Gary Sánchez Signs One-Year Contract with Milwaukee Brewers

Things are brewing for Gary Sánchez.

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed the 31-year-old Dominican professional baseball catcher to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2025.

Sánchez hit 19 homers last season while playing for the San Diego Padres and New York Mets.

In 75 games, he had a .217 batting average with a .288 on-base percentage, .492 slugging percentage and 47 RBIs.

He played three games for the Mets and 72 games for the Padres.

Sanchez owns a .225 career batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, 173 homers and 448 RBIs in 741 regular-season games with the New York Yankees (2015-2021), Minnesota Twins (2022), Mets and Padres.

The Brewers already have William Contreras returning at catcher after he batted .289 with a .367 on-base percentage, 17 homers and 78 RBIs last season to help Milwaukee win the National League Central title. Contreras was selected as the Brewers’ most valuable player last season by the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Milwaukee lost its backup catcher from last season when Victor Caratini signed with the Houston Astros, though the Brewers have since signed Eric Haase to a major league deal and Austin Nola to a minor league deal. The Brewers also could choose to have both Contreras and Sánchez in the lineup by making one of them a designated hitter.

To make room on the roster, the Brewers designated infielder Jahmai Jones for assignment.

The Brewers on Wednesday also made official their signing of injured right-hander Brandon Woodruff to a two-year deal.

The backloaded $17.5 million contract includes a mutual option for the 2026 season.

Woodruff is expected to miss most, if not all, of the upcoming season while he recovers from shoulder surgery.

“I’ll take it day to day, week to week, month to month, see where I’m at, at the end of the year,” Woodruff said. “If it makes sense, maybe. If not, I’ll be ready to go for ’25.”

Woodruff will receive $2.5 million this year and $5 million in 2025. The deal includes a $20 million mutual option for 2026 with a $10 million buyout, half payable January 15, 2026, and the remainder July 15, 2026. The contract also grants Woodruff a full no-trade provision and a hotel suite on road trips.

Amed Rosario Agrees to One-Year, $1.5 Million Deal with Tampa Bay Rays

Amed Rosario is celebrating a ray(s) of sunshine…

The 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball shortstop has signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Amed RosarioThe deal is for $1.5 million, according to ESPN.

Rosario will bring a strong bat against left-handed pitching and should get at-bats at shortstop, second base and potentially corner-outfield spots.

Rosario adds to Tampa Bay’s infield depth behind shortstop Jose Caballero and second baseman Brandon Lowe. The Rays acquired Caballero in a January trade with Seattle.

He was traded from the Cleveland Guardians to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Noah Syndergaard before the 2023 trade deadline. He hit a combined .263 in 142 games between the two teams, with 70 runs, 58 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.

Rosario broke into the majors with the New York Mets in 2017. He was traded to Cleveland in January 2021 as part of a multiplayer package for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco.

Rosario is a .272 hitter with 60 homers and 334 RBI in 839 career games. He set career highs with a .287 batting average, 15 homers and 72 RBI in 2019 with the Mets. He led the majors with nine triples in 2022 with Cleveland.

Max Castillo Claimed by Philadelphia Phillies Off Waivers from Boston Red Sox

Max Castillo is Philadelphia bound.

The 24-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher has been claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.

Max CastilloIn a corresponding move, the Phillies designated outfielder Simon Muzziotti, 25, for assignment on Wednesday.

Castillo, 24, was 0-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 20 1/3 innings over seven relief appearances with the Kansas City Royals last season.

The Venezuela native made his major league debut in June 2022 with the Toronto Blue Jays before a trade to the Royals in August 2022.

For his career, Castillo is 0-3 with a 5.43 ERA, 47 strikeouts and 24 walks in 59 2/3 innings over 21 games (six starts).

Boston had claimed him off waivers from Kansas City on January 2 then designated him for assignment on February 2 when catcher Tyler Heineman was acquired from the New York Mets.

Carlos Carrasco Agrees to Minor League Contract with Cleveland Guardians

Carlos Carrasco is returning to Cleveland…

The 36-year-old Venezuelan-American professional baseball pitcher, who spent 11 seasons pitching for the Cleveland Guardians, has agreed to a minor league contract with the team featuring an invitation to spring training, per ESPN.

Carlos Carrasco

Carrasco’s base salary will be $2 million if he is on the big league team, according to ESPN sources.

The Athletic was first to report Carrasco’s return to the Guardians.

Carrasco, nicknamed Cookie, was a dependable part of Cleveland’s rotation for several seasons. He led the American League with 18 wins in 2017, and he became one of the team’s most popular players because of his warm personality and later for his courage in battling cancer.

In 2019, Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia and was sidelined for three months. He was recognized during an emotional appearance on the field during the All-Star Game in Cleveland that season.

Carrasco went 88-73 with a 3.77 ERA in 242 games (195 starts) with Cleveland from 2009 to 2020.

He was traded as part of the deal that sent MLB All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets in 2021. Carrasco went 19-20 in three seasons with the Mets, going 15-7 in 2022. Carrasco went 3-8 in 20 starts last season.

Carrasco was sidelined during Cleveland’s run to the World Series in 2016 after he was struck by a line drive on his pitching hand in the final month of the season.

Vladi Miguel Guerrero Signs Minor League Contract with New York Mets

Vladi Miguel Guerrero is entering the family business…

The 17-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder/infielder, a son of Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Vladimir Guerrero and half-brother of Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr., has agreed with the New York Mets on a minor league contract.

Vladi Miguel Guerrero

Guerrero was among the players the Mets reached deals with as the 2024 international signing period opened.

The club also agreed with the No. 6 overall prospect, catcher Yovanny Rodriguez ($2.85 million); No. 31, shortstop Yensi Rivas ($500,000); and No. 41, outfielder Edward Lantigua ($950,000).

Players born from September 1, 2006, through Augember 31, 2007, are eligible to sign during this year’s period, which ends on December 15. Teams have signing bonus pools ranging from about $4.65 million to approximately $7.1 million; signing bonuses of $10,000 and under don’t count against a team’s cap.

Juan Soto Agrees to Record-Setting $31 Million Salary with New York Yankees for 2024 Season

Juan Soto has 31 million reasons to smile… 

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder and the New York Yankees avoided arbitration with a record-setting, $31 million salary for the 2024 season, topping the list of dozens of arbitration-eligible players who agreed on their compensation ahead of Thursday’s 8:00 pm ET cutoff.

Juan SotoSoto’s salary, reached minutes before the deadline for players and teams to submit their desired figures ahead of a potential arbitration hearing, topped the $30 million Shohei Ohtani obtained last offseason.

Soto, like Ohtani last year, is heading into his final season before free agency.

The Yankees acquired Soto from the San Diego Padres in December as part of a seven-player deal that saw them part ways with four young pitchers, placing one of this generation’s greatest hitters in the same lineup with Aaron Judge. Soto, still only 25 years old, has led the majors in walks each of the last three years but has also accumulated 91 home runs during that stretch, during which he slashed .276/.425/.502. His adjusted OPS of 157 is the fifth-highest all time through a player’s age-24 season, trailing only Ty CobbMike Trout, Mickey Mantle and Jimmie Foxx, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Asked during his introductory media session about the prospect of signing long-term with the Yankees, Soto, represented by Scott Boras, said: “They know where to call and who to talk to. I’m here just to play baseball. It’s not going to be that hard because I have one of the best agents in the league.”

The second-highest figure belonged to New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, another pending free agent, who will be paid $20.5 million in 2024. Milwaukee Brewers starter Corbin Burnes ($15.637 million), Atlanta Braves starter Max Fried ($15 million), Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres ($14.2 million), Cleveland Guardians starter Shane Bieber ($13.125 million), Brewers shortstop Willy Adames ($12.25 million), Houston Astros starter Framber Valdez ($12.1 million) and outfielder Kyle Tucker ($12 million), Baltimore Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander ($11.7 million) and Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker ($10.9 million) and starter Zac Gallen ($10.011 million) also reached eight figures.

One notable exception was Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who’s two seasons away from free agency and projected for a salary in the neighborhood of $20 million this season. Guerrero was among the 22 players who ultimately exchanged figures with his respective team. Guerrero requested $19.9 million; the Blue Jays countered with $18.05 million. If the two sides ultimately go to a hearing — they’re scheduled for some time in late January or early February — an arbitrator will select one of those two numbers.

Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia, Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India, Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm and the Miami Marlins’ two best hitters, Luis Arraez and Jazz Chisholm, were among the others who did not agree to terms on Thursday. The biggest gap was $1.9 million between Garcia, who filed for $6.9 million, and the Rangers, who countered with $5 million.

Teams and their arbitration-eligible players — those typically with more than three and less than six years of major league service time — can continue to negotiate in the days leading up to their scheduled hearing. But most teams have treated the exchange as a firm deadline in recent years, with some making an exception only for multiyear contracts.

Yankees outfielder Alex Verdugo, Chicago White Sox starter Dylan Cease and Los Angeles Dodgers starter Walker Buehler and his catcher, Will Smith, all agreed to deals in the $8 million range. Tampa Bay Rays starter Shane McClanahan, who attained arbitration status a year early because he was among those closest to three full years of service time by season’s end, agreed to a two-year, $7.2 million contract that also resolved his 2025 salary. Brewers closer Devin Williams also agreed to a one-year, $7.25 million deal with a club option, a source told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

All told, 72 players avoided arbitration on Thursday.

The deadline was originally scheduled for Friday, but MLB and the MLB Players’ Association agreed in early December to move it up a day for the remainder of the collective bargaining agreement, which runs through 2026, so that it does not spill into the weekend. A soft, 1 p.m. ET deadline was imposed for teams to agree to a deal before the exchange of filing numbers, but many deals — including those of Soto, Alonso, Burnes, Torres and several other big names — came in well after that.

Diego Castillo Claimed by New York Mets

Diego Castillo is headed to the Big Apple

The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball infielder has been claimed by the New York Mets off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Diego Castillo,Castillo appeared in one Major League Baseball game last year, flying out as a pinch hitter on July 31.

He hit .313 with 33 doubles, three home runs, 72 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 124 games at Triple-A Reno.

Castillo made his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022, when he batted .206 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs in 96 games. He was traded to Arizona in December 2022.

He was designated for assignment on December 22 to open a roster spot when the Diamondbacks re-signed outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Jorge Lopez Agrees to One-Year, $2 Million Contract with New York Mets

Jorge Lopez has Mets an offer he can’t refuse…

The 30-year-oldPuerto Rican professional baseball pitcher has agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the New York Mets.

Jorge LopezLopez’s hiring adds another reliever to a team that has spent the past week bolstering its organization depth.

Lopez struggled with three teams this year after a career-best 2022 in which he looked the part of a front-line reliever.

With a velocity bump from his move from the rotation to the bullpen, Lopez rode a 98 mph fastball and heavy curveball to a 2.54 ERA. The regression he showed after his midseason trade from the Baltimore Orioles to Minnesota Twins continued into 2023, when the Twins traded him to the Miami Marlins and he later went back to the Orioles without similar success.

Lopez nevertheless remained strong, and the Mets are hopeful he can return to form after posting a 5.95 ERA in 59 innings in 2023 with the three teams. New York, under new president of baseball operations David Stearns, in the past week claimed a pair of catchers (Cooper Hummel, Tyler Heineman) off waivers, signed two pitchers (Kyle Crick, Andre Scrubb) and an infielder (Jose Iglesias) to minor league deals, added another reliever (Michael Tonkin) on a split major league deal, and guaranteed $13 million to starter Luis Severino in hopes of a return to past excellence.

The Mets’ pitching depth going into the winter after a deeply disappointing 75-87 season called for significant additions, and Stearns is attempting to do what he did in Milwaukee, where often-overlooked relievers thrived and turned the Brewers’ bullpen into a weapon.

Lopez rejoins Mets closer Edwin Diaz, his teammate on Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, during which Diaz ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee celebrating a victory over the Dominican Republic. Diaz’s return deepens a bullpen with left-hander Brooks Raley the only other pitcher whose role is clearly defined.

Ali Sánchez Agrees to 1-Year Deal with Pittsburgh Pirates

Ali Sánchez is battening down the hatches

The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball catcher has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving the team another player to throw in the mix behind the plate with Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis.

Ali SánchezSánchez spent last season with Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate in Reno, hitting .311 with 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 43 RBIs in 67 games. He also threw out 22 baserunners.

Sánchez has appeared in seven Major League Baseball (MLB) games, five for the New York Mets in 2020 and two for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021.

While Pirates general manager Ben Cherington has insisted that Davis, the top overall pick in the 2021 draft, will get a chance at catcher, Sánchez’s arrival gives Pittsburgh flexibility at the position. Davis played primarily in right field after making his major league debut in June.

The Pirates also claimed right-handed pitcher Roddery Munoz off waivers from the Washington Nationals. Muñoz, 23, went a combined 4-6 with a 5.42 ERA in 34 appearances at multiple levels of the minors in 2023.

Luis Severino Agrees to One-Year, $13 Million Contract with New York Mets

Luis Severino isn’t leaving the Big Apple

The 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher has agreed to a one-year, $13 million contract with the New York Mets, according to ESPN, sending the longtime New York Yankees player to a Mets team that plans to spend its winter upgrading a depleted rotation.

Luis Severino,Severino had spent all of his eight-year career with the Yankees, including a rough 2023 in which he posted a 6.65 ERA over 89⅓ innings. Still, the free agent market has set the price of veteran starting pitchers at $10 million-plus a year — and Severino’s past success bought him slightly more.

Over his first seven seasons with the Yankees, Severino was highly effective when healthy. He threw 638 innings with a 3.39 ERA and 709 strikeouts against 181 walks. In his two full seasons, 2017 and 2018, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, finishing third and ninth in Cy Young Award voting and throwing at least 190 innings each year.

Shoulder and lat injuries limited Severino to three starts in 2019, and he missed the 2020 season and most of 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He returned strong in 2022 with a 3.18 ERA over 19 starts and 102 innings.

The deal, which is pending a physical Thursday, includes $2 million in performance bonuses and allows Severino to reach free agency after the season. It’s the first move of many to rebuild a Mets rotation that lost Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer to trades in July and, beyond Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana, has serious questions.

The Mets will be a strong bidder for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the 25-year-old right-hander from Japan, whose deal is expected to be the second-highest of the winter.

They could also pursue left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who will get well in excess of $100 million guaranteed. The Mets have been on the periphery of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes as well.