Belichick: Always a few phone calls before trade deadline

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Belichick: Always a few phone calls before trade deadline

FOXBORO -- Traditionally, on the day of the NFL trade deadline, there is not a flurry of activity around the league. Those hoping to see blockbuster deals can't hold their breath; even trades for bit players seem rare.

The deadline is today at 4 p.m. after being moved back two days by the NFL in order to allow teams to recover from the effects of Sandy, the storm that ravaged the East Coast earlier this week. Though the deadline often comes and goes without much in the way of news, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said today that there is some work being done behind the scenes.

"I think there are always a few conversations, a few phone calls," he said. "I think that's normal."

For multiple reasons, though, trades between NFL teams rarely occur, especially relative to other professional sports.

NFL systems can be difficult for players to pick up without a full training camp. (Remember the struggles Chad Ochocinco had when he joined the Patriots after last year's lockout?) Getting a grip on a new team's playbook eight weeks into the season only makes that transition tougher. Teams often add free agents at different points during the season and hope that they can grasp new schemes, but those kinds of acquisitions do not require giving away compensation to another team in exchange.

Belichick said he thinks compensation is often the sticking point in trades and perhaps the reason why there aren't more deals that get done near the deadline.

"Evidently," he said, "two teams can't agree on either the compensation of the trade, or there's not a motivation to do it."

The Patriots have made trades before the deadline in the past. They dealt Randy Moss and a seventh-round draft pick to the Vikings in exchange for a third-round pick in October of 2010. That same season, they acquired Deion Branch from the Seahawks for a fourth-rounder.

Those kinds of deals for big-name players are very rare, as is any trade, it seems. But that doesn't mean the Patriots aren't working the phones today in the hours leading up the deadline, keeping their ears open for a chance to make themselves better.

OFFSEASON

Celtics second in Larry Sanders’ Twitter poll for his next team

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Celtics second in Larry Sanders’ Twitter poll for his next team

Veteran forward Larry Sanders, who hasn’t played since December of 2014, has taken to Twitter to get feedback on “Which team do you believe will utilize my skills the best?”

So far, it’s his last team, the Milwaukee Bucks leading, with the Celtics edging the Cavaliers for second place.  

Sanders, 27, has been away from basketball after two drug-related suspensions and issues with anxiety and depression led him to accept a buyout from the Bucks.  The 6-11 Sanders was a solid rim protector. He averaged 1.8 blocks a game in his career. Could the Celtics, with an already crowded roster, take a flyer on him as a low-cost option? 
 

Hanley Ramirez named A.L. player of the week

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Hanley Ramirez named A.L. player of the week

After a power binge in which five of his seven hits were home runs, Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez has been named American League player of the week.

In six games, Ramirez batted .333 (7-for-21) with five homers, 12 RBI, six runs scored, a slugging percentage of 1.048 and OPS of 1.488. Three of the home runs came in one game, an 11-7 victory Wednesday night over the San Francisco Giants. 

For the season, Ramirez is hitting .282 with 13 homers, 60 RBI and an OPS of .821. 

Monday’s Red Sox-Tigers lineups: Betts back in right

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Monday’s Red Sox-Tigers lineups: Betts back in right

Mookie Betts returns to the Red Sox lineup tonight as they open a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park.

Betts is in his customary lead-off spot and playing right field. He missed the past two games after leaving in the fifth inning on Friday night with soreness and swelling in his right knee. 

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz makes his second Red Sox start since being acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres on July 14. Pomeranz lasted only three-plus innings in his first start for Boston, allowing five runs in a game the Red Sox held on to win 11-7 over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.74 ERA) starts for the Tigers.

The lineups:

TIGERS
Ian Kinsler 2B
Jose Iglesias SS
Miguel Cabrera 2B
Victor Martinez DH
Nick Castellanos 3B
Justin Upton LF
Mike Aviles RF
James McCann C
Andrew Romine CF

Justin Verlander RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF

Drew Pomeranz LHP