From Astros social media director Alyson Footer comes word that Houston has signed 29-year-old outfielder Brad Snyder to a minor league contract. He’ll also be invited to spring training.
Snyder, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft, has made only 37 career plate appearances in the major leagues — all with the Cubs — and has batted just .167/.189/.194 with one extra-base hit over that limited sample size.
Snyder hit .290 with an .801 OPS and 11 home runs in 102 games this past season at Triple-A Iowa.
The Astros have also handed minor league deals and spring training invites to former Cardinals outfielder Nick Stavinoha and former Indians outfielder Travis Buck. They’ll pray for production out of one of the three.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.