There will come a time when Albert Pujols getting the start at third base will no longer be newsworthy. To be honest, it probably came the last time he started at third base. But hey, it’s almost 5, I’ve been up since 4AM, I’m getting punchy and posting about this seems better than trying to get worked up about something.
So, Pujols at third against the Astros. This will be his third start and fourth overall appearance there. So far he hasn’t done himself or his team any harm. But of greater interest to people is that, if he keeps doing this, he’s going to give fantasy owners a midsummer bonus, inasmuch as in some fantasy leagues like Yahoo!’s, he’ll have third base eligibility with two more starts or six more spot appearances. Then you can just trot him out over there all willy nilly.
All of which explains my vague distaste for fantasy baseball and, in this instance, real baseball. Because no matter how he does over there, having Albert Pujols as your third baseman at this stage of his career seems to violate the laws of man and God. But I guess that’s my problem, not Pujols’, Tony La Russa’s or that guy in your fantasy league who is going to get all giddy when he can use Pujols at third.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.