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Baseball notes

Rangers sign Seager

The Texas Rangers have reached an agreement on a $325 million, 10-year deal with shortstop Corey Seager, according to a person familiar with the deal. 

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal was pending a physical and wasn't finalized.

Seager was the World Series MVP in 2020 and a two-time All-Star in his seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .306 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs in 95 games this year, when he broke a finger on his right hand after getting hit by a pitch May 15 and missed 2 1/2 months.

The deal for Seager is the biggest in Rangers history, and matches Giancarlo Stanton for the fifth largest in overall value in baseball. The $325 million trails only the deals of Mike Trout ($426.5 million), Mookie Betts ($365 million), Fernando Tatis Jr. ($340 million) and Bryce Harper ($330 million).

Seager's deal with the Rangers came a day after Texas reached an agreement on a seven-year, $175 million contract with Gold Glove second baseman Marcus Semien, according a person familiar with that deal that was also subject to a successful physical.

After losing 102 games this year and going into the offseason having only $28 million committed to salaries for 2022, president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and general manager Chris Young had indicated they were willing to spend as needed and could be active in free agency to improve the team.

The Rangers have committed to more than $561 million in future salaries with four deals already ahead of a potential lockdown after the five-year agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association expires at 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

Texas also has deals in place with right-handed starter Jon Gray for $56 million over four years, and outfielder Kole Calhoun for $5.2 million next season. Those deals have not been finalized or announced by the club.

Ray signs with Mariners

The Seattle Mariners are finalizing a contract with American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Monday on the condition of anonymity because Ray still must undergo a physical and the deal has not been signed. ESPN.com first reported the sides were finalizing an agreement, expected to be for $115 million over five years.

Ray is coming off the best season of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, going 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA and 248 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings. A left-handed power pitcher, Ray led the American League in ERA, games started, innings pitched and led all of baseball in strikeouts.

He immediately becomes the ace of the Seattle staff. Marco Gonzales, Chris Flexen and Logan Gilbert are also under contract for the 2022 season for an ascending Mariners team that went 90-72 last season and barely missed snapping the club's 20-year playoff drought.

It's the second major move of the offseason by the Mariners and probably not the last one. Seattle acquired second baseman Adam Frazier in a trade with San Diego on Saturday, the first in a series of moves the Mariners believe will make them a contender in the American League.

A chunk of what Seattle had available to spend on free agents is going to Ray.

Ray wasn't even an All-Star in his first full season with the Blue Jays, which speaks to how dominant he was the second half of the year. Beginning with his start on July 11 against Tampa Bay, where he threw seven shutout innings, Ray had a 2.35 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 99 2/3 innings over his final 16 starts of the season. Ray pitched at least six innings in 12 of the 16 and allowed more than three earned runs only twice.

Ray was the clear choice for the Cy Young, earning 29 of 30 first-place votes to easily outpace New York's Gerrit Cole.

It was a rebound season for Ray, who went a combined 2-5 with a 6.62 ERA for Arizona and the Blue Jays and issued the most walks in the majors during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Ray's power arm always drew attention. He ranks No. 1 in major league history with 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings (minimum: 1,000 innings), and he was an All-Star with Arizona in 2017.

But controlling his heat and sharp breaking pitches often was a problem, and Ray bottomed out in 2020. The dip caused his base salary to drop from $9.43 million to $8 million this year. He earned some of that back with a $125,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young, in part because Ray rediscovered his control. Ray walked just 52 batters with the Blue Jays.

Ray, who turned 30 on Oct. 1, made his major league debut with Detroit in 2014 and grew into a top starter during five full seasons in Arizona. Ray was an All-Star in 2017 when he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 218 strikeouts.

So far, Ray has been durable. He's made at least 28 starts in four of the past five 162-game seasons. The only season he didn't make at least 28 starts came in 2018 with the Diamondbacks.

Gausman signs with Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have reached an agreement with right-hander Kevin Gausman on a five-year, $110 million contract, pending a physical, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press late Sunday.

The 30-year-old Gausman was 14-6 with a 2.81 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 192 innings for San Francisco last season. He has a 64-72 record and 4.02 ERA in his career with Baltimore, Atlanta and San Francisco.

The Blue Jays had been interested in Gausman last offseason but he elected to bet on himself and stay with the Giants on a one year deal. It paid off.

The Blue Jays also signed right-hander Jose Berríos to a seven-year, $131 million deal this offseason after acquiring him at the trade deadline. The two deals are the largest pitching contracts in team history.

Toronto has an emerging young core and can add major contracts before younger players such as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. earn a lot more. Toronto's rotation also includes Hyun-jin Ryu and Alek Manoah.

The Blue Jays gave veteran outfielder George Springer a six-year, $150 million contract last offseason.

Second baseman Marcus Semien left the Blue Jays earlier Sunday to sign a seven-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Stallings traded to Marlins

Gold Glove catcher Jacob Stallings is coming to the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins acquired Stallings from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in exchange for pitcher Zach Thompson and prospects Kyle Nicolas and Connor Scott.

Stallings, 31, is coming off the best season of his career. He earned his first Gold Glove for his handling of an inexperienced pitching staff that ranked among the worst in the major leagues while hitting .246 with career-highs in home runs (8) and RBIs (53) in 112 games.

Stallings joins a team that is trying to elbow its way into contention in the NL East. Miami signed outfielder Avisail Garcia to a five-year deal worth $56-million and agreed to terms with pitcher Sandy Alcantara.

Stallings finds himself going from handling a staff that pitched to a 5.08 ERA — 28th in the majors — to one that posted a respectable 3.98 ERA and is anchored by Alcantara.

The 26-year-old Alcantara has gone 20-34 with a 3.48 ERA in four seasons with the Marlins. He started 33 games this past season for Miami, going 9-15 with a 3.19 ERA and had 201 strikeouts in 205 2-3 innings. The only other pitchers with at least 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in 2021 were Zach Wheeler and Walker Buehler.

Pittsburgh is in the middle of a franchise-wide reboot focused on hoarding as many prospects as possible. Nicolas and Scott, both 22, fit that mold.

Nicolas, a right-handed pitcher, made 21 appearances between Class A and Double-A in 2021 and struck out 136 batters, the most among players in Miami's minor-league system.

Scott, an outfielder, hit .276 with 25 doubles and 10 home runs in 2021 while playing for Class-A Beloit.

Thompson, originally drafted by the Pirates in the 48th round of the 2011 draft, went 3-7 with a 3.24 ERA in 75 innings for Miami in 2021. He began the season as a starter before shifting to the bullpen in September.

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