Jose Alvarez Signs One-Year, $1.15 Million Deal with San Francisco Giants

Jose Alvarez has landed a Giant(s) deal…

The 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher and left-handed reliever has signed a $1.15 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Jose Alvarez

Alvarez will look to build off momentum he had with the Philadelphia Phillies last season when he posted a 1.42 ERA over eight outings. He was struck by a 105 mph line drive in the groin area August 20 against the Toronto Blue Jays and didn’t pitch for the rest of the year.

Alvarez allowed just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings before the injury, holding right-handed hitters to 3 for 15 with one extra-base hit. He pitched for second-year Giants manager Gabe Kapler for Philadelphia in 2019.

The deal that includes a club option for 2022 worth $1.5 million for the veteran reliever. Alvarez would receive a $100,000 buyout if the Giants decline the option.

Also, the Giants announced right-hander Jordan Humphreys was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres.

Aaron Sanchez Agrees to One-Year, $4 Million Deal with San Francisco Giants

Aaron Sanchez has agreed to a giant(s) deal…

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional baseball pitcher has finalized a $4 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, giving the club another experienced starter to join Johnny Cueto in the rotation.

Aaron Sanchez

The Giants said Sanchez could earn up to $2.5 million more in performance bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 16 and 18 starts and $500,000 each for 20, 22, 24 and 26 games started. He has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

Sanchez hasn’t pitched since 2019, sitting out last year’s shortened season while recovering from surgery on his pitching shoulder. He went 5-14 with a 5.89 ERA over 27 starts and 131⅓ innings playing for Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros.

A 2016 MLB All-Star for the Blue Jays, he made only 20 starts in 2018 and eight starts the year before because of a blister and split fingernail.

The Giants cleared room on the 40-man roster for Sanchez by designating right-hander Trevor Gott for assignment.

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.

Joe Martinez Joins Major League Baseball’s Senior Leadership Team

Joe Martinez is heading to the big league’s offices…

The 37-year-old Latino former baseball pitcher has been hired Monday by Major League Baseball.

Joe Martinez

Martinez will step into the role of senior director of on-field strategy.

Martinez will report to vice president of baseball economics Reed MacPhail.

Martinez, who turns 38 on February 26, will coordinate the management of experimental rule and equipment changes, support the competition committee and be a liaison to on-field personnel.

He pitched at Boston College and was 4-3 with a 5.82 ERA in four seasons with San Francisco Giants (2009-10), Pittsburgh Pirates (2010), Arizona Diamondbacks (2012) and Cleveland Indians (2013). He spent five years in mergers and acquisitions group at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Dereck Rodriguez Agrees to Minor League Deal with Colorado Rockies 

Dereck Rodriguez has a new deal…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican baseball pitcher, the son of MLB Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, has signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies that includes an invitation to spring training.

Dereck Rodriguez

Rodriguez appeared in 51 games over three seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He compiled a 12-15 record with a 4.27 ERA before being designated for assignment by the Giants on August 26. He was claimed five days later off waivers by the Detroit Tigers before recently becoming a free agent.

Rodriguez made his major league debut at Coors Field on May 29, 2018. He allowed four runs, one earned, over 3⅓ innings. He also had an RBI double off Kyle Freeland.

Rodriguez was originally a sixth-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2011.

Ronald Acuna Jr. Earns Second Career Silver Slugger Award

There’s certainly a silver lining for Ronald Acuna Jr. 

The 22-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player is among four Atlanta Braves players to earn Silver Slugger Awards, which were unveiled Thursday by Major League Baseball in honor of the best offensive players at every position in each league.

Ronald Acuna Jr. 

Winning from the Braves were Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna, who each won the award for the second time, and first-time winner Travis d’Arnaud.

The Chicago White Sox led the American League with three Silver Sluggers: shortstop Tim Anderson, left fielder Eloy Jimenez and first baseman Jose Abreu, who won the award for the third time after batting .317 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs.

It was the first honor for both Anderson and Jimenez.

Los Angeles Angels star outfielder Mike Trout received his eighth Silver Slugger Award after batting .281 with 17 home runs and 46 RBIs this season.

2020 Silver Slugger Winners

POS. AL NL
C Salvador Perez, Royals Travis d’Arnaud, Braves
1B Jose Abreu, White Sox Freddie Freeman, Braves
2B DJ LeMahieu, Yankees Donovan Solano, Giants
SS Tim Anderson, White Sox Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
3B Jose Ramírez, Indians Manny Machado, Padres
OF Mike Trout, Angels Juan Soto, Nationals
OF Eloy Jimenez, White Sox Mookie Betts, Dodgers
OF Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves
DH Nelson Cruz, Twins Marcell Ozuna, Braves

Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez rounded out the American League winners.

World Series champion and Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, San Francisco Giants second baseman Donovan Solano and San Diego Padres teammates Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado completed the National League list.

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.

Pablo Sandoval Added to Atlanta Braves’ Roster for NL Wildcard Series Against the Cincinnati Reds

Pablo Sandoval is heading back to the field…

The 34-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball third baseman and former World Series MVP has been added to the Atlanta Braves‘ 28-player roster for the National League wildcard series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval joined the Braves after being released by the San Francisco Giants a couple of weeks ago.

 

He started at third base in the final game of the regular season, going 0 for 2 with two walks in a 9-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Sandoval played 33 games for the Giants, hitting .220 with one homer and six RBI.

Pablo Sandoval to Play in the Atlanta Braves’ Game Against Boston Red Sox

Pablo Sandoval is gettin’ in the game…

The Atlanta Braves are activating the 34-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, and he’s playing third base in Sunday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN.

Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval is being prepped for a bench role in the postseason for the NL East champions. The Braves have a lot of right-handed options on their bench and Sandoval is a switch-hitter.

He joined the Braves on a minor league deal earlier this month after he was released by the San Francisco Giants.

Sandoval was hitting .220 with one home run and six RBIs this season for the Giants in his second stint with the team.

Albert Pujols Ties for Second Place on MLB Career RBI List

Albert Pujols is batting his way into the annals of MLB history…

The 40-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels has tied Alex Rodriguez for second place on the Major League Baseball career RBI list.

Albert Pujols

Pujols tied ARod with a single in the sixth inning of the Angels’ game against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Pujols’ hit off Andrew Suarez drove in Anthony Rendon as part of the Angels’ two-run inning. It’s the 2,086th RBI of Pujols’ career.

He’s now 211 RBIs away from tying former home run king Hank Aaron, who holds the record with 2,297.

Pujols remains one home run shy of 660 for his career, which would tie him with Willie Mays for fifth.

The Angels would go on to lose 7-2 for their sixth defeat in seven games. At 8-17, they are off to their worst 25-game start in franchise history.

Pedro Leon Reportedly Signing with Houston Astros

Pedro Leonhas an astronomical deal in the works…

The 21-year-old Cuban outfielder, who dominated Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2018 before defecting, is expected to sign with the Houston Astros for around $4 million when a new international signing period opens July 2, according to ESPN.

Pedro Leon

Leon would be one of the class’s highest-paid players.

Leon mostly played corner outfield in Cuba and has hit for power in games, but is reputed to have above-average speed, a plus arm and plus raw power as a right-handed hitter. While a roster at his workout on Wednesday listed him at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, one scout estimated Leon to be 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds.

Pedro Leon

Scouts didn’t get to see Leon’s reputed power on display during the workout at the San Francisco Giants‘ academy in the Dominican Republic as they were told he’d already reached a deal with a team.

Leon was cleared as a free agent in December, but delayed his open workout due to an oblique injury. Scouts say he previously has dealt with a shoulder injury as well.

Cuban prospects have to wait to negotiate with clubs until after their first open workout for all 30 teams, or after they are cleared to be a free agent. 

Sources said Leon worked out privately for the Astros at their facility recently and the club was able to collect valuable data using advanced technology like bat sensors and radar-based technology like TrackManthat other clubs weren’t able to collect on Wednesday.