The Colts yesterday hired Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich as the new coach, bringing their "adventurous coaching search to an expected conclusion," according to a front-page piece by Stephen Holder of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. After Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels last week decided not to become the Colts coach, even a "cursory look at the candidates the Colts have considered in recent days shows the Colts did not simply pick up where they left off." It is this "change of course that brought the Colts to Reich." There was a "clear contrast between the second round of candidates and those targeted immediately after former coach Chuck Pagano was fired six weeks ago." Colts GM Chris Ballard "didn’t characterize the kind of candidate he would target when he held his post-McDaniels disaster news conference on Wednesday," but this shift is "not simply coincidental." This time, Ballard "went for proven leadership" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/12). NFL Network's Mike Garafolo cited sources as saying that the Colts signed Reich to a "five-year deal" (TWITTER.com, 2/11).
GOOD REVIEWS: In Indianapolis, Gregg Doyel writes, "Absolutely love the hire." But hiring a coach in the NFL is a "crapshoot," and the "only way to know Reich is a great head coach is if, or when, he proves it" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/12). THE MMQB's Peter King notes Colts Owner Jim Irsay "happily approved" of the hiring. Reich also "won’t bring any drama with him." The Colts in the wake of the McDaniels drama "needed a stable partner" for QB Andrew Luck. They also needed an "ego-less partner for Ballard, and they needed a lead for a team that’s going to change a lot over the next two or three years." Reich is an "eternal optimist" and a "steady guy." This is a "good choice" (SI.com, 2/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote timing is "everything, and Reich was the hottest candidate at the moment McDaniels backed out" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/11). ESPN's Mike Golic said of the Colts, "Kudos to them for getting a guy that is willing" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 2/12).
After signing P/OF Shohei Ohtani in the offseason, the Angels are excited not only for his "effect on the team, but for his effect on their business," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. The Angels "won't say how many more season tickets they have sold" after signing Ohtani in early December. But Angels VP/Communications Tim Mead "acknowledged Ohtani has triggered a wave of business in season tickets, group tickets, advertising and sponsorships." With Japanese fans "poised to follow Ohtani on television, the Angels are expected to announce partnerships with Japanese companies interested in displaying their name on camera-friendly areas at Angel Stadium." Mead said that the Angels "do not plan to put up too many signs in Japanese at the ballpark, and they do not intend to unveil a Japanese food stand ... but they do want to add popular Japanese foods at existing concession stands." Visit Anaheim has consulted with the Angels and is "expected to roll out tour packages that offer Japanese fans the chance to see Ohtani play as well as to visit Disneyland and other Orange County attractions." But the Angels are "reluctant to push Ohtani onto every billboard in Southern California." When Ohtani meets the media for the first time Wednesday, the Angels "will bring him to a nearby hotel, where they have reserved three rooms in a conference center for what they anticipate could be as many as 175 reporters." Meanwhile, Tempe Diablo Stadium is the oldest ballpark in the Cactus League, so the Angels are "scrambling to accommodate the media demand." They have "converted a dining area into one media workroom, and they are erecting a tent behind the right-field wall for another" (L.A. TIMES, 2/12).
Senators GM Pierre Dorion has "signed a three-year contract extension" with the team, but President & CEO Tom Anselmi “will be vacating his role," according to Chris Stevenson of THE ATHLETIC.
Sources said that Anselmi left the club "at least a week ago." Stevenson noted Anselmi was "brought on board to spearhead the RendezVous LeBreton bid to build a new rink downtown." Perhaps, with a "big step toward securing the LeBreton project done, Anselmi has decided to move on to other challenges or perhaps to enjoy a well-earned retirement." Or maybe he "just had enough of working" for Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk, who has a "reputation for being a difficult boss." His departure "continues the churn in the Senators front office." Meanwhile, Dorion’s extension is a "vote of confidence and a leap of faith for a young general manager who has had a wildly divergent first two years on the job" (THEATHLETIC.com, 2/9). In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch wrote Anselmi "may have resigned, but this was likely a mutual parting of the ways" (OTTAWA SUN, 2/11).
AWKWARD TIMING? In Ottawa, Ken Warren wrote of Anselmi's departure, "You’re embarking on re-development of LeBreton Flats, the most vital project in franchise history, and the person originally charged with spearheading the plan disappears from the organization in the quietest possible way." Warren: "Was Anselmi pushed or was he dumped?" Few of the problems that Melnyk "cited for firing" Leeder, including low ticket sales and a poor schedule, "were corrected under Anselmi." His legacy with the organization "will be about throwing tarps over 1,500 seats the club couldn’t sell on a nightly basis" (OTTAWA SUN, 2/11).
THE MMQB's Peter King wrote 49ers Chief Strategy Officer & Exec VP/Football Operations Paraag Marathe looks "smart" for making QB Jimmy Garappolo's five-year, $137.5M contract a "front-loaded deal" ahead of a season where the club has $100M in cap room. Making the first year of the deal worth $37M in cap costs means that over the next four years, the average cap hit will be $22.6M. Barring a "crumbling of the cap number in future years, that means the Niners after this season (when they can most afford it) will never devote" more than 12% of their salary cap to the starting QB from '19-22. Considering that the "typical franchise quarterback" eats up closer to 15% of the cap, Garappolo's deal is a "forward-looking move by Marathe" (SI.com, 2/11).
LINGERING QUESTIONS: In St. Paul, Brian Murphy noted the Twins "want a resolution" to MLB's investigation of 3B Miguel Sano over sexual harassment claims before Spring Training, but the team is "unlikely to get it until later this month at the earliest." A source said that the club is "not expected to learn the fate" of Sano before the club’s first full-squad workout on Feb. 19. Twins manager Paul Molitor said, “It’s a little bit frustrating. ... I think that puts a lot of pressure on him going into camp and having to face questions" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/10).
WHALE WATCHING: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock noted Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sent a letter to Hurricanes Owner Tom Dundon "inviting him to bring the team to Hartford for a regular-season game" or an outdoor game at UConn's Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. But if the Hurricanes "ever go back to Hartford, it’ll be for a preseason game that will be, in all honesty, a chance to hoover some money out of the pockets of long-suffering Whalers fans." Hartford "would be lucky to get that." It is "easy to understand how Dundon’s willingness to embrace the team’s heritage as the Whalers and sell all kinds of green-and-white merchandise ... would lead Gov. Malloy to think that the Hurricanes would be interested in going further." But that is "not going to happen" (NEWSOBSERVER.com, 2/9).