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American League

Pirates Land Outfielder Corey Dickerson From Rays In Three-Player Swap

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a Thursday trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, receiving right-hander Daniel Hudson and second baseman Tristan Gray in return.

According to MLB.com’s Adam Berry per a source, Tampa Bay also received $1 million.

Dickerson, 28, was an All-Star for the first time this past season, hitting .282/.325/.490 with 27 homers (career-high) and 62 RBIs in his second season with the Rays.

“Corey Dickerson adds a quality power threat to our lineup, as evidenced by his 60-plus extra-base hits and 20-plus home runs each of the last two seasons,” said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. “Corey is a driven player who will also add a quality presence to our clubhouse.”

In five Major League seasons for the Colorado Rockies (2013-15) and Rays, Dickerson’s a .280/.325/.504 hitter. His best season came in 2014, as he hit .312/.364/.567 with 24 homers and a career-high 76 RBIs.

Dickerson, who was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay on Saturday, will be Pittsburgh’s left fielder. He joins an outfield that that includes Starling Marte in center, and Gregory Polanco in right.

Hudson, 30, is a veteran pitcher who’s pitched for three teams in eight seasons since 2009 (missed 2013). After a breakout 2011 season for the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he went 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 33 starts, injuries prevented him from seeing the same type of success as a starter. For the last three seasons, he’s been a primary reliever, appearing in 194 games out of the bullpen (made one start in that span, coming in 2015).

This past season for the Pirates, his lone one with the team, Hudson went 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA in 71 games. This followed a 2016 campaign with Arizona in which he went 3-2 with a 5.22 ERA.

Certainly, this is a gamble for the Rays. Hudson has an injury history, and has been mediocre to say the least the last two years pitching in the National League. Now, he’s in the American League where there’s a designated hitter, and pitching in the East, which promises to be a very tough division. We’ll see how this works out for Tampa Bay.

Gray, 21, was a 13th-round pick by Pittsburgh in last year’s draft. He immediately got some professional experience under his belt, hitting .269/.329/.486 with seven homers and 37 RBIs in 208 at-bats for the West Virginia Black Bears of the New York-Penn League.

American League

2018 ALCS: Astros Aiming To Repeat, Red Sox Looking For Revenge

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NBC.

This year’s American League Championship Series won’t be an unfamiliar scenario for baseball fans, because it’s a rematch of last year’s American League Division Series. Defending World Champion Houston will square off with Boston for the second consecutive postseason, this time with one more game and a lot more at stake. Houston wants a second consecutive pennant, Boston wants second blood.

The Astros defeated the Red Sox three games to one in one half of last season’s ALDS. The Red Sox were on the cusp on forcing a decisive Game 5, but questionable managerial decisions from ex-skipper John Farrell ultimately led to the team’s demise. The Astros then defeated the Yankees and then Los Angeles (both in thrilling seven game series) to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy to Texas for the first time ever.

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Postseason homer machine George Springer will look to send his team to another Fall Classic (The Houston Chronicle).

Both teams have different looks this time around in converse ways. Houston traded for superstar RHP Gerrit Cole last offseason while Boston signed slugging free agent OF/DH JD Martinez. What’s interesting is that both moves paid massive dividends. Aside Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, Cole helped make the Astros’ starting rotation the unquestioned best in the game. Martinez, on the other hand, rejuvenated the Red Sox’ previously dormant offense and made it a force to be reckoned with again, coming within inches of the Triple Crown in the process.

What’s even more interesting is the new dynamic the rematch presents. As previously mentioned, the Sox parted ways with John Farrell last fall after his controversial pitching decisions killed the team’s rally and got them bounced from the ALDS for the second straight year. Who did they hire almost immediately after?  Houston Bench Coach Alex Cora, who resigned from AJ Hinch’s staff after Game 7.  Though there doesn’t appear to be any hard feelings on Houston’s side, it’s safe to bet that it will still serve as motivation.

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Red Sox rookie manager Alex Cora finds himself opposite the team he helped lead win it all last season (The Boston Globe).

Boston’s motivation is quite simple, don’t lose to the same team two years in a row. To do this, the team will have to find a way to topple that lethal trio of Verlander, Keuchel and Cole, but also to shut down Houston’s relentless offense, led in the ALDS by Alex Bregman and George Springer. Though he was injured for a majority of the year, Jose Altuve still goes without saying as well.

Don’t get it wrong, though. The Red Sox are no slouches, featuring two MVP front runners in Martinez and Mookie Betts alongside Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts. Chris Sale anchors a rotation that fared quite well against the Yankees in the LDS (with the obvious exception of David Price). Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello were all excellent vs. New York’s powerful core, Cora will be hoping they can replicate that success. He has announced that Price will start Game 2 despite yet another disaster in ALDS Game 2, the reasoning behind this decision is anyone’s guess.

Game 1 is Saturday at 8:09 PM ET on TBS from Fenway Park. Each team will lead off with its ace, Verlander vs. Sale. Don’t miss it!

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American League

Orioles Part Ways with Buck Showalter

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The Baltimore Orioles will be in search for a new manager as Buck Showalter will not return to his manager post in 2019 following a 9 year run with the organization, according to ESPN.

Showalter, 62, was at the helm for a nightmare 2018 that saw the team trade Mann Machado as they decided to start a massive youth movement, and the O’s went 47-115 to became just the fifth major league team since 1900 to lose 115 games or more in a season.

“Mr. Angelos’ family has been great to me and mine,” Showalter said on Sunday regarding the pending decision of owner Peter Angelos . “So whatever direction they decide to go, I’m at peace with it.”

“It’s about winning the game,” Showalter said at the conclusion of the season. “That’s one of the things I really feel like we need to get back to, the expectations of winning. That’s part of it. You’ve got to have expectations of winning, regardless of if you’re whatever they call it nowadays — building. I don’t believe in rebuild, the word rebuild. The first thing you have to accomplish, and one of the things I tried to do when I got here, is to raise the expectations of winning.”

Per the report, Showalter received official word in a meeting with brothers John and Lou Angelos on Wednesday morning.

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American League

White Sox Outright Dustin Garneau

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The Chicago White Sox have outrighted catcher Dustin Garneau to Triple-A Charlotte, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Daryl Van Schouwen.

With the move the White Sox created an open spot on their 40-man roster.

Garneau posted a dreadful .194/.269/.321 over 280 plate appearances at the major league level, a far drop off from his production at the Triple-A level this season, where he posted a .252/.340/.468 line to go along with seven homeruns.

 

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