2 former major leaguers die in Venezuela crash
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.”
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.