The Astros are more focused on the trade market than free agency in their search for starting pitching, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Houston’s “inquiring on nearly every available starter via trade,” Morosi hears. The Astros are already known to have interest in Mariners left-hander James Paxton, who’s one of several front-end starters who could be on the block this offseason. Other potential movers include the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer, the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke, the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard and the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner.
Here’s more from around the majors:
- Free-agent reliever David Robertson prefers to sign with a team in the Northeast, where he has pitched the majority of his career as a member of the Yankees. The 33-year-old may simply end up re-signing with the Yanks, but Rob Bradford of WEEI observes that Robertson would be a logical fit for the archrival Red Sox. The world champions’ bullpen could suffer a couple blows in the coming weeks if free agents Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly cash in elsewhere, which would leave room for a Robertson addition. Moreover, as a Rhode Island resident whose wife is from Medfield, Mass., Robertson has New England ties, as Bradford notes.
- Joe Girardi was a strong candidate to become the Reds’ manager last month, but he took himself out of contention, paving the way for the team to hire David Bell. Girardi spoke Saturday about his withdrawal from Cincinnati’s search, telling Brendan Kuty of NJ.com: “I just decided that I was going to broadcast another year and spend another year with my family, wait to see what opportunities are presented next year and go from there. Thought I had good interviews but I just decided I’m going to wait.” Girardi was also a candidate in Texas, which, like Cincinnati, has struggled of late and may be in for another lean year in 2019. Considering the success Girardi had with the Yankees from 2008-17, neither Cincy nor Texas looked like an ideal match for him on paper. However, Girardi suggested to Kuty that he’s not opposed to overseeing a rebuilding club. “Whether it’s a team that’s rebuilding or it’s a team that’s in the middle (of a rebuild), it doesn’t matter to me,” the 54-year-old said. “I just felt like it wasn’t the right time.”
- With Blake Snell fresh off winning American League Cy Young honors, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times revisits the 2011 draft, in which the Rays landed the left-hander. Although the Rays had 10 of the top 60 picks that year, nearly all of their selections have disappointed in various ways, as Topkin details. Snell, whom they nabbed 52nd overall, has been an obvious exception. Notably, Tampa Bay wouldn’t have owned the choice it used on Snell had it not signed veteran outfielder Brad Hawpe in August 2010. Hawpe made little on-field impact as a Ray, but his exit in free agency during the ensuing offseason netted the team the compensatory pick that turned into Snell.