Miguel Cabrera Becomes Newest Member of MLB’s 500 Home Run Club

Miguel Cabrera is in elite company…

The 38-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, a first baseman and designated hitter for the Detroit Tigers, is now a member of one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball, after becoming the 28th member of the 500 home run club with a sixth-inning blast for the Tigers on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera connected on a 1-1 pitch from left-hander Steven Matz, sending the ball over the scoreboard in right-center field. The 400-foot homer tied the score at 1. The Tigers won the game 5-3 in 11 innings.

The 14,685 fans at Rogers Centre rose for a standing ovation as Cabrera rounded the bases. After celebrating with his teammates, the Tigers slugger came out of the dugout to accept a curtain call, taking off his helmet and bowing to the crowd behind Detroit’s dugout.

“It’s something special for my country, for my family, to be able to do this,” he said. “I’m really happy.”

Cabrera is the first player to reach the mark in a Tigers uniform. Detroit manager AJ Hinch asked Cabrera to address the team after the game, and the slugger thanked his teammates for their support.

“So proud for him and his family, and a career accomplishment so rare you may never get to be a part of this again,” Hinch said. “We have no idea who the next person can be to pass this big number.”

Cabrera went 31 at-bats between his 499th and 500th home runs, the third-longest such stretch in MLB history, behind Jimmie Foxx (61) and Harmon Killebrew (43), according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Now in his 19th season in Major League Baseball, Cabrera foretold his future greatness in his first major league game on June 20, 2003, when he hit a walk-off home run to dead-center field in the bottom of the 11th inning for the Florida Marlins in a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay.

Indeed, he was precocious enough at the plate as a much-hyped 20-year-old that by October of that year he was batting cleanup for the Marlins in the World Series. He is still the youngest player to start at cleanup in a World Series game.

It has been a slow trek to 500 for Cabrera, who had 446 home runs at the end of the 2016 season after hitting 38 that year, marking the 10th time he had reached 30 home runs. He hasn’t hit more than 16 in a season since, as injuries and age sapped his power output. His 500th home run was his 13th of 2021.

Still, Cabrera is one of the best all-around hitters in the 500 home run club. His .311 career batting average ranks fifth among the 28 players; only nine batted .300 in their careers. His career adjusted batting is 19.2% better than the league average, which ranks behind only Ted Williams and Babe Ruth among club members, and he won batting titles in 2011 (.344), 2012 (.330), 2013 (.348) and 2015 (.338). The only other right-handed hitters with 500 home runs and a .300 average are Manny Ramirez, Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Frank Thomas.

Cabrera’s four batting titles ties Williams for the most among members of the 500 home run club, pending inclusion of the Negro Leagues‘ stats, according to ESPN Stats & Info research. Cabrera also is the only member of the club who was born in Venezuela.

Cabrera has won two home run titles, as well, leading the American League with 37 in 2008, his first season with the Tigers after a trade with the Marlins, and then again with 44 in 2012. That was Cabrera’s Triple Crown season, in which he became the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to lead his league in home runs, RBIs and batting average. Cabrera won his first of back-to-back MVP awards during that 2012 campaign, beating out Mike Trout both times.

A few more home run facts from Cabrera’s career:

  • He has 41 two-homer games and two three-homer games. His three-homer games came against Oakland on May 28, 2010, and versus Texas on May 19, 2013.
  • His most victimized team: He has hit 50 home runs against Cleveland.
  • His most victimized pitcher: He hit seven off Phil Hughes.
  • He has hit seven walk-off home runs, that first one in his first game coming off Al Levine.

Next up for Cabrera: The 3,000 hit club, which has 32 members. He needed 134 hits at the start of the season, and in spring training, Cabrera said he wished to join both clubs in 2021.

“I hope I can get to 500, 3,000 this year,” he said in February. “It’s one of my goals this year. Mentally, I feel good. I feel mentally strong. I’m trying to go day by day and trying to play hard.”

It appears Cabrera will fall short of that milestone, as he has 2,955 hits. He had one stint on the injured list this year, missing 13 games in April with a biceps strain.

He is still signed through 2023, however, so he should get there in early 2022. The 3,000/500 club includes just six players: Aaron, Mays, Albert Pujols, Eddie Murray, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro.

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.”

Jose Altuve Among Seven Houston Astros Players Named as Finalists for 2021 MLB All-Star Game

Jose Altuve is one step closer to another All-Star game…

The 31-year-old Venezuelan Major League Baseball second baseman, a six-time MLB All-Star, is among seven Houston Astros players named as finalists to start in the 2021 All-Star Game.

Jose AltuveThe Astros have an MLB best seven finalists this season.

On June 23, Altuve hit his 150th career home run, doing so off Thomas Eshelman of the Baltimore Orioles.

The top three finalists for each position based on fan voting in each league, plus designated hitter for the American League, were announced Sunday.

Three teams — the Los Angeles DodgersChicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays — have five finalists for the Midsummer Classic, which will be played July 13 at Coors Field.

Voting on the finalists begins Monday and ends Thursday. The AL and NL All-Star starters, based on those votes, will be announced on Thursday at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN. The remainder of the All-Star teams will be unveiled next Sunday at 5:30 pm ET on ESPN.

The finalists:

Catcher:

AL:

  1. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
  2. Martin Maldonado, Astros
  3. Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox

NL:

  1. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
  2. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Willson Contreras, Cubs

First base:

AL:

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
  2. Yuli Gurriel, Astros
  3. Jose Abreu, White Sox

NL:

  1. Max Muncy, Dodgers
  2. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
  3. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs

Second base:

AL:

  1. Marcus Semien, Blue Jays
  2. Jose Altuve, Astros
  3. DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees

NL:

  1. Ozzie Albies, Braves
  2. Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Gavin Lux, Dodgers

Shortstop:

AL:

  1. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
  2. Bo Bichette, Blue Jays
  3. Carlos Correa, Astros

NL:

  1. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
  2. Javier Baez, Cubs
  3. Brandon Crawford, Giants

Third base:

AL:

  1. Rafael Devers, Red Sox
  2. Alex Bregman, Astros
  3. Yoan Moncada, White Sox

NL:

  1. Kris Bryant, Cubs
  2. Nolan Arenado, Cardinals
  3. Justin Turner, Dodgers

Outfield:

AL:

  1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
  2. Aaron Judge, Yankees
  3. Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
  4. Michael Brantley, Astros
  5. Adolis García, Texas Rangers
  6. Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays
  7. Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles
  8. Alex Verdugo, Red Sox
  9. Randal Grichuk, Blue Jays

NL:

  1. Ronald Acuna Jr.
  2. Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds
  3. Jesse Winker, Reds
  4. Mookie Betts, Dodgers
  5. Chris Taylor, Dodgers
  6. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
  7. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
  8. Joc Pederson, Cubs
  9. Mike Yastrzemski, Giants

Designated hitter:

AL:

  1. Shohei Ohtani, Angels
  2. D. Martinez, Red Sox
  3. Yordan Alvarez, Astros

Milwaukee Brewers Acquire Willy Adames from Tampa Bay Rays 

Things are brewing for Willy Adames

The slumping Milwaukee Brewers moved to shore up their infield defense by acquiring the 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball shortstop from the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

Willy Adames

Milwaukee also got pitcher Trevor Richards from the Rays for relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen.

Adames is hitting .197 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 41 games this year but had an .813 OPS last season while helping Tampa Bay reach the World Series. The 28-year-old Richards has a 4.50 ERA and one save in six relief appearances.

“We’re acquiring a shortstop who has proven he’s one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said.

The trade surprised Adames, who already had arrived at TD Ballpark for the Rays’ game with the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida, when he learned about the move.

Adames said he’d “been crying the whole afternoon.”

“To get that news out of nowhere, it was tough,” Adames said. “It’s business. You’ve got to see every side of the situation and every view and just take the positive, and just bring the joy with everything we’ve done here. Just continue to have those memories and take it with me.”

The Rays plan to call up Taylor Walls and give him much of the playing time at shortstop, though Joey Wendle will play there on occasion. Tampa Bay also has top prospect Wander Franco and Vidal Brujan at Triple-A Durham.

“You’re talking about as good a defensive shortstop as you’re going to find,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “You’re talking about a switch-hitter that can put ball in the play, do a lot of things to help you win tight games.”

Adames said he figured he might get traded eventually because the Rays had Walls and Franco in the organization. He just didn’t think a deal would happen this soon.

“That’s what I was telling the guys,” Adames said. “I said, ‘It was so surprising because it’s too early.’ I was not even thinking this year, maybe next year. You kind of knew that’s how they work, that’s how the organization works. But to get this news so early, it was tough.”

The acquisition of Adames gives the Brewers some help at shortstop, which had been a growing concern. The Brewers began a weekend series at Cincinnati on Friday having lost 12 of their past 16 games to fall below .500.

Adames has a $590,000 salary in the major leagues, is eligible for arbitration next winter and can become a free agent after the 2024 season.

Jose Alvarez Signs One-Year, $1.15 Million Deal with San Francisco Giants

Jose Alvarez has landed a Giant(s) deal…

The 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher and left-handed reliever has signed a $1.15 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Jose Alvarez

Alvarez will look to build off momentum he had with the Philadelphia Phillies last season when he posted a 1.42 ERA over eight outings. He was struck by a 105 mph line drive in the groin area August 20 against the Toronto Blue Jays and didn’t pitch for the rest of the year.

Alvarez allowed just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings before the injury, holding right-handed hitters to 3 for 15 with one extra-base hit. He pitched for second-year Giants manager Gabe Kapler for Philadelphia in 2019.

The deal that includes a club option for 2022 worth $1.5 million for the veteran reliever. Alvarez would receive a $100,000 buyout if the Giants decline the option.

Also, the Giants announced right-hander Jordan Humphreys was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres.

Jesse Chavez Signs Minor League Deal with the Los Angeles Angels

Jesse Chavez is springing into action…

The 37-year-old Latino veteran right-hander has re-signed with the Los Angeles Angels on a minor league deal.

Jesse Chavez

Chavez will join the Angels’ spring training camp in Tempe, Arizona, after he clears their intake protocols, according to the team.

Chavez appeared in 38 games for the Angels in 2017, making 21 starts. He left for the Texas Rangers as a free agent after one season, and he excelled after being traded in July 2018 to the Chicago Cubs, where he was managed by current Angels skipper Joe Maddon.

Chavez spent the past two seasons back with the Rangers, struggling last season with a 6.88 ERA in 18 appearances.

With experience as a starter, long reliever and late-inning reliever, Chavez could provide versatility for the Angels, whose long-struggling pitching staff can use all the depth it can get.

Chavez is a native of the Los Angeles area, graduating from high school in Fontana before pitching in junior college in Riverside. He has also pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Carlos Correa Looking for Long-Term Contract with Houston Astros

Carlos Correa is looking for a long-term deal…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop says he’s hoping for a long-term contract with the Houston Astros, but wants to seal any deal before Opening Day.

Carlos Correa

“I feel so good, my body feels so great and I feel like I’m going to have such a great season that once the season starts, I don’t want to be involved with or distracted with those conversations,” said Correa after the Astros held their first full-squad workout of the spring.

The Astros avoided arbitration with Correa, who can become a free agent at the end of the season, by signing him to a one-year, $11.7 million contract.

Correa has spent his entire career with the Astros after they selected him with the first overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. He said he’d like to stay in Houston, but so far, the team hasn’t talked to him about an extension.

“There’s no talks right now about that,” he said. “Talks are nowhere right now. I leave that up to my agent and the organization, but right now, there’s no talks about it. I haven’t heard from them since the arbitration was settled. That’s where we are right now.”

If Correa does hit the free-agent market, he’ll do it with a strong group of shortstops that could include Javier BáezFrancisco Lindor, Trevor Story and Corey Seager. Correa will be just 27 years old when he’s eligible for free agency if he doesn’t agree to an extension with the Astros.

 

“I’ll be really young. I’ll be one of the youngest players going to free agency next year,” he said. “I feel like it would take the right deal to stay here. I’m not going to sell myself short, but at the same time, I know what I’m worth. … I’m expecting to have a great, healthy season, which will help my case for free agency being the youngest shortstop out there. We’ll see how it goes.”

Houston’s other two stars on the infield have already agreed to long-term contracts — second baseman Jose Altuve signed a five-year, $151 million deal in 2018 and third baseman Alex Bregman agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract in 2019. The Astros lost star outfielder George Springer this offseason when he signed a six-year, $150 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

Correa, who was the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year, is a career .276 hitter with 107 homers and 397 RBIs in six major league seasons. He hit .264 with five homers and 25 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but he heated up in the postseason where he had six homers and 17 RBIs to help the Astros to the America League Championship Series.

Aaron Sanchez Agrees to One-Year, $4 Million Deal with San Francisco Giants

Aaron Sanchez has agreed to a giant(s) deal…

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional baseball pitcher has finalized a $4 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, giving the club another experienced starter to join Johnny Cueto in the rotation.

Aaron Sanchez

The Giants said Sanchez could earn up to $2.5 million more in performance bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 16 and 18 starts and $500,000 each for 20, 22, 24 and 26 games started. He has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

Sanchez hasn’t pitched since 2019, sitting out last year’s shortened season while recovering from surgery on his pitching shoulder. He went 5-14 with a 5.89 ERA over 27 starts and 131⅓ innings playing for Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros.

A 2016 MLB All-Star for the Blue Jays, he made only 20 starts in 2018 and eight starts the year before because of a blister and split fingernail.

The Giants cleared room on the 40-man roster for Sanchez by designating right-hander Trevor Gott for assignment.

Jonathan Villar Agrees to One-Year Deal with the New York Mets

Jonathan Villar has Mets his match…

The 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball player will be joining his fifth team in four seasons, agreeing to a one-year deal with the New York Mets, according to ESPN.

Jonathan Villar

Villar’s deal is for $3.55 million, according to multiple reports. His agreement with the Mets was first reported by MLB Network.

Villar, a switch-hitter, had a .232 batting average with 15 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 52 games between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He has shown his versatility in the field, playing second base, shortstop, third base and outfield during his career.

He adds infield depth behind new shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil.

Entering his ninth MLB season, Villar has also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros since 2013.

He has a career .259 batting average with 80 home runs, 283 RBIs and 218 stolen bases.

Francisco Liriano & Toronto Blue Jays Agree to Minor League Deal

Francisco Liriano is flying high…

The 37-year-old Dominican veteran professional baseball relief pitcher, a left-hander, has agreed to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays that includes an invitation to spring training.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano didn’t pitch in the MLB during the pandemic-altered 2020 season. He was in camp with the Philadelphia Phillies on a minor league deal when the Phillies released him in July before Opening Day.

He went 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 69 relief appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019, striking out 63 and walking 35 in 70 innings.

Liriano, an MLB All-Star as a rookie with the Minnesota Twins in 2006, is 112-114 with a 4.15 ERA in 300 starts and 119 relief outings over 14 major league seasons with the Twins, Chicago White Sox, Pirates, Blue Jays, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.

He pitched for Toronto in 2016 and 2017 before getting traded to Houston for outfielders Teoscar Hernández and Nori Aoki.

Liriano won a World Series ring with the 2017 Astros, making five short relief appearances during the postseason that year.