David Ortiz

David Ortiz, Prince Fielder to serve as Home Run Derby captains

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Apparently looking to add some interest for the Home Run Derby festivities, MLB today announced David Ortiz and Prince Fielder as captains for the event to be held the Monday before the All-Star Game.

Ortiz, the 2010 champion, and Fielder, the 2009 champ, will each get to pick their three teammates for the contest.  Not limited to only selecting fellow All-Stars, Ortiz can choose anyone in the AL and Fielder anyone in the NL.

Whether it makes for a better Derby or not, the act of choosing should create more interest leading up to the event.  It seems like a given that Ortiz will pick Jose Bautista as a teammate, leaving him two spots for Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera or perhaps Red Sox teammate Adrian Gonzalez .  But what about Josh Hamilton?  Or maybe he could irk Teixeira by picking Curtis Granderson instead?

Will Fielder call on Mike Stanton even though the 21-year-old slugger probably won’t make the All-Star roster?  Matt Kemp seems likely to get one spot, but no one else stands out.  Stanton is certainly as promising a choice as any.

In any event, MLB actually has me thinking about the Home Run Derby for the first time in several years.  So, I guess that makes this a pretty good idea.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.