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Hanley Ramirez on J.D. Martinez: ‘Now We’re Going to Step on Everybody’s Neck’

Suffice it to say Hanley Ramirez is a fan of new Boston Red Sox teammate J.D. Martinez.

"Now we're going to step on everybody's neck," Ramirez said of the Red Sox's signing of Martinez, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe.

Boston is set to introduce Martinez at a news conference Monday. The 30-year-old recently agreed to a five-year, $110 million contract after a monthslong wait filled with speculation on why he was still on the market.

                   

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

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Report: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox Agree to Contract; Deal Expected to Be 5 Years

The Boston Red Sox and free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez agreed to a terms on a contract, ESPN's Pedro Gomez reported Monday.

According to the Boston Globe's Alex Speier, the contract will run for five years.

Although the financial details of the deal are unknown, the New York Post's Joel Sherman supplied the likely consequences for Boston:

Martinez, 30, is coming off a career-best campaign that he split with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. He hit .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 runs batted in despite missing 43 games. The struggling Tigers traded him midseason to Arizona, which earned a wild-card berth thanks in large part to Martinez's starmaking run.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was blown away by Martinez's approach to the game. 

"The thing that people don't see is what he does behind the scenes," Lovullo told reporters. "There's notes in a notebook. There's video and studying. There's tendencies and habits. There's constant practice and perfection of the swing. And it translates."

Martinez said in September that he would "love" to be a Diamondback over the long term, but his main focus was being on a contending team.  

"I think one of the most important things in my free agency is I want to be on a team that's relevant—a team that's good, a team that's in it," Martinez told Nick Piecoro of AZCentral. "I don't want to be on a team just because [it offers the most money]. I want to be on a team that's got a chance. That's what's fun. That's what you play the game for."

FanGraphs ranks Martinez as the 13th-best outfielder in baseball since 2014. He's tied for third in wRC+ with Bryce Harper during that time.

Boston will be getting a player who is wildly productive when healthy but has had trouble staying on the field. He's missed at least 30 games in all but one of his six MLB seasons. 

The Red Sox are hoping Martinez can stay healthy enough to improve their weak middle of the order. Boston finished with the fourth-worst home run total in baseball last season and saw its bats go silent during an ALDS loss to the Houston Astros.

Boston was briefly in on the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes and made adding a power bat a priority after the reigning NL MVP was traded to the rival Yankees

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Bryce Harper Refuses to Discuss Free Agency, Says He’s Focused on 2018 Season

Bryce Harper could be a free agent after the 2018 season. While his future will be the source of speculation throughout the upcoming season, Harper has no interest in indulging.

He told reporters Monday:

"I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019 at all. I'm focused on this year. I'm focused on winning and playing hard like every single year. So if you guys have any questions after 2018, you can call Scott [Boras], and he can answer you guys. If you guys do talk anything about that, then I'll be walking right out the door."

Harper, 25, will likely become the highest-paid player in the history of baseball when he signs his next contract—whether it be with the Washington Nationals or another team. His production is borderline unprecedented for a player about to hit free agency in the arbitration era.

    

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

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Report: Cardinals, GM Steve Keim Agree to Contract Extension Through 2022

The Arizona Cardinals and general manager Steve Keim reportedly agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the organization through the 2022 season. 

Dan Graziano of ESPN reported the news. 

Keim has been with the Cardinals organization since 1999 and was promoted to general manager in 2013. Arizona has made the playoffs twice under Keim, including an appearance in the 2016 NFC Championship Game. 

"Steve's performance and accomplishments as Cardinals GM speak for themselves," Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. "His role in the team’s success over the last five seasons is undeniable. This new contract ensures that he will continue to shape our success going forward and we are thrilled about that."

The Cardinals are in the midst of a major organizational change this offseason, with coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer retiring. Franchise wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is also contemplating his future in football. 

Keim had one year remaining on his contract, so this is likely a showing of good faith that the organization believes in him to lead them into their next chapter. 

 

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Ex-MLB Pitcher Esteban Loaiza Arrested; Had 20 Kilos of Heroin or Cocaine

Former MLB pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested Friday in San Diego after being found in possession of 20 kilograms of heroin or cocaine.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports provided news from the police reports.

Loaiza, 46, is scheduled to be in court Wednesday to face the felony drug counts. 

 

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

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Ex-MLB Pitcher Esteban Loaiza Arrested; Had 20 Kilos of Heroin or Cocaine

Former MLB pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested Friday in San Diego after being found in possession of 20 kilograms of heroin or cocaine.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports provided news from the police reports.

Loaiza, 46, is scheduled to be in court Wednesday to face the felony drug counts. 

 

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

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J.D. Martinez Rumors: Red Sox, Diamondbacks Offers Being Considered

Free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez is considering offers from the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, but it's unclear if he's close to a decision.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the Diamondbacks have short and long-term offers on the table, while the Red Sox have a five-year deal worth $120 million over five years.

     

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

     

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George Springer, Astros Reportedly Agree to 2-Year, $24M Contract

The Houston Astros and outfielder George Springer avoided arbitration Monday, agreeing to a two-year, $24 million contract.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the news, noting Springer will be paid $12 million each of the next two seasons.

Springer, 28, had asked for a $10.5 million salary for the 2018 season. The Astros offered $8.5 million, setting up a potential showdown with an arbitrator.

A $12 million salary is a substantial bump for 2018 but prevents a second arbitration meeting next winter, in which Springer could have commanded another major increase in salary—thus costing the Astros more money in the long term.

Springer hit .283/.367/.522 with 34 home runs and 85 runs batted in last season. He saved the best stretch of his career for the postseason, belting five home runs and driving in seven runs on his way to winning MVP honors during the Astros' World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Astros now boast the regular-season (Jose Altuve) and World Series (Springer) MVPs as they head into 2018 season.

Locking both up over the long term might be their next course of action. Houston has a team option on Altuve for the 2019 season, but he can become an unrestricted free agent the following winter. The Astros in all likelihood would prefer to lock him up before competing with teams on the open market. Springer is arbitration-eligible again in 2020, but it would probably behoove the Astros to ink a long-term deal with him as well.

This move bumps up Springer's salary to keep him satisfied for now while the team figures out its plans for the future.

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Giancarlo Stanton Says Jose Fernandez Predicted He’d Win MVP, Join Yankees

New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton said late teammate Jose Fernandez predicted he would win MVP someday and even said the two would be teammates in New York if things didn't work out in Miami.

"He said, 'If this doesn't work out down here (in Miami), I'm going to be a free agent and I'm going to be with the Yankees, and I'm taking you with me,'" Stanton told those gathered at the Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner Sunday night in Manhattan. "Now that I'm here, I'm going to take a little piece of him and bring it with me."

Stanton was on hand to accept his NL MVP award and appeared alongside new teammate Aaron Judge, who was awarded the AL Rookie of the Year. 

Fernandez died Sept. 25, 2016, in a boating accident at age 24. 

Viewed as the cornerstones of the Miami Marlins franchise, Fernandez and Stanton were also close friends. 

Stanton hit .281/.376/.631 with 59 home runs and 132 runs batted in last season. His 59 home runs were the most in MLB since Sammy Sosa hit 64 and Barry Bonds set the single-season record with 73 in 2001. The Marlins shipped him to New York in exchange for second baseman Starlin Castro and prospects in December as part of their full-scale rebuilding effort.

Former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter now partially owns the club and controls the Marlins' baseball operations. 

"This has been an amazing ride," Stanton said. "I'm excited to be here in New York and experience the big city and bright lights...[Fernandez] was a big factor in achieving this and doing something special for him, that was a big part of this season."

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Jake Arrieta Rumors: Brewers Are ‘In’ on Former Cubs Star and Mike Moustakas

The Milwaukee Brewers are reportedly pursuing Jake Arrieta and Mike Moustakas in free agency, though it's unclear how close the team is to signing either player.

MLB analyst Jim Bowden reported the news, noting the Brewers plan to trade Travis Shaw if they land Moustakas.

Arrieta, 31, spent the last four-plus seasons with the National League Central rival Chicago Cubs, emerging as one of the best starting pitchers in the sport.

    

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

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