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Aaron Boone made decision to move Gleyber Torres to second base, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman says

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CARLSBAD, Calif. — New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone made the decision to shift Gleyber Torres from shortstop to second base late in the season.

General manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday there was not a single instance that led to the decision.

“Maybe through a lot of therapy I forgot and eliminated it, but ultimately once he moved over to second, it was almost a relief for him,” Cashman said. “So I’m sure there was a buildup over the course of a week or a 10-day period that a few things happened and it was like we have to do something here.

“And that came from the manager’s chair, and he did it. He just told me, ‘This is what I think we’ve got to do, and we’re going to do it,’ and I said, ‘No problem.'”

Torres, who turns 25 next month, was primarily a second baseman during his first two seasons with the Yankees in 2018 and 2019. He filled in at shortstop when Didi Gregorius got hurt and was moved there for 2020 after Gregorius left as a free agent.

Torres made 18 errors at shortstop, third in the AL behind 24 by Toronto’s Bo Bichette and 19 by Texas’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Torres was moved to second base on Sept. 13 with three weeks left in the regular season.

Torres hit .259 with nine homers and 51 RBIs, up from .243 with three homers and 16 RBIs during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but down from .278 with 38 homers and 90 RBIs in 2019, when made the AL All-Star team for the second straight season.

Cashman is in the market for a shortstop.

“Once we signed (DJ) LeMahieu back, we knew that it was going to cement Gleyber as our shortstop, and so we had hopes that it was going to work out, but it didn’t,” Cashman said.

ON COLE

Cashman praised ace Gerrit Cole, a finalist for the AL Cy Young Award after going 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA despite second-half struggles.

Cole began 8-3 with a 2.31 ERA in 14 starts. Then, after Major League Baseball launched its crackdown on unauthorized grip substances on June 21, Cole went 8-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 16 starts.

“He was fantastic for us this year,” Cashman said, “despite obviously injuries” and “some changes in the game.”

Cole was 1-1 with a 7.64 ERA in his last three starts after returning from left hamstring tightness and lost the AL wild card game against Boston, allowing two homers and three runs while lasting two innings.

“He’s never going to say the hamstring bothered him, once he kept going again. He’s never going to say he was tired,” Cashman said. “But I think all of that’s possible.”

JUDGE

Cashman said the Yankees will have contract talks with the agent for Aaron Judge, who is eligible for free agency after next season. Judge is eligible for salary arbitration after making $10,175,000, and New York could try to negotiate a multiyear deal.

FRAZIER

Outfielder Clint Frazier did not play after June 30 because of what the Yankees have listed as vertigo. Cashman said Frazier is working out in Atlanta ahead of 2022.

“There’s a lot of expectation and optimism that what transpired will not be an issue as he enters next season,” Cashman said.

Cashman wouldn’t detail any new information on Frazier’s diagnosis, saying “he can speak to it at some point whenever he’s comfortable doing so.”

Frazier missed a large portion of 2018 with a concussion after he collided with an outfield wall during a spring training game at Bradenton, Florida.

“I’d love to have the opportunity to talk about this situation publicly and probably plan to do so soon,” Frazier wrote on Twitter on Oct. 11. “My issues have been very personal to me and something I’ve wanted to handle privately, but there’s been a lot of inaccurate things reported about my injury that I’ll clear up.”

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Wander Franco finalizes $182 million, 11-year contract in ‘great day’ for Tampa Bay Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wander Franco and the Tampa Bay Rays have finalized a $182 million, 11-year contract that includes a club option for the 2033 season.

The shortstop’s deal, which could be worth up to $223 million if the club option is exercised and incentives are reached, was announced Saturday.

“This is a great day for Wander and for the Rays, and is evidence of the mutual trust between Wander and our organization,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement. “We are committed to fielding competitive teams year in and year out, and we all expect that Wander’s presence and contributions will play a large part in maintaining our standard of excellence.”

Tampa Bay won the AL East in 2021, but was eliminated by Boston in the ALDS.

The contract is the largest financial commitment to a player in the Rays’ 24-year history. It’s also the biggest deal in major league history for a player with less than a year of major league service time.

Franco is the fifth player with less than a year of big league experience to sign a long-term extension with the team. The others are third baseman Evan Longoria (2008), left-hander Matt Moore (2011), right-hander Chris Archer (2014) and second baseman Brandon Lowe (2019).

“The pace at which Wander has developed speaks to his potential,” Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said in a statement. “We have seen him do special things on the field, particularly for a player that is only 20 years old. He’s an exceptionally driven, budding superstar who can contribute to our success for a long time.”

Franco made his major league debut June 22 and hit a three-run homer. He batted .288 with 18 doubles, five triples, seven homers and 39 RBI in 70 games. He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Franco put together a 43-game on-base streak to tie Cincinnati’s Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest in major league history among players under 21. He went 7 for 19 (.368) with two homers and four RBI in four postseason games.

Franco would have been eligible for free agency after the 2027 season. He gets a $5 million signing bonus, with $2.5 million payments on Dec. 1 and June 1, 2022.

The yearly salary breakdown is: $1 million in 2022, $2 million in 2023 and 2024, $8 million in 2025, $15 million in 2026, $22 million in 2027 and $25 million in each of the last five seasons. The 2033 club option is $25 million, with a $2 million buyout.

Franco’s deal also includes salary escalators if he finishes in the top five in voting for AL MVP. If he is traded before April 2, 2029, Franco receives a $3 million assignment bonus. It drops to $2 million if he is dealt on or after that date.

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Hector Neris agrees to 2-year, $17M deal with Houston Astros

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The Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal with right-handed reliever Hector Neris, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Neris, 32, started the 2021 season as the closer for the Phillies but lost the job in June. He finished the season with a 4-7 record with 12 saves and a 3.63 ERA in 74 games.

In parts of eight seasons with the Phillies, Neris was 21-29 with a 3.42 ERA and 84 saves.

NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported the deal.

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New York Mets add talent, depth with Starling Marte and more

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Black Friday, a great American tradition, is supposed to be about a frenzied, wild-eyed scramble for bargains. And on this particular Black Friday, the Mets were certainly frenzied — we can only imagine what the eyes of Steve Cohen looked like as his club signed three free-agent hitters over the span of a few hours. Whether any of the deals for this trio qualifies as a bargain, though, we’ll have to wait and see.

It’s been an eventful offseason so far for the Mets, whose initial task after they wrapped up a 77-85 season was to find an executive to oversee all of this. It took them awhile, as they were linked in the rumor mill to everybody from Theo Epstein to Branch Rickey, but they landed on former Angels general manager Billy Eppler.

Meanwhile, as the early free-agent market heated up for starting pitchers, New York saw former rotation members Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz sign elsewhere and watched from afar as Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodriguez, Anthony DeSclafani and others came off the market. Then Cohen sounded off about Matz’s agent on his always-entertaining Twitter feed.

It has all been, well, kind of frenzied and a little wild-eyed. In other words, the Mets have been in Black Friday mode all along — it just wasn’t until the day after Thanksgiving that they finally got some players to show for it.

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