Kelvim Escobar drawing interest as reliever

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ESPN.com’s Jorge Arangure reports that Kelvim Escobar is scheduled to pitch later this week in Venezuela after making just one appearance during the past two seasons because of shoulder problems.
According to Arangure the Mets have already offered Escobar a minor-league contract and the Rays are also interested. Escobar has been primarily a starter since 2003, but apparently hopes to stay off the disabled list by moving back to the bullpen full time.
He saved 38 games for the Blue Jays in 2002 and 209 of his 411 career appearances have come as a reliever. If healthy he has a chance to be an impact setup man, but obviously Escobar is a big question mark at this point.

Report: Astros, Michael Brantley agree to two-year, $32 million contract

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.

Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.