UNDATED (AP) — AJ Hinch is getting another opportunity to be a major league manager.
The Detroit Tigers have hired Hinch, who returns to a major league dugout after being fired by the Astros last winter in the wake of Houston’s sign-stealing scandal.
The 46-year-old Hinch guided Houston to the 2017 World Series title. But that championship, and a lot of what Hinch accomplished there, is now viewed in a different light. An investigation found the Astros used a video feed from a center field camera to decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow (LOO’-now) were dismissed immediately after Major League Baseball suspended them for the just-completed season.
In other MLB news:
— Jon Lester’s $25 million mutual option for 2021 has been declined by the Cubs. Lester is owed a $10 million buyout: $2 million on each Dec. 31 from 2022 through 2026. Lester was 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA in 12 starts this year.
— The Rays are declining 2021 options on pitcher Charlie Morton and catcher Mike Zunino, although the AL champions say they remain hopeful of re-signing them. Morton turns 37 next month and was due to earn $15 million. Zunino’s option was for $4.5 million. Both played keys roles in the Rays reaching the World Series, where Tampa Bay lost to the Dodgers in six games.
— The Rangers have declined the $18 million contract option on right-hander Corey Kluber (KLOO’-bur). He lasted just one inning in his only start before a shoulder injury ended his season. Kluber gets a $1 million buyout, and the club has said it is interested in re-signing Kluber to a less expensive deal.
— The White Sox have declined a $12 million option for designated hitter Edwin Encarnación and a $7 million option for left-hander Gio González, making both players free agents. The 37-year-old Encarnación hit .157 with 10 home runs during the shortened 60-game season, while González had a 4.83 ERA in 12 appearances.
— The Indians have declined contract options on Brad Hand, first baseman Carlos Santana and outfielder Domingo Santana for next season. The decisions cut $30.85 million from the team’s projected 2021 payroll. The club exercised catcher Roberto Pérez’s $5.5 million option.
— The Phillies have declined options on relievers Héctor Neris, David Phelps and David Robertson. That clears out a bullpen that posted the highest ERA in the majors this past season.
— Reliever Cam Bedrosian has cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent instead of accepting an outright assignment from the Angels. Bedrosian would have been eligible for arbitration this winter. The right-hander has spent his entire career with the Angels, who drafted him in the first round in 2010.
— The Marlins have declined their $4 million option for 2021 on reliever Brandon Kintzler, who compiled a 2.22 ERA and 12 saves in 24 games this year. He also tossed three scoreless innings in the postseason after helping the Marlins earn their first playoff appearance in 17 years.
— Major League owners have voted to approve the sale of the Mets to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen. The sale from the Wilpon and Katz families values the franchise at between $2.4 billion and $2.45 billion, a record for a baseball team. The sale is likely to close within 10 days. An entity controlled by Cohen will own 95% of the franchise, and the Wilpon and Katz families will retain 5% of the team. Former Mets general manager Sandy Alderson will return as team president.
— The Mets have claimed 30-year-old relievers Nick Tropeano and Jacob Barnes off waivers. Tropeano was 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA in seven games and 15 2/3 innings for the Pirates this year, striking out 19 and walking four. Barnes fanned 24 in 18 innings for the Angels this past season while going 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA.
— Major League Baseball has canceled an owners’ meeting and the annual winter meetings because of the coronavirus pandemic. Owners had been scheduled to gather from Nov 17-19 in Arlington, Texas. The winter meetings had been set for Dec. 7-10 in Dallas. Agendas for both meetings will be conducted remotely if needed.