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Albert Pujols wants a new deal

11.04.10 at 9:44 pm ET
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While the St. Louis Cardinals picked up the $16 million option on the contract of superstar first baseman Albert Pujols, the slugger told the Associated Press that he is hoping to reach agreement with his club on an extension before the start of the 2011 season. The three-time National League MVP hit .312 with a .414 OBP, .596 slugging mark, 1.011 OPS, 42 homers and a league-leading 42 homers and 118 RBI in 2010.

Pujols has 408 career homers, fourth most ever by the age of 30, trailing only Alex Rodriguez (464), Ken Griffey Jr. (438) and Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx (429). The nine-time All-Star is at the end of deal he signed after his second season, a seven-year, $100 million deal that included a $5 million buyout for a $16 million option for the 2011 season. The Cards exercised the option, but while Pujols says that he wants to remain in St. Louis for the duration of his career, he acknowledged, “That is something that I cannot control.”

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Former Red Sox first baseman Casey Kotchman becomes free agent

11.04.10 at 4:01 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Casey Kotchman, who was traded to the Mariners last January, refused his assignment to the minor leagues, which will make him a free agent immediately. The move was announced on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Kotchman hit .217 in 152 games for Seattle, adding nine home runs and 51 RBIs. The .217 batting average was the lowest of his career. His .280 on-base percentage was also the low mark of his career.

Read More: Casey Kotchman, Rumor Mill, Seattle Mariners,

Steelers linebacker James Harrison fined for third time for hard hit

11.04.10 at 4:01 pm ET
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Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who was fined $75,000 just a few weeks ago for a hit on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, was handed another fine by the NFL this week, this time $20,000, after a late hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees in Sunday night’s game in New Orleans, ESPN.com reports.

Harrison, who contemplated retirement after the NFL implemented its new policy change on hard hits, has been fined a total of $100,000 this season for hard or late hits. The latest fine was given to Harrison just two days after he met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York , a meeting in which he said was “semi-productive.”

Harrison’s first fine this season stemmed from a hard hit on Titans quarterback Vince Young in a game on Sept. 19.

Read More: Drew Brees, James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill

No Carl Crawford for Yankees?

11.04.10 at 10:26 am ET
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The Yankees are holding internal meetings to decide what to do in free agency. It’s no surprise that Cliff Lee is at the top of their wish list, but according to the New York Daily News, the Yankees won’t go hard after Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. The Red Sox are expected to make Crawford a priority this offseason.

A source tells the News that the play of Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher convinced the Yankees that they don’t need an expensive upgrade in the outfield.

Read More: Carl Crawford, cliff lee, Jayson Werth, Rumor Mill

Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims fined $50K for unnecessary hit

11.04.10 at 10:03 am ET
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Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims was fined $50,000 for a vicious hit against a defenseless receiver against the Titans on Oct. 24, The Associated Press reported. Sims’ fine is the first major penalty given out since the NFL implemented new policies about helmet-to-helmet hits a few weeks ago.

Sims, who has been fined twice for unnecessary roughness in the past while with the Lions, was warned that one more future flagrant hit would result in escalated fines and would possibly include suspension.

All 32 teams in the NFL were sent a video emphasizing which hits would bring penalties prior to Sims’ offense.

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Rangers don’t pick up option on Vladimir Guerrero, might re-sign

11.04.10 at 10:03 am ET
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The Texas Rangers announced on Wednesday that the team would not pick up the mutual option on designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero for 2011, but manager Jon Daniels said that they are interested in re-signing the hitter, ESPN Dallas reported. Guerrero signed a contract last year that included a $9 million option for 2011.

Daniels said that neither side intended to pick up the option when the contract was originally devised. Guerrero hit .300 in 2010 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs, a team high, in 152 games. In the playoffs, however, the slugger struggled, batting .220 with no home runs and just six RBIs.

Read More: Jon Daniels, Rumor Mill, texas rangers, Vladimir Guerrero

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Surfing champion Andy Irons’ death a shocker

11.04.10 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY THURSDAY:
No games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The surfing world is in shock following the death of three-time world champion Andy Irons, who was found dead Tuesday morning in a Dallas hotel room during a layover on a trip to his home in Hawaii. The 32-year-old Irons had withdrawn from a tournament in Puerto Rico because of an illness related to dengue fever, according to his sponsor, and his illness apparently worsened during his flight home.

‘™¦ With the Big East Conference set to expand, Andy Staples at Sports Illustrated writes that it’s time for Notre Dame football to end its run as an independent and jump aboard. ND already is a member of the conference in other sports.

‘™¦ Former Boston-area high school track star Alberto Salazar is now a respected coach of runners. With the New York City Marathon Sunday, The New Yorker looks at Salazar’s controversial techniques in bringing out the best in his pupils. Meanwhile, another product of Greater Boston, Shalane Flanagan, will make her marathon debut at New York, and its being called the most anticipated debut of an American woman marathoner in nine years.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 4, 1993, which Bruins player recorded a hat trick in a 6-3 victory over the Flames and in the process became the ninth player to score 250 goals as a Bruin? (Answer below)

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Alberto Salazar, Andy Irons, Shalane Flanagan,

Agent: Derek Jeter’s impact on the Yankees can’t be overstated

11.04.10 at 2:16 am ET
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Casey Close, the agent for free agent shortstop Derek Jeter of the Yankees, told Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse that his client’s “impact on the sport’s most valuable franchise cannot be overstated. Moreover, no athlete embodies the spirit of a champion more than Derek Jeter.”

Close’s comments occurred one day after Yankees co-owner Hal Steinbrenner discussed the need to treat negotiations with Jeter according to the best business interests of the Yankees. Jeter is coming off a career-worst season, having produced career lows in average (.270), OBP (.340), slugging (.370) and OPS (.710). The 36-year-old has concluded a 10-year, $189 million deal with the Yankees.

If he did not re-sign with the Yankees, he would likely see a massive pay cut, something to which Steinbrenner seemed to allude during an interview on Tuesday with WFAN.

“He’s one of the greatest Yankees in history, no doubt about it. But at the same time, I’m running a business,” Steinbrenner told the station. “So we have to remain somewhat objective. And we’re going to do that. And I want to get a deal done that he’s happy with, but also that I’m happy with.”

Close’s statement would appear to represent a ratcheting up of the rhetoric, and perhaps a signal that negotiations of a new contract have the potential to turn contentious.

Read More: agent, casey close, Derek Jeter, Rumor Mill

Heyman: Jayson Werth rejected a Jason Bay-sized deal

11.04.10 at 2:05 am ET
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According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, free agent outfielder Jayson Werth rejected a contract offer from the Phillies this summer along the lines of the four-year, $66 million deal that Jason Bay signed with the Mets as a free agent last offseason. Heyman suggested that Bay will be seeking a deal more in line with the seven-year, $120 million contract inked by Matt Holliday with the Cardinals last winter.

The Red Sox are expected to be interested in Werth and outfielder Carl Crawford, considered the top prizes of this winter’s free agent class. Heyman suggested that the Sox might prefer Werth to Crawford, a reflection of Werth’s superior on-base and power numbers.

Of the possibility that the Padres might trade superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez this offseason, Heyman wrote, “In a word, no.”

Read More: Adrian gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Jason Bay, Jayson Werth

Childress: Vikings trade for Moss a ‘poor decision’

11.04.10 at 1:20 am ET
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Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress said that the decision to trade for wide receiver Randy Moss was a “poor decision.” The Vikings put Moss on waivers this week, and on Wednesday, the Titans were awarded a claim on the former Patriots receiver. Childress and the Vikings had traded a third-round pick to New England in exchange for Moss and a seventh-round pick four weeks earlier, but after the Vikings cut bait with Moss, Childress made clear that he regretted the deal and that he was accountable for the decision.

“It was a poor decision,” Childress told reporters. “I’ve got to stand up and I have to make it right. When it’s not right, you need to make it right. …

“I wished and hoped that it would have worked out as well,” Childress added. “But it was a programmatic nonfit, and it didn’t work out. When things don’t work out, you need to move quickly to take steps.”

For more, including the view of members of the Vikings locker room on both the decision to release Moss and the wide receiver’s rant about a catered meal on Friday, click here.

Read More: Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss, Rumor Mill