UPDATED: Jack Cust designated for assignment

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cust posing in dugout.jpgUPDATE: Cust told Slusser on Sunday that he thinks the A’s made a bad move by giving up on him.  It sure sounds like he would rather move on to another club:

“I think it’s messed up,” Cust said. “They’re going to go on 50 at-bats
after three years of what I’ve done here? It’s ridiculous. A lot of
other guys have had bad springs. This is a joke. … The fact is, this team has no power and they’ve just released a guy
who (averaged 28 homers) the last three years. That’s amazing.”

Cust went 11-for-51 this spring (.216) with one home run and three RBI.

8:20pm: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has been all over the A’s news beat this afternoon and passes along this interesting tweet:

Cust to be designated. That’s what I’m hearing but
it’s not official by any means.

Slusser, of course, is talking about Jack Cust, the man who hit .240/.356/.417 last season with 25 home runs and 70 RBI and was re-signed to a $2.65 million contract this winter.  He lacks versatility and all, but it sure seems like the guy would be useful as a DH or late-innings pinch-hitter for Oakland this season.  If he is cast off, you can bet that a few teams will be phoning Athletics general manager Billy Beane.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.