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  • Reports: Angels land closer Allen
    By Field Level Media / Friday, January 18, 2019

    The Los Angeles Angels, looking to fill their closer vacancy, reached a free agent agreement with right-hander Cody Allen, multiple media outlets reported late Thursday night.

    • Allen, 30, reportedly will receive a one-year deal worth around $9 million.

      The Florida native has spent his entire seven-year major league career with the Indians. The past five seasons, he was Cleveland's closer, averaging 29.4 saves.

      In 2018, Allen converted 27 of 32 save opportunities while going 4-6 with a career-worst 4.70 ERA. He pitched 67 innings and struck out 80 while walking 33, and he yielded a career-high 11 home runs.

      For his career, he has 149 saves, a 24-29 record and a 2.98 ERA in 456 appearances, all in relief.

      Allen was superb in the Indians' run to the 2016 World Series, pitching 13 2/3 scoreless innings and recording six saves that October.

      Keynan Middleton was the Angels' closer early last season, logging six saves in seven chances before sustaining a right elbow injury in mid-May. He subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery, and it is unclear when he will be back on a major league mound.

      The Angels' save leader last season, Blake Parker, signed a free agent deal with the Minnesota Twins earlier this week.

      The reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox are among the other teams in the market for a closer, with their former ninth-inning man, Craig Kimbrel, still on the free agent market.

      Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday, "I still don't expect us to have a high expenditure on our closer situation."

      --Field Level Media

  • Finding high-priced closer not on Red Sox’s agenda
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The Boston Red Sox aren't letting the New York Yankees change their plans for 2019.

    • The Red Sox still lack a proven closer and despite the Yankees grabbing former Colorado Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino off the free agent market on Thursday, Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he doesn't plan to spend a lot of money on a closer.

      Speaking at a Boston baseball writers dinner on Thursday, Dombrowski said: "I still don't expect us to have a high expenditure on our closer situation."

      Adding, "We have some flexibility, we don't have a lot," Dombrowski expressed concern regarding the payroll luxury tax as last year's closer, Craig Kimbrel, explores the free agent market. The Red Sox have a projected payroll of close to $240 million, with the threshold at $246 million.

      "Well, I'd love to [avoid the penalty]," Dombrowski said. "I mean, we don't have any mandate to do that, but again, it really hasn't changed. There is a reason why they call it a penalty, and the higher you go, the penalty is quite significant. Ideally we'd like to stay there, but that was really our goal last year before the season started, and we did end up going over."

      Among the current candidates at closer on the Red Sox roster are Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes and Steven Wright, as Dombrowski noted that he could not say at the moment whether Boston will look elsewhere for a closer. With 96 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings and a 6-4 record with a 3.65 ERA in 62 games last season, Barnes might be the most likely reliever to fill that role. Brasier finished 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA, with 29 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings over 34 relief appearances (no saves).

      Prior to Thursday's dinner, Dombrowski said, "Sometimes you have to evaluate where you're going to spend your dollars. We decided to keep back the rest of the core of the club. We like our team a great deal, and we think some of the guys internally can do the job. Can we get better? Perhaps. We'll see what takes place in that regard."

      While signing Kimbrel is still a possibility, it's not likely that Boston will bring him back.

      "Again, there's a lot of players that are out there at this point. It could [come from within]," Dombrowski said. "But that's also one decision that we don't have to really make that decision until March 28, which is our first game."

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Yankees land RHP Ottavino
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The New York Yankees reached a three-year deal with free agent relief pitcher Adam Ottavino for $27 million, according to multiple reports on Thursday. The contract is pending a physical.

    • The 33-year-old right-hander spent the past seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies and is coming off a 6-4 campaign with an ERA of 2.43 and 0.991 WHIP in 75 appearances. He was one of the most coveted free agent relievers this offseason.

      Ottavino has a 3.68 ERA for his career, which started in St. Louis in 2010. He would join a stocked Yankees bullpen that features Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Dellin Betances.

      --Chicago Cubs officials said giving suspended shortstop Addison Russell a second chance was "the right thing to do" for all parties, not in any way an endorsement of his having violated the league's domestic abuse policy.

      Speaking to ESPN 1000 radio in Chicago, team owner Tom Ricketts and general manager Jed Hoyer defended their decision last week to sign Russell to a $3.4 million contract for 2019. Russell, who turns 25 next week, was suspended for 40 games last September after details emerged about abuse allegations during his marriage to his former wife. He is not eligible to play until May.

      "The fact that we have decided -- after talking to lots of experts, after talking to Addison multiple times, talking to the league -- that we'd rather support him through the process than just cut him and let him go, that doesn't mean it's in conflict with support for victims of domestic violence," Ricketts said.

      --Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he is not positive that he will join his team at the White House on Feb. 15 to celebrate the 2018 World Series championship.

      Cora has criticized the way the Trump administration has dealt with the recovery efforts in his native Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. A story Wednesday in the Washington Post said President Donald Trump "did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico" for hurricane recovery.

      "There's a few things that have come up in the last 10 days about Puerto Rico," Cora said. "It's a topic that back home is huge. But like I said, if I go, I'll represent Puerto Rico the right way. I don't know what kind of platform I'm going to have if I go. It's not that I've changed my mind, but we'll see what happens in the upcoming days."

      --The New York Mets have invited minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to spring training.

      Tebow, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who played three seasons in the NFL, was one of 13 Mets farmhands who received invitations to attend next month's workouts in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Tebow, 31, is hoping for better results this time around after going 1-for-18 with 11 strikeouts in seven games during spring training last year.

      Tebow spent the 2018 season at Double-A Binghamton, batting .273 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 84 games. He made the Eastern League All-Star team, but his season ended in July with a broken bone in his right hand. Last month, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Tebow would start the 2019 season with Triple-A Syracuse.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cora not sure he'll visit White House with Red Sox
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Thursday he is not positive that he will join his team at the White House on Feb. 15 to celebrate the 2018 World Series championship.

    • Cora has criticized the way the Trump administration has dealt with the recovery efforts in his native Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

      "There's a few things that have come up in the last 10 days about Puerto Rico," Cora said. "It's a topic that back home is huge. But like I said, if I go, I'll represent Puerto Rico the right way. I don't know what kind of platform I'm going to have if I go. It's not that I've changed my mind, but we'll see what happens in the upcoming days."

      A story Wednesday in the Washington Post said President Donald Trump "did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico" for hurricane recovery.

      The White House invited the team after it won the World Series in October, and the team accepted in early December. The national champion Clemson football team visited the White House on Monday.

      The Red Sox have said attendance at the gathering is optional for players.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mets invite Tebow to spring training
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The New York Mets invited minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to spring training on Thursday.

    • Tebow, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who played three seasons in the NFL, was one of 13 Mets farmhands who received invitations to attend next month's workouts in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

      Tebow, 31, is hoping for better results this time around after going 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts in seven games during spring training last year.

      Tebow spent the 2018 season at Double-A Binghamton, batting .273 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 84 games. He made the Eastern League All-Star team, but his season ended in July with a broken bone in his right hand.

      Last month, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Tebow would start the 2019 season with Triple-A Syracuse.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cubs defend Russell contract as 'right thing to do'
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Chicago Cubs officials said giving suspended shortstop Addison Russell a second chance was "the right thing to do" for all parties, not in any way an endorsement of his having violated the league's domestic abuse policy.

    • Speaking to ESPN 1000 radio in Chicago on Thursday, team owner Tom Ricketts and general manager Jed Hoyer defended their decision last week to sign Russell to a $3.4 million contract for 2019.

      Russell, who turns 25 next week, was suspended for 40 games last September after details emerged about abuse allegations during his marriage to his former wife. He is not eligible to play until May.

      "The fact that we have decided -- after talking to lots of experts, after talking to Addison multiple times, talking to the league -- that we'd rather support him through the process than just cut him and let him go, that doesn't mean it's in conflict with support for victims of domestic violence," Ricketts said. "I think that it's not an easy decision and not a decision that anyone takes lightly."

      The contract is considered well below market value for the former All-Star, who has a .242 career average with 51 homers and 230 RBIs in 533 games with the Cubs since 2015.

      Hoyer said he wasn't surprised by the negative reaction of some Chicago fans regarding the signing.

      "We knew that it would be unpopular in some ways," Hoyer said. "People have a visceral reaction to reading about what happened. So did we. The more that we worked and talked to experts and worked through it ... we felt like having a conditional second chance was the right thing to do. It was recommended by experts."

      Under the terms of his contract, the Cubs can cut Russell for one-sixth of his salary or he could be traded, even during his suspension.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Yanks reach 3-year deal with reliever Ottavino
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The New York Yankees have reached a deal with free agent relief pitcher Adam Ottavino for three years, $27 million, according to multiple reports.

    • The deal is pending a physical.

      The 33-year-old right-hander spent the past seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies and is coming off a 6-4 campaign with an ERA of 2.43 and 0.991 WHIP in 75 appearances. He was one of the most coveted free agent relievers this offseason.

      Ottavino has a 3.68 ERA for his career, which started in St. Louis in 2010.

      Ottavino would join a stocked Yankees bullpen that features Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Dellin Betances.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Agent denies $175M Machado offer
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Hours after ESPN's Buster Olney reported the Chicago White Sox offered Manny Machado a seven-year, $175 million deal, Machado's agent referred to the report as "inaccurate and reckless" on Wednesday.

    • Dan Lozano sharply criticized Olney and USA Today's Bob Nightengale for their reporting on Machado's free agency situation. Nightengale tweeted Wednesday that the White Sox made the offer two weeks ago and see no reason to bid against themselves.

      "I don't know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons," Lozano said.

      Machado, who played his first six seasons with the Baltimore Orioles before a mid-July trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, had been reported to be seeking a contract in the 10-year, $300 million-plus range.

      --Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman announced 2019 will be his 46th and final season as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds.

      Brennaman, 76, has been calling Reds games since 1974 and is known for such taglines as "and this one belongs to the Reds" and "rounding third and heading for home."

      Highlights of his long career in the booth include calling three World Series clinchers by Cincinnati (1975, 1976 and 1990) as well as Hank Aaron's 714th home run, Tom Seaver's 1978 no-hitter and Tom Browning's 1988 perfect game.

      --Free agent infielder Wilmer Flores has agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to an ESPN report.

      The 27-year-old Flores agreed to a $4.25 million deal with a $6 million team option for 2020, according to ESPN. He must pass a physical for the deal to become official.

      Flores batted. 267 with 11 homers and 51 RBIs in 126 games with the New York Mets last season, when he made $3.4 million.

      --Kansas City Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund has been suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for two performance-enhancing substances, commissioner Rob Manfred's office announced.

      Skoglund, 26, was 1-6 in 14 games (13 starts) for the Royals last season, posting a 5.14 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 70 innings.

      The league said he tested positive for both Ostarine and Ligandrol in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. His suspension will be effective at the start of the 2019 regular season, per the commissioner's statement.

      --Field Level Media

  • Royals LHP Skoglund gets 80-game ban for PEDs
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Kansas City Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund has been suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for two performance-enhancing substances, commissioner Rob Manfred's office announced Wednesday.

    • Skoglund, 26, was 1-6 in 14 games (13 starts) for the Royals last season, posting a 5.14 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 70 innings.

      The league said he tested positive for both Ostarine and Ligandrol in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

      His suspension will be effective at the start of the 2019 regular season, per the commissioner's statement.

      The Royals released a lengthy statement from general manager Dayton Moore, who said Skoglund "unknowingly made a mistake."

      "Unfortunately when something like this occurs I immediately think about how much work and dedication our medical staff does communicating to the players about the importance of being careful about what they put in their bodies," the statement read. "I'm appreciative that professional baseball players are tested more frequently than any professional athlete and we should all be thankful that testing is working.

      "Eric is a tremendous young man and he unknowingly made a mistake and he will have to accept his suspension, work hard and be ready to go after the suspension is served. We remain proud of who Eric is as a person and will support him as an organization."

      Kansas City drafted Skoglund in the third round in 2014. In two seasons with the Royals, Skoglund is 2-8 with a 6.03 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 88 innings.

      His salary last season was $545,000, according to Spotrac.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: D-Backs agree to terms with INF Flores
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Free agent infielder Wilmer Flores has agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, ESPN reported Wednesday.

    • The 27-year-old Flores agreed to a $4.25 million deal with a $6 million team option for 2020, according to ESPN.

      Flores must pass a physical for the deal to become official.

      Flores batted. 267 with 11 homers and 51 RBIs in 126 games with the New York Mets last season, when he made $3.4 million.

      He battled knee soreness for much of last season and saw most of his action in the field at first base (73 starts). He also started nine games at third base and six at second base.

      Flores batted .262 with 68 homers and 253 RBIs in 581 games over six seasons with the Mets. He had 16 or more homers three times, with a high of 18 in 2017.

      --Field Level Media

  • 'Prime Time' Sanders: Murray should choose baseball
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Speaking as one two-sport standout to another, Deion Sanders said he thinks Kyler Murray should choose baseball over the NFL.

    • "If I'm in his shoes, I'm picking up that baseball bat and I'm not looking back," Sanders told ESPN earlier this week.

      Known as "Prime Time" during his unique athletic career, Sanders was a six-time All-Pro cornerback and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also played parts of nine major league seasons with four teams and is the only athlete to compete in both a World Series and a Super Bowl.

      Murray, the 2018 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma, is leaving school early to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

      But he previously received a $4.66 million bonus after being drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics as a shortstop and second baseman.

      "Sometimes, I still have regret that I didn't give [baseball] more," said Sanders, now an analyst with NFL Network. "But you know, I got a gold jacket in the closet. I'm straight. But I wish I would have given [baseball] more.

      "But for Kyler, that's tough at his position, and I don't think he realizes the ridicule you go through once you declare and say, 'I'm going to be a football player.' Now people start talking about your height, your size, what you can't do. He hasn't dealt with that yet."

      Whatever Murray decides, Sanders said he is excited to see what he can do.

      "I think he can do whatever he wants to do," Sanders said. "He's that type of athlete."

      --Field Level Media

  • Longtime Reds broadcaster Brennaman retiring after 2019
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman announced Wednesday that 2019 will be his 46th and final season as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds.

    • Brennaman, 76, has been calling Reds games since 1974 and is known for such taglines as "and this one belongs to the Reds" and "rounding third and heading for home."

      Highlights of his long career in the booth include calling three World Series clinchers by Cincinnati (1975, 1976 and 1990) as well as Hank Aaron's 714th home run, Tom Seaver's 1978 no-hitter and Tom Browning's 1988 perfect game.

      "To say that it's been an incredible ride -- that's what it's been. You folks have had a lot to do with it," an emotional Brennaman said on a video posted on the Reds' Twitter feed.

      "You've accepted me as one of your own many years ago back in 1974. I feel like I've had a love affair that's gone through four-and-a-half decades because you all have been so good to me. I felt like you needed to know from the man himself, and that's me, that nobody can love you as much as I do. I'm going to miss a lot of things, but you folks are going to be right there at the top of the list. Thank you very much."

      Brennaman received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2000, presented annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was inducted in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and has been named Ohio broadcaster of the year 17 times -- including earlier this week.

      Brennaman never was afraid to state his feelings, including controversial criticisms of such Cincinnati stars as Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn and Joey Votto.

      --Field Level Media

  • Machado's agent denies White Sox offered seven-year, $175M deal
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Hours after ESPN's Buster Olney reported the Chicago White Sox offered Manny Machado a seven-year, $175 million deal, Machado's agent referred to the report as "inaccurate and reckless" on Wednesday.

    • Dan Lozano sharply criticized Olney and USA Today's Bob Nightengale for their reporting on Machado's free agency situation. Nightengale tweeted on Wednesday that the White Sox made the offer two weeks ago and see no reason to bid against themselves.

      "The truth is that their reports on the details of the White Sox level of interest in Manny are completely wrong," Lozano said in a statement.

      Lozano strongly asserted that violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement may have occurred.

      "I don't know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons," Lozano said.

      "I am well aware that the entire baseball universe; fans, players, teams and media members alike; are starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny. "But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipulated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players' livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason."

      Machado and Bryce Harper are the two marquee players of the free agent class and both remain unsigned.

      Numerous reports claim the White Sox are among the pursuers of both players. The Philadelphia Phillies have also been mentioned as being interested in both players.

      But progress toward a deal has been glacier slow this offseason and Lozano sees it as part of the reason for inaccurate reporting.

      "The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate "news" or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that," Lozano said.

      Machado, who played his first six seasons with the Baltimore Orioles before a mid-July trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, had been reported to be seeking a contract in the 10-year, $300 million-plus range.

      Machado, who has played shortstop and third base in the majors, is a career .282 hitter with 175 home runs and 513 RBIs. He twice has been in the top five in Most Valuable Player voting.

      Last season, he hit .297 with a career-high-tying 37 home runs and career-high 107 RBIs combined between the Orioles and Dodgers. He also sported a .367 on-base percentage, above his .335 career average, and his .538 slugging percentage exceeded his career figure of .487.

      --Field Level Media

  • Maddon says Cubs won't sign Harper
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    It remains to be seen where coveted free agent Bryce Harper will wind up playing this season, but he apparently won't be a member of the Chicago Cubs.

    • A fan asked Cubs manager Joe Maddon during an appearance for the Union League Boys & Girls Club on Tuesday night if the team planned to sign the outfielder. According to ESPN, Maddon gave a succinct and clear response:

      "Not going to happen."

      The Cubs long had been thought to be a viable option for Harper once he hit free agency. For the Cubs, he'd represent a considerable outfield upgrade. For Harper, he'd be reunited with longtime friend Kris Bryant. The two were raised in Las Vegas and played together growing up.

      Chicago, however, has signaled that it doesn't intend to expand the payroll this winter. They traded pitcher Drew Smyly to save salary and have remained steadfast that they are going to build from within.

      "We feel as though all the ingredients are in the bowl already," Maddon said Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "It's already there. To just go out and purchase guys because some kids had a tough year is probably not good form."

      A report over the weekend said the Philadelphia Phillies have emerged as the frontrunner for Harper, while the Washington Nationals hold out hope they can re-sign him. Given the Cubs' unwillingness to spend this offseason, it appears likely Maddon was not trying to fool other teams with his comments.

      Washington made Harper, now 26, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft. In seven seasons with the Nationals, Harper hit .279 with 184 home runs and 521 RBIs. He was the 2015 National League MVP and is a six-time All-Star.

      He is believed to be asking for a contract well in excess of $300 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • Anaheim approves lease extension for Angels
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    The Los Angeles Angels are scheduled to play in Angel Stadium through the 2020 season after the City of Anaheim approved an extension to the lease late Tuesday night.

    • Owner Arte Moreno exercised a one-year opt-out provision in October, casting doubt about the team's future in Anaheim. Relocating within Southern California or renovating Angel Stadium remain options down the line.

      City council approved the deal in a 5-2 vote, keeping the Angels in the only ballpark they've called home since 1966. Angel Stadium is the fourth-oldest home stadium in the major leagues.

      "It is clear to me that the team's priority is to stay in Anaheim," Mayor Harry Sidhu said in a statement. "We need a plan to make that happen, and we need time to make that happen. This will give us time to find a deal that benefits our residents, with a goal of keeping baseball in Anaheim for another 50 years or more."

      Moreno previously proposed $150 million in renovations, paid for without the use of taxpayer funds, but the previous mayor rejected the proposal. Within Moreno's plan was a stipulation that he could develop -- and pocket profits from -- the surrounding land while adding only $1 per year to the stadium lease.

      --Field Level Media

  • Red Sox to visit White House on Feb. 15
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    The Boston Red Sox will be the next world champions to visit the White House, and there's no telling if the federal government shutdown will still be in effect when they arrive on Feb. 15. But clam chowder, Boston baked beans and lobster rolls better be on President Donald Trump's menu instead of fast food.

    • Team president Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe on Tuesday, "We thought an earlier visit rather than waiting until later in the year made the most sense."

      The Red Sox are scheduled to travel from their spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., in a quick, one-day turnaround. They also likely will visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

      White the trip is not mandatory, Kennedy expects "a healthy representation of ownership, executives, coaches and players" to attend, even though Red Sox pitchers and catchers are set to report on Feb. 12, followed five days later by position players.

      Red Sox manager Alex Cora plans to attend, through he has been critical of Trump's comments on Twitter that disputed the official conclusion that nearly 3,000 people died in Cora's native Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Cora's family was on the island when the hurricane hit.

      "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island after the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths," Trump tweeted in September. "As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000."

      Cora led a Red Sox delegation that included Kennedy and players Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and Christian Vazquez to Puerto Rico in January 2018 to aid the victims, and he called Trump's comments "disrespectful."

      Clemson's national championship football team visited Trump at the White House on Monday, and the president said he ordered around 1,000 hamburgers in all from McDonalds, Wendy's and Burger King. The menu also included fries and pizza.

      "So I had a choice," Trump told the players. "Do we have no food for you, because we have a shutdown, or do we give you some little quick salads that the first lady will make, along with the second lady, they'll make some salads.

      "And I said, you guys aren't into salads. Or do I go out ... and send out for about 1,000 hamburgers. Big Macs. So we actually did that."

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Ex-pitcher Wetteland arrested on child sex abuse charge
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Former All-Star pitcher John Wetteland was arrested Monday on a child sex abuse charge, multiple outlets are reporting, citing court records.

    • The former closer is accused of sexually abusing a child under the age of 14, according to the reports.

      The Bartonville Police Department had a warrant for Wetteland's arrest and the Denton County Sheriff's Office arrested Wetteland, who posted $25,000 bond and was released, according to reports.

      Wetteland, whose residence is listed in Trophy Club, Texas, retired after the 2000 season, having finished his career with the Texas Rangers, who inducted him into their team Hall of Fame in 2005.

      Wetteland, 52, amassed 330 saves over the course of his 12-year career that started with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also pitched for the Montreal Expos and the New York Yankees before moving on to Texas in 1997. Wetteland notched a career-high 43 saves three different years.

      He was a three-time All Star and finished sixth in Cy Young voting in 1999 with the Rangers.

      Wetteland coached baseball and taught Bible studies at Liberty Christian School, a private college prep school in Argyle, Texas, after retiring from baseball, but apparently has no connection to the school at this time, the Dallas Morning News reported.

      Wetteland did spend time as a bullpen coach for the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners after his playing career ended.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Ex-Yankees pitcher Stottlemyre dies at 77
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 14, 2019

    Longtime New York Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre died Sunday in Seattle after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 77.

    • Multiple media outlets reported the news of his death Monday, when he received various tributes on social media. Stottlemyre's wife, Jean, told The New York Times that he died as a result of complications of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

      Born in a small town in Washington, Stottlemyre was bound for the big city when Yankees scout Eddie Taylor discovered him at Yakima Valley Community College in Washington and signed him to a $400-per-month contract. He reached the big leagues in 1964, after a 13-3 season in Triple-A, when the Yankees were in a pennant race with a pitching staff plagued by injuries.

      He turned into the ace of the staff, and by the time he retired in 1974, he'd compiled 164-139 lifetime record in 360 games, starting all but four of them. Stottlemyre had a career ERA of 2.97 and threw more than 250 innings in nine of his 11 seasons with the Yankees. He was a three-time 20-game winner and a five-time All-Star selection.

      --The San Francisco Giants re-signed left-hander Derek Holland to a one-year contract with a club option for 2020, the team announced.

      The deal includes a $6.5 million salary for 2019 and a $7 million option for 2020, with a $500,000 buyout.

      Holland, 32, pitched a team-high 171 1/3 innings in his first season with the Giants in 2018. He was 7-9 with a 3.57 ERA and a team-leading 169 strikeouts in 36 games (30 starts).

      --The Minnesota Twins announced the signing of former Los Angeles Angels closer Blake Parker to a one-year contract. ESPN reported the value of the contract at $3.2 million.

      The 33-year-old right-hander appeared in 67 games for the Angels in 2018, posting a 3.26 ERA with 70 strikeouts, 19 walks and a team-high 14 saves in 17 opportunities.

      Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 16th round in 2006, Parker owns a career 3.29 ERA in 229 relief appearances with the Cubs (2012-14), Seattle Mariners (2016), New York Yankees (2016) and Angels (2017-18).

      --Field Level Media

  • Twins ink ex-Angels closer Parker to 1-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 14, 2019

    The Minnesota Twins announced Monday the signing of former Los Angeles Angels closer Blake Parker to a one-year contract.

    • ESPN reported the value of the contract at $3.2 million.

      The 33-year-old right-hander appeared in 67 games for the Angels in 2018, posting a 3.26 ERA with 70 strikeouts, 19 walks and a team-high 14 saves in 17 opportunities.

      Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 16th round in 2006, Parker owns a career 3.29 ERA in 229 relief appearances with the Cubs (2012-14), Seattle Mariners (2016), New York Yankees (2016) and Angels (2017-18).

      To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated right-hander John Curtiss for release or assignment.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Yankees pitcher, coach Stottlemyre dies at 77
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 14, 2019

    Longtime New York Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre died Sunday in Seattle after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 77.

    • Born in a small town in Washington, Stottlemyre was bound for the big city when Yankees scout Eddie Taylor discovered him at Yakima Valley Community College and signed him to a $400-per-month contract. He reached the big leagues in 1964, after a 13-3 season in Triple-A, when the Yankees were in a pennant race with a pitching staff plagued by injuries.

      He turned into the ace of the staff, and by the time he retired in 1974, he'd compiled 164-139 lifetime record in 360 games, starting all but four of them. He had a career ERA of 2.97 and threw more than 250 innings in nine of his 11 seasons with the Yankees.

      He was a three-time 20-game winner and a five-time All-Star selection.

      In 1977, he joined the Seattle Mariners organization as a roving pitching instructor, and before the 1984 season, the Mets hired him as pitching coach, where he worked with Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez during his 10 seasons with the team.

      He never won a World Series as a player, but he was part of the 1986 Mets team that won the title.

      After two years with Houston, Stottlemyre joined new manager Joe Torre with the Yankees in 1996, where he led a pitching staff that helped the Yankees win four World Series in five years. He resigned after the 2005 season, agitated with owner George Steinbrenner.

      He worked despite being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2000 and underwent multiple treatments, which sent the cancer into remission. It recurred in 2011, and he continued to battle the blood-marrow cancer throughout his remaining years.

      On Oldtimers Day in 2015, a plaque honoring Stottlemyre was unveiled in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium.

      "Today in this stadium, there is no one that's happier to be on this field than myself," he said, choking up. "This is such a shock to me because the era I played in is an era where, for the most part, the Yankees have tried over the years, I think, somewhat to forget a little bit. ... If I never get to come to another Oldtimers Day, I will take these memories and I'll start another baseball club, coaching up there, whenever they need me."

      Stottlemyre is survived by his wife, Jean, and two sons, Todd and Mel Jr., both former major league pitchers. The couple's third son, Jason, died in 1981 of leukemia.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants re-sign LHP Holland to one-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 14, 2019

    The San Francisco Giants re-signed left-hander Derek Holland to a one-year contract with a club option for 2020, the team announced Monday.

    • The deal includes a $6.5 million salary for 2019 and a $7 million option for 2020, with a $500,000 buyout.

      Holland, 32, pitched a team-high 171 1/3 innings in his first season with the Giants in 2018. He was 7-9 with a 3.57 ERA and a team-leading 169 strikeouts in 36 games (30 starts).

      During a sizzling six-start stretch from Aug. 15 to Sept. 12, he posted a 1.59 ERA and held opponents to a .197 batting average.

      For the season, Holland held left-handed batters to the lowest slugging percentage (.189) of any pitcher in the majors.

      Holland owns a 76-73 career record and 4.44 ERA over 10 seasons with the Texas Rangers (2009-16), Chicago White Sox (2017) and Giants.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Machado has 8-year offer from White Sox
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 14, 2019

    Long rumored to be a strong suitor for free agent infielder Manny Machado, the Chicago White Sox have offered the four-time All-Star an eight-year contract, according to an ESPN report Sunday.

    • Citing league sources, the report added that one of Machado's other pursuers, the Philadelphia Phillies, would figure into the futures of Machado, as well as the other big-name free agent position player this off-season, outfielder Bryce Harper.

      Harper and Machado have both been connected to the Phillies.

      Machado, 26, who played his first six seasons with the Baltimore Orioles before a mid-July trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, is believed to be seeking a contract in the 10-year, $300 million-plus range. Many have questioned whether Chicago would offer a 10-year deal, but the eight-year offer demonstrates the White Sox's seriousness.

      Machado, who has played shortstop and third base in the majors, is a career .282 hitter with 175 home runs and 513 RBIs. He has twice been in the top five in Most Valuable Player voting, and finished ninth another season.

      Last season, he hit .297 with a career-high-tying 37 home runs and career-high 107 RBIs combined between the Orioles and Dodgers. He also sported a .367 on-base percentage, above his .335 career average, and his .538 slugging percentage exceeded his career figure of .487.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: A's negotiate with Murray, can offer majors deal
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, January 13, 2019

    Oakland Athletics executives and others met Sunday with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray to negotiate with hopes of persuading him to play professional baseball, according to multiple reports.

    • ESPN reports the Athletics are permitted to sign Murray to a major league deal with significant guaranteed money, despite MLB rules that prevent players from signing major league contracts out of the draft. Per the report, such a deal would be allowed because of how the circumstances of Murray's baseball career have changed since he was drafted ninth overall by the A's in June.

      Murray signed a minor league deal including a $4.66 million signing bonus after being drafted by Oakland, but his stellar 2018 season as a quarterback at Oklahoma thrust him into contention to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Now the A's -- and MLB -- are working to keep him from ditching baseball for the NFL.

      WFAA-TV in Dallas reports Murray would like a $15 million contract to commit to baseball.

      It's unclear what the Athletics are willing to offer. USA Today reported A's president Billy Beane led the contingent to meet with Murray, while ESPN added the group included an MLB marketing executive.

      The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday that the A's expect Murray to declare for the NFL draft before Monday's deadline for underclassmen to declare.

      Such a declaration would not prevent Murray from later agreeing to a deal and to commit to the A's. The deadline for Murray's decision between the two sports could come in February, as A's position players report for spring training Feb. 15, while the NFL combine is in late February.

      ESPN reports that if Murray does sign a major league deal, he would still likely begin his baseball career at High-A Stockton. The report adds that the A's plan to promote Murray aggressively, but he would need to join the team full-time by 2022 at the latest, based on his contract.

      --Field Level Media

  • Padres' Myers moving from 3B back to OF
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, January 12, 2019

    Wil Myers says he is moving back to the outfield for the San Diego Padres this season.

    • Myers, who started 36 games at third base in August and September, called it a mutual decision reached with general manager A.J. Preller and manager Andy Green.

      "It was more of a group decision," Myers said at San Diego's FanFest event on Saturday. "I did tell them I want to do what's best for the team going forward. Obviously, I want to win and whatever we can do to do that, I'm down for. ... I feel like both sides are happy."

      Myers made six errors in 91 chances at the hot corner in 2018, posting a .934 fielding percentage at third.

      Myers, 28, also started 30 games in left field, nine games in right field and two at first base last season.

      The 2013 National League Rookie of the Year and a 2016 All-Star, Myers batted .253 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 83 games in 2018.

      --Field Level Media

  • Blue Jays sign RHP Phelps to 1-year, $2.5M deal
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, January 12, 2019

    The Toronto Blue Jays have signed right-hander David Phelps to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with a club option for the 2020 season, the team announced Saturday.

    • Phelps, 32, missed the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on March 26.

      The reliever was 4-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 55 2/3 innings with the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners in 2017.

      In six seasons, Phelps has a 30-33 record with a 3.89 ERA and 520 strikeouts in 553 2/3 innings. He played with the New York Yankees (2012-14) before joining the Marlins in 2015.

      --Field Level Media