A.J. Preller has completely remade the Padres in two weeks

December 19, 2014 – 6:08 pm by Ryan Phillips
    A.J. Preller

Wow. That was a crazy last two days. The San Diego Padres have gone from offensively-challenged perennial doormat to what looks like a dark horse World Series contender. And it’s all thanks to the tireless effort and dogged determination of new general manager A.J. Preller.

Preller took over the team in August and bided his time getting to know the organization inside and out. He retained key members of the coaching and scouting staff, then he hit the ground running this offseason. First he made hard runs at Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas and free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval. He missed on both of those guys but immediately shifted his attention to the trade market.

Preller swung a deal for an All-Star outfielder in Matt Kemp, prying him away from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers without giving up a top prospect and also got the boys in blue to chip in with $32 million to help pay Kemp’s salary. Then in a massive 11-player swap, Preller got former wunder-prospect Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays, again without surrendering one of his top four prospects. Those two moves already made it a successful offseason, but Preller wasn’t even close to done.

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Wil Myers: Padres, Rays, Nationals agree on blockbuster trade

December 17, 2014 – 6:20 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Wil Myers

For a little more than 24 hours we had been hearing that a trade that would send outfielder Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays to the San Diego Padres was “close,” now we have been told the deal has been consummated (ESPN’s Jim Bowden confirms). The deal also involves the Washington Nationals and includes a whopping 11 players. The trade is contingent on everyone passing their physicals.

The main piece of the deal is Myers heading to San Diego. The Padres have been in a years-long search for offense at the corner outfield spots, and within a few weeks have Matt Kemp and Myers to fill that gap. The Padres will also receive 18-year-old lefty Jose Castillo, catcher Ryan Hanigan and 21-year-old righty Gerardo Reyes.

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USOC Will Bid for 2024 Summer Olympics

December 17, 2014 – 2:56 am by Ryan Phillips
    USOC

The United States Olympic Committee is set to make a serious bid for the 2024 Olympics, in an attempt to end a 28-year drought without the Summer games on American soil. A host city has not been selected yet, but four different options are being considered.

After hearing from the four candidates on Tuesday, the USOC board members voted to join the race. Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are all in the running. A decision on which city to back will likely be made after the holidays.

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Three fighters file antitrust lawsuit against UFC

December 16, 2014 – 7:20 pm by Ryan Phillips
    UFC

On Tuesday, Cung Le, Nate Quarry and Jon Fitch filed a lawsuit in San Jose, California against Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The suit alleges that the promotion holds a monopoly on the mixed martial arts market. Fitch and Quarry are retired former UFC fighters, while Le is still under contract with the company but says he has no intention of fighting for it again.

The basis for the antitrust suit surrounds allegations that UFC has illegally set up a system that has eliminated its competition by taking over or taking out other viable MMA companies. As a result, UFC now has a monopoly and can control salaries and compensation for fighters.

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Milwaukee Brewers to open ‘Selig Experience’ museum

December 16, 2014 – 1:44 am by Hickey

selig

Seattle proudly boasts the Experience Music Project, a museum inspired by native son Jimi Hendrix. Starting next year, Milwaukee will proudly (?) boast (?) the Selig Experience, a museum inspired by native son Bud Selig.

You think we’re kidding. But we’re not.

The Selig Experience will be a 1,400-square foot exhibit will be open year round at Miller Park, because if there’s one thing that will attract people to Miller Park in December, it’s a Bud Selig museum.

Also, if there’s one thing people want to see in a Bud Selig museum, it’s Bud Selig in 3-D. The Selig Experience will have this need covered, according to Brewers COO Rich Schlesinger. He got the idea — again, we’re not kidding — during a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

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Greg Gabriel wouldn’t draft Jameis Winston in any round

December 12, 2014 – 10:36 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Jameis Winston

Former NFL executive Greg Gabriel issued his evaluation of Florida State redshirt sophomore Jameis Winston on Friday and while it was full of praise for the 20-year-old’s on-field abilities, the final ruling was a bombshell. Gabriel claimed he wouldn’t draft Winston in any round.

Gabriel lauds Winston’s overall strength and athleticism and projects him to run in the 4.6 range in his 40-yard dash. The former director of college scouting for the Chicago Bears also says that the 6-4, 230-pound signal-caller seems to be a strong leader on the field. Basically, Gabriel likes what Winston can do between the lines on a football field.

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Aaron Kromer admits ripping Jay Cutler anonymously

December 11, 2014 – 11:45 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Aaron Kromer

Last week, an unnamed source within the Chicago Bears organization told an NFL Network reporter that the team had “buyer’s remorse” over the massive contract it gave quarterback Jay Cutler last offseason. Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer adamantly denies being the source of that criticism, but that doesn’t mean he’s innocent. Sources told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday that Kromer went public with his frustrations with his interception-prone quarterback to an NFL Network reporter.

In a meeting room at Halas Hall on Monday, Kromer tearfully apologized to the offense for his words. That came after Ian Rapoport reported that the team was having remorse over Cutler’s seven-year, $126.7 million contract that includes $54 million in guaranteed money. Rapoport also said that Cutler’s refusal to check out of bad run plays has “absolutely killed” the team. While Kromer claims he was not the source of the buyer’s remorse comment, he admitted to openly complaining about Cutler.

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Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby needs to stop being an idiot

December 8, 2014 – 11:52 pm by Hickey

In the week before and after the College Football Playoff committee selected its inaugural Final Four, no one did more to embarrass himself and his league than Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. And it would be in the best interests of the league’s members for Bowlsby to shut his trap and trust in the selection process in the future, or they can find someone to take his place.

The league started the season by pimping its unique status as the only major conference with ONE TRUE CHAMPION. With only 10 teams in the league, the conference has its members play nine games. A round-robin that leaves no ambiguity. It’s nice and tidy, the way college football was before the money got too big and conferences started looking like a bunch of Wall Street mergers instead of something representing a group of geographically similar institutions of higher learning. Even though the Big 12 was one of the leagues that started the championship game trend when it merged Southwest Conference leftovers with the Big 8, at least it felt like there was a league out there that still had some damn sense in its head going into this season.

But Bowlsby screwed that pooch last week when he panicked and announced the league would name “co-champions” if Baylor and TCU finished tied atop the conference standings despite the Bears’ head-to-head victory. That announcement was contrary to the league’s written bylaws, which would have awarded Baylor the title because of that tiebreaker. But because Bowlsby was worried that TCU’s playoff chances would be hurt if it wasn’t the ONE TRUE CHAMPION, he decided to make up some new rules.

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