Lance Berkman remains at the top of the Astros’ DH wish list

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Jerry Crasnick says:

 

Their interest was first reported a month ago, and speculated about as a natural fit well before that.

That said, the Astros front office as currently constructed (i.e. a lot of smart people) are going to almost certainly make this a baseball decision, not an emotional or nostalgic decision.  If Berkman wants to be paid as a guy who just played a 32-game season thanks to injuries and is looking to bounce back, cool. If he’s wishing to be paid as a memory of good Astros days past, it’s probably not gonna happen.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.