Pablo Sandoval Agrees to Contract with Staten Island FerryHawks

Pablo Sandoval is headed to Staten Island

The 37-year-old Venezuelan-American professional baseball player and former World Series MVP has agreed to a contract with the Staten Island FerryHawks of the independent Atlantic League.

Pablo SandovalThe announcement comes nine days after he was released from a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants.

Sandoval, 37, hit .250 with two RBIs in 28 spring training at-bats for the Giants, the team he helped to World Series titles in 2010, ’12 and ’14.

A fan favorite nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, the two-time MLB All-Star was last in the major leagues in 2021 when he hit .178 with a .302 on-base percentage, four homers and 11 RBIs in 69 games with the Atlanta Braves.

Sandoval has a .278 batting average, .330 on-base percentage, .443 slugging percentage, 153 homers and 639 RBIs in 1,380 career games while primarily playing third base.

The veteran has also batted .338 with a .921 OPS in 42 postseason games, including a .426 average and 1.162 OPS in 12 World Series contests.

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.

Carlos Carrasco Agrees to Minor League Contract with Cleveland Guardians

Carlos Carrasco is returning to Cleveland…

The 36-year-old Venezuelan-American professional baseball pitcher, who spent 11 seasons pitching for the Cleveland Guardians, has agreed to a minor league contract with the team featuring an invitation to spring training, per ESPN.

Carlos Carrasco

Carrasco’s base salary will be $2 million if he is on the big league team, according to ESPN sources.

The Athletic was first to report Carrasco’s return to the Guardians.

Carrasco, nicknamed Cookie, was a dependable part of Cleveland’s rotation for several seasons. He led the American League with 18 wins in 2017, and he became one of the team’s most popular players because of his warm personality and later for his courage in battling cancer.

In 2019, Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia and was sidelined for three months. He was recognized during an emotional appearance on the field during the All-Star Game in Cleveland that season.

Carrasco went 88-73 with a 3.77 ERA in 242 games (195 starts) with Cleveland from 2009 to 2020.

He was traded as part of the deal that sent MLB All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets in 2021. Carrasco went 19-20 in three seasons with the Mets, going 15-7 in 2022. Carrasco went 3-8 in 20 starts last season.

Carrasco was sidelined during Cleveland’s run to the World Series in 2016 after he was struck by a line drive on his pitching hand in the final month of the season.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Agrees to Three-Year, $42 Million Contract with Arizona Diamondbacks

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. isn’t leaving The Copper State.

The 30-year-old Cuban professional baseball player has agreed to a three-year, $42 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, with a club option for a fourth season, according to ESPN sources.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The deal also includes an opt-out after the second season.

Gurriel had his best all-around season at the right time in 2023, coming to Arizona along with catcher Gabriel Moreno for outfielder Daulton Varsho in an offseason trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gurriel hit .261/.309/.463, setting career highs in games (145), home runs (24) and WAR (3.0). He also had an excellent defensive season, ranking second to Steven Kwan among left fielders by saving 14 runs.

The Cuba native and younger brother of former Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel was a high-profile infield prospect when Toronto originally signed him to a seven-year, $22 million contract before the 2017 season. He reached the Blue Jays in 2018, but his defensive struggles at shortstop and second base pushed him into the outfield.

Lourdes Gurriel hit 31 home runs in 141 games over the 2019-20 seasons and 21 in 2021, but he hit just five in 2022 and had wrist surgery after the season.

He was a secondary player to Moreno in the trade with the Diamondbacks but proved to be a key contributor as Arizona made the playoffs as a wild card and had a surprising run to the World Series.

Gurriel looks like a safe bet to keep up similar production in upcoming years, with 20-homer power and an above-average contact rate (79th percentile) that teams covet. His defense is unlikely to remain at the same level, which makes more him more of a projected league-average 2-win player moving forward than the 3-WAR value of 2023.

Eduardo Rodriguez Agrees to Four-Year Deal with Arizona Diamondbacks

Eduardo Rodriguez is heading to The Copper State.

The 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher, nicknamed “E-Rod,” has agreed to a four-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks valued at around $20 million a year, according to ESPN.

Eduardo Rodriguez The deal is pending a physical.

The left-handed starter opted out of the final three years of his deal with the Detroit Tigers after going 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 152⅔ innings. He was expected to be moved at the trade deadline this year but invoked his no-trade clause to kill an agreed-upon deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Rodriguez gives the National League champion Diamondbacks another quality starter for their rotation that includes NL Cy Young Award finalist Zac Gallen, veteran Merrill Kelly and youngsters like righty Brandon Pfaadt and lefty Tommy Henry.

During their recent run to the World Series, Arizona only had three true starting pitchers, using the bullpen to get through Game 4 of the NL Championship Series and the World Series.

At his best, Rodriguez offers a polished four-pitch mix he controls well and uses to generate strikeouts. Over his eight-year career, he has punched out more than a batter an inning, and his ability to limit home runs prompted the Tigers to lavish a five-year, $77 million deal on him after he reached free agency following six seasons with the Boston Red Sox.

Rodriguez missed almost half of his first season with Detroit in 2022 while dealing with marital issues. He was looking like a surefire All-Star this year until a ruptured pulley in his left index finger caused him to miss all of June. Rodriguez wasn’t nearly as effective after he returned, posting a 4.24 ERA over 15 starts and 85 innings as compared to a 2.13 ERA in 11 starts and 67⅔ innings before the injury.

He opted out anyway, forgoing the final three years and $49 million on his deal to hit free agency once again.

Yadier Molina to Serve as Special Assistant to St. Louis Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations

Yadier Molina is trading in his uniform for a suit…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican former professional baseball catcher will remain with the St. Louis Cardinals as a special assistant to John Mozeliak, their president of baseball operations.

Yadier MolinaThe announcement comes after the longtime catcher wrapped up his 19-year big league career in 2022.

Molina was a 10-time MLB All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner who played all 2,224 games of his career for St. Louis. That included 2,184 games behind the plate, the most by any catcher for one team in major league history.

“We are excited to welcome Yadi back to the St. Louis Cardinals,” Mozeliak said in a statement. “He will provide invaluable help at the major league level, as well as spend time with our minor league teams in his new role with the team.”

Molina trails only Stan Musial, who played 22 seasons for St. Louis, for the most with the club. Along the way, he helped the Cardinals reach four World Series and win championships in 2006 and 2011. His longevity coupled with the success of those Cardinals teams are a big reason why he retired as the team’s career postseason leader in hits (102) and games played (104).

Molina, a fourth-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2000 first-year player draft, served as the manager of Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in 2023. He also managed Navegantes del Magallanes in Venezuela.

Joe Espada to Reportedly Become New Manager of the Houston Astros

Joe Espada is about to make an astronomical rise…

The 48-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball coach and former Minor League Baseball player will reportedly serve as the Houston Astros’ new manager following Dusty Baker’s retirement.

Joe Espada,The team is turning to their longtime bench coach as they look to continue a record-setting run of seven consecutive American League Championship Series appearances, according to ESPN. An official announcement is expected Monday.

Espada has been on the Astros’ bench since 2018, a year after Houston won a World Series title that has since been tainted by the revelation of a sign-stealing scandal.

Espada had previously been a coach with the New York Yankees, and prior to that he had coached with the Miami Marlins following a nine-year playing career in the minor and independent leagues.

Espada remained with Houston after the firing of manager A.J. Hinch in the wake of the sign-stealing allegations and served as a vital member of the staff as it transitioned to Baker taking over.

Baker, who managed the Astros to the World Series title in 2022, retired following Houston’s loss to eventual champion Texas Rangers in the ALCS this season.

The Astros will return the core of their team that won the AL West this year. Left fielder Yordan Álvarez, second baseman Jose Altuve, right fielder Kyle Tucker, third baseman Alex Bregman and starters Justin VerlanderFramber Valdez and Cristian Javier are all under contract for next year, though Altuve, Bregman and Verlander all are set to hit free agency after the 2024 season.

The news of Espada’s hiring, first reported by USA Today, will go over well in the clubhouse, where he’s well liked. Espada is seen by players as a well-rounded coach whose leadership skills helped fill a gap with Baker.

Gerardo Parra Named New First-Base Coach for Washington Nationals

Gerardo Parra has landed his first Major League Baseball coaching job.

The 36-year-old Venezuelan former professional baseball outfielder will be the new first-base coach for the Washington Nationals as part of a series of changes to manager Dave Martinez‘s staff announced by the club on Friday after a fourth consecutive last-place finish in the NL East.

Gerardo ParraParra played for the Arizona DiamondbacksMilwaukee BrewersBaltimore OriolesColorado RockiesSan Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals, as well for the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Parra is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner and won the 2019 World Series as a member of the Nationals.

Miguel Cairo will be Martinez’s bench coach and Ricky Gutierrez is shifting to third-base coach after holding the title of run prevention coordinator in 2023. Chris Johnson was hired as assistant hitting coach.

Holdovers include hitting coach Darnell Coles, pitching coach Jim Hickey, catching and strategy coach Henry Blanco and bullpen coach Ricky Bones.

This is Parra’s first job on an MLB coaching staff. After retiring in 2021, he started working in the Nationals’ front office in 2022. Parra played in the majors for 12 years and signed with Washington in 2019 as a backup outfielder. His choice of “Baby Shark” as his walkup music — a nod to his 2-year-old daughter — became a rallying cry for fans and players while the club won its first championship that season.

Cairo, also a former player, was the minor league infield coordinator for the New York Mets last season. Before that, he was the bench coach for the Chicago White Sox for two seasons.

Coles, Hickey, Blanco and Bones head into their third season in these roles with Washington.

The Nationals did not renew the contracts of bench coach Tim Bogar, third-base coach Gary DiSarcina, first-base coach Eric Young Jr. and assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler.

The Nationals went 71-91 in 2023 as general manager Mike Rizzo continues to try to remake their roster. In the National League, only the Colorado Rockies finished with a worse record this year.

Rizzo and Martinez both got new contracts during the season.

Rizzo has been the team’s GM since 2007. He hired Martinez for his first managerial job before the 2018 season.

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.

Ketel Marte Breaks MLB Postseason Hitting Streak Record

Ketel Marte has moved up in the Major League Baseball postseason record books…

The 30-year-old Dominican professional baseball and Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman broke the postseason hitting streak record in Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday night, recording a hit for the 18th consecutive game.

Ketel Marte,Marte unseated MLB Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, 12-time MLB All-Star Manny Ramirez and Hank Bauer, a seven-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees.

The first four games of Marte’s streak came in 2017, and he has hit safely in all 14 of Arizona’s games this postseason, the latest being Arizona’s 9-1 victory against the Texas Rangers that evened the series.

“I know what type of player I am,” Marte said. “When I’m healthy, I can do very well.

“I never imagined doing something like this,” he continued. “But … I believe in my talent.”

In the eighth inning Saturday, Marte stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, one out and an 0-for-4 batting line. He proceeded to shoot a Martin Perez changeup up the middle for a two-run single that extended Arizona’s lead to 7-1.

Marte is now hitting .333 this postseason with a .910 OPS, both the top marks for Arizona. His hit was one of 16 on the night from the Diamondbacks, who got at least one hit from all nine starting position players.

“We have a great team, great batters,” Marte said. “This organization deserves a championship now, and we believe in ourselves and give the best of ourselves.”