Marlins sign Randy Choate to two-year, $2.5 million contract

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Florida’s bullpen makeover continues, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins have signed left-handed specialist Randy Choate to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.

Choate is a Type B free agent and Tampa Bay smartly offered him arbitration, so the Rays will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds for losing a guy they acquired for nothing in 2009 and paid $700,000 in 2010.

None of which is to suggest that Choate isn’t plenty useful. A side-arming southpaw, he held left-handed hitters to a .202 batting average this year and a .217 mark for his career. However, he can’t be trusted versus right-handed hitters, as they’ve knocked him around to the tune of a .279 batting average and .800 OPS, which is how Choate led the AL with 85 appearances yet logged a total of just 45 innings.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.