Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

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The Houston Astros and star third baseman Alex Bregman have reportedly agreed on a five-year, $100-million contract extension, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Bregman’s new deal will reportedly buy out his three arbitration-eligible years through 2022, and his first two years of free agency through 2024.

The contract is believed to be the second-highest deal given to a pre-arb player since Mike Trout signed a six-year, $144-million pact with the Los Angeles Angels in 2014.

The reported agreement will also be tied for the second-highest contract in club history, trailing only Jose Altuve’s five-year, $151-million deal signed last March.

Bregman recently voiced his disappointment with the renewal process for pre-arbitration players when he was only given a $41,500 raise earlier in March after a terrific 2018 season.

The 24-year-old is coming off a campaign that saw him slash .286/.394/.532 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs. He made the All-Star team for the first time and finished fifth in AL MVP voting.

In addition to reportedly locking up Bregman, the Astros made another move on Tuesday, finalizing a two-year, $17.5-million contract extension with reliever Ryan Pressly, according to reports.

Houston finished first in the AL West last season with a 103-59 record before the Boston Red Sox knocked them out of the playoffs in the ALCS.

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The Milwaukee Brewers are talking to free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, sources told Ken Rosenthal and Robert Murray of The Athletic.

It’s not known if talks have reached an advanced stage, or if an agreement is imminent.

Kimbrel, 30, hasn’t found a job this offseason despite being one of the most dominant closers of his era. He’s coming off a 42-save season for the World Series champion Boston Red Sox that included posting a WHIP below 1.00 for the fifth time and earning his seventh career All-Star selection.

If he were to join the Brewers, Kimbrel would add even more firepower to an already lethal bullpen that features reigning NL Reliever of the Year Josh Hader and former All-Star Corey Knebel at the back end.

However, the Brewers’ bullpen could use some insurance in the wake of injuries, as right-hander Jeremy Jeffress will start the season on the injured list with shoulder weakness.

The state of Kimbrel’s market remains unclear. The Tampa Bay Rays have apparently maintained contact with the league’s active saves leader during spring training. The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, meanwhile, are reportedly no longer involvedafter previously showing interest.

Signing Kimbrel would cost his new team draft-pick compensation because he declined a qualifying offer from the Red Sox in November.

Milwaukee lost one of its 2019 draft picks earlier this winter after signing free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal.

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Kris Bryant thinks Mike Trout deserves every penny of the $430-million-plus deal he reportedly agreed to with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. In fact, the Chicago Cubsslugger believes Trout should be paid more.

“He deserves that and more,” Bryant said when asked about Trout’s reported deal, according to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. “He has been the best player in our game for a long time.”

Trout’s reported deal will make him the highest paid player in sports history and, beginning in 2021, he’ll have the highest average annual value in baseball, eclipsing Zack Greinke.

The Cubs slugger knows a good thing when he sees it. Bryant, like Trout, has an MVP award to his credit – winning it in 2016 – and has been one of MLB’s top players since 2015.

Bryant followed up his assessment of Trout’s deal by joking that teams are running out of potential free agents to sign in the future, which could work out in his favor when he becomes a free agent in 2022.

Along with Trout, Bryce Harper ($330 million), Manny Machado ($300 million), and Nolan Arenado ($260 million) have all recently agreed to long-term contracts.

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Mike Trout is set to own the largest contract in professional sports history.

The Los Angeles Angels and the 27-year-old outfielder are finalizing a record-breaking, 12-year contract worth more than $430 million, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Trout’s new agreement includes a full no-trade clause and no opt-out provisions, sources told Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, who reported that because the superstar is still under contract for two more seasons at $33.25 million per year, the arrangement is technically a $363.5-million extension that begins in 2021.

The Angels have been negotiating a new deal with Trout for months, but the parameters were not agreed upon until about 2 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Nightengale added.

Trout’s expected average annual salary in the new deal will best the previous record held by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke ($34.4 million) and his overall contract will top the $330-million deal that Bryce Harper signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on Feb. 28 as the most lucrative in MLB.

Trout, a two-time American League MVP and a seven-time All-Star, owns a career slash line of .307/.416/.573 with 240 home runs and 648 RBIs through 1,065 games.

Since debuting in 2011, he’s accumulated 64.9 WAR, according to FanGraphs, which is tops among all active players and ranks 89th all time.

However, the Angels haven’t taken advantage of Trout’s elite production. They’ve only reached the playoffs once since he joined the team, losing all three games of the 2014 American League Division Series to the Kansas City Royals.

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Major League Baseball suggested a significant salary increase, better living conditions, and improved transportation when it met with the group overseeing the minor leagues, sources told Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The collective-bargaining session took place within the last month, around the same time the Toronto Blue Jays were putting together a new wage scale for minor leaguers in their system, according to Passan.

“We have received many questions regarding the decision of the Toronto Blue Jays to increase the salaries of minor-league players,” MLB said in a statement to ESPN.

“While each club makes its own decisions regarding minor-league salaries, the Office of the Commissioner is presently in negotiations with the National Association of Professional Baseball on the terms of a new agreement between the Major Leagues and the Minor Leagues to replace the agreement that expires in September 2020. The working conditions of minor-league players, including their compensation, facilities and benefits, is an important area of discussion.”

Passan notes that players at Class-A affiliates are paid as little as $1,160 per month, while those in their first season at Triple-A earn just $2,150. Those salaries don’t include clubhouse dues and taxes.

Players in the minors don’t make overtime pay because Congress exempted teams last spring from paying more than the $7.25 minimum wage for a 40-hour work week.

The reported push by the league caught the attention of Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, who tweeted: “This is good for the game of baseball.”

“This conversation is long overdue but it’s great that we’re talking about taking better care of minor leaguers,” Doolittle wrote. “I hope they get a seat at the bargaining table to participate in it and have their voices heard.”

The 32-year-old left-hander was drafted out of high school in 2004 by the Atlanta Braves but decided to play at the University of Virginia. He was then picked in the first round in 2007 by the Oakland Athletics. He didn’t make his MLB debut until the age of 25 in 2012.

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Next week’s series in Japan to open the MLB season could be the last time Ichiro Suzukidons a baseball uniform, but the 45-year-old isn’t ready to answer questions about his retirement plans just yet.

When asked on Saturday if he’d call it a career following the two-game set between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at the Tokyo Dome on March 20 and 21, the 10-time All-Star wouldn’t confirm.

“I have no idea when I will know that,” he said, according to Stephen Wade of The Associated Press. “I’m not used to questions like that.

“This is a great gift for me,” he continued. “I will treasure every moment here on the field. One week after this event, I will be reflecting back on these days, so I will make sure I remember every moment here in Japan.”

Ichiro, who hit just .080 in spring training before the Mariners departed for Japan, will be part of a special 28-man roster for the series. The veteran outfielder understands the privilege of playing in his home country again and he doesn’t plan to let the fans down.

“Based on my spring training, I shouldn’t be here,” Ichiro explained. “You can never predict what is going to happen based on spring training. Now I am back in Japan, and (a) country I love, to show what I can still do.”

The Mariners don’t seem ready to provide information about their plans for Ichiro after the Japan Series, either.

“We’re really taking it a day at a time,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’re looking at the two games here against Oakland. He’ll be available in those two games and we’ll see how it goes.

“Well take it from there,” he added. “He’s had an unbelievable career.”

If Ichiro were to retire, he’ll conclude his illustrious 27-year career with 4,367 hits – combined between Japan and MLB – and would be a surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famer.

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During his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig was a lightning rod for controversy. That doesn’t seem to have changed despite the outfielder’s move to the Cincinnati Reds.

While Puig still has love for the City of Angels, he shared some bitterness about the way he was jettisoned by his former team.

“It’s their problem,” Puig said in Spanish, as translated by Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated. “I don’t know what they did with that trade, because they didn’t get anyone who could help them the way I could. But that’s business.”

The Dodgers sent Puig to the Reds in late December along with fellow outfielder Matt Kemp and left-handed starter Alex Wood. In exchange, they received Homer Bailey, who has since been released, and a pair of prospects in Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.

The trade was widely regarded as a salary dump for the Dodgers, who shed Kemp’s $21.75-million contract and Puig’s $9.7-million deal for 2019. Both are scheduled to hit free agency after this season.

Puig’s tenure in Los Angeles routinely seemed to have an expiration date; he was relegated to a bench role last year as the Dodgers aggressively platooned. The 28-year-old posted a .267/.327/.494 slash line with 23 homers and 15 stolen bases over 125 games. He figures to once again become an everyday player with the Reds.