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

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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.    

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.