Wizards

Twins agree to 1-year deal with Pelfrey

Twins agree to 1-year deal with Pelfrey

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Mike Pelfrey once was a promising prospect for the New York Mets, a groundball-inducing machine who chewed up innings and bats with a hard sinker that tumbled out of his 6-foot-7 frame.

He's 28 years old now, coming off of Tommy John surgery and was sitting in the free agent bargain bin, which is where the Minnesota Twins have been shopping for starting pitchers all offseason.

The Twins agreed to terms with the right-hander on a $4 million, one-year contract, adding him to the mix in a starting rotation filled with ``pitch-to-contact'' guys who rely more on their defense making plays behind them than they do striking hitters out with overpowering stuff.

Pelfrey went 50-54 with a 4.36 ERA in seven seasons with the Mets, including a four-year run in which he pitched at least 184 innings and topped 200 innings twice. But he has averaged just 5.1 strikeouts per nine innings, which means he fits right in with a Twins rotation built on light-throwing, location-oriented arms.

He missed almost all of last season after having the ligament replacement surgery and is now working on his comeback. His deal calls for $1.5 million in performance bonuses, including $100,000 for 150 innings, $150,000 for 160 innings, $250,000 each for 170, 180 and 190 innings and $500,000 for 200 innings, a person with knowledge of the agreement said on Tuesday. The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

Pelfrey will join Scott Diamond, Vance Worley and Kevin Correia in the new-look rotation. Only Diamond was a holdover from last year's staff, which is probably a good thing.

Twins starters went 39-75 with a 5.40 ERA last year, a disastrous season that put their staff ahead of only Colorado in the majors. Twelve players took at least five starts last season, and the dearth of power arms was one of the organization's biggest weaknesses in their second straight last-place finish in the AL Central.

They added highly touted prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May in trades, but both will likely take at least another year of seasoning in the minors before they're ready to join the rotation. They also have their own prospect, Kyle Gibson, coming off of Tommy John surgery. He could join the rotation this season sometime but is expected to be on an innings limit similar to what Washington's Stephen Strasburg was on last season.

Pelfrey will have to pass a physical before the deal becomes official.

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AP Sports Writer Ron Blum contributed to this report.

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That time new Wizard Troy Brown dunked on No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley

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That time new Wizard Troy Brown dunked on No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley

Back in high school, the newest Washington Wizard Troy Brown was an athletic freak. So much so that Brown dunked over the No. 2 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, Marvin Bagley III.

Playing at Centennial High School from Las Vegas, Nevada, the 15th overall pick went straight at the dominating 6-11 Bagley and posterized the man.

Although both were merely kids at the time (an each a few inches shorter), still you cannot question the confidence and athleticism of the Wizards' top pick. 

Heck, Brown is still athletic.

Now Oregon never got the chance to play Duke this past season, but Brown will get two chances for another poster on his wall with Bagley now on the Sacramento Kings. 

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Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

DALLAS — Hours after being named head coach of the New York Islanders on Thursday, Barry Trotz made his first public comments since stepping down in Washington earlier in the week.

And, from the sounds of it, his departure was mostly a business decision.

“Yeah, obviously, I love the D.C. area,” he told reporters on a conference call. “But when it came to the business aspect, from my standpoint, I felt that it wasn’t really sincere [given] what we did together. So I decided that it was better to just move on.”

“I thank the fans,” he added. “I’m glad we could get it done. I said we could get it done in four years, and we did.”

Although the value of his contract with the Islanders has not been publicly disclosed, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Trotz is set to earn “at least $4 million” per year—or more than twice what he was earning in Washington.

A source told NBC Sports Washington earlier this week that Trotz, who directed the Caps to their first Stanley Cup two weeks ago, sought $5 million per season for five seasons. The five-year term, that source said, was a non-starter as far as the Caps were concerned, given the relatively short shelf life of NHL coaches and the fact that Trotz had already been in Washington for four seasons.

When it became clear that the sides weren’t going to close the considerable gap between their positions, Trotz offered to step down and the resignation was accepted, making the 55-year-old a free agent.

When “I got the [counteroffer], I guess I knew it was time to go in a different direction,” he said.

In New York, Trotz replaces Doug Weight, who was fired earlier this month along with GM Garth Snow. Lou Lamoriello, a longtime NHL executive, took over for Snow and immediately started a search for a new head coach.

Once Trotz became available, it didn’t take Lamoriello to zero in on the NHL's fifth all-time winningest coach. The two met, exchanged ideas and quickly realized that they had found a good fit in one another. Trotz said he's already reached out to the Islanders' star captain, John Tavares, who could become the biggest prize on the free agent market on July 1. 

And, like that, Trotz now is the coach of a Metropolitan Division foe. The Caps and Isles will face off four times next season, beginning with a Nov. 26meeting in New York.

It’ll be weird, for sure. But professional sports is a business. And all sides involved in the Trotz saga were served a painful reminder of that this week.

Asked if he felt wanted in Washington, Trotz said: “Well, I’ll leave that up to the Caps to answer that. I think, absolutely. We just won a cup together and so I don't think that was an issue. I think it was more principle.”

In the end, Trotz wanted to be compensated like one of the top coaches in the game. And now he will, settling in behind big market coaches such as Toronto’s Mike Babcock ($6.25 million per year), Chicago’s Joel Quenneville ($6 million) and Montreal’s Claude Julien ($5 million).

“It’s good to be wanted,” he said. “It happened really quickly because you go from one emotion of winning the cup to the next emotion of leaving the team that you just won the Cup with, and you have to make some quick decisions. I know the timing of it—end of the season, the draft coming up, free agency [and] all that—there was some urgency on that. Both parties knew that, so we went to work at it and got it done.”

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