by Buster Olney
posted Aug 25 2017 11:00AM
Major League Baseball's draft is over, so now general managers and club presidents can focus on the decisions of whether to buy or sell before the trade deadline -- to add incrementally or go in big, to fully commit to a rebuild, or to just hang on in the hopes of a turnaround and wild-card chase.
Only 46 days remain before the July 31 deadline, and club officials from both leagues offered some thoughts on where specific teams stand:
Ready to buy now
Houston has an enormous lead in the American League West, but the Astros also have developed a monster problem because of their rotation injuries. Even before the season started, the expectation within the industry was that the Astros would add a good rotation piece, more likely someone who they could control beyond the 2017 season. But with Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton all out of action, the sense among rival evaluators is that the Astros want to push to jump the market and make a deal. "The need for a starting pitcher is right now," an AL official said.
by David Newton
posted Aug 25 2017 10:57AM
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will not play in Saturday's preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.
Backup Derek Anderson will start against the Titans, followed by Joe Webb and Garrett Gilbert.
Newton did not throw in team drills during either practice.
"You could tell he was rusty,'' coach Ron Rivera said Thursday. "A couple late [balls] on the decisions he made. When he was throwing the ball, he was throwing the ball well, so we're not concerned about that.
"Now it's just a matter of him working himself back into shape where he can go out and take normal reps instead of us having to make sure we monitor him.''
Newton, who also didn't play in last week's preseason opener against Houston, had surgery in March to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.
He threw the first five days of training camp, but then was pulled from the second half of a July 30 practice when team trainer Ryan Vermillion noticed fatigue and soreness.
Newton then went 14 days with limited throwing and no participation in team drills until he threw some in the red zone on the last day of the Wofford College portion of training camp.
Rivera has said consistently that the goal is to have Newton ready for the Sept. 10 opener at San Francisco, not the preseason.
Rivera also has said he'd be OK with it if Newton didn't play in any of the four preseason games.
by Chris Low
posted Aug 25 2017 10:54AM
Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin told ESPN on Wednesday that former Baylor coach Art Briles is not a consultant for the Owls' program, formally or informally, and has never been to practice.
Briles' son, Kendal Briles, is the FAU offensive coordinator and was quoted recently as saying he talks to his father daily about such things as personnel and getting players in the right spots.
"Somebody texted me and wanted to know why I hired Art Briles, and I was like, 'What?'" Kiffin said. "He's absolutely not a consultant and has never been to practice or spoken to our team. That's classic 'somebody trying to make it a story' because it's Art Briles and Lane Kiffin."
Kiffin said he's called Art Briles "probably twice" to let him know that Kendal was doing a good job.
"He's a coach's dad just like mine, and I told him that his son is doing a really good job, which all dads, especially coach's dads, love to hear," Kiffin said. "It's no different than when you call a player's parent and tell them their son is doing well. And in the course of that, I've asked him a few questions because it's obviously his [offensive] system that he's run for years. So I've asked him a couple of questions about alignments of players or something like that."
Kendal Briles also mentioned that he sent his father film of the Owls' offense, but Kiffin said that was overblown.
"Kendal sent his dad our spring game to let him see how he was calling plays and running the system," Kiffin said. "I have not spoken to [Art Briles] about him watching that film. It was just his son sending his dad film so he could see what he was doing, nothing more than that."
Art Briles was fired in 2016 after an investigation determined Baylor mishandled reports of alleged sexual and physical assaults, some by football players.