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  • Rangers sign C Mathis to two-year pact
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    The Texas Rangers officially announced the signing of free-agent catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract on Tuesday.

    • The deal is reportedly worth $6.25 million, according to multiple reports.

      The defensive-minded Mathis batted .200 with one homer and 20 RBI in 69 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. He led all catchers with 17 runs saved, according to the Fielding Bible, and won the entity's award as the top defensive catcher in the majors.

      Mathis, 35, is a career .198 hitter with 48 homers and 265 RBIs in 835 games with the Los Angeles Angels (2005-11), Toronto Blue Jays (2012), Miami Marlins (2013-16) and Diamondbacks (2017-18).

      --Field Level Media

  • Red Sox acquire RHP Brewer from Padres
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    The Boston Red Sox acquired right-handed reliever Colten Brewer from the San Diego Padres on Tuesday for minor league infielder Esteban Quiroz, both teams announced.

    • Brewer recorded a 5.59 ERA in 11 appearances for the Padres last season, his first in the majors. The 26-year-old spent most of the season at Triple-A El Paso, where he went 3-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 37 appearances.

      Quiroz, 26, batted .283 with seven homers and 31 RBIs in 32 games across two minor league levels last season. He spent the previous seven seasons playing in Mexico.

      The Red Sox also requested unconditional release waivers on William Cuevas, who went 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA in nine appearances (one start) in 2018. Cuevas is expected to sign with a team in the Korea Baseball Organization, the Red Sox said in a news release.

      San Diego also traded right-hander Walker Lockett to the Cleveland Indians for right-hander Ignacio Feliz.

      Lockett, 24, went 0-3 and was roughed up for 16 runs in 15 innings in four appearances (three starts) for the Padres. He was 5-9 with a 4.73 ERA in 23 starts at El Paso.

      The 19-year-old Feliz had a 5-3 record and 3.00 ERA in 10 starts for Cleveland's Arizona Rookie League team.

      --Field Level Media

  • Price, Venters named comeback award winners
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price on Tuesday was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year, capping a season in which he shed the label of playoff underachiever and won the first World Series title of his career.

    • Atlanta Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters won the award in the National League.

      After elbow injuries limited him to only 16 games (11 starts) in 2017, Price, 33, started 30 games in 2018. He was 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA, striking out 177 batters while walking 50. After a rocky first outing in the playoffs (three runs allowed in only 1 2/3 innings in the AL Division Series against the New York Yankees), Price went 3-0 in five appearances in the AL Championship Series against Houston and the World Series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      The three wins more than doubled his career postseason win total entering 2018 (two).

      Venters experienced a much different kind of comeback. In 2018, the 33-year-old pitched in the majors for the first time since 2012. In the interim, he underwent numerous procedures, including two Tommy John surgeries.

      The 2011 All-Star opened the 2018 season with the Tampa Bay Rays and was traded to the Braves in late July. He went 4-1 with the Braves, sporting a 3.54 ERA and picking up a pair of saves in 28 games. Overall, he was 5-2 with a 3.67 ERA and three saves in 50 games in 2018.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mets release thrice-suspended RHP Jenrry Mejia
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    The New York Mets on Tuesday released right-handed pitcher Jenrry Mejia, who had been suspended three times in his career for drug-related issues.

    • Formerly the Mets closer in 2014, he was suspended for life on Feb. 12, 2016, after his third positive test for a banned steroid, but was told by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred in July that he could return to the majors in 2019.

      "In light of Mr. Mejia's contrition, his commitment to comply with the program in the future, and the fact that he will have already spent almost four consecutive years suspended without pay, I have decided to grant Mr. Mejia a final chance to resume his professional career," Manfred said in reinstating the pitcher this summer.

      Through the drug agreement, the 29-year-old from the Dominican Republic was put on the "permanently ineligible" list two years ago but was eligible to apply a year later for reinstatement, while at the commissioner's discretion. In a statement in July, Manfred called it "a final chance" for Mejia.

      Mejia also was suspended two times during the 2015 season after testing positive for steroids, the second positive test coming while serving the suspension for the first positive test.

      In his last pitching appearance in the majors, on July 26, 2015, Mejia went one scoreless inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      In 18 starts and 95 relief appearances over four major league seasons, all with the Mets, Mejia went 9-14 with a 3.68 ERA. The Mets signed him as an international free agent in April 2007, and he made his major league debut in 2010.

      After Mejia was reinstated, the Mets issued this statement:

      "Jenrry Mejia has abided by the terms set forth by Commissioner Manfred and we appreciate his regret and renewed commitment to comply moving forward. We will evaluate his progress on the field and assess the situation and our options in the coming months."

      --Field Level Media

  • Rangers 3B Beltre retires
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre announced his retirement Tuesday.

    • "After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, I have made the decision to retire from what I've been doing my whole life, which is playing baseball, the game I love," said Beltre in a statement released by the team. "I have thought about it a lot and although I appreciate all the opportunities and everything that baseball has given me, it's time to call it a career. I have enjoyed the privilege of playing professional baseball since I was 15 years old. I have been blessed to have played 21 seasons at the highest level in Major League Baseball.

      " ... I also have to acknowledge and thank Tommy Lasorda for believing in this young kid from the Dominican Republic when others thought I was too young to be called up to the Big Leagues."

      Beltre retires leading all third basemen in RBIs and he's third all-time among players at the position with 477 career home runs and Wins Above Replacement (95.7). In the WAR metric, Beltre is 38th all-time.

      Beltre spent 21 seasons in MLB and remained productive at the plate but was limited to 134 games at third base the past two seasons combined. He missed parts of the 2018 season due to suffering three hamstring injuries and was limited to 119 games.

      A four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner at the hot corner, Beltre had a .286 lifetime batting average, 3,166 hits and 1,707 RBIs.

      He debuted at age 19 with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 and spent seven seasons with the team before signing with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent entering the 2005 season. He was coming off of a career year with a .334 batting average, 48 home runs and 121 RBIs in 2004. Beltre finished second in National League MVP voting in 2004 behind Barry Bonds.

      Beltre had 12 seasons with 20-plus home runs.

      He signed with the Rangers in 2011 after one season with the Boston Red Sox, and played in the World Series. Texas lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Mariners trade Paxton to Yankees
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 19, 2018

    The Seattle Mariners traded left-hander James Paxton to the New York Yankees, both teams announced on Monday.

    • In return, the Mariners will get three Yankees' prospects in highly regarded left-hander Justus Sheffield, right-hander Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams.

      Paxton, who has two years of arbitration control left, has compiled a solid resume since his debut in 2013. He has amassed a 41-26 record while sporting a 3.42 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Last season, Paxton threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays during a season in which he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts.

      Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement he was pleased with the return the club got for Paxton and noted their future plans for Sheffield: "Justus Sheffield has an unquestionable prospect pedigree. With a combination of high-end velocity to go along with an advanced slider and a developing changeup, we think Justus has a chance to pitch at the upper portion of our rotation soon."

      --The Washington Nationals signed free-agent catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year deal, according to multiple reports.

      The deal will pay Suzuki $4 million in 2019 and $6 million in 2010, according to Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal.

      Suzuki, who batted .271 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 105 games last season with the Atlanta Braves, would likely replace Matt Wieters, who is a free agent coming off an injury-plagued 2018 season.

      --The Cleveland Indians acquired right-hander Chih-Wei Hu in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for 18-year-old infielder Gionti Turner, the teams announced.

      Hu, 25, appeared in five games in relief for the Rays in 2018, posting a 4.15 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings. He pitched in six games for Tampa Bay in 2017 and compiled a 2.70 ERA. The Taiwanese native spent most of the season in the starting rotation at Triple-A Durham, where he went 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 24 games (19 starts).

      Turner was Cleveland's 27th-round pick in the 2018 draft. He appeared in 46 games in the rookie-level Arizona League, batting .296 with 22 RBIs and 25 runs scored.

      --Pitchers Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay and Andy Pettitte head the list of new candidates on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot released by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

      Among the other first-time eligible players are infielders Todd Helton, Michael Young and Miguel Tejada.

      The newly eligible players join holdovers such as Edgar Martinez (70.4), who fell 20 votes short of receiving the required 75 percent of the vote in last year's balloting. Martinez is on the ballot for the 10th and final time, as is Fred McGriff. Other returners that received more than half of the vote are pitchers Mike Mussina (63.5) and Roger Clemens (57.3), outfielder Barry Bonds (56.4) and pitcher Curt Schilling (51.2).

      --The commissioner's office announced the suspensions of outfielder Griffin Conine and right-hander Daniel Marten for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

      Conine, a second-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018, was suspended 50 games without pay after testing positive for the stimulant ritalinic acid.

      Marten, who signed with the New York Yankees in 2015, was suspended 25 games without pay for an undisclosed violation of the drug policy.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mariners trade Paxton to Yankees for three prospects
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 19, 2018

    The Seattle Mariners traded left-hander James Paxton to the New York Yankees, both teams announced on Monday.

    • In return, the Mariners will get three Yankees' prospects in highly regarded left-hander Justus Sheffield, right-hander Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams.

      Paxton, who has two years of arbitration control left, has compiled a solid resume since his debut in 2013. He has amassed a 41-26 record while sporting a 3.42 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.

      Last season, Paxton threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays during a season in which he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts. The 30-year-old struck out a career-high 208 batters last season despite serving two stints on the disabled list.

      Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto was pleased with the return the club got for Paxton.

      "Justus Sheffield has an unquestionable prospect pedigree. With a combination of high-end velocity to go along with an advanced slider and a developing changeup, we think Justus has a chance to pitch at the upper portion of our rotation soon," Dipoto said in a statement. "Erik Swanson has performed at every level, combining a mid-90s fastball as well as two effective secondary pitches. At 25 years old, he is just entering the prime years of his career, and we think he will impact our Major League club in the near future.

      "Dom Thompson-Williams is an electric athlete, who we think will move quickly through our minor league system. He brings a powerful left-handed bat, speed on the bases and athleticism in the outfield."

      Sheffield reached the majors with the Yankees for the first time last season and posted a 10.13 ERA in three relief appearances. In 25 minor league games (20 starts) between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the 22-year-old went 7-6 with a 2.48 ERA.

      The 25-year-old Swanson, another top prospect, went 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 24 games (22 starts) across three levels last season.

      Thompson-Williams, 23, hit .299 with 22 homers and 74 RBIs in 100 games for two Single-A clubs, Charleston and Tampa.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB suspends two prospects for drug violations
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 19, 2018

    The commissioner's office on Monday announced the suspensions of outfielder Griffin Conine and right-hander Daniel Marten for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

    • Conine, a second-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018, was suspended 50 games without pay after testing positive for the stimulant ritalinic acid.

      The 21-year-old played at Duke University and is the son of 17-year major league veteran Jeff Conine. The younger Conine batted .238 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 55 games this season with the Class-A Vancouver Canadians.

      Marten, who signed with the New York Yankees in 2015, was suspended 25 games without pay for an undisclosed violation of the drug policy.

      The 21-year-old Dominican Republic native made two relief appearances in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League this season and went 0-1 with four runs allowed in 1 2/3 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • Indians acquire RHP Hu from Rays
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 19, 2018

    The Cleveland Indians acquired right-hander Chih-Wei Hu in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for 18-year-old infielder Gionti Turner, the teams announced Monday.

    • Hu, 25, appeared in five games in relief for the Rays in 2018, posting a 4.15 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings. He pitched in six games for Tampa Bay in 2017 and compiled a 2.70 ERA.

      The Taiwanese native spent most of the season in the starting rotation at Triple-A Durham, where he went 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 24 games (19 starts). In 2016, Hu led the Double-A Southern League with a 2.59 ERA.

      Turner was Cleveland's 27th-round pick in the 2018 draft. He appeared in 46 games in the rookie-level Arizona League, batting .296 with 22 RBIs and 25 runs scored.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rivera, Halladay, Pettitte head new Hall of Fame candidates
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 19, 2018

    Pitchers Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay and Andy Pettitte head the list of new candidates on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot released Monday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

    • Among the other first-time eligible players are infielders Todd Helton, Michael Young and Miguel Tejada.

      The newly eligible players join holdovers such as Edgar Martinez (70.4), who fell 20 votes short of receiving the required 75 percent of the vote in last year's balloting. Martinez is on the ballot for the 10th and final time, as is Fred McGriff.

      Other returners that received more than half of the vote are pitchers Mike Mussina (63.5) and Roger Clemens (57.3), outfielder Barry Bonds (56.4) and pitcher Curt Schilling (51.2).

      Rivera spent all 19 years of his career with the New York Yankees and set the all-time saves record of 652. The right-handed reliever was a 13-time All-Star selection and part of five World Series championship teams.

      Halladay, who died in a plane crash at age 40 in 2017, won Cy Young Awards in both leagues for the Toronto Blue Jays (2003 American League) and Philadelphia Phillies (2010 National League). The right-hander pitched a perfect game in 2010 and a no-hitter in the ensuing postseason, the latter being one of just two in Major League Baseball playoff history.

      The left-handed Pettitte won 256 regular-season games and another 19 in the postseason. The three-time All-Star holds postseason records for starts (44) and innings pitched (276 2/3) while spending most of his career with the Yankees.

      Helton batted .316, collected 2,519 hits and made five All-Star teams during his 17 seasons with the Colorado Rockies.

      Young was a seven-time All-Star with 2,375 career hits who spent the bulk of his career with the Texas Rangers.

      Tejada, a six-time All-Star, was AL MVP for the Oakland Athletics in 2002 and also drove in a career-high 150 runs for the Baltimore Orioles in 2004.

      Outfielder Juan Pierre (614 steals) and infielder Placido Polanco (.297 average) are among the other first-time eligible players. The rest are pitchers Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Ted Lilly, Derek Lowe, Darren Oliver and Roy Oswalt; outfielders Jason Bay, Lance Berkman and Vernon Wells; infielder Kevin Youkilis, designated hitter-first baseman Travis Hafner and pitcher-outfielder Rick Ankiel.

      Other holdovers on the ballot include reliever Billy Wagner, second baseman Jeff Kent, third baseman Scott Rolen, shortstop Omar Vizquel and outfielders Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa and Larry Walker.

      Results will be announced on Jan. 22.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Nationals sign veteran C Suzuki
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 19, 2018

    The Washington Nationals signed free-agent catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year deal, according to multiple reports.

    • Suzuki, 35, batted .271 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 105 games last season with the Atlanta Braves.

      The deal will pay Suzuki $4 million in 2019 and $6 million in 2010, according to Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal.

      Suzuki played parts of two seasons with the Nationals in 2012 and 2013, in addition to stints with the Oakland Athletics (2007-12, 2013), Minnesota Twins (2014-16) and Braves (2017-18).

      The 2014 All-Star has a career batting average of .258 with 114 home runs, 264 doubles, 619 RBIs and 515 runs in 1,394 games.

      Suzuki would likely replace Matt Wieters, who is a free agent coming off an injury-plagued 2018 season in which the four-time All-Star batted .238 with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 76 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Astros acquire former All-Star Diaz
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, November 17, 2018

    The Houston Astros have acquired former All-Star Aledmys Diaz from the Toronto Blue Jays, the Astros announced Saturday.

    • In exchange, the Astros are sending Triple-A pitcher Trent Thornton to the Blue Jays.

      Diaz, 28, was an All-Star in 2016, his rookie season, when he hit .300 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs in 111 games for the St. Louis Cardinals.

      Last December, the Cardinals traded him to Toronto, where he batted .263 with 18 homers and 55 RBIs.

      Diaz could be looked at as insurance should utility man Marwin Gonzalez leave in free agency. Carlos Correa (shortstop), Jose Altuve (second base) and Alex Bregman (third base) are entrenched in their spots, and Diaz could back them up.

      Thornton, 25, was 9-8 with a 4.42 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 124 1/3 innings in Triple-A last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Yankees looking to deal Gray
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, November 17, 2018

    Sonny Gray appears to be on his way out of New York as the Yankees weigh offers from multiple teams for the righthander, according to reports.

    • The Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A's, who both need starting pitching, were among as many as 11 teams said to be interested in acquiring Gray.

      Gray, who turned 29 earlier this month, began his career with the A's after they took him 18th overall in the 2011 draft.

      He was a dependable starter in Oakland, posting a 44-36 record with a 3.42 ERA over parts of five seasons before being traded to the Yankees in 2017.

      Gray finished that season with a 4-7 record and 3.72 ERA, but struggled to a 4.90 ERA last season despite posting a winning record (11-9).

      The Yankees also need pitching, but are said to be targeting other options to shore up the rotation.

      --Field Level Media

  • Angels ink Bourjos to minor league deal
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, November 17, 2018

    Outfielder Peter Bourjos will attempt to resume his career back where it began.

    • Bourjos agreed to a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels, according to the Orange County Register.

      Bourjos, 31, was put on waivers by the Atlanta Braves in late April last season to make room for highly touted outfield prospect Ronald Acuna Jr..

      He retyurned to play 18 more games between May 31 and June 27, but didn't play after that. He finished the season with nine hits in 44 at-bats and one home run.

      The Braves had signed Bourjos to a $1 million, one-year contract on March 25 after being cut by the Chicago Cubs toward the end of spring training.

      Bourjos was drafted by the Angels in the 10th round in 2005 and cracked the major league lineup in 2010. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.

      --Field Level Media

  • Dodgers' Jansen to have heart surgery Nov. 26
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, November 17, 2018

    Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who has twice dealt with an irregular heartbeat, will have surgery on Nov. 26 to correct the problem, several media outlets are reporting.

    • Jansen could need from a few weeks to a few months to recover, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers are expecting their three-time All-Star to be ready for spring training.

      Jansen learned in August, when his irregular heartbeat developed for the second time in seven season, that he would need the procedure, similar to what he underwent in 2012.

      In both cases, the issue arose while Jansen and the Dodgers were in Colorado.

      Last season, amid experiencing an accelerating heartbeat that he worried would not slow down, Jansen called 911, and doctors used an electrical shock to restore his heart's rhythm.

      The medical issue interrupted what had been a terrific season for Jansen, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Dodgers. Before he went on the disabled list, he sported an ERA of 2.15 in 51 games.

      After his return, when he was on medications, including blood-thinners, his ERA shot up to 5.71 in 18 games to close out the regular season. He allowed seven home runs in 17 1/3 innings.

      Amid his struggles, he said he gave up some of his medication, saying he had his doctor's approval. Jansen said the therapy sometimes made him feel like he was "sleepwalking" while on the mound.

      --Field Level Media

  • World Series hero Pearce re-signs with Red Sox
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 16, 2018

    World Series MVP Steve Pearce is returning to the Boston Red Sox after signing a one-year contract, the team announced Friday.

    • The deal is worth $6.25 million, according to multiple reports.

      "We're thrilled to have Steve back with us for another year as we think he's a great fit for our club," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "Obviously, we all saw what kind of impact he can have on the field, especially with the postseason that he had. He also provides good depth and balance from the right side for us."

      Pearce batted .284 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs in 215 at-bats with the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays last season.

      Pearce, who plays first base and the outfield, was acquired by Boston on June 28 and emerged as a big contributor in the postseason. He had four homers and 11 RBIs in 38 at-bats in the playoffs.

      Pearce batted smacked three homers and eight RBIs in the World Series as Boston won the crown in five games over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit one homer in Game 4 and two in the decisive Game 5.

      The 35-year-old Pearce has a .257 career average with 90 homers and 294 RBIs in 737 games over 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2007-11), Baltimore Orioles (2012, 2013-15, 2016), Houston Astros (2012), New York Yankees (2012), Tampa Bay Rays (2016), Toronto (2017-18) and Boston.

      --Field Level Media

  • Orioles choose Astros executive Elias as GM
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 16, 2018

    The Baltimore Orioles have named 35-year-old Mike Elias as the team's executive vice president and general manager.

    • He will replace Dan Duquette, whose contract was not renewed when it expired last month. Manager Buck Showalter also was fired in October, and finding his replacement will be one of the first duties for Elias.

      The team said Elias will "oversee all baseball operations for the club and have full autonomy to build his staff and make decisions on all baseball matters."

      Elias will be tasked with rebuilding the Orioles, who finished last season with a 47-115 record for their worst mark since moving to Baltimore following the 1953 season. Their attendance dwindled by almost 25 percent from just over 2 million in 2017 to 1.56 million in 2018, good for 26th in the league.

      The Orioles will have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

      Elias comes from the Houston Astros, the team he joined in late 2011. He largely drove scouting efforts and is credited with Houston's selection of Carlos Correa wih the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft and the success of subsequent drafts. Houston won the World Series in 2017.

      He was promoted to assistant manager in 2016.

      Before joining the Astros, he spent five years with the St. Louis Cardinals.

      Elias is a native of Northern Virginia. He is a graduate of Yale and pitched on its baseball team for four years.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yelich wins first career NL MVP
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 15, 2018

    Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich was selected the National League's Most Valuable Player on Thursday, the first such honor of the outfielder's career.

    • Yelich earned 29 of 30 first-place votes and 415 total points in winning over Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. He became the fourth player in Brewers history to win an MVP.

      "It's unbelievable," Yelich said. "It's really hard to put into words right now. You never dream of winning an award like this."

      The only first-place vote Yelich didn't get went to New York Mets Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.

      In his debut season with the team, Yelich led the Brewers to a 96-win season and a spot in the NL playoffs for the first time since 2011.

      Yelich hit .326 in his first season with the Brewers, becoming the first player in franchise history to win the NL batting title.

      The 26-year-old belted 36 home runs and drove in 110 runs, totals that put him in contention for the Triple Crown. Yelich finished tied for third in home runs and tied for second in RBIs.

      Yelich's .770 slugging percentage after the All-Star break rated as baseball's best in 14 years, according to MLB.com. Yelich also hit .367 with 25 home runs and 67 RBIs in his final 65 games of the regular season.

      Yelich posted career highs in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base-plus-slugging percentage, home runs, runs, RBIs and stolen bases. Further, he hit for the cycle twice late in the season.

      Yelich led the Brewers to the NL Championship Series, where they fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

      Rollie Fingers, Robin Yount and Ryan Braun were the first three MVP winners in Brewers history, with Yount winning twice. Fingers and Yount won their MVP awards while the Brewers were in the American League, Braun won his after Milwaukee moved to the NL.

      The Brewers acquired Yelich in a trade with the Miami Marlins in January.

      The only voter who didn't put Yelich first on his ballot placed him second.

      Baez got 19 second-place votes and wound up with 250 voting points. Arenado received three second-place votes and had 203 points. Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman came in fourth with 174 points despite getting no second-place votes. DeGrom got seven second-place votes and took fifth place with 141 points.

      Baez, 25, led the league with 111 RBIs and hit .290 with 34 homers.

      Arenado, 27, topped the NL with 38 homers. He batted .297 with 110 RBIs.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mookie Betts crowned AL MVP winner
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 15, 2018

    Mookie Betts added an American League Most Valuable Player trophy to his World Series championship on Thursday.

    • The Boston Red Sox right fielder was a runaway MVP winner in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, beating runner-up Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and third-place finisher Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians.

      Betts garnered 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with the others going to Trout and to fourth-place finisher J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox.

      Betts, who was listed second on the two ballots in which he wasn't listed first, wound up with 410 points in the voting. Trout, who got 24 second-place votes, had 265 points. Ramirez, who got one second-place vote, 10 third-place votes and 11 third-place votes, had 208 points.

      Betts, 26, led the AL with a .346 batting average, a .640 slugging percentage and 129 runs. His .438 on-base percentage ranked second to Trout's .460 mark. He displayed power and speed, hitting 32 home runs and stealing 30 bases.

      "It means a lot," Betts said on MLB Network of winning his first MVP honor. "Definitely a special award. Something I'll cherish. The most important thing is we won a World Series and got to bring a trophy back to Boston."

      He spoke while holding his 9-day-old daughter, Kinley, who slept through the cheering that went up when Betts' name was announced as the winner. The baby's birth came days after the Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to win the World Series.

      "It's been a pretty good 2018," he said. "I'll enjoy these moments while I can. In 2019, hopefully we can make it better."

      Betts is the first Red Sox MVP winner since Dustin Pedroia in 2008. The list of Red Sox MVPs also includes Mo Vaughn (1995), Roger Clemens (1986), Jim Rice (1978), Fred Lynn (1975), Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Jackie Jensen (1958), Ted Williams (1946, '49), Jimmie Foxx (1938) and Tris Speaker (1912).

      Trout, the 2014 and '16 AL MVP, wound up in second place for a record-tying fourth time. The other four-time runners-up were Stan Musial (a three-time MVP), Williams (a two-time MVP) and Albert Pujols (a three-time MVP).

      A right fielder won AL MVP for the 11th time, but for the first time since Vladimir Guerrero was honored in 2004.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB Commissionar Manfred gets 5-year contract extension
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 15, 2018

    Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred received a five-year contract extension that will run through the 2024 regular season, the league announced Thursday.

    • Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt, who chairs the league's finance committee, made the announcement at the conclusion of the Owners Meetings in Atlanta. Manfred needed 16 votes from the 30 MLB owners, though they voted to unanimously approve the extension.

      Manfred, 60, was elected commissioner in August 2014, taking over from Bud Selig in January 2015. He had previously served as the league's chief operating officer beginning in 2013.

      Under his tenure as commissioner, MLB adopted a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association through 2021, and also began the league's youth participation program, PLAY BALL, a partnership with USA Baseball and USA Softball.

      Manfred has set several goals for his term, including increased youth participation, international growth, better pace of play, the infusion of technology into the game, increased marketing for young stars and furthering diversity in the game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Snell, deGrom win Cy Young awards
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell and New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom were named the winners of the Cy Young Award in the American and National League, respectively, the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced on Wednesday.

    • Snell led the majors with 21 victories, while deGrom lead the majors with a 1.70 ERA despite a 10-9 record.

      The 25-year-old Snell received 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to edge Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (13, 154). Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber (4, 71) was third and Boston left-hander Chris Sale (2, 59) was fourth.

      "This means a whole lot," Snell said. "It's something I wanted to achieve this year. I had this goal in mind. I put in the work, and it means a whole lot to me."

      He added: "Knowing I won it against two of the greats -- Kluber and Verlander -- it's amazing."

      The 30-year-old deGrom was a landslide winner by receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes and totaling 207 points. Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer (123) received the other first-place vote while finishing second, and Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (86) was a distant third.

      "This was one of my goals," deGrom said. "The team didn't end up where we wanted to be this past season, but you kind of set personal goals, and I think being able to accomplish something that has been a dream of yours is just something special. To be a Cy Young Award winner, you're in great company, and it truly is an honor."

      DeGrom's win total is the lowest for a Cy Young winner. The Los Angeles Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela (13-7 in strike-shortened 1981) and the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez (13-12 in 2010) shared the previous low victory total.

      DeGrom's ERA is the sixth-lowest by a Cy Young winner, regardless of league. His selection marks the sixth time a Mets pitcher has won the award, adding to the awards won by Tom Seaver (1969, 1973, 1975), Dwight Gooden (1985) and R.A. Dickey (2012).

      DeGrom struck out 269 (second in the NL) in 217 innings, both career bests.

      Snell led the AL with a 1.89 ERA while going 21-5 with 221 strikeouts in 31 starts. He also held batters to a league-low .178 average and limited opponents to a .088 average (10-for-114) with runners in scoring position -- the latter being the lowest by an AL pitcher since the league began using a designated hitter in 1973.

      Snell joins David Price (2012) as the only Rays to win the Cy Young.

      Verlander, who won the Cy Young in 2011, finished second for the third time and was part of the top five for the seventh time. He went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA and an AL-leading 290 strikeout in 34 starts.

      Scherzer led the majors with a career-high 300 strikeouts. The three-time Cy Young winner went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA in 33 starts.

      --Field Level Media

  • Red Sox, Cora agree to contract extension
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    The Boston Red Sox and manager Alex Cora have agreed to terms on a contract that includes an extension that will run through 2021 with a club option for 2022, the team announced Wednesday.

    • In Cora's first season at the helm, the Red Sox finished the regular season with a franchise-best 108-54 (.667) record and won the World Series, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.

      "We have consistently been impressed by Alex at every turn," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said in a team statement. "His knowledge of the game, ability to connect with our players, and his incredible instincts and decisiveness led us to an historic championship season. We know we are in good hands, and could not be more pleased to know he will be with us for the foreseeable future."

      President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski agreed.

      "Alex did a tremendous job for our club all year long and we wanted to reward him for his efforts after an amazing season," Dombrowski said. "We are extremely happy that he will be with us and leading our club on the field."

      Financial terms of the contract were not announced for Cora, who finished second in American League Manger of the Year balloting behind Oakland's Bob Melvin.

      Under the 43-year-old Cora, Boston surpassed the franchise's previous single-season wins mark of 105, which was set in 1912. The Red Sox finished eight games ahead of the Yankees in the American League East on the way to their ninth World Series title, including their fourth since 2004.

      "For me, 2018 was not only historic, but it was special as well, both on and off the field," Cora said. "We have a great appreciation for our accomplishments this past year, but now our focus moves forward to the season ahead and defending our World Series title."

      The Red Sox hired Cora on Oct. 22, 2017, replacing John Farrell.

      Cora was an infielder on the Red Sox's 2007 championship team and joined Jake Stahl (1912) as the only two people in franchise history to win a World Series as both a player and manager.

      According to USA Today, Cora was among the lowest-paid managers in 2018, earning $800,000.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pirates acquire INF Gonzalez from Indians
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired infielder Erik Gonzalez and two minor league pitchers from the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Jordan Luplow and infielder Max Moroff, both teams announced on Wednesday.

    • Gonzalez batted .265 with one homer and 16 RBIs in 81 games for the Indians last season. The versatile 27-year-old played 30 games as second base, 20 at third and 16 at shortstop.

      "Erik Gonzalez is an athletic middle infielder who plays solid defense and has the potential to be a productive hitter at the major league level," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "He gives us another quality option to play shortstop or in the middle of our infield this year and into the future."

      Pittsburgh also received right-handers Tahnaj Thomas and Dante Mendoza in the deal. The 19-year-old Thomas is a converted infielder, while Mendoza, who turns 20 next month, was a 12th-round pick in the 2017 draft.

      Luplow batted .185 with three homers and seven RBIs in 37 games for Pittsburgh last season. The 25-year-old has a .194 career mark in 170 at-bats over parts of two seasons.

      Moroff, 25, hit .186 with three homers and nine RBIs in 26 games for the Pirates in 2018. He has a .193 career average in 181 at-bats over parts of three campaigns.

      --Field Level Media

  • A's Melvin, Braves' Snitker named top managers
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics and Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves were winners of the Manager of the Year awards in the American League and National League, respectively, announced on Tuesday.

    • Melvin, a three-time winner of the award (2007 with Arizona, 2012 with Oakland), led the A's to the fourth-best record in the major leagues (97-65) and a postseason berth in 2018. With 18 of 30 first-place votes, he beat out Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox (seven) and Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays (five) for this year's honor.

      Since the award's inception in 1983, only eight managers have earned the honor three or more times, including Dusty Baker, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Jim Leyland, Joe Maddon, Lou Piniella and Buck Showalter.

      Snitker, who led the Braves to the playoffs this season for the first time since 2013, received 17 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, six more than Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell. The Rockies' Bud Black and Cubs' Joe Maddon each received one vote.

      The Braves went 90-72, their first winning record since 2013, and won the NL East in Snitker's second full year at the helm. Snitker, who has been a part of the organization in a variety of roles dating back to 1977, is 221-227 through two-plus seasons as manager after taking over for Fredi Gonzalez midway early in 2016.

      Snitker joins Hall of Famer Cox as the only Braves manager ever to win the award.

      Snitker twice won Manager of the Year awards during 20 years managing for the Braves in the minor leagues.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB investigating discrimination claims against Mariners
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Major League Baseball announced Tuesday it will investigate claims of racial discrimination against the Seattle Mariners that were made on Monday by a former employee.

    • "MLB is aware of the allegations made by a former employee of the Seattle Mariners regarding the conduct of Club employees," the league said in a statement to The Athletic. "Consistent with our policies, we are investigating the allegations."

      Lorena Martin, the team's former director of high performance, accused the organization of discrimination and derogatory remarks in an Instagram post Monday. She singled out general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and director of player development Andy McKay, saying the trio called Latin American players "LAZY, DUMB, and STUPID, especially the DOMINICANS."

      Martin also accused the team of "firing innocent trainers for trying to do the right thing and because of their color/race."

      The Mariners quickly replied to the post with a statement denying the accusations, revealing Martin was relieved of her duties with the team on Oct. 10. It did not give a reason for her dismissal.

      "While it is our policy to not comment on personnel issues, we do feel it is important to respond to the outrageous, false claims made by [Martin] today on social media," the team's statement reads. "And to note that Martin did not make any of these false allegations until after she was relieved of her duties.

      "The Mariners categorically deny that any member of our management or coaching staff made racist remarks regarding any of our players or staff. Additionally, we have not terminated [or threatened to terminate] any trainers during the off-season."

      Martin responded to the team's statement by saying she "had reported many other discriminatory incidences to HR and other Mariners staff members throughout the season."

      Martin was hired on Oct. 30, 2017. She was responsible for "coordinating all aspects of the Mariners physical and mental training approach of players and staff, including oversight of the entire organization's medical, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental skills departments."

      Prior to joining the Mariners, Martin was director of sports performance analytics for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.

      --Field Level Media