Astros interested in Stephen Drew

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Last week the Astros were linked to free agent shortstop Jed Lowrie and now Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that they’ve met with free agent shortstop Stephen Drew (or at least his agent Scott Boras).

Drew had a miserable 2014 season, sitting out until mid-May after turning down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from Boston and then hitting .162 in 85 games for the Red Sox and Yankees.

However, if you ignore his 2014 and focus on his previous track record Drew has generally been a solid all-around shortstop and at age 31 he’s one of the few viable starting-caliber options on the open market.

Back in 2013, for instance, he played 124 games and hit .253 with 13 homers and a .776 OPS for a World Series winner.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.