Today in sports: Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is the American League's most value player, an arrest in the stabbing death of Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman, and a tough weekend for NBA players overseas.
- Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death early Monday in his home country of the Netherlands. He was 24-years-old. Police confirmed in Rotterdam confirmed that Halman's brother Jason, who played alongside his brother on the Dutch national team, has been arrested and is being questioned in connection with the death. ABC News is reporting the siblings had an argument earlier in the night over loud music. [AP]
- Three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols is arguably the best player ever to hit the open market as a free agent, which explains why he felt comfortable turning down a reported 9-year, $225 million contract from the Florida -- sorry, Miami -- Marlins over the weekend. You'd think the club would have to sold on Pujols to make an offer like that, but Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald casually notes that "like a lot of teams, the Marlins believe Pujols to be older than the 31 he claims to be," which may be true, but in this context sounds like sour grapes. [Miami Herald]
- Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith reportedly went to Beijing for medical treatment after suffering a grisly-looking knee injury Sunday in his debut with with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association. Smith's decision to leave the team isn't sitting well with Golden Bulls general manager Zhao Bing, who today posted a message on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo instructing Smith to rejoin the club immediately or "face the consequences." He didn't elaborate on what those consequences would be, but the warning didn't seem to faze Smith. According to The Wall Street Journal's Realtime China blog he posted a response to Bing in English less an hour later. Said Smith: “My main goal is to get healthy! If you can’t understand that then maybe you should pick another profession!” Smith signed a one-year contract with the team back in September [The Wall Street Journal]
- Smith wasn't the only locked out NBA player to suffer a scary injury over the weekend. On Saturday, Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko suffered a concussion and broke his nose after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face during a Russian league game in Moscow. [The Sporting News]
- Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander has won the American League's most valuable player award. He's just the 10th pitcher ever to win both the Cy Young and MVP in the same season, and the first to do since Roger Clemens in 1986. Considering Verlander was unhittable for large stretches of the season and the absence of a viable candidate among position players (Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was the runner-up), the win was deserved. [The New York Times]