Pablo Guerrero Signs International Deal with Texas Rangers

Pablo Guerrero has a Lone Star future…

The Texas Rangers have signed the Dominican baseball outfielder, the son of MLB Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and younger brother of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, to an international deal.

Pablo Guerrero,The Guerrero family posted a photo of the signing ceremony in the Dominican Republic on social media.

The Rangers later announced all of their agreements through their Player Development Twitter account.

Guerrero’s father, Vlad Sr., played 16 years in Major League Baseball, including a one-year stint with the Texas Rangers in 2010 when the club made its first World Series appearance. Guerrero hit .300 with 29 home runs and 115 RBI.

Guerrero’s Hall-of-Fame career included nine All-Star Game appearances, eight Silver Slugger awards and the 2004 American League MVP award.

Guerrero Jr. plays for Toronto and is entering his fifth season as a first and third baseman. He is already a two-time All-Star and finished second in AL MVP voting in 2021.

Baseball America also reported several other Rangers international agreements, including Cuban outfielder Geisel Cepeda, Venezuelan catcher Juan Sulbaran, along with outfielder Brailyn More, shortstop Lisandro Mejia, and pitchers Snarlyn Encarnacion, Walkin Ortiz, Yormi Nivar, Felix Martinez and Frank Martinez, all from the Dominican Republic.

Pitchers and catchers report to the team’s facility in Surprise, Arizona, on February 15, with position players to follow on February 20.

The Spring Training game schedule starts on February 24 with a game against Kansas City at the Surprise complex shared with the Royals.

The Rangers will wrap up their exhibition season with a pair of games at Globe Life Field against the Royals on March 27 and 28. The Rangers open up the regular season at home against Philadelphia on March 30.

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Gregory Soto from Detroit Tigers

Gregory Soto is heading east…

The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired the 27-year-old Dominican hard-throwing professional baseball pitcher and infielder Kody Clemens from the Detroit Tigers, the tam has announced.

Gregory SotoIn return, Detroit received infielder Nick Maton, outfielder Matt Vierling and catcher Donny Sands.

Soto was an MLB All-Star the past two seasons, including 2022, when he went 2-11 for the fourth-place Tigers. Despite that record, he had a respectable 3.28 ERA, although his command has been an issue the past couple of seasons. He walked 34 batters in 60⅓ innings last season while producing a career-high 14.5% walk percentage in 2021.

Soto joins an evolving, formidable bullpen in Philadelphia. The Phillies also added veteran Craig Kimbrel to the mix this offseason, and holdovers Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado helped the organization to the World Series last year.

Eric Hosmer Agrees to One-Year Contract with Chicago Cubs

Eric Hosmer is headed to the Windy City

The Chicago Cubs filled a need at first base and designated hitter, giving the 33-year-old half-Cuban American free agent a one-year contract, according to ESPN.

Eric Hosmer, Chicago will only have to pay Hosmer the minimum salary, according to ESPN sources, as he still has three years and $39 million left on a contract he signed with the San Diego Padres in 2018.

Hosmer was traded from the Padres to the Boston Red Sox last season, not long after San Diego acquired Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals.

Hosmer was released by the Red Sox at the end of the year.

Hosmer has a career .764 OPS while spending his best seasons with the Kansas City Royals who he helped to a World Series title in 2015.

Two years later, he signed an 8-year, $144 million deal with San Diego which runs through 2025. The Padres are paying most of that remaining salary.

Hosmer figures to see time mostly at designated hitter as well as first base. The team also has holdover Patrick Wisdom, who can play first, as well as prospect Matt Mervis. Mervis hit 36 home runs combined in three different levels of the minors last season, but it’s not clear if he’ll make the team out of spring training.

Last season, Hosmer had a hot April — compiling an OPS over 1.000 — but cooled off for the final months of the year. From May to October, his OPS was just .636.

The signing is part of a longer term plan by the Cubs who are attempting to improve in 2023 after a 74 win season but also have an eye on competing at a higher level in the coming years. The deal should be viewed similar to Cody Bellinger‘s one-year contract — as a bridge to younger prospects who aren’t quite ready for the majors.

Along with Mervis potentially taking over at first base, the team is hoping centerfield, where Bellinger plays, will be manned by Pete Crow-Armstrong soon. He was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets in July 2021.

Hosmer joins Bellinger, shortstop Dansby Swanson, pitcher Jameson Taillon and catcher Tucker Barnhart as key offseason acquisitions for Chicago.

Rafael Devers Reportedly Agrees to 11-Year, $331 Million Contract Extension with Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers is thisclose to a historic MLB deal…

The 26-year-old Dominican professional baseball third baseman is finalizing an 11-year, $331 million contract extension with the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN, a deal that will keep him from reaching free agency this year and constitutes the longest and largest guarantee ever given by the franchise.

Rafael DeversThe agreement, which would be the largest ever for a third baseman, comes in the midst of an arduous winter for the Red Sox, who lost longtime shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres in free agency nearly three years after trading star right fielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Offering Devers to a deal far longer than Manny Ramirez‘s eight-year pact and more than 50% larger than David Price‘s $217 million contract was enough for the two-time MLB All-Star to accept shepherding the Red Sox out of last place in the American League East and back to contention.

The contract will start in 2023 and extend through the 2033 season, sources said. The one-year, $17.5 million contract Devers signed earlier in the week to avoid arbitration will be superseded by the long-term deal.

Devers debuted with Boston at 20 years old in 2017 and quickly illustrated why scouts so adored his bat. His left-handed swing was perfectly suited for Fenway Park, with doubles thwacking off the Green Monster and home runs carrying out to right field. Devers’ acumen has only grown. In 2022, he hit .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs, 88 RBIs and a career-best OPS+ of 141.

It was similar to his 2021 season, in which Devers hit 38 home runs, and 2019, when he led the major leagues with 359 total bases as a 22-year-old. The consistency made him the perfect candidate to keep around long term with the losses of Bogaerts and Betts, whose steadiness was among their defining characteristics. Early negotiations on a deal bore no fruit, with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Devers’ agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of Rep 1, far apart in their valuations.

Whether the backlash from losing Bogaerts and Betts — and just losing — had any effect on the consummation of the deal is unclear. But on Monday, with Fenway Park hosting the majestic Winter Classic, fans booed John Henry, a show of the sentiment toward the owner under whom the Red Sox broke their 86-year World Series drought before winning three more championships.

Seeing Bogaerts walk with an offer tens of millions of dollars short stung, especially with the Red Sox designating for assignment Jeter Downs, the main prospect return in the Betts deal, just days after. Bogaerts, 30, was, like Devers, a homegrown star: five Silver Sluggers, four All-Star appearances and two World Series rings. The notion of a long-term left side of the infield with Bogaerts and Devers felt natural to a Red Sox fan base coming to terms with last-place finishes in two of the past three seasons, sandwiched around an ALCS appearance.

When Bogaerts left, the focus turned naturally to Devers, who benefited greatly from the megadeals given out this winter. Aaron Judge topped the list with $360 million from the New York YankeesTrea Turner got $300 million from Philadelphia and Bogaerts $280 million from the Padres. And Carlos Correa agreed to a pair of $300 million-plus deals, though medical foibles have his status in limbo.

Beyond Bogaerts this offseason, World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi left for the Texas Rangers, and the Red Sox fell short of signing multiple free agent targets. Instead, the Red Sox redistributed the resources across the roster by adding Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida on a five-year, $90 million deal, relievers Kenley Jansen (two years, $32 million) and Chris Martin (two years, $17 million), third baseman Justin Turner at two years for $21 million and starter Corey Kluber at a year and $10 million.

Devers will be the roster’s cornerstone and the face of the franchise for the new era of the Red Sox. Though the third baseman has improved defensively over this career, he could potentially move to first base or designated hitter down the road. But as long as his swing and production are even a facsimile of what he has done, it won’t matter what position he’s playing.

Jean Segura Agrees to Two-Year, $17 Million Deal with Miami Marlins 

Jean Segura is heading to the Sunshine State.

The 32-year-old Dominican veteran professional baseball shortstop and second baseman and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal, according to multiple reports.

Jean SeguraIt’s the first free agent move of the offseason for the Marlins, who are coming off a 69-93 season — their 12th losing record in the past 13 years. And they’ve watched NL East rivals Atlanta, Philadelphia and the New York Mets make no shortage of moves to try and improve their loaded rosters; the Braves were World Series champions in 2021 and the Phillies won the NL pennant this year before falling to Houston in the World Series.

Segura spent the past four seasons with the Phillies, but they declined his $17 million option last month, and he instead received a $1 million buyout. In 98 games this season — he missed about two months with a fractured right index finger — Segura hit .277 with 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and 45 runs. He also appeared in the postseason for the first time in his 11-year career and delivered a key hit in Philly’s Game 3 NLCS win against the San Diego Padres.

A two-time MLB All-Star, Segura also has played full seasons for the Milwaukee BrewersArizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. He’s a career .285 hitter with 107 home runs, 712 runs scored and 492 RBIs.

He primarily played second base for Philadelphia but also saw time at shortstop and third. Marlins All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. was limited to just 60 games in 2022 due to injury.

Z101 Digital first reported news of the agreement between Segura and the Marlins.

Carlos Correa Agrees to 13-Year, $350 Million Contract with San Francisco Giants

Carlos Correa has landed a Giant(s) deal…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop has agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Carlos CorreaIt’s a record-long deal that is the richest ever for the position and gives the team a franchise-type player around which it plans to build, according to ESPN.

The free agent path of Correa was far less circuitous than last year, when he entered the market in hopes of landing a $300 million-plus deal but wound up signing a shorter-term contract with the Minnesota Twins that included an opt-out after the first season.

This offseason, Correa found a market that lavished $300 million on Trea Turner and $280 million on Xander Bogaerts far more to his liking, and he wound up with the second-biggest deal, behind Aaron Judge‘s nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees.

The 13 years ties Bryce Harper‘s $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in March 2019, and like Harper, Correa received a full no-trade clause and a contract without any opt-outs, sources said.

The $350 million exceeds the $341 million shortstop Francisco Lindor received from the New York Mets and the $340 million for shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. with the San Diego Padres. And in the history of baseball, only Mike Trout‘s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles AngelsMookie Betts $365 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Judge’s exceed it in value.

About a year after turning down a five-year, $160 million contract with the Houston Astros, with whom Correa blossomed into a star, he landed more than twice that on the heels of a single season spent with the Twins, with whom he made $35.1 million before opting out of the final two years of his deal.

In his one season with Minnesota, Correa looked like his vintage self, hitting .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in 136 games.

While he didn’t match his Platinum Glove-winning 2021 campaign, Correa is regarded as one of the game’s best defensive shortstops, posting his fourth season with 5.0-plus wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The Giants paid him like a superstar, as the combination of Correa’s position, age and productivity — regular season and postseason — convinced them to make him among the highest-earning players in baseball.

Before Correa, the last player the Giants signed to a $100 million-plus contract was pitcher Johnny Cueto, who received a six-year, $130 million deal in December 2015.

At baseball’s winter meetings, the Giants had hoped to strike a deal for Judge, the reigning American League MVP. But the Yankees upped their offer to $40 million per year, and Judge agreed to stay in New York. With Turner and Bogaerts off the board too, the opportunity to sign a foundational player had dwindled to Correa and former Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.

Since the retirement of catcher Buster Posey following the 2021 season, the Giants had sought a star to be the start of something new, looking beyond the glory years of the early 2010s, when San Francisco won three World Series, and before that, when Barry Bonds dazzled sellout crowds nightly. Correa has the poise and ability to be just that.

Excellence was predestined after he went to the Astros with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He shot through the organization and debuted at 20 years old in 2015, winning AL Rookie of the Year. By his second season, Correa was one of the best players in baseball. And in 2017, he helped the Astros win their first World Series title, hitting five home runs and driving in 14 runs in 18 postseason games.

The Astros reached the AL Championship Series in 2018 and the World Series in 2019, with Correa a foundational player for their success. But the revelation in November 2019 that Houston had used a sign-stealing scheme during their championship season sullied the title and landed especially hard on Correa, who was outspoken in his defense of the team.

Correa’s excellence continued unabated. He was among the best players in the 2020 postseason and again played well in 2021, pushing his career postseason line to .272/.344/.505 with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs in 79 games. With shortstop prospect Jeremy Pena primed to reach the big leagues, though, Houston moved on from Correa, whose free agent market never materialized after an early dalliance with the Detroit Tigers and led to him signing a three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Twins.

With Minnesota, Correa quickly became a clubhouse leader, and over his final 120 games, he hit .307/.381/.496 with 21 home runs. The Twins hoped he would return but recognized his market would be unlikely to break the same way it did following 2021.

Over his eight-year career, Correa has compiled nearly 40 rWAR — only Trout, Betts, Nolan ArenadoPaul Goldschmidt and Manny Machado have more in the same stretch — and a career line of .279/.357/.479 with 155 home runs and 553 RBIs in 888 games. His 12.6 defensive WAR rank fourth, behind Andrelton SimmonsKevin Kiermaier and Arenado.

Just how long Correa stays at shortstop is a question multiple executives posited during his free agency. The outs above average metric placed him in the bottom 20% of shortstops last season, while defensive runs saved pegged him as slightly above average. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Correa is among the game’s biggest players at shortstop, where he has played all 881 of his career games in the field.

Regardless of where Correa’s glove winds up, his bat will determine whether the megadeal is a success. And in the short term, it will help determine whether Correa again reaches the postseason — this time with a Giants team that won the National League West in 2021 but finished 81-81 this year — or, for the first time in his career, misses it in consecutive seasons.

Willson Contreras Agrees to Five-Year, $87.5 Million Deal with St. Louis Cardinals

Willson Contreras will meet you in St. Louis…

The 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and free agent catcher has agreed to a five-year, $87.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Willson Contreras,Contreras will replace the Cardinals’ longtime catcher Yadier Molina.

Contreras has spent the past 14 seasons in the rival Chicago Cubs organization. In seven MLB seasons, he has hit .256 with 117 home runs and 365 RBIs.]

Known for his strong arm, Contreras has dealt with criticism about his game calling, but that may have been overblown. He helped oversee a Cubs pitching staff that went to the postseason in five out of six years from 2015 to 2020.

Contreras can also play left field and first base and will likely get some reps as the designated hitter when he’s not behind the plate.

He compiled a 128 OPS+ in 113 games last season for the Cubs but is the only free agent catcher with draft pick compensation attached to him after Chicago gave him a qualifying offer.

Molina retired after a career that spanned 19 seasons in the majors, all with the Cardinals. The 10-time MLB All-Star catcher was a two-time World Series champion, winning nine Gold Glove awards and a Silver Slugger award while registering 2,168 hits.

Houston Astros Interested in Free Agent Catcher Willson Contreras

Will Willson Contreras play in Houston next season?

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker has confirmed that his World Series-winning team is interested in the 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and free agent catcher.

Willson Contreras,The news comes just months after a trade for him was nixed.

“It’s not that I didn’t want him,” Baker explained on Day 1 of the winter meetings on Monday. “It’s just at the time I didn’t think it was a proper fit with two months to go in the season.

“We’re going to talk to him. And we have interest in him.”

Contreras is looking for a long-term deal after spending over a decade in the Chicago Cubs organization.

He compiled a 128 OPS+ in 113 games last season for the Cubs but is the only free agent catcher with draft pick compensation attached to him after Chicago gave him a qualifying offer. That can limit the market for free agents.

“I’ve talked to some guys that were big-time Contreras fans from Chicago because I called [bullpen coach] Lester [Strode] about him,” Baker said. “Lester spent as much time with him in the bullpen, catching pitches. And he’s a big Contreras fan. He told me he loved the kid.”

The St. Louis Cardinals have spoken with Contreras’ representatives, who have also kept in touch with the Cubs, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Contreras is in line for a deal between four and five years, worth up to $80 million, sources said.

The Astros and Cubs were close to a trade involving Contreras last July, but Baker felt there wouldn’t be enough time for a new catcher to learn his pitching staff. But now might be the right time to add another piece to the world champions.

“And if the numbers are right and the years are right and the situation is right, then [it’s] right for both of us,” Baker said.

José Abreu Agrees to Three-Year Contract with Houston Astros

José Abreu is celebrating an Astros-nominical deal…

The 35-year-old Cuban professional baseball player, who plays first base, and the Houston Astros have agreed to a three-year contract, according to ESPN.

José AbreuAbreu will add another run-producing bat to the World Series champions’ lineup that’s already filled with them.

Abreu, who turns 36 in January, won the American League MVP award in 2020 and is second in baseball with 863 RBIs since his first season in the major leagues, 2014. He hit .304/.378/.446 this year with the Chicago White Sox, for whom he had played all nine of his big league seasons after defecting from Cuba.

Following a dreadful first five weeks, Abreu was one of the best hitters in baseball over the final three-quarters of the season, batting .335/.405/.479, though his 15 home runs over the entire year were a career low.

He joins an Astros lineup with fellow Cuban Yordan ÁlvarezJose AltuveKyle TuckerAlex Bregman and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña.

Abreu will replace Yuli Gurriel, a longtime rival in the Cuban National Series.

Abreu and Gurriel, along with Yoenis Cespedes, were widely regarded as the best players of their generation from Cuba, both high-contact hitters — though Abreu’s power was the separator.

The White Sox extended him for three years and $50 million after 2019, when he led the AL with 123 RBIs. Over his nine seasons, Abreu hit .292/.354/.506 with 243 home runs and an adjusted OPS 34% better than league average.

He’s the second signing for this winter for the Astros, who reupped reliever Rafael Montero on a three-year, $34.5 million contract. The Astros’ projected payroll is currently in the $175 million range — they’ve exceeded $187 million each of the previous five seasons — and they still hope to sign ace Justin Verlander, who could command upward of $40 million a year.

Carlos Beltran Among 14 Newcomers on MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

Carlos Beltran is in the running for a special place in Major League Baseball history…

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican former professional baseball player is among 14 newcomers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America‘s MLB Hall of Fame ballot.

Carlos BeltranBeltran played as an outfielder from 1998 to 2017 for the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

Beltrán was the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year in 1999 while with the Royals. He was named to nine MLB All-Star Games and won three Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards.

Beltrán was the fifth player to reach both 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases and just the fourth switch hitter with 400 home runs. He has the highest success rate in stealing bases (88.3%) of any major league player with 300 or more career attempts. He also joined the 30–30 club in 2004. In 2013, Beltrán was named the recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. He retired after the 2017 season, winning a World Series title with the Astros.

Other players appearing on the ballot for the first time include John Lackey, Jered Weaver, R.A. Dickey, Huston Street, Francisco Rodríguez, Bronson Arroyo and Matt Cain. They’re joined by Jacoby Ellsbury, Jayson Werth, Mike Napoli, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta and Andre Ethier, the Hall and the BBWAA announced.

Holdovers include Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner. Rolen received 249 of 394 votes last year (63.2%), when David Ortiz was elected with 307 votes (77.9%), 11 more than the 75% needed. Helton was on 205 ballots (52%) and Wagner 201 (51%).

Voters denied several stars tainted by steroids and scandal.

Barry Bonds (260 votes, 66%), Roger Clemens (257, 65.2%) and Curt Schilling (231, 58.6%) were dropped after their 10th appearances on the ballot last year and are among eight players who will appear on the ballot of the Hall’s contemporary baseball era committee, which meets December 4 in San Diego ahead of baseball’s winter meetings.

Other holdovers on the BBWAA ballot include Andruw Jones (163 votes last year, 41.1%), Gary Sheffield (160, 40.6%), Alex Rodriguez (135, 34.3%), Jeff Kent (129, 32.7%), Manny Ramirez (114, 28.9%), Omar Vizquel (94, 23.9%), Andy Pettitte (42, 10.7%), Jimmy Rollins (37, 9.4%), Bobby Abreu (34, 8.6%), Mark Buehrle (23, 5.8%) and Torii Hunter (21, 5.3%).

Kent, who received his highest percentage last year, will appear on the BBWAA ballot for the 10th and final time.

BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of membership are eligible to vote. Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Any players elected will be inducted into the Hall at Cooperstown on July 23 along with anyone elected by the contemporary baseball era committee.

A-Rod, a three-time MLB MVP and 14-time MLB All-Star who hit 696 home runs, was suspended for the 2014 season for violating MLB’s drug policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz’s name was alleged to have appeared on a list of players who tested positive during 2003 survey testing.