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Hamilton, Greinke remain on market after meetings

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Hamilton, Greinke remain on market after meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A quiet winter meetings figures to lead to a busy rest of December, given how few moves actually got finished at sprawling Opryland hotel.

As teams headed home Thursday, the biggest free agents were still on the market. The availability of slugger Josh Hamilton and pitcher Zack Greinke held up decisions on other signings and possible trades involving Rangers infielder Michael Young and Mets Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.

The Yankees, quiet thus far, were pursuing former Boston star Kevin Youkilis and also met with the agent for Mark Reynolds.

With most clubs already packed up, Philadelphia acquired outfielder Ben Revere from Minnesota for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May.

Hamilton could remain with Texas, and Seattle seemed to be interested. Greinke's options include staying with the Los Angeles Angels, moving up the coast to the Dodgers or signing with the Rangers.

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said that after taking in information from other clubs and agents, it was time to return home and ``cool your jets.''

``There can be a domino effect,'' he said. ``I think when clubs are focusing on a certain position, a certain need, there's options out there. And once one option goes away, then that changes the landscape of what a club would want to do. Everybody's got their ducks lined up in a row, and it's just a matter of how things fall. And there's timing involved.''

The annual meeting wasn't much of a swap session. The Phillies-Twins deal was just the fourth trade over the four days.

Atlanta announced a one-year deal with outfielder Reed Johnson on Thursday, and Texas said reliever Koji Uehara had reached an agreement with Boston. Minnesota agreed with reliever Jared Burton on a $5.5 million, two-year contract that includes a club option for 2015, and third baseman Ian Stewart said he is re-signing with the Chicago Cubs, confirming the move on Twitter.

But the 25-foot wide dais with a podium backed by MLB logos was used just three times: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman discussed Alex Rodriguez's hip injury; Major League Baseball announced an auction benefiting Stand Up to Cancer; and the Mets talked about David Wright's $138 million, eight-year contract, which had been agreed to last week.

The Yankees have been quiet, watching as catcher Russell Martin agreed with Pittsburgh last week and backup third baseman Eric Chavez went to Arizona during the meetings. Wanting to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014, the Yankees are being cautious. Still, Cashman maintained it hasn't been a rough week for him.

``Because I don't read the papers as much as I used to,'' he said. ``This year's marketplace, it might be strong in terms of the dollars being thrown around, but I don't think it's a strong market in terms of the available talent.''

As the meetings ended, Cashman had made a $12 million offer to Youkilis, who would play third base while A-Rod recovers. The Phillies were trying to obtain Young, the infielder who has been with the Rangers for his entire 13-season career and would have to approve a trade. Arizona was listening to offers for outfielder Justin Upton.

``It seems like when people leave the winter meetings, there's a bit of a quiet period,'' Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said. ``People kind of get out of the frenzy, maybe take a step back and realize that maybe something they were talking about isn't such a good idea. Sometimes things get close and never end up happening.''

For all the talk, the Dodgers have made only one big move since the end of the season, re-signing closer Brandon League. But they've been quite busy over 2012. After they were bought in May for $2 billion by a group headed by Mark Walter and Stan Kasten, Los Angeles added stars Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. The Dodgers face a Sunday deadline to reach a deal with South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin, whose rights they gained for a $25.7 million bid.

Quite different from the days under the previous owner, Frank McCourt.

``You couldn't get an agent to return a phone call,'' Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. ``Now you've got them lined out the door.''

Texas GM Jon Daniels was popular, too, given his interest in Hamilton and Greinke, and talks involving Upton and a possible a multi-team trade.

``It just makes it tougher, more than two clubs,'' he said, adding he had a variety of trade and free-agent options. ``There are a couple of big decisions that are going to impact the direction. We've narrowed it down, but there's still a couple ways we can go. Some of that is up to us, and some of that is up to the guys on the other side of the table.''

After exploring trades involving Dickey, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said it was possible the team could keep the knuckleballer without a deal for beyond 2013.

``I don't think it's necessarily the optimum result, but it's a possible result,'' he said.

Some teams worry about overpaying this early in the offseason. Other clubs conclude they must.

``You run into people, like, `Man, I didn't want to do that, but I had no choice,''' Cashman said. ``So they're getting a problem solved, but they're not happy with their solution and what they had to do to solve it. I don't want to be in that position. I'd rather feel good about what I'm doing.''

NOTES: The winter meetings will return to Nashville in 2015, the governing body of the minor leagues announced. Next year's meetings are in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and the 2014 session is in San Diego.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.