Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks is expected to miss at least 12 weeks following back surgery, the team announced.
Dirks had been slated to platoon with free agent signing Rajai Davis in left field, taking most of the playing time as the left-handed-hitting option, so his injury opens the door for Davis to take on a bigger portion of the starts.
Davis brings a ton of speed to the table and is a plus defender in left field, but he hasn’t shown the ability to hit right-handed pitching consistently. Dirks, meanwhile, is a career .278 hitter with a .751 OPS versus righties.
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.