Brandon Moss’ power comes with a drawback

The Kansas City Royals, trying to find an inexpensive way to replace the departed Kendrys Morales, signed veteran slugger Brandon Moss to a two-year, $12 million dollar deal on Sunday.

Moss, who can play in the outfield or at first base, has belted 20 or more home runs in four out of the past five seasons, including 28 home runs this past season in 464 plate appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals. That power also comes with a sizeable number of strikeouts: Moss whiffed 141 times and had an on-base percentage of just .300. Moss is a platoon player who is best suited to face right-handed pitchers, as he hit 25 of his 28 home runs in 2016 against them.

Elite Youth Nick Foles Jersey This year’s free-agent market has seen a rapid decline in value for one-dimensional power hitters, and Moss is just another example. After making $8.25 million last year for the Cardinals, he’ll take a $2.25 million cut per year the next two years, making $6 million per for the next two seasons with the Royals.

I expect Moss will split time at DH with Pete O’Brien, who the Royals also acquired this offseason in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Between the two of them, they should combine to hit 30 home runs from the bottom of the Royals’ lineup. They will also come with huge strikeout totals. Moss will also give Royals manager Ned Yost some versatility in right field on days he wants to sit right fielder Jorge Soler against some tough right-handers and a back-up for Eric Hosmer if he needs a day of rest.
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Moss will not be able to make up the offensive production the team lost with Morales’ departure, but his power could help make up for some of it. Most of that burden will be on Soler, whom the Royals acquired in the Wade Davis trade with the Cubs.

Moss signing now leaves Mike Napoli, Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Howard as the next four 1B/DH-type power hitters left on the free-agent market, with the Texas Rangers being the most active and most likely landing place for Napoli if he’s willing to take a one-year deal. Tampa Bay is also emerging as a strong possibility for these free agents.

Garoppolo seems to fit the vision of finding a young player ready to grow

The Bengals have three candidates for the franchise tag, and it’s unlikely they’ll use it on any of them. The Bengals rarely use the tag, and this year’s free agents don’t seem like they would get it either. They won’t use it on guard Kevin Zeitler because he would have to be tagged and paid as if he were an offensive tackle. Tackle Andrew Whitworth, 35, is a more likely candidate to work out a one- or two-year deal rather than the bigger expense of the tag.

Garoppolo has a ton of leverage in this possible deal. No team will trade for him if he does not agree to a contract extension. Brock Osweiler’s tale could be a cautionary one. As Peyton Manning’s backup, Osweiler had some success in 2015 in Denver. Houston gave him $72 million for four years — $37 million guaranteed. For that money, Osweiler produced 15 touchdowns with 16 interceptions, an 8-6 record and a playoff appearance.

Though Tyrod Taylor and Colin Kaepernick are options, Garoppolo seems to fit the vision of finding a young player ready to grow. If the Browns really will be active in free agency, as the early chatter suggests, they need to find a quarterback who can play right away so the position does not hold the team back.

Garoppolo was a 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois. Last season he started the first two games while Brady was suspended, and he played well, throwing for 469 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in six quarters before he hurt his throwing shoulder just before halftime of the second game. The injury is a red flag for some, but Garoppolo started 37 games in his final three college seasons.

Garoppolo has one year left on his contract. The Patriots have Jacoby Brissett, who could back up Brady. If New England is going to get something for Garoppolo, this would be the time.

If New England is willing to trade Garoppolo, the competition will be significant — and maybe the 12th pick won’t be enough.

The Jags are under new management, and it remains to be seen what the new brain trust thinks of Blake Bortles

Here’s how photographers captured the unbelievable catch that propelled the Patriots’ game-tying drive in Super Bowl LI.
They have played in nearly half of the Super Bowls since then. Brady is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, and Belichick might well be remembered as the best football coach in history.

Yet their margin in the most important games of that span — the seven Super Bowls that have sealed the history of their dynasty — is incredibly thin. They have all been decided by one score, with an average point differential of 3.7. Viewed objectively, the Brady/Belichick Patriots are but a few plays away from never winning a Super Bowl — or winning all seven.

The Jags are under new management, and it remains to be seen what the new brain trust thinks of Blake Bortles. He absolutely took a step backward in 2016 and will have to show progress quickly if the team is going to commit to him long term.

The social media producer said Garrett’s comments were in the spirit of an upbeat event. All players in attendance went through a series of interviews before the event.

“He was definitely having fun and was in a playful mood,” the producer said. “One of the questions right before that was about his interest in dinosaurs. That’s what we do. We get fun little nuggets.

“It was 100 percent supposed to be fun. He was just having fun. He knew I worked for ESPN and that I was videoing him.”

In a separate video for KRIV-TV in Houston that was posted on Twitter on Thursday, Garrett said he would “definitely” like to play for the Browns.

Earl Thomas expected to be back for Week 1

Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas underwent left shoulder surgery on Tuesday, but is expected to recover in time for the 2015 season opener, according to NFL Network Ian Rapoport.

Thomas, 25, tore his labrum — a ring of fibrocartilage around the edge of the joint surface — in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, which caused his shoulder to dislocate. He played the rest of the game with a shoulder harness and did the same in the Super Bowl, finishing with eight tackles against the New England Patriots.

The Cardinals cleared some serious cap room with Fitzgerald’s restructure and didn’t necessarily need the cap room, but Dockett will be 34 when the 2015 season gets underway, and he’s coming off an ACL injury that forced him out of last season. Frostee Rucker, Tommy Kelly and other players filled in well along the defensive line, and the defense was definitely the strength of the Cardinals last season.

Dockett has been with the Cardinals since 2004, when he was drafted the same year as Fitzgerald. He’s been a leader and a force on that defense for a long time, and will certainly be able to find a new team for 2015. That said, the Cardinals team website says that “the veteran defensive lineman could still come back, however.” In other words, the Cardinals want Dockett back — and have been adamant that they want him to retire in Arizona — but only after he finds the market isn’t as strong for him as he might think.

The team will have to assess what they have in their backfield, and then decide if they need to continue investing in running back or rely on C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball.

“I think it fits great,” for C.J. Anderson, said Elway. “I think we saw what C.J. could do last year, especially halfway on through the end of the year. He came in and had a tremendous year for us. He’s a one-cut guy and he’s a north and south runner. That’s what style of an offense this is. I think C.J. will be a perfect fit for it so I’m thrilled we still have him.”

Tom Brady excited his mom will attend the Super Bowl after recent health issues

Tom Brady’s mother, Galynn, has been dealing with health issues for the past 18 months, and it has been a big source of concern and stress for Brady, according to CSNNE.

His mother’s health might also explain why Brady was emotional at Super Bowl Opening Night when asked who his hero was, and he responded with his dad.

Tom Brady nearly brought to tears at Super Bowl media event after answering 7-year-old boy’s question asking who his hero was: “My dad.”

When asked about his heartfelt response, Brady said via NESN, “You just have different things that your family goes through throughout the course of your life. It has been a challenging year for my family for some personal reasons.” That turned out to be telling about his mother’s health.

Wilson continued, “Now you kind of recognize that people’s feelings are getting hurt, people’s lives getting changed, people are getting sent back or not let in back home to see their families for reasons that may not be worthy. Just because you believe in something or you’re from a certain place doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person.”

He also questioned whether or not Trump would last his entire term.

“I don’t know if [Trump’s] even going to be able to last four years, in my opinion. You don’t want to wish bad upon anybody, because if he doesn’t last four years, that means that something went wrong. So hopefully nothing goes wrong any more than what it’s already doing.”

Donald Trump once called Roger Goodell a stupid ‘dope’

The New England Patriots have a Donald Trump problem. We already knew that. But, it turns out Trump’s friendships with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft also mean Roger Goodell has a Donald Trump problem. Well, he does if he wants to be liked by him.

Mark Leibovich of the New York Times interviewed Trump in the fall of 2015 — right at the peak of DeflateGate — and Trump was quick to criticize Goodell.

“I approached them in December, and they were very enthusiastic about wanting to participate, “ Goodell said at his Super Bowl press conference. “We’re honored to have them. Obviously, you all know that both of them have had a little bit a setback health-wise recently, but I’ve heard from both of them and they’re excited and anxious to be here.”

President Bush moved to Houston in 1959 and was the first Republican to serve Houston in the United States House of Representatives. His election win in 1966 set the stage for an ambitious career that peaked at the White House. He served two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president before riding Reagan’s unparalleled popularity to a victory over Michael Dukakis in the 1988 U.S. Presidential election. He served just a single term in office and is the only President to lose an election while running as an incumbent since 1981.

Bush has been involved in the world of sports since his college days. He played first base at Yale, where he participated in the first two College World Series, and was a member of the university’s cheerleading squad and soccer team. In the intervening years, he’s been a hunter, tennis player, golfer, and jogger.

This won’t be the first time he’s been present for an important pregame ceremony in Houston. Bush threw out the first pitch of the Astros’ season in 2015. In October, he handled coin flip duties before a game between the Lions and Texans.

NFFC organizers decided to cancel their event and are now set to debut next summer in Los Angeles

“Players and NFL personnel may not participate in promotional activities or other appearances at or in connection with events that are held at or sponsored by casinos,” an NFL spokesman said Friday in an email statement to FOX Sports.

NFFC organizers decided to cancel their event and are now set to debut next summer in Los Angeles.

The NFL threatened to punish players who showed up at the NFFC because it doesn’t want players to make public appearances at places where gambling might occur. This shouldn’t have been a worry about the NFFC, however, because it was supposed to be held at a rather large convention center that just happened to be owned by a casino.

The NFFC called the NFL’s threats “bullying tactics.”

“The NFL is once again acting like a corporate thug,” NFFC co-counsel Michael K. Hurst said, via Pro Football Talk, “initiating a campaign to intimidate players away from this event because of its potential for success and in order to kill or control any profits.”

In June, PFT reported that the NFL may have been upset that Romo identified a strong alternate revenue stream:

Other points in the NFLPA’s case revolve around the precedent and rules that Brady is being punished for. The NFL policy for equipment puts the responsibility in the hands of team personnel, not players, so the NFLPA plans to argue that the policy doesn’t actually apply to Brady. The lack of rules regarding equipment targeted at players also made the four-game suspension one that came without much precedent.

Furthermore, the NFLPA’s case is expected to include cases of inconsistent applications of the rules. According to the Washington Post, the union will point to a previous slap on the wrist for the Minnesota Vikings for illegally tampering with footballs.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting Sunday, and also had three blocks

It’s not as though Nowitzki has suddenly found the fountain of youth and turned back into the dominant player he was during his prime. He’ll never be that guy again. It’s simply not realistic to ask a dude that old to carry an offense and consistently create his own shots, which is why Harrison Barnes has taken ownership of all the old iso plays that coach Rick Carlisle designed for Dirk back in the day.

But a healthy Nowitzki can still be an offensive force and perhaps help the Mavs compete for the West’s final playoff spot, considering the sub-.500 competition for that spot. After all, Nowitzki is coming off one of the most prolific, efficient scoring seasons ever for a player his age. Last season, he joined all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history to average at least 18 points with a 50-plus eFG% at age 37 or older.

The Mavs have legitimate reason to believe Nowitzki has worked his way back into that form.

“I think he’s back to enjoying it,” said guard J.J. Barea, who also had a performance that provided encouraging signs he’s getting back to being himself after dealing with a nagging injury, scoring 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench. “He’s back to competing out there. We cannot use him like we used to use him, but every once in awhile, we definitely rely on him. He’s doing good. He’s feeling good.

“When he starts talking a lot in the locker room, when he starts messing around a lot, when he starts hitting his 3s, I know he’s in his game. That’s a great feeling for us.”

“I still feel like I’ve got some ways to improve,” Nowitzki said. “I feel sometimes a little sluggish on certain moves, on certain push-offs, getting from one spot to another, especially when there’s a turnover, the quick reaction play where somebody’s coming down the middle. I feel like there’s still a way to improve, but my stand-still shot is there. Some of the post moves are there. I’ve just got to keep on working on days off to get better.”

Steelers vs. Chiefs ratings mean we’ll get more primetime playoff games

The NFL was forced to delay the start of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Divisional playoff matchup against the Chiefs due to inclement winter weather in Kansas City. The primetime scheduling worked in the league’s favor, as the game was the highest-rated, most-watched primetime game ever in the Divisional and Wild Card rounds. That may change the NFL’s approach to playoff scheduling in coming years.

The league reportedly was going to consider shifting future games into primetime if this one drew significant ratings, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Since the Steelers’ win over the Chiefs was the top-rated primetime Divisional or Wild Card game in history, it’s likely we’ll see more of those in the future.

The game was originally scheduled to kick off at 1:05 p.m., but the league was forced to reschedule for primetime due to an impending ice storm. Kickoff was moved to 8:20 p.m. to allow time for authorities to clear the roads.

But Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell wouldn’t be as easily denied. The 25-year-old set an NFL playoff record with his sixth field goal of the evening, splitting the uprights with a 43-yard kick that gave the Steelers an 18-10 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

The Chiefs responded with a methodical 13-play, 75-yard drive that featured a pair of fourth down conversions to clip the Pittsburgh lead to 18-16. A two-point attempt to a wide open Demetrius Harris appeared to have tied the game at 18-all, but a blatant holding call on left tackle Eric Fisher erased the important scoring play. Alex Smith’s do-over pass from the 12 was deflected out of the end zone, and the home team was left with 2:43 and just one timeout to find a way to erase Pittsburgh’s two-point lead.

Aaron Rodgers (+400) and Peyton Manning (+700) are also in the mix to be the NFL’s top passer this season.

Andrew Luck is the betting favorite to finish with the most passing yards in the NFL at +350 at the sportsbooks. Luck finished third in the NFL last year with 4,761 yards and seems to be getting better each year. The Colts added Andre Johnson this offseason to join TY Hilton, setting the stage for a ton of passing yards from the young quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers (+400) and Peyton Manning (+700) are also in the mix to be the NFL’s top passer this season.

While Rodgers is unquestionably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he has never cracked the top three in passing yards for a single season. Manning breezed by the competition for the passing title in 2013 with 5,477 passing yards and finished fourth in passing yards last season.

Other contenders include Matt Ryan (+1200), Eli Manning (+1200), Matthew Stafford (+1200), Tom Brady (+2000), Tony Romo (+2500) and Philip Rivers (+2800).

This news comes just days after Boyer’s NFL debut. He made five snaps during the Seahawks’ preseason game against the Broncos on Friday and before the game led the team onto the field while carrying an American flag.

“That was cool,” Boyer said after the game, via the Seahawks’ official website. “I was actually pretty emotional, just because I always think about my buddies who I fought with, or the ones who are overseas right now. And usually in college you don’t stay out there for the National Anthem, so that got to me too. That whole thing. But just knowing how many of those guys were watching, it’s really special.”