First Call: Suspension details emerge as Deshaun Watson decision looms; Bryan Reynolds trade talks quiet

In Monday’s “First Call,” details are starting to leak regarding a decision for a possible suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. It sounds like Bryan Reynolds is staying with the Pirates, but a Pittsburgh native may be on the trade block. Plus, a look at Kyle Schwarber’s latest eye-popping home run at PNC Park.

Decision day?

A ruling on the suspension status of Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected Monday. That’s according to a pair of reporters from CBS Sports.

One of them said the NFL wants the suspension to be a long one.

Citing unnamed NFL sources, Josina Anderson tweeted that “relevant parties have already been notified that (judge) Sue Robinson is currently expected to inform them of the decision in the Deshaun Watson proceeding by some time Monday.”

Next up, Jonathan Jones sent a tweet, indicating that the NFL is pushing for “an indefinite suspension of at least one year.”

Jones followed that up by explaining that Watson could receive “a year-long suspension or a suspension that goes for at least one year where he would then have to apply for reinstatement (hence the ‘indefinite’).”

Not long after that post, Dan Graziano of ESPN reported that there was a gap in negotiations toward a settlement that the two sides could not overcome. The NFL wasn’t willing to accept anything less than a 12-game suspension. And Watson’s camp was only willing to go as far as six to eight games.

Meanwhile, the NFL Players Association put out a statement insisting that it would not challenge the ruling on Watson’s behalf via appeal, regardless of the outcome. He asked the NFL to take the same approach.

As Graziano explained on Twitter, “The context here is that either side can appeal a ruling it doesn’t like, and commissioner Roger Goodell would hear the appeal. (The) Union is trying to avert a situation in which the league overturns the ruling of a jointly appointed neutral arbitrator.”

The Steelers visit Cleveland in Week 3 on a Thursday night. They host the Browns in Week 18 at Acrisure Stadium.

Watson was accused of sexual harassment and assault by 24 massage therapists in Texas and has settled 20 of the civil lawsuits filed against him. Four lawsuits remain pending, and the attorney representing the women has said he hopes to take them to trial sometime next spring.

Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations.


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Retaining Reynolds

As Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches, the Pirates will likely swap out some veterans for cheaper minor league talent.

Don’t expect outfielder Bryan Reynolds to be on the move, though. That’s according to John Heyman of the MLB Network.

There had been some chatter about teams throwing feelers out to the Pirates during the offseason to get a sense of what the asking price might be for Reynolds, but that conversation has cooled substantially since the Pirates signed Reynolds to a two-year, $13.5 million contract in April.

However, in a way, the short-term cost certainty of that deal could make Reynolds even more attractive. The Sporting News listed the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies as potential suitors for the Pirates to part with Reynolds. San Diego was one of the teams allegedly interested in swinging a deal for Reynolds in March.

He’s hitting .251 with 15 homers, 32 RBIs and an OPS of .779. After a monster June that featured a .989 OPS and a .333 batting average, Reynolds has struggled in July, hitting just .222 with a .669 OPS and no home runs.

Mr. Mt. Lebanon on the move?

Heyman also reported that multiple teams may be in the mix to acquire Chicago Cubs All-Star Ian Happ.

The Mt. Lebanon alum is said to be drawing interest from San Diego, Milwaukee, Toronto and Atlanta.

Like Reynolds, Happ had a monster June, hitting .327 with an OPS of .948. He’s currently hitting .280 with nine home runs and 46 RBIs to go along with a .796 OPS.

Statcast Schwarber

Whenever Oneil Cruz throws a ball really fast from shortstop or runs with blazing speed around the bases, Pirates fans and media blow up Twitter with all sorts of gushy Statcast records.

Twitter also informs me that those figures are much more important than the fact that Cruz is hitting .206 or that he has 40 more strikeouts (46) than walks (6) right now.

OK. I’ll play along. But if we are going to gush about the Statcast numbers whenever they make a Pirate look good, then let’s acknowledge them when an opponent punks the Buccos, too.

Like when Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber hit this home run off JT Brubaker in the fifth inning of the Phillies’ 8-2 win at PNC Park on Sunday.

Statcast claims that the ball left the stadium with an exit velocity of 111.6 mph, and it went 441 feet to left field. That was Schwarber’s National League-leading 33rd home run of the season.

Via Sarah Langs of MLB media, that was the deepest home run hit to the opposite field of any swing in Major League Baseball this season and is tied for the 10th longest since such statistics have been measured.

Langs also noted that it was the longest opposite field home run on record in Philadelphia team history.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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