– SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the Reds and 1B Joey Votto are “working hard” on a multi-year deal. Heyman says the two sides could end up doing a 3-year/$37M deal. That would buy out the NL MVP’s arbitration years but still put him in line to be a free agent in 2014. Votto would likely make around $8M in arbitration if an extension can’t be agreed upon, but it sounds like there’s a good chance something gets done before the season starts.
– The Royals have signed LHP Bruce Chen to a 1-year/$2M contract, reports SI.com’s Jon Heyman. Chen was trying to hold out for a multiyear deal after his surprisingly strong 2010 season, but that was never on the table. The Royals are now looking at a rotation of Chen, Jeff Francis and Luke Hochevar in some order, with Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan fighting for two spots.
– CBS’ Charley Casserly reports that the Eagles will consider trading QB Kevin Kolb this offseason if they’re offered a 1st-round pick. There are a ton of QB-needy teams around the league, such as the Cardinals, Dolphins, Vikings, 49ers, Titans, Bills, Broncos, Seahawks, Jaguars, Bengals, Raiders and Panthers are all either looking or have long-term uncertainty at the position, so they could auction him off and try and get more than just one pick. Note: trades can’t be made until a new CBA is reached, and that won’t happen before late February at soonest.
– CBS’ Charley Casserly reports that the franchise tag number for quarterbacks in 2011 is expected to be roughly $23M. According to Casserly, the Colts plan to place the tag on impending free agent QB Peyton Manning, before the sides begin long-term extension talks. The $23M becomes guaranteed once it’s signed by a player. Manning isn’t going anywhere, so it’s just a tool to make certain there’s no chance the sides part ways. Eagles’ QB Michael Vick is also likely to be franchised in Philly.
– ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Broncos will retain OC Mike McCoy. McCoy was linked to the OC gig in Cleveland, but ultimately decided to stay in Denver. A quarterbacks coach for seven seasons in Carolina under new Broncos’ head coach John Fox, McCoy will almost certainly call plays in 2011. His history with QB Tim Tebow is a good sign for his development.
– The Eagles have fired DC Sean McDermott. McDermott did a good job this season, overseeing a defense that ranked 12th in yards allowed, 3rd in interceptions, and in the top-10 in sacks. They’ll likely promote DB coach Dick Jauron. McDermott now becomes a prime candidate to coordinate Pat Shurmur’s defense in Cleveland.
– The Raiders will not renew the contract of DC John Marshall. Marshall’s contract expires on Tuesday. According to the SF Chronicle, Marshall’s big issue was six games of 30 or more points allowed, and 29 TD passes surrendered. Expect more of the same from the black and silver if Nnamdi Asomugha leaves.
– Initial tests on Heat’ F Chris Bosh (left ankle sprain) showed that he did not suffer a severe sprain Saturday night. Bosh may have an MRI when the Heat get back to Miami today, but X-rays were negative. “It could’ve been a lot worse so I consider myself lucky. The damage is mild, so I’ll just do the proper treatment and what the doctors tell me to do.” Bosh is not known for fighting through injuries.
– Barring a setback in Sunday’s practice, Knicks’ F Danilo Gallinari (knee) is expected to make his return in Monday’s game against the Suns. Gallinari has missed the last six games with a knee sprain. The Knicks have dropped three of their last four.
– Raptors’ G Leandro Barbosa (strained right hamstring) will miss 1-2 weeks. Barbosa is out at least the next five games.
– According to the Edmonton Sun, Oilers’ D Ryan Whitney (ankle) will require season-ending surgery. Whitney has two goals and 27 points in 35 games with 33 penalty minutes and a plus-13 rating on a poor Oilers club.
– According to TSN, UFA G Ray Emery says he feels good and will be ready to return to the NHL in a few weeks, at which point he’ll test the market for interest.
– TNA founder Jeff Jarrett was interviewed this week by the Baltimore Sun .. Here are some highlights of what Jarrett said about:
Whether TNA Wrestling Is Profitable: “Absolutely. We turned that corner four or five years ago. Like WWE or any other business, would we like to be making more money? Sure, but the reality is that the U.S. economy is still in a recession, and internationally we have different economies to deal with, but all in all, we’re pleased.”
His Personal Goals For TNA In 2011: “We want to grow the brand globally. We’ve got a tour of Europe coming next week. We’re looking at taking it potentially to a couple other sites overseas. We want to see the live events continue to grow, [merchandise] to grow. We just want to continue to grow on everything, and that’s sort of a broad answer, but it’s the truth.”
Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff’s Impact On TNA So Far: “We have people in positions now more than ever to succeed. And I’m talking about behind the scenes and as far as our roster goes from top to bottom – Kurt Angle, X Division, the Hardys, RVD, Mr. Anderson. We’ve got an incredible roster. Short answer: Yes, I’m very pleased with where we’re headed.”
Going Head-To-Head With WWE On Monday Nights: “We learned, just like the wrestling fans learned, that the world has changed. Back in the “Monday Night Wars,” that was before our good little friend called the DVR was around, and you had to flip back and forth. Nowadays, the viewing habits are just entirely different and we found that out. The landscape has changed, so we’ve planted our feet in our ground and we’re making it grow, and that’s our strategy right now. Had we not tried it, though, we would have never found out.”
Working With Kurt Angle & Karen On Camera: “Well, story line is a word that doesn’t quite actually apply if you know what I mean. Me and Kurt – on a personal note, we’re good; on a professional note, I don’t think we’ll ever be on the same page. But it’s very unique, real, raw emotions. He’ll say his piece, and I’ll say my piece, and probably more importantly, Karen’s going to say her piece. It’s going to be very, very interesting.”
– This year’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view takes place on February 20th from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. A new promotional poster for the event has been released and it features World Heavyweight champion Edge.