Results tagged ‘ Astros ’

Astros willing to trade starting pitching

The Astros would be willing to ship one of their starting pitchers in any possible deals to add some offense. The Astros have six healthy starting pitchers when you include right-hander Brad Peacock, who was recently sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City after a pair of shaky starts. That leaves right-handers Scott Feldman, Jarred Cosart and Collin McHugh and left-handers Dallas Keuchel Brett Oberholtzer, though Feldman’s three-year, $30-million deal makes him difficult to move.

Houston general Jeff Luhnow indicated Monday no deals were in the works. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is Thursday.

“Our offense has been struggling, so as we have conversations, we’ll explore options that might give us some help offensively,” Luhnow said.

The Astros, who have scored six runs in their previous four games, are especially thin in the outfield, where Dexter Fowler (intercostal strain), George Springer (quad strain) and Alex Presley (oblique strain) are all on the 15-day disabled and not expected to return until by Thursday.

“It’s absolutely a concern,” Luhnow said. “The best thing we can do for the Trade Deadline is to get Fowler, Springer and Presley back healthy. That could be an unbelievable coup for us. Hopefully, they’re not too far away.”

– Brian McTaggart

Astros not likely to move Qualls

While players like designated hitter Chris Carter or lefty reliever Tony Sipp could draw interest, one Astros player who will draw interest and likely won’t be moved is closer Chad Qualls, who has a 1.78 ERA and 11 saves this year. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 31 of his last 33 outings (0.59 ERA in that span).

“I hesitate to use the word ‘untouchable,’ but he likes it here, he’s comfortable here and he’s pitching well,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “To have a guy who’s capable of pitching late in the game, in close games, we’re going to have opportunity going forward. This is a team that’s improving, and as the team improves you have more save opportunities, more opportunities to pitch at the end of close games. We need more Chad Qualls. We don’t need less.”

The Astros signed Qualls in December to a two-year, $6-million deal with a $3 million option for 2016. Qualls, who was drafted and developed by the Astros, wants to finish his career in Houston and be part of the team’s turnaround.

“That’s why I signed here in the first place is to help get this team back to its winning ways and start bringing some victories to the city of Houston, kind of like the old says,” said Qualls, who was a reliever on the 2005 World Series team. “Obviously, I want to be part of that and stay here. I would love to be able to stay here for 2 ½ years and even beyond that and retire as an Astros. That’s been my plan all along is that I prefer to stay here.”

Brian McTaggart

Astros trade Minor League pitcher to Braves

The Astros have traded right-handed pitcher Andrew Robinson, who’s currently at Triple-A Oklahoma City, to the Braves, a source told MLB.com. It’s not know what the Astros are getting in return, but the deal is not a major one. Robinson, who played at Georgia Tech, is 4-4 with a 2.40 ERA in 26 combined games in relief this year at Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City.

Brian McTaggart

Mets sign Valverde to minor league deal

The Mets have signed former Tigers closer Jose Valverde to a minor league deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training. 

The 35-year-old right-hander has spent 11 seasons in the majors (with Arizona, Houston and Detroit) and was an All-Star in 2007, 2010 and 2011. He has 286 career saves and converted 49 in a row in 2011, becoming the third pitcher in MLB history to be perfect in all his save opportunities while closing 40 or more games. 

He appeared in 20 games for the Tigers last season and saved nine games after signing a minor league deal on April 4. He was released on August 7.

– Joey Nowak

2/6 Roundup

The Hot Stove saw a flurry of activity involving relievers on Thursday, most notably closer Fernando Rodney reportedly agreeing to a two-year contract with the Mariners worth at least $14 million.

Rodney was the top bullpen arm on the market entering Thursday. Over the past two seasons with the Rays, he collected 85 saves and posted a 1.91 ERA. Seattle has not confirmed the deal, which won’t be official until he passes a physical.

Meanwhile, the Marlins and Carlos Marmol reached an agreement on a one-year contract worth $1.25 million. A former All-Star closer with the Cubs, Marmol transitioned to a middle relief role last season after being traded to the Dodgers. The veteran is expected to compete for a setup role this year. Miami added further depth to its bullpen in Chaz Roe, who agreed to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

The Cardinals were also in on the action, signing veteran Pat Neshek to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp.

In other news from around the league:

• Despite interest from at least a dozen teams, the Nationals are in no rush to trade second baseman Danny Espinosa, writes MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Although he’s coming off a down year, Washington still has faith in Espinosa and will give him every chance to make the club this season.

• The D-backs inked outfielder Mark Trumbo to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration.

• The Cubs and second baseman Darwin Barney won’t be going to arbitration after agreeing to a one-year contract. The deal leaves right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija as Chicago’s only arbitration eligible player.

• Catcher Matt Wieters and the Orioles also avoided arbitration by coming to terms on a one-year deal.

• Infielder Brett Wallace was designated for assignment by the Astros in a move to open a roster spot for pitcher Jerome Williams, who agreed to a one-year pact earlier this week. Houston has 10 days to trade Wallace, outright him to the Minor Leagues or release him.

• Tampa Bay signed five players to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training: infielder Wilson Betemit, outfielders Justin Christian and Jeremy Moore, catcher Eddy Rodriguez and right-hander Juan Sandoval.

-Austin Laymance

2/3 Roundup

Here’s a Hot Stove riddle: Two starting pitchers who posted ERAs of 3.30 or below last season, two hitters who combined for 50 home runs, and a shortstop with a strong all-around game — what do they have in common?

The answer is that they all remain free agents, with Spring Training lurking on the horizon. Sure, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew all have their flaws. But there is something else at work, too.

All five players are tied to Draft pick compensation, a situation MLB.com’s Phil Rogers outlines in his latest column. The Frozen Five, as Rogers calls them, still figure to find multiyear deals, but the clock is ticking, and their options are dwindling.

In other news from around the league:

  • MLB.com’s Doug Miller takes stock of what remains on the market this offseason in The Week Ahead.
  • The D-backs have come up empty so far in their search for a starting pitcher, watching Masahiro Tanaka and Matt Garza sign elsewhere, but team president and CEO Derrick Hall said the club will continue looking. Bronson Arroyo is one potential target for Arizona.
  • The D-backs also reached a one-year deal with outfielder Gerardo Parra, avoiding arbitration.
  • Will the Yankees sign Drew or reliever Fernando Rodney? MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tackles that question and more in his latest inbox.
  • In his inbox, Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian examines the situation involving Justin Masterson, who is headed toward an arbitration hearing and is set to become a free agent after this coming season.
  • Agent Scott Boras told FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi that he is “very close” to getting deals for relievers Oliver Perez and Francisco Rodriguez, utility man Jeff Baker and Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon. Several teams reportedly have interest in Yoon, with the Orioles one of those making an offer, according to The Baltimore Sun.
  • The Astros added another veteran arm to their staff, agreeing to a one-year deal with right-hander Jerome Williams.
  • Monday’s Minor League deals included a trio of relievers, with Kyle Farnsworth going to the Mets, and Armando Galarraga and Daniel Bard to the Rangers.

– Andrew Simon

1/21 Roundup

Masahiro Tanaka has captivated Hot Stove followers for much of the offseason, and now that the deadline for the Japanese free agent to choose a Major League team is fast approaching, Tanaka Watch is only intensifying. Several interested teams, including the D-backs, are waiting intently for his decision.

As MLB.com’s Doug Miller writes, Tuesday was another day with much speculation but little actual news, starting with an innocuous Tanaka tweet that quickly was misinterpreted.

Regardless of where Tanaka ends up, the long process will leave him with huge expectations and several disppointed suitors, as MLB.com columnist Phil Rogers writes. Tanaka also is a shining reminder of baseball’s international growth, according to columnist Mike Bauman.

In other news from around the league on Tuesday:

  • The Indians have not taken part in an arbitration hearing since 1991, but as MLB.com Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian reports, the longest streak in the Majors seems likely to end this year. The club and All-Star righty Justin Masterson exchanged salary figures that stand nearly $4 million apart, a gap that could be too wide to cross without a hearing. Bastian also reports that the two sides remain far apart on a possible contract extension, with Masterson set for free agency after this season.
  • Astros owner Jim Crane confirmed that his club, underdogs in the Tanaka sweepstakes, nonetheless has participated in the bidding.
  • The White Sox have a Tanaka-or-bust mentality when it comes to adding to their rotation, reports beat writer Scott Merkin, who doesn’t believe the club will explore other free-agent options, such as Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • The Angels, on the other hand, have targeted Garza, as Alden Gonzalez writes in his latest inbox. Bronson Arroyo, Paul Maholm and Chris Capuano could be some of their other options as they try to bolster their rotation.
  • Reds beat writer Mark Sheldon addresses several issues in his inbox, including a potential signing of Grady Sizemore and the status of Homer Bailey.
  • The Phillies had a busy day, highlighted by signing Bobby Abreu to a Minor League deal. Abreu, a star with the club from 1998-2006, didn’t play in the Majors last season but parlayed a strong winter ball campaign in Venezuela into another chance. Philadelphia also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo and signed veteran righty Chad Gaudin to a Minor League deal, getting a pitcher with the versatility to start or come out of the bullpen.
  • As part of this notebook, Rangers beat writer T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers are “cautiously optimistic” that starters Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis, both on the comeback trail from injuries, will be 100 percent for Spring Training. Lewis is one candidate for the No. 5 starter job, in a race that also includes second-year righty Nick Tepesch.
  • The Royals signed outfielder Justin Maxwell to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration and leaving them with two unsigned arbitration-eligible players.

– Andrew Simon

Astros reportedly sign IF Izturis

The Astros have signed veteran infielder Cesar Izturis to a minor league contract, CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman has reported, with the possibility of Izturis joining the club as a utility man. 

MLB.com‘s Anthony DiComo tweeted that the Mets also had interest in Izturis, who appeared in 63 games for the Reds last season. 

Izturis, 33, has spent 13 years in the Major Leagues. He won a Gold Glove with the Dodgers in 2004 and was an All-Star in 2005.

– Joey Nowak

1/3 Hot Stove Roundup

With cold weather and snow blanketing much of the country as the calendar turns over to 2014, baseball fans are growing more and more excited for Spring Training.

The Hot Stove quieted down over the holidays, but you can expect things to heat up again as teams make final pushes for the remaining free agents and cross the final items off their to-do lists before reporting to either Arizona or Florida. Here’s a recap of Friday’s Hot Stove action:

  • The biggest news of the day came out of St. Petersburg, where the Rays officially inked first baseman James Loney to a three-year deal. It’s the largest deal awarded to a free agent by the Rays under the current ownership and was a priority for the team coming into the winter, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
  • The other deal of the day came out of Baltimore, where the Orioles signed speedster Quintin Berry to a minor league deal. The outfielder has been valuable in stints with the Tiger and Red Sox, with whom he’s demonstrated a prowess in stealing bases. Berry, 29, has played all three outfield spots and is a close friend of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. But, perhaps most importantly, he is 29-for-29 in career stolen base attempts.
  • The Reds, down an impact outfielder since losing Shin-Soo Choo to free agency, have reportedly explored adding Grady Sizemore, MLB.com‘s Mark Sheldon reported today. Sizemore hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2011 but has showed plenty of potential while healthy in his time with the Indians.
  • Shortstop Stephen Drew remains a free agent, which comes as a bit of a surprise now that he’s proven healthy and capable of helping a club, Marc Nordmandin writes for Sports on Earth. There’s been more chatter about who Drew will not be playing for, Normandin writes, than who he will be playing for.
  • CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman reported the details of Houston’s one-year deal with reliever Jesse Crain on Friday, noting that the right-hander will receive $3.25 million in guaranteed money.
  • There figure to be plenty of teams in the running for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and Fox Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal reports the D-backs will most assuredly be one of them. He writes that the money the team had earmarked to potentially spend on Choo is now available for other uses — namely a top-tier starting pitcher.

– Joey Nowak

Astros sign reliever Crain

The Astros have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free agent right-handed pitcher Jesse Crain, who played at the University of Houston.

Crain, an American League All-Star in 2013, posted an 0.74 ERA in 37 relief appearances for the White Sox with 11 walks and 46 strikeouts in 36 2/3innings pitched for an 11.29 strikeouts per nine innings ratio. Other highlights from 2013 included holding right-handed hitters to a .174 average (12-for-69), no home runs allowed and a  streak of 29 consecutive scoreless appearances from April 17 through June 22.

Crain’s season ended prematurely due to a right shoulder strain. The White Sox traded Crain to the Rays on July 29, but he did not appear in a game for the Rays.

– Brian McTaggart

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