The Astros sign Ryan Rowland-Smith

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We interrupt the crazy Cliff Lee/Carl Crawford/Adrian Beltre chatter to tell you that the Astros have signed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith. That from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Yes, we realize that this isn’t an Earth-shattering signing, but it’s nice to have a transaction that doesn’t invoke the name of large, monied east coast teams.

Rowland-Smith had a couple of good years in Seattle, working out of the pen exclusively his first year, and then transitioning into a swingman (though usually a starter).  He hit a wall last year, however, culminating in a late July start in which he allowed 11 runs to the White Sox.  After a stint on the disabled list — which some of us thought was questionable — he returned for four more games in which he was at least serviceable.

If he can return to his pre-2010 form — he had a 4.57 ERA in 362 career innings — he’ll be a cheap and useful pickup for the Astros. If not, well, he’ll still be cheap.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.