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Friday, January 20, 2017

Baseball

Report: Astros remain interested in trading for Sonny Gray

Could the Houston Astros be adding another All-Star to their rotation?

According to a report by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Monday, the Astros have “remained in contact” with the Oakland A’s on right-hander Sonny Gray.

It’s a prime buy-low opportunity for the 27-year-old as he struggled mightily in 2016, posting a 5-11 record with a 5.69 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 22 starts.

The Astros have already had quite the busy offseason, signing Carlos Beltran and Josh Reddick in free agency and trading for Brian McCann. But their rotation is somewhat shaky behind former AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, who himself wasn’t spectacular in 2016.

With the depth of Houston’s farm system, trading for Gray, who is under team control through 2019, makes sense on a number of levels. Let’s just hope that the cuisine in Texas can agree with him.

Image Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jose Bautista nearing deal to return to Blue Jays

Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista appears to be on the verge of returning to Toronto.

According to a report by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com on Sunday, the Blue Jays have emerged as the front-runner for the six-time All-Star slugger with the two sides said to be nearing a deal.

Bautista, who turned 36 in October, was said to be in “active” negotiations with the Blue Jays in recent weeks. Though reports like this earlier in the offseason made it seem like Bautista might just flee for greener pastures, the market for an aging hitter who batted just .234 last season didn’t heat up as he would have liked it to. With Edwin Encarnacion jumping ship to sign with the Cleveland Indians in December, it also stands to reason that Toronto simply wasn’t content to lose its two biggest veteran bats in the same offseason.

Report: Dodgers still interested in Ian Kinsler as fallback option

The Los Angeles Dodgers are determined to plug their current hole at second base one way or the other.

According to a report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe on Saturday, the Dodgers may consider four-time All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers as a fallback option.

The Dodgers have been hot on the trading trail of this elite power-hitting second baseman, but a deal is far from a sure thing. What’s more is that the reigning NL West champs were already linked to Kinsler earlier this offseason.

Kinsler will turn 35 in June, but his all-around production was still on full display in 2016. He hit .288 with 28 home runs, 83 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases while flashing some serious leather at second as well to earn him his first career Gold Glove Award. Kinsler is owed $11 million in 2017 with a $12 million club option for 2018, which also boosts his case as a trade target.

Report: Carl Crawford likely headed into retirement

After 15 seasons in the MLB, four All-Star apperances, one Silver Slugger Award, one Gold Glove Award, and four seasons leading the American League in stolen bases, Carl Crawford appears ready to call it quits.

According to a report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe on Saturday quoting an unnamed Los Angeles Dodgers official, the veteran outfielder “has pretty much called it a career.”

The 35-year-old Crawford had been saddled by injuries in recent years and appeared in just 30 games for the Dodgers in 2016, batting .185/.230/.235. He was designated for assignment by the team in June and was finally released outright later that month.

There had been some rumors of Crawford potentially reuniting with the Tampa Bay Rays, with whom he spent the first nine seasons of his big league career. But with a boatload of money in his bank account (the Dodgers ate the $35 million remaining on his contract when they released him) and nothing left to prove, it sounds like Crawford may just be willing to sail off into the sunset.

Image via Gary George on YouTube

H/T HardballTalk

Jake Arrieta, Cubs still have not discussed long-term contract

Pitcher Jake Arrieta will be eligible to become a free agent at the end of the 2017 season, and he sounds somewhat resigned to the fact that a long-term deal won’t get done before then.

Arrieta said Friday that he hasn’t discussed a contract extension with the club, and said time is running out for the two sides to do so.

“The timeline is kind of coming to an end as far as as leading up to free agency,” Arrieta said at the Cubs Convention, via Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. “I am here for one more year and I am going to enjoy every moment of it.”

Levine noted that there was a bit of sadness in Arrieta’s voice when discussing his future.

“The team is going to do what is best for them,” Arrieta said.

Arrieta is 50-19 with a 2.42 ERA in his last three seasons with the Cubs. He also turns 31 in March. He’s earned the right to a big payday, and has said he won’t give the Cubs a discount. That’s going to make it rather difficult for the two sides to stay together beyond 2017.

Dan Haren has funny tweet about Curt Schilling’s HOF candidacy

Retired former All-Star pitcher Dan Haren continues to be a 140-character superstar in his post-MLB chapter.

Andrew Baggaarly of the Bay Area News Group shared an interesting stat on Friday about the Hall of Fame case for Curt Schilling, whose controversial political opinions that he often posts on Twitter have tarnished his candidacy in the eyes of many voters.

In response, Haren chose to pose a question about the extent of the Twittersphere’s power to make or break one’s Hall of Fame candidacy.

Well considering tweets like this one, Haren would probably be the ultimate beneficiary if that were indeed the case.

As for Schilling, he’s been adamant lately that he would, in fact, be voted into the Hall if his political beliefs were less unpopular, so maybe Haren is really onto something here. Take note, Cooperstown.

Report: Padres signing Wil Myers to six-year contract extension

The San Diego Padres are close to locking up Wil Myers for several seasons, according to a report.

FOX’s Ken Rosenthal says the Padres and Myers are close on a six-year contract extension for more than $80 million.

As Rosenthal mentioned, the contract would cover all three of Myers’ arbitration years, plus three free agency years. The 26-year-old will be eligible for arbitration after the 2017 season.

Myers was Rookie of the Year with the Rays in 2013 and was acquired by the Padres as part of a three-team deal involving Steven Souza and Trea Turner two offseasons ago. He batted .259/.336/.461 last season with 28 home runs and 29 doubles.

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