Elian Soto Reportedly Verbally Agrees to Join Brother Juan Soto’s Washington Nationals Team

Elian Soto is heading to The District

The 16-year-old Dominican baseball outfielder and third baseman, the younger sibling of Juan Soto, has verbally agreed to join his brother’s Washington Nationals.

Elian SotoThe announcement comes just days after he declared his intentions to sign with the New York Mets, according to ESPN.

Elian Soto wouldn’t be eligible to formally sign until next year’s international free agent class in January 2023.

The younger Soto posted an Instagram video of himself working out in full Mets gear on December 31 and had reportedly been given a $50,000 bonus but has since changed course.

Soto’s decision was first reported by Washington City Paper.

The Nationals’ offer is believed to be larger. The discrepancy in money and a greater familiarity with the Nats’ minor league system — as opposed to a Mets system seemingly in transition under new general manager Billy Eppler — were the main factors in Soto’s decision, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.

The presence of Juan Soto, a superstar who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, certainly didn’t hurt, either.

Elian Soto, a left-handed hitter, isn’t considered a premium international prospect but is still young enough to develop into one. Amateur players and their trainers in the Dominican Republic often make handshake agreements with teams long before they’re old enough to officially sign a contract, allowing them to intermittently train at the team’s facility and preventing them from showcasing themselves to evaluators from other organizations.

There appears to be a strong possibility that an international draft will be baked into the new collective bargaining agreement, which is still being negotiated between the owners and the players. But the current international signing rules could still be in place next year in order to give teams and prospects more time to get acclimated.

Elian Soto, like his brother, is represented by the Boras Corporation, and adding him could play in the Nationals’ favor when it comes to extending Juan Soto, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 season under the current CBA.

Joey Cora to Become Third-Base Coach for New York Mets

Joey Cora has Mets his match…

The New York Mets are on the verge of hiring the 56-year-old Puerto Rican former Major League Baseball player, who had an 11-year career in the MLB, as their new third-base coach, ESPN reports, confirming a report by the New York Post.

Joey Cora,

Cora, the older brother of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, spent five years as third-base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates before being let go at the end of the 2021 season.

In New York, he’ll become the first coach hired under Buck Showalter, who took over as the team’s manager less than three weeks ago.

The Mets retained Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach but are still in the process of filling vacancies at bench coach, hitting coach and first-base coach, among others.

Cora was a major league middle infielder from 1987 to 1998, making an MLB All-Star team late in his career, then transitioned into coaching shortly thereafter. Cora began as a manager in the Mets’ minor league system and later spent eight years with the Chicago White Sox under Ozzie Guillen, winning a World Series as the team’s third-base coach in 2005. Cora was also Guillen’s bench coach with the Miami Marlins in 2012 and has often interviewed for managerial jobs throughout his post-playing career.

Cora will now replace Gary DiScarcina, who was let go amid the shake-up that followed the firing of former Mets manager Luis Rojas. Rojas is now the New York Yankees‘ third-base coach, while DiSarcina has the same position with the Washington Nationals.

Yan Gomes Agrees to Two-Year, $13 Million Contract with Chicago Cubs

Yan Gomes is headed to the Windy City…

The 34-year-old Brazilian professional baseball catcher and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to on a two-year, $13 million contract, according to ESPN sources.

Yan GomesGomes hit a combined .252 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs between the Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics last season. Washington traded Gomes to the Oakland A’s at the trading deadline.

He threw out 31% of attempted base stealers last season (19 of 43) and had a .990 fielding percentage.

In Chicago, Gomes likely will back up starter Willson Contreras.

For his career, Gomes has a .247 average, 117 home runs and 416 RBIs in 10 major league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cleveland Guardians, Washington and Oakland.

Alcides Escobar Agrees to $1 Million Deal with Washington Nationals

Alcides Escobar has a million reasons to smile…

The 34-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract to stay with the Washington Nationals next season.

Alcides Escobar,

Escobar, who will turn 35 in December, batted .288 with 21 doubles, two triples, four homers and 28 RBIs in 75 games with the Nationals after signing with the club in July.

Escobar has a career average of .259 with 245 doubles and 470 RBIs over a total of 12 seasons in the majors with three clubs. He was an AL All-Star for the Kansas City Royals in 2015.

This is the first move of what figures to be a busy offseason for general manager Mike Rizzo after Washington finished last in the NL East with a 67-95 record. The regular season ended on Sunday.

Rizzo opted to tear down the roster at the trade deadline, parting with more than a half-dozen veterans, including shortstop Trea Turner — the eventual NL batting champion — and starting pitcher Max Scherzer

Marlins’ Pitching Prospect Edward Cabrera to Make MLB Debut This Week

Edward Cabrera is ready for his big moment…

The 23-year-old Dominican highly regarded pitching prospect is scheduled to make his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut on Wednesday when the Miami Marlins take on the Washington Nationals.

Edward Cabrera

Cabrera is 3-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 13 starts at three minor league levels this year. He was sidelined early in the season by a biceps injury.

The right-handed pitcher is 19-25 with a 3.54 ERA in five seasons in the minors, recording 361 strikeouts in 341 innings.

Chicago White Sox Rookie Yermin Mercedes Makes MLB History with 8-for-8 Start

Yermin Mercedes continues his historic run…

The 28-year-old Dominican Chicago White Sox rookie got three hits in his first three at-bats on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels to improve to 8-for-8 to start 2021, the most consecutive hits to start a season by any player in the modern era (since 1900).

Yermin Mercedes

Mercedes, who had one major league at-bat entering the season, going 0-for-1 in 2020, has started at DH the past two games and tortured the Angels with his two-strike hitting — five of the eight hits have come with two strikes.

After homering in the second inning on Saturday for his first career home run, Mercedes’ eighth straight hit came in the sixth inning, a double that bounced off the warning track in left-center.

“I’m just trying to wait for my pitch and not do too much,” Mercedes said after the White Sox lost 5-3 in Anaheim. “Just stay right there and swing hard. It doesn’t matter if it is two strikes or no strikes, I just want to see the ball.” 

The eight hits:

Friday
1. Line-drive single off a 1-2 changeup from Andrew Heaney
2. Ground ball single off a 1-0 sinker from Javy Guerra
3. Line-drive single off an 0-1 cutter from Chris Rodriguez
4. Line-drive single off an 0-2 cutter from Mike Mayers
5. Double to left field off an 0-2 change from Alex Claudio

Saturday
6. 421-foot home run off a 2-2 splitter from Alex Cobb
7. Ground ball single off a 1-2 sinker from Cobb
8. Double to deep left-center off a 1-0 sinker from Cobb

In his ninth at-bat, Mercedes flew out to center field to end his streak. He finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored on Saturday.

“All of his hits have been clutch and he has been putting us in position to try to win,” manager Tony LaRussa said. “He has had a great approach, especially with two strikes.”

Mercedes is a rookie who has bounced around three organizations, originally signed by the Washington Nationals and spending time with the Baltimore Orioles before the White Sox signed him in 2018. He wasn’t expected to be a big part of the lineup, but Eloy Jimenez‘s injury has opened up playing time, with projected DH Andrew Vaughn starting the past two games in left field.

LaRussa said Mercedes was supposed to have the night off Saturday but that he earned his way into the lineup with his 5-for-5 night.

Mercedes has spent most of his time in the minor leagues at catcher but does own a .302 career minor league average, and in 2019, he hit .317/.388/.581 with 23 home runs in 95 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

“I never imagined that. It is great for me,” Mercedes said of his start. “Now, it’s a new day for me. I want to keep doing well and work with my approach. I want to play every day and I’m excited for that.”

Before Mercedes, the only player since 1900 to get five hits in his first career start was Cecil Travis, who went 5-for-7 for the Washington Senators in 1933.

The overall record for consecutive hits at any point in a season is 12, shared by the Chicago CubsJohnny Kling (1902) and two Boston Red Sox players, Pinky Higgins (1938) and Walt Dropo (1952).

Chicago White Sox’s Yermin Mercedes Makes MLB History in Game Against Los Angeles Angels

Yermin Mercedes has earned his place in the annals of Major League Baseball history… 

The 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball catcher became the first player in the modern era to go 5-for-5 in his first career start, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 12-8 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night at Angels Stadium.

Yermin Mercedes

Mercedes, playing in his second career game, also drove in four runs in an extraordinary performance as Chicago’s designated hitter.

“I’m so excited right now,” Mercedes said. “I don’t even know what to say right now, or what I want to say, but I’m just so happy.”

The only players since 1900 to get five hits in their first career start are Mercedes and Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators, who went 5-for-7 in 1933. Fred Clarke also did it for the Louisville Colonels in 1894.

Mercedes singled in his first at-bat in the third, delivered a two-run single in the fourth, then singled in the sixth and eighth innings before capping his night with a two-run double in the ninth.

“There were a lot of great things that happened, and the greatest thing was the designated hitter,” said manager Tony La Russa, who got the first victory of his second stint running the White Sox.

After failing to catch on during three years in the Washington Nationals‘ system, Mercedes played independent ball in 2014 before grinding his way up the minors with Baltimore and Chicago, which snagged him as a Rule 5 pick in 2017. Mercedes got just one plate appearance as a pinch-hitter for the White Sox last season.

“I just want to cry every time I see I’m in the majors right now,” Mercedes said. “It’s a long time. I’ve got a big history, so it’s about time, but it’s hard for me because just looking around, and I’m like, ‘It’s real. I’m here.'”

Francisco Lindor Agrees to 10-Year, $341 Million Deal with New York Mets

Francisco Lindor has landed a big deal…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop and the New York Mets have agreed to a 10-year, $341 million deal.

Francisco Lindor

Lindor’s deal will be the third largest based on total value in Major League Baseball history, trailing only the deals for the Los Angeles AngelsMike Trout ($426.5 million) and the Los Angeles DodgersMookie Betts ($365 million).

The Mets were widely expected to sign Lindor to a long-term extension after acquiring the four-time MLB All-Star in a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Indians this offseason.

The negotiations became a major storyline during spring training, with new Mets owner Steve Cohen writing on Twitter last week, “What do think Lindor will accept? I’m going to crowdsource the answer.”

“Lindor is a heckuva player and a great guy. I hope he decides to sign,” Cohen wrote on Tuesday.

Lindor had stated that he would “go to free agency” if he didn’t have a deal in place by Opening Day, saying he did not want to negotiate during the season. The Mets open Thursday against the Washington Nationals.

In January, the Mets avoided salary arbitration with Lindor by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $22.3 million. It was the fourth-biggest one-year contract for an arbitration-eligible player, trailing Mookie Betts ($27 million with Boston last year), Nolan Arenado ($26 million with Colorado in 2019) and Josh Donaldson ($23 million with Toronto in 2018).

A two-time Gold Glove winner, Lindor is a career .285 hitter and has averaged 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 steals in his six major league seasons — all with the Indians, who drafted him in 2011.

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.

Asdrubal Cabrera Agrees to $1.75 million, One-Year Deal with Arizona Diamondbacks

Asdrubal Cabrera is Arizona bound…

The 35-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball infielder has agreed to a $1.75 million, one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to multiple media reports.

Asdrubal Cabrera

Cabrera can earn up to $1.05 million in performance bonuses, as part of the deal, which was first reported by MLB Network.

Cabrera is a two-time MLB All-Star who was with the Washington Nationals in 2020, batting .242 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened season.

Cabrera seems like an ideal fit for the Diamondbacks at second base, which would move the versatile Ketel Marte back to centerfield.

Marte had a breakout year in 2019 while playing mostly center field but was moved back to primarily second base in 2020.

Cabrera was an All-Star with the Cleveland Indians in 2011 and 2012. He has played all four infield positions during his career and has nearly 1,700 career hits, along with 188 homers.

The Diamondbacks have made a couple of moves over the past few weeks after a quiet offseason. They signed veteran relief pitcher Joakim Soria to a $3.5 million, one-year deal.

Arizona is coming off a disappointing 25-35 record in 2020, which put them last in the NL West.