Astros “looking to move” slugger Chris Carter

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The 44-64 Astros could jump into this seller-friendly market before Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Houston is “looking to move” first baseman and designated hitter Chris Carter, who owns a weak .212 batting average and .291 on-base percentage in 350 plate appearances this year but has slugged 50 homers since the beginning of the 2013 season.

Carter is arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2015 and is under contractual control through 2018, so the ‘Stros will probably want something substantial in return for the 27-year-old.

But with very few difference-making bats on the block, they might just find a willing trade partner.

Sherman also says starting pitchers Jarred Cosart, Dallas Keuchel, and Collin McHugh are available.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.