Astros acquire left-hander Travis Blackley from Athletics

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The Astros just announced that they have acquired left-hander Travis Blackley from the Athletics in exchange for minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, he is expected to join the active roster tomorrow.

Blackley was designated for assignment by the Athletics last week. The 30-year-old Aussie owns a 5.37 ERA in the majors, but he posted a 3.86 ERA and 69/30 K/BB ratio in 102 2/3 innings over 15 starts and nine relief appearances after coming over from the Giants last season. The Astros are expected to use him as a long reliever initially, but he could be an option for the rotation before long.

Goebbert, a 25-year-old corner outfielder, owns a .285/.363/.431 batting line over four seasons in the minors. Baseball America didn’t include him among the organization’s Top 30 prospects coming into the year.

Cubs sign infielder Daniel Descalso

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The Chicago Cubs have signed free agent infielder Daniel Descalso. The deal is for two years and is worth $5 million, with a club option for 2021 that could bring the total overall value to $8.25 million.

Descalso, 32, has spent the past two seasons in Arizona. Before that he spent two years with the Rockies. He began his career with the Cardinals, playing in St. Louis for five seasons. He’s a career .240/.324/.370 hitter (85 OPS+) who can cover multiple positions. Indeed, in 2018 alone he played first, second, third, left field, DH and he even pitched twice. In his career he has also played a great deal of shortstop, though not regularly for a couple of years.

In an age of short benches and big bullpens, it pays to have a super utility guy. Descalso may not be Marwin Gonzalez as far as quality goes, but he’s just as flexible a lot more affordable. That’s worth at least something.