December 7, 2005
J.P. Ricciardi:
He doesn't have on-field results yet, but no MLB GM has been more aggressive than Toronto's Ricciardi. He got his own 3-year deal (inking him through 2010) Tuesday.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Do the Red Sox hate Theo? Because they're dismantling much of what he put together last winter.

Monday, rumors circulated that Matt Clement was on the block.

Now they're apparently eager to dump Edgar Renteria, with the Braves getting him and the D-Rays sending Julio Lugo to Boston to complete the three-way.

Plus, in an apparent wholesale middle-infield change, they're targeting the Padres' Mark Loretta, whose only hurdle with fans will be to not make a playoff-crippling error.

And if David Wells wants back to Cali, it might have to be NorCal, not SoCal: One hot rumor has him dealt to the A's for P Justin Duchscherer (2.21 ERA, 85 Ks in 86 IP).

Meanwhile, everyone is still waiting for Boston to make a deal with Johnny Damon. If the Sox don't offer him arbitration by today, they can't re-sign him until May 1.

Why be scared off by his demands for a 5-plus year deal? Even if his skills decline, if he is good for two years, it's not fatal because their wallet is so fat. And if all that wasn't enough, there's still the Manny thing.

The front-running rumor is a three-way with the Angels and D-Backs that would send Troy Glaus to Boston and turn SoCal into "Manny-heim."

Even if Glaus is the best hitter the Sox could get in return for Manny, trading Manny to an AL playoff rival is crazy. The Angels will be contenders for years; do the Sox really want to hurdle a Vlad-Manny combo to get through the postseason? That deal has ominous foreshadowing written all over it.

But otherwise, credit Boston's GM-by-committee for staying aggressive and trying to renovate the team after last year's disappointing ending.

Marlins Fire Sale
Juan Pierre to Cubs? Chicago is likely going to get its much-needed CF.

Fans really need to stop ripping the Marlins. They won two World Series in the last decade; they can do what they want.

Quick: How many teams in the ESPN Era have won more than one World Series? Only five: Yankees, Dodgers, Twins, Blue Jays and Marlins. The Fish are doing something right.

I'd rather have two titles mixed with eight years of stinking than one title and nine other years of making the playoffs only to fall short -- or, even worse, no titles at all, no matter how successful the team might be in the summer.

NFLPA: Files grievance to try to keep TO's signing bonus
PHX Suns: Win 7th straight. (Really: Who needs Amare?)
Tiger Woods: Wins PGA POY award for 7th time in 9 years
Drew Rosenhaus: Agent fired by Packers WR Javon Walker
Carmelo Anthony: Fined $5K for chucking ball into stands
Gordon/Dale Jr: NASCAR mad over awards show no-show
If I was a Marlins fan and you could guarantee me that my Vegas Marlins (ouch, they're going to need a new name) would win another World Series in 2010, but stink every year until then, I'd take it.

More Hot Stove
Cincy "Mayor" shipped home: Reds trade popular 1B Sean Casey to his hometown Pirates. Who knew the Bucs were so flush with lefties they could jettison quality pitcher Dave Williams?

Good move for both teams: The Bucs get a 1B and a fan-friendly face for the perennially up-and-coming franchise; the Reds can open their log-jam in the OF by moving a player like Adam Dunn to 1B.

Dodgers hire Little: Does anyone know whether Derek Lowe or Brad Penny are on strict pitch counts? Because someone might want to tell Grady.

Royals eyeing Benson? If Kris thinks Anna is going to like a move from NYC to KC, he's going to spend a lot of nights on the couch.

Heat at Spurs
Before the season, tonight's Heat-Spurs game (9, ESPN) looked like a Finals preview. But while the Spurs have shot out to the best record in the West, the Shaq-less Heat are barely treading water over .500.

Even with the new-n'-improved Pistons dominating the East, Heat fans should remember that Shaq doesn't need to play ... yet. All they have to do is merely make the playoffs with a healthy Shaq to be a contender.

Between the mediocre Southeast Division and the utterly lousy Atlantic (8-10 gets you 1st place!), there's no pressure to rush Shaq back.

College Hoops Wrap
That "Who Have You Beaten?" Test in yesterday's Quickie looked prescient as untested and overinflated No. 6 Boston College lost 77-70 to two-loss Maui alum Michigan State in the Jimmy V Classic in NYC.

Bucknell bandwagon: I'm not willing to admit Bucknell was overhyped; let's chalk up the 19-point loss to Quickie No. 1-ranked Villanova as a bigger statement about how great 'Nova is.

Two tales of rebuilding:
Florida (8-0) 87, Providence 77: Starting four sophs and a junior and proving it's better off without NBA-wannabes Walsh and Roberson.
St. Joe's 70, Kansas (3-4) 67: Loss in NYC highlights struggles to integrate four frosh with three sophs and only two seniors.

Parity watch: Not much warms the cockles on a cold winter night than seeing second-tier state schools upset their big-name rivals.

Indiana State knocked off Indiana (for the 3rd time in 4 tries!), and circle Northern Iowa's win over Iowa when you're looking for first-round bracket upsets in March.

Pro Bowl Update
Not unsurprisingly, seven Colts lead their respective positions with a week to go in Pro Bowl balloting.

So what's the over/under on the number of those stars (and other key players) who see significant PT if the Colts clinch playoff HFA this weekend?

I'm all for the Colts taking a shot at the once-in-a-generation shot at 19-0 immortality; I don't buy that it's a risky proposition for Tony Dungy:

No matter how it happens, if the Colts don't win the title, their season is a failure and Dungy will be labeled a choker.

Off MNF humiliation, RB Westbrook out for rest of season and the biggest "controversy" is whether to start lousy QB McMahon or lousy QB Detmer.
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3 Pacers were fined $10K each for wearing shorts that were too long; I thought the NBA dress code was for OFF-court violations.

Perhaps constricted by a tighter fit, the Pacers lost to the Mavs at home. Dirk has averaged 32 ppg in his last three games.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt apologized for accidentally leaving West Virginia off his top 25 ballot. At least he filled out the ballot himself.

Quietly, Memphis has turned into one of the best teams in the West (won 6th straight last night). Credit stingiest D in league (84.8 ppg).

Condolences to the family of Quentin Richardson. His brother was shot and killed in an apparent robbery Tuesday night.

Perhaps recognizing it would be insane to lose the most marketable player in U.S. soccer, DC United has ironed out its issues with Freddy Adu.

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