Marlins “close to signing” John Buck to three-year contract

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins are “close to signing” John Buck to a three-year contract believed to be worth more than $15 million, which is pretty remarkable for a catcher who was available to the Blue Jays for a one-year, $2 million deal last offseason.

Buck obviously boosted his value significantly with a career-year, hitting .281 with 20 homers and an .802 OPS in 118 games, but there’s little reason to think he’s capable of duplicating those numbers again consistently.

He’s always had 20-homer power, but prior to this season Buck was a career .235 hitter with a lowly .298 on-base percentage and .407 slugging percentage in 2,116 plate appearances. And while posting career-best numbers at age 29 he also had the worst strikeout-to-walk ratio in all of baseball at 111-to-16.

Buck is a solid enough catcher, but by giving him a three-year contract the Marlins are clearly paying for a repeat of 2010 and the odds are stacked against that happening.

UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that Buck will get $18 million for three years.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.