– Reds’ 1B Joey Votto has won the Lou Marsh Award for Canada’s outstanding athlete by the Toronto Star. Votto hit .324 with 37 home runs, 113 RBIs and 16 stolen bases last season in becoming just the third Canadian to win an MVP award. Other finalists for the Marsh honour were Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby, Blackhawks’ F Jonathan Toews, ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Mohr, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, figure skater Joannie Rochette, long-track speedskater Christine Nesbitt and freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau.
– The Pirates have signed 1B Lyle Overbay to a 1-year/$5M contract. Overbay had lunch on Tuesday afternoon with new Bucs’ manager Clint Hurdle and was apparently sold immediately on the idea of heading to Pittsburgh. He should have a fairly productive year if he swings the bat like he did in 2010 for the Blue Jays, amassing 20 homers and 67 RBI. The Pirates are going to start him at first base and push 1B Garrett Jones to the outfield.
– The Athletics have signed DH Hideki Matsui to a 1-year/$4.25N contract. Godzilla should bring a nice element of power to the A’s’ lineup, which lacked exactly that last year and still managed a .500 finish. He slugged 21 homers, had 84 RBI and managed an 820 OPS while playing with the Angels in 2010. Godzilla still has the goods.
– OF Gary Sheffield, hoping to make a comeback, had dinner in Tampa Friday with Rays’ manager Joe Maddon. “I had a meeting with the Rays, and they’re going to get back to me. It’s out there now that they’re talking to me and hopefully something comes about.” The 42-year-old was pretty productive in 2009, but he sat out all of last year. Maybe the Rays will invite him to spring training and sort of see how things go.
– According to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Japanese SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka will travel to Minnesota soon for a pre-signing physical. Nishioka is expected to receive a 3-year/$10M contract, or $15M if you want to include the posting fee that the Twins paid to secure exclusive negotiating rights. Neal says the two sides are still working out a few parameters, such as the hiring of an interpreter and an agreement on the number of round-trip flights from Japan to the United States that will be provided by the Twinkies. Nishioka won the batting title in Nippon Professional Baseball this past year with a .346 average.
– The Rays have re-signed LHP J.P. Howell to a 1-year deal. Howell, 27, did not play in 2010 after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. He is expected to make a full recovery but will likely miss the beginning of the 2011 campaign. The starter-turned-reliever recorded 17 saves and a 7-5 record in 69 appearances for Tampa Bay in 2009, his fourth year with the club.
– The Padres have signed RHP Dustin Moseley to a 1-year/$900K deal. Moseley went 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA this year in nine starts and seven relief appearances with the Yankees.
– The O’s have signed RHP Koji Uehara to a 1-year/$3M deal. The 35-year-old has endured two injury-riddled seasons with Baltimore. After serving as a starter in 2009, Uehara enjoyed success as a stopper in the latter part of the 2010 season. He went 1-2 with 13 saves and a 2.86 ERA. He led AL relievers in fewest walks per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio (11-to-1).
– The Rangers have re-signed C Matt Treanor to a 1-year/$850K deal. He hit .211 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 82 games. He established career highs in games, runs (22), homers, and RBI.
– The Nationals have signed 1B/OF Matt Stairs to a minor league deal.
– G Evgeni Nabokov’s agent, Don Meehan, has talked to the Lightning about his client. The Lightning’s goalies have struggled this season, which might make Nabokov a natural fit in T-Bay. He would have to clear waivers first, however, which complicates any potential negotiations. If the Bolts are interested in Nabby and sign him for too little, he’ll just be claimed by another team. However, they’ll probably have to eat G Mike Smith or G Dan Ellis’ contract by sending one of the two to the minors if they sign Nabokov, making any potential contract that much less appealing financially. Stay tuned.
– The Devils have placed F Brian Rolston on waivers. Rolston has just two goals and four points in 15 games this season. If he isn’t claimed on waivers, he’ll stay on the Devils’ roster. GM Lou Lamoriello said, “If he’s not claimed, he will be playing tomorrow (against Phoenix). It’s day by day. Right now, I have no thoughts (on Rolston’s future) beyond that he was placed on waivers today.” Lamoriello called the decision to waive Rolston a financial one, but the Devils’ won’t save cap space by sending Rolston to the minors because he’s over 35. Rolston isn’t likely to be claimed on waivers, given that he has a $5,062,500 annual cap hit and is signed through the 2011-12 season. However, he has a better chance of being claimed on re-entry waivers where another team would split his salary with the Devils. That being said, Lamoriello isn’t currently planning on exposing Rolston to re-entry waivers. Stay tuned.
– The Ducks have signed coach Randy Carlyle and Senior VP David McNab to 1-year contract extensions. Carlyle’s contract now runs through the 2011-12 season. Carlyle led the Ducks to the playoffs four straight seasons from 2005-06 through 2008-09. Anaheim didn’t enter 2010-11 amid high expectations, but they have a solid 16-13-4 record so far this season, which is good enough for 6th place in the Western Conference.
– Nuggets’ G Chauncey Billups (right wrist) is expected to miss about a week. This is an aggravation of Billups’ previous right (shooting) wrist injury that he originally hurt on November 20. He had an MRI on Monday and will meet with a doctor Tuesday. Billups is not expected to play at all on the Nuggets’ three-game homestand.
– ESPN Dallas’ Todd Archer reports that Cowboys’ WR Kevin Ogletree (right big toe) will require surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. The procedure is similar to the one RB Felix Jones had in 2008. Jones was 100% by the time the 2009 season rolled around, though Ogletree could be in danger of missing offseason work. He finished the season with just the three receptions for 34 yards accrued in Week 14.
– John Cena announced on his Twitter account this morning that World Wrestling Entertainment terminated their contract with Juan Cena last night at approximately 9:00 p.m.
“CeNation. Wwe reports that last night at approximatley 9pm est. It terminated its contract with cousin of john cena, juan. The wwe wishes juan the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
– Former WWE Diva, Jillian Hall spoke with Diva Dirt today. The highlights:
On requesting her release & unhappiness in WWE: “I asked for my release back in the beginning of September. I’d been thinking about it around the time of SummerSlam and the beginning of September, I decided to ask for my release. I had a talk with my boss [John Laurinaitis] and he told me that he didn’t really want to release me at the time. You know, me and John get along. I have no problem with the company, WWE was awesome to me. They were there for me through everything for a long time. They hired me when I was pretty much nothing and they kept me around. They never fired me; I saw a lot of people come & go but they kept me and I love them for that. I just wasn’t happy with where I was at the time so I did ask for myself.”
How she became a trainer in FCW & her eventual release: “He [John Laurinaitis] was going around finding other areas where I might be happy and one of the things that came up was maybe you could train the Divas in FCW since you live in Florida. I said, ‘I’m open to that’. I’m tired of traveling. I’d traveled for a long time. I wanted to sleep in my own bed for a week straight without having to leave for a little while. He said, ‘You’d only have to do a couple of days a week’ and I was fine with that. So we talked about it for a couple of weeks and I started doing that for a couple of months for a couple of months and then they came to terms with the actual release.”