So far at least Kevin Youkilis has avoided the disabled list despite being out of the lineup tonight for the third straight game with a back injury, but in the meantime the Red Sox have called up shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias to provide some infield depth.
Youkilis is active but not available, so Boston demoted right-hander Junichi Tazawa to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Iglesias.
Nick Punto has been filling in for Youkilis at third base, so manager Bobby Valentine could decide to shift Mike Aviles to the hot corner instead and use the slick-fielding Iglesias at shortstop. Or maybe Iglesias will just hang around for a few days as bench insurance.
Valentine was full of praise for Iglesias during spring training, but the 22-year-old was hitting just .200 with a .485 OPS at Triple-A after posting similarly underwhelming numbers in Pawtucket last season. His defense is widely considered Gold Glove-caliber, but so far his bat hasn’t even been utility man-caliber.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
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.
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.
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.