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December

07
Aaron Judge cashes in with 9-year, $360M Yankees deal

Aaron Judge’s bet on himself paid off in a big way. Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million deal, sources confirmed to ESPN early Wednesday morning, giving the slugger nearly $150 million more than what the team had offered him in the spring. He decided to remain with the Yankees after flirtations with the San Francisco Giants, the team located about 100 miles from where Judge grew up in California, and the San Diego Padres, who have made it clear they are open to making big moves this winter. The looming specter of Judge leaving for […]

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December

06
Yankees focused on Aaron Judge, not going to rush him

The New York Yankees want to make clear that Aaron Judge is their top — and currently only — priority in free agency. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman stated Monday at the MLB winter meetings that the team is continuing to have conversations with Judge and his representatives, and that the two sides have been exchanging contract offers. He said owner Hal Steinbrenner, who said last month that he wants Judge to “be a Yankee for the rest of his life,” met with the 2022 American League MVP personally in Tampa, Florida. Steinbrenner is “putting his money where his mouth is,” Cashman said. “We’d […]

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December

01
Toronto Blue Jays hire Don Mattingly as bench coach

Don Mattingly was expecting to spend a summer at home with his family. A call from the Toronto Blue Jays convinced him to get back into baseball. Mattingly, who left his job as Miami Marlins manager at the end of last season, is joining Toronto’s staff as bench coach to manager John Schneider, the team revealed Wednesday. Mattingly stated he’d been contacted by multiple clubs with offers for 2023, but nothing interested him until Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins called to chat. “Just the first conversation, it felt great, honestly,” Mattingly said on a video call Wednesday. “It piqued my interest right away.” […]

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November

28
Pittsburgh Pirates, 1B Carlos Santana agree on 1-year, $6.7M deal

First baseman Carlos Santana and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in agreement on a one-year, $6.7 million contract, pending the results of a physical, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN. Santana, 36, concluded with a league-average OPS last year, hitting .202/.316/.376 between stints with the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. But his expected numbers, based on how hard he hit the ball (an 81st-percentile exit velocity) and his elite walk rate (97th percentile), projected far better results, something that drove his market. Further, nobody was shifted a higher percentage last year than Santana, who saw altered defense in 356 of his 362 left-handed batting appearances. With […]

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November

24
Angels acquire Hunter Renfroe, send 3 pitchers to Brewers

The Los Angeles Angels obtained power-hitting outfielder Hunter Renfroe in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for three young pitchers Tuesday night. Milwaukee received right-handers Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero, and minor league lefty Adam Seminaris. Renfroe batted .255 with 29 home runs, 72 RBIs and an .807 OPS in 125 games this season, his first with the Brewers. He led major league right fielders with 11 assists and ranked 10th in the National League with a .492 slugging percentage. “Obviously, it’s a productive player who’s done it year in and year out for a while,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said on a Zoom conference with reporters. “It’s […]

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November

22
Dodgers non-tender Cody Bellinger, making him a free agent

Cody Bellinger, a 27-year-old outfielder who was an MVP as recently as 2019, was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, a somewhat expected move that nonetheless encapsulates his precipitous downfall offensively. Bellinger was due to make something in the neighborhood of $18 million in 2023, which would have been his final season before free agency. Instead, he’ll venture into the free agent market a year early, though the Dodgers and Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, can renegotiate a different contract, perhaps one that covers multiple years at a lower rate. Regardless, a Dodgers team coming off back-to-back 100-plus-win seasons is in […]

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November

17
Justin Verlander wins third AL Cy Young by unanimous vote

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander won his third American League Cy Young Award on Thursday, joining a distinguished club with fewer than a dozen members throughout baseball history. He did so unanimously. And he did so under unprecedented circumstances — as a 39-year-old coming off Tommy John surgery, which kept him off a major league mound for most of the past two years. It was all rooted in positive thinking. When Verlander decided to surgically repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in September 2020, he thought not about his age but about a percentage: 89%. That, he told MLB Network before being announced […]

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November

16
Angels, LHP Tyler Anderson agree to 3-year deal

The Los Angeles Angels, once again in need of a starting pitcher to slot near the top of their rotation, have agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract Tyler Anderson, sources told ESPN. The deal, which will pay Anderson $13 million each year, was struck hours before Tuesday’s deadline for players to decide whether to accept the qualifying offer. Anderson was given the one-year, $19.65 million qualifying offer by the crosstown Los Angeles Dodgers but instead opted for a multiyear agreement. The Angels will now lose their second-round pick and the Dodgers will gain a pick after the fourth round in next year’s draft. […]

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November

15
Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez named AL Rookie of the Year

Julio Rodriguez grew up in Loma de Cabrera, a small Dominican town of roughly 20,000 located near the Haitian border. Before him, the only prominent baseball player from there was Rafael Furcal, an All-Star shortstop through the 2000s. Rodriguez looked up to Furcal as a kid. He remembers the parade that the city organized for him and all the fanfare that came with it. Now Rodriguez will get one of his own. When the Seattle Mariners’ dynamic young center fielder returns home this offseason, a parade will take place in his honor. It will be a holiday in his hometown. “It’s gonna […]

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November

14
Astros, Rafael Montero reach 3-year, $34.5M deal

Reliever Rafael Montero agreed to a three-year, $34.5 million deal that will bring the right-hander back to the Houston Astros’ dominant bullpen a week after the team rode its pitching staff to a World Series title, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN. Montero, 32, thrived in his first full season with the Astros, posting a 2.37 ERA in 68⅓ innings and allowing just three home runs while striking out 73. The deal came together on a transformative Friday for the Astros, who saw general manager James Click reject a one-year contract from owner Jim Crane and leave the organization. Re-signing Montero deepens an Astros […]

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