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.
The Braves clinched a postseason berth with Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Nationals. Now, the only question is whether they’ll get there with an NL East division title or via one of two wild card spots currently up for grabs.
Granted, things are looking pretty good on the division title front. After losing their second straight game to the Braves, the Nationals sit 10.5 games back of first place in the NL East, and every other division rival is at least 15 games out. The Braves, meanwhile, carry a magic number of four; should they clinch, it’ll be their 19th franchise title and 14th since they migrated to the East division in 1994.
They certainly looked like postseason contenders on Saturday. Mike Foltynewicz led the charge with six innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball, limiting the Nationals to four hits while rookie right-hander Austin Voth kept the Braves scoreless through 5 2/3 frames. Things started to tip in Atlanta’s favor in the sixth inning: Nick Markakis put the team on the board with an RBI single, and a four-run breakout in the seventh helped cement a sizable lead. Over the last three innings, the Braves found opportunity after opportunity against the Nationals’ bullpen, capitalizing on walks, throwing errors, and productive outs as they climbed toward a double-digit finish.
The win didn’t come without some sacrifice, however. The Braves lost Charlie Culberson to a facial injury after he was struck by a Fernando Rodney fastball in the seventh inning, and they’ll likely be without him for the remainder of the regular season — pending a formal diagnosis, of course. Culberson’s loss isn’t the only one the club is feeling right now, either, as Johan Camargo ended his season with a hairline fracture in his right shin and Freddie Freeman is playing through a minor bout of elbow soreness after making an early exit from Friday’s 5-0 shutout.