- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The Los Angeles Dodgers have ended the New York Yankees’ 15-year streak as Major League Baseball’s biggest spenders and owe more than $26.6 million in luxury tax.

The Dodgers finished with a record payroll of $257,283,410, according to final calculations made by Major League Baseball and obtained by The Associated Press. That is more than $20 million above the previous high, set by the Yankees last year.

For the first time since the current luxury tax began in 2003, the Yankees won’t be paying the most. The luxury tax was put in place as a slowdown on spending by high-revenue teams, and teams pay based on the amount they are over the $189 million threshold.

The Dodgers owe $26,621,125 based on a $277.7 million payroll for purposes of the tax, which calculates payroll based on the average annual value of contracts for players on the 40-man roster and includes benefits. That raises the team’s two-year total to $38 million. The Yankees cut their payroll and owe $18.3 million in tax, down from $28.1 million for 2013.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Rays, Padres and Nationals finalized an 11-player trade that sent 2013 AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers from Tampa Bay to San Diego and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from Washington to the Rays.

The deal was announced two days after the Rays agreed to part with Myers in a move that president of baseball operations Matt Silverman said will make Tampa Bay “more competitive for 2015 and beyond.”

Tampa Bay acquired five players. Catcher Rene Rivera, pitcher Burch Smith and minor league first baseman Jake Bauers come over from the Padres, and Souza and minor league pitcher Travis Ott from the Nationals.

Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan and minor league pitchers Jose Castillo and Gerardo Reyes were dealt to San Diego. Washington received minor league pitcher Joe Ross and a player to be named from the Padres.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - In yet another move for the retooling Padres, San Diego obtained third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the Boston Red Sox for catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Hanigan was acquired by San Diego from Tampa Bay earlier in the day in an 11-player, three-team deal that also brought outfielder Wil Myers, the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year, to the Padres.

It’s the fifth big trade Padres general manager A.J. Preller has made in just more than a week.

ATLANTA (AP) - With the focus firmly on the opening of their new stadium, the Atlanta Braves dealt away slugger Justin Upton and made it clear that contending next season is not their primary goal.

Just one year removed from an NL East championship and a perennial playoff team, the Braves are now aiming to rebuild and take a top club into suburban SunTrust Park in 2017.

Upton was traded along with a minor league pitcher for a package of four San Diego prospects, including former first-round pick Max Fried, a left-handed pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery and years away from pitching in the big leagues. The Braves also acquired San Diego’s fourth international bonus pool slot.

NEW YORK (AP) - Looking for rotation help at a relatively low price, the New York Yankees acquired right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, outfielder Garrett Jones and minor league pitcher Domingo German from the Miami Marlins for versatile Martin Prado and righty David Phelps.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - When Jake Peavy joined the San Francisco Giants midseason, he brought an energy to the mound that added a new dimension to their rotation.

Now, the Giants are keeping a key member of their World Series championship team, bringing back Peavy with hopes of another October run. The right-hander agreed to a $24 million, two-year contract to stay with San Francisco, two people familiar with the negotiations said.

Also, the Giants completed a trade with the Miami Marlins to bring third baseman Casey McGehee to San Francisco. He will replace Pablo Sandoval, who signed last month with the Boston Red Sox.

PRO FOOTBALL

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - A video released Friday shows Ray Rice’s then-fiancee crying and kissing him while they are both handcuffed and being taken to jail by police officers after Rice punched her in a casino elevator.

The video was obtained by ABC News through a public records request filed with the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement Division. Rice’s attorney fought to keep the video from being released but lost.

The video shows Janay Palmer- now married to the former Baltimore Ravens running back - crying and being comforted by officers or security officials at the Revel casino early on the morning of Feb. 15. An officer walked a handcuffed Rice toward an elevator, pulling Rice’s sweatshirt hood over his head. Palmer, also handcuffed, appeared to be crying as another officer led her behind Rice.

Both of them were placed in an elevator with several officers. Rice and Palmer moved their heads together as if they were talking. Palmer leaned in and appeared to kiss Rice before they were escorted out of the elevator.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he’s awaiting final clearance from team physicians before officially naming Cam Newton the starter for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

That clearance is expected to come Saturday.

Newton practiced for the third straight day and Rivera said he feels “very confident and comfortable” that the fourth-year quarterback will start Sunday, 12 days after a two-vehicle wreck left him with two lower back fractures.

IRVING, Texas (AP) - All signs point to DeMarco Murray playing for Dallas against Indianapolis despite the NFL rushing leader’s broken left hand.

Murray was listed as questionable Friday a few hours after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his radio show that the team “should be able to count on” him playing.

The fourth-year back went through individual drills Wednesday before expanding his role in workouts Thursday and Friday. He says he will ultimately decide whether to play on Sunday.

SWIMMING

BALTIMORE (AP) - Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps avoided jail time when a judge placed him on probation for pleading guilty to a drunken driving charge for the second time in 10 years. The punishment came with a warning.

“You don’t need a lecture from the court,” Baltimore District Judge Nathan Braverman told Phelps. “If you haven’t gotten the message by now, or forget the message, the only option is jail.”

Probation allows the most decorated Olympian ever to focus on training for the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro, which would be his fifth. The 29-year-old came out of a year’s retirement with his sights set on Rio, and the plea is not expected to have any ill effect on those plans.


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