Dodgers star signs a massive new contract

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Dodgers star signs a massive new contract

From Comcast SportsNet
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Andre Ethier to an 85 million, five-year deal through 2017 on Tuesday, keeping him and Matt Kemp together in the middle of the lineup. It's the team's first major move under a new ownership group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson. The new deal includes salaries of 13.5 million for next year, 15.5 million for 2014, 18 million each for 2015 and 2016 and 17.5 million for 2017. The Dodgers have a 17.5 million option for 2018 with a 2.5 million buyout, and Ethier's 2018 salary could become guaranteed based on plate appearances in 2017 or 2016-17 combined. The option vests with 1,100 plate appearances in 2016-17 combined or 550 plate appearances in 2017. If the option does not vest and is declined, a buyout is payable on Jan. 15, 2018. Ethier avoided arbitration last winter, agreeing to a 10.95 million contract for this season. He could have tested free agency at season's end. "I knew there were options at the end of the day, but why look at them when the best option is here?" he said. "A friend of mine said a couple weeks ago, You were meant to play here and you wouldn't play good anywhere else,'" he said. "That kind of rang true and let me think what's the purpose of holding out a few more months?" General manager Ned Colletti and new President and CEO Stan Kasten joined Ethier at a news conference overlooking the field at Dodger Stadium. Manager Don Mattingly, along with All-Star slugger Matt Kemp and pitcher Javy Guerra were there. Ethier's wife, Maggie, the couple's two young sons, who wore their dad's No. 16 jersey, and his parents also attended. "We signed Matt last winter and now we've signed Andre long-term, which to me says basically that you want to get better as an organization looking forward," Mattingly said. "These two guys are our cornerstones, so it makes a commitment to the fans. Right now, Dre's in a good spot and his teammates care about him." Ethier leads the National League with 53 RBIs. The 30-year-old right fielder is a two-time All-Star who is batting .287 with 10 home runs going into Tuesday night's game against the Angels. He's been with the team for six seasons, winning a Silver Slugger award in 2009 and a Gold Glove award last year. "He's part of the core, part of what we're trying to build on," Colletti said. "You got to keep guys like that around. If you believe in your core guys and you develop them, it's tough to replace guys like that." Colletti, who rarely does deals during the season, said he told all of the team's prospective owners that signing Ethier to a long-term deal was a priority if they were to take control of the team. "These owners aren't messing around with making this team and stadium the best it can be," Ethier said. He said Kasten talked to him two weeks ago about the ownership group's plans for the team. "Obviously, that set my mind at ease," Ethier said. "I knew things were going to get better around here no matter what." Last season, Ethier had a 30-game hitting streak and batted .292 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs before having left knee surgery in September. Colletti said he doesn't expect the deal to affect Ethier's future performance. "He's proven himself over the long haul," he said. "It gives him a sense of knowing how we feel." Colletti flew to Ethier's offseason home in Arizona to meet with him in December, when both sides let each other know he wanted to remain in Los Angeles. The deal couldn't get going until last month because of the ownership transition, but it took just a couple weeks to get one. "In season you can't let it drag or it's a perilous time of year to be doing it," Colletti said. In November, the Dodgers signed Kemp to a 160 million, eight-year deal that equaled the seventh-highest contract in baseball history. That was the team's last major deal under former owner Frank McCourt. It is the richest agreement in club history, topping pitcher Kevin Brown's 105 million, seven-year deal before the 1999 season. Kemp is currently on the disabled list for the second time this season, although the Dodgers have maintained the best record in baseball. Ethier and Kemp anchor the Dodgers' defense, with Ethier in center and Kemp in right. "They've got a quiet competitiveness and great respect for one another," Colletti said. Ethier added, "I can look up and know where Matty's at most of the time. You don't see that often in baseball where two guys can do it defensively as well as being at the same level offensively." Ethier and Kemp's relationship dates back to when they played on the same Arizona Fall League team, although Ethier belonged to the Oakland Athletics and Kemp was with the Dodgers. "It's unbelievable to know I'm going to get the chance to play by his side for the next five years," Ethier said. "Me and Matty know we have to go out there and do our thing. When you start adding other key guys it definitely does allow everyone around you to play better baseball." Ethier said he knew from the start of spring training that good things were in store for the team after the last few years of turbulence under McCourt. "You could definitely tell by the way this group came together this spring," he said. "By far this is the best clubhouse and best group of guys in the seven years I've been here. I want to give them a lot of credit for the start we've had and the start I've had." Ethier also gets use of a luxury suite at the stadium eight times per season for community and charity work in the Los Angeles area.

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Wizards vs. Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The Washington Wizards host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
TV: CSN (Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Consistency on defense

The Wizards felt good about their performance on defense against the Nuggets on Thursday night, as they held a strong offensive team to just 85 points, including 33 in the second half and 12 in the fourth quarter. Now they have to carry that effort over from game to game, something that has been difficult for them to do so far this season.

Just look at the contrast between the Nuggets game and what happened in their previous two outings. Against the Nets on Monday they won, but only after allowing 66 points in the first half. And on Tuesday they lost to the Magic after allowing them their season-high of 124 points, including 73 from the bench alone. Milwaukee isn't a juggernaut offensively, but they are above average with 102.4 points per game (12th in NBA) and a 45.9 field goal percentage (8th).

[RELATED: Morris: 'Wall is the voice and I'm like the muscle']

Watch out for Giannis and Jabari

The Wizards will have their hands full with the Bucks' two young stars, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker. Antetokounmpo, 22, is averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.2 blocks and 2.0 steals per game, all the while shooting 51.6 percent. That's as well-rounded a stat line as you will see in the game of basketball. He's a 6-foot-11 big man who can run their offense as a point guard. Matching up with him is no easy task, no matter the personnel on defense

Parker, 21, is scoring 19.6 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The former second overall pick is blossoming into an elite scorer this season.

The Wizards are likely to try their lineup with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. on the floor together against the Bucks to counter Milwaukee's versatility:

"They've got a lot of length out there with Giannis and Jabari," Oubre said. "We've gotta match their energy or have more energy than them out there and pretty much run them into the ground. If we get into a halfcourt set, it's going to tough to score overtop of them."

More work for Gortat

With news that Ian Mahinmi will remain shut down for at least the next week despite his latest MRI clearing him of any structural damage, that means the workload will remain heavy for Marcin Gortat as the Wizards continue to play thin at the center position. Gortat already leads the team in minutes played (743) and has logged at least 36 minutes in six of his last seven games. 

Gortat is working hard, but he's okay with that according to his coach.

"He constantly reminds me that he's the Polish Machine and that he can play any amount of minutes as possible. He keeps telling me that if we go overtime that he can play 53 minutes. I like his heart and his determination, but I would like to keep it down in the low 30s. But he's feeling good. As a staff, we monitor his workload during practice," Brooks said.

[RELATED: Wizards send rookie McClellan to D-League]

Navy fan trolls Army with video game-inspired Army-Navy GameDay sign

Navy fan trolls Army with video game-inspired Army-Navy GameDay sign

At the end of the day, the Army-Navy rivalry is one of respect. With that being said, that doesn't mean Navy and their fans can't poke a little fun at Army for losing 14-straight games in the rivalry.

Game over. Flawless victory.

More from Army-Navy: An Army-Navy preview with Rich DeMarco and Omar Nelson