Nationals

Bills coach Marrone hires 10 assistants to staff

Bills coach Marrone hires 10 assistants to staff

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Newly hired Bills coach Doug Marrone turned to several of his former assistants at Syracuse in continuing to fill out his new staff in Buffalo.

The Bills announced on Tuesday that they've hired 10 assistants, a majority of them having little or no NFL experience.

The new hires include four who worked all or part of the past four seasons under Marrone at Syracuse.

They are Donnie Henderson, who will coach defensive backs, Tyrone Wheatley (running backs), Greg Adkins (tight ends) and Jason Rebrovich (defensive quality control). Marrone had already turned to the Orange by hiring Nathaniel Hackett, last week, to serve as the Bills offensive coordinator.

Several new assistants also have ties to the New York Jets, where they worked under Buffalo's new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine. That group is made up of Jim O'Neil (linebackers), Anthony Weaver (defensive line) and Samson Brown (assistant defensive backs).

Overall, the 10 coaches have a combined 20 years of experience, led by Henderson's 10. Henderson was the Jets defensive coordinator from 2004-05, and held the same position with the Detroit Lions in 2006.

The most experienced assistant is Chuck Driesbach, who will coach linebackers. He has 36 years of experience at college, including spending 2007-11 as assistant head coach at Rice.

Brian Fleury was hired as a defensive quality control coach. He has 10 years of college experience, including the past four as a secondary coach and special teams coordinator at Towson.

Eric Ciano was retained as the Bills strength and conditioning coach, a position he's held over the previous three seasons.

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There’s a Harper in DC again: Nationals trade for reliever Ryne Harper

There’s a Harper in DC again: Nationals trade for reliever Ryne Harper

It may have taken until Jan. 29, but the Nationals finally made their first trade of the offseason Wednesday when they acquired right-hander reliever Ryne Harper from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for 21-year-old pitching prospect Hunter McMahon.

Of course, he won’t be the first Harper to don the Curly W. He’ll have a lot of work to do if he wants to top the legacy of the former MVP now playing in Philadelphia.

Putting that aside, he’s joining the Nationals coming off a solid rookie season in which he posted a 3.81 ERA with one save and 12 holds in 61 appearances for Minnesota.

At 30 years old, Harper will certainly be a bit seasoned for a second-year player. Per Brooks Baseball, his fastball averaged out at 89.7 mph while he also mixed in healthy usage of a slider and curveball. He isn’t a big strikeout pitcher (8.3 K/9), allowing mostly grounders (38.5 percent) and flyballs (37.3 percent).

Harper was designated for assignment by the Twins to make room for Josh Donaldson on the 40-man roster. Washington was among the suitors for Donaldson; although they didn’t end up signing him, the third baseman still managed to make an impact that affected the Nationals.

McMahon was a ninth-round pick out of last year’s draft who posted a 0.71 ERA over nine appearances last season between rookie ball and Low-A Auburn.

Washington figures to give Harper a chance to compete for a bullpen spot in spring training, joining a crowded group that only has three pitchers guaranteed spots heading into the year: Sean Doolittle, Will Harris and Daniel Hudson.

After the Nationals made the trade official Wednesday, their 40-man roster is now officially full. For fans still holding out hope that Kris Bryant could be going to D.C., this trade only lowers those odds even further after Bryant lost his service-time grievance with the Chicago Cubs.

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History shows how much the Wizards could get in a trade for Davis Bertans

History shows how much the Wizards could get in a trade for Davis Bertans

Indications both on the record and through back channel reporting remain that the Wizards would like to keep sharpshooting forward Davis Bertans beyond the Feb. 6 trade deadline and attempt to re-sign him in the offseason, once they are allowed to negotiate per CBA rules. The most recent story came from Sports Illustrated and it suggested the Wizards aren't entertaining offers.

Still, nothing can be ruled out. Things can change, teams could increase their offers and trade talks always ramp up as the deadline nears. And, if the Wizards do decide to trade Bertans, it would make sense if the return package was centered around draft picks, given the Wizards are in the middle of a franchise reset where those are at a premium.

So, what type of draft pick could the Wizards get for Bertans? For starters, it doesn't seem likely any collection of second round picks would get the deal done given the caliber of player he is. And while first round picks are most often dealt on draft night, there are still plenty of cases where they were sent in exchange for players at other points on the calendar.

With Bertans in mind, here are some examples of teams getting first round picks for players. You may notice a lot of them involved the Wizards being the team that gave up the draft pick. And a few of them ironically included players who are now in Washington.

February 22, 2017: Wizards traded lottery-protected 2017 first round pick (Jarrett Allen was selected), Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton to the Nets for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough

Takeaway: This may be the best comp for a potential Bertans trade because Bogdanovic was on an expiring deal and acquired by a playoff contender at the time looking for a bench shooter. Though Bogdanovic is now a better player than Bertans, at the time he was on the level Bertans is now.

This trade also offers an ideal scenario for the Wizards in that the Nets got a really good player out of it with their draft pick. Allen is one of the game's best young rim protectors.

February 14, 2017: Raptors traded 2017 first round pick (Anzejs Pasecniks was selected) and Terrence Ross to the Magic for Serge Ibaka

Takeaway: Though Ibaka was and is better than Bertans, this type of deal in a basic sense might appeal to the Wizards. The Magic got a first round pick and a quality bench player in Ross. The Magic then used that pick in a separate deal.

February 23, 2017: Rockets traded a 2017 first round pick (Tony Bradley was selected) and Corey Brewer to the Lakers for Lou Williams

Takeaway: Williams, though more accomplished than Bertans, was acquired for the same reason that may make Bertans attractive to teams right now. He is a proven bench scorer with the ability to change the momentum of games. And like the Ibaka deal, the Lakers got both a pick and a serviceable player. If the Wizards could get a first round pick and a player who could help them, that might be hard to pass up.

February 18, 2016: Wizards traded a top-9 protected 2016 first round pick (Georgios Papagiannis was selected), DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries to the Suns for Markieff Morris

Takeaway: Morris had the pedigree of a recent first round pick with upside, but Bertans might be a more appealing trade piece at the moment. Morris had some off-court issues and a public dispute with an assistant coach and that affected his stock. The Suns getting a pick that was only top-9 protected was an impressive return, even if they didn't make much of it.

February 19, 2015: Three-team deal in which the Celtics traded a top-10 protected 2016 first round pick (Skal Labissiere was selected) to the Suns, the Suns traded Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics, the Celtics traded Tayshaun Prince to the Pistons and the Pistons traded Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko to the Celtics.

Takeaway: This one is complicated by the fact three teams were involved. Also, Thomas was a better player than Bertans. But the framework of this deal is worth examining given the potential for the Wizards to get another team involved if they decide to part with him.

October 25, 2013: Wizards traded a top-12 protected 2014 first round pick and Emeka Okafor to the Suns for Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall.

Takeaway: Yet another trade where the Wizards dealt a first round pick in a win-now move. This one had some throw-in pieces, but Gortat could be seen as a similar level player relative to his position as Bertans is now. And a top-12 protected first round pick would arguably be a solid return for the Latvian Laser.

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