Brayan Pena is joining the army reserves

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There have been a lot of players who served in the military, either before or during their career. Almost all of them, however, did so either during wartime or when we still had a draft.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, however, not many have. Mitch Harris, who pitched for the Cardinals last year, is a graduate of the Naval Academy and served. There may have been some other guys who served in the reserves, but not many. And in all cases, these guys did so before becoming established players, if indeed they ever did so.

Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena is an established player. A 12-year veteran, in fact. At age 34, it’s probably safe to say that his career is winding down. But don’t worry about him getting bored:

Pena is a Cuban native who defected when he was 16 years-old. You can read his account of that and his journey from being a poor, possibly marginal player in Cuba, to becoming a major leaguer and, eventually, a U.S. Citizen here.

It’s not common for a veteran athlete to go join the army. It’s not common for a 34 year-old to do it in any case (the age limit for the army reserves is 35). But don’t tell Pena he can’t do something. He’s already done more than anyone thought he could. He’ll probably end up a general.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.