A's trade for a bat for the stretch run

A's trade for a bat for the stretch run

From Comcast SportsNet
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics landed their veteran shortstop in Stephen Drew. Current shortstop Cliff Pennington and the rest of the A's players found out by ballpark announcement late in the game. The A's acquired Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday in exchange for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson. The trade, announced by Oakland before the seventh inning of Monday night's game with the Minnesota Twins, reunites Drew with former D-backs manager Bob Melvin -- in his first full season as A's skipper. "It'll be refreshing and a new start," Drew said. "It's a good feeling to go over there and still be competing (for the postseason)." Drew is expected to join Oakland in time to play the middle game of the series against the Twins on Tuesday. He recently returned after being sidelined for nearly a year with a fractured right ankle. He sat out 137 games in all. The 29-year-old Drew is batting .193 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 40 games since coming back June 26. "Coming back, I've been hitting the ball well but haven't been finding any holes," he said. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said last month it was "highly unlikely" the team would trade Drew this season, saying he hadn't received an offer for either Drew or Justin Upton that would improve the Arizona club. A's GM Billy Beane must have changed his mind. "We must be very persuasive," Oakland assistant GM David Forst said, noting the A's will see how the remainder of the season goes with Drew before making any decisions about his status with the club for 2013. "It was more than likely he would have tested free agency so we probably would have only had his services for another six weeks," Towers said. "I have no doubt in my mind that he'll make the A's a much better ballclub." Oakland, a surprise playoff contender this season with a cast of moving parts and new faces, had been looking for a consistent regular in the middle of the infield given the struggles and injuries of Pennington and Adam Rosales. Pennington is hitting .198 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 92 games. That includes batting 6 for 29 (.207) in 10 games since returning from the disabled list Aug. 7 after missing time with elbow tendinitis -- his first career DL stint. "He plays the same position, so I guess we'll see what happens," Pennington said. "I was sitting there in the dugout and they announced it. I have no idea what those guys (in the front office) think. I'm going to try to pretend I do." During the 2007 postseason playing for Melvin and the NL West champions, Drew batted .387 with two home runs and four RBIs in seven games, including .294 (5 for 17) against the Colorado Rockies in the NL championship series. "I do know Stephen and he's a good player," Melvin said, preferring to wait until Tuesday to elaborate on the move. "He'll be a good fit here." Drew is coming off the severe ankle injury and has a 10 million mutual option for next season. If the option is not picked up, Drew receives a 1.35 million buyout. "I think he's probably recovered better than I thought," Towers said. "We have a lot of middle infielders and it's tough to spread the reps and at bats among three middle infielders." The A's will make corresponding moves to their 40-man and 25-man rosters upon Drew's arrival. He is currently in an 0-for-15 stretch and is batting .069 (2 for 29) over his past nine games. Drew homered in consecutive games Aug. 5-7. Second baseman Jemile Weeks said the announcement was "surprising to everybody." "He's a good player, so if he comes along and jumps in and fits in and helps us win, we're all for it," Weeks said. "I guess they're trying to make a push, they're trying to improve what they feel they need to improve. They're trying to head in a certain direction. Obviously they have that vision in their heads and that's what they're trying to show right now." The 23-year-old Jamieson, Oakland's 17th-round draft pick out of Canisius College in 2011, was batting .234 with 10 home runs, 49 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 118 games for Single-A Burlington.

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It doesn't sound like the Mavs will let Nerlens Noel hit NBA free agency

It doesn't sound like the Mavs will let Nerlens Noel hit NBA free agency

NBA teams hoping to acquire a power forward in next month's free agency may be left with one less option, as the Dallas Mavericks appear determined to re-sign Nerlens Noel, a restricted free agent.

That's according to Marc Stein of ESPN:

Noel, 23, was traded to Dallas from the Sixers back in February for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut and two second round picks. He played 22 games for the Mavs, who did not qualify for the playoffs.

Trading for Noel represented a risk, given he does not have a contract for next season. But Dallas should have the opportunity to match whatever offer he gets in free agency if he indeed makes it that far.

Noel, though, could be expensive. He's very young and holds averages of 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks per game through three NBA seasons. Durability is a concern, as he only played in 51 games last season due to a surgery he had in October. But he played in 67 games the season before and 71 the year before that.

Noel was the sixth overall pick in 2013, the same year the Wizards took Otto Porter third overall.

[RELATED: Winners, losers, sleepers from 2017 NBA draft]

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Capitals lineup projection: How do the Caps replace Nate Schmidt?

Capitals lineup projection: How do the Caps replace Nate Schmidt?

Both the expansion draft and the entry draft have come and gone as have the flurry of trades that come with them. Through it all, the Caps find themselves short a top-four defenseman with the loss of Nate Schmidt to Vegas. Schmidt’s departure obviously changes the team’s plans for next season.

In May, I gave a projection of what the Caps’ opening night roster may look like next season. Obviously, things have changed, but just how much?

Here's an updated post drafts lineup projection.

Forward lines

Andre Burakovsky – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Marcus Johansson
Jakub Vrana – Lars Eller – Tom Wilson
Riley Barber – Jay Beagle – Brett Connolly
Extra: Chandler Stephenson

RELATED: Caps continue to strengthen defense in draft

Nothing new here. Whether Oshie would return next season was the biggest question mark. The team answered that question with his new contract that will keep him in Washington for the next eight years.

The question now is how to best organize that lineup?

Connolly’s skillset does not suit the fourth line very well, but Wilson’s strong postseason clearly made an impression. The Caps traded for Tyler Graovac in order to protect an extra forward from the expansion draft because they did not want to leave either Wilson or Eller exposed. That likely means they envision a larger role for Wilson going forward.

The big takeaway from this is that the team has more skilled players than spots in the top nine. Someone is going to get pushed down to the fourth line or perhaps be offered as part of a trade to another team.

Defensive pairs

Dmitry Orlov – Matt Niskanen
(Philipp Grubauer trade) – John Carlson
Brooks Orpik – Madison Bowey
Extra: Taylor Chorney

The loss of Schmidt is a significant one as there is no clear replacement for him on the roster. Prospects Bowey and Christian Djoos will get their shots at training camp, but they are both rookies with no NHL experience. To put both in the lineup and one in the top-four would not be an ideal situation for a team still looking to make the playoffs. The team’s cap constraints, as well as a weak free agent market in terms of defensemen, makes it unlikely the team will sign someone this summer. That makes the most likely scenario a trade.

The expansion draft forced teams to evaluate who on their roster was expendable. Grubauer is the current backup and is not considered to be the team's future starter because of prospect Ilya Samsonov. Grubauer is a trade asset the team could afford to trade away for a top-four blue liner.

But this is a deal that the team needs to pull off sooner rather than later as the number of teams in the market for a goalie is quickly dwindling.

Goalies

Braden Holtby
Pheonix Copley

If Grubauer is gone, that would put Copley in line to take over the backup role next season. The clock is ticking for the Caps, however, given that he will soon be an unrestricted free agent and could sign with another team.

MORE CAPITALS: Re-signing Oshie was 'the highest priority' for Caps