McAdam: Sanchez impacted Sox' approach

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McAdam: Sanchez impacted Sox' approach

When the Red Sox signed Ryan Dempster to a two-year deal worth 26.5 million, a lot of fans rolled their eyes or vocally condemned the move as an overly-generous package.

Sean McAdam says the Red Sox approach was dictated by players like Anibel Sanchez, who just agreed to a five-year deal with the Tigers worth 80 million.

The Red Sox got the impression that Sanchez was looking for four or five years in his next contract and the team just wasn't willing to go that high. With Dempster willing to go two years, the Sox saw him as the top pitcher in a very limited pool of pitchers who were willing to take a short-term contract. With their extra spending money, they decided it was worth the extra money to lock up a pitcher who wouldn't require a long-term deal.

Now that Dempster is on board, giving the Red Sox the reliable veteran arm they've been looking for, McAdam doesn't see the Sox doing anything flashy for the rest of the off-season unless something comes up on the trade market for Jacoby Ellsbury. McAdam says the return in an Ellsbury trade would need to be significant - along the lines of the Cliff Lee offer that floated around recently.

So what's left to do?

McAdam identifies a few depth options the Sox should address:
- A first baseman, preferably left-handed
- Someone who can push Jose Iglesias at shortstop
- One or two starting pitchers who offer depth - the kind of players who could be stashed at Triple-A until an injury pops up

A word of caution: This outlook for the remainder of the off-season is contingent on the Mike Napoli deal being completed. If that deal falls through, the Red Sox will have a lot more they need to accomplish before spring training starts.

Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

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Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

ARLINGTON, Texas - Maybe the Cowboys will be OK without quarterback Tony Romo this time. The future of the Dallas running game with Ezekiel Elliott looks pretty good, too.

Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott's first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia's Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.

"Dak's handled every opportunity he's had right from the start really, really well," coach Jason Garrett said. "No different tonight."

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards - a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter - and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

"We haven't played a complete game," Fox said. "This week was the reverse of what we've had. We played very poorly in the first half."

Elliott finished with 140 yards on 30 carries, including a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.

"Made a lot of good runs tonight, a lot tough runs, a lot of NFL runs," Garrett said. "He's physically tough. He's mentally tough."

It didn't even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas' first home win since last year's opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.

Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn't do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.