Ordonez's victory in the city of Sotillo in eastern Venezuela was announced by President Nicolas Maduro at a rally Sunday for pro-government candidates who won the majority of 335 races nationwide.
The socialist president has turned to celebrity candidates such as the six-time All-Star to overcome rising anger with his handling of the economy. Maduro prevailed in his first electoral test since narrowly winning the presidency in April following the death of Hugo Chavez.
Ordonez retired in 2012 with a career .309 average over 15 seasons with the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. The right fielder's 294 homers are the second-most by a Venezuela-born player, trailing only Andres Galarraga's 399.
On the first official day of the meetings, the team reached a $1.75 million deal with Paulino for 2014, with a $4 million team option for 2015. There is also a $250,000 buyout for 2015.
Paulino made seven minor league rehab starts in the Kansas City Royals' organization last season after undergoing ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery in 2012. He had an 0-3 record with a 6.51 ERA in outings that were split between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.
Before he was injured in 2012, Paulino was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in seven starts with the Royals. In 93 career big league appearances (61 starts) over five seasons with the Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies and Royals, the 30-year-old was 13-32 with a 4.93 ERA and 359 strikeouts in 385 1/3 innings.
For three seasons (2006 to 2008), Paulino was rated by Baseball America as having the best fastball in the Astros' organization.
UPDATE: ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney tweets the Diamondbacks are “among the teams with the most serious trade interest in Chris Sale -- IF they would agree to part with him.”
Compared to past winters, the available crop of top free agent starters is not particularly strong. Given that many teams remain in the market for rotation help, those with a surplus could be more prompted to deal.
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, baseball's winningest managers over the past four decades, were unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday by the expansion era committee.
All three won more than 2,000 games and were selected on all 16 ballots when the committee met Sunday ahead of baseball's winter meetings.
"Managing against them, you certainly learned things," said Torre, now an executive vice president for Major League Baseball. "I am honored to go into the Hall with these two guys."
The induction ceremony will be July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"They say when you're voted to the Hall of Fame your life changes," Cox said. "And it has. I've got goose bumps, and it's the greatest honor that we could ever have."
Torre became the fifth manager to win four World Series championships, leading the New York Yankees to titles in 1996 and from 1998 to 2000 -- beating Cox's Braves twice. After making only one trip to the playoffs in 14 seasons with the New York Mets, St. Louis and Atlanta, Torre guided the Yankees to the postseason in all 12 of his years in the Bronx with a cool, patient demeanor.
His popularity rankled owner George Steinbrenner, who didn't receive the necessary 75 percent of the vote for election in his second appearance on the ballot.
"I think it is a mistake," Yankees president Randy Levine told ESPNNewYork.com. "I congratulate Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. All of them were thoroughly deserving, but I think there is no doubt that George Steinbrenner was one of the greatest figures in the history of the game. He, more than anybody, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I fully expect he will be one day."
That $2.5 million price tag for the Sox to bring back Paul Konerko for one last season -- $1.5 million when taking into account that $1 million was deferred -- fits right into the team’s apparent plan to slash payroll.
The White Sox have yet to officially call 2014 a money-saving season, but as the roster takes shape with more youth than usual, the White Sox are poised to cut the budget dramatically.
Sure, Jose Abreu was given a six-year, $68 million contract in October, the largest in team history in terms of overall money, but the front office is playing it much more conservatively with its cash, despite the large chunk of change given to its new first baseman.
What do they need? They've already been active, trading away Prince Fielder and Doug Fister and signing Joe Nathan, but everyone seems to think they have one big move left in them -- sign a free agent outfielder to play left field. Shin-Soo Choo is the best one remaining now that Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson are off the board.
Do you trust the bullpen depth? Not yet. They signed Nathan, but Drew Smyly is now in the rotation and Joaquin Benoit is a free agent. Hard-throwing Bruce Rondon will be expected to take a bigger role, but look for them to make another move here, maybe a lefty like Manny Parra or J.P. Howell.
How much better will the defense be? Much better. Some quick math. Fielder was minus-13 in Defensive Runs Saved in 2013; Cabrera was minus-3 when he last played there in 2011. Ian Kinsler was +11 in 2013 versus Omar Infante's minus-5. Jhonny Peralta and Jose Iglesias both rated at 0 DRS at shortstop, although most view Iglesias as the superior defender; let's say he's a +5 defender. Cabrera was minus-18 at third base; rookie Nick Castellanos isn't viewed as a great defender, so let's say he's minus-5 DRS. Overall, we're talking about potentially 40 runs better in infield defense. How happy are Max Scherzer and company right now?
What do they need? The lineup looks set so they need a starting pitcher to replace free agent Ubaldo Jimenez. Maybe Ubaldo Jimenez?
How's the bullpen shaping up? Replacing Chris Perez at closer with Cody Allen should be a minor step up, but they've also lost Joe Smith, their primary setup guy in recent seasons. The Indians' pen went 33-16 in 2013 but a 3.62 ERA in 2013 -- eighth in the AL -- so the win-loss record was a little bit misleading. A trade is more likely here than spending on a free agent.
Will they be shopping Asdrubal Cabrera? This is an interesting one. Top prospect Francisco Lindor reached Double-A last season and just turned 20 years old, but his glove may be big-league ready. Could that lead to a trade for Cabrera, in the final year of his contract? It seems like a long shot to bet on Lindor being rushed, but the Indians could play Mike Aviles at short until Lindor is possibly ready at midseason.
Kansas City Royals
What do they need? Offense. The Royals were 11th in the AL in runs scored in 2013, scoring 28 fewer runs than the year before. Considering it's likely the pitching will regress at least a little bit after leading the league in runs allowed, they need to find more punch to remain a playoff contender. They were rumored to be in on Beltran, but he's gone, leaving second base as the one position they can upgrade.
Who could they get? The Angels have been shopping Howie Kendrick. Nick Franklin of the Mariners is available now that they have Robinson Cano. Brandon Phillips was rumored at one point to be available, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty has now said a trade involving him is unlikely. They could a take a chance on Dan Uggla. Or just stick with Emilio Bonifacio.
Umm, how good is the rotation? Right now, it needs help. James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy and Wade Davis don't look like a playoff rotation to me, although hard-throwing Yordano Ventura showed potential big-time potential in three September starts. The Royals have excess bullpen arms but will likely use them to upgrade second base and hope Duffy and Ventura can stick in the rotation.
What do they need? The Twins already made their "big" splash by signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to help shore up the league's worst rotation. Otherwise, the Twins are primarily sitting tight and waiting for prospects like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano to reach Minnesota.
Anybody they can or should be shopping? Josh Willingham is signed for $7 million for 2014, and he's superfluous for a rebuilding team. Unfortunately, the Twins should have traded him a year ago when he was coming off a 35-homer season. After hitting .208 with 14 home runs, he won't net much in return. But a team like the Orioles or Mariners that needs a left fielder or DH could take a chance.
Any chance the offense gets better? Only the Astros and White Sox scored fewer runs but don't look for anything but minor moves, such as signing a backup catcher (John Buck?). The outfield could use help, but the Twins will likely give Aaron Hicks another shot in center, give Oswaldo Arcia a full season in right, and hope Buxton tears up the minors and joins this group in 2015.
Chicago White Sox
What do they need? Just about everything.
No, seriously, will they do something? Well, they did sign Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu while also re-signing Paul Konerko. Adam Dunn is still here, but he's a 34-homer guy that would be difficult to trade. The "strength" of the team is a rotation that did have a 3.99 ERA (eighth in the AL), but there isn't depth there to trade from.
Would they trade Chris Sale? Can't see that happening; he's signed to a team-friendly contract through 2019 and is clearly the face of the franchise.
Tekotte hit .226 with one home run and two RBIs in 20 games over three stints with the White Sox last season. He also batted .236 in 76 games with Charlotte.
McDade split last season between Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate Columbus and Charlotte, hitting a combined .250 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs over 115 games. He was claimed by Chicago off waivers May 7.
The moves announced Friday put the White Sox's 40-man roster at 37.
Konerko has always maintained that if he gets his regular 600-plus plate appearances his numbers will be there, yet he could be looking at half of that in the upcoming season. In the seasons where the numbers were not to Konerko’s standards (2003, 2008 and 2013) he had 520 plate appearances or less each time.
Now comes the team’s plan to essentially platoon Konerko and Adam Dunn at the designated hitter spot, with newcomer Jose Abreu taking over at first base. As a part-time player and pinch-hit threat Konerko could be facing 350 plate appearances or less.
In his final two seasons in a similar role, former White Sox slugger Jim Thome had 324 combined plate appearances in 2011 and 186 in 2012.
“From here on out, I’m on a quest to learn about the role a little bit, which I have some guys in mind that I’d like to talk to who have done this,” Konerko said Wednesday. “I want to kind of learn. Every guy is different, everybody has a different routine.”
Konerko, 37, will make $2.5 million next season, with $1 million of that deferred until 2021. Under terms of his previous contract signed in December 2010, Konerko will receive $1 million annually from 2014 to 2020.
"It really wasn't a difficult process on our end," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "It was more about giving Paulie all the information and the time and space to come to his own decision about how he felt about the new role. Really, it was just incumbent on us to be honest with him and tell him straight how the fit would work out and how we envisioned the club going forward."
As recently as early November, Konerko had yet to make a decision. But he started to inform teammates of his choice this past weekend. Hahn said last month that a roster spot would be available for Konerko if he wanted it.
Flowers hit .195 with a career-high 10 homers and 24 RBIs in 84 games this year. He is a .200 hitter in 192 career games over five seasons with the White Sox.
The 27-year-old Flowers had season-ending right shoulder surgery on Sept. 5, but is expected to be ready for spring training.
Chicago also announced on Monday that it did not tender a 2014 contract to right-hander Dylan Axelrod, who went 4-11 with a 5.68 ERA in 30 games last season, including 20 starts.
Diamondbacks: Trade Adam Eaton, acquire Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins
Mariners: Trade Nick Franklin, acquire Eaton
Royals: Trade Herrera, Collins, acquire Franklin
The Royals are trying to contend with the likes of Emilio Bonifacio, Chris Getz or Johnny Giavotella playing second base, with Bonifacio the front-runner based on hitting .285 in a 42-game showing with the Royals last season. Please. Don't be fooled: That's the upside of Bonifacio's production and it still comes with no power and not enough walks. The Royals need power after finishing last in the American League in home runs, and Franklin is the rare middle infielder with 20-homer potential (Alex Gordon led the club with 20). The Royals have plenty of depth to deal from their league-best bullpen, and Luke Hochevar can assume the primary setup role and Louis Coleman and Donnie Joseph are available to replace Herrera and Collins.
The Mariners can afford to trade Franklin because they have Dustin Ackley, a very good defensive second baseman whose bat and glove don't profile as well in center field. Move him back to second base, hope his second half (.304/.374/.435) was for real and hand center over to the speedy Eaton.
The Diamondbacks are looking for bullpen help after tying the Astros for the most blown saves in the majors with 29. Attempting to rely again on veterans Heath Bell and J.J. Putz is risky. Herrera throws 100 mph and could develop into a dominating closer while Collins adds left-handed depth. In replacing Eaton, the D-backs can still play A.J. Pollock, a quality defender, in center or move Gold Glover Gerardo Parra over from right. Cody Ross is still around and Martin Prado could play left field with Matt Davidson taking over third.
Dodgers, Rays, Tigers
Dodgers: Trade Andre Ethier (and cash), Corey Seager, Ross Stripling, acquire David Price
Rays: Trade Price, acquire Rick Porcello, Seager, Stripling
Tigers: Trade Porcello, acquire Ethier (and cash)
What, you think the Dodgers are done with the signing of Dan Haren? You know they'd love to add Price to slot alongside Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Imagine a rotation of those three, plus Haren and Hyun-jin Ryu. To get Price, they give up Ethier and millions in cash to help defray the cost of the minimum $71.5 million owed Either through 2017, their 2012 first-round pick in Seager, one of the top shortstop prospects in the minors, and pitcher Stripling, a fifth-round pick in 2012 out of Texas A&M, where he was a teammate of Michael Wacha.
The Rays replenish their farm system with Seager (.269/.351/.473 in Class A at age 19 with 16 home runs) and Stripling (127.2 IP, 115 H, 30 BB, 117 SO, five homers between Class A and Double-A). Even if Seager doesn't stick at shortstop, he has the bat to move over to second and eventually replace Ben Zobrist. Stripling is a polished college pitcher who should be ready in 2015. More importantly, the Rays add Porcello to help them contend the next two years. Get him away from some of that porous Detroit defense and over to Tampa and their infield shifts and watch his ERA drop. He should receive about $8 million in arbitration for 2014, not too expensive for the Rays, and still has another season after that until free agency.
The Tigers can play Ethier in left field while moving Drew Smyly into the rotation to replace Porcello, with Ethier providing a left-handed bat to help balance righties Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Kinsler and Torii Hunter.
Indians, Orioles, Reds
Indians: Trade Asdrubal Cabrera, Joe Wendle, acquire Homer Bailey
Orioles: Trade Bud Norris, Mike Wright, acquire Cabrera
Reds: Trade Bailey, acquire Norris, Wright, Wendle
This one lines up like this: The Indians need a starting pitcher with Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir likely departing as free agents, the Orioles need a second baseman, and the Reds may want to get something for Bailey as he enters his walk year.
The Orioles would slide Cabrera over to second base and hope he rebounds from a subpar 2013. The Indians get Bailey while throwing in second-base prospect Wendle, who hit .295 with some power in Class A. Wendle was old for the league, but scouts like his bat. The Reds give up the best player in the deal, but would still have a strong rotation with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani and Norris (with Aroldis Chapman still a possibility with Bryan Price replacing Dusty Baker as manager). Moving back to the National League should help Norris; he has two years remaining until free agency and will cost about $5 million less than Bailey in 2014, money the Reds can spend elsewhere, maybe on an outfielder. Wright is a back-end rotation prospect and Wendle could replace Brandon Phillips down the road.
Marlins: Trade Steve Cishek, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, acquire Dexter Fowler, Jordy Mercer
Pirates: Trade Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, Mercer, acquire Troy Tulowitzki
Rockies: Trade Tulowitzki, Fowler, acquire Polanco, Hanson, Cishek, Nicolino, Marisnick
It's time for the Rockies to end all those Tulowitzki trade rumors and do something about rebuilding this franchise. The Pirates need a middle-of-the-order bat. The Marlins need to acquire some major league players. One of the big problems the Rockies have is so much of their payroll is tied up in just two players, Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The team is going nowhere, needs depth and the farm system isn't highly rated. Enter the Pirates.
The Rockies get one of the top outfield prospects in the minors in Polanco, who hit .285/.356/.434 with 38 steals while reaching Triple-A at the age of 21. He may need a little more seasoning but isn't far away from the majors. Hanson becomes the Rockies' shortstop of the future. For the Pirates, they have to absorb Tulowitzki's contract -- he's signed through 2020 (with a 2021 team option) -- and maybe it's too much for their taste, but they're not going to be a postseason regular riding just Andrew McCutchen. The MVP needs help. And with McCutchen and Starling Marte plus options like Jose Tabata, Andrew Lambo, Travis Snider and Jerry Sands, the Pirates can still piece together a good outfield trio for 2014 and beyond.
The Marlins would get a center fielder to put between Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, while the Rockies get a closer (they could then flip Cishek during the season if they wanted), a top pitching prospect in Nicolino and outfield prospect in Marisnick from the Marlins, and Mercer from the Pirates to help shore up their middle infield.
Cubs, White Sox, Yankees
Cubs: Trade Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Jorge Soler, Dan Vogelbach, acquire Chris Sale, David Phelps
Yankees: Trade Gary Sanchez, Zoilo Almonte, Vidal Nuno, Phelps, acquire Addison Reed, Olt, Vogelbach
White Sox: Trade Sale, Reed, acquire Edwards, Soler, Sanchez, Almonte, Nuno
OK, OK, OK, the White Sox aren't going to trade Sale -- especially to their city rivals. But we can dream, right? And there's no denying the White Sox are a franchise in need of a reboot, with talent issues on the 40-man roster and in the minors. Sale is an enticing trade bait since he's signed through 2019 and would help get some talent to the South Side as the team rebuilds.
The Cubs have a deep list of prospects, but what they don't have is an ace. They give the White Sox their top pitching prospect in Edwards, who came over from the Rangers in the Matt Garza trade last summer. Edwards dominated Class A, allowing just 76 hits in 116.1 innings while striking out 155 -- and giving up just one home run. The White Sox also get Cuban outfielder Soler, a powerfully built 21-year-old who could reach the majors in 2015. Desperately in need of a catcher, from the Yankees the White Sox get Sanchez, the Yankees' top prospect who can be dealt with the signing of Brian McCann. Almonte and Nuno are cheap roster fillers who have some potential to contribute.
Olt and Vogelbach are blocked in Cubs land by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, so they go to the Yankees. Olt can replace Alex Rodriguez at third base -- immediately -- and Vogelbach would give the Yankees a power-hitting prospect for first base or DH.
CHICAGO -- A federal judge has sentenced a former Chicago White Sox scout to eight months in prison in a kickback scheme that targeted players from Latin America.
Dominican-born Victor Mateo was sentenced for wire fraud Friday in Chicago.
Defense lawyer Damon Cheronis says his client apologized to Major League Baseball and the White Sox. Cheronis says he's disappointed Mateo didn't receive probation. And he calls the 42-year-old a good man who has recently been teaching youth baseball in his native country.
Prosecutors say Mateo and two others were supposed to pay signing bonuses matching a player's skill but fraudulently inflated amounts and took the added money.
Earlier this year, former White Sox scouting executive David Wilder was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty in the same scheme.
With all the new television money flowing into the game, teams have financial resources to absorb large contracts, but the supply of free agents worthy of such deals isn't getting any larger. As teams look to spend money but are either spurned by free agents or unimpressed with the available crop, they could very well look to other teams for chances to exchange overpriced contracts.
So, let's look at a few other big contract swaps that might actually benefit both teams.
1. OF Matt Kemp for LHP CC Sabathia
Kemp's remaining contract: 6 years, $128 million
Sabathia's remaining contract: 4 years, $96 million
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a crowded outfield, and likely have to trade one of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford due to the emergence of Yasiel Puig (and top prospect Joc Pederson isn't far behind). They reportedly are in the market for another starting pitcher, but don't want to part with a draft pick to sign one of the better starters on the market. By swapping Kemp for Sabathia, they could kill two birds with one stone.
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