Tampa Bay Rays agree to terms with 4 players

Tampa Bay Rays agree to terms with 4 players

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to one-year contracts with right-handed pitcher Jeff Niemann and infielder Ryan Roberts, along with outfielders Matt Joyce and Sam Fuld to avoid arbitration.

Niemann, who turns 30 next month, will earn $3 million the team announced Friday. The 32-year-old Roberts received $2.95 million plus incentives. Joyce gets $2.45 million and Fuld will earn $725,000.

The 31-year-old Fuld batted .255 with seven stolen bases and 14 runs scored after missing the first 96 games of last season while recovering from surgery to repair ligaments in his right wrist. The 28-year-old Joyce had 17 homeruns, 59 RBIs and a career-high 55 walks.

Niemann was 2-3 with a 3.08 ERA in eight starts. Roberts hit 12 homers with 52 RBIs for the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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The chance to win another Stanley Cup brought Caps forward Carl Hagelin back to D.C.


The chance to win another Stanley Cup brought Caps forward Carl Hagelin back to D.C.

Carl Hagelin spent last season feeling more like an NHL employee than part of an actual team. 

Traded twice in three months, dealing with a knee injury that cost him 20 games in Los Angeles before eventually landing with the Capitals, Hagelin was a vagabond. His car was in California. His wife and daughter were in Sweden. His mind was everywhere at once. It wasn’t until March, after the trade to Washington, that things finally began to feel normal again.

“When I got traded to Washington, I didn't really know what to expect,” Hagelin said. “But those [27] games I was able to play there gave me a better understanding of how good of a team it is and how much fun it is to play for the Caps. After the season, you're left with a bitter taste, obviously, not making it as far as we wanted in the playoffs. But in my exit meetings, I told them I wanted to stay if we could find something.”

That happened on Sunday. The trade of defenseman Matt Niskanen on Friday cleared some space under the salary cap and Hagelin, 30, signed a four-year, $11 million contract. That was far from guaranteed when the season ended with a disappointing first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. 

The Capitals had another pending unrestricted free agent in Brett Connolly, and forward Jakub Vrana needs a new deal as an unrestricted free agent. The same goes for Andre Burakovsky. Niskanen was the first domino to fall with his trade to the Philadelphia Flyers. That saved $3.405 million on the cap and opened some breathing room.

All Hagelin could do was wait to see if that cap space actually materialized.

He spent time recovering his belongings left behind following trades from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles in November and to Washington in February. He then returned home to Sweden with his family and left it up to his agent and Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan to find common ground. Things came together quickly, and Hagelin and the team each got what they wanted: Term for him (four years) and a lower annual salary-cap number ($2.75 million) for them.

Like many of his teammates, watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on with him left a sour taste in Hagelin’s mouth. This is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with Pittsburgh, a player who’s gone on deep runs – mostly at Washington’s expense – many times dating to his time with the New York Rangers. The Capitals fell short in 2019. Hagelin sees a team capable of making it back to that level. He wanted to be part of it. 

“I’ve been fortunate to be in the playoffs every year since I got in the league, and I’ve been to five conference finals and three Stanley Cup Finals," Hagelin said. "And that’s what you love -- being in those situations."

“And every time around this time of year you watch all these other teams play in the playoffs and play in the finals, and it pisses you off a little bit. So that’s what I want to get back to, and if I didn’t think the Caps had a chance to play in the finals and win the Stanley Cup, I wouldn’t have signed with them.”


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Storms in weather forecast for Nationals series against Phillies, Braves

Storms in weather forecast for Nationals series against Phillies, Braves

With Bryce Harper and the Phillies coming to Washington, D.C., for a four-game series against the Nationals starting Monday, the weather isn't too happy.

Between Monday and Thursday, scattered showers and thunderstorms could threaten the Nationals and Phillies' matchups and cause delays, cancellations and postponements, according to NBC4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts. 

But, when the Atlanta Braves get into town Friday, the sun should be out and humidity will be down, with temperatures in the upper-70s by the 7:05 p.m. first pitch. 

The seven games in seven days, with four games against the Phillies and three against the Braves, could be a defining stretch for the inconsistent Nationals. Facing two NL East foes, Washington has the chance to make up much-needed ground on the first-and second-place teams in the division.

The Nats enter the week 33-38, 8.5 games back from the NL East first-place Atlanta Braves and 6.5 games back from the Phillies (39-32).