End of the line at age 31? Pirates release Garrett Atkins

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Apparently feeling that their Garrett quota had been surpassed after claiming Garrett Olson off waivers last week, the Pirates have released Garrett Atkins.

Atkins is just one season removed from being paid $4.5 million by the Orioles, but that was a terrible signing last winter and he appeared in all of 44 games before Baltimore cut bait.

This offseason he managed only a minor-league deal and couldn’t even claim a bench spot on one of the worst teams in baseball, which says the 31-year-old might be just about finished. He hit .129 this spring.

He hit .329 with 29 homers and 120 RBIs in 2006, but Atkins’ production has steadily declined since then and only Coors Field kept that from becoming more obvious sooner. He may still have enough left in the tank to make it back in the majors as a bench bat or platoon player, but Atkins will likely have to prove himself at Triple-A first.

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.