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Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 4:55 PM
— An independent arbiter has ruled in favor of AJ McCarron in his grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to a Tweet from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, meaning the quarterback will be an unrestricted free agent this season.
Source: #Bengals QB AJ McCarron won his grievance against the team. He’ll be a free agent.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 15, 2018
That means he is free to sign with any team, including the Bengals, which isn’t likely given Andy Dalton’s hold on the starting job and McCarron’s desire to play.
“As a competitor, you just see other guys playing and you want your chance to be able to showcase what you can truly do,” McCarron said on Jan. 2, the day after the season-finale at Baltimore.
“Like I’ve said before,” McCarron continued, “God’s plan doesn’t work out when we want it to. It’s on His time. I’ve always truly believed that, and my wife always does an excellent job of reminding me that, and it’s just something you’ve got to buy into and trust and realize.”
The Bengals could still hang on to McCarron by applying the transition or franchise tag to him, but that is not likely given the salary numbers that would accompany such a move ($19 million to transition tag a quarterback in 2017 and $21.3 million for franchise tag).
In addition to another team giving him a substantially larger salary than the $690,000 he earned in 2017, McCarron will receive back pay from the Bengals, according to Rapoport.
#Bengals QB AJ McCarron, to be an unrestricted free agent, is also due lost salary from 2014 with interest, I’m told. That’s when he was on the NFI list.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 15, 2018
McCarron started three games in four seasons with the Bengals, all of which came at the end of the 2015 season after Dalton broke his thumb.
McCarron was 2-1 as a starter, completing 54 of 83 passes for 554 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 100.1.
The grievance stemmed from McCarron’s rookie season, when the Bengals incorrectly, as the arbiter ruled, stashed on the Non-Football Injury list, preventing him from accruing a season of service toward unrestricted free agency. Had McCarron lost the grievance, the Bengals could have matched another’s team offer to keep McCarron, or they could elect to receive compensation of either a first-, second- or fifth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft depending on what type of offer they would have tendered him beginning March 14.
By winning the ruling, McCarron is free to begin negotiating with other teams at 4 p.m. March 12, and he can sign a contract beginning at 4 p.m. March 14.
If he signs with another team, the Bengals still are expected to receive a 2019 compensatory pick. Given the salary McCarron is expected to attract, that likely will be a third-round pick, although the league’s 32 compensatory picks for the 2019 draft will not be announced until next February.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:50 PM
It looks like the answers to the Reds’ starting pitching was going to be discovered by attrition. Injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan complicated the matter. News in camp Tuesday had the same effect, as another candidate will be sidelined at least a few days.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say it’d be nice to have a starting rotation in tact of guys we anticipated being there,” Bryan Price said. “But we’ve been in this position before. We’ll deal with it and hit the ground running with what we have. What we do have is good though. I like the young guys we have in the rotation.”
• Tyler Mahle was closer to winning a coveted starting job in the rotation, when he took the mound against the San Diego Padres in a 3-3 10-inning tie.
News that Michael Lorenzen would be out of action several days with a grade one strain to his arm hadn’t stopped echoing around training camp when he threw his first pitch against the Padres. Mahle has in all probability earned the job outright, anyway.
The rookie pitched five scoreless innings of two-hit baseball in his last time out. Coming into the start against San Diego, Mahle has appeared in five games prior to the Padres, pitching 14.2 innings. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks, in those games.
Mahle had a rough first inning. He walked Manuel Margot on a close 3-2 pitch. He appeared to pick off Margot but was called for a balk. It ignited a two-run inning.
“He just missed a borderline 3-2 pitch, then hit a batter with a 1-2 slider,” Bryan Price said. “He got better with his fastball command. He was missing with the slider in the first inning off the corner. He was bringing it back over the plate. He got better with it and that was great. You’ve got to be pushed a little bit and he responded with four beautiful innings.”
It wasn’t so much the results but the progress Mahle made with his changeup and slider, two pitches the Reds’ asked him to improve.
Mahle pitched four scoreless innings after the first. He allowed one hit over the last four frames. He struck out six.
• The bench is another area of the team that Reds’ leadership would like to improve. Cliff Pennington, who is a viable option at shortstop, is one of the multi-positional players that are competing for jobs as spare parts.
Brandon Dixon, Alex Blandino, Rosell Herrera and Phil Gosselin are the others. Ben Revere and Phillip Ervin remain as possible fifth outfielders. Sebastian Elizalde makes a case as a good left-handed bat off the bench. All have played good defense and all but Pennington and Revere have found their hitting stroke.
“What really speaks better compared to where we’ve been in the past, is we’re having some real challenges to find our best bench,” Price said. “There are some really good players here. All of them can help us. That’s going to mean that we should feel comfortable with the bench during the regular season and feel like we have some depth at Triple A.”
Gosselin is an intriguing choice.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 5:58 PM
— Ahmad Wagner, a three-sport star at Wayne High School, is making a change.
Iowa announced Tuesday afternoon Wagner is leaving the Hawkeyes basketball program after three seasons to pursue a college football career.
“A person of strong faith, I am following God’s plan and I am eager for this next chapter,” Wagner said in a news release. “I leave the Iowa men’s basketball team with new friendships and incredible memories that I will forever treasure. I want to thank (coach Fran) McCaffery, staff, and teammates for helping me grow both as a basketball player and person.”
The Yellow Spring native was listed at 6-foot-7, 235 pounds on the Iowa roster this past season, when he played in 30 games and started seven.
Thankful for all of the wonderful experiences I had here! The relationships I built will last a lifetime pic.twitter.com/JPRp8sSjFP— Ahmad Wagner (@Ahmad_Wagner) March 20, 2018
He averaged 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game, all career lows.
“My plan now is to train and get my body into football shape so I can be ready for when I decide where I will finish my athletic and academic goals,” Wagner said. “Thank you Hawkeye nation for your support and welcoming me when I first stepped onto campus.”
He caught 58 passes for 1,048 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Wayne, including five catches for 55 yards and a score in the Warriors’ state title game loss to Lakewood St. Edward.
That same school year he was the leading scorer on the basketball team, averaging 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as the Warriors went 26-4 and won the Division I state championship.
FLASHBACK: Wagner commits to Iowa
He was one of the top 300 football prospects in the country as a senior when 247Sports rated him as a four-star receiver prospect.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 1:59 PM
Springfield High School teammates RaHeim Moss and Leonard Taylor have been named to the All-Ohio Division I boys high school basketball teams.
The Division I and II teams were announced on Tuesday by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association. The Division III and IV teams were released on Monday.
Moss, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, was named to the second team. He led the Wildcats (21-5) in scoring at 16.2 points. Also a football standout at linebacker, he remains verbally uncommitted but continues to receive offers in both sports. The University of Cincinnati and Kentucky are among the programs to offer him in football.
Taylor, a 6-5 senior and three-year starter, averaged 12.9 points and led the Wildcats in rebounding (8.9). He signed to play football at UC.
Springfield handed Wayne its only regular-season loss. Both teams were knocked out of the playoffs in a D-I regional by Cincinnati Moeller.
Wayne senior Darius Quisenberry and Myles Belyeu, a senior at Trotwood-Madison, were first-team picks.
A 6-1 guard, Quisenberry averaged a team-high 18.5 points for Wayne (25-2). He played his final two seasons at Wayne after transferring from Tecumseh and has signed with Youngstown State.
Belyeu, a 6-4 guard, leads the Rams in scoring (25.2). A three-year starter, he has scored more than 1,500 career points. He will announce which team he’s signing with after this weekend’s D-II state final four in which the Rams will participate in for the second straight season.
Another junior, Samari Curtis of Xenia, was a D-I third-team pick. He was among the state’s leading scorers (30.4) and is verbally committed to Xavier.
Landing on the D-II third team were Trotwood junior Amari Davis (21.2 points) and Meadowdale senior Jabali Leonard (23.0).
The players of the year were Dave Goodwin of Upper Arlington (D-I) and Pete Nance of Richfield Revere (D-II). Coaches of the year were Hilliard Bradley’s Brett Norris (D-I) and Chad Burt of Wauseon (D-II).
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:13 AM
— With college basketball season in Ohio over, it’s time to gear up for baseball!
So naturally the story of yesterday was an injury to a Cincinnati Reds pitcher.
Before we get too far down the, “Here we go again” road, though, it sounds like Michael Lorenzen’s strained shoulder muscle isn’t too serious from a long-term perspective.
This being the Reds’ training staff, that doesn’t mean it won’t linger all year and eventually ruin his season, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
If he isn’t quite ready to start the season, they will probably be not much worse off since the bullpen is one place they spent some money in the offseason and I never really thought he was going to make the rotation.
There was also good news on the Reds pitching injury front (RPIF, for short): Nine days after leaving a game with a forearm spasm, Brandon Finnegan returned to the mound and apparently had no issues.
He said he was going to be fine almost as soon as it happened, but you never know.
If he is ready to go for Opening Day, the Reds actually have the enviable problem of more qualified starters than they have rotation spots.
That’s even with Anthony DeSclafani injured again and Robert Stephenson struggling most of the spring.
At the beginning of the week, the estimable Hal McCoy had four players in place for the rotation: Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano with Stephenson, Cody Reed, Lorenzen and Amir Garrett the four left in contention.
Then Lorenzen got hurt and Finnegan was able to pitch again, so perhaps now Finnegan ends up getting the fifth spot, which they will probably skip a couple of times to start the season anyway.
RELATED: Mahle strong again
I know there have been some calls for the Reds to sign a veteran starting pitcher, but I really don’t understand those at all given that all of the young guys in the running for rotation spots are real prospects with some major-league experience.
Their floors are lower, of course, but their ceilings are higher than anyone out there on the market (who would also cost a lot more).
At some point we have to see if these guys can do it, and any money that’s available now would look good if spent on more bullpen help or an extra bat if they are actually in a pennant push this summer.
After this season, it would seem they should have a good grasp on who can make it and who can’t. Then it would make more sense to invest in another veteran pitcher, even an innings-eater, especially if the lineup continues to develop into the strength it looked like at times last year…
We’ll have plenty of time to talk Reds between now and October.
I suspect we’ll also have a lot of college basketball talk.
I referenced that yesterday, and David Jablonski took a closer look at the Dayton Flyers’ offseason, too.
The recruiting never stops for Dayton coaches, and this offseason could be an especially busy one. Expect them to be active in recruiting transfers. The Dayton basketball Instagram account shared a photo on Monday of Kevin Dillard, Jordan Sibert, Charles Cooke and Josh Cunningham — four transfers who have led Dayton in scoring the last seven years — and it looked like a message to potential transfers who might consider the Flyers..
The first season of the Anthony Grant era included a lot of frustrating nights, but the Flyers have the makings of a pretty strong starting five next year even before we see what they get from true freshman Dwayne Cohill and redshirt freshman Obadiah Toppin.
That is, of course, assuming everyone in the projected starting lineup returns…
SPORTS TODAY: How changes in CBK could benefit @DaytonMBB and @OhioStateHoops; season ends for OSU women, @Bengals add by subtracting and @Reds slip in some evening news https://t.co/X3lbtYU7nS pic.twitter.com/iCzuYBE2PK— daytonsports (@daytonsports) March 20, 2018
Coach Shauna Green is excited for the future of her Dayton women’s basketball program, too.
She’s still looking for her first NCAA tournament win, but the first two regular seasons of her tenure could hardly have gone better.
It’s never easy to replace a senior point guard like Jenna Burdette, but the Flyers add six new players to the mix next year, including three freshmen, two transfers and another player who missed this season with an ACL injury.
Early in her tenure, Green has proven two things: She knows how to get the best out of the players she has, and she knows how to sell the Dayton program — a program that is now well beyond being simply the product of one great coach or one big-time recruit or class.
As Burdette walks out the door, it’s worth remembering she was among the top prospects in Ohio as a senior, and four years ago she joined a team that already had a McDonald’s All-American and another four-star prospect.
That means this is not a team that has punched above its weight nor a scrappy bunch of over-achievers.
Those are fun stories, but you know what’s better? Having more talent than the other team most nights in the Atlantic 10…
And lastly as I continue to recap stuff from the annual blur that is the first weekend of the NCAA tournament: Wright State has a lot to feel good about moving forward, too.
They return three good freshmen in 6-foot-9 Loudon Love, the Horizon League Freshman of the Year, Jaylon Hall, the team’s fourth leading scorer, and Everett Winchester, who was one Raider who played with some confidence against the Vols and finished with 11 points.
Also returning are a trio of upper classmen in solid point guard in Cole Gentry, a defensive specialist in Mark Hughes and 6-foot-11 Parker Ernsthausen.
“The expectations for our whole team should change in terms of how we prepare for next year and what they think,” Nagy said. “We primarily lose one guy that has played for us and we’re adding six good players. So our depth is going to change a lot. It’s going to be very competitive.”
Add to that a four-man recruiting class that includes Moeller’s Jeremiah Davenport and it’s easy to think the Raiders won’t have to wait another decade to dance again in the NCAA tournament.Follow @marcushartman