UPDATE: Astros trade for Matt Lindstrom

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UPDATE: The deal is official now. Florida receives mid-level prospects Robert Bono and Luis Bryan, plus a player to be named later. And saves a bit of cash, of course.

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Houston has been shopping for bullpen help after closer Jose Valverde declined arbitration and setup man LaTroy Hawkins signed with the Brewers, and they’re reportedly on the verge of agreeing to a deal with the Marlins for Matt Lindstrom.
Nothing official has been announced yet, but Lindstrom informed MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro that his agent told him to “hang tight” because the two sides are exchanging medical records.
Florida was looking to deal Lindstrom because he struggled in 2009 and is due for a raise via arbitration, but he had a 3.11 ERA and 105/47 K/BB ratio in 124 innings over the previous two seasons and even the mid-payroll Astros won’t have any trouble handling a price tag around $2 million. Lindstrom has just 20 career saves, but if the trade goes through he’ll almost certainly take over for Valverde as the Astros’ closer and bring his mid-90s fastball to a permanent ninth-inning role.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.