2 for­mer ma­jor lea­guers die in Venezuela crash

The Bradenton Herald - - Sports -

For­mer ma­jor league play­ers Luis Val­buena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash in Venezuela caused by high­way ban­dits who then robbed them, of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

The 33-year-old Val­buena and 37-year-old Castillo died when their SUV crashed as it tried to veer around an ob­ject placed in the road, Yaracuy state Gov. Julio Leon Here­dia said on his Twit­ter ac­count. He said four peo­ple have been de­tained af­ter be­ing found with prop­erty of the ath­letes.

Val­buena and Castillo were team­mates in the Venezue­lan win­ter league and re­turn­ing from a game in the cap­i­tal. Third base­man Car­los Rivero sur­vived, ac­cord­ing to the web­site beis­bol­play.

Val­buena hit .226 with 114 home runs over 11 seasons with the An­gels, Seat­tle, Cleve­land, the Chicago Cubs and Hous­ton.

Castillo played five seasons with Pitts­burgh, San Fran­cisco and Hous­ton. He had a .254 av­er­age with 39 home runs. Corbin signs on with Nats; Harper still a ques­tion: Pa­trick Corbin put on his No. 46 Na­tion­als jer­sey as ro­ta­tion-mates Max Scherzer and Stephen Stras­burg looked on at the news con­fer­ence to in­tro­duce the lefty starter with the $140 mil­lion, six-year con­tract.

Washington for­mally an­nounced the ad­di­tion of free-agent Corbin on Fri­day, the lat­est in a flurry of off­sea­son moves by gen­eral man­ager Mike Rizzo.

Rizzo said the deal with Corbin, 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA for Ari­zona in 2018, is “in­de­pen­dent” of what might hap­pen with right fielder Bryce Harper, who has played his en­tire ca­reer for the Na­tion­als but now is a highly prized free agent.

Goldy keep­ing op­tions open: Now that he is with the Car­di­nals, Paul Gold­schmidt is not think­ing be­yond the 2019 sea­son.

The six-time All-Star was ac­quired from Ari­zona this week and will earn $14.5 mil­lion in the fi­nal sea­son of a seven-year deal that will pay $46 mil­lion. If he doesn’t sign a new con­tract, he would be among the top free agents next off­sea­son.

“Try not to have any dis­trac­tions, so any­thing like that won’t be on my mind,” Gold­schmidt said at his in­tro­duc­tory news con­fer­ence.

Gold­schmidt did not rule out any con­tract talks with the Car­di­nals, but said his long­time pref­er­ence has been to “keep any­thing pri­vate.”

No­table

Padres: Free agent pitcher Gar­rett Richards and San Diego have fi­nal­ized a $15.5 mil­lion, two-year con­tract. Richards will earn $7 mil­lion next year and $8.5 mil­lion in 2020.

He can earn an ad­di­tional $2.5 mil­lion an­nu­ally in per­for­mance bonuses: $250,000 for each start from 21 through 30. Richards was 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA last sea­son for the Los An­ge­les An­gels be­fore re­con­struc­tive surgery in July. Di­a­mond­backs: Righthander Mer­rill Kelly is join­ing his home­town Ari­zona team, agree­ing to a $5.5 mil­lion, two-year con­tract. The 30-year-old spent the past four seasons with SK Wyverns in South Korea.

He was 48-32 with a 3.86 ERA, in­clud­ing 16-7 in 2017. A Scotts­dale na­tive, Kelly at­tended Desert Moun­tain High School, Yava­pai Col­lege and Ari­zona State. He was taken by Tampa Bay on the eighth round of the 2010 am­a­teur draft and rose to Triple-A in the Rays’ sys­tem.

Mets: Jared Ban­ner has been hired as ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of player devel­op­ment af­ter more than a decade with the Bos­ton Red Sox.

The Mets also pro­moted Ian Levin to se­nior direc­tor of base­ball op­er­a­tions on Fri­day af­ter two years as direc­tor of player devel­op­ment, an ex­panded role that also will in­clude an­a­lyt­ics, health and per­for­mance.

The 32-year-old Ban­ner is a New York na­tive who was Amherst’s base­ball cap­tain and joined the Red Sox front of­fice as a fel­low in 2007.

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