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.

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.

Miguel Sano Extends Contract with Minnesota Twins for Three Years

Miguel Sano is extending his time in Minnesota…

The 26-year-old Dominican professional baseball third basemanhas agreed to a three-year contract extension agreement with the Minnesota Twins, according to ESPN.

Miguel Sano

The extension includes a club option for the 2023 season and will buy out two years of free agency. It’s valued at $30 million. There is $27 million spread over the first three years and $3 million on a fourth-year option, a source said. If the $14 million option is picked up, the deal maxes out at $41 million over four years. MLB Network was first to report the financial terms of the deal.

Sano slugged 34 home runs and had 79 RBIs for the Twins in 2019. After getting off to a dreadful start, he finished the season with a .247 average.

After June 28, Sano batted .279 with a .994 OPS. During the stretch run, Sano was one of the best hitters in baseball.

Sano made $2.65 million last season in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The sides swapped proposed figures in arbitration as placeholders, the player asking for $6.25 million and the team offering $5.1 million.

Edwin Encarnacion Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Chicago White Sox

Edwin Encarnacionis headed to The Windy City…

The 36-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter and the Chicago White Sox have reached an agreement on a one-year deal for $12 million with a club option for 2021 at $12 million, according to ESPN.

Edwin Encarnacion

Encarnacion batted .244 in 109 games last season with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. The Yankees acquired the three-time All-Star from Seattle in June to bolster a lineup sapped by injuries. With cash from the Mariners in the trade, the deal cost New York just $8 million of the $25 million he was owed in 2020, including a $5 million buyout.

Encarnacion was leading the American Leaguewith 21 homers at the time, but a strained left oblique limited the first baseman/designated hitter down the stretch. He hit .249 with 13 homers, 37 RBIs and an .856 OPS in 44 regular-season games with New York.

He hit .308 while the Yankees pounded the Minnesota Twins in the AL Division Series, but he slumped badly in the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

Encarnacion has averaged 37 homers and 106 RBIs since 2012 and helped slug the Toronto Blue Jaysto back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. His 239 homers in Toronto ranks third behind Carlos Delgado(336) and Jose Bautista(265) on the Blue Jays’ career list.

His three-run drive in the 11th inning to beat the Baltimore Oriolesin the wild-card game in the 2016 playoffs gave Toronto one of its most indelible moments since Joe Carter‘s World Serieswalk-off handed the Blue Jays a second consecutive title in 1993.

Through his 14th season, Encarnacion has a career .263 average with 414 home runs and 1,242 RBIs for Cincinnati Reds, Toronto, Cleveland Indians, Seattle and the Yankees.

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.

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.

Nelson Cruz Reportedly Returning to Minnesota Twins Next Season

Nelson Cruz will likely be twinning longer…

The Minnesota Twins are expected to exercise a $12 million contract option for the 39-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball right fielder and designated hitterin the next few days, according to ESPN.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz  was seen by players and staffers as having a positive influence on the clubhouse this season. He belted 41 home runs to become just the third player in team history to reach the 40-homer mark, joining Harmon Killebrew (seven times) and Brian Dozier (once).

Despite two stints on the injured list, Cruz, who made $14 million in 2019, also had 108 RBIs and a .311

Nelson Cruz Makes MLB History with 400th Career Homer

Nelson Cruz has joined an elite group of MLB players…

The 39-year-0ld Dominican professional baseball player and Minnesota Twins slugger hit his 400th career home run, becoming the 57th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the mark.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz connected in the fourth inning on Sunday for his 40th homer of the season. He became the third player in Twins history to hit 40 home runs in a season, joining Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier.

“It’s nice to do it in front of the fans. I think they deserve it,” Cruz said. “They’ve been such a big influence for us as a team. They come up every day with that energy.”

Cruz tagged the Kansas City Royals‘ Gabe Speier for a solo drive. It gave the AL Central-leading Twins an 8-6 lead on their way to a 12-8 win and elicited a curtain call for Cruz as fans at Target Field gave him a standing ovation.

This was the fourth time in Cruz’s career that he’s gotten to the 40-homer mark. He did so in three straight years from 2014-16 with the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. He’s the 26th player in baseball history with four 40-home run seasons. Cruz also became the ninth Dominican-born player with 400 career homers.

“Nelly going out there and hitting his 400th home run, maybe he picked the perfect day to do it,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re all honored to be here and witness it and enjoy this experience with him.”

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.