From Comcast SportsNetKANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals have slowly and methodically allowed their top prospects to climb through their farm system in recent years, piecing together a team they believe can compete in the wide-open American League Central.All that's been missing has been the pitching.They dipped into the farm system to solve that problem, too.The Royals sent top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi along with two other minor leaguers to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday night for former All-Star James Shields and fellow right-hander Wade Davis, making an aggressive move to bolster a rotation that was one of the worst in the major leagues last season."We have to start winning games at the major league level, and the way you develop a winning culture is by winning major league games," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "It's time for us to start winning at the major league level."Kansas City, which hasn't had a winning season since 2003, has long had one of the best farm systems in baseball, and slowly the cream has risen to the big league level -- first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop Alcides Escobar, third baseman Mike Moustakas and catcher Salvador Perez form a fine nucleus. But there's been a dearth of starting pitching for years, and that's what Moore and the rest of the front office have been trying to fix this offseason.He's already re-signed Jeremy Guthrie to a 25 million, three-year deal, and took on former All-Star Ervin Santana and 12 million of his contract from the Angels. But the trade for Shields and Davis is Moore's most aggressive move yet, giving Kansas City the ace it has been lacking since trading away Zack Greinke, along with another piece that could fit in the rotation or the bullpen."When you can acquire a pitcher like James Shields and Wade Davis, we have to do it, because that's what we've committed to our team -- we've committed to our organization," Moore said. "It's important that we start winning games."Along with giving up Myers, an outfielder widely voted the minor leagues' top player last season, the Royals also traded away Odorizzi, a talented right-hander who should soon compete for a spot in the Rays' rotation. Left-hander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard also are headed to the Rays, while the Royals will receive a player to be named or cash."We're constantly working to balance the present and the future, and always trying to thread the needle," Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "As an organization we rely more on the contributions of our young players basically than anyone else in baseball, and with this trade we're hoping to replenish our system and add a lot of players we feel can help us sustain this run of success that we've had for the last five years."Shields, who turns 31 this month, has been a stalwart in the Tampa Bay rotation the past seven seasons. He was an All-Star two years ago, when he went 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA and finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting, and was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts last season, when he pitched 227 2-3 innings -- his sixth consecutive year of at least 200 innings pitched.The only other pitchers to log at least 200 innings in six straight seasons are the Jays' Mark Buehrle, San Francisco's Matt Cain, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and the Tigers ace Justin Verlander."If you're going to win consistently in the major leagues, you're going to need a rotation that gives you innings, competes, helps you win," Moore said. "That's what our goal is, to put together a very good rotation. We feel we've done that."Shields is due to receive 10.5 million this season. He has a club option for 12 million in 2014 with a 1 million buyout.The Royals suddenly have a glut of starting pitchers with Shields, Santana and Guthrie joined by Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza, who are expected back from last year. Luke Hochevar is eligible for arbitration, while Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino will return at some point during the middle of the season after having Tommy John surgery.Davis also could be thrown into the mix.The right-hander started 64 games for Tampa Bay from 2009-11, but he was shuttled to the bullpen last season when the Rays had an abundance of starters. He flourished as a reliever, going 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA, creating some flexibility for him in Kansas City.Davis is due to make 2.8 million this season and 4.8 million in 2014, with the Royals holding options on the next three years.The jewel of the deal for Tampa Bay is undoubtedly Myers, who turns 22 on Monday.The power-hitting outfielder batted .314 with 37 homers and 109 RBIs in 134 games at Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, and eventually could help provide some protection in the batting order for Rays star Evan Longoria. Myers showed what he could do during the All-Star Futures Game hosted by Kansas City, when he had a pair of hits and drove in three runs at Kauffman Stadium.He'll finally get a chance to prove it at the major league level at Tropicana Field.Odorizzi was 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA for Northwest Arkansas and Omaha, and made two late-season starts for Kansas City, going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 7 1-3 innings. Montgomery was once considered one of the Royals' top prospects, but his stock slid last season, when he went 5-13 with a 6.07 ERA last season while getting demoted from Omaha to Northwest Arkansas.Leonard hit .251 with 14 homers and 46 RBIs in 62 games for short-season Burlington."We're excited to add these guys, anxious to get to know them beyond the information we have on them," Friedman said. "I think it's very possible that Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi will help us win games in 2013, and Mike Montgomery as well."
Leonard Floyd admitted it'll take some getting used to the Chicago weather.
As for its pizza? He's already on board with that.
The Bears' first-round selection stopped by CSN's studios late Friday night and got his first taste of deep-dish pizza, specifically a Lou Malnati's pepperoni and sausage pie.
Floyd didn't have much to say while his face was stuffed with the deep-dish.
But when he did a live chat shortly after, he confirmed that the Chicago-style pizza was as good as advertised.
"If I had three thumbs I would hold all of them up," Floyd said. "Pizza was awesome, awesome."
It's safe to say he's fitting in to the Chicago lifestyle quite well already.
The first 98 selections of the 2016 NFL Draft are in the books. Here's a look at the second and third round choices made Friday night.
32. Cleveland Browns: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
33. Tennessee Titans: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
34. Dallas Cowboys: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
35. San Diego Chargers: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
36. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Baltimore): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
37. Kansas City Chiefs (via San Francisco): Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State
38. Miami Dolphins (via Baltimore via Jacksonville): Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky
40. New York Giants: Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
41. Buffalo Bills (via Chicago): Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
42. Baltimore Ravens (via Miami): Kamalei Correa, LB, Boise State
43. Tennessee Titans (via Philadelphia via Los Angeles): Austin Johnson, DL, Penn State
44. Oakland Raiders: Jihad Ward, DL, Illinois
45. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles): Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
46. Detroit Lions: A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
47. New Orleans Saints: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
48. Green Bay Packers (via Indianapolis): Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
49: Seattle Seahawks (via Chicago via Buffalo): Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama
50. Houston Texans (via Atlanta): Nick Martin, OL, Notre Dame
51. New York Jets: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
52. Atlanta Falcons (via Houston): Deion Jones, LB, LSU
53. Washington Redskins: Su'a Cravens, LB, USC
54. Minnesota Vikings: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
55. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
56. Chicago Bears (via Seattle): Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State
57. Indianapolis Colts (via Green Bay): T.J. Green, DB, Clemson
58. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sean Davis, DB, Maryland
59. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Kansas City): Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State
60. New England Patriots: Cyrus Jones, DB, Alabama
61. New Orleans Saints (via New England via Arizona): Vonn Bell, DB, Ohio State
62. Carolina Panthers: James Bradberry, DB, Samford
63. Denver Broncos: Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech
64. Tennessee Titans: Kevin Byard, DB, Middle Tennessee State
65. Cleveland Browns: Carl Nassib, DL, Penn State
66. San Diego Chargers: Max Tuerk, OL, USC
67. Dallas Cowboys: Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
68. San Francisco 49ers: Will Redmond, DB, Mississippi State
69. Jacksonville Jaguars: Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Maryland
70. Baltimore Ravens: Bronson Kaufusi, DL, BYU
71. New York Giants: Darian Thompson, FB, Boise State
72. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida
73. Miami Dolphins: Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
74. Kansas City Chiefs (via Tampa Bay): KeiVarae Russell, DB, Notre Dame
75. Oakland Raiders: Shilique Calhoun, DL, Michigan State
76. Cleveland Browns (via Tennessee via Los Angeles): Shon Coleman, OL, Auburn
77. Carolina Panthers (via Cleveland via Philadelphia via Detroit): Daryl Worley, DB, West Virginia
78. New England Patriots (via New Orleans): Joe Thuney, OL, N.C. State
79. Philadelphia Eagles: Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State
80. Buffalo Bills: Adolphus Washington, DL, Ohio State
81. Atlanta Falcons: Autin Hooper, TE, Stanford
82. Indianapolis Colts: Le'Raven Clark, OL, Texas Tech
83. New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins, LB, Georgia
84. Washington Redskins: Kendall Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech
85. Houston Texans: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
86. Miami Dolphins (via Minnesota): Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
87. Cincinnati Bengals: Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State
88. Green Bay Packers: Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah State
89. Pittsburgh Steelers: Javon Hargrave, DL, South Carolina State
90. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
91. New England Patriots: Jacoby Brissett, QB, North Carolina State
92. Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Williams, DB, Texas A&M
93. Cleveland Browns (via Carolina): Cody Kessler, QB, USC
94. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State
95. Detroit Lions: Graham Glasgow, OL, Michigan
96. New England Patriots: Vincent Valentine, DL, Nebraska
97. Seattle Seahawks: Rees Odhiambo, OL, Boise State
98. Denver Broncos: Justin Simmons, DB, Boston College
The Bears had to cut ties with defensive end Julius Peppers a couple of years ago, only to see him change from a 4-3 end to 3-4 linebacker hybrid for the Green Bay Packers. In the third round of this year’s draft, the Bears added a player whose goal is to emulate Peppers, which would be more than fine with the Bears.
“Julius Peppers is my favorite player,” Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard said at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.
Bullard was selected by the Bears with the 72nd pick of this year’s draft.
“My oldest brother actually wore No. 90 because of Julius and I wore No. 90 because of my brother but it was actually Julius," Bullard said. "We all watched him play growing up. My brother also played at a D-2 school and I wore 90 in high school.”
No. 90 came available last year when the Bears released defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff. It was taken over by Greg Scruggs when he was signed on Dec. 30 for Game 16, but could be Bullard’s in the foreseeable future, particularly if Bullard plays to his self-description.
“I would say my disruption,” Bullard said of his specific strength. “I had a lot of disruption and I make things easier for my teammates to make plays, also.”
They may be very pleased with the progress of Ego Ferguson’s rehab and recovery from season-ending knee surgery but that did not stop the Bears from adding internal pressure on the defensive line with the selection of Bullard.
“We see him as a 3-4 defensive end,” said GM Ryan Pace. “He played defensive end [at Florida], bulked up and played more of a three-technique position for them.
“When you watch tape on him, there’s one thing you can’t coach, and that’s get-off. His get-off is excellent and I think there’s a lot of advantages from just that alone.”
Bullard, 6-3, 285, had 6.5 sacks in 2015 along with 17.5 tackles for loss, good enough to be a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award. He started eight games at defensive end in 2013, then all 12 games in 2014 and 14 his senior season.
“My junior year I started back out at end…but most of my senior year it was 3-technique,” Bullard said.
With the Bears set at nose tackle with Eddie Goldman and defensive end with Akiem Hicks, Bullard is expected to be part of a rotation inside in sub packages, which the Bears operated out of some 60 percent of the time in 2015, per GM Ryan Pace.
“I think because off my versatility,” Bullard said. “I can do whatever you want me to do on your defensive line, inside to outside, quickness to hold the point. So I think I’m going to bring a lot to your team.’’