The Baltimore Orioleshave agreed to sign the 34-year-old Venezuelan-American veteran professional baseball pitcher, nicknamed “King Félix,” to a minor league contract.
Hernandez won an American League Cy Young Award, two ERA titles and made six MLB All-Star teams over 15 seasons with the Seattle Marinersbefore becoming a free agent last offseason.
Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves and looked sharp during spring training, but he ultimately opted out of the pandemic-shortened 60-game season.
In his most recent big league action, Hernandez went 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in 2019. He hasn’t finished with an ERA under 4.00 since 2016, and his last All-Star appearance was in 2015. He has won 169 games and owns a 3.42 career ERA.
Hernandez could earn a rotation spot with the rebuilding Orioles, who have 2019 All-Star left-hander John Means locked in as a starter but not much else. They traded Alex Cobbto the Los Angeles Angelson Tuesday, leaving Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Jorge Lopez, Wade LeBlanc, Thomas Eshelman and Bruce Zimmermann as the only returning players to start at least one game in 2020.
Baltimore has also announced it has agreed to minor league deals with infielders Seth Mejias-Brean and Malquin Canelo, right-handers Dusten Knight, Konner Wade and Spenser Watkins, and left-hander LeBlanc.
The 22-year-old Cuban Major League Baseball player and Houston Astros slugger has capped off his meteoric rise by becoming the franchise’s third Rookie of the Year winner and second since the club moved to the American League.
Alvarez was a unanimous selection of the award’s 30 voters. Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means finished second, with Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe third, Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez fourth and Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio fifth.
Alvarez began the past season with Triple-A Round Rock after entering the year ranked as the 34th-best prospect by Baseball America and Houston’s eighth-best prospect by ESPN‘s Keith Law. He provided an early glimpse of things to come by hitting three homers for Round Rock in his second game of the season. By the end of April, Alvarez had mashed 12 homers, hit .354 and driven in 30 runs in just 22 games, spurring calls for a promotion to the big league club.
That call finally came in early June. In his big league debut against the Baltimore Orioles on June 9, Alvarez homered off of Dylan Bundy. He never stopped hitting, finishing with 27 home runs in 87 games, tying the mark for most home runs by a rookie who played in 100 games or fewer. He served as Houston’s designated hitter in 74 of his 87 outings and helped the Astros win the ALpennant.
Across two levels this season, Alvarez hit .324 with a .690 slugging percentage, 50 home runs and 149 RBIs in 143 games. His 1.067 OPS in the MLB was the highest ever for a rookie with at least 350 plate appearances.
Alvarez’s consistency was remarkable: He had an OPS of 1.140 at home and .985 away, 1.083 against righties and 1.038 against lefties and at least .999 in each of the four months in which he appeared in the majors.
“The humility he has in handling success at this level, and the coverage that he’s getting and all the attention, he’s just been very humble,” Astros manager AJ Hinch told ESPN during the season. “He’s also hungry to learn. He’s a quiet man by nature, and his demeanor is very low-key. But he’s always in tune with other players and other people and the information.”
Hinch also tweeted congratulations to Alvarez after he was announced as the winner on Monday.
An imposing 6-foot-5, Alvarez hit a 474-foot homer off Texas Rangers‘ Mike Minor on July 19. In early September, he homered into the third deck at Minute Maid Park, a shot so prodigious that the Astros wrapped the seat in vinyl to commemorate it.
After going just 1-for-22 during Houston’s six-game win over the New York Yankeesin the AL Championship Series, Alvarez rebounded to hit .412 with a home run during the Astros’ seven-game loss to the Washington Nationals in the World Series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Alvarez out of Las Tunas, Cuba, on June 15, 2016. The Astros acquired him six weeks later in exchange for reliever Josh Fields. As Alvarez began to make his way through the Houston organization, his offensive reputation began to spread through one of baseball’s most bountiful farm systems.
“When he was brought over to the States, we started to hear some chatter from the backfields that, at one point, I think he hit a car with one of his home runs,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told ESPN this season. “It was one of those things where if you’re around and you have a half day to go watch the back field, find this guy and watch him hit. Because it’s pretty special. It snowballed from there.”
Shortstop Carlos Correa was the Astros’ last AL Rookie of the Year winner, taking the honors in 2015. The only other Rookie of the Year recipient in franchise history was Hall of Famefirst baseman Jeff Bagwell, who won the award in 1991, when the Astros were in the National League.
The 29-year-old Mexican American Major League Baseball star has been named a finalist for the National League MVP award.
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 Trout, Houston 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 Alonso, Atlanta 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 Boone, Minnesota 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 Cardinals‘ Mike 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.
Gio Urshela has helped his team smash its way into the annals of Major League Baseballhistory.
The 27-year-old Colombian professional baseball player and his fellow “Bronx Bombers,” aka the New York Yankees, hit a home run in the top of the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles to break the MLB record for most home runs by a team against a single opponent in one major league season.
Urshela’s homer, off a 97 mph sinker from reliever Miguel Castro that went over the left-center-field fence for a two-run shot, was the team’s 49th homer against the Orioles.
During their 14-2 win at Camden Yards on Wednesday, the Yankees went deep five times. That gave them 52 homers against Baltimore to smash the record.
The record-breaking 49th homer came in the top of the fifth inning, when Gio Urshela sent a 97 mph sinker from reliever Miguel Castro over the left-center-field fence for a two-run shot.
Urshela also homered in the sixth.
Catcher Kyle Higashiokawent deep in the fourth and ninth innings, and leftfielder Cameron Maybinlaunched a 436-foot solo blast in the ninth.
Higashioka’s fourth-inning homer off starter John Meanstied the MLB record held by the 1956 Yankees, who hit 48 homers against the Kansas City Athletics.
The Yankees have 11 players with multi-homer games against Baltimore this season, breaking the record of 10 set by San Francisco Giantsagainst the Los Angeles Dodgersin 1958.
“We have guys up and down the lineup who can hit the ball, so it is no surprise to see what we did,” Higashioka said. “It was nice to be a part of it.”
The Yankees finished 10-0 at Camden Yards. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the 14th time in MLB history that a team has gone 10-0 or better on the road against an opponent and the first time since the 2002 Boston Red Soxwent 10-0 at the Tampa Bay Rays.
They have four games remaining against the Orioles this season, all next week in New York.
“Everyone has a lot of confidence, I think, in one another,” manager Aaron Boonesaid. “That’s the sense you get because we’ve proven throughout the year they can get it done throughout the lineup. Whether it’s been the bottom of the order, the middle, the top, it seems like it’s come from a lot of different places. They take a lot of pride in making it difficult on the pitchers and passing the baton and they have a lot of confidence in the guys in front of them and behind them.”
On Monday, the Yankees set a record by hitting their 32nd home run at Camden this season. That was the highest total by a visiting team at any stadium in one season, breaking the record of 29 held by the 1957 Atlanta Braves(at the Cincinnati Reds’ former Crosley Field).
They’ve only added to it since. Leading the barrage for New York is infielder Gleyber Torres, who has launched 10 of his 23 homers this season against the Birds. Nine of catcher Gary Sanchez‘s 24 home runs have been at Baltimore’s expense, and more than half of outfielder Clint Frazier‘s 11 dingers (six) have come against the O’s.
The Yankees slugged 17 home runs in their three-game sweep of the Orioles, hitting five on Monday and six on Tuesday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, they’re the second team in MLB history to hit five or more homers in three straight games, joining the 1977 Red Sox, who did so against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
The Yankees have hit 203 home runs this season, second in baseball behind the Minnesota Twins(224).