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  • Reports: Royals signing LHP Minor to two-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 30, 2020

    The Kansas City Royals reportedly have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent left-hander Mike Minor, pending the results of a physical.

    • Minor, who turns 33 on Dec. 26, split the 2020 season with the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics and went 1-6 with a 5.56 ERA in 12 games (11 starts).

      He was an All-Star with the Rangers in 2019, finishing 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 208 1/3 innings.

      Minor previously pitched for the Royals in 2017 after sitting out the 2015 and 2016 seasons following Tommy John surgery.

      He owns a 71-66 career record with a 3.98 ERA and 1,048 strikeouts in 1,152 1/3 innings with the Atlanta Braves (2010-14), Royals, Rangers (2018-20) and A's.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Phillies 'Whiz Kids' pitcher Miller dies at 94
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, November 29, 2020

    Bob Miller, who was a key piece of the Philadelphia Phillies' 1950 "Whiz Kids" team as a rookie, died on Friday at 94.

    • Miller, a right-handed pitcher, was signed by the Phillies in 1948 after serving in the U.S. Army from 1944-47. He spent his entire 10-year career with the Phillies, compiling a 42-42 record over 261 appearances (68 starts).

      In the 1950 season, Miller finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting after winning a career-high 11 games and posting a 3.57 ERA in 35 games (21 starts).

      He was part of the "Whiz Kids," the young team that went 91-63 on their way to the NL pennant and put the Phillies back in the World Series for the first time since 1915. They were swept by the New York Yankees, with Miller getting the start for Game 4 at Yankee Stadium.

      Miller spent the bulk of his post-playing career (1965-2000) as the head baseball coach at his alma mater, the University of Detroit Mercy.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Pirates RHP Williams opts for free agency
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, November 28, 2020

    Veteran right-hander Trevor Williams has selected free agency instead of accepting an assignment to the Pittsburgh Pirates' Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis, according to reports Saturday.

    • The 28-year-old Williams cleared waivers earlier in the week, setting up his decision to remain within the Pirates organization or try to jump-start his career elsewhere.

      The split comes only two years after Williams' 2018 campaign, when he went 14-10 with a 3.11 ERA in 31 starts for Pittsburgh. But he regressed to 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA in 26 starts in 2019, and his slide continued in 2020 as he went 2-8 with a 6.18 ERA in 11 starts while allowing 15 home runs (tied for most in the majors).

      During his career with the Pirates, Williams went 31-37 with a 4.43 ERA in 106 games (94 starts). The Miami Marlins drafted him in the second round out of Arizona State in 2013, and they traded him in 2015 for pitching prospect Richard Mitchell.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Blue Jays exploring new stadium
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 27, 2020

    The Toronto Blue Jays are exploring the possibility of a new stadium, in an ambitious plan that would put a new ballpark on the land where their current retractable-roof stadium now sits, according to The Globe and Mail.

    • The Blue Jays have played at Rogers Centre since 1989, in a ballpark that was considered far ahead of its time when it opened with a roof that could open and close and with a hotel that has rooms overlooking center field.

      But Rogers Centre would have to be demolished with a new stadium built in its place, along with retail, residential options and open public space. A potential snag to the plan is that the team does not own the land where their stadium sits, as it belongs to Canada Lands Company.

      The report indicates a new stadium could take five years to build, requiring the team to find a temporary home. During the 60-game, 2020 season, the Blue Jays played home games in Buffalo, N.Y., in the stadium used by their Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, because of travel restrictions into Canada that did not allow opposing teams to enter the country.

      The NBA's Toronto Raptors are set to start the upcoming season by playing home games in Tampa, Fla., but that move is COVID-19-related and not connected to the building of a new home venue.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Blue Jays’ Rogers Centre could be demolished, replaced
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 27, 2020

    Rogers Centre has been home to the Toronto Blue Jays for more than 30 years.

    • But if Rogers Communications and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. have their way, there'll be a new home for the Blue Jays within this decade.

      Rogers and Brookfield are working on a plan to demolish Rogers Centre, which opened as SkyDome in 1989, and replace it with a new stadium within the next five to eight years, according to the Globe and Mail.

      Although Rogers Centre has in the past been home to the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and Toronto Raptors of the NBA, the new stadium would be a smaller baseball-only facility. Rogers Centre currently holds close to 50,000 people for baseball.

      The report adds that in addition to working many government entities on the stadium plans, there are also plans to build "residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space" at the opposite end of the property.

      If these plans fail to come to fruition, the paper reported, Rogers might pursue building a new stadium elsewhere in Toronto.

      The Blue Jays played their home games in Buffalo, N.Y., during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Arozarena released from all charges in Mexico
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 26, 2020

    Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena was released from all charges in Mexico ahead of a scheduled hearing on Thursday, two days after an alleged domestic violence incident with his former partner, ESPN reported.

    • Arozarena was cleared by Yucatan police after reaching a deal with the woman, with whom he has a daughter, who decided against taking legal action against the Rays' postseason hero.

      Arozarena was reportedly arrested and detained in Merida, a city in the state of Yucatan, after the dispute in which he allegedly attempted to forcibly take his daughter without permission. According to reports, the incident escalated to where Arozarena assaulted the mother and the mother's father.

      According to the Yucatan Ahora!, Arozarena brought gifts to the house. But soon thereafter, shouting prompted neighbors to arrive to support the girl's mother and they blocked Arozarena's car to prevent him from leaving before police arrived.

      Arozarena, 25, reportedly got married on Nov. 7 to a different woman and also has a child with her.

      Arozarena had a postseason for the ages as he set records for homers (10) and hits (29). He batted .377 over 20 games while helping the Rays reach the World Series, where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rays hero Arozarena arrested on suspicion of domestic violence
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    Tampa Bay Rays postseason hero Randy Arozarena was arrested in Mexico on suspicion of domestic violence, according to multiple reports.

    • Arozarena was reportedly detained in Merida, a city in the state of Yucatan, after the dispute in which he attempted to forcibly take his daughter without permission. According to reports, the incident escalated to where Arozarena assaulted the mother and the mother's father.

      Charges haven't been formally filed but Arozarena is expected to be held in custody for at least 48 hours. Major League Baseball will reportedly investigate the incident.

      Arozarena's agent, Abel Guerra, said he has not spoken to the Rays outfielder but did talk to some of his family members.

      "The only thing I know is he was hyper-sensitive about making sure that the child's needs were being taken care of," Guerra told the Tampa Bay Times. "He was always sending money down there, and he was very involved in her life. I don't want to speculate about (anything else)."

      According to the Yucatan Ahora!, Arozarena brought gifts to the house. But soon thereafter, shouting prompted neighbors to arrive to support the girl's mother and they blocked Arozarena's car to prevent him from leaving before police arrived.

      Arozarena, 25, reportedly got married on Nov. 7 to a different woman and also has a child with her.

      "When it comes to family issues there are always layers of complexity. Everything is perspective," Guerra said. "Hopefully everything clears itself up. It's a horrible, unfortunate situation."

      Arozarena had a postseason for the ages as he set records for homers (10) and hits (29). He batted .377 over 20 games while helping the Rays reach the World Series, where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Mets expect Tebow to return in 2021
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    New York Mets president Sandy Alderson said he expects Tim Tebow to return to the organization in 2021.

    • Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner who played three seasons in the NFL, signed with the Mets in 2016 but has yet to play in the big leagues. He was invited to spring training earlier this year but was not in the Mets' 60-man player pool this season.

      "So I talked to Tim Saturday, in between Florida football and some other SEC [broadcasting] obligations," Alderson told the New York Post. "He's anxious to come back. And I told Tim, ‘Look, why would you want to end your quest based on a COVID-related reason? You didn't get a chance to perform this year.' He was hurt a little bit the previous year. So I think Tim is committed to coming back. And I think we're committed to giving him an opportunity to do that and we'll see where it goes."

      Alderson, named team president earlier this month by new owner Steve Cohen, was the team's general manager when Tebow, an outfielder, first signed with the club.

      During his time with the organization, Tebow has hit .223 with 18 home runs and 107 RBIs in 287 games. He has struck out in more than one third of his official at-bats.

      Tebow, now 33, advanced to Triple-A Syracuse in 2019 and appeared in 77 games before a hand injury ended his season. In 239 at-bats, he had four homers and 19 RBIs with 20 walks but struck out 98 times.

      "It's not something that I want to do forever ... because there's a lot of other things that are in my heart that I want to pursue," Tebow told MLB.com recently. "But it is something that is still in my heart today."

      Alderson said he's willing to keep Tebow in the organization a bit longer.

      "This is not a quest without end," Alderson told the Post. "At some point it will culminate. But I think that will be at a time when Tim and the organization come to some agreement about where he is and what his potential is. But I didn't want him to go out based on some COVID-related interruption."

  • Braves sign Morton to one-year, $15M deal
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    The Atlanta Braves signed free agent starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 million deal on Tuesday.

    • The deal for Morton, 37, is the largest free agent pact so far this offseason with movement in free agency slow out of the gate. The Braves also signed left-handed starter Drew Smyly to one-year, $11 million deal last week.

      ESPN reported there are no incentives -- or trade protections -- in Morton's deal.

      Per reports, the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox were among the teams pursuing Morton.

      Atlanta's starting rotation would align with Max Fried and Mike Soroka as the top two starters and Morton, Ian Anderson and Smyly next in line.

      Morton's durability was a concern for the Tampa Bay Rays, who declined his 2021 option, clearing Morton to enter free agency.

      Morton started nine games in the 2020 regular season and encountered shoulder issues. He posted a 4.74 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 38.0 innings pitched. He started four playoff games for the AL champion Rays and posted a 2.70 ERA.

      --Field Level Media

  • Field of Dreams game set for Aug. 12
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 23, 2020

    The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox are tentatively scheduled to meet for the MLB at Field of Dreams game on Aug. 12 in Dyersville, Iowa.

    • The same teams were originally scheduled to meet in August 2020, but the game was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

      "Plans will remain contingent upon the status of public health next summer, and the feasibility of ticket availability will be evaluated in the months ahead," Major League Baseball said in a news release Monday.

      The game will be nationally broadcast on FOX and will be the first MLB game ever played in Iowa.

      MLB built a temporary, 8,000-seat ballpark adjacent to the site where the Kevin Costner movie "Field of Dreams" was filmed. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1990.

      --Field Level Media

  • Brewers add "general manager" to VP Arnold's title
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 19, 2020

    The Milwaukee Brewers adjusted Matt Arnold's title to include "general manager" on Thursday, although the team's hierarchy remains intact.

    • Arnold had been the team's senior vice president and assistant general manager under president of baseball operations and general manager David Stearns. The title adjustment for Arnold means that Stearns had "general manager" removed from his job description, while still sitting atop the list of the team's player-personnel decision makers.

      Arnold, 41, previously worked for the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds organizations. He has been with the Brewers for five years.

      The switch in title for Arnold comes as teams like the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies are in search of new general managers. Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer will move into the president of baseball operations seat when Theo Epstein departs Friday.

      The Los Angeles Angels and Miami Marlins recently hired new GMs.

      "For the past five years, Matt has served an invaluable role in helping to guide our baseball operations group," Stearns said in a release. "He has contributed to every significant decision we have made and has offered indispensable advice and support throughout that time with the Brewers.

      "Today's announcement formalizes how we have operated over the last few years. This move provides Matt with the deserved recognition of his tireless work and ensures that our baseball operations leadership group remains intact."

      --Field Level Media

  • Tigers release utility man Dixon
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 19, 2020

    The Detroit Tigers requested unconditional release waivers on utility man Brandon Dixon on Thursday, allowing him to pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.

    • Dixon, 28, played in just five games with the Tigers in 2020 and had a double in 13 at-bats. He is a career .228 hitter over 196 games in three seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Tigers.

      His 15 home runs in 2019 led the Tigers, however.

      The Detroit Free Press reported he would be joining the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Nippon Professional Baseball's Pacific League.

      An Arizona product, Dixon is a former third-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 and was traded to the Reds in December 2015 in a three-team deal that also included the Chicago White Sox.

      The move trims the Tigers' 40-man roster to 36 players.

      --Field Level Media

  • Dodgers follow championship with team-wide layoffs
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 18, 2020

    Not even a World Series title could make the Los Angeles Dodgers immune from financial losses during a season without fans, so the team was forced to lay off employees throughout the organization on Wednesday.

    • The move follows the same made by teams throughout baseball as a typical 162-game season was reduced to 60 games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all with no fans in attendance. Paying fans did not attend MLB games until a limited number were allowed at the National League Championship Series and World Series at Arlington, Texas.

      The Dodgers won their first title in 32 years when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games at Arlington. But team president Stan Kasten estimated losses exceeding $100 million in 2020.

      "While the Dodgers had a championship season, the organization has not been immune from the widespread economic devastation caused by the coronavirus," the Dodgers said in a statement. "Since March, we have worked hard to minimize the impact on our employees. The ongoing economic crisis, however, forces us to make difficult personnel decisions throughout the organization, going forward for the 2021 season."

      Teams reportedly are preparing for the possibility of playing next season without fans as well, although there is the hope that venues can begin to welcome fans again in 2021.

      "This is a heartbreaking decision," the Dodgers said in their statement. "This year, more than ever, we are truly grateful for the role each member of our Dodgers family plays in our success."

      The Dodgers' annual revenue is among the highest in baseball with the team drawing three million fans in 18 of 19 seasons before playing in an empty home stadium in 2020. The Dodgers also own their own television network, although it has a limited reach in the Los Angeles area.

      Teams that have recently announced organization-wide layoffs along with the Dodgers include the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mets 2B Cano suspended for 2021 for PED use
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, November 18, 2020

    Major League Baseball suspended New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano for the entire 2021 season Wednesday after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

    • The 162-game suspension without pay means Cano will forfeit his entire $24 million salary.

      It's the second major suspension for the 38-year-old Cano, who was banned 80 games during the 2018 season with the Seattle Mariners after violating the league's PED policy.

      "We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson's suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. "The violation is very unfortunate for him, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB's efforts toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the game."

      The MLB commissioner's office said Cano tested positive for the PED Stanozolol.

      A second suspension would likely cripple Cano's shot at making the Hall of Fame despite his credentials as an eight-time All-Star and .303 lifetime hitter with 334 home runs, 2,624 hits and 1,302 RBIs in 2,234 games with the New York Yankees (2005-13), Mariners (2014-18) and Mets.

      Cano has also won five Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Gloves and was the MVP of the 2017 All-Star Game. He won a World Series ring with the Yankees in 2009.

      In 2020, the Dominican Republic native batted .316 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs in 49 games with the Mets, who finished in fourth place in the National League East with a 26-34 record.

      Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners in 2013 that runs through the 2023 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Bellinger undergoes shoulder surgery
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 17, 2020

    Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the right shoulder he dislocated during the playoffs, ESPN reported.

    • Bellinger is expected to miss 10 weeks, putting him on track to be ready for spring training, per the report. He'll be able to swing a bat in four weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times.

      Bellinger, 25, injured the shoulder in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series celebrating a home run that proved to be the game-winner against the Atlanta Braves. He exchanged a celebratory forearm slam with Enrique Hernandez after the homer and said he dislocated his right shoulder when the two came together.

      Bellinger slashed just .212/.316/.455 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 18 postseason games amid the Dodgers' run to the World Series title. The 2019 Most Valuable Player hit .239/.333/.455 with 12 homers and 30 RBIs during the shortened regular season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Epstein steps down as Cubs president; Hoyer named
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 17, 2020

    Theo Epstein, the executive who brought a World Series title to Chicago after a century-long drought, has stepped down as president of baseball operations for the Cubs and will be replaced by Jed Hoyer, the team said Tuesday.

    • Epstein, 46, was the architect of the Cubs' World Series title in 2016, the club's first in 108 years. Epstein was entering the final year of his contract and leaves after nine seasons.

      "For the rest of my life, I will cherish having been part of the great Chicago Cubs organization during this historic period," Epstein said in a statement. "All of the things that have made this experience so special -- the fans, the players, the managers and coaches, ownership, my front office colleagues, the uniqueness of the Wrigley experience, the history -- make it so tough to leave the Cubs. But I believe this is the right decision for me even if it's a difficult one. And now is the right time rather than a year from now.

      "The organization faces a number of decisions this winter that carry long-term consequences; those types of decisions are best made by someone who will be here for a long period rather than just one more year. Jed has earned this opportunity and is absolutely the right person to take over this baseball operation at such an important time," Epstein said.

      Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts announced Tuesday that this potential move had been discussed over the last several years.

      "Theo and I have been communicating about this possible move for a couple of years, and we have been working together toward a transition that makes sense for the Cubs and for him," Ricketts said. "The timing is right for a number of reasons, and most importantly we are both thrilled that Jed is the person succeeding Theo. We have had our most successful period in over a century under Theo's leadership, and we are grateful for everything he has given to this organization and this city.

      "Jed has been a big part of that success, too, and offers a combination of continuity and a fresh perspective that will serve us well as we look forward to another period of sustained success."

      Epstein, who officially departs on Nov. 20, plans to take the upcoming season off. He is not leaving to take the top job of the New York Mets or Philadelphia Phillies, per multiple reports.

      "Next summer will be my first in 30 years not clocking into work every day at a major league ballpark," Epstein wrote in a letter to friends about his decision, ESPN reported.

      Hoyer joined the club in 2011 as general manager.

      Prior to joining the Cubs, Epstein engineered the end of an 86-year World Series drought in Boston as the Red Sox rolled to titles in 2004 and 2007.

      --Field Level Media

  • Dodgers prez Friedman named MLB Exec of Year
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 17, 2020

    Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was named the 2020 MLB Executive of the Year on Tuesday.

    • The award was voted on by each of the 30 clubs prior to the postseason, which ended with the Dodgers capturing their first World Series championship since 1988.

      Los Angeles finished the abbreviated regular season with the best record (43-17) in the majors and won its eighth consecutive National League West title. The Dodgers led MLB in home runs (118) and team ERA (3.02) and lost just one series all season, finishing with a 15-1-4 series record with six sweeps.

      Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was the runner-up and last year's winner, Tampa Bay Rays GM Erik Neander, placed third.

      Friedman, 44, joined the Dodgers in October 2014 after previously serving as the Rays' general manager.

      Friedman's biggest move of the year came before the start of spring training when the Dodgers acquired 2018 American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts in a trade with the Boston Red Sox. Betts was runner-up for the 2020 National League MVP award.

      --Field Level Media

  • Padres RHP Clevinger to undergo Tommy John surgery
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 16, 2020

    San Diego Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday and the team expects him to miss the 2021 season.

    • While making the announcement, the Padres said they signed Clevinger to a two-year contract through the 2022 season.

      According to MLB Network, Clevinger signed a two-year, $11.5 million deal with incentives that could push the total to $12 million. He will receive a $3 million signing bonus, $2 million salary in 2021 and $6.5 million in 2022.

      Clevinger was diagnosed with a right posterior elbow impingement on Sept. 23 after his final regular-season start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was removed from his lone postseason appearance, also against the Dodgers, in the second inning after feeling more pain in the elbow.

      This will mark the second time Clevinger has undergone Tommy John surgery. He missed most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons after undergoing the procedure while he was a minor leaguer in the Los Angeles Angels' farm system.

      Clevinger, 29, went 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four regular-season starts for the Padres after being acquired from the Cleveland Indians in a nine-player deal on Aug. 31. Overall, Clevinger went 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA in eight starts in 2020.

      Clevinger fell out of favor with the Indians after an incident in which he and fellow pitcher Zach Plesac violated COVID-19 protocols on Aug. 8 during a road trip in Chicago. Plesac was sent back to Cleveland the following day but Clevinger initially remained silent before the club learned he also was involved on Aug. 10.

      Clevinger was sharply criticized by teammates during a clubhouse meeting and the Indians placed him on the restricted list and subsequently demoted him to the team's alternate site.

      He returned to the major league team on Aug. 26 and was dealt to the Padres five days later in a deal that netted Cleveland six players, including outfielder Josh Naylor, catcher Austin Hedges and right-hander Cal Quantrill.

      Clevinger is 44-23 with a 3.19 ERA in 105 appearances (92 starts) with the Indians (2016-20) and Padres.

      --Field Level Media

  • Braves sign LHP Smyly to one-year, $11M deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 16, 2020

    The Atlanta Braves picked up free agent starting pitcher Drew Smyly on Monday, signing the lefty to a one-year, $11 million deal.

    • The 31-year-old Smyly went 0-1 in seven games (five starts) for the San Francisco Giants last season with a 3.42 ERA. He averaged a career-best 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He held batters to a .198/.261./.297 slash line last season, also career bests.

      Smyly is 35-35 with a 4.13 ERA in nine seasons with the Giants, Detroit Tigers (2012-14), Tampa Bay Rays (2014-16), Texas Rangers (2019) and Philadelphia Phillies (2019). He has 188 appearances (111 starts).

      He missed two seasons after Tommy John surgery in 2017. He made $4 million with the Giants last season.

      Smyly ostensibly takes the rotation spot of free agent Cole Hamels, who missed all but one start last season to injury. He joins a rotation of Max Fried, Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright.

      --Field Level Media

  • Zito, Hudson among 11 named to Hall of Fame ballot
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 16, 2020

    Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, Aramis Ramirez and Torii Hunter will highlight 11 additions to the 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot being sent to the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

    • Those players will join the holdovers from the 2020 ballot. The vote from earlier this year, among the more than 400 voting members of the media, placed Derek Jeter and Larry Walker into the Hall of Fame.

      In order to be selected for Hall of Fame enshrinement, candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots. The 2021 induction weekend is scheduled for July 23-26 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

      The 2021 induction also will include the 2020 class since that ceremony was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to Jeter and Walker, former players' union director Marvin Miller and catcher Ted Simmons also were named to the 2020 class.

      Zito pitched 15 seasons with the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants, winning the 2002 American League Cy Young Award. Hudson pitched with Zito in Oakland and also had stints with the Atlanta Braves and Giants over a 17-year career in which he won 222 career games with 2,080 strikeouts.

      Buehrle was a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner over 16 seasons, pitching a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox in 2009 and winning a World Series in 2002. Ramirez played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, finishing his career with 386 home runs and 1,417 RBIs. Hunter was a five-time All-Star who won nine Gold Gloves and hit 353 homers over 19 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers.

      Also new to the 2021 ballot are A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, LaTroy Hawkins, Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino.

      The 2021 Hall of Fame class will be announced Jan. 26 live on MLB Network.

      The entire list of candidates on the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot: Bobby Abreu, Barry Bonds, Buehrle, Burnett, Roger Clemens, Cuddyer, Haren, Hawkins, Todd Helton, Hudson, Hunter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettitte, Ramirez, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Swisher, Victorino, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner and Zito.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ex-Dodgers manager Lasorda in ICU
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, November 15, 2020

    Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda is in the intensive care unit of an Orange County, Calif., hospital, the team announced Sunday morning.

    • The Dodgers tweeted that the 93-year-old was "resting comfortably."

      "The family appreciates everyone's thoughts and prayers; however, they request their privacy at this time," the team statement said.

      The team didn't release any information about Lasorda's diagnosis. TMZ Sports reported that Lasorda has a heart condition and that his hospitalization was not due to COVID-19.

      Lasorda was a pitcher and signed at age 18 with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945, then served two years in the military. In 1948, he returned to the minor leagues with the Schenectady Blue Jays and struck out 25 batters in a game.

      He toiled in the minor leagues until he made his major-league pitching debut for the Dodgers in 1954, where he spent two seasons. He retired in 1960 and joined the Dodgers as a scout until 1965.

      He managed in the team's minor-league system from 1966-72, and in 1973 was promoted to third-base coach for the Dodgers by manager Walter Alston. When Alston retired after 23 seasons as manager, Lasorda took over.

      Lasorda's Dodgers won the National League championship in 1977 and '78 in his first two seasons but lost both World Series to the New York Yankees. Lasorda's teams won the World Series in 1981 and 1988, and they won eight division titles.

      In all, Lasorda managed the Dodgers to a 1,599-1,439-2 record in 3,040 games. He was the Manager of the Year twice (1983 and '88), managed four All-Star teams and retired in 1996 after suffering a heart attack.

      Lasorda was enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

      In 2000, Lasorda managed the U.S. Olympic Baseball Team to a gold medal in the Sydney Games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Marlins name Ng MLB's first female GM
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 13, 2020

    The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as Major League Baseball's first female general manager on Friday.

    • "I entered Major League Baseball as an intern and, after decades of determination, it is the honor of my career to lead the Miami Marlins as their next general manager," Ng said in a statement.

      Ng, 51, has more than 30 years of experience in the majors, working in the front offices of the Chicago White Sox (1990-96), New York Yankees (1998-2001) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-11), and in the MLB Commissioner's Office (2011-20).

      Most recently she was the MLB senior vice president of baseball and softball development. She is the first woman hired to the general manager position by any of the professional men's sports teams in the North American major leagues.

      "All of us at Major League Baseball are thrilled for Kim and the opportunity she has earned with the Marlins," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Kim's appointment makes history in all of professional sports and sets a significant example for the millions of women and girls who love baseball and softball. The hard work, leadership, and record of achievement throughout her long career in the National Pastime led to this outcome, and we wish Kim all the best as she begins her career with the Marlins."

      Born in Indianapolis to parents of Chinese descent, Ng also becomes the first Asian-American GM in the majors.

      Ng developed a working relationship with Marlins CEO Derek Jeter during her time with the Yankees.

      The Marlins, under National League Manager of the Year Don Mattingly, finished second in the NL East with a 31-29 record during the abbreviated 2020 season. They were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the division series.

      "This challenge is one I don't take lightly," Ng said. "When I got into this business it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a Major League team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals.

      "My goal is to bring championship baseball to Miami. I am both humbled and eager to continue building the winning culture our fans expect and deserve."

      --Field Level Media

  • Braves' Freeman wins NL MVP in landslide vote
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 12, 2020

    The blow of just missing out on the World Series was softened a bit for Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman after he was selected the National League's Most Valuable Player on Thursday.

    • In his 11th season, Freeman took the NL's top prize in the pandemic-shortened season by batting .341 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in 60 games. He led the major leagues with 51 runs scored and 23 doubles.

      Freeman tested positive for COVID-19 before the season began and got off to a slow start before turning it on after two weeks of struggles.

      "Oh my goodness, there are so many emotions right now," Freeman said on MLB Network. "Never did I ever think any of this could happen. My dad and I, we were just taking batting practice and having fun when I was a kid and look where we are now. It's amazing."

      Freeman, 31, received 28 of the 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, receiving 410 points in the voting overall. Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts received the other two first-place votes and had 268 points to finish second. San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado was third with 221 points.

      Freeman's Braves had a 3-1 series lead on Betts' Dodgers in the National League Championship Series but failed to advance. Los Angeles not only rallied to take the NLCS but went on to win the World Series in six games against the Tampa Bay Rays.

      Freeman did his part in the postseason, batting .279 in 12 games with 12 hits, two home runs, seven RBIs and a .415 on-base percentage that was helped by eight walks. Postseason numbers were not considered in MVP voting.

      Being able to contribute to a postseason run seemed in doubt when Freeman fell ill after his COVID-19 diagnosis in early July. He said his fever was so high at one point he prayed for his life, pleading, "Please don't take me."

      He managed to start the season on time in late July but was batting just .190 with three extra-base hits in 13 games. He eventually turned things around to lead baseball with 37 extra-base hits, while his 1.102 OPS was second best in the NL.

      "I got off to such a slow start trying to get my legs under me," Freeman said. "I just didn't know when I was going to get my legs back. It was mentally draining because I wanted to play well early and it just didn't happen. ... I got a couple of hits against the Blue Jays (on Aug. 6) and started to feel good. Things kind of took off from there."

      Freeman's batting average, on-base percentage (.462) and slugging percentage (.640) were second in the NL.

      Freeman's best previous finish in MVP voting was fourth in 2018. Including his 2020 MVP, Freeman has finished in the top 10 of MVP voting five times. He is a career .295 hitter with 240 home runs and 858 RBIs and has been named an All-Star four times and a Gold Glove winner once. He won his second straight Silver Slugger honor this year.

      Betts, 28, hit .292 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs in 55 games in his first season with the Dodgers after a trade with the Boston Red Sox. He won his five consecutive Gold Glove and his fourth Silver Slugger.

      Machado, 28, batted .304 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs.

      Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (201) was fourth and Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto (172) finished fifth.

      --Field Level Media

  • White Sox's Abreu caps playoff season with AL MVP
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 12, 2020

    First baseman Jose Abreu was named 2020 American League MVP during a season in which he led the Chicago White Sox back to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.

    • The 33-year old beat out the New York Yankees' DJ LeMahieu and the Cleveland Indians' Jose Ramirez for the honor and was reduced to tears when the announcement was made on live television.

      "You can dream about it, but you can't imagine the feeling," Abreu said through White Sox translator Billy Russo on MLB Network after composing himself.

      Abreu received 21 first-place votes among Baseball Writers Association of America members, with eight second-place votes and one third-place vote for 374 points overall. Ramirez was second with 303 points (eight first place) with LeMahieu third with 230 points (one first place).

      In his seventh season with the White Sox after defecting from Cuba, Abreu batted .317 and led the American League with a .617 slugging percentage, as well as 76 hits and 60 RBIs. He became just the fourth player in AL history to lead the league in both hits and RBI. He also hit 19 homers.

      Abreu became the third MVP born in Cuba after the Minnesota Twins' Zoilo Versalles in 1965 and the Oakland Athletics' Jose Canseco in 1988. He also was the fourth member of the White Sox to win the award after Nellie Fox in 1959, Dick Allen in 1972 and Frank Thomas, who won in both 1993 and '94.

      It was the first MVP Award for Abreu, who finished as high as fourth in the voting during his rookie-of-the-year season in 2014. Abreu is a career .294 hitter with 198 home runs and 671 RBIs, with a .520 slugging percentage and an .870 OPS.

      Led by a lineup of dynamic young players like Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, the White Sox (35-25) were in contention for the AL Central title until a late-season slide. They advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 before they were eliminated by the A's in the opening round.

      Abreu was considered a mentor to the young players and a steadying force during the good times and the struggles.

      "My outlook is young; I am a young soul," Abreu said. "(I was) in a position where I could spend time with young people, just to help them to improve and to carry them, but at the same time, just feed from their energy. And I was at peace with myself. I have been through a lot. I know how to treat people and I know how to take care of people. That is what I try to do every single day with these young guys we have."

      Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber (173 points) of the Indians was fourth and Mike Trout (172) of the Los Angeles Angels finished fifth.

      --Field Level Media

  • Red Sox P Rodriguez: Will be 100 percent by start of season
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 12, 2020

    Boston Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez said Thursday that he will be fully recovered from a heart issue tied to his COVID-19 battle when the 2021 season commences.

    • The 27-year-old Rodriguez missed the 2020 season due to his health issues, which included being diagnosed with myocarditis (heart inflammation) in July.

      "I feel great," Rodriguez told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. "My workouts are going to start next week, like lifting weights and all that. I've been doing bike, throwing a little bit, so I would say I will be 100 percent ready for next season."

      The summer was rough for Rodriguez as the team announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on July 7 and placed him on the injured list eight days later.

      Later in the month, he discussed his COVID-19 and myocarditis diagnoses with reporters and described being fearful and feeling like he was "100 years old." His wife also contracted the coronavirus.

      Making it harder was that he was slated to be the ace of the Red Sox after Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery and David Price was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      Instead, he watched Boston struggle to a dismal 24-36 record.

      "It was hard for me because in the past I've been hurt, you know, but I lost like three weeks, one month," Rodriguez said. "But you know you're going to play during the season.

      "Then it's just a short season and you're not going to have the time to play with your teammates and be there. It was really just hard for me sitting at home and watching them play every day. I would say that was the hard part for me."

      The 2019 season was the best of Rodriguez's career. He posted a 19-6 record with a 3.81 ERA and set career-bests in wins, ERA, innings (203 1/3), starts (34) and strikeouts (213).

      Overall, Rodriguez is 51-31 with a 4.03 ERA in 127 career appearances (122 starts) with Boston from 2015-19.

      --Field Level Media