Rays acquire Christian Bethancourt from Athletics for catching depth

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
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TAMPA, Fla. — Needing depth at behind the plate, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired catcher and infielder Christian Bethancourt from the Oakland Athletics for a pair of minor leaguers.

The A’s received right-hander Christian Fernandez and outfielder Cal Stevenson in the deal.

Bethancourt carried a .249 average with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 56 games with the A’s after beginning the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. He was 5 for 19 (.263) in five games for the Aviators when he was added to the A’s roster on April 15. The versatile Bethancourt has started games at first base, catcher and designated hitter.

Rays catcher Mike Zunino has been sidelined since June 10 with left shoulder inflammation.

The 30-year-old, right-handed hitting Bethancourt has started 24 games at first base, 12 at catcher and eight at designated hitter. This is his sixth season in the majors, his first since 2017, and he has career highs with 23 runs, 11 doubles and four stolen bases.

The Rays designated for assignment right-hander David McKay to make room on the 40-man roster for Bethancourt.

A’s assistant general manager Dan Feinstein expects the left-handed hitting Stevenson to be a major leaguer in the near future. He will start with Las Vegas.

The 25-year-old Stevenson – a native of nearby Fremont in the East Bay – was batting .265 with two home runs and 17 RBIs over 57 games with Triple-A Durham. He drew 31 walks for a .376 on-base percentage and has nine stolen bases.

“We think he’s a very good defensive center fielder. He can also play the corners, but we like him as a center fielder,” Feinstein said. “He can really run. He controls the strike zone very well. Excellent contact skills. Very good against right-handed pitching. We think he’ll certainly be a useful major league piece.”

Fernandez has spent the entire season at Class A Charleston, where he was 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA in eight starts and eight relief appearances.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.