Redskins

AP NewsBreak: Yankees hit with $18.9M luxury tax

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AP NewsBreak: Yankees hit with $18.9M luxury tax

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Yankees were hit with an $18.9 million luxury tax by Major League Baseball, the 10th consecutive year they will pay a penalty for their spending.

The team finished with a $222.5 million payroll for purposes of the tax, according to figures sent to teams Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press.

Following its payroll-shedding trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer, Boston finished just $47,177 under the $178 million threshold. The Los Angeles Angels wound up at $176.7 million and Philadelphia at $174.5 million.

Figures include average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters, earned bonuses and escalators, adjustments for cash in trades and $10.8 million per team in benefits.

New York has run up a luxury tax bill of $224.2 million over the past decade, with the fee increasing from $13.9 million last year. The Yankees' tax rate rose from 40 percent to 42.5 percent this year and figures to climb to 50 percent next season. But they hope to get under the threshold in 2014, when it rises to $189 million. Dropping under the threshold would lower their potential tax rate in 2015 to 17.5 percent.

``It affects my decision-making process, my communication about the pressure points we have,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, adding that market rates for free agents also impact his choices.

For the regular payroll calculation - 2012 income plus prorated shares of signing bonuses - spending by the 30 big league teams broke $3 billion for the first time at $3.15 billion after falling $43,000 short of the milestone last year.

The Yankees finished at a record $223.3 million, their 14th consecutive year as the biggest spender and topping their previous mark of $222.5 million in 2008.

However, the Dodgers could break that mark next year following a summer and autumn of acquisitions. Los Angeles currently is at $207.9 million for 21 signed players, including adjustments for the August trade with Boston that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers. The Yankees are at $182 million for 14 players, including a deal with Ichiro Suzuki that hasn't been finalized.

``You don't get a trophy for having the highest payroll,'' Cashman said. ``I'm not going to feel weird either way, if we're the highest or we're not the highest. That's not the issue. Just want to be the best.''

Philadelphia was second at $169.7 million, followed by Boston ($168.6 million), the Angels ($160.1 million), AL champion Detroit ($140.7 million) and World Series champion San Francisco ($138.1 million).

Even while shedding some stars during the season, Miami rose from $61.9 million to $89.9 million. The Marlins figure to drop to the bottom of spending next year after trading nearly all their veterans.

Among the big slashers were the New York Mets (from $142.2 million in 2011 to $103.7 million) and the Chicago Cubs (from $140.6 million to $107.7 million).

Oakland won the AL West despite the lowest payroll in the major leagues at $59.5 million. The division rival Angels rose from $143.1 million to $160.1 million yet still missed the playoffs. They added slugger Josh Hamilton this week with a $125 million, five-year deal set to be announced Saturday.

The Dodgers, sold during the season to a group headed by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, climbed from $109.9 million in 2011 to $129.1 million. In the last week they added pitchers Zack Greinke ($147 million over six years) and Ryu Hyun-jin ($36 million over six years).

The commissioner's office computed the average salary at a record 3,104,563, up 2.2 percent from last year's $3,039,161, The players' association, which uses a slightly different method, pegged the average at $3,213,479, up 3.8 percent.

Payroll figures are for 40-man rosters and include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses, earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercised options and cash transactions, such as money included in trades. In some cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values.

According to the collective bargaining agreement, checks to pay the luxury tax must be sent to the commissioner's office by Jan. 21.

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Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

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USA TODAY Sports

Early returns show solid Redskins squad, with potential for more

More than 100 days remain before the Redskins take the field in meaningful NFL action.

Any and all excitement needs to be tempered, significantly, because what happens on a practice field in May without pads does not represent what will happen in September, October and beyond. 

Still, the Redskins group that took the field this week for OTAs showed promise. 

New quarterback Alex Smith looked crisp, connecting with a variety of wideouts and commanding the huddle. New wideout Paul Richardson made the best play of the session when he streaked down the field past rookie cornerback Greg Stroman and hauled in a deep pass from Smith. The play showed Smith's ability to identify open receivers downfield, as well as Richardson's ability to go up and grab a contested catch. Even Stroman, the seventh-round rookie, positioned himself well, he just fell victim to a perfect pass and tremendous athleticism.

That was only one play in a two-hour session. Again, don't take too much from May, when players don't wear pads or engage in any of the violence that the NFL is predicated upon. But the OTAs do serve a purpose, both for players and coaches, and there were nuggets to absorb and try to project for the fall. Here they are:

  • Jay Gruden made clear he's not concerned about the health of his offensive line. Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are recuperating from offseason surgery, but Gruden believes both are on track for when things start to matter. It's a good thing the coach isn't concerned because this was the 'Skins line in OTAs (left to right): Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, John Kling. Should that lineup take the field this fall, there will be trouble. 
     
  • The Redskins lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason, and the secondary depth will be something to watch throughout training camp. At OTAs, newly signed veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick lined up opposite Josh Norman in the team's base 3-4 defense. In nickel and dime coverage, Quinton Dunbar lined up opposite Norman and Scandrick moved to the slot. As things progress, it will be interesting to see if Dunbar surpasses Scandrick in base coverage, and what becomes of 2017 third-round pick Fabian Moreau. Stay tuned.  
     
  • Rookie running back Derrius Guice looked every part of the first-round talent many judged him to be before draft season rumors caused him to slide to the late second round. Guice cuts with authority and is able to see holes before they form and patiently wait to hit the open space. Guice also looked fine in pass-catching drills, one area that was a question coming out of LSU (but that says more about LSU's prehistoric offense). Watching the Redskins offense work, it seems clear Guice will be the heaviest used runner this fall.
     
  • That said, don't count out Robert Kelley. He looks leaner and plenty quick, showing a few impressive runs during the session. Byron Marshall also looked good, and Gruden pointed out his success in his post-OTA press conference. The running back group will have plenty of competition all the way through Richmond. 
     
  • Jonathan Allen has switched jersey numbers from 95 to 93. Rookie Daron Payne is now wearing 95. Payne and Allen both went to Alabama, both are huge, and both play defensive line. The number switch will take some getting used to. 
     
  • Zach Brown missed the OTA session as he was moving, and interestingly in his spot with the starting defense was Josh Harvey-Clemons. The second-year pro out of Louisville showed impressive speed in coverage, and remember he played safety in college and performed quite well. He has ball skills and great size to be a coverage linebacker. Some were surprised when the Redskins kept JHC last season at the cut to 53, but his development appears to be paying off for the organization. 
     
  • Another linebacker that made a play was Zach Vigil. He impressed for the Redskins late last season and was running the Washington second-team defensive huddle. At one point, Vigil broke through the line of scrimmage and blew up a run play. That prompted D.J. Swearinger to yell from the sideline, "OK Zach. OK ZACH!"
     
  • Speaking of Swearinger, the Redskins defensive captain seemed in midseason form when it comes to yelling encouragement on the field. Nobody hypes up the defense like Swearinger, particularly when the secondary makes a big play. On one pass Dunbar made a nice diving play to break up a pass, and Swearinger and Josh Norman got very fired up, shouting and jumping around. The entire defense responded. Little stuff like that helps disrupt the monotony of offseason work. 
     
  • Jamison Crowder looks jacked and quick. The end. 

 

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.