Joey Cora to Become Third-Base Coach for New York Mets

Joey Cora has Mets his match…

The New York Mets are on the verge of hiring the 56-year-old Puerto Rican former Major League Baseball player, who had an 11-year career in the MLB, as their new third-base coach, ESPN reports, confirming a report by the New York Post.

Joey Cora,

Cora, the older brother of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, spent five years as third-base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates before being let go at the end of the 2021 season.

In New York, he’ll become the first coach hired under Buck Showalter, who took over as the team’s manager less than three weeks ago.

The Mets retained Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach but are still in the process of filling vacancies at bench coach, hitting coach and first-base coach, among others.

Cora was a major league middle infielder from 1987 to 1998, making an MLB All-Star team late in his career, then transitioned into coaching shortly thereafter. Cora began as a manager in the Mets’ minor league system and later spent eight years with the Chicago White Sox under Ozzie Guillen, winning a World Series as the team’s third-base coach in 2005. Cora was also Guillen’s bench coach with the Miami Marlins in 2012 and has often interviewed for managerial jobs throughout his post-playing career.

Cora will now replace Gary DiScarcina, who was let go amid the shake-up that followed the firing of former Mets manager Luis Rojas. Rojas is now the New York Yankees‘ third-base coach, while DiSarcina has the same position with the Washington Nationals.

Yasiel Puig Signs One-Year, $1 Million Contract with South Korea’s Kiwoom Heroes

Yasiel Puig is a new Hero…

The 31-year-old Cuban former Major League Baseball outfielder has signed a one-year, $1 million contract with South Korean club Kiwoom Heroes.

Yasiel Puig

Puig hasn’t played in the MLB since 2019, when he played 100 games for the Cincinnati Reds and 49 for the Cleveland Indians before becoming a free agent.

Ko Hyung-wook, the general manager of the Seoul-based Heroes, said Puig’s past season in the Mexican League, where he batted .312 and hit 10 home runs for El Aguila de Veracruz, showed that his skills remained “excellent.”

Ko said Puig still has an interest in making a return to the big leagues and hoped that his drive to prove himself will have a positive impact on his Korean teammates. Ko downplayed concerns about Puig’s maturity, saying he came away with the impression that the former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was “devoted to family, and mature” after their personal talks.

Puig batted .277 with 132 home runs and 415 RBI while appearing in seven major league seasons, the first six with the Dodgers where he earned an MLB All-Star selection in 2014.

Puig’s offensive production regressed in the following years and he also developed a reputation for erratic on-field behavior, finding himself in the middle of several bench-clearing incidents. He was suspended three games in 2019 for his involvement in a brawl against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last game as a Red, an altercation that happened just moments after the team traded him to the Cleveland Indians.

Puig was reportedly in talks for a deal with the Atlanta Braves last year before he announced via Twitter in July 2020 that he tested positive for COVID-19.

The Heroes finished fifth among 10 clubs in the Korea Baseball Organization in this year’s regular season and were eliminated by crosstown rivals Doosan Bears in the first round of the postseason.

Javier Baez Agrees to Six-Year, $140 Million Deal with Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have found what they’ve been searching for in Javier Baez

The Major League Baseball team has agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with the 29-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball player and free-agent shortstop, according to ESPN sources.

Javier BaezThe deal also includes an opt-out, according to the source.

It would be the second-largest free-agent deal in Tigers franchise history, behind Prince Fielder, who signed a nine-year, $214 million deal with Detroit in January 2012.

While he struck out a league-high 184 times last season, Baez hit .265 with 31 homers, 87 RBIs and 18 steals. He also brings Gold Glove defense to Detroit with his signature no-look tags.

The Tigers had been looking for a shortstop since it went 77-85 last season, finishing third in the AL Central behind the Cleveland Guardians and the Chicago White Sox.

Baez was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. The two-time National League All-Star had been close to signing a long-term extension with the Chicago Cubs before the 2020 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic put negotiations on hold.

Those contract talks never resumed, and the Cubs traded Baez to the New York Mets this past July.

Avisail Garcia Agrees to Four-Year, $53 Million Contract with Miami Marlins

Avisail Garcia is headed to the South Florida…

The 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball right fielder has agreed to a four-year, $53 million contract with the Miami Marlins are in agreement on a four-year, $53 million contract, according to ESPN.

Avisail Garcia The Marlins will become Garcia’s fifth team.

He is coming off his best season, hitting 29 home runs with 86 RBIs — both career bests — for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021.

Garcia opted for free agency earlier this month, and the Marlins have made it clear in recent weeks that landing outfield help was a top offseason priority.

Garcia has also played with the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays and for the Chicago White Sox, a team he represented in the 2017 All-Star Game played at what was then called Marlins Park in Miami.

In parts of 10 seasons, Garcia has batted .270 with 127 home runs and 475 RBIs. He has played almost exclusively in right field, with limited time in center and left as well.

Jose Berrios Agrees to Seven-Year, $131 Million Extension with Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Berrios is staying in the Great White North.

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball pitcher has reached an agreement on a seven-year, $131 million extension with the Toronto Blue Jays, according to ESPN.

Jose BerriosBerrios’ deal is pending a physical.

Toronto acquired the right-hander at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins, and he went 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts for the Blue Jays down the stretch.

Berrios went 12-9 overall in 2021 as he set career bests with a 3.52 ERA and 204 strikeouts. He is 60-47 with a 4.04 ERA in his six-year career.

Berrios, a two-time MLB All-Star, was scheduled to become a free agent after the 2022 season.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Becomes MLB’s Youngest Hank Aaron Award Winner

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is making MLB history…

The 22-year-old Dominican-Canadian professional baseball infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays has been named the winner of the 2021 American League Hank Aaron Award.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

He’s the youngest player to win the award, and only the fourth Blue Jay to receive the honor.

Guerrero hit .311/.401/.601 with 48 home runs, 111 RBIs, 123 runs scored and 363 total bases. He led MLB in runs and total bases, tied for the Major League Baseball lead in homers and paced the AL in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. Guerrero was also a first-time MLB All-Star in 2021.

“I’m very proud to be able to work hard and have my hard work shine through with an award like this,” Guerrero said on the MLB Network broadcast, via interpreter Alanna Rizzo. “I’m very proud and very happy.”

Bestowed annually since 1999, the Hank Aaron Award honors the best overall offensive performer in each league. Guerrero is the fifth Blue Jays hitter to win the award, and the first since Josh Donaldson in 2015. Bryce Harper received this year’s honor in the National League.

This year’s other AL finalists were Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, A’s first baseman Matt Olson, Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez.

The award is decided by a special panel of Hall of Fame players from a list of seven finalists in each league, which is determined by a panel of MLB.com writers. Each team submits a candidate.

Previously, Aaron helped select the panel of Hall of Famers who voted for the award winner. Aaron died in January at age 86. Aaron’s widow, Billye, spoke of her husband’s legacy on MLB Network’s announcement show.

“He did so much to enhance many causes,” Billye Aaron said. “We sat and talked about trying to help kids, who, like Henry was at the time, were trying to find themselves and follow their dreams.”

Said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred: “While Hank Aaron’s impact on the field was so significant we named an on-field achievement award after him, he was so much more than an all-time great baseball player. He was a successful baseball executive, businessman, social activist, philanthropist, baseball ambassador, role model and a loving husband and father.”

Houston Astros Reportedly Offer Carlos Correa a Five-Year Contract Worth $160 million

Carlos Correa has a Astro-nomical offer to consider…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop, currently a free agent, has been offered a five-year contract worth $160 million by the Houston Astros, according to reports.

Carlos Correa

Correa, whose name has been brought up by many this offseason to potentially fill the New York Yankees’ need at shortstop, slashed .279/.366/.485 this past season with 26 homers, 34 doubles and 92 RBI in 148 games for the Astros’ high-powered offense.

Selected to the MLB All-Star team in 2017 and 2021, Correa has spent seven seasons in Houston and won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2015 with the Astros.

The former number one overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Correa is fresh off a World Series appearance against the Atlanta Braves where he hit .261 with one double, four RBI and no home runs.

In 2017, he helped the Astros win their first championship in franchise history against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a .276 average and two home runs.

Nelson Cruz Receives Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award

Nelson Cruz is being celebrated for his charity…

The 41-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball designated hitter and right fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays has been awarded Major League Baseball‘s Roberto Clemente Award for his character, community involvement and philanthropy.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz, the 50th winner of the honor, received the award before World Series Game 2 on Wednesday night.

“Growing up as a Latin, you always heard about Roberto Clemente,” he said. “I never had a chance to see him play. I knew what a great player he was. Once I came to the States I found out, oh, he’s not only a good player, he’s a great human being.”

Cruz, a 17-year MLB veteran and seven-time MLB All-Star, provided financial support to 1,200 families in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic, during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping feed 700 families.

After a fire destroyed the home of a childhood friend, Cruz provided the town with a fire engine, 80 firefighter uniforms and an ambulance for transportation for people to the nearest hospital, which is about an hour away.

His Boomstick23 Foundation began construction of an education and technical center last year and he will stock the center with computers to assist athletes in their education.

Cruz also organizes dentists and optometrists to go the town’s clinic for checkups, medicine and eyewear, and 500 patients received dental services last year.

He helped arrange for MLB, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the union’s Players Trust to donate $400,000 to the Dominican Republic for medical equipment and food aid during the pandemic.

“We first started with the dental clinic, and the next year we started asking how we can do the mental [health] and the eye doctors,” he said. “We started doing everything all at the same time. We even went to schools and provided kids with all the books and stuff that they need.”

Cruz was nominated by the Minnesota Twins, who traded him to the Rays  in July. He joined Hall of Famers Rod Carew (1977), Dave Winfield (1994) and Kirby Puckett (1997) as Minnesota players to win the award.

Alcides Escobar Agrees to $1 Million Deal with Washington Nationals

Alcides Escobar has a million reasons to smile…

The 34-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract to stay with the Washington Nationals next season.

Alcides Escobar,

Escobar, who will turn 35 in December, batted .288 with 21 doubles, two triples, four homers and 28 RBIs in 75 games with the Nationals after signing with the club in July.

Escobar has a career average of .259 with 245 doubles and 470 RBIs over a total of 12 seasons in the majors with three clubs. He was an AL All-Star for the Kansas City Royals in 2015.

This is the first move of what figures to be a busy offseason for general manager Mike Rizzo after Washington finished last in the NL East with a 67-95 record. The regular season ended on Sunday.

Rizzo opted to tear down the roster at the trade deadline, parting with more than a half-dozen veterans, including shortstop Trea Turner — the eventual NL batting champion — and starting pitcher Max Scherzer

Salvador Perez Ties the Kansas City Royals’ Team Home Run Record

Salvador Perez has earned a place in Royals history…

The 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball catcher and Kansas City Royals star hit a team record-tying 48th home run in the first inning, then left Kansas City’s game after striking out in the second on Wednesday night.

Salvador Perez

There was no immediate announcement about why Perez exited early.

Perez homered on the first pitch he saw, extending his major league lead with a three-run drive against the Cleveland Indians.

He also tops MLB with 121 RBIs.

The MLB All-Star catcher matched the club mark of 48 home runs set by Jorge Soler in 2019.

It was the 200th career homer for Perez.