Cristian Javier Agrees to Five-Year Contract with Houston Astros to Avoid Salary Arbitration

Cristian Javier isn’t leaving Houston…

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher has signed a five-year contract with the Houston Astros that avoided a salary arbitration hearing, the team announced Friday.

Cristian JavierThe deal — to run through the 2027 season — is for $64 million, and it includes a $2 million signing bonus, payable within 30 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office, according to ESPN sources.

Javier gets salaries of $3 million this season, $7 million in 2024, $10 million in 2025 and $21 million in each of the following two years, according to the sources.

His salaries in the final two years can increase based on Cy Young Award voting, by up to $6 million in 2026 and $8 million in 2027. He would get a $2 million boost for each first-place finish, $1 million for second and $500,000 for third through fifth.

Javier has the right to block trades to 10 teams without his approval in 2026 and 2027.

A right-hander, Javier went 11-9 with a 2.54 ERA in 25 starts and five relief appearances last year, striking out 198 and walking 52 in 148⅔ innings. He set career bests for wins, ERA, strikeouts and innings.

Javier won both his postseason starts, pitching 11⅓ scoreless innings in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees and Game 4 of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

He started a pair of no-hitters, pitching seven innings at the Yankees on June 25 and six innings in the game at the Phillies — just the second no-hitter in World Series history.

Javier had asked for $3.5 million in arbitration and had been offered $3 million. He made $749,100 last year.

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.

Carlos Correa Finalizing Six-Year, $200 Million Deal with Minnesota Twins

Carlos Correa will be twinning again.

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop is finalizing a six-year, $200 million contract with the Minnesota Twins, pending a physical, according to ESPN.

Carlos CorreaThe announcement comes after weeks of discussion to salvage a deal with the New York Mets broke down, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The stunning turn caps a whirlwind month for Correa, who agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract with the San Francisco Giants on December 13.

After the Giants raised concerns about Correa’s surgically repaired right leg, he pivoted quickly to the Mets, who offered him a 12-year, $315 million contract.

The Mets flagged his physical as well, and efforts to amend the deal fell apart, leading Correa back to Minnesota, where he signed after a topsy-turvy offseason last year, too.

The agreement includes a vesting option for four years and $70 million and will become official if Correa passes a medical review, which is currently taking place.

The focus will be on his lower right leg, which he broke in 2014 during a minor league game, and a source said the Twins expect to be comfortable with it. Correa has not spent time on the injured list for a right leg ailment in his eight-year Major League Baseball career, but Giants and Mets medical personnel were concerned about how the leg would age.

Correa is among the game’s best shortstops and entered the winter in hopes of securing the mega-contract that eluded him last offseason, when he settled for a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins that included an opt-out after the first season.

Correa hit .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs and high-level defense, leaving the Twins hopeful he would consider returning after he filed for free agency.

Minnesota never intended to play in the $300 million-plus neighborhood, and after Aaron Judge returned to the New York Yankees, the Giants, in search of a franchise player, blew past that number for Correa, leaving the Twins to try to salvage their winter by signing outfielder Joey Gallo and catcher Christian Vazquez.

All the while, they lurked as the fallback plan for Correa, thrilled to potentially add him to a lineup that also includes MLB All-StarByron Buxton and Luis Arraez in addition to top prospect Royce LewisJose MirandaJorge PolancoMax KeplerNick GordonAlex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach.

Should Correa pass his physical — the Twins are more familiar with his medical situation than any other team and earlier in the winter considered a 10-year, $285 million deal, which is around what the current deal would wind up at if the option vests — Minnesota will enter 2023 with strong hopes of winning the AL Central.

Rafael Devers Reportedly Agrees to 11-Year, $331 Million Contract Extension with Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers is thisclose to a historic MLB deal…

The 26-year-old Dominican professional baseball third baseman is finalizing an 11-year, $331 million contract extension with the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN, a deal that will keep him from reaching free agency this year and constitutes the longest and largest guarantee ever given by the franchise.

Rafael DeversThe agreement, which would be the largest ever for a third baseman, comes in the midst of an arduous winter for the Red Sox, who lost longtime shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres in free agency nearly three years after trading star right fielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Offering Devers to a deal far longer than Manny Ramirez‘s eight-year pact and more than 50% larger than David Price‘s $217 million contract was enough for the two-time MLB All-Star to accept shepherding the Red Sox out of last place in the American League East and back to contention.

The contract will start in 2023 and extend through the 2033 season, sources said. The one-year, $17.5 million contract Devers signed earlier in the week to avoid arbitration will be superseded by the long-term deal.

Devers debuted with Boston at 20 years old in 2017 and quickly illustrated why scouts so adored his bat. His left-handed swing was perfectly suited for Fenway Park, with doubles thwacking off the Green Monster and home runs carrying out to right field. Devers’ acumen has only grown. In 2022, he hit .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs, 88 RBIs and a career-best OPS+ of 141.

It was similar to his 2021 season, in which Devers hit 38 home runs, and 2019, when he led the major leagues with 359 total bases as a 22-year-old. The consistency made him the perfect candidate to keep around long term with the losses of Bogaerts and Betts, whose steadiness was among their defining characteristics. Early negotiations on a deal bore no fruit, with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Devers’ agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of Rep 1, far apart in their valuations.

Whether the backlash from losing Bogaerts and Betts — and just losing — had any effect on the consummation of the deal is unclear. But on Monday, with Fenway Park hosting the majestic Winter Classic, fans booed John Henry, a show of the sentiment toward the owner under whom the Red Sox broke their 86-year World Series drought before winning three more championships.

Seeing Bogaerts walk with an offer tens of millions of dollars short stung, especially with the Red Sox designating for assignment Jeter Downs, the main prospect return in the Betts deal, just days after. Bogaerts, 30, was, like Devers, a homegrown star: five Silver Sluggers, four All-Star appearances and two World Series rings. The notion of a long-term left side of the infield with Bogaerts and Devers felt natural to a Red Sox fan base coming to terms with last-place finishes in two of the past three seasons, sandwiched around an ALCS appearance.

When Bogaerts left, the focus turned naturally to Devers, who benefited greatly from the megadeals given out this winter. Aaron Judge topped the list with $360 million from the New York YankeesTrea Turner got $300 million from Philadelphia and Bogaerts $280 million from the Padres. And Carlos Correa agreed to a pair of $300 million-plus deals, though medical foibles have his status in limbo.

Beyond Bogaerts this offseason, World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi left for the Texas Rangers, and the Red Sox fell short of signing multiple free agent targets. Instead, the Red Sox redistributed the resources across the roster by adding Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida on a five-year, $90 million deal, relievers Kenley Jansen (two years, $32 million) and Chris Martin (two years, $17 million), third baseman Justin Turner at two years for $21 million and starter Corey Kluber at a year and $10 million.

Devers will be the roster’s cornerstone and the face of the franchise for the new era of the Red Sox. Though the third baseman has improved defensively over this career, he could potentially move to first base or designated hitter down the road. But as long as his swing and production are even a facsimile of what he has done, it won’t matter what position he’s playing.

Omar Minaya to Serve as Adviser to Baseball Operations for New York Yankees

Omar Minaya is heading to the New York Yankees corporate office…

The 64-year-old Dominican baseball executive, a former New York Mets general manager, is joining the team as an adviser to baseball operations.

Omar MinayaThe move to hire Minaya comes two days after the Yankees brought former San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean into the front office as an executive assistant to general manager Brian Cashman.

Minaya is a native of Queens and started scouting after the conclusion of his minor league career.

He worked for the Texas Rangers before moving to the Mets, the Montreal Expos, back to the Mets, and the San Diego Padres before returning to the Mets for a third time.

He was the general manager of the Expos from 2002 through 2004 and the Mets from 2005 through 2010.

The veteran baseball executive most recently worked with Major League Baseball as a consultant for domestic and international amateur scouting initiatives. Among his most notable accomplishments was helping discover Sammy Sosa and Ivan Rodriguez as a scout for the Rangers.

The Yankees’ front office has received criticism in recent years for leaning too hard on analytics, and adding Sabean and Minaya brings in two executives with successful scouting backgrounds.

Carlos Rodon Agrees to 6-Year, $162 Million Deal with New York Yankees

Carlos Rodon is the 162-million dollar man…

The 30-year-old Cuban American left-handed pitcher has agreed to a 6-year, $162 million deal with the New York Yankees, according to ESPN.

Carlos RodonRodon was the top pitcher left on the market after he opted out of a contract with the San Francisco Giants after last season. He was 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 2022, pitching a career-high 178 innings over 31 starts.

Rodon was the third pick in the 2014 draft by the Chicago White Sox but battled injuries during the first portion of his career before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He returned to elite form in 2021 when he compiled a 2.37 ERA over 24 starts though the White Sox were careful with him down the stretch. He never pitched more than five innings over the final two months of the season.

Even with his success that year the White Sox non-tendered Rodon that offseason leading to a two-year deal with the Giants. It included an opt-out which he chose to exercise in November.

Rodon joins holdovers Gerrit ColeNestor CortesLuis Severino and Frankie Montas in the Yankees rotation which ranked fourth overall in ERA last year. That ranking wasn’t indicative of some second-half struggles as the Yankees were eliminated in the postseason by the Houston Astros.

The signing, which was first reported by the New York Post, is the latest for agent Scott Boras who once again is having a rich off-season. Other deals for his clients include Carlos Correa ($350M), Xander Bogaerts ($280M), Brandon Nimmo ($162M), Masataka Yoshida ($90M), Taijuan Walker ($72M), Sean Manaea ($25M) and Cody Bellinger ($17.5M).

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the deal is the second-largest contract the Yankees have ever given a pitcher in total value, exceeded only by Cole’s $324 million deal in 2019. Rodon gets $1 million more than CC Sabathia‘s $161 million deal with the Yankees in 2008.

Between Rodon and Aaron Judge, who signed a nine-year, $360 million deal to stay with the Yankees earlier this month, the team has guaranteed $522 million in contracts this offseason.

Rodon won’t have to wait long to face his former Giants team, with the Yankees set to host the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day of the 2023 season.

Rodon is 56-46 with a 3.60 ERA in 152 major league appearances over eight seasons. He has 947 strikeouts in 847 1/3 innings.

Carlos Correa Agrees to 13-Year, $350 Million Contract with San Francisco Giants

Carlos Correa has landed a Giant(s) deal…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop has agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Carlos CorreaIt’s a record-long deal that is the richest ever for the position and gives the team a franchise-type player around which it plans to build, according to ESPN.

The free agent path of Correa was far less circuitous than last year, when he entered the market in hopes of landing a $300 million-plus deal but wound up signing a shorter-term contract with the Minnesota Twins that included an opt-out after the first season.

This offseason, Correa found a market that lavished $300 million on Trea Turner and $280 million on Xander Bogaerts far more to his liking, and he wound up with the second-biggest deal, behind Aaron Judge‘s nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees.

The 13 years ties Bryce Harper‘s $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in March 2019, and like Harper, Correa received a full no-trade clause and a contract without any opt-outs, sources said.

The $350 million exceeds the $341 million shortstop Francisco Lindor received from the New York Mets and the $340 million for shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. with the San Diego Padres. And in the history of baseball, only Mike Trout‘s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles AngelsMookie Betts $365 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Judge’s exceed it in value.

About a year after turning down a five-year, $160 million contract with the Houston Astros, with whom Correa blossomed into a star, he landed more than twice that on the heels of a single season spent with the Twins, with whom he made $35.1 million before opting out of the final two years of his deal.

In his one season with Minnesota, Correa looked like his vintage self, hitting .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in 136 games.

While he didn’t match his Platinum Glove-winning 2021 campaign, Correa is regarded as one of the game’s best defensive shortstops, posting his fourth season with 5.0-plus wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The Giants paid him like a superstar, as the combination of Correa’s position, age and productivity — regular season and postseason — convinced them to make him among the highest-earning players in baseball.

Before Correa, the last player the Giants signed to a $100 million-plus contract was pitcher Johnny Cueto, who received a six-year, $130 million deal in December 2015.

At baseball’s winter meetings, the Giants had hoped to strike a deal for Judge, the reigning American League MVP. But the Yankees upped their offer to $40 million per year, and Judge agreed to stay in New York. With Turner and Bogaerts off the board too, the opportunity to sign a foundational player had dwindled to Correa and former Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.

Since the retirement of catcher Buster Posey following the 2021 season, the Giants had sought a star to be the start of something new, looking beyond the glory years of the early 2010s, when San Francisco won three World Series, and before that, when Barry Bonds dazzled sellout crowds nightly. Correa has the poise and ability to be just that.

Excellence was predestined after he went to the Astros with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He shot through the organization and debuted at 20 years old in 2015, winning AL Rookie of the Year. By his second season, Correa was one of the best players in baseball. And in 2017, he helped the Astros win their first World Series title, hitting five home runs and driving in 14 runs in 18 postseason games.

The Astros reached the AL Championship Series in 2018 and the World Series in 2019, with Correa a foundational player for their success. But the revelation in November 2019 that Houston had used a sign-stealing scheme during their championship season sullied the title and landed especially hard on Correa, who was outspoken in his defense of the team.

Correa’s excellence continued unabated. He was among the best players in the 2020 postseason and again played well in 2021, pushing his career postseason line to .272/.344/.505 with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs in 79 games. With shortstop prospect Jeremy Pena primed to reach the big leagues, though, Houston moved on from Correa, whose free agent market never materialized after an early dalliance with the Detroit Tigers and led to him signing a three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Twins.

With Minnesota, Correa quickly became a clubhouse leader, and over his final 120 games, he hit .307/.381/.496 with 21 home runs. The Twins hoped he would return but recognized his market would be unlikely to break the same way it did following 2021.

Over his eight-year career, Correa has compiled nearly 40 rWAR — only Trout, Betts, Nolan ArenadoPaul Goldschmidt and Manny Machado have more in the same stretch — and a career line of .279/.357/.479 with 155 home runs and 553 RBIs in 888 games. His 12.6 defensive WAR rank fourth, behind Andrelton SimmonsKevin Kiermaier and Arenado.

Just how long Correa stays at shortstop is a question multiple executives posited during his free agency. The outs above average metric placed him in the bottom 20% of shortstops last season, while defensive runs saved pegged him as slightly above average. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Correa is among the game’s biggest players at shortstop, where he has played all 881 of his career games in the field.

Regardless of where Correa’s glove winds up, his bat will determine whether the megadeal is a success. And in the short term, it will help determine whether Correa again reaches the postseason — this time with a Giants team that won the National League West in 2021 but finished 81-81 this year — or, for the first time in his career, misses it in consecutive seasons.

Miguel Castro Agrees to One-Year Contract with Arizona Diamondbacks

Miguel Castro is shining bright like a Diamond(back)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed the 27-year-old Dominican professional baseball hard-throwing reliever to a one-year contract.

Miguel CastroCastro, who turns 28 this month, has already spent eight years in the big leagues, most recently with the New York Yankees. He was 5-0 with a 4.03 ERA in 34 appearances last season.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander has averaged more than a strikeout per inning over the past three seasons. The bullpen was a weak spot for Arizona this year and general manager Mike Hazen said upgrading that area — particularly with power arms — was a priority.

The Diamondbacks finished 74-88 last season, a 22-win improvement over a dreadful 2021.

Arizona also claimed catcher Ali Sánchez off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s appeared in seven major league games with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals over the past two seasons.

Joely Rodriguez Agrees to $2 Million, One-Year Contract with Boston Red Sox

Joely Rodriguez is seeing Red (Sox)…

The 31-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher has agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, a deal that includes a team option for 2024.

Joely Rodriguez Rodriguez gets a $1.5 million salary next year, and the Red Sox’s option is for $4.25 million with a $500,000 buyout.

He can earn $250,000 in performance bonuses each year for games pitched: $50,000 each for 30 and each additional 10 through 70. In 2023, he also can earn $800,000 in roster bonuses: $200,000 apiece for 30, 60, 90 and 120 active days.

Rodriguez’s contract allows him to become a free agent when the deal expires.

The left-hander was 2-4 with a 4.47 ERA last season for the New York Mets, striking out 57 and walking 26 in 50⅓ innings while allowing three home runs.

Rodríguez is 5-9 with a 4.56 ERA in 157 relief appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies (2016-17), Texas Rangers (2020-21), New York Yankees (2021) and Mets (2022).

He spent 2018 and ’19 with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League.

Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire Lewin Diaz Off Waivers from Miami Marlins

Lewin Diaz is walkin’ the plank…

The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed the 26-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman off waivers from the Miami Marlins, according to ESPN.

Lewin DiazIn a corresponding move, Pittsburgh designated utilityman Hoy Park for assignment.

Diaz played parts of the past three seasons in Miami following his August 2020 debut.

A lefty batter who also throws with his left, Diaz contributed a -0.5 WAR to the Marlins by slashing .169/.224/.288 and a collective .512 OPS.

He hit four doubles, five home runs, and drove in 11 in 160 at-bats spanning 58 games during the 2022 season.

Diaz’s overall numbers combine to total 10 doubles, 13 home runs, 57 RBI, and a lifetime .181 batting average. His best season was 2021, hitting over the Menzoda Line at .205 and smashing a career-high eight round-trippers.

It’s a tale of two careers for Diaz between the big leagues and Triple-A. Over 156 games the past two seasons, Diaz combined to hit 34 doubles, 39 home runs, and 105 RBI. His average hovered around .250 both years. He was the Marlins’ No. 8 prospect in 2020 and projected as a 55-grade hitter and fielder on a 20-80 scouting scale.

Acquired from the New York Yankees as part of the Clay Holmes trade, Park hit .216 this past season in 23 games, hitting two homers and driving in six. A versatile defender capable of playing the infield and outfield, Park owns a career .201 MLB average and never found a consistent swing to stick in the lineup. He could clear waivers and remain a Pirate in Triple-A if not claimed.

Diaz joins recently acquired lefty Ji-Man Choi at a position the Bucs desperately need improvement from. Expect Miguel Andujar to also be a factor and contribute as the designated hitter able to drive the baseball.