ESPN names LaMelo Ball top prospect for 2020 NBA Draft
According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Ball’s assets include unusual size for a point guard at 6-7, along with “impressive creativity, flair, poise and instincts operating off a live dribble.” He can pass with either hand and is especially skilled on the pick-and-roll. To improve his game, Givony believes Ball needs to become a more efficient scorer and show a stronger commitment to defense, but he still has the potential to become a franchise-altering player. The rest of the top five includes Memphis center James Wiseman, Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, North Carolina guard Cole Anthony and combo guard R.J.
The market for free agent pitchers appears to be developing quickly, and the top name on the market could have a new home by the end of the week.
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According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, Gerrit Cole’s market is “developing quickly,” and he is expected to sign by the end of the week.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network added that Stephen Strasburg’s decision to re-sign with the Washington Nationals has intensified Cole’s market.
Report: Gerrit Cole told Yankees he does not have West Coast bias
The premier free agent pitcher wouldn't mind coming back east despite previous reports.Cole met with the New York Yankees on Tuesday, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. During the meeting, Cole reportedly told the team he does not have a bias towards pitching on the West Coast.
The New York Yankees are considered the clear favorites for Cole, but their reported $245 million offer is unlikely to be enough to get the job done in light of Strasburg signing the same contract. Cole’s value is through the roof right now, and interest seems high. The situation appears poised to develop quickly.
Related slideshow: Bold predictions for MLB offseason (Provided by Yardbarker)
Bold predictions for MLB offseason
The MLB hot stove has already started to heat up, but most of the marquee free agents and trade candidates in the 2019-20 offseason are still available. Here are some bold predictions as the MLB offseason continues to develop. Tim Warner/Getty Images
Angels sign Gerrit Cole
Cole is the big prize of the offseason and could have his sights set on a record-breaking contract. A native of Southern California and UCLA alum, he's been connected to the Angels but also grew up as a Yankees fan. The Angels are in most desperate need of pitching, and will have money available with Albert Pujols' contract coming off the books after two more seasons. Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports Images
Braves sign Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner is a North Carolina native, and could give the Braves an immediate innings eater to surround their young pitchers. The lefty has plenty of playoff experience, winning 2014 World Series MVP, and is coming off his seventh 200-inning season. Stan Szeto / USA Today Sports Images
Brewers trade Josh Hader
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Hader could be made available by the Brewers this offseason. While it would be curious for a team with playoff aspirations to trade arguably the best relief pitcher in the league, Milwaukee has used Hader heavily over the last two years and would be selling the lefty at peak value. The move could fill other holes, such as their third base spot. Jasen Vinlove / USA Today Sports Images
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Cubs trade Kyle Schwarber
The Cubs have insinuated that they won't be adding significant payroll. That could be a problem because they have several holes to fill in the starting rotation and bullpen. Schwarber is coming off a career year after hitting 38 home runs in 2019, but he's still a liability in left field and starting to cost a lot of money in his final two years of arbitration. Trading Schwarber for a pitcher could help the Cubs address a major need. Daniel Bartel / USA Today Sports Images
Dodgers acquire Francisco Lindor from Indians
Lindor has two seasons before he reaches free agency, but that means he will be expensive in 2020 and is also at the peak of his trade value. MLB.com reported that the Dodgers have already had interest in Lindor, and they certainly have the pieces to make a deal with an elite farm system. Ken Blaze / USA Today Sports Images
Diamondbacks sign Shogo Akiyama
Akiyama is the big prize from Japan this offseason, and the Diamondbacks have a major need in center field. He would potentially fill the void left by A.J. Pollock, who left following the 2018 season, as a leadoff man with power and speed. Kiyoshi Ota / Getty Images
Giants sign Blake Treinen
Treinen was non-tendered by Oakland after a disappointing 2019 season, but he's just one year removed from being an elite closer. After losing Will Smith in free agency, the Giants have a need at closer, and Treinen will likely be looking for a closing opportunity so he can rebuild his value for free agency next offseason. Darren Yamashita / USA Today Sports Images
Indians trade Corey Kluber
Cleveland fell short of a playoff berth last season and did so without Kluber and Carlos Carrasco for most of the year. With that pair healthy, the team has more quality starting pitchers than they need heading into 2020. Despite last year's struggles, Kluber finished top three in AL Cy Young voting in four out of five seasons entering 2019, and could fetch the Indians plenty in return. Jasen Vinlove / USA Today Sports Images
Mariners complete their firesale
Seattle started their firesale last offseason, and the result was a 68-win season in 2019. GM Jerry Dipoto hasn't been shy about making moves, and the team still has plenty of attractive pieces despite their poor results last season. Trading Mitch Haniger, Omar Narvarez, Dee Gordon, and Mallex Smith could complete a full rebuild as the team looks like an even bigger underdog in the tough AL West during 2020. Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today Sports Images
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Mets sign Yasiel Puig
The Mets ownership likes to steal headlines from the Yankees. A Puig signing wouldn't exactly be the biggest move of the offseason, but it could add some flash to Queens. The right fielder has been a consistent offensive performer recently, and could vastly improve the struggling Mets outfield defense. He also might find it attractive to play under new manager Carlos Beltran, an accomplished MLB hitter. David Richard / USA Today Sports Images
Nationals re-sign Stephen Strasburg
Strasburg opted out of his contract after one of his best years in 2019 and is set for a huge deal at age 31. Given his injury history, any long-term deal would come with major risk, but the Nationals are extremely familiar with Strasburg since drafting him 10 years ago and should have funds available after winning the World Series. Troy Taormina / USA Today Sports Images
Padres sign Hyun-Jin Ryu
Ryu won the NL ERA Title last year with a 2.32 ERA, and over the last two years he has a cumulative 2.21 ERA in 44 starts. There's no doubt the lefty adds huge value to any team, but there's also risk given his long injury history. The Padres employ several former members of the Dodgers front office that signed Ryu in 2013 and also have the pitching depth should Ryu need to miss time. Even after signing Manny Machado for big money last offseason, San Diego could make another big splash. Brad Mills / USA Today Sports Images
Rangers sign Anthony Rendon
As the Rangers open a new stadium in 2020, they've already started their spending this offseason by adding Kyle Gibson. It's very unlikely that they're finished, and Rendon would be a great fit. A native of Houston, Rendon would fill a major need at third base for the Rangers. Tommy Gilligan / USA Today Sports Images
Rays sign Nicholas Castellanos
Castellanos revitalized his free agent value after getting traded to the Cubs last July after a slow start in Detroit. He seems likely to move back to the AL given his sub-par defense, but Castellanos has nearly as much upside as any bat available in free agency. The Rays don't typically spend big, but they did so last offseason when they signed Charlie Morton and could try one more time with their current competitive window. Orlando Ramirez / USA Today Sports Images
Red Sox trade David Price
Boston will likely have to be creative to move any of their big contracts, but Price seems ripe for a trade. He's struggled to stay healthy since signing a seven-year contract in 2016 and also rubbed the media the wrong way. New GM Chaim Bloom seems to have his work cut out for him this offseason, but swapping Price for another expensive contract is possible. Bob DeChiara / USA Today Sports Images
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Royals sign Marcell Ozuna
Ozuna doesn't seem like a logical fit for a rebuilding team, but the Royals have funds with Alex Gordon's contract now off the books and manager Mike Matheny has a history with Ozuna in St. Louis. The outfielder would add much-needed power to one of the weakest lineups in the game. Brad Mills / USA Today Sports Images
Twins sign Edwin Encarnacion
Minnesota non-tendered C.J. Cron, opening up a spot at first base. Shifting Miguel Sano from third to first seems like a possibility, but Encarnacion could also be a bargain this offseason. The veteran doesn't offer much defensively, but he showed that he had plenty left last offseason after hitting 34 home runs in only 109 games. He would add to an already powerful lineup. David Berding / USA Today Sports Images
Yankees sign Josh Donaldson
Donaldson should draw plenty of interest after a huge rebound season in Atlanta during 2019. Several teams have a big need at third base, and the Yankees aren't exactly in that category with Gio Urshela's breakout season and the return of Miguel Andujar. However, Donaldson could also potentially play first base, and would make one of the most feared lineups in the game even better. Brett Davis / USA Today Sports Images
Gerrit Cole has funny comment about shaving beard for Yankees .
Cole has had a beard throughout his entire MLB career, but he now must adhere to the Yankees’ notorious appearance policy, which forbids facial hair. At his introductory press conference on Wednesday, Cole took the podium clean-shaven.Gerrit Cole is OFFICIALLY a Yankee! pic.twitter.com/dm04YZMkZm— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) December 18, 2019Naturally, the right-hander was asked about having to shave now that he is a member of the Yankees. He had a great response.Cole on shaving his beard: “I’ve experienced razor burn now for the first time.