From the San Diego Union Tribune’s Bill Center.
The Padres and free agent Brian Giles (above) have agreed to a new contract that will guarantee the outfielder $30 million and could be worth $36 million over the next four years, the Union-Tribune has learned.
Giles, who will turn 35 before the start of the 2006 season, will make $9 million each of the next three seasons. Plus, the club holds an option for the 2009 season at another $9 million against a $3 million buyout.
This development may ultimately have no impact on Johnny Damon’s asking price, though it is interesting to note that Giles wasn’t able to command more than 3 guaranteed years from the Padres.
It does however, kill the predictions expoused on yack radio today that Toronto were poised to blow all competitors out of the water with a massive offer to Giles. XM’s excruciating Charley Steiner proposed that the Blue Jays are always faced with overpaying “because guys don’t want to play in a foreign country. They want to watch “SportsCenter”. Not the Canadian “SportsCenter”, either. They want to see baseball highlights, not curling!”
Somehow, the likes of Joe Carter, Rickey Henderson, Fred McGriff and Roger Clemens found Toronto to be a hospitable enough work environment , so much so that Clemens was able to overcome the language barrier on the way to winning two Cy Young Awards.
From the Boston Globe.
The struggling Boston Bruins traded captain Joe Thornton (above) to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night in exchange for three players.
The Bruins get forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau and defenseman Brad Stuart for Thornton, who signed a three-year, $20 million contract with Boston in August and was once thought to be the future of the franchise.
This season, the 26-year-old Thornton has nine goals and 24 assists for Boston, which has lost nine of its last 10 games and is in last place in the Northeast Division.
San Jose are also winless in their last 10, which begs the question which of these two teams is bailing on the season. That question aside, it’s impressive that the Bruins managed to keep a player making Thorton’s money on their payroll for all of 3 months.
From Billboard.com :
Jerry Garcia’s dishwasher, toilets and other home appliances will be auctioned by a nonprofit group hoping to raise more than $100,000. The items, which also include stereo cabinets, cupboards and a freezer, will be available for bidding on the online auction site eBay from Dec. 18-24.
Revenue will benefit the Sophia Foundation, a San Francisco Bay area nonprofit that aids children and families during marital separations and divorces, said the group’s chairman, Henry Koltys.
“There’s a lot of Deadheads out there with money, and they want a piece of Jerry somehow,” he said.
This sounds like an excellent way to help a deserving charity. Perhaps the North Shore Animal League can ask Jerry Only to auction off his weed wacker?
The Guardian reported this morning that Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric has been denied permission to interview Rangers manager Alex McLeish, and Southampton assert they’ve not consented to allow Harry Redknapp to discuss a possible return to Pompey.
Sheffield Wednesday have allowed Portsmouth to negotiate with the former’s current manager, Neil Warnock, a fascinating turn given he’d earlier expressed no interest in the job.
(Luis Garcia, scoring Liverpool’s first Wednesday night)
There’s a duel for the affections of CSTB’s eyeballs this afternoon, as FSC is featuring Liverpool at Sunderland (the visitors ahead, 2-0, with neither goal by Peter Crouch, predictably enough), while Setanta has Wigan’s 4th round Carling Cup tie with Newcastle (0-0 with about 7 minutes left). With all due respect to the White Sox and Los Angeles Clippers, Wigan are the surprise team of 2005.
After missing last night’s loss to old coach Mo Cheeks while on the inactively suspended / psuedo T.O.-list, Rip City has become Ultimatium City for Porland’s Ruben Patterson. From the Oregonian’s Jason Quick.
Ruben Patterson on Tuesday said that he is prepared to spend the rest of the season on the inactive list unless the Trail Blazers find a way to play him 25 minutes a game.
Patterson, who was suspended last week for two games, then placed on the inactive list for complaining about his playing time, is scheduled to meet in Portland with Blazers general manager John Nash and coach Nate McMillan either Thursday or Friday.
Nash and McMillan on Tuesday said the meeting will be to determine whether Patterson can accept a reserve role in which he plays limited minutes behind Darius Miles and Zach Randolph. Patterson averaged 19.3 minutes in the first eight games this season — down from the 28 minutes he averaged last season — which included an average of 16.3 minutes in his past three games.
“I don’t think my role of playing 13 or 15 minutes a game is acceptable,” Patterson said from his home in Columbus, Ohio. “I deserve to play 25-plus minutes, but if they want me to play 12 minutes (like he did in his last game against New York), then they can just put me on the inactive list. I mean, those are rookie minutes.”
McMillan said he can’t foresee Patterson getting 25 minutes a game.
“I think those are starter minutes,” McMillan said. “I don’t know how you can give someone off the bench 25 minutes. I mean, he’s at a position that Miles (38.5 minutes a game) and Zach (37.8 minutes) are playing.”
Patterson watched the Blazers’ 107-83 loss to Philadelphia on television Tuesday, then called afterward to get a report on what the team was saying. When told that McMillan didn’t see him getting 25 minutes, Patterson scoffed.
“Well, I ain’t going to play then,” he said.
Writes Sam Hunt, “finally, a church that speaks my language”. (pic from Shakespeare’s Sister)
5 years, $60 million and all the eye-liner tips Jay Mariotti can dish out for 1B Paul Konerko, who today agreed to re-sign with the Chicago White Sox.
Coupled with Jim Thome, the heart of the White Sox order should be even more dangerous in 2006, and that’s not even taking into account the fact that Carl Everett is way overdue to go nuclear on a club employee or member of the working media.
The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec reports that free agent 1B Paul Konerko has turned down the Orioles’ proposed 5 year, $65 million deal. The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzalez writes that Konerko, who lives in Scottsdale, would prefersigning with a club that has their spring training in Arizona.
Both the White Sox and Angels fit such a requirement, though there is speculation the White Sox are worried about Konerko’s health.
One unnamed Sox official was leery of extending an offer to Konerko, 29, to a fifth year because of an arthritic hip condition.
Neither White Sox GM Ken Williams nor Craig Landis, Konerko’s agent, returned telephone messages. Some Sox officials, however, were privately upset that Konerko’s hip condition became public.
Although not known for his speed, Konerko’s durability hasn’t been an issue since he joined the Sox before the 1999 season. He hasn’t been on the disabled list since April 1997 with the Dodgers’ Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate.
Konerko has played in 151 games or more in four of the past five seasons, including a season-high 158 in 2005. Konerko’s only noticeable injury during the 2005 season was a stiff lower back that caused him to miss two games in August against the New York Yankees.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s TR Sullivan writes the Texas Rangers have made an offer to former Astros/A’s/Mets reliever Octavio Dotel, and their shopping list might also include Braden Looper.
Metsblog notes that the Sporting News’ Ken Rosenthal — having a pretty amazing off-season of his own — pointed out that Cliff Floyd has a no-trade clause in his Mets contract that precludes his being dealt to Boston. So that’s one less bargaining chip for a potential Manny Ramirez trade.
MLB Trade Rumors.com is fanning the flames behind a Brad Wilkerson for Ronny Cedeno swap between the Cubs and Nationals. Which means this is as good a time as any to congratulate Roger Cedeno on receiving no speeding tickets recently (that we know of).
Described by the Chicago Sun-Times’ John Jackson yesterday as having moved from the inactive list to “the really inactive list”, F Tim Thomas could conceivably end up back in a Knicks uniform writes the Newark Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein.
The Knicks are starving for a starting small forward, and Larry Brown acknowledged yesterday that if Tim Thomas (above) were still on the Knicks, he would have been playing substantial minutes instead of sitting on the bench as he has been doing in Chicago.
“He’d be playing a lot of minutes here,” Brown said.
“You can’t comment on anything,” Brown said. “I don’t know if he’s a free agent or still on the team or anything. Do I like Timmy Thomas? Yeah, I like Timmy Thomas a lot. I drafted him.”
Chicago GM John Paxson said it was against league rules to trade Thomas back for Davis, but the Knicks do have a perfect match in Penny Hardaway. They make roughly the same money ($14 million) and are in the last year of their contracts. Hardaway has barely played this season — due to tendinitis in his right knee and because he doesn’t fit into Brown’s scheme.
Chicago would initially look elsewhere for more in return than just Hardaway’s expiring contract, hoping to use Thomas to acquire a valuable asset later in the season. But if they are just looking to clear more cap space for next summer, Hardaway provides that.
From the Oakland Tribune’s Andrew Baggerly.
Barry Bonds plans to wear red, white and blue in March.
Bonds has agreed to play for the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic, adding instant credibility to the inaugural event and perhaps also giving the Giants some cause for concern.
Agent Jeff Borris confirmed that Bonds has told the Players’ Association that he intends to participate.
“It’s not official,” Borris said. “There are still a few details to be worked out. But he has agreed to play.”
Union special assistant Bobby Bonilla said Bonds was one of the first players that he called to recruit shortly after the regular season ended.
“I’m ecstatic,” Bonilla said. “He pretty much agreed in principle to play without hesitation. I’m just happy he’s going to be a part of it.
“It’s huge. We need the best player in the game, and we’ve got him.
Until this item appeared, I was unaware that Bobby Bonilla was employed by the union, which is kind of a shame. Much the way the Mets tried to bring Darryl Strawberry and other former Flushing fixtures back into the fold last season, I was hopeful Bonilla would receive a similar invitation — Special Ambassador To The Bronx, perhaps.
Newsday’s Jim Baumback reports the New York Yankees are looking to sign the free agent reliever/celebrity blogger Kyle Farnsworth.
The Yankees, in desperate need of relievers to set up for Mariano Rivera, recently focused their search on righthanders Farnsworth and Tom Gordon and lefthanders Mike Myers and Joey Eischen after striking out with B.J. Ryan, Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry.
With the Yankees still reluctant to give Gordon the three-year offer he has been seeking, they became more serious in their talks with Kyle Farnsworth’s agent, Barry Meister, and are now being viewed as a favorite to land the hard-throwing righthander.
The Yankees have proposed a three-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $15 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
For starters, it should be stressed that Jocelyn is a perfectly acceptable name for a man. And with that, now coming to an AHL rink near you (though not nececsarily, Wilkes-Barry, PA), former Blackhawks G Jocelyn Thibault, shown above in Celebriduck form. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari.
The Penguins acquired Jocelyn Thibault in the summer to provide a bridge to the time when Marc-Andre Fleury would take over as their No. 1 goalie.
And he did.
It just happened a lot quicker than anyone anticipated.
The Penguins waived Thibault yesterday, less than a day after recalling Fleury from their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.
If Thibault is not claimed by noon today, he can be assigned to the Baby Penguins. Should Thibault refuse to accept the demotion, the Penguins would not be compelled to honor the two-year contract worth about $3 million that he signed after being obtained from Chicago for a fourth-round draft choice in August.
General manager Craig Patrick and coach Eddie Olczyk expressed optimism that Thibault would report to the Baby Penguins if he clears waivers, although both said they had not discussed that aspect of the situation with Thibault.
“My guess is, ‘Yes,’ but I don’t know the answer to that,” Patrick said.
Thibault did not respond to a phone message seeking his reaction to being waived.
Before he was waived, Thibault rejected a request that he go to Wilkes-Barre on a conditioning stint to get his game back in sync.
“We asked him if he’d go down for two weeks to get his game back in shape, and he’s not willing to do that at this point,” Patrick said. “So our option is to put him on waivers. You have to do what you have to do. It’s all business.
From the Washington Post’s Sara Kehaulani Goo.
A new plan by the Transportation Security Administration would allow airline passengers to bring scissors and other sharp objects in their carry-on bags because the items no longer pose the greatest threat to airline security, according to sources familiar with the plans.
In a series of briefings this week, TSA Director Edmund S. “Kip” Hawley told aviation industry leaders that he plans to announce changes at airport security checkpoints that would allow scissors less than four inches long and tools, such as screwdrivers, less than seven inches long, according to people familiar with the TSA’s plans. These people spoke on condition of anonymity because the TSA intends to make the plans public Friday.
The proposed policy must already be in place, unofficially, as for months I’ve been hearing first-hand reports of persons who’ve had no trouble bringing nail clippers, pen knives, razor blades, etc. within their carry-on luggage. Either that, or the TSA is staffed by boneheaded simpletons who are otherwise unqualified to work at Taco Bell (and being a proud American who is on his way to the airport, I know that couldn’t be the case).
And I suppose the agency has to play the percentages. With only three known instances of persons successfully using box cutters to hijack a plane and crash it into a building (4, if you include the “Let’s Roll” flight, though they struggled with the 2nd half of the equation) in the past 50 months, the TSA are probably just trying to be cost efficient.
Though not nearly as sleazy as Will Leitch and the New York Times’ Warren St. John trading links, the LA Times’ Mark Mazzetti and Borzou Daragahi have uncovered ways in which the US Defense Department’s aspiring military journalists can be published for the first time.
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
The articles, written by U.S. military “information operations” troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.
Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as “Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism,” since the effort began this year.
The Atlanta Journal-Constituion’s Dave O’Brien tips Rafael Furcal to re-sign with the Braves.
From the few conversations I™ve had with baseball types in past couple of days, I™m more convinced than ever that Braves are keeping Furcal. Not 100 percent certain, but definitely moved closer to that than the 50-50 proposition I felt it was when I left town a week ago. We™ll see. Not really expecting a decision from him until end of winter meetings next week in Dallas, but I think the Cubs would have to pay far more than they™re willing to offer to pry Furcal away from Bobby Cox and the Braves.
So what would that mean for the future, if the Braves sign Furcal to, say, a four-year contract? What about all the young middle-infield prospects coming up the pipeline? Well, I think if they sign Furcal, Marcus Giles wouldn™t be part of the long-term plans. Maybe he™ll be back this year at more than $4 mill through arbitration but after that, the Braves could move one of the young studs from shortstop to second base and have him ready to step in and play for a few years at a very low salary. And another of the youngsters could move into utility role once Pete Orr becomes arbi-eligible in a couple years and too expensive to keep as a utility guy. But that™s just me speculating, looking ahead.
As for closer, obviously with Billy Wagner and B.J. Ryan off the market and both having signed even bigger deals than anyone projected, it™s going to drive up the price of the remaining options, including two the Braves have considered ” Kyle Farnsworth and Trevor Hoffman. The Braves liked Farnsworth enough in his three-plus months with them to feel comfortable with him as their closer for next couple years, but it just depends how high the Yankees and possibly other suitors drive up the price.
Wednesday morning on XM’s Home Plate channel, Mark Patrick and Buck Martinez suggested that if the Braves failed to keep Furcal after failing to woo BJ Ryan or Billy Wagner, Chipper Jones would be justified in asking for his defered money back.
Sam Frank says the footage is “bananas” and the New York Times’ Lee Jenkins concurs.
Helix High School conveniently stores its old highlight tape of Reggie Bush (above) in the sports medicine center.
“You’ll see some stuff on here,” Helix Athletic Director Damon Chase cautioned, “that is really pretty sickening.”
Despite the lack of a warning label, the footage of Helix’s most aerodynamic alumnus can induce dizzy spells, even for that jaded viewer numbed by hours of cable highlight shows.
The tape includes eight minutes of cutbacks, jump stops, spin moves and slipped tackles that have not yet been broadcast on national television.
With limited sound and only one slow-motion replay, the tape acts as an underground treasure in Southern California. Watching it feels sort of like listening to a bootlegged copy of a Bob Dylan basement concert. “I don’t know who exactly has the tape right now,” Chase said. “But I know it’s been copied a lot.”
Borat’s reply to the Kazakhstan Government (Windows Media Player required, link courtesy Brian Turner.)
Thanks to Paul Sommerstein for passing along the sad news that 1B Vic Power, whose big league career spanned 12 years with the A’s (Philly and K.C.), the Twins, Angels and Phillies, has died at the age of 78.
Power stole home twice in a 1958 game for the Indians ; he won the Gold Glove for his work at 1st on seven occasions. Though there are a couple of obituaries making the rounds, Sommerstein submits the following quotes from The Bill James Baseball Abstract :
Power was a spectacular defensive first baseman, an acrobat who would dive for ground balls half way to second base; he had the athletic ability we normally associate with a very good second baseman, but had applied it to playing first base. Power had the same problem as Siebern and McQuinn: he came along in the Yankee farm system at a time when the Yankees were not exactly desperate for help. He had two additional problems: one, that he would be a right-handed hitter in Yankee Stadium, and two, that he was a dark-skinned Latin player before the Yankees had broken the color line.
One odd thing about Power is that his power zone was right between his eyes; if you threw at his head (which a lot of people did) he was liable to line the knock down pitch into the left field bleachers.
He hit .300 several times in the majors (.288 or better six seasons as a regular), hit 14-19 homers a year, led the league in triples one year, won seven Gold Gloves at first base, and would have won two or three more before that, but they didn’t start giving the award until the middle of his career.
Power was an emotional player, great sense of humor, always laughing, joking, cutting up, playing practical jokes, but he was also a sensitive man with a hair-trigger temper. He would get “hurt angry” rather than “fighting angry,” not that he didn’t get into his share of fights, but sometimes he would take things the wrong way. Bigots just couldn’t stand him. In the vernacular of the 1950s, Power was one of “them” who “didn’t know his place.” He was a showboat, and he was an uppity n-word who dated white girls.
My favorite Vic Power story…Vic Power in a restaurant in Syracuse, 1951. An embarrassed waiter shuffles up to him and explains, “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t serve colored people.”
“That’s OK,” says Power. “I don’t eat colored people.”
Chicago’s WMVP claims the Cubs might be sending Todd Walker to Los Angeles in exchange for the cool, calm and collected Milton Bradley.
With Jeff Kent ensconced at 2B, Walker — an unlikely Gold Glove candidate at any position — would play third base.
If Bradley does indeed, come to Wrigley, Jay Mariotti can finish most of next year’s columns by January 1.
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci does a fine job breaking down the Mets’ financial picture (ie. “where is all the money coming from?”) but the part about the club anticipating a gate of 3 million plus is interesting. There were a lot of empty seats at Shea last September, and while the team are unquestionably a hotter product with the additions of Delgado and Wagner, tickets haven’t gotten any cheaper (and the stadium hasn’t improved one iota) since the last time the Mets drew 3 million.
From the AP, courtesy Jon Solomon.
(one of these guys needs a new shirt)
A New York man has been charged with stabbing two people in a restroom during a Jets game at Giants Stadium.
Thomas J. Conwell, 21, of Brooklyn, was charged with aggravated assault, accused of stabbing Shawn Hundley, 19, of Roselle, and Henry Finnila, 24, of Freehold, during Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.
State police said Conwell began taunting Hundley, who was wearing a Jets jersey bearing the name and number of injured quarterback Chad Pennington. Conwell then took out a knife and stabbed Hundley in the face, neck and ears, authorities said.
Finnila, a bystander who tried to break up the fight, also was stabbed in the head and neck.
(UPDATE : exciting details on the stabber and stabee from the NY Daily News.)
(the former Leeds star wonders if the “Tim Roth did it, I was watching TV” defense was such a good idea)
From the Guardian :
Lee Bowyer has agreed an out-of-court settlement with the Asian student he was cleared of assaulting, his law firm confirmed today.
The reported £170,000 payout brings to an end a long-running legal battle involving the Newcastle midfielder and Sarfraz Najeib. Bowyer’s solicitors Barker Gillette confirmed a cash settlement had also been agreed with Mr Najeib’s brother Shahzad.
Of all the people you could steal millions of dollars from, is Latrell Sprewell really the guy to cheat? If telling Spree to “put a little mustard” on a lazy pass was enough to provoke attempted murder, what happens when you really get in the way of Spree feeding his family?
Would it be inappropriate to ask to see the wine list at Vin Baker’s Saybrook Fish House?
(another potential replacement for Michael Irvin on “NFL Countdown” flashes his credentials)
The only nice thing about this story is that Steven Tyler can finally, to coin the Bill Simmons phrase, die in peace. After their early days of being derided as Stones copyists, Aerosmith can now sit back and watch the Rolling Stones emulate Aerosmith.
Reigning Sound have been installed as the early favorites for the Super Bowl C halftime show.