MLB’s free-agent frenzy has been painfully sluggish. Are groups saving up for Josh Donaldson et al subsequent 12 months?

Your noon sports activities snack.

Toast factors

• The Raptors are awaiting phrase on Serge Ibaka’s availability for a marquee dwelling sport in opposition to Cleveland tomorrow. Ibaka will very probably be suspended for throwing a punch at Warmth ahead James Johnson within the third quarter of Miami’s 100-99 win final evening. Ibaka, who was ejected together with Johnson, missed one sport final March for punching Chicago centre Robin Lopez’s hair; the Raptors additionally suspended him for a sport two weeks in the past over an altercation with a workforce worker.

• Two hockey bulletins of differing significance are looming. The NHL plans to disclose the 4 rosters for the 2018 All-Star Recreation immediately, with 10 gamers from every division set to affix their respective captain — Steven Stamkos (Atlantic), Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), P.Okay. Subban (Central) and Connor McDavid (Pacific) — on the Jan. 27-28 festivities in Tampa. Extra consequentially, Hockey Canada will unveil its males’s Olympic hockey roster tomorrow at midday. Telecast information for that announcement could be discovered within the TV listings beneath.

The 2018 NHL All-Star Recreation jerseys.

• Canadian tennis gamers had been busy late yesterday and in a single day in Australia and New Zealand. Vasek Pospisil, Peter Polansky and Frank Dancevic all gained their opening matches within the Australian Open qualifying draw, nudging them alongside to the second of three rounds. They’ll every have to win two extra matches to earn a spot in the principle draw. Canada’s Francoise Abanda, Bianca Andreescu and Carol Zhao begin their ladies’s qualifying campaigns tonight. The complete event begins subsequent Monday.

Denis Shapovalov, in the meantime, misplaced his spherical of 16 match on the Auckland Open to No. 2 seed Juan Martin del Potro, 6-2, 6-4. Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic, who might be seeded 14th on the Australian Open attributable to a prolonged layoff with an elbow damage, gained his first match in six months on the Kooyong Traditional in Melbourne, 6-1, 6-Four over Dominic Thiem.

Denis Shapovalov serves to Juan Martin del Potro on the ASB Males’s Traditional in Auckland, New Zealand, on Jan. 10. Phil Walter / Getty Photos

• We haven’t heard a lot concerning the largest names in sprinting for the reason that world monitor and subject championships final summer time. At present, we discovered that Andre De Grasse will headline Canada’s workforce on the Commonwealth Video games in Gold Coast, Australia, this April, although he’ll skip the 100 metres to deal with the 200 metres and the 4×100-metre relay. De Grasse’s former rival Usain Bolt made his personal disclosure yesterday: he has a tryout supply with German soccer energy Borussia Dortmund in March. As a result of who doesn’t want a six-foot-five striker who’s sooner than everybody else?

• North Korea and South Korea may come collectively to ice a joint ladies’s hockey workforce on the Pyeongchang Olympics, Contained in the Video games reported immediately. Officers will talk about the opportunity of including some North Korean gamers to a predominantly South Korean roster at IOC headquarters in Switzerland on Jan. 20, the place a proposal for the international locations to march into the Feb. 9 opening ceremony collectively may even be on the docket. South Korea’s ladies’s workforce is 22nd within the present IIHF world ladies’s rankings, whereas North Korea is 25th.

As relations between the longtime geopolitical foes proceed to inch towards a thaw, the U.S. is planning to ship Vice President Mike Pence to Pyeongchang subsequent month to guide its Olympic delegation, administration officers stated final evening. Will Pence get one other probability to glare menacingly on the North from the Demilitarized Zone?

On this April 17, 2017 file photograph, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence appears to be like on the North facet from Remark Submit Ouellette within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), close to the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea, which has separated the 2 Koreas for the reason that Korean Conflict. Lee Jin-man / AP

Dietary evaluation

When does main league baseball’s free-agent frenzy start? No, significantly, when are all of the free brokers going to signal?

In what looks as if the slowest free-agent season in reminiscence, almost each main participant on the open market stays with out a workforce with about 5 weeks left earlier than full spring coaching begins.

Not that groups aren’t signing gamers. There have been 139 signings for the reason that starting of December in accordance with transaction logs, however solely 45 have been major-league contracts. The opposite 68 per cent have all been minor-league offers with an invite to the massive membership’s spring coaching camp.

There’s some sense that groups could be hoarding money for the following low season, when franchise gamers equivalent to Josh Donaldson, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado might turn into out there, and quality=60&strip=all with the chance that Clayton Kershaw and David Value train opt-out clauses of their present offers.

Josh Donaldson celebrates his dwelling run in opposition to the Boston Purple Sox on Sept. 26. Maddie Meyer / Getty Photos

However Mat Germain at did an evaluation based mostly on what he believes is the cash out there free of charge brokers proper now, with out regard to subsequent winter. He believes the highest 4 remaining free brokers — beginning pitchers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, outfielder J.D. Martinez and first baseman Eric Hosmer — will scoop up many of the out there money, leaving about 130 different gamers to attempt to discover contracts out of about US$400 million left based mostly on what groups spent in 2017. That looks as if some huge cash, however for those who divide it equally, it’s about $Three million per participant, the place the common wage final season was near $4.5 million.

So it’s extra probably that the logjam comes from the very fact the massive fish stay unsigned, which leaves the minnows bunched up ready, maybe not all that patiently.

Under is a chart exhibiting the variety of signed free brokers and the entire out there at every place based mostly on ESPN’s breakdown.

The highest free brokers remaining are listed on the finish of every bar. You could possibly make a reasonably first rate workforce with these gamers. Solely 17 of ESPN’s 50 ranked free brokers have already signed, together with simply two of the highest 10, Zack Cozart and Carlos Santana.

Photograph of the day

Can canine exhibits be categorized as sports activities? These Kooikerhondje make a compelling case.

Nederlandse kooikerhondje Escher, proper, and Rhett are proven on the American Kennel Membership headquarters in New York on Jan. 10. The membership introduced that it’s recognizing the Nederlandse kooikerhondje and the grand basset griffon Vendeen. They’re the primary breeds added to the roster since 2016. Mary Altaffer / AP


• This week’s Canadian determine skating championships might be one thing of a formality for various prime Canadians: they’ll merely be seeking to avert catastrophe forward of the Olympics. Not so for Patrick Chan, the three-time world champion and Sochi 2014 silver medallist whose ongoing males’s singles season has already verged on catastrophic. A clear routine in Vancouver may give him confidence heading into Pyeongchang, retired star Kurt Browning tells Scott Stinson, whereas something much less may do the alternative.

• In the event you’re stunned to listen to Aleksander Barkov described as a two-way power on par with the likes of Anze Kopitar, it’s most likely as a result of he’s solely performed six video games within the playoffs. The 22-year-old Panthers centre has 40 factors in 41 video games and leads all NHL forwards in ice time (22:29 per sport) this season, however he could be the league’s most underrated participant, writes Michael Traikos, the consequence of enjoying in an neglected hockey market whose workforce doesn’t win fairly often.

TV tonight

All instances Japanese

7:30 p.m. NHL: Ottawa at Toronto Sportsnet, TVAS
eight p.m. NBA
— Oklahoma Metropolis at Minnesota TSN1,3-5
— Portland at Houston NBATV
9 p.m. Freestyle snowboarding: World Cup moguls streaming
10:30 p.m. NBA: LA Clippers at Golden State TSN1,3

Early Thursday
7 a.m. Golf: European Tour BMW SA Open Golf Channel
9:30 a.m. Curling: Continental Cup, workforce competitors TSN1,3-5
Midday Hockey: Olympic males’s roster announcement TSN2

Scorching Buttered Submit is served Monday by way of Thursday.

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