– During an appearance on WEEI in Boston on Thursday, DH David Ortiz said that he has yet to receive an offer from the Red Sox. ”I was expecting something would happen before (the exclusive negotiating period ran out), but so many things are going on. I know everybody has priorities, and to be honest with you, I thought I was one of them.” Ortiz is expected to hit the market, and his days in Boston could be over. He earned $12.5M this season while batting .309/.398/.554 with 29 homers, 96 RBI and a .953 OPS. He’s believed to be asking for a multi-year contract this winter worth more than $10M per season.
– According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the Braves are taking trade offers for RHP Jair Jurrjens and INF Martin Prado. Atlanta is looking to add power and open up salary for a free agent shortstop through the trades. The Royals have already expressed interest in Jurrjens. He recorded a solid 2.96 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 23 starts this year. Prado has a .293/.341/.434 career batting line. Both should have plenty of calls made for them.
– According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, free agent SS Rafael Furcal has already drawn interest from “a half dozen teams.” The Cards are hoping to re-sign Furcal to an incentive-based contract, but could pull out if it becomes too pricy. The 34-year-old batted .255/.316/.418 with seven home runs, four stolen bases and 16 RBI in 50 games after joining St. Louis at the trade deadline.
– The Nationals have signed RHP Chien-Ming Wang to a 1-year/$4M contract. The deal also carries some performance-based incentives. Wang, 31, registered a 4.04 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 11 starts this season after returning from a drawn-out shoulder injury. If he can stay healthy throughout 2012, he should be a reliable mid-rotation starter.
– The D’Backs have signed manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers to contract extensions. Both are now signed through 2014, with options for 2015 and 2016. Gibson led the D’Backs to their first playoff appearance since 2007 this season, while Towers essentially built the team.
– Cubs’ president of baseball operations Theo Epstein indicated Thursday that he hasn’t ruled out Terry Francona as a candidate for manager. Epstein said that Francona would be at the top of anyone’s list and wouldn’t necessarily require an interview, but that both sides would need to see a fit. Francona is scheduled to interview Friday for the Cardinals’ managerial vacancy.
– Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Red Sox and Cubs have both asked permission to interview Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux for manager. Maddux has been with the Rangers since November of 2008 and was also the pitching coach with the Brewers for six seasons. The Red Sox and Cubs are also considering Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin for manager and should overlap on a couple more candidates before all is said and done. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially as the clubs continue to work out compensation for Theo Epstein.
– According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the D’Backs have signed C Henry Blanco to a 1-year/$1.2M contract. Blanco declined his half of a $1.15M mutual option for 2012 this week. The deal includes a $1.24M mutual option for 2013. The 40-year-old batted .250/.330/.540 with eight homers, 12 RBI and an .870 OPS over 112 plate appearances this season while throwing out 46% (11-for-24) of would-be basestealers.
– Sabres’ F Patrick Kaleta has been suspended for four games for headbutting Flyers’ F Jakub Voracek on Wednesday night. The play occurred five minutes into the first period when the two of them battled for the puck along the boards and Kaleta drove his helmet into Voracek’s face. The play wasn’t penalized in the contest. Kaleta will be eligible to return on November 11 versus the Ottawa Senators.
– Jets’ D Tobias Enstrom (broken collarbone) is out indefinitely. He was forced to leave Monday’s game following a hit from Panthers’ F Jack Skille and did not return. He has six points and a plus-2 rating in 11 games this season.
– Roger Mason said on Thursday that the players union and owners will resume meeting and negotiating on Saturday. There’s talk of the season starting on December 1, but this meeting will have to go very well for that to happen. Mason also indicated that system issues are as much a problem as BRI right now, and that the two sides don’t seem to be as close to a deal as some folks are estimating.
– Paparazzi caught Maryse Ouellet out in Hollywood, California Friday night just hours after WWE announced they had come to terms on the release of the French Canadian entertainer. When asked for comment on her departure from the sports entertainment organization, she flippantly responds, “Vince McMahon, your loss.”
Contrary to her remark, the split was largely mutual since she asked to be released from her contract and WWE no longer had plans to promote her in a high-profile manner. Friends of Ouellet say she lost interest in performing for WWE over the past year and was ready to move on to the next chapter of her life. She plans on returning to glamour modeling and has her sights set on posing for Playboy again. WWE’s decision to release Ouellet was also fueled by the expectation that unlike Gail Kim, she will not join TNA Wrestling.
Ouellet underwent abdominal hernia surgery on August 24, 2011 but never appeared for WWE again. She was cleared to resume wrestling several weeks ago and told friends she would be returning soon. Ouellet is dating The Miz and the couple currently reside in Southern California.
– Tommy Dreamer appeared on Busted Open. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Dreamer vs. Raven: “Yeah, oh man that was to me, one of the greater stories, feuds in wrestling history .. I put that up there with Dusty Rhodes, and Kevin Sullivan, Carlos Colon, Abdul the Butcher, Bret & Shawn. Just for the sake of how much stuff we really did, and you think longevity-wise you know. We lasted 3 years with that storyline of me never beating him, and the best part of that storyline with me was all the characters that spawned from it with you know Stevie Richards, Beulah, Francine, The Pit Bulls, Brian Lee, so many, The BWO. So many people were actually able to actually get a career because of that as well”
The End of ECW: “Well, it was an amazing, amazing team effort, and there’s a lot of guys who helped contribute to it, I just… I guess my legacy is also just because of so much, behind the scenes that I contributed to the company, and I was also pretty much the last man to stay in the company. I actually stayed longer than Paul Heyman, which was sad cuz’ he was the real owner. And, you know, I went down with the ship, but now it’s all good cuz’ it’s made me the man who I am. At times I was also thinking of changing my name to, ECW or like Edward Charles Wright cuz’ every time I wrestle, they seem to chant that.”
Not wanting to hold titles: “Actually , one of the many fights me and Paul Heyman got into , to me, titles; I never wanted to hold one. You know, titles were given, to me, they’re given to guys to help them get to the next level, and in the original ECW, I really didn’t need it, but the story worked out better cuz’ a lot of times where do you go from there once you win the title. Then, you know, the whole storyline, and again, it was all Paul basically saying, “Don’t put the title around your waist. I don’t want anyone ever to say there was a picture of you with the title around your waist, and like that would be the next chapter for Tommy Dreamer. He finally won the title. Not only did he lose the girl, but he also never got a picture of him with the title around his waist, you know just to add to the saga of professional wrestling, and the original ECW.”
Parting ways with TNA Wrestling: “There was a lot of things. It was.. contracts and it just whatever. I didn’t put up with a lot of stuff in WWE, I’m not gonna’ put up with stuff in TNA. And you know what? I miss everybody in WWE, and I miss everybody in TNA, but,..I’m happy in my life and at 40 years old, if I can’t, I don’t want to say do it my way, but again, not seeing things done logically, and looking at stuff from a business point of view. Then I just say it doesn’t make sense to me, and it’s like no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I destroy my body, no matter how much other guys destroy their body, if stuff’s not going to change, to me that really, really bothers me, and I don’t know. I guess I don’t want to be a part of it.
“I don’t want negativity in my life just because I’m in a way different stage in my life. I love wrestling. I‘ve loved it since I was a little kid, and I don’t want to be the bitter old veteran who hates wrestling, and for a while like when stuff doesn’t make sense or they just do stuff to do it, and just do it, I get so mad. I just..I’d rather just walk away and watch it from afar, and be like an armed chair quarterback on Monday’s or Tuesday’s, ya’ know?”