Report: Miguel Sano Won’t Be Suspended by MLB After Sexual Assault Investigation

Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will not face a suspension from MLB regarding allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in 2015, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Friday.

The Wall Street Journal's Jared Diamond shared part of MLB's statement about its decision:

"At the conclusion of the investigation, the Office of the Commissioner found there was insufficient evidence to support a disciplinary determination against Sano, due to conflicting and inconsistent witness accounts and the absence of contemporaneous substantiation. Barring the receipt of any new information or evidence, the Office of the Commissioner will not impose discipline on Sano in connection with the alleged incident."

In a since-deleted tweet, Betsy Bissen alleged Sano grabbed her and attempted to pull her into a bathroom and tried to kiss her multiple times at a 2015 autograph event despite her attempts to push him away, per Crasnick. According to the New York Times' Billy Witz. Bissen wrote Sano "didn't rape me, but he sure did assault me."

Sano denied the allegations in a statement, per Witz: "I unequivocally deny the allegation made against me today—it never happened."

The Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller reported in February that Sano had met with MLB investigators. They wrote the meeting likely signaled the investigation was nearing its end since "interviewing the accused is typically the final step in an investigation of this sort."

MLB's decision comes six days before the Twins open the regular season on the road against the Baltimore Orioles.

A suspension for Sano would've left Minnesota without the starting left side of its infield after shortstop Jorge Polanco tested positive for a banned substance, which rules him out for the first 80 games in 2018.

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Giancarlo Stanton Says He’s Prepared for Scrutiny of New York Media

Playing for the New York Yankees will present right fielder Giancarlo Stanton with challenges unlike those he faced with the Miami Marlins, but the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player believes he's up to the task.

"The good times will be magnified and so will the bad," Stanton said Wednesday, per the Associated Press. "The fans expect a lot. I expect a lot too. ... You've got to own up to your performance, to what you say, what you didn't say. That's how it should be. I like it."

Expectations couldn't be much higher for Stanton in 2018.

He hit 59 home runs and slugged .631 in 2017 despite playing half of his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly stadiums in baseball. Now, he'll be part of a lineup that was first in homers (241), fourth in slugging (.447) and second in weighted runs created plus (108), according to FanGraphs.

In February, MLB.com's Mike Petriello suggested the 2018 Yankees could challenge the single-season team home run record of 264, which the Seattle Mariners set in 1997.

Health will be the key to Stanton's success in the Big Apple. Since his first year as an Opening Day starter for the Marlins in 2011, he has averaged roughly 127 appearances annually. 

Just as important will be handling the scrutiny that comes with being a high-profile member of the Yankees. One bad month may cause some Yankees fans to begin questioning whether he's worth $25 million a year.

Stanton's understanding of the New York media landscape and his readiness to be under the microscope bodes well ahead of his debut campaign with the Yankees.

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Report: Brett Anderson Rejoins Athletics on Minor League Contract

The Oakland Athletics are reuniting with starting pitcher Brett Anderson after agreeing to a minor league contract with the left-hander, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Tuesday. 

Anderson spent his first five seasons with the A's. Over his nine-year MLB career, he owns a 4.04 ERA and a 3.73 FIP.

Generally speaking, his performance hasn't been a big problem, which is why he has played nearly a decade in the league.

Injuries once again limited Anderson in 2017, though. He suffered a lower back strain that landed him on the disabled list in May. Anderson didn't pitch again until Aug. 29, by which time the Chicago Cubs had traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays.

He went 4-4 with a 6.34 ERA and a 4.10 FIP while averaging 6.2 strikeouts and 3.4 walks per nine innings. The fact opposing hitters batted .364 on balls in play, according to FanGraphs, signals he could receive some better luck next year. The BAPIP gods can be fickle but the stat generally reverts to the mean—which is .315 in Anderson's case—after a while.

Anderson's 55.1 innings pitched in 2017 were actually his second-highest total since 2011, illustrating how frequently injuries have sidelined him. He has made 128 starts and 140 appearances since debuting in 2009, which averages out to a little over 14 starts a year.

The cost of starting pitching can be high on the free-agent market, even at a time when some starters are struggling to find new homes. Andrew Cashner will make $16 million guaranteed over two years with the Baltimore Orioles, and he's likely to be the team's No. 4 starter.

For that reason, signing Anderson is a worthwhile gamble. If he stays healthy, he'll be a massive bargain.

Of course, there's a reason Anderson's salary pales in comparison with other experienced starters. Only twice in his career has he eclipsed at least 20 starts in the majors, so there's a good chance he'll spend at least some of the 2018 season on the disabled list.

The fact Oakland is only signing Anderson to a minor league deal mitigates a lot of the team's risk. The A's aren't venturing much financially, so any positive contributions he can make in the year ahead basically represent found money.

 

Statistics via Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.

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Mike Moustakas Rumors: Royals Reportedly Offer Contract to Free-Agent 3B

The Kansas City Royals have made an undisclosed offer to free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported Thursday.

According to Heyman, the two sides have yet to reach an agreement over a new deal, but "there seems to be some hope" they can find common ground.

    

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

    

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Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner Feel Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani Bid Was Waste of Time

Two stars from the Los Angeles Dodgers were less than enthused to see their team in the offseason sweepstakes to sign Japanese free agent Shohei Ohtani.

Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw were both part of the Dodgers' official meeting with Ohtani, who eventually signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Turner called his involvement "a waste of time," while Kershaw labeled it "a gigantic waste of time," per the Los Angeles Times' Andy McCullough.

Turner discussed his frustration with what he thought was a lack of engagement from Ohtani.

"He might as well have not been sitting there," the 2017 All-Star said, per McCullough. "We might as well have been speaking to a window."

Kershaw added how he thought Ohtani, who starred as both a pitcher and hitter in Japan, had largely made up his mind prior to meeting with the Dodgers:

"It really just seemed like it was pre-determined that he wanted to DH. I'm kind of mad at his agent for making us waste all that time and effort. Fifteen teams should have been out of it, from the beginning. I know it's probably frustrating for everybody in the National League. A lot of guys spent a lot of time trying to figure out what makes him tick, and try to get him over here."

Kershaw may be right about Ohtani, but that wasn't reflected by his seven finalists. According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, four National League teams were still in the hunt to sign the 23-year-old: the Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.

Even if the Dodgers' chances of convincing Ohtani to sign were slim, they would've been foolish to turn down the opportunity to meet with him. He batted .332 and slugged .540 last season in Japan. He also has a 2.52 ERA in 85 career appearances. 

Kershaw got some measure of revenge in Wednesday's 4-2 spring training win over the Angels. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out Ohtani with a wicked curveball in the third inning. MLB Pipeline shared a replay of the strikeout:

The Dodgers will travel to Anaheim for a three-game series against the Angels beginning July 6. The Angels will also head to Los Angeles for another interleague series starting July 13.

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