MLB Writers Name This Red Sox Prospect ‘Best Pure Hitter’ In Farm System

C.J. Chatham just might have what it takes to thrive in a Major League Baseball batter’s box.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum named the Boston Red Sox prospect as the “best pure hitter” in the team’s farm system Wednesday.
Chatham has forged a reputation as a dependable contact hitter since joining Boston’s organization in 2016, and that particular tool might help him reach the majors in 2020.
“The highest pick in Florida Atlantic history (second round, 2016), Chatham is a career .298 hitter in four seasons in pro ball,” the trio explained in a piece published on MLB.com. “He employs a contact-oriented right-handed swing and laces line drives to all fields, though he projects more as a utilityman than a regular because he doesn’t provide a lot in the way of extra-base hits or walks.”
Former Red Sox manager Alex Cora in 2019 compared Chatham to J.J. Hardy, who earned two All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger during his 13-year MLB career.
Boston optioned Chatham, 25, to Triple-A Pawtucket last month prior to spring training’s halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. If he continues to progress and perhaps some power, he might become a valuable contributor to the Red Sox and one day fill the mold Hardy cast.
Relive Red Sox-Yankees 2004 ALCS Game 4 Ahead Of NESN’s “Red Sox Encore” Broadcast

NFL Odds: Patriots Favored To Sign Andy Dalton, But It’s Probably Not Great Bet

All we really know about the New England Patriots’ quarterback situation in 2020 is someone other than Tom Brady will be under center. After that, it’s still very much up in the air.
It sure seems like the Patriots are content with letting second-year pro Jarrett Stidham and veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer battle it out for the starting job if and when training camp actually begins. New England opting against drafting a QB in last week’s draft seemed to reinforce that notion.
But what if they instead decide to take a chance on an unsigned free-agent veteran? The most obvious choice, of course, is Andy Dalton after the Cincinnati Bengals released their longtime QB on Thursday. Not long after that, reports surfaced indicating the Patriots might have some interest in the TCU product.
Apparently, oddsmakers can see it happening and are getting out in front to limit Patriots exposure. FanDuel Sportsbook currently pegs the Patriots as favorites to sign Dalton.
Here are the updated odds, per FanDuel:
Patriots -135
Jaguars +150
Steelers +650
Raiders +3000
Redskins +3000
Interestingly, however, Dalton isn’t the favorite to be the Patriots’ Week 1 starter. Stidham remains a pretty clear favorite to win the job, but Dalton is right there at 2-to-1. It’s also worth noting both Dalton and free agent Cam Newton have better odds to be the starter than Hoyer.
Here’s how the odds break down for the Patriots’ Week 1 starter.
Stidham -200
Dalton +200
Newton +600
Hoyer +900
Brian Lewerke +3000
Speaking of Newton, FanDuel has the Patriots as +220 to sign the former MVP; Jacksonville currently sits at 2-to-1 favorites for Newton.
Dalton has been tied to the Patriots all offseason. While they might be the favorite to sign him, it still feels like a slight long shot at this point. If you were literally betting your own money on it, wouldn’t you look elsewhere?
WIth the coronavirus pandemic throwing the NFL offseason schedule into disarray, the Patriots might feel best just rolling with Stidham and Hoyer — as both are familiar with the system — instead of trying to onboard someone like Dalton or Newton when they don’t know for sure when they’ll be able to get on the field. They might kick the tires, but the Patriots are also up against the salary cap, so it feels like a lot would have to change for this to happen.
Then again, with the Patriots, you can’t ever rule anything out.
More Patriots: Twitter Convinced Andy Dalton Will End Up With New England

How Ryan Tannehill Felt About Tom Brady-Titans Rumors Earlier In Offseason

The Tennessee Titans were viewed as a potential landing spot for Tom Brady prior to the start of NFL free agency, and for good reason.
Fresh off a trip to the AFC Championship Game, the Titans could have offered Brady a strong supporting cast to go along with a very winnable division. Furthermore, Tennesse’s head coach, Mike Vrabel, is a good friend and former teammate of the six-time Super Bowl champion.
The Titans, however, passed on entering the TB12 sweepstakes and re-signed Ryan Tannehill, who shined upon taking over for Marcus Mariota midway through last season. While Tannehill was privy to the Brady-Tennessee chatter earlier in the offseason, it doesn’t sound like he was at all bothered by it.
More NFL: Chris Simms Can’t Understand Why This Team Didn’t Sign Cam Newton
“I really didn’t know what was going to happen,” Tannehill said in a conference call Tuesday, as transcribed by Pro Football Talk. “Obviously, I knew we were in negotiations and kind of working on it, but you don’t know. As a player, you don’t know if those things are real, if they’re trying to play both sides of coin or what. I just tried to stay true to the things I believed in and lean on the people I love and just try to trust the process. I knew if they wanted me back, then we were going to get it worked out, and if they wanted to sign Tom, then they probably would have signed Tom. I try not listen too much to it. Obviously, I was aware of the situation. I knew it could be happening, but I wasn’t sitting at home stressed.
“…It was really kind of out of my hands. I’m thankful the way it worked out. I was excited to be back. I wanted to be back. I love the guys on the team. I like the direction this program is headed off what we did last year and how I think we can build on that going into my year two with this team. Obviously, excited to be back. Yeah, I wouldn’t say it was nerve-racking day by day or anything like that.”
It’s unclear whether Brady would have preferred the Titans had they entered the race to sign him, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers likely are happy they didn’t.
More NFL: Kyle Shanahan Opens Up About 49ers’ Interest In Brady

Why Louis Riddick Believes Jags Better Fit Than Patriots For Andy Dalton

You could craft an argument that Andy Dalton would be a great fit for the Patriots next season.
But is New England the ideal landing spot for the veteran QB, who reportedly is being released by the Cincinnati Bengals?
Louis Riddick apparently doesn’t believe so. Rather, the ESPN football analyst believes the Jacksonville Jaguars make more sense for the 32-year-old Dalton.
“Would think Jaguars for QB Andy Dalton before Patriots,” Riddick tweeted. “Why? New Jags OC Jay Gruden was in Cincy when they drafted him.”

Would think #Jaguars for QB Andy Dalton before #Patriots. Why? New Jags OC Jay Gruden was in Cincy when they drafted him. #relationships
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 30, 2020

Whether Gruden’s presence in Jacksonville matters to Dalton is anyone’s guess. It certainly is more of a direct coaching connection than the Patriots could offer, however.
In any event, both franchises reportedly have interest in Dalton. Perhaps inconceivably, the inaugural Andy Dalton sweepstakes apparently are upon us.
More NFL: Twitter Convinced Andy Dalton Will Go To Patriots After Bengals Release

Interview With Bruins Prospect Jack Ahcan | NESN Bruins Podcast Ep. 61

The wait for concrete direction about where the 2019-20 NHL season is going continues.
That’s hardly surprising given the impact COVID-19 has had on the world and its unpredictability. But as more and more states begin loosening restrictions and reports start popping up about possible NHL return plans, it is fair to wonder if the current campaign actually will be played out.
In the latest “NESN Bruins Podcast,” NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Logan Mullen unpack the latest rumors about an NHL season restart, and the potential hurdles that still remain. Plus, they speak to new Bruins defense prospect Jack Ahcan, who Boston signed last month. For our full feature story on Ahcan, click here.
Listen to the episode in the player below, or click here to listen on Spotify or iTunes.

Click here to follow the NESN Bruins Podcast on Spotify >>>

Skip Bayless Shares ‘Gut Feeling’ On Rumors About Andy Dalton, Patriots

Skip Bayless isn’t reading too much into the rumors linking Andy Dalton to the New England Patriots.
The Bengals reportedly released Dalton on Thursday, marking the end of a nine-year run in Cincinnati for the veteran quarterback. But while many folks on social media were quick to link Dalton to the Patriots, who have a giant question mark at quarterback in wake of Tom Brady’s departure, Bayless explained on FS1’s “Undisputed” that he just can’t see Bill Belichick signing the three-time Pro Bowl selection.
“Bill Belichick wants to do nothing conventional. He does not want to be predictable. He doesn’t want to go with the flow and do what everybody expects every other coach to do, which would be, ‘Oh, you just released Andy Dalton? We’ll take him.’ That seems too easy to me,” Bayless said. “It seems too predictable, too cut and dried, so my gut, gut feeling is — right here, right now — they will not sign Andy Dalton.
“I believe that Belichick wants to prove to the world that he has his next Tom Brady via down in the draft. Obviously, Jarrett Stidham was a fourth-round pick as opposed to Brady being a sixth-round pick, but it’s Brady-esque to say, ‘I’ll take him down in the fourth round and I’ll show you I’ve got a keeper, I’ve got a winner, I’ve got a future Pro Bowler here.’”
More Patriots: Should New England Sign Andy Dalton After QB’s Release?

"My gut feeling is the Patriots will not sign Andy Dalton. Belichick wants to prove to the world that he has his next Tom Brady in Jarrett Stidham."@RealSkipBayless on the Bengals releasing Andy Dalton pic.twitter.com/jwmmLH7hHN
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) April 30, 2020

The Patriots opted to not select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. While this reignited speculation as to whether New England might sign Cam Newton, the news of Dalton’s release certainly adds another layer to the plot.
Still, the most likely scenario is the Patriots enter training camp with Stidham and Brian Hoyer battling atop the team’s quarterback depth chart. Stidham has virtually zero NFL experience, but the Patriots seemingly have a lot of confidence in the second-year signal-caller’s potential.
More Patriots: New England Reportedly Considered These Uniform Changes Before Unveiling New Set

Timo Werner Transfer: Ex-Liverpool Star Believes Striker Bad Fit For Reds

Is Timo Werner best suited somewhere other than Anfield?
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann explained Thursday on Sky Sports’ “The Football Show” why he believes the Reds shouldn’t sign the RB Leipzig striker during the summer transfer window. Recent rumors have linked Werner with a transfer to Liverpool, but Hamann believes the Reds’ and opponents’ tactics would prevent him from recreating the goal-scoring impact he has demonstrated in his career to date.
More Liverpool: Trent Alexander-Arnold Reacts To ePL Invitational Loss
“I’m not too sure (about it),” Hamann said. “… But the thing with Liverpool is you’ve probably got the best front three in world football. If you play out wide for Liverpool, even though the full-backs like to go on the overlap, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are both very tricky players, they are very skillful, and Werner is not that type of player.
“His biggest asset by far is his pace, and if I watch games now, even at Anfield, with Liverpool being so superior to most teams, most of them sit back, and if you deny Werner space, he’s a lot less effective. If you look at his goal record for Leipzig, his goals this season has been outstanding, but they like to play on the counter-attack and they’re not really a possession team. I don’t think he’s got the trickery to play out wide as Mane and Salah have.
“Then if you look at Roberto Firmino’s position (in the center), I think the way they are set up, you almost need a Teddy Sheringham-type player like Firmino is to link things up. He’s not really one who goes in behind the back four, he likes to come short and bring Salah and Mane into the play so I just don’t know where he would play.”
Werner has scored 27 goals in 36 games in all competitions this season for Leipzig, helping the club contend for the Bundesliga (German first division) title and reach the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
The 24-year-old is in-demand, as likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and perhaps even Liverpool and other top teams reportedly are interested in his services. His contract contains a £52 million (€59.4 million/$64.3 million) release clause, which will expire June 15.
That figure represents a risky outlay in any market, particularly for a player who might not fit snugly into a lineup or suit a certain style of play.
More Soccer: Bundesliga “Ready” To Resume On This Date In May

NFL Rumors: Patriots Interested In QB Andy Dalton After Bengals Release

Just when you thought you could take a break from Patriots quarterback rumors.
Andy Dalton on Thursday reportedly was released by the Bengals after nine seasons in Cincinnati. Despite seemingly clearing the way for Jarrett Stidham to replace Tom Brady, the Patriots are among the teams interested in signing Dalton, according to Tyler Dragon, a Bengals reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dragon also named the Jacksonville Jaguars as a potential suitor for Dalton.

The Jaguars and Patriots are among the teams interested in Andy Dalton, per a source.
— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) April 30, 2020

Nothing against Dragon, but he isn’t exactly Adam Schefter or Ian Rapoport, so that report probably should be taken with a grain of salt. However, given the Patriots’ reported interest in Dalton throughout the offseason, it probably is time to start taking this informed speculation seriously.
As for whether Dalton actually would be a good fit in New England, that admittedly is a bit of a tricky situation.
More NFL: Twitter Convinced Andy Dalton Will Go To Patriots After Bengals Release

Brandon Bolden Has Great Reaction To Patriots’ 2010s All-Decade Team

Brandon Bolden’s great fortunes aren’t lost on the veteran running back.
Bolden has won two Super Bowls over the course of his seven seasons in New England, during which time the 30-year-old has had the opportunity to play with a handful of all-time greats. Said players were among those named to the Patriots’ 2010s All-Decade team, which was revealed Wednesday afternoon.
The Patriots shared the full roster to their official and additional graphics to their social media channels, which prompted a fitting response from Bolden.

View this post on Instagram

𝗡𝗘𝗪 𝗘𝗡𝗚𝗟𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗣𝗔𝗧𝗥𝗜𝗢𝗧𝗦 All-Decade Edition | Volume VI
A post shared by New England Patriots (@patriots) on Apr 30, 2020 at 6:18am PDT

“I play/played with a bunch of ’s,” Bolden wrote in the comment section of the Instagram post above.
Even if you take Bolden’s sentiment quite literally, it’s still fairly on-point. One could argue Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Matthew Slater and Bill Belichick all are the greatest of all time at their respective positions.
Unfortunately for the Bolden and the Patriots, only nine of the 27 players named to the All-Decade Team are set to be on New England’s roster for the upcoming NFL season.
More Patriots: Should New England Pursue Andy Dalton After QB’s Bengals Release?

Twitter Convinced Andy Dalton Will Go To Patriots After Bengals Release

The seemingly dormant Andy Dalton-to-the-Patriots chatter awoke Thursday morning.
Dalton was released by the Bengals after nine seasons in Cincinnati, according to multiple reports. The move clears the way for No. 1 pick Joe Burrow to assume control of the offense next season.
Even before Tom Brady left New England for the Tampa Buccaneers, there were reports that the Patriots had interest in Dalton as a potential replacement. And, after news broke of Dalton’s release, the Twitter floodgates opened.
Take a look at some of the reactions:

https://t.co/H6D9hsArbt pic.twitter.com/OvFefAVB6s
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) April 30, 2020

The Cincinnati #Bengals are releasing QB Andy Dalton. — Best possible landing spot New England #Patriots? pic.twitter.com/QSCHFHKYiY
— Fantasy Knockout (@fantasyknockout) April 30, 2020

pic.twitter.com/pMHLcMhETP
— ‘16 Brady Brycen (@BrycenNFL) April 30, 2020

PATRIOTS: we really need a quarterback
NEW FREE AGENT ANDY DALTON: pic.twitter.com/X7BDXxKsb7
— Korked Bats (@korkedbats) April 30, 2020

pic.twitter.com/UpXDGnHWmE
— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) April 30, 2020

I like the #Jaguars or the #Patriots for Andy Dalton. Would have an opportunity to start on either team.
— The GOAT House (@GoatHouseNFL) April 30, 2020

pic.twitter.com/Xch0sy0HUc
— Ron (@ronology2_) April 30, 2020

Andy dalton will be a patriot by midnight
— Andrew McGuire (@AndrewMcGuire_) April 30, 2020

Here comes Bill pic.twitter.com/hC1xNFO5hQ
— Bell (Lakesho 49-14 ) (@BellGHudy) April 30, 2020

Patriots should go get Andy Dalton
— John Redcorn (@_GeminiNation) April 30, 2020

pic.twitter.com/gNHUYezIh0
— Chris Salts (@ChrisSalts) April 30, 2020

Excited for when Andy Dalton gets Super MVP when the Patriots win it next year
— Bryan (@bryanfirsich13) April 30, 2020

pic.twitter.com/8zVOJebV7h
— RJ Young (@RJ_Young) April 30, 2020

Predictable.
Whether Dalton actually would be a good fit in New England is up for debate. Considering the Patriots’ minimal salary cap space as well as the presence of sophomore QB Jarrett Stidham, a marriage with Dalton seems unlikely.
More NFL: Justin Rohrwasser’s College Teammates Defend Patriots Kicker Amid Backlash