Bill Hall doesn't want to be in the best shape of his life

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Bill Hall.jpgWe’ve heard about guys coming to camp in the best shape of their life, but Red Sox’ utilityman Bill Hall doesn’t want any part of that. Why? Because he thinks his workout program was a large part of what caused his post-2006 swoon:

Hall traces his problems since – he batted just .201 last year with Milwaukee and Seattle – to two root causes.

One was a workout regime he attacked with “reckless abandon,” in a
misguided attempt to look like an Adonis. He fasted to keep his body
fat down and neglected baseball-specific exercises, a problem he has
since rectified.

“I was trying to get in the best shape ever, and it probably hurt me
more than helped me as far as injuries,” Hall said. “I blame that on
myself and my own lack of knowledge.”

The other problem, he claims, was a severe high ankle sprain that he rushed back from and which ultimately messed with his swing.

There’s another explanation that Hall doesn’t mention, but which seems more plausible than a three-year ankle sprain and being too buff: teams just started paying closer attention to the guy after his breakout year, throwing him a lot more low and away stuff to see if he can reach it with that open, bat-on-the-shoulder stance of his, and he hasn’t yet been able to adjust to it and lay off the slop.

But maybe that’s too simple an explanation.

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.