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PHILADELPHIA — Nick Williams’ patience paid off.

Williams hit a tiebreaking solo homer as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.

Scott Kingery homered for the first time in his career and Rhys Hoskins also went deep for the Phillies.

Tucker Barnhart hit a two-run homer for the Reds.

Williams drove a 3-1 pitch deep into the right-center field seats off Kevin Quackenbush (0-1) for his first career pinch-hit homer. A notorious first-pitch swinger, Williams took a breaking ball out of the strike zone and let a fastball go with the green light on a 3-0 count.

“I had a plan and I told myself I’d stick with it,” Williams said. “I took one and when he threw it again, I did some damage.”

Manager Gabe Kapler was impressed with Williams in batting practice.

“When he took 3-0, you knew he felt really comfortable,” Kapler said. “He picked a pitch to drive and did a great job.”

Luis Garcia (1-1) tossed a scoreless inning in relief for the win and Hector Neris finished for his first save.

The Phillies have won three of four while the Reds have dropped four of five.

Hoskins gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead in the first when he ripped a line drive into the left-center field seats. Kingery connected in the second to make it 3-1, sending a liner into the flower bed above the left-field wall.

“The win makes it that much better,” Kingery said.

After Barnhart’s homer tied it at 3-3 in the third, Carlos Santana’s RBI double and Maikel Franco’s sacrifice fly in the bottom half put the Phillies ahead 5-3.

Scooter Gennett lined an RBI double in the fourth and Billy Hamilton drove in the tying run with an infield single in the sixth. Hamilton tried to score from second base on reliever Adam Morgan’s wild pitch, but catcher Jorge Alfaro threw to the pitcher covering the plate in time for the out.

“What an athletic play,” Kapler said.

The Reds opened the scoring in the first when Adam Duvall walked with the bases loaded, but Ben Lively pitched out of the jam. Barnhart lined out to shortstop and Phillip Ervin and Cliff Pennington struck out.

“It was a big opportunity and we weren’t able to tack on,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It was a chance to put up a big number and nothing really went our way after that.”


Reds righty Hunter Greene, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft, had eight strikeouts in three innings in his first start with Class A Dayton. He allowed two runs and five hits.


Reds: Cody Reed gave up five runs — three earned — and four hits in three innings.

Phillies: Lively allowed five runs and nine hits, striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings.


Reds first baseman Joey Votto hustled after a foul ball to prevent it from rolling to a fan. He was booed all night.

The Reds called up infielder Alex Blandino and right-hander Zack Weiss from Triple-A Louisville.


Reds: 3B Eugenio Suarez (fractured right thumb) and OF Scott Schebler (right ulnar nerve contusion) were placed on the 10-day disabled list. Both were injured when they were hit by pitches. Schebler’s stint is retroactive to April 6.


RHP Homer Bailey (0-2, 4.22 ERA) starts for the Reds while RHP Aaron Nola (0-0, 2.61 ERA) goes for the Phillies on Tuesday night. Bailey is 1-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 starts vs. Philadelphia. Nola is 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts vs. Cincinnati.

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PHILADELPHIA — Markelle Fultz heard 20,000 fans chanting “Fultz! Fultz! Fultz!” and for a fleeting moment he thought they were serenading Philly’s most popular athlete.

“I thought they were saying `Nick Foles,” Fultz said of the Super Bowl MVP for the champion Philadelphia Eagles.

“Then I realized it, and it was pretty dope. These fans are great, and I love them.”

The Sixers and their fans wanted the No. 1 pick to play and — after five often-confusing months — they got him.

Fultz scored 10 points and had eight assists in his first game since October, helping the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets 123-104 on Monday night.

The first selection of the 2017 draft shot an airball, had three shots blocked and artfully attacked the lane, flashing glimpses of what has made him both a mystery project and prominent prospect.

With Philadelphia having clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2012, Fultz decided the time was right to return from the injured shoulder and busted confidence that had cost him all but four games of his rookie season.

Fultz was on a media blackout in his absence and said nothing in his public return to clarify his situation.

He basically ignored the first two questions about his shoulder, and instead thanked teammates and coaches for their support during rehab.

Why was today the day to play?

“Just woke up and it was that day,” he said.

His next two answers were as empty as his stat line since October.

Did he do something to hurt his shoulder or just feel soreness?

Fultz rubbed his face and stared straight without talking and grabbed a towel someone tossed him. His wiped his face during a few more seconds of awkward silence.

Why not talk about the injury?

Blank stare.

Fultz sparked the 76ers at times in actions, certainly not words, in a reserve role.

“He looked confident,” coach Brett Brown said. “I thought it was a real, sort of bold, gutsy effort that he made given where he was now where he is.”

The 19-year-old Fultz played the 76ers’ first four games of the season before he was ruled out indefinitely in October with soreness and a scapular muscle imbalance in the shoulder.

The Sixers aren’t sure what they’ll get out of Fultz as they push toward 50 wins.

“That is a great unknown,” team president Bryan Colangelo said. “I’m not sure I have the answer. We will have to … certainly not judge tonight as the sole case of what to expect going forward.”

Fultz checked in to a standing ovation with 2:54 left in the first quarter and drove down the baseline for a quick basket. But Fultz — whose awkward shooting form made him a punchline in the NBA — fired an airball later in the quarter.

Perhaps trying to force his shot too much, Fultz also had two shots blocked on the same possession. He was a pedestrian 1 for 4 with three assists in the first half.

Fultz scored two baskets in the third quarter, missed a spin move in the lane and had another shot blocked.

“It was a little bit of excitement and little bit of just like, I gotta help the team,” Fultz said. “Once I stepped on the floor, it felt great just to be back out there with my brothers.”

He did not shoot a 3-pointer or attempt a free-throw. It was his gruesome, clunky form at the line that got him mocked on social media.

“That’s what the media’s job is, to try to do what they have to do to get paid,” Fultz said.

The fans hardly seemed to care.

Fultz was cheered each time he touched the ball, and they went wild when he sank two jumpers late in the game. The 6-foot-4 guard out of Washington just may have a significant impact after all in the postseason.

“I love these guys. They’re my guys,” Fultz said. “I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can possibly be.”

Joel Embiid had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Ben Simmons had 11 assists for the Sixers.

Will Barton led Denver with 25 points.

Embiid had perhaps his dunk of the season on a one-handed jam over Paul Millsap. Embiid raised the roof in celebration as the crowd roared and the replay was still on the big screen when the Sixers got the ball back and JJ Redick buried a 3.

Nuggets: Denver scored only 15 points in the third and blew an eight-point halftime lead. … Jamal Murray had 17 points and Millsap 16.

“They got their defense into the game in the third quarter and we didn’t handle it well,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We started becoming tentative. We started playing against the shot clock.”

Sixers: Waived G James Young. Young averaged 2.8 points in six games. … Simmons topped Allen Iverson to set the team rookie record for assists.

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Thanks to the miracle of modern baseball projection systems, we already know precisely how the 2018 season will play out. Because of that, even though we’re three weeks away from Opening Day, we might as well dive into trade deadline coverage as teams, already consigned to their 2018 fates, begin positioning themselves for next year.


The player from each MLB team who doesn’t get talked about enough
From the Cubs’ ace not enough people notice to the AL’s answer to Nolan Arenado, these under-the-radar guys help teams win.

MLB Future Power Rankings: Are dynasties brewing in New York and L.A.?
Which franchises will rule baseball for the next five years? Using Keith Law’s prospect rankings, Buster Olney’s insights and Dan Szymborski’s analysis, we look at where all 30 teams stand through 2022.

From Harvey’s revival to Thor’s heat, all things remain possible for Mets’ talented but fragile rotation
The cast of pitchers remains largely the same, but there are new eyes watching New York’s starters this season. Will that be enough for the group to finally live up to its vast potential?
If you believe that opening paragraph… well, you shouldn’t. Nevertheless, while a few impact free agents continue to dangle in limbo, at this point we have a pretty solid handle on each team’s baseline of expectation for the coming season. And yes, we can start to look ahead and muse about the in-season trade market.

I did this last year (seller edition | buyer edition), and the methodology hasn’t changed, with two small exceptions. The prospect ratings were compiled by aggregating the work of ESPN’s Keith Law and that of Baseball America. Also, rather than using consensus projections, I used the forecasts from my system, MLBPET. Finally, contract and free-agent data were taken from

Today, we start with the teams marked as likely sellers — all clubs with a less than 20 percent probability of reaching the postseason. The group is ranked according to free-agent WAR, the projected 2018 value of each team’s prospective free agents. A player was included in this calculation if he can become a free agent after this season or next or if a contract option exists that would put him on the market after the 2018 season.

Toronto Blue Jays

STATUS: Sell maybe

WIN RANGE: 70 to 90


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Josh Donaldson

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Nate Pearson

The top teams in the seller group, the Blue Jays being one, could have just as easily been listed in the forthcoming buyers piece, though Toronto finished just below my arbitrary 20 percent threshold for playoff probability. I bring that up because the prospect part of this becomes the focal point if a team is buying. However, these teams clustered around the cutoff, such as Toronto, would be unlikely to deal a top prospect for a fringe playoff push. Thus, Pearson is listed here and not Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette or Anthony Alford.

If indeed Toronto sells and extension talks with Donaldson have not progressed, he could become the biggest impact acquisition a contender makes during the season.

Baltimore Orioles

STATUS: Sell probably

WIN RANGE: 61 to 81


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Manny Machado

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Austin Hays

The Orioles probably shouldn’t be trading prospects, but if they surprise during the first half of the season, maybe it would be worth it go all-in for what feels like Machado’s last stand in Baltimore.

However, if the season goes as expected and both the Orioles and Blue Jays end up selling, it would be interesting to see what happens to the quality of the offers clubs get for Donaldson and Machado, two of the better stretch-run rentals we’ve had in a few years.

Texas Rangers

STATUS: Sell maybe

WIN RANGE: 64 to 84


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Cole Hamels

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Leody Taveras

As long as you’re not running a six-man rotation, Hamels could be a tremendous boost for a contender that could absorb all or most of his contract. Hamels has a club option on his deal for the 2019 season, so the Rangers should be able to extract a better return than you’d expect for a straight rental.

If Texas contends, it would have the advantage of a young and deep group of position players at the big league level, making it less painful to part with a non-pitching prospect.

Finally, if the Rangers don’t contend, future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre could be moved to a team that could get him a ring, and he could become one of the feel-good stories of the second half of the season.

Colorado Rockies

STATUS: Sell maybe

WIN RANGE: 67 to 87


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Charlie Blackmon/DJ LeMahieu

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Ryan McMahon

The Rockies didn’t spend all that money on their bullpen to become sellers, but right now, I have them fourth in the NL West, not far behind the Diamondbacks and Giants.

Nolan Arenado has one more year of arbitration eligibility, so I would think an extension with the Rockies is far more likely than him leaving Colorado at the deadline. After all, if you’re not doing everything you can to make that guy the face of your franchise, what is really the point of anything? But the return on an Arenado deal would be huge, so it’s something to keep in the back of your head.

More likely, deadline deals would probably include free-agents-to-be LeMahieu and Blackmon. If the Rox are in the playoff chase, it would be surprising to see them deal top prospect Brendan Rodgers, especially with a possible LeMahieu departure freeing up a spot in the middle of the diamond. McMahon looks like Colorado’s Opening Day first baseman, but if he’s not ready, his versatility could bring back a quality arm for the stretch run.

San Francisco Giants

STATUS: Sell maybe

WIN RANGE: 70 to 90


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Madison Bumgarner

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Heliot Ramos

Even if the Giants contend, they don’t figure to be big players in the deadline market, with neither the prospect stock nor the room under the luxury-tax threshold to make much happen.

To plug a hole, they might have to deal a prospect such as Ramos for a veteran of middling impact in hopes of the other team picking up most of the cash tab.

If the Giants sell and this season is as bad as last, then moving Bumgarner starts to make a lot more sense. His team-friendly contract is not only light on dollars but also includes a club option for next season. That’s San Francisco’s best option for a system-replenishing transaction.

Pittsburgh Pirates

STATUS: Sell maybe

WIN RANGE: 66 to 86


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Josh Harrison

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Shane Baz

Harrison, who has a club option for 2019, would be a quality pickup for a contender with a hole in the infield. If his offseason rumblings are to be believed, he might not hang around for a rebuild anyway.

On the other hand, for all the talk of a Pirates tank job, they project to be as mediocre as ever. If Pittsburgh were to mount a surprise run at a wild card, then maybe dealing an arm such as Baz for a rental bat or rotation piece could help smooth some of this winter’s bad feelings.

Chicago White Sox

STATUS: Sell now

WIN RANGE: 57 to 77


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Jose Abreu

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Alex Hansen

Really, I just picked Hansen’s name out of a hat. He’s a quality pitching prospect, and the White Sox have a lot of those. However, if the Sox are in position to buy, it’ll be because a number of their prospects have hit their stride and there might be no reason to add a vet.

In the more likely selling scenario, because of Chicago’s prospect depth, there is no urgency to deal a remaining veteran such as Abreu or Avisail Garcia. The White Sox would have all the leverage in those talks.

San Diego Padres

STATUS: Sell probably

WIN RANGE: 60 to 80


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Brad Hand

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Adrian Morejon

Hand signed a three-year extension with a club option for 2021 during the offseason. It’s a reasonable and scalable deal that makes him a valuable trade asset if he continues to perform as he did during his 2017 breakout.

As with the White Sox, if San Diego contends, it will be because some of the prospects hit the ground running, with both Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr. looking capable of doing just that based on their spring performances. But if the Padres find themselves in a borderline-shocking playoff chase, they might be willing to deal from their prospect depth to upgrade the rotation.

Oakland Athletics

STATUS: Sell probably

WIN RANGE: 64 to 84


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Khris Davis

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: James Kaprielian

Davis has another year of arbitration eligibility left on his deal. Oakland has a lot of under-25 big leaguers, or others close to that, to replace him in the lineup and avoid that expense. For a contender looking for some middle-of-the-order pop, Davis would be attractive, and the cost in prospects likely wouldn’t be prohibitive.

A surprise Oakland run would probably send Billy Beane in search of a rental or two, and he has the supply of young arms to make something happen.

Kansas City Royals

STATUS: Sell now

WIN RANGE: 56 to 76


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Danny Duffy

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Nicky Lopez

Duffy is on a team-friendly deal that has four years remaining on it, providing a lot of future WAR to a team willing to help provide a boost to Kansas City’s farm system.

As for a surprise Royals run … it wouldn’t be boosted much by dealing prospects from the barren system. More likely, it would be a lower-tier prospect or two and a willingness to take on some money.

Detroit Tigers

STATUS: Sell now

WIN RANGE: 57 to 77


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Michael Fulmer

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Derek Hill

If Fulmer is healthy, he could be as attractive a trade target as will exist on the in-season market, with the stuff to be a No. 2 or 3 in a contending rotation and four years of team control remaining. That combination should command a hefty price in another team’s prospects.

The Tigers aren’t in position to start trading the prospects they’ve already gathered for their burgeoning rebuild. Even a season of soft contention would likely see Detroit remain in sell mode, though it might make it that much harder to swing a big deal involving Fulmer.

Atlanta Braves

STATUS: Sell probably

WIN RANGE: 63 to 83


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Ender Inciarte

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Cristian Pache

Inciarte is a joy to watch in center field. He also had a nice season at the plate in 2017 and has four years and an option remaining on an extremely team-friendly deal. If the Giants had the prospects to deal, they would be wearing out the smartphone of Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos.

Whether or not Atlanta contends, with Ronald Acuna and Pache in the system, the Braves have center field covered, literally and figuratively. However … in a surprise contention scenario, the presence of Inciarte and Acuna could move Anthopoulos to chase an impact veteran for the rotation. Hamels seems like he’d be a fit in that case, with Pache becoming Texas’ center fielder of the future.

A problem for any Braves in-season deal could be money, as they took on a lot of it in exchange for flexibility after the season. Despite all of this excitement, Atlanta’s actual in-season dealing might be much blander.

Miami Marlins

STATUS: Sell now

WIN RANGE: 53 to 73


Best trade piece if they are sellers: J.T. Realmuto

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Brian Anderson

Given his age, production and position, catcher J.T. Realmuto should bring back another welcome jolt for the Marlins’ rebuild if (or when) he is finally traded.

I list Anderson as the prospect, but in reality, it’s exceedingly unlikely that Miami would move a cost-controlled player for a veteran contract. But if Miami is close to the wild card and one pitcher seems like he could make the difference, you never know.

Cincinnati Reds
STATUS: Sell probably

WIN RANGE: 64 to 84


Best trade piece if they are sellers: Billy Hamilton

Prospect they could trade if they surprise and become buyers: Tyler Mahle

Hamilton is nearing the end of his arbitration window, and while his on-base skills continue to lag, you could see a contender putting his disruptive baserunning and terrific defense to good use in the postseason format. The Reds have a center-field prospect coming in Taylor Trammell and good depth elsewhere in the outfield, so Hamilton seems like a good bet to be moved at some point.

If Cincinnati is in the wild-card race, that means some of its young starting pitchers have finally turned the corner, one of whom very well could be Mahle. However, if the Reds want to go all-in, Dick Williams might look to package a couple of those young arms for a little veteran certainty for the rotation.

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was cited for careless driving last week after he was involved in a minor collision in Tampa.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, on Feb. 13, at approximately 5:05 p.m., Winston was traveling northbound on the Veterans Expressway (State Road 589) when the vehicle in front of him came to a complete stop due to traffic ahead. Winston failed to reduce his speed in time to avoid the collision, with his Ford 250 rear-ending Tyler and Anna Stepka in their Subaru Forester.

Damage estimates were approximately $2,000 per vehicle, according to the crash report. The report said that Winston “operated the vehicle in a careless or negligent manner,” although it was deemed that he was not distracted. Alcohol use was not suspected, and subsequently, Winston was not tested for impairment.

No one was injured in the crash.

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The New Orleans Saints signed wide receiver/kick returner Josh Huff to a reserve/futures contract on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates. Huff was a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014.

Huff spent a combined three seasons with the Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before being released in September and not catching on with another team during the 2017 season. The 5-foot-11, 206-pounder has a total of 51 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns in his career. He also has two kickoff-return touchdowns.

Huff spent his first two and a half seasons in Philadelphia but was released in November 2016 after being arrested in New Jersey on charges of possessing an unloaded handgun without a permit, DUI and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Huff later accepted a conditional plea deal of six months of probation that wiped the gun charge from his record — in part because he had a license to carry a gun in Texas.

The Saints have now signed a total of 17 players to reserve/futures deals — meaning they are added to the 90-man offseason roster. Many of them came from New Orleans’ practice squad. Huff joins wide receivers Travin Dural and Paul Turner, tight end Alex Ellis, guards Landon Turner, Nate Theaker and Andrew Tiller, offensive lineman Gabe Ikard, linebackers Adam Bighill, Shayne Skov, Jayrone Elliott and Sae Tautu, defensive end Alex Jenkins, cornerback De’Vante Harris, safeties Rickey Jefferson and Mykkele Thompson and defensive back Bradley Sylve.

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METAIRIE, La. — Remember when New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz was still an unproven commodity?

Remember when the Saints burned through 11 kickers in 11 years under coach Sean Payton?

Both seem to be things of the past now, after Lutz capped a strong sophomore season with two huge playoff kicks.

Lutz’s 43-yard field goal that put the Saints ahead of the Minnesota Vikings with 25 seconds remaining last week was especially clutch — before, you know, the thing that happened with Stefon Diggs and the “Minnesota Miracle.”
Wil Lutz connected on 86.1 percent of his field goal attempts this past season. Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire
As Saints punter/holder Thomas Morstead told Lutz after the game, “We didn’t win, but that was a game winner.”

“Yeah, it probably would have been the most important kick of my career,” Lutz said. “But in our position, you treat every kick the same. So I wasn’t looking at it like that at the time of the kick.

“Of course, looking back on that, I’ll carry it into the offseason and know we finished on a note like that, personally. Obviously, it would have been nice to have been the game winner and get the chance to go to the NFC Championship Game. But I think it’ll be something to grow on and just knowing that I can handle that situation without budging.”

Did Lutz do what he said? Did he treat it just like “any other kick” when he was in that moment?

“Yeah, everything felt the same,” Lutz said. “I knew there was still time on the clock. So I knew it wasn’t like a walk-off kick. I think I managed to keep my heart rate low that whole last drive, and I think that’s the important part of those situations. So, yeah, everything felt good. It felt like a normal kick.”

Morstead said the kick was a “no-doubter” and “cool just to be a part of that.”

“And he’ll draw on that in the future, even though it didn’t end up being the iconic kick that it could’ve been,” said Morstead, who also credited first-year long-snapper Zach Wood.

Lutz also tied his career high with a 57-yard field goal a week earlier in the Saints’ playoff win over the Carolina Panthers (though he missed a 58-yard attempt wide left in the first half against Minnesota).

Lutz, 23, didn’t have a perfect season in 2017, when he made 31 of 36 field goal attempts and 47 of 50 extra point attempts in the regular season. He would be the first to tell you that.

“It wasn’t a great season by any means. There’s about five kicks I’d like to have back,” Lutz said. “But it’s definitely a step up from last year. And every year you try to take a step up from the year before. So I think we got a good stepping stone going into next year, and hopefully we can build off it.”
More importantly, the Saints clearly have a young kicker they feel they can build on after trying in vain to find stability at the position for more than a decade: from John Carney to Billy Cundiff to Olindo Mare to Martin Gramatica to Taylor Mehlhaff to Garrett Hartley to Carney again to Hartley again to John Kasay to Hartley again to Shayne Graham to Zach Hocker to Kai Forbath to Lutz.

Payton put his faith in Lutz during Week 1 of the 2016 season, after Lutz was cut by the Baltimore Ravens and came to New Orleans for what Payton called “probably the best kicking workout I’ve ever seen.”

Lutz hit a few bumps in the road early in his rookie season, including a few low kicks. He eventually settled in and ran virtually unchallenged to keep the job the past offseason.

It’s hard to imagine anything that will keep Lutz from being locked in as the kicker again next season — with hopes of another “step up” and even bigger kicks to come.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars won the AFC South and dominated our postseason awards, but our voters were split: Deshaun Watson or Leonard Fournette for rookie of the year? Here’s how NFL Nation AFC South reporters Sarah Barshop (Texans), Michael DiRocco (Jaguars), Mike Wells (Colts) and Cameron Wolfe (Titans) voted for their division awards:

Coach of the year: Doug Marrone, Jaguars

NFL Nation Division Awards
Division awards NFL Nation reporters vote for the top offensive and defensive player, rookie and coach of the year.

• AFC East: Bills’ breakthrough season »
• AFC North: Black-and-gold theme »
• AFC South: Rookies a great debate »
• AFC West: A coach debate »
• NFC East: Pederson, Wentz win out »
• NFC North: Vikings, Bears represented »
• NFC South: Kamara, Saints dominate »
• NFC West: All about the Rams »
Marrone took a franchise that had won just 17 games from 2012-16 and guided the Jaguars to 10 victories and the first division title since 1999. He did it with most of the players from last year’s 3-13 team, too (16 of the 22 starters). All season long, players have talked about how Marrone changed the culture inside the building by making winning the top priority. That sounds strange, but former coach Gus Bradley’s philosophy was to emphasize the process over the result; if players worked to be their best, victories would follow. Marrone also believed the team lacked some toughness, so he subjected his players to a mentally and physically exhausting training camp that they initially grumbled about — until the season began with a 29-7 rout of Houston. The Jaguars beat seven teams by more than 20 points (no other team did that more than four times), led the NFL in rushing and pass defense, and finished second in scoring defense, takeaways and sacks. — DiRocco

Offensive player of the year: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

The Texans’ season crashed after Watson suffered a torn ACL in early November, but Hopkins still put up eye-popping numbers. He led the NFL with 13 touchdowns catches and finished fourth with 1,378 receiving yards. His 91.8 receiving yards per game were second only to the Steelers’ Antonio Brown. Hopkins did all this with Watson playing only seven games (six starts). Hopkins may have challenged for the NFL’s receiving title if the rookie quarterback had not been injured. Hopkins’ eight-catch, 224-yard performance in Watson’s last game of the 2017 season showed their potential as a tandem. The good news for Hopkins is Watson should be back in 2018. Hopkins edged out Fournette, who was the consistent focal point of the AFC South champion Jaguars offense but didn’t make the splash that Hopkins had this season. — Wolfe
Despite missing three games, Leonard Fournette ranked eighth in rushing yards (1,040). Logan Bowles/Getty Images
Rookie of the year: Deshaun Watson and Leonard Fournette

Watson was having a historic season before his knee injury during an early November practice. In seven games, six of which he started, Watson threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns. At the time of his injury, he was tied with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz for most touchdown passes in the NFL, and he was on pace to shatter the rookie record for TD passes. Although the Texans were just 3-3 in games that Watson started, Houston scored 71 combined points in two games, both losses, against the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. After Watson’s injury, the Texans went 1-8.
The Jaguars entered the season expecting to lean heavily on Fournette after deciding to go with quarterback Blake Bortles for at least another year. For most of the season, the Jaguars’ offense went through Fournette, although he dealt with injuries down the stretch and his production dipped. Even though Fournette missed three games with injuries and a suspension, he still finished the season ranked eighth in rushing yards, second only to Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt among rookies. Fournette finished the season with 268 carries for 1,040 yards and nine rushing touchdowns, and he had five games with at least 100 yards on the ground. — Barshop

Defensive player of the year: Calais Campbell, DE, Jaguars

Campbell showed he was worth the four-year, $60 million contract the Jaguars gave him to leave the Arizona Cardinals by spearheading the NFL’s second-best defense. Campbell finished second in the league in sacks with a career-high 14.5. This season was the first that Campbell reached double digits in sacks in his 10-year career. “You have to stay balanced and be aggressive with him if you expect to have a chance,” an opposing offensive lineman said about Campbell in a recent ESPN story. “If you’re leaning, he’s already got you beat.” The Colts and Texans felt Campbell’s wrath more than any other teams in the league. He had six sacks in two games against the Texans and three against the Colts. Campbell’s presence allowed for cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, arguably the best cornerback duo in the league, to be aggressive in the secondary because they knew the quarterback wouldn’t be able to hold the ball in the pocket for an extended period of time. Also making Campbell’s season impressive is that he had his career year at the age of 31, when players are supposed to be on the decline. — Wells

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Andy Reid was looking for a new offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs two years ago, he found much to like in his quarterbacks coach, Matt Nagy. “Matt’s got a nice feel for the game,” Reid said then in promoting Nagy. “He was a player, obviously, in the Arena League. And then we brought him on board. Some guys have a knack for it and he’s one of those guys. I’ve noticed with his participation that he’s got a pretty good grasp of the offense and defenses in this league. I think that presents a nice addition to that position.” Nagy worked out well enough in his two seasons as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator that others around the league started to notice. He was hired on Monday by the Chicago Bears as their new head coach. Matt Nagy’s work with quarterback Alex Smith helped earn him a promotion to Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2016. Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Though just 39, Nagy has a lot of football on his résumé. He was a quarterback in college at Delaware and for six seasons in the Arena Football League. He worked his way up Reid’s staff, starting as a coaching intern with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008 and later moving with him to the Chiefs as quarterbacks coach in 2013. But his work with Alex Smith and the Chiefs’ other quarterbacks is what earned Nagy the promotion to offensive coordinator in 2016. The Bears were looking for a coach to work with their young quarterback, Mitch Trubisky. “You have to be able to teach the offense to the quarterback after coach installs the plays,” Nagy said of his role in teaching QBs. “You need to be able to take that play that they’re installing and you become a teacher in your classroom. When we’re in here, I need to be my best at giving them another set of eyes to see the field, another perspective. I was fortunate enough to play the quarterback position really all my life.” Matt Nagy’s Coaching History A look at Matt Nagy’s career in the NFL: YEARS TEAM, POSITION 2008-09 Eagles coaching intern 2010 Eagles coach’s assistant 2011-12 Eagles quality control coach 2013-15 Chiefs QBs coach 2016 Chiefs co-offensive coordinator (with Brad Childress) 2017 Chiefs offensive coordinator Source: ESPN Stats & Information Smith, 33, had the best season of his career in 2017, setting personal records for touchdown passes (26) and yards (4,042). He was the NFL’s highest-rated passer (104.7). The Chiefs, meanwhile, went from 20th in total offense in 2016 to fifth this season. With the Chiefs struggling on offense during this season, Reid made Nagy the primary offensive playcaller. The Chiefs, who had scored 19 points total in the two previous weeks, scored 31 in Nagy’s first game, against the Jets, and at least 26 in each of the four remaining regular-season games. Running back Kareem Hunt had his busiest three-game stretch of the season late in the year with Nagy calling plays. Hunt rushed 78 times for 362 yards and three touchdowns in victories over the Raiders, Chargers and Dolphins. But the Chiefs were shut out in the second half of their most important game of the season, Saturday’s playoff loss to the Titans. Any kind of score would have won the game for the Chiefs, who instead lost by one point. Given his background, Nagy will presumably call the offensive plays as head coach for the Bears. That’s a big ask for a guy who 10 years ago was still a quarterback in the Arena League. Nagy will handle it well if he develops as a head coach as well as he did as a quarterbacks teacher and offensive coordinator.

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Seattle Mariners infielder Jean Segura accused the Dominican Republic National Police of assaulting him and treating him like “some kind of criminal” while holding him at gunpoint and stealing some of his personal belongings.

On his Instagram account, Segura said armed police officers stopped his car and assaulted him in his native Dominican Republic. He published a photograph in which he is seated on the back of a pickup truck, surrounded by agents from the Central Anti-Narcotics Direction (DICAN, by its Spanish-language acronym).

“DICAN stops me while carrying rifles, they beat me up, throw me to the floor, steal my belongings and crash my car, as if I were some kind of criminal,” Segura wrote in Spanish.
“Today (it’s happened to) me, tomorrow, yet another ballplayer who only does things right for his country will be the next one. I’m a married father of two, and if those (law enforcement) officers shot at me, that would have been it. And yet people complain because we leave our country,” Segura added.

The Dominican National Police, through its official Twitter account, stated that a commission was appointed to investigate Segura’s claims.
Policía Nacional RD

Policía Nacional designa comisión para investigar caso del pelotero Jean Segura.
6:38 AM – Dec 22, 2017
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Segura, who in June signed an extension with the Mariners for five years and $70 million, batted .300 with 22 stolen bases and 80 scored runs in the 2017 season, his first with Seattle.

A former All-Star in 2013, Segura has a .283 career batting average, with 212 extra-base hits and 151 stolen bags in six seasons with Seattle, Milwaukee and Arizona.

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The Washington Redskins’ final two 2018 opponents added to their schedule include one team with a top quarterback coming off an injury and another team that might have a new coach.

Every team has 14 games already locked in place and only two are based on where a team finishes. The Redskins’ final two spots included the common place finisher in the NFC West and the NFC North.

Therefore, the Redskins will play at Arizona and host Green Bay. The latter is a tricky opponent because the Packers likely would not have finished third had Aaron Rodgers not missed nine games because of an injury. Otherwise, Washington would have hosted Detroit, who may or may not be playing for a new coach. The Packers and Lions play in the season finale and could actually end up tied. But Detroit won the first meeting and owns the better division record and would therefore finish second regardless of the outcome.

As for Arizona, the Cardinals also might have a new coach. Even if Bruce Arians returns, Arizona might need a new quarterback. Carson Palmer turns 38 on Wednesday and will be coming off an injury. So there are questions about the direction of the organization. It’s best that Washington faces Arizona rather than the other three teams in the NFC West. The 49ers, with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, are a hot team and could be much improved in 2018. But they’ll end up in last place this season.

The Redskins’ other 2018 home opponents: Dallas, Philadelphia, New York Giants, Carolina, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Houston.

Their other road opponents: Dallas, Philadelphia, New York Giants, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Tampa Bay.

As of right now, the Redskins’ 2018 opponents have a combined record of 120-120. Five have four wins or less; five have 10 wins or more. But the true strength of schedule comes as the games unfold and not months before the season begins.