According to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have received permission to interview Rays’ executive vice president Andrew Friedman for their general manager vacancy.
The Astros have requested interviews with “a handful” of other candidates for the job, but Justice hears that Friedman is their No. 1 target to replace Ed Wade.
As you may recall, the 34-year-old Friedman dined with with Angels owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino last month, though it’s unclear whether he seriously considered joining their front office. Many believe that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to lure Friedman away from Tampa Bay, as he is very close with owner Stu Sternberg. It’s hard to believe Friedman would join the Astros if he didn’t take the Angels’ job, at least from a pure baseball perspective, but it is worth noting that he is from Houston. Hey, stranger things, right?
Justice hears that two members of the Rangers’ front office — assistant general manager Thad Levine and senior director of player personnel A.J. Preller —- are also believed to be under consideration for the job while former Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker will not be interviewed. Assistant general manager David Gottfried has replaced Wade on an interim basis.
The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, the teams announced Saturday night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash hinted that the team was in on Romo during the offseason, but couldn’t quite make a deal happen at the time. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Thursday and will net the club cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo, 34, struggled to find his footing in his first season with the Dodgers. He left a closing role in San Francisco to play set-up man to established closer Kenley Jansen, and saw mixed results on the mound with a 6.12 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through his first 25 innings of 2017. It’s a far cry from the sub-3.00 ERA he maintained in 2015 and 2016, but the Rays don’t seem to have ruled out a second-half surge just yet.
The veteran right-hander is expected to step into a bullpen that already boasts a solid core of right-handed relievers, including Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley and Tommy Hunter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rays were intrigued by Romo’s extensive postseason experience, affordability and hefty strikeout rate, but will likely continue to hunt for additional bullpen depth in the weeks to come.
Astros’ third baseman Colin Moran was carted off the field on Saturday night after a foul ball caught him in the left eye. He was forced to leave in the sixth inning when a pitch from Orioles’ right-handed reliever Darren O'Day ricocheted off the handle of his bat and struck him in the face, causing considerable bleeding and bruising around his eye. The full extent of his injury has yet to be reported by the team.
Prior to the injury, Moran was 1-for-2 with a base hit in the third inning. He was relieved by pinch-hitter/third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who polished off the end of the at-bat by catapulting a three-run homer onto Eutaw Street.
Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran combined for another two runs in the ninth inning, bringing the Astros to a four-run lead as they look toward their 65th win of the season. They currently lead the Orioles 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth.