Yonder Alonso Returning to San Diego Padres

Yonder Alonso is making a big return to Southern California…

The San Diego Padres have acquired the 33-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and first baseman in a trade with the Atlanta Braves.

Yonder Alonso

The Padres will send cash to the Braves to complete the deal.

Alonso, the brother-in-law of Padres third baseman Manny Machado, returns to San Diego, where he played from 2012 to 2015. It’s also the city where Machado and Alonso’s sister make their offseason home.

“I’m definitely excited to have my brother-in-law finally on the same team,” Machado said on Tuesday after the Padres beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2.

Alonso was on the Braves’ restricted list after not reporting to their alternate training site. He’ll report to the Padres’ alternate site at the University of San Diego.

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.

Anthony Rendon Considered the MLB’s Top Mega-Dollar Free Agent

It looks like all bets are on Anthony Rendonto be the first of the mega-dollar free agents to come off the board this winter…

The 29-year-old Latino third baseman has already had meetings with teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers, according to ESPN. And before Rendon reached the open market, the Washington Nationals made an offer in an effort to keep him.

Anthony Rendon

Rendon helped lead the Nationals to the World Seriestitle and finished third in the National League MVPballoting last month.

As reported in September, friends of Rendon believe he’s not going to take the conventional path through free agency. Rather than look for a long-term deal that lasts into his late 30s, they think he’s more interested in a deal in the range of five years, presumably for a higher average annual salary. In fact, some executives believe that Rendon’s forthcoming contract could establish a record for highest annual value.

The Rangers will move into a new ballpark next spring, and Rendon, a Texas native, could be the big marquee name on the revamped team.

The Dodgers have coveted Rendon because of his perfect fit with their hitting approach and their financial strategy. Under baseball operations chief Andrew Friedman, they have shied away from doling out deals of more than three-to-five years. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner has one more year left on his contract, but he has told reporters that he’d be willing to change position. 

The Dallas Morning Newswas the first to report Rendon’s meeting with the Rangers.

Yasmani Grandal Agrees to Four-Year, $73 Million Contract with Chicago White Sox

It’s a new (big) dealfor Yasmani Grandal

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms on a four-year, $73 million contract with the 31-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and free-agent All-Star catcher, the team has announced.

Yasmani Grandal

“He’s such a quality guy,” White Sox president Ken Williams said of Grandal. “And for him to understand our messaging, our goals, our path, and to say, ‘I want to be a part of that and I’m going to commit to it early so we can move on to the next thing heading into the winter meetings,’ [it] just shows what kind of character we’re talking about.”

It’s the biggest contract in the history of the White Sox franchise. Grandal will receive $18.25 million per season through 2023.

“There’s a lot of young talent,” Grandal said. “The way I looked at it, this team could be a dark horse in the next year or so.”

Last offseason, Grandal turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers and reportedly declined a four-year, $60 million offer from the New York Mets.

He bet on himself to have a big year. It paid off.

After signing a one-year, $18.25 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, the switch-hitting Grandal posted career highs in homers (28) and RBIs (77) and earned his second All-Star appearance. He walked over 100 times to post a .380 OBP, which ranked first among major league catchers.

He also led all catchers in games played (153) and was second in extra-base hits (56), total bases (240) and RBIs.

Grandal declined to exercise his part of a $16 million mutual option with the Brewers for 2020, with a $2.25 million buyout, so he could again become a free agent.

“Unlike last year around this time, where the market was kind of completely nonexistent, this year was just slightly different,” Grandal said. “It seemed like there were several teams that were working hard within their limits to be able to compete. There were several teams that were really interested. The one thing that kind of stood out the most for me is the White Sox. I love their professionalism, their preparation and the direction of the program.”

General manager Rick Hahn said he met with Grandal at the general managers meetings in Arizona last week and reached an agreement on Wednesday night.

“Exciting day for us around here, being able to add one of the elite talents at a premium position,” Hahn said.

The White Sox went 72-89 in their seventh straight losing season and missed the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since the 2005 team won the World Series.

Rafael Furcal Earns First-Ever Spot on the MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s a special first for Rafael Furcal

The 42-year-old Dominican former professional baseball shortstop is among 18 newcomers on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot.

Rafael Furcal

Furcal, who retired from Major League Baseball in 2014, for the Atlanta BravesLos Angeles DodgersSt. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. With St. Louis, he won the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers. He was the National League Rookie of the Yearin 2000 and a three-time MLB All-Star.

Other newcomers announced Monday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America include Derek Jeter, Cliff LeeJosh BeckettJason Giambi, Paul KonerkoBobby Abreuand Alfonso Soriano.

Holdovers include Curt Schilling, who received 60.9% last year, Roger Clemens (59.5%), Barry Bonds (59.1%) and Larry Walker(54.6%). Schilling rose from 51.2% in 2018. Walker, on the ballot for the 10th and final time this year, increased from 34.1% in 2018.

Bonds and Clemens, whose candidacies have been tainted by allegations of steroid use, are both on for the eighth time. Clemens rose from 57.3% in 2018 and Bonds from 56.4%.

In all, 10 Latino former ‘ballers made the list… In addition to Furcal, Abreu, and Soriano, former players on the list include Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Sammy SosaJose Valverdeand Omar Vizquel.

Ballots are sent to more than 400 BBWAAmembers with at least 10 consecutive years in the organization, and a player must appear on at least 75% to gain election. Ballots must be mailed by December 31, and results will be announced January 21.

Anyone elected will be inducted July 26 along with any selections by the Hall’s modern era committee, which meets and votes in San Diego on December 8.

Players remain on the ballot for up to 10 years, provided they receive at least 5% of the vote annually.

Roy HalladayEdgar Martinez and Mike Mussina were elected along with Mariano Rivera in the 2019 BBWAA vote.

The ballot: Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Barry Bonds, Eric Chavez, Roger Clemens, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Raul Ibanez, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carlos Pena, Brad Penny, Andy Pettitte, J.J. Putz, Manny Ramirez, Brian Roberts, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso SorianoSammy SosaJose Valverde, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker.

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.

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.

Victor Robles Homers in Return to Washington Nationals’ Lineup

Victor Robles has smashed his way back into the game…

The 22-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder made an immediate impact in his return to the Washington Nationals‘ lineup.

Victor Robles

After missing five games with a hamstring injury, Robles homered, singled and scored twice on Monday night as his team took a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

“A lot of times when you have an injury like I have, it’s usually a couple of months to come back from, and I was able to turn around and come back in a little over a week and a half, so I thank [God] for the opportunity and enjoy this moment with the crowd,” Robles said after the game.

Robles made manager Dave Martinez look like a genius for plugging him right back into center field despite Michael A. Taylor‘s homer in Game 2.

It wasn’t a debate for Martinez, who said Sunday that Robles would “get a chance to play” over Taylor when 100% healthy. Robles took swings in the batting cage and made it an easy decision.

His swings against Cardinals pitching looked even better. Robles, batting eighth, lined a base hit up the middle off starter Jack Flahertyin the third inning and crushed reliever John Brebbia‘s 2-1 fastball over the fence in right-center in the sixth. When crossing home plate, Robles tipped his helmet to his mother, who had never seen him play in the states before Monday.

“You know I felt excited, I felt my mom’s strength there, you know I was fortunate enough to hit a home run in her presence, so I wanted to make sure I recognized that and show her some love,” Robles said of the gesture.

Robles finished the game 2-for-4. He hit .255 with 17 home runs, 65 RBIs and 28 stolen bases during his first full season in the majors. He had last played in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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.”

Pete Alonso Sets National League Rookie Record for Home Runs in a Season

Pete Alonso is the rookie on top…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player, a first baseman for the New York Mets, hit his 40th home run of the season on Sunday to set the National League rookie record for home runs in a season.

Alonso homered to left field in the ninth inning. The 418-foot blast off the Kansas City Royals‘ Jacob Barnes broke a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Cody Bellinger for most home runs by a NL rookie in a season.

Bellinger hit 39 home runs in 2017.

“It’s crazy,” Alonso said after the Mets’ 11-5 victory when asked about setting the record. “I just gotta go back to the days of spring training when I didn’t know if I was gonna make the team out of camp or not. I’m just extremely thankful for this opportunity, and this has been such an incredible year. I just wanna keep building and help this team win.”

Alonso quickly fell behind 0-2 in the count, but when Barnes threw a high fastball, he didn’t miss.

“I was just trying to hit the ball hard like I have been,” said Alonso, who is the first Mets player to hit 40 home runs in a season sinceCarlos Beltranhit 41 in 2006. “Take good, quality swings at good pitches and, thankfully, he gave me a fastball up in the zone, which I like to swing at.”

The result was a no-doubt shot over the bullpen in left field that snapped the tie with Bellinger, who hit the 39-home run mark on the way to winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2017.

“It was a pretty grand one,” New York manager Mickey Callawaysaid. “It went a long way, it seemed like.”

Bellinger took to Twitter after Sunday’s action to congratulate Alonso on breaking his record.

Next up for Alonso is the Mets’ season record of 41 home runs set by Todd Hundleyin 1996 and equaled by Beltran a decade later.

“That’s even more mind-boggling,” Alonso said. “I’m just really grateful. Grateful and thankful and happy that I’ve had this opportunity.”

With the home run, Alonso improved to 3-for-4 in the Mets’ victory over the Kansas City Royals, with three runs and two RBIs.

The victory pulled the Mets (64-60) into a three-way tie in the NL wild-card chase, 1½ games behind the Chicago Cubs, who hold the second wild-card spot.

The New York Yankees‘ Aaron Judge holds the major league record for home runs in a season by a rookie, with 52 in 2017.