Cubs

Could this guy become the best pitcher in the world?

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Could this guy become the best pitcher in the world?

From Comcast SportsNetSAPPORO, Japan (AP) -- Yu Darvish's desire to become the world's best pitcher prompted his decision to leave Japan and sign with the Texas Rangers. "I want to become the kind of pitcher that will make people say 'Darvish is the No. 1 pitcher in the world,'" Darvish said at a news conference on Tuesday. The 25-year-old right-hander agreed last week to a six-year contract with the Rangers guaranteeing him 56 million. Darvish had a 93-38 record with a 1.99 ERA in 167 games in the past seven seasons in Japan, where he was a two-time MVP of the Pacific League and a five-time All-Star. He led the league in strikeouts three times and ERA twice, and averaged 205 innings pitched over the last five seasons. Over 10,000 fans attended Tuesday's event at Sapporo Dome, where Darvish spent his entire professional career playing for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. Early in his career, Darvish said he had no desire to go to Major League Baseball, saying it would be bad for Japanese baseball if all of the top players went overseas. But after seven seasons in Japan, Darvish said he needed a new challenge. "I want to feel the thrill of pitching against the world's best hitters," Darvish said. "It was becoming harder to stay motivated in Japan." There is a lot of excitement in Texas, where fans are hoping Darvish is the missing piece that will help lift the Rangers to their first World Series title.

Reds are favorite to sign Cubs free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos, report says

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USA TODAY

Reds are favorite to sign Cubs free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos, report says

The odds of a Cubs-Nick Castellanos reunion happening have seemed slim all offseason. Although they've been connected to him at various points this winter, bringing back the fan favorite right fielder would require some serious financial gymnastics for the North Siders.

With the Cubs cognizant of the luxury tax, the division rival Reds have emerged as the favorite to sign Castellanos, according to MLB insider Jon Morosi.

The Reds have emerged as the frontrunner to sign free-agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, one source said Sunday, and there are indications the sides have made progress over the past several days. While Cincinnati is now the favorite to sign Castellanos, the Giants also have negotiated with the 27-year-old in recent weeks.

Because of their desire to stay under the luxury tax in 2020, the Cubs have only made low-cost acquisitions this winter. They were penalized $7.6 million for eclipsing the threshold in 2019; if they do so in 2020, they'll be taxed 30 percent on their overages —  and see their 2021 draft pick drop 10 spots, if they go over the figure by $40 million.

At this point, the only realistic scenario where the Cubs re-sign Castellanos is if they shed salary. However, they've reportedly signed outfielder Steven Souza to a one-year deal, giving them five outfielders (along with Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward). That might be the biggest indicator of a reunion not being in the cards.

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Sports world reacts to the news of Kobe Bryant's passing

Sports world reacts to the news of Kobe Bryant's passing

According to a report from TMZ Sports, later confirmed by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and ABC 7 News, Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash over Calabasas Sunday morning. This is extremely heartbreaking news that has stunned everyone and the Bulls community weighed in, paying their respects and sharing their emotions on Sunday afternoon:

 

Former Bulls also shared their thoughts on the sad news on Sunday:

 

 

Bryant was one of the NBA's greatest players but his impact was wide-reaching throughout all of sports. This was something that was clear on Sunday when members of the media, team owners, as well as athletes from the NFL, MLB, and much more took some time to state how much Bryant meant to his family, sports, and the world at large:

In a moment of touching tribute, the Raptors and Spurs started their Sunday afternoon matchup with consecutive 24-second shot clock violations, in honor of Bryant:

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar honored Bryant with a "24" salute after scoring a goal:

Kobe Bryant's co-star throughout the Lakers dynasty of the 2000s was Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, who left a heartfelt message on Instagram:

The story appears to still be developing and is truly terrible, terrible news that has shell-shocked the basketball world at large. Bryant was 41-years old at the reported time of his death. 

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