The Astros want to buy the New Orleans Zephyrs

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Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that Jim Crane of the Astros wants to move its Triple-A team to the Houston suburbs. Specifically, The Woodlands or Conroe. And the way they’d likely do it is to purchase an existing franchise and move it:

Crane said the Astros have met with officials from the Zephyrs and will continue to keep the dialogue going. He said the entire process is in the early stages, but he wants the Astros to be prepared to move fast when the stadium situation is settled.

“Until we get a firm deal from the municipalities in The Woodlands or Conroe, we’re not going to be able to put our money down to buy a franchise before we have somewhere to go with it,” Crane said. “We probably have the cart before the horse, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep our nose down and figure out which team that might be.”

Having a local or quasi-local Triple-A team is all the rage these days. The Astros wanna get it on that.

Report: Phillies moving in on a deal with Tommy Hunter

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Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.

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There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.

As for Reed, well, who knows.