Hall of Fame slugger and broadcasting icon Ralph Kiner died Thursday at his Rancho Mirage, Calif., home. He was 91. Kiner died of natural causes, with his family at his side. During his 10-year career as an outfielder, Kiner hit 369 homers, winning or sharing the National League home run title in each of his first seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He twice topped 50 homers, with 51 in 1947 and 54 in 1949. He averaged more than 100 RBIs per year. After his playing career, which was cut short by continuing back ailments, he transitioned to the broadcast booth in 1962, where he would become a New York broadcast icon for the Mets. ---New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract last month, has obtained a work visa and could depart Japan for the United States as early as Sunday, according to reports. Tanaka, 25, received his visa on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, and is preparing to report on time to the Yankees' spring training camp in Tampa, Fla., with the rest of the club's pitchers and catchers. The Yankees' report date for pitchers and catchers is Feb. 14, with their first workout scheduled for Feb. 15 at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Position players are scheduled to report on Feb. 19, and the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 20. ---The Chicago Cubs and second baseman Darwin Barney avoided salary arbitration Thursday, agreeing to a one-year deal for $2.3 million, ESPN.com reported. Barney's salary is the exact midpoint of figures filed by each side last month. Barney sought $2.8 million and the Cubs countered at $1.8 million. he 28-year-old won a Gold Glove Award in 2012 and was a finalist in 2013 after committing only four errors in 141 games. He batted a career-low .208 in his third full season, with a .266 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 41 RBIs. ---Reliever Fernando Rodney agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with the Seattle Mariners, according to multiple reports. Incentives in the deal could boost its value to $15 million, Grantland.com reported Thursday. Rodney, 36, could move into Seattle's closer role ahead of Danny Farquhar after converting 37 of 45 save chances with a 3.38 ERA in 66 2/3 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. In 2012, Rodney notched 48 saves in 50 games with a 0.60 ERA in a sterling season for the Rays. ---The Miami Marlins reached an agreement on a one-year, $1.25 million contract with veteran reliever Carlos Marmol, ESPN reported Thursday. The 31-year-old right-hander spent the 2013 season with the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching in a combined 49 innings and posting a 2-4 record with a 4.41 ERA and two saves. He finished the season with the Dodgers and had a 2.53 ERA in 21 outings. Steve Cishek is expected to be the Marlins' closer in 2014, leaving Marmol to compete for a middle-relief or setup role and provide backup to Cishek.
- Ralph Kiner
- Chicago Cubs