Would you believe that the Red Sox bid for Mariano Rivera?

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The reports of Mariano Rivera’s signing last night were accompanied by brief asides that he turned down other offers from other teams.  So who were they? Jon Heyman is the only one I’ve seen naming names.  He says the Angels and — get this — the Red Sox were involved. Heyman says they each offered three-year deals.

The Angels I could sort of see. It would have been a crazy, splashy move Arte Moreno would have gotten off on and it’s not like Fernando Rodney is so firmly ensconced in the closer’s job.

But the Red Sox?  I realize that Jonathan Papelbon’s stock is at an all-time low, but the Sox did end up tendering him a contract so they believe he has some value. More to the point, though, is that they have a closer-in-waiting in Daniel Bard.  Why would they want to block him for three years?  And why would they want to spend $45 million or more on a relief pitcher anyway?  If they were wired like that they would have extended Papelbon a few years ago rather than be content to go year-to-year with him in arbitration. If any team is aware that you don’t go long on your bullpen, it’s the Red Sox.

I have to think that the Red Sox stuff is either not true or, at the most, is one of those instances we hear about from time to time about the Yankees and Red Sox just trying to make life difficult for one another.

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.