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Twins director of minor league operations retires

Twins director of minor league operations retires

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) When Jim Rantz signed his first professional contract with the Washington Senators in 1960, the skinny pitcher out of the University of Minnesota was just hoping to hang around the organization for a few seasons.

He wound up staying for the next 52 years.

The senior director of minor league operations for the Minnesota Twins announced his retirement on Monday, ending an incredible run with his hometown organization that included stints as a player, manager, public relations official, scout and farm system coordinator. The announcement was made in Fort Myers, Fla., where the team is conducting its organizational meetings.

``This has been an incredible journey for me and for my family and I look forward to spending more time with my wife, Pearl, our four children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren,'' Rantz said in a statement issued by the team.

After spending five years as a player and manager, he joined the Twins' front office following the 1965 season. He spent four years in public relations before moving into the minor league and scouting department. Rantz became director of minor league operations in 1986.

The 75-year-old Rantz was elected to the Twins Hall of Fame in 2007 and has been a beloved figure in the organization for five decades. He had a hand in bringing future general manager Terry Ryan and future manager Ron Gardenhire into the organization, helped stock the 1987 and 1991 World Series championship rosters and then helped rebuild the farm system in the late 1990s to set the table for a run of six division titles in nine seasons.

One of his biggest claims to fame is being the first Twins scout to see Kirby Puckett play. Rantz recommended Puckett to the Twins, who drafted him in 1982 and watched him become the face of the franchise and a Hall of Fame center fielder.

``I am proud of our staff's many accomplishments and still get a thrill when a young player advances through our system and plays in the major leagues,'' Rantz said.

The Twins have promoted 36-year-old Brad Steil, Rantz's top assistant, to interim farm director while they search for Rantz's replacement.

The Twins have long been known as a franchise that values loyalty, but two straight last-place finishes in the AL Central have led to some changes. When the season ended, the team parted ways with bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, who had been with the organization since 1978, and longtime coaches Jerry White and Steve Liddle.

But Rantz had been considering this move for some time, and it came as little surprise. He will officially leave the team at the end of this year, making next year the first season in the Twins' existence without Rantz around in some capacity.

``I am most grateful to the Griffith family for bringing me into the game and to the Pohlad family for allowing me to contribute to the Twins organization for 52 years,'' he said. ``It has been especially rewarding to do this with one club in my hometown.''

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Natasha Cloud is tired of the Bradley Beal trade rumors

Natasha Cloud is tired of the Bradley Beal trade rumors

Mystics guard Natasha Cloud has had it up to here with trade rumors about Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Beal has been a strong vocal supporter of the Mystics and the WNBA, in general. He works closely with Kristi Toliver, who, in her offseason, works as an assistant coach for the Wizards. His closeness with the Mystics has now manifested itself in Cloud voicing her opposition to Beal being traded on Twitter.

Beal is no stranger to trade rumors. Entering his eighth season, Beal has been connected to the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, among others. Given that his name is frequently tossed around in trade talks, it should come as no surprise that the Clippers made a run at him to pair with Kawhi Leonard.

Despite the frequent and recurring rumors, Beal hasn't been traded, and very likely won't be traded. He's a star and a legitimate piece around which to build a franchise. At the summer league in Las Vegas, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes sat with Shaquille O'Neal to discuss what the Wizards should do in free agency. Shaq said that between Beal and John Wall, the Wizards are just a piece or two from breaking through.

I definitely think [the Wizards] should keep him. He's a great shooter, but if he’s a great shooter looking to go somewhere, L.A. has $32 million [in cap space]. ... He's definitely the cornerstone of this franchise. He and John Wall have always, almost always, been there. They just need another one or two guys.

It's still unlikely that Beal is playing in anything other than a Wizards uniform on opening night, but if he is, expect to hear from Cloud about it. 

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Premier League Roundup: Tottenham sell Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid

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Associated Press Images

Premier League Roundup: Tottenham sell Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid

With less than a month to go until the summer transfer window closes on Aug. 8, Premier League clubs are wheeling and dealing to ship out or bring in talent. Here's the latest Premier League news:

Player Notes

Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs have sold right-back Kieran Trippier to La Liga side Atletico Madrid, the club announced Wednesday. The English defender made 114 appearances for Tottenham in all competitions after joining from Burnley in 2015. 

West Ham United: Sebastien Haller has been acquired from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in a ÂŁ45m move. The French striker scored 20 goals last season and replenishes West Ham's attacking options after the departures of Marko ArnautovicAndy Carroll and Lucas Perez.

Everton: In a surprise move, English midfielder Fabian Delph is joining the Toffees from reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. The 29-year-old signed a three-year deal with Everton which runs through 2022. 

Newcastle United: Joselu is heading back to his native Spain, the 29-year-old striker joining La Liga club Alaves for an undisclosed fee. His departure leaves the Magpies thin at forward, top scorers Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon are also leaving the club this summer. 

Sheffield United: The Premier League newcomers have signed former Manchester United academy graduate Ravel Morrison on a one-year contract. "Ravel is an undoubted talent, and we are delighted that we have put together a deal that suits all parties," Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder told BBC. 

Source: Rotoworld

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