Report: Blue Jays, Astros discuss Dexter Fowler

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According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays and Astros have had discussions regarding center fielder Dexter Fowler, who is a year away from free agency.

One year after acquiring him from the Rockies, the Astros see Fowler as expendable with both George Springer and Jake Marisnick capable of playing center field. Fowler was the team’s second-highest paid player last year, receiving $7.35 million in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with Colorado. He’s due about $9 million in arbitration this winter.

Fowler hit well in his first year outside of Colorado, coming in at .276/.375/.399 in 434 at-bats. However, he was limited to 116 games by an intercostal strain. He’s yet to play more than 143 games as a major leaguer, and the numbers have his defense getting worse each year. If he were to stay in Houston, it’d probably be for the best if he were moved to a corner.

The Jays need both a left fielder and a center fielder with Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus having become free agents. They do have prospect Dalton Pompey as a center field option and a potentially adequate and cheap left-field platoon in Andy Dirks and John Mayberry Jr. Still, ideally, they would upgrade one of those spots, and the Astros probably wouldn’t need a whole lot in return to move on from Fowler.

12:20 a.m. EST update: The Jays non-tendered both Dirks and Mayberry prior to Tuesday’s midnight deadline, which would certainly suggest they’re confident in their ability to bring in a left-field upgrade.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.