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Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Jürgen Klinsmann Appointed U.S. Coach



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Former Germany player and coach Jürgen Klinsmann is the new head coach of the U.S. mens’ soccer team. This decision is not all that surprising — twice before, Klinsmann was almost hired for the job. He is familiar with the United States, having lived in California for many years, and maintaining a residence in Huntington Beach.

What is the burden on him? A lot. Under Klinsmann, Germany’s play developed into a more attacking style and he took them to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup, which they lost to Italy, eventually beating Portugal for third place. Later, as coach of Bayern Munich, he introduced changes into the club’s style of play and training. Can he replicate those successes in the U.S.? We’ll get a first glimpse when the U.S. faces Mexico in a friendly on August 10th.

Tags: Misc.

The NFL’s Big Winner This Week?



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As the NFL’s FA-signing period draws to a close, who was the big winner?

The Eagles, with Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, Babin, Jenkins, and R. Brown?
The Panthers, with DeAngelo W., Johnson, Olsen, and two starting LBs?
The Patriots, franchising Mankins and cheaply adding Haynesworth and Ochocinco?
The Seahawks, with skill players Rice, T. Jackson, and Z. Miller, and big bodies Mebane and Gallery?
The Chargers, franchising V. Jackson, keeping Weddle, and adding Spikes and Clary?
Or the Jets, with their dynamic duo of former Steeler WRs, Holmes and Burress?
(Or none of the above?)

Tags: NFL

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Colts Pay Peyton



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Chris Mortensen is reporting that Peyton Manning has re-signed with the Colts for $90 million over five years — $69 million over the first three years, $21 million over the last two. But the $18 million per year puts him on par with Tom Brady’s recent deal.

In fact, Mort claims Jim Irsay told him that Peyton would have settled for less than Brady, but Irsay wouldn’t have it. As I’ve said before, Irsay’s a class act.

Tags: NFL

Chad Gets No. 85 for the Right Price



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Pats TE Aaron Hernandez gave up his jersey number for nothing, which had to suit his new teammate Chad Johnson Ochocinco.

Some folks e-mailed to ask why I called him “famously frugal” in this post. They mustn’t have seen the Bengals season of Hard Knocks, which showed Chad buying costume jewelry and helpfully advising: “Just cause you got money, don’t mean you need to go spend it.” 

Or see here.

Tags: NFL

Tigers Bolster the Rotation, Add Fister



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In their search for starting pitching, the Tigers had discussed a trade with the Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez, but general manager Dave Dombrowski eventually made a deal with the Mariners for Doug Fister. The 27-year-old righty sports a 3-12 W-L record, plus a 5.49 K/9, 1.97 BB/9, and 3.90 xFIP in 146 innings. Right-handed reliever David Pauley will join Fister in Detroit.

In return, Seattle will receive reserve outfielder Casper Wells and minor-league southpaw Charlie Furbush. Third-baseman prospect Francisco Martinez is reported to be included in the deal as well.

Tags: MLB

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Phils Poised to Add Hunter Pence



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Way back on April 25, Eric Seidman of the Brotherly Glove blog made an astute determination that the Phillies, having lost Jayson Werth months earlier to free agency, needed to bolster their outfield. Seidman wrote:

The outfield might be problematic right now, but any fix the Phillies implement must also take next year, and potentially the following year, into consideration. The Phillies should steer clear of outfielders reaching free agency after the season unless an extension can be worked out. Otherwise, the team would subsequently find itself right back at square one in terms of seeking outfield reinforcement.

The most optimal type of player is one under team control — meaning he cannot yet become a free agent and is instead eligible for salary arbitration — who produces at a level better than, or equivalent to, the incumbent crop of free agents.

After crunching the numbers — picture me with a green visor and an adding machine, or in a laboratory somewhere — I arrived at the conclusion titling this article. The player meeting all of the criteria, that made the most sense from the standpoints of cost, production and what it would take to acquire him, is Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros.

Fast forward three-odd months and, lo and behold, the first-place Phillies reportedly are on the verge of acquiring the 28-year-old outfielder in exchange for two highly regarded prospects, first baseman Jonathan Singleton and pitcher Jarred Cosart, and perhaps two other minor leaguers.

Going into this evening’s game against the Brewers in Milwaukee, Pence has posted a .309/.356/.472 BA/OBP/SLG line with a .365 wOBA.

EDIT: Seidman’s analysis of the completed trade may be found here.

Tags: MLB

Which Way For Asomugha? A Biased Assessment.



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At this moment, it is reported that the crown jewel of the free agency class, former Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, is deciding between the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys.

Readers are familiar with my J-E-T-S fanaticism, and so Dallas Cowboys fans may want to skip this post.

If it really is Dallas vs. New York, he can sign for a legendary franchise with a diehard fan base, albeit one that has won one playoff game since 1996 and went 6-10 last year. The Cowboys return with a (sort of) new coach and a legendarily meddling owner, and while it’s not unthinkable they could make a trip to the playoffs this year, the path to the Super Bowl is likely to have some major obstacles: Green Bay, New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, perhaps the Giants…

Alternatively, Asomugha can join the Jets and play opposite the other best guy at the position, Darrelle Revis, and instantly become a legend as the best pair of cornerbacks on one team since the Raiders had Mike Haynes and Lester Hayes. In New York, he would be playing for coach revered by many of his players, a defensive genius Rex Ryan, a team that has a starting QB for the next decade (Mark Sanchez, barring injury) and has been to the AFC Championship Game twice in two years, that knows how to win on the road in the playoffs, and that has beaten every other big team in the AFC in the past two years: Pittsburgh (on the road), New England (on the road in the playoffs), Indianapolis (on the road in the playoffs) and San Diego (on the road in the playoffs). (Okay, they haven’t beaten the Baltimore Ravens yet.) Asomugha would be joining a team that is so committed to winning that at least four players have reorganized their contracts to free up space to sign him.

While Dallas has deep pockets and cap room, I can’t believe the money would be that different.

As a Jets fan, I’m tempted to believe that if he picks Dallas, they can have him.

Tags: NFL

Falcons Sign Ray Edwards



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The Vikings have been hit hard this offseason: first WR Sidney Rice signed with Seattle (joining castoff QB Tarvaris Jackson there), and now DE Ray Edwards has joined the Atlanta Falcons, who gave the pass-rusher a five-year $30 million deal, $11 million of it guaranteed.

With all the money they owe DE Jared Allen and DT Kevin Williams next season — $19 million out of a $120 cap ceiling — it’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep DT Pat Williams.

What’s next, the team moving to Los Angeles?

Tags: NFL

More NFL Moves: Vince Young; Greg Olsen; Jonathan Joseph



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ESPN’s Adam Schefter was talking about the possibility of Vince Young signing with Philly yesterday afternoon, after the deal sending Kevin Kolb to Arizona was announced, so Young’s becoming the newest Eagle is not a shocker. Neither was Young’s outright release by the Tennessee Titans.

And it does make some sense for Young to understudy Michael Vick. Like a younger Vick, Young tries to make too many plays with his legs, and his delivery is subpar. Actually, Young’s sidearm, upturned-palm delivery is worse than Vick’s ever was — PFT’s Mike Florio has been calling VY “Uncle Rico” for years, because of the similarity between his throwing motion and this one — so Andy Reid will have his work cut out for him on that score. Most important, though, Michael Vick knows what it’s like to have to live with the consequences of poor decisions: Here’s to hoping he can help Vince Young grow up. 

The Carolina Panthers sending a third-round pick to the Bears for perennially underused TE Greg Olsen is a bit of a shock, though. Not that the Bears would make the deal: Despite the fantasy-football buzz this offseason that this would finally be the year that Olsen breaks out, that Mike Martz finally starts to scheme for the TE position . . . well, how many times have we heard that before? The surprising part is that the Panthers would add a third TE to their roster this offseason, with Olsen joining journeyman blocking-TE Ben Hartsock and former Saint and Giant Jeremy Shockey. Apparently, Carolina is planning a lot of short-route passing plays for rookie QB Cam Newton. (As expected, Carolina has also extended the contract of LB Jon Beason.)

The Houston Texans must have concluded that they would not be able to sign CB Nnamdi Asomugha (who reportedly, uh, wants to play in a city where he can work on his acting career, to the delight of all the NROnik Jets fans) and instead have signed the second-best option from among the free-agent CBs, Jonathan Joseph, to a five-year deal worth $48.75 million, with $23.5 million guaranteed. So another Bengal escapes the Cinci zoo. 

Chad Johnson Ochocinco being traded to the Patriots on a restructured three-year deal is among the more interesting of this offseason’s transactions. Chad’s lost a step, no doubt, but he’s still quick and has excellent hands. And with the prospect of Nnamdi Asomugha signing with the Jets, the Pats needed a legit third receiver to join Deion Branch and Wes Welker, one who can stretch the field (better than Brandon Tate ever has). Chad won’t be as good as Randy Moss was in 2009 — nor as bad as Moss was in 2010 — but the combination of Ochocinco and Branch on the outside should restore the statistical fortunes of slot-man extraordinaire Welker. Giving up (reportedly) a 2012 fifth-rounder and a 2013 sixth for that is a no-brainer, particularly given how adept Bill Belichick has proven to be at stockpiling draft picks. Now the only question is: How much will it cost the famously frugal Ochocinco to get the No. 85 jersey from TE Aaron Hernandez? Or will he change his name again? Ochenteocho, anyone?

Speaking of Nnamdi Asomugha: The Jets are busily clearing cap space, cutting backup QB Mark Brunell, CB Will Billingsley, and G Marlon Davis, but they will probably need to lift the franchise tag from LB David Harris and give him a long-term deal to really pull off the signing of this offseason’s most prized free-agent – pace this earlier report. The Cowboys may be bidding up the cost of Asomugha’s services, if the whispers Adam Schefter is hearing are true — and the Jets will need some other warm bodies in camp when all this cap clearing is done, after all.

Tags: NFL

William Rhoden: Veterans Sold Out The Rookies



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Rhoden writes in today’s New York Times:

The empty feeling some players may have in their hearts this week is a sense of guilt that comes from betrayal. To achieve a deal, top N.F.L. rookies were sacrificed. They will receive less so veteran players and retired players can receive more.

The N.F.L. players union gave owners the pound of flesh they wanted by effectively selling out their little brothers. And veterans must now look rookies in the eye in training camp and explain how they could do such a thing.

Easy. There weren’t many options. There was one seat left on the bus and the veterans snatched it.

The owners were out for bear. They were determined to get a significant economic concession from the players, and the most convenient place to get it was from the money previously reserved for high-priced rookies.

As a result, there will, among other things, be a drastic change in the compensation for the top 10 selections in this year’s N.F.L. draft.

The package signed by the St. Louis Rams’ Sam Bradford last season and the deal Cam Newton is expected to sign with the Carolina Panthers this year underline the shift.

Bradford signed a six-year contract that could be worth $78 million, $50 million of it guaranteed. The speculation is that Newton, who led Auburn to a national championship, could sign a four-year deal worth slightly more than $22 million. The unknown factor is how much will be guaranteed. But the numbers alone — Bradford at $78 million over six years versus Newton at $22 million over four — speak for themselves.

Is Rhoden crazy? We’re to weep from Cam Newton because he’s only guaranteed $22 million? Rhoden goes on to say that rookies matter and are good for the game as they create fan excitement. Well, as a Raiders fan, I know for a fact that old-geezer Rich Gannon was more of a fan-favorite than that exciting, overpaid rookie JaMarcus Russell.

Tags: NFL

Cardinals Get Their QB



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The early indications of a deal in which Philadelphia would ship Kevin Kolb to Arizona for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a draft pick have now come to fruition. FOX’s Adam Caplan tweets that Kolb has signed with the Cards, who gave him a five-year extension for $63 million, with $20 million of it guaranteed.

The Cardinals swapped a former first-round selection and Pro Bowler and a 2012 second-round pick for the Eagles backup signal-caller (who was himself drafted at the top of the second round back in 2007.)

Last year, the Eagles were reportedly asking for two second rounders for Kolb. Is Pro Bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie worth only a second? I’d say no.

But the Cardinals got themselves into this pickle by waiting so long to pull the trigger on a deal for a QB. They went into and came out of the draft without one. Then into the lockout without one, and once the lockout was lifted, their other options dried up fast. Everyone — not least the Eagles — knew Kolb was the guy they wanted, their cooing over Kyle Orton notwithstanding.

I can’t fault the Cards for taking CB Patrick Peterson in the first round in April, since he was the best player in the draft and fell to No. 5, but it gave them a surfeit at corner — and the Eagles took advantage.

Tags: NFL

The Bush Deal Details



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Some of them, anyway. ESPN reports that the Saints received S Jonathon Amaya as part of the package. Still no information on the draft pick involved (if there was one).

Bush signed with Miami for two years for $10 million — less than the $11.8 million he was due to receive in the final year of his rookie deal as the No. 2 pick, a level of rookie compensation that the new CBA has consigned to history’s dustbin.

Tags: NFL

Indians Grab Fukudome



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As the Indians try to regain their mojo — they sit only two games above .500 and are now two games behind the first-place Tigers — general manager Chris Antonetti is finalizing a deal with the Cubs for right fielder Kosuke Fukudome in exchange for two minor leaguers. Chicago will pick up more than half of Fukudome’s remaining $4.7 million salary. (UPDATE: The deal is done.)

With outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore on the disabled list, a trade was viewed as a near-certainty. While Fukudome has not displayed much power since arriving in the States, he has shown a consistent ability of getting on base. He has posted a .273/.374./369 BA/OBP/SLG and .335 wOBA line in 87 games this season.

Tags: MLB

RB Musical Chairs



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When news broke yesterday of DeAngelo Williams staying put in Carolina, I knew we’d be hearing some news soon on a new Dolphins running back — and my colleague and fellow Giants fan, Russ Jenkins, and I were both hoping not to see Ahmad Bradshaw’s name in the headline.

Whew.

FOX’s Jay Glazer tweets that Miami has reached an agreement with the New Orleans Saints on a trade for former No. 2 pick and (really former) Heisman winner Reggie Bush, pending the USC product reworking his contract (which was set to earn him $11.8 million this year).

No word yet on what the Fins gave up. Maybe a sixth-round pick?

Tags: NFL

Panthers on the Prowl



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Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said he was going to be “very aggressive” in free agency. He wasn’t just whistlin’ Dixie.

After resigning his two most-prized free agents — DE Charles Johnson and RB DeAngelo Williams — Richardson has opened the piggy bank to re-sign LBs Thomas Davis and James Anderson (with promises to retain all-world LB Jon Beason, as well), and to add blocking TE Ben Hartsock (joining pass-catching TE Jeremy Shockey) as well as K Olindo Mare (to a laughably lucrative four-year, $12 million contract).

And he still has to get No. 1 pick Cam Newton under contract.

Will the spending spree result in more than two regular-season wins? 

 

Tags: NFL

Beltran about to Become a Giant



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Sandy Alderson’s patience has been rewarded. Although a few writers were starting to suggest that the Mets general manager would receive little value in return for pending-free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, Giants GM Brian Sabean has ultimately agreed to trade his No. 1 pitching prospect, Zach Wheeler, and pick up one-third of the $6 million still owed on Beltran’s contract.

As a player with “10-and-5″ rights, Beltran needs to approve the proposed deal within the next 24 hours, but it is widely believed that he will give his consent. Beltran is having a nice bounce-back season, posting a .289/.391/.513 BA/OBP/SLG line and .392 wOBA over 98 games.

Tags: MLB

Kolb for Rodgers-Cromartie?



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ESPN reports that earlier today, it was possible to buy an Eagles No. 29 jersey with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s name on it.

Rodgers-Cromartie is still officially a member of the Arizona Cardinals, of course.

But when Patrick Peterson fell to them with the fifth pick in the NFL Draft, apparently former first-round pick DRC became expendable.

Presumably the teams are still haggling over which draft pick the Cards will have to include to seal the deal for Kevin Kolb. It shouldn’t take much. 

Tags: NFL

DeAngelo Remains a Panther



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Adam Schefter reports it’s a five-year deal worth $43 million, with $21 million guaranteed.

 


 

Tags: NFL

The QB Carousel



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A former starting quarterback for the Eagles has reached an agreement with a new team. No, not Kevin Kolb — Donovan McNabb, who appears to have a deal in place with the Minnesota Vikings (who spent their first-rounder on Christian Ponder back in April).

Multiple sources are reporting — to the AP, and to ESPN’s Adam Schefter — that Tennessee has reached an agreement with former Seahawks signal caller Matt Hasselbeck, but no numbers have been mentioned as yet, so the early-week rumors of a “big offer” are as yet unconfirmed. It’s likely at least a two-year deal. The chances of the Titans’ being able to trade Vince Young — even for a seventh rounder — are now close to zero.

Former Chiefs and Dolphins QB Tyler Thigpen has reportedly signed with the Buffalo Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s starting role is probably safe in the near term, and if Thigpen can’t supplant the incumbent, the Bills can always line him up outside across from Stevie Johnson. 

The Arizona Cardinals are in dire need of a veteran signal-caller. Will it be Kevin Kolb from the Eagles or Kyle Orton from the Broncos?

The Dolphins, too, are sniffing around Kyle Orton in a possible bid to reunite him with WR Brandon Marshall. With Thigpen gone, the Fins are down to incumbent starter Chad “The Robot” Henne and journeyman Patrick Ramsey at the qube spot.

The Niners are out of the market for a veteran to school first-round pick Colin Kaepernick: the Niners resigned themselves to re-signing Alex “Don’t Call Me Jamarcus” Smith.

McNabb’s departure from Washington leaves Bears castoff Rex Grossman and Dolphins castoff John Beck under center for the Skins. Hail victory!

Tags: NFL

LaRussa Wins; Rasmus Sent to Toronto



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Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa is getting his way, meaning that St. Louis is in the process of shipping out of town promising outfielder Colby Rasmus in an eight-player deal involving the Blue Jays and White Sox. Details can be found here. (EDIT: And here.)

Satchel Price of Beyond the Boxscore is already celebrating this latest maneuver from Jays’ general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Expect a wee bit less enthusiasm from Cardinals-centric blogs. (EDIT: Exhibit A.)

Tags: MLB

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