Flores Wins Arbitration Case Against the New York Mets

Wilmer Flores is celebrating a big win off the field…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball infielder defeated the New York Mets in the team’s first salary arbitration hearing since pitcher Oliver Perez won in 2008.

Wilmer Flores

Flores was awarded a $2.2 million salary on Saturday by arbitrators Mark Irvings, Sylvia Skratek and Robert Herzog, who heard the case a day earlier.

The Mets contended he should be paid $1.8 million. Flores made more than $526,000 last year and was eligible for arbitration for the first time.

Flores played all four infield positions last season. He hit .267, matched his career high with 16 homers and had 49 RBIs.

Teams are 3-2 in arbitration this year. Oakland outfielder Khris Davis also won, and Arizona pitcher Shelby Miller, Boston pitcher Fernando Abad and Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph lost.

Fourteen players remain scheduled for hearings, which run through February 17.

Perez won his hearing in 2008 and made $6.5 million instead of the team’s offer of $4.7 million.

Segura to Play for the Arizona Diamondbacks

Jean Segura is diamond(back) in the rough…

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball shortstop and former National League All-Star was acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks in a five-player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jean Segura

The Diamondbacks also acquired right-hander pitcher Tyler Wagner for righty Chase Anderson, infielder Aaron Hill, minor league shortstop Isan Diaz and cash.

Arizona went 79-83 last season then signed free agent ace Zack Greinke and traded for All-Star pitcher Shelby Miller.

“We felt there was a need to do” this deal, he said Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart.

The Diamondbacks ranked second among NL teams in scoring last year. They traded outfielder Ender Inciarte, who hit .303 with 21 steals, to the Atlanta Braves in the Miller deal.

Segura hit .257 with six homers, 50 RBIs and 25 steals last season. He was an All-Star in 2013 with Milwaukee after a big start to his first full season in the majors. He dipped after the break and then slumped the following year.

Segura was one of the players traded from the Los Angeles Angels to Milwaukee for Greinke in 2012.

Stewart said Segura was someone who could hit at the top of the Arizona lineup, depending on how he did.

Segura is a career .266 hitter with 96 steals since making his big league debut in 2012 with the Angels.

Marlins’ Fernández Named the National League Rookie of the Year

José Fernández has capped off his remarkable first year in Major League Baseball with a massive honor…

The 21-year-old Cuban professional baseball pitcher for the Miami Marlins has been named the National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).

José Fernández

The phenom with an inspiring personal story and incredible talent received first-place votes on 26 of 30 ballots. He was second on four ballots, and he received a total of 142 points.

Fernández was a finalist along with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller.

Puig finished second, and he collected four first-place votes. The Rays’ Wil Myers won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

“When they said my name, and said I had 26 votes, it was pretty nice,” said Fernández. “I’m really excited. I think the fans down in Miami are really happy about it. My family here is really excited too.”

Fernández beat long odds to even gain his freedom from Cuba. He reached the United States after several failed attempts, and after settling in Tampa, Fla., in 2008, the hard-throwing right-hander doggedly pursued his baseball dream. The Marlins made him the 14th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Making the day even more memorable is Fernández was able to celebrate with his grandmother, Olga, whom he had not seen since he left Cuba five years ago.

Olga obtained a five-year visitation visa, and the Marlins set up a surprise visit for Fernandez to reunite with his grandmother on Sunday at Marlins Park.

When Fernández was informed he had won, he was flanked by his grandmother and mother, Maritza, during the announcement on MLB Network.

“I was kind of expecting to be the Rookie of the Year, or it to be close,” Fernández said. “Having my grandma here came out of nowhere. It’s completely out of nowhere. I’m trying to let it sink in, and I’m trying to spend time with her.”

Fernández is the fourth player in franchise history to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, joining Dontrelle Willis (2003), Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Chris Coghlan (2009).

Fernández also joins Tony Oliva (1964) as the only Cuban-born Rookie of the Year.

Entering the season, MLB.com ranked Fernandez as the Marlins’ No. 1 prospect and the seventh overall prospect in the Majors.

In Fernandez’s 28 starts, the Marlins were 18-10. Fernandez paced all NL rookies in ERA (2.19), strikeouts (187), batting average against (.182) and WHIP (0.98). He also averaged 9.75 strikeouts per nine innings

As part of his remarkable 2013, Fernandez also threw an inning in the All-Star Game, and he didn’t disappoint. In a perfect sixth, Fernandez struck out Dustin Pedroia and Chris Davis while getting Miguel Cabrera on a soft pop fly to first.

The performance made Fernandez the third pitcher in the history of the All-Star Game to strike out two batters prior to turning 21 in his Midsummer Classic debut.