Heyman: Yankees eyeing Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, others

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The Yankees already made waves this off-season with their recent signing of free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal (the largest ever for a catcher going by average annual value). However, they are still pursuing some of the biggest names still available in the free agent market, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman writes that the Yankees have their eyes on outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Shin-Soo Choo, starter Hiroki Kuroda, and shortstop Stephen Drew.

Heyman also notes that the Yankees are trying to pressure Robinson Cano to get a deal done sooner rather than later. The two sides are reportedly far apart on a deal, with Cano asking for ten years and more than $300 million, while the Yankees have been more comfortable in the seven-year, $160 million area. The market for Cano has been slow-moving, but the second baseman recently said he would be willing to wait until as late as January to ink a deal.

Report: Astros, Michael Brantley agree to two-year, $32 million contract

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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.