Lance McCullers hurt, but his replacement comes up big

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Some bad news for the Astros last night as Lance McCullers had to leave the game against Toronto last night in the fifth inning. The reason: elbow discomfort. The Astros will evaluate him more today. Given that he has been the most solid starter the Astros have had all year, this could be scary.

The good news, though? The guy who came on to replace McCullers had a really nice night. That guy was Joe Musgrove, making his major league debut. All he did was deal, tossing four and a third innings of one-hit ball, allowing no runs and striking out eight dudes. Musgrove, by the way, was formerly a Jays farmhand, having been drafted by Toronto in the first round in 2011. He was sent to Houston in the ten-player trade that sent Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ and David Carpenter to the Jays in 2012.

At the time I wrote this:

I don’t know all of those Blue Jays minor leaguers, but I can’t imagine Lyon, Happ and Carpenter rate top prospects or anything.

We’ll sift through this a bit, but my instincts tell me that this is sound and fury signifying nothing more than a lot of flotsam and jetsam shuffling.

Hey, it was four years ago. I didn’t even remember saying that until Proudly Canadian reminded me of it in the comments today. How he remembered that I have no idea. Either way, for Houston’s sake, they should be happy I was wrong. Hopefully McCullers is OK. If he’s not, hopefully Musgrove can continue to be awesome. Because he may be a good candidate to replace him.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.