UPDATE: Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com says it’s a done deal, with Rasmus getting $8 million on a one-year contract.
Monday the Astros traded center fielder Dexter Fowler to the Cubs and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Houston is “talking to” free agent center fielder Colby Rasmus.
George Springer and Jake Marisnick are both options to replace Fowler in center field for the Astros, but adding Rasmus would allow them to keep Springer in a corner spot while perhaps giving Marisnick more time to develop in the minors.
Rasmus strikes out too much and struggles against lefties, but he’s got 25-homer power with decent range in center field and has typically been a middle-of-the-order caliber bat versus righties.
Pittsburgh dropped Jake Elmore from the 40-man roster, designating the 28-year-old infielder for assignment.
Elmore has bounced around while hitting just .221 with a .579 OPS in 87 games as a big leaguer, but he’s a career .313 hitter with a .407 on-base percentage, more walks than strikeouts, and 60 stolen bases in 250 games at Triple-A and can play all over the diamond defensively.
He was cut to make room for the arrival of Jung-ho Kang.
Yovani Gallardo will be a free agent next offseason, so naturally Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was asked if the team plans to pursue a contract extension with the 29-year-old right-hander after acquiring him from the Brewers for a trio of prospects Monday.
We’ve got to let it play out, at least for right now. We haven’t had any discussions with Yovani.
Gallardo grew up in Texas and indicated Monday that he’d be open to a long-term deal, but the Rangers may first want to see how he fares moving to the American League and whether his declining strikeout rate proves to be a red flag.
Plus, they can always make a qualifying offer to Gallardo next offseason and either retain him on a one-year deal for slightly more than his 2015 salary or receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.
Potentially adding to what has already been a busy offseason, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros are targeting free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong.
Earlier in the offseason Vogelsong made it clear that he wanted to re-sign with the Giants, but San Francisco hasn’t shown much interest in making that happen.
After a terrible 2013 season Vogelsong bounced back somewhat last year, starting 32 games with a 4.00 ERA and 151/58 K/BB ratio in 185 innings. At age 37 he’d likely be available on a modest one-year deal to fill out the back of Houston’s rotation.
By signing Norichika Aoki the Giants pushed Gregor Blanco into a backup role, but they also avoided arbitration with the 31-year-old outfielder by signing him to a two-year, $7.5 million contract.
Blanco will make slightly less than Aoki, who gets $4 million in 2015, and the two-year deal covers his final two seasons of arbitration eligibility. He’ll be eligible for free agency after 2016.
Blanco has been a regular for the Giants in each of the past three seasons, logging 453, 511, and 444 plate appearances while playing all three outfield spots and hitting .257 with a .336 on-base percentage and .691 OPS in 428 total games.