Tigers trade Fiers to A’s, for real this time

By Blake Froling

It’s officially official this time.

A week after a deadline deal with the Oakland Athletics fell through, the Detroit Tigers sent pitcher Mike Fiers to the A’s for cash considerations or two players to be named later, according to the team.

In his first season with the Tigers, Fiers is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA and 87 strikeouts over 119 innings pitched. He’s been at the top of his game lately, posting a 2.10 ERA over his last six starts.

Fiers, 33, exited his last start against the Cincinnati Reds after two innings when he was struck on the shin by a line drive. X-rays were negative and he isn’t expected to miss any time.

Baseball-Reference has his wins above replacement at 3.1, tops on the team, while Fangraphs has Fiers much lower at 1.2, which is fourth among Tigers starting pitchers. Based on which site you trust more, Fiers is either a quality middle of the rotation starter or a veteran that will eat some innings without too much damage.

The Tigers signed Fiers in the offseason to a one-year, $6 million dollar deal after he spent two and a half seasons with the Houston Astros, where he owned a 4.59 ERA.

Oakland is one of the hottest teams in baseball right now after winning six games in a row. They’re 2.5 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot and could use additional pitching depth behind Sean Manaea and Trevor Cahill. As for Fiers, he doesn’t have to go very far since the Tigers are in Anaheim right now.

Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

http://espnup.com/index.php/2018/08/06/tigers-trade-fiers-to-as-for-real-this-time/

Tigers trade Leonys Martin to Indians

By Blake Froling

The Tigers traded outfielder Leonys Martin and minor league pitcher Kyle Dowdy to the Cleveland Indians for shortstop Willi Castro.

This move helps fortify one of the Tigers’ weakest positions in a farm system that’s loaded with pitchers but light on middle infielders. Castro, 21, is the Indians’ No. 8 ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He’s a switch-hitter currently batting .245 with five home runs and an OPS of .653 in Double-A Akron.

Martin is in the middle of one of his best seasons as a major leaguer, posting career-highs in OPS (.731) and slugging percentage (.409). His wins above replacement is also the highest since 2014 according to baseball-reference. There were concerns that the Tigers might not be able to move Martin at the deadline because of a recent stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

What’s most appealing about Martin though is his fielding. He leads the American League in outfield assists with nine and is fourth among AL outfielders in ultimate zone rating according to Fangraphs.

Dowdy, the other player the Tigers are shipping to Cleveland, is a 25-year-old pitcher who’s spent time in both Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo this season, posting a 4.74 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 95 innings.

Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images

http://espnup.com/index.php/2018/07/31/tigers-trade-leonys-martin-to-indians/

Wildcats, Huskies voted near bottom of GLIAC football coaches poll

By Blake Froling

Football season is almost upon us, which means it’s officially preseason polls season. Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech might not like what they see from the GLIAC coaches poll released today.

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The Wildcats were picked to finish seventh in the conference after a disappointing 1-9 campaign in 2017. They return GLIAC Offensive Back of the Year Jake Mayon, who rushed for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Quarterback Ryan Johnson also returns after starting as a freshman, he threw for 1,581 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions..

The defense is what will ultimately decide if the Wildcats can rise above seventh in the conference. The unit finished seventh in the conference in points allowed, last in yards allowed and tied for seventh in sacks.

Michigan Tech was picked to finish eighth in the conference after going 3-6 in 2017. The offense was anemic at times as the Huskies finished ninth in scoring.

The GLIAC will have just nine football teams this season after Tiffin University moved to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

Photo: @GLIACsports Twitter

http://espnup.com/index.php/2018/07/31/wildcats-huskies-voted-near-bottom-of-gliac-football-coaches-poll/

Brewers acquire reliever Soria from White Sox

By Blake Froling

The Milwaukee Brewers traded for Chicago White Sox reliever Joakim Soria this afternoon, according to both teams.

Soria, 34, is off to a strong start as the Sox closer with a 2.56 ERA in 38 2/3 innings with 49 strikeouts and 16 saves. He’ll join an already stingy Brewers bullpen that sports the third-best ERA in the National League.

In exchange for Soria and cash considerations, the White Sox received left-hander Kodi Medeiros and right-hander Wilber Perez. Medieros, 22, is currently in double-A with an ERA of 3.14 and Perez, 20, is in the Dominican Summer League with a 2.41 ERA.

According to general manager David Stearns, this might not be the last move Milwaukee makes.

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With starting pitcher Brent Suter on the shelf with Tommy John surgery and Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson on the DL, starting pitching would be the next logical target for Milwaukee. They’re currently 2.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central and one game ahead in the wild card standings.

Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images

Beilein signs rollover contract extension

Link to original article HERE

By Blake Froling

The University of Michigan just locked up the best coach in program history for a very long time.

John Beilein signed a new rollover extension today that runs through the 2022-23 seasons, according to the university. With the rollover, the contract will automatically be extended every year until Beilein or the university decide not to exercise the option. Essentially, Beilein has a lifetime contract.

“I am grateful for the opportunity the University of Michigan has given to me over the past 11 years,” said Beilein in a statement. “Kathleen and I love Ann Arbor, our University, our fans and the state of Michigan. We will continue to work very hard in the future to have our basketball team reflect the greatness of this University. I thank Mark Schlissel and Warde Manuel for their faith and commitment to our coaching staff and basketball program. The future of men’s basketball is bright and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Beilein, 65, recently flirted with the idea of leaving Ann Arbor for the Detroit Pistons, but ultimately pulled his name out of consideration when the news went public.

“I am thrilled to ensure John’s leadership of our basketball program today and into the future,” said Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel. “I am very pleased with our shared dialog throughout the process, and I am extremely happy that one of the game’s great coaches is representing the University of Michigan.”

The Wolverines are fresh off their second National Championship appearance in the last six seasons and have the No. 16 ranked recruiting class according to ESPN. Michigan also returns Charles Matthews, who was the team’s second-leading scorer last season. Beilein is the winningest coach in program history.

Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Ziggy Ansah will play on franchise tag in 2018

Original link HERE

By Blake Froling

Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah will not be getting a long-term deal before the deadline today at 4 p.m. ET, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ansah will play the 2018 season on the franchise tag, which will pay him a guaranteed $17.1 million.

Ansah, 29, finished last season with 12 sacks but was still plagued by inconsistency. He had three sacks against the Giants in Week 2, then went the next 10 games with a total of three sacks, then racked up six sacks in the final two games of the season against the Bengals and Packers.

Injuries have also been a major concern during Ansah’s career. He missed almost all of training camp and preseason last year with knee and back injuries and they persisted throughout the regular season. In 2016, Ansah was limited by a high ankle sprain for the majority of the season and only recorded two sacks.

2015 was Ansah’s best season by far, his third year in the league. He generated 14.5 sacks and earned second team All-Pro honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl.

The Lions aren’t sure if Ansah can stay healthy enough over the course of a long-term contract to warrant extending him. Ansah believes he’s one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL and deserves to be paid like one. That’s why a deal couldn’t be done. Ansah and the team cannot negotiate a new deal until after the season ends once they pass the 4 p.m. deadline.

The Lions also have to look at their cap situation as a whole when evaluating the offer they might make to Ansah. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has a $26.5 million cap hit and the team invested heavily in the offensive line last offseason. Wide receiver Golden Tate is due for a contract extension as well, and he’s been one of the most productive wideouts in the NFL since he signed with the Lions in 2014.

If Ansah can stay healthy and be a consistent force on the edge, then the Lions will be happy to pay him top dollar. But he has to prove it first.

Jabari Parker agrees to deal with Bulls

Original link HERE

By Blake Froling

Former Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker has agreed to a two-year, $40 million deal with the Chicago Bulls, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Bucks officially rescinded Parker’s qualifying offer today, making him an unrestricted free agent.

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Parker averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 31 games last season with Milwaukee after recovering from his second ACL injury. In four seasons with the Bucks, Parker missed 143 games due to injury. A native of Chicago, Parker was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Wojnarowski also reported that the second year of the deal is a team option, mitigating the risk for the Bulls.

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