Arizona is also making moves this evening.
According to the club’s official Twitter feed, the Diamondbacks declined a $1.24 million mutual option Wednesday on catcher Henry Blanco and a $4 million club option for reliever Matt Lindstrom.
Blanco appeared in only 21 games this season because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb and batted just .188/.224/.281 with one home run and seven RBI in 67 plate appearances while healthy.
The D’Backs will try to find a more reliable backup for Miguel Montero this winter.
Lindstrom, 32, posted a stellar 2.68 ERA in 46 relief appearances this past summer between the Orioles and Snakes, fanning 40 batters and issuing only 14 walks in 47 innings. It’s probably worth noting that right-hander Heath Bell — acquired via trade earlier this month from the Marlins — had a 5.09 ERA in 63 2/3 innings this year in Miami and will be paid $13 million by the Diamondbacks over the next two seasons. Weird.
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.