Rangers grant Astros permission to interview Thad Levine

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Just as the Rays did with Andrew Friedman, the Rangers have granted the Astros permission to speak to Thad Levine about their general manager opening, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Levine is the Rangers’ assistant general manager, working under Jon Daniels for the past six seasons.

It seems fairly obvious that Friedman is the Astros’ first choice, but few people seem to think he’s legitimately interested in the job despite being from Houston.

Levine would be a very good fallback option and the 40-year-old Virginia native has filled just about every possible front office role between his time with the Rangers, Rockies, and Dodgers.

I’m also rooting for the Astros to hire Levine just so Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle could cover him. They would immediately become my mother’s favorite team.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.