– The Yankees have signed RHP Phil Hughes to a 1-year/$3.2M contract with performance-based bonuses, avoiding arbitration. Hughes was eligible for salary arbitration this winter for the second time in his career. He made $2.7M in 2011 while posting a 5.79 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 47/27 K/BB ratio across 74 2/3 innings of work.
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds have signed OF Ryan Ludwick to a 1-year/$2.5M contract (plus $500K in performance incentives) with a mutual option for 2013. Ludwick has history with GM Walt Jocketty dating back to his days with the Cardinals. (and former Cardinals general manager) Walt Jocketty. Ludwick, 33, batted just .237/.310/.363 with 13 home runs, 75 RBI and a .674 OPS last season between the Padres and Pirates. He’ll share playing time with Chris Heisey in left field.
– The Athletics have acquired OF Seth Smith from the Rockies for RHP Guillermo Moscoso and LHP Josh Outman. The 29-year-old Smith batted .284/.347/.482 with 15 home runs last season for Colorado.
– The Red Sox have signed RHP Vicente Padilla. The deal also includes an invitation to spring training and could end up in the rotation. The 34-year-old missed nearly all of the 2011 season due to neck surgery, but he posted a cool 4.07 ERA and 84/24 K/BB ratio across 95 innings in 2010 for the Dodgers.
– Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have offered LHP Jamie Moyer a minor league contract. Moyer, 49, missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He would have a chance to compete for a rotation spot during spring training.
– According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, there has been “some contact” between the Yankees and free agent DH Hideki Matsui. The Yankees reportedly only have $1-2M in their budget for a DH, so Matsui might be their cheapest option. The 37-year-old batted .251/.321/.375 with 12 homers and 72 RBI with the A’s last season. He played for New York from 2003-2009.
– Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have shown interest in free agent RHP Francisco Cordero. RHP Jim Johnson appeared to be the in-house candidate to become the new closer, but now that may no longer be the case. The 36-year-old posted a 2.45 ERA and 37 saves last season, but his fastball velocity and strikeout rate are both on the decline. The team is reportedly willing to trade RHP Kevin Gregg and would eat some of his $5.8M salary.
– Former MLB star Wade Boggs was caught singing Karaoke drunk after crashing a Mexican wedding. Here’s the video:
– Broncos VP of Football Operations John Elway said at the team’s season-ending press conference Monday that QB Tim Tebow has “earned the right” to be the team’s starting quarterback entering 2012 training camp. ”As it stands right now, we’ve got two quarterbacks under contract. We have to be in the market to find more quarterbacks.” Elway praised Tebow’s work ethic, and said he plans to spend “considerable time” with Denver’s QB group this offseason.
– Former Bears’ OC and Rams’ head coach Mike Martz has retired from coaching. The Rams won the Super Bowl in Martz’s first season as coordinator in 1999, scoring the fourth-most points in NFL history (526). He replaced Dick Vermeil as head coach the next year, went 10-6, and led St. Louis to another Super Bowl appearance in 2001. Martz will leave a lasting impression as one of the best offensive minds in NFL history.
– The Rams will interview former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson for their OC vacancy. During his two years with the Raiders, Jackson moved the club’s scoring rank from 13th to fourth, and Oakland also had a top-five 2011 offense in yardage. Jackson has experience with a young quarterback, serving as QB Joe Flacco’s position coach during Flacco’s first–and best–two seasons in the league (2008-2009). Jackson be a nice fit with QB Sam Bradford in St. Louis.
– The Rams have named Gregg Williams as DC. Williams is close with head coach Jeff Fisher, as the two worked together on Tennessee’s staff from 1997-2000. Williams’ Saints defence ranked 24th in 2011, but fourth in 2010. New Orleans led the NFL in turnovers caused in 2009.
– PFT reports that Cowboys’ WR Dez Bryant was not arrested or charged in connection with an alleged “physical altercation” at a Miami nightclub over the weekend. According to WFAA-Dallas, Bryant was “in a fight and detained” by Miami Police on Sunday night. The incident led to no criminal accusations. The 23-year-old caught 63 balls for 928 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011, setting career highs across the board.
– During the 2012 Miss America Pageant, the winner, Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler, asked Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers to call her for a date.
“If you’re watching, Aaron Rodgers, call me!”
– Magic’ F Dwight Howard has added the Clippers to his list of preferred destinations, according to Chris Sheridan. D-12 had previously told the Magic that he would be willing to sign a long-term deal with the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers. The Magic are 9-3 and still hope to convince Howard to rescind his trade demand. We won’t see a resolution until the March 15 trade deadline.
– Heat’ G Dwyane Wade (ankle) remains out indefinitely. Head coach Erik Spoelstra said, ”I’m sorry guys, I’m not trying to be coy. But we are going to reevaluate him every day. I don’t have another answer for you.” The Heat are wisely taking their time bringing him back.
– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (concussion-like symptoms) will meet this week with Dr. Ted Carrick, a specialist in chiropractic neurology who treated him in August. Crosby, who has not played since December 5, accompanied the team on their recent road trip and skated on Friday and Saturday. He mentioned in an interview Friday that he was still having some issues with motion and balance, areas where Dr. Carrick had helped him previously. Crosby did not return with the team to Pittsburgh and instead traveled to meet with Carrick, who has practices in Florida and Georgia. GM Ray Shero said, “Sidney has made a lot of progress but he is still having some symptoms, so this is the next step in his recovery. Obviously he won’t be back in the lineup until he is symptom-free.”
– Capitals’ D Mike Green (groin) will undergo surgery and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Green has been limited to just 10 games this season. Given the number of setbacks he’s suffered, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to overshoot the projected timetable. He’s likely hoping just to be ready for the playoffs.
– Blue Jackets’ F Dane Byers has been suspended 3 games for his headshot on Sharks’ F Andrew Desjardins on Saturday. Byers will forfeit $8,918.91 in salary.
– Wild’ F Mikko Koivu (separated shoulder) is now being listed as week-to-week, with an early timeline being set at 4-6 weeks.
– Penguins’ D Kris Letang (concussion) might rejoin the team before the All-Star break. Letang has already been cleared to participate in contact drills. The Penguins are scheduled to play in five more games before the break.
– According to Sportsnet, former Maple Leafs’ GM John Ferguson Jr. is being mentioned as a potential replacement for current GM Scott Howson. The team’s 12-27-5 record means Howson may be in the hot seat, but hiring JFJ will make things astronomically worse. He’s is best known for his failed tenure with the Leafs. Toronto didn’t make the postseason after the lockout, and Ferguson was fired in January 2008. He’s currently serving as a scout for the Sharks.
– According to reports, the 2013 NHL Winter Classic may now be held at two venues. The Leafs/Red Wings game is expected to be held at The Big House, while all other events and ceremonies could be held at a second downtown rink in Detroit. There is talk that the side events could be held at Comerica Park, home of the MLB’s Tigers.
– Sharks’ G Antti Niemi made a highlight reel, save of the year stop on Blackhawks’ F Patrick Kane last night. Check it out:
– Jets’ F Blake Wheeler (throat) has been released from the hospital and has begun skating. Wheeler was struck in the throat by a shot on Saturday. Tests revealed no damage to his throat or neck. Head coach Claude Noel said, “He’s OK. Everything’s fine. We’re hoping to have him back on Thursday.”
– University of North Dakota Head Coach Dave Hakstol announced today that he has revoked senior D Ben Blood’s assistant captaincy due to an altercation that occurred during the post-game handshake following Saturday night’s game against Minnesota. ”Regardless of any provocation, Ben’s actions in the post-game handshake were not acceptable. The handshake line is a traditional, gentlemanly part of our game where, at the end of a hard-fought battle, opponents show good sportsmanship and shake hands like men.” Hakstol added that Blood will be subject to further internal team disciplinary actions. Blood commented, saying:
“I’m not proud of my behavior. That’s not how I want to represent our program, and that’s not how we handle ourselves here. I understand and respect the punishment, and I’ll move forward and not let my emotions get the best of me in the future.”
Check out the video:
– Marty Jannetty, who noted on his personal Facebook account late last week that he had been drinking Jack Daniel’s for 48 consecutive hours, posted a status update rambling on longtime friend and former tag team partner, Shawn Michaels. The former WWE Superstar wrote:
“o hell yes, Imma ax this now.. Shawn, my good friend, what up bee otch??… I gotta book coming out..well not yet..there”s a few moral issues.., you may wanta contact me first, cause Im telling bout my life, you being a part of it, well hell..call me…but in truth, I’d rather you not, the book will be soooo much better if I dont fall for your shit.. but If you say “DONT SAY THAT” …I’ll remember what yo religious fake ass said about me in your bullshit book..Anyone wanting to see real, will..I aint protecting yo ass…”
Jannetty still remains active with the professional wrestling industry as it was announced in October that he had signed with CHIKARA as a trainer and wrestler.
– The official theme song for WrestleMania 28 will be “Invincible” by Machine Gun Kelly.
– John Cena congratulated the new WWE Tag Team Champions Epico and Primo on Twitter last night:
“Apparently we have new tag team champs..and I died in a car wreck. 1 of those is true. Congrats primo and epico”
– TNA star Sting, who joined Twitter last week, was asked by his followers if he is really planning on retiring in 2012. Sting channeled Mark Twain for his response:
“Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”
Just last week, TNA President Dixie Carter told the UK’s Daily Star magazine the following about Sting looking to retire this year:
“In his mind, I think this is his last year as far as the wrestling is concerned. When we booked this, that’s the way he was talking about it – ‘I haven’t played there in a decade, and before I retire I need to come back there and wrestle.’ Based on where he’s at and what he’s saying, barring something extraordinary this is the last time.”
“And for me it’s great to be able to bring him back there. He’s spent such a big part of his career helping to build our company, I’m very proud we can bring him over. It feels very final. It’s going to be an emotional night.”