The biggest stories on MLBTR from the past week:
Tragedy strikes baseball: Last Sunday was a horrific day for the sport, as Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura and former major leaguer Andy Marte died in separate car crashes in the Dominican Republic. Ventura became the second active big leaguer to pass away since September, when then-Marlins ace Jose Fernandez lost his life in a boating accident. At 25, Ventura was already an established major league starter and a World Series champion. Marte wasn’t as successful as Ventura stateside, but he did emerge as a star with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization over the previous two seasons. He was 33.
The Dodgers find a second baseman: Los Angeles’ monthslong search for help at the keystone finally ended with the addition of Logan Forsythe, whom they acquired from the Rays on Monday. The Dodgers gave up high-end pitching prospect Jose De Leon in a one-for-one swap, which came after they attempted to send the right-hander to the Twins for Brian Dozier.
More name-brand free agents come off the board: It nearly took until February, but infielder Luis Valbuena, reliever Greg Holland and left-hander Brett Anderson finally landed major league deals this week. Valbuena signed a two-year pact featuring $15MM in guarantees with the Angels, whom he played against regularly from 2015-16 as a member of the AL West rival Astros. Valbuena was primarily a third baseman in Houston, but he’ll see plenty of action at first base in Anaheim. Holland, who was a lights-out closer with the Royals before undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2015, joined the Rockies on an incentive-laden accord that contains a vesting option for 2018. Anderson, whom injury issues weighed down in 2016 as a member of the Dodgers, signed on with another National League superpower – the reigning World Series champion Cubs. His contract is also heavy on incentives.
Decision coming soon on Cardinals-Astros hacking scandal: New details in ex-Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa’s hacking of the Astros’ computer systems came to the fore Saturday. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is amid a lengthy investigation of the Cardinals, but that could end as early as the upcoming week in light of the publicly released information concerning Correa’s transgressions. The Cards, who fired Correa in 2015, could face some type of punishment for his actions. Correa has been paying a particularly heavy price since last July, when he received a 46-month prison sentence and was hit with a $279K fine.
Mets prepared to entire 2017 with Jay Bruce on their roster: The Mets are loaded with starting-caliber corner outfielders – Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Bruce – and that’s likely to remain the case when the season begins. General manager Sandy Alderson has tried to unload Bruce this offseason, but those attempts have gone for naught. As a result, the team informed Bruce that he’ll open the season as its right fielder. While the Mets could have cut the cord on Bruce in November, their decision to exercise his $13MM option came amid uncertainty surrounding Cespedes, who was unsigned at the time.