Talking Points: Mariners add another piece

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What’s the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

The Mariners are anything but idle this winter.

The team already made a big splash by signing Robinson Cano. The roster makeover continued Thursday with news that the M’s and reliever Fernando Rodney have agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal.

The closer was an all-star for Tampa Bay as recent as 2012.

Debate the wisdom of Seattle’s high-priced signings all you want. But at least the Mariners are trying to change the status quo.

The status quo has been, as a somewhat outspoken Seattle Seahawks star would say, mediocre.

2

Former Portland Timbers forward Eddie Johnson is suing the team for $9.9 million, alleging that he was allowed to practice while he still had concussion symptoms.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Johnson sustained a concussion before a game Aug. 3, 2011, and another one 11 days later, prompting the team to rule him out for the rest of the season. The lawsuit alleges that when he returned for the MLS preseason in 2012, he was still experiencing symptoms.

3

The Olympic torch is ready to be lit in Sochi.

But along with the lack of clean water, electricity and finished hotels, Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke notes something else missing: Happiness.

He writes: “The locals keep their heads down and their expressions grim as they walk through a shopping district bereft of any sort of Olympic embrace.

“Two days before Friday’s opening ceremony, there were no Olympic signs in windows, no Olympic memorabilia for sale, and few residents willing to even make eye contact.”

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