Results tagged ‘ Astros ’

Astros leaving no stone unturned, looking into Headley

The Astros are reportedly “kicking the tires” on free agent third baseman Chase Headley, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Along with Headley, the Astros have also been looking into a potential reunion with shorstop Jed Lowrie, as reported by MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Houston, of course, has also been tied to free agent closer David Robertston and made a strong push to sign reliever Andrew Miller, before Miller elected to sign with the Yankees last week.

It’s clear that the Astros are more than willing to spend this offseason, but it remains to be seen whether or not they will ultimately land any of their main targets.

– Paul Casella

Astros interested in Lowrie

The Astros are pursuing a potential reunion with free agent shortstop Jed Lowrie, according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart.

Lowrie spent just one season with the Astros before being dealt to the A’s prior to the 2013 season. He managed to stay mostly healthy while playing a significant role for the A’s, racking up a .271/.334/.405 batting line and averaging 145 games played over the last two seasons.

Lowrie’s power numbers dipped a bit this past season when he hit just six home runs, but he’s proven to have some pop in his bat in the past. He hit 15 home runs in 2013 and a career-best 16 homers over just 97 games with the Astros in that 2012 campaign.

He could also seemingly fill a need for the Astros at either shortstop or third base over the course of a potential multi-year deal.

– Paul Casella

Astros still in pursuit of closer

The Astros remain in pursuit of a closer and continue to target some of the biggest names on the market, as reported by MLB.com on Nov. 13. Houston’s top job this winter is to find a closer, and the team has targeted top names like David Robertson, Andrew Miller and Sergio Romo since free agency began.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Robertson has a three-year, $39-million offer on the table, but it’s not known if the Astros made it. Meanwhile, Buster Olney of ESPN writes the Yankees are in “serious pursuit” of the lefty, who could wind up with a four-year deal. That could be hard for the Astros to match.

– Brian McTaggart

 

David Robertson generating interest

David Robertson became the top closer on the market after declining a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Yankees on Monday, and he’s certain to have many suitors this offseason.

In addition to the Yankees, there are at least six teams interested in signing Robertson, according to a report by the New York Daily News. Any club that signs Robertson would surrender a draft pick as compensation, but that doesn’t appear to be a major hurdle.

The Tigers, Brewers, Blue Jays, White Sox, Indians and Astros are among a number of teams with needs in the bullpen. Robertson would be an upgrade for any of those clubs.

Robertson, 29, saved 39 games last season in his first year as the Yankees’ closer. He earned $5.215 million and is set up for significant pay raise.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday he has not yet begun negotiations with Robertson’s agent, Scott Leventhal. The right-hander is a likely to receive at least a three-year contract.

Cashman also said it’s not yet clear what the market value is for Robertson. It’s worth noting Jonathan Papelbon earned $13 million with the Phillies in 2014 as baseball’s highest-paid closer. Already this offseason, Koji Uehara re-signed with the Red Sox for $18 million over two years.

Robertson’s impending contract could affect deals for other free agent closers, including Francisco Rodriguez, Sergio Romo and Rafael Soriano.

–Austin Laymance

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

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