Brandon Allen

Time for Diamondbacks to make a switch at first base?

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Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson named Juan Miranda his primary first baseman at the end of the spring, but he’s obviously never really warmed up to the former Yankee.  As of Friday, Miranda had started just 33 of the team’s 70 games. The decision to release Russell Branyan seemed like just the break Miranda needed to solidify his job, but Gibson has recently gone to Xavier Nady more and more, even against right-handers.

It doesn’t seem entirely fair.  Miranda is hitting just .235 in 132 at-bats this season, but that comes with a .784 OPS.  The NL league average for first baseman this year is a .795 OPS. Nady has just a .683 OPS in his 124 at-bats.

Furthermore, the Diamondbacks are 21-12 with Miranda in the lineup, compared to 17-20 the rest of the time.

Still, Miranda isn’t anything special.  He’s 28, and he’s never going to be anything more than a platoon player.  So if Gibson isn’t happy with him, the Diamondbacks should probably just move on now.

But who to move on to? 25-year-old Brandon Allen has been terrific in Triple-A, hitting .299/.421/.525.  He came up last year and hit .267/.393/.400 in 45 at-bats down the stretch, and he really should have been given more consideration for a starting job this spring.

Then there’s 23-year-old Paul Goldschmidt, the minor league home run leader with 21 bombs for Double-A Mobile.  He is hitting a remarkable .338/.458/.667 in the Southern League.

It certainly wouldn’t be very fair for the Diamondbacks to bypass Allen again.  He has nothing left to prove in Triple-A, while Goldschmidt has yet to receive an at-bat at the level.  Still, there has been more speculation lately that Goldschmidt could be the choice. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers recently said that he could be added around the All-Star break.

Either way, Miranda’s days with the Diamondbacks may be numbered.  He’s out of options, so it wouldn’t be surprised to see him flipped for a possible bullpen arm at some point within the next few weeks.

Report: Mark Trumbo signs three-year, $37.5 million contract with Orioles

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.

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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.

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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.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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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.