Keury Mellas has signed with the Uni-Lions of Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Mella caught on with the Pirates on a minor-league deal after being released by the Diamondbacks in July. The 28-year-old former top prospect made just two relief appearances in the majors last season. He holds a lackluster 6.95 ERA, 2.02 WHIP and 25/17 K/BB ratio across 28 2/3 innings (21 appearances) in the majors since 2017. He'll look to rebuild his value overseas this upcoming season.
Heston Kjerstad (heart) is expected to participate in the Orioles' hitting minicamp later this month.
Kjerstad, selected second overall in the 2020 MLB Draft, has yet to begin his professional career, but has reportedly made a full recovery after being diagnosed with myocarditis shortly after being drafted. He turns 23 years old in February worked out at the team's fall instructional camp and is expected to participate in the organization's hitting minicamps later this month in Sarasota, Florida. It's extremely encouraging that Kjerstad is fully healthy and ready to begin his ascent to the majors this upcoming season.
Logan Ondrusek has signed with the Uni-Lions of Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Ondrusek split the 2021 campaign between Triple-A Sacramento in the Giants' minor-league system and the Leones de Yucatan in the Mexican League. The soon-to-be 37-year-old right-hander last appeared in the majors with the Orioles back in 2016.
The Mets have hired Jeremy Barnes as assistant hitting coach and Craig Bjornson as bullpen coach.
The team announced new manager Buck Showalter's full coaching staff, with Barnes and Bjornson being the only two which hadn't been previously reported. Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is the only holdover from the previous regime.
Braves signed RHP Michael Tonkin to a minor league contract.
Tonkin last appeared in the majors with the Twins back in 2017. He split last season between the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League and Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League. The towering 32-year-old righty reliever holds an underwhelming 4.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 149/54 K/BB ratio across 146 1/3 innings (141 appearances) at the major-league level since 2013. He'll provide organizational relief depth for the Braves this upcoming season.
The Oakland Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to send the Howard Terminal environmental impact report to the Oakland City Council for certification.
Martín Gallegos of MLB.com adds that a certification decision on the environmental impact report -- covering local transportation, housing and other factors -- should come in February, which would pave the way for a final binding vote on the $12 billion project later this year. This latest milestone puts Oakland one step closer to constructing a new ballpark at the Howard Terminal site. It's an extremely encouraging development that advances the project, which has crawled forward at a glacial pace for years, towards the finish line and potentially secure the Athletics long-term future in the Bay Area.
Pirates signed Dominican OF Tony Blanco Jr.
The headliner of the Pirates' numerous international spending spree, Blanco Jr. will receive a $900,000 signing bonus. The 11th-ranked international prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, is the son of former major leaguer Tony Blanco Sr. The 16-year-old outfielder was recently described by Pirates international scouting director Junior Vizcaino as a "middle-of-the-lineup type hitter who will drive the baseball with power." He projects long-term as a prototypical, rocket-armed corner outfielder and is worth monitoring for fantasy managers in keeper and dynasty league formats.
Twins signed SS Kevin Merrell to a minor league contract.
Merrell, a former first-round selection who was the centerpiece of the Homer Bailey trade with the Athletics back in 2019, was released by the Royals last October. The 26-year-old infielder hit hit .200/.288/.300 with three homers and seven steals across 173 plate appearances between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha last year. He'll serve as organization infield depth in Minnesota this season.
Burch Smith has signed with the Seibu Lions of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.
Smith recorded a pedestrian 5.40 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 28/11 K/BB ratio across 43 1/3 innings (31 appearances) with the Athletics last season. The 31-year-old righty, who has made 102 appearances (13 starts) in the majors since 2013, refused a minor-league assignment last October and elected free agency after being jettisoned from Oakland's 40-man roster. He'll look to rebuild his value overseas in Japan next season.
Athletics signed RHP Chester Pimentel to a minor league contract.
Pimentel recorded a serviceable 4.38 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and 60/26 K/BB ratio across 51 1/3 innings (40 appearances) between Double-A and Triple-A in the Diamondbacks' system last year. The 26-year-old righty will provide the Athletics with some organizational relief depth this season.
Nationals signed 1B Joey Meneses to a minor league contract.
Meneses posted a robust .284/.333/.530 triple-slash line with 15 homers across 369 plate appearances between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester in the Red Sox' minor-league system last year. The 29-year-old first baseman spent time in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball and the Mexican League over a two-year span after last appearing the minors with the Phillies back in 2018. He'll add some organizational depth for the Nationals this season.
Nationals signed RHP Erik Manoah to a minor league contract.
The older brother of Blue Jays rookie sensation Alek Manoah spent the majority of last season with the Twins' organization on a minor-league pact after pitching for West Virginia in the independent Atlantic League. The 26-year-old righty will get a look out of the bullpen in the upper-minors of the Nationals' system this season.
Ronny Rodríguez has signed a contract with the Wei Chuan Dragons of Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Rodríguez spent the 2021 season with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. He last appeared in the majors with the Tigers back in 2019. The 29-year-old middle infielder was stationed at the Brewers' alternate training site during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, but never made it back to the big leagues.
Nationals signed LHP Brian Gonzalez to a minor league contract.
Gonzalez posted a pedestrian 4.37 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and 67/28 K/BB ratio across 45 1/3 innings (38 appearances, one start) between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque last season in the Rockies' minor-league system. The 26-year-old lefty will serve as organizational relief depth this season.
Nationals signed RHP Ramon Santos to a minor league contract.
Santos became a minor-league free agent back in November after recording a respectable 3.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 108/44 K/BB ratio over 72 innings (40 appearances) across three minor-league levels in the Cardinals' system. The 27-year-old righty will give the Nationals some additional organizational relief depth this upcoming season.
The Oakland Planning Commission unanimously voted Wednesday evening to send the Howard Terminal environmental impact report to the Oakland City Council for certification.
Martín Gallegos of MLB.com adds that a certification decision on the environmental impact report -- which covers local transportation, housing and other factors -- should come in February, which would pave the way for a final binding vote on the $12 billion project later this year. The milestone decision puts Oakland one step closer to constructing a new ballpark at the Howard Terminal site. It's an extremely encouraging development in terms of advancing the project, which has crawled forward at a glacial pace for years, towards the finish line and finally securing the Athletics long-term future in the Bay Area.
The Guardians have promoted Joe Torres to assistant pitching coach.
Torres, who is entering his seventh season in the organization, had been minor league pitching coordinator. He's replacing Ruben Niebla, who left to become the Padres' pitching coach.
Red Sox signed RHP Taylor Cole to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Cole had surgery on his pitching shoulder back in August of 2020 but appears to be healthy now after playing winter ball. He holds a career 4.97 ERA and 90/37 K/BB ratio over 88 2/3 innings at the major league level.
Carlos Correa has hired agent Scott Boras, per Robert Murray of FanSided.
Correa confirmed the news with a short statement to the media: "I have made the decision to hire Boras Corporation to represent me moving forward. Boras Corporation offers the highest level of baseball expertise and proven experience." The superstar free agent shortstop had been with William Morris Endeavor, an entertainment talent agency that only recently got into representing athletes and is in hot water with the Major League Baseball Players Association over the company's December 2021 purchase of several minor league baseball teams. There's talk that WME could be at risk of losing its MLBPA certification.
Jonathan India has hired agent Scott Boras to represent him.
Boras Corporation has added a number of new high-profile clients amid the ongoing MLB/MLBPA lockout, including Carlos Correa and Dylan Cease. India, 25, is a few years away from even reaching arbitration eligibility, but he won the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year Award after registering an .835 OPS with 21 home runs, 69 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and 98 runs scored across 150 games played for the Reds.