Must-Click Link: Catching up with Jim Joyce

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As a short-attention-span blogger, it makes my head hurt to think about travelling a couple thousand miles, talking to someone for hours and then spending several days writing several thousand insightful words about the experience.  Really, I tend to lose interest in what I’m writing approximately two minutes after I think of the snarky punchline.

Thankfully not everyone else is like me or else we’d be in a journalistic wilderness.  We need our nutrition as readers, and that nutrition comes in the form of long-form feature pieces on the people and events that shape the game we love.  There isn’t anyone who does that better than ESPN’s Amy K. Nelson. She pretty much knocks every subject she chooses out of the park, and today is no exception: Jim Joyce: infamous umpire:

“I think about it still, almost every day,” Joyce says. “I don’t want to be known as Jim Joyce, the guy that blew the perfect game. But I think that’s inevitable.”

Why?

“Because I’m Jim Joyce,” he says, “the umpire who blew the perfect game.”

Take your early-afternoon coma off today and check out Nelson’s piece about the man who cost Armando Galarraga his perfect game and somehow came out better for it on the other end.

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.