Gleyber Torres Agrees to One-Year, $9.95 Million Contract with New York Yankees

Gleyber Torres is staying put…

The New York Yankees have agreed to a $9.95 million, one-year contract with the 26-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop and second baseman, avoiding an arbitration hearing with the infielder by reaching a deal at the midpoint of proposed salaries.

Gleyber TorresThe Yankees announced the deal on Sunday.

Torres hit .257 with 24 homers and 76 RBIs in 140 games for the AL East champions last year.

Torres had asked for a raise from $6.25 million to $10.2 million in arbitration, and the Yankees had offered the second baseman $9.7 million.

A two-time MLB All-Star, Torres made his big league debut with New York. He is a .265 hitter with 98 homers and 310 RBIs in 576 career games.

He was New York’s last remaining player in arbitration. Nine Yankees agreed just before the exchange of proposed salaries on January 13: right-handers Frankie Montas ($7.5 million), Clay Holmes ($3.3 million), Domingo German ($2.6 million), Jonathan Loaisiga ($2,262,500) and Michael King ($1.3 million); left-handers Wandy Peralta ($3.35 million) and Nestor Cortes ($3.2 million); and catchers Jose Trevino ($2.36 million) and Kyle Higashioka ($1,462,500).

Twenty-nine major leaguers remain scheduled for hearings from Monday through February 17.

Minnesota Twins Trade Luis Arraez to Miami Marlins

Luis Arraez is heading south for the winter…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball second baseman, the American League batting champion, is heading to the Miami Marlins for right-hander Pablo Lopez and a pair of prospects headed to the Minnesota Twins.

Luis ArraezThe deal, variations of which the teams have discussed for months, brings a much needed bat to the Marlins, adding to their winter signing of Jean Segura, who’s expected to play third base.

The cost was significant, though. In addition to Lopez, a talented starter who slots in toward the top of Minnesota’s rotation, the Marlins will send shortstop Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio, two well-regarded teenagers, to the Twins.

“We’ve talked about it quite often, wanting to add offense this offseason,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said. “We’re willing to trade some of our pitching to do it. What we get in Luis Arraez is a left-handed, very good hitter.”

Arraez is a career .314 hitter with unparalleled bat-to-ball skills in the modern game. Last season, he made the MLB All-Star team and finished 13th in AL MVP balloting after hitting .316/.375/.420, scoring 88 runs and registering more walks (50) than strikeouts (43). He is not a free agent until after the 2025 season.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Arraez is the first player to win a batting championship and then be traded in the offseason since Rod Carew won the AL batting title in 1978 with the Twins and then was traded to the Los Angeles Angels ahead of the 1979 season.

“Anytime you have a player that’s well liked in the environment, who you know is going to go work and do it every day, which we got to see with Luis, it makes it harder,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “We’d love to have Luis and Pablo on our team, but to get something as impactful as what Pablo brings to our team, you have to give something impactful.”

Arraez joins a Marlins team with a strong rotation headlined by National League Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara. Miami’s lineup, however, struggled mightily last year, with injuries sidelining second baseman Jazz Chisholm while free agent signees Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler disappointed.

Ng said Chisholm, who has played middle infield exclusively during his big league career, will move to center field to make room for Arraez as the full-time second baseman.

Arraez also has experience at first base — where he played more than any position last year — or a corner-outfield slot.

Arraez said he was taking a nap after a workout when the trade occurred.

“I was surprised, but this is baseball,” Arraez said. “This is a business. I’m ready to go now. I’m a Marlin and I’m excited to be here.”

Minnesota, meanwhile, can slot young slugger Jose Miranda at first base or play him at third and use Alex Kirilloff at first. Lopez joins a rotation with Sonny GrayJoe Ryan and a grab bag of other possibilities, from Chris Paddack — who just signed a three-year extension — to Tyler MahleBailey OberJosh WinderKenta Maeda and Randy Dobnak.

Falvey told reporters that the Twins have discussed a six-man rotation but weren’t “ready to stamp that yet.”

“I’m really excited about coming to this team, the leaders they have in the clubhouse and the players they have to support each other,” Lopez said on a video interview with reporters. “It’s a mentality that really motivates me too. I ask and expect more of myself when it comes to my performance and the ways I can help out the team.”

Lopez threw a career-high 180 innings last season over 32 starts and registered a 3.75 ERA. He has long been a favorite of statistically inclined teams such as Minnesota for his ability to strike out batters (9.2 per nine innings over the past three seasons), limit walks (2.6 per nine over the same period) and keep the ball in the park.

“When you trade anyone it’s always difficult, particularly when you’re talking about someone like Pablo,” Ng said. “Just a first-class guy, tremendous human being. He’s done a lot for the Marlins organization.”

Salas, 19, is a borderline top-100 prospect, signed out of Venezuela for $2.8 million in 2019 after growing up in the Orlando area. He finished last season in High-A and is likely to start there again this year.

Chourio, 17, is a center fielder who hit .344/.429/.410 for the Marlins’ Dominican Summer League team last season.

Pablo Guerrero Signs International Deal with Texas Rangers

Pablo Guerrero has a Lone Star future…

The Texas Rangers have signed the Dominican baseball outfielder, the son of MLB Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and younger brother of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, to an international deal.

Pablo Guerrero,The Guerrero family posted a photo of the signing ceremony in the Dominican Republic on social media.

The Rangers later announced all of their agreements through their Player Development Twitter account.

Guerrero’s father, Vlad Sr., played 16 years in Major League Baseball, including a one-year stint with the Texas Rangers in 2010 when the club made its first World Series appearance. Guerrero hit .300 with 29 home runs and 115 RBI.

Guerrero’s Hall-of-Fame career included nine All-Star Game appearances, eight Silver Slugger awards and the 2004 American League MVP award.

Guerrero Jr. plays for Toronto and is entering his fifth season as a first and third baseman. He is already a two-time All-Star and finished second in AL MVP voting in 2021.

Baseball America also reported several other Rangers international agreements, including Cuban outfielder Geisel Cepeda, Venezuelan catcher Juan Sulbaran, along with outfielder Brailyn More, shortstop Lisandro Mejia, and pitchers Snarlyn Encarnacion, Walkin Ortiz, Yormi Nivar, Felix Martinez and Frank Martinez, all from the Dominican Republic.

Pitchers and catchers report to the team’s facility in Surprise, Arizona, on February 15, with position players to follow on February 20.

The Spring Training game schedule starts on February 24 with a game against Kansas City at the Surprise complex shared with the Royals.

The Rangers will wrap up their exhibition season with a pair of games at Globe Life Field against the Royals on March 27 and 28. The Rangers open up the regular season at home against Philadelphia on March 30.

José Abreu Agrees to Three-Year Contract with Houston Astros

José Abreu is celebrating an Astros-nominical deal…

The 35-year-old Cuban professional baseball player, who plays first base, and the Houston Astros have agreed to a three-year contract, according to ESPN.

José AbreuAbreu will add another run-producing bat to the World Series champions’ lineup that’s already filled with them.

Abreu, who turns 36 in January, won the American League MVP award in 2020 and is second in baseball with 863 RBIs since his first season in the major leagues, 2014. He hit .304/.378/.446 this year with the Chicago White Sox, for whom he had played all nine of his big league seasons after defecting from Cuba.

Following a dreadful first five weeks, Abreu was one of the best hitters in baseball over the final three-quarters of the season, batting .335/.405/.479, though his 15 home runs over the entire year were a career low.

He joins an Astros lineup with fellow Cuban Yordan ÁlvarezJose AltuveKyle TuckerAlex Bregman and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña.

Abreu will replace Yuli Gurriel, a longtime rival in the Cuban National Series.

Abreu and Gurriel, along with Yoenis Cespedes, were widely regarded as the best players of their generation from Cuba, both high-contact hitters — though Abreu’s power was the separator.

The White Sox extended him for three years and $50 million after 2019, when he led the AL with 123 RBIs. Over his nine seasons, Abreu hit .292/.354/.506 with 243 home runs and an adjusted OPS 34% better than league average.

He’s the second signing for this winter for the Astros, who reupped reliever Rafael Montero on a three-year, $34.5 million contract. The Astros’ projected payroll is currently in the $175 million range — they’ve exceeded $187 million each of the previous five seasons — and they still hope to sign ace Justin Verlander, who could command upward of $40 million a year.

Albert Pujols Named National League’s ‘Comeback Player of the Year’

Albert Pujols is this year’s Comeback King…

The 42-year-old Dominican slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals has won the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year award.

Albert PujolsPujols came back to St. Louis for his farewell season and posted his biggest numbers in years at the age of 42. The three-time MLB MVP compiled an .895 OPS for the NL Central champions and became the fourth Major League Baseball player to reach 700 career home runs.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was the American League recipient.

The winners were chosen in voting by the 30 team beat reporters at MLB.com.

Pujols batted .270 with 24 homers and 68 RBIs in 109 games for the Cardinals after getting released by the Los Angeles Angels in May 2021 and finishing last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His OPS was his highest since his last season with the Cardinals in 2011 (.906) before joining the Angels, and his home runs were his most since hitting 31 in 2016 for the Angels.

The 11-time MLB All-Star hit 18 home runs in the second half and retired after the Cardinals were eliminated from the playoffs by Philadelphia in the wild-card round.

He finished his career fourth in major league annals in home runs (703), second in RBIs (2,218) and total bases (6,211) and ninth in hits (3,384).

Carlos Beltran Among 14 Newcomers on MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

Carlos Beltran is in the running for a special place in Major League Baseball history…

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican former professional baseball player is among 14 newcomers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America‘s MLB Hall of Fame ballot.

Carlos BeltranBeltran played as an outfielder from 1998 to 2017 for the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

Beltrán was the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year in 1999 while with the Royals. He was named to nine MLB All-Star Games and won three Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards.

Beltrán was the fifth player to reach both 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases and just the fourth switch hitter with 400 home runs. He has the highest success rate in stealing bases (88.3%) of any major league player with 300 or more career attempts. He also joined the 30–30 club in 2004. In 2013, Beltrán was named the recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. He retired after the 2017 season, winning a World Series title with the Astros.

Other players appearing on the ballot for the first time include John Lackey, Jered Weaver, R.A. Dickey, Huston Street, Francisco Rodríguez, Bronson Arroyo and Matt Cain. They’re joined by Jacoby Ellsbury, Jayson Werth, Mike Napoli, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta and Andre Ethier, the Hall and the BBWAA announced.

Holdovers include Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner. Rolen received 249 of 394 votes last year (63.2%), when David Ortiz was elected with 307 votes (77.9%), 11 more than the 75% needed. Helton was on 205 ballots (52%) and Wagner 201 (51%).

Voters denied several stars tainted by steroids and scandal.

Barry Bonds (260 votes, 66%), Roger Clemens (257, 65.2%) and Curt Schilling (231, 58.6%) were dropped after their 10th appearances on the ballot last year and are among eight players who will appear on the ballot of the Hall’s contemporary baseball era committee, which meets December 4 in San Diego ahead of baseball’s winter meetings.

Other holdovers on the BBWAA ballot include Andruw Jones (163 votes last year, 41.1%), Gary Sheffield (160, 40.6%), Alex Rodriguez (135, 34.3%), Jeff Kent (129, 32.7%), Manny Ramirez (114, 28.9%), Omar Vizquel (94, 23.9%), Andy Pettitte (42, 10.7%), Jimmy Rollins (37, 9.4%), Bobby Abreu (34, 8.6%), Mark Buehrle (23, 5.8%) and Torii Hunter (21, 5.3%).

Kent, who received his highest percentage last year, will appear on the BBWAA ballot for the 10th and final time.

BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of membership are eligible to vote. Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Any players elected will be inducted into the Hall at Cooperstown on July 23 along with anyone elected by the contemporary baseball era committee.

A-Rod, a three-time MLB MVP and 14-time MLB All-Star who hit 696 home runs, was suspended for the 2014 season for violating MLB’s drug policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz’s name was alleged to have appeared on a list of players who tested positive during 2003 survey testing.

Julio Rodriguez Named American League Rookie of the Year

Julio Rodriguez’s banner year is ending with an exclamation point…

The 21-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, has been named the American League Rookie of the Year in near-unanimous fashion.

Julio RodriguezIt was a fitting cap to a stirring campaign that saw J-Rod dazzle at the Home Run Derby, perform among the sport’s best players and propel the Mariners to a long-awaited trip to the playoffs.

Rodriguez received 29 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, with Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman receiving the other. Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven KwanKansas City Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr. and Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the voting.

Rodriguez electrified the city of Seattle and captivated an entire nation of baseball fans with his youthful exuberance, pronounced swagger and wide-ranging talent. He slashed .284/.345/.509, leading all rookies in homers (28), OPS (.855) and total bases (260) while helping the Mariners clinch their first postseason berth since 2001, snapping the longest active drought among the four major North American professional sports.

Along the way, Rodriguez consistently came through in big spots, dazzling with his defense, power and speed. His 5.3 FanGraphs wins above replacement tied that of Rutschman for the rookie lead and was topped by only 21 position players throughout the sport.

Rodriguez, who added 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles, is now the fifth Mariners player to win rookie of the year, after Alvin Davis (1984), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000), Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Kyle Lewis (2020).

Only two other players since 1900 have accumulated at least 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles in their age-21-or-younger seasons — Mike Trout and Andruw Jones.

Rodriguez is the first player ever to combine 25 home runs with 25 stolen bases in his first season in the big leagues and the third to do so while still rookie eligible, along with Trout and Chris Young, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Mariners envisioned Rodriguez as a potential star when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in the summer of 2017, but he profiled more as a power-hitting corner outfielder. Rodriguez worked to become a five-tool center fielder, zooming through the Mariners’ minor league system — despite losing an entire season to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 — and cracking the team’s Opening Day roster this spring.

Before the end of August, the Mariners rewarded Rodriguez with a long-term extension that will pay him anywhere between $210 million and $470 million over the life of his career, an unprecedented — and highly incentivized — contract for someone with less than a full year of major league service time.

But before all that came struggle. Rodriguez went homerless with a .544 OPS during his first month in the big leagues. But he recovered well enough to become the only rookie to make the MLB All-Star team.

“I feel like that’s when I learned the most — on the down parts,” Rodriguez said during a video conference with the media after winning the award. “That rough start to the beginning, whenever I maybe was not doing so good, all those things that happened that first year that kind of opened my eyes — I’m gonna take all that. And I know it’s gonna serve me well along my career.”

Yordan Alvarez Among This Year’s American League MVP Finalists

Yordan Alvarez is still in the running…

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball designated hitter and left fielder for the Houston Astros has been named a finalist for this year’s Major League Baseball’s American League MVP honor.

Yordan AlvarezAlvarez, who hit a home run in Game 6 of the World Series to give the Astros the trophy, will face off against Aaron Judge (OF, New York Yankees) and Shohei Ohtani (RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels)

From both the American League and National League, 24 players and managers were shortlisted as finalists for four different awards as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Manny Machado (3B, San Diego Padres) has been named a finalist in the National League MVP race. He’ll face off against Paul Goldschmidt (1B, St. Louis Cardinals) and Nolan Arenado (3B, St. Louis Cardinals).

Sandy Alcantara (RHP, Miami Marlins) and Julio Urías (LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers) are up for the National League Cy Young 2022 Awards alongside Max Fried (LHP, Atlanta Braves).

The American League Rookie of the Year finalists include Julio Rodríguez, (CF, Seattle Mariners), who is competing against

Steven Kwan (LF, Cleveland Guardians) and (Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles) for the title.

The winners for Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year will be announced next week, with one category going live each day on the MLB Network beginning at 6:00 pm ET.

Monday, Nov. 14: Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year
Tuesday, Nov. 15: Managers of the Year
Wednesday, Nov. 16: Cy Young Awards
Thursday, Nov. 17: MVP Awards

Here’s a look at all the candidates from each league:

AL Rookie of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Steven Kwan, LF, Cleveland Guardians
Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles
Julio Rodríguez, CF, Seattle Mariners

NL Rookie of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Brendan Donovan, UTIL, St. Louis Cardinals
Michael Harris II, CF, Atlanta Braves
Spencer Strider, RHP, Atlanta Braves

AL Manager of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Terry Francona, Cleveland Guardians
Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles
Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners 

NL Manager of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Buck Showalter, New York Mets
Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves

AL Cy Young 2022 Finalists:
Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Alek Manoah, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Justin Verlander, RHP, Houston Astros 

NL Cy Young 2022 Finalists:
Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Miami Marlins
Max Fried, LHP, Atlanta Braves
Julio Urías, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers 

AL MVP 2022 Finalists:
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels
Yordan Alvarez, DH/LF, Houston Astros

NL MVP 2022 Finalists:
Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Nolan Arenado, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado Earns 10th Consecutive Gold Glove Award

Make that a perfect 10 for Nolan Arenado

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American baseball player, a third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, has become the fourth infielder to win 10 consecutive Rawlings Gold Gloves, when baseball’s winners for the sport’s most prestigious fielding awards were announced on ESPN2 before Game 3 of the World Series.

Nolan ArenadoArenado has won the National League‘s Gold Glove at third base in each of his 10 seasons in the major leagues. That streak ties former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki for the longest by a player at any position to start a career.

The only infielders who put together longer streaks were Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (third base, 16 straight Gold Gloves) and Ozzie Smith (shortstop, 13 straight) and former Cardinals and New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez (11 straight).

The Gold Gloves once tended to favor repeat winners, but this year’s list of honorees marked a season of unprecedented change. A record 14 players won their first Gold Gloves, including all but one of the winners in the American League.

The AL‘s first timers were Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane BieberNew York Yankees catcher Jose TrevinoToronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cleveland Guardians second baseman Andres GimenezBaltimore Orioles third baseman Ramon UriasHouston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena, Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan, Guardians center fielder Myles Straw and Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker.

The AL’s only repeat winner was the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu, who was recognized as a utility player.

There was a little more familiarity among those who joined Arenado as Gold Glovers on the National League side. The first-time winners included Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian WalkerColorado Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers, Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby SwansonChicago Cubs left fielder Ian Happ and Cardinals utility player Brendan Donovan.

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto won his second Glove Glove, joining Houston’s Pena and Tucker in learning of their honor during the lead-up to their World Series contest.

“It’s a pretty cool moment, for sure,” Pena said. “[Getting] congratulated by our teammates. We know the focus is the game, so we’re going to enjoy this for a little bit and then get ready for the game.”

Pena joined Kwan and Donovan as winners during their rookie seasons, another record. The only other time in which there has been even two rookie Gold Glovers was 2020 (Luis Robert and Evan White).

In taking the honor, Pena continued to prove a worthy successor at the position in Houston to Carlos Correa, who won the award last season. Pena became the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove.

“I heard that today and I was in shock because I didn’t know that was a thing,” Pena said. “But it’s pretty cool.”

San Diego Padres center fielder Trent Grisham won for the second time, while Los Angeles Dodgers star right fielder Mookie Betts won his sixth Gold Glove. Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried was honored for the third time.

Here’s a look at the 2022 Gold Glove winners:

American League
P: Shane Bieber, Cleveland
C: Jose Trevino, New York
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto
2B: Andres Gimenez, Cleveland
3B: Ramon Urias, Baltimore
SS: Jeremy Pena, Houston
LF: Steven Kwan, Cleveland
CF: Myles Straw, Cleveland
RF: Kyle Tucker, Houston

National League
P: Max Fried, Atlanta
C: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia
1B: Christian Walker, Arizona
2B: Brendan Rodgers, Colorado
3B: Nolan Arenado, St. Louis
SS: Dansby Swanson, Atlanta
LF: Ian Happ, Chicago
CF: Trent Grisham, San Diego
RF: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles

Giancarlo Stanton Helps Lead New York Yankees Past Cleveland Guardians to Continue Playoff Run

Giancarlo Stanton helps propel the New York Yankees to the next round…

The 32-year-old part-Puerto Rican professional baseball designated hitter put the first runs on the scoreboard in the first inning in the deciding game between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday.

Giancarlo StantonStanton hit a line-drive home run on an 87.5 mph cutter from Cleveland starter Aaron Civale over the right field wall, scoring Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo and putting the Yankees on top 3-0. Civale lasted one more batter, throwing just 26 pitches and recording a single out before Guardians manager Terry Francona gave him the hook.

In the end, the Yankees punched a ticket to the American League Championship Series with a 5-1 victory over Guardians.

The Game 5 victory capped a back-and-forth series in which the Yankees faced elimination in Game 4 in Cleveland and rain delayed multiple contests.

New York now faces off against the Houston Astros in a best-of-seven series that starts in Houston on Wednesday when Justin Verlander and Jameson Taillon go head-to-head in Game 1. During the regular season, the Astros and Yankees finished with the two best records in the American League, respectively, while Houston took five of seven games against New York.

The Yankees and Astros face off in Houston in Game 1 of the ALCS on Wednesday starting at 7:37 p.m. ET.