GM Jeff Luhnow says Astros “likely to keep” veterans at trade deadline

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That the Astros are in rebuild mode is no secret. In the past, they had been pawning off veteran players in an effort to usher in a youth movement, but GM Jeff Luhnow says the Astros aren’t likely to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline.

Jesse Crain and Jerome Williams are eligible to become free agents after the season. Meanwhile, Dexter Fowler will be due a raise in his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility, a handful of players will be eligible for arbitration for the first time, and the team will have to attempt to hammer out an extension with catcher Jason Castro.

Via Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle:

“This year, we have veteran players. If they play well, we’re likely to keep them as opposed to move them,” Luhnow said. “There’s always going to be that temptation, especially if you have an area where you think — if come mid-July we’re clearly not contending, and there’s a club that needs a guy that we have and they’re willing to give up enough to get him, we’re never going to shut that conversation down.

“But at the same time, I do think we value the relationship with the fans and we’ll make a — we’ll balance all the factors, including the fact that we do want to show significant progress.”

The Astros enter 2014 with a $50.5 million payroll, according to Cot’s Contracts, representing a significant increase over last season’s $26.1 million Opening Day payroll. Luhnow and his team has been disciplined in adhering to a long-term plan that included lots of short-term losing, but it looks like the strategy should bear some fruit in the coming years.

Brandon McCarthy to retire after the season

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Braves pitcher Brandon McCarthy said he will retire at the end of the 2018 season, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. McCarthy has been on the disabled list since June 25 due to tendinitis in his right knee. He is hoping to contribute out of the bullpen down the stretch.

McCarthy said, “I’m done after this. This is it. The offseason is the rest of my life. If I was going to keep playing, a month and a half ago I would have had the surgery that cleans the [knee] and I’d be back next year just a little bit after spring [training].”

In 15 starts this season, McCarthy posted a 4.92 ERA with a 65/21 K/BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings. He would be eligible for free agency after the season. The Braves acquired McCarthy along with Charlie Culberson, Scott Kazmir, and Adrian Gonzalez from the Dodgers in December in exchange for Matt Kemp.

McCarthy has spent parts of 13 seasons in the majors with the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Dodgers, and Braves. Altogether, he has won 69 games with a 4.20 ERA across 1,223 2/3 innings. Nice.