UPDATE: Astros close to multi-year deal with Brett Myers


UPDATE: Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the Astros are close to a multi-year deal with right-hander Brett Myers.

The Astros were reported to be reluctant to trade Myers, though many — including myself — thought they were bluffing. The 29-year-old right-hander has been a real bargain for the ‘Stros this season, compiling a 3.10 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 21 starts. His contract includes an $8 million option for next season, though as I mentioned earlier, they’ll probably start from scratch here.

2:56 PM: Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle was told that the Astros will not trade Brett Myers or Wandy Rodriguez. The club listened to offers, however they didn’t hear anything they liked.

In fact, Justice hears that the Astros are looking to get Myers under contract for next season. He is making $3.1 million this season has an $8 million mutual option for next season. Myers would probably rip that one up if he can get a multi-year deal.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears the same thing, though we still have a little over an hour left before the 4 pm ET deadline, so they could probably still be overwhelmed.

9:15 AM: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Astros are listening to offers for Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez, though they are “not that motivated” to trade them.

9:02 AM: Over the past 10 days or so, we’ve heard that the Astros were reluctant to deal Brett Myers. Their hesitation didn’t make a whole lot of sense, really, because the resurgent Myers is likely to choose free agency instead of his $8 million option for 2011. Well, it sounds like the Astros have finally come to their senses or maybe they intended to deal him all along.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Astros have “become more open-minded” to trading Myers now that he is the top right-handed starter on the market. And according to a source, the Twins are one of the teams in the discussion.

Myers, 29, is 8-6 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 21 starts this season and has gone at least six innings in each and every one of them. He recently allowed just one run in a complete game win over the Cubs on Tuesday night and has a 1.67 ERA over his last four starts.

Morosi writes that the Twins have a need for starting pitching and might want to counter the White Sox, who added Edwin Jackson on Friday, thus continuing the myth that he is somehow a difference-maker. Morosi believes that it would take Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey or Nick Blackburn to get Myers. If it’s the recently-demoted Blackburn that the Astros want — he of the 6.66 ERA and the $14 million contract — Aaron would probably drive him to Houston.    

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds
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Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

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It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.