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AP source: Hunter agrees with Tigers

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AP source: Hunter agrees with Tigers

DETROIT (AP) Free agent outfielder Torii Hunter has agreed to a $26 million, two-year deal with Detroit, giving the Tigers a capable corner outfielder coming off an impressive season at age 37.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday because no announcement had been made, confirmed the deal and said Hunter has a physical scheduled for Friday. Hunter hit a career-best .313 last season for the Los Angeles Angels with 16 home runs and 92 RBIs.

Acquiring a corner outfielder was a major offseason priority for Detroit, and Hunter won nine consecutive Gold Gloves from 2001-09 before gradually switching from center field to right. With the exception of Austin Jackson in center field, the Tigers were largely unimpressive defensively last season.

Detroit went into 2012 hoping for solid production from outfielders like Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn, but by the time the postseason started, the Tigers were primarily using Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry and Avisail Garcia alongside Jackson. Dirks had a fine season, hitting .322, but Hunter has a longer track record.

Hunter is also a .289 career hitter against left-handers. The Tigers hit a pedestrian .253 versus southpaws in 2012.

Detroit is chasing its first World Series title since 1984. The Tigers were swept by San Francisco in this year's series.

After back-to-back AL Central titles, Detroit is aggressively trying to win now. Ace Justin Verlander and sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are all in their prime, and the Tigers traded top pitching prospect Jacob Turner to Miami in the middle of the season for right-hander Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante.

Detroit seems like a sensible fit all along for an older player like Hunter, who follows his five-year tenure with Los Angeles by reaching a shorter deal with the Tigers. Detroit is not required to give up compensation for Hunter.

Sanchez is now a free agent, and the Tigers have said they'd like to take a shot at retaining him. Detroit is also ready to welcome back Victor Martinez, who will replace Delmon Young at designated hitter after missing the whole 2012 season with a knee injury.

There are still a few other questions for the Tigers, who are unlikely to bring back closer Jose Valverde. General manager Dave Dombrowski indicated Detroit has some in-house candidates for that role, but the offseason is young.

Although Hunter is now off the market, some other top free agent outfielders remain for other teams to shop for, such as Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher.

Hunter's arrival means Boesch, Garcia or Berry could be an odd man out on Detroit's opening day roster in 2013. Boesch has hit 42 home runs in three seasons with the Tigers, but his average dipped to a career-low .240 in 2012. Berry came from off the radar this year as a 27-year-old rookie and stole 21 bases without being caught. The 21-year-old Garcia hit .319 in 47 at-bats, but he may be a candidate for more seasoning in the minors.

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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