AP sources: Walker, Bellinger, Bell move; Giants add Haniger

Dec 6, 2022, 4:09 AM | Updated: 7:26 pm

FILE - San Diego Padres' Josh Bell watches hit RBI-single during the fifth inning in Game 2 of the ...

FILE - San Diego Padres' Josh Bell watches hit RBI-single during the fifth inning in Game 2 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Oct. 19, 2022, in San Diego. The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Bell have agreed to a $33 million, two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Cole Kuiper saw a report on Twitter: Aaron Judge was nearing a deal with the San Francisco Giants. Cole called his father, Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, to share the good news.

Then the report was scrubbed, and Cole had to get back to his vacationing dad.

“I called him to tell him Judge is a Giant, but now I can’t get ahold of him to update him on the retraction,” Cole Kuiper posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Ah, baseball’s winter meetings in the social media age.

While much of the majors awaited the resolution of Judge’s free agency, Taijuan Walker, Mitch Haniger, Cody Bellinger, Josh Bell, Tommy Kahnle and Andrew Heaney all found new homes. Negotiations continued for some of the top free agents, including shortstops Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson, along with catcher Willson Contreras and left-hander Carlos Rodón.

“This marketplace is very aggressive, particularly aggressive for elite players,” super agent Scott Boras said.

St. Louis president John Mozeliak and manager Oliver Marmol recently spent time with Contreras and his representatives. The NL Central champions have an opening behind the plate after Yadier Molina retired.

“This is a guy that loves to win, who wakes up thinking about it, goes to sleep thinking about it,” Marmol said of Contreras, who began his big league career with the Cubs. “And we’ve seen quite a bit across the way.”

Walker’s $72 million, four-year contract with Philadelphia was the team’s second major free agent deal at the winter meetings after it reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year contract.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the Walker move to the AP on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s NL East rivals. The Phillies made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

Bell agreed to a $33 million, two-year contract with Cleveland, and Bellinger, another Boras client, reached a $17.5 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Haniger got a $43.5 million, three-year deal with San Francisco.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year — the second-lowest total in the majors.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the Bell contract on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP, was cut by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Nov. 18 after the 27-year-old outfielder hit .210 with 19 homers, 150 strikeouts and a .654 OPS in 144 games.

“Got a track record of a lot of success and dynamic defense,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “I remember when he first got in the league — first base, smooth hands, dynamic center fielder, great outfielder. Hadn’t had the success he had early on, but definitely a lot of potential for a great player.”

Bellinger figures to play center for the Cubs, but could see some time at first. He had a $17 million contract this season and likely would have received a slight raise in arbitration.

The 31-year-old Haniger dipped to 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 57 games for Seattle last season, a year after the former All-Star outfielder had 39 homers and 100 RBIs for the Mariners.

“The interest was mutual, which is kind of what you need to make these deals,” said Farhan Zaidi, the president of baseball operations for San Francisco.

The 33-year-old Kahnle is going back to the New York Yankees on an $11.5 million, two-year contract, and the 31-year-old Heaney agreed to a $25 million, two-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Kahnle and Heaney each pitched for the Dodgers this year. Kahnle, who played for New York for 2 1/2 seasons beginning in 2017, posted a 2.84 ERA in 13 relief appearances. Heaney went 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 16 games, 14 starts.

A person familiar with the contracts for Kahnle and Heaney confirmed the deals on condition of anonymity because there was no immediate announcement of each move.

The Yankees are one of the teams waiting to hear from Judge, who set an American League record with 62 homers for the Bronx Bombers this season. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

San Francisco also is in the mix, and there likely are more teams lurking on the periphery of the market for the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

“I’m probably not going to comment on that today,” Zaidi said. “Obviously, there’s been stuff out there. It’s really noisy.”

New York manager Aaron Boone said he was in the shower when he saw the report about Judge and the Giants.

“A lot of unknown right now. … Yeah, we haven’t heard anything,” Boone said.


AP Baseball Writers Ben Walker and Ronald Blum contributed to this report.


Follow Jay Cohen at https://twitter.com/jcohenap


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

AP sources: Walker, Bellinger, Bell move; Giants add Haniger