LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- What could wind up becoming a loaded 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame class begins with a 1984 Tigers two-fer that ends two long and agonizing waits for Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.
Morris, the hero of the Twins' Game 7 triumph in the 1991 World Series and winner of 254 regular-season games in his 18 seasons, and Trammell, the four-time Gold Glove winner and MVP of the '84 Fall Classic, were teammates on the last Tigers team to win it all, and they will be joyously joined again in Cooperstown next summer. In the first big news from baseball's Winter Meetings this week, Morris was named on 14 and Trammell on 13 of the 16 ballots cast by the Hall's Modern Baseball Era Committee on Sunday. A candidate had to appear on at least 75 percent of ballots to gain entry.
"I've got to believe, in a crazy sort of way, that this is the sweetest way to go in," Morris said. "To go in with a guy who meant so much to me and, in my opinion, was overlooked."
Trammell and Morris were among 10 candidates on the Modern Era ballot, which includes those whose most significant career impact was realized between 1970-87. They became the first living players to be elected into the Hall by a small committee since Bill Mazeroski in 2001.
"Overwhelmed," Trammell said. "My mind is a whirlwind. I thought that Jack was well-deserving and in my opinion should've been in a few years ago. But nevertheless, it's an honor to go in with Jack and whoever is inducted from the writers' ballot. It's going to be a great class. I'm honored to be a part of it.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America is in the process of compiling ballots for its 2018 class, which will be announced at 6 p.m. ET on Jan. 24 on MLB Network. With both Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero having appeared on north of 70 percent of ballots last year, and with first-time candidates Chipper Jones and Jim Thome among those with particularly compelling Cooperstown cases, this could be a grand group going in together July 29.
It is the inherent goal of the smaller Hall voting committees, which were revamped from the former Veterans Committee process in 2016, to give added consideration to those whose careers and impact might not have been given their just due on the BBWAA ballot. Both Morris and Trammell spent a full 15 years on the BBWAA ballot (the cutoff has since been amended to 10 years) without getting in. Trammell's highest vote percentage had been 40.9 in his final year of eligibility in 2016, while Morris maxed out at 67.7 percent in his second-to-last year of eligibility in 2013.
The reward for both men finally arrived in their first year of consideration by a smaller committee.
"You appreciate it so much," Morris said. "I think I have a better understanding of what it all means now than I ever would have on the first ballot. I know the emotions some of those guys are going through who didn't make it. I thought every guy had a legitimate chance. They had reasons to be considered, for sure. I hope there's no animosity because I made it, because I certainly was pulling for them."
With 12 votes required for entry, former catcher Ted Simmons received 11 votes, former MLB Players Association leader Marvin Miller received seven and Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and Luis Tiant each received fewer than seven votes (the Hall did not reveal their exact tallies).
The 16-member Modern Baseball Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members George Brett, Rod Carew, Bobby Cox, Dennis Eckersley, John Schuerholz, Don Sutton, Dave Winfield and Robin Yount; Major League executives Sandy Alderson, Paul Beeston, Bob Castellini, Bill DeWitt and David Glass; and veteran historians Bob Elliott, Steve Hirdt and Jayson Stark.
"To have the Hall of Famers during our era vote for us is very meaningful," Trammell said. "It means a lot. It's very humbling."
Trammell played all 20 of his MLB seasons with the Tigers, from 1977-96, including the first 14 seasons of his career as a teammate of Morris. In the '84 World Series against the Padres, he hit .450 (9-for-20) with a double and two home runs to earn MVP honors. He also hit .364 and homered in that year's American League Championship Series against the Royals.
"A scout once told me] if you play good defense and you hit .250," Trammell said, "you'll play in the big leagues for a long time."
Morris pitched for the Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians from 1977-94. He threw a no-hitter during that aforementioned '84 season, shutting down the White Sox on April 7 at Comiskey Park. In his epic Game 7 performance in 1991, he outdueled the Braves' John Smoltz, a 2015 Hall of Fame entrant, over 10 scoreless innings in a 1-0 win that clinched the Twins' second World Series title in four years.
"There's no question it's one of my defining moments in baseball, because it was the only Game 7 that I pitched," Morris said. "I knew the importance of it, but I was also at the apex of my career both mentally and physically. I've never pitched a game where I had better focus, and I don't know why. I had the best mindset I've had in my entire career."
The Hall cases for both Morris and Trammell have generated plenty of discussion over the years. Interestingly, Trammell was a darling of the advanced analytical community, while Morris' credentials were often touted by those with more of an "old school" bent. Trammell had a career Wins Above Replacement mark of 70.4 (as calculated by, just behind that of likely Hall of Famer Derek Jeter (71.8) and just ahead of that of Hall of Famers Barry Larkin and Bobby Wallace (70.2). Morris' 44.1 career WAR pales in comparison to that of the average Hall of Famer, but his lofty win total, 175 career complete games and Game 7 gem were his strongest selling points.
After all the debates and deliberations, Morris and Trammell go in together. Teammates then and classmates now.
Anthony Castrovince
In perhaps the coup of the offseason, the Angels have emerged as the winner of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.
Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Baseball, released a statement on Friday revealing that the Japanese two-way phenom has chosen to join the Angels following a wild courtship from all 30 Major League teams. The club will introduce Ohtani during a news conference on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium.
"This morning, after a thorough, detailed process, Shohei Ohtani has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels," Balelo said in the statement. "Shohei is humbled and flattered by all the time and effort that so many teams put into their presentations and sincerely thanks them for their professionalism. In the end, he felt a strong connection with the Angels and believes they can best help him reach his goals in Major League Baseball."
The 23-year-old Ohtani, who starred as a right-handed ace and a left-handed slugger in Japan, became the most coveted free agent this offseason after being posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters last week. The Angels were among seven finalists who were selected to meet with Ohtani, and they made their pitch to him on Monday in Los Angeles.
"While there has been much speculation about what would drive Shohei's decisio he felt a true bond with the Angels," Balelo's statement read. "He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals. More than ever, I believe this is not only a special talent but a man of special character, and like everyone else I'm excited to see him in Major League Baseball."
The Mariners, Rangers, Dodgers, Padres, Cubs and Giants were the other finalists in the Ohtani chase.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels shared his thoughts on Ohtani's decision on Friday evening: "We're disappointed we weren't Shohei Ohtani's choice, but wish him the best in Anaheim. He impressed us on and off the field at every turn. However, had he asked our opinion, we would have suggested the National League."
The Angels are expected to use the remaining $2.315 million of their international bonus pool to sign Ohtani, and they will pay an additional $20 million posting fee to the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Angels general manager Billy Eppler twice made trades to bulk up the club's budget in an effort to woo Ohtani, including acquiring $1 million in international slot money from the Twins in exchange for outfield prospect Jacob Pearson earlier this week.
Also, as reported by ESPN's Buster Olney, Angels star Mike Trout, who is getting married Saturday and was unavailable for an in-person meeting, was able to FaceTime with Ohtani this week.
The Angels issued the following statement after Ohtani's decision was revealed:
"We are honored Shohei Ohtani has decided to join the Angels organization. We felt a unique connectivity with him throughout the process and are excited he will become an Angel. This is a special time for Angels fans, the Ohtani family, and Nez Balelo and the team at Creative Artists Agency."
Still, money wasn't expected to be a deciding factor in Ohtani's selection, as he could have likely commanded a $200 million contract had he waited two years before coming to the United States as an unrestricted free agent. Because he is under 25, Ohtani is subject to international signing rules, which capped his potential signing bonus at $3.557 million, which was the Rangers' international bonus pool total.
Ohtani will join Garrett Richards at the top of the Angels' starting rotation, which will now be anchored by the two hard-throwing right-handers. The Angels are also expected to insert Ohtani into their lineup as a part-time designated hitter, giving the Halos a left-handed power bat to complement Trout and Justin Upton.
Albert Pujols, who has spent the offseason focused on improving his conditioning, is projected to play more first base next season to create more at-bats for Ohtani.
Ohtani was in line to make an international splash last spring in the World Baseball Classic, but a right ankle injury prevented him from participating. The injury sidelined him for the first half of the season in Japan -- and kept him off the mound for all but five starts -- but he is a scout's dream, with a fastball that hits 100 mph and a slider that compares to MLB's best.
In 2016, his most recent full season, Ohtani posted a 1.86 ERA with 174 strikeouts in 140 innings while hitting .322/.416/.588 with 22 homers in 382 plate appearances as a part-time DH.
In limited duty this year, Ohtani still whiffed more than a batter per inning on the mound while posting a .942 on-base plus slugging percentage at the plate. He recently underwent successful surgery on his injured ankle and is expected to be 100 percent for Spring Training.
Maria Guardado
NEW YORK -- As they prepared to stand side by side at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby this past July, getting their swings ready to mash pitches toward oblivion at Miami's Marlins Park, Giancarlo Stanton remarked that Aaron Judge seemed to be like "the twin you've never met: everyone's comparing us to each other."
It made for fantastic theatre. No big leaguers hit the ball harder in 2017 than Stanton and Judge, and now the hulking power hitters appear primed to be part of the same lineup. The Yankees have reached an agreement to acquire the National League MVP Award winner from the Marlins, a source told's Jon Paul Morosi, though the deal is still pending Stanton's consent and the Yankees' approval of Stanton's physical.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman said early on Saturday morning that the parameters of a deal were "done." The teams have not confirmed a transaction.
A source told Morosi that Stanton is expected to formally approve the trade, and a source told's Mark Feinsand that second baseman Starlin Castro and two prospects will head to the Marlins from the Yankees, who will be responsible for all but $30 million of the $295 million remaining on Stanton's contract.
MLB Network Insider Joel Sherman reported on Saturday afternoon that the prospects involved in the deal are right-hander Jorge Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers, the 18-year-old cousin of Red Sox phenom Rafael Devers. Guzman is ranked as the No. 9 prospect in New York's system, according to; Devers is unranked. The 27-year-old Castro, who was an AL All-Star this past season, has two years and approximately $23.7 million remaining on his contract.
Stanton's contract has an average annual value of $25 million, while Castro's is $7.57 million, so the Yankees' increase in payroll for luxury-tax purposes is expected to be no more than $17.43 million. But that 2018 obligation will drop, thanks to the Marlins' financial contribution to the deal.
Those funds could go a long way toward aiding managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner's stated plan to reduce payroll below $197 million in 2018 and reset the team's luxury tax penalty rate. According to Morosi, the $30 million in relief that the Yankees will receive from the Marlins, averaged over the deal's 10 years, amounts to a luxury tax credit of $3 million per season, regardless of when payments are made, and despite the fact that an opt-out clause for after the 2020 season remains on Stanton's contract.
Because Stanton's salary is increasing to $25 million in 2018 and $295 million remains on the final 10 years of his contract, the Yankees felt urgency to off-load at least one higher-priced position player -- Castro, in this case. The Yanks currently have approximately $107 million committed to seven players on their roster, with eight more players still eligible for arbitration.
"If there's one thing my family has proven throughout the years, it's that any time we have money coming off the payroll, whenever humanly possible we're going to put it back into the club, not back into our pockets," Steinbrenner said on Wednesday.
The Cardinals and Giants had separate trade agreements in place to acquire Stanton on Friday, but both clubs sent out afternoon statements declaring that they were no longer in the mix for the four-time NL All-Star after Stanton declined to waive his no-trade clause to St. Louis and San Francisco.
One of the most popular and productive players in Marlins history, Stanton told the team that he would approve a trade to the Yankees, Astros, Cubs and Dodgers. Stanton grew up in California rooting for the Dodgers, and while Los Angeles has pursued the 28-year-old outfielder, the Yankees' discussions were believed to be more advanced.
Adding Stanton to a lineup that includes Judge, the American League's unanimous selection for Rookie of the Year, as well as slugging catcher Gary Sanchez should serve as a terrific welcome gift for Aaron Boone, who was officially introduced as the team's new manager on Wednesday.
Judge, Sanchez, Stanton and shortstop Didi Gregorius combined for 169 home runs last season, more than four Major League teams: the Red Sox (168), Braves (165), Pirates (151) and Giants (128).
According to Statcast™, Stanton and Judge have combined for 31 HR of 115+ mph since the start of the 2015 season, while the rest of the players in Majors have tallied 26. Only once in MLB history have teammates hit 50+ home runs in the same season: Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1961.
Stanton would become the first reigning MVP since Alex Rodriguez to be traded before the following season. After A-Rod was MVP with the Rangers in 2003, he was dealt to the Yankees prior to the 2004 season. 
Stanton is coming off a campaign in which he set Marlins franchise records for home runs (59) and RBIs (132), leading the Majors in both categories. He paced the NL in slugging percentage (.631) for the third time, but 2017 marked his first year with more than 37 homers, as injuries have often kept him from completing full seasons.
With Derek Jeter serving as the Marlins' chief operating officer and part owner, Miami suddenly has a deep level of familiarity with the Yankees organization. Gary Denbo, the former Yankees vice president of player development, has taken on the same role with the Marlins after helping New York's ongoing youth movement of "Baby Bombers" succeed in the Majors.
The two clubs worked out a smaller trade last month that helped the Yankees add international bonus pool money for their abbreviated run at Japanese standout Shohei Ohtani, who agreed to sign with the Angels on Friday. General manager Brian Cashman had said that the Yankees' offseason priority was to add starting pitching.
The Yankees were disappointed by Ohtani's decision to shy away from the East Coast and New York's large market, but Cashman at in cent" of circumstances, the allure of playing for the Yankees has worked in the team's favor. In Stanton's case, it certainly may have.
Bryan Hoch
CHICAGO -- The Cubs may have filled one of the holes in their rotation on Thursday, signing free-agent right-hander Tyler Chatwood to a three-year, $38 million contract.
Chatwood, 27, was 8-15 with a 4.69 ERA in 33 games (25 starts) last season with the Rockies, and he will most likely appreciate not having to pitch at Coors Field. He was 3-8 with a 6.01 ERA in 17 games (12 starts) in Denver last season, while going 5-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 games (13 starts) on the road.
Chatwood made four starts in 2014, then underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the '15 season. Since then, Chatwood is tied with the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg for second in the National League in road ERA the past two seasons with a 2.57 mark, trailing only the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and his 2.16 ERA on the road (minimum 10 starts).
Tyler Chatwood signs a 3-year, $38M deal with Cubs
A second-round Draft pick by the Angels in 2008, Chatwood was traded to the Rockies in November 2011 for catcher Chris Iannetta. The right-hander has a career 40-46 record with a 4.31 ERA in 130 games (113 starts).
The Cubs' primary goal this offseason is to find replacements for starters Jake Arrieta and John Lackey, who both filed for free agency. Chicago also is waiting to see if Japanese two-way player Shohei Ohtani picks the Cubs, who are one of the seven finalists.
Chatwood has had success at Wrigley Field. In two starts (both wins) there, he's given up one earned run over 13 innings while striking out 11 and walking three.
Carrie Muskat /
SEATTLE -- Looking to improve their team speed and baserunning ability, the Mariners made a bold move in that direction on Thursday as general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired two-time National League All-Star Dee Gordon from the Marlins and another $1 million in international slot money in exchange for top pitching prospect Nick Neidert and two other Minor Leaguers.
Neidert, 21, was the Mariners' No. 2 prospect per Infielder Chris Torres, their No. 7 prospect, and right-hander Robert Dugger are also headed to Miami.
The additional international slot money could also help Seattle's pursuit of Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who is only able to earn an MLB-minimum salary of $545,000 next year, in addition to whatever slot money teams have available.
The Mariners now have $3.557 million in slot money, moving them slightly ahead of the Rangers' $3.535 among the remaining contenders.
Gordon played 13 games in the outfield for Licey in the Dominican Winter League in the 2013-14 offseason. That is the extent of his pro outfield experience.
The Mariners put a big emphasis on defense in 2017, acquiring Jarrod Dyson and Mitch Haniger after finishing 21st in the Majors with -8 Outs Above Average (OAA) the year before. With added outfield range in 2017, they jumped to fifth in the Majors with +12 OAA. Giving significant playing time to someone who has never played center in the Majors before could put a dent in that improvement.
Though overshadowed by the talk involving National League MVP teammate Giancarlo Stanton, Gordon has been the subject of trade rumors this winter as the Marlins look to shed payroll.
Gordon is under contract for three more seasons for a combined $37.9 million, with $10.8 million this coming year and then $13.3 million in '19 and $13.8 million in '20. He also has a $14 million team option for 2021 that becomes guaranteed if he accumulates 600 plate appearances in 2020 or 1,200 plate appearances in 2019-20.
Greg Johns /
ST. LOUIS -- Former Cardinals pitcher Anthony Reyes, best remembered for outdueling Justin Verlander in the 2006 World Series, is now engaged in a much more serious battle.
Reyes, a member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, is among the hundreds of firefighters who are trying to control a series of wildfires engulfing the metro area. Reyes was on duty Wednesday night into Thursday, when winds were gusting over 70 mph.
Reyes graduated from the fire academy in March, at which time he joined the LA County Fire Department. It marked the completion of a lifelong goal for the former pitcher, who grew up in a family of firefighters.
"I've always wanted to do it," Reyes told Cardinals Insider in 2016. "I loved playing sports. I loved the fire department. My dad was a firefighter. My grandfather was a firefighter. I always had it in my blood, and I always heard the stories. For me, it felt like a sports team. I thought it was the perfect job."
After retiring from baseball in 2012, Reyes resumed his college studies at the University of Southern California. After graduating, he became a certified emergency medical technician. He was hired by an ambulance company to work for the Orange County Fire Department before eventually being accepted into the fire academy.
The second career followed a successful first one as a big league pitcher. A 15th-round Draft pick by the Cardinals in 2003, Reyes made his Major League debut two years later. He shuffled back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors for the next four seasons, but he is still remembered around St. Louis for his World Series heroics.
Tapped to start Game 1 against the Tigers just two days after the Cardinals advanced past the Mets in the National League Championship Series, Reyes outpitched a rookie Verlander to lift St. Louis to a win at Comerica Park. Reyes finished eight innings -- something he'd do just one other time in his career -- while limiting Detroit to two runs on four hits. During one stretch, Reyes retired 17 batters in a row.
The Cardinals went on to win the World Series, four games to one.
never pitched in the postseason again, and he made his final Major League appearance with the Indians in 2009. The right-hander finished his career with a 13-26 record and a 5.12 ERA.
Reyes' next move was an easy one.
"When I had the opportunity to play baseball and get school paid for and another opportunity as a professional, I took a chance, because you can only play professional baseball for so long," Reyes said in that Cardinals Insider interview. "As a firefighter, you can get into it a little later in life. I thought it was a great opportunity to do two things that I love."
As of Thursday morning, firefighters continued to work to contain the multiple fires spreading around Southern California. Dry conditions and gusting winds continued to complicate those efforts.
Jenifer Langosch
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers reached a multiyear agreement with free-agent left-hander Mike Minor, whom Texas plans to use as a starter, sources tell's Jon Paul Morosi. The Rangers have not announced the transaction.
Minor spent last season as a reliever for the Royals, pitching in 65 games for Kansas City in 2017 and going 6-6 with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
Minor, who turns 30 later this month, was a starter for the Braves from 2010-14, compiling a 38-36 record with a 4.10 ERA in 111 outings (110 starts). He missed '15-16 with major shoulder injuries before making a comeback with the Royals last season. The deal with the Rangers is pending a physical.
 Rangers agree to a 3 year, $28M deal with Mike Minor
Texas also re-signed right-handed reliever Tony Barnette to a one-year contract, the club announced. The Rangers made Barnette a free agent when they declined to pick up his option on Nov. 6, but the club re-signed him to a $1.5 million contract for 2018.
Barnette spent the past two years with the Rangers, finishing 7-3 with a 2.09 ERA in 53 games in 2016 before slipping to 2-1 with a 5.49 ERA in 50 outings this past season. But the 34-year-old recorded a 2.51 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP during a 25-game stretch from July 3-Sept. 22 before allowing seven runs in his final two outings after the Rangers were eliminated from postseason contention.
"During my short-lived free agency, it was difficult to imagine an immediate future without being in a Rangers uniform," Barnette said.
The Rangers also signed right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, their first-round pick in 2013, as well as three others to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.
Gonzalez became a free agent last Friday when Texas non-tendered him. The 25-year-old is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and is not expected to pitch in 2018.
The Rangers also signed former Blue Jays and Tigers outfielder Anthony Gose with the possibility that he could pitch for them. Gose, a left-hander, spent parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues from 2012-16 mainly as a center fielder with excellent speed.
Gose, 27, has appeared in 372 Major League games, posting a .240/.309/.348 slash line and stealing 57 stolen bases. The Phillies originally drafted him as an outfielder out of Bellweather (Calif.) High School in 2008. Gose pitched in high school but wanted to play professionally as an outfielder even though scouts were attracted to a fastball registering in the high 90s.
That changed last Spring Training when the Tigers told Gose he was not going to make the team. He volunteered to switch to pitching and was clocked at 99 mph. Gose went 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in 11 appearances at Class A Advanced Lakeland before being shut down on July 2 with elbow inflammation.
In addition, the Rangers signed left-hander David Hurlbut, who spent all of last season at Triple-A Rochester in the Twins' organization and finished 10-8 with a 3.44 ERA and 1.393 WHIP over 23 games (22 starts). The 28-year-old has averaged an attractive two walks per nine innings in seven Minor League seasons.
The Rangers also signed infielder Christian Lopes out of the Blue Jays' organization. The 25-year-old played in 92 games at Triple-A Buffalo this past season and hit .261 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .402 slugging percentage. Lopes knocked six home runs and stole 18 bases. A right-handed hitter, he has been a second baseman for most of his career with only limited experience at shortstop and third base.
T.R. Sullivan/
NEW YORK -- Aaron Boone has already helped the Yankees advance to one World Series. Now they want him to lead the franchise to its next one.
Boone has been selected as the 35th manager in franchise history, two sources confirmed to on Friday evening, concluding a managerial search that began on October 26 and spanned five weeks. The Yankees have not made an official announcement.
The author of one of the most memorable moments in Yankees postseason history, a deciding home run off Tim Wakefield that defeated the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, Boone will assume the prestigious position without any previous coaching or managerial experience.
"I feel like I am the guy that can hopefully help these guys go to another level as players," Boone said after his Nov. 17 interview. "Obviously, they were able to accomplish a lot. A lot of guys not only established themselves this year, but established themselves as stars. Hopefully I can be a part of helping them take it to another level."
General manager Brian Cashman cited "communication and connectivity" as important prerequisites when the Yankees parted ways with Joe Girardi after a decade with him at the helm. Those are challenges that the affable Boone should be able to handle as he begins to familiarize himself with the team's young roster.
A popular clubhouse presence during his playing career, Boone has been a television analyst since his retirement in 2009, giving him considerable exposure to the ocean of advanced statistics that have become vitally important in overseeing a big league game.
"I find myself managing games all the time and thinking about strategies and how I would handle different situations," Boone said. "Certainly, it's fair to question my experience in actually doing the job, but I would say in a way I've been preparing for this job for the last 44 years.en seasons with the Reds and also appeared with the Indians, Marlins, Nationals and Astros.
Cashman said on Friday morning that the team was ready to move on from the interview process, having brought Yanks bench coach Rob Thomson, former Indians and Mariners manager Eric Wedge, Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens, Boone, Dodgers third-base coach Chris Woodward and recently retired slugger Carlos Beltran to Yankee Stadium for lengthy interviews.
As such, Cashman said that he was prepared to make his recommendation to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, which turned out to be Boone. Thomson, who had been in the Yankees' organization for 28 seasons, plans to accept a bench coach position with the Phillies, while Beltran has said that he is looking forward to spending time at home with his family.
Boone's grandfather, Ray, father, Bob, and brother, Bret, all played in the Majors, and his father managed the Reds (1995-97) and Royals (2001-03).
"I've been going to the ballpark since I was 3 and 4 years old, and in a way, managing the game from a very young age," Boone said. "My dad was in the big leagues from the time I was born to a senior in high school. Being around great teams, great players, I've kind of lived this game."
Boone remains a fan favorite in New York -- and, like Bucky Dent, will always carry an alternative middle name in Boston -- because of that one big swing in the 2003 ALCS. He injured his left knee while playing basketball during the following offseason, setting off a sequence of events that led to the Yankees' February 2004 trade for Alex Rodriguez.
Boone said on Nov. 17 that he believes his brief time with the Yankees will help him prepare for the challenges of managing in the New York spotlight.
"It's just understanding what it is to be a Yankee, what it is to play here and just understanding the expectations that go with it," Boone said. "Certainly the expectations now will be ramped up even more after such a successful season and when you look at the roster that we're going to potentially have out there. I know what I would be signing up for."
Bryan Hoch /
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays traded Brad Boxberger to the D-backs on Thursday in exchange for Minor League right-hander Curtis Taylor.
"You're never surprised about getting traded," said Boxberger in a telephone interview. "Every offseason there's a bunch of trades going, so it's never a surprise since I've been through it a couple of times now. Definitely didn't think it would happen this early in the offseason."
Boxberger, 29, led the American League in saves with 41 in 2015, his fourth Major League season. He also made the All-Star team that season. But the right-hander has struggled to stay healthy the past two seasons. Not being available opened the door for Alex Colome to take over the closing duties for the Rays.
Rays trade Brad Boxberger to D-backs for prospect
"I definitely enjoyed my time with the Rays," Boxberger said. "Spending the past four years of my career there, being able to establish myself as a solid reliever, and getting the opportunity to close, lead the American League in saves and be an All-Star in [2015] is definitely something I'll never forget as my career goes on.
"I definitely look forward to this new opportunity in Arizona. But definitely not going to forget the times I had, and the people that my family and I got to know and kind of grow with as a family. I'll cherish that the rest of my life."
Rays owner Stu Sternberg has mandated that the payroll be lower this season. Boxberger made $1.6 million in 2017, and he's entering his second year of arbitration eligibility.
Tampa Bay's bullpen will have a much different look in 2018 due to the number of free agents who will likely go to other teams before next season. Trading Boxberger will create yet another spot to fill.
Boxberger went 4-4 with a 3.38 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 30 appearances last season, recording a 0.96 ERA over his final nine appearances.
Boxberger said he finished 2017 "as healthy and as strong as I could have."
"I'm looking forward to getting back out there this year and continuing to pitch the way I did at the end of the season," Boxberger said. "I got my mechanics back to where I wanted them. And I had the location back that I'd been looking for for a year and a half, or however long it's been. Felt like myself. Just looking to carry that into next year."
Over six seasons in the Major Leagues with the Padres (2012-13) and Rays (2014-17), Boxberger is 17-20 with a 3.19 ERA and 297 strikeouts.
Boxberger is a former first-round pick of the Reds in 2009, and he was dealt to the Rays along with Matt Andriese and Logan Forsythe in the 2013-14 offseason.
Taylor, 22, went 3-4 with a 3.32 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 13 appearances, all starts, last season for Class A Kane County. He did not pitch after July 13 due to a right shoulder impingement, but he is expected to be healthy to begin the 2018 season.
Following the season, Taylor was ranked by as the No. 14 prospect in the D-backs' system. The 6-foot-6 right-hander was a fourth-round selection of the D-backs in the 2016 Draft, becoming the highest-drafted player from the University of British Columbia since left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis in '02.
Bill Chastain /