January 22, 2017 will not be remembered as a good day in Major League Baseball, but rather a day marred by grim coincidence. In two separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, Kansas City Royals RHP Yordano Ventura and former star Minor League 3B Andy Marte were killed. Ventura was 25, Marte was 33.
The sting of this tragedy is a familiar one for the MLB, which dealt with the heartbreaking loss of Jose Fernandez in a boating accident just four months ago in September.
Ventura was traveling on the Juan Adrián highway in San Jose de Ocoa, Dominican Republic when he was killed in his car accident. Details beyond this have not been released. However, the Dominican police have confirmed that Ventura was the only person in his car.
Marte’s accident occurred in between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, Dominican Republic, roughly 79 miles from where Ventura was. Dominican police stated that Marte was killed when his car crashed into a house along the side of the highway he was driving on, the reason for this has not been confirmed yet.
Ventura was in the prime of his career and was an integral piece of the Kansas City Royals team that won the American League Pennant in 2014 and the World Series a year later. Possessing a fastball that clocked on average at 96 MPH, the flamethrower amassed a 38-31 record with 3.89 ERA and 470 Ks in his four season career, all with KC. Ventura was not afraid to be bold and Royals fans loved him for it. He had several heated exchanges resulting from throwing at players. The Royals would not have reached the either of their back-to-back World Series without him.
Unlike Ventura, Andy Marte’s death did not cut his MLB career short, but that doesn’t make it any less saddening. Marte last played in the Majors in 2014, he was in the DR playing winter ball. Marte had a highly successful Minor League career and was the MLB’s no. 9 prospect entering 2005 with the Braves. Though Atlanta thought he would become Chipper Jones 2.0, Marte never found the same swagger in the MLB and he had the career of a journeyman. He finished his seven season MLB career with a .218 AVG along with 21 HR and 99 RBI. The Cleveland Indians stated on Twitter that Marte was very amicable and always greeted you with a smile.
Here’s something that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up; Marte’s last MLB appearance was on August 6, 2014 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The last starting pitcher he faced in his MLB career? Yordano Ventura.
An outflow of mourning for both Ventura and Marte has come from all over the Baseball world today. Multiple Royals expressed their devastation over the loss of their teammate Ventura on social media. Danny Duffy and Christian Colon even greeted mourning fans outside of Kaufmann Stadium. Many of the teams for whom Marte played paid tribute to their former player as well.
Commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statement:
“Today is a very sad day for our entire game and particularly for the many loyal fans in the Dominican Republic, the home of both Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte.
Yordano was a key figure in the Royals recent success. His electric talent on the mound helped lead the Royals to two American League pennants and a World Series championship in 2015. Andy was a respected member of six organizations who played seven Major League seasons, including six for the Cleveland Indians from 2006-2010. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to the families, teammates, friends and fans of both players.”
Although they were unrelated incidents, both accidents are nothing short of tragic and took two young lives away from the world. My MLB partner on Sports Rants, Mike Addvensky (@MikeAddvensky), and I send our condolences to the families of both Ventura and Marte.
Rest in Peace, men.
Royals Land Outfielder Melky Cabrera In Trade
The Kansas City Royals just bolstered their outfield.
The Chicago White Sox traded outfielder Melky Cabrera to Kansas City on Sunday for two prospects and cash considerations.
Cabrera is making $15 million this season and is scheduled to become a free agent after this season.
Chicago received right-hander A.J. Puckett and left-hander Andre Davis from Kansas City. Davis is the 13th-ranked player in the Royals’ farm system and Puckett is ranked 22nd, according to MLB.com.
This season Cabrera is batting .295 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs in 98 games for Chicago.
Davis, 23, is 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 18 starts for Lexington, the Royals’ Class A team.
Puckett, 22, is 9-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 20 starts for Wilmington, the Royals’ advanced Class A team.
Cabrera, 32, returns to Kansas City, where he played in 2011.
MLB Trade Rumors: The Latest Round Of Talk
The MLB Trade Deadlin is fast approaching and we are all in for a crazy whirlwind of trade chatter leading up to the deadline. Here is a breakdown of the latest whispers circulating the MLB trade rumor wire:
• Kyle Schwarber is the top target for New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in any proposed trade with the Chicago Cubs, but the Cubs are unwilling to part ways with the promising power hitter. “Cash(man) thinks he can hit 50 home runs there,” one source with knowledge of the Yankees’ plans said. (Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports)
• The Miami Marlins are interested in acquiring pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
• The New York Yankees are likely to trade away closer Aroldis Chapman within the next two weeks. (Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports)
• Atlanta Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino could still be involved in a trade despite landing on the disabled list. (Jon Heyman, Today’s Knuckleball)
• There were discussions of a trade between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals involving Carlos Beltran and Luke Hochevar earlier this season. (George A. King III, New York Post)
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