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Mark Trumbo Re-Signs with Orioles: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Outfielder Mark Trumbo agreed to re-sign with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, the team announced

Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun first reported the deal on Thursday. 

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the three-year deal is for $37.5 million. ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported Trumbo has a limited no-trade clause for seven teams and incentivized, tiered bonuses dependent on how many times he wins the Silver Slugger award. 

Trumbo, 31, had a career year for the Orioles in 2016, hitting .256 with 47 home runs—the most in the major leagues—and 108 RBI. His home run and RBI totals were both career highs.

While Trumbo flashed excellent power earlier in his career—from 2011 to 2013, he hit 95 home runs with 282 RBI for the Los Angeles Angels—he established himself as one of baseball’s most dangerous power hitters last season.

That was in stark contrast to his stints with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners in 2014 and 2015, when he totaled just 36 homers and 125 RBI.

His surge in production left him as one of the most appealing free agents on the market for teams looking to add a big bopper to the middle of their lineups. That made Baltimore’s chances of retaining him uncertain, though Trumbo seemed inclined to return to the Orioles following the season.

“I love it here,” he told Steve Melewski of MASN after the team’s Wild Card Game loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. “Had a great time and I’m sure we’ll talk at some point. Who wouldn’t (want to come back)? It has been an absolute blast this year.”

The Orioles wanted him back just as much and now will be hoping that Trumbo’s power numbers were his new norm and not an outlier.

If Trumbo doesn’t knock the ball out of the park, his value wanes. He’s a below-average fielder, and he’s unlikely to provide a great batting average or on-base percentage. Baltimore bet big money that Trumbo’s power surge will continue in 2017.


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Alex Rodriguez to Host ‘Back in the Game’ Reality Show

Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez is set to host a CNBC reality show, Back in the Game, according to Alex Weprin of Politico.

On the show—which includes former NFL player Michael Strahan as an executive producer—ex-athletes in dire financial straits will be paired with “money-savvy mentors who can help them get back on their feet.” These advisors may help the athletes launch a second career or pursue a new business opportunity.

Finances likely won’t ever be an issue for Rodriguez, who signed a 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers in 2000, though he opted out of that agreement in 2007 to sign a 10-year, $275 million contract with the New York Yankees that year. 

And the money is still coming in from that Rangers deal, per

Although the Yankees will not be responsible for his checks after 2017, he will still be getting paid by the Rangers. At the time he was traded, he was to receive $36 million in deferred money from that record deal. That was converted to an assignment bonus, which has racked up two percent in interest every year. He will continue to get paid by the Rangers until June 15, 2025.

The Yankees are also on the hook for the $21 million Rodriguez is owed on the final year of his deal with the team.

Rodriguez, 41, had one of the most polarizing careers in MLB history. He was an electrifying talent and hit 696 career home runs in his career, fourth in MLB history, but he also was suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He also admitted to using PEDs in 2009.

In his post-baseball career, Rodriguez has shown a natural knack for television and was a big hit on Fox’s postseason coverage. Ben Reiter of noted: “The hyper-prepared Rodriguez has exhibited his singular baseball mind by providing analysis that is both nuanced and well formulated.”

While Rodriguez won’t be breaking down baseball games for CNBC, it’s become clear he has a future in television.


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World Series Champion Chicago Cubs Visit President Obama at the White House

For the first time since 1888, the Chicago Cubs visited the White House on Monday to meet President Barack Obama and celebrate the team’s first World Series title since 1908.

“They said this day would never come,” Obama said to open his remarks, per the ESPN broadcast, amid laughter and applause in the White House. “Here is something my predecessors never got to say: Welcome to the White House the World Series champion Cubs.”

He added:

I will say, it took you long enough. I’ve got four days left. Eight years ago, I made a lot of promises, some of which we’ve accomplished. But not even I was crazy enough to promise that the Cubs would win the World Series. But I did say there’s nothing false about hope. The audacity of hope.

The president spoke more about hope and how it brought together fans of the Cubs throughout the years, per CBS News:

He also had a few jokes about the team. He noted that he and catcher David Ross were each on a yearlong retirement tour over the past year. He praised Anthony Rizzo for putting the ball from the final out in Game 7 in his back pocket, calling it “excellent situational awareness.” He called manager Joe Maddon a tactical genius, joking that he even smartly made it rain in Game 7.

He also talked about how Theo Epstein, the team’s president of baseball operations, has ended droughts for the Boston Red Sox and Cubs before jokingly offering him a job, per CBS News:

As for that previous visit, the Cubs were known as the White Stockings when they last visited the White House in 1888. Team president Albert Spalding “made arrangements for a postseason world tour,” per Carrie Muskat of, and wanted “a formal proclamation from President Grover Cleveland endorsing the tour.”

Cleveland did meet with the team, though he declined to sign the letter it presented him “proclaiming the greatness of the White Stockings and the traveling All-Stars.”

“We will make no such demands today,” Epstein joked at the podium.

Obama was much more willing to endorse the Cubs, even moving up this ceremony so he could meet with the team before his second term as president ends Friday and Donald Trump takes office, per Lynn Sweet and Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Obama was a longtime resident of Chicago and is famously a Chicago White Sox fan, a fact that wasn’t lost on the Cubs and Javier Baez:

Indeed, the Cubs couldn’t help but bring up that fact during the proceedings. Epstein and the Cubs jokingly offered Obama “a midnight pardon” despite his years of White Sox fandom and welcomed him into the ranks of Cubs fans. They also presented him with a No. 44 jersey, a No. 44 tile from the team’s scoreboard and a lifetime pass to Wrigley Field for him and his family.

The president enjoyed the banter and was appreciative of the gifts, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune:

There are also ties to the Cubs in his family. The president told a story about first lady Michelle Obama, a lifelong Cubs fan, per CBS News:

As for the rest of the visit, the Cubs took some time to visit the White House before the ceremony. Willson Contreras posted the following picture with teammates:

Ross did the same by the podium:

Addison Russell took a different approach, dropping a dab:

It was a special day for the organization and its fans, and it was also special as Obama’s last such meeting with a team in his tenure. Before he closed his remarks, he took a moment to reflect on the greater impact sports can have on society.

“Sports has the power to bring us together even when we are divided,” he noted. “It is a game, and it is celebration, but there is a direct line between Jackie Robinson and me standing here.”


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David Ortiz Confirms Retirement, Comments on Dominican Republic Legacy

David Ortiz confirmed Monday he will remain retired from baseball amid speculation the former Boston Red Sox slugger might return to the game.

“My playing time has already expired,” Ortiz told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

He maintained he hasn’t been undergoing his usual offseason preparations, a necessary precursor to playing.

“Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, ‘I’ll play tomorrow,'” he noted. “Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency.”

Ortiz, 41, has created some buzz surrounding a possible comeback. On Jan. 9, he sent out this cryptic tweet:

He also sent out an Instagram post after the Red Sox acquired star pitcher Chris Sale:

Certainly, if Ortiz ever did entertain a comeback, the Red Sox would welcome him back with open arms. Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI last season, leading the team to the postseason. There’s little doubt that, should he choose to return, Ortiz would be productive.

It’s not just the Red Sox that would love to have him back. The Dominican Republic national team lost its centerpiece as well—particularly jarring with the World Baseball Classic in March—and replacing a player like Ortiz will take time for the country. Ortiz acknowledged as much.

“It’s a process, it’s not something that happens overnight,” Ortiz told Rojas. “There are a lot of people who are doing a good job and they are getting stronger, but they need to keep gaining experience and doing things well, on and off the field.”

Ortiz seems focused on his post-baseball life. Red Sox fans and fans of baseball may try to glean meaning from his social media posts, but Ortiz continues to maintain that his time in the game, at least as a player, is behind him.


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Colby Rasmus to Rays: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran outfielder Colby Rasmus reportedly agreed to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Rasmus will receive around $5 million with bonuses that could reach $7 million, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

“I feel good about it,” Rasmus said, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “There’s some boys I played with there. It’ll be fun. It’ll be fun to be back in the American League East.”

Rasmus, 30, hit just .206 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 38 runs in 107 games in 2016. It was a disappointing season in his second campaign with Houston following a solid 2015 that saw Rasmus hit .238 with 25 homers and 61 RBI.

Rasmus will bring pop to Tampa, though he hasn’t recorded a great batting average (his career high is .276 in 2010 and 2013) or on-base percentage (his career high is .361 in 2010) in the big leagues. Still, his ability to hit the ball out of the park—he’s hit 18 or more home runs five times—makes him an appealing addition to the Rays lineup.

The Rays finished 68-94 in 2016, but their poor record wasn’t the result of a lack of offensive power. Tampa Bay ranked sixth in home runs (216) and 13th in slugging percentage (.426). The fact the Rays batted .243 as a team (28th) is concerning, however, considering Rasmus is a career .241 hitter.

Still, the Rays have historically kept a low payroll, so they were priced out of the market for the top outfielders in free agency. Rasmus should be a solid cost-effective alternative.

Keeping Rasmus healthy will be key, as he has missed 182 games in the past five years.

But Rasmus is an excellent fielder and can play all three outfield positions, so he’ll bring plus defense to an outfield that already includes one of the league’s best defenders, Kevin Kiermaier.

If Rasmus can regain some of his pop from two years ago, he could be one of the savvier signings in free agency.


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Rajai Davis to A’s: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Outfielder Rajai Davis signed with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported Davis’ one-year deal worth $6 million from the A’s. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed the deal, adding Davis can receive another $450,000 in performance bonuses.

Davis, 36, had a solid season in 2016 for the Cleveland Indians, hitting .249 with 12 home runs, 48 RBI, 74 runs scored and an AL-high 43 stolen bases. While he is probably best served platooning in the outfieldhe often sat against left-handed pitching with the Indianshe can still offer solid production.

He has a .780 career OPS against left-handed pitching, but he actually hit better against righties (.708) than southpaws (.670) in 2016, per

While Davis’ offensive numbers were nothing special, he provided one of 2016’s most dramatic moments with a game-tying two-run homer off Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series. 

Davis is also still a terror on the basepaths, giving him a lot of value for an Oakland team that only stole 50 bases in 2016, the fifth-lowest mark in the majors. His defense in center has been all over the place throughout his career, with FanGraphs noting he cost Cleveland five runs at the position last season. 

Going to Oakland’s spacious coliseum likely won’t improve Davis’ defensive metrics, but his speed and ability to create scoring opportunities on the bases make him a worthy investment for the A’s. 

There may be questions about whether Davis can sustain his level of play, as he’s well into his 30s. He was a pleasant surprise for Cleveland in 2016, and his play was a big reason for the club’s Cinderella postseason run.

If Davis can replicate his success from last season, the A’s will have landed one of the better low-key free-agent signings.


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Former Padres All-Star Chris Cannizzaro Dies at Age 78

Former San Diego Padres catcher Chris Cannizzaro—who was the organization’s first All-Star in the 1969 season—died Thursday night, according to Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune

He had lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“He taught me a lot about pitching and how to be a professional baseball player,” pitcher Randy Jones, Cannizzaro’s former teammate, told Kenney. “He was hard-nosed, old-school. He fit me perfectly, to tell you the truth.”

Jones added:

He wasn’t afraid to take charge. Like young (pitchers) could be stubborn, might say, ‘My curveball’s my best pitch.’ He’d say, ‘Well, you better learn how to use the fastball.’ Chris Cannizzaro would make you learn how to use it, and he’d stay on you. He’d push you. That’s old school, and you needed that. I always enjoyed that. He loved to compete and play.

Cannizzaro was a .235 career hitter in a 13-year career that included stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Padres, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was an original member of the 1962 Mets and was “regarded as a hard-nosed defensive catcher with a strong arm,” per Kenney.

In the 1969 All-Star Game, the National League needed a catcher to serve as Johnny Bench’s backup. Cannizzaro—who was batting .245 with two homers and 23 RBI at the time—got the nod, although he didn’t see the field.

“I was hoping I would get to play, but it was a thrill just to be on the team,” Cannizzaro said at the time, per Kenney. “It was something I’ll never forget.”

After his playing career, Cannizzaro decided to coach. He was the Atlanta Braves bullpen coach from 1976-78. He also coached in the minor leagues and at the high school and college levels.  

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2017 MLB Free Agents: Rumors and Predictions for Top Sluggers on Market

Rumors, rumors and more rumors. They are the fuel for baseball fanatics in the coldest months and the fodder for discussion when baseball is generally overshadowed by football, basketball and hockey.

Below, we’ll break down some of the rumors surrounding the biggest sluggers on the market and predict their most likely destinations. 


Jose Bautista

If any Toronto Blue Jays fans were holding out hope that the team might reunite with slugger Jose Bautista, well, Jon Morosi of MLB Network likely splashed a big old bucket of cold water on those wishes:


Toronto’s price may go up at some point and Bautista‘s down, of course. It’s hard to say given how loaded the market remains with power hitters. Toronto likely took itself out of the Edwin Encarnacion market (more on him below), however, when it signed Kendrys Morales to be the team’s designated hitter.

Encarnacion served as the team’s designated hitter 86 times last season, more than any other player, per Nick Ashbourne of Sportsnet.

But there may yet be room for Bautista in Toronto’s outfield, depending on how his cost settles in the market. It seems unlikely that Bautista will be back—if there was general interest from both sides, it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays wouldn’t have made him a better offer—but it’s probably not completely out of the realm of possibility just yet.

The Blue Jays, by signing Morales over Encarnacion, gave themselves financial flexibility, even if it was at the expense of lineup flexibility (Morales is not a position player at this point). That leaves a glimmer of possibility that Bautista might return. But it’s just a glimmer.

I still believe Bautista could land with the Boston Red Sox if he’s willing to sign a shorter deal and take less money than he might get elsewhere. After clearing some salary by trading Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies, per Scott Lauber of, Boston has financial wiggle room. But that’s wiggle room it would probably be wise to carry into the season, in case it needs to add a player via trade for a postseason run.

Prediction: Blue Jays


Edwin Encarnacion

The aforementioned Encarnacion remains the top hitter on the market, and several teams are still in the running, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Among them, somewhat surprisingly, is the Oakland Athletics:

It isn’t known whether the A’s are just one of the likely bargain hunters at this point, but they’ve occasionally stepped out of character, like when they made a bold run at Adrian Beltre, offering him $65 million before he went to the rival Rangers for $80 million plus an option that took him to $96 million.

The A’s would not lose a first-round draft choice should they signed a top free agent like Encarnacion since they finished with one of the bottom 10 records last year.

The Blue Jays also remain in the running, per Heyman, though they seem likely to be long shots at this point. Cleveland remains a possibility, per Heyman, but it is trying to get a bargain price for a player like Encarnacion, Mike Napoli or Chris Carter, so it’s hard to say how serious their interest is in Encarnacion.

Morosi adds the Rangers to the list of possible suitors:


Joel Sherman of the New York Post took the Red Sox out of the running, however:


Encarnacion‘s big bat will land him a big payday. Thus far, however, the interest in his services isn‘t quite as frenzied as perhaps the slugger might have hoped it would be for a player with 34 or more home runs in five straight seasons.

Prediction: Rangers


Mark Trumbo

Mark Trumbo is the remaining domino in the slugger market, and a return to the Baltimore Orioles is hardly guaranteed, per Roch Kubatko of

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the other logical suitor for Trumbo at the moment seems to be the Colorado Rockies, though “sources say that the Rockies’ chances of signing him—at least for the moment—are unlikely.”

The team signing Ian Desmond might have something to do with that, though if it finds a trade partner for the talented Charlie Blackmon and slides Desmond back into the outfield—rather than play him at first base—Trumbo would make more sense in Colorado.

That’s a lot of potential dominoes to fall, though. Which makes Baltimore the most likely destination for Trumbo at this point.

Prediction: Orioles


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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Jose Quintana, Mets Outfield and More

The MLB trade market has already been vibrant this offseason—even before many of the big names in free agency were taken off the market—but there continues to be plenty of buyers and sellers this winter.

Below, we’ll break down a few of the biggest rumors circulating throughout the baseball world.


New York Yankees Showing Interest in Jose Quintana

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the New York Yankees were eyeing Chicago White Sox ace Jose Quintana:

Andrew Marchand of, however, doesn’t feel a deal is likely:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has repeatedly said he is pessimistic about adding another quality starter this winter. That, of course, won’t cool down the Hot Stove with the latest re-linking the Yankees to the White Sox Jose Quintana. Cashman touches base for nearly every available player; especially when it is need base. However, the White Sox want a boatload of prospects. The Yankees have been disinclined to trade any of them so, unless that changes, it seems unlikely Quintana will end up in the Bronx.

Quintana, 27, would certainly upgrade the team’s rotation. He went 13-12 in 2016 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings pitched, which marked his fourth straight season with at least 200 innings pitched.

He’s also under contract for the next four years at $36.8 million, per Spotrac—with two club-option years at the end of the contract that includes a $1 million buyout—making him incredibly affordable. So the White Sox will likely need to be blown away by an offer to move Quintana.

Certainly, the Yankees could use an upgrade in a rotation that includes Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and potentially Luis Severino, and the White Sox have proved to be sellers this offseason. But Chicago has no reason to move Quintana without getting several top prospects back in return, a price point the Yankees seem unlikely to meet.


New York Mets Still Seeking to Move an Outfielder

It’s no secret that the New York Mets have a bit of a logjam in the outfield, with Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis GrandersonJay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares. Cespedes has left field locked down, but the Mets still find themselves with too many corner outfielders who need to play.

As Mike Petriello of noted, the Mets are trying to move one of them:

The Mets are trying to alleviate the outfield glut by trading one, likely Bruce, even though teams reportedly prefer Granderson. Assuming they successfully do move one, they’ve said they’d be willing to get by with some combination of Granderson, Conforto and Lagares in center. Bruce isn’t an option there, which is why they’d much rather move him than Granderson.

This has been one of the biggest storylines of the offseason for the Mets, though it likely won’t be resolved until some of the bigger names in free agency are signed and teams turn to the trade market to address their lineup issues.

Until then, the Mets play the waiting game. 


Seattle Mariners in the Market for a Starting Pitcher

According to Bob Dutton of the News Tribune, the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays have had talks revolving around Tampa’s starting pitchers. Dutton reported that the Rays were making Chris ArcherJake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly available via trade, though he added that they were asking a “stiff price” for Archer and Odorizzi.

That left Smyly as the most realistic option for the Mariners, joining a slew of potential trade targets that includes Cincinnati’s Anthony DeSclafani, Boston’s Drew Pomeranz and the Los Angeles Dodgers pair of Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, according to Dutton.

The team’s rotation remains a major area in need of some improvement heading into 2017, and in the deep American League West—the Texas Rangers will be contenders once again, while the Houston Astros have improved this offseason—the Mariners can’t afford to fall behind in the arms race. 

At some point, the Mariners will swing a deal for a starting pitcher. It would seem they are casting a net in their search for the right fit.


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Bryce Harper Marries Girlfriend Kayla Varner: Latest Details and Photos

Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper married longtime girlfriend Kayla Varner over the weekend at the iconic San Diego Mormon Temple.

Harper shared an image from the ceremony on his Instagram page:

Wedding photographer India Earl also shared an image from the wedding:

According to (via Emily Heil of the Washington Post), Nationals teammates Jayson Werth and Trea Turner were in attendance, along with general manager Mike Rizzo. Former teammate Ian Desmond also attended, per Sports Illustrated (via Fox Sports).

Turner shared an image from the proceedings:

Harper and Varner—who played soccer at BYU and Ohio State—had previously planned to wed in 2015, though the wedding was called off, per Heil. But Varner announced on Instagram during this year’s ESPYs that the pair were engaged once again.

Harper, 24, is coming off his worst season as a pro, hitting .243 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 84 runs and 21 stolen bases in 2016. Nonetheless, he remains one of the game’s most exciting young superstars and is a crucial pillar for a Nationals team hoping to return to the postseason in 2017.


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