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  • Halladay's family: No team logo on HOF plaque
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    Roy Halladay's widow says the pitcher's Hall of Fame plaque will not include a Toronto Blue Jays or a Philadelphia Phillies logo on the cap.

    • "He was a Major League Baseball player and that's how we want him to be remembered," Brandy Halladay told Sportsnet on Wednesday, the day after "Doc" was voted into Cooperstown's Class of 2019 in his first year of eligibility.

      NBC Sports Philadelphia said the family made the decision out of respect to Toronto and Philadelphia, "two cities he loved."

      Halladay, who died in a plane crash in 2017 at age 40, played 12 seasons with the Blue Jays (1998-2009) and four seasons with the Phillies (2010-13). He won a Cy Young Award with each team.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants to honor Magowan on Wall of Fame
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    Before he retired as the San Francisco Giants' president and managing general partner, Peter Magowan established the franchise's Wall of Fame in 2008 to honor the team's 50th year in the city.

    • Next month, Magowan's name will go on that wall.

      The Giants announced Wednesday that they will honor their former executive during a ceremony at the recently renamed Oracle Park on Feb. 9.

      Magowan, 76, will be the 53rd person and the first non-player to receive a plaque on the wall.

      A Giants fan growing up in New York, Magowan was the leader of an investment group that purchased the team from Bob Lurie in December 1992. That kept the Giants in San Francisco, staving off a possible move to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.

      Other highlights of his tenure as managing general partner (1993-2008) included signing Barry Bonds in 1993 and replacing the rundown Candlestick Park with then-Pacific Bell Park (later named SBC Park and AT&T Park) in the city's China Basin neighborhood in 2000.

      "It is only fitting that we pay tribute to the man who played a pivotal role in revitalizing our franchise and in turning San Francisco back into a baseball town," Giants CEO Larry Baer said. "Through his passion and love for his childhood team, Peter led the effort to not only keep the Giants in San Francisco but also to build a permanent home for generations of fans to enjoy."

      The previous 52 honorees on the Wall of Fame either played a minimum of nine seasons with the Giants, spent at least five years with the club while making at least one All-Star team, or were members of the three World Series-winning teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

      --Field Level Media

  • Brewers reward GM, COO with promotions
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    The Milwaukee Brewers have promoted general manager David Stearns and chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger, the team announced Wednesday.

    • The move comes after the Brewers came within one win of making the World Series last fall, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games in the National League Championship Series.

      Stearns, who joined the Brewers in September 2015 at age 30, will add president of baseball operations to his title. Schlesinger, entering his 17th season with the club, has been promoted to president of business operations.

      The team also extended their contracts, but details were not announced.

      The Brewers were named the Organization of the Year by Baseball America for 2018. The team won 96 games -- tied for most in franchise history -- and the N.L. Central Division title.

      Before the 2018 season, Stearns made a number of moves to boost the team, trading for outfielder Christian Yelich, who won the league MVP award, and adding All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Jhoulys Chacín.

      --Field Level Media

  • Are Padres the 'Mystery Team' in Harper/Machado chase?
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    Could the San Diego Padres be the so-called "Mystery Team" in the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes?

    • The process for the star free agents has been a slow one this offseason, and neither Harper nor Machado have seemed all that eager to sign with the reported top pursuers, namely the Philadelphia Phillies or Chicago White Sox.

      That has led to numerous hints that there is a mystery team involved in the process. Now, there is word from MLB Network's Jon Heyman that the Padres have at least touched base with the camps of Harper and Machado as well as Mike Moustakas and Marwin Gonzalez.

      "Not sure if it qualifies them for "Mystery Team" status, but the Padres have checked in w/ Machado, Moustakas, Marwin and yes, Harper," Heyman said on Twitter. "Their plan is to shoot for 2020, and no word yet they've made offers to any of the 4, but they could move up the timetable with one big buy."

      The Padres have been building up their farm system in recent years and haven't posted a winning season since 2010.

      Nobody currently sees them as a contender in the National League West for 2019 but signing a big-name free agent or two would speed up the timetable.

      Just last year, San Diego made a splash by signing free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal.

      It certainly would cost more money to land either Harper or Machado. Harper would fit into an outfield led by Wil Myers, and Machado could plug a gap on the left side of the infield.

      Machado might have to be willing to play third base if he chooses the Padres. Top-flight shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is on the way and might be ready to make the type of splash Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. made last season.

      Moustakas would offer a less expensive option at third base and is close with Hosmer, his former teammate on the Kansas City Royals. Gonzalez, who played for Houston last season, can play infield or outfield while swinging a solid bat.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants sign LHP Pomeranz to 1-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    The San Francisco Giants signed free agent left-hander Drew Pomeranz to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

    • The team did not disclose financial details, but The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported the deal was worth $1.5 million with a max value of $5 million with incentives.

      Pomeranz, 30, was a National League All-Star in 2016 with the San Diego Padres and a 17-game winner with the Boston Red Sox in 2017.

      He was 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA in 26 games (11 starts) for the Red Sox last season. He spent two stints on the 10-day disabled list with a left forearm flexor strain and with left biceps tendinitis.

      In eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2011-13), Oakland Athletics (2014-15), Padres (2016) and Red Sox (2016-18), he has compiled a 44-48 record with a 3.92 ERA and 687 strikeouts in 710 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • A-Rod: Clemens, Bonds deserve to be in HOF
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    Alex Rodriguez acknowledged Wednesday that enshrining Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds into the Baseball Hall of Fame would make it easier for him to get into Cooperstown.

    • "Of course I want them to get in, because that would mean that I have an opportunity to get in one day," Rodriguez said during an interview on ESPN's First Take, one day after Bonds and Clemens fell short of induction with the Class of 2019.

      The remarkable accomplishments of Clemens and Bonds have been tainted by the strong speculation they used performance-enhancing drugs, and Rodriguez admitted making mistakes with PEDs in his career.

      A 14-time All-Star and three-time MVP, Rodriguez retired after the 2016 season with 696 home runs and 3,115 hits. His first year on the Hall of Fame ballot will be 2022.

      "Look, I pray every day I get a chance to get in," Rodriguez said. "The Hall of Fame is the ultimate place.

      "If you think about Roger and Barry specifically ... If you stopped their career at the age of 33 or 34, they were both first ballot and then the noise [about PEDs] started. For me, it's just a shame. I am certainly cheering for both of them. I like them both very much. They're both friends, and I'm in their corner."

      Candidates need 75 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America to make the Hall of Fame. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, received 59.5 percent this year. Bonds, a seven-time MVP, received 59.1 percent. Both players were in their seventh year of eligibility, meaning they have three years left on the ballot.

      Rodriguez, who was suspended for the entire 2014 season, has admitted using PEDs and apologized for his mistakes.

      "I would love to get in [to the Hall of Fame], but I understand that I made my own bed," he said. "So if I don't make it to the Hall of Fame, I can live with that. I will be bummed, it would suck and I can't believe that I put myself in this situation. But if that happens, I have no one to blame but myself."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Mariners sign Ichiro to minor league deal
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    The Seattle Mariners have signed 45-year-old franchise icon Ichiro Suzuki to a minor league contract, USA Today reported Wednesday.

    • The contract, not made official by the team Wednesday morning, would reportedly pay the 10-time All-Star $750,000 if he makes the major league roster.

      General manager Jerry Dipoto has said repeatedly this offseason that the Mariners want Ichiro to be on the 28-man roster when they open the regular season in the outfielder's home country of Japan. Seattle will play two games against the Oakland Athletics at the Tokyo Dome from March 20-21.

      "Ichi will be on our team when we go to Tokyo," Dipoto said recently. "He'll be an active player. We are still committed to the idea of developing this roster. Mitch Haniger is going to be our right fielder, Mallex Smith is going to play center field and Domingo Santana will be the primary left fielder. And we'll find at-bats for Jay Bruce, whether they be in left field, DH or occasionally at first base. ...

      "Frankly if he rolls out in Tokyo and gets seven hits in two games, there's a pretty good chance he'll play a third game," Dipoto said with a smile. "You have to adjust as you go. We're not going to predetermine anything. We'll give him the opportunity to come in and do what he does, and prepare the way he prepares."

      An 18-year veteran with more than 3,000 hits, Ichiro played for Seattle from 2001-12 before stints with the New York Yankees (2012-14) and Miami Marlins (2015-17). He rejoined the Mariners for 15 games in 2018 and batted .205 with five runs.

      Ichiro was removed from the active roster last May, but remained with the organization in the role of "special assistant to the chairman."

      --Field Level Media

  • Take 5: Signs Bonds, Clemens not far from HOF
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 22, 2019

    All eyes are on Mariano Rivera as the first unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and his longtime teammate, Derek Jeter, will get the bulk of the attention during next year's voting. Come 2021, however, Cooperstown might finally have to confront its lengthy tussle with players connected to using performance-enhancing substances.

    • The 2019 class, headed by Rivera and also comprised of Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina, is once again devoid of PED-related drama, but not far behind that quartet, ace pitcher Roger Clemens (59.5 percent of votes) and home run king Barry Bonds (59.1 percent) continue to gain steam.

      The threshold for induction into the Hall is 75 percent of votes; Clemens and Bonds each have three more years on the ballot. Here are a handful of signs that the two could finally hear their names called in the near future.

      1. For starters, it's worth establishing that neither Bonds nor Clemens tested positive for PEDs during their respective playing careers. Instead, they each went to trial for perjury; Clemens was found not guilty, while Bonds had his conviction of obstruction of justice dropped. Though there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that both men cheated in some form during their playing days, the fact that there is no definitive proof bodes well for their cases. The same cannot be said for Manny Ramirez, who was suspended twice for violations of MLB's drug policy, and as a result, continues to hover around 20 percent in his third year on the ballot.

      2. As for Bonds and Clemens, however, there continues to be a steady rise in voter support. Since seeing jumps of roughly 9 percent from 2015-2017, the two have settled for rises of nearly 3 percent each of the last two years. With a ballot lighter on big names next year, Bonds and Clemens will likely garner somewhere close to 65 percent of votes, putting them within 10 percent with two years to go. One only needs to look to Martinez, another controversial Hall of Fame candidate given a career primarily spent as a designated hitter, for an example of how much a player's stock can rise toward the end of their run on the ballot. Martinez was at 27 percent in 2015 before seeing rises of 16, 15, 12 and 15 percent across the next four years.

      3. On that note, a player's last few years on the Hall of Fame ballot puts writers that have long ignored their credentials in a position where they need to take a final stance. The many who have omitted Bonds and Clemens over the years will soon realize the time is now to make a ruling on two of the best statistical players the game has ever seen. Are Clemens' 354 wins (ninth-most in MLB history) and 4,672 strikeouts (3rd) really made invalid by suspicion alone? And what of Bonds' record 762 home runs and seven MVP wins? It's easy to take a stand against the two when you know you can change your mind in a year's time, but when that luxury is stripped away, many voters will be likely to sing a different tune.

      4. Speaking of voters, they get as many as 10 votes when casting their ballots. As a result of a logjam created in 2013, when nobody was voted into the Hall of Fame, which coincided with the first year on the ballot for Bonds and Clemens, voters have often struggled to narrow their list down to 10 names. That won't be a problem in 2020: Of the 14 players who will return to the ballot, only five received more than 25 percent of votes this year. Curt Schilling (60.9 percent) appears to be next in line, and Larry Walker (54.6 percent) should see a big jump in his final year, but Omar Vizquel (42.8 percent) likely still has a ways to go. A shortage of votes won't be an excuse next year.

      5. What also bodes well for players linked to PEDs (because once one is elected, the levee will likely break) is a series of weaker ballots over the next two years. While Jeter is a shoo-in for induction next year, there are no clear first-ballot names behind him. As for 2021, Torii Hunter might have the best case based on his defensive prowess, but the road to the Hall for players of that design has never been easy. Further down the road, 2022 represents a whole other can of worms in the form of Alex Rodriguez, whose candidacy might somehow be even murkier than that of Bonds or Clemens. Looking ahead to A-Rod, writers might want to establish the precedent of PED-linked players beforehand, seeing as its going to come to a head in the form of the high-profile slugger.

      --Kyle Brasseur, Field Level Media

  • Rivera, Halladay, Martinez, Mussina voted into Hall of Fame
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 22, 2019

    All-time saves leader Mariano Rivera became the first person to earn unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame when he was named on all 425 ballots submitted by the National Baseball Writers' Association of America.

    • The voting tabulations were announced Tuesday by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson on the MLB Network.

      Rivera was joined by starting pitchers Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina and designated hitter Edgar Martinez as part of the 2019 class to be inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y. on July 21.

      "Amazing, amazing," Rivera said in an interview on the MLB Network. "I have to say thank god for that. It was a beautiful, long career, and to end up with this is amazing."

      Rivera and the late Halladay both made the Hall of Fame on their first attempt. Halladay and Martinez each received 85.4 percent of the votes while Mussina was named on 76.7 percent of the ballots. The requirement for induction is 75 percent.

      Mussina was chosen in his sixth time on the ballot, while Martinez was chosen on his 10th and final season on the BBWAA ballot.

      Martinez received 70.4 percent of the votes last season.

      Rivera recorded a record 652 saves, Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history, Mussina won 15 or more times in 11 seasons, and Martinez topped a .300 batting average in 10 full seasons.

      Halladay's life tragically ended at the age of 40 on Nov. 7, 2017, in a plane crash near Tampa, Fla. A report by the National Transportation Safety Board stated the plane Halladay was piloting climbed sharply in the final seconds before plunging into the water.

      The quartet joins outfielder/designated hitter Harold Baines and right-handed reliever Lee Smith in the 2019 induction class. Baines and Smith were chosen by the Today's Game Era Committee in December.

      Among those falling short of induction were pitchers Curt Schilling (60.9 percent) and Roger Clemens (59.5 percent) and outfielders Barry Bonds (59.1 percent) and Larry Walker (54.6 percent).

      The candidacies of both Clemens and Bonds have been controversial due to suspicions they used illegal performance-enhancing drugs during their careers.

      The right-handed Rivera was part of five World Series championship teams with the Yankees during a career that spanned 19 seasons from 1995-2013.

      Rivera went 82-60 with a 2.21 ERA in 1,115 appearances (10 starts).

      The 13-time All-Star saved 40 or more games on nine occasions, topped by 53 in 2004.

      Rivera stepped up his performance in the postseason with a microscopic 0.70 ERA and 42 saves in 96 appearances. He had 11 saves and a 0.99 ERA in 24 World Series appearances.

      His rise into the best reliever in baseball history nearly never happened as he grew up in Panama and was working on his father's fishing boat. At age 20, he was signed by a Yankees scout and began his trek toward the majors.

      "There will be many more great and talented relief pitchers, but there will never be another like him," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "This is another incredible achievement for Mariano, and a day like today brings me great pride knowing he wore the Pinstripes for each and every game of his remarkable career."

      Halladay went 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts in 416 games (390 starts) for the Toronto Blue Jays (1998-2009) and Philadelphia Phillies (2010-13). The eight-time All-Star tossed 67 complete games, including 20 shutouts.

      Halladay is one of just six pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. The right-hander won the American League honor with the Blue Jays in 2003 and the National League award with the Phillies in 2010.

      Halladay threw a perfect game against the then-Florida Marlins in 2010. His postseason no-hitter occurred against the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 NL Division Series.

      Halladay's widow, Brandy, released a statement through the Phillies shortly after learning of her late husband's upcoming enshrinement.

      "His goal was to be successful every single day of his 16-year career," Brandy Halladay said. "Tonight's announcement is the end result of that effort. If only Roy were here to personally express his gratitude for this honor, what an even more amazing day this would be. I would like to extend special thanks to the baseball writers for the overwhelming percentage of votes that Roy received in his first year on the ballot. It means so much to me, (and sons) Braden and Ryan."

      The only other pitcher in postseason history to throw a no-hitter in the postseason is Don Larsen, who threw a perfect game for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

      Martinez spent his entire 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners from 1987-2004 and was a seven-time All-Star.

      Martinez won two AL batting crowns -- hitting .343 in 1992 and .356 in 1995 -- and drove in more than 100 runs six times. He established career highs of 37 homers and 145 RBIs in 2000.

      Martinez was primarily a designated hitter beginning with the 1995 campaign, and that affected his candidacy in previous years.

      "I had nervous energy all day, I had to go work out," a relieved Martinez said on MLB Network. "When you're expecting something of this magnitude, it works in your mind pretty much all day."

      Overall, Martinez had 2,247 hits, 309 homers and 1,261 RBIs in 2,055 games with Seattle.

      Mussina went 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts in 18 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (1991-2000) and New York Yankees (2001-08).

      "Surprising somewhat. It was a pretty big jump from last year to this year," Mussina said on MLB Network of earning induction. "I knew it was going to be close, but it's pretty cool."

      Mussina was a five-time All-Star -- all with the Orioles -- and also won seven Gold Glove awards. He finished his career with a lone 20-win campaign when he went 20-9 for the Yankees at age 39, his final season.

      "Moose was the most intelligent pitcher I ever caught," former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said in a statement. "He made catching fun because he was so well prepared. When we took the field together, he was always two steps ahead of everyone else wearing a uniform. This special recognition is well deserved. Congrats Moose."

      Baines accumulated 2,866 hits, 384 homers and 1,628 RBIs in a career (1980-2001) in which he served as designated hitter for 1,643 of 2,830 games played. He spent the first 9 1/2 seasons of his career with the Chicago White Sox (he later had two more stints with the club) and also played for the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Orioles and Cleveland Indians.

      Smith pitched in the majors from 1980-97, and his 478 career saves rank third all-time behind Rivera and Trevor Hoffman (601). He spent his first eight seasons with the Chicago Cubs and also pitched for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, Cincinnati and the Montreal Expos.

      --Field Level Media

  • Braves agree to deal with OF Markakis
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 22, 2019

    The Atlanta Braves and outfielder Nick Markakis agreed on a one-year, $4 million deal, the team announced Tuesday.

    • The deal also contains a $6 million team option for 2020.

      Markakis, 35, batted .297 with 14 homers and 93 RBIs in 162 games last season while earning the first All-Star appearance of his 13-year career.

      Markakis also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award last season, joining Dale Murphy (1982-85) and Andruw Jones (2005) as the only players in franchise history to do so.

      Markakis has batted .284 with 38 homers and 311 RBIs in four seasons with the Braves.

      He spent his first nine seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, twice hitting 20 or more homers and twice topping 100 RBIs.

      Markakis has 2,237 career hits with 179 homers and 969 RBIs in 2001 career games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Rangers reach one-year deal with veteran INF Cabrera
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 22, 2019

    The Texas Rangers reached a one-year deal with veteran infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, The Athletic and ESPN reported Tuesday.

    • The deal is for $3.5 million, according to the ESPN report, and is pending a physical. The two-time All Star is expected to play third base, replacing the retired Rangers great Adrian Beltre.

      Cabrera, 33, batted .262 with 23 home runs and 75 RBIs in 147 games last season with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. Cabrera played second base exclusively for the Mets last season but has spent the bulk of his 12-year career at shortstop, including all 135 games with the Mets in 2016.

      He played all three infield spots for the Phillies after being dealt to Philadelphia last season.

      Cabrera, a switch-hitter, has a career batting average of .269. His best offensive season came in 2011 when he hit .273 and posted career highs in homers (25) and RBIs (92) for the Cleveland Indians.

      The Rangers would be Cabrera's sixth team.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Farquhar lands minor league deal with Yankees
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 21, 2019

    Right-hander Danny Farquhar has agreed to sign a minor league deal with the New York Yankees just nine months after sustaining a brain hemorrhage, according to multiple media reports.

    • Farquhar collapsed in the dugout on April 20 after pitching two-thirds of an inning of relief for the Chicago White Sox. He told a team trainer that his head hurt, and then he collapsed.

      Doctors determined Farquhar sustained a ruptured aneurysm. He underwent multiple surgeries and was released from the hospital on May 7.

      Farquhar, who turns 32 next month, was determined to make a comeback and expressed multiple times that he hoped to pitch again in the majors.

      Farquhar is 10-15 with a 3.93 ERA in 253 career relief appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays (2011), Seattle Mariners (2013-15), Tampa Bay Rays (2016-17) and White Sox (2017-18).

      He was 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in eight appearances with the White Sox in 2018 prior to his injury.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reds acquire RHP Gray from Yankees
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 21, 2019

    The Cincinnati Reds acquired right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees on Monday.

    • Gray will reportedly sign a three-year, $30.5 million extension -- with a $12 million club option for 2023 -- as a condition of the trade, which sent second base prospect Shed Long and a compensatory draft pick to the Yankees, while also bringing lefty prospect Reiver Sanmartin to the Reds.

      The Yankees then sent Long to the Seattle Mariners for minor league outfielder Josh Stowers.

      Gray was set to enter the final year of his contract with a $7.5 million salary in 2019, but he is now under the Reds' control for five seasons. reported over the weekend that the sides were finalizing a trade, but Gray's willingness to sign an extension with Cincinnati was a sticking point, with Monday set as the negotiating deadline. Had a deal not gone through, the Yankees were expected to try to send Gray elsewhere, after general manager Brian Cashman made it clear in November he planned to trade the pitcher.

      Gray, 29, went 11-9 with the Yankees with a 4.90 ERA last season, his first full year with the team after arriving via trade from the Oakland Athletics in 2017. He went 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA in 37 appearances (34 starts) over parts of two seasons with New York.

      The right-hander is 59-52 overall with a 3.66 ERA in his six-year career, earning an All-Star appearance in 2015.

      Long, 23, was considered the No. 6 prospect in the Reds' system. He batted .261 with 12 homers and 56 RBIs in 126 games at Double-A Pensacola in 2018.

      Stowers, 21, was the 54th overall pick in the 2018 draft, appearing in 58 games for short-season Class-A Everett, where he hit .260 with five home runs and 20 stolen bases. He ranked eighth in the Northwest League with an on-base percentage of .380.

      Sanmartin, 22, spent 2018 between the Class-A and Double-A levels, going 5-7 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 appearances (10 starts), tallying 58 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • Trump tweets support of Schilling for HOF
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 21, 2019

    The National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its Class of 2019 on Tuesday, and President Donald J. Trump said he hopes that pitcher Curt Schilling's name will be on the list.

    • Trump tweeted his support for the six-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion on Sunday.

      "Curt Schilling deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Great record, especially when under pressure and when it mattered most. Do what everyone in Baseball knows is right!" the president wrote.

      Trump's backing won't have any influence on the voters, as the deadline for ballots for this year's class was Dec. 31.

      Schilling, 52, has been on the ballot since 2013. He received 52.3 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 2016 and 51.2 percent last year, falling short of the minimum 75 percent required for enshrinement in Cooperstown, N.Y.

      In 20 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros, the right-hander racked up 216 wins with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts. He was runner-up for the National League Cy Young Award in 2001 and 2002 and runner-up for the American League Cy Young Award in 2004.

      He was known for clutch performances in the postseason. In 12 playoff series, Schilling posted an 11-2 record with a 2.23 ERA.

      --Field Level Media

  • Angels announce one-year deal with RHP Allen
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, January 20, 2019

    The Los Angeles Angels confirmed Sunday that they have signed right-handed reliever Cody Allen to a one-year deal.

    • Angels general manager Billy Eppler announced the signing, which was reported several days ago by multiple media outlets. The team designated right-hander Miguel Almonte in a corresponding move to clear space on the 40-man roster.

      Allen, 30, amassed 149 saves in seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians. He went 4-6 with a 4.70 ERA in 70 appearances last season, which marked the first time he posted an ERA above 3.00 since his rookie year in 2012.

      Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports indicated that Allen will receive approximately $9 million.

      Allen fills a void for the Angels at the back end of the bullpen.

      Keynan Middleton was the team's closer early last season, logging six saves in seven chances before sustaining a right elbow injury in mid-May. He subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery, and it is unclear when he will be back on the mound.

      The Angels' save leader last season, Blake Parker, signed a free-agent deal with the Minnesota Twins earlier this week.

      Almonte, 25, was 0-0 with a 10.29 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Angels last season. He is 0-2 with an 8.66 ERA in 19 career relief appearances.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Twins agree to deal with LHP Perez
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, January 20, 2019

    The Minnesota Twins agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal with left-hander Martin Perez, according to multiple reports.

    • The deal is pending Perez passing a physical. A team option for 2020 is part of the deal.

      Perez became a free agent when the Texas Rangers paid him a $750,000 buyout to avoid paying him $7.5 million for 2019.

      Perez, 27, was 2-7 with a 6.22 ERA in 22 appearances (15 starts) last season.

      Perez fell and broke his non-pitching elbow in December 2017 while trying to avoid a charging bull at his offseason home in Venezuela. The injury bothered him into the 2018 campaign.

      Overall, Perez is 43-49 with a 4.63 ERA in 141 career appearances (128 starts) over parts of seven seasons, all with Texas.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, January 19, 2019

    The New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds are finalizing a trade for starting pitcher Sonny Gray, insider Jon Heyman reported Saturday night.

    • The Yankees would get 2nd base prospect Shed Long, a draft pick and possibly a third "lesser piece," Heyman reported. Heyman reports physicals and 40-man roster considerations are part of the details being hashed out between the teams for Gray, who spent parts of the past two seasons with the Yankees.

      Gray went 15-16 with the Yanks with a 4.51 ERA. The right-hander is 59-52 overall with a 3.66 ERA in his six-year career, most of those spent with the Oakland A's.

      Long is considered the No. 6 prospect in the Reds system.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cardinals' Molina calls Cubs' Bryant a 'loser'
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, January 19, 2019

    There's never a dull moment in the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry -- not even in mid-January.

    • The latest salvos in the National League Central feud were fired by Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina.

      Appearing on NBC Sports Chicago's "Friday Night with Ryan Dempster," Bryant mentioned that he once met rapper Nelly at a concert. When the former NL MVP reminded the talk show's audience at the Sheraton Grand Chicago that Nelly was a Cardinals fan, they predictably responded with boos.

      "Who would want to play in St. Louis?" Bryant said. "Boring. So boring.

      "I always get asked, 'Where would you like to play? Where would you not like to play?' St. Louis is on the list of places I don't like to play. It is rough."

      The comments weren't received well by Molina, the All-Star backstop who has played his entire 15-year career in St. Louis.

      "All stars, elite players and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city," Molina responded Saturday on Instagram. "There should be respect and you should play and compete with respect ... only stupid players and losers make comments like the ones made by bryant and dempster."

      The boo-birds will be waiting for Bryant from May 31-June 2, when the Cardinals play host to the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

      --Field Level Stadium

  • Red Sox 'crystal clear' they want to keep Betts
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, January 19, 2019

    Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said he hopes superstar Mookie Betts will never wear another uniform.

    • "He's the exact type of player you want to have on your team," Kennedy said Saturday at the team's Winter Weekend at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. "Not just from what he does on the field, but off the field. He's such a great person and we'd love to have him be a Red Sox for his entire career."

      Betts can become a free agent after the 2020 season, and he said he could see himself with Boston if things work out.

      "Contract things are kind of tough to come up with, especially with both sides and kind of how the economics and all those things work," Betts said. "I love Boston, love my teammates, love the fans and all those types of things, so we'll just continue to see what happens."

      The two sides agreed this month to a one-year, $20 million contract to avoid arbitration. Betts made $10.5 million last season.

      "I'm happy with the result," Betts, the reigning American League MVP, said. "Now, it's just time to play baseball."

      Kennedy said the team has told Betts, 26, that the Red Sox want him on the roster for the long haul.

      "You certainly understand, you try to put yourself in the other person's shoes, he's going to want to see what the market looks like, and we understand that," Kennedy said. "But we've made it crystal clear that we want him a part of the Red Sox organization long term. We were chatting last night, I don't know why a player would ever want to play anywhere else other than Boston."

      In the 2018 season, Betts hit 32 home runs and had 80 RBIs while batting a league-high .346.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bryant, Longoria alarmed over slow free agent market
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, January 19, 2019

    With several of this winter's top free agents, including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, still unsigned less than a month before spring training begins, other baseball stars are sounding off over the slow-moving process and apparent lack of legitimate suitors.

    • A pair of prominent players publicly spoke out against the apparent league-wide reluctance for many teams in today's analytical age to pursue high-priced free agents.

      Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant expressed concern over the fact that Machado and Harper -- both 26-year-olds with a combined 10 All-Star appearances and 61.2 WAR -- are still apparently waiting for offers they cannot refuse, despite still four years away from turning 30.

      "It's really weird," Bryant said Friday at the Cubs' annual winter fan event. "Two of the best players in the game, and they have very little interest in them, from just what I hear. It's not good. It's something that will have to change.

      "I know a lot of the other players are pretty upset about it."

      Another outspoken critic of baseball's recent reticence to hand out blockbuster contracts was San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria, who warned Friday in an Instagram post that the rank and file may need to fight back soon against the modern strategy of wait-and-see.

      "We are less (than) a month from the start of spring and once again some of our games biggest (stars) remain unsigned," Longoria wrote. "Such a shame. It's seems every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans, why should 'value' for your team even be a consideration? It's not your money, it's money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of.

      "Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team. And as players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again."

      Only a handful of teams, most notably the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox, appear eager to spend big bucks for an A-list addition such as Machado or Harper. Even big-market teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs appear out of the picture (for now) for the dynamic free agent duo.

      The holdup on Machado and Harper is causing a gridlock with the next wave of available players, such as starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder A.J. Pollock -- to name just a few.

      "You work for that moment in your career," Bryant said. "You feel like every team should want you. For them to not have that, it could be disheartening for them. ... It's not about the greed. They've put in the work to warrant contracts that are worthy of it."

      Bryant questioned whether "not enough teams (are) trying to be competitive" despite record revenues across the sport.

      "There's a lot of teams out there that have the money to spend, but they're not doing it," Bryant said. "It's very confusing to me. If I was an owner, president or GM, I'd love to have Bryce Harper or Manny Machado on my team."

      The big question: Will something change before the issue becomes a rallying cry for the players union before the next collective bargaining agreement is up in 2021?

      Phillies starting pitcher Jake Arrieta -- a free agent a year ago who eventually accepted a three-year contract after reports of hoping for much more -- recently posted a cryptic warning on Twitter to baseball's younger generation.

      "All of you 1-3 yr players out there better be paying attention to what's going on in our game. You're next," Arrieta wrote.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rays agree to terms with OF Garcia
    By Field Level Media / Friday, January 18, 2019

    The Tampa Bay Rays and outfielder Avisail Garcia have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, according to multiple reports on Friday.

    • Garcia could add another $2.5 million in incentives tied to number of plate appearances.

      Garcia, 27, batted just .236 in 93 games last season but did belt a career-best 19 homers. He drove in 49 runs during a season in which he dealt with multiple injuries.

      Garcia also underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee following the season.

      The previous season, Garcia batted .330 with 18 homers and a career-best 80 RBIs in 136 games while making the American League All-Star team.

      Overall, Garcia has a .271 average with 76 homers and 302 RBIs in 638 games over seven seasons with the Detroit Tigers (2012-13) and White Sox (2013-18).

      Right-hander Oliver Drake was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Drake was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on Jan. 4.

      This marks the second time this offseason the Rays have designated Drake for assignment. Drake pitched for five teams last season -- the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Angels land closer Allen
    By Field Level Media / Friday, January 18, 2019

    The Los Angeles Angels, looking to fill their closer vacancy, reached a free agent agreement with right-hander Cody Allen, multiple media outlets reported late Thursday night.

    • Allen, 30, reportedly will receive a one-year deal worth around $9 million.

      The Florida native has spent his entire seven-year major league career with the Indians. The past five seasons, he was Cleveland's closer, averaging 29.4 saves.

      In 2018, Allen converted 27 of 32 save opportunities while going 4-6 with a career-worst 4.70 ERA. He pitched 67 innings and struck out 80 while walking 33, and he yielded a career-high 11 home runs.

      For his career, he has 149 saves, a 24-29 record and a 2.98 ERA in 456 appearances, all in relief.

      Allen was superb in the Indians' run to the 2016 World Series, pitching 13 2/3 scoreless innings and recording six saves that October.

      Keynan Middleton was the Angels' closer early last season, logging six saves in seven chances before sustaining a right elbow injury in mid-May. He subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery, and it is unclear when he will be back on a major league mound.

      The Angels' save leader last season, Blake Parker, signed a free agent deal with the Minnesota Twins earlier this week.

      The reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox are among the other teams in the market for a closer, with their former ninth-inning man, Craig Kimbrel, still on the free agent market.

      Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday, "I still don't expect us to have a high expenditure on our closer situation."

      --Field Level Media

  • Finding high-priced closer not on Red Sox’s agenda
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The Boston Red Sox aren't letting the New York Yankees change their plans for 2019.

    • The Red Sox still lack a proven closer and despite the Yankees grabbing former Colorado Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino off the free agent market on Thursday, Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he doesn't plan to spend a lot of money on a closer.

      Speaking at a Boston baseball writers dinner on Thursday, Dombrowski said: "I still don't expect us to have a high expenditure on our closer situation."

      Adding, "We have some flexibility, we don't have a lot," Dombrowski expressed concern regarding the payroll luxury tax as last year's closer, Craig Kimbrel, explores the free agent market. The Red Sox have a projected payroll of close to $240 million, with the threshold at $246 million.

      "Well, I'd love to [avoid the penalty]," Dombrowski said. "I mean, we don't have any mandate to do that, but again, it really hasn't changed. There is a reason why they call it a penalty, and the higher you go, the penalty is quite significant. Ideally we'd like to stay there, but that was really our goal last year before the season started, and we did end up going over."

      Among the current candidates at closer on the Red Sox roster are Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes and Steven Wright, as Dombrowski noted that he could not say at the moment whether Boston will look elsewhere for a closer. With 96 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings and a 6-4 record with a 3.65 ERA in 62 games last season, Barnes might be the most likely reliever to fill that role. Brasier finished 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA, with 29 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings over 34 relief appearances (no saves).

      Prior to Thursday's dinner, Dombrowski said, "Sometimes you have to evaluate where you're going to spend your dollars. We decided to keep back the rest of the core of the club. We like our team a great deal, and we think some of the guys internally can do the job. Can we get better? Perhaps. We'll see what takes place in that regard."

      While signing Kimbrel is still a possibility, it's not likely that Boston will bring him back.

      "Again, there's a lot of players that are out there at this point. It could [come from within]," Dombrowski said. "But that's also one decision that we don't have to really make that decision until March 28, which is our first game."

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Yankees land RHP Ottavino
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The New York Yankees reached a three-year deal with free agent relief pitcher Adam Ottavino for $27 million, according to multiple reports on Thursday. The contract is pending a physical.

    • The 33-year-old right-hander spent the past seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies and is coming off a 6-4 campaign with an ERA of 2.43 and 0.991 WHIP in 75 appearances. He was one of the most coveted free agent relievers this offseason.

      Ottavino has a 3.68 ERA for his career, which started in St. Louis in 2010. He would join a stocked Yankees bullpen that features Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Dellin Betances.

      --Chicago Cubs officials said giving suspended shortstop Addison Russell a second chance was "the right thing to do" for all parties, not in any way an endorsement of his having violated the league's domestic abuse policy.

      Speaking to ESPN 1000 radio in Chicago, team owner Tom Ricketts and general manager Jed Hoyer defended their decision last week to sign Russell to a $3.4 million contract for 2019. Russell, who turns 25 next week, was suspended for 40 games last September after details emerged about abuse allegations during his marriage to his former wife. He is not eligible to play until May.

      "The fact that we have decided -- after talking to lots of experts, after talking to Addison multiple times, talking to the league -- that we'd rather support him through the process than just cut him and let him go, that doesn't mean it's in conflict with support for victims of domestic violence," Ricketts said.

      --Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he is not positive that he will join his team at the White House on Feb. 15 to celebrate the 2018 World Series championship.

      Cora has criticized the way the Trump administration has dealt with the recovery efforts in his native Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. A story Wednesday in the Washington Post said President Donald Trump "did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico" for hurricane recovery.

      "There's a few things that have come up in the last 10 days about Puerto Rico," Cora said. "It's a topic that back home is huge. But like I said, if I go, I'll represent Puerto Rico the right way. I don't know what kind of platform I'm going to have if I go. It's not that I've changed my mind, but we'll see what happens in the upcoming days."

      --The New York Mets have invited minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to spring training.

      Tebow, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who played three seasons in the NFL, was one of 13 Mets farmhands who received invitations to attend next month's workouts in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Tebow, 31, is hoping for better results this time around after going 1-for-18 with 11 strikeouts in seven games during spring training last year.

      Tebow spent the 2018 season at Double-A Binghamton, batting .273 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 84 games. He made the Eastern League All-Star team, but his season ended in July with a broken bone in his right hand. Last month, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Tebow would start the 2019 season with Triple-A Syracuse.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cora not sure he'll visit White House with Red Sox
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Thursday he is not positive that he will join his team at the White House on Feb. 15 to celebrate the 2018 World Series championship.

    • Cora has criticized the way the Trump administration has dealt with the recovery efforts in his native Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

      "There's a few things that have come up in the last 10 days about Puerto Rico," Cora said. "It's a topic that back home is huge. But like I said, if I go, I'll represent Puerto Rico the right way. I don't know what kind of platform I'm going to have if I go. It's not that I've changed my mind, but we'll see what happens in the upcoming days."

      A story Wednesday in the Washington Post said President Donald Trump "did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico" for hurricane recovery.

      The White House invited the team after it won the World Series in October, and the team accepted in early December. The national champion Clemson football team visited the White House on Monday.

      The Red Sox have said attendance at the gathering is optional for players.

      --Field Level Media