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The Calgary Flames fired head coach Glen Gulutzan on Tuesday after two seasons.

Gulutzan, 46, guided the Flames to the playoffs after his first season in 2016-17, though the Flames were swept in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks. The Flames missed the playoffs this past season with a 37-35-10 record. The team especially faltered down the stretch, losing 17 of its last 24 games.

Several key Flames dealt with injuries during the season, including goalie Mike Smith, defenseman TJ Brodie and forwards Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk. Meanwhile, the free-agency signing of 45-year-old winger Jaromir Jagr was a bust; Jagr played only 22 games before he was put on waivers in late January.

Calgary also fired assistant coaches Dave Cameron and Paul Jerrard on Tuesday.

As was expected, the Calgary Flames fired coach Glen Gulutzan on Tuesday after two seasons. The team was a massive disappointment: a lifeless offensive group, including an atrocious power play, propped up by goalie Mike Smith like he was doing a community theater version of “Weekend At Bernie’s.” So where do they go now? GM Brad Treliving has a relationship with highly regarded Dave Tippett going back to their Coyotes days. He selected Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, who is under contract but apparently allowed to shop his services, as head coach for the 2016 world championships. AHL coach Ryan Huska will be in the mix; will former NY Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault as well? And what about Albertan farmer (and former Flames coach) Darryl Sutter? The Flames won’t suffer for options.
Greg Wyshynski, ESPN
2d ago
Gulutzan had previously been head coach of the Dallas Stars from 2011 to 2013.

This is the third head-coaching vacancy in the NHL; the New York Rangers fired Alain Vigneault after the season, and Stars coach Ken Hitchcock retired.

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AKLAND, Calif. — A new team. A couple of new positions. A different spot in the batting order.

Welcome to Zack Cozart’s first week with the Los Angeles Angels.

“A little different,” Cozart said.

If all the upheaval is bothering the veteran infielder, it’s hard to tell.

Cozart had two hits and two RBI, Mike Trout also drove in two runs and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 8-3 on Saturday.

Los Angeles finished with 12 hits. Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBI, and No. 9 batter Rene Rivera had two hits and scored two runs.

Cozart, who signed a $38 million, three-year deal with Los Angeles in free agency, helped the Angels get off to a fast start. He tripled and scored on Trout’s double in the first. He also hit a two-run double in a three-run sixth as Los Angeles jumped out a 7-0 lead.

Cozart played shortstop during his first seven seasons with Cincinnati. But he started at second on opening day and played third and second in Los Angeles’ second game before starting at second again on Saturday after Ian Kinsler went on the disabled list with a groin injury.

Cozart is batting .357 (5 for 14) with four extra-base hits with his new team.

“It says a lot for Zack, it says a lot for his ability and it says a lot for his talent,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He made a great transition to third base and at second base he’s making a seamless transition.”

Cozart turned a double play in the bottom of the fourth.

“Probably the hardest thing about second is the double play,” Cozart said. “You’re blind making that throw when you first catch it.”

Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker (1-0) gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four while improving to 5-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last seven starts against Oakland.

Shoemaker got two quick outs in the sixth on three pitches. Then he walked Jed Lowrie on four pitches, the first of five straight batters to reach in a three-run inning.

“Being honest, that’s atrocious,” Shoemaker said. “I’ve got to find a way to re-focus in, bear down. I thought I was doing that, I just missed the zone.”

A’s starter Daniel Mengden (0-1) was charged with six runs, five earned, and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He also threw two wild pitches.

“I thought he threw the ball well,” A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell said. “His command was there. There were some mishaps behind the plate that were my fault. It’s on me that the game was out of reach more than it should have. He showed a lot of poise on the mound.”

Oakland stranded nine runners, including five in scoring position.

WORTH NOTING

Scioscia moved past former A’s and Angels manager Dick Williams for 21st all-time with his 1,572nd win. … The A’s acquired RHP Josh Lucas from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for RHP Casey Meisner. The A’s optioned Lucas to Triple-A Nashville. … Angels RHP Luke Bard pitched a scoreless ninth in his major league debut.

HE SAID
“There’s not a ton to go on. Our reports from Japan are that he could be upwards of 100 mph, with a good split and he knows what he’s doing. We’ll get a first-hand look at it tomorrow, but usually you have a better idea going to the plate what you’re going to see. In this case, maybe not so much.” — A’s manager Bob Melvin on facing two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani on Sunday.

LABOR LEADER HONORED

The A’s honored civil rights activist and labor leader Cesar Chavez on what would have been his 91st birthday, a state holiday in California. About 200 of his relatives attended the game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: Kinsler was placed on the DL with a groin sprain. INF Nolan Fontana was promoted from the minors.

Athletics: OF Matt Joyce (ankle soreness) was in Saturday’s lineup as the DH.

UP NEXT

Ohtani makes his major league pitching debut in Sunday’s series finale. He’ll be opposed by RHP Daniel Gossett.

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In the end, Alex Cobb got the contract everyone expected. He just had to wait a little longer than he would have liked. At the start of free agency, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs predicted Cobb would get a four-year, $60 million deal. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors predicted four years and $48 million. Sources report Cobb’s deal with the Baltimore Orioles will be four years at something close to $60 million.

What’s interesting here is that Cobb cashed in on a long-term deal while Lance Lynn and Mike Moustakas, the two other prominent late signings, had to settle for one-year deals. Moustakas’ situation is easier to understand given the situation at third base across the majors, but on the surface, there isn’t much difference between Lynn and Cobb. Both are the same age (Cobb is a few months younger), both had solid results in 2017 coming off Tommy John surgery, and both project to similar WAR for 2018 — 2.1 for Lynn via ZiPS, 2.5 for Cobb.

Yet Cobb gets $60 million and Lynn signed with the Twins for one year at $12 million (which at least allows him to re-enter free agency next season without being attached to draft-pick compensation). There are some underlying differences between them. While Lynn posted a 3.43 ERA with the Cardinals, his peripherals weren’t as good, reflected by his 4.82 FIP. Cobb, meanwhile, has had proven success in the American League East with the Rays, so it’s certainly understandable why he would be a more attractive choice for the Orioles.

How much will he help? Obviously, the Orioles needed rotation help. Before Cobb, the Orioles’ rotation depth chart listed Chris Tillman, coming off a 7.84 ERA, and Gabriel Ynoa, who had a 5.25 ERA at Triple-A. Cobb probably displaces Ynoa and completes a five-man group that also includes Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Andrew Cashner.

That still doesn’t project as a top rotation. Here are the updated rotation WAR projections from FanGraphs for the AL East:

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Yankees: 16.5

Red Sox: 15.8

Rays: 14.7

Blue Jays: 13.5

Orioles: 9.3

That doesn’t even factor in that Bundy, Cobb and Tillman all have had serious health issues in the not-too-recent past. Why does the Orioles’ rotation project so poorly? Strikeouts. There were 149 pitchers last season who threw at least 90 innings. Here’s where Baltimore’s five starters ranked in strikeout rate:

Cashner: 148th

Tillman: 142nd

Cobb: 118th

Bundy: 53rd

Gausman: 51st

Now, strikeouts aren’t everything. But they’re almost everything. It’s very difficult to do what Cashner did last year with the Rangers, posting a 3.40 ERA while averaging just 4.6 K’s per nine innings. You can do it with good defense behind you, a high ground ball rate and a little luck, but those three aspects rarely line up in consecutive seasons.

Of course, Cashner could up his strikeout rate. Cobb could rediscover his splitter/changeup, a pitch that wasn’t effective for him last year but was used with great success when he had a 2.82 ERA over 2013 and 2014. Tillman could be healthy. Bundy and Gausman may not have reached their full potential just yet.

So the rotation may not be a disaster and could even surprise. Still, you wouldn’t predict this group to outperform the Yankees’ rotation. Which puts a lot of pressure on the offense. Do you see the Orioles outscoring the Yankees? If you go position by position, you’d give the Orioles the advantage only at second base with Jonathan Schoop over Neil Walker. You can dream on Chris Davis having a bigger year, but he’s now had two straight seasons of declining production and was terrible in 2017. Maybe Tim Beckham is better than Brandon Drury. Even shortstop is more of a toss-up than you may think. Can you tell Manny Machado from Didi Gregorius from their 2017 numbers?

Player A: .259/.310/.471

Player B: .287/.318/.478

The Orioles did a good thing in signing Cobb to fill a weakness. On paper, however, they still look far short of the Yankees or Red Sox. They’ve surprised us before.

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Seattle Seahawks had an opportunity at the NFL’s scouting combine to shoot down the notion that major changes involving some of their most well-known players could be in the offing.

They didn’t do that.

“We’re just open to anything,” general manager John Schneider said.

That was part of his response to a question about Michael Bennett’s status in light of ESPN’s report that the Seahawks are shopping their three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman. ESPN’s Vaughn McClure has since reported that the Atlanta Falcons are among the teams talking with the Seahawks about a possible trade for Bennett.

Schneider and coach Pete Carroll were similarly non-committal when asked about Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, two other long-time defensive stalwarts whose futures with the team are considered to be in some degree of question as they each enter contract seasons.

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If the Seahawks wanted to put an end to that speculation, they easily could have by saying something to the effect of how they want those players to be Seahawks for a long time and that they’re working hard to get that done. And while the NFL Network reported Monday that Thomas is “firmly in Seattle’s plans for 2018,” neither Schneider nor Carroll said as much when given the chance.

“I haven’t had any talks with Earl,” Schneider said of Thomas, the Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety who has threatened to hold out if he isn’t extended. “I’ve talked to his representatives. I mean, that’s all I can say. Earl is under contract. I’ve talked to his representatives in the meetings we’ve had down here. We’re meeting with all our guys here, as well as other teams, trying to figure out where everybody is. We have a huge map, and we’re just trying to put it all together.”

Sherman, meanwhile, is coming off a ruptured Achilles and also had a recent cleanup procedure on the same part of his other foot. That would obviously lessen his trade value compared to what it was a year ago when he was healthy and a year younger and had two seasons remaining on his contract. The Seahawks could, in theory, ask Sherman to take a pay cut that would lower his scheduled $11 million base salary. But it would be easy to envision Sherman balking at that given how much he’s meant to Seattle’s defense and how he was still playing at a high level when he went down last year.

“John is doing all the talking right now, doing all the conversations about everybody,” Carroll said when asked if there’s been any trade interest for Sherman. “This time of year we’re listening to everybody about everything, as we do. Nothing specific.’’

And that’s not to mention the injured players. Carroll had no new information on the statuses of strong safety Kam Chancellor or defensive end Cliff Avril, each of whom suffered career-threatening neck injuries last season.

So if you were of the belief that this could be a potentially transformative offseason for the Seahawks, nothing they said in Indianapolis should change that.

Here are three more notes from the combine.

Graham feels like a goner. Separate reports from the NFL Network stated what has seemed more likely than not, which is that the Seahawks are expected to lose tight end Jimmy Graham in free agency. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that Graham figures to still command a nice pay-day given his ability to wreak havoc in the red zone, but he doesn’t fit the profile of a player that Seattle would make a priority to re-sign. Carroll hedged when asked if he’s optimistic about keeping Graham. “I hope so. I’d love to keep him,” Carroll said. “We love Jimmy. We love what he did. He had a very effective year for us last year. We’d love to have him back. We’ll see how it goes and see how the competition is for him.”
Shead could replace Chancellor. With Chancellor’s status still uncertain, DeShawn Shead is an option for the Seahawks at strong safety. A source told ESPN that the team approached him about possibly playing there in 2018 — assuming he’s re-signed — and Carroll confirmed as much. Shead, an unrestricted free agent, has at one point or another appeared at all five spots in Seattle’s secondary since the team signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2012. That includes one start at strong safety in 2015 when Chancellor was holding out. He started for a season and a half at right cornerback before tearing his ACL in the playoffs during the 2016 season. His recovery from that injury kept him out of all but two games this past season. Said Carroll: “He’s such a versatile player, he’s played both for us. We’ll see what happens. We know he can play corner and we like the way he plays at corner, but everything is open. I have not talked directly to him about that, but we have mentioned it to him.” Bradley McDougald, who made two starts for Thomas at free safety then started seven games for Chancellor at strong safety last season, is also a free agent. Seattle’s other in-house option at strong safety is Delano Hill, a third-round pick from last year.

Not done at kicker. Asked about former Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Jason Myers, whom Seattle signed after the season to a futures deal, Carroll joked that “so far he hasn’t missed.” Too many costly misses from Blair Walsh, particularly over the second half of the season, put the Seahawks back in the market for a kicker. They’re hardly set after signing Myers, though. Carroll called it “quite likely” that they’ll bring in another kicker to compete for that job. Cody Parkey, Kai Forbath and Dustin Hopkins are among the available free agents who could come cheap. Four kickers were deemed to be good enough prospects to be invited to the combine: Mike Badgley (Miami), Drew Brown (Nebraska), Daniel Carlson (Auburn) and Eddie Pineiro (Florida).

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PHOENIX — Infielder Yolmer Sanchez beat the Chicago White Sox in salary arbitration and will get a raise from $546,000 to $2.35 million, rather than the team’s $2.1 million offer.

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and Chicago Cubs reliever Justin Grimm argued their cases Wednesday.

Players have a 6-3 advantage over teams this offseason, and 12 remain scheduled for hearings through Feb. 16 in what could be the busiest year in arbitration since 1990.

Sanchez set career bests last year with a .267 average, 12 homers, 59 RBIs and a .319 on-base percentage. He appeared in 78 games at second, 52 at third, four at shortstop and one in right field.

Arbitrators Robert Herzog, Sylvia Skratek and Walt De Treux made the decision a day after hearing arguments.

Wheeler asked John Skonier, Andrew Strongin and Phillip LaPorte for a raise from $800,000 to $1.9 million, and the Mets argued that he should be paid $1.5 million.

A 27-year-old right-hander, Wheeler had elbow ligament replacement surgery on March 25, 2016, made one minor league appearance that August and returned to the Mets last spring. He went 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts.

Wheeler was sidelined by biceps tendinitis in June. After he returned, he went 0-2 in four starts while allowing 24 hits and 11 walks in 20 innings. Then he went on the DL for the rest of the season with what the team said was a stress reaction in his right arm.

A 29-year-old right-hander, Grimm asked Mark Burstein, Gary Kendellen and James Darby for an increase from $1,825,000 to $2,475,000. The Cubs said he should be paid $2.2 million.

Grimm was 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA in 50 relief appearances, striking out 59 and walking 27 in 55⅓ innings.