Utilityman Ryan Freel opts for retirement

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ryan freel.jpg34-year-old Ryan Freel has chosen to retire after playing in nine games in the independent Atlantic League, according to Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat.
After the Reds dumped his contract following the 2008 season, Freel washed out in the Orioles, Cubs and Royals organizations last year, hitting .193/.290/.216 in 88 at-bats.
While he never established himself at any position, Freel was a very valuable player for the Reds from 2004-06. He hit between .270-.280 with OBPs in the .360-.380 range all three seasons and stole a total of 110 bases.
Freel, though, had big problems staying healthy after 2006. It was certainly in part due to his reckless style of play on the field, yet there were also concerns about how he was handling his affairs off the field. Freel was charged with DUI in 2005, and he was arrested in 2006 on disorderly intoxication charges.
Freel finishes his career with a .258/.354/.369 line and 143 steals in 1,983 at-bats.

Report: Astros, Ryan Pressly close to agreement on two-year, $17.5 million extension

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Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros and reliever Ryan Pressly are close to finalizing a two-year, $17.5 million contract extension, which will also include a third-year vesting club option. Rome notes that the extension is believed to be the largest, in terms of both total money and average annual value, for a reliever who is not a closer.

Pressly, 30, agreed to a $2.9 million salary for the 2019 season back in January, avoiding arbitration in his final year of eligibility. The Astros acquired Pressly from the Twins near the end of July in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Pressly posted a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings with the Twins and a 0.77 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with the Astros. In the playoffs, Pressly allowed just one run on one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts across five innings of work.

Along with Héctor Rondón, Pressly will once again help bridge the gap to closer Roberto Osuna.