Mets hire Beltrán as new manager

NEW YORK — Carlos Beltrán, two years removed from his playing career and with no managerial experience, has been picked by the New York Mets to replace Mickey Callaway.

The Mets announced the move Friday.

A nine-time All-Star during 20 major league seasons, Beltrán played for the Mets from 2005-11.

He interviewed to become New York Yankees manager after the 2017 season, when Aaron Boone was hired, and spent this season as an adviser to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

“At the beginning it’s a little bit overwhelming. There’s a lot of information that you have to digest,” Beltran said after he was interviewed by the Yankees two years ago. “Being a player and being able to play this game for such a long time, I have seen a lot, and I have seen the importance of what players need in the clubhouse.”

The 42-year-old Beltrán becomes the first minority to fill one of the eight major league manager vacancies this offseason. Those jobs filled are: the Chicago Cubs (David Ross), Kansas City (Mike Matheny), the Los Angeles Angels (Joe Maddon), Philadelphia (Joe Girardi) and San Diego (Jayce Tingler). Pittsburgh and San Francisco remain open.

Marlins decline $16 million option on Castro

MIAMI — The Marlins have declined their $16 million option on infielder Starlin Castro for 2020 and will pay him a $1 million buyout, allowing him to become a free agent.

Castro, 29, batted .270 while playing all 162 games this year and had career-high totals of 22 homers and 86 RBIs.

Nationals decline Adams’ $4 million option

WASHINGTON — Two days after winning their first World Series title, the Washington Nationals declined a $4 million mutual option for 2020 on backup first baseman Matt Adams.

Adams gets a $1 million buyout and becomes a free agent following Friday’s decision.

The 31-year-old hit .226 with 20 homers and 56 RBIs in 111 games during the regular season.

He had just four plate appearances in the postseason and his only World Series action was a walk as a pinch hitter in Game 3. His pinch single off Adam Wainwright sparked a two-run rally in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series.

Adams, 31, is an eight-year big league veteran with St. Louis (2012-17, ‘18), Atlanta (2017) and Washington (2018, ‘19).

Moustakas, Grandal go onto free agent market

MILWAUKEE — Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal declined their mutual options with the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming free agents.

Moustakas, who turned 31 in September, is a free agent for the third straight offseason after earning $18.7 million in a pair of one-year deals.

He hit .254 with 35 homers and 87 RBIs this year for the Brewers, earning his third All-Star selection. After starting the season at second base, he moved across the diamond to third when Travis Shaw slumped.

Moustakas rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer from Kansas City after the 2017 season and returned to the Royals in mid-March for a one-year contract that included a $5.5 million salary and $1 million option buyout. He was traded to the Brewers that July and finished with a .251 average, 28 homers and 95 RBIs, earning an additional $2.2 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. He had a

$7 million salary this year and gets a $3 million buyout for declining his $10 million option.

Grandal turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers last November, then agreed in January to a deal with the Brewers that included a $16 million salary this year and a $16 million mutual option for 2020 with a $2.25 million buyout. Selected for the All-Star team for the second time, he hit .246 and had career bests with 28 homers and 77 RBIs.

Harrelson, Shannon among Frick finalists

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Former big league players Ken Harrelson and Mike Shannon are among the eight finalists for the Ford Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting, presented annually by the Hall of Fame.

Harrelson spent 28 years calling games for the Chicago White Sox and 42 in all, including his time with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

Shannon played for the Cardinals for nine seasons and broadcast their games for 42 years.

Other finalists announced Friday include Joe Castiglione, Jacques Doucet, Tom Hamilton, Pat Hughes, Ned Martin and Dewayne Staats. The winner will be announced on Dec. 11 at the winter meetings and honored July 25 at the Hall’s awards presentation during induction weekend.

World Series averages as 3rd-least viewed

This year’s World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros went the distance but finished as the third-least viewed.

The series averaged 13.91 million viewers according to national numbers from Nielsen, which is down 1.3% from last year, when the Boston Red Sox defeated the Dodgers in five games (14.1 million average). The Nationals’ first title had an 8.1 overall rating and 16 market share. Including streaming, the series average is 14.01 million.

The lowest-rated series remains 2012, when the San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers (12.64 million) followed by the Philadelphia Phillies win over the Tampa Bay Rays in six games (13.19 million). 

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