Astros sign A’s castoff Landon Powell to minor league deal

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Released by the A’s last week, Landon Powell has signed with the Astros on a minor-league contract.

Houston was in the market for some catching depth because of Humberto Quintero’s back problems, although with Jason Castro coming back from a lost season and veteran Chris Snyder signed as a free agent odds are Powell will be beginning the season at Triple-A.

Powell and Oakland avoided arbitration with a one-year, $620,000 contract in December, but because the deal was non-guaranteed the A’s were able to cut him loose while being on the hook for just $100,000.

He’s a former first-round pick, but Powell is now 30 years old and has hit just .207 with a .612 OPS in 123 games as a big leaguer.

Pirates shut down Chris Archer

Chris Archer
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The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.

Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.

With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.