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Steve Pearce to Blue Jays: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

The Toronto Blue Jays added a high-upside player to the roster Monday with the signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year, $12.5 million deal.

The Blue Jays confirmed the deal on Monday after ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported the agreement and terms. 

The 33-year-old veteran is coming off season-ending arm surgery to repair his flexor tendons, but when healthy, the versatile player is capable of making big contributions to the lineup.

Pearce finished last season hitting .288 with a .374 on-base percentage and 13 home runs in 85 games with the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles. His best season came with Baltimore in 2014 when he hit 21 home runs with a .930 on-base plus slugging percentage.

According to, he ranked ninth in the American League that season at 5.9 wins above replacement despite playing just 102 games.

Altogether, Pearce has spent time with five different teams across his 10 seasons in the major leagues.

In addition to providing quality hitting from the right side of the plate, Pearce also adds value with his positional versatility. He has experience at first base, second base and in both corner outfield spots over the past few seasons and can give his team plenty of options in the lineup.

While this isn’t likely the type of signing that will excite fans, the utility player could provide quality depth to the Blue Jays lineup throughout the season.

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Sean Rodriguez to Braves: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Atlanta Braves added one of the most versatile players in baseball Thursday by signing Sean Rodriguez to a two-year deal worth over $11 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.

Heyman reported Rodriguez will earn $5 million per year with a $1.5 million signing bonus, making the deal worth a total of $11.5 million.

The 31-year-old utility man played seven different positions last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing everywhere on the field except for pitcher and catcher. While he spent the most time at first base, he played more than 10 games each at second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field.

Rodriguez is also coming off the best offensive season of his career. In 140 games, he batted .270 with a .349 on-base percentage to go with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. All were career highs for the nine-year veteran, who’s also spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels.

“Sean’s just done a remarkable job,” Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The defensive versatility and the impact, it’s hard to measure.”

Rodriguez will now hope to build on his success from last season, helping his new team in a variety of areas while trying to return to the playoffs. In Atlanta, he’ll likely be utilized at several positions across the infield and corner outfield, though Freddie Freeman is entrenched as the team’s first baseman and Dansby Swanson is the future at shortstop.

The Braves are still rebuilding, but Rodriguez’s versatility will make him a valuable option as the team gives playing time to young prospects.

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Max Scherzer Wins 2016 NL Cy Young Award: Voting Results and Comments

Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer has won the 2016 National League Cy Young Award, announced Major League Baseball.

The pitcher earned 25 first-place votes, per the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, beating out Chicago Cubs starters Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. Here is a full look at the voting results in a tightly contested race:

Players like Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Clayton Kershaw and Jose Fernandez also deserved consideration in a loaded field of aces.

Scherzer posted a 2.96 ERA this season to go with a 20-7 record, giving him the most wins in the National League. He also led his league in innings pitched (228.1), strikeouts (284) and WHIP (0.968).

After throwing two no-hitters a year ago, the 32-year-old was just as effective in 2016, gaining an advantage thanks to a better team around him.

“These guys absolutely supported me the whole year, playing defense, going out there and scoring runs, and our bullpen coming in and shutting the door,” Scherzer said in October, per Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. “I don’t win 20 without the rest of these guys in the clubhouse. They’ve been grinding the whole year for me. It’s just an unbelievable honor.”

Playing for a first-place team helped Scherzer go from 14 wins to 20, as well as fifth in the Cy Young voting to first. This represents his second career Cy Young Award after winning the American League version in 2013. He has finished in the top five in each of the past four seasons, earning an All-Star nod in all of them.

The Nationals signed Scherzer to a seven-year deal worth $210 million before the start of the 2015 season. While he will remain on the books for a long time, Washington is getting more than its money’s worth through the first two years.

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Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts Comments on Winning World Series, Steve Bartman, More

Few championships have meant more to a franchise than the Chicago Cubs‘ 2016 World Series title.

After 108 years without a title and 61 years since its last pennant, the team finally broke through with a Game 7 victory over the Cleveland Indians to win the title Nov. 2.

As owner Tom Ricketts told Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the meaning wasn’t lost on him:

It was just so important for this organization, to put this lovable loser crap to bed.

Despite all of the successes of the year, had that game gotten away from us, the next morning’s stories were going to be all about the Cubs losing again. … That’s why it’s so important to get this behind us. We had to get past that and put that in the history of the Cubs, and not the future. We changed that dialogue, and now, it’s all a thing in the past.

The lovable-loser label has defined the Cubs for the past century, with the team usually either well out of contention or falling just short of success for one reason or another.

Fans have blamed the Billy Goat Curse from 1945, a black cat running on the field in 1969 and fan Steve Bartman in 2003—the last of whom might finally get his chance at redemption in the coming year.

Bartman is known for reaching out for a foul ball during Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, preventing outfielder Moises Alou from catching it. The Cubs were five outs away from reaching the World Series at the time. However, a collapse ensued, and the team lost to the Florida Marlins.

While Bartman has been harassed for years following the incident, this year’s championship could be a chance for fans to finally let it go.

“I’m sure we’ll reach out to him at the right time, and I’m sure we’ll figure something out that provides closure for everybody. Hopefully, we can make it work,” Ricketts said.

Meanwhile, Cubs fans are happy to focus on the team that just won the title. According to WGN Radio, an estimated five million people were in attendance at the victory parade. If the numbers are correct, it ranks as the seventh-largest gathering in recorded history and the biggest in the Western Hemisphere.

“I feel like I’m still not sure it ever happened,” Ricketts said. “It’s still sinking in. Still, slowly sinking in.”

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Jason Castro: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Free-Agent Catcher

Former Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro has become a sought-after commodity on the free-agent market.

Continue for updates.

Braves Lead Among Suitors

Wednesday, Nov. 16

Per Buster Olney of ESPN, the Atlanta Braves are a top bidder for Castro’s services.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Castro reportedly already has offers from three different American League teams. 

The Astros could also look to re-sign the catcher, with only Evan Gattis a realistic option to replace him on the roster. The team was reportedly looking at a trade for Brian McCann, but as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported, that potential deal is “at an impasse.”

The 29-year-old has spent his entire career in Houston, playing in over 100 games in each of the last four years. He batted .210 with a .307 on-base percentage and 11 home runs in 113 games this past season. 

Castro was also named an All-Star in 2013, when he hit .276 with 18 home runs.

In a limited free-agent class featuring Matt Wieters and an injured Wilson Ramos as top options, Castro could be a hot commodity as a left-handed catcher with home run power and good defensive play behind the plate.

If he can return to his level of play from 2013, he could end up being a steal this offseason.

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MLB Player Choice Awards 2016 Results: Winners and Twitter Reaction

While baseball’s official awards won’t be handed out until next week, some hardware that is arguably more respected was handed out Wednesday night in the MLB Players Choice Awards.

Players from around the league voted on the best in the majors both on the field and off it. While the finalists were similar in many cases to those in the BBWAA awards, there were quite a few surprises in the eventual winners.

Jose Altuve was the big winner of the night with three awards, but a handful of players should feel happy with their honors from each league and overall.

Rick Porcello and his league-best 22-4 record became the most outstanding pitcher in the American League, edging out postseason hero Corey Kluber and Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton.

While Britton fans were happy to see him reach the final three after being snubbed in Cy Young voting, he was unable to top a starter who racked up wins all year long. He spoke on his season with MLB Network:

Porcello also had a 3.15 ERA and led all AL pitchers with a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Boston Red Sox’s Twitter account provided its reaction to the win:

There was more of a surprise in the Outstanding Rookie battle with Michael Fulmer getting the nod over Gary Sanchez. Fulmer had impressive numbers this season, posting a 3.06 ERA and falling just short of qualifying for the best mark in the league.

Detroit Tigers teammate Matt Boyd was proud of his fellow pitcher:

However, Sanchez had one of the best starts to his career as anyone in baseball history, totaling 20 home runs and 42 RBI in just 53 games. The players either didn’t trust the short run or weren’t paying attention.

The surprises continued with Jose Altuve taking home the award for Outstanding Player over Mookie Betts and Mike Trout.

While the Houston Astros second baseman was the AL batting champ with a .338 average, many believe he will finish behind versatile outfielders Betts and Trout in the MVP voting when it is eventually announced.

Then again, MLB Stat of the Day noted how impressive Altuve has been this season:

Finally, Mark Trumbo took home the Comeback Player award over Texas Rangers teammates Yu Darvish and Ian Desmond. While Darvish was coming off an injury, Trumbo and Desmond were simply trying to bounce back from disappointing 2015 campaigns.

Of this group, however, it was Trumbo who had the most impressive numbers, totaling a league-high 47 home runs with 108 RBI in his first year with the Baltimore Orioles. Per, he doubled his wins above replacement from last season.

The biggest moment of the night might have been the announcement of Jose Fernandez as the Comeback Player of the Year.

The MLB Players Associated provided a touching tribute to the late pitcher:

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle previously mentioned, voting was done by the players on Sept. 20, five days before Fernandez tragically died in a boating accident.

Kyle Hendricks was named the top pitcher over Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw, something that would have been quite a surprise at the start of the season.

After a solid, but unspectacular 2015 season, Hendricks led the majors with a 2.13 ERA to go with a 16-8 record for the eventual World Series winners Chicago Cubs. Per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, this ends a dominant run for Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers:

There wasn’t as much surprise in the rookie race with Corey Seager beating out Trea Turner for the award. While Turner put up incredible numbers, Seager was far superior all season long and was truly one of the best hitters in baseball at any age.

Daniel Murphy also proved to be an elite hitter this season with a league-best .985 on-base plus slugging percentage to go with a .347 batting average, 25 home runs and 104 RBI, all of which were career highs. The Washington Nationals star was better than anyone could have anticipated in his first year with the club after spending the previous seven years with the New York Mets.

This shouldn’t make it much of a surprise he was named the NL’s Outstanding Player over Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado.

Murphy spoke of his play with MLB Network:

Bryant might win the MVP thanks to his work with the champion Chicago Cubs, but Murphy was voted by his peers as the best overall player in the National League. 

Altuve continued his big night with a win in the Always Game Award, as described by Marc Berman of Fox26:

With two wins in the only two years of its existence, this honor might be renamed the “Altuve Award” before too long.

He also took home the Player of the Year Award, which counted the best between the two leagues. By this point of the night, no one should have been surprised.

The Man of the Year, which went to the player who contributes as much off the field as on it, went to New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson. As Adam Rubin of noted, he also received the Roberto Clemente Award for his work with the community:

The veteran outfielder donated $5 million to his alma mater’s baseball team, the University of Illinois-Chicago. He has also spent a lot of his time helping others, including earlier Wednesday, per Rubin.

With so many negative stories on athletes around, Granderson is truly an inspirational character.


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MLB MVP 2016: Predictions for Top Individual Awards in Each League

The MLB Most Valuable Player awards feature two very different races, with one league being much more competitive than the other.

While it seems likely Kris Bryant has run away with voting for the National League award, it was difficult to even narrow the American League options down to three candidates. Of the three remaining, each has a legitimate claim to the prestigious award.

Each league’s winner will be announced on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. on MLB Network, but here is a breakdown of the two contests with predictions for each award.


National League

Nolan Arenado has a legitimate argument to be a finalist after leading the majors with 133 RBI. He also had 41 home runs and a .294 batting average. However, voters don’t seem to respect the numbers he put up for a team that plays its home games at Coors Field and failed to reach the playoffs.

Of course, it’s hard to discredit Daniel Murphy or Corey Seager, both of whom greatly exceeded expectations in 2016.

Most knew Seager was an elite prospect coming into the season, so his status as the Rookie of the Year favorite is unsurprising. Still, his .308 batting average, 26 home runs and 40 doubles as a middle-of-the-order threat for the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers proved he was truly a star.

As for Murphy, he had shown plenty of ability in his career with the New York Mets, but his first season with the Washington Nationals featured career highs in batting average, home runs, doubles, RBI, OPS and pretty much everything else you could list.

A man with a .288 batting average in his first seven years in the league broke out with a .347 mark that fell just short of the batting title. In most seasons, this would be enough to bring home the MVP award. And yet, neither Murphy nor Seager should be able to match Bryant.

It’s not even that Bryant’s numbers were far and away the best in the league. Last year’s Rookie of the Year led the league with 102 runs to go with his 39 home runs, 102 RBI and a .292 batting average.

Chris Emma of CBS Chicago noted the larger effect of the 24-year-old player:

Bryant was mostly a third baseman, but also spent time at first base and both corner outfield spots in addition to one inning each at center field and shortstop. He did whatever was asked of him for a team that won 103 games and eventually the World Series.

Additionally, Bryant does all the little things to help a team win, from showing great instincts on the basepaths to helping advance runners. The Cubs were the best team in baseball all season long, and this man was the biggest reason why.

Prediction: Kris Bryant


American League

David Ortiz didn’t earn one of the top three spots in his final season despite outstanding numbers, but his Boston Red Sox teammate Mookie Betts has a legitimate chance to take home the award.

Tom Verducci of MLB Network even calls him the favorite:

Betts had a solid 2015 season but truly broke out this year with a .318 batting average, 31 home runs, 26 stolen bases and 113 RBI. 

Additionally, he is the only one of the three finalists to actually make the playoffs as part of the first-place Red Sox. With Ortiz clearly not splitting all that much of the vote, Betts has a serious chance to win this award.

Jose Altuve might have a tougher time despite winning the batting title with a .338 average. It was also the third year in a row he led the league in hits.

Interestingly, the diminutive second baseman doesn’t seem to care about what happens in the voting.

“If I win, it’s going to be great,” Altuve said in October, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. “If not, I’m going to feel proud because I feel like I did what I had to do to help my team. I don’t want to stop here. Like I’ve said before, and I can say it 100 times, I want to keep getting better.”

It’s difficult for Mike Trout to get much better than he has been already in his career, as noted by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

Trout is as consistent as they come in the sport, posting a triple slash line of .315/.441/.550 while adding 29 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Thanks to his ability to fill up the stat sheet and play excellent defense, he easily led the majors in wins above replacement, per

However, the Los Angeles Angels star has only won one MVP award. He won in 2014, placed second to Josh Donaldson last year and finished behind Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and 2013. The theme for all of these is team success. Trout has only gone to the playoffs in 2014, while Donaldson and Cabrera each participated in the postseason in years they won the award.

With the Angels not even competitive this season, plenty of voters will overlook his numbers and turn once again to a playoff participant. Betts, with similar numbers on the season, helped his team win a division title and will likely bring home the MVP award.

Prediction: Mookie Betts


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BBWAA Awards 2016: Full List of Finalists Announced and Reaction

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the finalists for the four main year-end awards Monday, featuring a few surprises in each category, per John Schlegel of

Although we won’t know who wins each award until next week, some big names won’t be in contention for the hardware. Meanwhile, a few players and managers could be happy just to get into the top three despite knowing they have little chance of earning the top spot.

The Washington Nationals were the big winners as the only team with a finalist in all four categories, but the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians had a big showing as well.

All votes were cast before the start of the postseason, which likely would have changed the outcome of a few races. Keep this in mind as you review the full list of finalists in the major award categories.


Award Finalists

Rookie of the Year (Announced Nov. 14)

Much of the debate in the American League will surround the Rookie of the Year candidacy of Gary Sanchez. The New York Yankees catcher played in only 53 games, but he was incredible in his limited time, finishing with 20 home runs and a 1.032 OPS.

Although some won’t want to give an award to a player who didn’t even spend half of the season in the majors, Yankees manager Joe Girardi stated his case.

“I think you have to think about it, I really do,” Girardi said in September, per Andrew Marchand of “I know people are going to argue he has only been here two months, but his two months have been as good as it gets.”

MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds offered more praise:

Sanchez’s biggest competition will be Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer, who finished with an 11-7 record and a 3.06 ERA in his first season in the majors. Although he slowed down after posting a 2.11 ERA in the first half of the season, he remains a quality option for the award.

The National League race will be easier to figure out, with Corey Seager likely running away from the field. He batted .308 with 26 home runs, 72 RBI and 105 runs this season, proving to be a force in a veteran Dodgers lineup.

MLB Stat of the Day broke down how good Seager was at the plate this season:

While Nationals center fielder Trea Turner was exciting with his 33 stolen bases and .342 batting average in 73 games, Seager might be too far ahead to catch.


Manager of the Year (Announced Nov. 15)

Terry Francona turned heads in the postseason by helping the Indians advance to the World Series, but the Manager of the Year award will likely be close based on regular-season success.

As Big League Stew joked, that might help Buck Showalter:

The Baltimore Orioles manager infamously came under fire for not using closer Zach Britton in the AL Wild Card Game, which Baltimore lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings.

All of the finalists led their teams to the playoffs despite flawed rosters and various injuries. The Orioles barely had a starting rotation, but Showalter overcame it with his bullpen and offense. The Texas Rangers dealt with a variety of injuries before Jeff Banister led the team to the best record in the American League.

As for Francona, anyone who watched the playoffs knows the type of impact he had.

There were few surprises in the National League, with Chicago’s Joe Maddon, Washington’s Dusty Baker and Los Angeles’ Dave Roberts all having legitimate arguments.

Maddon led the Cubs to 103 wins and the team’s first World Series title in 108 years, somehow finding a way to live up to the lofty expectations at the start of the season.

Baker and Roberts were in their first year with new teams, and while both left question marks in the postseason, reaching that stage was an impressive accomplishment.

New York Mets manager Terry Collins might also have a case, but it’s hard to pick him over the others on the list.


Cy Young (Announced Nov. 16)

These might be the most competitive races this year, especially considering the pitchers who were left out.

Matt Snyder of noted a surprise absence among the AL Cy Young finalists:

Britton posted a 0.54 ERA in 67 innings and was nearly flawless as a closer this season.

Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale (17-10, 3.34 ERA) and Toronto’s J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA) were also omitted from the list despite strong seasons. Still, the three who made the list were exceptional.

Detroit’s Justin Verlander had a bounce-back season with a 3.04 ERA. Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello had a major-league best 22-4 record, while Cleveland’s Corey Kluber might still have the best pure stuff in all of baseball.

In the National League, Cubs starters Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester are each finalists after finishing No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the league in ERA. Washington’s Max Scherzer joins the duo with a league-best 284 strikeouts to go with his 20-win season.

Mark Zuckerman of noted the close race between the starters:

Of course, you can also make an argument for San Francisco Giants starters Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner, as well as Noah Syndergaard of the Mets. Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez would also be a reasonable choice to posthumously receive the award after his strong season.

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register also shared an interesting note on Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw:

There can only be three finalists, but there is a long list of deserving candidates in both leagues.


Most Valuable Player (Announced Nov. 17)

Among the American League’s three MVP finalists, only one made the playoffs: Mookie Betts of the Red Sox.

Betts was arguably the biggest breakout player of the 2016 season, with 31 home runs, 113 RBI, a .318 batting average and excellent defense. While David Ortiz had a strong year in his final season, Betts was the clear MVP on the roster.

Of course, the other two candidates also had excellent seasons. Houston Astros star Jose Altuve led the AL with a .338 batting average, while Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout easily had the best WAR in the majors, per

Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times noted Trout’s incredible consistency:

Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds were the last players to finish in the top three for five years in a row.

Baltimore’s Manny Machado and Toronto’s Josh Donaldson were left off the list, and Donaldson especially won’t like the list of finalists above him.

“You gotta win,” the Blue Jays third baseman said in September, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball. “Don’t get me wrong, Trout and Altuve are both great payers, but that’s my idea of valuable.”

That won’t be as much of an issue in the National League, with all three finalists reaching the playoffs.

Kris Bryant is the favorite as the key cog for a Cubs team that had its first 100-win season since 1935.

Daniel Murphy and Seager were also leaders for playoff teams, but both would be a surprise, considering the talent around them.

Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports doesn’t believe there will be much of a debate over the final results:

Bryant’s teammate Anthony Rizzo could have also been worthy of inclusion in the top three, as well as Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who led the majors with 133 RBI, but the final list is rock solid.


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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Miguel Cabrera, Chris Sale and More

The 2016 MLB free-agent market isn’t a good one, which means the best way to add talent this offseason will likely be through trades.

After seeing what the Chicago Cubs were able to accomplish with a young core of players who were either drafted by the team or acquired before reaching the majors, front offices will likely be cautious about dealing away their prospects. However, there is some elite, proven talent available for those willing to roll the dice.

Here is a look at a few big names who could be on the move in the coming weeks and months of the MLB offseason.


Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers

Although Derek Holland isn’t the pitcher he was a few years back, he could still have some value for a team willing to bet on a return to form.

The 30-year-old pitcher has an $11 million option for the upcoming season, which the Rangers weren’t planning on picking up, per T.R. Sullivan of The organization has until Monday to make a final decision.

In addition to keeping the player or not, another choice would be to trade him. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported last week “the club is proactively making phone calls to gauge a market for the 30-year-old left-hander.”

The price tag is high for a pitcher who posted a 4.95 ERA this past season and only has 38 appearances (35 starts) in the last three seasons. However, he has finally gotten his strength back and isn’t too far removed from the 2013 season where he posted a 3.42 ERA in 213 innings.

Whether he stays with the Rangers or goes elsewhere, the value could be there if Holland returns to form and reaches his potential.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports also added the secondary team option after next season being a factor.

An interested team can take a small risk on a talented pitcher and hope he succeeds. A strong season could result in a reasonable contract for 2018, while a poor year can result in terminating the deal for just a $1 million buyout, per

Texas probably won’t expect much in return, but there could be nice upside for whoever is willing to make a deal.


Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

There is no denying Miguel Cabrera being one of the top hitters of his generation. He’s been to 11 All-Star Games, is a two-time MVP, won the Triple Crown and still put up elite numbers even in a down 2016.

He finished this past season with a .316 batting average, 38 home runs and 108 RBI. The problem is he did so on a team that missed the playoffs and is getting older. Cabrera is 33 years old and is under contract through at least 2023 at an average of over $30 million per season.

Even as one of the best hitters in the game, it’s understandable for the Tigers to see what the player is worth on the open market.

As Buster Olney of reported, the Tigers “will listen to trade offers on everybody,” including Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler.

Olney did note some potential road blocks on a deal for Cabrera, however. He explained, “Detroit would probably have to eat a significant portion of his deal or take on a bad contract to make something happen, and Cabrera can block any proposed trade.”

Even with the challenge, general manager Al Avila noted in October, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, “We have to be open-minded to anything.”

Avila added: “We’re going to go out and talk to 29 other clubs and see how we can start, little by little, making this team leaner, younger, more efficient, and at the same time, staying competitive, trying to get to the playoffs.”

Craig Edwards of FanGraphs discussed the possibility of packaging Cabrera and Verlander in one blockbuster trade, possibly targeting the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees.

A move like this would not be easy, but you can be certain a lot of teams will figure out what it would take to add an elite hitter like this one.


Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox

It was almost a surprise Chris Sale wasn’t traded last season considering all of the discussion about a possible move. However, the Chicago White Sox might finally pull the trigger this offseason.

“More than one GM has said that White Sox GM Rick Hahn is open for business on just about his entire roster,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote. “That includes Chris Sale and the rest of the rotation.”

Cafardo noted the Red Sox would be interested in a move in order to create an elite rotation that already features David Price and Rick Porcello, among others. The Houston Astros are also listed as a possibility as a team that could target either Sale or Sonny Gray.

Unlike Holland or Cabrera, Sale is a relative steal at his current price. While his salary rises to $12 million for 2017, this is still relatively cheap for a pitcher who has been one of the best in baseball over the past few years.

The southpaw has finished in the top six of the Cy Young voting in each of the past four seasons and has been selected to five straight All-Star Games. He finished this past season with 17 wins, a 3.34 ERA and a career-high 226.2 innings pitched. He led the American League with six complete games.

Sale is as consistent as they come, and whoever acquires him can keep him for two additional seasons on reasonable team options provided he continues to play at this same level. The White Sox will want a big return, but in a weak free-agent market, this is a rare game-changing talent.


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Bud Black to Rockies: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Colorado Rockies have hired Bud Black as their manager heading into the 2017 season, the club announced Monday.

FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke first reported the decision.

Black was the manager of the San Diego Padres from 2007 to 2015, accumulating a 649-713 career record in nine seasons. He was fired during the 2015 season after starting the year with a 32-33 record.

Although Black never led San Diego to the playoffs, he won the 2010 National League Manager of the Year award after helping guide the squad to a 90-72 record.

Padres players were quick to come to Black’s defense after the team relieved him of his duties.

“The way that Buddy ran the ship around here was fine,” pitcher James Shields said at the time, per “We respect him as a manager and a man. As players, we’ve got to do a better job. It’s up to us as players to figure it out, try not to put blame on anybody.”

According to James Wagner of the Washington Post, the Washington Nationals reportedly intended on hiring Black to become their manager before the 2016 season, but negotiations broke down because of contract concerns. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Washington only offered him a one-year deal worth $1.6 million, which was “considerably lower than he anticipated.”

He instead spent the year working as a member of the Los Angeles Angels front office.

The 59-year-old manager will take over a Rockies team that finished in third place in the NL West with a 75-87 record last season. Former manager Walt Weiss, whose contract was set to expire, stepped down at the end of the year.

Although the Rockies haven’t finished with a winning record in the last six years, hitters such as Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and 2016 batting champion DJ LeMahieu provide reason for hope in Colorado if Black can maximize the team’s talent.

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