Nomar Mazara Agrees to One-Year, $1.75 Million Deal with Detroit Tigers

Nomar Mazara is roarin’ into the Motor City

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball right fielder has sealed the deal with the Detroit Tigers on a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

Nomar Mazara

Mazara, who turns 26 in April, hit .228 with one home run in 42 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. That was his first season with the Chicago White Sox after he spent four with the Texas Rangers.

“After a frustrating 2020 season, I’m looking forward to a fresh start and getting to work with the coaching staff, especially AJ Hinch, who I always enjoyed competing against during his time in Houston,” Mazara said. “I’ve come to really appreciate coming to Detroit as a visiting player and can’t wait to join their baseball community this season.”

Hinch took over as Detroit’s manager this offseason.

Mazara hit 20 home runs in each of his first three years with the Texas Rangers, then 19 in 2019. He tied for fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2016, the year Detroit pitcher Michael Fulmer won the award.

“Heading through the offseason we were looking to add a left-handed-hitting outfielder to provide AJ with more options for the lineup, and bringing Nomar on board does exactly that,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said.

Mazara’s deal includes $500,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $100,000 each for 350, 400, 450, 500 and 550.

To make room for Mazara, the Tigers designated right-hander John Schreiber for assignment.

Francisco Liriano & Toronto Blue Jays Agree to Minor League Deal

Francisco Liriano is flying high…

The 37-year-old Dominican veteran professional baseball relief pitcher, a left-hander, has agreed to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays that includes an invitation to spring training.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano didn’t pitch in the MLB during the pandemic-altered 2020 season. He was in camp with the Philadelphia Phillies on a minor league deal when the Phillies released him in July before Opening Day.

He went 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 69 relief appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019, striking out 63 and walking 35 in 70 innings.

Liriano, an MLB All-Star as a rookie with the Minnesota Twins in 2006, is 112-114 with a 4.15 ERA in 300 starts and 119 relief outings over 14 major league seasons with the Twins, Chicago White Sox, Pirates, Blue Jays, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.

He pitched for Toronto in 2016 and 2017 before getting traded to Houston for outfielders Teoscar Hernández and Nori Aoki.

Liriano won a World Series ring with the 2017 Astros, making five short relief appearances during the postseason that year.

Jose Urena Signs One-Year, $3.25 Million Deal with Detroit Tigers

Jose Urena is ready to roar

The Detroit Tigers have signed the 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher to a one-year, $3.25 million deal.

Jose Urena

Urena can earn $250,000 in performance bonuses based on starts, $50,000 each for 15, 18, 21, 24 and 27.

Urena, a righter-hander, spent the past six seasons with the Miami Marlins, compiling a 32-46 record with a 4.60 ERA in 142 games, 98 starts.

Urena struggled through the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He went on the COVID-19 injured list in late July, then returned to make five starts in September but broke his right forearm when he was struck by a line drive in his final outing. He finished the season 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA.

“Once Jose became available, we had him identified as a player that could come in and help our ballclub win games,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a statement. “We’re excited to add his experience pitching at a high level, and know he’ll contribute to our young staff in significant ways.

“Jose has a great ability to navigate a lineup and limit damage, while keeping his team in the game, which is exactly the stability we’re looking for heading into the 2021 season.”

Dereck Rodriguez Agrees to Minor League Deal with Colorado Rockies 

Dereck Rodriguez has a new deal…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican baseball pitcher, the son of MLB Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, has signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies that includes an invitation to spring training.

Dereck Rodriguez

Rodriguez appeared in 51 games over three seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He compiled a 12-15 record with a 4.27 ERA before being designated for assignment by the Giants on August 26. He was claimed five days later off waivers by the Detroit Tigers before recently becoming a free agent.

Rodriguez made his major league debut at Coors Field on May 29, 2018. He allowed four runs, one earned, over 3⅓ innings. He also had an RBI double off Kyle Freeland.

Rodriguez was originally a sixth-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2011.

Francisco Liriano Signs Minor League Contract with the Philadelphia Phillies

Francisco Liriano isn’t leaving The Keystone State… 

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed the 36-year-old Dominican professional baseball left-handed pitcher to a minor league contracts with invitations to attend major league spring training.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano was 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 69 relief appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirateslast season. Liriano is 112-114 with a 4.15 ERA and has averaged 9.01 strikeouts per nine innings over 419 career games.

During his career, he has played for the Minnesota TwinsChicago White Sox, the PiratesToronto Blue JaysHouston Astrosand Detroit Tigers.

Liriano was an MLB All-Star in 2006, and is a two-time winner of the MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Ivan Nova Headed to the Detroit Tigers

Ivan Nova is roarin’ to go…

The Detroit Tigers announced Monday that they’ve agreed to a deal with the 34-year-old professional baseball pitcher.

Ivan Nova

To make room for Nova on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated left-hander Matt Hall for assignment.

Nova made a major-league-leading 34 starts for the Chicago White Sox last season, going 11-12 with a 4.72 ERA in 187 innings. The right-hander had 114 strikeouts, posting his worst strikeout rate (5.49/9 IP) since 2014.

He did pitch two complete games, including a four-hitter in a 9-1 victory against the Miami Marlins on July 22, bringing his career total to 10.

Nova’s curveball has long been his most effective pitch, but it wasn’t working for him in 2019, with a lower spin rate than he had in 2015-17, missing fewer bats and getting hit harder, so he used it less often.

He was acquired by Chicago from the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 2018 season for minor league pitcher Yordi Rosario and $500,000 in international signing bonus pool allocation. 

Nova has made 223 big league starts, producing a 4.32 ERA with 954 strikeouts in 1,328⅔ innings.

Signed by the New York Yankees as an international free agent in 2004, Nova made his big league debut six years later and was with the Yankees until 2016, when he was traded to Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers. He finished that season a combined 12-8 with a 4.17 ERA for the Yankees and Pirates.

In 2015, Nova went 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA over 17 starts in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Anthony Rendon Among This Year’s MLB National League MVP Finalists

Anthony Rendonhas made the final cut…

The 29-year-old Mexican American Major League Baseball star has been named a finalist for the National League MVP award.

Anthony Rendon

Rendon, who hit key home runs in Games 6 and 7 of the World Series to help lead his Washington Nationals team to their first championship, will face off against Los Angeles Dodgersoutfielder Cody Bellingerand Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelichfor the MLB honor. Yelich won last year’s NL MVPaward with 29 of 30 first-place votes.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike TroutHouston Astros third baseman Alex Bregmanand Oakland Athleticsshortstop Marcus Semienare finalists for the American League MVPaward. Trout is seeking his third MVP award after winning in 2014 and ’16. He finished second in 2012, ’13, ’15 and ’18.

Houston’s Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander are finalists for the AL Cy Young Award along with Tampa Bay Rays’ Charlie Morton, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America said. Verlander won the 2011 Cy Young with the Detroit Tigers, when he also was voted MVP.

New York Metsace Jacob deGromis a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award after getting 29 of 30 first-place votes last year. He is competing with Washington’s Max Scherzerand the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu. Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young winner.

New York Mets first baseman Pete AlonsoAtlanta Braves right-hander Mike Soroka and San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.are finalists for the NL Rookie of the Year. Houston designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, Tampa Bay second baseman Brandon Lowe and Baltimore Orioles‘ left-hander John Means are the top candidates in the AL.

The New York Yankees‘ Aaron BooneMinnesota Twins‘ Rocco Baldelliand Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash are finalists for AL Manager of the Year. Atlanta’s Brian Snitker is a finalist to win the NL award for the second straight season, joined by the Milwaukee Brewers‘ Craig Counsell and St. Louis CardinalsMike Shildt.

Rookies of the Year will be announced on November 11, followed by Managers of the Year on November 12. Cy Young winners will be announced on November 13, and MVPs on November 14.

Aristides Aquino Breaks National League Rookie Mark for Home Runs in a Month

It’s been a banner month for Aristides Aquino.

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds broke the National League rookie mark for homers in a month with his 14th in August in his team’s 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.

Aristides Aquino

Aquino hit a two-run homer in the first for Cincinnati, and his two-out RBI single in the eighth tied it at 3.

Aquino broke the rookie record of 13 in a month set by the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger in June 2017. The Major League Baseball (MLB) record by a rookie is 18 by the Detroit Tigers‘ Rudy York in August 1937.

Reds manager David Bell’s reaction to his outfielder’s latest achievement?

“Speechless,” Bell said. “Guys are having fun watching him and what he’s doing. Pretty special.”

Aquino, who was promoted from the minors on August 1, tied the Reds record for homers by a player in a month held by Frank Robinson (1962) and Greg Vaughn (1999). He leads the majors with 32 RBIs this month.

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.

Miguel Cabrera Hits First Home Run Since April 2018

Miguel Cabrera is back… with a bullet.

The 35-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and Detroit Tigers first baseman, looking healthy again, connected for his first homer of the spring in Detroit’s 7-4 win over the Atlanta Braves this weekend. 

Miguel Cabrera

It was the first time Cabrera had gone deep in any game for the Tigers since April 28. His 2018 season ended after 38 games because of a biceps injury.

“He’s feeling good. He’s having a good time,” manager Ron Gardenhiresaid. “He’s actually been swinging good. We’ve seen him hit them all over the place in BP. It’s all about timing. Been off a long, long time.”

Cabrera seems comfortable at the plate so far: He’s 6-for-11 with a home run, a double and three walks in five spring training games.

Cabrera singled and walked before hitting a two-run homer to right-center field off Jacob Webb in the fifth inning.

“I think the wind got it,” the Detroit slugger said, showing perhaps more modesty than necessary.

Cabrera hit three home runs in April last year — and that was his total for the season. He missed almost all of May after straining a hamstring, and he went homerless in 41 June at-bats before his season ended for good.

Cabrera turns 36 in April and has hit only 19 homers in 168 games over the past two seasons.

The rebuilding Tigers have traded plenty of stars away over the past couple years, but Cabrera’s huge contract makes that difficult. Cabrera did hit 38 home runs in 158 games in 2016. He’s just 35 homers away from 500, and a run at that milestone would be a highlight even if the Tigers don’t contend for a playoff spot in the near future.

“He won’t have to work as hard as a lot of other guys for timing. He’s just a good hitter,” Gardenhire said. “You saw him take some real close pitches and foul off some pitches, and then barrel it up too.”