– According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants and RHP Tim Lincecum have made “significant progress” in negotiations on a new contract. Lincecum requested $21.5M, a record for a player with less than 6 years of service time, and was offered $17M by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged Tuesday. Lincecum is due to hit free agency after the 2013 season and is known to be asking for either a 1 or 2-year contract or a massive long-term contract.
– Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com was told by a source that the Athletics are “very interested” in OF Manny Ramirez. The Orioles and Blue Jays recently sent scouts to watch Ramirez take batting practice in Miami. The 39-year-old plans to hold a workout for MLB teams before the end of the month. ManRam will need to serve a 50-game suspension for his second positive PED test before being eligible to play during the regular season.
– According to the Associated Press, Indians’ RHP Fausto Carmona has been released on a $13K bond in his native Dominican Republic. Carmona reportedly apologized to fans and the U.S. Government upon being released and was ordered to check in with prosecutors while the investigation of him using a false identity continues. Given that RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (Leo Nunez) wasn’t charged in a similar circumstance, Carmona (Roberto Hernandez Heredia) probably won’t be charged. Oviedo is currently having visa issues, however, and Carmona could go through the same problems.
– According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Indians have acquired RHP Kevin Slowey from the Rockies for RHP Zach Putnam. Colorado acquired Slowey from the Twins in December after he posted a 6.67 ERA over 59 1/3 innings last season–he avoided arbitration last week by agreeing to a 1-year/$2.75M contract. The deal likely means that RHP Fausto Carmona could be facing a visa issue for some time.
– The Nationals have signed OF/1B Mike Morse to a 2-year/$10.5M extension, avoiding arbitration. Morse, 30 in March, is coming off a breakthrough season in which he batted .303 with 31 home runs, 95 RBI and a .910 OPS.
– The Yankees have signed OF Brett Gardner to a 1-year/$2.8M contract, avoiding arbitration. Gardner hit .259 last season with 19 doubles, seven homers, 36 RBIs and 49 steals, which tied Oakland’s Coco Crisp for the AL lead.
– Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Athletics have signed free agent OF Jonny Gomes. He has a .281/.375/.501 career batting line against lefty pitchers and could be a solid platoon option.
– The Rangers have signed 1B/OF Brad Hawpe to a minor league contract with a spring training invite. Hawpe, who underwent Tommy John surgery last August, batted .231/.301/.344 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .645 over 216 plate appearances with the Padres in 2011. The 32-year-old will begin the season as the backup first baseman.
– The Reds have finalized a 1-year/$8.5M contract with RHP Ryan Madson. Madson will earn $6M this season, with $2M is deferred until November 1 and $2M until November 1, 2013. The deal includes a $11M mutual option for 2013 with a $2.5M buyout. Madson saved 32 games in 34 chances last year for NL East champion Philadelphia.
– Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that trade talks between the Rockies and Red Sox regarding SS Marco Scutaro are now “fizzling.” Renck hears that the Rockies have indeed discussed a deal for Sctuaro, but Boston isn’t likely to make a move, given how thin they are at middle infield.
– The Dodgers filed a proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan Friday, a little more than a week after resolving a court fight with Fox Sports that threatened plans to sell the ball club. The Dodgers said in court documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, that the pending sale of the team should satisfy all creditor claims in full, either through cash payments or assumption of the claims by the new team owners. The Dodgers intend to complete a sale of the team by April 30, as called for in a settlement with Major League Baseball. The April 30 date coincides with the deadline for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to pay $131M to his ex-wife, Jamie, as part of their divorce settlement.
– Nets’ G Deron Williams has released his trade wish list and it includes the Mavericks, Knicks and Lakers. D-Will says his first option is to stay with the Nets as they move to Brooklyn, but that will change depending on whether or not the Nets acquire Magic’ F Dwight Howard. Right now, the Nets will not even consider trading Williams until pairing him with Howard is no longer a possibility. If the Nets don’t work out a deal for Howard, Williams has said he would want to be traded to the Mavericks, Knicks or Lakers.
– The Dolphins have hired Packers’ OC Joe Philbin as head coach. Philbin, 50, was Green Bay’s OC from 2007 through 2011, and never ranked worse than ninth in total offense during that span. Impending free agent QB Matt Flynn may be the next to one to go to Miami.
– Free agent QB Drew Brees backed up head coach Sean Payton’s remarks this week, saying he would be “beyond stunned” if he doesn’t reach a long-term deal with the Saints. Brees hopes get a contract hammered out “very soon” now that the season is over. According to Brees, both sides are “very confident that a deal will get done sooner than later,” aiming for an agreement between now and the start of free agency. Brees could land the richest contract in league history.
– Lawyers for Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger and a woman who accused him of raping her at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino in 2008 have reached a settlement that ends her civil lawsuit against the Steelers quarterback. Cal Dunlap, the Reno lawyer representing the woman, confirmed the settlement on Friday but declined to discuss the terms of the agreement. The Reno Gazette-Journal first reported the settlement on its website. It also dismisses claims against Harrah’s employees whom the woman had accused of covering up the alleged sexual assault in Roethlisberger’s penthouse suite in July 2008. Dunlap first told Washoe District Court Judge Brent Adams in papers filed last Nov. 30 that his client wanted to have a stay lifted so the case could be dismissed because a settlement was pending.
– The Steelers signed 2006 Heisman Trophy QB Troy Smith to a reserve/futures contract Friday. Smith spent three seasons with the Ravens from 2007-09, beating the Steelers as a rookie starter in 2007.
– The Packers have signed QB Nick Hill. Hill signed with the Chicago Bears in 2008 as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois. He was released before the 2009 season and played in the AFL for the Orlando Predators in 2010-11 before signing with the AFL’s Tampa Bay Storm for the 2012 season. In 2011, Hill completed 387-of-578 passes for 4,758 yards and 97 touchdowns with 17 interceptions in 16 games for Orlando. He also ran for nine TDs.
– Another save of the year candidate was seen in the Sabres/Jets game, with Ryan Miller making an outstanding save. Check it out:
– The Ducks have signed D Francois Beauchemin to a 3-year/$10.5M contract worth $3.5M annually. The 31-year-old has 18 points, 37 penalty minutes, 95 blocked shots, 88 hits and a plus-1 rating in 45 games with the Ducks this season.
– The Hurricanes have traded F Alexei Ponikarovsky to the New Jersey Devils for defenceman Joe Sova and a 2012 4th-round draft pick. Poni, 31, has seven goals and eight assists with a minus-12 rating with the Hurricanes this season. Sova was signed as a free agent on March 19 of last year by the Devils. The 23-year-old has scored two goals and two assists in 13 games with the AHL’s Albany Devils this season.
– Jon Stewart of The Daily Show had a Bruins-bashing segment on his show. Enjoy:
– Stars’ F Jamie Benn (appendectomy) rode the stationary bike on Friday. Head coach Glen Gulutzan said, ”He’s here this morning riding the bike, so he’s feeling a little bit better. He looks a little better than he did yesterday, he was a little white. I think he’s on course, on what a guy would do after an appendectomy. He’s young, so it doesn’t take as long.”
– A funny parody video of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out has surfaced online, featuring then-Flames’ F Rene Bourque and Capitals’ F Troy Brouwer. Enjoy:
– For the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, Team Chara will have Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien of the Boston
Bruins and his assistants (Doug Houda, Doug Jarvis and Geoff Ward), while Team Alfredsson will have Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella and Sharks’ head coach Todd McLellan.
– Jets’ F Nik Antropov has been fined $2,500 for his boarding hit on Sabres’ D T.J. Brennan during Thursday night’s game.
– Wolves’ F Brody Silk has been suspended 12 games for his check on IceDogs’ F Ryan Strome.
– One of the most ridiculous knockouts ever recently occurred in a muay thai match. The post-knockout recovery is one of the weirdest things ever witnessed. Check it out:
– Chris Jericho, Broncos’ QB Tim Tebow, Braves’ 3B Chipper Jones and Buccaneers’ LB NFL Derrick Brooks are now co-owners of the new D1 Sports Training and Therapy center in Tampa, Florida. The facility focuses on training Division 1 college athletes. Jones and Brooks will be hosting a members-only D1 Experience event on Saturday, January 21. Jericho will be hosting a D1 Experience event on Saturday, January, 28. The date for Tebow’s members-only D1 Experience event at D1 Tampa is to be determined. The facility, located on Gunn Highway in Citrus Park. features an 18,000+ square-foot training space and an additional 10,000 square feet for Westchase Sports Medicine and Patients First family medicine practice. Here’s what Chris Jericho and Tim Tebow are saying about the new facility:
Jericho: “It’s such an exciting honor to be part of D1 Tampa! After training around the world at an advanced level for over 25 years, I can honestly say this is the finest fitness facility that I have ever been a part of. I’m so stoked to see the city of Tampa become a more physically fit community as a result of D1 and I plan to train here as much as possible!
Tebow: “It’s so exciting to be a part of D1 in Tampa. When I graduated from Florida I had to find the perfect place to train to get ready for the (NFL) combine. I traveled all over the country in search of a facility that would fit my needs. Of all the places that I visited around the country, I found that D1 had everything I needed and it ended up being the right place for me.”
“I love the training philosophy as well as the mentality the staff brings to work every day. They are so passionate about training, getting people in shape and improving their mind along with their focus on life. I was honored when I had the opportunity to become a part of the D1 family.”
– “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Jimmy Snuka and Sgt. Slaughter were on the original cast list for WWE Legends’ House, a reality show premiering in 2012 on the WWE Network that will put eight to ten ‘Legends’ under one roof. Production for the show will begin soon in California. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mean” Gene Okerlund are confirmed for the show. Stephanie McMahon was quoted as saying in Entertainment Weekly that Dusty Rhodes and Iron Sheik would be on it as well.