Arizona reaches 4-year, $40 million deal with Prado
The Diamondbacks agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract with Martin Prado just a week after acquiring the former All-Star infielder in a trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta.
Prado had been headed to arbitration and could have become a free agent after this season.
Prado made the All-Star team as the Braves' second baseman in 2010 but is slated to play at third base for the Diamondbacks.
The 29-year-old infielder, who will play for Venezuela in this year's World Baseball Classic, is a career .295 hitter. Arizona sent two-time All-Star Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson to the Braves for Prado, right-hander Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers.
Upton had three years left on a contract owing him $38.5 million so the Prado deal is not a significant increase to the Diamondbacks' payroll. Managing partner Ken Kendrick said last week that he expects the payroll to be somewhere above $90 million for the coming season.
Prado will earn $7 million this season, then $11 million each of the following three years.
General manager Kevin Towers, who departed for an African vacation shortly after the Upton trade was completed a week ago, said that adding a contact hitter in Prado should help the team be less reliant on the home run.
Prado hit .301 last season with 42 doubles, 10 home runs and 70 RBI in 156 games. He led the National League with 60 multi-hit games and was fourth in hits and fifth in doubles. He played several positions, primarily left field but also third base, second base, first base and shortstop.
Pitchers and catchers report to the Diamondbacks' Scottsdale spring training facility Feb. 11, with all players reporting three days later.
Capps signs with Indians
The Indians signed free agent pitcher Matt Capps to a minor-league contract that includes a non-roster invitation to spring training camp. The 29-year-old has 138 career saves in 444 appearances for Pittsburgh, Washington and Minnesota. He opened last season closing for the Twins and had 14 saves in his first 15 chances. But Capps was slowed by shoulder inflammation and pitched just four innings after June 15.
Capps has recorded at least 14 saves each of the past six seasons.
He was the winning pitcher for the National League in the 2010 All-Star game. That season, he had a career-high 42 saves and a 2.47 ERA in 74 games for the Nationals and Twins.
Vizquel hired as coach
Omar Vizquel was hired by the Angels as a roving infield instructor.
The 45-year-old Vizquel played for Toronto as a reserve infielder last season, finishing up his 24-year major league career with 2,877 hits. The three-time All-Star won 11 Gold Gloves.
Vizquel is interested in eventually becoming a manager. He'll work with the Angels' major leaguers and prospects during spring training.
Grace sentenced to jail
Former Diamondbacks television analyst Mark Grace was sentenced to four months in jail under a work-release program.
The 48-year-old former first baseman with the Diamondbacks and the Cubs pleaded guilty Thursday to felony endangerment and misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol.
Grace was arrested last August in Scottsdale — his second drunken driving arrest in 15 months — and could have faced more than three years in prison. He had pleaded not guilty in October to four felony counts of aggravated DUI and was scheduled to go on trial March 19.
The Diamondbacks fired him as their analyst after the August arrest but later invited him to participate in a fantasy camp.
Another title for Sandoval
Just three months after becoming the first Venezuelan to win the World Series MVP award, Pablo Sandoval is celebrating a new feat — the championship win of his team in Venezuela's professional league.
The 26-year-old slugger helped lead his team, the Navegantes del Magallanes, to an 11-9 win on Wednesday night in the final game of the championship series over the Cardenales.
Sandoval hit one home run and two doubles and had two RBI. He was selected MVP for the series, and his team won its first title since 2002 in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.
Sandoval said afterward while celebrating that it was an experience to remember, right up there with October's World Series win with the Giants.
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