Astros targeting Soriano or Lindstrom for bullpen

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Houston has an opening at closer after Jose Valverde declined arbitration and an empty setup spot with LaTroy Hawkins is headed to Milwaukee, so the Astros are reportedly pursuing trades for Matt Lindstrom of the Marlins and Rafael Soriano of the Braves.
Soriano surprisingly accepted Atlanta’s arbitration offer and because the Braves have already rebuilt the bullpen with free agents Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito they’re looking to essentially do a sign-and-trade for Soriano. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal pegs Houston and Tampa Bay as the most likely destinations.
Lindstrom is due for a raise via arbitration, so naturally the Marlins have been shopping him all week and an unnamed source told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that they’re “close” to dealing him to the Astros. Lindstrom is coming off a career-worst year, but between 2007 and 2008 he had a 3.11 ERA and 105/47 K/BB ratio in 124 innings and his probable salary of around $2 million is only expensive to the Marlins.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.