Free agent Cody Ross seeks three-year deal

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An NL official told ESPN’s Buster Olney that free agent Cody Ross is currently seeking a three-year deal.

The 31-year-old Ross was a disappointment for the Giants last season, finishing at .240/.325/.405 with 14 homers and 52 RBI in 405 at-bats. He’d seem to fall in line behind Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham among free agent outfielders, and neither of those two is a lock to get a three-year deal.

What Ross does have going for him is that he’s an above average defender in a corner and an adequate center fielder. However, since he finished at .804 in his first year of regular playing time with the Marlins in 2008, his OPS has dipped each season. He ended up at .790 in 2009, .735 in 2010 and .730 in 2011. Also, the bulk of his production comes against left-handers: he’s hit .282/.349/.563 versus southpaws in his career, compared to .253/.313/.414 against righties.

The total package makes Ross a fringe regular, though he’d be an outstanding fourth outfielder as a starter against lefties and an occasional fill-in against righties. Had he entered free agency a year ago, there’s a chance he might have gotten that three-year deal. Coming off a mediocre 2011, he’ll be fortunate if someone antes up $10 million for two years.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below: