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Rockies prospect third baseman Nolan Arenado named Arizona Fall League MVP

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This year’s Arizona Fall League featured some of the game’s most high-profile hitting prospects, most notably Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Mike Trout of the Angels and Wil Myers of the Royals, but Rockies’ prospect third baseman Nolan Arenado was the one who stole the show.

Before this afternoon’s title game between the Surprise Saguaros and Salt River Rafters, Arenado was presented with the league’s Joe Black MVP Award.

Previous Arizona Fall League MVPs include Dustin Ackley and Tommy Hanson.

Arenado batted .388/.423/.636 with six home runs, 33 RBI and a 1.059 OPS over 29 AFL games. The 20-year-old hit safely in 26 games and led the league with 47 hits and 12 doubles. He even hit a solo homer in the third inning this afternoon.

Selected in the second round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Arenado has a .302/.346/.483 batting line over parts of three seasons in the minor leagues. The right-handed hitter enjoyed a breakout year in 2011, batting .298/.349/.487 with 20 home runs, 122 RBI, a 47/53 K/BB ratio and an .836 OPS over 583 plate appearances with High-A Modesto. According to Bill Mitchell of Baseball America, “Arizona Fall League observers” now consider him a potential above-average defender at third base.

While Arenado is unlikely to earn a starting job with the Rockies out of spring training, he could make an impact at the major league level at some point in 2012.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
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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.