Adrian Beltre Officially Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Adrian Beltre is officially a Hall of Famer

The 45-year-old Dominican former professional baseball third baseman and Texas Rangers great was officially welcomed into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday during the annual induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center.

Adrian BeltreBeltre, who finished his 21-year career with 3,166 hits and five Gold Gloves at third base, was enshrined along with Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer and Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, the latter pair becoming baseball’s newest one-team Hall of Famers. That puts the Hall’s membership at 273 among those who entered as players.

Also inducted was longtime manager Jim Leyland, who piloted four teams, including the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins. Leyland represented the Detroit Tigers, whom he managed from 2006 to 2013 and led to a pair of American League pennants.

Beltre struck a playful tone with many of his remarks, which he said were “maybe 25%” improvised. He was perhaps buoyed by Hall of Famer David Ortiz, who approached Beltre on stage and patted him on the head. Beltre is famously averse to having his head touched.

“That never relaxes me,” Beltre said. “But it was a little c,ue to go back to the days when I was playing, and it’s like ‘OK, get ready to go out there and do your best with the speech.'”

Beltre, who played with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Rangers, is one of only two players to have over 3,000 hits, 400 homers and at least five Gold Gloves. The other was Willie Mays, who was recognized before the speeches, along with the other Hall of Famers who died since last year’s induction: Whitey Herzog, Brooks Robinson and Orlando Cepeda.

Beltre is the fifth player born in the Dominican Republic to be enshrined, the last being Ortiz — a member of the 2022 Hall class. As with Ortiz, there was a sizable contingent of Dominican fans on hand, along with a strong turnout of Texas fans.

While acknowledging some of his former teammates, Beltre cited retired ace “King FelixHernandez, whom he played with in Seattle.

“To that guy who call himself ‘King,'” Beltre said. “I loved [playing] with you. But I loved hitting against you even more.”

The 2½-hour event unfolded under pleasant skies in Cooperstown, a welcome respite for an event that has often taken place in broiling conditions.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Pitcher Cristopher Sánchez to Play in First MLB All-Star Game

Cristopher Sánchez is preparing to get in the game…

The 27-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher, a left-hander for the Philadelphia Phillies, will play in his first MLB All-Star Game appearance as the replacement for Atlanta Braves lefty Chris Sale, who is scheduled to start for his team on Sunday and won’t pitch in the Midsummer Classic.

Cristopher SánchezThe addition of Sánchez pushes the Phillies’ MLB-leading total to eight All-Stars, adding to the franchise record.

The game is Tuesday night at the home of the Texas Rangers. Philadelphia will go into the break as the only team in the big leagues with at least 60 victories.

Sánchez becomes the 38th first-time All-Star and the ninth replacement — five from the National League. He raised the total number of All-Stars to 73.

Sánchez is 7-4 with a 2.96 ERA. He allowed two runs in six innings in a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday in his last start before the break.

Sánchez was the third member of Philadelphia’s rotation in the All-Star Game but the only one who’ll make it to the game. Philadelphia right-hander Zack Wheeler won’t participate due to back spasms while lefty Ranger Suárez was replaced by Braves starter Max Fried.

The Phillies have three starters in first baseman Bryce Harper, shortstop Trea Turner and third baseman Alec Bohm. Relievers Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm round out the Philadelphia contingent.

Sale picked up his MLB-leading 12th victory in a 6-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. This is the eighth All-Star nod for the 35-year-old.

Fried, who will be heading to his second All-Star Game, is 7-5 with a 3.08 ERA. He’s also had two complete games for Atlanta this year.

SeattleLogan Gilbert was replaced by reliever Andrés Muñoz, his teammate, with Gilbert also set as a Sunday starter.

Minnesota Twins infielder/outfielder Willi Castro and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander and infielder Jordan Westburg were added earlier to the American League roster in place of Houston Astros shortstop Jose Altuve (sore left hand) and outfielder Kyle Tucker (bruised right shin) and Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (left shoulder soreness).

Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Paul SkenesCincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz and right-hander Hunter Greene, and San Francisco Giants outfielder Heliot Ramos were NL replacements for Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler (back spasms), Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts (broken left hand) and right-hander Tyler Glasnow (back tightness), and San Diego Padres outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. (right thigh).

Marcus Semien of host Texas replaced Altuve in the AL starting lineup.

Skenes is slated to start for the National League after making just 11 big league starts.

Adolis Garcia to Take Part in This Year’s Home Run Derby

Adolis Garcia is ready to swing for the fences…

The 31-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder , nicknamed “El Bombi,” will represent the host Texas Rangers in Monday night’s Home Run Derby at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Adolis GarcíaGarcía was knocked out by Tampa Bay Rays slugger Randy Arozarena last year in the first round at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Teoscar Hernandez also confirmed he would participate during Wednesday night’s Phillies-Dodgers broadcast.

This will be Hernandez’s first time in the Derby.

Two Rangers have won the Derby: Ruben Sierra and Cincinnati’s Eric Davis were co-winners in 1989 at Anaheim Stadium, and Juan Gonzalez won in 1993 at Baltimore’s Camden Yards.

The New York Mets’Pete Alonso, Philadelphia‘sAlec Bohm, Baltimore‘sGunnar Henderson, Atlanta‘sMarcell Ozuna, Cleveland‘s José Ramírez and Kansas City‘s Bobby Witt Jr. previously committed to the eight-player field.

Alonso will participate in his fifth straight Home Run Derby, trying to win for the third time.

Adolis García Agrees to Two-Year Contract with Texas Rangers to Avoid Salary Arbitration

Adolis García is staying put…

The 30-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder has agreed to a two-year contract with the Texas Rangers, the team announced this week.

Adolis GarciaThe deal, according to multiple reports, is worth $14 million and avoids a salary arbitration hearing for the American League Championship Series MVP and the World Series champions. The deal through 2025 is pending a physical.

García was the only Rangers player eligible for salary arbitration who didn’t reach a deal before last month’s deadline. An arbitration hearing had been scheduled for Thursday before the agreement was reached.

The two-time MLB All-Star (2021, 2023) slugger, who set an MLB postseason record with 22 RBIs last fall, had requested $6.9 million and Texas offered $5 million. That was the widest gap among the 23 players around the league who exchanged salary proposals with their teams.

García had indicated through an interpreter before the team’s annual awards dinner two weeks ago that he was prepared for a hearing. General manager Chris Young had said then that there had been good dialogue with García and his representatives and described being encouraged by those.

Garcia, who turns 31 next month, made $747,760 last season when he set career highs with 39 home runs and 107 RBIs. He had 27 home runs and 101 RBI in the 2022 season. He was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time and isn’t set to become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2026 season.

An emotional leader with a big bat for the Rangers, García hit .357 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in the ALCS against the Houston Astros. He went deep in five consecutive postseason games, including his 11th-inning winner in Game 1 of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. But he missed the last two World Series games with an oblique issue.

García had said before the Rangers’ annual awards banquet on January 26 that he felt good. He said he took about a month off after the season before resuming his workouts.

The Rangers haven’t been to a salary arbitration hearing since 2000 with designated hitter Lee Stevens.

Jose Altuve Signs Five-Year, $125 Million Extension with Houston Astros

Jose Altuve isn’t leaving his current universe…

The 33-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball second baseman has signed a five-year extension that all but guarantees he will finish his career with the Houston Astros.

Jose AltuveThe deal is worth $125 million, sources told ESPN, taking him all the way through his age-39 season.

“He’s a franchise-type player; one of the best in Houston history,” owner Jim Crane said at the owners meetings in Orlando, Florida. “And we hope someday he’s a Hall of Famer.”

The Astros announced the agreement on social media, calling their superstar an Astro For Life.

Altuve was heading into his final season — at $26 million — before free agency. His new deal begins in 2025 and takes him through 2029.

He has established himself as a central figure of the most successful era in franchise history, a seven-year stretch that has included two World Series titles, four American League pennants and seven consecutive trips (and counting) to the American League Championship Series.

Signed out of Venezuela in 2007, Altuve defied the odds and turned himself into a superstar despite being one of the most undersized players in baseball history at 5-foot-6.

Through 13 years in the big leagues, Altuve has slashed .307/.364/.471 while accumulating 2,047 hits, 295 stolen bases and 209 home runs. His résumé includes eight MLB All-Star invites, six Silver Sluggers, three batting titles, a Gold Glove and an MVP, won in 2017.

His career batting average is the highest of any active player with at least 2,000 at-bats, and the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Freddie Freeman (2,017) is the only other player with more than 2,000 hits since Altuve made his debut on July 20, 2011.

But some of Altuve’s greatest work has been done in the postseason. Most recently, Altuve hit the dramatic winning home run to cap a contentious game against the division-rival Texas Rangers and force Game 7 of the ALCS. He did something similar in the 2019 ALCS, walking off the New York Yankees with a ninth-inning home run against MLB All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman to send the Astros to the World Series.

In 103 playoff games, Altuve has 27 home runs and 89 runs scored, which both rank second all time. His 117 hits are tied for third. He is one of just four players in MLB postseason history to surpass 100 hits and 50 RBIs, joining Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Manny Ramirez.

José Bautista Becomes New Principal Owner of USL Championship Franchise Las Vegas Lights FC

José Bautista is hitting the pitch…

The 43-year-old Dominican former professional baseball right fielder and third baseman, who played 15 seasons in Major League Baseball, primarily for the Toronto Blue Jays, is the new principal owner of the USL Championship franchise Las Vegas Lights FC, the club announced on Tuesday.

José Bautista

“Las Vegas is the place to be and has emerged as a big professional sports town, and I will do everything I can to push this club forward,” Bautista said in a statement.

“As a soccer fan and former professional athlete, I am excited to be involved with the world’s game. Since my retirement from professional baseball, I have witnessed the incredible growth of soccer in the United States, and I look forward to sharing my love of sports with the Las Vegas soccer community.”

Bautista was a six-time MLB All-Star and with a .247 career batting average with 344 home runs, 975 RBIs and 1,022 runs. He played 15 seasons and donned the jersey of eight franchises along the way, but it was his 2015 playoff go-ahead home run — and the bat flip that followed — that cemented him in Blue Jays history.

The tie-breaking three-run home run in the seventh inning of a deciding Game 5 of the 2015 American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers was capped by a memorable flip of the bat before he started rounding the bases in front of a raucous Toronto crowd.

“I kind of blacked out after the swing, hearing the roar of the crowd and the emotion of the moment,” Bautista told ESPN in 2021. “I don’t really recall anything in particular until I was catching my breath back at the bench.”

Las Vegas Lights FC have played in USL Championship since 2018. The team plays its home games at Cashman Field and the 2024 season begins in March.

According to the club’s news release, Bautista was an early equity partner for Marucci Sports, a baseball equipment startup that was sold to Compass Diversified Holdings in 2020.

Bautista represented the Dominican Republic at the 2020 Tokyo Games. His leadership helped the D.R. team earn a bronze medal, punctuated by a walk-off hit and his signature bat flip that sealed the win over Israel to secure the team’s place in the semifinals.

Texas Rangers Sign Diego Castillo to Minor League Deal

Diego Castillo has joined the Texas Rangers organization…

The 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher, a veteran reliever, is among seven free agents who’ve signed minor league contracts with the Texas Rangers that include invitations to spring training with the World Series champions.

Diego Castillo, The Rangers announced the signings Wednesday of Castillo and two other right-handed pitchers, Gerardo Carrillo and Jesus Tinoco, along with catcher Andrew Knapp and outfielders Sandro Fabian, Elier Hernandez and Derek Hill.

Castillo has a 24-18 record with 35 saves and 3.22 ERA over six big league seasons with Tampa Bay Rays (2018-21) and Seattle Mariners (2021-23), with opponents hitting only .200 against him. The right-hander, who turns 30 on January 18, allowed six earned runs over 8⅔ innings in eight relief appearances for the Mariners last season.

Tinoco had a 2.93 ERA in 38 appearances this year for the Saitama Seibu Lions of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization in Japan. Before that, he made 48 appearances over four big league seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2019-21), Miami Marlins (2021) and Texas (2022). He pitched in 17 games for the Rangers, and in one of his two starts allowed the 62nd home run hit by New York Yankees star Aaron Judge to break the AL single-season record.

Rangers pitchers and catchers will have their first spring training workout in Surprise, Arizona, on February 14.

The first full-squad workout is scheduled for February 19.

Nick Martinez Agrees to Two-Year, $26 Million Contract with Cincinnati Reds

Nick Martinez is seeing Red(s)…

The 33-year-old Latino professional baseball player, a right-handed pitcher, has agreed to a two-year, $26 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds, according to ESPN.

Nick MartinezMartinez’s hiring caps a busy Wednesday in which the Reds bulked up their pitching staff in hopes of winning the National League Central next season.

Martinez had opted out of the final two years of his contract with the San Diego Padres that would have paid him $16 million after the Padres declined their two-year, $32 million club option on him.

He comes off a season in which he pitched 54 games out of the bullpen but thrived over nine starts, posting a 2.32 ERA in 42⅔ innings.

Martinez’s deal, which is pending a physical, will pay him $14 million in 2024, sources said, at which point he can head back to free agency. If he opts into the contract, Martinez would be paid $12 million in 2025.

Martinez is expected to join a rotation that could include any of five 25-and-under pitchers: Right-handers Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft and left-handers Nick LodoloAndrew Abbott and Brandon Williamson.

After four years of middling success with the Texas Rangers, Martinez spent four seasons in Japan, thriving in 2021 with a 1.60 ERA in 140⅔ innings. He returned stateside with more fastball velocity and an elite Vulcan-grip changeup he learned while in Japan. Martinez signed with the Padres, opting out of his deal after one season but re-signing last November for three years and $26 million, with the dual options following the first season.

In the two seasons since his return to Major League Baseball, Martinez is 10-8 with a 3.45 ERA and 201 strikeouts against 81 walks in 216⅔ innings.

Adrian Beltre Among Newcomers to Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame Ballot

Adrian Beltre is getting his first chance at entering the hall…

The 44-year-old Dominican former professional baseball player, regarded as one of the greatest third basemen of all time, is among the newcomers to the 26-player Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot, as revealed on Monday.

Adrian Beltre Beltre, a four time MLB All-Star. played 21 major league seasons and won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award five times. He played for the Los Angeles DodgersSeattle MarinersBoston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.

Other newcomers are  Bartolo ColonMatt HollidayJose BautistaAdrian GonzalezJose ReyesVictor MartinezJames Shields, David Wright, Joe MauerChase Utley and Brandon Phillips.

Players must receive 75% of the vote to gain induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with the top holdovers from last year’s vote including Todd Helton (72%), Billy Wagner (68%), Andruw Jones (58%), Gary Sheffield (55%) and Carlos Beltran (46.5%).

It’s the 10th and final year on the ballot for Sheffield, while Wagner is on the ballot for the ninth time.

Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, both of whom received PED suspensions during their careers, also return to the ballot.

Beltran returns for the second time after his vote total might have been held down in his initial appearance due to his involvement in the 2017 Houston Astros cheating scandal.

Here’s a look at the top Latino newcomers:

  • Beltre should be a lock as a first-year candidate after finishing with 3,166 hits, 477 home runs and 93.5 WAR while capturing five Gold Gloves. He ranks third in WAR among third basemen, behind only Mike Schmidtand Eddie Mathews. He had his career season with the Los Angeles Dodgersin 2004, when he led the National League with 48 home runs and finished second in the MVP voting, but his best run came in his 30s with the Texas Rangers from 2011 to 2018, when he had four 30-homer seasons and hit .304.
  • Colon became a fan favorite late in his career, and he finished with 247 wins and won a Cy Young Award with the Angels in 2005, but his career ERA of 4.12 is a little high for serious consideration.
  • Bautista had a nice run from 2010 to 2015 as the game’s top power hitter — he led the AL with 54 home runs in 2010 and 43 in 2011, and his 227 home runs over those six seasons were 28 more than Miguel Cabrerato lead all hitters — but he was late bloomer and didn’t do enough on the front end or back end of his career, and Hall of Fame voters tend to reward longevity over peak value.
  • Gonzalez (43.5 WAR) falls into the “Hall of Very Good” category, with just over 2,000 hits, 317 home runs and seven 100-RBI seasons, but the offensive bar is high for first basemen.

Other holdovers are Omar VizquelAndy PettitteBobby AbreuJimmy RollinsMark BuehrleFrancisco Rodriguez and Torii Hunter.

After years of electing multiple candidates, the BBWAA has elected just one each of the past two years — Scott Rolen in 2023; David Ortiz in 2022 — and didn’t elect anyone in 2021.

Earlier, the Hall of Fame announced its Contemporary Era Committee ballot, which this year considered managers, executive and umpires.

The eight candidates on that ballot are managers Jim Leyland, Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston and Davey Johnson; executives Hank Peters and Bill White (who was also a fine player); and umpires Joe West and Ed Montague.

Ronald Acuña Jr. Named MLB’s Player of the Year by Major League Baseball Players Association

Ronald Acuña Jr. is this year’s Major League Baseball all-star, according to his peers…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder and Atlanta Braves right fielder has been voted player of the year and the National League‘s outstanding player by fellow major leaguers in the annual Players Choice Awards of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Ronald Acuña Jr.,Los Angeles Angels designated hitter and pitcher Shohei Ohtani was voted the American League‘s outstanding player, the union said Thursday.

Acuña became the first player with 40 homers and 70 stolen bases in a season, hitting .337 with 41 homers, 106 RBIs and 73 stolen bases. No player previously had 40 homers and 50 steals in a season.

Ohtani hit .304 with 44 homers, 95 RBIs and 20 stolen bases and went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings. His pitching season ended August 23 because of a torn elbow ligament, an injury that will keep him from the mound until 2025. His hitting season ended September 3 due to an oblique strain.

Ohtani is expected to be the top player on the free agent market.

Marcus Semien, the second baseman of the World Series champion Texas Rangers, won his second Marvin Miller man of the year award, given to a player whose leadership inspires others. Semien, who also received the award in 2021, is a member of the union’s eight-man executive subcommittee.

Former outfielder Phil Bradley was awarded the Curt Flood Award for advancement of players’ rights and devotion to the union. Bradley is a union special assistant for international and domestic special events.

The New York Yankees‘ Gerrit Cole was selected as the AL outstanding pitcher and San Diego‘s Blake Snell the NL outstanding pitcher.

Comeback players were Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger in the NL and Chicago White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks in the AL.

Outstanding rookies were Arizona outfielder Corbin Carroll in the NL and Baltimore infielder Gunnar Henderson in the AL.