Mike Minor
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Mike Minor has the last laugh with Alex Cora


On September 26 last year, Rangers starter Mike Minor was on the precipice of a career milestone: his 200th strikeout of the season. He entered that afternoon’s start against the Red Sox at 191, and ended up racking up eight through eight innings of work.

In the ninth inning, Minor got the first out on a Sandy León fly out to left field. The next batter, Chris Owings, popped up about halfway down the first base line. First baseman Ronald Guzmán didn’t make much of an effort to make the catch, letting the ball drop in foul territory. With a new lease on strikeout No. 200, Minor threw a change-up high and inside that was generously called strike three. Manager Chris Woodward lifted Minor from the game with milestone in tow. José Leclerc struck out Marco Hernández to end the game.

After the game, Alex Cora — then the manager of the Red Sox — expressed displeasure with how the Rangers handled Minor’s milestone. Cora said, “I’m just happy our guys play the game the right way.”

Cora has since been embroiled in controversy as Major League Baseball has investigated the Astros’ use of technology to steal and relay signs during their 2017 championship season, when Cora was the bench coach. Cora then went on to become the manager of the Red Sox, leading them to a championship in 2018. MLB’s investigation of Cora’s Red Sox is ongoing. Fired by the Red Sox earlier today, Cora is facing what would seem to be a one-year suspension at minimum and very likely multiple years.

Minor gets to have the last laugh with Cora. After today’s news, Minor tweeted:

“Pete” refers to Pete Abraham, the Red Sox beat writer for The Boston Globe. Following last year’s kerfluffle, Abraham tweeted, “Mike Minor’s 200th strikeout should have a big asterisk. That was bush. Chasing a milestone that way is unprofessional.”

So make that two last laughs for Minor.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.