👋 Good morning! A baseball blockbuster and a 12-player NBA trade made for a hectic Tuesday night. Let's dive in.
Today's word count: 1,329 (5 minutes).
Mookie Betts walks through a Fenway Park tunnel after scoring the winning run in the Red Sox final game of 2019. Photo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
The Red Sox and Dodgers have agreed to a blockbuster deal that will send former MVP Mookie Betts and veteran (and extremely expensive) starter David Price to Los Angeles for a package that includes promising young outfielder Alex Verdugo, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.
By the numbers: Since the start of the 2016 season, Betts' 33.8 WAR (wins above replacement) is second to only Mike Trout's 35.5, and he leads all players with 98 defensive runs saved — 13 more than second-place Andrelton Simmons.
Why it matters: This move instantly makes the Dodgers super contenders and puts arguably the two best players in the world in the same market. It also serves as a stark reminder that the baseball world is increasingly dictated by teams' desire to stay under the luxury tax threshold.
How it works: Each season, clubs that exceed a predetermined threshold ($206 million last year, $208 million this year) must pay a "luxury tax" on each dollar spent above that threshold, and repeat "offenders" see their tax rates increase exponentially.
What they're saying: ESPN's Bill Barnwell sums up the frustration that I imagine most Red Sox fans feel at the moment — and that all fans feel when the team they love prioritizes profits over winning:
The bottom line: The Dodgers are making a win-now gamble and hoping it leads to a World Series breakthrough, while the Red Sox — the Goddamn Boston Red Sox — just dumped the best position player they've had in 50 years to save some money.
P.S. ... Shortly after acquiring Betts, the Dodgers sent outfielder Joc Pederson to the Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo.
Today is National Signing Day. What was once a day filled with frenetic activity is now much quieter due to the "early signing period" scooping up most FBS signees, but it still signifies the end of the college football recruiting cycle.
By the numbers:
The bottom line: Elite football prospects spring up all over the country, but they're heavily concentrated in the South and California, plus notable hotspots near Houston and Dallas.
Capela on the bench during last night's Rockets-Hornets game. Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images
The Rockets, Hawks, Timberwolves and Nuggets have agreed to a 12-player trade, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the largest NBA deal since the Knicks moved Patrick Ewing to Seattle in 2000.
Go deeper: The Rockets are pushing the center position to its breaking point (The Ringer)
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced yesterday that they will play two back-to-back games at London's Wembley Stadium next season.
What they're saying: The news reignited speculation that the team could eventually move to London, but owner Shahid Khan fired back, saying this is intended to do the opposite: maximize revenue to help keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville long term.
My take: While I believe Khan wants to keep the Jags in J'Ville (why build a $500 million development if you're planning to leave?), I have a hard time believing the extra revenue from a second London game will be worth the damaged relationship with a fan base that just lost another home game.
Dwight Howard says Kobe Bryant was going to come to Chicago to help him in the dunk contest and that he's heartbroken about never getting the chance to tell him how much he appreciated him.
"[When] we were on the same team, we didn't understand each other. But I saw a different Kobe, and I even saw a change in myself. And I'm pretty sure he saw it. I just wanted to be able to tell him how I felt about him, and I never got the chance to."
"Every day it's been on my mind [and] I just tell people, if you have any bitterness or anger, whatever, strife towards anybody, let it go. Let them know how you feel. Get those feelings out."
64 years ago today, the 1956 Winter Olympics came to a close in Cortina d'Ampezzo, an Italian ski resort town that was featured prominently in the 1981 James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" and will c0-host the 2026 Games with Milan.
Photos from '56...
Austrian skier Toni "Wonder Boy" Sailer became the first person to sweep all three alpine skiing events (downhill, slalom and giant slalom) in a single Olympics.
American Tenley Albright (above) and her teammate Carol Heiss took the top two spots in women's figure skating, while Americans Hayes Jenkins, Ronald Robertson and Jenkins' brother David swept the men's event.
Canada's starting hockey goalie was Denis Brodeur, father of Martin Brodeur, the NHL's winningest goaltender.
James Harden recorded his 42nd career 40-point double-double last night, the second-most since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger.
Answer at the bottom.
60 years ago, Elinor Penna wanted to write about the NFL — so she started a newsletter. By 1970, she had syndicated columns and TV deals and became a pioneer in an industry where women weren't welcome.
"I don't know what my goals were then. I wasn't trying to lay any new roads. I didn't give a shit about that. Trailblazing ... that had nothing to do with it at all. I was having fun."— Elinor Penna
Read: The Girl in the Huddle (Natalie Weiner, SB Nation)
Kendall "Betts and Belli, sheesh" Baker
Trivia answer: Shaquille O'Neal (43)