Cubs acquire Dexter Fowler in a trade with the Astros


Update #2 (11:10 AM ET): Jeff Passan of Yahoo sports reports that third baseman Luis Valbuena is also going to the Astros.

Update (10:58 AM ET): Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that pitcher Dan Straily is one of the players going to the Astros in the Fowler deal. The Cubs had acquired Straily from the Athletics last year in the Jeff Samardzija deal.

. . .

Bruce Levine of 670 The Score is reporting that the Cubs are close to acquiring outfielder Dexter Fowler from the Astros. Fowler is in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility and can become a free agent after the 2015 season.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Astros’ return includes major league players.

Fowler, 29 in March, batted .276/.375/.399 with eight home runs, 35 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 505 plate appearances last season. He missed a month and a half between the end of June and mid-August due to a back injury.

The Astros had been shopping Fowler during the off-season, so it isn’t surprising to see him moved. The Blue Jays were one potential suitor as recently as December.

Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.

Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.

The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.