Wright, Mets agree to $138M deal; Hanson traded

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Wright, Mets agree to $138M deal; Hanson traded

David Wright agreed to the richest contract in Mets history, Tommy Hanson was traded to the Angels and Brian Wilson became a free agent on a busy day in baseball when dozens of players were dumped by their teams.

Houston scooped up Philip Humber, hoping he's a perfect fit, and Mariano Rivera returned for another season with the Yankees. He'll be throwing to a new catcher, though, after Russell Martin completed his $17 million, two-year deal with Pittsburgh on Friday.

Jair Jurrjens, Mark Reynolds, Mike Pelfrey and Geovany Soto were among the most notable names who became free agents Saturday after their former clubs declined to tender them contracts for next season.

Teams had until midnight EST on Friday to make 2013 offers to unsigned players on 40-man rosters. Clubs can re-sign those players, but by letting them go free now they are permitted to cut their pay by more than 20 percent.

Wilson, the All-Star closer with the overgrown beard who missed nearly all of last season with an elbow injury, was among 40 non-tendered players. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants chose not to offer him a contract as he recovers from a second Tommy John surgery.

Wright and the Mets settled on a $138 million, eight-year deal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The agreement replaces the All-Star third baseman's $16 million salary for next season and includes $122 million in new money, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.

Some of the money in Wright's deal will be deferred.

A homegrown fan favorite, Wright is the club's career leader in several major offensive categories, including hits, RBIs, runs and walks. He turns 30 on Dec. 20 and would have been eligible for free agency after next season.

Wright plans to attend teammate Daniel Murphy's wedding in Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend, then travel to New York for a physical. His big deal probably will be announced at next week's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., the person said.

Atlanta shipped Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for former closer Jordan Walden, clearing a spot in the Braves' rotation for Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado or another young starter.

Hanson's velocity decreased as he battled rotator cuff tendinitis in 2011 and a lower back strain in 2012. But the 26-year-old right-hander was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts over four big league seasons with the Braves.

``It's a good risk on a pitcher we really believe in,'' Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

Walden had 32 saves in 2011, making the All-Star team as a rookie, but lost his closer's role to Ernesto Frieri this year and finished 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA. He became expendable when the Angels agreed this week to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with reliever Ryan Madson.

Walden gives Atlanta another hard-thrower for its bullpen to help set up dominant closer Craig Kimbrel. His fastball has been clocked at close to 100 mph, and he had 48 strikeouts in 39 innings last season.

``We've been focused on adding a power arm to our bullpen all offseason,'' Braves general manager Frank Wren said. ``We felt if we added one power arm we would have a bullpen that would stack up with the best bullpens in our league. Jordan Walden has closing experience and the kind of arm that will stack up well in a seventh- and eighth-inning role for us.''

The ninth inning in New York belongs to Rivera, who accepted a cut in guaranteed money when he finalized a $10 million, one-year contract after missing most of the season with a knee injury.

The career saves leader, who turned 43 on Thursday, took a cut from his $30 million deal that covered the last two years - but he can earn additional money in award bonuses.

Rivera was limited to nine games this year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3.

``Like I've been saying, I didn't want to go out like that,'' he said in a statement. ``I didn't want that to be the last image. But it wasn't an easy decision because there's more than just baseball with me. ... I'm not just coming back to play. I'm coming back to win.''

Rivera, with 608 saves in the regular season and 42 more in the postseason, is a 12-time All-Star. The Yankees say his recovery from June 12 knee surgery will be complete by opening day.

By then, Martin will be handling a new pitching staff in Pittsburgh after spending the past two seasons with New York.

The free-agent catcher goes from a franchise that's won a record 27 World Series titles to a team that has endured a record 20 consecutive losing seasons.

``It's going to be different,'' Martin said. ``It's going to be a challenge but I think the Pirates have a young and electric club. There is a lot of talent there and I don't think we're as far away from winning as maybe people outside baseball think we are.''

Humber, who threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox last season, was claimed off waivers by the Astros and agreed to a one-year contract. He gets an $800,000 salary next year and Houston holds a club option for $3 million in 2014 with a $50,000 buyout.

The 29-year-old right-hander went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 games last season, including 16 starts.

Wilson was the 2010 major league saves leader with 48, but made only two appearances for the Giants this year after experiencing elbow trouble in April. He underwent ligament-replacement surgery April 19, his second such procedure on his pitching elbow after also having it done while in college at LSU in 2003, and missed the team's run to its second championship in three years.

The 30-year-old Wilson, who earned $8.5 million during his injury-shortened 2012 season, would be due to make at least $6.8 million next year under the rule limiting pay cuts to a maximum of 20 percent. By letting him go free, the Giants can sign him for a lower price, though the pitcher has apparently already hinted he will look for work elsewhere.

During the club's latest postseason run, Sergio Romo proved to be a reliable ninth-inning option in Wilson's place.

``I like our choices, including him being one, as we start the regular season,'' Giants general manager Brian Sabean said.

Jurrjens, an All-Star in 2011, was non-tendered by the Braves after getting demoted to the minors last season. Atlanta also declined to offer a 2013 contract to reliever Peter Moylan, but claimed right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from Boston.

The Red Sox cut ties with outfielder Ryan Sweeney and pitchers Scott Atchison and Rich Hill. Jack Hannahan was let go by Cleveland, clearing the way for youngster Lonnie Chisenhall to start at third base.

Baltimore chose not to offer a contract to Reynolds, the strikeout-prone slugger who hit 23 home runs last season after connecting for 37 the previous year.

Pelfrey, a 15-game winner in 2010, made only three starts this year before having season-ending Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. The Mets let him go Friday, along with outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Manny Acosta.

Washington cut ties with pitchers Tom Gorzelanny and John Lannan as well as catcher Jesus Flores.

Soto, once an All-Star catcher and the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, was let go by Texas.

Other players not offered contracts included pitcher Manny Parra (Milwaukee), outfielder Nate Schierholtz (Philadelphia), pitcher Jeff Karstens (Pittsburgh), outfielder Ben Francisco (Tampa Bay), third baseman Ian Stewart (Cubs) and reliever Daniel Schlereth (Tigers).

In other moves, the Angels claimed outfielder Scott Cousins off waivers from Seattle, the Yankees claimed right-hander Jim Miller off waivers from Oakland, and Miami claimed first baseman-outfielder Joe Mahoney off waivers from Baltimore.

Arizona released right-hander Brad Bergesen, and the Yankees designated infielder Jayson Nix for assignment.

Players agreeing to one-year contracts that avoided arbitration included Pittsburgh pitcher Charlie Morton ($2 million), Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz ($1.05 million), Oakland first baseman Daric Barton ($1.1 million) and infielder Adam Rosales ($700,000), and Indians right-hander Blake Wood ($560,000).

The Pirates also made a pair of small trades, acquiring minor league right-hander Zach Thornton from Oakland for reliever Chris Resop, and minor league pitcher Jhondaniel Medina from Baltimore for infielder Yamaico Navarro.

Elsewhere, former big leaguer Chan Ho Park announced his retirement. The first South Korean-born player in the majors and a 2001 All-Star, he holds the major league record for wins by an Asian pitcher (124).

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

Orioles hope to stop skid, start Mike Wright against Indians

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Orioles hope to stop skid, start Mike Wright against Indians

Tonight's Game: Baltimore Orioles (26-19) vs. Cleveland Indians (25-20), Progressive Field, Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Mike Wright (2-3, 4.97) vs. Trevor Bauer (3-2, 4.31)

Keys to the Game: 

Can the Orioles halt their losing streak? They've lost four straight for the first time this season.

Can the strikeouts stop? The Orioles struck out a major league record 52 times in three games. 

News and Notes:

Wright has never faced the Indians.

The Orioles have beaten Bauer in both of their games against him. 

Chris Davis has just one home run and two RBIs in his last 12 games. His average has fallen from .250 to .229. 

Adam Jones is 3-for-39 and his average has dropped from .267 to .223.

Orioles strikeouts continue, losing streak reaches four

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Orioles strikeouts continue, losing streak reaches four

Astros 4, Orioles 2 

Winner: McCullers (1-1) 
Loser:  Gausman  (0-2) 
Save: Giles (1) 

WHAT WENT WRONG: Kevin Gausman equaled his career high by allowing three home runs, two to George Springer and a two-run shot by Luis Valbuena.

The last time he allowed three homers was on May 28, 2013, his second major league start, against the Nationals.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Rookie Ashur Tolliver, who had been in the Orioles minor league system since 2009, made his major league debut with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. 

MORE ORIOLES: MANY UNDERSTUDIES FOR WIETERS

STREAKING THE WRONG WAY: The Orioles have lost four straight games for the first time this season. 

LATE OFFENSE: The Orioles had just two hits came in the first eight innings, a home run by Mark Trumbo in the second, and Hyun Soo Kim’s single in the sixth. 

In the ninth, Kim singled and came home on a long single by Manny Machado.

STRIKING OUT, STRIKING OUT: The Orioles struck out 15 times, enabling Houston pitchers to set a major league record with 52 in the three-game series.

LEAVING THEM ON: Lance McCullers walked the bases loaded in the fifth, but Matt Wieters struck out to end the inning.

OOPS: Machado made his third error in two games. 

GOODBYE VALBUENA: The Orioles will be happy to say goodbye to Luis Valbuena, who homered in all three games against the Orioles. He has seven lifetime home runs (against Baltimore.

UP NEXT: Mike Wright (2-3, 4.97) faces Trevor Bauer (3-2, 4.31) as the Orioles begin a three-game series in Cleveland on Friday night. 

Wieters has had many understudies in his Orioles time

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Wieters has had many understudies in his Orioles time

For the first time in his eight seasons with the Orioles, Matt Wieters has had lots of backup catchers. 

Caleb Joseph, who never saw Wieters catch a game with Orioles until last June, has been with the team since May 2014, and he’s arguably the most skilled of Wieters’ understudies. 

How many of these names do you recognize? 

When Wieters came up on May 29, 2009, he supplanted Gregg Zaun as the Orioles’ regular catcher. That was the plan all along, but Zaun was miffed at backing up the highly touted rookie, and he was sent to Tampa Bay in August. 

Chad Moeller was Wieters’ No. 2 for the remainder of 2009. 

MORE ORIOLES: HOT WIETERS PLAYING THREE STRAIGHT

Craig Tatum took over for Moeller in 2010 and he and Jake Fox were Wieters’ substitutes in 2011. 

A year later when the Orioles went on to the postseason for the first time in 14 years, Luis Exposito, Ronny Paulino and Taylor Teagarden were the catchers,

Teagarden returned in 2013, but was let go in late August. Steve Clevenger and Chris Snyder also caught that year. 

Clevenger began 2014 as Wieters’ backup, but when he was injured, Joseph was brought up from Norfolk, and Nick Hundley was acquired from San Diego. Hundley never played with the Orioles when Wieters was active. 

Last year, Ryan Lavarnway began the year as Joseph’s backup, but was cast aside after a few weeks. Clevenger also played in 2015.