– Andy Martino of the NY Daily News reports that Albert Pujols is likely to return to the Cardinals. Pujols is reportedly mulling offers from the Cardinals and Marlins worth around 10-years/$220M. Martino hears that the Marlins are now shifting their attention to landing 1B Prince Fielder while various other reports suggest that they could be in the mix for either LHPs Mark Buehrle or C.J. Wilson.
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that SS Jimmy Rollins is not close to re-signing with the Phillies. Tom Haurdicourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier Wednesday that the Brewers are hearing Rollins will stay with the Phillies. The Phils backed off their pursuit of 3B Aramis Ramirez and are no longer shopping 3B Placido Polanco, so the writing was on the wall. But obviously, negotiations are still ongoing. The 33-year-old is reportedly holding out for a 5-year deal, but will likely have to settle for less.
– According to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, LHP Mark Buehrle has narrowed the field of interested teams to three and is expected to make a decision within the next 24 hours. The Marlins, Rangers, Nationals and Cubs are believed to be among the finalists, although it remains unconfirmed. Buehrle reportedly has 3-year/$36-39M offers from a few teams.
– Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox remain interested in free agent RHP Ryan Madson, as long as they aren’t giving him “crazy money.” Madson is expected to decline arbitration from the Phillies on Wednesday, but is running out of places to close. The Angels may also be in the mix.
– Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that SS Rafael Furcal is unlikely to sign with the Brewers. Furcal is asking for a multi-year contract and has also fielded interest from the Cardinals, Giants and Tigers. Haudricourt suspects that the Brewers may now settle on SS Yuniesky Betancourt as their shortstop in 2012.
– Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that the Cubs and Rockies continue to have discussions about a trade involving 3B Ian Stewart. The clubs originally discussed a deal that would send INF Blake DeWitt to Colorado, but talks have evolved to include INF D.J. LeMaiheu and OF Tyler Colvin. The Cubs are currently considering a number of options at third base, including a possible trade for the Padres’ 3B Chase Headley.
– MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs, Rockies and D’Backs are among the teams interested in RHP Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda is also mulling a potential return to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Carp. He reportedly wants something similar to his $12M salary from this season.
– The NHL has suspended Stars’ D Mark Fistric three games for charging Islanders’ F Nino Niederreiter during Saturday’s game. He’ll be eligible to return on December 15 against against the Islanders. He forfeits $16,216.23 in salary.
– Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre (ACL) has blown out his ACL and is expected to miss 10 months. Now Carlos Condit will now fight Nate Diaz for the interim Welterweight title on February 4 at UFC 143.
– Check out the official video trailer for UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem, which takes place later this month on Friday, December 30. The fight will mark Brock Lesnar’s return to the octagon, with the winner receiving a UFC Heavyweight title shot against newly crowned champion, Junior Dos Santos.
– The Panthers have acquired F Krys Barch and a 2012 6th-round pick from the Stars for F Jake Hauswirth and a 2012 5th-round pick.
– James Storm appeared on Busted Open, which airs every Monday and Wednesday on Sirius 92 and XM 207 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Storm on his short TNA Title reign: “Like you said, it was a little bitter sweet, but it kind of makes me want it more now to go after it. I wasn’t really after the world title to say. It was kind of Bobby Roode’s spotlight moment with him and Kurt Angle and all this. I wasn’t told that I was actually getting a heavyweight title until like 2 hours before the show started. So, and to become the new world champion, it was a great moment, and one that I’ll never forget.”
Storm on Kurt Angle: “To me, without a doubt, Kurt Angle is the greatest wrestler to ever set foot in a ring, in a wrestling ring. I mean, there’s no one in professional wrestling that can out-wrestle Kurt, and always when I’m trying to put a story together, that’s one of the things that I put in there; that I cannot out-wrestle Kurt. I’m not gonna’ try it. I won’t go in there and try to take my fist and stick it to the back of his head as hard as I can. So, if it’s done right, I think me and Kurt can definitely be one of the feuds of the year.”
Storm on tweeting: “To me, it’s one of those things that I really wasn’t thinking I guess because I was so overwhelmed of me winning the world title that I don’t think…I don’t want to say that didn’t care that I got in trouble. But at the time,, that was my moment, and already you had all kinds of spoilers out saying that I won the world title, and all this. So, they already knew that I won the world title basically. So, I’m going to just say, “Hey, tune in this Thursday to see me win the world title, and enjoy this moment with me.” Instead of saying, “Hey, tune in to see if I win the world title.” It was the biggest ratings, and that’s kind of what I was trying to get at is, yeah I Tweeted, I won the world title, but I didn’t Tweet out how I won it, what happened during, after the match or anything like that. It was Tweeted, “Hey, tune in because I won the world title.” Even though I kind of ruined the surprise for some people, but like you said, I think people wanted to tune in to see it happen.”
Storm on Bobby Roode’s character: “My character…I have character. I have a character that a lot of people can relate to. A guy who drinks beer, and goes out hunting, and fishing, and just hangs out at the bar, and has a good time. Like you said, Walmart, Nascar, it’s all that character fit into one, which looking at Bobby Roode, who is Bobby Roode? What exactly is Bobby Roode besides being jacked? I mean, I don’t know what definition of a character you’d give him? Growing up, wrestling had characters, and I think that’s what wrestling today is missing. They don’t really have the flashy characters they did back then. You had the Jake Roberts, and you had The Macho Man. Even Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior. All of those guys were different characters. It seems like today all the wrestlers are almost the same. They’re like the same build, and they wrestle the same, and all this. So, it’s kind of hard to find a unique character.”