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Report: Astros are looking at Jeff Samardzija as a trade candidate

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Astros are doing preliminary background work on Giants’ right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Nothing has been substantiated by either team yet, but the veteran righty would be an interesting get for the Astros, whose pool of right-handed starters currently features Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers, Brad Peacock, Francis Martes, Joe Musgrove and Collin McHugh (10-day DL, elbow impingement).

Samardzija hasn’t been hanging around the top of the leaderboard this year, at least not when it comes to run prevention, but his peripheral stats show that he’s putting together a more solid run than his 4-10 record and 4.58 ERA suggest. He’s maintained a 1.1 BB/9 and career-best 9.7 SO/9 through the first 118 innings of the season and has pitched into the sixth inning in all but three of his starts.

Consistency is at a premium these days, especially for a club that’s well-positioned to contend this fall, and that may be reason enough for the Astros to take a flyer on the 32-year-old. He’s no Jose Quintana, to be sure, but has tossed over 200 innings in each of his last four seasons and has stayed remarkably healthy over the entirety of his 10-year career. While Samardzija is set to remain under team control through the 2020 season, he’s still owed $60+ million on his five-year contract, which could be enough to put off any suitors looking for a bargain arm to stabilize their rotation.

MLB and MLBPA announce first set of COVID-19 test results

MLB COVID-19 test results
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On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.

There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.

Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.

Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.