Astros sign Pedro Feliz to one-year deal

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Enrique Rojas of ESPN reports that the Astros have agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with third baseman Pedro Feliz. Feliz became a free agent last month when the Phillies declined his $5 million option for 2010, but he managed to find another starting job for just $1 million less. Of course, he had to go from the back-to-back National League champs to the 74-win Astros to make that happen.
Feliz was once an excellent defensive third baseman with enough power to make up for low batting averages and horrible on-base percentages, but at 35 years old his glove is now merely very good and he hit a measly .266/.308/.386 with just 12 homers in 158 games for the Phillies in 2009. That works out to a .694 OPS, ranking 143rd among the 155 players who qualified for the batting title, and his OPS in the previous four seasons were .705, .708, .709, and .717.
For a contending team with a couple holes that need to be filled cheaply Feliz’s good glove, weak bat combo might still bring a little value to the table, but for a mediocre team like the Astros with all kinds of issues to address he makes little sense. Of course, neither did handing $15 million to Brandon Lyon, so it’s possible “make little sense” is actually general manager Ed Wade’s offseason goal. If you can’t be ’em, confuse ’em.

Report: Dodgers could pursue three-year deal with Rich Hill

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.

Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.

The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.

Yankees in, Red Sox out on Edwin Encarnacion

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler AustinGreg Bird combo in 2017.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.

Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.