LaVelle E. Neal III becomes BBWAA’s first African-American president

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LaVelle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was officially named as the president of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) at the organization’s World Series meeting on Saturday.

Neal, who has been covering the Twins for the Star-Tribune since 1998, is the first African-American president in the 105-year history of the BBWAA. He served as vice president over the past year and will replace the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Susan Slusser, who was elected as the BBWAA’s first woman president one year ago.

BBWAA presidents typically serve one-year terms, with the vice president moving up the next year. According to the Associated Press, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle was elected vice president today, so he’ll be in position to take over as president next year.

Our congratulations go out to LaVelle and Jose.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.