Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

Billionaire sports businessman David Blitzer has officially joined the Cleveland Guardians as a minority owner and will eventually take control of the ballclub.

The team announced its agreement with Blitzer and his investment group on Monday, the final step in him taking a minority stake in the American League team.

Owner Paul Dolan had been looking for a minority investor for several years and ended his search with Blitzer, who also has ownership stakes in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

“I am very excited about bringing on David Blitzer and his group as our partners,” Dolan said. ”David brings a wealth of experience in the sports industry that we believe will be a complementary addition to our organization.

“I look forward to collaborating with David for years to come to achieve our goal of winning a World Series.”

Major League Baseball approved Blitzer’s purchase earlier this month. In addition to the Sixers and Devils, the 52-year-old Blitzer also has sports holdings with soccer clubs Crystal Palace and Real Salt Lake.

“I am thrilled to join the ownership group of the Cleveland Guardians, a storied Major League Baseball franchise with a loyal, engaged fanbase,” Blitzer said. “Our goal is to support Paul and the incredibly talented Guardians leadership team in delivering to Cleveland a team that can contend for a World Series.

“We also look forward to assisting the Guardians in their mission of using the platform of baseball to drive positive change in the communities our team serves. I thank Paul and the Dolan family, as well as our partners in this investment, for this amazing opportunity.”

It’s believed Blitzer initially will have 25-30% ownership and will have the right to increase his stake to a controlling interest in several years.

Blitzer’s addition should give the Guardians an infusion of capital to perhaps be more aggressive in free agency and in signing some of their younger players.

Despite having one of baseball’s lowest payrolls, the Guardians are just two games out of first place in the AL Central. They open a five-game series against first-place Minnesota on Monday.

Getting traded is a tough pill to swallow. But when you’re moved for one of the best in the league, as Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo was, it certainly makes it slightly easier.

“Honestly, I was upset about the trade,” Verdugo told MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. “I didn’t think I was going to get traded from the Dodgers, and I didn’t feel like I should have been the guy to get traded. Obviously, being traded, you do sit back and say, ‘At least, I got traded for fucking Mookie Betts.'”

Verdugo was the key piece in a three-player haul with Jeter Downs and Connor Wong that sent Betts and David Price to the Dodgers prior to the 2020 season.

“But yeah, I never had that ‘Holy shit!’ moment,” the outfielder added. “I just figured, shit, I got traded, man, this sucks. Then I came over here and was like, ‘Holy shit, this was a blessing.’ I love it over here. The Red Sox have been nothing but great to me, have taken care of me. From the teammates to the staff to the coaching, it has been amazing.”

The 26-year-old has become a crucial member of a Red Sox club that improbably made it to the American League Championship Series last year. After a rough start to the 2022 campaign, Boston now sits atop the AL wild-card standings at 41-31, 11 games back of the division-leading New York Yankees.

Verdugo, who earned down-ballot MVP consideration in 2020, has somewhat struggled this season, hitting .251/.293/.373 – all career lows – with five homers over 66 contests.

Betts, meanwhile, looked to be headed toward MVP consideration in 2022, authoring a .884 OPS in 60 games before landing on the injured list with a fractured rib. The five-time All-Star won an MVP as a member of the Red Sox in 2018 and finished as the runner-up for the award in 2016.

The New York Yankees avoided an arbitration hearing with star outfielder Aaron Judge after the two sides settled on a $19-million salary plus incentives for the 2022 season, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Judge can earn $250,000 for a first-place MVP finish and another $250,000 for winning World Series MVP, Feinsand reports.

The Yankees initially offered $17 million, with Judge countering at $21 million. The two sides were unable to reach an agreement on a long-term extension before the season after the latter rejected a seven-year $213.5-million offer.

Judge is authoring a terrific campaign so far, helping the Yankees to baseball’s best record. The three-time All-Star leads MLB with 27 home runs while appearing in 68 of 70 games this season.

The 30-year-old is set to arguably become the most coveted free agent following this season. Despite an uncertain future, the slugger remains most focused on helping the Yankees win a championship for the first time since 2009.

“I’m not really motivated by that kind of stuff,” Judge said earlier this week, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.

“I’m more motivated by the type of team we’ve got, the special talent we have here, and the opportunity we have ahead of us. I try to just keep focusing on that, and it makes it pretty easy to block this other stuff with the business side out.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics need to reach new ballpark deals soon and left open the possibility of considering relocation if agreements are not struck.

“There is urgency with respect to Tampa,” Manfred said Thursday during a news conference following an owners meeting. “There needs to be a resolution in the Tampa Bay region for the Rays.”

Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season. The Rays said in January that MLB had rejected the team’s plan to split its season between Florida and Montreal.

“Obviously, the end of that lease is a hard deadline, but you need to take into account that stadiums take a little bit of time to build, right?” Manfred said. “So we are getting to the point where wherever it is in the region that has an interest in having 162 baseball games, they need to get to it, get with the club — I know the Rays are anxious to get something done — and see if a deal can be made.”

Asked whether he was considering relocation, Manfred responded: “Right now, I’m focused on Tampa,” putting emphasis on “right now” and later adding he was referring to the region, not the specific side of the bay. “I think a great man once said, all good things must end at some point. And but right now we’re focused on Tampa.”

The Athletics have played at the Coliseum since 1968 and their lease expires after the 2024 season. The A’s have proposed a new ballpark at Howard Terminal and are working with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to gain the necessary approvals.

“There is really significant activity in Oakland. The political process has moved along significantly,” Manfred said. “I met with Mayor Schaaf last week. She has done a really good job at moving the process forward in Oakland. But as you all know, California political processes are their own sort of animal. There’s work to do on the Oakland side. I think the A’s prudently have continued to pursue the Las Vegas alternative. We like Las Vegas as a market. Again, it’s in the same category as Tampa. We need a solution in both those markets and the time has come for that solution.”

Oakland has averaged a major league-low of 8,283 fans this season and the Rays are 25th at 13,740, also ahead of Miami, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

San Diego Padres star third baseman Manny Machado exited Sunday’s game with the Colorado Rockies after suffering an ankle injury in the first inning.

Machado was later diagnosed with a left ankle sprain, and X-rays were negative.

After hitting a ground ball, Machado appeared to roll his left ankle as he reached first base. Machado walked off the field with some assistance while putting limited weight on his ankle, according to The Athletic’s Dennis Lin.

Padres acting manager Ryan Flaherty said postgame that the five-time All-Star was feeling alright. Flaherty added that Machado may have avoided a more serious injury by shifting his weight as he slipped across the base.

“All in all, as good as it could be,” Flaherty said, per Lin.

A trip to the injured list appears likely for Machado, as the Padres don’t have a potential timetable for his return just yet. Shortly after the injury occurred, infielder C.J. Abrams was removed from Triple-A El Paso’s lineup, according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The 29-year-old has emerged as an early front-runner for National League MVP this season.

Machado entered Sunday’s game hitting .329/.401/.548 with 12 home runs, 48 runs scored, 46 RBIs, and seven stolen bases across 65 games.

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon will undergo season-ending surgery on his right wrist next week, the team announced Friday.

The 32-year-old hasn’t played since June 14. He was removed from a contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers after aggravating his wrist during a swing.

Angels head trainer Mike Frostad said Rendon has a subluxed tendon in his right wrist, which he attempted to play through, according to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. The injury is expected to sideline Rendon for four-to-six months.

Rendon hasn’t appeared in more than 60 games in any of his three seasons with the Angels, although the 2020 campaign was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He inked a seven-year, $245-million contract with the team ahead of the 2020 season. The Texas native has produced a .252/.359/.421 slash line with 20 home runs and 89 RBIs since signing with the Angels.

He still has four years and $154 million left on his deal.

Hyun Jin Ryu‘s 2022 season is officially over.

The Toronto Blue Jays left-hander will undergo left elbow surgery, general manager Ross Atkins announced Tuesday, according to TSN’s Scott Mitchell.

The exact procedure has yet to be determined, but he’ll either have a partial UCL reconstruction or Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged ulnar collateral ligament. If Ryu needs full-scale Tommy John, his 2023 season could also be in jeopardy.

Toronto placed Ryu on the injured list with left forearm inflammation on June 2, the same injury that sent him to the IL in April. He met with Dr. Neal ElAttrache last week to discuss his situation and explore different treatment options, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.

Ryu joined the Blue Jays on a four-year, $80-million contract before the 2020 season. Although he was an AL Cy Young finalist that year, both injuries and the pandemic have limited him to just 49 starts and a 4.07 ERA with the club. In his six appearances this year, Ryu posted a 5.67 ERA, 4.81 FIP, and 1.33 WHIP with 16 strikeouts.

The 35-year-old has had several dominant stretches during his big-league career, most notably when he won an ERA title with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019. But he’s also been dogged by a variety of ailments, making 30 starts just twice since 2013 and missing all of 2015 because of shoulder surgery.

With Ryu sidelined, right-hander Ross Stripling – who’s worked as a swingman and fill-in starter this year – will likely take over Ryu’s spot in the rotation permanently. Nate Pearson, who’s still on the IL, is another potential internal option to start once he finishes his current rehab stint.

Toronto, now sitting second in the AL East, will also likely look outside the organization to replace Ryu ahead of a potential playoff run. Atkins said the team would “consider deadline opportunities and trade acquisitions that could bolster our depth” and that there’s “flexibility” about the type of pitcher the Jays could acquire, according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

Orioles CEO John Angelos said Monday the team will remain in Baltimore — and that he and his parents have never contemplated otherwise.

Angelos’ comments — released by the team — came days after he was sued by his brother Lou Angelos. Lou claimed in last week’s lawsuit that John has seized control of the Orioles at his expense, and in defiance of their father Peter’s wishes.

“John intends to maintain absolute control over the Orioles — to manage, to sell or, if he chooses, to move to Tennessee (where he has a home and where his wife’s career is headquartered) — without having to answer to anyone,” the lawsuit said.

The suit did not elaborate on how likely it was that the team might actually move, and John Angelos sought to reassure fans in his statement Monday.

“As I have said before, as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor, the Orioles will remain in Baltimore,” he said. “My mother was born and raised in northeast Baltimore, attended city public schools at Eastern High School and has worked with my father their entire lives to help the city, including by restoring the club to local ownership and preventing its relocation. For them, as for me, the Orioles will forever play at Oriole Park, and at no time ever have we contemplated anything different.”

Peter Angelos became the Orioles’ owner in 1993, but his public role has diminished in recent years and he turns 93 next month.

The Los Angeles Angels relieved manager Joe Maddon of his duties Tuesday and named Phil Nevin his interim replacement.

Los Angeles has lost 12 straight games to fall out of the American League’s playoff picture.

Despite the rough results, Maddon said he was surprised by the dismissal.

“A little bit. Actually, a lot. You always rely on people in charge to read the tea leaves properly,” Maddon told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. “This time, they did not. You didn’t even have to ask me. You can ask any of the players or coaches. They’re the ones who really know.”

He added that he hopes to continue his managerial career.

Angels general manager Perry Minassian said the club’s struggles over the past few weeks made it clear the team needed a change.

“It’s something I thought would never happen three weeks ago … I love Joe Maddon. I love the person, and I love the conversations,” Minassian said, according to The Athletic’s Sam Blum. “Waking up today, I felt like it was the right decision.”

Minassian added that Nevin will manage for the remainder of the season, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

After Monday’s 1-0 loss at home to the Boston Red Sox, frustrations appeared to boil over for Maddon when he had a testy exchange with a reporter about the team’s competitiveness.

Maddon chalked up Los Angeles’ skid to a combination of factors bubbling up to the surface at the same time.

“Look at the teams (opponents). We’ve got guys hurt. The bullpen had a really hard time. And we just stopped hitting,” Maddon said. “It’s just one of those things that became contagious. It wasn’t an issue of camaraderie or lack of leadership. It was a calamity that occurred all at one time.”

The 68-year-old was in the final season of a three-year deal inked in 2020. Maddon finishes his Angels tenure with a 130-148 record and never led the club to a winning record or postseason berth.

Nevin, 51, was in his first season as the Angels’ third base coach. He has also spent time coaching with the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees after a successful 12-year playing career.

Five players from the Tampa Bay Rays chose not to support the LGBTQ+ community by wearing rainbow-colored hats and uniforms during the team’s Pride Night celebration at Tropicana Field on Saturday.

Pitchers Jason AdamJalen BeeksBrooks RaleyJeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson decided they wouldn’t wear the team’s alternate hat and also chose to peel off a rainbow-colored sunburst on the right sleeves of their uniforms.

Adam spoke on behalf of the players, explaining their decisions were “faith-based” and not meant to be “judgmental.”

“So it’s a hard decision. Because ultimately we all said what we want is them to know that all are welcome and loved here,” Adam said, according to Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin.

“But when we put it on our bodies, I think a lot of guys decided that it’s just a lifestyle that maybe – not that they look down on anybody or think differently – it’s just that maybe we don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who’s encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would abstain from that behavior, just like (Jesus) encourages me as a heterosexual male to abstain from sex outside of the confines of marriage. It’s no different.”

The Rays gave their players the choice of wearing the uniforms or not, although they would have preferred full participation, according to Topkin.

Kevin Kiermaier, the longest-serving member of the Rays, did wear the alternate hat and uniform on Saturday.

“It’s one of those things, my parents taught me to love everyone as they are, go live your life, whatever your preferences are, go be you,” Kiermaier said.

“I can’t speak for everyone who’s in here, obviously, but this is a family-friendly environment here at a big-league ball field. … We just want everyone to feel welcomed and included and cheer us on. No matter what your views on anything are.”