Houston just made a huge addition for the stretch run, activating outfielder George Springer from the disabled list after he missed two months with a fractured wrist.
Springer has played 159 career games since being called up in mid-April of last year, hitting a combined .247 with 33 homers, 81 walks, 19 steals, and an .813 OPS. He strikes out a ton, but few players can match his mix of power, speed, and plate discipline.
Springer figures to play right field nearly every day, with Carlos Gomez in center field and Colby Rasmus, Preston Tucker, or Jake Marisnick in left field. Houston is in first place at 73-61, holding a two-game lead over Texas in the AL West.
The Chicago Cubs have signed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year, $850,000 deal.
While Jeffress is coming off a bad year — due mostly to hip and shoulder problems — this is a surprisingly low figure for Jeffress, who was said to have had a “sizable market” last September, with the Mets, Phillies, Reds, and Rays all rumored to be in on him. It’s also worth noting that he is just a year removed from an excellent 1.29 ERA season with the Brewers. He is reported to be eligible for $200,000 in incentives, which could bring this deal closer to what a reliever of his caliber’s going rate might be.
As for the Cubs, they haven’t been particularly active this offseason — indeed, this is their first free agent acquisition — but I suppose we should give them credit for buying low on a guy who should probably be able to help their bullpen.