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Cardinals land Westbrook, Padres Ludwick in deadline deal

July 26, 2010 - Cleveland, OHIO, UNITED STATES - epa02262280 Jake Westbrook of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees in the first inning of their game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 26 July 2010.

In a three-team deal involving the Cardinals, Padres and Indians, St. Louis acquired starter Jake Westbrook, San Diego nabbed Ryan Ludwick and Cleveland received prospect Corey Kluber. The Cards also acquired prospect Nick Greenwood from the Padres.

From MLB.com:

“I’m excited,” Westbrook said. “I’m excited to go to a club contending for a playoff spot and pitch in some meaningful ballgames. That’s why you play the game, for a chance to get into the playoffs, and I’m looking forward to doing that.”

Westbrook was so eager to get in the playoff chase that he actually forfeited some of the trade protection in his contract. He was set to receive a $2 million bonus if dealt, and that was a major roadblock in trade talks, given that Westbrook is already owed nearly $4 million in salary this season.

But Westbrook agreed for that bonus to be lowered. The exact details were not announced, but the stipulation had to be approved by the Players Association.

“It was one of the hold-ups for getting me traded,” Westbrook said of the bonus. “I don’t really want to comment on the details of that, but it was something. Any way that I could help out the Indians, I needed to do that, because I didn’t really feel like I honored my contract as well as I would have liked to, being hurt. It was in my best interest and the Indians’ best interest to do something like that.”

I like this deal for all teams involved. The Cards lost Ludwick, but they’re going to save money (money they’re going to need to retain Albert Pujols) over the next two seasons and they added a workhorse Westbrook. He’s not a great arm at this point in his career, but St. Louis doesn’t need a great arm. They needed an upgrade at the backend of their rotation and that’s exactly what they got today in Westbrook.

Remember when the discussion about the Padres was about whether or not they would trade Adrian Gonzalez at some point before the deadline? Now look at them. They strengthened their bench with Miguel Tejada and acquired an All-Star in Ludwick to boost their offense for the stretch run. Give San Diego’s front office credit – they’re going for it.

According to his scouting report, Kluber lacks big upside, but he has a chance to be a solid back-end starter. The key to this deal for the Indians is that they save money by trading Westbrook’s contract. Westbrook wasn’t going to have a role in the Tribe’s future, so trading him now saves the club money and landing Kluber gives them a prospect that projects to being a cheap major league-caliber starter.

It’s not often that three teams get exactly what they want out of a deal, but I think the Cardinals, Padres and Indians came pretty close today.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Jerry Jones wants Dez Bryant to play covered in bubble wrap apparently

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stands on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff against the Minnesota Vikings at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis on January 17, 2010. The Vikings won 34-3. UPI/Brian Kersey

After wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered a high ankle sprain during practice on Friday, Jerry Jones questioned the way the Cowboys’ coaching staff handled the workload of the rookie.

Apparently the Dallas owner wanted answers as to why his first round pick was injured on a football field while performing football-related activities during a football practice.

“It was really disappointing and it really causes you to … ask what can you do, what can you do in practices that can mitigate some of the exposure to some of these injuries,” Jones told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen after watching footage of the injury. Jones did not attend Friday’s practice.

“The key thing is you ask yourself, ‘Are we pushing him too hard; does it happen at the end of practice when the players are tired?’ ” said Jones, who added, “We all know now when you get a little tired you can get injured.”

Jones has every right to question the way his coaching staff is handling his players, but he’s going a tad overboard here. He’s been around football long enough to know that injuries are part of the game. They’re unavoidable.

If undrafted rookie guard Phil Costa suffered a high ankle sprain, would Jones have said the same thing? Would he have wondered if the Dallas coaching staff pushed Costa too hard? Doubtful.

Granted, Jones has more invested in Bryant than he does Costa, but the point is no matter how you slice it, football is a physical game. Whether guys or tired or not, focused or unfocused, injuries happen to everyone. No one is immune.

Should the Hornets go the route of the Bucks?

March 09, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings , Andrew Bogut , and Ersan Ilyasova high five after taking a 6 point lead over the celtics with just over 3 min left in the game..Milwaukee Buck won over the Boston Celtics 86-84. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Over on Hornets247, Michael McNamara argues that trading Chris Paul away would mean that New Orleans is adopting the philosophy of the Milwaukee Bucks, which just doesn’t work for him.

First off, it is necessary to acknowledge your own personal philosophy with regard to what qualifies as success in the NBA. Personally, I am an all or nothing guy and believe in only three directions: being a legitimate championship contender, building toward being a legit contender, and completely rebuilding. I look at a team like the Milwaukee Bucks, for instance, and see a direction that I would never take personally. They have a nice team that is built to make the playoffs for the next five to seven years, but have absolutely zero chance of ever winning an NBA title. Zero. A squad full of good, but not great pieces that play hard every night but will just not have enough talent to get through four quality teams come playoff time.

Now for some, they might be happy with Milwaukee’s future and consider their franchise a success considering the market they are in and the resources they have to work with.

As an all or nothing guy I can think of scenarios that are far worse than CP3 leaving in two years. I can imagine other players following Paul’s lead if we trade him out of fear. How do you say no to the next guy who feels entitled when you just appeased Chris Paul’s trade demands? I can imagine becoming a perennial playoff team terrified to blow up the roster; a team that overpays their own players just to remain slightly above average. (I am looking at you Atlanta). I can imagine an asylum run by the players, a front office with no control, and a coach who feels powerless. All of these things happen if you let fear of the future dictate the present. All of these things are worse case scenarios for me, but again it all depends on your definition of success.

With CP3 on the squad I know there is a chance. I know tha t with Kobe slowly declining, Howard not improving offensively, and Wade always one fall away from a serious injury that CP3 can be a top two player in this league if he puts it all together and stays healthy. I know that in at least seventy games per year the Hornets will have the best player on the floor and in the NBA that means more than it does in any other team sport. I know that if management makes the right moves and ownership is willing to pay the luxury tax that the Hornets at least have a shot. The same cannot be said for twenty to twenty five teams in this league.

As a Bucks fan, using the franchise’s current state/direction as a reason not to follow its philosophy is puzzling.

Milwaukee is a small market team in a cold-weather city in the Midwest. It is often ranked by NBA players as the least desirable place to play, even though when people stay for a few years they tend to warm up to the place. Given the circumstances, the Bucks are never going to be in a position to land a big name free agent unless the supporting cast gets so good that the player in question sees the Bucks as his best opportunity to win a title. It’s true — the Bucks would probably need a Reggie White-type signing to become a championship contender. (Football fans over 30 know what I mean.)

The author says that the Bucks have no chance to win a title with their current game plan, but GM John Hammond came from Detroit, where they won a championship a few years ago with very much the same philosophy. They had a group of star-less, yet talented castoffs and a defensive-minded coach to lead them all in the same direction. In the Finals, they beat a more talented (and a far more disjointed) Laker team.

Hammond knows the Bucks are never going to go into the season as championship favorites, but if the chemistry remains and Brandon Jennings develops, they could perhaps become the third- or fourth-best team in the East. The author looks at this like a death sentence, but what it really means is that the Bucks are an injury or two away from a Finals appearance.

(It’s really no different than the philosophy executed in small market San Antonio, only the Spurs have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to build around instead of Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings. The Spurs have a better core because they had the #1 pick in the right draft and found a couple of stars later on in subsequent drafts.)

How does this relate to Chris Paul? If the Hornets elect to trade him and get a few prospects in return, they’ll be going the route of the Milwaukee Bucks, at best. If they hold onto him, he’s likely to only grow more disgruntled unless the franchise is quickly able to turn things around and suddenly becomes willing to spend. The Hornets need a Pau Gasol-type trade to keep Paul happy, and those kinds of deals don’t happen every season. Even if they did, the Hornets don’t spend like the Lakers, and New Orleans is not L.A., so retaining the talent would be difficult.

Considering the Hornets’ summer moves (lack of a free agent signing, trading away the #11 pick), the writing is on the wall. Do Hornets fans want to hold out hope that the franchise can quickly transform its declining roster around a pouting Paul, or roll the dice on players with upside like Anthony Randolph and Danilo Gallinari, along with a ton of cap space?

As for Paul, look at it this way — if a girl doesn’t want to stay with you, why would you want her to stay? By the time she tells you she wants to break up, she has already checked out. No amount of convincing will work, so what’s the point? Why not move on and give yourself the best chance to meet a new girl?

How does the NFL expect teams like the Rams and Lions to compete?

St. Louis Rams newest member, quarterback Sam Bradford, holds up his jersey with head coach Steve Spagnuolo (L) and general manager Billy Devaney as he is introduced to reporters at Rams Park in Earth City, Missouri on April 23, 2010, one day after being selected No. 1 in the first round of the NFL. Bradford played his college football at Oklahoma. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Quick math question to start your Saturday morning: If Sam Bradford is worth $50 million guaranteed, then how much should Peyton Manning make?

I know it’s a tough question, so I’ll throw out some facts to better assist you while you think:

Peyton Manning:

- 50,128 career passing yards
- 366 career passing touchdowns
- 95.2 career passer rating
- 2 Super Bowl appearances, 1 championship

Sam Bradford:

- Went to Oklahoma

Look, nobody blames Bradford for cashing in (six years, $78 million). It’s not like any of us would have said, “You know what, Rams? I haven’t proven anything yet, so to be fair why don’t I just accept a modest starting salary of $40,000-a-year plus dental?”

The system is broken in the NFL and it’s one of the many things that the NFLPA and owners need to resolve before signing a new collective bargaining agreement (assuming they do sign one, of course) in the next couple of months/year. And it’s not just a Bradford vs. Manning financial thing, either.

How can the league expect a team like the Lions to field a competitive roster when they gave quarterback Matthew Stafford over $41 million in guarantees last year and they still have to sign No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh this year? Last year, the Rams signed offensive tackle Jason Smith (the No. 2 overall pick) to a $61.775 million contract worth $33 million in guarantees. Between Bradford and Smith, the Rams now have $83 million in guaranteed money wrapped up in two players.

And they don’t even know if Bradford and Smith can play yet.

Again, how does the league expect teams like the Lions and Rams to compete with the likes of the Colts and Saints when they have to break the bank for unproven players? What happens when Calvin Johnson (a player the Lions actually know can play) needs a new deal in two years? Will the Lions be able to sign him? What if they can’t? They let one of their best players go because they have all of their money tied up into high draft picks?

Talk about a vicious cycle – it needs to end.

UFC on Versus 2 – Open Workouts Gallery & Video

Heavy.com had the opportunity to be on hand for Friday’s “UFC on Versus 2” open workouts and were able to snap some photos and roll some video. Check out the great action shots they captured here of Jon Jones, Vladimir Matyushenko, Yushin Okami and Mark Munoz!

Click here to check out the photo gallery.

Photo courtesy of HeavyMMA.com and James Law.

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