The Astros sign pitcher Charlie Morton to a two-year deal

Associated Press

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Houston Astros have signed righty Charlie Morton to a two-year, $14 million contract.

Morton’s 2016 was a near total loss as he threw just 17.1 innings with the Phillies before undergoing surgery for a severe hamstring strain. Morton has never started as many as 30 games in a season and has posted an ERA+ better-than-league-average just once in his career.

An interesting signing to be sure. The length of which suggests that the Astros see some promise in Morton that a lot of teams might not have. One that also underscores just how thin the market for starting pitching is this offseason.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.