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Pirated Designate Ike Davis for Assignment

Pirated Designate Ike Davis for Assignment

BananaStock/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Once seen as a potential All-Star caliber player, first baseman Ike Davis' fall continues as the Pittsburgh Pirates have decided to designate him for assignment.

The Pirates now have 10 days to trade or release Davis.

Davis was acquired by the Pirates back in April from the New York Mets. After struggling in recent years, some felt a chance of scenery was necessary for him.

Despite the new team, Davis' struggles continued. In 131 games with the Pirates, Davis hit .235 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs.

During his first two seasons in Major League Baseball in 2010 and 2011, Davis showed flashes of being a power-hitting player who could also hit for average. Injuries and a bout with valley fever in 2012 wound up having more long-term damage then he had hoped. He hit 32 home runs in 2012, but has only hit 19 the past two seasons combined.

Former number two overall pick Jameson Taillon was added to the 40-man roster to replace Davis.

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Red Sox in Pursuit of Jon Lester

Red Sox in Pursuit of Jon Lester

Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- The Boston Red Sox have offered pitcher Jon Lester a contract, reports ESPN.com, according to a major league source.

Lester met with the team's owners earlier this week and met with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

The Red Sox traded Lester at the July 31 deadline to the Oakland Athletics after he could not work out a new deal with Boston.

The Red Sox offered Lester a four-year deal worth $70 million in mid-March, but that deal was rejected.

Lester finished last season 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA.

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Athletics Sign Butler to Three Year Deal

Athletics Sign Butler to Three Year Deal

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Ca) -- The Oakland Athletics have signed Billy Butler to a three-year, $30 million contract.

Butler was a 2004 first round selection of the Kansas City Royals. This offseason, the Royals chose to pay Butler $1 million to buyout his contract.

In 2012, Butler was elected to the AL All-Star team when he hit .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI. Those numbers have taken a sharp dive this past season as he hit .271 with nine home runs and 66 RBI. 

Primarily a first basemen when his career began, Butler played 108 games in 2014 for the Royals as a designated hitter. He will likely continue in that role for the As. 

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Report: Blue Jays Sign Russell Martin

Report: Blue Jays Sign Russell Martin

Tony Firriolo/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Toronto Blue Jays and free agent catcher Russell Martin agreed to a five-year deal worth $82 million on Monday, pending a physical, reports ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney.

Martin is coming off a season in which he batted .290 with 11 homers and 67 RBIs, while being one of the key reasons for the Pirates' postseason berth.

Martin, 31, threw out 37 attempted base stealers this year, and Toronto was hoping to add a veteran at the catching position.

The Pirates gave Martin a one-year qualifying offer for $15 million next season, but he rejected it.

Toronto started four catchers in 2014, and finished in third place in the AL East, behind the Yankees and Orioles.

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Braves Trade Jason Heyward for Cardinals’ Shelby Miller

Braves Trade Jason Heyward for Cardinals’ Shelby Miller

Tony Firriolo/MLB Photos via Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- The Atlanta Braves parted ways with outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden on Monday in return for St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller and a minor leaguer.

Heyward is coming off a season in which he hit .271 with 11 homers, 58 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases.

Heyward, 27, is due $7.8 million next season and then will be a free agent at the end of the year.

Newly hired Braves general manager John Hart is looking to bolster up on young pitching, just like the Braves did with Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux in the early '90s.

The Cardinals were looking for outfield help after the tragic death of their outfielder Oscar Tavares last month.

Miller went 10-9 with a 3.74 ERA for the Cardinals this year and was one of the reasons St. Louis made it all the way to the NLCS.  He was 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in his rookie year in 2013.

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Diamondbacks Acquire Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Rays

Diamondbacks Acquire Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Rays

BananaStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Dave Stewart's first major move as the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks is official as he has acquired starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Tampa Bay Rays.

In exchange, the Diamondbacks are sending two minor league prospects, infielder Andrew Velazquez and outfielder Justin Williams.

"I'm definitely excited to get over there to Arizona and get back to the pitcher I was," Hellickson told the Tampa Bay Times. "I'd heard enough rumors so you kind of expect something, but I'm definitely kind of shocked. I'm definitely going to miss a lot of people over there."

This ends Hellickson's tenure with the only team he's ever known during his five-year Major League career. He started off great as he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2010. Despite his initial success, he's struggled to regain his ROY form the past two seasons.

In 2013, he posted a 5.17 ERA while going 12-10. He spent time on the disabled list in 2014 while going 1-5 with a 4.52 ERA.

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Rangers Reward GM Jon Daniels with Contract Extension

Rangers Reward GM Jon Daniels with Contract Extension

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite a rough 2014 season, the Texas Rangers have agreed on a contract extension with general manager Jon Daniels as well as assistant general manager Thad Levine.

ESPN is reporting both deal will run through the 2018 season.

The Rangers lost 95 games in 2014, their worst mark since 2008, and was also the last time the club finished a season with a losing record.

"I think it's really a tremendous statement by ownership for all of our people, players they want to keep the group together," Daniels said in a conference call. "Thad and I are in the press release but there are a lot of other people that are going to be impacted positively through this process."

Daniels has been with the Rangers since 2005, and was named Baseball America's Major League Executive of the Year in 2010. Levin has also been with the team since 2005.

The Rangers made it to the World Series in 2010 as well as 2011.

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Angels’ Mike Trout Named AL MVP, Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw Wins NL MVP

Angels’ Mike Trout Named AL MVP, Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw Wins NL MVP

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two of the best players in Major League Baseball earned their due on Thursday. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout won the American League MVP, while Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the National League MVP.

The 22-year-old Trout finished second in the MVP voting the past two years, but has finally won the award in just his third full season, and in unanimous fashion. He's the third youngest A.L. player ever to win the award.

Trout batted .287 with 36 home runs, 111 RBIs, and 115 runs scored in 2014.

Kershaw had won his third National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday. He becomes the first player to win the N.L. Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season since Bob Gibson for the St. Louis Cardinals back in 1968.

Despite missing all of April, the 26-year-old Kershaw went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP, and 239 strikeouts in 198.1 innings pitched.

The Dodgers went 21-4 in Kershaw's 27 starts, and were only three games over .500 when anyone else pitched.

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ESPN: Martinez Agrees to 4-Year Deal with Tigers

ESPN: Martinez Agrees to 4-Year Deal with Tigers

Leon Halip/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- The Detroit Tigers and Victor Martinez have agreed to a four-year deal that comes with an average annual salary of $17 million, according to ESPN's Jim Bowden.The Tigers originally offered Martinez a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer that the veteran designated hitter rejected. But Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski proceeded to declare re-signing Martinez was the team's top priority.The 35-year-old switch-hitting Martinez has been with Detroit since 2011 and missed the 2012 season with a knee injury. In his his three seasons on the field, Martinez hit .321 with a .381 on-base percentage, 58 home runs, and 289 RBIs.Martinez arguably had his best offensive season in 2014, hitting .335 with 32 home runs, 103 RBIs, and an American League-leading .409 on-base percentage.

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Kershaw and Kluber Take Home NL, AL Cy Young Awards

Kershaw and Kluber Take Home NL, AL Cy Young Awards

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber were named, respectively, the National League and American League Cy Young Award winners Wednesday.Kershaw has now won the award three times in the last four seasons, joining Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Jim Palmer, and Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers to achieve that feat.The 26-year-old Kershaw was dominating after missing the first part of the season with a back injury. He threw his first career no-hitter and led the majors in wins (21), ERA (1.77), and WHIP (0.86), while striking out 239 batters in 198.1 innings.Kershaw received all 30 first-place votes that were cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto came in second and St. Louis' Adam Wainwright came in third.As for Kluber, he narrowly beat out Seattle's Felix Hernandez for the award. Kluber finished with 169 points, while Hernandez received 159 points.The 28-year-old Kluber, who was only in his second full season as a starter, pitched 235 2/3 innings, striking out 269 batters, while compiling an 18-9 record with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.095 WHIP.

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Showalter and Williams Named Managers of the Year

Showalter and Williams Named Managers of the Year

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- Washington Nationals skipper Matt Williams and Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter were each named Manager of the Year in their respective leagues Tuesday.Williams, who was in his first season as a major league manager, led the Nationals to a National League best 96 wins.Showalter earns his third Manager of the Year award. He won his other two in 1994 and 2004.Showalter led the Orioles to their first American League East title since 1997, and then led the team past the Detroit Tigers in the AL Division Series before losing to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS.Showalter is the first Orioles skipper to win this award since 1997, when Davey Johnson received it.Williams had 18 first place votes, which are placed by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.The Pittsburgh Pirates' Clint Hurdle came in second, followed by the San Francisco Giants' Bruce Bochy.In the AL, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia finished second in the votes, followed by Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost.

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Ichiro Not Ready to Retire

Ichiro Not Ready to Retire

Rich Schulz/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Even at age 41, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has no plans to retire and even hopes to play in 2015.

“I have every intention of playing in the Major Leagues next year,” Ichiro said during an MLB Network interview. “Where will that be? I cannot tell you because baseball is not an individual sport and so it’s not just up to my feeling that I want to play. Somebody has to feel that they want to give me the opportunity to play. But I have every intention of playing.”

Last season while primarily serving as a fourth outfielder, Ichiro hit .284 with 42 runs scored and 15 stolen basses.

While he may not be the dominant hitter he once was, Ichiro is still a solid outfielder who is just 156 hits away from 3,000 for his Major League career. In 14 Major League seasons, Ichiro has batted .317 while averaging 203 hits per season.

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Yankees Re-Sign Chris Young

Yankees Re-Sign Chris Young

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- The New York Yankees re-signed outfielder Chris Young to a one-year deal, the team announced Sunday.ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney reports the deal is worth $2.5 million plus incentives.Young, 31, signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last season after he was released by the New York Mets in August. He played in 23 games for the Bronx Bombers, hitting .282 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and a .354 on-base percentage.Young is expected to be the Yankees' fourth outfielder behind Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brett Gardner.Young has played nine MLB seasons. During that time he's hit .234 with 155 home runs, 486 RBIs and 130 stolen bases.

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Dodgers Introduce General Manager Farhan Zaidi

Dodgers Introduce General Manager Farhan Zaidi

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Even though they've won the NL West the past two seasons, the Los Angles Dodgers are hoping that new general manager Farhan Zaidi will help take the franchise back to the World Series.

The Dodgers have completely overhauled their front office in recent months, including the hiring of former Rays general manager Andrew Friedman to become the team's new president of baseball operations.

Zaidi broke into Major League Baseball back in 2005 with the Oakland Athletics. He was assistant general manager/director of baseball operations before accepting his new role with the Dodgers.

While speaking to the media, Zaidi said he'd look to model what the San Francisco Giants, their NL West rival, have built as they've won three World Series titles the past five seasons.

"I think any time a team has that kind of success, you really have to study them hard and see what lessons there are to learn," said Zaidi, who was introduced as the team's new GM on Friday at Dodger Stadium. "I'm sure that's something we'll look at. It's a fair question. I don't think you can win three World Series in five years just by being lucky. I think that's maybe stating the obvious."

Zaidi earned a bachelor's degree from MIT in 1998 and his Ph.D. in 2011.

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Young, McGehee MLB Comeback Players

Young, McGehee MLB Comeback Players

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Seattle Mariners pitcher Chris Young was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year while Miami's Casey McGehee third baseman earned the award in the National League as announced on Friday.

Young was 12-9 in 2014 with a 3.65 earned run average in 30 appearances for the Mariners, including 29 starts. The 35-year-old pitcher missed almost all of 2013 with injuries and made just nine minor league starts. His 12 victories marked the first time since 2006 he posted double-digit wins. 

After a year playing in Japan, McGehee hit .287 with four home runs and 76 RBIs for the Marlins. The 32-year-old was fourth in the NL in hits with 177, a career high, while also hitting 29 doubles in his first year with the club.

Both awards were voted on by beat writers from all 30 Major League teams on MLB.com, each of whom selected one candidate in each league.

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Rangers Hire Michael Young as Special Assistant to GM

Rangers Hire Michael Young as Special Assistant to GM

Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Michael Young is back with the Texas Rangers.Young, who played 12 seasons with the Rangers, was hired as a special assistant to general manager John Daniels, the team announced Wednesday."Michael will be a significant asset to our baseball operations group in a variety of areas," Daniels said in a statement. "He has already been involved in our major league managerial search and player discussions this fall. I look forward to working with him as we prepare and plan for 2015."Young, a career .300 hitter, played all but one of his 13 big league seasons with the Rangers. He finished his career in Texas as the team's all-time leader in games played (1,823), runs (1,085), hits (2,230), doubles (415), and triples (55).Young played the final games of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 before rejoining the Rangers to retire.

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Brett Gardner Had Surgery on Core Muscle

Brett Gardner Had Surgery on Core Muscle

Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner had surgery in October to repair a core muscle, the team announced Wednesday.The surgery was on Gardner's right rectus abdominis muscle and took place on Oct. 16. The recovery period for the surgery is four weeks, so Gardner should be ready to start his regular offseason program by next week.The 31-year-old Gardner played in 148 games last season, hitting .256 with 17 home runs, 87 runs scored, 58 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases.Next season marks the beginning of his four-year, $52 million contract extension with the team.

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Dodgers Set to Hire Zaidi as GM

Dodgers Set to Hire Zaidi as GM

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to hire Oakland Athletics executive Farhan Zaidi as their next general manager, according to ESPN. The move is expected to be made official later this week.

Zaidi will work under the Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who was hired away from the Tampa Bay Rays on Oct. 15.

Zaidi had been with the Athletics for the past ten years, where he served in various roles including assistant general manager and director of baseball operations. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998 and a Ph.D in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011.

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Molina Leads List of Gold Glove Winners

Molina Leads List of Gold Glove Winners

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina led the list of Tuesday's Gold Glove award winners.For the seventh straight season, Molina won a Gold Glove, making him the third catcher to win at least seven in a row. The other two are Ivan Rodriguez and Johnny Bench, both of whom won 10.Molina played in 110 games and led all N.L. catchers by throwing out 47% of potential base stealers.Royals catcher Salvador Perez, left fielder Alex Gordon, and first baseman Eric Hosmer were all repeat winners for Kansas City.The Baltimore Orioles also had three Gold Glovers, two of them having won the previous season as well. Shortstop J.J. Hardy and center fielder Adam Jones were the repeat winners, while right fielder Nick Markakis won the second Gold Glove of his career.Other American League winners include Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia and Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager.In the National League, Colorado Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu and third baseman Nolan Arenado were winners. The Los Angeles Dodgers also had two selections: pitcher Zack Greinke and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.Other N.L. winners include Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Braves right fielder Jason Heyward, Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich and New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares.

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Indians Reward Manager Terry Francona with Extension

Indians Reward Manager Terry Francona with Extension

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Since taking over the Cleveland Indians, manager Terry Francona has helped turned the Indians around to a competitive team in the American League Central. That is why the team has agreed on an extension with their skipper.

Francona's new deal will keep him in an Indians uniform through the 2018 season. It also includes club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

In his first season with the Indians back in 2013, Francona guided the Indians to a 92-win season, which was the most wins in a single season since 2007.

That year the Indians also made the playoffs for the first time since 2007, while Francona won the American League Manager of the Year Award.

This past season, the Indians took a slight step back, but still finished 85-77.

In 14 seasons as a Major League manager with the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and Indians, Francona has 1,206 wins, which is the fourth-most among active managers.

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