Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 155

Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB's trade deadline yesterday "felt like the old days" for the Dodgers and Yankees, as both teams made deals just before the 4:00pm ET deadline that had them back as the "capitals of the baseball world," according to Mike Lupica of SPORTS ON EARTH. The MLB-leading Dodgers traded prospects to the Rangers for P Yu Darvish, while the Yankees, who lead the Red Sox by a 1/2 game in the AL East, landed P Sonny Gray from the A's. Yankees Senior VP & GM Brian Cashman "thinks his team can make a run." A year ago, everybody was "giddy talking about the future with the Yankees." Lupica: "Now the only future anybody cares about at the new Yankee Stadium is this one." Cashman is the one who "made a big-guy move" at the deadline, as did Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 7/31). USA TODAY's Jorge Ortiz writes a "flurry of last-minute deals spiced up what had been a fairly bland stretch" before the trade deadline, but it "didn't change the reality that about seven of the 10 playoff spots have essentially been claimed." For the most part, the top contenders "got stronger and the marginal ones stayed on the fringes" (USA TODAY, 8/1). The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke said this is the "biggest trade deadline deal" in Dodgers history and "puts them over the top." ESPN's J.A. Adande: "It's good to finally see the Dodgers go all in right now. This window won't last forever" ("Around the Horn," ESPN, 7/31).

RIVALRY RENEWED
: In Boston, Michael Silverman writes Cashman and Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski have "reawakened the recently blah Red Sox-Yankees rivalry." The "buzz is back, and the next two months should be an intense two months, especially with 10 games left to play between these two teams." The Yankees are "in it to win it," and the "strut and swagger is returning to the Bronx." Asked about the Yankees' moves, Dombrowski referred to his AL East rival as the reigning NBA champion Warriors. Dombrowski: "The Golden State Warriors have significantly made some moves. I expected it. I would have been surprised if they didn’t. But I think Brian probably has made them the Golden State Warriors" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/1). 

STRAIGHT CASH: CBSSN's Adam Schein said Cashman "played it perfectly." Cashman "rightfully refused to give up his top two prospects and he still has his man. ... Another Brian Cashman special." Schein: "A Yankees-Dodgers Fall Classic would be great for baseball, and now, it's expected with the Yankees acting like the Yankees" ("Time to Schein," CBSSN, 7/31). FS1's A.J. Pierzynski said, "It's not because of the Sonny Gray trade, that's just the cherry on top of the whole thing." The Yankees "went all in and boom, here's the big move that everybody had been expecting for weeks" ("MLB Whiparound," FS1, 7/31). In N.Y., Ken Davidoff writes the Yankees are "going for it" just one year after "going the other way." Davidoff: "From sellers back to buyers. From rebooting back to reloading." MLB is "rotating on its standard axis once more" (N.Y. POST, 8/1). On Long Island, David Lennon writes the Yankees were "never happy being the underdog," as it is "not who they are." Lennon: "Order has been restored" (NEWSDAY, 8/1). YAHOO SPORTS writes the Yankees "made the second-biggest deal of the day" with their acquisition of Gray, and the move will have "more long-term impact" than the Darvish trade. The Yankees "did a good job of going for it, but kept their eyes on future too" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/1). The N.Y. Daily News’ Peter Botte said Cashman has “done a really good job these last couple of years restocking” the farm system. Botte: "The Yankees went from sellers at the deadline last year, really restocked that minor league system, and this year they really used that depth to help themselves" (“Daily News Live,” SNY, 7/31). SNY’s Jon Hein: “The Yankees have the greatest problem in the world: They have too many prospects.” SNY’s Marc Malusis: “The Yankees are back to being the Yankees and being aggressive" (“Loud Mouths,” SNY, 7/31).

REBUILDING ... AGAIN: In S.F., Susan Slusser writes A's Exec VP/Baseball Operations Billy Beane is "crystal clear about the path the A’s are taking, repeatedly discussing the full rebuild the team is undertaking and the need for top young players," with an eye toward opening a new ballpark with a "good -- and stable -- core." Beane: "We were pretty clear about the direction we were going to go in the last couple of weeks in getting younger, and hopefully the next cycle is one that we maintain with these players" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/1). Also in S.F., Ann Killion writes the A's say they are "building for the future." The team insists it is "going to hold on to their talent, sign players to long-term deals," build a ballpark and "behave like a real baseball team." Killion: "Yeah, yeah. We'll check back in 2019" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/1). In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes under the header, "The A's Keep Ripping Off Fans. This Time, They Trade Sonny Gray. When Will It Stop?" Voisin: "Despite their hefty revenue sharing haul in recent seasons, team officials continue to cry poverty and use the cavernous ballpark as an excuse to save money by gutting the roster and trading away stars" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/1)....FS1's Pierzynski listed the Orioles as his loser at the deadline. Pierzynski: "They had one piece they could have moved in (P) Zach Britton. ... They’re not going to make the playoffs." If a team has "one piece you can trade and you can get as much as you can for Zach Britton, strike while the iron is hot." Pierzynski: "Make the move, restock your farm system, get ready for next year” (“MLB Whiparound,” FS1, 7/31).

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
: In Michigan, Evan Woodbery wrote if the Tigers are "rebuilding, it's not exactly a tear-down job." The team recently traded P Justin Wilson and C Alex Avila to the Cubs for prospects, and earlier this month sent RF J.D. Martinez to the D-backs. However, the club retained veteran players such as P Justin Verlander, who had been the subject of trade rumors. At 47-57, the Tigers have the third-worst record in the AL. Tigers Exec VP/Baseball Operations & GM Al Avila said he does "not have a mandate to dump salary." Avila: "(I) never have, and I've been told it will never happen. So that is a tremendous thing." He said late Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch and his family have "pumped in millions of dollars in this organization." Avila: "The only thing we're doing right now is chipping away little by little, when we can, as we can, to make the team younger, make the team leaner" (MLIVE.com, 7/31)....In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel writes Rangers President of Baseball Operations & GM Jon Daniels "wisely quit on this bust of a season and dealt his most valued commodity" to the Dodgers in return for three prospects. The Rangers are 50-55 and 5 1/2 games back from the second wild-card spot in the AL. Moving Darvish "concludes an era for the organization that began" after the '11 World Series, an era that saw them "spend hundreds of millions of dollars that did not include a trip" to the ALCS. By trading Darvish, Daniels could "admit to himself and his bosses that he built a loser." However, as "essential as dealing Yu was," Daniels "didn’t go far enough." Engel: "The team simply waited too long on Darvish and lost any real leverage for the type of high-level prospects the Dodgers possess" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/1).

MORE ANALYSIS
: In Pittsburgh, Kevin Gorman wrote the Pirates "failed" at the trade deadline. The Pirates are 51-54 and sit 5 1/2 games back of first place in the NL Central. They "failed to make a trade when it mattered most, and failed their players and their fans in the process." But the Pirates "didn't need a trade deadline to make a deal to stay in playoff contention," given Owner Bob Nutting "never had any intention of giving them a chance to contend for the playoffs." Gorman: "Don't blame the Pirates players. Blame Bottom-Line Bob and No-Deal [GM Neal Huntington] for promising a championship-caliber team and failing to deliver any help" (TRIBLIVE.com, 7/31)....The GLOBE & MAIL's Robert MacLeod writes the Blue Jays used the trade deadline to "start planning for the future." As anticipated, the Blue Jays -- who sit in last place in the AL East -- unloaded Ps Francisco Liriano and Joe Smith, two veterans that "did not factor into their plans to reload and make a bid for the playoffs" in '18. Blue Jays Exec VP/Baseball Operations & GM Ross Atkins said, "Obviously we would prefer to be buying and making a push for the pennant. Having said that, given the opportunities that we had today ... we feel that we were prepared to pivot at the opportunities that presented themselves to make the organization better." In an "active trade deadline day," the Blue Jays were "relatively low-key" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/1).

The NFL has written to the NFLPA "offering to work in tandem to study the potential use of marijuana as a pain management tool for players," according to sources cited by Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. This is the "clearest indication to this point that the league may be willing to work cooperatively with the union toward such marijuana use, which is currently banned by the sport." The NFLPA is conducting its own study, and sources said that it has "yet to respond to the NFL’s offer to cooperate on marijuana-related research." The league's letter "outlined a few areas for potential research that included pain management for both acute and chronic conditions." NFL players currently are "tested for marijuana and face potential discipline, including suspensions, for positive tests" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/1).

Despite rumblings that some MLS owners "were chafing against" David Beckham's discounted Miami expansion fee of $25M, Commissioner Don Garber yesterday "indicated that he didn't think that would be an impediment to Beckham getting a franchise," according to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN FC. Garber's stance is "given that [Beckham's] investment group now includes" Sprint President & CEO Marcelo Claure, partner Simon Fuller, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke and Eldridge Industries Chair & CEO Todd Boehly. Garber: "I speak on behalf of all the owners, when we give our word to somebody, we're going to follow up on it. There is grumbling in everything when it comes to pro sports. This is not one that I'm particularly concerned about." Meanwhile, Garber said that he was "encouraged by the current state of MLS expansion efforts even though both St. Louis and San Diego took hits in recent months." Garber: "We couldn't be more excited about where we are." He cited recent developments in the Detroit, Sacramento and Nashville markets as examples, and said there "remain lots of different, great markets" for MLS to go to. He added that the league "may decide" as soon as tomorrow "whether to hold a vote to grant" Beckham's group and the city of Miami an expansion franchise. He said of Miami, "We're at the finish line. We're not over the finish line yet. We've been working hard for a really long time. We feel like we've got everything where we need it to be" (ESPNFC.com, 7/31). 

TEN-YEAR PLAN: ESPN FC's Austin Lindberg notes Fire MF Bastian Schweinsteiger believes that MLS is a "decade away from joining the level set by the world's elite leagues." Schweinsteiger joined the Fire from EPL club Manchester United on March 29. He said, "MLS is a quite young league, but somehow it says to me in 10 years this league could be on the same level as, maybe like the Italian league or also very close to the Bundesliga. There's a lot of potential and I hope the people know that." But Schweinsteiger noted that changes "needed to be made if the league is serious about recruiting Europe's best players en masse." He said, "The rules, first of all, are different than in Europe. I'm sure players in Europe would like to play in MLS, but you maybe have to change some little things to make it more attractive for the players in Europe" (ESPNFC.com, 7/31). 

HOST WITH THE MOST
: The '17 MLS All-Star Game takes place tomorrow in Chicago at Soldier Field, but in Atlanta, Doug Roberson notes MLS "hasn't announced" where the '18 ASG will be held. There are "two logical options: Orlando, which features Orlando City’s beautiful new" $155M soccer-specific stadium, and Atlanta, where Atlanta Untied will play in the $1.5B Mercedes-Benz Stadium (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/1). 

TPG Capital co-Founder and potential NHL owner David Bonderman yesterday "spent the day in Seattle, and -- in particular -- at Seattle City Hall, meeting with Seattle City Council members about the potential renovation of KeyArena," according to Chris Daniels of Seattle-based KING-NBC. Bonderman was "spotted in the Seattle City Hall lobby" with Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, and OVG Dir of Special Projects Lance Lopes. Bonderman's visit comes as OVG "begins negotiations with the city" on a proposed $564M remodel of KeyArena at Seattle Center. His background and wealth "gives the project instant credibility." It is "unclear what exactly he discussed during the meetings with council members, but in the very least it's a physical sign of his level of interest in bringing hockey to Seattle" (KING5.com, 7/31).

SONIC BOOM? NBA.com's David Aldridge noted when and if the NBA does expand, many owners "continue to strongly support Seattle." One owner said, "I believe Seattle should have the first shot. I think a move is more likely than expansion, but right now, neither looks likely." Another owner said, "There are some markets that would be [a] great addition to the NBA but in terms of expansion, I think we need 30 solid teams first." Aldridge noted immediacy is "not on Seattle’s side." The NBA business is "currently booming," and it is "hard to see much appetite for owners to split" the $24B they are getting from the TV networks through '25 with one or two more new groups. A third NBA owner said that the $2B price for the Clippers "should be 'the starting point' for any expansion team’s entrance fee, whether in Seattle or the handful of other cities considered potential candidates for expansion" (NBA.com, 7/31).