Pirates bolster bullpen, pick up Joakim Soria from Tigers

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UPDATE: Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Tigers will receive prospect infielder-outfielder JaCoby Jones in return.

6:11 p.m. ET: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates and Tigers have agreed to a deal. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that medicals still need to be reviewed before the trade becomes official.

The Tigers will receive one minor leaguer in return, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

6:09 p.m. ET: After dealing ace David Price to the Blue Jays earlier today, the Tigers are now close to moving their closer. According to James Schmehl of MLive.com, the Pirates are nearing a deal to acquire Joakim Soria.

Soria, an impending free agent, has posted a 2.85 ERA and 36/11 K/BB ratio over 41 innings this season. The 31-year-old has been very solid since taking over the closer role in Detroit, going 23-for-26 in save chances.

The Pirates already have an All-Star closer in Mark Melancon, so Soria would presumably function in a set-up capacity. Pittsburgh’s bullpen is currently fourth in the majors with a 2.71 ERA, but they are about to get even better.

Source: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach $360M, 9-year deal

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday because the deal had not been announced.

Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.

Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.

The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.

A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.