Rockies trade Dexter Fowler to Astros for Jordan Lyles

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Trade rumors have been swirling around Dexter Fowler for a while now and the Rockies have sent the center fielder to the Astros in exchange for right-hander Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes.

Fowler is 27 years old with two seasons remaining before free agency and the Astros’ payroll is so low that the fact he’s getting expensive probably doesn’t matter to them. His lack of production away from Coors Field is a more important issue, because for his career Fowler has hit just .241 with a .694 OPS on the road compared to .298 with an .880 OPS in Colorado.

Lyles gives the Rockies a potential mid-rotation starter long term, although the former first-round pick struggled through age 22 with a 5.35 ERA in 377 innings. Barnes is little more than a backup outfielder and hit just .240 with a .635 OPS and horrible plate discipline in the first extended action of his career this year at age 27, but he gives the Rockies a possible center field fill-in if they decide not to shift Carlos Gonzalez from a corner spot.

Report: Mariners sign Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mariners have signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Nicasio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.

Nicasio will help bolster the Mariners’ bullpen behind closer Edwin Diaz. It’s not known exactly what role he’ll have but it seems reasonable to assume he’ll handle mostly the seventh inning while Nick Vincent will set up for Diaz. Nicasio does have plenty of starting experience so he could also spot start in a pinch.