UPDATE: According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the deal is done.
6:50 PM: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Angels are close to signing Jorge Cantu. While he didn’t specify, it’s same to assume he would get a minor league deal.
Cantu signed with the Padres last winter and began the season in a platoon with Brad Hawpe at first base, but was released in June after batting just .194/.232/.285 with three homers and a .517 OPS over 155 plate appearances. He finished the year with the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate, hitting .280/.320/.458 with five homers and a .778 OPS in 30 games.
Cantu doesn’t turn 30 until later this month and has shown an ability to hit left-handed pitching in the past, but if all goes as planned for the Angels, he’ll likely open the season in the minors.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.