Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks sign Merrill Kelly to two-year, $5.5 million deal

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and pitcher Merrill Kelly have agreed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract. The deal also includes club options for 2021 ($4.25 million with $500,000 buyout) and 2022 ($5.25 million, no buyout).

Kelly, 30, was selected by the Rays in the eighth round of the 2010 draft. He pitched in the Rays’ minor league system through 2014, reaching Triple-A and generally posting good numbers, though he never received a call up to the majors. Kelly signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization for the 2015-18 seasons. Overseas, Kelly showed an improved ability to strike batters out and also displayed better command than he did in the minors, which helped pique the D-Backs’ interest.

Passan notes that Kelly is expected to be part of the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation, which presently includes Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, Zack Godley, and Robbie Ray.

Astros officially announce the Michael Brantley signing

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The Astros officially announced their signing of outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year, $32 million deal.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

As previously reported, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Brantley.