Catching up with a potential trade chip

White Sox starter James Shields has played himself back onto the radar of the trade market, though time and circumstances have something to do with that. Shields is ostensibly in the last year of a four-year, $75 million contract he signed with San Diego in 2015. There is a $16 million club option with a $2 million buyout in the contract for 2019, but it’s pretty clear that the buyout will be the outcome of that.

Shields’ evolution actually began the latter part of last season, when he started using a lower arm slot. In doing so, he traded strikeouts for soft contact the exact opposite of trends around baseball. Shields struck out more than a batter per inning in 2015 but has lost more than a third of his K/9 rate since then. However, his well-hit average this season (.119) is easily a career best. That number was .194 last season.

In his last three starts, Harvey allowed 14 earned runs and five homers in 16 1/3 innings.

Luke Weaver struggled with his control while pitching into the six inning. He gave up four runs and walked five, including Winker with the bases loaded.

Just an icon in St. Louis, Matheny said. He set a real high standard for what it looks like to go about your business and wear this uniform well.

Martinez has driven in multiple runs in each of his last three games. He’s batting .315 and has a team-high 39 RBI.

Right fielder Dexter Fowler reached into the stands to try to catch Alex Blandino’s foul in the sixth, but a fan in a Cardinals shirt got his hands on it first.

Harvey also gave up three homers in a game four other times: against the Giants on June 10, 2015; against the Nationals on May 24, 2016; against the Brewers on May 12, 2017; and against the Cubs on June 14, 2017.

Just a good stretch for me. That’s how baseball goes. It seems like there’s a lot of pitches over the plate for me, he said.

I’m sure it won’t be long before I have a stretch where it seems everything is right on the corner. That’s kind of how it goes. When you get in a stretch like this, you have to take advantage of it, he said.

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Jets add Chris Jones to defensive line

The Jets have added a veteran defensive lineman to the roster as their offseason program nears its conclusion.

The new face is Chris Jones, who the Jets announced as a member of the team on Tuesday morning. Defensive lineman Claude Pelon was waived in a corresponding move.

Jones entered the NFL as a Texans sixth-round pick in 2013, but didn’t make the team out of camp. He wound up on the Patriots and started 23 games over the next two years for New England. In one of his Patriots appearances, Jones blocked a field goal attempt by then-Jets kicker Nick Folk to seal a victory.

The 25-year-old was with Steelers coaches at Pitt’s pro day helping time 40-yard dashes. He also said he was getting some pointers on how to evaluate players.

While Shazier will not play for the the Steelers this season, he will be paid $8.7 million in the final year of his contract.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy spent some time with Ryan Shazier recently and on Saturday, April 7, posted a photo of himself and the Steelers linebacker on instagram.

When you’re done, list any rivalries below that you think we may have missed.

He has plenty to learn — like what to do if his first move in the rush doesn’t work — but he also offers raw skills. His 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, combined with his work at the Senior Bowl (he sacked Mayfield in the game), offer a glimpse of what could come.

Darnold may possess the highest ceiling among the top passers in this draft. He’ll turn 21 in June and has exhibited the mental toughness to recover from mistakes. His windup needs work and his 22 turnovers last season are a concern, but he has won teams over with the way he handles himself.

Few players rise more quickly on draft boards than cornerbacks with size and elite speed. And unlike many at his position in the college game, he has shown he can play press coverage. Alexander missed seven games in 2017 with knee and hand injuries. He averaged 10.5 yards per punt return in 2016.

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Zach Ertz: Just like old times with Carson Wentz

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’ return from last year’s torn ACL clicked forward this week as Wentz began taking part in 7-on-7 drills during the team’s practices.

Wentz isn’t getting the lion’s share of the work, but he is getting enough to make one of his favorite targets feel it’s just like old times for the quarterback. Tight end Zach Ertz even thinks that Wentz may be throwing the ball harder than he did in those old times.

McPhee has said that the Wild were one of a handful of teams that he knew he had in a bind. They had to expose defensemen Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella but didn’t want to lose either. So McPhee agreed to draft Haula, a fourth-line restricted free-agent forward, if the Wild surrendered one of three prospects. They settled on 21-year-old power winger Alex Tuch, the 18th overall pick in 2014, with Minnesota getting a 2018 third-round pick. Haula had a career-high 29 goals and 55 points in 76 games. Tuch had 15 goals and 37 points and was a physical menace for Vegas. It was robbery at the time, and it became worse than expected for the Wild, as both players skated meaningful minutes for Vegas in its postseason run.

The rumors were so thinly sourced that ordinarily they wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. But after a pending Julian Edelman suspension showed up on Reddit one day and on ESPN the next, everyone is wondering what the next big Patriots story to get spilled on social media will be.

Furthermore, a Gronkowski trade isn’t totally unthinkable: There have been reports that Gronk isn’t happy in New England, that he and Bill Belichick don’t see eye to eye, and that he wants a new contract. All that adds up to sound like a player that could be traded.

But just because Gronk could be traded, that doesn’t mean he will be. This is one rumor without a lot behind it.

Cain had the second-best season of his career by WAR in 2017, posting 5.3 WAR (he had 7.2 in 2015). He was one of four primary-position center fielders to hit.300 or better in 2017, along with Charlie Blackmon (.331), Mike Trout (.306) and Ender Inciarte (.304). Cain hit.300. — Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

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Rams waive Michael Dunn

The Rams announced they waived offensive tackle Michael Dunn on Tuesday. The team did not announce a corresponding move, leaving them at 89 players.

Dunn, 23, spent two days on the Rams’ practice squad last season. They re-signed him in February.

He originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland in 2017. The Rams released him after the preseason.

Most of Dunn’s 48 starts at Maryland came at left tackle. He earned All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2015 and 2016.

Hurst walked on at South Carolina in 2015 after two years in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization. He developed the yips as a pitcher and was also tried at first base. He’ll turn 25 in August, but his athleticism and hands make him the top tight end on the board.

Ragnow missed the last five games of the season because of ankle surgery, but did some position drills at his pro day. He was a three-year starter, a team captain and plays with toughness. He has the ability to play guard or center.

Key left the team in the spring of 2017 for reasons he hasn’t publicly explained. He had shoulder surgery right before the ’17 season and disappointing showings in pre-draft workouts. On the other side of the coin are games like his eight-tackle, one-sack performance against Alabama.

Cain has a better feel for the position than many of his peers in this draft who had bigger career numbers. He is a high-quality route runner with the speed to finish and physical edge to work the middle of the field.

Washington looks more like a running back and his speed on the field is better than what he showed in pre-draft workouts. He has limited exposure to the routes he will be asked to run in the NFL, but the bottom line is he averaged 19.8 yards per catch in his career with 39 touchdowns.

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Jermaine Gresham goes viral for being nice to stranded traveler

When a football player becomes famous on social media in the offseason, it’s generally not a good thing.

But Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham’s an even brighter star than he was previously, for all the right reasons.

The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal court, accuses the franchise of paying the women less than the $7.25 per hour they were promised, not compensating them for making public appearances or performing other tasks related to their jobs and creating a workplace where the women were threatened with being fired for voicing any complaints.

I and my fellow cheerleaders were treated as the lowest of the low, Hannah Turnbow said at a news conference. The Houston Texans were paid thousands of dollars to have us show up at appearances at locations all over Texas with no security, no transportation and where our safety was not guaranteed.

Grant only played 49 offensive snaps in the regular season, but made the most of them by averaging 8.3 yards per carry and 13.7 yards per reception. He also caught three passes for 59 yards in Jacksonville’s playoff loss to New England and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett suggested he’s in line for more action this time around.

I thought Corey — once again, he’s a guy that stepped in [last season] and did a great job there at the end — and he’s just a guy we’ve got to get out there, Hackett said, via First Coast News. There’s all these guys we’re talking about and it’s a long ways away from that first game to see what we’re going to get but I’d love to put him out there because he’s a major change-of-pace back.

T.J. Yeldon is also on hand in Jacksonville so Grant won’t be the only option for a change of pace from Fournette, but his knack for hitting big plays makes it easy to understand why Hackett would be interested to see what happens if the ball’s in his hands more often.

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Dont’a Hightower: We have fun, but it’s not for everyone

Every guy in that locker room, I love like a brother. We have fun, whether it’s out here struggling together — blood, sweat and tears — or we’re back in the locker room or we’re hanging out outside of football. So, there’s a time and place for everything, but we know whenever we walk through the building, it’s time to work.

Hightower added that making the sacrifices necessary to play for the Patriots sucks sometimes, but that looking back at personal and team success leads to a realization that it was actually worth it.

The amount of fun one has with the Patriots will vary from person to person. It’s impossible to argue with the success of the team’s approach when it comes to on-field matters, however, and those that prioritize that side of things above all else are likely to share Hightower’s feeling about life in New England.

Several reporters at Bears practice shared video of Robinson’s first practice work with his new team and Nagy shared his happiness about the step forward after the session.

It’s really good to see him out there. It’s a positive sign when he’s out there to run some plays, Nagy said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

Nagy said he does not expect Robinson to do team drills during next week’s mandatory minicamp, but the signs are good for full participation in training camp.

3. Marc-Andre Fleury on Nicklas Lidstrom, 2009. Seconds remained at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit when Fleury scrambled to his right to deny Lidstrom’s drive from the lower left circle to preserve a 2-1 lead and deliver the Cup to the Penguins, who’d trailed 3-2 in the series and stopped the Red Wings’ bid for a repeat.

4. Cam Ward on Fernando Pisani, 2006. The Candy Canes were up 2-1 with 3:45 to play when Ward stretched his left pad to somehow stop Pisani’s rebound from in front after an initial save on Raffi Torres’ drive from the left side. Carolina won the game 3-1 after an empty-netter, and won the Cup.

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Jordan Peterson brought amazing perspective to staff, Pete Carroll says

Carroll said Peterson had an important message for the staff.

He talked about personal growth. He talked about perspective and life and working together and helping each other find our best, things that really rang true to us around here, Carroll said.

Carroll frequently brings guest speakers to address his players and coaches, a practice he began at USC and has continued in Seattle.

Strength and speed are why Hill was able to help out on special teams, but passing accuracy are what he needs to develop if he wants to be a quarterback. Playing behind Brees, Hill has time to develop. And perhaps some day, Hill could even be Brees’ successor.

It’s unclear whether the NFL will use progressive discipline in this situation. Given the way the changes to the anthem policy were handled by the league, it’s fair to wonder whether the league has even considered that angle.

At some point, the league will need to consider whether it wants to engage Johnson and the Jets in a showdown that would unfold in the NFL’s backyard, and that would play out on the front and back pages of every periodical in the nation’s No. 1 media market. Before that happens, the league would be wise to reconsider what seems to be one of the worst non-unanimous unanimous non-vote votes that ownership has ever taken not taken.

In the near-total makeover of the offensive line, the one holdover returning to the same position is Brett Jones, who started 13 games at center last season when Weston Richburg went down and took full advantage of the playing time. The new coaching staff assessed the situation, new general manager Dave Gettleman reviewed the tape and the determination was made the Giants could move forward with Jones as the center, a huge vote of confidence for the former Canadian Football League player. Jones has certainly not been unseated, but it appears as if Halapio, a guard turned center this spring, has a shot to not only make the team as a backup interior offensive lineman but also to push Jones for the coveted spot with the first team.

If so, this will be a friendly battle waged between the pair of 26-year-olds.

The competition brings out the best in him, and me, Halapio said. It’s important we both get these reps and split ’em with the first team because ultimately, we’re trying to compete for that starting role.

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Tre Boston to visit with Cardinals

Safety Tre Boston’s free agency has lasted longer than he probably expected and his next attempt to land a job for the 2018 season will come with the Cardinals.

Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that Boston told her he was traveling to Arizona on Wednesday. Boston met with the Colts earlier this month, but has otherwise seen the same quiet market that greeted other safeties like Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid this offseason.

Even with perspective and a lot more information, trying to assess those drafts is imperfect. They may cross administrations (though often a change in GM does not result with an immediate overhaul of the amateur scouts). Also, simply putting a player in the majors is informative, but needs further delving because there is a difference between attendance and impact.

The Mets highlight both of those items. Their drafts in the 2008-13 period were overseen first by Omar Minaya and then Sandy Alderson. In all, they have 25 players from those drafts who played this year, tied with the Blue Jays for the most.

Players from the Minaya era include Jake deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz. Alderson’s first pick, Brandon Nimmo (13th overall, 2011) is beginning to make an impact, Michael Fulmer was used to get Yoenis Cespedes, and Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have turned into important staff pieces. But much of this period is about attendance, which does have its importance since almost every team will end up using 40-plus players this season.

Banner was a fourth-round pick of the Colts last year, who hasn’t stuck anywhere. The Colts cut him before the start of the regular season, and he was claimed by the Browns, appearing in eight games.

But the new administration in Cleveland didn’t want him, and the Panthers bailing so quickly on a high pick is not a good omen for future employment.

We’re seeing a lot good things from our front-line guys, but we felt like [Monday] was a good day to see what some of the younger, fresher-legged guys could do, Shurmur said.

Shurmur gave those younger players 14 plays in a live setting inside the field house — with no contact, of course — to see how they would function in scrimmage-like conditions.

It will be a good tool for us to evaluate some of the young guys, Shurmur said.

WR Odell Beckham Jr. and DT Damon Snacks Harrison were not at Monday’s OTA. Shurmur says he expects both players will attend next week’s three-day mandatory minicamp. Harrison has been an infrequent participant at the OTAs.

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