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Ben Cherington, Red Sox Agree to New Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has reportedly been given a contract extension that keeps him aboard beyond the 2015 season. 

The Boston Globe‘s Alex Speier reported the news, noting that exact details of the contract are currently unknown: 

Cherington, 40, was hired to his current role in October 2011. The Red Sox have gone 237-249 during his three seasons as GM, a volatile ride that has included two 90-loss seasons as well as a World Series title in 2013. 

After a last-place finish in the AL East in 2014, Cherington has reloaded in a major way, adding Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Rusney Castillo, Justin Masterson, Wade Miley and Rick Porcello through signings and trades. 

Chairman Tom Werner has expressed confidence in Cherington, via Speier

John and Larry and my faith in Ben is as strong today as it was last October. That doesn’t mean that we don’t all share in the responsibility of the decisions that were made. … [But] I think that stability is really important and I have a lot of confidence that Ben will be extremely successful going forward.

Last season was a miserable one in Boston, but Cherington has already shown the ability to turn things around as quickly as anyone. Now it’s up to him to live up to this extension and establish some long-term success in Bean Town. 

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Bruce Bochy Hospitalized: Latest on Giants Manager After Heart Procedure

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy spent Thursday night in the hospital after undergoing a heart procedure to have two stents inserted. He was released from the hospital on Friday and will rejoin the team Sunday. 

Continue for updates.

Bochy Released from Hospital

Friday, Feb. 20

Chris Haft of reported Bochy has been released from the hospital:

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was released Friday from the hospital where he underwent a procedure to relieve heart trouble and said in a text message that he’ll rejoin the club Sunday.

Bochy Undergoes Procedure on Heart

Thursday, Feb. 19

The Giants announced the news in a statement:

On Friday, Bochy’s son Brett talked about how his dad was feeling, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area:

Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area touched base with Bochy on Thursday:

Bochy has compiled a 667-629 (.515) record in eight seasons with the Giants, winning the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. With an astounding run of success over the past five years, he has garnered buzz as a potential future Hall of Fame selection.

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Barry Zito to Athletics: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Barry Zito and the Oakland Athletics are reuniting. 

The team announced Zito has been signed to a minor league deal: 

The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Susan Slusser initially reported the news on Monday.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman added some monetary details: 

Zito commented on the news, via Slusser: “I just want to pitch. I love baseball. I want to enjoy the game…I’ll let my pitching speak for itself—or not speak for itself. Talk is cheap. We’ll see what happens when it happens.”

Zito, a first-round pick by the A’s in 1999, spent seven seasons with the team, compiling 102 wins, a 3.55 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. He won the Cy Young Award in 2002 and was named to three All-Star Games, serving as a crucial piece on some very good Athletics ballclubs

Still, expectations will obviously have to be tempered. 

Zito, who failed to live up to a massive contract with the San Francisco Giants, last pitched in 2013, when he went 5-11 with a 5.74 ERA, 1.70 WHIP and a career-worst 11.7 hits allowed per nine innings. 

Perhaps the lefty’s year off will help him enjoy a career revival, but ultimately, it’s going to be difficult for the 36-year-old to crack a spot in the starting rotation. 

Still, it’s a low-risk move for Oakland, and it brings a fan favorite back home. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless noted otherwise.

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Yankees Will Retire Bernie Williams’ No. 51 and Jorge Posada’s No. 20

Two more former New York Yankees are headed to Monument Park.    

On Sunday, it was revealed that Andy Pettitte would have his No. 46 retired this summer. Now the team has announced that Bernie Williams’ No. 51 and Jorge Posada‘s No. 20 will also be off limits for future players in pinstripes:

Williams spent his entire 16-year MLB career with the Yankees, hitting .297/.381/.477 with 287 home runs, 147 stolen bases and four Golden Glove awards in center field. A five-time All-Star, he led the league in hitting in 1998 and was a part of four World Series-winning squads. 

Posada, another Yankee for life (17 seasons), hit .273/.374/.474 with 275 home runs, serving as one of the best hitting catchers in the league for several years. 

Williams is 10th in team history in WAR (49.4), while Posada (42.7) isn’t far behind, per

Former Yankee Chuck Knoblauch, who blasted the team for its decision to retire Pettitte’s number, offered his congratulations for Williams and Posada, two of the long-standing cornerstones to one of the franchise’s best runs of success: 

With these newest honors, the Yankees will be up to 20 retired numbers. Once Derek Jeter’s No. 2 is retired, there will be only 78 numbers left.

New York may have to start using double zeros or fractions here pretty soon, but that’s something to worry about in the future. For now, these franchise legends, who have proven so crucial to some of the best teams over the past couple of decades, deserve the recognition. 

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Yoan Moncada Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation on Cuban Star

Star Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada is close to becoming a free agent after it was determined he no longer needs a specific unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Asset Controls.    

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan first reported the news, noting that the highly coveted 19-year-old infielder could potentially start negotiations with MLB teams in two weeks. Because teams will have to essentially pay double for the already expensive youngster, Passan believes the big-money clubs are the favorites:

The New York YankeesBoston Red SoxLos Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs remain the favorites for Moncada, major league sources said, particularly because the team that signs him will need to pay nearly a dollar-for-dollar penalty on his bonus. For every dollar a team spends over its allotted international bonus pool between July 2, 2014, and June 15, 2015, it is taxed an equal amount.

According to Passan, there is more hype surrounding Moncada than there was for talented compatriots such as Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman and Yoenis Cespedes. Baseball America‘s Ben Badler added that he has more upside than Rusney Castillo and is better than Yasmany Tomas, suggesting that he would be in contention for the No. 1 overall pick if eligible for the 2015 draft. 

All of that is incredibly high praise, but by all indications, Moncada is worth it. Standing at 6’1″ and 210 pounds at the age of the 19, the switch-hitting infielder is a legitimate five-tool talent. 

ESPN the Magazine‘s Molly Knight puts the Los Angeles Dodgers as her favorite to acquire the young prospect:

You can expect a handful of teams to be equally aggressive, as Moncada will almost assuredly break the signing-bonus record recently set by Yoan Lopez. 

As Passan discussed, there are still some details to be worked out that could delay this process. But Moncada’s free agency appears imminent, and that means one team is close to adding a potential future superstar.      

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Francisco Rodriguez Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation Surrounding Star Pitcher

With the Milwaukee Brewers’ pursuit of closer Jonathan Papelbon dying down, the team is turning its attention back to Francisco Rodriguez

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt has the most recent report:

K-Rod enjoyed a tremendous season in his return to the permanent closer role in 2014, compiling a 3.04 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, 73 strikeouts and 44 saves for the Brewers. 

His ERA and WHIP were both higher than Papelbon’s, but Rotoworld’s Matthew Pouliot suggested it may not be that simple: 

Of course, the 13-year veteran is one of the best players remaining on the free-agent market, and’s Devan Fink reported there may be some competition for his services from the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Although agent Scott Boras is notorious for driving up prices, Rodriguez doesn’t likely have much bargaining power this late in the offseason. 

Because of that, there’s a good chance the 33-year-old could be had for minimal risk. 

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Ned Yost, Royals Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

After managing the Kansas City Royals to their first American League pennant in nearly three decades, Ned Yost has been rewarded with a one-year contract extension.    

The team announced the news on Twitter:

Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star provided further information about the 60-year-old’s long-term future with the team:

Yost has long been criticized for his questionable in-game decisions and strategies, but the results he got from a young club in 2014 were undeniably impressive. Taking a team that was 19th in the majors in Opening Day payroll, Yost led the Royals to an 89-73 record and the team’s first postseason appearance since 1985. 

Once in the playoffs, he utilized his team’s speed with aggressive calls on the basepaths to defeat the Oakland A’s in the AL Wild Card Game, sweep the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles before falling in seven games to San Francisco Giants in the Fall Classic. 

He finished third AL Manager of the Year voting. 

Yost’s managing style—his propensity to have his team lay down sacrifice bunts, in particularwill likely continue to draw criticism.

For now, though, that doesn’t matter. He has the job security to keep managing however he wants.

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Twitter Reacts to 2015 BBWAA Hall of Fame Election Results

The 2015 MLB Hall of Fame class is complete, and it’s one of the most unique in history. 

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were all granted admission to Cooperstown by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday afternoon, making it the largest class in 60 years, per Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan:

Here’s a look at the full results, via


This year’s class is unsurprisingly led by Johnson and Martinez, two of the most dominant, over-powering pitchers of all-time. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal noted their place in history in terms of strikeout efficiency:

Johnson, forever intimidating with his 6’10” frame, mullet haircut and eagerness to back hitters off the plate, is second all-time in strikeouts (4,875) behind only Nolan Ryan. He led the league nine times, including a staggering 423 (counting regular season and playoffs) punchouts during the Arizona Diamondbacks’ magical 2001 World Series run. 

Although he came up just short of Tom Seaver’s record 98.84 percent of the vote, he still finished in the top 10 historically, via’s Greg Johns:

Pedro wasn’t as effective for as long, but when he was at the top of his game, there was no one else in the same stratosphere. During his back-to-back Cy Young seasons in 1999 and 2000, he compiled a 41-10 record, 1.90 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 597 strikeouts. Per ESPN’s Mark Simon, the only other players to hit those milestones (40 wins, 500 K, sub-2.00 ERA) in a two-year stretch are Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson, who both did it in the 60’s. 

As Passan noted, the fact he was left off nine percent of the ballots was baffling:

Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy put it simply, while Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Beller pointed to the frustrating inconsistencies in the voting process:

John Smoltz wasn’t quite as much of a lock as Johnson and Pedro, but there was never really a doubt that he would get in. One of the most versatile pitchers in history, he owns both a Cy Young Award as a starter and a season with 55 saves. 

ESPN Stats & Info illustrated his unmatched production:

Craig Biggio rounds out the class after coming up just two votes shy in 2014. It was a long time coming for the former Houston Astros star, who finished his career with a remarkable 3,060 hits, 291 home runs, 414 stolen bases and 1,844 runs scored.

SportsCenter‘s Twitter feed noted his status among elite company:

Mike Piazza (69.9 percent), Jeff Bagwell (55.7) and Tim Raines (55.0) were closest to the cut line. The stats for all three are obviously impressive, but endorsements from fellow players often speak even louder. Former “Nasty Boy” and 1990 NLCS MVP Rob Dibble gave just that for the former two:

Fortunately, with Ken Griffey Jr. serving as the only lock to enter next year’s ballot, each player has a good chance to enter the Hall very soon. 

Passan offered a very early outlook at the next couple of years:

Seattle Mariners fans would like to see Edgar Martinez join that list. One of the best pure hitters of all time, Martinez got just 27.0 percent of the vote, but he did get a ringing endorsement from the newest Hall of Famer, via the M’s Twitter feed:

Of course, the biggest debate will continue to surround the players from the Steroids Era. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who would have been easy first-ballot inductees on merit, each received under 40 percent of the vote. 

They both saw an increase from last year, but as the YES Network’s Jack Curry noted, the change in the voting process makes it a steep hill for them to climb to Cooperstown:

It’s an unfortunate controversy that will continue to serve as a dark cloud over the Hall of Fame voting process in coming years, and it’s going to be interesting to see if voters eventually soften on their stance. 

But that’s a question to worry about down the road. For now, it’s time to celebrate one of the most impressive Hall of Fame classes in history. 

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Emilio Bonifacio to White Sox: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Journeyman Emilio Bonifacio has a new home.  

According to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the 29-year-old, who has played with seven different teams during his eight-year MLB career, has signed with the Chicago White Sox:

Heyman noted the deal was pending a physical, but he also stated this has been a “brilliant winter” for Chicago.

Although he has moved around quite a bit in the last couple of years, Bonifacio‘s role is clear: He’s a versatile utility man who provides speed on the basepaths and plays a multitude of different positions. 

As’s Chris Cotillo noted back in November, he had lots of suitors:

Spending time between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves last season, he hit .259/.305/.345 with three home runs, 17 doubles, four triples and 26 stolen bases. Over the last three campaigns, he has swiped an average of 44 bags per 162 games. 

“He’s always a pain to play against,” Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons said when the team acquired Bonifacio last trade deadline, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s David O’Brien. “It’s going to be fun having him on the team and not have to worry about him stealing bases (against the Braves). He’s going to steal bases for us.”

Defensively, he’s a Swiss army knife. While he spent most of the 2014 season at center field, he played every outfield position, third base, second base and shortstop. 

This isn’t a signing that will alter the landscape of the league, but players like Bonifacio often play significant roles on winning teams. The switch-hitter can give almost any starter a day off here or there. He can come on as a pinch runner or a defensive replacement. He’s a veteran presence in the clubhouse. 

If he does those things for the White Sox, this will prove to be a valuable signing. 

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2015 BBWAA Hall of Fame: Date, Start Time and Full List of Nominees

On Tuesday afternoon, a handful of former MLB players’ lives may change forever. 

When the 2015 MLB Hall of Fame voting results are announced on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m. ET, a lucky few will go from great players to legends. From “I remember that guy” to, “I’ll never forget that guy.” From star to Hall of Famer. 

For the uninitiated, there are 34 players on the ballot, including 17 from years previous and 17 newcomers. Voters can choose up to 10 players. It takes 75 percent of the vote to be elected into the Hall and at least 5 percent to stay on the ballot for next year. 

Here’s a look at everything else you need to know.


Voting Results Announcement: Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015

Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network



According to Baseball Think Factory, 148 full ballots have already been made public (thank you, Internet). That is approximately 25.9 percent of the vote. While it’s not a perfect sample size, a quarter of the ballots will provide a very good indication of what the 2015 class will look like. 

And if that indeed turns out to be accurate, we’re in line for a historically large class, as Randy Johnson (99.3 percent), Pedro Martinez (98.0), John Smoltz (87.1), Craig Biggio (82.4) and Mike Piazza (77.0) are all currently above the necessary threshold. 

Per, five inductees would tie the record set by the inaugural 1936 class, which featured a decent quintet of names: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner. 

Johnson and Martinez are going to be the headliners. 

The Big Unit, known for his intimidating 6’10” frame, blazing fastball and devastating slider, finished his career with 303 wins, five Cy Young Awards and 4,875 strikeouts, which is second all-time behind Nolan Ryan. There’s a good chance he still haunts the dreams of any left-handed hitter who faced him during his 22-year career. 

In addition to his rare physical traits, he was undeniably competitive.

“We knew that every fifth day, we were going to get one of the most competitive efforts in the history of the game,” said former manager Bob Brenly, according to The Associated Press’ Bob Baum (via The Seattle Times). “He pitched every game like it was the most important of his life.”

Martinez, who stood about a foot shorter, wasn’t around as long as Johnson, but his highs were the stuff of legend. In the 1999 and 2000 seasons, Pedro went a combined 41-10 with a 1.90 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 597 strikeouts, 69 walks and an ERA+ of 265, per

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona discussed Martinez’s greatness, via the Boston Herald‘s Scott Lauber.

He didn’t have one great pitch. He had four. I think if he wanted to have a fifth or sixth he probably could have. He had that ability. I think ‘electric’ is probably the best word I could come up with.

John Smoltz’s resume looks different than most thanks to splitting time as a starter and a reliever. But it doesn’t appear as though he’ll have much trouble getting in on his first ballot. 

Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza, who came up just short on last year’s ballot (Biggio especially at 74.8 percent), are also looking good on the early returns. 

Players just below the cut line include Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell (66.4 percent of the early votes each). Raines is arguably the second-best leadoff hitter of all-time while Bagwell is a career .297 hitter with 449 home runs and an MVP award. 

The Houston Astros attempted to make the case for their former player:

Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are a few more players who will likely come up short and stir up a debate or 100. 

But either way, with two of the most overpowering, dominant pitchers of all-time at the top and a potentially record number of inductees, this class looks to be one for the ages. 

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