Report: Orioles still in discussions with free agent Kendrys Morales

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Slugger Kendrys Morales remains a free agent, and many in the industry expect him to remain a free agent until after the draft in early June, when the draft pick compensation attached to Morales would vanish. However, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Morales and the Orioles have been in discussions. A deal is not expected any time soon, if at all.

The Orioles have been in discussions with free agent first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales at several points over the past few weeks, though there’s said to remain a fairly significant gap in negotiations to date and the likelihood of a deal is unknown.

Baltimore is said to have scouted Morales multiple times in recent weeks, as it has a clear interest in the switch-hitting slugger, according to sources. However, the diffrence in dollars seems to remain fairly clear, as well.

Heyman adds that while the specific dollar amounts aren’t known, the two sides were discussing one-year deals.

The Orioles lost some pop in their lineup when Chris Davis landed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. Players are lucky if they need just the minimum 15 days to deal with an oblique injury, so the Orioles may be preparing for a longer stint on the DL. Having signed free agents Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez — with similarly-attached draft pick compensation —  in February, the Orioles showed they aren’t afraid to give up a draft pick to improve the team immediately.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.