– The Phillies have signed Cole Hamels to a 6-year/$144M extension with an option for 2019 (age-34 season). Hamels’ contract is the second-richest ever for a pitcher, trailing only Yankees’ LHP C.C. Sabathia’s 7-year/$161M contract. The deal will carry an average annual value of $24M, which equals that of his teammate LHP Cliff Lee. The Phillies hold a $20M club option for 2019, but the option can also vest at $24M if Hamels reaches certain benchmarks. The deal also includes limited no-trade protection. It seems like a lot of money, but the Phillies continue to sell out games and have a new TV contract kicking in soon, so the money keeps rolling in.
– Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown reports that the Dodgers have acquired 3B Hanley Ramirez and LHP Randy Choate from the Marlins for RHP Nathan Eovaldi and RHP Scott McGough. Big win for the Dodgers, as he’s a big upgrade batting behind Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. After a disappointing and injury-plagued season in 2011, the 28-year-old is batting just .246/.322/.428 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI through 93 games. The Dodgers will pick up the roughly $38.5M left on Ramirez’s contract, which runs through 2014. It’s unclear whether he’ll play short or third for the Dodgers.
– During an appearance on 680 The Fan in Atlanta on Wednesday morning, Braves’ GM Frank Wren said that the team has “moved on” from a possible trade for Cubs’ RHP Ryan Dempster. The Cubs and Braves agreed to a deal on Monday that would have send Dempster to Atlanta for 22-year-old RHP Randall Delgado. Dempster, however, has 10-and-5 rights and has yet to approve the deal. Wren believes a deal “highly unlikely” and said the parameters of a deal expired on Tuesday. It looks like a loss for both sides.
– According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Rangers are among the teams “actively pursuing” a trade for Marlins’ RHP Josh Johnson. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro is reporting that it’s 50-50 whether the Marlins move JJ, who is under contract for $13.75M in 2013. Nightengale hears that the Rangers are willing to give up top prospect 3B Mike Olt in a potential deal. The Blue Jays are also in the mix.
– ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that the Yankees are considering all options at third base, including Padres’ 3B Chase Headley. The 28-year-old is under team control through 2014, so the return package will likely be a package of prospects. The Indians, Athletics and Pirates are also in the mix.
– Yankees’ 3B Alex Rodriguez (left hand) was diagnosed late Tuesday night with a non-displaced fracture. A-Rod suffered the injury on Tuesday evening when he was struck on the hand by Mariners’ RHP Felix Hernandez. The Yankees don’t have a recovery timetable for him yet. Rodriguez will meet with team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad on Wednesday in New York.
– Arda Ocal of The Score television network is back with another exclusive interview with a former WWE superstar, John “Bradshaw” Layfield. Here are some highlights of what JBL said about:
Eddie Guerrero Helping Him Get Over In WWE: “Eddie and I were really good friends. Eddie wanted the JBL character to succeed very badly. When I first started, I had been a mid-card to an upper-mid card guy my whole career. I filled in a few main events, but I was not a main event guy. People just weren’t buying the JBL character, it was forced down on them. It was one day I was Bradshaw and the next day I was JBL, with a cowboy hat in a world title match- people just didn’t buy it. Eddie really took that personal and he took it upon himself to get me over… His brother [Chavo] was a huge instrumental piece of what we did during that time. That’s when we came up with the heart attack angle with his mother and that’s when we came up with the immigration, back and forth over the border. A lot of that was Eddie, Chavo and I sitting around in the dressing room talking. If it hadn’t been for Eddie I don’t think the JBL character would have ever worked.”
An Update On His Seven Summits Adventure: “I got Kilimanjaro next which is the easiest of the seven summits. It’s very high, 19,000 feet, but it’s the easiest of the seven summits…. Some of these mountains, Aconcagua and Vincent, when you’re climbing, you got to be climbing the whole time. At Russia, we had a little bit of down time, that’s why I chose it, so I could learn mountain skills. I didn’t even know how to put cramps on when I got there. I learned a lot.”
JBL also reveals how he pitched the idea of “Tribute to the Troops” to Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn. Here is the complete interview:
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross is back with his latest blog, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. In this installment, JR talks about Monday’s historic RAW 1,000 show. Here are some highlights of what JR wrote about:
The Rock: “Good to see The Rock as he made his rounds to say hello to everyone before preparing for what was obviously a busy and entertaining night. Rock committing to perform in the main event at the 2013 Royal Rumble obviously has Wrestlemania 29 implications or it would seem.”
The Undertaker: “Ate lunch with the Undertaker and we essentially talked about one thing…the upcoming football season. I suggested that he needed to come to an Oklahoma-Texas game in the Cotton Bowl some day and he quickly corrected me by calling the Red River Rivalry the TEXAS-Oklahoma game.”
Brock Lesnar: “It was also great catching up with Brock Lesnar who I hadn’t talked to since the night he beat Shane Carwin in a UFC Main Event in Las Vegas. That was one where Brock weathered a fierce storm to submit Carwin in the second round. Lesnar looks great and was beet red from being outdoors doing all the farming that he undertakes. I assume that WWE fans will see much more of the “Next Big Thing” between now and Summerslam when he faces HHH in the main event. You can tell a great deal about a man by not only how they shake one’s hand but also by the “feel’ of said hand. Lesnar’s reminded me of my Dad’s hands, large and calloused.
If I could ‘manufacture’ a wrestler he likely would resemble Brock Lesnar. Big, strong, fast and nasty. It’s hard to fully understand an athlete like Lesnar who is so big and still retains amazing agility and speed.”
Steve Austin Missing The Show: “We all missed Steve Austin not being there but with Steve under going major knee surgery just a few weeks ago and still hobbling around on crutches, it just wasn’t in the cards. I can assure you from talking to him on numerous occasions that he wanted to attend but it simply wasn’t physically feasible. Steve’s knee was in deplorable shape from the years of wear and tear on the football field and in the ring. Flying in an airplane for a few hours isn’t the smartest thing a guy can do in that condition especially so soon after surgery and before rehab has commenced. Most fans understand while a handful of jackasses who go into business for themselves don’t.
For anyone to truly think that Stone Cold Steve Austin, a man who defined Monday Night Raw during its biggest years, wouldn’t want to attend the very broadcast that he helped put on the map is pet coon goofy.”