Wakeup call: Should M's trade King Felix?; tears from Paterno

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Wakeup call: Should M's trade King Felix?; tears from Paterno

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, August 16:

BASEBALL
Who would've thought Dale Sveum would be better off managing the 2012 Cubs instead of the 2012 Red Sox? (CSN Chicago)

After Felix Hernandez' perfect game, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik jokingly held his cellphone to his ear and said, "No, we're not trading Felix" in the crowded press elevator heading down the field level. (AP) But Matthew Pouliot believes Jack ought to re-think that. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Double-A Jackson Generals sure got a big kick out of King Felix's perfecto. (Hardball Talk)

Goodbye, Melky . . . and goodbye, playoffs? (Hardball Talk)

Ray Ratto says it's put-up-or-shut-up time for Giants. (CSN Bay Area)

Cabrera's teammates were predictably shocked and stunned at his suspension. (CSN Bay Area)

Oh, and forget about bringing in Alfonso Soriano as a replacement. (CSN Chicago)

Theo's starting to put his imprint on the Cubs . . . at the expense of some long-time employees. (CSN Chicago)

Count Buck Showalter among those who think the Nationals are doing the right thing with Stephen Strasburg. (CSN Baltimore) Of course, he may be looking ahead to a Baltimore-Washington showdown in October.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Mike Aresco channels his inner Kevin Bacon ("Stay calm! All is well!") when discussing the Big East. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
According to excerpts of Joe Posnanski's book published in GQ, Joe Paterno "sobbed uncontrollably" when he was fired as Penn State football coach. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Alabama tries to beat the NCAA to the punch. (AP)

Vultures should move so quickly. (AP)

GOLF
Only a matter of time before someone lined up a Tiger WoodsRory McIlroy showdown. (AP)

HOCKEY
NHL labor talks have gone from cautious optimism to warnings about worst-case scenarios. (CSN Chicago) Really, with Bettman and crew involved, did you expect anything else?

OLYMPICS
Bet you didn't know Jerry Garcia, of all people, had a hand in helping create the 1992 U.S. Dream Team. And via Lithuania, no less. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Andrew Bynum says he's "leaning toward making Philadelphia my home". (AP)

And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks that's a good place for him. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
Yeah, Rex Ryan is toning it down . . . a little. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

A "slightly lacerated" spleen has Jason Witten questionable for the Cowboys' opener. (AP)

James Harrison's opening day status is similarly cloudy, though due to a more traditional injury. (AP)

But Adrian Peterson? He's playing. (AP)

Try as he might, Chad Johnson couldn't convince Joe Philbin to keep him around. (AP)

SOCCER
She saidhe said? Why aren't I surprised Hope Solo is involved? (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

TENNIS
There's be no Rafael Nadal at Flushing Meadows this year. (AP)

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''