MLB rumors: Astros add Steven Souza Jr.; Braves sign former Cubs reliever

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With less than a month until pitchers and catchers report, the hot stove is warm. This week, J.T. Realmuto and Marcus Semien found homes, while Nolan Arenado was reportedly on the cusp of being traded to the Cardinals as of Friday night. Who else might sign in the coming days? Here are the latest rumblings from the hot stove.

Astros GM James Click was part of the Rays front office when Tampa Bay traded Trea Turner and Joe Ross to the Nationals for outfielder Steven Souza Jr. That deal didn’t work out, but Click still appears to have a soft spot for Souza: on Saturday, the Astros agreed to terms with him on a contract, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi

Souza, 32 come April, hasn’t had an effective big-league season since 2017. In the years since, he’s posted a 77 OPS+ in 303 plate appearances, having missed significant time because of injuries. Last season, Souza appeared in just 11 games with the Cubs before being ushered out of town. He went four for 27 with 15 strikeouts versus one home run and four walks.

Souza should have a chance at securing a part-time role with the Astros. Houston lost George Springer to free agency, but retained Michael Brantley. Both Brantley and Kyle Tucker are left-handed hitters, in contrast to the righty Souza.

Braves ink Edwards Jr.

The Braves made a notable minor-league addition on Friday, inking right-hander Carl Edwards Jr., according to various reports (Jon Becker was first with the news).

Edwards Jr., 29, once seemed positioned to be a long-term high-leverage option for the Cubs. From 2016-18, he averaged 56 appearances and maintained a 141 ERA+ and 2.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

Edwards Jr. had a brutal 2019, and missed most of 2020 because of a strained forearm. The Braves will try to help him return to form.


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