Author Archives: Around The Block Staff

MLB Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and with it, we see a new look at the playoff races in each league. The good teams stocked up for a pennant chase, while the bottom-dwellers sold in hopes of a better future. Today, we’ve got not one, but two writers bringing you their MLB trade deadline winners and losers. First up is Jake Brockhoff with four winners and four losers from the deadline.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images



The Rangers are certainly enjoying their jump to contention in 2023. Texas jumped on the scene in the AL this year, and once held a several-game lead on the Astros in the West. They’ve struggled recently, but remain tied. Perhaps those struggles influenced some of their big moves at the deadline.

Texas landed Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Stratton and Austin Hedges before the deadline expired. Their offense was fine, but pitching remained an issue, so the overwhelming amount of pitching acquired here makes sense. They were as aggressive as they needed to be, and have set themselves up well for October.

Jack Flaherty

Flaherty has been solid in 2023, but it hasn’t been his best year. He owns a 4.43 ERA, 106 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.55. Those stats aren’t going to jump off the page, but compared to most of the starters dealt during the deadline, Flaherty looks like a pretty solid option.

In his last five starts, Flaherty owns an ERA of just 3.03. He’s been impressive as of late. Jack’s exit from the Cardinals team that seems to be on the down-turn, to an Orioles team that is very much on the rise makes him a winner at this deadline.


Two weeks ago, the Cubs looked like certain seller’s at this year’s deadline. They were well out of the playoff race, and hopes of a late resurrection seemed over. That was until near double-digit winning streak, and an 8-2 record in their past 10 games gave them a winning record, and placed Chicago just a couple games out off the division and wild-card races

The Cubs weren’t big buyers at the deadline, but they did land Jeimer Candelario, one of the best bats on the market. Their division rivals, the Brewers and Reds, failed to make any major moves themselves as well. The combination of these two lands the Cubbies in the winners section.


The defending champs have gone on a run over the past month, erasing the Rangers’ lead on the division.

A Justin Verlander reunion makes everyone in Texas (besides Rangers’ fans) happy. With Justin in the mix, the Astros rotation feels complete. Texas had their chance to put this team away, and they squandered it. With that in mind, plus the addition of Verlander, the AL West division is anyone’s grabs.



The Yankee’s have been losers in several ways this season. The competitive nature of the AL East seems to have passed them by. A division the pinstripes once had a hold on has now left them in last place with a 55-52.

New York must not feel that luck is on their side. Their record would currently put them in first in the AL Central, a much better fortune than the one they currently own. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Their inability to make any meaningful additions at the MLB trade deadline didn’t help.


No matter how this season finishes out, the Orioles can definitely look at this season as a win. Baltimore went from the cellar of the American League to one of the best teams in all of baseball in very short notice.

The Orioles shouldn’t be considered among the other losers on this list. My qualm with their deadline decision-making revolves around the fact that they did little to help their pitching, aside from adding Flaherty. Flaherty helps, but their lack of established pitching depth aside from him should have been addressed as well.


The Royals have had a rough year, and they’ve found themselves at the bottom of their division throughout it. They did the right thing by selling their better players for prospects, and were relatively active at the deadline.

So what makes them a loser? Point blank, they got very mediocre returns. They landed Cole Ragans and Roni Cabrera in return for Aroldis Chapman. That’s a decent return. However, Nicky Lopez, Ryan Yarbrough, Scott Barlow and Mike Mayers all ended up having disappointing returns. Kansas City sold the players they needed to, but did not get nearly enough as they should have in return. Kansas City was one of the losers from this year’s MLB trade deadline.


Similar to the Orioles situation, Cincinnati should look at this season as a net positive no matter what.

Unfortunately, the Reds also followed Baltimore’s deadline blueprint. A team that is in the hunt for the division and the playoffs, one that could have really used some pitching and bench depth, ended with a measly addition of Sam Moll. Given the Reds’ recent success, they’ve earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, their deadline moves left a lot to be desired.

Senior Bowl Quotes: Players Share Their Experience

The 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl is officially underway in Mobile, Alabama and the Around The Block Network crew has you covered with practice highlights and player interviews. Day one of practices concluded at 4:00 PM Tuesday afternoon, and the ATB team was able to interact with quite a few prospects. We’ll update this article as we go with more interviews and quotes as the Senior Bowl practices progress! Keep it locked on Around The Block!

Senior Bowl Quotes: Day One

Photo Credit: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Appalachian State running back Camerun Peeples

Question: After your first Senior Bowl practice, how does it feel to be coached by a variety of NFL coaches from different systems?

Honestly, it’s pretty amazing. Just kind of picking up all the knowledge that these guys know. Coming from different coaching staffs at college, I’m kind of used to that. Just getting to know different people, getting to mix with different personalities and see who works with you well… See what works and how it works at the next level, it’s a very humbling experience to say the least.

Iowa State wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson

Question: First day of Senior Bowl practice, how did if feel to be with a bunch of different coaches from a variety of NFL staffs?

Honestly, it’s been great. Just learning new things every day in these last two days. I’ve got a lot of learning to do, but I’m just very excited to see where this learning will take me in these next two days.

Florida A&M EDGE Isaiah Land

Question: How has it been being coached by a variety of NFL coaches from a variety of staffs and their different philosophies?

It was an honor to be a part of the Senior Bowl. To be at this level of football, to experience this, to gain so much knowledge… I feel like I’m learning a lot every day I’m here. It’s just a real honor to be here.

Question: People have been saying you play very wide. Some call you the “wide-12 technique”. How do you feel about that edge and how is it a benefit to you being that wide?

I just gotta make the offensive lineman uncomfortable, just getting wide and make him make a move on me. I like to make him come to my domain in space where I can use my speed, instead of just power, because that’s what I’m better at doing.

Oklahoma running back Eric Gray

Question: First day of practice, how was it to get to learn from so many NFL minds from different teams at once?

You know, it was a dream come true. I’ve been wanting this my whole life, you know? To get an NFL playbook and really see that this is something you’ve watched on TV your whole life is just a dream come true. I loved it, I loved being out here. I haven’t been out on the field since November after our last game. Getting out on the turf just felt really good.

Question: What are you looking forward to most going into the next day?

Just going out there and being consistent. It was a lot of fun to be back out on the turf in competition. So I just want to get out there and have another big day, and be consistent.

Question: Something that you really showed off yesterday was your route running. Is that something that you’ve worked on for years or something that comes natural?

It definitely comes natural but I’ve also honed in on skills. I’ve had some great coaches that have taught me a lot about route running so it’s definitely a little of both.

Ole Miss wide receiver Jonathan Mingo

Question: How does it feel to be competing out here?

It feels great going against some of the best players in the country. Trying to compete everyday and show myself to NFL teams.

Question: So far, how do you feel you’ve done? Think you had a good practice today?

I feel like I had a decent practice. Just trying to get better, trying to get back in the groove of football, you know. It’s been a while since we’ve had some good competition so you just need to come out and compete to get better every day.

Question: Who do you feel you matched up well against today?

I liked going against all the DBs. Everybody is out here for a reason and I feel like every single match up is a good one.

Question: Yesterday, during one-on-ones, Giants general manager Joe Schoen seemed to have his eye on you. What’s it mean to have a GM watching you?

It’s a blessing to have someone look at me, trying to see I’m a good player. I’m trying to prove to all the scouts that I’m a complete receiver, and I can do everything they need me to do.

Florida State defensive back Jammie Robinson

Question: Being someone who is position flexible, how does it feel working with this mixed NFL staff and seeing where they put you?

Oh yea, I’m at free safety this week, so it’s about being a ball hawk, to cover in the slot. But my whole thing is to enjoy this experience. To learn technique and adapt to the coaching styles of these variety of coaches.

Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave

Question: You get to work with so many NFL coaching talents. How is it working with a variety of NFL minds at one time, on one field?

It’s great. We got a lot of different guys working on the same offense. We have a great position coach, a great OC, and a great special teams coach. They all have their own thing going and it’s just amazing since they’re truly all great coaches.

Music and Sports: Why Cover Both?

music and sports
Credit: NBC Los Angeles

At first it may seem out of place for a sports website to venture out and cover music. You may be seeing us on Twitter and asking yourself “why are they talking about a music artist?” The answer is simple. When you really think about it, music is an integral part of the fabric of sports.

Whether it’s a marching band in high school, fight songs and hype songs in college, entrance music in baseball or wrestling, or the PA playing heavy metal — or symphonic deathcore, to be specific — at a hockey game, music is everywhere in sports.

The Intersection of Sports and Music

So why, then, should you have to go to one spot for your sports coverage and then leave to go to a specific music website to read album reviews? Why should you have to come to us to read about what’s going on in training camp, then have to head to an entirely different site to see a band’s entire discography ranked from worst to first?

You shouldn’t! And that’s the ultimate goal here at Around the Block Network. We want to be your one-stop entertainment hub! We want to be at the intersection of sports and music.

That’s why you’re going to see someone who tweets about the Giants and his local Baltimore teams talking about a hot new artist he loves. That’s why you’re going to find two Dolphins fans and a Lions fan promoting a heavy metal-focused podcast. Because at the end of the day, we all love sports and we all love music. So why shouldn’t you be able to get analysis and opinions on both in the same place?

It may seem strange at first, but should it? We would argue that it shouldn’t, and we hope you agree! Who knows, maybe someday in the future it’ll become some normal, par-for-the-course content strategy. For now, ATB is here to give you the latest on all your passions. Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!

BREAKING NEWS: Baseball is back as MLB and MLBPA agree to terms

Photo Credit: CBS Sports

The MLB and MLBPA have agreed to terms on a deal. Baseball will be played this summer. Let’s get into the terms of the deal:

MLB and MLBPA terms:

A lot of this is just business jargon. However, there are a few important things to go over. First, off the CBT, the owners, and players came to an agreement that brings the CBT up to $230 million dollars. This will allow players to get more money from teams who want to spend.

Next, the minimum salary is going up to $700k. This is huge for players. The minimum salary is up almost $120k, making teams spend more and helping young players with less time on their clock. In other words, young players actually have comparable wages to veterans in the league.

Another thing, the bonus pool money increased to $50 million. This was one of the biggest things for the MLBPA. Bonus money is huge for players in the first six years of service. It allows them to add to salary via good play — the pool was small and was only going to the top players.

Lastly, and the biggest hold up here in the ninth hour, the International draft. This became a huge issue with the Dominican Republic players, as it would destroy the system that is set up in the DR. The MLB, however, chose to give them time to adjust to this new system. It will start in 2024 and they have until July 25th to come to an agreement on how it will work. If there is a deal made, then the qualifying offer system is gone. If no deal on that, qualifying offers will come back.

Will we get 162 games?

Short answer: Yes. The long answer, Rob Manfred has already canceled two weeks of games. However, there is a scheduling option where the league could still get all 162 in and that is what was agreed to.

Spring training will be starting up tom , and the next 24 hours of trades and signings will be crazy. Basically, all of the MLB offseason will be in the next week.

Here we go y’all, baseball is back! We are going to have a crazy few days with trades and big names still sitting on the market. Let’s worry about scheduling when that all comes to a head nearing the playoffs. Just enjoy the fact that baseball is here again.

What Dale Tallon Brought to the Florida Panthers

By: Andrew Levine and Sam Schetritt

J Pat Carter / AP

The Good


Might as well start with the positive news! Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, and Spencer Knight would not be in Florida without Dale Tallon.

Performing with an edge not seen before, Last season Ekblad, Barkov, and Huberdeau came into their own.

Barkov had a career season, Huberdeau repeated his success, and if not for a leg injury Ekblad would have been under serious Norris consideration.

In Knight’s case, he went from starting at Boston College in the fall to beginning his Panthers career 5-1 with a playoff win against the Bolts to build off of this offseason.

These four individuals are undoubtedly the franchise’s cornerstones, and will be the ones to lead this team to a Cup.


No team is complete without its coach, and Tallon hired the best in the business. Much like in Chicago, Tallon brought in longtime friend Joel Quenneville to run the show. Quenneville underwhelmed in his first year, with the team stuck in the middle much like years past.

After a few offseason moves, Quenneville’s unparalleled coaching prowess showed.

He led a Panthers group with low expectations to a second place finish in the top heavy central division. His winning pedigree and no nonsense approach to the game is a perfect fit for a team with title aspirations.

Panthers Head Coach Joel Quenneville (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Bad


February 24th, 2020 began with some depressing news.

As the trade deadline was upon us, Dale Tallon traded Vincent Trocheck to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Established as the 2nd line center at the time, Trocheck a valuable asset, was slated to address the center depth, but ended up being unsuccessful.

What remained was a center core of Barkov, Erik Haula, Dominic Toninato, and Brian Boyle in the playoffs last year.

Of those four, Barkov is the only remaining member on the team.

Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark, the two NHL ready players in the deal, were off the team once the offseason began, though Wallmark had a brief cameo this season.

As for the two prospects, Eetu Luostarinen looks to make an impact on the team this year while Chase Priskie will battle for a roster spot during camp.

P.S. Trocheck was tripped.

Trocheck being tripped


For better or worse, Dale Tallon always knew how to attract big names in free agency.

In the case of Anton Stralman, it was definitely for the worse. Stralman had a very solid career leading up to his free agency in 2019.

As a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he had gained a reputation as a shutdown defenseman who provided consistent offense.

His production began to dip as he turned 33.

For most general managers, those two characteristics act as the equivalent of a giant blinking sign saying “STAY AWAY!!!”

Dale Talon always pays.

He gave the defensemen three guaranteed years at an average annual value of 5.5 million dollars

At the time, this seemed like an overpay. With two years of retrospect, it was absolutely an overpay.

Known for providing reliable defense in his tenure with Tampa Bay, Stralman never provided it.

He became a liability at times and scratched from the lineup for weeks at a time. Age and injuries caught up to him.

Anyone who paid even a modicum of attention to the league could have seen this as the likely outcome for him.

To get off Stralmans deal, the Panthers gave up a second round pick and a prospect defenseman.

The Ugly


The Vegas expansion draft.

Not only did this trade suck because I found out about it hours after it happened (the perks of spending your summers in Cleveland, Georgia), but because it set the franchise so far back.

For those who don’t know, the Florida Panthers traded Reilly Smith and a 2018 4th Round Pick to the Knights in order for them to take Jonathan Marchessault. 

It’s been four years since this trade and I still don’t get it.

Before coming to Florida, Marchessault had 8 career goals. In the one season with the Panthers, he had 30 goals. That type of production is unfathomable for a guy on a contract that had an average annual value of $750,000.

Smith was bound to rebound after a down year, but ultimately Tallon saw more value in protecting Alexander Petrovic and Mark Pysyk (LOL).

Both failed to make an impact on the defensive end as desired, and Pysyk was converted to a forward before being traded last offseason.

As for the Vegas Panthers, both have flourished in the Sin City and have their names all over the Knights record books.

To summarize this move in one word: Pain.


Ah yes, the creme de la creme of Dale Tallon signings. His magnum opus of front office flops. His final act to handicap the Florida Panthers franchise: the Sergei Bobrovsky signing.

To be fair to Tallon, the Panthers desperately needed a goalie, and Bobrovsky was one of the best in the league based on his time in Columbus.

Giving a 30-year-old goaltender $10 million per year over seven (7) years is borderline malpractice. 

Having a former Vezina winner on the roster was exciting, the salary and length left a bad taste

Most knew that if Bobrovsky played close to his best form, the contract would be fine for at least a few years.

The main issue about relyin ong goalies as a franchise cornerstone is a fool’s errand.

With the exception of a select few, they cannot be expected to post elite numbers year after year. Sergei Bobrovsky is not one of those exceptions.

Over the past two years, Bob’s high point has been a league average goaltender, and his low point has been much, much worse.

Now, with promising rookie Spencer Knight ready to mend the crease, Bobrovsky’s albatross contract acts as one of the worst handicaps to a team in all of sports.

There is no conceivable way to trade it, (he has a no movement clause) and the structure of the contract makes it even more harmful to buy out.

For the next five years, the Panthers will have to try to compete with 10 million dollars of dead cap on their books.

Nearly a death sentence. Unforgivable. 

The Honorable Mentions:

Some of our favorites that didn’t make the cut

  • Selecting Lawson Crouse over Jake DeBrusk and Mathew Barzal – This one really hurt
  • Dave Bolland’s Contract- The Blackhawks are to blame for this one
  • Keith Yandle’s Contract- We were the ones that got SONKed
  • Firing Gerard Gallant- Deserved so much better, unfortunate he was left on the side of the road
  • Mike Matheson- Words can’t describe the pain I felt when I saw the quote below

“We started with two years and went to four and went to six, and he said, ‘How about eight? I want to be a Panther,'”

Dale Tallon

I’ll leave you all with this. In Chicago, the formula was in four stages:

  • Hire Tallon
  • Hire Quenneville
  • Fire Tallon
  • Win Cups

We’re currently in Stage four here.

Follow Andrew Levine on Twitter

Follow Same Schetritt on Twitter