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Report: Astros are looking at Jeff Samardzija as a trade candidate

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Astros are doing preliminary background work on Giants’ right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Nothing has been substantiated by either team yet, but the veteran righty would be an interesting get for the Astros, whose pool of right-handed starters currently features Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers, Brad Peacock, Francis Martes, Joe Musgrove and Collin McHugh (10-day DL, elbow impingement).

Samardzija hasn’t been hanging around the top of the leaderboard this year, at least not when it comes to run prevention, but his peripheral stats show that he’s putting together a more solid run than his 4-10 record and 4.58 ERA suggest. He’s maintained a 1.1 BB/9 and career-best 9.7 SO/9 through the first 118 innings of the season and has pitched into the sixth inning in all but three of his starts.

Consistency is at a premium these days, especially for a club that’s well-positioned to contend this fall, and that may be reason enough for the Astros to take a flyer on the 32-year-old. He’s no Jose Quintana, to be sure, but has tossed over 200 innings in each of his last four seasons and has stayed remarkably healthy over the entirety of his 10-year career. While Samardzija is set to remain under team control through the 2020 season, he’s still owed $60+ million on his five-year contract, which could be enough to put off any suitors looking for a bargain arm to stabilize their rotation.

Report: Mets showing interest in Bartolo Colon

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Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.

Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.

Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.