Pirates “studying deals” for Alex Rios, Nate Schierholtz

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Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune has the scoop:

Looking to upgrade in right field, the Pirates are studying deals for Nate Schierholtz and Alex Rios. It is possible that they’ll make a move sooner rather than later, as they are tied for the NL Central lead while last in OPS at the position (slash line of .239/.302/.377 from seven right fielders, with Travis Snider getting the most playing time).

Rogers calls a Rios trade “a reach” because the 32-year-old outfielder is still owed $13.5 million after this season. Schierholtz, 29, signed a one-year, $2.25 million free agent contract with the Cubs this winter.

Rogers suggests that the Bucs could platoon the left-handed-hitting Schierholtz with right-handed-hitting outfielder Jose Tabata. Schierholtz has a superb .862 OPS against right-handed pitchers this season.

Report: Astros, Alex Bregman agree to five-year, $100 million extension

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Fox 26’s Mark Berman reports that the Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman have agreed to $100 million contract extension. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart confirms a deal has been reached and adds that the deal is actually for five years, beginning after the 2019 season. The contract will cover all three of Bregman’s arbitration years and two years of would-be free agency.

Bregman, who turns 25 years old later this month, has quickly become one of the best third basemen in baseball. Across parts of three seasons, he has hit .282/.366/.500 with 58 home runs, 208 RBI, 224 runs scored, and 29 stolen bases. FanGraphs credited him with 7.6 Wins Above Replacement, tied with Francisco Lindor and Christian Yelich for the fourth-best mark among position players in baseball, trailing only Mookie Betts (10.4), Mike Trout (9.8), and José Ramírez (8.0).

This is obviously a smart move for the Astros, as this contract extension will secure Bregman’s age 25-30 seasons. With second baseman José Altuve also locked up through 2024, and presumed extensions to come for Carlos Correa and possibly Gerrit Cole and George Springer, the Astros have a core that they can build around for years to come.