Bills Begin Rebuild

sammy

Photo Credit: Matthew Fairburn

On Friday the Bills surprised the world as they traded two of their top players. The Bills traded talented but often injured receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles. Both these players were arguably the Bill’s best players at their position for the Bills .The Bills received more draft picks in both these trades as well as receiver Jordan Matthews from the Eagles. No matter what the Bills say this upcoming season is not one in which they will make the playoffs. The Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor now must prove himself without one of the games top receivers at his disposal. Although this was a surprising move it is one that needed to happen. The Bills have the longest streak without a playoff win in football as entering this season it has been twenty one years since the Bills last won a playoff game. That streak will continue but after years of futility the Bills now at least have defined the direction this team is going in.

With these trades finalized the Bills received Matthews to replace Watkins and cornerback E. J. Gaines from the Rams to replace Darby. The Bills also received draft picks which was essential. The Bills now have two first round picks in the next two drafts and could receive more depending on any additional moves they make. The Bills receiving corps now consists of Mathews, Anquan Boldin, and rookie Zay Jones. That is not a horrible group but replacing Watkins with Matthews makes this group less dangerous. Next season will be a tough season for Bills fans. The front office has made it clear that improving this team in the long-term is more important than this upcoming season. If the Bills can hit on the picks they received then this trades will receive good reviews in the future and for the Bills hopefully some playoff wins . If the Bills however fail to draft the right players than their playoff drought will continue as the players the Bills gave up flourish.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NFL #Bills

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Dodgers The Best Team in Baseball?

 

Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner

Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Mark J. Terrill

Last night the Los Angeles Dodgers won their 80th game of the season. The Dodgers have lost only 33 games this season and now have a 15.5 game lead over the Rockies for first place in the National League West. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball because of their young stars and talented veterans. At the trade deadline this team only got stronger as they acquired Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers. Darvish joined an already formidable rotation that included Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood. This team has been the best in the majors because of it’s depth and the moves made during the season to improve this team.

One big storyline for the Dodgers this season has been the production they’ve received from their young stars most notably Cody Bellinger. The young first baseman has taken the league by storm in his rookie year. Through his first 345 plate appearances in the majors he already has 33 homeruns and is on pace for 43. That means that Bellinger will fall six short of the rookie record which is held by Mark McGwire who hit 49 in his rookie season. The Dodgers are also receiving stellar performances from other young players such as Corey Seager  who is becoming one of the best young shortstops in baseball.  Seager is unique because he is not only an above average fielder but also an above average hitter.

The Dodgers have not only been an offensive force but their pitching has been equally impressive. Kershaw is having another great year but the biggest surprise has been Alex Wood. He was once a promising young starter for Atlanta but has yet to reach his potential as he has dealt with injuries that have hindered his career. So far this year Wood has been healthy and a difference maker as through 20 starts he has 14 wins and 1 loss. With Wood’s emergence and the addition of Darvish the Dodgers have a formidable top three and don’t have to put any pressure on fellow starter Hyun- Jin Ryu who has is 2-1 since returning from an injury.

Before the season the Dodgers were the favorite in the National League. They have the deepest rotation in the majors and if the playoffs were to start today their fifth best option would be Rich Hill who has 8 wins and only four losses. They have a great mix of veterans such as Justin Turner and Chase Utley to guide their young studs. Their biggest strength however is their young stars who are making major league pitching look easy. This team is built for a deep run and it seems like the only question is who they will play in the World Series

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Dodgers #Baseball #MLB

Celtics Predicted To Win The East

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Photo Credit: AP/ Photo/ Steven Senne

After a busy and interesting offseason the NBA 2017-2018 season is close to beginning. The offseason saw stars such as Chris Paul, Paul George, and Jimmy Butler traded. It saw franchise icons such as Gordon Hayward leave for a new team and rookies such as Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum dazzled in the summer league. With most teams rosters set the predictions have begun and the Boston Celtics are projected to win the East. There are a lot of reasons why this prediction could be right and also some reasons it could be wrong. Even though the Celtics improved this offseason people shouldn’t be so quick to proclaim them as the new kings of the East as this team still has a lot to prove.

One of the reasons the Celtics are predicted to win the East is because of what has transpired with Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. Kyrie asked for a trade and seems to have a lot of tension with Lebron. They also have the oldest roster in the league and after two straight NBA finals experience the long seasons may start to take its toll on their veterans. The fact of the matter however is that until a team other than the Cavaliers makes the NBA finals from the East the Cavaliers are still the kings. In order for the Celtics to dethrone the Cavs they will have to beat them in a playoff series. It is a very real possibility these two teams will meet in the playoffs and that series will determine whether or not the Celtics are really once again contenders. The Celtics may not have as many stars as the Cavaliers but they are just as hungry with much to prove.

The Celtics also added many new pieces this offseason. They signed Gordon Hayward to a max deal and dealt Avery Bradley to the Pistons for Marcus Morris. The Celtics also traded the first overall pick in the draft for the third pick which they used to draft Jayson Tatum. Even though all these players make the Celtics better it could also open up a weakness. The Celtics saved money by trading Bradley; however he was not only one of the best defenders on the Celtics but also in the whole league. That is something the Celtics may miss in a playoff series. It will be up to the Celtics other players to replace Bradley’s defense. That will not be an easy task and will take more than one player.

The Celtics not only acquired more picks by trading the number one pick to the Philadelphia 76ers but also improved their young core. Tatum and Brown are both projected to impact the Celtics for years to come. This is crucial considering that the Celtics already have two players on max deals and may have a third next offseason when Isiah Thomas becomes a free agent.  Having young talented players on cheap deals will be essential in the Celtics remaining competitive.

This offseason the Celtics got better in for both this upcoming season and the long- term. They are not the only team that did. The Timberwolves with the addition of Jimmy Butler will be a force as will the Thunder with the acquisition of Paul George to play alongside Russell Westbrook. The East isn’t as good as the West but the Wizards are a team on the rise and the Cavaliers still have Lebron. The Celtics have a chance to become the kings of the East but it will not be easy. No matter what, this upcoming season will be a fun one and is sure to be full of surprises and maybe some stars such as Irving will change teams but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NBA #Celtics #Basketball

 

Red Sox Make a Statement

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Photo Credit: Billie Weiss/ Boston Red Sox/ Getty Images

Yesterday was the trade deadline for Major League Baseball and while teams such as the Yankees and Dodgers added high impact pieces the Red Sox made one move. They acquired set up man Addison Reed from the New York Mets to improve the bullpen. The Red Sox did not add any offensive pieces other than Eduardo Nunez who they acquired last week. While many people wanted the Sox to acquire a high impact bat the improvement on offense needs to come within. The Sox young core has struggled this season which is why the Red Sox rank near the bottom of almost every offensive category. A return to form from their young core Is better than any possible trade the Sox could have made at the deadline. Last night the Sox rewarded Dombrowski’s faith as they broke through in one of the biggest games of the year.

Last night the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians in a rematch of last years playoffs. The sox sent Doug Fister to the mound who has struggled mightily in a Red Sox uniform. Yesterday  when the Sox needed Fister to step up he did exactly that. No one was expecting him to give this team a chance to win and he did exactly that and more. Fister held the Indians scoreless for seven innings before giving up two runs in the eighth. His terrific start was backed by the awakening of the Red Sox offense. The Sox were lead by Mookie Betts who appears to have broken out of his mini slump. Betts was the runner up for the AL MVP last year and showed why last night as he drove in three of the Sox six runs. The Sox offense was also fueled by the rookie Rafael Devers who had four hits. Devers was the Sox top ranked prospect and is showing why the team was against involving him in any trade. Devers has ten hits in his first twenty four at bats in the majors including two homeruns. Eduardo Nunez continued his hot start in a Red Sox uniform as he had three hits raising his average with the Red Sox to .317.

Last night the Sox showed the offensive team that they’re capable of being. In order for the Red Sox to be successful they need to consistency play like they did last night.  The Red Sox have all the pieces to be a contender they just need to show it. If the Sox can play up to their capabilities then a deep playoff run is in store and the only thing stopping them from that possibility is themselves.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#RedSox

Celtics Offseason Preview

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Photo Credit: Markus Muzikants

The NBA draft has come and gone. There were some surprises including trades that did and didn’t happen. The Boston Celtics were the team in perhaps the most unique position.  Last year the Celtics finished first in the Eastern Conference and were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.  However the Celtics entered the offseason with the number one overall pick in the draft and a lot of cap space. The Celtics traded the number one pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for more picks including the number three overall which they used to draft Duke forward Jayson Tatum. With the draft over the offseason has officially begun and the Celtics will be in the middle of everything.

With the Celtics treasure chest of draft picks they figure be involved in any rumor involving the trade of a superstar. They have already been mentioned in any rumors involving Indiana Pacers star Paul George and Jimmy Butler before he was traded from the Bulls to the Timberwolves on draft night. The Celtics are also expected to pursue Gordon Hayward in free agency whom head coach Brad Stevens coached when Hayward played at Butler.  Blake Griffin has also made it known that he would consider joining the Celtics as he was touched by the Celtics tribute to Paul Pierce when he returned to the Garden as a Clipper. These stars and many others who could be on the move are real possibilities for the Celtics.

Through the Celtics rebuild after the Big Three era ended General Manger  Danny Ainge has placed this team in the perfect position. They are one of the teams  with the most cap space and have an abundance of one thing every team wants which is draft picks. They have some very talented young players in Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier to go along with Isiah Thomas, Al Harford, and Avery Bradley. This team has far to go as during the Eastern Conference finals they were dominated by the Cavaliers. One big issue for the Celtics last year was rebounding. For the majority of the season the team’s leading rebounder was Avery Bradley. This shows how good a player Bradley is ;however a team’s shooting guard should not be it’s leading rebounder. The Celtics also need another shooter which is why Paul George makes sense. George  has one year left in his deal and has a strong desire to sign with the Lakers once he’s a free agent. This means the Celtics would have to surrender draft picks and young talent for a guy who could leave at the end of the season.

Regardless if any of these rumors come true it will be an interesting offseason for the Celtics.  They figure to come away with at least one big name. The only question whether or not it will be through free agency or via trade. Danny could also be extremely aggressive and add multiple big names; we’ll just have to see.

Written By:  Jamie Gatlin

#Boston #NBA #Celtics

 

Bogaerts Becoming Truly Elite

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Photo Credit:  Dan Orencole

Xander Bogaerts is becoming one of the best players in baseball. The young shortstop came into the league with lofty expectations and struggled early on. In Bogaert’s first two years in the majors he failed to hit above .250.  Bogaerts followed that with a breakout 2015 campaign in which he hit .320. Bogaerts followed that up with an even greater campaign in 2016 in which he hit a career high 21 homers but only hit .290. This year Bogaerts is of to a tremendous start as he is hitting .319 and already has set a new career high in triples with 4.  Bogaerts is becoming one of the best shortstops in baseball not only because of his offense but his defense as well. This young superstar  is not without his faults.

Scouts have always seen Bogaerts as an elite hitter with good pop. He was not expected to hit 30 homeruns every year however 20 homeruns a year would not have surprised people. Bogaerts currently has four homeruns on the season and in his first four years in the majors he has hit more than ten homeruns only once.  This year the young shortstop is showing why that may not detrimental.  This year the Red Sox offense hasn’t been as potent as it was last year. This a result of all the young studs the Red Sox have finding their way and the fact that they are playing their first season without their franchise icon  David Ortiz who retired last year.

Bogaerts may not be the power hitter many envisioned but that may be okay. Even without his power your left with a shortstop who will drive in eighty runs while hitting over .300 and playing stellar defensive. The Red Sox are a team full of young stars in the form of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr. to name a few. Bogaerts is showing why scouts have  always been so high on him regardless of the lack of power: he just can’t stop getting on base.

Written By; Jamie Gatlin

#RedSox #Boston

Should The Rockies Be Taken Seriously In the West?

 

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Photo Credit: Kevin Henry

The Colorado Rockies are off to a hot start with a record off 31-17. They have a two game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for first in the National league West division. The Rockies are usually a team that gets off to a hot start. However a baseball season is 162 games and they usually tend to cool down just as people start believing this year is different.  This team is trying to write a new narrative and this year may in fact be different. There are multiple reason’s why including their young pitching which is usually their Achilles heels and their improved play on both the road and at home. This Rockies team is attempting to change the narrative and seem well on their way.

The Rockies have been struggling to produce young talented pitchers for years. This is a result of their player development and the fact that their stadium Coors Field is a hitter friendly ballpark due to its spacious dimensions. This means Rockies pitchers must get used to that when called up to the show or else they will fail.  This year the Rockies rotation has excelled which is surprising considering two of their five starting pitchers are rookies and only one of the other three starters have more than one year of experience in the majors. The Rockies are relying on their youth at a position when many growing pains are expected as a pitcher makes the transition to the majors. The Rockies pitchers however seem unfazed and give the Rockies a chance to win every night. They also have a talented bullpen as a result of offseason signings Greg Holland and Mike Dunn.

Even though the Rockies young pitchers are getting a lot of the attention their offense is as dangerous as ever. Their third baseman Nolan Arenado is one of the brightest stars in the game and is coming of a year in which he drove in a hundred and thirty three runs.   They are also tremendously good up the middle as their starting shortstop Trevor Story is coming off his rookie season in which he hit 27 homeruns. They also have perennial all stars in the outfield in Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez.

This is a team built with young talent and mix of veterans who are tired off starting out hot only to miss the playoffs. If they can continue their play which they show no signs of stopping. For the first time in a while the Dodgers and Giants won’t be the talk of the National league come playoff time it could be the boys from Colorado.

#Rockies #MLB

Written By: Jamie Gatlin