The Nationals have reached a minor league contract with right-hander Heath Bell, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). The contract includes an invitation to big league Spring Training. Bell is a client of the Ballengee Group.
The Silver Shield Foundation, a charity established by the late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, will pay for the education of the two children of slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, reports Bill Madden and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News. The foundation was started by Steinbrenner and former Olympian Jim Fuchs 32 years ago and, among other services (per the foundation’s website), pays for the education of the children of New York City police officers and firemen; Port Authority of New York/New Jersey Police Department; New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut State Police; police departments of Nassau and Suffolk Counties; and all police departments in Connecticut who died in the line of duty, as well as 700 children who lost a parent on September 11, 2001. Ramos was killed yesterday with his partner Wenjian Liu (who didn’t have any children) by a lone gunman in Brooklyn. Here’s the latest news and notes from the American League East: Yankees GM Brian Cashman has taken some huge gambles with his offseason moves (getting younger and stockpiling power arms) which belie the organization’s long held win-now, World Series or bust philosophy, opines Madden in a separate article. Scott Boras tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will be ready by Opening Day. Earlier today, Cafardo reported there is no urgency on either side in negotiating an extension. The Rays‘ search for offense in the wake of the Wil Myers trade is limited to what remains of the outfield free agent market or obtaining a player whose team will eat almost all the salary on a bad contract, writes the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Howard, and B.J.
George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner, started the Silver Shield Foundation in the early 1980s to help the children of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty. His foundation is going to pay for the education of children of Rafael Ramos, the NYPD officer who was killed along with his partner, Wenjian Lui, while sitting in their squad car in Brooklyn on Saturday, according to a report by the New York Daily News.
The Dodgers did it: they ended the Yankees’ 15-year streak as Major League Baseball’s biggest spenders and owe more than $26.6MM in luxury tax, as Ronald Blum of The Associated Press writes. The Dodgers finished with a record payroll of $257,283,410, more than $20MM above the previous high set by the Yankees last year. More from the National League.. Despite making offensive upgrades, there are plenty more moves for the Padres to make, writes Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. San Diego has some obvious weaknesses and Lin figures they’ll make at least two more moves. The Padres need left-handed hitting and a leadoff bat and a new face at first base would probably make sense. The Padres could also look seek out another starter and search for something more stable than the shortstop duo of Alexi Amarista and Clint Barnes.
Dave Stewart was determined to reach his goal of becoming a big league GM from the day he delivered his last pitch, in 1995. He was handed the job in Arizona by the same man who used to hand him the ball in Oakland.
Earlier tonight, I asked MLBTR if the Padres will reach the postseason in 2015. Of the 33% respondents who said yes, most felt a Wild Card slot was more likely than a division title. Here’s the latest San Diego and Cuba news. Teams are unlikely to establish academies in Cuba any time soon, writes Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Cuban market is unlikely to be based on free agency, like in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. Some form of a posting system will probably be put in place. Alternatively, Cuba could be included in a rumored international draft.
The Indians have announced that they’ve signed lefty reliever Scott Downs to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. The veteran pitched 38 innings in 2014 for the White Sox and Royals, posting a 4.97 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 while suffering through diminished velocity — Downs was never a hard thrower, but his average fastball fell to 86.9 MPH in 2014. Downs had success as recently as the previous season, when he had a 2.49 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 for the Angels and Braves. In his 13-year career, the 38-year-old has also pitched for the Cubs, Expos and Blue Jays.
The Rangers are one of several teams to have expressed interest in talented but injured former Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes. “Several teams are still reviewing his medicals,” agent Robert Martin says of Beachy, who is nine months removed from his second Tommy John surgery. “I do not think a decision is imminent, but he does have multiple offers.” Here are more notes from the West divisions. The Padres are “no longer boring” after all the work A.J. Preller has done to remake them, Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown writes
The Giants filled their third-base vacancy on Friday night, announcing they obtained Casey McGehee from the Marlins for a pair of Minor League right-handers.
The Padres — who haven’t advanced to the playoffs since 2006 and haven’t been very relevant since — continued a frenzied and unusually bountiful offseason with a bevy of notable roster moves Friday.