Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. The tragic news was confirmed by his agency, ISE Baseball, and the Royals. Ventura was 25 years old. "Our prayers right now are with Yordano's family as we mourn this young man's passing," said Royals general manager Dayton Moore. "He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano."
Ventura emerged onto the baseball scene in 2014 with the Royals, going 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA and finishing sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting. An important part of the Royals' rotation over the past few seasons, he went 13-8 in Kansas City's World Series championship campaign in '15.Ventura, who went 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 2016, signed with the Royals as an amateur free agent in '08.In a separate incident, former Major League infielder Andy Marte, who played parts of seven seasons with the Indians, Braves and D-backs, died in a car crash. He was 33.Quinn Roberts/ MLB.com
NBC Sports has announced its Comcast regional sports networks will live stream Major League Baseball games in-market to mobiles, computers and tablets and connected TVs, beginning with the 2017 season.That means, for instance, a Chicago resident could watch his Cubs or White Sox online on an iPad, smart phone or laptop whether he’s home or away from home. However, the NBC/MLB streaming deal, which covers 5 MLB teams (White Sox, Cubs, Giants, A’s and Phillies), does nothing to help people who are seeking to eliminate their cable or satellite service because a pay TV subscription will be required to stream the in-market games.The viewer will have to type in his or her pay TV user name and password in the NBC Sports app or the Comcast-NBC web site where the games will be shown.The ‘authentication’ process further solidifies pay TV’s near-stranglehold on live sports programming, which many people view as a crucial part of their viewing schedule. Besides NFL games, most of which can be viewed via off-air antennas, most live pro and college sports can only be viewed if you have a pay TV subscription.MLB goes even further in strengthening the regional sports channel by not allowing the in-market games to be streamed on the MLB.TV pay package. You have to have a pay TV subscription to your local Comcast regional sports network.Besides the slap at the concept of cord-cutting, the new deal will be welcomed by pay TV baseball fans of the five teams who have longed to watch their favorites while on the go.The 15 Fox regional sports networks made a similar in-market streaming deal with Major League Baseball prior to the 2016 season. With the addition of CSN, 20 MLB teams will now be available in-market via streaming — with that pay TV subscription. Phillip Swann/TVPredictions.com
The Toronto Blue Jays will not always be blue this season.The team unveiled a new alternate uniform on Friday, one that is very red. The jersey is very similar to the Jays’ old Canada Day specialty jersey, but the newer version features a red logo on the front instead of the typical Blue Jays logo. So why would a team named the Blue Jays go with a full red uniform? As Canada’s lone franchise (R.I.P. Expos), the team wanted to don the national colors as part of the country’s 150th birthday celebration this year.The new uniforms, which are dubbed “Canadiana,” will be worn during every Sunday home game as well as select games in Toronto during the month of July.Pete Blackburn/FOX Sports
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is going from the batter’s box to the penalty box.The All-Star will live out a lifelong dream on Friday when he serves as an off-ice official when the San Jose Barracuda meet the San Diego Gulls.The 11-year MLB vet was born and raised in San Diego and has season tickets to the Gulls’ games. Jones’ responsibilities during the AHL contest as a penalty box attendant encompass keeping track of and recording all penalties and all penalty situations, opening and closing the penalty box doors allowing players to enter and exit, and providing referees with official game pucks as necessary.“We are thrilled to welcome Adam Jones to be a part of the San Diego Gulls organization,” said Matt Savant, Gulls President of Business Operations. “It’s exciting to add a five-time MLB All-Star to our staff and we know he will bring a hard-working and winning mentality to our hockey club.”Barry Werner/FOX Sports
The Orioles and free-agent first baseman/right fielder Mark Trumbo have agreed to a three-year deal for the slugger to return to Baltimore pending a physical, a Major League source told MLB.com. The club has not confirmed.According to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, the deal is for around $37 million.
Trumbo, who turned 31 last Monday, hit .256/.316/.533 with 47 homers and 108 RBIs in his only season with Baltimore.The two sides had been in discussions earlier in the offseason, with the Orioles reportedly offering Trumbo a contract in the 3-4-year range at about $10 million annually. But Baltimore pulled the offer off the table after a deal didn't materialize.Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
The Angels have agreed to a deal with veteran infielder Luis Valbuena, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. The club has not confirmed the report.Valbuena, 31, spent the past two seasons with the Astros, though his '16 season was cut short due to season-ending hamstring surgery related to an injury sustained in July, in the midst of a season he posted a career-high .816 OPS, and one year after he belted a career-best 25 homers.
With the promotion of top prospect Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel, Valbuena's return to Houston this season seemed unlikely.A nine-year veteran who also had three-year stints with the Cubs and Indians, Valbuena would give the Angels a left-handed bat and occasionally spell some of their everyday infielders.Valbuena -- who is a career .232/.317/.394 hitter with 83 home runs and 269 RBIs -- will reportedly be in Anaheim for a physical on Monday, which is standard practice as the last step to completing a deal.Daniel Kramer/ MLB.com
MIAMI -- The Marlins are on the verge of acquiring right-hander Dan Straily from the Reds for three of their top 16 prospects, according to multiple sources.Straily gives Miami another veteran starter who projects to be in the Opening Day rotation. To secure the services of the 28-year-old, the Marlins will part with right-handers Luis Castillo and Austin Brice, and outfielder Isaiah White. The deal is pending physicals and has not been confirmed by the club.
Straily is coming off an impressive 2016 season in Cincinnati, going 14-8 with a 3.76 ERA. The right-hander made 31 starts and appeared in 34 games, throwing 191 1/3 total innings.Straily broke in with the A's in 2012, and in five seasons, he is 27-21 with a 4.24 ERA.Where he fits into the rotation is unclear.The team now has six candidates for five spots. In December, the Marlins signed free-agent right-hander Edinson Volquez and lefty Jeff Locke. Lefties Wei-Yin Chen and Adam Conley and right-hander Tom Koehlerreturn from last year.The Marlins will be Straily's fifth team since 2014. In that span, he's pitched for the A's, Cubs, Astros and Reds.Bolstering the rotation came at a big cost. According to MLBPipeline.com, Castillo is Miami's No. 5 prospect, while Brice is No. 9 and White No. 16.Joe Frisaro/MLB.com
The Angels and outfielder Kole Calhoun have agreed to a three-year contract with a club option for 2020, the team announced Wednesday.The deal covers Calhoun's three remaining arbitration years and what would have been his first year of free agency.
Calhoun hit .271 with 35 doubles and 18 home runs while scoring 91 runs in 2016, his third full season and fifth overall, posting career highs in a number of offensive categories. He also became the second Angels right fielder to hit 35 doubles, five triples and 15 home runs in a single season, joining Garret Anderson (1998).The 29-year-old Calhoun is a .266/.328/.436 career hitter with 69 homers for the Angels, who selected him in the eighth round of the 2010 Draft out of Arizona State.Cash Kruth/ MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Brandon Guyer came close to becoming forever linked to Indians lore. In the decisive game against the Cubs in the World Series, the outfielder came off the bench and turned in the kind of performance that had him set up to be a hero amongst Tribe fans for years to come. The Indians showed their appreciation for Guyer's skillset on Wednesday, announcing that they have signed the outfielder to a two-year extension that includes a team option for the 2019 campaign. The deal is worth $5 million guaranteed.
"In the time since we acquired him," said Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, "he fit in seamlessly and transitioned extraordinarily well to our team. And he played a big part in our success in the second half." The contract covers the final two years of arbitration eligibility for Guyer and can potentially keep the corner outfielder in the fold through his first year of free agency. He will earn $2 million in 2017, $2.75 million in '18 and the team option for '19 is worth $3 million (versus a $250,000 buyout). The pact also includes incentives that could net Guyer an additional $400,000 in both the '18 and '19 seasons, with his team option having a potential max value of $3.75 million. For the upcoming season, Guyer projects to split duties in right field with Lonnie Chisenhall, who is used mostly against right-handed pitching. Guyer can also offer depth for left field, and he has 340 career innings in center field, though he was not tested at that position in his time with the Tribe. Antonetti noted that Guyer will get some looks in center field this spring, though Tyler Naquin and Abraham Almonte project to share the duties up the middle. The Indians also have a big question mark in left, given Michael Brantley's ongoing comeback from right biceps surgery in August. Antonetti said Brantley has advanced to hitting off a tee. While the Indians continue to evaluate Brantley's progress, the team will also monitor alternatives on the free-agent and trade markets. Earlier this week, even after spending big to reel in slugger Edwin Encarnacion (three years, $60 million), Cleveland remained linked to free-agent outfielder Jose Bautista. He re-signed with the Blue Jays on Wednesday. "[Indians owner Paul Dolan] has continued to encourage us to look at opportunities to improve the team," Antonetti said. "And, if those opportunities present themselves, to talk through it internally and see if it made sense to move forward with it. So, that will continue to be our mindset as we approach Spring Training. "Exactly what that will mean, it's hard to say. But, we're continuing to look at different ways to potentially improve." Guyer's contract provides him with some immediate security and gives the Tribe one of baseball's elite hitters against left-handed pitching for the next couple of years. Working with a depleted outfield last season, the Indians sent a pair of Minor Leaguers to Tampa Bay in order to land Guyer ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Guyer fit Cleveland's roster puzzle perfectly, hitting .333 with a .907 OPS in his 38 games down the stretch for the American League Central champions. On the year, the right-handed-hitting outfielder finished with a .336 average and 1.021 OPS against lefties. Overall, Guyer turned in a .266/.372/.423 slash line to go along with nine homers, 17 doubles and 32 RBIs in 101 games between the Rays and Indians last year. He was also hit by a Major League-leading 31 pitches, which marked the most by an AL hitter since 1986 (Don Baylor, 35). Guyer is the only player in MLB history to be hit by 30 or more pitches in one year in fewer than 400 plate appearances. His ability to hit left-handers carried over into the postseason, when Guyer hit .333 (6-for-18) overall and .417 (5-for-12) off lefty pitching. In Game 7 of the World Series, Guyer entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning and came up big in what ended up being an 8-7, 10-inning loss to Chicago. Guyer singled in the sixth inning against Cubs lefty Jon Lester and then delivered an RBI double off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning. That two-out, two-base hit set up the game-tying home run by Rajai Davis that served as one of the signature moments of the 2016 season. In the 10th, when the Indians were holding on to their last hope, Guyer drew a two-out walk and scored on a single by Davis to trim the Cubs' lead to one run. The Indians were not able to finish the job, but enter 2017 as heavy favorites to win their division and challenge again for a World Series crown. Guyer will continue to be a part of that picture for the Tribe. "He's an extraordinary worker who does a great job of preparing himself to be successful," Antonetti said. "And we think he'll be a big part of our team for the years to come." Jordan Bastian /MLB.com
The brother of Miami Marlins pitcher Edinson Volquez was stabbed to death in the Dominican Republic, according to a report by Quisqueyanos En Los Deportes.Brandy Volquez died after being stabbed in a Santo Domingo barber shop. According to the report, authorities have a suspect in custody.Brandy’s death is just the latest tragic loss for the former Royals right-hander, who signed with the Marlins this offseason. Volquez suffered another family tragedy before his Game 1 start in the 2015 World Series, when his father passed away from complications with heart disease. Volquez did not learn of his father’s passing until he was taken out of the game after six innings.After leaving the team to attend his father’s funeral, Volquez returned to pitch in Game 5, which the Royals won to clinch the World Series championship.Lindsey Foltin /FOX Sports
Premier leadoff man Tim Raines, Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell and strong-armed backstop Ivan Rodriguez have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.Results of the balloting of the Baseball Writers' Association of America were revealed on Wednesday. Raines, Bagwell and Pudge, along with Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz, will be inducted July 30 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
At long last it was time for Raines, who got in on his 10th and final year of BBWAA ballot eligibility. Over a career spent with six franchises between 1979-2002, including 13 seasons with the Montreal Expos, the multitalented left fielder became an underrated star. Perfectly cast as a leadoff man, Raines posted a .385 career on-base percentage, ranks fifth all-time in stolen bases (808) and tops the list in success rate among those with at least 400 attempts. Factoring in walks and hit-by-pitches, Raines reached base safely 22 more times than Tony Gwynn (in 127 more plate appearances). Bagwell had to wait until his seventh year on the ballot after an injury-shortened career in which he played his final game at age 37 and finished with 2,314 hits and 449 homers. The four-time All-Star first baseman, who played his entire career with the Astros, was the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year and the '94 NL Most Valuable Player. Out of his intimidating crouched stance, Bagwell produced nine seasons with 30-plus homers and eight with 100-plus RBIs despite spending the majority of his career at the cavernous Astrodome. His adjusted OPS+ of 149 ranks 21st since 1901 (minimum 8,000 plate appearances), and he also stole more bases (202) than any other first baseman in the past 90 years.Rodriguez joins Johnny Bench as the only catchers voted in on their first try, following a decorated 21-year career for six teams. The Puerto Rico native made 14 All-Star teams -- including 10 in a row for the Rangers from 1992-2011 -- won a record 13 Gold Glove Awards and was the 1999 American League MVP. Known most of all for his strong-armed defensive prowess, Rodriguez stopped 46 percent of stolen-base attempts, leading his league in that category nine times. He ranks first among those who were primarily catchers in hits (2,844) and doubles (572) and smacked more than 300 homers, and helped lead the Marlins to a championship in 2003.Andrew Simon / MLB.com