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Red Sox finalizing one-year deal with RHP Michael Wacha, per report

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Red Sox finalizing one-year deal with RHP Michael Wacha, per report

The Red Sox did a little Black Friday shopping this year.

Michael Wacha, the 30-year-old right-handed who had a 5.05 ERA on 29 appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, is nearing a one-year deal to sign in Boston pending a physical, according to a report by ESPN on Friday evening.

Wacha is a classic example of a pitcher who has better peripheral stats, with 121 strikeouts in 124-2/3 innings, and a chase rate that ranked among the best in the majors in 2021. He was largely hurt by the long ball this year, when he allowed 23 homers. He’s suffered from a high home run rate the last three years but was once a highly touted prospect with the St. Louis Cardinals. Wacha debuted in 2013 — when he was named the NLCS MVP before starting twice against the Red Sox in the World Series, including the Game 6 clincher — and he became an All-Star in 2015.

Wacha signed for $3 million with the Rays last year. The Red Sox have been on the search for low-risk pitching depth to replace Eduardo Rodriguez, but Wacha likely slots into Boston’s staff as a depth option at the back end of the rotation.

The Sox probably aren’t done on the pitching market, as chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said last week that it’s one of their top priorities this winter.

“I think by the time the offseason is over, we will have added pitching of various sorts, including starting pitching,” Bloom said. “I think that’s something that’s a clear goal of ours. Who that’s going to be or when, I don’t know yet.”

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Ryan Poles reportedly is the 1st known general manager candidate to get a 2nd interview with the Chicago Bears. Here’s the latest in the NFL’s firing and hiring cycle.

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Ryan Poles reportedly is the 1st known general manager candidate to get a 2nd interview with the Chicago Bears. Here’s the latest in the NFL’s firing and hiring cycle.

Change is in the air. “Black Monday” arrived in the NFL the day after the regular season ended with a flurry of major changes around the league.

A week later, the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans were searching for new head coaches, and the Bears, Vikings, Giants and Las Vegas Raiders needed new general managers.

As a new cycle of firing and hiring proceeds, we’re tracking all of the latest moves.

Saturday

The Chicago Bears have scheduled a second interview with GM candidate Ryan Poles, according to ESPN.

The scoop: Poles, the Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel, is the first GM candidate known to be scheduled for a second Bears interview. He has been in high demand this month, making it to the second round of interviews with the New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings. The Giants hired Joe Schoen. The Vikings are set to interview Poles on Wednesday, one day after the Bears’ scheduled meeting, according to NFL Network. He had his first interview with the Bears on Friday.

Poles has been with the Chiefs for 13 years, working his way up through multiple GMs and coaches. He was part of the college scouting staff when the Chiefs drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Poles was an offensive lineman at Boston College and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Bears in 2008 but never played in the NFL.

Friday

The New York Giants have hired Joe Schoen to be their general manager, the team announced.

The scoop: The Bears interviewed Schoen, the Buffalo Bills assistant general manager, for their vacancy Sunday. Now he’s off the market after the Giants chose him over finalists Adam Peters and Ryan Poles. Schoen has been in his current role for five seasons and also worked with the Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers. He will now dive into hiring a new head coach, with Bills coordinators — and Bears candidates — Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier potential connections. Three teams remain in the hunt for a new GM: the Bears, Vikings and Raiders.

Wednesday

Bears GM candidate Ed Dodds withdrew his name from consideration, NFL Network reported.

The scoop: Dodds, the Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager, interviewed with the Bears on Monday. He has been with the Colts since 2017, starting as the vice president of player personnel, and was with the Seattle Seahawks for 10 years before that. Dodds has been a GM candidate for several offseasons, but he reportedly turned down an interview request from the Cleveland Browns in 2020 and withdrew from the Carolina Panthers search in 2021. Dodds is also a candidate this year for the Raiders GM job.

The Bears are scheduling Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for a second interview, according to multiple reports.

The scoop: Eberflus, who had his first interview with the Bears on Monday, is the first coach reported to make it to the second round of interviews. Eberflus has been the Colts defensive coordinator for four seasons and before that was the Dallas Cowboys linebackers coach for seven seasons. He also has worked for the Cleveland Browns and spent 17 years coaching in college.

Eberflus also made it to the second round of interviews with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bears still are interviewing both GMs and coaches, with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coordinators Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn reportedly scheduled for coaching interviews later this week.

Other teams reportedly have requested interviews with Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai and assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.

The scoop: The Seattle Seahawks, who fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on Tuesday, have put in a request to talk to Desai, The Athletic reported. Desai has been with the Bears for nine seasons and was promoted to coordinator in 2021 after Chuck Pagano retired.

Kelly interviewed for the Bears GM position last week, and now he will interview with the Raiders, NFL Network reported. He has been with the Bears for seven seasons, starting as the director of pro scouting before he was promoted to his current role. The Raiders fired GM Mike Mayock on Monday.

Monday

The Las Vegas Raiders fired general manager Mike Mayock, the team announced.

The scoop: Mayock was the Raiders GM for three seasons, and his teams went 25-24, including 10-7 in 2021. The decision comes a day after a 26-19 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Raiders’ only postseason appearance in Mayock’s tenure. Mayock previously was a draft analyst with NFL Network and a TV announcer. Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned in October after some of Gruden’s old emails containing racist, homophobic and misogynistic language surfaced. Interim coach Rich Bisaccia led the team to a 7-5 record the rest of the way. The Raiders are interviewing candidates for GM and coach, though they haven’t announced what Bisaccia’s future is with the team.

Jan. 13

The Houston Texans fired coach David Culley after one season.

The scoop: The Texans finished 4-13 in the only season under Culley, 66, a longtime NFL assistant in his first job as a head coach. The Texans were playing without Deshaun Watson amid allegations of sexual assault against the quarterback. Week 1 starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played in only six games because of injury, and the Texans turned to rookie Davis Mills to start 11 games.

Since 1994, Culley has been a wide receivers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, with which he was also the assistant head coach, a quarterbacks coach with the Buffalo Bills and the assistant head coach/wide receivers coach/pass game coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Carolina Panthers are interviewing Bears special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, according to ESPN.

The scoop: Tabor was the Bears special teams coordinator for all four seasons under Matt Nagy, and he served as interim head coach for one game in 2021 when Nagy had COVID-19. He previously was the Cleveland Brown special teams coordinator for seven seasons, spanning multiple head coaches.

Jan. 12

The Chicago Bears added two more names to their general manager interview pool.

The scoop: The Bears have requested an interview with Pittsburgh Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan and New England Patriots senior consultant Eliot Wolf, ESPN reported. Khan had GM interviews last year with the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. Wolf, the son of former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf, has worked with the Packers, the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns.

Here are the updated candidate lists:

General managers

Coaches

Jan. 11

The Chicago Bears list of requested interviews has reached at least 8 general manager candidates and 9 coaching candidates.

The scoop: Recently fired Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores was a big name to pop up in a lengthy list of candidates the Bears have contacted about interviews.

NFL Network reported the Bears set up the interview with Flores, who went 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins. His last two seasons were winning ones, but the Dolphins didn’t make the playoffs.

Here are the other coaching candidates who reportedly have been requested:

Former Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith is among the biggest names to be expected to interview with the Bears. Here’s a list of others:

The New York Giants fired coach Joe Judge after two seasons.

The scoop: In his first NFL head coaching stint, Judge, 40, went 10-23, including 4-13 in 2021. Playing without quarterback Daniel Jones down the stretch, the Giants lost their final six games by a combined score of 163-56. After the 29-3 loss to the Bears in Week 17, Judge went on an 11-minute rant defending his team while talking to the media.

It is the second big Giants move in two days after general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement Monday. With Judge out, there are now seven NFL head coaching jobs open.

Jan. 10

The Chicago Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

The scoop: Pace is out in Chicago after seven seasons during which his teams went 48-65, qualified for the postseason twice and failed to record a playoff victory. In his first NFL head coaching stint, Nagy finished 34-31 with two playoff losses over four seasons.

The Bears never found the right fit between Nagy and a quarterback during his tenure , running through Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. Nagy’s offense remained stuck in the bottom third of the league in many categories . The Bears finished 6-11 this season.

The Bears have reached out to former Eagles coach Doug Pederson to schedule an interview for their head coaching role, according to a league source. An ESPN report also indicated the Bears have requested permission to interview Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for the job. The team, according to NFL Network, has also requested to speak with Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown for the GM opening.

The Minnesota Vikings fired general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer

The scoop: Spielman was with the Vikings since 2006, first as the vice president of player personnel and then as the general manager since 2012. In that time, the Vikings went 132-123-2 with six playoff appearances.

Zimmer, a longtime NFL defensive coordinator, became the Vikings head coach in 2014. He led three seasons of 10 or more wins, three playoff appearances and two playoff victories. The Vikings finished 8-9 after a victory over the Bears on Sunday.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement after four seasons in that role.

The scoop: In 2018, Gettleman became the general manager in an organization where he had spent 13 years previously in front office roles. But his efforts to resuscitate the franchise failed with the Giants experiencing their worst four-year stretch of losing in team history.

The Giants went 19-46 under Gettleman’s watch, including a 4-13 faceplant this season during which the offense finished last in the NFC in both total yardage and scoring. Gettleman announced his retirement Monday but may have been fired if he hadn’t. The future of coach Joe Judge remains uncertain and may hinge on what happens with their intensifying GM search.

The Miami Dolphins fired coach Brian Flores after three seasons.

The scoop: Flores was fired in his third season despite posting back-to-back winning seasons. The Dolphins were 5-11 in his first year, 10-6 in 2020 and 9-8 this season, but they didn’t make the playoffs in his tenure.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross released a statement saying he “determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.” General manager Chris Grier will remain with the team in his current role, ESPN reported.

Jan. 9

The Denver Broncos have fired head coach Vic Fangio after three seasons.

The scoop: Fangio didn’t record a winning season in his three in Denver. He finished 19-30 in his first stint as an NFL head coach, including 7-10 this season. Fangio, 63, was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons, including four in Chicago, before he joined the Broncos in 2019.

Fangio’s defense this season ranked in the top 10 in yards and points allowed. But the Broncos offense didn’t produce well enough under Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, the latest in a revolving door of quarterbacks in Denver recent years.

Dec. 30-Jan. 7

The Jaguars have conducted at least five interviews to replace Urban Meyer.

The scoop: The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer on Dec. 16 after just 13 games with the team.

The team already has gotten deep into their search to replace him, reportedly interviewing former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson, former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Read more of our coverage from Black Monday and beyond.

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MN COVID patient transferred from Coon Rapids hospital dies in Texas

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MN COVID patient transferred from Coon Rapids hospital dies in Texas

An unvaccinated COVID patient who was transferred from Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids to a hospital in Texas has died.

Scott Quiner, 55, of Buffalo, died Saturday morning in an unnamed hospital in Houston, Texas, according to media reports.

Anne and Scott Quiner (Courtesy of the Quiner family)

Quiner’s illness generated news stories nationwide, after his wife Anne Quiner fought plans to remove a ventilator which she said was keeping him alive. The story was picked up by conservative news outlets, which said the Minnesota hospital deliberately mistreated Quiner to punish him for being unvaccinated.

Quiner tested positive for COVID in October. His wife said he was critically ill while at Mercy Hospital. On Nov. 6, he was put on a ventilator and transferred to intensive care.

She said that Mercy Hospital intended to remove the ventilator on Jan. 13, and said that the hospital was not exploring alternative treatments for COVID.

According to the website Red Voice Media, “Anne begged them to try other methods, such as Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and increasing vitamins and doctors there refused.” Those methods have not been approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Anoka County District Court granted an order to have him transferred to a hospital in Texas, and he was moved there last weekend. In court documents, she asked that the hospital not be identified.

Last week, Quiner attorney Marjorie Holsten said, “What we are showing the world is that Scott was near death because of the protocols used” at Mercy Hospital.

Allina Health, which owns Mercy Hospital, emailed this statement Saturday: “We are saddened to hear about the passing of Scott Quiner and our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and loved ones. His passing marks yet another very sad moment as collectively we continue to face the devastating effects of the pandemic.”

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James Karnik nets career high in Boston College win over Virginia Tech

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James Karnik nets career high in Boston College win over Virginia Tech

Boston College center James Karnik enjoyed a career game Saturday that featured a milestone moment in a huge conference victory.

The 6-9, 245-pound, senior from Surrey, British Columbia, shot 10-of-12 from the floor with a trey and five free throws for a career high 26 points to lift BC to a 68-63 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday at Conte Forum. Karnik, who transferred from Lehigh last season, punctuated his performance by scoring the 1,000th point of his college career.

“I had it in the back of my mind but once I started to play, I completely forgot,” said Karnik. “It feels great and I’m really excited to keep making the strides you keep on having to make in basketball.”

Despite a dismal start, BC shot 48.1% from the floor with four from downtown and dominated Tech on the boards, 38-23. Guard Makai Ashton-Langford added 18 points with three assists and four rebounds. Keve Aluma led the Hokies with 21 points.

BC improved to 8-8 and 3-4 in the ACC while the Hokies dropped to 10-8 and 2-4. The Eagles play their next two games in North Carolina at Wake Forest and UNC.

“We’ve been together for six months so every day we are learning about each other and we are on a journey right now,” said BC first year head coach Earl Grant. “We are still in pursuit of being a good team and we are making some strides.

“I’m starting to see more from a competitive spirit and a connectedness.”

Karnik opened the second half with consecutive power plays in the paint to give the Eagles their first lead, 35-33, with 18:06 on the clock. Karnik scored nine of BC’s first 11 points of the second half and netted his 1,000th on a step back three from the top of the key with 14:39 to play.

“We’ve had some times where our energy has been down at the start of the half so our emphasis for this game was when it starts, we are going right into it,” said Karnik. “That is exactly what we did, we wanted to attack and keep attacking inside.”

The lead would change hands four times with two ties during a busy stretch prior to the second media timeout. Ashton-Langford would bury and three and drive the lane to put BC up 51-46 with 11:36 to play.

Karnik made a pair of nice plays in the paint and DeMarr Langford Jr. nailed a trey to give BC a 59-56 lead into the third media timeout. Tech guard Storm Murphy cut BC’s lead to 64-63 on a baseline drive, but the Eagles retaliated with a drive by Jaeden Zachary and two from the line by T.J. Bickerstaff for the final points of the game.

“I thought he (Bickerstaff) did a really good job getting some second chance possessions where he kicked it out,” said Grant. “I don’t think the stat sheet would be indicative of how he played but he was impactful down the stretch and those free throws at the end, it was nice to see them go in.”

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