UPDATE: C.J. Wilson likely to take five-year deal from Angels

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10:28 p.m. EST update: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says Wilson is expected to accept a five-year deal from the Angels. The Marlins offered six years, but the left-hander has apparently chosen to return to his native southern California instead.

10:05 p.m. EST update: C.J. Wilson has arrived at the winter meetings in Dallas and is expected to meet with both the Marlins and Angels before the night is out.

7:50 p.m. EST update: Mr. Ken Rosenthal begs to differ. His source is reporting that the Marlins are the “best bet” for Wilson, while the Angels are a close second. The Rangers appear to have fallen out of the mix.

It’s been reported all day that the Marlins are at six years with Wilson, while the belief is that the Angels only want to go five. Wilson, however, is a California native and may choose the Angels’ offer anyway.

6:40 p.m. EST update: The Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch reports that Wilson and the Angels are very close to finalizing a deal. No additional information was provided, but the Angels are believed to be at five years, rather than six. It could be in the same neighborhood as the five-year, $82.5 million contracts given to A.J. Burnett and John Lackey by the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively.

5:10 p.m. EST update: The Marlins’ signing of Mark Buehrle doesn’t necessarily take them out of the mix for Wilson. Jon Heyman reports that the Marlins are still involved in the bidding. Many others, however, believe that Wilson is quite a bit more likely to head to Anaheim.

4:05 p.m. EST update: FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi states that the Nationals are out on Wilson. The Rangers still seem to be in the mix, but it looks like the Marlins and Angels will be the higher bidders.

3:20 p.m. EST update: The Marlins have upped their offer to Wilson to six years, according to MLB Network’s Tom Verducci. However, Danny Knobler still labels the Angels as the clear favorites for the left-hander, who is believed to be seeking more than $15 million per year. A decision isn’t expected before late tonight, according to Knobler.

12:20 p.m. EST update: Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A.Times states that the Angels are “still very much a favorite” to sign Wilson and that they’re not one of the five teams in contention for Mark Buehrle.

12:15 p.m. EST update: A source tells ESPN’s Karl Ravech that the Marlins have gone to six years in their offer for Wilson. There’s good reason for skepticism about this one, though, as the Marlins are still waiting to see what Albert Pujols is going to do.

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MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Angels have stepped up their efforts to sign C.J. Wilson and are hoping to get a deal done today.

If signed, Wilson would join Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in what could be the AL’s best rotation. Of course, that alone might not allow the Angels to overtake the Rangers. The Angels finished with the AL’s best ERA last season, yet were 10th in the league in runs scored and ended up a full 10 games behind Texas at 86-76.

If the Angels do want to upgrade their offense, we learned last night that they’re receiving calls on Santana.

Wilson went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA for Texas last season. He finished seventh in the AL in ERA and sixth with 206 strikeouts.

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:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.