Gio González Agrees to Minor League Deal with Miami Marlins

Gio González is returning to his home state…

The 35-year-old Cuban American professional baseball player and veteran left-handed pitcher has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins and will take part in the team’s major league camp.

Gio Gonzalez

González, a South Florida native, pitched in 12 games last year for the Chicago White Sox with four starts and had an ERA of 4.83. He has a career record of 131-101 with a 3.70 ERA in 13 seasons for four teams.

At 35, González provides experienced depth for the Marlins’ talented young rotation. He is a two-time MLB All-Star, with the Oakland As in 2011 and Washington Nationals in 2012.

Elvis Andrus Traded to the Oakland Athletics

Elvis Andrus is heading west…

The 32-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop has been traded to the Oakland Athletics.

Elvis Andrus

The announcement comes two months after the Texas Rangers said the only player remaining from their only two World Series appearances would no longer be the starting shortstop after 12 seasons in that role.

Texas sent Andrus, catcher Aramis Garcia and $13.5 million to the A’s for designated hitter Khris Davis, catcher Jonah Heim and right-hander Dane Acker.

Andrus is owed $14 million in each of the next two seasons. The $120 million, eight-season deal he signed in 2015 also includes a $15 million option for 2023 that now, because of the trade, becomes a player option if he has 550 plate appearances in 2022, or 1,100 combined in 2021-22.

“At the beginning it was a little shock but at the same time I understood what was going on in our (Texas) organization, they’re rebuilding and that process,” Andrus said. “When I found out, the opportunity playing for Oakland opened up, it makes sense for me for my career, for where I’m at right now.”

The AL West champion A’s, who made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, recently lost shortstop Marcus Semien to Toronto in free agency.

“Elvis will fit in very well with our infielders. He has a passion for defense as do our other guys,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “I’ve seen his leadership qualities from the opposing dugout for 10 years now.”

The Rangers, whose only World Series appearances came in 2010 and 2011, said in December that Gold Glove-winning third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa would be given the opportunity to be their top shortstop. Andrus was told then to prepare to play all infield positions.

When Andrus made his MLB debut in 2009 at age 20, the Rangers moved Michael Young — then 32 himself — to third base after he had been an All-Star shortstop the previous five seasons. Young is still the team’s career leader and Andrus is second on the list for games played, at-bats and triples. Young is also the career leader for hits and runs, with Andrus third in both those categories.

Andrus has a .274 career batting average, and the two-time All-Star is the only MLB player with at least 10 seasons of 145 games or more since his debut. But he hit .194 last season when limited to 29 games because of lingering lower back issues, and said he isn’t sure people realized how difficult it was to play through that.

“I was really hurt, I wasn’t physically ready,” he said. “Last year took a lot of me. I think the team didn’t like what they saw and kind of didn’t understand me a little bit. At the end I think it’s something that you cannot control as a player. They have a different direction than where I’m at right now.”

Davis led the majors with 48 home runs in 2018, but has since then struggled to consistently find his stroke. Now primarily a DH after once being a regular left fielder, he has hit .243 with 218 homers and 580 RBIs in 938 big league games for the A’s (2016-20) and the Milwaukee Brewers (2013-15). Davis hit .271 with 15 doubles, 32 homers and 80 RBIs in 79 career games against Texas.

“Khris has been a popular favorite of everyone here in Oakland, including mine,” Melvin said. “We wish him the best in his new baseball chapter.”

Davis, signed for $16.75 million this season, hit .220 over 133 games in 2019, after a quirky stat of four straight years with a .247 batting average. He appeared in 30 games during the shortened 2020 campaign and hit .200 with two homers and 10 RBIs.

Garcia, acquired from the San Francisco Giants on a waiver claim in November, missed all of the 2020 season while recovering from surgery on his right hip labrum.

Heim, a 25-year-old switch-hitter, made his major league debut with the A’s in 2020, hitting .211 with five RBIs in 13 games. Acker was the A’s fourth-round selection out of Oklahoma in the shortened MLB draft last summer.

The Rangers were an AL-worst 22-38 last season, and turned their focus to younger players. They had three 22-year-old rookies in the starting lineup on the final day of the season, a decade after the team’s first World Series when Andrus was the youngster.

Houston Astros Rookie Yordan Alvarez Makes MLB RBI History

He may be a rookie, but Yordan Alvarez is already making Major League Baseball history…

The 22-year-old Cuban professional baseball first baseman and outfielder for the Houston Astros homered and knocked in a pair of runs on Monday in an 11-1 winover the Oakland A’s, making him the first player to have 35 RBIs in his first 30 career games since runs batted in became an official statistic in 1920.

Yordan Alvarez

Alvarez has surpassed Albert Pujols, who had 34 RBIs in his first 30 games with the St. Louis Cardinalsin 2001.

“I was very happy and very grateful [about the record], something I just found out about when I got here to the clubhouse,” Alvarez said through an interpreter.

“Especially with [Pujols], it’s an honor and a privilege. When we were in Anaheim, I spoke with him, and he gave me a lot of advice, a lot of information to help me out.”

The left-handed slugger is hitting .342 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs since he made his MLB debut with the Astros on June 9. 

At the time, he was tearing up the Pacific Coast League, with 23 home runs and 71 RBIs in 56 games.

Alvarez was one of three Cuban-born Astros players — along with Yuli Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz— to homer in the 11-1 trouncing of the A’s on Monday. That had happened only once before in MLB history, when Jose AbreuAlexei Ramírez and Dayan Viciedoall homered for the Chicago White Sox in 2014.

Soto Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Los Angeles Angels

Geovany Soto is heading to the city (and team) of angels

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball catcher, a free-agent, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Geovany Soto

The team announced the move Tuesday night, one day after losing catcher Chris Iannetta to the Seattle Mariners in free agency.

Soto has played for four teams in 11 major league seasons. The former Chicago Cubs backstop spent last season on the other side of town with the Chicago White Sox, batting .219 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 78 games.

A solid defender, Soto also has played for Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s. He was the National League Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 2008 with the Cubs.

Soto will team with Carlos Perez behind the plate for Los Angeles.

Perez shared the job last season with Iannetta, whose offensive production plummeted in his fourth season with the Angels.

Perez Named Most Valuable Player of the 2015 World Series

It’s turned out to be a Royals year for Salvador Perez

Following the Kansas City Royals 7-2 victory in Game 5 of the World Series over the New York Mets, the 25-year-old Venezuelan catcher for the Royals was unanimously named the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 World Series.

Salvador Perez

Perez hit .364/.391/.455 in the series, going 8-for-22 at the plate with two doubles while scoring three runs with two RBIs.

In the Series-clinching win, Perez plated the tying run in the Royals’ ninth-inning comeback, then sparked their victory in the 12th inning with a leadoff single down the right-field line before being lifted for pinch runner Jarrod Dyson.

“He just had a phenomenal series,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “I think if I had one regret during the whole playoffs, [it] was I had to pinch run for Sal there in that inning. But it opened up the door for us to score five. I really wish that Sal could have been out there to jump in [closer Wade Davis‘] arms when we got the final out.”

Up to that point, Perez had caught every inning for the Royals in the series, but at times was nearly forced out of games by injuries that are the routine hazards of catchers at every level.

“What I always say, I think it’s part of my job,” Perez said. “Take a foul ball, a wild pitch.”

Perez took a foul tip off the mask in Game 4 of the AL

Division Series and AL Championship Series, and in Game 4 of the World Series he was staggered by a tip off his collarbone.

“He’s never going to say nothing,” said Yost, a former catcher. “He’s as tough as they come. You just know that even if you ask him, he’s going to tell you he’s fine, so no sense of asking him.”

“Now I don’t feel pain.”

Perez achieved a unique feat by driving in the tying run in the ninth inning of Game 5 one year after being the last batter in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants, ending that game with a popup to Pablo Sandoval at third base.

Asked about that coincidence, Perez said, “I already forgot about last year. So I just enjoyed the moment now. In 2015, Kansas City is No. 1. Who cares about what happened last year?”

In Game 5, batting against Mets closer Jeurys Familia with Eric Hosmer on third base and one out, it was Perez’s grounder to third base that allowed Hosmer to score. The Royals’ first baseman scampered home, forcing an errant throw by Mets first baseman Lucas Duda after Perez was retired on third baseman David Wright‘s assist.

“You guys know what we’ve done all season,” Perez said. “We never quit. We never put our heads down. … We always compete to the last out. And that’s what we did tonight.”

Perez became the first catcher to win the MVP award since Pat Borders won it while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1992 World Series, and the seventh catcher to win it in the history of the Fall Classic, joining Borders, Gene Tenace (1972, Oakland A‘s), Johnny Bench (1973, Cincinnati Reds), Steve Yeager (1981, Los Angeles Dodgers), Darrell Porter (1982, St. Louis Cardinals) and Rick Dempsey (1983, Baltimore Orioles). He also became just the second Royals player to win the award, joining starting pitcher Bret Saberhagen of the 1985 world champions.

Perez is also the second player born in Venezuela to win the award, joining Sandoval, who won it in 2012 with the Giants. He signed with the Royals organization when he was 16 years old.

“It’s unbelievable. I always say we feel like a family here,” Perez said. “We’ve got the same group, almost the same group [from] when I played my first year in 2007 in Arizona, in the Rookie league. It’s amazing to now win a World Series and see the same guys with you. It’s exciting.”

Chicago Cubs Trade Garza to the Texas Rangers

It’s official… Matt Garza will be winding-up in the Lone Star State…

The Texas Rangers have acquired the 29-year-old Mexican American pitcher from the Chicago Cubs, the team announced Monday night.

Matt Garza

In exchange for Garza, the Cubs acquired Triple-A infielder Mike Olt, Class A right-hander C.J. Edwards and right-hander Justin Grimm from the Rangers. The Cubs will also get one or two players to be named later, depending on who they take, as part of the deal.

Garza is expected to work out with the Rangers on Tuesday; while Texas general manager Jon Daniels said Garza is likely to start Wednesday night against the New York Yankees.

“He’s an extremely talented pitcher,” said Daniels. “He’s had success in the toughest divisions and the biggest stages. He was throwing the ball as well as anybody right now. He has a power repertoire, who is something that’s a little different from what we’ve got. And he was available.

“He was in our opinion the best guy on the market, and we wanted to go out and make a push to get him.”

Garza was scheduled to start for the Cubs Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks but was scratched.

Garza is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA overall this season, including 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his past six starts. He is entering the final year of his contract.

“He was the best pitcher in baseball in his last five, six, seven starts. He’s young, has great velocity, has good command of his pitches and that makes him attractive to any team,” said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “It’s not easy to part with a guy like Garza and someone has to step in and be productive. We hope the players we get will make us a better team, and in the future, we can be the team who pursues a player like Garza.”

With six pitchers currently on the disabled list, including four starters, Texas has been in the market for a starting pitcher for weeks. The Rangers are in a heated division race with Oakland, trailing the A’s by three games in the AL West entering Monday night.

Tejada Reaches Minor League Deal with the Kansas City Royals

Miguel Tejada has reached a royal deal to return to the baseball field…

The 38-year-old Dominican-born former American League MVP has reached a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals and says he’s ready to return to the majors.

Miguel Tejada

Tejada has agreed to a one-year contract that will be worth $1.1 million if he makes the big leagues. It includes an additional $400,000 in performance bonuses.

The six-time All-Star infielder last played in the majors in 2011 with the San Francisco Giants, hitting .239 with four home runs and 26 RBIs in 91 games.

“I’m very pleased with this. The contract with the Royals is a done deal,” Tejada told The Associated Press. “I’m going to try to help this team and their younger players. I’m so happy because this is what I was aiming for, a chance to get back to the majors.”

Tejada played 36 games in Triple-A for the Baltimore Orioles franchise last season, batting .259 with no homers and 18 RBIs. He was released from his minor league deal on June 25 at his own request when he didn’t see an opportunity to play for the Orioles in the near future.

Tejada has been playing for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Republic Winter League, saying he lost 15 pounds during the summer.

“I believe I can be valuable for Kansas City in different facets. They haven’t told me what specific role they have in mind for me, but what is important is that I’m healthy and I know that I can help,” he said.

Tejada spent 15 seasons in the majors and was the 2002 AL MVP with Oakland. He is a career .285 hitter with 304 homers and 1,282 RBIs with the A’s, Orioles, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and the Giants.