The Astros sign Bill Hall to a one-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Astros have signed Bill Hall to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2012. He’ll make somewhere around $3 million.

Hall, who turns 31 later this month, batted .247/.316/.456 with 18 home runs, 46 RBI, nine stolen bases and a 772 OPS over 382 plate appearances this past season. While he played six different positions with the Red Sox — and even pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning in May — Rosenthal hears that he will be the regular second baseman in Houston. The Astros already added Clint Barmes in a trade with Colorado last month, so the club will have a brand new double play combination in 2011.

Rosenthal adds that this signing “pratically ensures” that Jeff Keppinger will be traded. And as he wrote earlier in the day, the Yankees like him as a potential utility player.

Report: Red Sox expected to hire Alex Cora after World Series

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox have offered a contract to Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora, though the deal won’t be officially announced until the conclusion of the World Series later this month. Cora has long been a favorite for the Sox’ managerial vacancy, and despite reports that he was being pursued by the Tigers, Mets, Phillies and Nationals, he’s expected to land in Boston after all. The team has yet to verify the report.

The deal is for three years, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Cora is coming off of a one-year gig with the Astros and has no prior managerial experience. More importantly, however, he stands out for his familiarity with the Red Sox’ organization, strong connection with players and analytics-driven approach.

The Red Sox are the second team to replace their manager this offseason after the Tigers snatched up Ron Gardenhire on Friday. The Mets, Phillies and Nationals are still hunting for replacements.