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Wright, Mets agree to $138M deal; Hanson traded

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Wright, Mets agree to $138M deal; Hanson traded

David Wright agreed to the richest contract in Mets history, Tommy Hanson was traded to the Angels and Brian Wilson became a free agent on a busy day in baseball when dozens of players were dumped by their teams.

Houston scooped up Philip Humber, hoping he's a perfect fit, and Mariano Rivera returned for another season with the Yankees. He'll be throwing to a new catcher, though, after Russell Martin completed his $17 million, two-year deal with Pittsburgh on Friday.

Jair Jurrjens, Mark Reynolds, Mike Pelfrey and Geovany Soto were among the most notable names who became free agents Saturday after their former clubs declined to tender them contracts for next season.

Teams had until midnight EST on Friday to make 2013 offers to unsigned players on 40-man rosters. Clubs can re-sign those players, but by letting them go free now they are permitted to cut their pay by more than 20 percent.

Wilson, the All-Star closer with the overgrown beard who missed nearly all of last season with an elbow injury, was among 40 non-tendered players. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants chose not to offer him a contract as he recovers from a second Tommy John surgery.

Wright and the Mets settled on a $138 million, eight-year deal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The agreement replaces the All-Star third baseman's $16 million salary for next season and includes $122 million in new money, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.

Some of the money in Wright's deal will be deferred.

A homegrown fan favorite, Wright is the club's career leader in several major offensive categories, including hits, RBIs, runs and walks. He turns 30 on Dec. 20 and would have been eligible for free agency after next season.

Wright plans to attend teammate Daniel Murphy's wedding in Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend, then travel to New York for a physical. His big deal probably will be announced at next week's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., the person said.

Atlanta shipped Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for former closer Jordan Walden, clearing a spot in the Braves' rotation for Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado or another young starter.

Hanson's velocity decreased as he battled rotator cuff tendinitis in 2011 and a lower back strain in 2012. But the 26-year-old right-hander was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts over four big league seasons with the Braves.

``It's a good risk on a pitcher we really believe in,'' Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

Walden had 32 saves in 2011, making the All-Star team as a rookie, but lost his closer's role to Ernesto Frieri this year and finished 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA. He became expendable when the Angels agreed this week to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with reliever Ryan Madson.

Walden gives Atlanta another hard-thrower for its bullpen to help set up dominant closer Craig Kimbrel. His fastball has been clocked at close to 100 mph, and he had 48 strikeouts in 39 innings last season.

``We've been focused on adding a power arm to our bullpen all offseason,'' Braves general manager Frank Wren said. ``We felt if we added one power arm we would have a bullpen that would stack up with the best bullpens in our league. Jordan Walden has closing experience and the kind of arm that will stack up well in a seventh- and eighth-inning role for us.''

The ninth inning in New York belongs to Rivera, who accepted a cut in guaranteed money when he finalized a $10 million, one-year contract after missing most of the season with a knee injury.

The career saves leader, who turned 43 on Thursday, took a cut from his $30 million deal that covered the last two years - but he can earn additional money in award bonuses.

Rivera was limited to nine games this year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3.

``Like I've been saying, I didn't want to go out like that,'' he said in a statement. ``I didn't want that to be the last image. But it wasn't an easy decision because there's more than just baseball with me. ... I'm not just coming back to play. I'm coming back to win.''

Rivera, with 608 saves in the regular season and 42 more in the postseason, is a 12-time All-Star. The Yankees say his recovery from June 12 knee surgery will be complete by opening day.

By then, Martin will be handling a new pitching staff in Pittsburgh after spending the past two seasons with New York.

The free-agent catcher goes from a franchise that's won a record 27 World Series titles to a team that has endured a record 20 consecutive losing seasons.

``It's going to be different,'' Martin said. ``It's going to be a challenge but I think the Pirates have a young and electric club. There is a lot of talent there and I don't think we're as far away from winning as maybe people outside baseball think we are.''

Humber, who threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox last season, was claimed off waivers by the Astros and agreed to a one-year contract. He gets an $800,000 salary next year and Houston holds a club option for $3 million in 2014 with a $50,000 buyout.

The 29-year-old right-hander went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 games last season, including 16 starts.

Wilson was the 2010 major league saves leader with 48, but made only two appearances for the Giants this year after experiencing elbow trouble in April. He underwent ligament-replacement surgery April 19, his second such procedure on his pitching elbow after also having it done while in college at LSU in 2003, and missed the team's run to its second championship in three years.

The 30-year-old Wilson, who earned $8.5 million during his injury-shortened 2012 season, would be due to make at least $6.8 million next year under the rule limiting pay cuts to a maximum of 20 percent. By letting him go free, the Giants can sign him for a lower price, though the pitcher has apparently already hinted he will look for work elsewhere.

During the club's latest postseason run, Sergio Romo proved to be a reliable ninth-inning option in Wilson's place.

``I like our choices, including him being one, as we start the regular season,'' Giants general manager Brian Sabean said.

Jurrjens, an All-Star in 2011, was non-tendered by the Braves after getting demoted to the minors last season. Atlanta also declined to offer a 2013 contract to reliever Peter Moylan, but claimed right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from Boston.

The Red Sox cut ties with outfielder Ryan Sweeney and pitchers Scott Atchison and Rich Hill. Jack Hannahan was let go by Cleveland, clearing the way for youngster Lonnie Chisenhall to start at third base.

Baltimore chose not to offer a contract to Reynolds, the strikeout-prone slugger who hit 23 home runs last season after connecting for 37 the previous year.

Pelfrey, a 15-game winner in 2010, made only three starts this year before having season-ending Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. The Mets let him go Friday, along with outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Manny Acosta.

Washington cut ties with pitchers Tom Gorzelanny and John Lannan as well as catcher Jesus Flores.

Soto, once an All-Star catcher and the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, was let go by Texas.

Other players not offered contracts included pitcher Manny Parra (Milwaukee), outfielder Nate Schierholtz (Philadelphia), pitcher Jeff Karstens (Pittsburgh), outfielder Ben Francisco (Tampa Bay), third baseman Ian Stewart (Cubs) and reliever Daniel Schlereth (Tigers).

In other moves, the Angels claimed outfielder Scott Cousins off waivers from Seattle, the Yankees claimed right-hander Jim Miller off waivers from Oakland, and Miami claimed first baseman-outfielder Joe Mahoney off waivers from Baltimore.

Arizona released right-hander Brad Bergesen, and the Yankees designated infielder Jayson Nix for assignment.

Players agreeing to one-year contracts that avoided arbitration included Pittsburgh pitcher Charlie Morton ($2 million), Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz ($1.05 million), Oakland first baseman Daric Barton ($1.1 million) and infielder Adam Rosales ($700,000), and Indians right-hander Blake Wood ($560,000).

The Pirates also made a pair of small trades, acquiring minor league right-hander Zach Thornton from Oakland for reliever Chris Resop, and minor league pitcher Jhondaniel Medina from Baltimore for infielder Yamaico Navarro.

Elsewhere, former big leaguer Chan Ho Park announced his retirement. The first South Korean-born player in the majors and a 2001 All-Star, he holds the major league record for wins by an Asian pitcher (124).

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.