Padres sign infielder Brooks Conrad to minor league contract

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres have signed infielder Brooks Conrad to a minor league contract. The deal does not include an invite to major league spring training.

Conrad spent last season with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Central League and hit just .175 (10-for-57) with zero homers over 24 games. He turns 34 later this month.

Conrad last appeared in the majors with the Brewers and Rays in 2012, but he’s best known for his time as a bench player with the Braves from 2009-2011. By the way, our resident Braves fan will never forget.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.