Capitals

Cold winter: Hamilton is latest loss for Rangers

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Cold winter: Hamilton is latest loss for Rangers

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was talking before lunch Thursday about the team still wanting to re-sign Josh Hamilton.

Just more than an hour later, after getting a call from Hamilton's agent, Daniels was telling the same group of reporters that the five-time All-Star slugger and 2010 AL MVP had agreed to a deal with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels.

So far, it has been that kind of offseason for Texas.

Zack Greinke, the top free-agent pitcher also targeted by the Rangers, chose the Los Angeles Dodgers instead last weekend.

``Now we go back and look at some of our other options,'' Daniels said after getting word that Hamilton was suddenly gone, too.

``We've talked all along that we want to play some of our own guys. We were hoping to do it alongside Josh, and I liked the idea of our young players playing with some of our established guys,'' the GM said. ``We still have a very good nucleus, but it is what it is. He's a big part of the club the last few years, and now he's on the other side.''

All-Star right-hander James Shields, another pitcher Texas likely would have been interested in pursuing in a trade, was instead dealt from Tampa Bay to Kansas City. And the Arizona Diamondbacks have said now that it's ``highly unlikely'' they will deal young slugging outfielder Justin Upton after a three-team trade this week that got the Diamondbacks a desired shortstop.

The Rangers have been to the playoffs three consecutive seasons, but last year dropped a winner-take-all wild-card game at home to Baltimore after losing the division title to Oakland on the last day of the regular season. They went to the previous two World Series.

When Rangers president Nolan Ryan was asked Thursday to assess the offseason so far, he responded, ``It hasn't probably gone as we had hoped to this point.''

And that was before agent Michael Moye called the Rangers with Hamilton's decision.

``We still feel like we have a good ballclub and we feel like we're in a good position,'' Ryan said. ``So I don't think that we're feeling like any pressure to go out and make something happen.''

Michael Young, the longest-tenured player in Texas with 12 seasons, was traded to Philadelphia last week for two young relievers. Two Rangers free agents, catcher Mike Napoli and reliever Koji Uehara, have reached agreements with Boston.

With Young and Napoli gone, the Rangers could be ready to give rookie infielder Jurickson Profar a chance. One possible scenario is for Profar to take over at second base and Ian Kinsler to switch to first base - where Young and Napoli split some time.

``There are different ways that we can go,'' Daniels said about Kinsler in his initial talk Thursday with reporters. ``But there's a reasonable chance we go that way and ask him to move to first.''

Profar turns 20 in February, the same age shortstop Elvis Andrus was when he made his major league debut in 2009 after never playing above the Double-A level. Profar was called up by the Rangers at the end of last season, playing second base and shortstop in his nine games.

The Rangers could also find more playing time for another top prospect, infielder Mike Olt, who was hurt while spending the last two months of the season in the majors.

Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre has three years left on his deal from when he was the big free-agent addition two years ago.

With Hamilton gone, the Rangers still have Nelson Cruz in right field and David Murphy in left. Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin could possibly platoon in center.

``We like our guys, we like our club,'' Daniels said. ``Is there room to improve? Absolutely. We don't want to do it as to overreact and do something for the wrong reasons. ... We're trying to make good baseball decisions, give (manager Ron Washington) and the team the best chance we can headed into the year.''

Yu Darvish, the headline addition from Japan last winter, heads up the rotation after an impressive All-Star transition to the majors. There is also All-Star left-hander Matt Harrison, lefty Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando, going back to the rotation after a season in the bullpen following his All-Star season as a starter in 2010.

Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz, two other potential starters, will begin next season still recovering from elbow surgery. Texas could fill the gap by letting young guys compete for a rotation spot.

``We feel that when you look at our pitching staff, we're going into spring training with some experienced guys that we have a real feel for,'' Ryan said. ``We're always looking to improve the pitching. We've tried to do some things that haven't worked out this winter so far, so we'll keep grinding away with it.''

But what if the Rangers aren't able to add another starting pitcher?

``If we had to go to spring training with the staff we have,'' Ryan said, ``yeah, I'd be comfortable with it.''

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197