Yankees sign Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard to minor league contracts

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According to Sweeney Murti of WFAN, the Yankees have signed Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard to minor league contracts. They’ll both get invites to spring training.

The oft-injured Chavez has played in a grand total of 154 games since the start of the 2007 season, but worked out for a number of teams this winter, including the Dodgers and the Blue Jays. The 33-year-old batted .234/.276/.333 with one home run and 10 RBI over 123 plate appearances with the A’s last season, but didn’t play another game in the big leagues after going on the disabled list with neck spasms in May. It’s hard to see a fit for the former Gold Glover, even if he’s healthy.

Belliard, who turns 36 in April, was released by the Dodgers last September after batting just .216/.295/.327 with two home runs and 19 RBI over 185 plate appearances. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that Belliard would earn a base salary of $825,000 plus incentives if he makes the team, but he’ll have to beat out Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena in order to win a roster spot.

Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna wins AFL MVP, helps clinch AFL Championship Game

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The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.

At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.

Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.

Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.