– The Predators announced Tuesday that they have matched the Flyers’ 14-year/$110M offer sheet for RFA D Shea Weber. The offer sheet includes $68M in bonus money in the first six years. In total, Weber will make $14M in each of the first four years; $12M in years five and six; $6M in each of the next four seasons; $3M in year 11; and $1M in each of the remaining years. The team issued a statement Tuesday afternoon:
“The decision to enter into the largest contract in franchise history was made by all parts of the organization, including ownership, hockey operations and business operations.”
“As the organization analyzed the overall situation and worked toward a conclusion, the decision boiled down to three questions: Was Shea Weber the individual that this franchise wanted to lead our team, a team that would compete for the Stanley Cup every year, for the next 14 years? Would matching the offer sheet be in the best long-term interest of the team and organization? Would a decision not to match the offer sheet send a negative message to current Predators players and other NHL organizations, a message that the Predators would only go so far to protect its best players and be pushed around by teams with ‘deep pockets?’ The answer to each of the above questions is clearly yes.”
The 26-year-old failed to come to an agreement with the Predators when his 1-year./$7.5M contract expired after the season. He finished the 2011-12 season with 19 goals and 49 points. While it’s a ton of money, there’s no way Nashville would let D Ryan Suter and Weber walk away in one summer and get nothing in return–it would’ve been a franchise-crippling move and all-but ensured them of missing the playoffs for the next few seasons.
– Joel Sherman of the NY Post was told by an executive from an outside team that the Phillies floated an offer of around 6-years/$140M to LHP Cole Hamels. It would be the second-richest contract ever given to a pitcher, behind Yankees’ LHP C.C. Sabathia’s $161M deal. Hamels remains likely to be moved before the July 31 deadline.
– Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that the Red Sox have traded UTIL Brent Lillibridge to the Indians for minor league RHP Jose De La Torre. Lillibridge, who was acquired from the White Sox in the Kevin Youkilis deal, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last week. The 28-year-old is batting .165 (13-for-79) with one double, two RBI and seven stolen bases this season. De La Cruz, a 26-year-old reliever, has a 2.86 ERA over parts of six seasons in the minors, averaging 9.4 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.