Hot Wires

Cowboys, Chargers look to trade up for QB Paxton Lynch

Paxton Lynch is widely regarded as the third-best quarterback in this month’s NFL Draft, but his pro day workout went so well on Wednesday that some teams think he may be better, eventually, than Carson Wentz and Jared Goff.  The Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers are considering trading up to draft Lynch, formerly of Memphis, on the first round.

The Cowboys have the No. 4 overall pick, but owner Jerry Jones has said his team won’t use it for a QB.  However, he did not rule out trading up with the second-round pick at No. 34 overall. The Cowboys are searching for a backup to Tony Romo, who turns 36 next Thursday and missed most of last season with injuries.

The Chargers, whose second-round pick is 35th overall, are capably quarterbacked by the durable Philip Rivers, 34, but are looking for a young passer to develop.   Lynch, 6-6 and 245 pounds, is considered something of a project because he threw exclusively from the spread formation in college.  But some scouts say he has a higher ceiling than Wentz or Goff.

Click here for article by Chase Goodbread of College Football 24/7.

Vitale says Skal Labissiere not ready for NBA prime time

Skal Labissiere is not what we’re accustomed to seeing in a Lottery Pick.  His statistics for the University of Kentucky in his first and last year included 15.8 minutes per game, 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.0 fouls.  And he looked lost on defense.  He came to UK as a one-and-done project, but he showed little sign of progress.

The next NBA Draft does not look promising, with projected top lottery pick Ben Simmons attracting comments for being immature, and another likely lottery choice, Labissiere, not expected to be of much use as a rookie.

It’s difficult to understand why his coach, John Calipari, was tweeting his praise as the 6-11 center departed.  Calipari welcomed some of the blame for Labissiere’s disappointing numbers:  “It took him and our staff a while to figure out how to best utilize hi, but Skal’s improvement over the year is why he is in this position to put his name in the draft and be projected in the middle of the lottery.”

ESPN’s Dick Vitale, who’s anything but a harsh critic, said: “There’s no way he’s ready for the NBA.”

But hey, even if he’s lacking in talent, the kid’s loaded with character.  Calipari:  “Skal is one of the greatest kids I’ve ever coached.”

Click here for Tyler Conway’s Bleacher Report.


Giles replaced as Astros closer, falters in set-up role

Updated Thursday, April 7, 2016

When the Houston Astros put together a five-player package of young players to acquire the hard-throwing Ken Giles from the forlorn Philadelphia Phillies, the assumption was the 25-year-old right-hander would be the team’s closer.

That’s what Giles assumed.  But he was “a little bit surprised” when his closing role was taken from him as the baseball season was about to begin.   Instead, manager A.J. Hinch announced that 31-year-old Luke Gregerson “is our primary closer.”

Trying to be a good sport, Giles shrugged and said, “It’s his decision, so I need to follow it.”

Giles in 2015 put up unprecedented numbers for a rookie: 1.80 ERA for 69 games, with a 6-3 record that seemed impossible for a team as wretched as the Phillies.  In the final two months of the season he became the team’s closer and converted 15 of 17 save opportunities.

Gregerson, meanwhile, had a 3.10 ERA for Houston while converting 31 of 36.

But Giles was not sharp in the spring-training season (6.75 ERA for 9 games), so Hinch felt more comfortable with the veteran Gregerson.

Giles is the designated set-up man, but Hinch also likes the option of bringing in his hardest-throwing pitcher (97 mph) if a strikeout is needed with the winning run on third in the sixth or seventh inning.

The change of roles didn’t work so well for Giles in the season opener in Yankee Stadium.  He gave up an eighth-inning home run to Didi Gregorius in Tuesday’s season-opening 5-3 win by the Astros in Yankee Stadium.

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