Redskins

Baseball owners quiet on first day of meetings

Baseball owners quiet on first day of meetings

CHICAGO (AP) While the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays worked on a blockbuster trade with far-reaching implications, major league owners and executives descended on Chicago on Wednesday for the first of two days of meetings.

The deal was the talk of the baseball world. But the game's power brokers didn't seem too interested in talking about the trade in public, perhaps waiting to see its full scope.

``Not today, boys,'' Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said as he strolled by a group of reporters. ``If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not going to figure it out for you.''

Loria went on a spending spree last winter, handing out lucrative free-agent deals to All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell. The Marlins thought they would contend for the NL East title and draw 3 million fans in the first year of their publicly financed ballpark.

But they flopped, finishing last in the division. Bell was traded to Arizona in October, with the Marlins agreeing to pay $8 million of the remaining $21 million owed to the reliever. Now Reyes, Buehrle and Josh Johnson - probably Miami's best pitcher when healthy - are headed to Toronto for a package of top prospects.

``I really haven't focused on it,'' said New York Yankees president Randy Levine, whose team will have to contend with the improved Blue Jays in the AL East. ``Obviously, they got great players and both teams felt they improved themselves.''

The deal is pending physicals for the players, and Miami could be sending money to Toronto in the trade - something that likely caught the attention of the owners at the meetings.

``That's an interesting question, but I think you might want to address that to the commissioner,'' White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said.

Commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday night that no deal has been submitted to him for approval, but otherwise declined to address the potential trade. He is expected to talk at the conclusion of the meetings on Thursday.

Selig and the owners shuffled in and out of rooms all day, but no one seemed interested in talking about the topics discussed at the meetings.

Oakland is interested in building a new ballpark in San Jose, but that area is considered part of the San Francisco Giants' territory. Selig said at the World Series he is working on the issue, and A's managing partner Lew Wolff refused to talk about the situation on Wednesday.

The owners are expected to hear more about expanding the use of instant replay to fair-foul calls and trap plays on potential catches, and possibly even more. But it was unclear if that topic was addressed on the first day of the meetings.

``Without focusing on a general type of play, I would say that we need to, baseball needs to move forward,'' Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said. ``I'm confident the commissioner and the special committee he's got in place will examine a variety of options that will begin to address that problem.''

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Jay Cohen can be reached athttp://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

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10 Questions in 10 days: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

It might be hard to remember now, but there was a week late last season for the Redskins where most informed people considered Kevin O'Connell on his way out. The talented young quarterbacks coach was being pursued by Chip Kelly to be offensive coordinator at UCLA, and the smart money suggested O'Connell would take the job. 

Except he didn't. 

O'Connell decided to stay with the Redskins and continue to work on Jay Gruden's staff. In turn, Washington promoted O'Connell to passing game coordinator, a new title that likely means much more involvement in game-planning. 

Working for Gruden comes with some perks. Sean McVay ran the offense for Gruden for a few seasons and landed a prime head coaching job with the Rams. McVay has plenty of his own talent, but throughout the NFL, Gruden's offense is widely respected. 

How will O'Connell's influence shape things this fall?

Consider that he deserves some credit for Kirk Cousins improved play out of the pocket in 2017. Now combine a coach that schemes plays for QBs on the move with new Washington passer Alex Smith, a strong runner and serious athlete, and this offense could look much more mobile in 2018. 

Gruden still has the final call on gameday, but O'Connell's voice will matter this year, more so than before. Bill Callahan and Matt Cavanaugh retain their roles and prominence in the offensive game-planning, for sure, but as Washington imports more run-pass option plays and QB movement, know that O'Connell is playing his part. 

Things will look different with Alex Smith running the Redskins offense than they did with Kirk Cousins at the helm. 

Just remember, O'Connell didn't turn down a job in Hollywood for no reason. 

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 17, nine days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass catchers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass catchers are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 receiving yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teams and quarterbacks

Julio Jones, Falcons—Somehow the perception is that he had an off year in 2017 even though he still had 1,444 yards receiving. His touchdowns were down; his total of three TDs was a career worst for a full season. Still, he’s a beast to try to cover and even if you have him perfectly covered he can still make the catch on you. 

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans—Despite working with some shaky quarterbacks, Hopkins has managed to gain over 1,100 receiving yards in three of the last four seasons. He is a highlight show regular and his 13 touchdowns led the league in 2017. 

Michael Thomas, Saints—The third-year player doesn’t have high name recognition outside of New Orleans and maybe fans of the other NFC South teams. Defensive coordinators certainly don’t sleep on him. Thomas is as consistent as they come, posting nine games with 80 or more receiving yards last season. 

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals—I keep wondering when he will show signs of his age (he’ll be 35 before the season starts). He didn’t last year, posting 109 receptions despite the fact that his quarterbacks were an aging Carson Palmer plus journeymen Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton. 

Mike Evans, Buccaneers—At 6-5, he is able to physically beat most cornerbacks. Evans will turn 25 just before the season starts and he got a five-year, $82.5 million contract extension. He is worth every bit of it. If Jameis Winston gets a big contract (something that is up in the air right now), he owes a good chunk of it to Evans. 

Best of the rest: T.Y. Hilton, Colts; Davante Adams, Packers; Alvin Kamara (RB), Saints; Zach Ertz (TE), Eagles

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 9
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 23
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 46

The Redskins last played a game 198 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 54 days. 

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