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.

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.

Giancarlo Stanton Hits MLB-Leading 54th Home Run of the Season

And the hits just keep coming for Giancarlo Stanton

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican professional baseball player hit his MLB-leading 54th home run of the season in the Miami Marlins‘ 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Giancarlo Stanton

After being given a day off on Friday, Stanton hit the homer off rookie left-hander Max Fried in the first inning on Saturday night.

The ball would have traveled 456 feet unimpeded, according to MLB Statcast, and landed deep into the left-center seats.

Stanton’s 54 homers are the same number that Mark McGwire had through this date in 1999 and the same number Sammy Sosa had through this date in 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Stanton has six homers against the Braves this season. He now has 15 more homers than New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge and Oakland AthleticsKhris Davis, who were tied for second.

The previous Marlins record was 42 homers by Gary Sheffield in 1996.

Cepeda to Have Street Named After Him in San Francisco

Orlando Cepeda will see his name on a street sign soon…

The 79-year-old Puerto Rican retired first baseman, who made his Major League Baseball debut with the San Francisco Giants in April 1958, will receive a ceremonial sign for a street that will be named in his honor in the Bay City.

Orlando Cepeda

It’s all part of the redevelopment of the old Candlestick Park site.

Cepeda, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, played for the Giants from 1958 until 1966.

During a career that lasted sixteen years, he also played with the St. Louis Cardinals, helping the team win the World Series in 1967, as well as the Atlanta Braves (1969–72), Oakland Athletics (1972), Boston Red Sox (1973), and Kansas City Royals.

Other San Francisco iconic athletes to have a name after them include San Francisco 49ers legends Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and coach Bill Walsh, as well as former Giants players Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

Top Cuban Prospect Armenteros Agrees to Deal with Oakland Athletics

Lazaro Armenteros is headed to the West Coast…

The Oakland Athletics landed the 17-year-old baseball phenom, a versatile outfielder and top Cuban prospect, after he agreed to terms with the team on Saturday.

Lazaro Armenteros

Armenteros receives a $3 million signing bonus from Oakland, which originally signed Cuban Yoenis Cespedes before the 2012 season.

The A’s also agreed to terms with four Dominican players — third baseman George Bell, shortstops Marcos Brito and Yerdel Vargas, and center fielder Kevin Richards. Each of the new acquisitions will report to the club’s Dominican training facility and later to Arizona for instructional league this fall.

A’s assistant general manager and scouting chief Dan Feinstein took the lead on acquiring Armenteros, nicknamed Lazarito. The A’s have been watching him seriously for two years.

“It’s exciting. The scouts and Dan really did a great job with this,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Quite the find getting Lazarito. … I did see a picture where he looks pretty cut up physically.”

Armenteros, a right-handed hitter with speed and a body Feinstein likened to that of “a young Frank Thomas,” batted .462 for Cuba in the 15-and-under World Cup in Mexico two years ago. He hit .416 with a league-leading six home runs in Cuba’s 15-and-under league.

“To say we are excited to add this level of talent to our minor league system would be an understatement,” Feinstein said. “Our International scouts work tirelessly throughout the year, and it’s great to see those efforts rewarded.”

Chavez Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays

Jesse Chavez is headed to the Great White North…

The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired the 32-year-old Latino pitcher from the Oakland Athletics for fellow pitcher Liam Hendriks.

Jesse Chavez

Chavez has spent the past two seasons as a swingman with the A’s and went 7-15 with a 4.18 ERA in 30 games this year, including 26 starts.

The righty made nine appearances with Toronto in 2012 and had an 8.44 ERA before being acquired by Oakland for cash. Chavez is eligible for arbitration this winter and can become a free agent after the 2016 season.

Chavez has previously played in MLB for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics.

Morales Agrees to Lucrative, Two-Year Deal with the Kansas City Royals

Kendrys Morales has landed a royal MLB deal…

The 31-year-old Cuban professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter has reportedly agreed to a $17 million, two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals, according to the Associated Press.

Kendrys Morales

The AP source spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to Morales passing a physical.

Morales is expected to take over at designated hitter for Billy Butler, who left as a free agent and agreed to a lucrative deal with the Oakland Athletics.

Morales will get $6.5 million next year and $9 million in 2016. The deal includes an $11 million mutual option for 2017 with a $1.5 million buyout.

Morales can make an additional $750,000 in performance bonuses in each of the first two seasons based on plate appearances: $50,000 for 375 and $100,000 apiece for 400 and each additional 25 until 550.

Morales’s deal comes despite a poor performance last season.

He hit just .218 with eight homers and 42 RBIs in 98 games with the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners. Those numbers were far below his career average of .271, and a shadow of his best year with the Los Angeles Angels, when he hit .306 with 34 homers in 2009.

Just two years ago, though, Morales hit .277 with 23 homers for Seattle.

Perez Helps the Kansas City Royals Advance in the MLB Playoffs…

Salvador Perez is being hailed a hero in Kansas City…

The 24-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball catcher singled home the winning run with two outs in the 12th inning, capping two late comebacks that gave his Kansas City Royals a thrilling 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game.

Salvador Perez

“This will go down as the craziest game I’ve ever played,” said Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who sparked the final Royals rally with a one-out triple. “This team showed a lot of character. No one believed in us before the game. No one believed in us before the season.”

It was a back-and-forth epic that lasted 4 hours, 45 minutes, with the A’s losing their seventh straight winner-take-all playoff game since 2000.

Making their first postseason appearance since winning the 1985 World Series, the Royals will now open their best-of-five Division Series on the road Thursday night against the AL West champion Los Angeles Angels.

After falling behind by four runs, the Royals raced back with their speed on the bases — they led the majors with 153 steals this season. Kansas City swiped seven in this one to tie a postseason record previously shared by the 1907 Chicago Cubs and 1975 Cincinnati Reds, according to STATS.

The biggest one came in the 12th.

Hosmer scored the tying run on a high chopper to third by rookie Christian Colon, who reached safely on the infield single and then stole second with two outs.

Perez, who was 0 for 5 after squandering two late chances to drive in key runs, reached out and pulled a hard one-hopper past diving third baseman Josh Donaldson. Colon scored easily, and the Royals rushed out of the dugout for a mad celebration.

Sitting upstairs in a suite, Royals Hall of Famer George Brett put his hands on his head in near disbelief at the frenzied and jubilant scene that was unfolding below.

“It was unbelievable,” Perez said.

The A’s raced out to a 7-3 lead by the sixth inning, but the Royals countered with three runs in the eighth. Nori Aoki‘s sacrifice fly off Sean Doolittle in the ninth forced extra innings.

Kansas City squandered chances in the next couple of innings, as midnight came and went on the East Coast and the tension continued to build. Rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan, just drafted in June, pitched two scoreless innings but walked Josh Reddick to start in the 12th.

Pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo delivered an RBI single off Jason Frasor to put the A’s ahead 8-7, but Hosmer hit a drive high off the left-center wall against Dan Otero for a leadoff triple in the bottom half, and Colon drove him in with a bouncer that barely traveled 50 feet.

That set the stage for Perez, who lined a pitch from Jason Hammel down the third-base line.

Cespedes Wins the Home Run Derby Crown for Second Straight Year

Yoenis Cespedes’ reign at the Home Run Derby continues…

The 28-year-old Cuban baseball star, an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics, has become the first repeat winner of the All-Star skills contest in 15 years.

Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes powered his way past the Cincinnati RedsTodd Frazier 9-1 in the final round Monday night to successfully defend his title.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the last back-to-back winner, taking the title in 1998 and 1999.

With a serious, determined look on his face the entire time, Cespedes finished with 28 homers. That was four fewer than last year, when he beat the Washington NationalsBryce Harper 9-8 in the final round.

Cespedes even told Athletics teammate Josh Donaldson he was doing this wrong.

“I knew he wasn’t going to win because his mentality was to take the ball out of the stadium, and I told him that is not the way you win this competition,” Cespedes said through an interpreter.

He added: “I’m somebody who’s very conscious of the power that I have. So I don’t need to put more of a swing or more of an effort in order to hit a home run. I just have to look for a good pitch and put a good swing on it, and it usually takes care of it.”

Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest shot of the night.

A’s third-base coach Mike Gallego again pitched to Cespedes, who went deep 32 times in last year’s derby at Citi Field in New York. Gallego’s arm looked nearly out of gas by the final round.

“Maybe next year I’ll put up a better showing at the end,” Frazier said. “Now that I understand, maybe I’ll do a couple of more push-ups.”

Cespedes topped Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Frazier surprisingly beat Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton in the semifinals.