MLB Notes

MLB Notes: Giants say they have potential deal in place for Giancarlo Stanton

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MLB Notes: Giants say they have potential deal in place for Giancarlo Stanton

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants general manager Bobby Evans confirmed on San Francisco's flagship radio station KNBR that the club has reached the parameters of a potential trade for Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

Evans said Giants executives gathered with the NL MVP and his representatives in "a good meeting" last week.

"The specifics of the deal are not something that we feel comfortable discussing, but ultimately our hope is that if he does choose to come here, we'll be able to fold him in with a winning club," Evans said Wednesday. "In terms of our deal it just has a number of contingencies, one of course that's paramount is relative to his full no trade and that's a decision that really comes from him. But our terms with the Marlins are clear."

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said Tuesday that Miami has not decided whether to trade Stanton, still owed $295 million over the final decade of his record $325 million, 13-year contract. When asked specifically about absorbing the majority of that contract, Evans didn't address it.

Stanton is due to make $25 million in 2018 after he led the majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs this season.

"He has a contract already in front of him," Evans said. "He's got a home there, clearly has some ties to LA, so really it's his call as to ultimately what he wants to do. We were very impressed with him. He's obviously passionate about winning, he's passionate about the game and really presented himself extremely well. He had a lot of questions for us and I thought our meeting went well.

"But again it's a tough decision for him. He may take a lot of time before he's ready to make that call" (see full story).

Twins: Mariners, Angels get $1M for Ohtani pursuit
MINNESOTA -- The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels each have acquired $1 million in international bonus pool money from the Minnesota Twins, aiding their pursuit of Japanese outfielder and pitcher Shohei Ohtani.

The teams announced the deals Wednesday night. Seattle sent minor league catcher David Banuelos to Minnesota, while the Angels traded minor league outfielder Jacob Pearson to the Twins.

Seattle can now offer Ohtani $2,557,500 and Los Angeles can spend $2,315,000. The Texas Rangers have the most slot money available with $3,535,000. Seattle, Los Angeles and Texas are among seven teams believed to be in the running for Ohtani.

Minnesota had $3.07 million in bonus pool money before the trades, but it is not among the finalists in the Ohtani bidding.

Banuelos was a fifth-round draft pick this year from Long Beach State. He is considered a strong fielder and was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award as one of the nation's top amateur catchers.

Pearson was Los Angeles' third-round selection this year.

Yankees: Boone knows he must prove himself
NEW YORK -- Aaron Boone was pulling into the driveway of his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, last Thursday, bringing 8-year-old daughter Bella home from school so his wife could drive her to a dance lesson, and he noticed a missed call from Brian Cashman.

Boone called back the New York Yankees general manager as his wife looked on and said Cashman told him: "Hey, just first and foremost, I want to make sure you're completely on board and understanding the commitment level that is now expected of you."

"If that's the case," Boone recalled Cashman saying, "I'm going to recommend to ownership that you're the guy we move forward and focus on."

And with that, at age 44 Boone had secured his first manager or coaching job of any kind since his retirement as a player eight years ago.

Boone was introduced Wednesday as New York's manager during a news conference at Yankee Stadium, where televisions throughout the ballpark showed images of him rounding the bases in triumph after his 11th-inning home run off Boston's Tim Wakefield won Game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Series for New York.

"It's certainly something that I'm known for in my baseball life, obviously, and in some way probably is a contributor to me being here today," he said (see full story).

MLB Notes: Braves lose 13 international players in sanctions

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MLB Notes: Braves lose 13 international players in sanctions

ATLANTA -- Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred hit the Atlanta Braves with heavy sanctions, including the loss of 13 players, on Tuesday for rules violations committed by the team in the international player market.

Manfred also placed former Braves general manager John Coppolella on the permanently ineligible list. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, who was the team's international scouting chief, is suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

Manfred said an investigation conducted by Major League Baseball determined the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017 by moving bonus pool money from one player to boost another player's contract.

Most notable among the players the Braves will lose is Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016 (see full story).

Yankees: Judge has left shoulder surgery
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees say slugger Aaron Judge had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and is expected to be ready for spring training.

The operation was performed Monday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. The Yankees say the procedure involved a loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup.

The 25-year-old Judge hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 155 games this season, helping New York make it to the AL Championship Series, where they lost to the eventual World Series champion Astros. He was a unanimous selection for AL Rookie of the Year and finished second to Houston infielder Jose Altuve in the AL MVP race.

MLB: Morgan urges voters to keep steroid users out of HOF
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep "known steroid users" out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball's steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall's board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

"Steroid users don't belong here," Morgan wrote. "What they did shouldn't be accepted. Times shouldn't change for the worse."

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions (see full story).

Cubs: Venable leaves front office to be base coach
CHICAGO -- Will Venable is leaving the Chicago Cubs front office to be their first base coach.

The former major league outfielder was hired last summer as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

The 35-year-old Venable replaces Brandon Hyde, who has been promoted to bench coach for manager Joe Maddon.

The Cubs also announced Tuesday that they had hired Jim Benedict as a special assistant to baseball operations. Benedict spent the previous two seasons as the vice president for pitching development for the Miami Marlins.

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

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MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.