November 27, 2018 / 3:01 AM / 21 days ago

MLB notebook: Braves sign Donaldson to one-year deal

The Atlanta Braves on Monday night announced the signing of third baseman Josh Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million contract.

Aug 15, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) celebrates at home plate after hitting a three run home run against Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

A three-time All-Star and the 2015 American League MVP, Donaldson missed 110 regular-season games in 2018 because of a calf injury and hit .246 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. Injuries have cost Donaldson 159 regular-season games the last two seasons.

Donaldson, who turns 33 on Dec. 8, finished the 2018 season with the Cleveland Indians, who acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays despite the calf injury. He is a career .275 hitter with 182 home runs since breaking into the league with the Oakland Athletics in 2010. He joins what should be one of baseball’s best infields, along with Freddie Freeman at first, Ozzie Albies at second and Dansby Swanson at short.

The Braves, who went 90-72 last season to win the NL East, also announced they are bringing catcher Brian McCann back on a one-year, $2 million contract. The 34-year-old McCann was a seven-time All-Star for the Braves between 2005 and 2013.

—The Minnesota Twins claimed first baseman/designated hitter C.J. Cron off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cron smacked a career-best 30 homers for the Rays last season, but that didn’t prevent the franchise from designating him for assignment last week when it was finalizing its 40-man roster. Cron also batted .253 with 74 RBIs and 28 doubles in 140 games last season.

Cron, who turns 29 in January, has a .260 career average with 89 homers and 287 RBIs in 548 games with the Los Angeles Angels and Rays. Cron spent his first four season with the Angels before being traded to the Rays.

—The Seattle Mariners contacted the New York Yankees and Mets to gauge their interest in acquiring Robinson Cano, according to a report by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Cano, 36, is owed $120 million on his current contract, the remainder of a10-year, $240 million deal he signed in 2013. He slashed .317/.363/.497 in 40 games after serving an 80-game suspension for violating the performance-enhancing drugs policy last season, but faces an uncertain position future in Seattle.

The Mariners acquired speedy outfielder Mallex Smith from the Tampa Bay Rays, providing the flexibility to move Dee Gordon back to second base full time. That would push Cano toward a first base/designated hitter role. He saw time at those spots, second and even third base after returning in August.

—Tim Laker, most recently the Arizona Diamondbacks’ assistant hitting coach, is the Seattle Mariners’ new hitting coach.

He replaces Mariners legend Edgar Martinez, who stepped down in October after 3 1/2 seasons on the job. Martinez remains with the organization as a “hitting adviser,” helping at all levels of the minor leagues as well as with the major league club.

Laker, who will turn 49 on Tuesday, never held a major league coaching position before joining the Diamondbacks’ staff in 2017. He has served as a minor league manager in the farm systems of the Cleveland Indians, the Mariners and the Chicago White Sox.

—The New York Mets continued their coaching staff shake-up, announcing longtime MLB manager Jim Riggleman is the team’s new bench coach. He replaces Gary DiSarcina, who will serve as the team’s third base coach in 2019.

Aug 4, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners second basemen Robinson Cano (22) hits his 500th career double against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports?

According to multiple reports, the biggest reason for replacing DiSarcina on the bench was new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s desire to have someone with managerial experience sitting next to current New York manager Mickey Callaway on the bench.

Riggleman has managed 1,630 regular-season game over 13 seasons in the majors, compiling a 726-904 record. A dozen of those 13 seasons were spent in the NL with San Diego (three seasons), Chicago (five), Washington (three) and Cincinnati (one). He managed 90 games in Seattle in 2008, taking over after John McLaren was fired.

—Field Level Media

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