Alex Presley entered spring training atop the Twins’ center field depth chart, but lost the starting job to Aaron Hicks and now he’s headed to Houston after the Astros claimed him off waivers.
Presley is better suited to be a fourth outfielder anyway, so it’s curious that the Twins didn’t keep him around in the role even after deciding on Hicks as the starter. They currently don’t have a second outfielder capable of playing center field on the roster.
Presley is a good defender in the corners and stretched in center, and he’s a 28-year-old career .264 hitter with a .715 OPS in 232 games. He was acquired by the Twins from the Pirates as part of the Justin Morneau trade last season.
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.