U.S. attorney’s office charges three people with conspiring to kidnap and extort Leonys Martin

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Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald reports that the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami has charged three people with smuggling Cuban prospects into the United States, including smuggling, kidnapping, and extortion charges specifically related to Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin.

According to Weaver two of the accused–Eliezer Lazo and Joel Martinez–are already serving prison sentences for money laundering convictions and the third–Yilian Hernandez–was arrested yesterday by Homeland Security and the FBI.

Martin left Cuba in 2010 and signed a $15.5 million contract with the Rangers, making his MLB debut in September of 2011. He was smuggled into the country through Mexico and Lazo and Martinez previously filed a civil lawsuit against Martin claiming they’d served as his management agency and he failed to pay them. Martin counter-sued them claiming it was an “illegal scheme” involving extortion and holding him hostage until “ransom” money was paid.

It’s a pretty crazy story overall, so definitely check out the entire write-up in the Miami Herald.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.