Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes agreed Wednesday to a $4.5 million contract for the 2021 season, avoiding salary arbitration. Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

BASEBALL

The Boston Red Sox agreed to contracts with relief pitchers Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Austin Brice and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki prior to Wednesday’s non-tender deadline, according to multiple reports.

Third baseman Rafael Devers did not come to terms with the Red Sox but will be tendered a deal, meaning he remains under team control and now has until Jan. 15 to agree to a salary; otherwise he’ll go to arbitration.

Barnes, who became the team’s closer for the final month of the 2020 season after Brandon Workman was traded to the Phillies, will make $4.5 million next season. Plawecki will get $1.6 million, Brasier will receive $1.25 million, and Brice agreed to a deal worth $870,000.

• Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. became free agents Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs declined to offer contracts to two key players from their historic 2016 World Series championship.

While Schwarber, Almora, slugger Jose Martinez and pitcher Ryan Tepera were non-tendered, the Cubs offered 2021 contracts to infielders Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, catchers Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini, and outfielder Ian Happ. They agreed to one-year deals with relievers Kyle Ryan, Colin Rea and Dan Winkler, avoiding arbitration with all three.

Chicago also announced it had claimed reliever Robert Stock off waivers from the Red Sox. The 31-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment last week.

• The AL champion Tampa Bay Rays offered 2021 contracts to all seven of their arbitration-eligible players, including starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow.

The others were left-handers Ryan Yarbrough and José Alvarado, right-hander Yonny Chirinos, first baseman Ji-Man Choi, infielder Joey Wendle and outfielder Manuel Margot.

• The Los Angeles Angels acquired veteran shortstop José Iglesias from the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday in a trade for minor league right-handers Garrett Stallings and Jean Pinto.

• Power-hitting outfielder Adam Duvall is a free agent after the Atlanta Braves declined to offer him a contract.

The 32-year-old Duvall, a former Sanford Mainer, became an important piece in the Braves lineup over the past two years and hit 16 homers in the abbreviated 2020 season.

• The Chicago White Sox declined to offer contracts to right fielder Nomar Mazara and pitcher Carlos Rodón, sending the pair into free agency.

• The Houston Astros offered contracts to arbitration-eligible shortstop Carlos Correa, infielder Aledmys Díaz and right-hander Lance McCullers Jr.

• Left-hander Mike Minor and the Kansas City Royals have finalized an $18 million, two-year deal, reuniting the 32-year-old starter with the club that helped him revive his career.

The Royals also agreed to one-year deals with outfielders Jorge Soler and Franchy Cordero, first baseman Hunter Dozier and right-handers Jesse Hahn and Jakob Junis. They cut third baseman Maikel Franco, failing to offer a contract to a player who would have been due a substantial salary increase after hitting .278 with eight homers and 38 RBI while playing on a $2.95 million deal last season.

• Slugging first baseman Matt Olson reached agreement on a $5 million guaranteed contract for the 2021 season with Oakland, avoiding salary arbitration.

• Switch-hitting outfielder Danny Santana will continue his rehab from elbow surgery as a free agent after the Texas Rangers didn’t offer him a contract before Wednesday’s deadline.

SOCCER

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Neymar scored twice to lead Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 victory at 10-man Manchester United, leaving both teams’ hopes of reaching the knockout stage uncertain heading into their final group games.

United needs a win or tie next week at Leipzig to advance, while PSG needs a win or tie at home against Istanbul Basaksehir.

• Borussia Dortmund qualified for the knockout stage despite being held to a 1-1 draw at home against Lazio after a disputed penalty call gave the Italian club an equalizer.

Dortmund’s advancement was overshadowed by an injury to striker and top scorer Erling Haaland. The 20-year-old Norwegian won’t play until early January because of a muscle tear.

• Striker Olivier Giroud scored four goals as Chelsea comfortably beat Sevilla 4-0 in Spain to secure first place in Group E.

Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stage and rested several regular starters.

• Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal to help Juventus beat Dynamo Kyiv, 3-0, in Turin, Italy.

Juventus was already assured of a place in the next round.

MESSI FINED: Lionel Messi was fined $720 for taking his jersey off to pay tribute to Diego Maradona, the Spanish soccer federation said on Wednesday.

The federation’s competitions committee fined the Argentine player for his actions after scoring in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Osasuna in the Spanish league on Sunday. After a strike from outside the box, Messi took off Barcelona’s blue-and-burgundy to reveal the red-and-black of Maradona’s jersey from his stint at Newell’s Old Boys. Messi then blew a kiss with both hands to the sky as he looked upward.

After the game, Messi posted a photo of his tribute alongside an older image of Maradona in the same shirt, adding the message “Farewell, Diego” in Spanish. Maradona died last week at the age of 60. The federation also refused to void the yellow card that was shown to Messi for taking off his jersey, and fined Barcelona $216.

Messi and the club can appeal the decisions.

ITALY: AC Milan Coach Stefano Pioli has recovered from the coronavirus and will be back on the sidelines for Thursday’s Europa League match against Celtic, the club said Wednesday.

Milan said the latest COVID-19 tests on Pioli and assistant coach Giacomo Murelli were negative.

Pioli, who has been self-isolating at home since testing positive on Nov. 14, will also take charge of Wednesday’s training session.

Without Pioli, Milan won two league matches and drew a Europa League game against Lille. The Rossoneri are in first place in Serie A and second in their Europa League group.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Jack Aitken will drive for Formula One team Williams alongside Nicholas Latifi in this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old Aitken will take the place of regular driver George Russell. The team released Russell to drive for Mercedes in Bahrain because Lewis Hamilton is unable to race after testing positive for COVID-19. Hamilton, a seven-time Formula One champion, was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit.

But Hamilton woke up Monday morning with mild symptoms and was then informed that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive, Mercedes said Tuesday. This led to a subsequent test returning a positive result, and Hamilton said he has gone into self-isolation for 10 days.

• Mick Schumacher will make his debut in Formula One next season for the Haas team.

Haas said Wednesday it had signed the 21-year-old son of F1 great Michael Schumacher, bringing the famous name back to the grid for the first time since the seven-time champion retired at the end of the 2012 season.

Mick Schumacher will be stepping up from Formula Two, where he leads the standings with one round to go.

Schumacher is part of Ferrari’s driver development program and his arrival continues a close relationship between Haas and the Italian car maker, which supplies the U.S. team’s engines and numerous other components. He will be partnered at Haas by Russian driver Nikita Mazepin.

OLYMPICS

SKIING TEST CANCELED: The final scheduled World Cup ski races used to test the 2022 Olympic downhill course have been canceled by the Chinese ski federation.

The International Ski Federation says it has been told by the Chinese federation that the women’s downhill and super-G races scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Yanqing will not take place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

FIS says says it expects to confirm the cancellation within days.

Men’s World Cup races on the Olympic hill were canceled in February. Those were among the first international sports events to be called off as infections spread from China.

CURLING

CANADA BUBBLE: Curling officials say they will try to create a pandemic-free “bubble” environment in Canada that will allow the sport to proceed with many of its biggest tournaments in 2021.

The men’s world championships, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Tim Hortons Brier and the Canadian mixed doubles championships will all take place in a controlled access environment at Calgary’s Markin MacPhail Centre. The world championships, which will determine six of the 10 countries in the 2022 Olympics, will be April 3-11; dates for the other events have not been decided.

“No one can deny that these are challenging times, and not just for curling, obviously,” Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson said. “But we also know how important these events are to the athletes, to our partners and, of course, to our fans.”

Organizers say they will use lessons learned from the NBA and NHL to stay safe. Rather than playing their seasons in empty home arenas, like the NFL and Major League Baseball, the pro basketball and hockey leagues brought all of their games to a closed environment in one (NBA) or two (NHL) cities.

The curling season usually runs in the winter through May. Like other sports, curling shut down in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, canceling the men’s, women’s, mixed doubles and senior world championships, among other events.

 


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