If Rangers fans are missing Ian Kinsler, they can at least take comfort in knowing that Prince Fielder is happy to be in Texas.
Datapoint 1: Evan Grant reports that Fielder had a no-trade clause provision which could’ve blocked a trade to the Rangers. He didn’t use it. As the Rangers were one of the teams which courted him in free agency a couple of years ago, he probably had at least some comfort level with them to begin with, but he likely believes regardless that this is a good move for him.
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.