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.

Hardy leaves early, Jimenez doesn't get out of fifth in 7-1 loss

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Hardy leaves early, Jimenez doesn't get out of fifth in 7-1 loss

BALTIMORE— In the past two days, the Orioles may have suffered disabling injuries to two key players. On Saturday, Zach Britton left the game with a sprained left ankle, and Sunday, J.J. Hardy was forced out when he fouled a ball on his left foot, bruising it. 

Britton was optimistic that he would be able to avoid the disabled list, but Hardy who left the ballpark during game, could be a different story. 

Both are scheduled for MRIs on Monday. 

The injuries worsened a depressing day for the Orioles, who left 12 men on base in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox before 28,803 at Oriole Park. 

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed six runs, five of them in the fifth inning as the Orioles fell behind 6-0. Jimenez walked four, hit two batters and threw a wild pitch, but after the game, it was Hardy everyone wanted to talk about. 

“It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard, because he’s one of those guys that’s going to do everything possible in his hands to get an out. He never gives up. It doesn’t matter where the ball is, he’s going to go after it and try to get you out of the inning. It’s hard, but we have a team. That’s what a team is for. You have to find a way for one for the guys to step up and keep doing what he was doing and hopefully he’s not out for a long time,” Jimenez said. 

Hardy was injured during a fourth inning at-bat when he drew a walk. In the top of the fourth, he amazed his teammates by catching a ball that had ricocheted off Manny Machado’s glove at third base and firing it to first to catch Todd Frazier. 

“That’s unbelievable. Just to be here to watch that play. I don’t know if there will be a better play made the whole year,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Showalter much preferred talking about the play than the possibility his team would have to do without Hardy, who played the first 22 games at shortstop without an error. 

“I’ve got an idea. Right now it’s a contusion. He fouled a ball off his foot and it got real stiff and sore quickly. And so he’s going to get some more detail. I think it’s a scan tomorrow to see the extent of it,” Showalter said. 

The Orioles hope to know Monday afternoon what Hardy’s prognosis will be. If Hardy goes to the DL, it’s likely Ryan Flaherty, who was sent to Norfolk last Monday because the team temporarily wanted to keep 13 pitchers, will return.

Currently, the Orioles have Yovani Gallardo and Jimmy Paredes on the disabled list. They don’t want that number to double.

“We knew it wasn't a matter of if, it was when. You hope it's if. Some teams get real lucky in a year. But it's nothing we can't overcome, and nothing guys won't be back from at some point,” Showalter said. 

Adam Jones, who missed time last month with a rib cage injury, thinks the Orioles won’t be terribly hurt. 

“Everybody’s going through the same thing. It’s unfortunate, but everybody has to go through it and it’s a true test of what a team is all about,” Jones said. 

“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the grind. Things happen.”

In the fourth, The White Sox (18-8) took a 1-0 lead on Brett Lawrie’s fourth home run, three of them hit in the past three games.

Jimenez (1-3) pitched out of trouble in the second inning when he loaded the bases on a single and two walks with none out. He struck out Dioner Navarro and got Austin Jackson to hit into a double play. 

In the fifth, Chicago took a 6-0 lead on five hits, a walk and two hit batsmen. Jerry Sands’ two-run single was the biggest hit and Jimenez’s final batter. 

Chris Sale (6-0) continued his dominance, but for the first time he didn’t make it through seven innings. He didn’t even get through six. 

Sale allowed five hits and walked four in 5 1/3, but only one runner scored.

Chris Davis singled to lead off the sixth, and after Pedro Alvarez bounced out, Jake Petricka gave up a single to Nolan Reimold to score Davis. 

Alvarez came into the game to play third base when Hardy left after five innings. Machado moved to shortstop. 

Monday is a day off, and the New York Yankees arrive Tuesday for a three-game series. The Orioles (14-10) had a good first four weeks of the season.

“It’s been cold a lot of places. We’ve had a lot of fun. I just think when it heats up, we’re going to have a lot more fun,” Jones said.

MORE ORIOLES: BRACH SEEMS ALWAYS TO BE IN RIGHT PLACE FOR THE WIN

Hyun Soo Kim's improved play is winning over Buck Showalter

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Hyun Soo Kim's improved play is winning over Buck Showalter

BALTIMORE— A month ago, the Orioles were angry with Hyun Soo Kim because he didn’t want to go to the minor leagues. Now, he’s batting .600. 

Kim had three more hits in Saturday night’s game. He’s 9-for-15 in four starts, and he’s 2-for-2 in pinch hitting appearances. 

Manager Buck Showalter likes to say about players who campaign for more playing time: “You want to play more? Play better.” 

Showalter says it’s true in Kim’s case.

“That’s why I’ve played him,” Showalter said. “That’s how it works. Whose place should he take?” 

Both Kim and Pedro Alvarez, who has three multi-hit games this week, have hit recently, creating a happy dilemma for Showalter. 

“I like that challenge,” Showalter said. “I haven’t quite figured out how it works mathematically. It’s kind of hard.” 

The left-handed Kim has had all his at-bats against right-handers.

“You get an idea about guys, kind of who they might match up against well initially,” Showalter said. “You don’t know. I still don’t for sure. I know he’s had some good at-bats off certain guys. We’ll see if he can go to the next level against some other guys.” 

Showalter feels that Kim has made the most out of not playing most of the first month. He’s had quite an adjustment to U.S. baseball from South Korea. 

“I think Kim’s benefitted a little bit by being able to step back and watch something unfold that he didn’t know what was going to happen, the stadiums, the fields, the pitchers, all the things we do differently here,” Showalter said. 

 

Buck Showalter refuses to designate closer in Zach Britton's absence

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Buck Showalter refuses to designate closer in Zach Britton's absence

BALTIMORE -- Buck Showalter won’t designate a closer to fill in while Zach Britton recuperates from a sprained left ankle. 

“I’ll never tell till we get there,” Showalter said. “We have some options.” 

Darren O’Day filled in for Britton last September when he had a lat injury. In 2015, O’Day had six saves, and Brad Brach had one. 

O’Day threw 21 pitches in allowing three runs in the eighth inning on Saturday night, the second straight game he appeared in, so he might not be available.

“We’ve got certain guys, and I’m not going to broadcast it before the game…that aren’t available. I’m not going to pitch them today,” Showalter said. 

Brad Brach, who picked up his first major league save and didn’t pitch Saturday, would likely be the next choice.

Mychal Givens, who saved 15 games for Bowie last year, could be another option. Showalter refused to rule out Dylan Bundy.

“I’d think about anybody that gives us the best chance to win a game. All eight guys down there [are] in play. Not one more than another,” Showalter said. 

“They’re all relevant. There’s just a certain finality about that inning.”