Toronto Blue Jays to Celebrate Tony Fernandez with Special Uniform Patch This Season

Tony Fernandez is being honored in a special way by his old team…

The Toronto Blue Jays will celebrate the late Dominican professional baseball player and Major League Baseball legend, who passed away earlier this year, by wearing a patch with his No. 1 on the left sleeve of uniform jerseys this season.

Tony Fernandez

A member of Toronto’s 1993 World Series champions who had nine RBIs in the six-game win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Fernandez had kidney problems and died on February 16 at age 57.

He is the Blue Jays’ career leader in games (1,450), hits (1,583) and triples (72). He spent 12 seasons with Toronto in four stints and had a .288 batting average and 2,276 hits over 17 big league seasons. Fernandez also played for the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets and New York YankeesCleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. He was a five-time MLB All-Star.

“There are few players in the game who can impact a team and a fan base the way Tony did in Toronto,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “Beyond his impressive career numbers, achievements, and accolades, Tony resonated with baseball fans because of how he played the game and conducted himself as a teammate.”

Yasiel Puig to Sign with the Atlanta Braves

It’s a brave new world for Yasiel Puig

The 29-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and free agent is signing with the Atlanta Braves, according to a report by MLB.com.

Yasiel Puig

The agreement comes after Braves outfielder Nick Markakis opted out of the 2020 season earlier this month.

An MLB All-Star in 2014, Puig batted .267 in 149 games last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians

He hit .297 with Cleveland after being acquired on July 30 and gave the Indians an infusion of power and energy, helping their ultimately fruitless surge to catch the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central title.

The boisterous right fielder was part of a wild fight between the Reds and Pirates mere hours before he was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade that sent right-hander Trevor Bauer from Cleveland to Cincinnati. 

Puig was suspended three games for his aggressive actions on what turned out to be his last day with the Reds.

Puig, who joined the Reds in a December 2018 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has a career batting average of .277. Perhaps his best overall offensive season was in 2017, when he batted .263 with a career-high 28 home runs and 74 RBIs.

The NL East champion Braves were facing a depth problem in their outfield even after they signed Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal in the offseason.

Markakis opted out of the season before summer camp. Ozuna or Adam Duvall could be needed as the designated hitter in the shortened 60-game season.

The team’s shortage of outfielders was highlighted when rookie Cristian Pache jammed his right ankle in Monday night’s intrasquad game and was not available Tuesday.

“We’re thin a little bit,” manager Brian Snitker said Tuesday. “We started this thing feeling really good about the depth, and we’ve used all of it already, as I think a lot of teams have. We’re stretched a little bit.”

If Ozuna is the primary designated hitter, Puig could join Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ender Inciarte in a starting outfield.

Puig, who has a .285 career average against right-handers, will be expected to replace Markakis’ production.

Puig, who defected from Cuba in 2012, was popular with Dodgers fans during his six years in L.A. for his colorful personality, home run trots and ability to throw runners out from right field. He made headlines away from the field when his Los Angeles home was burglarized multiple times.

At the ballpark, he was benched at times, and the team considered trading him long before it did because of his perceived lack of hustle or interest in following orders.

ESPN Films Orders Documentary Series on Keith Hernandez & His 1986 World Series-Winning New York Mets

Keith Hernandez is getting documented…

The 1986 World Series-winning run by the 66-year-old half-Spanish American former professional baseball player’s New York Mets will get the multi-part documentary treatment by ESPN in a project under the 30 for 30 banner, whose executive producers include Jimmy Kimmel.

Keith Hernandez

ESPN Films said the series will chronicle the team’s exploits on and off the field. 

In the World Series, the Boston Red Sox were one strike away from victory before a two-out rally and a ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson slipped through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner

The comeback, ESPN said in a press release, “was merely the climax of an epic tale of ambition and swagger set in a city that was synonymous with excess.”

ESPN promises “hours of never-before-seen footage” of the team, a group of disparate, larger-than-life characters who made a big impression on and off the field. 

Keith Hernandez

Many members of the team went on to generate headlines long after 1986, among them Darryl StrawberryDwight Gooden, Hernandez, a five-time MLB All-Star, and Lenny Dykstra

The team already has been the subject of a dishy non-fiction book,The Bad Guys Won, written by Jeff Pearlman, whose L.A. Lakers book, Showtime, has been turned into a scripted drama on HBO.

Hernandez played the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Mets. He shared the 1979 National League MVP awardand won two World Seriestitles, one each with the Cardinals and Mets.

Hernandez retired as an active player after spending one year with the Cleveland Indians in 1990. Since 2006, he has served as a television broadcaster for Mets games on SportsNet New York and WPIX, as well as a studio analyst for MLB on Fox since 2017.

Francisco Lindor Agrees to One-Year, $17.5 Million Deal with the Cleveland Indians

Francisco Lindor is staying in Cleveland…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstophas agreed to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, avoiding salary arbitration.

Francisco Lindor

The Indians, who have so far rejected trade offers for the four-time MLB All-Star, gave Lindor the second-largest one-year deal for a player in his second season of arbitration eligibility, behind only the $20 million Mookie Bettsagreed to last year with the Boston Red Sox

Lindor, who made $10.65 million last year, is under control of the Indians through the 2021 season, but with the prospects of signing him to a long-term deal unlikely, the team has listened to trade offers. To this point, Cleveland hasn’t heard anything worth moving on and team president Chris Antonetti said earlier this week he still expects Lindor to be the starting shortstop on Opening Day.

Lindor has become one of baseball’s best all-around players and he’s certain to land a monster free-agent contract once he’s on the market. He hit .284 with 32 home runs and 74 RBIs last season. He scored 101 runs and stole 22 bases.

Cesar Hernandez Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Cleveland Indians

Cesar Hernandez is heading to Cleveland…

The 29-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and second baseman has agreed to a one-year, $6.25 million contract with the Cleveland Indians, according to ESPN.

Cesar Hernandez

Hernandez became a free agent when he wasn’t tendered a contract by the Philadelphia Philliesafter a season in which he hit .279 with 14 home runs and a career-high 71 RBIs.

He avoided arbitration in 2019 by reaching a one-year, $7.75 million deal with Philadelphia, and he was again eligible for arbitration had he signed after the season.

Hernandez had been a starter with the Phillies since 2015, when he replaced Chase Utley. He led the team with a .294 batting average in both 2016 and 2017, then had a career-high 15 home runs in 2018. He has averaged 2.5 wins above replacement over the past four seasons.

Hernandez had been with the Phillies since signing with them out of Venezuela in 2006 at the age of 16. He has a .277 career average with 253 RBIs and a .352 on-base percentage.

With the addition of Hernandez, the Indians will likely keep Jose Ramirezat third base. The club considered sliding Ramirez over to the right side of the infield and pairing him with All-Starshortstop Francisco Lindor, whose name continues to be bounced around in trade rumors.

Sergio Romo Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Minnesota Twins

Sergio Romo is Twinning

The 36-year-old Mexican American professional baseball pitcher has agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, according to multiple reports.

Sergio Romo

The deal includes a club option and $5 million guaranteed with a chance to earn $10 million. MLB.comwas first to report the deal; MLB Networkwas first to report terms.

Romo was 2-1 with 20 saves and 60 strikeouts over 60⅓ innings in 65 relief appearances last season for the Miami Marlins and the Twins — who acquired him, minor league pitcher Chris Vallimontand a player to be named for minor league first baseman Lewin Diazat the July 31 trade deadline.

The veteran right-hander was acquired by Minnesota to serve as a playoff-tested performer to fortify the back end of its bullpen, and the Twins held off the Cleveland Indians to win their first American League Centraltitle since 2010.

Romo spent the first half of the year as the Marlins’ closer, racking up 17 saves to go along with a 3.58 ERA in 37⅔ innings.

Romo won three championships with the San Francisco Giants, closing out the final game of the 2012 World Series in memorable fashion when he froze Miguel Cabrera on a down-the-middle fastball. In 25⅓ career playoff innings, Romo has a 3.55 ERA.

Romo was drafted by the Giants in 2005 and worked his way up the team’s minor league system before landing in the big leagues in 2008.

Ronald Acuña Jr. Receives First-Ever Silver Slugger Award

It’s a silverfirst for Ronald Acuña Jr.

The 21-year-old Venezuelan Major League Baseball baseball outfielder for the Atlanta Braves has received his first Silver Slugger Award, awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers. 

Ronald Acuna Jr.

For the year, Acuña hit .280/.365/.883, with 127 runs (leading the National League), 41 home runs, and 37 stolen bases (leading the league). He missed the 40–40 club by three stolen bases.

Acuña’s Braves teammates Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies are among the first-time winners on the National League side, along with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger.

First-timers for the American League are Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos SantanaNew York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieuHouston Astros infielder Alex Bregman and Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was awarded his seventh Silver Slugger Award after batting .291 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs this season.

World Series champion and Washington Nationals slugger Anthony Rendon, a two-time winner, Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. RealmutoColorado Rockies shortstop Trevor StoryMilwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich and former Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke, who was dealt by the D-backs to the Astros at the trade deadline, completed the National League list.

Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, a three-time winner, Astros outfielder George Springer and Boston Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts rounded out the American League winners.

Selections are based on a combination of offensive stats, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in addition to the managers’ and coaches’ views of a player’s overall offensive value.

Nolan Arenado Wins Seventh Straight Golden Glove Award

The golden streak continues for Nolan Arenado

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American Major League Baseball player has extended his streak of winning a Gold Glove Award in every season of his career on Sunday, when the Colorado Rockies star earned the award for National Leaguet hird basemen for the seventh consecutive year.

Nolan Arenado

Arenado has won the award each year since he debuted in 2013. With this year’s win, he moved into sole possession of fourth place for the most Gold Glovesamong third basemen and just one behind Scott Rolenfor third place all time.

Only Baltimore Orioles legend Brooks Robinson, who won 16 Gold Gloves in a row from 1960 to ’75, and Mike Schmidt, who won 10, have more than Arenado. Robinson has the most Gold Gloves among all position players, but at just 28 years old, Arenado has a chance to catch him.

Kansas City Royals veteran Alex Gordon also won his seventh career Gold Glove, claiming the ALleft fielder award for the third straight year to move into a tie for 14th-most among outfielders.

2019 Gold Glove Winners

POS.ALNL
CRoberto Perez, IndiansJ.T. Realmuto, Phillies
1BMatt Olson, AthleticsAnthony Rizzo, Cubs
2BYolmer Sanchez, White SoxKolten Wong, Cardinals
SSFrancisco Lindor, IndiansNick Ahmed, Diamondbacks
3BMatt Chapman, AthleticsNolan Arenado, Rockies
LFAlex Gordon, RoyalsDavid Peralta, Diamondbacks
CFKevin Kiermaier, RaysLorenzo Cain, Brewers
RFMookie Betts, Red SoxCody Bellinger, Dodgers
PMike Leake, MarinersZack Greinke, Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks had four Gold Glove winners on their team this season, including both pitchers, Mike Leake and Zack Greinke, though the two never played with each other. Leake won the American League pitcher’s award for his time with the Seattle Mariners before Arizona acquired him at the trade deadline on July 31, the day the Diamondbacks dealt Greinke to the Houston Astros.

Shortstop Nick Ahmed, who won his second straight Gold Glove, and left fielder David Peralta were the other Diamondbacks honored Sunday. Peralta was one of three National League outfielders who won their first Gold Gloves, joining the Milwaukee Brewers‘ Lorenzo Cain and the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Cody Bellinger.

The Oakland Athletics had a pair of winners, as first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman both won for the second straight season. The Cleveland Indians had two Gold Glovers in shortstop Francisco Lindor, who won the second of his career, and catcher Roberto Perez, a first-time winner.

The second baseman awards went to the Chicago White Sox‘s Yolmer Sanchez and the St. Louis Cardinals‘ Kolten Wong, who both won for the first time.

Also in the American League, Boston Red Soxright fielder Mookie Betts won for the fourth straight season, and Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier won his third career Gold Glove after a two-year absence.

In the National League, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo won his third career Gold Glove and second in a row, while catcher J.T. Realmuto earned his first award in his first season with the Philadelphia Philliesafter a preseason trade from the Marlins.

Managers and up to six coaches per team vote for the awards in their league and cannot choose their own players. For the first time, the defensive index from the Society for American Baseball Research was used, and it comprised about 25% of the vote, with the managers and coaches ballots the rest.

Jose Ramirez Hits Two Homers in First Game Back from the Injured List

Jose Ramirez is back with a vengeance…

The 27-year-old Dominican professional baseball player and Cleveland Indians said he was “ready to play” following his activation from the injured list on Tuesday. Two home runs later, it appears he was understating matters.

Jose Ramirez

The switch-hitting Ramirez smacked a first-inning grand slam in his first plate appearance since August 24, swinging left-handed against Chicago White Soxstarter Carson Fulmer. He followed that up with a three-run shot from the right side of plate in the third against reliever Hector Santiago.

With the Indians up 11-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, manager Terry Francona replaced Ramirez in the lineup with Yu Chang. Ramirez finished the game 2-for-3, striking out in his final at-bat. The Indians wonby the same score.

It’s Ramirez’s third multi-homer game this year and first since August 15 in New York. The switch-hitting third baseman now has 12 career multi-homer games.

Ramirez surpassed his career high with the seven RBI. He tied his previous high of six RBI in a game during the Tribe’s 19-5 romp that featured a three-run homer and a two-run shot. He previously drove in six runs on April 15, 2017 against the Detroit Tigers.

“Seven RBIs his first two at-bats when he had surgery and hasn’t played in a month, that’s unbelievable,” Francona said.

Ramirez had missed four weeks during Cleveland’s drive for an American Leagueplayoff spot because of a fractured hamate bone in his right hand.

His seven RBIs through three innings Tuesday were a career high for a game.

“I was super, super happy,” Ramirez said after his big game. “It was great to be back with the guys and help however I [could].”

Ramirez was activated from the 10-day injured list prior to the contest. Ramirez, who turned 27 last week, suffered the hamate injury on August 24 against the Kansas City Royals. He had surgery two days later.

Ramirez said before the game that he’s still “not 100 percent on my wrist, but still I feel a big improvement.”

The two-time MLB All-Starhit .254 with 20 homers and 75 RBIs in his first 126 games this season. He was on a tear before getting hurt, hitting .320 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs in 46 games in July and August. 

Jorge Polanco Leads Minnesota Twins to Team’s First-Ever Four-Game Sweep of the Texas Rangers

Jorge Polanco is Twinning

The 26-year-old Dominican professional baseball infielder cleared the bases with a tiebreaking triple in the eighth inning, lifting his Minnesota Twins team to their first-ever four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers with a 6-3 victory on Sunday.

Jorge Polanco

By finishing its first four-game sweep since the end of last season, Minnesota maintained a 2 1/2-game lead over the Cleveland Indiansin the AL Central. The Twins went 5-1 on a trip that started with them a half-game behind after Cleveland beat Boston while they had a day off. They’re back on top of Cleveland, with a little room to spare after a fruitful stop in Texas.

“It was a tremendous trip,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It was fun to watch our guys. There were a lot of big moments on this trip, and ultimately we found ways to win these games.”

Polanco’s two-out liner to the gap in right-center field off Emmanuel Clase (0-2) followed the hard-throwing rookie getting a strikeout and groundout after putting runners at second and third with no outs. Miguel Sano walked to load the bases before Polanco’s team-leading sixth triple on a 99-mph cutter.

“I’ve seen 100 miles per hour, but his pitches cut and move,” Polanco said through a translator.