw his best pitches more regularly, thus accentuating his solid strikeout rate while helping his troublesome walk rate.

When mentioning Choi, Thames referred to the Wyverns third baseman as the home run guy.

I feel like he has a great talent, Thames said. He can come over here and play.

Choi indeed has talents. In his age-30 season, Choi has hit for a .307/.427/.675 slash line with 37 home runs in 324 at-bats, putting himself on a pace for a 50-homer season. Choi has been steady throughout his KBO career, owning a career .293/.389/.520 slash line and earning the Golden Glove award at third base four times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2016). He received some attention in the U.S. media back in 2014 when Jon Heyman wrote about Choi at CBS Sports, dubbing him the Korean David Wright.

However, Choi ended up staying with the SK Wyverns, inking a four-year deal that spans ends after 2018.

Dan McCullers Jersey It is unclear whether Choi will look to go to the majors after his age-31 season. His numbers, however, are hard to ignore. If Choi follows this season up with a strong 2018, he could be a potential target for overseas teams in free agency.

On Tuesday, he said it was the frustration of losing a playoff game he barely played in that pushed him to vent.

“I’ve always wanted to win a championship, and I’ve always been a part of the equation, and what happened last year is, I just wanted to win,” Hali said on Facebook Live. “I think anybody can bear with me, understand that, the frustration of losing a game in the playoff and barely playing. Being a competitor as myself, you just want to win. And that was basically what the rant was about.”

Hali also drew a parallel between the Patriots with Aaron Hernandez and Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.

After 4,727 passing yards and 39 touchdowns in 2014, he threw just nine touchdowns with 17 interceptions in 10 regular season games in 2015. The end came quick, and the reality is that it could strike just as fast for Brees.

The end hasn’t looked near, though.

“Drew is not 38,” Saints linebacker Craig Robertson told NOLA.com. “That’s just chronological right now. Drew is definitely like 26. He killed everybody in the conditioning test.”

Back in 2005, Brees’ time with the San Diego Chargers ended with a labrum tear that required surgery to repair. Miami Dolphins doctors were so nervous about the injury that they advised the team to steer clear of signing Brees. But in 11 seasons with the Saints, he’s missed only two games.

Brees dealt with minor knee problems in 2010 and 2013 and had shoulder and foot injuries in 2015, but for the most part, he’s stayed healthy. So much so, that Brees believes he could play much longer.patriots_322-180x180

P.K. Subban limps off ice after blocking Evgeni Malkin shot

Just as it seemed nothing could go wrong for the Predators, star defenseman P.K. Subban made a limping exiting near the end of Monday’s 4-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 4 when he blocked a shot from Evgeni Malkin.

With just 7:18 left in the game, Subban laid out to get in front of a Malkin one-timer from the high slot when it hit his left ankle.

Subban attempted to put weight on the leg, but had to be helped off the ice by a trainer and went into the locker room with the Predators leading 3-1.
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After the game, Subban, with a slight limp, downplayed the extent of any injury and repeatedly stressed the importance of the rest that will come with 48 hours between now and Game 5 in Pittsburgh. Despite missing the end of the game, Subban still led all skaters in ice time with 25:09.
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Just kind of hit me where I didn’t have any padding, he said. That’s it. It hurts.

It wasn’t Pouliot’s fault the Oilers thought he was worth $20 million. He never lived up to that sort of production, so the team cut bait after a frustrating third season together. In Buffalo, the 30-year-old analytics darling will pocket that buyout money and should be motivated by a one-year, prove-it contract. He might even see top-six minutes for the wing-needy Sabres.

Contrary to the Carey Price extension (more on that below), the Sharks locked up their franchise goalie at an affordable rate. Jones is 27 and neither the term nor the cap hit should cripple future roster decisions. He’s not yet an elite goalie, but San Jose is set in net for six years and positioned well in the short term to return to the Cup Final.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer joins bid to bring NHL team to Seattle

The Seattle group trying to bring an NHL expansion team — and hopefully another NBA team — to the city has added movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer as a partner.

Bruckheimer, an acquaintance of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, has been looking for years to become an NHL team owner.

According to the Seattle Times, the Los Angeles resident considered buying the Penguins in 2006 before Mario Lemieux purchased the team. In 2010, he was part of a group bidding to bring an NHL expansion team to Las Vegas. The group dropped its bid that same year.

As part of a chippy, penalty-ridden third period, Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson made a run at Subban off a faceoff shortly after Nashville scored to take a 1-0 lead. Edmundson mugged Subban, who had the puck, knocking him to the ice along with his helmet. Subban stayed down for a moment before exiting to the Predators’ locker room.

It looked like Nashville might be headed for a power play as Edmundson was assessed a two-minute minor for roughing, but the referees also hit Subban with an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for embellishment. He was unable to serve the minor penalty while he sought medical attention for potential injury, but rejoined the Nashville bench after several moments in the dressing room and returned to play in the third period.

The NHL’s current fine structure for embellishment was put into place before the 2014-15 season. That year, Subban was cited for three separate diving incidents and docked a total of $3,000 in fines. A fine requires at least seven of 10 votes from a panel of NHL officials who agree that an embellishment occurred.
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Subban received an initial warning this year in a Jan. 22 game against the Wild, the league said. He would be fined $3,000 for a subsequent offense.

Game Mens Mathew Barzal Jersey The Predators next will play either the Ducks or Oilers in the Western Conference finals.

76ers’ Brett Brown: ‘No chance’ Ben Simmons makes NBA debut vs. Rockets

When the 76ers selected Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, many pegged the LSU star as the savior of the franchise.

So far, that hasn’t exactly worked out because Simmons has yet to play a regular season game for Philadelphia due to injury, but there was some buzz that he could suit up for next Friday’s game against the Rockets. 76ers head coach Brett Brown quelled those rumors Wednesday.

Elite Youth Jake Muzzin Jersey Could Brown’s message just a smokescreen from a coach trying to protect his young star? Possibly, but it’s more likely that Simmons will indeed miss Friday’s game, and it was moved to prime time to showcase Joel Embiid against James Harden.

Once Simmons does come back, Philadelphia will have an impact 1-2 punch in Embiid and the exciting young rookie.
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Most encouraging, though, has been the way that Ingram has begun to break through, scoring in double digits in each of his past four games and shooting 50 percent or better from the field in five straight. Ingram is loaded with talent, and sometimes displays so much versatility that he doesn’t know on which area of his game he should focus.

But, the scout said, He is probably going to be the best of the three. When you look at his physical assets and what he is capable of just from a raw potential perspective, the sky is the limit. He has to be developed; that’s obvious. He looks to me like he is learning to assert himself more out on the floor. He’s got to figure out where he fits between Randle and Russell. But they’re so young, there will be plenty of time to make that smoother.

Michael Vick now ‘truly sorry’ for Colin Kaepernick comments

After being pounded across TV and social media, Michael Vick has reversed himself. He said Thursday that he’s “truly sorry” for saying Colin Kaepernick’s unemployment is due to his play rather than his protest of the American flag/national anthem last season.

Vick also said he is sorry for suggesting the ex-49ers quarterback lose his afro, get a haircut and adopt a more “clean-cut” look if he wants to save his NFL career. Vick gave his controversial advice to Kaepernick during an appearance with Jason Whitlock on FS1’s “Speak for Yourself” on Tuesday.

“I mean, those things are being handled in house,” Prescott said (via the Star-Telegram). “For me, it’s just about being a good teammate. Making sure I back these guys up, being in their corner. We’re all grown men. We know what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s about staying focused and knowing what’s important, that’s what we do on this field.”

Though Prescott seems like the beacon of hope for the Cowboys amongst a sea of police reports and investigations, he had his own troubles in March 2016 when he was arrested for DUI. The charges were eventually dropped. However, Prescott is humble when discussing recent events involving fellow Cowboys.

“I mean, I’ve made probably as many bad decisions as any of these guys have, only being 23, so I’m definitely not one that can point fingers and be mad or be pissed,” Prescott said. “All I can do is give from my young experience and the things that happened to me.”

Now we wait to see if Elliott and others learned from their mistakes the same as Prescott.t_rangers_021-115x115

Buddy Hield is making the Kings’ biggest mistake look a little less stupid

DeForest Buckner Game Jersey Buddy Hield scored 16 points, on 5-for-14 shooting, going 4 of 7 from 3-point range with four rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes to help the Kings to a 98-87 win against the Mavericks on Wednesday, their fourth victory in their past six games after a four-game skid.
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His output against Dallas came three days after he tied a season high with 22 points on 60 percent shooting from the field in a six-point win against the Timberwolves last Saturday.

It feels good, and he’s been working hard … trying to learn a new place and how to be play in the league, Joerger told the Sacramento Bee after Hield won Rookie of the Month. He’s improving. I thought he had one of his better games against Minnesota. You know, he scores baskets, and sometimes, you know, we think he’s playing great, but I thought he played great all the way around in Minnesota.

Fellow rookie and former Kentucky man Skal Labissiere has shown flashes of the potential that once made him a five-star recruit, rated behind only Ben Simmons and ahead of the Lakers’ Brandon Ingram and the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown. Willie Cauley-Stein, also a UK product, has averaged close to a double-double (10.9 ppg, 9 rpg) the past 10 games. Those aren’t reasons for Kings fans to be cautiously optimistic just yet.

But Hield is beginning to make things better, and that’s all they can ask for.

Warriors (51-11) at Hawks (34-28), 7:30 p.m. ET 鈥?Golden State has been in a rut since Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury. A lack of music dulled that fact Sunday, but the Warriors have to go on the road against a solid team in the Eastern Conference next. Atlanta has lost five of its last seven games.

MLB trade rumors: Tigers should blow it up to get younger, better

Game Youth Walter Payton Jersey The All-Star break is traditionally the time when teams take stock of where they are and decide whether to go hard after a World Series, sit pat and see what the second half brings, or sell whatever isn’t nailed down and build toward the future.

However, since baseball expanded the playoffs to include two Wild Cards it’s become more difficult to tell which teams should do what — which brings us to the Tigers.
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Simply, Iverson is the only MVP in the last 60 years to even flirt with Westbrook’s poor shooting percentage.

It’s fair to argue that OKC needs him to catapult shot after shot to present a respectable offense. But still, 41 percent isn’t MVP worthy.

Westbrook is the league’s leading scorer, but even that doesn’t necessarily trend toward an MVP season. Over the past 20 years, only five players have won the scoring title and the MVP in the same season — Steph Curry (2015-16), Kevin Durant (2013-14), Allen Iverson (2000-01), Shaquille O’Neal (1999-00) and Jordan (1997-98).

For a point a guard, we’ve never seen an MVP candidate score like Westbrook. But it’s also incredibly rare how reckless Westbrook is with the ball in his hands.

Westbrook leads NBA point guards — actually the entire NBA — with 345 turnovers. And while averaging 10.0 assists a game, second in the league, Westbrook is ranked 40th among point guards in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.83). He’s had multiple double-digit turnover games and is on track to break James Harden’s NBA record for turnovers in a single season (374).

Looking at a very small three-game sample size (alert!), it does suggest the early load has been placed squarely on Holiday’s shoulders to make this thing work. Despite adding Cousins’ second-ranked 37.2 usage percentage, Holiday’s touches are up 11 percent with Boogie, his average time per touch is up 13 percent and his overall time of possession is up 25 percent. Only two NBA players have touched the ball more than Holiday since the break, and that’s while his shots per game and assists are both down.

This smells of here’s the ball, Jrue. Figure out how to make these two studs happy. Two studs who each rank top 10 in the league in usage percentage, pick and roll scoring, post-up scoring. Good luck sorting that out.

Arizona freshman Lauri Markkanen declares for NBA Draft

Lauri Markkanen is the latest freshman to take his skills to the pros.

The 7-foot Arizona forward has opted to forego his sophomore season and declare for the NBA Draft, the university announced Thursday.

Markkanen made the most of his lone season at Arizona, playing in every game for the Wildcats while averaging 30.8 minutes, 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The Finland native also sunk an impressive 42.3 percent of his three-point attempts, despite his enormous size.

Markkanen, who turns 20 in May, is projected to be a top-10 pick.

The idea of Bridges as a prospect is currently much stronger than the reality of him. In theory, Bridges is a 6-7 3-and-D guy with go-go-gadget arms who can defend and knock down shots. In reality, he really doesn’t have a ton of game yet with which to work unless things go exactly his way.

He struggles to defend bigger players, as Nigel Hayes showed over the weekend, and he has no game off the bounce if teams run him off the line. These are both parts of his game that he can improve by returning to Villanova and working with assistant coaches like Ashley Howard, known as one of the better developers of guards in the country. But right now, there are a lot of parts of his game that are missing to where it would be tough for me to select him in the upcoming draft.

Due to some poor free agency decisions, they were also in a tough spot as far as improving their talent level. Davis still has three years after this one remaining on his contract, but that’s not as far off in NBA years as you’d think. Had the team continued to struggle building around him, we’re only about 18 months away from when trade rumors would have started to pop up about the 2017 All-Star Game MVP.
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