Starting pitcher Aaron Nola has agreed to a seven-year contract to remain with the Philadelphia Phillies, multiple media outlets reported Sunday.

The deal is worth a reported $172million, as the Phillies keep a cornerstone piece in their rotation.

Nola, 30, is the first major free agent to come off the board in a class that is headlined by two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and includes fellow hurlers Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery.

Nola has spent his entire MLB career in Philadelphia and has finished in the top five of Cy Young award voting twice.

The right-hander saw his numbers slip a bit in 2023 with a 4.46 ERA but rebounded in the post-season with three quality starts and an ERA of 2.35 over 23 innings.

Nola and Zack Wheeler make up one of the best and most reliable rotation duos in baseball.

Since 2018, Nola has thrown 1,065 1/3 innings, the second most in the majors over that span. Wheeler is fourth on that list with 1,007 innings pitched.

Nola is one of five pitchers with at least 200 strikeouts in each of the last three seasons.

Nola was the priority in a vital offseason for the Phillies after making it to the World Series in 2022 and the NLCS last season but falling short of a title.

In 235 career starts, Nola has a 3.72 ERA and has 1,582 strikeouts in 1,422 innings pitched.

 

The Athletics’ move from Oakland to Las Vegas has been approved by Major League Baseball owners.

The 30 franchise owners voted unanimously in support of the team’s move from California to Nevada, with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledging that it was a “terrible day” for fans in Oakland.

The Athletics executives reached an agreement to build a new stadium in Las Vegas in May after the state’s legislature approved public financing towards the construction.

The Athletics have been based in Oakland since 1968, having previously been in Kansas City and Philadelphia.

MLB commissioner Manfred told a press conference: “I know this is a terrible day for fans in Oakland. I understand that, and that’s why we’ve always had a policy of doing everything humanly possible to avoid a relocation.

“I truly believe we did that in this case. I think it’s beyond debate that the status quo in Oakland was untenable.

“I absolutely am convinced that there was not a viable path forward in Oakland. We look forward to being in Las Vegas; there’s tremendous support locally for having the A’s there. We do believe over the long haul that Las Vegas will be a great asset to Major League Baseball.”

The Athletics’ owners had been unable to find a solution to keep the team in Oakland, with their existing Coliseum home in need of redevelopment.

Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. have consistently broken the mold in their young careers, and the unique accomplishments seemingly keep on coming.

Ohtani was announced as the American League’s Most Valuable Player of 2023, becoming the first player to win the award twice by unanimous vote.

Acuña was a unanimous selection as NL MVP after completing MLB’s first ever 40-homer, 70-steal season.

Never before have both MVP votes in the same year been unanimous.

A two-way star unprecedented in the modern game, Ohtani led the AL with 44 home runs while hitting .304 and accumulating 96 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. From the mound, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched. 

The Los Angeles Angels star received all 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager finished second with 24 second-place votes, while Texas teammate Marcus Semien finished third with five second-place votes.

Acuña helped lead the Atlanta Braves to the best record in baseball at 104-58. He was second in the NL with a .336 batting average and led the majors with 149 runs, 217 hits, 386 total bases and 73 stolen bases while hitting 41 home runs with 106 RBIs.

Mookie Betts, who won the 2018 AL MVP award, received all 30 second-place votes, while his Los Angeles Dodgers teammate and former Brave Freddie Freeman finished third.

With the final MLB awards announced, attention now turns to the winter hot stove, primarily Ohtani’s free agency.

The Japan-born star appeared to be a lock for a record-breaking contract this offseason, but injuries cut his 2023 campaign short, and he underwent right elbow surgery in September.

While Ohtani will certainly receive massive compensation, a second major surgery on his throwing elbow could complicate the equation for the Angels and the host of other teams likely to bid for his services.

Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, and while the exact nature of his most recent surgery has not been revealed publicly, his team has said he will not pitch in 2024.

 

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole won his first American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday, while the San Diego Padres' Blake Snell won his second Cy Young - and first time in the National League.

Cole was the runner-up twice for the AL Cy Young (in 2019 and ’21) but received all 30 first-place votes by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, becoming the 11th unanimous AL winner.

The right-hander led the league in three of the most important pitching statistics, finishing first in ERA (2.63), WHIP (0.98) and innings pitched (209). His 222 strikeouts were third in the AL behind Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman's 237 and Minnesota Twins righty Pablo Lopez's 234.

Gausman finished third in voting, while Lopez's Twins teammate, Sonny Gray, finished second.

Cole went 15-4 and yielded fewer than four runs in 28 of 33 starts in 2023. He was dominant over the season’s final five weeks, going 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 0.68 WHIP with the Yankees winning all seven of those games.

He's the first Yankee to win the award since 2001, when Roger Clemens won it.

 

Snell becomes the seventh pitcher to win the award in both leagues after winning the AL Cy Young as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018.

The left-hander led all of MLB with a 2.25 ERA and .181 opponents' batting average, while his 234 strikeouts trailed only Atlanta Braves righty Spencer Strider's 281 for the most in the NL.

Snell also led the majors with 99 walks, becoming the first pitcher since Early Wynn for the 1959 Chicago White Sox to win the Cy Young despite leading MLB in base on balls.

Voters looked past his control issues and evidently focused on his incredible stretch from late May through the end of the season. In his final 23 starts, Snell recorded a 1.20 ERA - only Bob Gibson in 1968 posted a lower ERA in as many starts.

Snell, who finished the season 14-9 with a 1.19 WHIP, received 28 of 30 first-place votes to finish ahead of the San Francisco Giants' Logan Webb and Zac Gallen of the NL champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Brandon Hyde of the Baltimore Orioles was named American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday and Skip Schumaker of the Miami Marlins took home the award in the National League.

Hyde guided the Orioles to the AL East title and a league-best 101 victories just two years after a 110-loss season.

Hyde earned 27 of a possible 30 first-place votes, with Bruce Bochy of the Texas Rangers receiving the other three. Two-time winner Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays finished third.

 

Schumaker led the Marlins to an 84-78 record – including 33-14 in one-run games – and a 15-game improvement in his first season as a major league manager with Miami earning a surprise wild-card spot.

He received eight first-place votes, three more than runner-up Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers, and Atlanta’s Brian Snitker was third.

Hyde became the fourth Baltimore manager to win the award, following Buck Showalter in 2014, Davey Johnson in 1997 and Frank Robinson in 1989.

Schumaker is the fourth Marlins manager to win the award, joining Jack McKeon in 2003, Joe Girardi in 2006 and Don Mattingly in 2020.

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll and Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson were unanimous winners of Major League Baseball's 2023 Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards, which were announced Monday.

Carroll is the first player in Diamondbacks history to win the National League honour. Henderson is the seventh Orioles player to take home the American League award, but the first since pitcher Gregg Olson in 1989.

Both players received 30 first-place votes in balloting from selected members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Carroll was instrumental to the Diamondbacks' surprising 2023 campaign that culminated in the club's first playoff appearance since 2017 and the second World Series trip in franchise history. The speedster produced 25 home runs and 54 stolen bases to become the first rookie with at least 25 homers and 50 steals in a season, and also recorded 116 runs scored, 76 RBIs and a .285 average in 155 regular-season games.

The 23-year-old delivered a solid postseason as well, batting .273 with two homers, 10 RBIs and five stolen bases in 17 games to help Arizona capture its first NL pennant since 2001. 

Henderson also played a key role in his team's unexpected success in 2023, as he led all AL rookies in home runs (28), RBIs (82) and runs scored (100) to help the Orioles to an AL-best 101-61 record and the team's first playoff appearance since 2016. The 22-year-old overcame a slow start to hit .276 with 23 homers, 68 RBIs and an .856 OPS from June 1 on.

A second-round pick of Baltimore in the 2019 draft, Henderson also finished second among AL players with nine triples and ended the season with a .255 average, 10 stolen bases and an .814 OPS in 150 games. He was named the AL's Silver Slugger recipient as a utility player as well after splitting his time between shortstop and third base.

New York Mets pitcher and former Japanese league star Kodai Senga placed second in NL voting with 22 second-place votes and 71 points, with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder James Outman, Colorado Rockies outfielder Nolan Jones and Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McClain finishing third through fifth. 

Cleveland Guardians pitcher Tanner Bibee finished second behind Henderson in voting with 20 second-place votes and 67 points. Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas was third with 25 points, with Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung and Houston Astros catcher Yainer Diaz rounding out the top five. 

Joe Espada will reportedly become the next manager of the Houston Astros.

Multiple news outlets reported the hiring on Sunday and the Astros have a news conference scheduled for Monday, and Espada will be introduced then.

The 48-year-old Espada spent the last six seasons as Houston's bench coach and this will be his first managerial position.

Many had considered Espada to be the favourite to become the Astros' manager after the 74-year-old Dusty Baker retired last month.

 

Baker had managed the Astros since 2020, and led Houston to the 2022 World Series title. He retired last month after the team was eliminated by the Texas Rangers in the American League championship series - Houston's seventh straight trip to the ALCS.

Espada played nine seasons of minor league baseball from 1996-2006, before pursuing a career in coaching.

After retiring as a player, he worked as a coach for the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees before joining the Astros' staff.

Last season, Espada was reportedly a finalist for Miami's open managerial job - a position that went to Skip Schumaker.

On a bright and beautiful Sunday afternoon, November 4, 2023, the No. 1 Softball Diamond at Up Park Camp headquarters of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) witnessed a delightful exhibition baseball game that would be remembered for years to come. The home field of the Jamaica National Softball team served as the backdrop for this unique event, where the Pioneer Select U16 baseball team faced off against Jamaica's formidable softball team.

The Pioneer Select U16 team, comprising talented individuals such as Damion Robinson, Joel Scott, Javier Grant, Francisco Williams, Odeen Afflick, Kira Cooper, Jayshaun Campbell, Noel-Lee McKen, as well as Jasmine Benjamin and Caleb Dixon, took the field with enthusiasm, setting the stage for an exciting showdown. From the very first inning, it was evident that these young athletes meant business.

Robinson, leading off the batting order, showcased his skills by scoring the first of three runs for his team. Team Captain Grant and U12 substitute player Dixon followed suit, crossing home plate and narrowing the score to 3-8 in favour of the seasoned National Softball team.

The exhibition match posed a unique challenge for the U16 team as they had to adapt swiftly to the different rules, ball, and bat sizes of softball. Despite the unfamiliar territory, the young athletes embraced the experience with determination and resilience.

Grant, holding down first base, displayed his defensive prowess with swift tags on National Team runners, keeping the pressure on the opposition and thrilling the spectators in attendance.

On the pitcher's mound, McKen, exhibited remarkable composure, leading her team's offensive efforts. Despite her softball debut, she adapted quickly to the underhand throw, demonstrating her potential to excel in the world of softball.

Behind the plate, female catcher Cooper showcased exceptional skills in handling the larger-sized softball. Her swift and accurate tags on unsuccessful runners attempting to score added an extra layer of defense for the Pioneer Select team.

In the outfield, Campbell, making his U16 debut after advancing from U12, admirably held his own. His presence in the outfield testified to his dedication and commitment to his athletic development.

National Team Technical Director Troy McCaw, who attended the exhibition match, was visibly impressed by the talent displayed by the U16 team. He identified four standout players from the Pioneer Select U16 team, acknowledging their potential for success in the sport.

This remarkable opportunity for the Pioneer Select U16 team reflects their dedication and hard work, with many of their members training in St. Thomas, Jamaica, under the guidance of Coach Kerry Ann Cooper.

Under her guidance, the team actively seeks opportunities to scrimmage and attend clinics with other teams, such as the upcoming clinic in August Town on Sunday, November 12, 2023, all in preparation for the 2024 tournaments.

 

The Los Angeles Angels have appointed veteran former Texas Rangers boss Ron Washington as their new manager, the Major League team have announced.

The 71-year-old succeeds Phil Nevin, whose contract was not renewed after the Angels failed to reach this season’s play-offs.

Washington, who had been on the coaching staff at Atlanta, led the Rangers to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011 in his last frontline job.

The Los Angeles Angels are turning to a veteran to lead their ball club, hiring the 71-year-old Ron Washington to be their manager on Wednesday.

Washington, who becomes the old manager in major league baseball, hasn't managed a team since 2014, with the Texas Rangers.

His only previous experience as a manger in MLB came with the Rangers from 2007-14, as he directed the team to AL pennants in 2010 and 2011. He went 664-611 during his eight years at the helm in Texas, and also reached the playoffs in 2012, losing a one-game wild-card series to the Baltimore Orioles.

Washington spent the past seven seasons as the Atlanta Braves' third base coach, helping the franchise to the 2021 World Series title.

He becomes Los Angeles' fourth manager in the last six years and replaces Phil Nevin after the Angels decided to part ways with him after 1 1/2 seasons.

Despite having three-time AL MVP Mike Trout and 2021 league MVP Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles finished fourth in the AL West this past season with a 73-89 - its eighth consecutive losing season. 

It's been nine seasons since the Angels last made the play-offs, the longest postseason drought in MLB.

 

The Chicago Cubs still had a manager under contract, but that didn't stop the club from firing him and hiring one of MLB's top managers in a surprise move.

The Cubs fired David Ross on Monday and hired Craig Counsell away from their NL Central rival Milwaukee Brewers.

To lure Counsell away from the Brewers, the Cubs emptied their wallets, making the 53-year-old the highest-paid manager in MLB history, signing him to a five-year, $40million contract.

"On behalf of the Cubs organization, we express our deep gratitude for David's contributions to our club, both on and off the field," President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said in a release. "First as a player and then as a manager, David continually showcased his ability to lead. David’s legacy will be felt in Chicago for generations and his impact to our organization will stack up with the legends that came before him.

"Going forward, our major league team will be managed by Craig Counsell. We look forward to welcoming Craig at Wrigley Field early next week."

 

Counsell spent the last nine seasons managing Milwaukee, leading the franchise to five play-off berths. Prior to Counsell's arrival in Milwaukee during the 2015 season, the Brewers made a total of four play-off appearances.

The Brewers only won play-off series under Counsell, but many experts believe he is one of the smarter managers in baseball and was able to accomplish more with less for a small-market team that didn't spend a lot of money.

His contract expired at the end of this past season, and he became one of the biggest free-agent managers in recent years.

Counsell led the Brewers to three NL Central titles and went 707-625 as Milwaukee's manager, establishing franchise records for wins and games managed.

The 46-year-old Ross went 262-284 in four seasons with Chicago.

Beloved in Chicago as a member of the Cubs' 2016 World Series championship team, Ross took over as manager following the departure of Joe Maddon.

In his first season at the helm in 2020, the Cubs won the NL Central, but that marked their only play-off appearance under Ross. Chicago overachieved for much of this past season and was in position to make the playoffs before collapsing over the final few weeks.

The Brewers went on to win the 2023 NL Central title, and following the season, Counsell interviewed for the open managerial position with the Cleveland Guardians and was also being pursued by the New York Mets.

Both of those teams ended up naming new managers earlier Monday.

The Guardians hired former catcher Stephen Vogt to replace Terry Francona, while the Mets named Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza to take over for the fired Buck Showalter.

Mendoza, who turns 44 this month, spent the past four seasons as a bench coach with the Yankees and has never managed above Class A in the minors.

He becomes the fifth Mets manager since the start of the 2018 season, and takes over a club that finished fourth in the NL East in 2023 at 75-87 - 29 games behind the division-winning Atlanta Braves.

Vogt was the Seattle Mariners bullpen coach last season and has no managerial experience.

A two-time All-Star, the 39-year-old Vogt played for six teams over a 10-year MLB career before retiring in 2022.

The Guardians finished third in the AL Central in 2023, but won four division titles and made the play-offs six times during Francona's 11 years as the franchise's manager.

Nathan Eovaldi and two relievers combined to five-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers won the franchise’s first World Series title with a 5-0 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday.

The Rangers finished the postseason a major league-record 11-0 on the road, capping the first title in their 63-year history with three straight wins in Arizona.

Mitch Garver broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the seventh and Marcus Semien capped Texas’ four-run ninth with a two-run homer.

Eovaldi walked five in six innings but wiggled out of trouble each time to improve to 5-0 with a 2.95 ERA in this postseason.

Aroldis Chapman got two outs before Josh Sborz fanned four over the final 2 1/3 innings for his first save in the playoffs. 

The Diamondbacks had plenty of chances to score but went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on.

Arizona starter Zac Gallen took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Corey Seager led off with an opposite-field single.

Evan Carter followed with a double and Garver’s single gave Texas all the offense it would need.

Seager became the fourth player in history to win two World Series MVPs, along with Reggie Jackson, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson.

The Texas Rangers have won baseball’s World Series for the first time after clinching a 4-1 series victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

A 5-0 win in game five sealed the series, capped off by a two-run home run from Marcus Semien in the ninth inning.

Mitch Garver’s RBI single in the seventh inning opened the scoring after Corey Seager had claimed the Rangers first hit of the night, following six innings without one against Diamondbacks starter Zach Gallen.

They stretched that to 3-0 in the ninth inning before Semien added the final blow.

After splitting the first two matches of the series, the Rangers won all three of the games in Arizona as they went through the entire postseason unbeaten in 11 games on the road.

Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who won a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and moved to the Rangers before the start of the season, threw six scoreless innings and the bullpen completed the job.

Corey Saeger became just the fourth player ever to win the World Series MVP award twice, alongside hall of famers Reggie Jackson, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson.

The series win comes after 63 years of trying and 12 years after they were twice one strike away from winning against the St Louis Cardinals.

It is a fourth success for manager Bruce Bochy, who won three World Series in charge of the San Francisco Giants – including victory over the Rangers in 2010.

The Texas Rangers are just one win away from their first World Series crown after a dominant 11-7 game four win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run triple and a three-run home run for the Rangers, who opened a 10-0 lead after just three innings.

The Rangers now lead the Diamondbacks 3-1 in the seven-game series having stretched their unbeaten away record in the postseason to 10 games.

They became the first team in World Series history to have consecutive five-run innings with all-star pairing Corey Seager and Semien continuing their hot form, both players batting in six runs apiece during the series.

Saeger hit his third two-run home run of the series while Jonah Heim got in on the action in the eighth inning with a home run to stretch the lead further.

After scoring one run in the fourth, the Diamondbacks fought back with six more across the final two innings, but the gap was too big to bridge.

Arizona’s second baseman Ketal Marte recorded two more hits, sending his record postseason hitting streak to 20 games.

Texas can clinch their first MLB crown on Wednesday night in Arizona, but they will have to do it without veteran pitcher Max Scherzer and star outfielder Adolis Garcia who were injured in game three.

The last team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series were the Chicago Cubs in 2016, but 42 of the last 49 teams up 3-1 have gone on to win.

Marcus Semien hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs as the Texas Rangers moved within one win of their first World Series title on Tuesday with an 11-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Corey Seager added a two-run home run and the Rangers won their 10th straight postseason road game, extending their MLB record.

Texas scored five runs in the second and third innings, becoming the first team in World Series history with consecutive five-run innings.

Texas can wrap up the World Series in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Only seven of the last 49 teams to take a 3-1 lead in the World Series failed to win. The most recent team to overcome a 3-1 deficit was the Chicago Cubs against Cleveland in 2016.

Seager’s third two-run homer of the Series capped the five-run second and Semien’s blast punctuated the third.

The Rangers learned before the game that slugger Adolis Garcia and pitcher Max Scherzer will miss the rest of the World Series.

Garcia, the ALCS MVP, has a moderate strain of his left oblique and Scherzer, who was in line to pitch a possible Game 7, has a muscle spasm on the right side of his back.

Garcia hit .323 with eight homers and a major league-record 22 RBIs in these playoffs.

Travis Jankowski took Garcia’s spot in right field and had two hits and two RBIs in his first Series at-bats.

The Diamondbacks were held in check by Andrew Heaney and the Rangers’ bullpen before scoring four runs in the eighth, three on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s home run off Chris Stratton.

Heaney allowed one run and four hits in five innings.

Gabriel Moreno added a two-run single in the ninth to draw Arizona closer, but Jose Leclerc retired Christian Walker for the final out.

Arizona’s Ketel Marte extended his postseason-record hitting streak to 20 games with a first-inning single.

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