UPDATE: Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com says it’s a done deal, with Rasmus getting $8 million on a one-year contract.
Monday the Astros traded center fielder Dexter Fowler to the Cubs and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Houston is “talking to” free agent center fielder Colby Rasmus.
George Springer and Jake Marisnick are both options to replace Fowler in center field for the Astros, but adding Rasmus would allow them to keep Springer in a corner spot while perhaps giving Marisnick more time to develop in the minors.
Rasmus strikes out too much and struggles against lefties, but he’s got 25-homer power with decent range in center field and has typically been a middle-of-the-order caliber bat versus righties.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports that the Pirates will promote top pitching prospect Mitch Keller in advance of their doubleheader against the Reds on Monday. Confirmation of the move is still pending an official announcement, but Keller will reportedly face off against Sonny Gray in Game 2.
Keller, 23, is currently listed as the Pirates’ no. 1 prospect and the no. 16 overall prospect in the league, per MLB.com. He was selected in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft and has spent the last six years refining his technique in Pittsburgh’s farm system, where he recently made the jump to Triple-A Indianapolis in 2018. So far this season, he’s 5-0 in nine starts with a 3.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, and 10.7 SO/9 through 47 innings.
It’s not clear how long of a leash the Pirates will give Keller, though given the current state of their rotation — down to four serviceable starters with Jameson Taillon on the 60-day injured list (right elbow flexor strain), Trevor Williams on the 10-day IL (right side strain), and a handful of replacements yet to impress — they may be inclined to keep him on a little longer than his spot start requires.