The Pittsburgh Pirates hired Derek Shelton as their new manager, general manager Ben Cherington announced on Wednesday.
Shelton, 49, replaces Clint Hurdle, who was fired in September after nine seasons with the team. The new skipper will be introduced at PNC Park on Dec. 4.
Though Shelton has worked in various coaching roles since 2005, this is his first stint as a manager at the major league level. He previously worked as a manager in the New York Yankees farm system. He was bench coach of the Minnesota Twins the past two seasons.
—The Padres and Brewers completed the first significant trade of the offseason, with San Diego sending middle infielder Luis Urias and left-hander Eric Lauer to Milwaukee in exchange for outfielder Trent Grisham and right-hander Zach Davies. The centerpieces of the swap are Grisham and Urias.
Grisham, who played 51 games in the majors in 2019, was expected to occupy the Brewers’ outfield for years to come. Urias has been described as a Jose Altuve-type of player — a sharp hitter and slick fielder who has the potential to hit with power despite his smaller stature.
With the Brewers, Urias is expected to play shortstop and team with second baseman Keston Hiura. The 22-year-old had 215 at-bats with the Padres in 2019, registering eight doubles, four home runs and 24 RBIs. He finished with a .223 batting average.
—The Texas Rangers bolstered their rotation by agreeing to a three-year deal with veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson, according to multiple reports.
The team did not confirm the deal, which is reportedly worth $30 million and is contingent on Gibson passing a physical.
Gibson, 32, has spent his entire seven-year career with the Minnesota Twins, racking up a 67-68 record with a 4.52 ERA in 193 games (188 starts). He went 13-7 last season, posting a 4.84 ERA and striking out 160 batters in 160 innings.
—The Seattle Mariners agreed to a one-year deal with free agent right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. According to multiple media reports, the contract is worth $950,000.
Edwards was a key cog when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016 but fell on hard times last season when he went 1-1 with an 8.47 ERA in 22 appearances with the Cubs and the San Diego Padres.
Edwards’ downfall last season was unforeseen. He was 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 58 relief appearances for the Cubs in 2018.
—Twins All-Star shortstop Jorge Polanco underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle on Friday, the team announced.
The Twins said Polanco had the procedure to repair an impingement. He will be able to resume baseball activities in six weeks and should be healthy by spring training. The club said the injury was caused by repetitive stress.
Polanco, 26, enjoyed a career year in 2019, batting .295 with 22 homers, 40 doubles and 79 RBIs in 153 games. He was the first Twins shortstop to start in the All-Star Game since Roy Smalley in 1979.
—Slugging second baseman-shortstop Jonathan Villar was placed on outright waivers by the Baltimore Orioles, according to multiple media reports. The move was made to beat the non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players on Monday.
According to MASN Sports, which first reported the move, the Orioles were unable to find an acceptable deal with another team for Villar.
The switch-hitting Dominican is coming off his best statistical year with the Orioles, including career highs in hits (176), home runs (24) and RBIs (73) while batting .274. He also had 40 stolen bases, which ranked third in the American League.
—New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, who was a starter on Opening Day last season, has opted for free agency over a Triple-A assignment, according to multiple media reports.
Bird, 27, was designated for assignment on Nov. 20. Though he was their Opening Day starter, Bird played in only 10 regular-season games last season after sustaining a plantar fascia tear. He finished with one home run and one RBI while batting .171.
He started his major league career impressively in 2015, hitting 11 home runs with 31 RBIs in 157 at-bats while taking over for injured veteran Mark Teixeira, then missed 2016 with a shoulder injury and played just 140 games in the next three seasons.
—Field Level Media