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Astros owner declines comment on sign stealing investigation

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has declined to comment on Major League Baseball’s investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

While walking through the lobby of the hotel where owners were meeting Wednesday, Crane stopped briefly when approached by reporters and said he’d talk about baseball.

When someone started to ask if he had any comment about the allegations, Crane responded with “any other issues” before being escorted away by two sheriff’s deputies working security in the lobby.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday he hopes the investigation will be complete by next season and that he has authority to impose discipline beyond the loss of amateur draft picks.

Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic last week that while he was with the Astros during their 2017 World Series championship season, the team stole signs during home games by using a camera positioned in center field.

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Tommy Pham headed to Padres; Rays to get Hunter Renfroe

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The San Diego Padres, intent on winning in 2020, agreed to a trade for outfielder Tommy Pham and a prospect from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and prized second-base prospect Xavier Edwards, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN on Thursday night.

The trade, which the sides expect to be announced Friday upon the completion of medical reviews, will send Pham, who turns 32 in March, to a Padres team in need of a high-on-base offensive catalyst. The Padres, who had the fifth-lowest on-base percentage in the majors last season, already have acquired outfielder Trent Grisham and second baseman Jurickson Profar in trades this winter and are expected to continue dealing to alleviate an outfield glut as the winter meetings approach this week, sources said.

Tampa Bay, which bowed out to the Houston Astros in a tight five-game division series this season, will get Renfroe and Edwards, an athletic middle infielder with excellent bat-to-ball skills who is a favorite among evaluators.

For the better part of a year, Renfroe, 27, has been part of Padres trade talks, with his sub-.300 career on-base percentage a red flag for teams. But his prodigious power, well-above-average defense, elite throwing arm and four years of club control were strong selling points for the Rays.

After buying low on Pham in a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Rays sold relatively high, as he will earn more than $8 million in arbitration this season and become a free agent after 2021. Still, the Padres, in win-now mode, see Pham as a strong enough upgrade to give up a high-floor, higher-ceiling prospect in Edwards.

Edwards was No. 46 on ESPN insider Keith Law’s midseason top 50 prospects list. Though he hasn’t developed power in his first two minor league seasons, Edwards has top-end speed and will play almost all of the 2020 season at 20 years old. The Rays could play him at shortstop, though a scout who saw Edwards multiple times this season says he believes he could be a Gold Glove-caliber fielder at second base.

The Padres dipped into a farm system considered perhaps the best in the game, and sent Edwards to a Rays team that is in contention with it for that title. After a frustrating 2019, the Padres fired manager Andy Green, hired the well-thought-of Jayce Tingler and have taken an aggressive tack to reflect owner Ron Fowler’s mandate to win next season.

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Tommy Pham traded to Padres; Rays get Hunter Renfroe

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The San Diego Padres, intent on winning in 2020, agreed to a trade for outfielder Tommy Pham and a prospect from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and prized second-base prospect Xavier Edwards, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.

The trade, which the sides expect to be announced Friday, will send Pham, who turns 32 in March, to a Padres team in need of a high-on-base offensive catalyst. The Padres, who had the fifth-lowest on-base percentage in the majors last season, already have acquired outfielder Trent Grisham and second baseman Jurickson Profar in trades this winter and are expected to continue dealing to alleviate an outfield glut as the winter meetings approach this week, sources said.

Tampa Bay, which bowed out to the Houston Astros in a tight five-game division series this season, will get Renfroe and Edwards, an athletic middle infielder with excellent bat-to-ball skills who is a favorite among evaluators.

For the better part of a year, Renfroe, 27, has been part of Padres trade talks, with his sub-.300 career on-base percentage a red flag for teams. But his prodigious power, well-above-average defense, elite throwing arm and four years of club control were strong selling points for the Rays.

After buying low on Pham in a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Rays sold relatively high, as he will earn more than $8 million in arbitration this season and become a free agent after 2021. Still, the Padres, in win-now mode, see Pham as a strong enough upgrade to give up a high-floor, higher-ceiling prospect in Edwards.

Edwards was No. 46 on ESPN insider Keith Law’s midseason top 50 prospects list. Though he hasn’t developed power in his first two minor league seasons, Edwards has top-end speed and will play almost all of the 2020 season at 20 years old. The Rays could play him at shortstop, though a scout who saw Edwards multiple times this season believes he could be a Gold Glove-caliber fielder at second base.

The Padres dipped into a farm system considered perhaps the best in the game — and sent Edwards to a Rays team that is in contention with it for that title. After a frustrating 2019, the Padres fired manager Andy Green, hired the well-thought-of Jayce Tingler and have taken an aggressive tack to reflect owner Ron Fowler’s mandate to win next season.

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Ex-Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild hired for same position with Padres

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SAN DIEGO — Former New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been hired in the same position by the San Diego Padres.

Rothschild is one of several newcomers on rookie manager Jayce Tingler’s staff announced Thursday. Rothschild spent the last nine seasons with the Yankees before being fired after last season. He replaces Darren Balsley.

Other newcomers include bench coach Bobby Dickerson, first base coach Wayne Kirby, and Ben Fritz as bullpen coach. Dickerson comes from the Phillies and Kirby from the Orioles. Fritz enters his sixth season with the Padres organization and his first at the big league level.

Glenn Hoffman returns as third base coach. Skip Schumaker has been elevated to associate manager after serving as the first base coach the last two seasons. Damion Easley was promoted from assistant hitting coach to hitting coach. Rod Barajas will serve as catching and quality control coach. He was bench coach last season before being named interim manager for the last eight games after Andy Green was fired.

San Diego finished last in the NL West in 2019.

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