Giancarlo Stanton continued his remarkable home-run hitting form against the Boston Red Sox as the New York Yankees won 4-2 on Saturday.

Yankees slugger Stanton homered for the sixth consecutive game against the Red Sox, hitting the go-ahead two-run homer to left center field in the sixth inning.

Boston had gone ahead in the second inning from Alex Verdugo's two-run homer, before Anthony Rizzo equalled the feat in the fourth inning to level the game up.

The victory means the Yankees have begun the new season with a 2-0 start, ahead of the third and final game of their series against the Red Sox on Sunday.

"I can’t say it’s the rivalry or anything," Stanton said about his record against the Red Sox. "I’m doing my homework and getting the ball over the plate."

 

Dodgers offense shut down

The Los Angeles Dodgers struggled on offense as they slumped to a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, who were sparked by an eighth-inning Connor Joe homer.

Rockies closer Daniel Bard shut down the Dodgers in the ninth inning to round out the win, striking out Justin Turner, Edwin Rios and Cody Bellinger.

Austin Barnes had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, while Mookie Betts had an eighth-inning RBI single to tie the game up, before Joe's go-ahead blast.

 

Alonso hits career-first grand slam

Pete Alonso clubbed a fifth-inning grand slam to lead the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 5-0. That marked 27-year-old's first career grand slam and comes after Alonso had been left with a bloodied lip after being struck by a Mason Thompson fastball earlier in the series.

The benches cleared in the Chicago Cubs' 9-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers after tempers flared between the division rivals when right-hander Keegan Thompson hit Andrew McCutchen in the hip with a fastball.

Dylan Cease stepped in for the Chicago White Sox with eight strikeouts across five innings in their 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Cease remarkably boasts a 9-0 record against the Tigers in 10 starts.

 

Saturday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox 5-2 Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Minnesota Twins
St Louis Cardinals 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs 9-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Texas Rangers
Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 Oakland Athletics
Miami Marlins 2-1 San Francisco Giants
New York Yankees 4-2 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 1-0 Cleveland Guardians
New York Mets 5-0 Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres 5-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels 2-0 Houston Astros

 

Astros at Angels

The Los Angeles Angels take on the Houston Astros in the final game of their thrilling four-game series, with Shohei Ohtani potentially back on the mound after being rested for the past two games.

Aaron Judge said the New York Yankees are one of 30 teams he will talk to when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Judge made the confession in an explosive post-game interview after the Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 6-5 in extra innings on Friday.

He had two hits from five at-bats in the win, including a double, but the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year may not remain with the team following this season after failing to agree on an extension prior to Opening Day.

While there is no rule to say Judge and the Yankees have to cease contract talks during the season, Judge himself imposed the cut-off date of Opening Day, saying he does not want the distraction during the season.

As well as his long-term extension, Judge and the Yankees are also at odds about his salary for his season, and due to MLB's rules – which stipulate players during their 'service years' receive a salary offer which can be negotiated through third-party arbitration – it may be an issue that is resolved in the courtroom.

Speaking with post-game media, Judge did not hold back about his disappointment with the way things have been handled.

"I'm just disappointed, because I have been vocal about wanting to be a Yankee for life," he said.

"I want to bring a championship back to New York. I want to do it for the fans here – this is home for me – and I'm not getting that done right now."

He later added: "At the end of the year, I'm a free agent – I will talk to 30 teams, and the Yankees will be one of those 30 teams. 

"It's always nice to try to wrap something up sooner, the better. But we weren't able to get it done and it's on to baseball."

In an eyebrow-raising move, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman disclosed his club's contract offer to Judge when talking to reporters earlier in the day, saying the star was offered a seven-year, $213million deal.

When questioned about it, Judge was not interested in discussing specifics.

"I don't like talking numbers," he said. "I like to keep that private – something I kind of felt like was private between my team and the Yankees.

"I'm a ballplayer. [Cashman] has a job to do, and I can't control that… it didn't take me by surprise; there's nothing to get upset about. 

"It's business. It's a side of the sport that I love to play. In business, anything can happen, so you got to roll with it."

Touching on potential arbitration for this season, Judge said he does not want to get into a situation where both parties are presenting arguments to discredit the other.

"We're prepared for both [situations]," he said. 

"Nobody likes going in that courtroom. I don't really think it's good for both sides, because they say some stuff that I wouldn't want to hear, and we say some stuff they don't want to hear. 

"I think if we can avoid it at all cost, that'd be great. But myself and our team, we're ready for either way to go."

Baseball's best rivalry delivered once again on Friday as the New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 6-5 in extra innings at Yankee Stadium.

In the first game of the season for both sides, sparks flew in the opening inning as Rafael Devers hit a two-run bomb over the fence, before J.D. Martinez made it 3-0 for the Red Sox with a RBI double.

The Yankees wasted little time striking back as Anthony Rizzo launched a 414-foot two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, and three innings later a Giancarlo Stanton solo shot tied proceedings at 3-3.

After the Red Sox manufactured a run in the sixth inning to take the lead, the Yankees tied things up once again with another solo home run, this time from D.J. LeMahieu in the eighth frame to take things to extra innings.

Boston scored first in the 10th inning through a Xander Bogaerts RBI single, only for Gleyber Torres to extend the game a further inning with a sacrifice fly, setting the table for Yankee debutant Josh Donaldson.

In his first game for New York, Donaldson delivered the game-winning walk-off base hit to bring Isiah Kiner-Falefa around to score in the bottom of the 11th inning.

AL Cy Young favorite Gerrit Cole was disappointing for the Yankees, getting pulled after four innings and 68 pitches after allowing three earned runs from four hits and a walk, while Michael King was credited with the win for pitching both extra frames.

Dodgers make winning start

The most expensive team in baseball, and World Series favorites, the Los Angeles Dodgers received strong contributions from their big names in a 5-3 away win against the Colorado Rockies.

Mookie Betts and Trae Turner collected RBI knocks, while new signing Freddie Freeman had one hit, one walk and scored a run from his four at-bats.

Dodgers ace Walker Buehler pitched a solid outing, giving up two runs from four hits and two walks, while racking up five strikeouts in five innings.

 

Blue Jays mount massive comeback

In the top of the fourth inning, the Toronto Blue Jays trailed the Texas Rangers 7-0, before the home side caught fire and stormed back to win 10-8.

Blue Jays starter and ace pitcher Jose Berrios was only able to record one out before getting pulled as the Rangers scored four runs off him, before the bullpen took over, only giving up one run in the last five innings.

Vladimir Guerrero had a pair of RBI base hits, Bo Bichette also had a multi-hit game and the duo of Teoscar Hernandez and Danny Jansen both blasted long home runs.

Angels off to slow start

Boasting arguably the best two players in the league – Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout – the Los Angeles Angels are off to a disappointing start after getting blown out by the Houston Astros 13-6.

The Astros used an eight-run seventh inning to blow the game open as Jeremy Pena and Kyle Tucker both hit home runs in the frame, while Jose Altuve, Aledmys Diaz and Alex Bregman all finished the game with multiple RBIs.

For the Angels, Ohtani registered a hit and scored a run, while Trout was withdrawn for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.

 

Friday's results

New York Yankees 6-5 Boston Red Sox

Detroit Tigers 5-4 Chicago White Sox

Philadelphia Phillies 9-5 Oakland Athletics

Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 Baltimore Orioles

Colorado Rockies 3-5 Los Angeles Dodgers

Minnesota Twins 1-2 Seattle Mariners 

San Francisco Giants 6-5 Miami Marlins

Washington Nationals 3-7 New York Mets

Toronto Blue Jays 10-8 Texas Rangers

Atlanta Braves 7-6 Cincinnati Reds

Los Angeles Angels 6-13 Houston Astros

Arizona Diamondbacks 0-3 San Diego Padres

 

Red Sox at Yankees

Boston versus New York remains the biggest rivalry in the sport, and the Red Sox will look to even the ledger in the second of the three-game series.

St Louis Cardinals ace pitcher Adam Wainwright was nearly flawless as he led his side to a 9-0 Opening Day shutout of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

Wainwright pitched six scoreless innings, giving up five hits and no walks before being relieved to begin the seventh inning, finishing with 81 pitches.

It was far from a stressful game for the home side, scoring in the first inning through a Tyler O'Neill RBI single, before O'Neill smashed a three-run bomb over the wall an inning later to lead 4-0 through two frames.

The middle innings moved quickly as neither team was able to string baserunners together, but the Cardinals gave the home fans some more to cheer for in the eighth inning with home runs to Tommy Edman and Nolan Arenado.

J.T. Brubaker took the loss for the Pirates, finishing with four hits, three walks and four earned runs in three innings of work.

Super Suzuki wins debut

The Chicago Cubs' high-profile international signing, Seiya Suzuki, collected a hit and two walks from four at-bats in a 5-4 home win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kyle Hendricks pitched well for the home side, conceding one earned run to go with seven strikeouts before being withdrawn in the sixth inning.

The big moment for Suzuki came as he led-off the fifth inning, sending a base hit to shallow left field for his first career knock after signing a five-year, $85million deal out of the Japanese league this off-season.

The Bobby Witt Jr era begins in Kansas City

While Suzuki is favourite to take home the NL MVP, the Kansas City Royals' Bobby Witt Jr is the favourite in the AL, and delivered on debut in his side's 3-1 home win against the Cleveland Guardians.

After three outs from his first three at-bats, Witt delivered when it mattered, finding the gap with a RBI double in the eighth inning to give his side a 2-1 lead, and then came around and scored himself to finish it off.

Ohtani makes history in Angels loss    

It was not a great Opening Day for the Los Angeles Angels, but reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani made history once again.

In the Angels' 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros, Ohtani became the first player to start on the pitchers' mound and lead-off the batting, throwing and facing Los Angeles' first pitch of the season.

He finished with nine strikeouts and one earned run before being withdrawn in the fifth inning after 80 pitches, while going zero-for-four from his plate appearances.

 

Thursday's results

Atlanta Braves 3-6 Cincinnati Reds

St Louis Cardinals 9-0 Pittsburgh Pirates

Kansas City Royals 3-1 Cleveland Guardians

Chicago Cubs 5-4 Milwaukee Brewers

New York Mets 5-1 Washington Nationals

Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 San Diego Padres

Los Angeles Angels 1-3 Houston Astros

 

Red Sox at Yankees

The two historic rivals will kick off their seasons at Yankee Stadium on Friday in the first scheduled game of the day.

Christian Yelich understands the pressure that comes with being paid as a franchise player heading into the first season of his seven-year, $188million contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Yelich, 30, has now spent four years with the Brewers after arriving from the Miami Marlins and was a revelation with his new club.

In his first year in Milwaukee, Yelich catapulted himself into the conversation of the game's elite players, winning NL MVP in 2018 and finishing second in the award in 2019, leading the National League in batting average in both seasons.

His incredible performance was rewarded with a juicy new contract – which officially kicks in this season – but since signing, he has regressed significantly.

The 2020 and 2021 season were the two worst of Yelich's career, but he now says he knew the entire contract would not be all "smooth sailing".

"I understand what comes with [the big contract]," he told The Athletic. "I understand that if you don't play well, people are going to be p***ed. Like, I get it. 

"It's part of sports. It's part of what we do, especially when you sign a deal like that. There's no getting around that, and I'm very aware of that.

"I know that I am paid at a level where you need to produce and things are expected of you, and that's because of past performances in the game. That's how it works... so there's no shying away from it. 

"I knew that contract is over a long time, so I didn't really assume that it was going to be smooth sailing all the time."

Yelich admitted the game felt "pretty easy at times" during his peak years but stressed his career is evidence plenty can change from year to year.

"That's the thing – every year is its own year," he said. "Just because you did well or did poorly the year before, it doesn't mean anything going into the next year or the year after that. Every year is its own thing – nothing carries over. 

"There's different factors every year that go into whatever's going on for players and teams.

"The game is constantly adjusting and things constantly are changing. You have to do that as well or the game is going to kick your a**."

The Brewers kick off their season on the road against the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day.

After a chaotic offseason, which included a lockout and pushing back Opening Day, baseball is almost back.

With a new collective bargaining agreement in place, two new playoff spots up for grabs and plenty of big-name player movement, it is shaping up to be an enthralling MLB season.

The defending champion Atlanta Braves may have improved, despite losing star Freddie Freeman to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Yankees' position as the best team in New York could soon be under threat. 

With so many storylines, the most logical place to begin is right at the very top.

 

Can the Braves go back-to-back?

As is often the case, the World Series race is wide open, but Atlanta is at least in the mix as far as the pre-season odds go.

Some would consider the Braves' run last season a fluke – they won 88 games in the regular season, while the 91-win Toronto Blue Jays and 90-win Seattle Mariners missed out on playoff berths entirely.

However, they were missing superstar Ronald Acuna Jr for a large chunk of the year, and made meaningful additions at the trade deadline including Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson, and their playoff surge indicated that the record was not an accurate reflection of their talent.

While they lost franchise legend Freeman to the Dodgers, the Braves are arguably getting an upgrade at first base in the form of Matt Olson, who is four years younger and was a two-time Gold Glove winner with the Oakland Athletics before being traded for a four-player package of young Braves prospects.

Max Fried and Charlie Morton comprise a stout top of the rotation while Mike Soroka is out injured, and they have some strong bullpen arms including Tyler Matzek and Collin McHugh.

The Braves are a team without a clear weakness and will be full of confidence, so expect them to be fighting it out at the top of the NL East against the second-most expensive team in baseball, the New York Mets, as they bid to become the first team to win consecutive World Series since the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

 

Are the Mets the best team in New York?

Since 2001, the New York Mets have only finished with a better record than the Yankees twice, in 2015 and 2016.

During that span, the Mets have never had a more expensive payroll than their local rivals – until this year.

The Mets are projected to come into Opening Day trailing only the Dodgers with the second-highest payroll in the league at $251million, while the Yankees are third at $239m.

It represents more than just deep pockets for second-year owner Steve Cohen, it shows that the Mets are no longer the 'little brother', and are willing to spend what it takes to be taken seriously against the most decorated franchise in major league history.

Buck Showalter will be the man tasked with turning the money into wins in his first year in the role, the former three-time AL Manager of the Year known for maximising talent on a limited budget with the Baltimore Orioles from 2010 to 2018, a stint that included a playoff series win over the Yankees.

Ultimately, what the Mets' season will hinge on is the health of their starting pitchers, with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer (who turns 38 this season) comprising the best one-two punch in baseball after Marcus Stroman left as a free agent to join the Chicago Cubs. DeGrom has already been sidelined for four weeks with a shoulder injury.

The rotation also includes 2021 All-Star Taijuan Walker, who tailed off late last season, but showed impressive ability when fresh.

Francisco Lindor remains the young jewel of the franchise – now two seasons into a 10-year, $341m contract extension – and along with power-hitting Pete Alonso and rangy center-fielder Starling Marte, there is plenty of quality stepping into the batters' box.

The Yankees will have one of the highest-ceiling batting line-ups when they roll out sluggers Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo, but they also play in the league's toughest division in the AL East, and could be candidates for regression after losing pitcher Corey Kluber and trading away bats Gio Urshela and Luke Voit.

 

 

Did the best team in baseball not make the playoffs in 2021?

It may be hard to believe, but given the meat grinder that is the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays are bookmakers' second-favourite to win the World Series despite not making the playoffs this past season.

The Blue Jays were top three in runs scored in 2021 and should again be one of the most explosive teams in the league this time around.

Toronto will also be able to enjoy a homecoming season, returning to Rogers Centre after the Blue Jays were forced to play their 2021 home games in Buffalo due to pandemic restrictions.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette are franchise cornerstones, last year's big signing George Springer was enormous in an injury-shortened debut campaign, and they have the luxury of adding Matt Chapman this season, who has two Platinum Gloves to his name as one of the best defensive players in the league.

Pitching remains the question mark in Toronto, with AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray departing for Seattle in a serious blow to a rotation with plenty to prove.

Nobody should be surprised if the Blue Jays jump up from fourth in their division all the way to the top, and are one of the teams with real World Series aspirations this season.

 

Which top prospect will establish themselves as a star? 

There will be some elite prospects finding their way in the majors this season, but will any of them burst onto the scene as a star?

In 2017, Judge did more than just win Rookie of the Year, he led the AL in home runs and finished second in AL MVP voting.

While there is always a chance that an unheralded rookie emerges as the premier prospect, there is a relatively clear top-tier consisting of three players entering the season.

Kansas City Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr, Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman and Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez.

Rutschman will hit for average from both sides of the plate while projecting as an elite defensive catcher, Witt is the five-tool stud who will make eye-popping plays with his glove at shortstop, and Rodriguez is the big, power-hitting corner outfielder.

At 24 years old, Rutschman is the senior of the class, while the other two are considerably younger at 21, but all three will have a chance to prove themselves early in the year as franchise-altering stars – and potentially become the biggest story of this season.

Albert Pujols looks to be preparing for his final MLB season after returning to the St. Louis Cardinals, who hope he can help take them back to the World Series.

Future Hall of Famer Pujols has signed a one-year, $2.5million contract back in St. Louis, where he started his career in 2001.

In 11 seasons with the Cardinals, the 42-year-old won three National League MVPs, made nine All-Star Game appearances and claimed two World Series titles.

Now, after nine and a half seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before ending last year on the Los Angeles Dodgers, he is ready for one final push.

"This is it for me," Pujols said. "This is my last run."

Pujols appears set to play in a part-time role, as a designated hitter against left-handed pitchers and as a late-game pinch-hitter.

He added: "I think I am here for a reason. They believe I can still play this game."

Pujols may no longer be the difference-maker he was in those two title runs, but the Cardinals have not added to their 11 World Series wins since then, losing to the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

Yadier Molina, the 39-year-old catcher who was a team-mate for both championships and has spent his entire career in St. Louis, is delighted to be reunited with Pujols.

"I'm happy for him to be here," he said. "It's going to be a fun year. We've only got one thing in mind – winning another championship."

Albert Pujols has reportedly agreed a deal to return to the St. Louis Cardinals.

According to ESPN's Aidan Gonzalez, the future Hall of Famer signed a one-year, $2.5million contract to return to the club where he made his name and possibly bookend his career.

Once the 42-year-old completes his physical, Pujols will officially return to the Cardinals, where he won three National League MVPs, made nine All-Star Game appearances and claimed two World Series titles between 2001 and 2011.

He subsequently spent nine and a half seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before ending last year on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Back in St. Louis, Pujols appears set to play in a part-time role, as a designated hitter against left-handed pitchers and as a late-game pinch-hitter.

In his MLB career to date, Pujols has tallied 3,301 hits, 679 home runs and 2,150 RBIs in 21 seasons.

Dave Roberts has signed a three-year extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers, keeping him under contract through the 2025 MLB season.

Roberts had been about to enter the final year of his existing agreement as the Dodgers' manager.

But the team have struck a deal with their World Series-winning manager two weeks before their 2022 opener against the Colorado Rockies.

"I'm very happy to have the opportunity to continue leading this great team into the future," Roberts said in a statement.

"To be able to wear the Dodgers uniform, and represent this world-class organisation on and off the field, is truly an honour.

"From the players to the front office staff, every single person affiliated with the club has played a vital role in the team's success throughout my tenure.

"I look forward to continuing our quest to be the best in baseball each and every year."

Roberts was named Dodgers manager in 2016 after only a single game in charge of the San Diego Padres as interim manager the previous season.

He was the National League Manager of the Year in his first season in LA, then led the Dodgers to the World Series in each of the next two years, losing to the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.

Roberts had been a member of the Red Sox team that ended the Curse of the Bambino by winning the World Series in 2004.

And he finally delivered success for the Dodgers in 2020, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 for their first World Series title since 1988.

Roberts is targeting further glory this year, telling The Dan Patrick Show this week: "We are winning the World Series. That's our focus. That's our goal."

The 49-year-old has a 542-330 record as manager in the major leagues, his .622 winning percentage the best of anyone in National League or American League history and fifth all-time behind four Negro Leagues managers.

Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani will get an early opportunity to display his two-way talents again in MLB in 2022, starting at both pitcher and designated hitter on Opening Day. 

Ohtani was the clear American League MVP in 2021 after starring on the mound as well as at the plate. 

The Japanese sensation finished the season with a 3.18 ERA and 9-2 record while hitting 46 home runs – third behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Salvador Perez (both 48). 

A new rule this season, which allows Ohtani to continue to hit in the lineup after he exits as a pitcher, should work to the Angels' benefit. 

It was no surprise then that manager Joe Maddon confirmed on Friday the 27-year-old would be the team's starter at home to the Houston Astros on April 7. 

"It just tastes right, feels right, is right," Maddon said, before detailing the conversation he had with Ohtani. 

"It was, 'Well, if I have to.' Something like that. He's self-deprecating. He's got that kind of sense of humour. He's a good man." 

The Angels will be hoping for a much-improved season in 2022, having finished last year fourth in the AL West with a 77-85 record, missing the playoffs for a seventh straight year. 

Those underwhelming results led Ohtani, who is out of contract after the 2023 season, to express his frustration about playing on a losing team, prompting suggestions he wanted to leave LA. 

Max Stassi has committed to the Los Angeles by signed a three-year extension, the team confirmed on Thursday.

The 31-year-old catcher has signed a new deal worth $17.5 million, which includes a "$7.5m club option with a $500,000 buyout for the 2025 season", according to an official announcement on the team's website.

Stassi had previously agreed to a $3m contract for the 2022 season to avoid arbitration, though this new deal enabled the Angels to buy out two free agency years, with the possibility of three should they pick up the club option.

Since joining the Angels from the Houston Astros in 2019, Stassi has proven himself to be one of the better catchers in Major League Baseball, particularly impressing in his offense.

During the shortened 2020 season he batted .278/.352/.533, with nine extra-base hits in 105 appearances at the plate, before hitting .241/.326/.426 with 13 homers and 35 RBIs in 87 games in 2021.

The Angels beat the Chicago Cubs, 5-4, on Thursday at Tempe Diablo Stadium in a Cactus League Spring training game.

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was surprised about long-time team-mate Carlos Correa's move to the Minnesota Twins.

The pair, who won the 2017 World Series together and were part of the Astros' side that lost last year's edition 4-2 to the Atlanta Braves, will be split up after Correa inked a bumper deal with the Twins.

Correa was declared a free agent for the first time in his career in November and rejected a qualifying offer from the Astros, before the Twins won the race to land him amid interest from several top teams.

Despite that interest and two-time All-Star Correa arguably being the most coveted free agent left on the market, the 27-year-old ended up with the Twins, who finished last in the American League (AL) Central last season with a 73-89 record.

"I was surprised. I wasn't expecting that," Altuve said. "Obviously we're going to miss him. He's a great player and a great guy inside the clubhouse. He was one of our leaders."

Altuve, who played alongside Correa since 2015, added: "Now that he's on another team, I'm happy for him. He got a great deal. Happy for him. I know he's going to play good. He's going to make the Twins better."

Shortstop Correa has reportedly signed with the Twins on a three-year, $105.3million deal, making him the MLB's highest paid infielder on average annual salary.

Correa is a career .277 hitter with 133 home runs, batting at .279 with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs last season, along with claiming his first Gold Glove. Puerto Rico-born Correa finished fifth in AL MVP voting last season.

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was surprised about long-time teammate Carlos Correa's move to the Minnesota Twins.

The pair, who won the 2017 World Series together and were part of the Astros' side that lost last year's edition 4-2 to the Atlanta Braves, will be split up after Correa inked a bumper deal with the Twins.

Correa was declared a free agent for the first time in his career in November and rejected a qualifying offer from the Astros, before the Twins won the race to land him amid interest from several top teams.

Despite that interest and two-time All-Star Correa arguably being the most coveted free agent left on the market, the 27-year-old ended up with the Twins, who finished last in the American League (AL) Central last season with a 73-89 record.

"I was surprised. I wasn't expecting that," Altuve said. "Obviously we're going to miss him. He's a great player and a great guy inside the clubhouse. He was one of our leaders."

Altuve, who played alongside Correa since 2015, added: "Now that he's on another team, I'm happy for him. He got a great deal. Happy for him. I know he's going to play good. He's going to make the Twins better."

Shortstop Correa has reportedly signed with the Twins on a three-year, $105.3million deal, making him the MLB's highest paid infielder on average annual salary.

Correa is a career .277 hitter with 133 home runs, batting at .279 with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs last season, along with claiming his first Gold Glove. Puerto Rico-born Correa finished fifth in AL MVP voting last season.

The Miami Marlins have agreed to a three-year, $36million contract with 2021 World Series MVP Jorge Soler, according to ESPN.

The 30-year-old, who is a two-time World Series champion, has signed a deal that includes opt-outs after the first two seasons.

Soler had joined the Atlanta Braves from the Kansas City Royals in July last year, before dominating the World Series.

The Havana-born outfielder hit .300 with three home runs and six RBIs in the six-game World Series victory over the Houston Astros.

Soler has 121 home runs and 343 RBIs in 661 career MLB games with the Royals, Braves and Chicago Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs have announced the acquisition of 2021 World Series champion Drew Smyly on a one-year contract with an option for 2023.

Smyly joins the Cubs from the Atlanta Braves on a deal worth $5.25million with the potential to earn an additional $2.5m in bonuses, according to ESPN.

The 32-year-old left-handed pitcher won the World Series with the Braves last season where he pitched twice, allowing three runs over four innings against the Houston Astros.

Smyly went 11-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 29 appearances (23 starts) for the Braves last season.

The former Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Braves pitcher is 46-39 with a 4.18 ERA across his MLB career.

The Cubs, who finished 71-91 last season, also confirmed one-year agreements with left-hander Daniel Norris and infielder Jonathan Villar.

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