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Red Sox will visit White House

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Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox have been invited to the White House and have accepted the invitation. A date has not been determined yet, but Abraham says that the visit could take place before the start of the regular season.

Championship teams almost without fail visit the White House the following year to be officially recognized. However, Boston’s visit was less certain as manager Alex Cora is from Puerto Rico and he criticized President Trump’s tweets pertaining to Hurricane Maria. Trump claimed that the death tolls being publicized had been exaggerated. Cora said, “To be tweeting about 3,000 people and being efficient, it’s actually disrespectful for my country. We see it that way. I know he probably doesn’t feel that way.”

Cora added, “I respect him. He’s the President of the United States. But I don’t agree with a lot of the stuff he says about us.”

Carlos Beltrán didn’t visit the White House with the Astros after they won the World Series in 2017. Beltrán, too, was criticial of the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria. Carlos Correa also skipped the visit to work on bringing aid to people in Puerto Rico. José Altuve, from Venezuela, did attend, but he didn’t look happy at all to be there, understandably.

It’s not known which members of the Red Sox, if any, will opt out of the visit. We do know at least one guy who’s going to be there: Heath Hembree. He told TMZ Sports in October, “Hell yeah! I f-ck with Trump!” When asked what he liked about Trump, Hembree responded, “Everything!”

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.