Elian Soto Reportedly Verbally Agrees to Join Brother Juan Soto’s Washington Nationals Team

Elian Soto is heading to The District

The 16-year-old Dominican baseball outfielder and third baseman, the younger sibling of Juan Soto, has verbally agreed to join his brother’s Washington Nationals.

Elian SotoThe announcement comes just days after he declared his intentions to sign with the New York Mets, according to ESPN.

Elian Soto wouldn’t be eligible to formally sign until next year’s international free agent class in January 2023.

The younger Soto posted an Instagram video of himself working out in full Mets gear on December 31 and had reportedly been given a $50,000 bonus but has since changed course.

Soto’s decision was first reported by Washington City Paper.

The Nationals’ offer is believed to be larger. The discrepancy in money and a greater familiarity with the Nats’ minor league system — as opposed to a Mets system seemingly in transition under new general manager Billy Eppler — were the main factors in Soto’s decision, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.

The presence of Juan Soto, a superstar who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, certainly didn’t hurt, either.

Elian Soto, a left-handed hitter, isn’t considered a premium international prospect but is still young enough to develop into one. Amateur players and their trainers in the Dominican Republic often make handshake agreements with teams long before they’re old enough to officially sign a contract, allowing them to intermittently train at the team’s facility and preventing them from showcasing themselves to evaluators from other organizations.

There appears to be a strong possibility that an international draft will be baked into the new collective bargaining agreement, which is still being negotiated between the owners and the players. But the current international signing rules could still be in place next year in order to give teams and prospects more time to get acclimated.

Elian Soto, like his brother, is represented by the Boras Corporation, and adding him could play in the Nationals’ favor when it comes to extending Juan Soto, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 season under the current CBA.

Eric Chavez To Join New York Mets as the Team’s Hitting Coach

Eric Chavez is headed crosstown…

The New York Mets have reportedly agreed to hire the 44-year-old Mexican American professional baseball coach and former third baseman as their hitting coach, just weeks after he joined the New York Yankees as an assistant hitting coach, according to ESPN.

Eric Chavez

Neither team has spoken publicly on the matter, but the transition, while uncommon, was said to have been executed in good faith.

Chavez, who was announced as part of Aaron Boone‘s staff with the Yankees on December 20, now will help make up the burgeoning staff of longtime manager Buck Showalter and join Mets general manager Billy Eppler for the third time.

Chavez, a six-time Gold Glove third baseman during a playing career that spanned 17 years, was hired by the Yankees as a special assignment scout in 2015 when Eppler served as assistant GM.

When Eppler presided over the Los Angeles Angels‘ baseball-operations department shortly thereafter, he hired Chavez as a special assistant and later named him manager of the team’s Triple-A affiliate.

The Mets have also brought in Joey Cora to be their third-base coach and will reportedly add Wayne Kirby as first-base coach.

Joey Cora to Become Third-Base Coach for New York Mets

Joey Cora has Mets his match…

The New York Mets are on the verge of hiring the 56-year-old Puerto Rican former Major League Baseball player, who had an 11-year career in the MLB, as their new third-base coach, ESPN reports, confirming a report by the New York Post.

Joey Cora,

Cora, the older brother of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, spent five years as third-base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates before being let go at the end of the 2021 season.

In New York, he’ll become the first coach hired under Buck Showalter, who took over as the team’s manager less than three weeks ago.

The Mets retained Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach but are still in the process of filling vacancies at bench coach, hitting coach and first-base coach, among others.

Cora was a major league middle infielder from 1987 to 1998, making an MLB All-Star team late in his career, then transitioned into coaching shortly thereafter. Cora began as a manager in the Mets’ minor league system and later spent eight years with the Chicago White Sox under Ozzie Guillen, winning a World Series as the team’s third-base coach in 2005. Cora was also Guillen’s bench coach with the Miami Marlins in 2012 and has often interviewed for managerial jobs throughout his post-playing career.

Cora will now replace Gary DiScarcina, who was let go amid the shake-up that followed the firing of former Mets manager Luis Rojas. Rojas is now the New York Yankees‘ third-base coach, while DiSarcina has the same position with the Washington Nationals.

Eric Chavez to Serve as New York Yankees Assistant Hitting Coach

Eric Chavez is headed to the New York…

The New York Yankees have finalized manager Aaron Boone‘s staff for 2022, with the 44-year-old Mexican American former professional baseball third baseman joining the team.

Eric ChavezChavez, who won six Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger Award during his professional career, will serve as an assistant hitting coach alongside Casey Dykes.

Other new coaching staff members include hitting coach Dillon Lawson, third-base/outfield coach Luis Rojas, first-base/infield coach Travis Chapman and assistant pitching coach Desi Druschel.

Bench coach Carlos Mendoza and pitching coach Matt Blake are back for their third seasons in pinstripes, while bullpen coach Mike Harkey returns for a 13th year.

New York fired hitting coach Marcus Thames, third-base coach Phil Nevin and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere after the Yankees went 92-70 and lost the American League Wild Card Game against the Boston Red Sox. First-base coach Reggie Willits left to coach at the University of Oklahoma.

Chavez had a 17-year MLB career and spent the past five seasons as a special assistant with the Los Angeles Angels.

 

Rojas was fired by the New York Mets in October after two underwhelming years as manager. The 40-year-old Latino baseballer was with the Mets organization for 16 years. He was replaced in Queens by Buck Showalter, who held his introductory news conference Tuesday.

 

Chavez, 44, who played third base for the Yankees, Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks, was in the mix for Rojas’ old job with the Mets, before they ultimately hired Showalter.

Javier Baez Agrees to Six-Year, $140 Million Deal with Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have found what they’ve been searching for in Javier Baez

The Major League Baseball team has agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with the 29-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball player and free-agent shortstop, according to ESPN sources.

Javier BaezThe deal also includes an opt-out, according to the source.

It would be the second-largest free-agent deal in Tigers franchise history, behind Prince Fielder, who signed a nine-year, $214 million deal with Detroit in January 2012.

While he struck out a league-high 184 times last season, Baez hit .265 with 31 homers, 87 RBIs and 18 steals. He also brings Gold Glove defense to Detroit with his signature no-look tags.

The Tigers had been looking for a shortstop since it went 77-85 last season, finishing third in the AL Central behind the Cleveland Guardians and the Chicago White Sox.

Baez was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. The two-time National League All-Star had been close to signing a long-term extension with the Chicago Cubs before the 2020 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic put negotiations on hold.

Those contract talks never resumed, and the Cubs traded Baez to the New York Mets this past July.

Milwaukee Brewers Acquire Rowdy Tellez from Toronto Blue Jays

Rowdy Tellez is movin’ to the Badger State.

The 26-year-old half-Mexican American professional baseball player and first baseman has been acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday in exchange for right-handed pitchers Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis.

Rowdy Tellez 

Tellez, who bats left-handed, is hitting .209 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 50 games for the Blue Jays at the major league level this season.

Tellez is currently in Triple-A and is hitting .298 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in Trenton.

His best season came in 2019 when he set career highs with 21 home runs and 54 RBIs. For his career, he has a .241 batting average, 37 home runs and 99 RBIs in 219 games.

Tellez was expected to be in uniform for Wednesday’s series finale against the New York Mets.

“This is a player who has consistently put the bat on the ball and he’s consistently hit the ball hard — those are two pretty good attributes for major league hitters,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “He has a long track record of success in the minor leagues. He got off to a little bit of a slow start this year at the major league level. We think the underlying ingredients are pretty sound. We think he should be able to perform at the major league level. He’s going to get a shot.”

The first-place Brewers acquired the 28-year-old Richards, along with Willy Adames, in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in May. He is 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 appearances with Milwaukee since the trade.

Francis, 25, is 7-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 11 starts at two levels in the Brewers’ minor league system this season.

The Brewers needed some help at first base with Daniel Vogelbach on the injured list due to a strained left hamstring. Vogelbach isn’t expected to return until August.

Keston Hiura, who opened the season as the Brewers’ starting first baseman, is batting .161 and already has been sent to the minors twice this season. Hiura showed signs of progress during the Brewers’ recent 11-game winning streak, but he has gone 0-for-7 with six strikeouts over his last two games.

Stearns said the search for a Vogelbach replacement was complicated by the calendar. Teams are preparing for the amateur draft, which starts Sunday, while trying to figure out if they are contenders ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.

“We explored a number of different options, a number of different players,” Stearns said. “We’re certainly pleased we were able to find a match.”

Richards will help out in the bullpen for the Blue Jays, who entered Tuesday four games out of the AL’s second wild-card spot.

“You can pitch him in some big spots,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He got out of some jams for us. He did a really nice job.”

Pete Alonso Ready for This Year’s Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso is ready to take a swing at the title…

The 26-year-old Spanish-American New York Mets slugger is in for this year’s Home Run Derby at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Pete Alonso

Alonso won the contest the last time it was held, in 2019, edging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at Cleveland’s Progressive Field for his first derby title.

“I’m all-in,” Alonso said Thursday afternoon from Wrigley Field, where the Mets finish up a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. “I’m ready. If I get invited, I’d love to do it. I’d love to defend my title.”

Last year’s Home Run Derby was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 edition will take place July 12 at Colorado’s Coors Field after Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game and related festivities from Atlanta.

Alonso committed to the derby the day after hitting a monster home run that landed on the street beyond the left-center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was measured at 429 feet.

“I’m very happy that ball went far,” Alonso said. “I think Statcast kind of stumped me. I think that ball did not go [only] 429 feet, but that’s what the computer says, and I think the computer is wrong.”

Alonso’s longest home run of his career was measured at 485 feet. He thinks Wednesday’s long ball was closer to that figure than 429 feet.

“If that ball went 429 feet, that’s the shortest ball that’s ever left this stadium,” Alonso said. “I’ve hit plenty of balls here that have gone 430 feet, but if a ball leaves the stadium, there’s no way that ball went only 429 feet.”

Alonso has three home runs this season entering Thursday night’s game against the Cubs. He led the majors with 53 in 2019, his rookie year.

He enjoyed Wednesday’s homer as much as any he has hit.

“That was one of my favorite home runs I’ve hit,” he said. “That’s top five for me.”

Alex Rodriguez Finalizing Deal to Buy the Minnesota Timberwolves

It looks like Alex Rodriguez is ready to get in the basketball business…

The 45-year-old Dominican American former MLB slugger Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore are finalizing a deal to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves from majority owner Glen Taylor, according to ESPN.

Alex Rodriguez

The purchase price in the deal is expected to be in the $1.5 billion range, sources said.

Taylor will continue to hold full control of the team for two years before Rodriguez and Lore take over in 2023.

“We look forward to entering this phase of the process with Glen Taylor,” Rodriguez and Lore said in a joint statement on Saturday. “Our respect for him and the legacy he has built lays an amazing foundation for what is to come. We are excited by the prospect of getting to know the Timberwolves organization.”

Taylor announced in July 2020 that he was looking for a buyer. The terms of the sale are similar to talks Taylor had in the past year with billionaire Ryan Smith, who walked away from a potential deal to ultimately purchase the Utah Jazz for $1.66 billion in October.

Taylor, 79, saved basketball in Minnesota when he bought the team for $88 million in 1994 after it nearly moved to New Orleans. But he has had an unspectacular ownership run in the 16 years since, reaching the playoffs only once.

Taylor has discussed keeping the Timberwolves in Minnesota with new ownership, but Rodriguez’s ties to Seattle and that city’s desire for a return of an NBA franchise could become an issue in the long term.

Rodriguez was also part of a group that bid unsuccessfully for the New York Mets.

Carlos Correa Planning for Free Agency, Looking a “Big, Long Contract”

Carlos Correa is looking to go big

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop for the Houston Astros says he hasn’t seriously discussed a long-term deal with Houston and plans to seek a big payday in free agency next offseason.

Carlos Correa

“We were not close at all. There were not really any negotiations,” Correa said Thursday before the Astros opened their season against the Oakland Athletics. “It’s another year with the Houston Astros. I’m going to go out there, give it my best and try to bring another championship to this city.”

Correa said last week he turned down a $120 million, six-year offer and said Thursday he also declined a $125 million, five-year bid — paltry compared to the $341 million, 10-year deal shortstop Francisco Lindor agreed to with the New York Mets on Wednesday night. Lindor and Correa were both eligible for free agency after this season.

“I love it, it’s a great contract,” Correa said of Lindor’s deal. “He deserves every penny of it. … He pushed the market for every shortstop coming after him.”

Correa set a deadline of Opening Day to reach an agreement. He’ll earn $11.3 million this season.

“The relationship is great. There are no hard feelings,” Correa said. “It’s a business. They made it very clear to me, they said: ‘We don’t believe in long contracts. We don’t believe in big contracts.’ So once I hit free agency I’m going to look out for a big, long contract. They made it very clear that they don’t believe in that.”

Correa was Houston’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, a year the Astros experienced their second of three straight seasons with more than 100 losses.

He debuted in 2015 and was voted AL Rookie of the Year. Correa was an MLB All-Star in 2017, when he helped lead the Astros to their first World Series title.

During the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, he batted .264 with five home runs and 25 RBIs.

Francisco Lindor Agrees to 10-Year, $341 Million Deal with New York Mets

Francisco Lindor has landed a big deal…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop and the New York Mets have agreed to a 10-year, $341 million deal.

Francisco Lindor

Lindor’s deal will be the third largest based on total value in Major League Baseball history, trailing only the deals for the Los Angeles AngelsMike Trout ($426.5 million) and the Los Angeles DodgersMookie Betts ($365 million).

The Mets were widely expected to sign Lindor to a long-term extension after acquiring the four-time MLB All-Star in a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Indians this offseason.

The negotiations became a major storyline during spring training, with new Mets owner Steve Cohen writing on Twitter last week, “What do think Lindor will accept? I’m going to crowdsource the answer.”

“Lindor is a heckuva player and a great guy. I hope he decides to sign,” Cohen wrote on Tuesday.

Lindor had stated that he would “go to free agency” if he didn’t have a deal in place by Opening Day, saying he did not want to negotiate during the season. The Mets open Thursday against the Washington Nationals.

In January, the Mets avoided salary arbitration with Lindor by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $22.3 million. It was the fourth-biggest one-year contract for an arbitration-eligible player, trailing Mookie Betts ($27 million with Boston last year), Nolan Arenado ($26 million with Colorado in 2019) and Josh Donaldson ($23 million with Toronto in 2018).

A two-time Gold Glove winner, Lindor is a career .285 hitter and has averaged 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 steals in his six major league seasons — all with the Indians, who drafted him in 2011.