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.

Wander Franco Finalizes 11-Year, $182 Million Deal with Tampa Bay Rays

It’s official… Wander Franco is staying with the Rays for more than a decade.

The 20-year-old Dominican professional baseball shortstop and the Tampa Bay Rays have finalized a $182 million, 11-year contract that includes a club option for the 2033 season.

Wander FrancoFranco’s deal, which could be worth up to $223 million if the club option is exercised and incentives are reached, was announced Saturday.

“This is a great day for Wander and for the Rays, and is evidence of the mutual trust between Wander and our organization,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement. “We are committed to fielding competitive teams year in and year out, and we all expect that Wander’s presence and contributions will play a large part in maintaining our standard of excellence.”

Tampa Bay won the AL East in 2021, but was eliminated by Boston Red Sox in the ALDS.

The contract is the largest financial commitment to a player in the Rays’ 24-year history. It’s also the biggest deal in major league history for a player with less than a year of major league service time.

Franco is the fifth player with less than a year of big league experience to sign a long-term extension with the team. The others are third baseman Evan Longoria (2008), left-hander Matt Moore (2011), right-hander Chris Archer (2014) and second baseman Brandon Lowe (2019).

 

“The pace at which Wander has developed speaks to his potential,” Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said in a statement. “We have seen him do special things on the field, particularly for a player that is only 20 years old. He’s an exceptionally driven, budding superstar who can contribute to our success for a long time.”

Franco made his major league debut June 22 and hit a three-run homer. He batted .288 with 18 doubles, five triples, seven homers and 39 RBI in 70 games. He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Franco put together a 43-game on-base streak to tie Cincinnati’s Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest in major league history among players under 21. He went 7 for 19 (.368) with two homers and four RBI in four postseason games.

Franco would have been eligible for free agency after the 2027 season. He gets a $5 million signing bonus, with $2.5 million payments on Dec. 1 and June 1, 2022.

The yearly salary breakdown is: $1 million in 2022, $2 million in 2023 and 2024, $8 million in 2025, $15 million in 2026, $22 million in 2027 and $25 million in each of the last five seasons. The 2033 club option is $25 million, with a $2 million buyout.

Franco’s deal also includes salary escalators if he finishes in the top five in voting for AL MVP. If he is traded before April 2, 2029, Franco receives a $3 million assignment bonus. It drops to $2 million if he is dealt on or after that date.

Hector Neris Agrees to Two-Year, $17 Million Deal with Houston Astros

Hector Neris is celebrating an Astros-nomical deal…

The 32-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher and the Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal, according to ESPN.

Hector Neris

Neris, a right-handed reliever, started the 2021 season as the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies but lost the job in June. He finished the season with a 4-7 record with 12 saves and a 3.63 ERA in 74 games.

In parts of eight seasons with the Phillies, Neris was 21-29 with a 3.42 ERA and 84 saves.

NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported the deal.

Brian Castaño to Face Off Against Jermell Charlo Once Again in February

Brian Castaño is ready to prove he’s the best…

The 32-year-old Argentine professional boxer and Jermell Charlo will meet once again to determine the best junior middleweight in the world.

Brian Castaño,Castaño and Charlo have agreed to terms for a rematch on February 26, 2022, at Toyota Center in Houston that will crown an undisputed 154-pound champion, multiple sources have told ESPN.

All four belts were set to be unified in July, but the bout resulted in a draw. The rematch was threatened by sanctioning body obligations, but it’s expected both mandatory challengers — Tim Tszyu and Bakhram Murtazaliev — will step aside.

“I think … he will try to avoid [the rematch],” Castano, ESPN’s No. 1 junior middleweight, said after the first bout. “He will probably come up with something else. But in reality, it is me who is going to give him the rematch. If he doesn’t want it, OK. We move on to the next fight.”

Only Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) didn’t try to elude the encore encounter. He swept the final three rounds on all three scorecards to pull out the draw, but even he acknowledged the 117-111 tally was “kind of a large range.”

“I do believe I won the fight; I don’t believe it was that close,” said Charlo, ESPN’s No. 2 junior middleweight. “I should be undisputed right now.”

Charlo will have his chance to enter that rarified air once again, and this time, the fight will land in his hometown. The 31-year-old avenged his only loss — a controversial decision vs. Tony Harrison — via 11th-round KO in 2019.

Against Castano, it was Charlo who was on the beneficial end of the controversy. He won the fight 114-113 on one card, with the same score in favor of Castano on the other.

The PBC fight was exhilarating from the opening bell, with Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) applying nonstop pressure and Charlo seeking counter-punching opportunities. Down on the scorecards and on the brink of losing his three titles, Charlo connected on a fight-altering counter left hook in Round 10, but the knockdown never materialized.

“He was like belligerent all over the ring; he could barely stand up,” said Jermell Charlo, the twin brother of middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. “I just couldn’t get him out of there. He’s tough as f—.”

Seven months later, Charlo will have another opportunity to prove he’s the best 154-pounder in the world. And so will Castano, who left San Antonio with a bitter taste in his mouth.

“I feel that they robbed me,” Castano said. “I’m not taking anything away from Charlo. He’s a big puncher. He caught me with some good punches at times, but I survived, and overall, I thought I won the fight.

“And needless to say, I want the rematch because he still has the three belts that I need and feel should be mine.”

Jay Wheeler Teams Up with Gigolo y la Exce to Release New Single “Chantaje”

Jay Wheeler is bringing the melancholy

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican singer and songwriter has joined voices with Gigolo y la Exce to release the new for “Chantaje,” premiering exclusively on Billboard.

Jay Wheeler

Kicking off with the melancholic lyrics “You were my sadness and my happiness/ A thorn that I can’t remove,” “Chantaje” brings to the forefront “the dark side of a relationship that is going through difficult situations,” as described by the Puerto Rican duo in a statement.

Wheeler’s dulcet vocals fit in this new romantic reggaeton single that follows Gigolo y la Exce’s old-school reggaeton “De La Mata.”

The music video, helmed by director Joseph Cavallini and produced by his company Sleeping on Mars, shows all three acts going about their days as a mysterious woman follows them around and snaps photos of them. The video unfolds two sides to the story: someone who chooses to move on from a relationship (despite their pain) and someone who has trouble letting go.

“Chantaje” marks Gigolo y la Exce’s first collaborative effort with Jay Wheeler and forms part of the duo’s upcoming studio album Las II Torres, expected to drop in 2022 under RIMAS.

Nacho González Nappa Composes & Produces New Song “Mi Escuela, Mi Hogar” in Partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund

Nacho González Nappa is celebrating school and home in a special way…

The Uruguayan award-winning film and video game composer has joined forces with the United Nations Children’s Fund for the release of a new song called “Mi Escuela, Mi Hogar” as part of Exile Content Studio’s edutainment show Club Mundo Kids.

Nacho González NappaComposed and produced by González Nappa, the optimistic and hopeful track was created at a time when many classrooms in Latin America and the Caribbean remain closed.

The less-than-two-minute song, with a rhythmic folk melody, has lyrics about missing your teacher and wanting to play with your friends at recess, but also about patience, remaining positive and enjoying virtual education.

“Music helps us heal and get through difficult times,” Nacho said in a statement. “Latin America and the Caribbean is a resilient region, and we hope that this song will shed some light to overcome this dramatic situation.”

According to UNICEF statistics, 71 million children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are still affected by school closures due to the global pandemic. In at least five countries where only a small number of schools have reopened, less than 25 percent of students have resumed face-to-face learning.

“Imagining schools once again as a magical and safe haven for children to learn and explore was where we drew our inspiration for the song ‘Mi Escuela, Mi Hogar,’” Alejandro Uribe, CEO of Exile Content Studio, added. “With the help and support of UNICEF, we hope that Club Mundo Kids will inspire all children with its optimistic message that there will be better days ahead in the near future.”

Released for World Children’s Day, Club Mundo Kids and UNICEF also teamed up with YouTube Kids to showcase the song and other musical content until December 2

UNICEF continues working with education authorities to ensure all children return to schools while also supporting their psychosocial well-being.

“In many countries across the region, the school year ends in December. Children are now facing almost two years of lost time with teachers and classmates, jeopardizing their right to learn. While schools stay closed, the future of the region’s children, especially the most vulnerable, is at stake,” said Italo Dutra, UNICEF’s Regional Education Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tessa Thompson to Help Present $1 Million in Scholarships at The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Women in Entertainment Gala

Tessa Thompson is helping the next generation of women in entertainment

The 38-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress will appear alongside Jennifer Garner at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment gala to shine a spotlight on THR’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program.

Tessa Thompson,Garner and Thompson will present high school students with nearly $1 million in university scholarships to graduates of the mentorship program, which pairs the best and brightest high school girls from underserved communities in the Los Angeles area with top-level female executives, lawyers and agents.

The mentorship program is a joint venture between THR and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.

Past mentors have included Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, Imax Entertainment president Megan Colligan, Netflix vp content Bela Bajaria and Disney TV StudiosABC Entertainment chairman Dana Walden.

More than 200 girls and 200 mentors have taken part in the program, with the mentees going on to universities including Harvard, UC Berkeley and UCLA, supported by $10 million in scholarships raised by THR.

The gala coincides with the release of THR’s annual Women in Entertainment issue (on newsstands December 8), which highlights the Power 100, the leading female executives in entertainment.

Beatriz Luengo, Yotuel Romero & Exile Content Studio to Create Documentary Based on Latin Grammy-Winning Cuban Revolution Single “Patria y Vida”

Beatriz Luengo is shining a greater look at her Latin Grammy-winning hit…

The 38-year-old Spanish singer-songwriter’s “Patria y Vida,” the liberty anthem that fueled a new Cuban revolution in the summer, will now become a full-length documentary.

Beatriz Luengo, Patria y Vida, Cuban Revolution, Yotuel Romero, Exile Content Studio, Patria o Muerte, Latin Grammy Awards, Latin Grammys, Orishas, Alexander Delgado, Randy Malcom, Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo, El Funky, Chancleta Records

Presented by Exile Content Studio in partnership with singer-songwriters Luengo and Yotuel Romero, the documentary “will explore how the song—its title a repudiation of the 1950’s Cuban Revolution’s slogan ‘Patria o Muerte’—sparked a movement, which the Cuban government has tried to suppress, and investigate how music has been a catalyst for social change throughout modern history,” reads a statement.

“When we see the impact our song has had on the people of Cuba and around the world, we feel privileged to be able to use our platform to tell the story of Cuba and give a voice to a community that is often oppressed,” said Luengo and Romero.

“We’re hopeful we’ll see change in the future and we’re excited to collaborate with Exile to continue to raise awareness and fight for the people of Cuba; to continue to use our voice in a meaningful way.”

The news comes on the heels of “Patria y Vida” winning best urban song and the coveted song of the year at the 2021 Latin Grammy Awards on November 18.

The song was originally penned by Romero (formerly of hip-hop group Orishas), Luengo, Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom (of Gente de Zona), and Descemer Bueno, and features Cuban voices from within the island, Maykel Osorbo and rapper El Funky.

“I felt we needed to show the two realities: those of us who live outside Cuba, and those who are still on the island, who live the streets there,” Romero previously told Billboard.

The track, released independently on Romero’s Chancleta Records in February, has become the anthem of anti-government protests in Cuba. Its power of mobilization was a factor in the arrests of both El Funky and Osorbo; the latter has been behind bars in Cuba since May when he famously fled from Cuban police aided by demonstrators. Osorbo is the first Cuban political prisoner to win two Latin Grammys.

“We at Exile believe in creating content to inspire Latin Americans to take action to create social change in the world,” said Daniel Eilemberg, president of content at Exile. “We are especially excited at the opportunity to join forces with Bea and Yotuel to produce a documentary about the tremendous power of their song in galvanizing activism to protest the appalling conditions and restrictive political policies in Cuba and the government responsible for them.”

Epix Releases Trailer for Catalina Sandino Moreno’s Contemporary Sci-Fi Horror Series “From”

Catalina Sandino Moreno’s summer vacation is turning out to be a real nightmare…

Epix has released the first full-length trailer for From, its upcoming contemporary sci-fi horror series starring the 40-year-old Oscar-nominated Colombian actress.

Catalina Sandino MorenoCreated by John Griffin, the project wrapped production wrapped last month in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s set to premiere on February 20, 2022.

With a stellar ensemble cast led by Harold PerrineauFrom unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town in middle America that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents fight to keep a sense of normalcy and search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the surrounding forest – including the terrifying creatures that come out when the sun goes down.

In addition to Sandino Moreno and Perrineau, the cast also includes Eion Bailey, Hannah Cheramy, Simon Webster, Ricky He, Chloe Van Landschoot, Shaun Majumder, Corteon Moore, Pegah Ghafoori, David Alpay, Elizabeth Saunders, Elizabeth Moy and Avery Konrad.

From is a co-production between Epix Studios and MGM International Television Productions, and is produced by Midnight Radio and AGBO.

Camila Cabello’s “Havana” Music Video Joins YouTube’s Billion Views Club

It’s a repeat billion performance for Camila Cabello

The 24-year-old Mexican and Cuban singer and former Fifth Harmony member’s “Havana” video, featuring Young Thug, has surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube, the video-sharing site has announced.

Camila CabelloCabello’s video was released in October 2017 and the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 in January 2018 — marking Cabello’s first No. 1 on the chart.

Cabello is no stranger to YouTube’s Billion Views Club. Before launching her solo career, Cabello’s all-girl group Fifth Harmony— as of August this year — has racked up a pair of videos with 2 billion views on the site: 2015’s “Worth It” and 2016’s “Work From Home.”

Cabello also racked up 1 billion views with her 2019 Shawn Mendes duet “Señorita,” which joined the club in April 2000. The former couple’s steamy duet also hit No. 1 on the Hot 100.