As if the Twins’ rotation wasn’t in rough enough shape already, presumptive Opening Day starter Scott Diamond recently underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow.
General manager Terry Ryan said today that Diamond will not pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic, but is expected to be ready for spring training.
Diamond started 27 games for the Twins with a 3.54 ERA after beginning the season at Triple-A, but his weak strikeout rate of 4.7 per nine innings will make it tough for the 26-year-old left-hander to maintain that type of performance.
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.