LAS VEGAS — Cleveland Guardians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti was voted Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year on Tuesday after his young team won the AL Central with a $68 million payroll that was 27th among the 30 teams.

Cleveland went 92-70 while using 17 players who made their major league debuts. The youngest team in the postseason, the Guardians lost a five-game Division Series to the New York Yankees.

Antonetti, 47, has been in charge of Cleveland’s baseball operations as general manager from 2011-15 and president of baseball operations since October 2015.

A 1996 graduate of Georgetown with a master’s degree from Massachusetts in business administration, Antonetti started in MLB as a Montreal Expos intern in 1997 and became assistant director of player development that November. He joined Cleveland in 1999 and became assistant general manager three years later.

In voting conducted by major league clubs before the postseason, Atlanta Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos was second and Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto was third.

Oakland executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane won the initial award in 2018, followed by Tampa Bay GM Erik Neander in 2019, Los Angeles Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman in 2020 and San Francisco Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi last year.


The award was announced on the first full day of the annual general managers meetings.

CUBS: The Chicago Cubs promoted Dustin Kelly to hitting coach after two seasons as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator, one of three additions to Manager David Ross’ staff.

Kelly becomes the Cubs’ eighth hitting coach in 12 seasons. He replaces Greg Brown, who lasted one year. A former minor league infielder, Kelly worked as a hitting coach in the Dodgers farm system from 2018-20 before getting hired by Chicago.

The Cubs also added former outfielder Jim Adduci (assistant hitting coach) and Alex Smith (data development and process). They retained 11 coaches, including Andy Green, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, third-base coach Willie Harris and first base coach Mike Napoli.

FREE AGENTS: First baseman Anthony Rizzo became a free agent again when he declined his $16 million option with the New York Yankees for 2023.

Pitcher Chris Bassitt declined his $19 million option with the New York Mets and followed rotation mates Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker into free agency.


They were among 11 players who became free agents Tuesday, raising the total to 151. About 33 more players are potentially eligible to go free by Thursday, joining a free-agent class headed by Aaron Judge, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson, deGrom, Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts.

Acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the 2021 trade deadline, Rizzo went free after the 2021 season and stayed with the Yankees for a deal that paid $16 million this year.

He hit 32 home runs for the fourth time in his career – he’s never hit more – and had 75 RBI in 130 games despite a .224 batting average. The 33-year-old was sidelined between Aug. 31 and Sept. 18 by back pain and headaches from an epidural injection to treat his back.

Rizzo’s home runs were 40% of the Yankees’ 77 by left-handed batters and his RBI were 37% of the 202 by New York’s lefties.

Bassitt gets a $150,000 buyout, completing a one-year deal for $8.8 million. The 33-year-old righty went 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 30 starts after the Mets acquired him from Oakland at the end of the lockout.

San Diego declined a $20 million option on 31-year-old outfielder Wil Myers, who gets a $1 million buyout that completes an $83 million, six-year contract. He hit .261 with seven homers and 41 RBI.


Colorado turned down an $8 million team option on reliever Scott Oberg, who has not pitched since 2019 due to blood clots in his arms. Oberg completed a $13 million, three-year contract.

Left-hander Andrew Chafin turned down $6.5 million option with Detroit, making his deal worth $6.5 million for one season. He went 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 64 relief appearances.

NL champion Philadelphia declined a $17 million option on second baseman Jean Segura, who gets a $1 million buyout that finishes a $70 million five-year deal. Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin turned down a $15 million mutual option for a $150,000 buyout, completing a $5.7 million, one-year contract.

Minnesota declined options on right-handers Chris Archer ($10 million) and Dylan Bundy ($11 million) and first baseman Miguel Sano ($14 million) in favor of buyouts of $750,000 for Archer, $1 million for Bundy and $2.75 million for Sano, who finished a $30 million, three-year contract.

Infielder Josh Harrison’s $5,625,000 option was declined by the Chicago White Sox in favor of a $1.5 million buyout.

BREWERS: The Brewers have picked up the $10 million 2023 team option on veteran second baseman on Kolton Wong.


Wong, 32, batted .251 this season and had a career-high 15 homers to go along with 47 RBI and 17 steals in 134 games. He had a .339 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage.

But the two-time Gold Glove winner also had 17 errors to match his career high.

METS: The New York Mets exercised a $1.5 million option on first baseman and designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, preventing him from being eligible for salary arbitration.

Mets GM Billy Eppler said New York also had hired Eric Jagers as director of pitching development. Jagers had been Cincinnati’s assistant pitching coach.

ORIOLES: The Baltimore Orioles announced that Cody Asche is joining the major league staff as an offensive strategy coach.

The team said all its other coaches on manager Brandon Hyde’s staff will remain in their same positions.

Asche, 32, is being promoted after serving as upper-level hitting coordinator this year. That was his first season in the organization. He also has been a minor league hitting coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Asche spent his major league playing career with the Phillies (2013-16) and Chicago White Sox (2017).

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