Milwaukee Brewers Trade Orlando Arcia to Atlanta Braves

It’s a Brave(s) new world for Orlando Arcia.

The Atlanta Braves have acquired the 26-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop, a versatile infielder, from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for two pitchers.

Orlando Arcia

Milwaukee acquired right-handed pitchers Chad Sobotka and Patrick Weigel in the deal.

Arcia has spent all six of his Major League Baseball seasons with Milwaukee. He had one hit in 11 at-bats this season, and he had a .260 batting average in 2020 with 5 home runs and 20 RBI.

He has mostly played as a shortstop but has also seen time at third base and in the outfield.

Overall, Arcia has a career .244 batting average with 42 home runs, 180 RBI and 39 stolen bases. He had signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Brewers in December.

“He’s kind of an up-and-coming guy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I was a little surprised he was available. Any time you can upgrade and add to depth at the shortstop position it’s really a good move.”

This move clears the way for Luis Urias to take over as the Brewers’ everyday shortstop. The Brewers had acquired Urias along with pitcher Eric Lauer from the San Diego Padres in a November 2019 trade that sent outfielder Trent Grisham and pitcher Zach Davies to the Padres.

“The trade is a commitment to Luis Urias,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That is a commitment that we made. He has earned this and it’s an important time for him. He’s going to get a great opportunity here.”

Jonathan Villar Agrees to One-Year Deal with the New York Mets

Jonathan Villar has Mets his match…

The 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball player will be joining his fifth team in four seasons, agreeing to a one-year deal with the New York Mets, according to ESPN.

Jonathan Villar

Villar’s deal is for $3.55 million, according to multiple reports. His agreement with the Mets was first reported by MLB Network.

Villar, a switch-hitter, had a .232 batting average with 15 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 52 games between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He has shown his versatility in the field, playing second base, shortstop, third base and outfield during his career.

He adds infield depth behind new shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil.

Entering his ninth MLB season, Villar has also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros since 2013.

He has a career .259 batting average with 80 home runs, 283 RBIs and 218 stolen bases.

Elvis Andrus Traded to the Oakland Athletics

Elvis Andrus is heading west…

The 32-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop has been traded to the Oakland Athletics.

Elvis Andrus

The announcement comes two months after the Texas Rangers said the only player remaining from their only two World Series appearances would no longer be the starting shortstop after 12 seasons in that role.

Texas sent Andrus, catcher Aramis Garcia and $13.5 million to the A’s for designated hitter Khris Davis, catcher Jonah Heim and right-hander Dane Acker.

Andrus is owed $14 million in each of the next two seasons. The $120 million, eight-season deal he signed in 2015 also includes a $15 million option for 2023 that now, because of the trade, becomes a player option if he has 550 plate appearances in 2022, or 1,100 combined in 2021-22.

“At the beginning it was a little shock but at the same time I understood what was going on in our (Texas) organization, they’re rebuilding and that process,” Andrus said. “When I found out, the opportunity playing for Oakland opened up, it makes sense for me for my career, for where I’m at right now.”

The AL West champion A’s, who made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, recently lost shortstop Marcus Semien to Toronto in free agency.

“Elvis will fit in very well with our infielders. He has a passion for defense as do our other guys,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “I’ve seen his leadership qualities from the opposing dugout for 10 years now.”

The Rangers, whose only World Series appearances came in 2010 and 2011, said in December that Gold Glove-winning third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa would be given the opportunity to be their top shortstop. Andrus was told then to prepare to play all infield positions.

When Andrus made his MLB debut in 2009 at age 20, the Rangers moved Michael Young — then 32 himself — to third base after he had been an All-Star shortstop the previous five seasons. Young is still the team’s career leader and Andrus is second on the list for games played, at-bats and triples. Young is also the career leader for hits and runs, with Andrus third in both those categories.

Andrus has a .274 career batting average, and the two-time All-Star is the only MLB player with at least 10 seasons of 145 games or more since his debut. But he hit .194 last season when limited to 29 games because of lingering lower back issues, and said he isn’t sure people realized how difficult it was to play through that.

“I was really hurt, I wasn’t physically ready,” he said. “Last year took a lot of me. I think the team didn’t like what they saw and kind of didn’t understand me a little bit. At the end I think it’s something that you cannot control as a player. They have a different direction than where I’m at right now.”

Davis led the majors with 48 home runs in 2018, but has since then struggled to consistently find his stroke. Now primarily a DH after once being a regular left fielder, he has hit .243 with 218 homers and 580 RBIs in 938 big league games for the A’s (2016-20) and the Milwaukee Brewers (2013-15). Davis hit .271 with 15 doubles, 32 homers and 80 RBIs in 79 career games against Texas.

“Khris has been a popular favorite of everyone here in Oakland, including mine,” Melvin said. “We wish him the best in his new baseball chapter.”

Davis, signed for $16.75 million this season, hit .220 over 133 games in 2019, after a quirky stat of four straight years with a .247 batting average. He appeared in 30 games during the shortened 2020 campaign and hit .200 with two homers and 10 RBIs.

Garcia, acquired from the San Francisco Giants on a waiver claim in November, missed all of the 2020 season while recovering from surgery on his right hip labrum.

Heim, a 25-year-old switch-hitter, made his major league debut with the A’s in 2020, hitting .211 with five RBIs in 13 games. Acker was the A’s fourth-round selection out of Oklahoma in the shortened MLB draft last summer.

The Rangers were an AL-worst 22-38 last season, and turned their focus to younger players. They had three 22-year-old rookies in the starting lineup on the final day of the season, a decade after the team’s first World Series when Andrus was the youngster.

Nelson Cruz Reportedly Agrees to One-Year, $13 Million Contract with Minnesota Twins

Nelson Cruz is twinning again…

The 40-year-old professional baseball player, a designated hitter and right fielder, and the Minnesota Twins are reportedly in agreement on a one-year, $13 million contract, according to ESPN.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz has been a linchpin of the Bomba Squad Twins‘ lineup. And he’ll be back right in the middle of it in 2021.

The slugger, who hit .303 with 16 home runs, 33 RBIs and a career-high OPS+ (169) in the pandemic-shortened season, finished sixth in the American League MVP voting and was selected as the Marvin Miller Man of Year in the annual Players Choice Awards.

The award goes to the player whom his peers “most respect based on his leadership on the field and in the community.” Cruz donated a fire engine and an ambulance and helped build a police station in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic, and his Boomstick 23 Foundation has contributed wheelchairs and crutches, and he set up a clinic to provide medical and dental care.

His mission to help his hometown and other towns in the Dominican Republic led to him receiving the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award at the 2020 ESPYS.

Cruz played last season on a $12 million deal after swatting a team-high 41 home runs while reaching 108 RBIs in 2019, despite two stints on the injured list for a wrist problem. He has reached the 40-homer mark four times in his career; Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth hold the all-time mark with five seasons. Cruz also was the 57th player in major league history to reach 400 career home runs.

His .992 OPS in 2020 ranked fourth in the AL and was the fifth-best mark in MLB history by a player in his age-39 season or older, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. And he led all major leaguers with a 1.182 OPS on pitches in the strike zone over the past two seasons.

From 2014 to 2018, no player in the majors hit more home runs than Cruz (203). In 16 major league seasons, Cruz, a six-time MLB All-Star who has three Silver Slugger Awards, has hit 417 home runs with 1,152 RBIs and a .278 batting average for the Twins, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.

Miami Marlins Trade Jonathan Villar to the Toronto Blue Jays

Jonathan Villar is headed to the Great White North

The Miami Marlins have traded the 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jonathan Villar

Villar is hitting .272 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He also is tied for the National League lead with nine stolen bases.

Last season he hit a career-high 24 home runs while with the Baltimore Orioles.

Villar is scheduled to be a free agent in the offseason.

The Blue Jays (18-14) entered Monday’s games in third place in the AL East standings.

In addition to the Marlins and Orioles, Villar previously played in the MLB for the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers. Prior to 2017, Villar was primarily a shortstop. 

Jose Abreu Ties MLB Record with Sixth Homer in the Series Against the Chicago Cubs

Jose Abreu has made Major League Baseball history…

The 33-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and Chicago White Sox first baseman tied an MLB record on Sunday, when he homered in his first at-bat against the Chicago Cubs, marking his fourth straight plate appearance with a home run and sixth homer in the series.

Jose Abreu

“I’m never satisfied with what I do,” Abreu said after the Sox’s 2-1 loss to the Cubs. “I can do better. I can do more. That’s why I work so hard. But it definitely feels good to do something like that. I’d rather have the win today.”

The home run was the only tally of the game for the White Sox, who have scored their past 20 runs via the long ball. That’s three runs shy of a record set by the Milwaukee Brewers last season.

Abreu hit a 2-1 cutter from Yu Darvish to left-center in the second inning, one day after he hit home runs in his final three at-bats against three different pitchers. His six home runs over the weekend tie him with four others for the most in a three-game series in the live ball era, which dates to 1920. It’s also the most home runs by any player in any series this season.

Entering the series with the Cubs, Abreu was tied for 20th in the American League in home runs. He now leads the AL in homers, with 11.

The loss snapped the White Sox’s seven-game win streak but continued a home run streak for the club. They’ve hit 30 home runs in the past nine games. That’s by far the most in baseball in that span.

“We know what we’re capable of doing,” Abreu said. “We can’t fast-forward from here to the playoffs. At the end of the season, we’ll see what the result is.”

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.”

Gio Gonzalez Agrees to One-Year, $5 Million Deal with the Chicago White Sox

It’ll be a White (Sox)Christmas for Gio Gonzalez

The 34-year-old Cuban American MLB player and veteran free-agent left-handed pitcher has agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with the Chicago White Sox, the team has announced.

Gio Gonzalez

The White Sox will pay Gonzalez $4.5 million in 2020 and hold a $7 million option for the 2021 season, with a $500,000 buyout. He can make an additional $500,000 with incentives over the two years, according to ESPN.

Gonzalez will finally get a chance to pitch for the team that took him with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft. Chicago dealt Gonzalez to the Philadelphia Philliesfollowing the 2005 season as part of the trade that sent Aaron Rowandto the Philliesfor Jim Thome, then reacquired Gonzalez a year later along with Gavin Floydfor Freddy Garcia.

The White Sox traded Gonzalez to the Oakland Athleticsfor Nick Swisherin January 2008.

Gonzalez debuted with the Athletics in 2008 and is 130-99 with a 3.68 ERA over 12 years with Oakland (2008-11), the Washington Nationals (2012-18) and the Milwaukee Brewers(2018-19). 

He was an All-Starin 2011 and 2012, when he won a career-high 21 games and had a 2.89 ERA.

“We view Gio as an important addition to our pitching staff,” general manager Rick Hahnsaid in a statement. “He brings an impressive resume to our club as a veteran left-hander who has enjoyed success and should have a positive impact on our younger pitchers in terms of competing, battling and helping us win games at the major league level.”

Gonzalez was 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 17 starts and 19 appearances last season for the Brewers, who signed him last year to a second option on a contract that wound up being worth $65.5 million over seven years.

He made only six starts before spending more than a month on the injured list with left arm fatigue, recording a 2-1 record with a 3.19 ERA and 25 strikeouts. But he did return to make 11 more starts and log 56⅓ innings in the second half as the Brewers won the wild card.

Gonzalez also spent the final month of the 2018 season with the Brewers, who acquired him in an August 31 trade with the Nationals. He was 3-0 in five starts for the Brewers down the stretch, then started Games 1 and 4 of the NLCSagainst the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was pulled after two innings of the opener and one inning of his second appearance, allowing one run in each.

Chicago went 72-89 in its seventh straight losing season and missed the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since its 2005 World Seriestitle. But with young players establishing themselves in the majors and promising prospects in the minors, the White Sox expect to contend for a postseason spot.

Right-hander Lucas Giolitowent from the highest ERA among qualifiers in 2018 to his first All-Star season, going 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA in 29 starts.

Avisail Garcia Agrees to Lucrative Two-Year Deal with the Milwaukee Brewers

Things are brewing for Avisail Garcia

The 28-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and free-agent outfielderhas agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to the MLB Network.

Avisail Garcia

Garcia batted .282 with a career-high 20 home runs and 72 RBIs for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. He played in 125 games, and he provided depth and another strong defensive option in the outfield as Rays manager Kevin Cashjuggled different alignments.

In five seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Garcia hit .271 with 74 home runs and 289 RBIs, including posting career highs in batting average (.330) and RBIs (80) in 2017, when he was an MLB All-Star.

Knee and hamstring injuries limited him to just 93 games during his final season for the White Sox in 2018, but he reverted to his 2017 form last season and helped the Rays reach the American League Division Seriesfor the first time since 2013.

A seven-year veteran of the major leagues, Garcia has a career average of .273 with 96 home runs and 374 RBIs.

Jonathan Villar Traded to the Miami Marlins

Jonathan Villar is headed to the Sunshine State…

The Miami Marlins have acquired the 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball player from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league left-handed pitcher Easton Lucas.

Jonathan Villar

Villar, an infielder, was reportedly placed on waivers last week as the team sought a trade partner.

The Marlins also claimed first baseman Jesus Aguilaroff waivers after he was designated for assignment last week by the Tampa Bay Rays.

A switch-hitter, Villar turned in a career year for Baltimore last season, hitting .274 with career highs in hits (176), home runs (24) and RBIs (73) in 162 games. He ranked third in stolen bases in the American League, with 40.

“He was a tremendously exciting player for us, a joy to have,” general manager Mike Elias said Monday. “It was hard to let him go, but we’ve got to keep an eye on our strategic objectives, which is prioritize the future right now.”

Villar was too expensive to keep around. He’s eligible for arbitration and likely to earn about $10 million next year, so Elias opted to trade the 28-year-old as part of a more substantial teardown.

“It makes a lot of sense, and it’s something you have to do,” Elias said.

The GM described Villar as “a guy who’s going into his last year of arbitration with the team and facing free agency who is set to command a large salary with his play this year and years past” — qualities that don’t fit with the master plan for rebuilding the team.

“We’re going to miss him, but this is the right move,” Elias said.

Baltimore finished last in the AL East in 2019, the first season with Elias at the helm. From the outset, Elias made it clear that the roster will be overhauled before being injected with young talent.

The Orioles also reached a one-year agreement with lefty Richard Bleier and offered 2020 contracts to first baseman Trey Mancini, infielder Hanser Alberto and right-handers Dylan BundyMiguel Castro and Mychal Givens.

“These are guys that had good years and continue to grow and are deserving of the opportunity to keep going forward,” Elias said.

Aguilar was an All-Star for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018, when he had 35 home runs and 108 RBIs. This season, he had 12 homers and 50 RBIs for the Milwaukee and Rays.

Aguilar, 29, is expected to share time at first with Garrett Cooper, who had 15 homers and 50 RBIs for Miami this season.

Aguilar has a .256 average, with 63 homers and 215 RBIs in six seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.

To make room on Miami’s 40-man roster, infielder JT Riddle and right-handed pitcher Tayron Guerrero were designated for assignment. Riddle then was not offered a contract, making him a free agent.