Cardinals sign infielder Alex Cora to minor-league contract

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Alex Cora’s deal with the Cardinals is official, with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reporting that the veteran utility infielder agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Last week Cora announced his retirement from winter ball in Puerto Rico and Goold notes that he was thinking about going into coaching, but instead he’ll try to earn a spot on the Cardinals’ bench at age 37.

Cora has had a remarkable career, sticking around for 14 seasons despite getting more than 400 plate appearances just three times and topping a .700 OPS just three times. And none of those have come since 2004.

He hit .224 with a .562 OPS in 91 games for the Nationals last season, which was actually better than he hit in 2010 for the Mets and Rangers. His primary competition for a bench gig may be Tyler Greene, depending on if Daniel Descalso or Skip Schumaker starts at second base.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.