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  • Bellinger beats out Yelich for NL MVP
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 14, 2019

    Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger was voted the National League's Most Valuable Player, topping the 2018 winner, Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich.

    • The results of voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America were announced Thursday.

      Bellinger received 19 of the 30 first-place votes and finished with 362 voting points. Yelich got 10 first-place votes and wound up with 317 points. Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon received the other first-place vote and took third place with 242 points.

      Arizona Diamondbacks utility man Ketel Marte came in fourth place, and Atlanta Braves center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. took fifth place.

      When the announcement was made, Bellinger hugged his father, Clay Bellinger, who was a major-leaguer with the New York Yankees and then-Anaheim Angels from 1999-2002.

      "It's absolutely incredible," Cody Bellinger said on MLB Network. "Little emotional. ... It's what you dream of, for sure."

      Bellinger, 24, won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2017, and he captured his first Gold Glove this year. He batted .305 with a .406 on-base percentage, a .629 slugging percentage, 47 homers and 115 RBIs -- all career highs -- while leading the league with 351 total bases.

      He is the first Dodger to win NL MVP since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. The last Dodgers position player to capture an MVP award was Kirk Gibson in 1988.

      Yelich, 27, topped the league with a .329 average, a .429 on-base percentage and a .671 slugging percentage that also led the majors. He hit 44 homers and 97 RBIs before his season ended Sept. 10 due to a broken kneecap.

      Rendon, 29, drove in a major-league-high 126 runs and tied for the NL lead with 44 doubles. He batted .319 with 34 homers in the regular season before leading the Nationals to their first World Series championship.

      --Field Level Media

  • Braves sign closer Smith to 3-year, $39M contract
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 14, 2019

    The Atlanta Braves signed All-Star closer Will Smith to a three-year, $39 million contract Thursday. The deal includes a 2023 club option for $13 million.

    • The 30-year-old left-hander was an All-Star with the San Francisco Giants in 2019, finishing 6-0 with 34 saves and a 2.76 ERA in 63 appearances.

      Smith struck out 96 batters and walked 21 in 65 1/3 innings, holding opponents to a .196 average. Left-handed hitters batted just .157 against him with two extra-base hits.

      Smith is 26-22 with a 3.53 ERA and 49 saves in 359 career games with the Giants (2016, 2018-19), Milwaukee Brewers (2014-16) and Kansas City Royals (2012-13). He missed the 2017 season after having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.

      --Field Level Media

  • Napoli to join Cubs as quality assurance coach
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 14, 2019

    Former major league catcher and first baseman Mike Napoli will join the Chicago Cubs' coaching staff, according to multiple reports Thursday.

    • Napoli, who hit 267 home runs over 12 seasons with the Los Angeles, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians, will become the Cubs' quality assurance coach under new manager David Ross, according to The Athletic.

      Napoli and Ross were teammates with the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

      Napoli won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2013 and was on the Indians team that advanced to the World Series in 2016. Cleveland was defeated in that series by the Cubs, the organization Napoli will now join.

      In addition to his power, Napoli was known for a keen eye at the plate and his ability to drive up opponents' pitch counts. He averaged 4.37 pitches per plate appearance during his career, including a career-best 4.57 in both the 2013 season with the Red Sox and the 2016 season with the Indians.

      Napoli, 38, was a career .246 hitter and drove in 744 runs, with a .475 slugging percentage. He made his only All-Star Game appearance in 2012 as a member of the Rangers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yankees officially tab Blake as pitching coach
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 14, 2019

    The New York Yankees made it official Thursday, announcing Matt Blake as their new pitching coach after reports of his hiring surfaced last week.

    • Blake served as the Cleveland Indians' assistant director of player development for three seasons before being promoted to be the team's director of pitching development.

      The 34-year-old Blake will replace Larry Rothschild, who had served as the Yankees' pitching coach since 2011 before he was fired on Oct. 28.

      Last season, the Indians saw five young starters who worked with Blake contribute at the major league level. Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, Adam Plutko and Aaron Civale were developed in Cleveland's farm system.

      Prior to joining the Indians, Blake was associated with Cressey Sports Performance, which has Florida and Massachusetts locations. A Holy Cross graduate, Blake was an area scout for the Yankees in 2010.

      Despite a rash of injuries this year, New York finished in the middle of the pack (14th) in the major leagues with a 4.31 regular-season ERA. The Yankees' 2.87 ERA in the postseason ranked second among the 10 playoff teams.

      New York wound up losing the American League Championship Series to the Astros, with Jose Altuve's ninth-inning homer off Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 sending Houston to the World Series.

      Rothschild had previous experience as manager of the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2001) and as pitching coach of the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, then-Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs -- a resume far different than the one Blake brings to the role.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mets' deGrom, Astros' Verlander win second Cy Young Awards
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom ran away with the voting to repeat as the winner of the National League Cy Young Award, while Houston Astros righty Justin Verlander edged a teammate to win the AL trophy for a second time Wednesday.

    • DeGrom went 11-8 with a 2.43 ERA in 32 starts, striking out an NL-best 255 in 204 innings.

      He earned 29 of 30 first-place votes.

      "I said it was a dream to win one, but to win back-to-back, honestly, I'm kind of speechless right now," he said on MLB Network.

      Verlander, 36, previously won in 2011, when he also took home the American League MVP award. He was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 34 starts this season, striking out 300 for the first time in his career while pitching a major-league high 223 innings.

      "It's truly incredible," said Verlander, who led the majors in wins.

      "You know, 2011 was just a magical season, but I hadn't really had to grind through much at that point in time. I lot has changed since then personally and professionally, but I think it just makes it that much sweeter."

      For the first time in AL history, teammates finished first and second in the voting, with the Astros' Gerrit Cole being a close second. Verlander picked up 17 first-place votes and 171 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America, with Cole earning the other 13 first-place nods and 159 points. No other pitcher placed second on any ballot.

      DeGrom, 31, is the first Mets pitcher to win in back-to-back seasons and the second in franchise history to win multiple times, joining Tom Seaver (1969, 1973, 1975). He started this season with a 3-6 record, but from that point in early June, he dropped his ERA from 3.45. He went at least seven innings in 19 starts over the season.

      "Last year, it was kind of smooth sailing all year," deGrom said. "But this year, I had to kind of recover from that little rough patch and figure out a way to get it done and go out there and fix some mechanical things."

      DeGrom becomes 11th pitcher to win in consecutive years, the last being Washington's Max Scherzer in the National League in 2016 and 2017.

      Scherzer tied for second in this year's voting with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu, who picked up the other first-place vote.

      Scherzer's teammate on the World Series champion Nationals, Stephen Strasburg, tied for fourth with the St. Louis Cardinals' Jack Flaherty.

      Verlander's season included his third no-hitter -- Sept. 1 at Toronto -- and his 3,000th career strikeout.

      With Wednesday's winners, there are now 21 pitchers that have won multiple Cy Young Awards.

      Verlander finally picked up his second trophy after finishing second in 2012, 2016 and 2018. He had narrow losses to David Price in 2012 and Rick Porcello in 2016.

      This time, he came out on top over Cole, who was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and a major-league-best 326 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings.

      "Having come so close a couple of other times, just everything, all that this means, it's just such an incredible feeling," Verlander said.

      Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays was third, followed by the Cleveland Indians' Shane Bieber and Lance Lynn of the Texas Rangers.

      Verlander is the fourth pitcher in Astros' history to win the award, joining Dallas Keuchel (2015), Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986).

      --Field Level Media

  • Piazza to manage Italian national team
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza will manage the Italian national team in the European Baseball Championship and World Baseball Classic.

    • Piazza made the announcement Wednesday morning, and will coach the team in the EBC in 2020 and the 2021 WBC.

      "Excited to announce I have reached an agreement to manage the Italian National Baseball team," Piazza wrote. "This will include a European Tournament next year and the 2021 @WBCBaseball Classic."

      Piazza retired from baseball in 2008 having spent a total of 16 seasons between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, along with brief stays with the Oakland Athletics, the then-Florida (Miami) Marlins and San Diego Padres. He won 10 Silver Slugger awards as a catcher and was a 12-time All-Star.

      Inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, Piazza has never managed or coached. But there is managerial success in the family bloodlines. Tommy Lasorda is a distance cousin of Piazza's father, Vince.

      Piazza was briefly the majority owner of third-tier Italian soccer team AC Reggiana. The franchise folded relatively soon after Piazza took control in 2016, ceasing operations at the end of the 2017-18 season.

      Italy was runner-up at the European World Baseball Championship in 2019.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants hire Kapler to be next manager
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    Coming off their third straight losing season, the San Francisco Giants are once again turning to a former Los Angeles Dodger to fill a huge vacancy.

    • The team announced Tuesday night it has hired Gabe Kapler to be its next manager, replacing three-time World Series winner Bruce Bochy.

      Kapler, 44, managed the Philadelphia Phillies the last two seasons, compiling a 161-163 record before getting fired in October. Prior to that, he was the director of player development for the Dodgers for three seasons. While in Los Angeles, Kapler reported to Farhan Zaidi, the current president of baseball operations for the Giants.

      Our top priority in the next manager was to find someone who can build strong relationships with our players, coaches, front office and fans, and someone who has the drive and desire to win," Zaidi said in a statement. "After an exhaustive and comprehensive search, we are delighted to welcome Gabe Kapler as the next manager of the San Francisco Giants.

      "In my personal experience in working with Gabe, there is no one who works harder and is more committed to getting the best out of the people around him. This was also echoed in the feedback we received around the baseball community. I look forward to working with Gabe to help return the Giants to its winning tradition."

      Kapler also played in parts of 12 seasons in the majors, batting.268 with 176 doubles, 82 home runs and 386 RBIs in 1,104 career games with Detroit, Texas, Colorado, Boston, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.

      The Giants finished last season 77-85, but they have actually improved their win total in each of the last two seasons (from 64 to 73 to 77) while simultaneously finishing one spot better in the standings (from fifth to fourth to third).

      Bochy led the team to World Series titles in 2010, '12 and '14. He retired last season after compiling a 1,052-1,054 record in 13 seasons with the team. Bochy has a career 2,003-2,029 record and sits 11th in career managerial wins.

      Along with finding a new manager, San Francisco also entered this offseason with veteran lefty Madison Bumgarner and All-Star closer Will Smith entering free agency.

      --Field Level Media

  • Angels add La Russa to front office
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    Hall of Famer Tony La Russa was hired by the Los Angeles Angels as senior adviser for baseball operation on Tuesday.

    • The 75-year-old La Russa will assist in all areas of baseball operations, including evaluations of major league baseball and development of minor leaguers, Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in a news release.

      "I've admired Tony for a very long time," Eppler said. "As our paths have crossed over the years, Tony and I discussed the potential of working together and we're excited to finally get that opportunity. Adding his knowledge and experience will be an invaluable piece to the success and continued development of our baseball operations efforts both on and off the field."

      La Russa is the third winningest manager in baseball history with 2,728 victories and won three World Series titles, one with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and two with the St. Louis Cardinals (2006, 2011). Since retiring as a manager in 2011, he has worked in front offices of the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-17) and Boston Red Sox (2018-19).

      La Russa was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

      --Field Level Media

  • Twins' Baldelli, Cardinals' Shildt win Manager of Year awards
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins was named American League Manager of the Year, and Mike Shildt of the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League honor, it was announced Tuesday on the MLB Network.

    • The 38-year-old Baldelli is the youngest person to win the top manager honor. The Twins went 101-61 and won the AL Central title under Baldelli in his first season on the job.

      "What I can say is nobody takes on the responsibility of working in baseball or doing a job like this for personal accolades," Baldelli said in an interview after the announcement. "I do everything that I can but it doesn't matter necessarily. You need an entire group."

      The 51-year-old Shildt is the first manager of the year winner to not have professional playing experience. His Cardinals won the NL Central with a 91-71 record.

      "My personal goal was to play in the big leagues and I got to college at UNC Asheville and realized that was not going to happen," Shildt said after earning the honor. "I was a below-average college player and I set my sights on being the best coach I could be and the journey has led me here."

      Shildt won the NL award despite receiving fewer first-place votes (10) than runner-up Craig Counsell (13) of the Milwaukee Brewers. But Shildt received 14 second-place votes to Counsell's six to win the award by seven points, 95 to 88.

      Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker (45) received three third-place votes while finishing third. Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers received four first-place votes and placed fourth with 25 points. Dave Martinez (15) of the Washington Nationals was fifth.

      In the AL, Baldelli and runner-up Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees each received 13 first-place votes. But Baldelli also received 13 second-place votes for 106 points to outdistance Boone by 10. Boone received nine second-place votes.

      The Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Cash (33) received three first-place votes while finishing third. Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics was fourth with 19 points and the Houston Astros' A.J. Hinch had 12 points. Hinch received one first-place vote.

      Minnesota smacked a major league record 307 homers in Baldelli's debut season.

      It was just the second 100-win campaign in the franchise's 59-season Minnesota era behind the 1965 Twins (102-60). Baldelli's win total was 23 higher than the team's 2018 output.

      He joins Tom Kelly (1991), Ron Gardenhire (2010) and Paul Molitor (2017) as Twins managers to win the honor.

      Baldelli is just the second AL manager to win the award in his first full season. Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers was the first in 2015.

      Boone guided the Yankees to a 103-59 record and the AL East crown while winning 100 or more games for the second straight season. He worked around a number of injuries throughout the season, a list that included lengthy stints for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, third baseman Miguel Andujar, starting pitcher Luis Severino and reliever Dellin Betances among several others.

      New York slugged 306 homers, one behind Minnesota.

      Cash led the Rays to a 96-66 record and an AL wild-card berth. The club flirted with 100 wins despite being without 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell for nearly two months due to elbow surgery.

      Shildt joins Whitey Herzog (1985) and Tony La Russa (2002) as St. Louis managers to win the award.

      Shildt's Cardinals were 44-45 after a loss on July 12 but recovered to win the division. Shildt wanted little of the credit that comes with winning the top managing award.

      "This is an organization award, this is a team award, this is really a players award," Shildt said. "My job is not to win an individual award. ... I accept it graciously on the behalf of our players and our staff and our front office and ownership. It is an amazing blessing."

      Counsell guided the Brewers to an 89-73 record and an NL wild-card berth. He oversaw a 20-4 stretch to begin September as the club prospered despite the late season loss of star Christian Yelich due to a fractured kneecap.

      Counsell was NL runner-up for the second straight season.

      Snitker finished with a 95-67 record while guiding the Braves to the NL East title. He won NL Manager of the Year honors last season when Atlanta went 90-72.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Astros stole signs electronically in 2017
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    The Houston Astros are alleged to have stolen signs electronically throughout the 2017 season, The Athletic reported on Tuesday.

    • Major League Baseball rules prohibit MLB teams from using electronics to see a catcher's signs to the pitcher.

      The Athletic talked to four people associated with the Astros in 2017, the year they won their only World Series. Among them was pitcher Mike Fiers, who reported the team used a camera stationed in the outfield at Minute Maid Park to steal signs during home games.

      The report said the feed from the camera appeared on a television monitor that was located steps from the Astros' dugout. Players and team employees would look at the monitor and when they figured out what pitch was coming, they would relay it by banging on a trash can. A bang on the trash can typically indicated a changeup or breaking ball was coming, The Athletic said.

      The Astros released a statement Tuesday afternoon.

      "Regarding the story posted by The Athletic earlier today, the Houston Astros organization has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball," the statement read. "It would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time."

      Fiers pitched for the Detroit Tigers (2018) and Oakland Athletics (2018-19) and told those teams about the Astros' alleged sign stealing.

      "I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they're going in there not knowing," Fiers said.

      "I had to let my team know so that we were prepared when we went to go play them at Minute Maid."

      The Astros aren't the only team accused of stealing signs, MLB said in a statement to The Athletic.

      "As a result of those concerns, and after receiving extensive input from the General Managers, we issued a revised policy on sign stealing prior to the 2019 season," Major League Baseball said. "We also put in place detailed protocols and procedures to provide comfort to Clubs that other Clubs were not using video during the game to decode and steal signs. After we review this new information we will determine any necessary next steps."

      The Astros declined to comment to The Athletic.

      MLB already is investigating the Astros and their team culture after former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman made inappropriate remarks to three female reporters in October.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wainwright, Cardinals agree to one-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    Adam Wainwright has agreed to a one-year contract to return to the St. Louis Cardinals for a 16th season.

    • The team announced the signing Tuesday. The deal is for $5 million plus up to $5 million in incentives, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported.

      "We are excited to have Adam returning for 2020 and look forward to watching him continue to add to his tremendous career legacy with the Cardinals," said John Mozeliak, the team's president of baseball operations, in a statement.

      The 38-year-old Wainwright enters the 2020 season fourth all-time in Cardinals history in wins (162), second in strikeouts (1,776) and sixth in innings pitched (2,103 2/3).

      He trails only Hall of Fame members Jesse Haines (1920-37) and Bob Gibson (1959-75) in longevity among pitchers in Cardinals history.

      Wainwright had a 1.62 ERA in the 2019 postseason for the Cardinals and a 2.56 ERA at home last season.

      Wainwright, a three-time All-Star, has won two World Series with the Cardinals. He is the Cardinals all-time leader in postseason games pitched (27) and strikeouts (115).

      He has a career record of 162-95 with a 3.39 ERA in 383 games (316 starts). Last season, Wainwright was 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA in 171 2/3 innings

      --Field Level Media

  • Rays' Neander selected MLB executive of year
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander, whose team reached the playoffs despite having the lowest payroll in baseball, was named as Major League Baseball Executive of the Year on Monday.

    • The award capped a bountiful year for Neander and the Rays. Tampa Bay finished the regular season 96-66 for the seventh-best record in the majors, captured an AL wild-card berth, then knocked out the Oakland Athletics in the wild-card game. The Rays took the Houston Astros to a decisive Game 5 before losing in the American League Division Series.

      Neander shaped the playoff contender with a bevy of signings and trades over the past couple seasons. He brought in right-hander Charlie Morton and outfielder Avisail Garcia via free agency, and he turned to the trade market to grab infielder Yandy Diaz and relief pitcher Emilio Pagan.

      The Rays improved during the season by acquiring catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who hit 16 homers in 92 games for Tampa Bay, and right-hander Nick Anderson, who struck out 41 batters in 21 1/3 innings for his new team. The Rays also acquired first baseman Jesus Aguilar and infielder Eric Sogard to position themselves for a postseason run.

      The 36-year-old Neander also made an impact over the previous couple seasons. He pulled off a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018 that brought in right-hander Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows, and he seized a chance to acquire Tommy Pham from the St. Louis Cardinals' crowded outfield.

      Neander, a Virginia Tech graduate, has worked in the Rays' organization for the past 13 seasons.

      "I am both humbled and honored to be recognized by Major League Baseball and the executives who voted on the award," Neander said in a statement released by the team. "This recognition deserves to be shared across our entire staff, as well as the players who left it all on the field. It's our collective commitment that allows something like this to be possible. While we fell short of our ultimate on-field goal in 2019, I am proud of our progress and we'll do all we can to build upon that in the coming years."

      The New York Yankees' Brian Cashman finished second to Neander in the Executive of the Year voting while 2018 winner Billy Beane of the A's and Derek Falvey of the Minnesota Twins tied for third.

      --Field Level Media

  • Alonso, Alvarez easily win Rookie of Year awards
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 11, 2019

    Pete Alonso, the most productive rookie home run hitter in baseball history, and Yordan Alvarez were landslide winners of baseball's Rookie of the Year awards on Monday.

    • Alonso of the New York Mets trotted away with the National League honor after smacking 53 homers to break the rookie mark set by Aaron Judge (52) of the New York Yankees two years ago. Alvarez had a franchise-rookie-record 27 homers in just 87 games for the Houston Astros en route to unanimously winning the American League award.

      Alonso, an All-Star first baseman, received 29 of 30 first-place votes for 148 points and easily won over second-place finisher Mike Soroka (82) of the Atlanta Braves and third-place shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (26) of the San Diego Padres. The right-handed Soroka received the other first-place vote.

      In addition to his homer production, Alonso batted .260 with 30 doubles and 120 RBIs. The player nicknamed "Polar Bear" also won the Home Run Derby at the midseason All-Star Game.

      "I really feel blessed," Alonso, who turns 25 next month, said in an interview on the MLB Network. "I have to say thank you to the New York Mets for giving me the opportunity right out of spring training and believing in me from Day One."

      Soroka, 22, went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 29 starts for the Braves. The All-Star right-hander struck out 142 in 174 2/3 innings.

      Tatis was limited to 84 games due to injuries but the 20-year-old was spectacular when he played. He energized the Padres with a .317 average along with 22 homers, 53 RBIs and 16 steals.

      Alvarez received all 30 first-place votes and 150 points to easily outdistance the runner-up, pitcher John Means (53) of the Baltimore Orioles, and third-place infielder Brandon Lowe (27) of the Tampa Bay Rays.

      Alvarez, 22, fit in well with the Astros' powerful lineup by batting .313, slugging .655 and driving in 78 runs in 87 games. He is the 11th unanimous winner in AL history.

      "He wants to appreciate all the help that everyone has taught him during the season, especially his teammates and the fans who follow him," Alvarez said through a translator on the MLB Network.

      The left-handed Means went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA in 31 appearances (27 starts). The 26-year-old All-Star had a solid 1.14 WHIP and struck out 121 in 155 innings.

      Lowe, 25, batted .270 but was limited to 82 games due to injuries. The All-Star smacked 17 homers and drove in 51 runs.

      Alonso is the sixth New York Mets player to win the award but just the second position player. Outfielder Darryl Strawberry was the 1983 winner.

      Pitchers Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Dwight Gooden (1984) and Jacob deGrom (2014) are the other Mets' winners.

      The Cuban-born Alvarez is the third Houston player to win the award. Jeff Bagwell won the NL award in 1991 when the Astros were in that league and Carlos Correa won the AL honor in 2015.

      Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez (20 points) and Toronto Blue Jays infielder Cavan Biggio (seven) round out the AL top five.

      Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds was fourth in the NL balloting, followed by fifth-place Dakota Hudson, a right-hander for the St. Louis Cardinals.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants tab Harris as general manager
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, November 10, 2019

    The San Francisco Giants named Scott Harris as their new general manager on Sunday.

    • Harris spent the last seven years in the front office of the Chicago Cubs. He was assistant general manager the past two seasons.

      "We're thrilled to be able to bring in an executive of Scott's caliber to help lead our Baseball Operations group," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said in a statement. "The combination of his breadth of experience, contributions toward building a championship-winning perennial contender in Chicago and his Bay Area roots made him an ideal fit for our General Manager position and I'm looking forward to executing our vision together."

      Harris, who grew up in the Bay Area suburb of Redwood City, was chosen over Pittsburgh Pirates assistant general manager Kevan Graves and Astros director of player development Pete Putila.

      "I am so appreciative and honored to join the San Francisco Giants, a storied franchise with a loyal, passionate and deserving fan base," Harris said in a statement. "I'm humbled by the opportunity to help bring the next world championship to Giants fans and San Francisco, a city that has always held a special place in my heart. I'm excited to get to work with Farhan, our baseball operations staff and the rest of the Giants family."

      The Giants haven't yet filled their managerial position, which is open after Bruce Bochy's retirement.

      San Francisco has reportedly narrowed down that search to three finalists: former Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro. Espada is reportedly the favorite, according to MLB.com.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Padres hire Rothschild as pitching coach
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 8, 2019

    Former New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild will assume the same role with the San Diego Padres, according to multiple reports Friday.

    • While the team did not confirm the move, longtime Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley told The San Diego Union-Tribune that his role is changing.

      "I've been really fortunate," Balsley said Friday. "Hardly anybody hangs around 17 years in the same job. I've been treated with nothing but respect by all the general managers, the owners. I can't complain. ... A little bit melancholy, but (stuff) happens."

      Balsley, a San Diego-area product, became pitching coach in May 2003 and worked under Bruce Bochy, Bud Black and Andy Green. The 55-year-old, who has a year left on his contract, said he expects to move into a role as a special assistant working with minor league pitchers.

      New manager Jayce Tingler is putting together a new staff, which the newspaper said likely will be finalized next week.

      The Yankees and Rothschild parted ways on Oct. 28. He had been with the club since the start of the 2011 season.

      While dealing with multiple injuries in 2019, New York finished 14th in the majors with a 4.31 team ERA. The Yankees compiled a 2.87 ERA in the postseason, which ended with a six-game loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series.

      Before joining the Yankees, Rothschild managed the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1998-2001 and served on the Chicago Cubs' coaching staff from 2002-10. He has been a player coach or manager with a major league organization for 45 seasons.

      According to multiple reports Thursday night, the Yankees will hire Matt Blake, 33, for the role. He has worked with the Cleveland Indians for three years.

      -Field Level Media

  • Reports: Yankees set to hire Blake as pitching coach
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 8, 2019

    The New York Yankees, who fired veteran pitching coach Larry Rothschild last month, reportedly are adding a youthful replacement.

    • Matt Blake, 33, is set to land the job, multiple media outlets reported Thursday night.

      Blake was the Indians' assistant director of player development for three years -- until Tuesday, when he was promoted to be Cleveland's director of pitching development.

      Before joining the Indians, Blake was associated with Cressey Sports Performance, which has Florida and Massachusetts locations. A Holy Cross graduate, Blake was an area scout for the Yankees in 2010.

      According to the New York Post, other candidates to become the Yankees' pitching coach included YES broadcaster David Cone, University of Michigan pitching coach Chris Fetter and University of Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbs.

      Rothschild, 65, had been on the job since 2011, but he was fired Oct. 28. Despite a rash of injuries this year, New York finished in the middle of the pack (14th) in the major leagues with a 4.31 regular-season ERA. The Yankees' 2.87 ERA in the postseason ranked second among the 10 playoff teams.

      New York wound up losing the American League Championship Series to the Astros, with Jose Altuve's ninth-inning homer off Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 sending Houston to the World Series.

      Rothschild had previous experience as manager of the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2001) and as pitching coach of the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, then-Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs -- a resume far different than the one Blake brings to the role.

      --Field Level Media

  • Trout wins seventh Silver Slugger
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 7, 2019

    Mike Trout became the sixth outfielder to receive seven Silver Slugger Awards as the Los Angeles Angels center fielder headed the list of honorees announced Thursday.

    • The Silver Slugger is given to the top offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League. Three outfielders are selected from each league, regardless of whether they play left field, center field or right field.

      The voting is done by major league managers and coaches.

      Trout, 28, has captured his seven Silver Sluggers in a span of eight years. The only other outfielders to receive the award at least seven times were Barry Bonds (12), Manny Ramirez (eight), Ken Griffey Jr. (seven), Vladimir Guerrero (seven) and Tony Gwynn (seven).

      Trout topped the AL in on-base percentage (.438) and slugging percentage (.645) while hitting .291 with 45 homers and 104 RBIs. He missed most of the season's final month due to a foot ailment.

      The Atlanta Braves had three players win Silver Sluggers: outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., first baseman Freddie Freeman and second baseman Ozzie Albies.

      Three teams had a pair of honorees: the AL champion Houston Astros (outfielder George Springer and third baseman Alex Bregman), the Boston Red Sox (outfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts) and the Minnesota Twins (catcher Mitch Garver and designated hitter Nelson Cruz).

      The Silver Slugger for the top-hitting NL pitcher went to a player who ended the year in the AL: Zack Greinke. The right-hander hit .271 (13-for-48) with three homers and eight RBIs for the Arizona Diamondbacks before getting traded to the Astros on July 31.

      SILVER SLUGGER WINNERS (number of career wins in parentheses)

      AMERICAN LEAGUE

      --Outfield: George Springer, Houston Astros (2); Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox (3); Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (7)

      --First base: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians (1)

      --Second base: DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees (1)

      --Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox (3)

      --Third base: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (1)

      --Catcher: Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins (1)

      --Designated hitter: Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins (3)

      NATIONAL LEAGUE

      --Outfield: Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves (1); Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers (1); Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers (3)

      --First base: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (1)

      --Second base: Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves (1)

      --Shortstop: Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies (2)

      --Third base: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals (2)

      --Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies (2)

      --Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks (2)

      --Field Level Media

  • Reid Ryan, Nolan Ryan out of key positions with Astros
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 7, 2019

    The Houston Astros shook up the front office on Thursday, removing Reid Ryan as team president of business operations and installing the owner's son in the role.

    • Later in the day, Hall of Fame member Nolan Ryan -- Reid's father -- said he was vacating his position as executive adviser to the team.

      The younger Ryan, who assumed the team president job in May 2013, instead was given the title of "executive advisor, business relations." In a team statement, the Astros said the change would give Ryan "more opportunities to focus on his other business ventures while remaining an important part of the Astros organization."

      Taking his spot will be Jared Crane, the son of Astros owner Jim Crane, the team said.

      Ryan, who turns 48 on Nov. 21, founded teams at Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Corpus Christi and remains the owner of the Round Rock team, the Astros' affiliate. He also is a founding board member of R Bank, a Texas community bank.

      "Jim Crane has been a great owner for the city of Houston, and I thank him for the opportunity to lead the Houston Astros organization," Ryan said in a statement. "Thank you to the many employees, fans, and partners that have supported this team during my tenure as president. Baseball is about bringing joy to people's lives and I take pride in knowing that we have made so many memories for our fans. While my role has changed, I will remain with the Astros and look forward to another great season in 2020."

      But Nolan Ryan, who sat behind home plate at Minute Maid Park during every game of the Astros' postseason run, won't remain.

      "I will not be back with the club and will leave it at that," Ryan, who pitched for the Astros from 1980-88, wrote in a text message to Mark Berman, sports director of the Fox affiliate in Houston.

      The Astros won the American League pennant but lost the World Series to the Washington Nationals in seven games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Indians C Perez named Wilson top defensive player
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    Cleveland Indians catcher Roberto Perez was selected the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday as the glove supplier announced its defensive player awards.

    • Perez, who is one of four first-time honorees on the all-defensive team, threw out an American League-best 40.8 percent of base steals (20 of 49) this season.

      Also claiming their first Wilson team honor are three other position players: St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta and New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge.

      The Houston Astros, named Defensive Team of the Year, also received an award for the first time.

      Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons won for the sixth time, Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain earned his fourth award and Diamondbacks/Astros pitcher Zack Greinke won for the third time.

      Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman each won for the second time. Chapman was the 2018 Defensive Player of the Year.

      Wilson began picking a top defensive player in 2012 and added the team award in 2014.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants manager search down to three
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    The San Francisco Giants have narrowed their managerial search to Gabe Kapler, Joe Espada and Matt Quatraro, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

    • The Chronicle's John Shea said it was not clear if any of the finalists had an edge on the others.

      Kapler, 44, managed the Philadelphia Phillies the past two years and was fired after compiling a 161-163 record with no playoff appearances. Giants team president Farhan Zaidi worked with Kapler with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      Espada, 44, has been Houston Astros' bench coach the past two seasons. He previously worked with the New York Yankees as third-base coach and special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman.

      Quatraro, 45, was bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays this past season. He spent 2018 as the team's third-base coach after four seasons as the Cleveland Indians' assistant hitting coach.

      The team has a vacancy after Bruce Bochy retired following the 2019 season. He won three World Series titles in 13 seasons with the Giants.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Veteran INF Prado likely to retire
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    Veteran infielder Martin Prado has told friends he likely will retire, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Wednesday.

    • Prado, 36, played the past five seasons with the Miami Marlins. The 14-year veteran owns a career .287 batting average with 100 home runs and 609 RBIs.

      The Venezuelan utility player batted .233 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 104 games last season with Miami.

      Prado debuted in 2006 with the Atlanta Braves, with whom he was a full-time player from 2009-12. He also played for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-14) and New York Yankees (2014).

      --Field Level Media

  • Yankees interview Cone for pitching coach job
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    David Cone is among the candidates for the vacant pitching coach job with the New York Yankees.

    • The former pitcher, now an analyst for Yankees games on YES Network, confirmed he interviewed late last week in comments to the New York Post.

      "It was all good. I'm thankful for the opportunity to talk to them. It was nice they called me in and wanted to talk," Cone, 56, said.

      Cone hopscotched around the major leagues over a 17-year career, playing with the Yankees, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. He made two stops each with the Mets, Royals and Blue Jays.

      He posted a 194-126 career record with a 3.46 ERA and an average of 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings. With the two New York teams, he combined for a 145-91 record.

      Cone, a five-time All-Star, won the 1994 American League Cy Young Award and was part of five World Series-winning teams.

      The Post reported that the Yankees also have interviewed two college pitching coaches -- Chris Fetter from Michigan and Matt Hobbs from Arkansas. They are seeking a replacement for Larry Rothschild, who joined the Yankees in 2011.

      The Yankees parted ways with Rothschild on Oct. 28.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cardinals extend contracts of front office, manager Shildt
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 5, 2019

    After advancing to the National League Championship Series this past season, the St. Louis Cardinals gave contract extensions Tuesday to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, general manager Mike Girsch and manager Mike Shildt.

    • Mozeliak will get three more years on his deal that was set to run out at the end of the 2020 season. Girsh will get two more years on a deal that also was set to run out at the end of 2020. Shildt received a new three-year deal that will keep him through the 2022 season.

      In addition, the entire Cardinals coaching staff will return in 2020.

      St. Louis went 91-71 this past season, finishing first in the National League Central. The Cardinals defeated the favored Atlanta Braves in a five-game NL Division Series but were swept in the NLCS by the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals.

      The Cardinals had failed to reach 90 victories since they won 100 games in 2015, losing in the NLDS that year under manager Mike Matheny. Shildt replaced Matheny midway through the 2018 season and is 132-99 in his 1 1/2 seasons as Cardinals manager.

      Mozeliak became the Cardinals FM in October of 2007 and was promoted to president of baseball operations in 2017. The Cardinals have gone to the playoffs seven times since he first stepped into the GM post, winning the World Series in 2011.

      Girsch was promoted to GM from assistant general manager in June of 2017 when Mozeliak was moved to the president of baseball operations post.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yanks decline to make qualifying offer to Gregorius
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 4, 2019

    The deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to their eligible free agents passed Monday, and 10 of the 33 eligible players received the offers, per MLB.com.

    • But the biggest news was that New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius didn't receive an offer.

      A player who receives a qualifying offer has 10 days to decide whether to accept the one-year tender. If he accepts, he plays next season at the value of the offer. If he declines, he becomes a free agent, but the team he played for last season receives draft-pick compensation he sign with a new team.

      This season's qualifying offer is worth $17.8 million.

      Since the system went into effect in 2012, only six of 80 players have accepted the offer.

      Gregorius will be eligible to be a free agent, and the Yankees will receive no compensation should he sign elsewhere.

      But with Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu capable of manning the middle infield and Gregorius, 29, missing half of last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees may have considered taking a chance on Gregorius accepting the offer and the team paying him $17.8 million next season too risky.

      As for the players who did receive the offer, a trio of World Series combatants headline the list: Houston right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole (who was also named an American League Cy Young Award finalist Monday) and Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon and righty Stephen Strasburg. Rendon was named a National League Most Valuable Player finalist while Strasburg, who was named World Series MVP, opted out of his contract to become a free agent Sunday.

      Players who received qualifying offers:

      Atlanta Braves: Josh Donaldson, 3B

      Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu, 1B

      Houston Astros: Gerrit Cole, RHP

      Minnesota Twins: Jake Odorizzi, RHP

      New York Mets: Zack Wheeler, RHP

      St. Louis Cardinals: Marcell Ozuna, OF

      San Francisco Giants: Madison Bumgarner, LHP; Will Smith, LHP

      Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon, 3B; Stephen Strasburg, RHP

      Players who did not receive qualifying offers:

      Atlanta Braves: Nick Markakis, OF; Julio Teheran, RHP (club option)

      Boston Red Sox: Rick Porcello, RHP

      Chicago Cubs: Cole Hamels, LHP; Ben Zobrist, 2B

      Chicago White Sox: Ivan Nova, RHP

      Cincinnati Reds: Jose Iglesias, SS; Alex Wood, LHP

      Houston Astros: Will Harris, RHP; Wade Miley, LHP

      Los Angeles Dodgers: Rich Hill, LHP

      Minnesota Twins: Kyle Gibson, RHP; Michael Pineda, RHP

      New York Mets: Todd Frazier, 3B

      New York Yankees: Dellin Betances, RHP; Brett Gardner, OF; Didi Gregorius, SS

      Pittsburgh Pirates: Melky Cabrera, OF

      St. Louis Cardinals: Michael Wacha, RHP; Adam Wainwright, RHP

      Tampa Bay Rays: Avisail Garcia, OF

      Toronto Blue Jays: Justin Smoak, 1B

      Washington Nationals: Brian Dozier, 2B

      --Field Level Media

  • Nats' Rendon up for NL MVP
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 4, 2019

    Third baseman Anthony Rendon, who helped lead the Washington Nationals to their first World Series championship, is a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player award.

    • The three candidates for each of Major League Baseball's top eight individual honors -- American League and NL MVP, AL and NL Cy Young Award, AL and NL Rookie of the Year and AL and NL Manager of the Year -- were announced Monday evening.

      Voting for all of the awards was completed prior to the postseason, which culminated with the Nationals beating the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series.

      Rendon and one of the NL Cy Young Award candidates, Houston Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, are two of the top free agents on the market this winter.

      In the race for NL MVP, Rendon is vying with last year's winner, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger.

      Rendon topped the majors with 126 RBIs and tied for an NL-high with 44 doubles while batting .319 with 34 homers. Bellinger was third in the NL with 47 homers and seventh with 115 RBIs to go with a .305 average and a Gold Glove for his play in right field. Yelich topped the NL with a .329 average, a .429 on-base percentage and a .671 slugging percentage. He also added 44 homers and 97 RBIs before his season ended Sept. 10 due to a broken kneecap.

      The AL MVP candidates are Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, a two-time winner and four-time runner-up; Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Oakland A's shortstop Marcus Semien.

      Bregman hit .296 with 41 homers (tied for third in the AL) and 112 RBIs (fifth) while leading the majors with 119 walks.

      Trout sustained a season-ending foot injury on Sept. 7 but still wound up leading the AL with a .438 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage to go with a .291 average, 45 homers (second in the AL) and 104 RBIs.

      Semien, who has never made an All-Star team, posted career highs with a .285 average, 33 homers and 92 RBIs.

      Cole and Astros teammate Justin Verlander are joined by Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Charlie Morton as the finalists for the AL Cy Young Award. Verlander won the award in 2011 while with the Detroit Tigers.

      Cole finished 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, going 16-0 with a 1.78 ERA over his last 22 starts. He also topped the majors with 326 strikeouts. Verlander led the majors in wins while going 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts (second to Cole), and he led the majors with 223 innings pitched. Morton went 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 33 starts and a career-high 240 strikeouts.

      The NL Cy Young Award nominees are Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. The 2018 honor went to deGrom while Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young winner (one in the AL with the Tigers and two in the NL with the Nationals).

      Scherzer went 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA and 243 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings. DeGrom posted an 11-8 record with a 2.43 ERA (second in majors) and a league-best 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. Ryu was the NL ERA champion at 2.32 while going 14-5 in 29 starts.

      The Astros also have a candidate for AL Rookie of the Year, designated hitter/outfielder Yordan Alvarez, along with Rays second baseman/outfielder Brandon Lowe and Baltimore Orioles left-hander John Means.

      Alvarez ranked second among AL rookies in both homers (27) and RBIs (78) while batting .313 with a .655 slugging percentage after arriving in the majors on June 9. Lowe hit .270 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs in just 82 games. Means led AL rookies in wins by going 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA.

      The 2019 major league home run champion Pete Alonso, the New York Mets first baseman, is among the finalists for NL Rookie of the Year. Alonso's 53 home runs set a single-season record for rookies. The other NL Rookie finalists are Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Sorotka and San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

      Soroka finished tied for second among NL rookies in wins, going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA (third overall in NL). Tatis hit a team-high .317 with 22 homers, 55 RBIs and 16 steals.

      The AL Manager of the Year finalists are first-year Minnesota Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli as well as the New York Yankees' Aaron Boone and the Rays' Kevin Cash. The NL Manager of the Year finalists are the Brewers' Craig Counsell, the St. Louis Cardinals' Mike Shildt and the Atlanta Braves' Brian Snitker.

      Baldelli guided the Twins to a 101-61 record and the AL Central title. Boone's Yankees went 103-59 despite having a major-league-record 30 players spend time on the injured list. Cash's Rays went 96-66 and earned a wild-card playoff berth.

      Counsell led the Brewers to a 89-73 record and a wild card despite the loss of Yelich in September. Shildt's Cardinals won the NL Central with a 91-71 mark. Snitker steered the Braves to a 97-65 record and the NL East crown.

      --Field Level Media