“Long Gone Summer” Documentary, Highlighting Sammy Sosa’s 1998 Home Run Chase, Headed to ESPN

Sammy Sosa’s summeris heating up…

The 51-year-old Dominican former professional baseball right fielder will be the focus of a special documentary to air on ESPN.

Sammy Sosa

Sosa, who played in the Major League Baseballfor 19 seasons, primarily with the Chicago Cubs, is part of the focus of AJ Schnack’s, Long Gone Summer, an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.

It chronicles Mark McGwire and Sosa’s storied 1998 home run chase. For the first time, both men discuss that summer at length, including its undeniable complications.

The 1998MLB home run chase was between McGwire, a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr., and Sosa, a right fielder for the Cubs. It resulted in McGwire and Sosa breaking Roger Maris‘ long-standing and highly coveted record of 61 home runs. 

McGwire broke Maris’s record on September 8 against the Cubs and finished with 70 home runs. Sosa finished with 66.

The documentary will air on Sunday, June 14 at 9:00 pm ET.

The film will be made available on ESPN+immediately after its premiere, along with the rest of the 30 for 30 library.

Hector Rondon Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks

Hector Rondonis heading to the Grand Canyon State

The 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball relief pitcher has reportedly agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to ESPN.

Hector Rondon

Rondon would get a $2.5 million salary next season and would include a team option for 2021 with a $500,000 buyout.

Rondon, a right-hander, is a seven-year veteran who helped the Chicago Cubs win the World Seriesin 2016. He pitched last season for the Houston Astros and had a 3.71 ERA over 62 appearances, including one start.

Rondon has 92 saves and could be a candidate to close games for the D-backs, though Archie Bradley returns after handling the closer role for much of the second half of last season.

The Arizona Republic first reported Rondon’s signing.

Starlin Castro Agrees to Two-Year Deal with the Washington Nationals

Starlin Castro is headed to The District

The 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball infielder and free-agent second baseman, a four-time MLB All-Star, has reached a two-year, $12 million deal with the Washington Nationals, according to ESPN.

Starlin Castro

The deal is pending a physical, ESPNsaid. The Athleticwas the first to report the agreement.

Castro had a .270 batting average with 22 home runs and 86 RBIs last season for the Miami Marlins, who declined his $16 million option and instead paid a $1 million buyout on November 1.The 10-year veteran spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chicago Cubs before playing two seasons each with the New York Yankeesand the Marlins. Castro has a .280 career average with 133 home runs and 636 RBIs.

Jake Arrieta Accepts $20 Million Player Option to Stay with Philadelphia Phillies Next Season

Jake Arrieta isn’t leaving The Keystone State

The 33-year-old part-Puerto Rican Major League Baseball pitcher is staying with the Philadelphia Phillies, exercising a $20 million player option for 2020.

Jake Arrieta

A right-hander, Arrieta was 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA in 24 starts this year. He didn’t pitch after August 11 because of surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.

Arrieta was the 2015 National League Cy Young Awardwinner with the Chicago Cubs. He made the MLB All-Starteam the following season and helped the Cubs win their first World Seriestitle since 1908. 

He left as a free agent after the 2017 season and signed a deal with the Phillies that will wind up paying $75 million over three seasons.

Arrieta was 10-11 with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts for Philadelphia in 2018.

Pete Alonso Sets New York Mets Single-Season Home Run Record

Pete Alonso has reached anothermilestone in his young Major League Baseball career…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Mets first baseman, the odds-on favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year, set the single-season franchise record by hitting his 42nd home run on Tuesday.

Alonso took an outside fastball from Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish deep to right field to lead off the fourth inning. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Alonso is the first rookie to set the franchise mark for his team since Johnny Rizzo did it for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1938.

“As soon as that ball came off my bat, I knew right away,” Alonso said after the game. “I mean it’s become a dream come true so far this year and I just feel really blessed.”

Alonso received a curtain call for his record-setting blast, which gave the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The previous franchise mark of 41 home runs was set by Todd Hundleyin 1996 and matched by Carlos Beltranin 2006.

“It’s a pleasure to have a fine young player like Pete Alonso break my record,” Beltran said in a statement. “I have not met Pete personally, but people have told me he plays the game with passion and doesn’t give up on any at-bat. He has had great success in his first year. Again, my congrats, Pete.”

Hundley also praised Alonso.

“To me, he’s more than a power hitter, he’s a pure hitter,” Hundley said in a statement. “I have seen five or six of his games and he keeps getting better and better. He has just had a tremendous year. Congrats, Pete, you deserve all the records you have broken.”

Alonso’s homer was his lone hit in four at-bats, and the Cubs rallied to win 5-2.

Earlier this month, Alonso set the National League rookie record for homers in a season, previously set by Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgersin 2017. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees holds the major league record for home runs in a season by a rookie with 52 in 2017.

“It’s crazy to think the small selection of people that get to actually play in the big leagues and the even smaller selection of people that get to those milestones and it’s mind-boggling,” Alonso said. “I just wanna keep being Pete Alonso and just stay true to who I am and stay true to who I am not just as a person but as a player.”

Martin Maldonado Traded to the Houston Astros

Martin Maldonadois seeing stars…

The 32-year-old  Puerto Rican professional baseball catcher has been traded to the Houston Astros by the Chicago Cubs.

Martin Maldonado

In exchange, the Cubs will receive utility man Tony Kemp.

The move for Kemp fills a hole the Cubs have had since they traded Tommy La Stella to the Angels over the winter.

“Our position player group has felt a little short,” Hoyer said. “We’ve lacked the depth of at-bats recently. That was something we were looking to restore at the deadline.”

Kemp has a less than 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and his contact rate has never been below 82%.

“Our swing-and-miss rates are too high,” Hoyer said. “Finding a guy that put the ball in play, that’s really important for us. It’s something we’ve lacked, especially coming off the bench.”

In addition to the Cubs, the Golden Glove Award winner has previously played in MLBfor the Milwaukee Brewers, the Los Angeles Angels and the Kansas City Royals.

Nicholas Castellanos Traded to the Chicago Cubs

Nicholas Castellanos is headed to the Windy City…

The Chicago Cubs have acquired the 27-year-old Latino professional baseball player and outfielder from the Detroit Tigers, a move they hope fortifies their lineup amid a playoff push.

Nicholas Castellanos

The Tigers received right-handed pitching prospects Alex Langeand Paul Richanin the deal. The Cubs also will receive cash considerations.

“The guy is a good hitter,” Cubs manager Joe Maddonsaid of Castellanos. “I always thought he patterned himself after [Miguel]Cabrera, early on. Saw a lot of balls go into the gap.”

Castellanos is hitting .273 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs this season. His best season came in 2017, when he hit 26 home runs and drove in 101 runs with a .272 average.

He was a late scratch Wednesday afternoon, informed of the trade just before the Tigers played the Angels.

“I’m very excited to be able to go to Chicago and help this team in a pennant race any way that I can,” Castellanos told reporters in Detroit.

He should provide a big boost offensively to a Chicago team that entered Wednesday’s action a game behind the first-place Cardinals in the NL Central and tied atop the wild-card standings. His 119 doubles the past three seasons trail only Red Sox star Mookie Betts‘ total in that span. Castellanos has 37 doubles this season, which puts him tied with Boston‘s Rafael Devers for the most in the majors.

“When you watched us play over the last few months, it felt, at times, we were a bat short in the lineup,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said in a conference call. “He kills lefties. That’s something we’ve really struggled with. We think he’s going to give a pro at-bat versus righties and lefties.”

The Cubs are 9-13 when a left-hander starts against them and have the third-worst batting average against lefties this season, at .235. Castellanos has mashed lefties throughout his career, especially this season, in which he is hitting .347 against them.

Maddon isn’t sure where he’ll hit Castellanos in the order, but his .357 on-base percentage while batting second this year is very enticing. He’ll be in uniform on Thursday when the Cubs complete a series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The move was completed just ahead of Wednesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.

Martin Maldonado Acquired by the Chicago Cubs

Martin Maldonado is joining the Cub

The Chicago Cubs have acquired the 32-year-old Puerto Rican MLB catcher for left-hander Mike Montgomery, the reliever who secured the last out in the Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship season.

Martin Maldonado

Maldonado, a defensive-minded catcher, should be an immediate replacement for All-Starcatcher Willson Contreras, who hit the injured list on Monday with a strain in the arch of his right foot. While Contreras isn’t expected to miss a significant amount of time, Maldonado serves as a solid insurance policy.

He has been one of the best defensive catchers in baseball this season and was traded last July, too, going from the Los Angeles Angels to the Houston Astros. He signed a one-year, $2.5 million with the Kansas City Royals and started in place of Salvador Perez, who’s out for the year with Tommy John surgery.

Once Contreras returns, Maldonado will serve as a backup. The move could free the Cubs to use backup catcher Victor Caratini in more of a utility role to get him more plate appearances.

Maldonado made his Major League Baseball debut in September 2011 for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a Gold Glove Awardwinner in 2017.

Javier Baez to Bat Second for National League in the MLB All-Star Game

It’s batter up for Javier Baez

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball player and shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, nicknamed “El Mago,” is slated to bat second for the National League in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game.

Javier Baez

Baez, in his second straight All-Star Game, will follow lead-off hitter and Milwaukee Brewers slugger Christian Yelich, who bowed out of the Home Run Derbywith a back issue. Yelich leads the majors with 31 home runs.

He’ll befollowed by Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie FreemanLos Angeles Dodgersright fielder Cody BellingerColorado Rockiesthird baseman Nolan ArenadoPittsburgh Pirates‘ Josh Bell at designated hitter, Cubs catcher Willson ContrerasArizona Diamondbackssecond baseman Ketel Marte and Atlanta center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr.

The National League has the youngest starting lineup in All-Star Gamehistory, with an average age of 25.75. The previous record was 26.4 by the 2017 ALstarters.

Houston Astros‘ George Springer leads off and plays right field for the American League and is followed in the order by New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieuLos Angeles Angels center fielder Mike TroutCleveland Indians’ first baseman Carlos SantanaBoston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez, Houston third baseman Alex Bregman, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Astros left fielder Michael Brantley and Minnesota Twins’ shortstop Jorge Polanco.

Cora joked about LeMahieu’s success against the Red Sox in his first season after leaving the Rockies for New York — especially when Boston played the Yankees in London last month.

“People in the offseason thought that he wasn’t going to be able to hit outside of Colorado. Well, he hits outside of Colorado and in Europe, too,” Cora said.

Alex Cora Agrees to New Deal with Boston Red Sox

Alex Cora is getting a much-deserved pay raise…

The 43-year-old Puerto Rican Major League Baseball manager, the Boston Red Sox‘s first-year manager, has agreed to a new deal with the team that includes a one-year extension through the 2021 season and, most likely, a significant raise. Terms have not been announced.

Alex Cora

Cora was one of the lowest-paid skippers in the MLB last season on his way to winning a franchise-record 108 games and the World Series.

“We have consistently been impressed by Alex at every turn,” said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. “His knowledge of the game, ability to connect with our players, and his incredible instincts and decisiveness led us to an historic championship season. We know we are in good hands, and could not be more pleased to know he will be with us for the foreseeable future.”

“Alex did a tremendous job for our club all year long and we wanted to reward him for his efforts after an amazing season,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “We are extremely happy that he will be with us and leading our club on the field.”

Last season, Cora made $800,000, tied with the Braves’ Brian Snitker and the Mariners’ Scott Servais for the lowest salary among managers to start the season.

Snitker won Manager of the Year in the National League, and Cora finished second in voting for the American League award.

“Since day one, John and Linda Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, Sam Kennedy, and Dave Dombrowski have been incredibly supportive of me and my family, and for that I am extremely grateful,” Cora said. “For me, 2018 was not only historic, but it was special as well, both on and off the field. We have a great appreciation for our accomplishments this past year, but now our focus moves forward to the season ahead and defending our World Series title.”

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who retired following the season, all made $6 million last season.

Cora became only the second Puerto Rican-born manager in major league history, joining Edwin Rodriguez, who managed the Florida Marlins for parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Cora was the fifth major league manager to win a World Series in his first season, joining Bob Brenly (2001, Arizona Diamondbacks), Ralph Houk (1961, New York Yankees), Eddie Dyer (1946, St. Louis Cardinals) and Bucky Harris (1924, Washington Senators).