This Week in US Sports: MLB handing out tons of extensions, playoffs loom in NBA
It was a busy week in the United States as teams were handing out extensions like crazy in MLB, NBA franchises were struggling with injury and a cast-off former star made his way back to the public eye.
An NHL side already locked up the best record in the league and a feat was tied in NASCAR.
All that and more on this week in US Sports.
1. MLB hands out extensions like candy
It was a busy, busy week in MLB as teams have begun to address what has become a problem in the league.
With older players not getting paid as much as they would like when they hit free agency in their age-29 and age-30 seasons, teams have begun to extend players left and right and there were tons of them this week.
The most notable went to the best player in the game and possibly the greatest since Barry Bonds in Mike Trout. The Los Angeles Angels outfielder, 27, reportedly agreed to a 10-year, $365million extension making his deal reach to 12 years and $426m as he is still playing out his current contract. It is a massive, massive deal, and honestly, the Angels got a bargain.
Elsewhere in MLB, Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, 24, received the second highest pre-arbitration deal in MLB history (to Trout) by signing a six-year, $100m contract. Blake Snell, 26, who won the Cy Young award with the Tampa Bay Rays signed for five years and $50m, and Paul Goldschmidt, 31, reportedly agreed to a five-year extension in St Louis worth between $110m and $130m.
2. Manziel returns to US football
Possibly the most polarizing character in US football is back as former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round pick Johnny Manziel signed with the Alliance of American Football's Memphis Express on Saturday.
Johnny Manziel was cut by the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes in February and has been without a team since, but he could make his AAF debut on Sunday when the Express take on the Birmingham Iron.
Manziel was released by the Cleveland Browns after multiple off-field incident having been drafted by the NFL franchise in 2014 and has yet to find a steady football home since.
3. Lightning clinch Presidents' Trophy
The Tampa Bay Lightning are really good.
They are so good they clinched the best record in the NHL with nearly 10 games remaining in the season.
With eight games left to play, Tampa Bay have 118 points for the campaign, 21 points more than any team in the NHL.
And just for good measure, Nikita Kucherov is almost guaranteed to win the Art Ross Trophy as he has 119 points, 14 more (37 goals, 82 assists) than the next closest player.
4. Busch ties Petty
Kyle Busch just keeps on winning.
With his second NASCAR win of the season at the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, he tied Richard Petty for the most wins in NASCAR history with 200.
The scary thing is though he may break that record this weekend at Martinsville where he has three career wins and 15 top-5 finishes.
The 33-year-old has six wins this season across the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series.
5. War of attrition in NBA
For a league with a pretty meaningless regular season, it is all about getting to the playoffs healthy but a few postseason teams are limping to the finish line.
Just this week the Milwaukee Bucks, who lead the Eastern Conference, suffered injuries to Malcolm Brogdon (foot) and Nikola Mirotic (thumb) which will keep them out for weeks.
The Portland Trail Blazers may have lost CJ McCollum (knee) for the rest of the regular season as well, and the Golden State Warriors just got DeMarcus Cousins back after he missed two games with a foot problem.
These teams are just trying to get to the playoffs and be as healthy as they can be when they get there. It is going to be a challenge though.