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Brad Peacock favored to be Astros’ No. 5 starter

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Brad Peacock is the “leading candidate” to open the regular season as the club’s No. 5 starter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

Peacock has registered a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings of work this spring. His competition, pitching prospect Josh James, has logged just one inning this spring due to a quad injury.

Last season, Peacock pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen, compiling a 3.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 20 walks across 65 innings. He was a fixture in the Astros’ rotation in the last four months of the 2017 season, so this is certainly not a new role.

James, 26, impressed in a cup of coffee last September, yielding six runs on 15 hits and seven walks with 29 strikeouts in 23 innings. MLB Pipeline rates James as the No. 4 prospect in Houston’s system. James could open the season in the bullpen and then transition into the rotation if needed.

Gio González is now a free agent

Gio Gonzalez
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Everyone suspected this would happen and now it has: Gio González has requested and has been granted his release from his minor league deal with the Yankees. He is a free agent.

González stood to earn a $3 million salary if the Yankees elect to add him to the 25-man roster, with additional bonuses of $300,000 pending each start he makes after that, but nothing he did at Triple-A merited a callup. He issued 10 runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts over his first 15 innings in the minors. He fired his agent, Scott Boras, late last week and hired CAA Baseball instead.

No word on whether CAA will be better at convincing anyone to sign a guy who walked six guys in 15 minor league innings to a big league deal than Boras was, frankly. My guess is that González will be on another minor league deal again soon if he wants to pitch in 2019.