Astros sign Matt Albers

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Houston’s payroll keeps skyrocketing! OK, maybe not quite, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Astros have signed free agent reliever Matt Albers to a one-year, $2.45 million contract.

Two weeks ago there was a report about Albers already having at least one multi-year offer, but it’s possible the 30-year-old right-hander preferred to play in his hometown of Houston. His one-year deal includes a $3 million team option for 2015.

Albers was actually drafted by the Astros in 2001 and debuted with Houston in 2006 before moving on to pitch for five different teams. This year he had a 3.14 ERA and 35/23 K/BB ratio in 63 innings for the Indians and Albers was even better in 2012.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado
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The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.

The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.

Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.