The Athletics just added Grant Balfour to help strengthen their bullpen yesterday, but it appears that they aren’t done yet. Major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that the club is also pushing to sign Brian Fuentes.
Fuentes, 35, posted a 2.81 ERA and 47/20 K/BB ratio over 48 innings between the Angels and Twins last season. He held left-handed batters to a .128/.222/.149 batting line in 58 plate appearances last season and hasn’t given up a home run to a left-handed batter since the 2008 season. Fuentes, a California native, qualified as a Type B free agent this winter, but wasn’t offered arbitration by the Twins.
Rosenthal hears that Fuentes will likely command a two-year deal in the range of $12 million. He’s also drawing strong interest from the Blue Jays, who would likely give him an opportunity to win the ninth-inning gig, as opposed to Oakland, where Andrew Bailey is an established and elite closer.
Astros’ star second baseman José Altuve underwent surgery on his right knee, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports. Neither the specifics of the surgery nor a concrete timetable for the infielder’s recovery have been officially confirmed by the club yet.
Altuve, 28, suffered the injury in July after he jammed his knee on a close play at third base. Even after he completed an initial 3.5-week stint on the 10-day disabled list, chronic knee pain continued to dog him in the months that followed. As manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Thursday, he would have held the second baseman out of the lineup under any other circumstances, but instead chose to commend Altuve for showing up and pushing through the pain as the Astros tried for a repeat championship title this postseason.
Per McTaggart, the Astros expect Altuve to make a full recovery by spring. The perennial All-Star infielder finished his 2018 run with a .316/.386/.451 batting line, 13 home runs, and an .837 OPS through 599 plate appearances. He fared slightly worse during Houston’s ALDS and ALCS campaigns, slashing .265/.324/.412 with three extra-base hits over 37 PA. The Astros were eliminated by the Red Sox during Thursday’s 4-1 loss in ALCS Game 5.