TORONTO — All-Star outfielder George Springer became the most prominent among baseball’s free agents to reach an agreement this offseason, a $150 million, six-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity late Tuesday night because the deal was subject to a successful physical.

It would be the largest contract in team history.

Springer, who turned 31 in September, is a three-time All-Star who has spent his entire seven-season career with Houston and was the World Series MVP when the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games for their first title in 2017. The championship was later tainted when it was discovered Houston illicitly stole signs that season.

Springer hit .265 with 14 homers and 32 RBI during the shortened 2020 season, earning a prorated $7,777,778 from a $21 million salary.

He has a .270 career average with 174 home runs and 458 RBI, including career bests of .292 with 39 homers and 96 RBI in 2019.

Under new owner Steve Cohen, the New York Mets also were said to be interested in Springer.

The upstart Blue Jays went 32-28 during the pandemic-altered 2020 season, finishing third in the AL East behind Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees and qualifying for the expanded postseason. They were swept in two games by the AL champion Rays in a first-round series.

Toronto had success despite moving its home games to Buffalo, New York, after the Canadian government didn’t allow the team to play in Canada because of the COVID-19 risk of frequent travel throughout the U.S. It’s not clear where the Blue Jays will begin the 2021 season.

The Toronto Blue Jays agreed to contracts with free-agent pitchers Kirby Yates and Tyler Chatwood, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

Yates agreed to a $5.5 million, one-year deal with $4.5 million in potential performance bonuses. Chatwood agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract with incentives that could take it to $5.5 million.

ASTROS: Outfielder Michael Brantley has agreed to a $32 million, two-year contract with the Houston Astros, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the contract, which is pending a successful physical, had not been announced.

Brantley spent the last two seasons in Houston after playing for Cleveland for his first 10 MLB seasons. Brantley hit .300 with five homers and 22 RBI in 46 games in last year’s pandemic-shortened season. He had three home runs and 11 RBI in 13 playoff games last year as the Astros came a win shy of reaching the World Series for the second straight season.

He earned $5,555,555 in prorated pay from a $15 million salary as part of a $32 million, two-year deal that included a $2 million signing bonus.

Brantley is a four-time All-Star and a 2014 Silver Slugger award winner. He has a .297 average with 114 homers and 640 RBIs in his career.

ANGELS: Left-hander José Quintana has agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press late Tuesday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement is subject to a successful physical.

Los Angeles was looking to boost its rotation following a fourth-place finish in the AL West at 26-34, 10 games behind first-place Oakland. Angels’ starters had a 5.52 ERA in the shortened 2020 season, 29th among the 30 major league teams and ahead of only Detroit’s 6.37.

Quintana joins a rotation projected to include left-hander Andrew Heaney and right-handers Shohei Ohtani, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning.

Quintana was limited to one start and three relief appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he started late after surgery July 2 to repair nerve damage caused by a cut on the thumb of his pitching hand. The Cubs said Quintana was hurt while washing dishes at his home in Miami and that he needed five stitches.

ROYALS: Reliever Wade Davis is returning to Kansas City, the team he helped pitch to the 2015 World Series title, agreeing Wednesday to a minor league contract. The 35-year-old right-hander will go to spring training trying to earn a spot on the major league roster.

Davis is a three-time All-Star who had 47 saves for the Royals from 2013-16. Kansas City acquired him from Tampa Bay in December 2012, converted him to a full-time reliever in 2013 and traded him to the Chicago Cubs after the 2016 season. He pitched the final out of the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets, throwing a called third strike past Wilmer Flores.

He spent one season in Chicago, completing a $12.6 million, four-year contract with three options that wound up totaling $35.1 million in salary. He then signed a $52 million, three-year contract with Colorado.

Davis had an NL-high 43 saves in 2018 and 15 in 2019, then made just five appearances with two saves during last year’s pandemic-shortened season, when his ERA shot up to 20.77. The Rockies released him in September.

RANGERS: Right-hander Hunter Wood signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers that includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Wood spent last season as part of Cleveland’s 60-man player pool but didn’t appear in any big league games. He had a 3.32 ERA in 66 games from 2017-19 with Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

Tampa Bay selected Wood in the 29th round of the 2013 amateur draft, and he made his big league debut with the Rays in 2017. He was traded to Cleveland in July 2019 and made 17 appearances the rest of that season for the Indians.

DODGERS: Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda was memorialized during a private service Tuesday at Dodger Stadium before his burial.

Lasorda died Jan. 7 after a heart attack at age 93.

His casket, covered with a huge assortment of blue and white flowers, was placed on the pitcher’s mound with a blue 2, signifying Lasorda’s jersey number, on the back of the mound.

Lasorda’s wife of 70 years, Jo, attended in a wheelchair, along with their daughter, Laura. The mourners stood socially distanced around the mound.

Former Dodgers catcher and Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, retired player and major league manager Bobby Valentine, retired Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros, retired player and coach Mickey Hatcher, former Dodgers pitcher Charlie Hough, and former NBA coach Mike Fratello were among the 10 pallbearers. Each wore jerseys with Lasorda’s No. 2 on the back.

Karros and Hatcher, along with Skechers president and co-founder Michael Greenberg, and personal friends Steve Brener and Chris Leggio spoke at the stadium and served as pallbearers, along with businessman Warren Lichtenstein. Wearing masks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they carried Lasorda’s casket to a white hearse parked in front of the dugout.

The national anthem was sung and Lasorda’s image was projected on the stadium’s videoboards.

A motorcade traveled from the stadium to Rose Hills Memorial Park in nearby Whittier, where Lasorda was buried. The group had just arrived at the cemetery when they received word that Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton died earlier Tuesday at age 75.

Lasorda spent 71 years in the Dodgers’ organization, starting as a player when the team was still based in Brooklyn. He later coached and then became its best-known manager for 21 years in Los Angeles, leading the franchise to two World Series championships. After stepping down in 1996, he became an ambassador for the sport he loved.

TWINS: The Twins added a little balance to an all-right-handed starting rotation by signing veteran lefthander J.A. Happ to a one-year contract worth $8 million.
Happ has spent more than a decade in the big leagues, most recently the past three seasons with the Yankees. He owns a 3.98 career ERA, and it was 3.47 last season in New York.


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