A’s “closing in on finishing a deal” with Brandon McCarthy

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In addition to being on the verge of signing Hideki Matsui the A’s are also “closing in on finishing a deal” with Brandon McCarthy, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

McCarthy has a lengthy injury history and was limited to 56 innings this season–all in the minors–because of a stress fracture in his shoulder, but last month there were reports of at least a half-dozen teams scouting him in the Dominican winter league and McCarthy pitched well there.

He’s still just 27 years old and in between all the injuries McCarthy has a 4.56 ERA in 373 career innings despite calling a pair of hitter-friendly ballparks home in Texas and Chicago, so if healthy he should like pitching in Oakland.

UPDATE: The Athletics just announced that they have agreed to terms with McCarthy on a one-year contract. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the deal is worth $1 million guaranteed, plus some additional incentives.

Astros release Jon Singleton

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The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.

If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.