Yahoo Sports AM: Now starting at shortstop, Mookie Betts

In today's edition: Mookie moves to SS, Anthony Edwards has the dunk of the year, Ovechkin hits the 20-goal mark (again!), soccer's version of madness, and more.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

🚨 Headlines

⚾️ Giants sign Snell: Two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell has agreed to a two-year, $62 million deal with the Giants, bringing an end to his surprisingly long free agency.

🏈 DeBoer's millions: New Alabama football coach Kalen DeBoer will earn $10.9 million per year under his eight-year contract. That's fourth-most in the nation, trailing only Clemson's Dabo Swinney ($11.5 million), Georgia's Kirby Smart and USC's Lincoln Riley (both over $11 million).

🏀 Stat of the day: There are two men's Division I basketball players with at least 175 rebounds, 175 assists and 50 steals this season. Their names? Braden Smith (Purdue) and Braeden Smith (Colgate).

🏈 Costly mistake: A series of administrative payroll accounting errors will cost the 49ers a 2025 draft pick. Their fourth-round pick this year also moves four spots lower, from No. 131 to No. 135.

⚾️ Now starting at shortstop: Mookie Betts

Mookie fields a grounder during Monday's exhibition in South Korea. (Masterpress/Getty Images)
Mookie fields a grounder during Monday's exhibition in South Korea. (Masterpress/Getty Images)

Mookie Betts hasn't been an everyday shortstop since high school. When the MLB season begins tomorrow, he'll be starting there for the World Series favorites, Jeff and I write.

What's happening: For the second straight season, the Dodgers have asked Betts — a six-time Gold Glove-winning right fielder — to change positions.

  • Last year he moved from the outfield to second base amid a rash of injuries, returning to the position he played as a Red Sox prospect a decade ago.

  • Now he's shifting over to baseball's most important position, swapping spots earlier this month with expected shortstop Gavin Lux, who looked rusty in his return from a torn ACL.

How rare is this? Betts is just the second player in MLB history to play 1,000+ games in the outfield, 100+ at second and 10+ at shortstop (16 appearances last season), joining Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty — whose career ended 121 years ago. With another 84 games at shortstop, he'll become the second player to play 100+ games at short after winning a Gold Glove in the outfield.

  • Betts said last year that he has always considered himself a middle infielder, and he added this week that "you can put me wherever." But this is obviously not an ideal situation for a title contender.

  • All five of Betts' errors last season came at second (two) and shortstop (three), and he made an error in each of his first three games this spring after making the switch — though he's cleaned things up in the past week.

What they're saying: Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times sums up what a lot of Dodgers fans are feeling after watching their team spend over $1 billion this offseason, only to be left scrambling days ahead of their opening game:

Why are the Dodgers treating their superstar like a safety net? … This is something teams do with aging veterans or eager rookies, [not] a seven-time All Star.

They had to suspect Lux wasn't going to work there long before now, and they should have found a replacement last winter. … Instead, they waited and gambled and lost and now they're asking their most selfless player to pay off their debt.

All eyes on the Dodgers: There was already lots of intrigue surrounding this team, from Shohei Ohtani to Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the sky-high expectations after four straight 100-win seasons. Now we can add "former MVP learns shortstop on the fly" to the list of storylines to follow.

🏀 Dunk of the year!


Anthony Edwards! The Timberwolves superstar threw down the dunk of the year on Monday night, rising up on the fast break and putting Utah's John Collins on a poster. Kyle Anderson's reaction says it all.

(Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Edwards: "It gives me chills, man, because I always dreamed of dunking on somebody like that." He finished with 32 points in the 114-104 win as Minnesota moved within a half-game of OKC for the top spot in the West.

🏒 Ovechkin reaches 20 goals, again

(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP Photo)
(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP Photo)

Alex Ovechkin scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Flames on Monday, joining Gordie Howe and Brendan Shanahan as the only players in NHL history with at least 20 goals in 19 consecutive seasons.

Chasing Gretzky: The 38-year-old Ovechkin has 12 goals in 20 games since the All-Star break after scoring just nine in 44 games before that. He's now at 843 for his career, 51 away from Wayne Gretzky's all-time record.

Head-to-head: Gretzky's goal-scoring pace upon entering the NHL was downright absurd, but Ovechkin has been the more consistent scorer in his mid-30s. Gretzky played 20 NHL seasons; Ovechkin's current contract takes him through his 21st season.

  • Year 1: Ovechkin 52, Gretzky 51

  • Year 2: Gretzky 55, Ovechkin 46

  • Year 3: Gretzky 92, Ovechkin 65

  • Year 4: Gretzky 71, Ovechkin 56

  • Year 5: Gretzky 87, Ovechkin 50

  • Year 6: Gretzky 73, Ovechkin 32

  • Year 7: Gretzky 52, Ovechkin 38

  • Year 8: Gretzky 62, Ovechkin 32

  • Year 9: Ovechkin 51, Gretzky 40

  • Year 10: Gretzky 54, Ovechkin 53

  • Year 11: Ovechkin 50, Gretzky 40

  • Year 12: Gretzky 41, Ovechkin 33

  • Year 13: Ovechkin 49, Gretzky 31

  • Year 14: Ovechkin 51, Gretzky 16

  • Year 15: Ovechkin 48, Gretzky 38

  • Year 16: Ovechkin 24, Gretzky 11

  • Year 17: Ovechkin 50, Gretzky 23

  • Year 18: Ovechkin 42, Gretzky 25

  • Year 19: Gretzky 23, Ovechkin 21 (and counting)

Back in the hunt: Monday's victory moved the Capitals into the second wild-card spot in the East. It's the first time Washington has been in playoff position since January 2.

⚽️ Soccer's version of Madness

The U.S. Open Cup trophy on display before last year's final. (Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
The U.S. Open Cup trophy on display before last year's final. (Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

As March Madness tips off on the hardwood, an even bigger bracket gets underway on the pitch, Jeff writes.

The U.S. Open Cup: America's version of England's FA Cup is the country's oldest ongoing soccer competition, pitting teams from all levels against each other. The 109th edition features 96 professional and amateur teams playing a total of 95 games from now through September.

Who's in: Participants come from different tiers of the U.S. Soccer pyramid, which features three divisions comprising five leagues, plus an open division filled with amateur clubs.

  • Open Division (32 teams): Amateur clubs from USL League Two, the National Premier Soccer League and local qualifiers.

  • Division III (32 teams): Pro and semi-pro teams from USL League One, MLS Next Pro and the National Independent Soccer Association.

  • Division II (24 teams): The entire 24-team USL Championship, the tier right below MLS.

  • MLS (8 teams): Houston (defending champion), Atlanta, Dallas, LAFC, Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle and Kansas City are in this year's field.

How it works: Teams enter the tournament at different times depending on their level. The amateur and Division III clubs play in the first two rounds, the Division II clubs enter in either the third round or the Round of 32 depending on where they finished last season, and the MLS teams enter in the Round of 32.

Why so few MLS teams? 26 were supposed to participate, but owners voted in December to pull out of the tournament, sparking outrage throughout American soccer. Ultimately, MLS agreed to send eight teams after working with U.S. Soccer to reshape the event with a new revenue sharing model and more financial investment.

What to watch: The first round kicks off today with nine games, all streaming on, and

📆 Mar. 19, 1966: "Glory Road"

Texas Western celebrating in the locker room. (Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Texas Western celebrating in the locker room. (Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

58 years ago today, Texas Western — the first team in NCAA history with an all-Black starting five* — beat Kentucky to win the national championship, Jeff writes.

"Glory Road": The Miners' season was immortalized in Disney's 2006 film, "Glory Road," adapted from the book of the same name co-written by Texas Western coach Don Haskins and Yahoo Sports' own Dan Wetzel.

More on this day:

  • 🏀 1969: The Bucks won a coin flip over the Suns for the right to pick first in the upcoming NBA draft. Their prize? UCLA superstar Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

  • 🏒 1981: The Sabres scored an NHL-record nine goals in a single period during their 14-4 win over the Maple Leafs.

*The starting five: Bobby Joe Hill, Orsten Artis, David Lattin, Harry Flournoy and Willie Worsley.

📺 Watchlist: First Four

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The men's tourney tips off tonight in Dayton, Ohio, with two "First Four" games on truTV/Max, Jeff writes.

  • No. 16 Wagner vs. No. 16 Howard* (6:40pm ET): The NEC and MEAC champions play for the right to face No. 1 UNC (West Regional) on Thursday.

  • No. 10 Virginia vs. No. 10 Colorado State (9:10pm): These ACC and MWC at-large teams play for the right to face No. 7 Texas (Midwest) on Thursday.

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NIT: Xavier at Georgia (7pm, ESPN); Cornell at Ohio State (7pm, ESPN2); Minnesota at Butler (9pm, ESPNU); Kansas State at Iowa (9pm, ESPN)

  • 🏀 NBA: Nuggets at Timberwolves (9pm, NBA)

  • 🏒 NHL: Jets at Rangers (7pm, ESPN+)

  • ⚾️ Spring training: Rays at Red Sox (1pm, MLB); Reds at Angels (4pm, MLB); Diamondbacks at Cubs (9pm, MLB)

  • ⚽️ Women's Champions League: Ajax vs. Chelsea (1:45pm, YouTube); Benfica vs. Lyon (4pm, YouTube) … First-leg quarterfinal matches.

*Old man on campus: Bison forward Seth Towns, 26, is an eighth-year senior who began his college career at Harvard in 2016 before making stops at Ohio State and now Howard. He's older than Jayson Tatum and De'Aaron Fox, who are in their seventh NBA seasons.

🏀 Tourney trivia

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)

The longest active men's NCAA tournament streaks* belong to Michigan State (26 straight appearances) and Gonzaga (25).

Question: Which school is next with nine consecutive appearances?

  • Purdue

  • Duke

  • Tennessee

  • Kentucky

Answer at the bottom.

*Vacated wins: Kansas has made 34 consecutive appearances, but the NCAA recently vacated their 2018 Final Four run after a years-long federal probe. So officially, the Jayhawks' active streak is five (2019-present, minus 2020).

🏀 Fill out your bracket!

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

Ready to fill out your bracket? Head to to play with friends or enter the $25K Best Bracket Contest for both the men's and women's tournaments.

Trivia answer: Purdue

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.