Packers trade QB Hundley to Seahawks

By Blake Froling

The Green Bay Packers traded backup quarterback Brett Hundley to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2019 sixth-round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Rob Demovsky.

Hundley was forced into duty last year when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in week six and struggled, going 3-6 as a starter. He threw nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions and completed just over 60 percent of his passes.

So far this preseason, Hundley is 23/37 passing for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Former Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer is now the presumptive backup to Rodgers. He was acquired via trade early in the offseason for cornerback Damarious Randall.

Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images

Packers acquire Antonio Morrison, trade Lenzy Pipkins to Colts

Rob Demovsky, ESPN staff writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Two days after fill-in starter Oren Burks suffered a shoulder injury during pregame warm-ups, the Green Bay Packers traded for an inside linebacker.

The Packers acquired Antonio Morrison from the Indianapolis Coltsin exchange for cornerback Lenzy Pipkins, the teams announced Sunday.

“Antonio is obviously an experienced linebacker,” coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday. “If you look at the youth of the group, it’s something we felt we needed to add.

“These things don’t just happen overnight. We’re very young at that position.”

Burks, a third-round pick, had moved into a starting role after Jake Ryan blew out his knee the first week of training camp. The rookie from Vanderbilt started the first two preseason games and was slated to do the same on Friday at Pittsburgh, where he was hurt before the game even started.

McCarthy indicated the Packers were looking to add linebacker depth even before Burks’ injury, which he said Sunday was “better than we anticipated” and “should not be a long-term deal.”

“It’s a position that we wanted to add experience to,” McCarthy said. “And definitely [we have] some young guys there that we feel good about.”

Third-year pro Blake Martinez, who tied for the NFL lead in tackles last season, was the only inside linebacker on the roster with any NFL experience after Ryan was placed on injured reserve.

In place of Burks, the Packers started undrafted rookie Greer Martini and also used practice-squad member Ahmad Thomas against the Steelers.

Burks said his shoulder popped out of place.

“I didn’t really think much of it,” Burks said. “Knew something was wrong, obviously, but I’ve never had any shoulder issues before, so I didn’t really know what I was feeling or any kinds of things like that. Good evaluation, good feedback from the MRI and things like that. Like I said, just taking it one day at a time, trying to get rehabbed and get back as soon as possible.”

While running back Ty Montgomery left Friday’s game with a foot injury, he said he was fine and that “I’m not injured.” However, there is concern about backup offensive lineman Kyle Murphy, who started at right tackle against the Steelers. He sustained a right ankle injury and was seen Sunday in a walking boot.

Morrison, a fourth-round pick from Florida in 2016, started all 15 games he played in last season and made four starts as a rookie. The Colts switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense this season, and Morrison fell to the third string.

Pipkins made the Packers’ 53-man roster last season as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in 12 games, mostly on special teams, making one start at cornerback and playing a total of 112 defensive snaps. The Packers loaded up at cornerback in the offseason, signing free agent Tramon Williams and using their first two picks on Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson.

Photo: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

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Would unlikely Khalil Mack trade make sense for Lions?

Every week during the preseason, we’ll be taking some of your questions for a Detroit Lions mailbag. To ask a question for a future Mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter or email michael.rothstein@espn.com.

Now, on to this week’s questions.

Michael, there’s definitely a difference with Matt Patricia instead of Jim Caldwell. Practices are more intense. There’s more running. The pacing is different and, obviously, the defensive scheme is different. Every coach is going to bring his own philosophy and that has been obvious.

As far as specifically Miles Killebrew, I don’t think what Patricia is doing with him is that much different than what Teryl Austin tried to do with him. Austin attempted to put Killebrew in the best position, which was a sub-package player who was essentially a hybrid linebacker/safety. It seems like that’s what Detroit is looking at Killebrew as again. The difference this year is that Killebrew – in my opinion – hasn’t looked quite as good. Now there’s a long way to go between now and the regular season, but the combination of adding Tracy Walker as a third-round pick as well as the flexibility of Quandre Diggs and the re-signing of Tavon Wilson has put Killebrew in a tough spot, roster-wise. It’s why I’ve consistently mentioned him as a possible trade target. That would only increase if this coaching staff believes in Charles Washington as much as the last staff did, particularly on special teams.

But Detroit is trying to put Killebrew in a bunch of different spots right now to see which one, if any, fits best. The Lions did this with a lot of players in the past; Austin happened to be quite good at that. Don’t think the comparison to Kyle Van Noy is accurate because Van Noy was always going to be a player who was better in a 3-4 system – something obvious in New England. If Van Noy was still a Lion now, I think he would have found a role in this defense.

On the face of it, it seems insane, Ben, but with every day Khalil Mack doesn’t report to camp and if the Raiders really believe they can’t sign him, it could be possible that Oakland would try to make a deal. First the logistics on that. For any team to trade for Mack, it have to be convinced it could sign him to a long-term deal. Unlike Major League Baseball and the NBA, NFL general managers and head coaches hoard draft picks like the rarest of diamonds. And if I’m the Raiders – again, this is me being the Raiders­ – I’m asking for a reasonable amount of draft picks for Mack. So there’s that. I also would do everything I could, if I were the Raiders, to try and retain Mack.

With that being said, if I’m Bob Quinn, I’m at least poking around while I’m in Napa, California, this week to see what it would take to trade for the star pass-rusher. There’s no question Detroit needs pass-rush help, and the team’s top pass-rusher, Ezekiel Ansah, is playing on the franchise tag, has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career and turns 30 next year. Trading for Mack – depending on what it would cost – would give Patricia an elite pass-rusher and give Detroit’s talented secondary an established pass-rusher to create havoc. Do I think it would happen? No, I don’t. But if I’m Quinn I’m at least asking about it just in case.

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

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

Brewers get Moustakas from Royals for prospects

ESPN News Services

The Kansas City Royals have traded former All-Star slugger Mike Moustakas to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league outfielder Brett Phillips and minor league pitcher Jorge Lopez.

A key member of the Royals’ 2015 World Series championship team, Moustakas became a free agent after last season and signed a one-year contract with the Royals in March that includes a mutual option for 2019. The Royals are last in the American League Central at 31-71.

“We were looking for another big bat to add to the lineup, and we got it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Friday night. “We feel like we can put together a really tough lineup on a daily basis now.”

The 29-year-old Moustakas is hitting .249 with 20 homers and 62 RBIs this season. Milwaukee announced the trade after beating the San Francisco Giants 3-1.

“Two left-handed bats in the lineup with pop, I’ll take it,” Chase Anderson, Friday’s winning pitcher, said in reference to Moustakas and Brewers first baseman Eric Thames.

Kansas City had left Yankee Stadium when Friday’s rainout was announced. Moustakas will be reunited with former World Series champion teammate Lorenzo Cain on the Brewers.

Travis Shaw is the Brewers’ regular third baseman. He could move to second to make room for Moustakas. Shaw has been taking grounders at second, although he has never played the position professionally.

“They approached me, I guess, about a month ago and asked my thoughts about how comfortable I was over there, this and that,” Shaw said. “I feel like I can do a decent job over there. The world’s going to say I can’t do it. I take that challenge to heart. It’s obviously going to make our lineup better. It’s going to make our lineup deeper. Moustakas is a good player. He’s won a World Series. He’s a middle-of-the-order type of guy. He’s going to extend our lineup. He’s going to give us another left-handed power guy.”

The Brewers, whose last playoff appearance was in 2011, are 1½ games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central and have a 2½-game lead for the first NL wild-card spot. Earlier this week, they acquired veteran reliever Joakim Soria from the Chicago White Sox.

“We’re focused on the upside offensively to add an impact bat to the lineup, a guy who we think fits our lineup and our ballpark very well,” Milwaukee general manager David Stearns said. “The truth is, with the way we move our infielders around, conventional positions don’t apply to us all that much. We ask a lot of our infielders … to play all over the dirt. And so Travis has played all over the dirt for the majority of this season and for most of last season as well.”

Moustakas had six career postseason home runs for the Royals. Only George Brett hit more, with 10. With Moustakas’ departure, Alcides EscobarSalvador Perez and Alex Gordon are the only starters for the Royals from the clinching Game 5 of the 2015 World Series still left on the team.

Moustakas was first named an All-Star in 2015. After a right knee injury cut short his 2016 season, he bounced back in 2017 for his second All-Star appearance and was named AL Comeback Player of the Year.

Phillips is the 10th-ranked prospect in the Brewers system, according to MLB Pipeline. He is hitting .240 with six home runs and 25 RBIs for Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, and he saw action in 15 games for the Brewers.

Lopez also has been playing for Colorado Springs, going 3-3 with a 5.65 ERA in 24 relief appearances. The right-hander has appeared in 13 major league games, including 10 this season for Milwaukee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/24214390/milwaukee-brewers-acquire-mike-moustakas-kansas-city-royals

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.

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)

Keep an eye on these starting pitchers as deadline nears

Buster Olney, ESPN Senior Writer

Small sample size carries weight in July in a way it does not the rest of the baseball season, as teams get inspired — or spooked — by a couple of really good or really bad games leading up to the trade deadline.

An evaluator told a story recently about how one of his players in the midst of a good season struggled one day, and the phone calls from other teams with expressions of trade interest stopped. As if someone had turned off a light switch.

Everybody is looking to land the right player at the exact right time, and there could be no better example of this than in the market for starting pitching, which is generally regarded by executives as thin, lacking in high-end options.

Six weeks ago, Toronto’s J.A. Happ might have been the ranked near the top of this crop, but he has a 9.75 ERA in his past three starts, allowing 19 hits, eight walks and four homers in 12 innings, and scouts’ enthusiasm for him has waned — particularly as they try to project how he might do against playoff teams down the stretch or in October. On the other hand, the power stuff of the Rays’ Nathan Eovaldi and his three great performances from June 26 to July 8 — in which he allowed two earned runs and punched out 23 hitters in 19 innings — probably guarantees a small army of scouts will follow him for the rest of this month, in case he turns out to be the best option available. Matt Harvey was awful in 2017 and at the outset of 2018, and in 12 starts with the Reds, he has thrown much better, with only 15 walks in 64⅓ innings and a 3.64 ERA.

The Red Sox, Brewers, Yankees, Cubs, Mariners, Braves and Phillies are among the contenders who could be sifting through the high volume of rotation trade options, and unless the Mets decide to earnestly dangle Jacob deGrom, there may not be an elite starting pitcher available. They are all sifting through the same alternatives.

J.A. Happ, Blue Jays: He’ll get two more opportunities against bad teams to boost his trade value — on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, and five days later against the White Sox.

Marco Estrada, Blue Jays: Because of hip trouble, he has pitched one-third of an inning this month, but he’ll return to the mound against the Twins on Monday and have a couple of starts before the trade deadline. Estrada, 35, has a 4.72 ERA. He’s making $13 million this season.

Nathan Eovaldi, Rays: His average fastball velocity is 97.3 mph this season, and he’s getting a ton of missed swings — 10.6 percent for the year is a career high for the right-hander. He has the kind of raw stuff that might enable him to beat a good lineup on a good day. But Eovaldi is in his first summer after Tommy John surgery, and rival evaluators know acquiring him might carry risk because of the health unknowns — how he’ll hold up through the summer. The Minnesota Twins whacked him around for nine hits and eight runs in 2⅔ innings in his last start July 13, and he is lined up to make two more starts before the deadline — Friday against the Marlins, and Wednesday versus the Yankees. Solid outings could really boost interest in him.

If he doesn’t pitch well and fuels the perception he might simply need more time to rebuild, the Rays could consider the option of extending a one-year qualifying offer this fall, for about $18 million, to set themselves up either for draft pick compensation or holding Eovaldi on a low-risk deal.

James Shields, White Sox: The right-hander is 4-10 with a 4.43 ERA, with unusual home/road splits — a 3.51 ERA in 13 home starts, and a 6.14 ERA on the road. In two starts against the Astros, he allowed 18 hits and 15 runs in 11 innings.

Lance Lynn, Twins: Minnesota opens the second half 7 ½ games behind the Indians in the AL Central, and with one bad week, they could become sellers. Lynn has had an inconsistent season, as his ERA month-to-month demonstrates:

April: 8.37

May: 3.76

June: 2.83

July: 7.82

The 31-year-old Lynn is owed $4 million over the last two months of the season, and he could be an option for some team looking for an experienced starter for depth.

Matt Harvey, Reds: He has pitched effectively against contenders since joining Cincinnati, beating the Cubs, Braves, Brewers and Cardinals, and in his past five starts, he has a 1.86 ERA, while generating more ground balls.

Kyle Gibson, Twins: He has a 3.42 ERA in 19 starts, and while other clubs say he’s not being pushed in the trade market by Minnesota, rival executives are watching him as a possible option if the Twins become sellers. Gibson will be eligible for free agency after 2019.

Jake Odorizzi, Twins: He’s making $6.3 million this season, and has a 4.54 ERA.

Francisco Liriano, Tigers: The 34-year-old lefty has a 4.67 ERA, and it may be that some teams will have more interest in him as bullpen depth, because he has held left-handed hitters to five hits in 57 at-bats (.088). Liriano is making $4 million this season.

Zack Wheeler, Mets: He’s eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, and this year has a 4.44 ERA in 107⅓ innings.

Mike Fiers, Tigers: Over his past nine starts, he has pitched well, with a 2.75 ERA, including 5⅔ good innings against the Yankees and decent outings against the Astros and Indians. With a salary of $6 million, and under team control in 2019, he is likely one of the most attractive trade alternatives right now.

Tyson Ross, Padres: The right-hander has a daunting injury history, and has had two rough starts this month, surrendering 15 runs in seven innings against the Pirates and Diamondbacks. However, he pitched well against the Dodgers on July 12, allowing two runs in 6⅓ innings, and there’s another reason he might be really attractive to contenders — he’s making a base salary of only $1.75 million.

Chris Archer, Rays: His velocity has been down, and his overall numbers have been down. But his contract is so team friendly — $6.4 million this year, $7.7 million for next year, with team options for 2020 ($9 million) and 2021 ($11 million) — a contender might be inspired to make a bid for the former All-Star. But it still seems unlikely another team would meet Tampa Bay’s high asking price.

Ivan Nova, Pirates: He has a 4.38 ERA in 18 starts and 102⅔ innings. He’s making $9.167 million this year, and will make $9.167 million next year, which might make him less attractive than some of the other names on this list.

Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

http://www.espn.com/blog/buster-olney/insider/post/_/id/18744/olney-keep-an-eye-on-these-starting-pitchers-as-deadline-nears

Orioles have deal in place for Manny Machado, working through trade specifics

ESPN News Services

The Baltimore Orioles have the structure of a deal in place for Manny Machado and are working through specific aspects of a trade, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney.

As Machado prepares for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in what could be his final appearance in a Baltimore uniform, the Orioles were going through medical records and other paperwork involved in the transaction, sources told Olney.

It is not yet known which team Machado will be traded to, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies have been invested in their pursuit of the All-Star shortstop.

Fancred reported earlier Tuesday that the Dodgers had emerged as the leading contender to acquire Machado but also noted that the talks were fluid and identified the Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks as contenders with an “outside chance” to land the four-time All-Star.

MLB.com reported Monday night, however, that Philadelphia was the “most likely destination” for Machado because of the Phillies’ willingness to include pitching prospect Adonis Medina. MASN Sports was first to report Monday that the Orioles were very close to a Machado trade.

As rumors swirled about his imminent departure from the Orioles, Machado addressed the media Monday, acknowledging it would feel different to play for another team.

“The only thing I’ve ever known has been the Orioles organization,” he said. “They drafted me, I came up with them, played with them. So I don’t know anything different.”

Olney reported Sunday that even if the Phillies do not trade for Machado this summer, they would ardently pursue him as a free agent after the season. Philadelphia’s front office is loaded with former Orioles officials who were involved in the drafting and developing of Machado — including president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and assistant GM Ned Rice.

According to Olney, the Phillies prospects being evaluated by the Orioles were Medina, pitcher Franklyn Kilome, outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz and infielder Arquimedes Gamboa.

Machado, 26, was drafted by the Orioles with the No. 3 pick in 2010 and has been a starter in Baltimore since 2012. His contract expires after this season, and the Orioles aren’t in a position to match the offers the four-time All-Star is expected to receive on the open market.

Machado insists he’s not thinking about whether Tuesday night might be his last in Orioles attire.

“No, no. I’m putting it on and I’m going to represent the organization in the right way,” he said Monday. “If it is, it is. If not, I’ll be there on Friday [in Toronto], back with my teammates.”

Machado would be a solid addition to any contender. He converted from third base to shortstop this season and has played the position well enough to easily win the All-Star fan vote at the position.

“People didn’t think I should have made the move in my walk year, but I did. I’m going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop,” Machado said.

By far the best performer on a last-place team, Machado leads the Orioles in batting average (.315), home runs (24), RBIs (65) and walks (45).

“We’ll see where he ends up in the next week or two,” Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich said. “I know we’re one of the teams rumored to be in to get him.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Photo: John Minchillo/AP Photo

Brewers get Brad Miller from Rays for Ji-Man Choi

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers have acquired infielder Brad Miller and cash from the Tampa Bay Rays for first baseman/outfielder Ji-Man Choi.

The NL Central-leading Brewers made the deal Sunday and assigned Miller to Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was cut by Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Cliff McBride/Getty Images

The 28-year-old Miller was hitting .256 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 48 games for the Rays. Mostly a shortstop, he has started at every position in the majors except catcher and pitcher.

Miller hit 30 home runs for the Rays in 2016 but dipped to just nine last year.

The 27-year-old Choi hit .233 with two homers and five RBIs in 12 games for Milwaukee.

The Brewers sent Choi to Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier Sunday, one day after he hit a go-ahead, pinch-hit grand slam in the Brewers’ 12-3 win over the Phillies.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/23755972/milwaukee-brewers-acquire-brad-miller-tampa-bay-rays-ji-man-choi