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Sports teams that the Mega Millions winner could buy with his new fortune | The State

The Detroit Lions, the most valuable sports franchise in Michigan.

Photo:
Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

This Saturday a new millionaire was born in the United States after someone who bought a lottery ticket in the Detroit area took the Mega Millions jackpot.

The person, who has not been identified, bought his winning ticket at a Kroger rein in Novi, Michigan for a purse of $ 1.05 billion, the third-largest in US history.

If this person decides to receive a single payment, he would take $ 739.6 million and after taxes he would have $ 530 million left. Still a huge fortune with which he could buy many things, almost everything that person wants in his life. But would you be enough to buy a team from the major sports leagues?

Because this is someone from the Detroit area, it is possible that the person who won the award is a fan of the Detroit Lions of the NFL. But this team that has historically been owned by the Ford family is worth $ 2.1 billion according to the 2020 Forbes list.

In other words, they wouldn’t have enough money to buy it, assuming they wanted to sell it to them and the league allowed it. And in fact, his fortune would equate to just over a quarter of the NFL’s least valued franchise: Cincinnati Bengals ($ 2 billion).

What if the new billionaire likes the NBA? If it were the case and the person wanted to buy the Detroit Pistons, it would not be enough, since the franchise has a value of $ 1.45 billion (the least expensive team in the league is the Memphis Grizzlies with $ 1.3 billion).

Historic Mega Millions jackpot announced Saturday Nor would it be enough to buy the Detroit Tigers of baseball, which is worth $ 1.25 billion..

The legendary Red Wings, the most successful team in Detroit. / Getty Images

The new millionaire could buy an NHL team or two from MLS

The reality is that with the money already tax-free that the new tycoon would receive, he could only buy teams from one of the four major leagues in the US, the National Hockey League (NHL), but not the illustrious Detroit Red Wings, winners of 11 league championships, which are worth an estimated $ 800 million.

With that $ 530 million free it would be enough to buy the New York Islanders, whose value is $ 520 million, or the Anaheim Ducks (480). Reigning NHL champion Tampa Bay Lightning is worth $ 470 million, so that would be an attractive option and he would still have $ 60 million to spare. Another 12 NHL franchises would be within budget.

Mind you, the lucky lottery player in Michigan could buy – if they were for sale and they allowed it – to any of the 27 franchises of the MLSThe one that is worth the most is Atlanta United with $ 500 million, $ 20 million more than the LA Galaxy and $ 25 million more than LAFC.

It would even be enough to buy two of the MLS teams. There is no circuit club in Michigan, but how about a combination with a club from a large market like DC United ($ 330 million) and the geographically closest team to Detroit, the Columbus Crew ($ 200 million).

In conclusion, to buy from a major league sports franchise you need in most cases not one, but several Mega Millions prizes.

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Categories
Technology US

After years of following pro sports, League of Legends esports leagues are ‘finally free to be ourselves’

For years, competitive gaming has done its best to mimic professional sports, whether it’s players wearing Nike jerseys, big-name celebrity investors, or ambitious plans for home-and-away games. But Chris Greeley, commissioner of the League of Legends Championship Series — the game’s top professional league in North America — believes that esports has moved beyond mimicking existing sports.

“We had this idea in the beginning that, because esports is a sport, and we wanted to be taken seriously, we should look like a sport,” he tells The Verge. “The LCS looked like the NBA on TNT. It was great for validation and for investors and sponsors to look and say ‘Hey, this looks just like a sport, therefore this is an easy translation.’ But we’ve outlived that.”

So starting in 2021, the league is making some big changes, both in terms of how it looks and how it’s structured. “We feel like we’re finally free to be ourselves,” Greeley says.

The most obvious change is visual. The league has a new logo — it’s a crystal made of the letters LCS — and a refreshed graphic design for broadcasts. Whereas the previous logo was a shield that wouldn’t have looked out of place in college football, the new one clearly represents a video game. It follows similar redesigns for the other top League competitions around the world, including Europe, China, and Korea.

(Greeley says the logo has received a mixed reaction from fans so far — which was expected. “People hate change. We’ve seen it from pretty much every esports rebrand,” he says, adding “You don’t want [a logo that] looks like it came off of a can of soup. It has to be resonant.”)

The idea behind the refresh, he says, is to give the LCS its own distinct voice in an increasingly crowded field. “It’s not just about a new color or a new logo, but it really is about how we’re going to follow with our broadcast and our content,” he says. “You’re not going to tune in this week and see a finished product. We’ll be iterating over the next year or two, but I think this is a really great start.”

To go along with this, the LCS is also introducing some major format changes, with a bigger focus on tournaments, including one to kick off the year that starts on January 15th. Previously, the competition closely resembled something like the NFL, with a slate of regular season matches culminating in the playoffs; the best teams then moved on to international competitions. The goal is to find a balance between the thrill of knockout tournaments and the familiarity of regular season play. “Tournaments are exciting,” Greeley explains. “The problem is, if everything is a tournament, if everything is meant to feel exciting, then nothing feels exciting.”

Despite problems caused by the pandemic, the LCS — along with many other esports leagues — experienced tremendous growth in terms of viewership last year. But the league struggled on a competitive level. At the annual League of Legends World Championship, North American teams were far behind the competition and didn’t pose much of a threat to the big clubs from Europe, China, and Korea. Much of the blame was put on the region’s developmental scene. Instead of encouraging up-and-coming local players, many LCS teams relied on aging or imported stars.

The league is hoping to change that with a revamped amateur system, with the goal of opening things up, so that the developmental squads for each LCS team — known as academy teams — are able to play in different tournaments against other amateur and college teams. This will culminate in an end-of-year tournament called LCS Proving Grounds.

According to Greeley, these changes were in the works prior to Worlds — but the feedback was still welcome. “The criticism around the need for NA to make changes to develop players, that actually was satisfying to hear, because I knew this was coming,” he says of the amateur changes. “We hadn’t announced it, it was nearly final at that point, but we were just figuring out how we were going to roll it out. When you’re developing a solution, and then everyone stands up and says ‘We need a solution,’ and it’s done and ready to show, that’s actually a pretty good feeling.”

2021 will also see the league continue to operate remotely. Typically, LCS matches take place in a Los Angeles studio with fans in attendance. That obviously hasn’t been possible during the pandemic, but Greeley says that this could slowly change throughout the year. The first step is to get the broadcast team in the building, and the hope is that by the time playoffs come around, players can be present as well. Viewers, meanwhile, will likely have to stick to watching on Twitch and YouTube.

“We’re not rushing getting fans back into the arena,” Greeley says.

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Entertainment USA

Christie Brinkley’s mini-me daughter Sailor, 22, looks ready for her Sports Illustrated cover

She has already posed inside the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition with her mother Christie Brinkley and older sister Alexa Ray Joel.

And now it looks as if Sailor Lee Brinkley-Cook is campaigning to land the cover all by herself.

On Monday the 22-year-old budding model shared three new images to Instagram where she looked beautiful toned, tanned and trim while in a one-piece swimsuit.

Cover girl: She has already posed inside the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition with her mother Christie Brinkley and older sister Alexa Ray Joel. And now it looks as if Sailor Lee Brinkley-Cook is campaigning to land the cover all by herself

The cheetah print power suit had ties in front that left holes showing off her tummy.

She put her arm up and did a nice profile shot to give a good look at what she inherited from her famous mom.

The star was standing on the beach in the Caribbean where she is on vacation with her mom as well as her beau Ben Sosne.

The day before mom shared a video of her child.

The 66-year-old Cover Girl model noted that Sailor was trying to restore the seashore in the Caribbean by planting trees in the sand.

Le look: The cheetah print power suit had ties in front that left holes showing off her tummy. She put her arm up to give a good look at what she inherited from her famous mom

Le look: The cheetah print power suit had ties in front that left holes showing off her tummy. She put her arm up to give a good look at what she inherited from her famous mom

Christie marveled at her girl’s hard work as she moved the heavy tree on the sand. She also shared photos of the smiley blonde.

The beauty looked to be in perfect shape with toned legs and arms and a flat belly; the Long Island native added a yellow gold necklace as well as a white shell choker necklace.

And there were images of Sosne with his shirt off as he wore swim trunks.

Sea goddess: The star was standing on the beach in the Caribbean where she is on vacation with her mom as well as her beau Ben Sosne

Sea goddess: The star was standing on the beach in the Caribbean where she is on vacation with her mom as well as her beau Ben Sosne

Former SI pinup Christie was also seen in a red one-piece swimsuit that made her figure look flawless. 

‘The Thatch Palm Restoration Project,’ said the mother of three in her caption.

‘Three Palms saved today so far! They are an endangered species. 

‘It’s important to save the indigenous flora and fauna.’

The looker then said: ‘Everything’s connected, the Thatch Palm has played in important role in the Caribbean from roofing, arts &crafts, food source for birds, to holding shoreline together from the advancing sea. 

Last week Christie was pictured in a bikini top as she walked along a beach in the Caribbean where she has been on vacation since the new year.

The Elle model was joined by her daughter Sailor as well as Sailor’s boyfriend.

Her mini me: Christie shares a video of her blonde mini me on Monday at the beach

Her mini me: Christie shares a video of her blonde mini me on Monday at the beach

Good abs: On Sunday the Vacation actress posted a video where her 22-year-old mini-me child was in a red string bikini

Good abs: On Sunday the Vacation actress posted a video where her 22-year-old mini-me child was in a red string bikini

A team: The 66-year-old Cover Girl model noted that Sailor was trying to restore the seashore in the Caribbean by planting trees in the sand with beau Ben Sosne

A team: The 66-year-old Cover Girl model noted that Sailor was trying to restore the seashore in the Caribbean by planting trees in the sand with beau Ben Sosne

Cute look: Christie marveled at her girl's hard work as she moved the heavy tree on the sand

Cute look: Christie marveled at her girl’s hard work as she moved the heavy tree on the sand

The siren showed off abs as she had on a teal colored triangle bikini top.

The Manhattan native, who used to date John Mellencamp, added black shorts that showed off her toned legs.

A straw hat looked to keep the sun out of her eyes as she added a silver watch. 

‘Tide pools, coral reefs, sea life ,coastal Flora facing extinction like the local Thatch Palms here , threatened by rising tides …all things we can help save now by rejoining the Paris Accord,’ said the stunner in her caption.

Happy by the sea: She also shared photos of the smiley blonde. The beauty looked to be in perfect shape with toned legs and arms and a flat belly

Happy by the sea: She also shared photos of the smiley blonde. The beauty looked to be in perfect shape with toned legs and arms and a flat belly

Lending a hand: The Long Island native added a yellow gold necklace as well as a white shell choker necklace

Lending a hand: The Long Island native added a yellow gold necklace as well as a white shell choker necklace

The Vogue cover girl added, ‘These things are all an integral part of a strong economy as they provide livelihoods from tourism to fishing. Everything’s connected.’

‘I hope a part of our healing as a Nation is healing our planet too. #heartshapedtidepool.’

Sailor is also seen in a yellow bikini as she walks by the shore and picks up shells.

In an Instagram Story, the budding model is pictured kissing her boyfriend Ben Sosne.

Making it happen: The star laughed as she tried her best to get the tree in the sand

Making it happen: The star laughed as she tried her best to get the tree in the sand

Her man: And there were images of Sosne with his shirt off as he wore swim trunks

Her man: And there were images of Sosne with his shirt off as he wore swim trunks

This comes a week after Christie revealed she got a hip replacement to fix a nagging injury sustained during a helicopter crash back in 1994. 

‘New year, new hip. Yes, that’s a band aid on my hip,’ Brinkley wrote in the post that began with a photo of the legendary supermodel on the side of a boat with a bandage on her hip.

Brinkley, 66, went on to reveal that the pain in her hip had been getting worse with each passing year.

Eventually the injury got bad enough that doctors highly recommended she undergo a hip replacement operation.

Still a 10: Former SI pinup Christie was also seen in a red one-piece swimsuit that made her figure look flawless

Still a 10: Former SI pinup Christie was also seen in a red one-piece swimsuit that made her figure look flawless

’12 years ago I was told it needed to be replaced but the surgery was daunting ! And I had things to do!’ the Michigan native told herself, which turned out to be her way of putting off the inevitable.  

But then, like so many others in the past 10-plus months, the COVID-19 pandemic shook up Brinkley’s world and she decided to finally take the time to do ‘something about the pain that had progressively influenced my decisions.’  

This past Thanksgiving the mother of three put those thoughts into action and underwent the surgery, which she said gave her enough time to dance in her kitchen on New Year’s Eve.

Smile: Brinkley still looks as incredible as ever, which she proved again last week. The Uptown Girl actress was seen in a bikini top and shorts

Smile: Brinkley still looks as incredible as ever, which she proved again last week. The Uptown Girl actress was seen in a bikini top and shorts

‘And today I put on my long fins and explored the coral reefs propelled by my new hip!’ she shared along with some photos of her ocean escapades while snorkeling.

It was at this point that Brinkley encouraged her 659,000 fans and followers to take charge with their own health and well-being.

‘I’m writing all this to say If you’ve been putting something off that could improve your well-being but hesitate out of some sort of fear, I suggest learning as much as you can about the process and the results and expectations. I found the best Doctor for my circumstances and voila!’  

Shore is pretty: She walked along a beach in the Caribbean where she has been on vacation since the new year

Shore is pretty: She walked along a beach in the Caribbean where she has been on vacation since the new year

And in the end, the results of the surgery appear to be better than expected.    

‘I can’t tell you how happy I am to have done this,’ she confessed before adding, ‘now I can focus on getting back in shape and rebuilding my strength. Never too old to get hip!’

The near tragedy helicopter crash happened while she was on a ski trip with five others in Telluride, Colorado.

Amazingly after five hours, they were all were rescued from 12,800 feet up a mountain by another helicopter, according to the Associated Press.     

Brinkley gained worldwide fame with her appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, beginning in the late 1970s.

Her meteoric rise in the modeling industry would end up leading to a long career that branded her one of the original supermodels.       

Categories
NFL

Wild-card trends to know before betting this weekend’s games

As with any recurring sporting event, the NFL playoffs have gone through various trend patterns over the years, with some seasons being dominated by underdog and upstart teams and others being relatively predictable with favorites taking care of business. Because of this ever-changing nature, it can be difficult for bettors to thrive when using past playoff results as a guide. In past eras, predicting the playoffs was usually as easy as looking at a team’s body of work.

When you consider road teams are on a 10-2 SU and 11-1 ATS run in the wild-card round over the last three seasons, perhaps handicapping this stuff is easy, right? If you prefer betting totals, you’re probably going to want to consider that Under is 10-2 in that same span and 24-7-1 in the last eight playoff seasons. Trust me though, if it were that easy, they wouldn’t play the games and sportsbooks wouldn’t be expanding their operations.

With that in mind here are some wild-card round trends that might end up being worth knowing:


 Quarterbacks in their first playoff game are just 15-36 SU and 14-36-1 ATS (28 percent) since ’04 when matched up against an opposing QB NOT in his first playoff game. This experience factor comes into play most in games with point spreads in the +3 to -3 range, as these first-time QBs are just 4-21 SU and 3-21-1 ATS (12.5 percent) in those games.


 First-time playoff coaches have been much more successful in recent years than quarterbacks and are currently on a 7-1 SU and ATS run over the last three seasons when not matched up against another rookie head coach.

The Browns qualify for both of these situations with Baker Mayfield at quarterback and Kevin Stefanski as coach, though Stefanski will miss the game due to COVID. John Wolford also would qualify as quarterback of the Rams should he be called upon Saturday.


The outright winner owns a point spread record of 44-5-1 ATS in the last 50 wild-card playoff games. If you can’t see the team you’re betting on winning the game, you’re better off not trying to sneak a cover in, even though three games are showing point spreads of seven points or more.


 Underdogs are on a run of 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 NFC wild-card games.


Wild-card road favorites have become increasingly common as there have been 13 in the last 12 seasons. Those teams are 8-5 SU and 6-6-1 ATS. For 2021, we have two of them — Buccaneers at Washington and Ravens at Titans.


Home favorites of a touchdown or more in the wild-card round are 11-2 SU and 10-3 ATS since 2005.


In the last 24 Saturday games, home teams are 17-11 SU and 16-11-1 ATS. In that same span, Sunday home teams are 13-15 SU and 10-17-1 ATS.


In the 12 wild-card matchups between divisional opponents since 2003, road teams own a 9-3 ATS edge (6-6 SU). Two of this weekend’s six games are divisional matchups — Rams-Seahawks on Saturday and Browns-Steelers on Sunday.


Of the 16 No. 6-vs.-No. 3 wild-card matchups over the last eight seasons, Under the total is 15-0-1! This year’s 6-3 matchups are Rams-Seahawks and Browns-Steelers. Road teams are on a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS surge in the series as well.

Categories
NBA & WNBA

Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19 during game in new NBA challenge

Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, prompting the team to spend the night in New York after losing to the Brooklyn Nets, ESPN reported.

Curry didn’t play in the 122-109 loss due to an ankle injury. He was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday morning and the 76ers were informed of the positive near the start of the game.

Curry spent the first quarter on the bench in street clothes and was seen talking to Joel Embiid late in the period after the center came out for a rest with 3:05 left in the stanza.

The 30-year-old Curry left the bench area at the end of the quarter after being told of the result and was isolated from his teammates.

The 76ers are slated to conduct contact tracing on Friday morning and the players will undergo another round of testing, per NBA health and safety protocols. Philadelphia’s next contest is Saturday at home against the Denver Nuggets.

Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19
Seth Curry
NBAE via Getty Images

Embiid told ESPN after the game that he will self-quarantine away from his family until he is sure he didn’t contract the virus.

Curry is averaging 17.0 points in eight games this season. He is shooting 60.3 percent from the field, including a torrid 59.5 percent (25 of 42) from 3-point range.

Curry is the son-in-law of 76ers coach Doc Rivers and the younger brother of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

Categories
MLB

Yankees’ Gerrit Cole caught up in a lawsuit: ‘Sticky situation’

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has been caught up in a lawsuit involving the Angels and a fired clubhouse manager for the team after attorneys for Brian “Bubba” Harkins submitted a text message, allegedly from Cole, in Orange County (Calif.) Superior Court on Thursday, according to reports, including one in the Los Angeles Times.

“Hey Bubba, it’s Gerrit Cole, I was wondering if you could help me out with this sticky situation,” the pitcher, then with the Astros wrote on Jan. 17, 2019, adding a wink emoji, according to the reports. “We don’t see you until May, but we have some road games in April that are in cold weather places. The stuff I had last year seizes up when it gets cold.”

Harkins, who was fired in March after the Angels were informed that a Major League Baseball investigation had found he was providing banned substances to pitchers to enhance their grip on the baseball, filed a defamation suit against the Angels and MLB in August. The team and the league filed a motion in November to dismiss the suit. In response to that motion, which claimed the 55-year-old Harkins was being used as a “scapegoat,” his attorneys submitted evidence, including the text.

The origin of that information has not been verified and could be in question. More than a dozen other pitchers were also mentioned — both Angels and visitors — in the suit as having used the substance provided by Harkins. Pitchers have used similar substances through the years, but MLB has sought to crack down on the practice.

Last year, Trevor Bauer wrote in The Players’ Tribune that he was suspicious of how pitchers on the Astros teams Cole pitched for had improved their spin rate so dramatically.

“When I see a guy go from being a good pitcher for one team and spinning the ball at 2,200 rpm, to spinning the ball at 2,600 or 2,700 in Houston, I know exactly what happened,” Bauer wrote.

Bauer never mentioned Cole’s name in the story. The Post’s Joel Sherman asked Cole about the issue in February, after he signed a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees. Cole did not respond to Bauer’s story, but regarding the notion the Astros were better at creating a sticky product or teaching how to use that product, Cole repeated three times, “No.”

In response to the L.A. Times story, Bauer wrote on Twitter, “It’s almost like it did exist. Wow. The more you know… how crazy.”

Categories
NFL

Inside look at the Jets’ latest head-coaching candidates

Here’s a look at some of the new names being considered for the Jets’ head-coach opening:

The Saints secondary coach will be a familiar name to Jets fans. The 48-year-old played for the Jets from 1994-2001 after the team drafted him in the first round of the ’94 draft. He went to two Pro Bowls with the team. Glenn was part of the Jets scouting department in 2012-13 before beginning his coaching career as the assistant secondary coach for the Browns in 2014-15. He joined the Saints staff in 2016. Glenn has helped develop cornerback Marcus Lattimore, and safeties Von Bell and Marcus Williams.

The Jets have requested permission to interview Glenn, but that interview cannot occur until after the Saints’ playoff game Sunday with the Bears.

The former Bengals coach interviewed with the Jets on Thursday. The 62-year-old spent 16 seasons as the head coach in Cincinnati and took the Bengals to the playoffs seven times. They went 0-7 in the playoffs, which is the biggest mark against him.

Lewis went 131-122-3 in the regular season with the Bengals. He won four division titles. Cincinnati has been a difficult place to win, similar to the Jets. Lewis’ 2005 team snapped a 14-year playoff drought. The Bengals are 6-25-1 in the two years since Lewis was fired. Before his time in Cincinnati, Lewis was the defensive coordinator for the 2000 Ravens, considered one of the best defenses in NFL history. Lewis has worked for former Jets coach Herm Edwards at Arizona State the past two years, serving as co-defensive coordinator last year.

Robert Saleh

The 49ers defensive coordinator is one of the most popular candidates in this hiring cycle. The 41-year-old is scheduled to interview with the Jets on Friday after interviewing with the Falcons and Lions this week. He is also expected to talk to the Chargers and Jaguars.

Saleh is known for being high-energy and beloved by his players. The 49ers defense managed to finish fifth in total defense this season despite being hit hard by injuries. In 2019, The Sporting News named Saleh its assistant coach of the year. His defense that year finished first in passing defense and was a key element in the 49ers making it to the Super Bowl.

Categories
Sports USA

UFC fighter Irwin Rivera arrested, charged with attempted murder

UFC bantamweight fighter Irwin Rivera was arrested Thursday in Boynton Beach, Fla., on two counts of attempted murder, according to reports.

According to a police report shared on social media by MyMMANews, Rivera, 31, told Boynton Beach Police Department officers he “believed that he killed both of his sisters and said that he did so because it was his purpose, which was told to by a higher power.”

Two women, ages 22 and 33, were found with multiple stab wounds at his residence. Both women were transported to a hospital, according to ESPN.

One of the women told officers they had stayed the night with Rivera and awoke to him “repeatedly stabbing them with a knife,” according to the police report. After a struggle, one of the women, whose names were redacted from the report, was able to call police.

Officers made contact with Rivera, who had fled the scene, at about 7 a.m., at which point he “spontaneously uttered, ‘I killed my sisters,’ ” per the police report. In a sworn taped interview, he admitted to stabbing his sisters with a brass knuckle knife.

The UFC told ESPN in a statement that it is investigating the “extremely troubling” incident.

Rivera, who competed three times with the UFC in 2020 and is 10-6 as a professional mixed martial artist, last competed in the octagon on Sept. 19 when he lost a split decision to Andre Ewell.

Categories
NFL

Deshaun Watson frustrated by role in Texans’ GM search

Deshaun Watson’s frustrations are directed toward the Houston Texans’ hiring process.

Watson had been informed by team owner Cal McNair that he would be involved in and be allowed to provide feedback in the team’s search for a new general manager and coach, according to NFL Network. That did not prove to be the case when the Texans hired Nick Caserio on Tuesday, according to the report.

Watson’s frustration has led to rumblings he is considering requesting a trade from the organization that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2017 and he as quietly broached the idea with his teammates.

ESPN reported Watson did offer input on potential GM candidates on several occasions to McNair, but the Texans did not consult with or consider the people the franchise quarterback endorsed. Watson, 25, found out about Caserio getting hired through social media and led to his tweet about how “some things never change….”, according to ESPN.

Watson did not expect Houston to hire the candidates he suggested, but hoped the team would respect his feelings and those of the teammates on whose behalf he was speaking, according to ESPN. That included getting to meet with finalists so he could offer the players’ perspective to them and then the organization could hire who it saw fit.

He was also not informed last year that star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was going to be trade to the Cardinals. The Texans finished a disappointed 4-12 this season, during which coach/GM Bill O’Brien was fired after the team began 0-4. Watson signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension with the Texans in September.

Categories
MLB

Trades like Francisco Lindor blockbuster have always vaulted Mets into contention

There may or there may not be mad money to spend now that Steve Cohen is the man writing the checks at Citi Field. But what the Mets did Thursday in making a blockbuster trade for Francisco Lindor is well in keeping with a half-century team tradition.

When the Mets make a franchise- and destiny-altering move that lands them at the sport’s highest plane, it has always been of the old-school variety: our-guys-for-your-guys, let’s see who gets the better of the deal. Free agents have helped bring the Yankees multiple titles — start with Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson back in the day, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett in 2009.

The Mets? They go to the war room. They work the phones. They have been to five World Series. All five were set up the old-fashioned way. It started on June 15, 1969, when, at the old trade-deadline 11th hour GM Johnny Murphy sent five players (the most notable future big-leaguer Steve Renko) to Montreal for Donn Clendenon.

“At the time we didn’t realize what that meant because none of us had ever been in a pennant race and it was too early to say we were in one then,” ’69 stalwart Ron Swoboda recalled a few years ago. “But when we got into September and October and every time you look up Clendenon’s getting a monster hit … well, that’s when we knew.”

When the core of that team returned to the Series four years later, the biggest reason why was the acquisition of Rusty Staub by GM Bob Scheffing, a deal completed on the day Gil Hodges died — April 2, 1972 (though not announced until three days later). It was actually a costly trade — Ken Singleton was a borderline Hall of Famer, Tim Foli and Mike Jorgenson productive major leaguers — but Rusty was one of the main reasons the ’73 Mets could do more than simply believe.

Even the first powerful team the Mets constructed in the free-agency era wasn’t built on even one big-ticket offseason acquisition but a series of smart deals (Ron Darling/Walt Terrell for Lee Mazzilli, Terrell for Howard Johnson, Ray Knight for three players — most notably Gerald Young). And, of course, two blockbusters.

The first was June 15, 1983, and it delivered Keith Hernandez in exchange for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey, and that was about as one-sided as the law allows. And the one that put the ’86 Mets over the top came almost 18 months later, Dec. 10, 1984, when Gary Carter was acquired for four eventual big-leaguers (Hubie Brooks the most prominent).

“That’s a classic example of team-building,” Hernandez said in 2016. “You look at what Frank Cashen knew he had in the farm system, he went about acquiring exactly the players he needed to put around them. It really was quite something.”

The Mets’ two most recent appearances in the Fall Classic were also the direct result of monstrous transactions. Free agent Robin Ventura was a key member of the 2000 team, but it was the Mets’ prior acquisition of two transient Marlins — Al Leiter first, then Mike Piazza — then a top-of-the-rotation pickup from the Astros (Mike Hampton) that ultimately bought them a ticket to the 2000 World Series.

Fifteen years later, the Mets were languishing near .500, unable to make a push in the NL East until, a few minutes before the July 31, 2015, deadline, Sandy Alderson stunned most of baseball and almost the entirety of his fan base by pulling off a head-spinning deal: Yoenis Cespedes in exchange for one eventually serviceable big-league pitcher (Luis Cessa) and one could-be star sidetracked by Tommy John (Michael Fulmer).

Francisco Lindor trade Mets Indians MLB
Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez; Francisco Lindor; Mike Piazza
Getty Images (3)

As poorly as the Cespedes/Mets trade ended up, it’s still impossible for any Mets fan not to fondly recall August and September of ’15 when Cespedes hammered his way to a .942 OPS and 155 OPS+ and ignited the Mets to an improbable pennant.

“In my first tenure with the Mets we had a little better success with trades than with free agents,” Alderson said, laughing, Thursday afternoon. “Maybe that’s a good sign for this deal.”

He was asked what brings a GM more satisfaction: A big-ticket free-agent signing that works out or a trade that yields dividends?

“There’s a little more investment in time and effort and thought in a trade scenario,” Alderson said, though he added with a smile: “As long as the player turn out well, it really doesn’t matter how they were acquired.”