Posts Tagged ‘Rumors’

Jose Bautista‘s tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays may be over, but remaining in the American League East appears to be an option.

The Tampa Bay Rays are interested in the slugger, according to a report from Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who also claimed Bautista had discussions with the Rays last offseason before returning to Toronto.

Earlier, Bautista’s agent suggested his client would be willing to sign as a corner infielder as well as an outfielder or designated hitter. While the 37-year-old has spent the majority of his career in right field, he has also played first base and third base on rare occasion.

The Rays could lose Logan Morrison and Lucas Duda to free agency, and have a noticeable vacancy at first base. Corey Dickerson is either the starting left fielder or designated hitter, leaving another opening in one of those spots.

Bautista is coming off of his worst season since 2009 (.203/.308/.366) and became a free agent when the Blue Jays rejected a $17-million mutual option.

Over his 14-year career, the six-time All-Star owns a .250/.362/.480 slash line while hitting 331 home runs.

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A group of businessmen with ties to Eastern Canada would like to make the Canadian Football League’s dream of a tenth franchise come true in Halifax.

The group made a presentation to the league’s board of governors several weeks ago in Toronto. Meetings have since taken place with various levels of government in Nova Scotia, including an in-camera session with Halifax city council this week that was attended by CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

“We have had discussions with the CFL’s board of governors and ongoing discussions with commissioner Ambrosie,” said Anthony LeBlanc, a partner in the group and former president and CEO of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

“The conversations have all been very productive. Chief among all we have discussed, we have a clear understanding of the CFL’s requirements for an expansion franchise, and this clarity is allowing us to move our project forward in a thoughtful way.”

Along with LeBlanc, whose family is from New Brunswick and who began his business career in the province, the group includes Bruce Bowser, a Halifax native who is currently president of AMJ Campbell Van Lines, and Gary Drummond, a businessman from Regina who was president of hockey operations for the Coyotes.

A league spokesman confirmed it had received an expression of interest for a Halifax franchise but said that a process and timetable for awarding a team has yet to be established.

One CFL source described the group’s presentation as “very credible.”

The Halifax group is modelling its plan on that of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which received a conditional franchise from the CFL in 2008 and then redeveloped Frank Clair Stadium and the land surrounding it.

It’s believed the Halifax group would like to have a conditional franchise granted before the start of the 2018 CFL season, with a goal of beginning play as soon as 2020.

The potential owners want to brand the franchise to identity not just with Halifax but all of Atlantic Canada.

Halifax mayor Mike Savage has been on record as saying he would like to see his city host a CFL franchise. Sources say discussions with Savage and members of his council have been very positive over the past few months.

Central to the idea is the construction of a multi-purpose stadium, at one of several locations currently being explored – one of which is the Shannon Park, located next to the A. Murray MacKay Bridge.

Commissioner Ambrosie is expected to update the league’s board of governors on the state of the Halifax proposal when they meet the day before Grey Cup Sunday.

Besides expanding the league’s television footprint into Atlantic Canada, a Halifax-based franchise would allow the league to create two five-team divisions and avoid the number of bye weeks required with a nine-team league.

The CFL awarded a conditional franchise to a Halifax group in 1982 under the name Atlantic Schooners but the financing to build a suitable stadium never materialized.

Dating back to the mid-1980s, the CFL has staged exhibition games in Halifax. In 2010, 2011 and 2013 it played three regular-season games in Moncton, N.B.

 

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is believed to have recently met with Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta to discuss the viability of a team in that city, according to Katie Strang of The Athletic.

The meeting reportedly took place within the past few weeks, although Bettman would not confirm when contacted by The Athletic.

He did say the league is not looking to relocate any teams at the moment, but added a caveat in regards to Houston.

“If Houston were to express an interest in having an NHL franchise, under the right circumstances, it’s something we might want to consider,” he said.

Fertitta purchased the NBA team back in September for a reported $2.2 billion, and has expressed a strong interest in bringing an NHL club to Houston.

The Rockets play at the Toyota Center, which opened in 2003 and can hold 17,800 when fitted for a rink.

The Toronto Blue Jays expect to be players in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes once he’s posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

General manager Ross Atkins said the team will be “extremely prepared” to make a pitch when the time comes, adding he thinks Toronto is a “perfect fit” for the pitcher-outfielder hybrid, according to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae.

The 23-year-old Ohtani is expected to be highly coveted for his ability to crush home runs while also shutting down opponents from his perch on the mound. Ohtani missed action throughout 2017, playing in only 65 games as a hitter, and tossing only 25 1/3 innings.

In 2016, he slashed .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs, 18 doubles, and 67 RBIs.

The Blue Jays will have to get creative with their international bonus pool money if they intend to take a run at bringing Ohtani north. They only have $50,000 available, compared to $3.535 million for the Texas Rangers, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.

David Beckham will finally have an MLS outfit to call his own.

When that will be isn’t exactly clear, though Major League Soccer on Friday gave the former England legend an official green light for a Miami-based franchise.

With the North American top flight looking to expand from 22 to 28 teams, MLS spokesperson Dan Courtemanche confirmed plans to include a Miami outfit after a successful court battle approved the purchase of land for a 25,000-seat stadium by Beckham’s group.

“We expect to make an official announcement to launch a new Miami expansion club in the coming months,” Courtemanche told BBC Sport.

MLS announced in February 2014 that a group led by Beckham had exercised a $25-million option to buy an expansion franchise as part of his original contract with the LA Galaxy in 2007.

“David and his partners have committed a significant amount of time and resources to put everything in place to bring Miami the elite-level soccer team and stadium it richly deserves.”

LeBron James has already made upward of $200 million in his NBA playing career, and many millions more in endorsements. He has a lifetime contract with Nike that reportedly pays him more than $30 million per year. He owns his own production company, and a minority stake in Premier League powerhouse Liverpool. His playing days don’t appear anywhere close to over, but he’s already set up extremely well for retirement.

Like Michael Jordan before him, James’ post-career years seem destined to include ownership of an NBA franchise; James himself has said that’s part of his plan. It would make sense for that team to be his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, who he has almost single-handedly dragged to prominence over 11 seasons.

But, as much as James – and likely, the people of Cleveland – would welcome that, a lot of pieces would have to fall into place for it to happen, including the willingness of current owner Dan Gilbert to sell at least a portion of his majority stake.

“To be an owner of any team would be crazy,” James told The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd. “If this thing opened up and I’m in a position financially, and I’ve got the right team around me, obviously. But who’s to say Dan will (sell)? I’ve always kept it just player/owner at this point. I guess once I come down to that point, if the conversation needed to be had, I’ll have it. But I don’t have it right now.”

If and when it does come time to have the conversation, James may be a victim of his own success. His spectacular play has helped significantly boost the valuation of the Cavs – Gilbert bought the team for $375 million back in 2005.

The Houston Rockets, the most recent NBA franchise to be sold, went for $2.2 billion.

“I know how much the team cost when he bought it,” James said. “And I know how much it’s worth now – over $1 billion if he wanted it.”

Paige will return to WWE programming on next week’s Raw, according to PWInsider‘s Mike Johnson.

The former Divas Champion was cleared to return to action in September after a lengthy injury lay-off which dates back to the summer of last year.

It was originally reported that the 25-year-old would be assigned to SmackDown, but PWInsider now believes she will end up on Raw, where could be set for a starring role straight away.

Johnson says his WWE sources have indicated that she has been penciled in for a slot on the Raw Survivor Series team, who will meet the female cast of SmackDown on November 19.

It is reported that Paige could be a last-minute addition to the already-advertised Triple Threat qualifying bout between Mickie James, Bayley and Dana Brooke on Monday.

Whatever the case, fans of the British star will be relieved that she remains in her employer’s plans after a controversy-laden 12 months which appeared to put her future in doubt.

It has also been suggested this weekend that Paige has split from fiancé Alberto Del Rio after posting a Snapchat video in which she indicated she is now single.