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.

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.

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

Houston Astros Rookie Sensation Jeremy Peña Named World Series MVP

Jeremy Peña has capped his remarkable rookie season with history-making prize…

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a shortstop for the Houston Astros, has become the first rookie position player to win the Willie Mays World Series MVP award after leading his team to the World Series title over the Philadelphia Phillies, four games to two.

Jeremy Peña“It has a lot to do with my family, my upbringing,” Pena said. “Shoutout to my teammates as well. They took me in since day one. They gave me the confidence to just go out and play my game.”

Peña came through in the clutch during all four of the Astros’ wins, and he was the team’s most consistent hitter as well.

In Game 2, Peña hit a first-inning RBI double to give Houston a 1-0 edge en route to a 5-2 win.

In Game 4, he had a single and a run during the Astros’ five-run fifth inning en route to a 5-0 victory.

In Game 5, he had three hits, a run and two RBI in a 3-2 victory. His two biggest hits were a first-inning RBI single and a fourth-inning solo home run.

In Game 6, the shortstop scored the game-winning run after hitting a single and scoring after Yordan Alvarez‘s towering three-run home run en route to the 4-1 clincher.

Peña also won the American League Championship Series MVP after hitting .353 with a pair of home runs in a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees. He is the first-ever player to win the ALCS and World Series MVP awards.

He filled big cleats this season after longtime shortstop Carlos Correa signed with the Minnesota Twins last offseason, but he excelled with 22 home runs, 63 RBI and a .715 OPS. And that was before an exemplary playoff performance that vaulted Houston to its second-ever World Series win.

Pena went 2-for-4 with a run scored Saturday at the plate while continuing to flash the defense that made him the first-ever rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove.

For the series, Pena hit .400, posted a 1.023 OPS and led all hitters with 10 hits and 15 total bases. Pena also smacked a go-ahead home run off Philadelphia’s Noah Syndergaard during Houston’s crucial 3-2 win in Game 5.

Pena, who was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, carried the flag of his homeland to the podium for his postgame news conference.

“Man, it’s special,” Pena said. “I can’t even put it into words right now, but shoutout to my Dominican people.”

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Pena’s OPS makes him just the fourth rookie to surpass 1.000 over a single World Series, minimum of 20 at-bats. He joins Pepper Martin, 1.330 (Cardinals, 1931); Andruw Jones, 1.250 (Braves, 1996); and Randy Arozarena, 1.234 (Rays, 2020).

During the regular season, Pena hit .253 with 22 homers, 63 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He enters the offseason as a top candidate for American League Rookie of the Year.

Pena becomes the first rookie position player to win World Series MVP and third rookie overall, joining Larry Sherry (1959) and Livan Hernandez (1997).

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

Houston Astros Rookie Jeremy Peña Named American League Championship Series MVP

He may have just missed out on the American League Rookie of the Year Award, but Jeremy Peña is celebrating another title.

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball player and shortstop is returning to Houston as the American League Championship Series MVP.

Jeremy Peña,Peña punctuated his epic four-game run in the Houston Astros’ sweep of the New York Yankees with his third homer of the postseason during the third inning of a 6-5 win in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

The big blast spoiled an early Yanks’ lead, took the ticketed crowd of 46,545 out of it and served as the proverbial turning point in the final game of a series that was never really close.

“It’s surreal,” Peña said. “You dream about this stuff when you’re a kid, and shout-out to my teammates. We show up every single day. We stayed true to ourselves all year. We’re a step away from the ultimate goal.”

Peña finished the ALCS 6-for-17 with two homers and two doubles, good for a .353/.353/.824 (1.176 OPS) slash line.

The finishing touch featured the shortstop pummeling a middle-in slider from Nestor Cortes after the Yanks’ lefty led off the inning with walks to Martín Maldonado and Jose Altuve for a massive blast down the left-field line.

Statcast measured the homer a projected 408 feet and 104.8 mph off the bat.

With one epic swing — hands in, hips torqued — Peña tied the game at 3 after the Yankees took an early lead against Lance McCullers Jr., the first time that Houston had trailed New York at the end of an in-game inning in 11 meetings this season. The only other times they trailed were via walk-offs from Aaron Judge during a series in June.

It was an impressive sequence of making a mid-at-bat adjustment. Cortes, who exited immediately after the homer with a left groin injury, wouldn’t throw Peña a fastball, instead attempting to jam cutters and sliders inside, with one changeup way off the plate. So, on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Peña went hunting for offspeed ahead 3-1 in a hitter’s count — and he feasted when he saw the hanging breaking ball.

Peña knew he got all of it, transferring the barrel to his right hand as he paced out of the batter’s box, watching the ball sail before pinwheeling the lumber down the first-base line and breaking into a stride. As he rounded third base and glanced to the visiting dugout, he smiled toward his teammates and broke into a shrug, akin to the one that Michael Jordan made famous during the 1992 NBA Finals.

It was also another moment illustrating how well Houston has thrived with Peña hitting behind the leadoff man Jose Altuve. When Peña hit in the No. 2 hole during the regular season, the Astros went 42-7, and they entered Sunday undefeated this postseason with Peña hitting in that spot in every game.

“Jeremy has done a lot of good things,” Altuve said. “If I start talking about him, we might be here two hours. He’s a great player and I love the way he’s handling everything.”

Altuve and Carlos Correa had a relationship that Astros manager Dusty Baker likened to Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, so the words from Altuve — the 2019 ALCS MVP — carried weight.

“I think it’s important that Carlos passed the torch to him because I’ve seen some players don’t pass the torch,” Baker said. “They pass some dynamite. But Carlos passed the torch and he was a mentor to him. This is what baseball and life is all about, rooting for somebody else, because there’s a lot of jobs out there. We wanted to keep Carlos. Carlos wanted to stay but [we] couldn’t get things together. But the organization also felt that Peña was the right guy for the job, and he’s exceeded expectations.”

Aside from Sunday, Peña also put the Astros squarely on his shoulders with a solo homer in the 18th inning of their marathon ALDS Game 3 win in Seattle, the only run of what’s easily been Houston’s most tense game in these playoffs.

Peña’s 22 homers in the regular season were tied for sixth among shortstops and ranked second among first-year players to only Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez, who was named the AL Rookie of the Year Award winner. But Peña, who is good friends with fellow Dominican Rodríguez, will probably be fine with that given that his team is headed to the World Series.

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.

Luis Arraez Wins 2022 American League Batting Title

Luis Arraez is celebrating a banner year…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball utility player for the Minnesota Twins won the American League batting title, hitting a third-inning double after walking twice to finish the season at .316, as the Minnesota Twins rolled to a 10-1 victory on Wednesday over the Chicago White Sox.

Luis ArraezArraez was all but assured of topping the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the batting crown when the day began. He removed any doubt by walking in his first two plate appearances and then hit a drive that barely cleared the glove of right fielder Gavin Sheets before he was lifted for a pinch-runner.

“It’s amazing,” Arraez said. “This was one of my goals. I’m living a dream right now. This is amazing for me because I worked hard for this.”

Judge, who sat out the New York Yankees‘ season finale, batted .311 with an AL-record 62 homers and a league-leading 131 RBIs.

“I couldn’t sleep last night, just thinking and thinking about it,” Arraez said.

Arraez becomes the fifth Twin to win a batting title, joining Rod Carew (seven), Tony Oliva and Joe Mauer (three apiece) and Kirby Puckett (one).

“I think he achieved what he was hoping to do,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “And he’s not a guy who normally thinks about things on a personal level like that. He’s a team player and here to win and compete.”

Arraez received a hug at the top of the dugout steps from Carlos Correa, who planned before the game to give him a Louis Vuitton roller bag in recognition of his achievement.

“[Correa] is amazing,” Arraez said. “He sets an example for us. He’s a leader, and I love that guy a lot.”

Arraez batted .361 (13-for-36) during a nine-game hitting streak to end the season.

“It wasn’t easy,” Arraez said. “But my mind is strong.”

Gary Sanchez and Jermaine Palacios homered during a six-run first inning for Minnesota, which snapped a four-game skid. The Twins finished at 78-84, a six-game improvement over 2021.

The White Sox (81-81), last year’s AL Central champions, had their three-game winning streak snapped and finished 12 games worse than their 2021 record.

Giovanny Gallegos Agrees to $11 Million, Two-Year Contract with St. Louis Cardinals

It’s Lucky No. 11 for Giovanny Gallegos

The 31-year-old Mexican professional baseball pitcher and reliever has agreed to an $11 million, two-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

Giovanny GallegosGallegos, a right-hander, is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58⅔ innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the New York Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

“Since joining the Cardinals organization in 2018, Gio has been a consistent and significant contributor to our bullpen, and we look forward to him continuing to be an important piece moving forward,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a news release.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.