Andy Murray has won the first set 7-6 (2) in the Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic
Don’t believe dumb internet rumors. Start there.
Sunday night some fake Twitter accounts tweeted that a trade between the Redskins and Lions was very close, a deal that would ship productive WR Marvin Jones from Detroit to Washington in exchange for unproductive former first-round pick WR Josh Doctson.
What is to believe here? Next to nothing.
Jones is under Lions control for two more seasons and makes about $7 million a year. That’s tremendous value for somebody that posted 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns two seasons ago. Doctson has exactly 1,100 yards in his three-year NFL career.
There is some speculation that Jones could be on the outs in Detroit, mostly because of the hard charging style of head coach Matt Patricia. Jones also missed half of last season with a knee injury and is still working his way back, missing all of Detroit's offseason work.
Even if Jones is on the outs with Patricia, and there are worries about the knee, he would command more in a trade than Doctson, who only has one year left on his contract.
This is from Detroit Free Press Lions reporter Dave Birkett's mailbag last week: "Jones has two years left on his contract at very reasonable salaries of $6.5 million per season. The Lions would be foolish to move on from him right now. He provides more than most players at his salary, and it’s not like there are suitable replacements out there. Jones spent all spring working with the rehab group and I expect him to have a strong season this fall. I can’t imagine the Lions moving on from him at this point, unless we hit October and they’re struggling to keep their head above water. If that happens, all bets are off."
This also seems like a pertinent time to mention that Washington team president Bruce Allen spent last week in France.
Allen makes the trades for the Redskins. Allen is the boss. He was out of the country last week, and probably not fielding trade phone calls from Cannes.
To be fair, there have been conversations inside Redskins Park about moving Doctson for more than a year, including in the weeks leading up to the trading deadline last season. He hasn't been moved, however, and his trade value is probably at an all-time low after Washington decided not to exercise a fifth-year team option on his contract earlier this offseason.
Could Marvin Jones help the Redskins' receiving group? Absolutely.
But a trade requires much more than that.
WASHINGTON -- How’s this for a week? Five hours of rain delays, two postponements, Max Scherzer breaks his face, Max Scherzer dominates while on the mound with said broken face, a sweep, a rally, a bullpen blowup, a key roster piece dismissed, a Sunday extra-inning loss.
Welcome to the last week at Nationals Park, where the local nine have gone from finding their bearings to hopping into the fray. Washington went 4-2 against Philadelphia and Atlanta during the rain-stalled week, and it was lamentable. A perfect 6-0 was possible. A more likely 5-1 was quite attainable. But, 4-2 will be acceptable, especially in light of the early-season wandering through the darkness.
“Hey, we played two pretty good teams,” manager Davey Martinez said. “With everything said and done, we came out 6-4. We got a day off [Monday], which the boys need. We come back, we got Miami for three. So let's have that day off, come back, and play Tuesday.”
The National League East division has enjoyed convulsions even before the midpoint of the season. Atlanta stands 14 games over .500 and firmly in first. Philadelphia has caught all of the Nationals’ former ills -- injuries, bad bullpen pitching, poor base level play -- during its tumble. It has lost seven in a row, 16 of 22 and was swept by Miami over the weekend. New York fired its pitching coach, then went into Chicago and split a series from the first-place Cubs before manager Mickey Callaway swore at a reporter and a starting pitcher charged him. Philadelphia and New York start a four-game series Monday to determine which is more in disarray.
Washington, meanwhile, is 18-9 in its last 27. Baseball Reference says its odds to reach the playoffs went up 17.9 percent in the last seven days. The Nationals now have a 31 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to fivethirtyeight.com. Fangraphs paints a rosier picture: It pegs Washington with a 49.7 percent chance to reach the postseason.
The season’s midpoint arrives Friday following three games in Miami. Washington will be in Detroit that night, taking on one of the league’s worst offenses, before another homestand opens against Miami. Woeful Kansas City follows. Those three clubs are math boosters. They could also deliver the final impetus for general manager Mike Rizzo to deploy a strategy he used last season: find early help to keep pushing.
June 18, 2018, Rizzo dealt for Kelvin Herrera to aid a not-quite-there bullpen which was at least an arm short. Herrera was pitching well when he arrived. The cost was three players, two of which remain in the minors, one of which is with the Royals this season.
Herrera failed in Washington, but the strategy was sound. Rizzo did not wait to fix the clear gap in his club -- yes, this seems an annual adjustment -- by lagging until the trade deadline. He instead aggressively attempted to solve a problem in a manner which carries risk and reward. The risk is overpaying because the work is being done well ahead of the market deadline. The reward is an extended benefit by acquiring help six weeks before running out of time to do so.
The Nationals remain at least one arm short in the bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal was released Sunday morning. Kyle Barraclough continues to watch from the bullpen railing. His right arm no longer hurts. It’s also not ready to throw pitches at full force. He remains weeks away from a return.
Until then, the Nationals have an open 40-man roster spot to tinker with. Among the numerous restrictions suffered because of Rosenthal’s failures was the inability to move a piece not on the 40-man easily up to the 25-man roster. His departure offers a clean entrance.
The last week provides ammunition for further moves. Even Martinez bent to the idea these recent seven days mattered. Two postponements stalled outcomes before Washington handled free-falling Philadelphia and tussled toe-to-toe with the Braves. Atlanta outscored the Nationals 20-16 in the three-game series. Three of those runs came because of a Rosenthal meltdown. In essence, it was a draw.
“We know we’re capable of keeping up with any of these guys,” Yan Gomes said. “We’ve said it since the beginning: Eighth inning, ninth inning comes around, we’re going to battle ‘til the end. We gave ourselves a chance to win [Sunday], it just didn’t come our way. But no shame, no hanging our heads. We’ve still got to look forward.”
Gomes went back to packing when he was done with reporters. Going on the road with all the equipment is a team which has proven its baby steps toward course correction were not a fluke. Three weeks of good play have been compiled. The two coming weeks offer another trampoline. Expect Rizzo to look for even more bounce.
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