Tagged in: agree to deal

Giants, IF Wilmer Flores agree on multiyear deal

The San Francisco Giants have added infield depth by agreeing with Wilmer Flores on a multiyear contract, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The 28-year-old could compete for the starting second base job or at least play in a utility role around the infield.

Flores has made over 100 starts at all four infield spots during his career, mostly playing second base in his limited action with the Arizona Diamondbacks last campaign.

A foot injury and other ailments limited Flores to just 89 games in 2019, but he excelled when healthy with a .317 batting average and .848 OPS, both of which were career highs. He added 18 doubles and nine home runs in 285 plate appearances.

It came after serving as a reliable hitter for the New York Mets, producing a .262/.303/.424 slash line across six seasons.  Despite his success last season, the Diamondbacks declined his option for 2020, putting him back on the open market for the second consecutive winter.

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Flores will get an opportunity at another fresh start with San Francisco, trying to remain a consistent presence in the offense.

The Giants failed to get regular production at second base last year, eventually parting with Joe Panik midseason. Donovan Solano and Mauricio Dubon both played well when given the opportunity, but neither has much of a track record to trust going into 2020.

These two, along with Kean Wong, should compete with Flores for playing time in the middle infield spot.

Considering Flores has five career pinch-hit home runs and experience at a variety of positions, he should be useful regardless of his role this season.

With Flores in the fold, Kapler can now field an all right-handed hitting infield with Flores at first, Dubón and Solano up the middle and Evan Longoria at third.

If Sánchez or left-handed hitting waiver wire acquisition Kean Wong makes the Opening Day roster, the Giants can also go heavy with lefties in the infield as Brandon Belt can play first, Sánchez or Wong can play second and Crawford can play short.

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Mookie Betts agree deal with Red Sox

In his final year of arbitration, Mookie Betts reportedly has received a record-breaking one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the 2018 American League MVP will earn $27 million in 2020. 

Betts’ deal breaks the previous arbitration record of $26 million signed by Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado last January, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. 

The Red Sox entered this offseason in a state of insecurity with Chaim Bloom taking over as team president after Dave Dombrowski was fired in September and Brian O’Halloran being hired as general manager. 

Team owner John Henry told reporters in September they needed to cut payroll to get under the luxury-tax threshold. 

“This year we need to be under the CBT and that was something we’ve known for more than a year now,” he said. “If you don’t reset there are penalties so we’ve known for some time now we needed to reset as other clubs have done.”

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Betts and J.D. Martinez were the two most obvious trade candidates since they are the Red Sox two most expensive position players and could net a strong return given their consistent year to year performances. 

It’s still possible for the Red Sox to move Betts before the start of the campaign. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported on Jan. 2 the Los Angeles Dodgers have had discussions with Boston about the four-time All-Star. 

At the very least, Betts got his deal for 2020 done and can get ready for spring training next month. The 27-year-old hit .295/.391/.524 with 29 homers and 16 stolen bases in 150 games last campaign.

Acquired by Boston in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, Betts is a career .301 hitter with an .893 OPS. Since making his major league debut in June 2014, Betts has led the major leagues in runs scored (613) and is second in extra-base hits (394) and fourth in hits (965).

He also has led the Red Sox in home runs (139) and is second in RBIs (470) during that span. Three times, Betts has hit three home runs in a game — more than any other MLB player since 2014.

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