Danny Duffy Pleads Guilty to DUI from August Arrest at Burger King

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence stemming from an incident at a Burger King in Overland Park, Kansas, last August.

According to the Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd, Duffy had to pay a $1,220 fine and refrain from drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs for a year.

Overland Park communications manager Sean Reilly also said Duffy will have to perform "random breath, blood and urine tests."

An employee from Burger King captured a brief video showing Duffy's vehicle sitting idle in the drive-thru lane. Duffy had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Upon being awoken by another driver, he attempted to drive away but dropped his credit card. Police then arrived and cited him for DUI.

"I just wanted to say that, for this situation that's been put at hand, I apologize for the distraction, especially with where the team is at right now," Duffy said a statement after the incident. "Regardless of whether we'd been on a run or not, this is never a good time for this situation to come about."

Under a Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program agreed to by both MLB and the MLB Players Association, players who engage in alcohol-related misconduct can be subject to enrollment in a treatment program upon the referral of a treatment board. But enrollment is voluntary and players who don't participate in the program don't face additional discipline.

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Danny Duffy Pleads Guilty to DUI from August Arrest at Burger King

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence stemming from an incident at a Burger King in Overland Park, Kansas, last August.

According to the Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd, Duffy had to pay a $1,220 fine and refrain from drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs for a year.

Overland Park communications manager Sean Reilly also said Duffy will have to perform "random breath, blood and urine tests."

An employee from Burger King captured a brief video showing Duffy's vehicle sitting idle in the drive-thru lane. Duffy had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Upon being awoken by another driver, he attempted to drive away but dropped his credit card. Police then arrived and cited him for DUI.

"I just wanted to say that, for this situation that's been put at hand, I apologize for the distraction, especially with where the team is at right now," Duffy said a statement after the incident. "Regardless of whether we'd been on a run or not, this is never a good time for this situation to come about."

Under a Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program agreed to by both MLB and the MLB Players Association, players who engage in alcohol-related misconduct can be subject to enrollment in a treatment program upon the referral of a treatment board. But enrollment is voluntary and players who don't participate in the program don't face additional discipline.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Andrew McCutchen Reportedly Traded to Giants After 9 Years with Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates traded one of the best outfielders in franchise history Monday, reportedly sending Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The move is bound to be unpopular with a segment of Pittsburgh's fanbase. No player was more synonymous with the Pirates' turnaround a few years ago than McCutchen.

In his first three years with the team, Pittsburgh averaged 98 losses a season. Slowly but surely, the Pirates improved, and McCutchen played a key role as they reached the postseason three straight years from 2013 to 2015.

On one hand, it's a shame McCutchen won't begin and end his career with the same team—something that is increasingly rare in modern sports. On the other hand, the time to trade him was now if the franchise was ever going to let him go.

This isn't remotely the same as when Pittsburgh let Barry Bonds walk following the 1992 season, which is the last time the Pirates lost a hitter as historically good as McCutchen.

Bonds' departure is a clear demarcation point in the Pirates' history. They made the National League Championship Series in each of Bonds' last three years in Pittsburgh. In the 20 years after his departure, the team failed to make the postseason.

Bonds was in the prime of his career and coming off an MVP season when he signed with the San Francisco Giants.

McCutchen, on the other hand, turned 31 in October and has shown a slight decline from when he was a regular contender for National League MVP—winning the award in 2013. After a poor 2016, he rebounded in 2017 with a .279/.363/.486 slash line, 28 home runs and 88 RBI.

Were the Pirates still a contending team, they likely would've held on to McCutchen. Instead, they won 78 games in 2016 and 75 games in 2017. McCutchen's contributions in 2018 likely weren't going to make much of a difference for Pittsburgh in terms of returning to the postseason.

In addition, McCutchen only has one year left on his current contract after the Pirates exercised his $14.5 million option for 2018. Meeting McCutchen's asking price in free agency would put a big strain on Pittsburgh's payroll, which is to say nothing about whether re-signing an aging outfielder during a rebuilding period is a sensible use of the team's resources.

Rather than watch McCutchen leave at the end of the year and receive nothing in return, the Pirates got back some pieces that can strengthen their farm system.

The inevitable promotion of Austin Meadows will help soften the blow of losing McCutchen for fans in Pittsburgh. Meadows, the No. 9 pick in the 2013 draft, batted .250 with four home runs, 36 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 72 Triple-A games in 2017.

The 22-year-old is the 17th-best prospect in baseball according to MLB.com and will become one of the faces of the new era of Pirates baseball.

As for the Giants, Jarrett Parker's power in the minor leagues didn't translate to MLB when he was given the opportunity to play in the big leagues for long stretches over the past two seasons. Parker would've been a liability offensively for a team with playoff aspirations such as San Francisco.

In that respect, McCutchen is a big upgrade.

The one question is whether McCutchen will improve the Giants defense, which was an issue with Denard Span.

McCutchen has been a center fielder for almost the entirety of his MLB career, and his defense has slipped as he entered his 30s. If he struggled to patrol the gaps at PNC Park, then he'll have an even harder time guarding the spacious outfield at AT&T Park.

McCutchen's contributions at the plate should outweigh his poor defense, which makes this trade a logical move for a Giants team that aims for big improvement in 2018.

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Andrew McCutchen Reportedly Traded to Giants After 9 Years with Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates traded one of the best outfielders in franchise history Monday, reportedly sending Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The move is bound to be unpopular with a segment of Pittsburgh's fanbase. No player was more synonymous with the Pirates' turnaround a few years ago than McCutchen.

In his first three years with the team, Pittsburgh averaged 98 losses a season. Slowly but surely, the Pirates improved, and McCutchen played a key role as they reached the postseason three straight years from 2013 to 2015.

On one hand, it's a shame McCutchen won't begin and end his career with the same team—something that is increasingly rare in modern sports. On the other hand, the time to trade him was now if the franchise was ever going to let him go.

This isn't remotely the same as when Pittsburgh let Barry Bonds walk following the 1992 season, which is the last time the Pirates lost a hitter as historically good as McCutchen.

Bonds' departure is a clear demarcation point in the Pirates' history. They made the National League Championship Series in each of Bonds' last three years in Pittsburgh. In the 20 years after his departure, the team failed to make the postseason.

Bonds was in the prime of his career and coming off an MVP season when he signed with the San Francisco Giants.

McCutchen, on the other hand, turned 31 in October and has shown a slight decline from when he was a regular contender for National League MVP—winning the award in 2013. After a poor 2016, he rebounded in 2017 with a .279/.363/.486 slash line, 28 home runs and 88 RBI.

Were the Pirates still a contending team, they likely would've held on to McCutchen. Instead, they won 78 games in 2016 and 75 games in 2017. McCutchen's contributions in 2018 likely weren't going to make much of a difference for Pittsburgh in terms of returning to the postseason.

In addition, McCutchen only has one year left on his current contract after the Pirates exercised his $14.5 million option for 2018. Meeting McCutchen's asking price in free agency would put a big strain on Pittsburgh's payroll, which is to say nothing about whether re-signing an aging outfielder during a rebuilding period is a sensible use of the team's resources.

Rather than watch McCutchen leave at the end of the year and receive nothing in return, the Pirates got back some pieces that can strengthen their farm system.

The inevitable promotion of Austin Meadows will help soften the blow of losing McCutchen for fans in Pittsburgh. Meadows, the No. 9 pick in the 2013 draft, batted .250 with four home runs, 36 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 72 Triple-A games in 2017.

The 22-year-old is the 17th-best prospect in baseball according to MLB.com and will become one of the faces of the new era of Pirates baseball.

As for the Giants, Jarrett Parker's power in the minor leagues didn't translate to MLB when he was given the opportunity to play in the big leagues for long stretches over the past two seasons. Parker would've been a liability offensively for a team with playoff aspirations such as San Francisco.

In that respect, McCutchen is a big upgrade.

The one question is whether McCutchen will improve the Giants defense, which was an issue with Denard Span.

McCutchen has been a center fielder for almost the entirety of his MLB career, and his defense has slipped as he entered his 30s. If he struggled to patrol the gaps at PNC Park, then he'll have an even harder time guarding the spacious outfield at AT&T Park.

McCutchen's contributions at the plate should outweigh his poor defense, which makes this trade a logical move for a Giants team that aims for big improvement in 2018.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Howie Kendrick Reportedly Re-Signs with Nationals on 2-Year Contract

Howie Kendrick reportedly will return to the nation's capital after agreeing to a two-year deal worth $7 million with the Washington Nationals.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported the agreement, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirming.

Kendrick finished the 2017 season in Washington after the Nationals acquired him in July in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

All things considered, the 34-year-old was a pleasant surprise last season. Between his time with the Phillies and Nationals, he batted .315 with nine home runs and 41 RBI. His .368 on-base and .475 slugging percentages were both the highest of his career.

Kendrick continued to be a versatile defender as well. According to Baseball Reference, he played 63 games in the outfield, 15 games at second base and four games at first base.

Re-signing Kendrick makes a lot of sense for the Nationals.

Adam Eaton is signed through the 2021 season, but he's also coming off a year in which a torn ACL limited him to 23 games. Jayson Werth is a free agent as well. Throw in what could be termed a relative breakout season for Michael Taylor, and there are some big question marks about Washington's outfield beyond Bryce Harper.

Kendrick doesn't address all of those questions, but he at least gives the team another option as a fourth outfielder.

The Nationals may also need him to play at second to start the 2018 season depending on the health of Daniel Murphy. Murphy had surgery on his right knee in October, and the team didn't hide the fact he's facing a lengthy rehabilitation. 

The presence of Kendrick means the team doesn't need to scramble to find a replacement for Murphy should his recovery linger beyond Opening Day.

Firing Dusty Baker after he helped the team win 95 and 97 games showed how desperate the Nationals are to win a World Series while Harper is still under contract. The 2015 National League MVP may ultimately re-sign with Washington after the 2018 season, though that can't be taken for granted.

Kendrick isn't the kind of player who puts the Nationals over the top in their quest for a World Series ring, but the depth and experience the 12-year veteran provides can be invaluable for a title-contending team.

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Howie Kendrick Reportedly Re-Signs with Nationals on 2-Year Contract

Howie Kendrick reportedly will return to the nation's capital after agreeing to a two-year deal worth $7 million with the Washington Nationals.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported the agreement, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirming.

Kendrick finished the 2017 season in Washington after the Nationals acquired him in July in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

All things considered, the 34-year-old was a pleasant surprise last season. Between his time with the Phillies and Nationals, he batted .315 with nine home runs and 41 RBI. His .368 on-base and .475 slugging percentages were both the highest of his career.

Kendrick continued to be a versatile defender as well. According to Baseball Reference, he played 63 games in the outfield, 15 games at second base and four games at first base.

Re-signing Kendrick makes a lot of sense for the Nationals.

Adam Eaton is signed through the 2021 season, but he's also coming off a year in which a torn ACL limited him to 23 games. Jayson Werth is a free agent as well. Throw in what could be termed a relative breakout season for Michael Taylor, and there are some big question marks about Washington's outfield beyond Bryce Harper.

Kendrick doesn't address all of those questions, but he at least gives the team another option as a fourth outfielder.

The Nationals may also need him to play at second to start the 2018 season depending on the health of Daniel Murphy. Murphy had surgery on his right knee in October, and the team didn't hide the fact he's facing a lengthy rehabilitation. 

The presence of Kendrick means the team doesn't need to scramble to find a replacement for Murphy should his recovery linger beyond Opening Day.

Firing Dusty Baker after he helped the team win 95 and 97 games showed how desperate the Nationals are to win a World Series while Harper is still under contract. The 2015 National League MVP may ultimately re-sign with Washington after the 2018 season, though that can't be taken for granted.

Kendrick isn't the kind of player who puts the Nationals over the top in their quest for a World Series ring, but the depth and experience the 12-year veteran provides can be invaluable for a title-contending team.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Agent Jason Wood Under Investigation for Allegedly Filming Clients in Shower

The Major League Baseball Players Association is investigating agent Jason Wood after he allegedly filmed some of his clients while they were showering, FanRag Sports' Robert Murray reported Wednesday. 

According to Murray, one of Wood's clients discovered a camera in the shower at Wood's home. CSE Talent, for whom Wood worked, reportedly fired him upon learning of the allegations. 

     

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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World Series Champs Astros to Accept Invitation to Visit White House

The Houston Astros plan on traveling to the White House in Washington, D.C., to celebrate their World Series championship, Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said Wednesday. 

"This is a tradition and an honor. For many people, this might be their only time to ever be invited to the White House," Ryan said, per the Houston Chronicle's Jake Kaplan. "And as the representatives of baseball and the World Series champs, when the White House calls and invites you to come up, it's something that as an organization we felt both a responsibility and an obligation to be part of."

Ryan added that while the Astros haven't formally set a date for their trip to the nation's capital, they're looking into doing the celebration during spring training.

The Astros don't play the Washington Nationals in interleague play in 2018, and their only series in Baltimore with the Orioles starts Sept. 27, which is their final series of the regular season.

World Series MVP George Springer told reporters in November he'd be open to traveling to the White House:

"That's the most historic place in our country, it stands for a lot, it means a lot to a lot of people. If the team goes I'm going. I'm not going to say no. I understand the impact of it. ... I understand the stuff that's been happening. Yes there are things that have to change but there are always things that have to change. There isn't anything that is ever going to be perfect. If the team goes I'll go."

Beginning with Ronald Reagan's presidency, it has become customary for the major sports champions in the United States to make a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. Since President Donald Trump assumed office, however, the tradition has lost steam.

The Cleveland Cavaliers moved up their White House visit so as to celebrate with Barack Obama before Trump was inaugurated. The next year, Trump withdrew his invitation to the Golden State Warriors after Stephen Curry said he didn't intend on going.

A number of New England Patriots, including Tom Brady, Martellus Bennett and LeGarrette Blount, decided against joining the team when it celebrated its Super Bowl LI win last April.

Although they had a formal celebration with Obama last January, the Chicago Cubs made a second trip to the White House in June in honor of their most World Series title.

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2018 MLB Free Agents: Latest Rumors, Predictions for Top Stars Still Available

While a small handful of top names on the 2018 MLB free-agent market have signed new contracts, many of the best stars remain available into the third week of December.

In terms of position players, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce have all yet to agree to deals, while Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb headline the group of starting pitchers without a team.

Should any one of those players sign with a team, it could create a domino effect. General managers may be waiting to see what kind of value the marquee free agents have on the open market.

Below are updates on where things stand with Bruce, Darvish and Hosmer.

      

Jay Bruce

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported in November that Bruce was looking to get $90 million over five years. The 30-year-old outfielder appears to have amended his demands, with the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert reporting he'll settle for a four-year contract.

According to Ackert, the New York Mets have Bruce on their radar but prefer to get him on a shorter-term deal than what he's seeking.

Ultimately, it wouldn't be that surprising if Bruce gets the $18 million annual salary he initially hoped to receive, but that would likely be over two or three years instead of four or five.

It's exactly what happened with Edwin Encarnacion this time last year. Encarnacion turned down $80 million over four years from the Toronto Blue Jays before signing with the Cleveland Indians for $60 million over three years, with a $20 million team option in 2020.

Any hesitancy about signing Bruce to a long deal is understandable. He hit 36 homers and drove in 101 runs in 2017, but he averaged just under 25 home runs and 84 RBI each season between 2014 and 2016. His slugging percentage over that span was .440, compared to .508 in 2017.

Of course, Bruce showed steady improvement from 2014 to last year, so 2017 may be closer to the new normal for the 10-year veteran.

Still, it would be surprising if Bruce receives even a four-year contract worth nearly $20 million a season based on his age and track record.

A deal similar to the one Encarnacion received makes the most sense. Maybe Bruce signs for three years with a club or vesting option for the fourth year. That way, Bruce can get the long-term financial security he's seeking if he plays well enough, while his new team can back out after three years if things don't work out.

        

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish remains unsigned, which isn't due to a lack of interest.

No free-agent pitcher is more prized than Darvish. Between his time with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers, the veteran right-hander was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA and a 3.83 FIP in 31 starts this past year, per Baseball Reference.

Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported the Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein landed in Dallas ahead of what's likely to be a meeting with Darvish. FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman confirmed the speculation and added a bit more context:

The Cubs may have stiff competition for Darvish's signature. The Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III reported the Minnesota Twins are growing more confident about their chances of landing the four-time All-Star.

Not only are the Twins a team on the rise after winning 85 games and reaching the American League Wild Card Game, but general manager Thad Levine also has experience working with Darvish from his time in the Rangers front office.

According to Neal, the Twins believe Levine's relationship with Darvish could be a decisive factor in their favor, though Neal spoke to a team official who thinks Darvish's final decision may not come for another month.

As much as the Twins have going in their favor, it's hard to see how Darvish won't be a member of the Cubs if they're seriously pursuing him. Chicago has enjoyed much more recent success and will be motivated to add a big piece to its rotation with Jake Arrieta a free agent.

Most importantly, the Cubs can almost certainly match whatever the Twins will be willing to offer.

It would be foolish to write the Twins off completely, but they don't exactly have a strong track record of signing marquee free agents. And until Minnesota proves otherwise, it's an underdog in the Darvish sweepstakes.

      

Eric Hosmer

Having said all of that about the Twins, one of the best position players in free agency may wind up with one of the worst teams in baseball.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Thursday the San Diego Padres were the "clear-cut favorites" to sign Eric Hosmer.

The Padres' chances of getting the veteran first baseman appeared to receive a boost Monday as well.

The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman also reported Thursday the Boston Red Sox were considering signing both Hosmer and J.D. Martinez. However, the Red Sox confirmed they re-signed Mitch Moreland, which eliminates the need to add Hosmer altogether.

That basically leaves the Padres and Kansas City Royals the most likely spots for Hosmer. Both teams are basically in rebuilding mode. Kansas City has the emotional pull, while San Diego probably owns the financial edge.

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Padres were discussing a six-year, $120 million offer with Hosmer.

As a frame of reference, Alex Gordon's four-year, $72 million deal is the richest in Royals history, and that contract is looking like an albatross on the team's payroll. The Royals would have justifiable concerns about re-signing Hosmer for even more money despite everything Hosmer has meant for the organization.

This winter has echoes of the 2014-15 offseason, when the Padres acquired Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris and Wil Myers to try and build a contender overnight. San Diego fast-tracked its rebuild and wound up winning 74 games in 2015 and parted ways with Upton, Kemp and Norris within two years.

Even if Hosmer is a good locker room guy who can help the Padres' younger players along in their development, signing him for $100-plus million makes little sense given how far away San Diego is from being a playoff-caliber team. Not to mention, Hosmer's arrival would force Myers to move to the outfield, which proved to be a mistake two seasons ago.

Despite all of the reasons why the Padres shouldn't sign Hosmer, he wouldn't continue to be linked so heavily with the team unless there was serious interest from San Diego. Unless some mystery suitor emerges from out of nowhere, the four-time Gold Glove winner will be a Padre by the end of the offseason.

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2018 MLB Free Agents: Latest Rumors, Predictions for Top Stars Still Available

While a small handful of top names on the 2018 MLB free-agent market have signed new contracts, many of the best stars remain available into the third week of December.

In terms of position players, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce have all yet to agree to deals, while Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb headline the group of starting pitchers without a team.

Should any one of those players sign with a team, it could create a domino effect. General managers may be waiting to see what kind of value the marquee free agents have on the open market.

Below are updates on where things stand with Bruce, Darvish and Hosmer.

      

Jay Bruce

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported in November that Bruce was looking to get $90 million over five years. The 30-year-old outfielder appears to have amended his demands, with the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert reporting he'll settle for a four-year contract.

According to Ackert, the New York Mets have Bruce on their radar but prefer to get him on a shorter-term deal than what he's seeking.

Ultimately, it wouldn't be that surprising if Bruce gets the $18 million annual salary he initially hoped to receive, but that would likely be over two or three years instead of four or five.

It's exactly what happened with Edwin Encarnacion this time last year. Encarnacion turned down $80 million over four years from the Toronto Blue Jays before signing with the Cleveland Indians for $60 million over three years, with a $20 million team option in 2020.

Any hesitancy about signing Bruce to a long deal is understandable. He hit 36 homers and drove in 101 runs in 2017, but he averaged just under 25 home runs and 84 RBI each season between 2014 and 2016. His slugging percentage over that span was .440, compared to .508 in 2017.

Of course, Bruce showed steady improvement from 2014 to last year, so 2017 may be closer to the new normal for the 10-year veteran.

Still, it would be surprising if Bruce receives even a four-year contract worth nearly $20 million a season based on his age and track record.

A deal similar to the one Encarnacion received makes the most sense. Maybe Bruce signs for three years with a club or vesting option for the fourth year. That way, Bruce can get the long-term financial security he's seeking if he plays well enough, while his new team can back out after three years if things don't work out.

        

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish remains unsigned, which isn't due to a lack of interest.

No free-agent pitcher is more prized than Darvish. Between his time with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers, the veteran right-hander was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA and a 3.83 FIP in 31 starts this past year, per Baseball Reference.

Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported the Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein landed in Dallas ahead of what's likely to be a meeting with Darvish. FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman confirmed the speculation and added a bit more context:

The Cubs may have stiff competition for Darvish's signature. The Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III reported the Minnesota Twins are growing more confident about their chances of landing the four-time All-Star.

Not only are the Twins a team on the rise after winning 85 games and reaching the American League Wild Card Game, but general manager Thad Levine also has experience working with Darvish from his time in the Rangers front office.

According to Neal, the Twins believe Levine's relationship with Darvish could be a decisive factor in their favor, though Neal spoke to a team official who thinks Darvish's final decision may not come for another month.

As much as the Twins have going in their favor, it's hard to see how Darvish won't be a member of the Cubs if they're seriously pursuing him. Chicago has enjoyed much more recent success and will be motivated to add a big piece to its rotation with Jake Arrieta a free agent.

Most importantly, the Cubs can almost certainly match whatever the Twins will be willing to offer.

It would be foolish to write the Twins off completely, but they don't exactly have a strong track record of signing marquee free agents. And until Minnesota proves otherwise, it's an underdog in the Darvish sweepstakes.

      

Eric Hosmer

Having said all of that about the Twins, one of the best position players in free agency may wind up with one of the worst teams in baseball.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Thursday the San Diego Padres were the "clear-cut favorites" to sign Eric Hosmer.

The Padres' chances of getting the veteran first baseman appeared to receive a boost Monday as well.

The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman also reported Thursday the Boston Red Sox were considering signing both Hosmer and J.D. Martinez. However, the Red Sox confirmed they re-signed Mitch Moreland, which eliminates the need to add Hosmer altogether.

That basically leaves the Padres and Kansas City Royals the most likely spots for Hosmer. Both teams are basically in rebuilding mode. Kansas City has the emotional pull, while San Diego probably owns the financial edge.

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Padres were discussing a six-year, $120 million offer with Hosmer.

As a frame of reference, Alex Gordon's four-year, $72 million deal is the richest in Royals history, and that contract is looking like an albatross on the team's payroll. The Royals would have justifiable concerns about re-signing Hosmer for even more money despite everything Hosmer has meant for the organization.

This winter has echoes of the 2014-15 offseason, when the Padres acquired Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris and Wil Myers to try and build a contender overnight. San Diego fast-tracked its rebuild and wound up winning 74 games in 2015 and parted ways with Upton, Kemp and Norris within two years.

Even if Hosmer is a good locker room guy who can help the Padres' younger players along in their development, signing him for $100-plus million makes little sense given how far away San Diego is from being a playoff-caliber team. Not to mention, Hosmer's arrival would force Myers to move to the outfield, which proved to be a mistake two seasons ago.

Despite all of the reasons why the Padres shouldn't sign Hosmer, he wouldn't continue to be linked so heavily with the team unless there was serious interest from San Diego. Unless some mystery suitor emerges from out of nowhere, the four-time Gold Glove winner will be a Padre by the end of the offseason.

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Michael Pineda Agrees on 2-Year Contract with Twins After 4 Years with Yankees

The Minnesota Twins announced Wednesday that they agreed to terms with starting pitcher Michael Pineda on a two-year contract.

Pineda made 17 starts in 2017, going 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA and a career-worst 4.66 FIP, according to FanGraphs. His year ended in July, when he underwent Tommy John surgery, which is likely to keep him out for most or all of 2018.

Tommy John surgery on its own is enough to cast a lot of doubt on Pineda's value. His past shoulder issues add even more concern. He didn't make a single start in 2012 and was limited to minor league action in 2013 after having surgery for a right labrum tear.

Pineda was an All-Star and finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 with the Seattle Mariners. At that point, he looked like an ace in the making, and Seattle sent him to the Yankees in 2012 in a trade that included Jesus Montero, a top prospect in the Yankees' organization.

Then came the shoulder issues, and Pineda was unable to become one of MLB's top pitchers. He had an encouraging 2015 season, posting a 3.34 FIP. He also led the American League with 10.61 strikeouts per nine innings in 2016, according to FanGraphs. He walked 2.72 batters per nine innings, which illustrated how he could be frustratingly inconsistent from one start to the next.

Still, Pineda had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter and was poised to earn a lucrative contract upon the conclusion to the 2017 season until his year ended prematurely.

He's no longer a young pitcher with boatloads of potential, as he'll have turned 30 by the time the 2019 season starts.

Some team was bound to take a chance on Pineda. The only questions were how far his salary would fall from that of a typical mid-rotation starter and whether he'd get any long-term financial security.

Nathan Eovaldi had Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career in August 2016. Last offseason, the Tampa Bay Rays signed him to a two-year, $4 million deal that had a club option in the second year. He had made $5.6 million in his final year with the Yankees.

Pineda has the potential be a bargain for the Twins. Of course, there's also the chance Minnesota ends up receiving little return on its investment.

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Matt Harvey Trade Rumors: Mets Have Talked with 2 Teams About Dealing SP

The New York Mets have discussed trading starting pitcher Matt Harvey with at least two MLB teams, the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert reported Sunday.

Ackert spoke to a source who said the Mets were offering Harvey as a trade chip to acquire a relief pitcher. The source added the team appears to be more willing to shop Harvey than fellow right-handers Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman.

A few years ago, the idea the Mets would potentially trade Harvey would've seemed ridiculous. He finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting, which was his first full season in the majors.

Now, the Mets may struggle to get anything worthwhile in return for the 28-year-old.

Harvey's 2016 season ended when he had surgery to address his thoracic outlet syndrome diagnosis. Upon returning the mound in 2017, he struggled mightily before a broken bone in his shoulder knocked him out for some of June and all of July and August.

In 19 appearances last season, Harvey had a 6.70 ERA and a 6.37 FIP, according to Baseball Reference. Most concerning, his fastball averaged 94.42 mph in 2017, which was two full mph below his average from his All-Star season in 2013 (96.96 mph), per Brooks Baseball.

Throw in the fact Harvey is under team control for one more year, and his value is even more suspect. Should he have another underwhelming year, then any trade will be wash. A big season from Harvey, on the other hand, could price him out of an extension with his new team.

If any team is genuinely interested in adding Harvey, it would be better off waiting until he possibly hits free agency following the 2018 season.

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Red Sox Pitcher Steven Wright Arrested on Domestic Assault Charge

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright was arrested Friday on a domestic assault charge.

WEEI.com's Rob Bradford shared a copy of Wright's mugshot:

Wright's lawyer, Alex Little, shared a statement on behalf of Wright's family, saying the 33-year-old right-hander had a verbal argument at his home but "did not raise his hand at anyone during the incident." NBC Sports Boston's Evan Drellich shared the full statement:

The Red Sox also released a statement, per MassLive.com's Christopher Smith: "We are aware of the incident involving Steven. This is certainly a matter that the Red Sox take very seriously. It is my understanding that both local police and Major League Baseball are looking into this and for that reason, the club won't have any further comment at this time."

According to Drellich, the MLB department of investigations is looking into the allegations.

In August 2015, MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to a new domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.

Aroldis Chapman was suspended for 30 games in March 2016 to become the first player punished under the policy. Jose Reyes also received a 51-game suspension in May 2016

Reyes was arrested on domestic violence charges in October 2015, while Chapman was the subject of a criminal investigation by authorities in Florida. Neither player was found guilty of a crime.

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Report: ‘Major Press Conference’ Planned for Giancarlo Stanton Trade to Yankees

Giancarlo Stanton will make his first appearance as a member of the New York Yankees on Monday.

FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported the Yankees will hold a "major press conference" in Orlando, Florida, ahead of the 2017 MLB winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Heyman reported Stanton's trade to the Yankees will become official once he passes a team physical. The fact the Yankees have planned a press conference for Stanton would seemingly signal they have acquired the 2017 National League MVP.

According to the New York Post's Joel Sherman, the Miami Marlins will receive Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro and minor leaguers Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers. Sherman also reported the Marlins will pay $30 million of the $295 million still owed to Stanton.

It's hard to imagine a bigger move coming this offseason. Stanton hit 59 homers and drove in 132 runs in 2017, and he'll join a lineup that ranked first in home runs and fourth in slugging percentage. There won't be a more devastating trio in baseball than Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.

Of course, New York's trade for Stanton could set off a series of moves. NBC Sports Boston's Evan Drellich indicated Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski could look to make a splash:

The timing of the Stanton trade left the Yankees' rivals plenty of time to bolster their squads ahead of the 2018 season.

New York exited the American League Championship Series at the hands of the Houston Astros this year, but the Yankees are the early favorites to win the World Series (5-1), according to OddsShark.

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Giants, Marlins Agree to Giancarlo Stanton Trade Terms; OF Must Approve

The San Francisco Giants met with Giancarlo Stanton and have a deal in place with the Miami Marlins to acquire the All-Star outfielder, Giants general manager Bobby Evans told San Francisco radio station KNBR (via the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea).

Shea noted Stanton would need to waive his full no-trade clause in order to finalize the move, so his trade to the Giants is far from complete.

     

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Yankees out on Free Agent; Giants and Mariners Finalists

Shohei Ohtani has no shortage of suitors as he prepares for his MLB arrival, but the New York Yankees are apparently out of the race to land the Japanese star.

According to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, Ohtani's representatives informed the Yankees front office the franchise won't be afforded the opportunity to have an in-person meeting with the 23-year-old.

Hoch also reported Yankees general manager Brian Cashman believes teams on the West Coast may be leading the pack:

Based on that, it comes as little surprise the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants are still in contention for Ohtani, per Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.

USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz reported last month Ohtani may prioritize his success on the field over his comfort level away from it. Ortiz spoke to sources who said the "way his talents are used" is of greater significance than the whereabouts of his next team.

However, Ohtani eliminated the Minnesota Twins from his available options, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman. Meanwhile, Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed the Red Sox are out of the running as well, per the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

Between the Yankees, Twins and Red Sox, three playoff teams from 2017 are exiled from the Ohtani sweepstakes.

According to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Oakland Athletics are no longer in the hunt, which takes one West Coast franchise out of the picture. 

Playing in Seattle or San Francisco, Ohtani would be a little closer to home than he would in the Midwest or on the East Coast. Both cities would also likely subject him to less scrutiny than he'd receive in New York or Boston.

Smaller-market teams are generally priced out of signing the best free agents during the offseason, so Ohtani's decision to spurn MLB's biggest markets could shake up the league's postseason landscape over the next few years.

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Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Yankees out on Free Agent; Giants and Mariners Finalists

Shohei Ohtani has no shortage of suitors as he prepares for his MLB arrival, but the New York Yankees are apparently out of the race to land the Japanese star.

According to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, Ohtani's representatives informed the Yankees front office the franchise won't be afforded the opportunity to have an in-person meeting with the 23-year-old.

Hoch also reported Yankees general manager Brian Cashman believes teams on the West Coast may be leading the pack:

Based on that, it comes as little surprise the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants are still in contention for Ohtani, per Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. The San Diego Padres are also in the mix, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The Mariners are considered the "clear-cut front runners" to land Ohtani, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz reported last month Ohtani may prioritize his success on the field over his comfort level away from it. Ortiz spoke to sources who said the "way his talents are used" is of greater significance than the whereabouts of his next team.

However, Ohtani eliminated the Minnesota Twins from his available options, according to Heyman. Meanwhile, Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed the Red Sox are out of the running as well, per the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

Between the Yankees, Twins and Red Sox, three playoff teams from 2017 are exiled from the Ohtani sweepstakes.

According to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Oakland Athletics are no longer in the hunt, which takes one West Coast franchise out of the picture.

Playing in Seattle or San Francisco, Ohtani would be a little closer to home than he would in the Midwest or on the East Coast. Both cities would also likely subject him to less scrutiny than he'd receive in New York or Boston.

Smaller-market teams are generally priced out of signing the best free agents during the offseason, so Ohtani's decision to spurn MLB's biggest markets could shake up the league's postseason landscape over the next few years.

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Giancarlo Stanton Trade Rumors: Miami Has ‘Framework’ of Giants, Cardinals Deals

The Miami Marlins have agreed to the "general framework" of trades with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants to move 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Sunday.

According to Morosi, the deals are pending Stanton's approval. The right fielder has a full no-trade clause as part of the 13-year, $325 million contract he signed with Miami in 2014.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported Friday that the Giants met with Stanton's representatives in Los Angeles on Thursday. Olney also reported that Stanton's representatives received approval to meet with the Cardinals.

Since Stanton could veto any trade, Morosi noted the 28-year-old holds all the cards:

Morosi reported Thursday the Marlins were prepared to accept Giants second baseman Joe Panik and top prospects Tyler Beede and Chris Shaw in return for Stanton as long as San Francisco was willing to assume at least $250 million of the remaining $295 million on Stanton's contract.

It's unclear what Miami would target in a trade with the Cardinals, and the deal may prove to be a nonstarter.

FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported there's some doubt whether Stanton would waive his no-trade clause to go to St. Louis. Heyman cited a source who said the Giants would "100 percent" be Stanton's preferred choice if he had to pick between them and the Cardinals.

Of course, that shouldn't preclude the Marlins from evaluating all their options.

Miami's season ended a little over two months ago, so the team has acted quickly to try to move its best player. As Morosi highlighted, though, Stanton can all but cease ongoing trade negotiations if he wants another team to enter the mix.

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Giancarlo Stanton Trade Rumors: Miami Has ‘Framework’ of Giants, Cardinals Deals

The Miami Marlins have agreed to the "general framework" of trades with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants to move 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Sunday.

According to Morosi, the deals are pending Stanton's approval. The right fielder has a full no-trade clause as part of the 13-year, $325 million contract he signed with Miami in 2014.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported Friday that the Giants met with Stanton's representatives in Los Angeles on Thursday. Olney also reported that Stanton's representatives received approval to meet with the Cardinals.

Since Stanton could veto any trade, Morosi noted the 28-year-old holds all the cards:

Morosi reported Thursday the Marlins were prepared to accept Giants second baseman Joe Panik and top prospects Tyler Beede and Chris Shaw in return for Stanton as long as San Francisco was willing to assume at least $250 million of the remaining $295 million on Stanton's contract.

On Sunday, Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported pitcher Sandy Alcantara is at the center of St. Louis' offer and the Cardinals' deal includes more money than that of San Francisco. Mish also noted any trade is "expected to be finalized" in the next two to three days.

However, any deal with the Cardinals may prove to be a nonstarter.

FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported there's some doubt whether Stanton would waive his no-trade clause to go to St. Louis. Heyman cited a source who said the Giants would "100 percent" be Stanton's preferred choice if he had to pick between them and the Cardinals.

Of course, that shouldn't preclude the Marlins from evaluating all their options.

Miami's season ended a little over two months ago, so the team has acted quickly to try to move its best player. As Morosi highlighted, though, Stanton can all but cease ongoing trade negotiations if he wants another team to enter the mix.

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Giancarlo Stanton Reps Reportedly Meeting with Giants in Los Angeles

Trade negotiations between the Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants regarding 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton may be heating up.

SiriusXM Radio's Craig Mish reported Thursday members of San Francisco's front office were meeting with Stanton's representatives in Los Angeles.

Buster Olney of ESPN reported the meeting is to see if Stanton would approve a move to the Giants.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported what could be the framework of the potential trade:

Stanton has a full no-trade clause as part of the 13-year, $325 million contract he signed with the Marlins in 2014. It makes sense for Giants representatives to feel out the 28-year-old before they continue working on a deal with Miami.

There's no question Stanton would be a massive improvement in the Giants outfield.

Jarrett Parker's power in the minors hasn't translated to MLB. He has 15 home runs and a .456 slugging percentage in 382 career plate appearances. Stanton, meanwhile, led the majors with 59 homers, 132 RBI and a .631 slugging percentage.

Acquiring Stanton would come with some risk for San Francisco, though. The 2017 season was the first time he had appeared in 150-plus games since 2011.

While a solid defender, Stanton, a right fielder, wouldn't necessarily solve the Giants' defensive issues, either. Denard Span's minus-7.5 ultimate zone rating was 16th among 17 qualified center fielders, per FanGraphs, and Stanton won't be playing center field anytime soon.

Still, Stanton's arrival would build a lot of excitement in the Bay Area after a disappointing 64-98 season.

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