Astros links around"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Houston Astros NewsGame ThreadsHouston Astros Minor LeaguesAstros Game DayPodcastsAstros Crawfish BoilAstros Crawfish Boil: February 18th Mark McGwire Jersey , 2019New,29commentsStart your week with some of the best Astros links aroundCSTShareTweetShareShareAstros Crawfish Boil: February 18th, 2019Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsAstros NewsVerlander, Cole, and Rogers all had live batting practice sessions this weekend as we gear up for the first game of Spring Training (Astros.com)And they were surrounded by some young Astros who are a little awestruck at their first big league camp (Texas Sports Nation)And if Verlander has his way, he’ll be impressing the young bucks for another decade (Detroit Free Press)Speaking of impressing at Spring Training, Yuli Gurriel will be trying out some different in field positions this month (Houston Chronicle)While Stassi looks to do some impressing of his own at the catcher position (Houston Chronicle)Here are some other general goings-on from around Ball Park of the Palm Beaches (ABC 13)Osuna’s first full season with the Astros will add a very effective weapon to the back end of the bullpen (House of Houston)Bregman continues to progress as he makes his way back from elbow surgery (Astros.com)Jeff Luhnow and Mike Elias had a reunion of sorts over the weekend (Texas Sports Nation)For some reason reporters really want Astros starters to give their opinion on “openers,” and they’re not fans (The Runner Sports)Around the LeagueMike Moustakas will return to Milwaukee after inking a one-year deal (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)And his second journey through free agency is a prime example of how the new system is hurting mid-tier players (Beyond the Box Score)Cameron Maybin also snagged himself a one-year deal http://www.athleticsfanproshop.com/authentic-khris-davis-jersey , this time with the Giants (San Francisco Examiner)The Harper Saga might be drawing to a close as the Phillies are ramping up their efforts to sign him (MLB Trade Rumors)While on the other side of the country, the Padres have made a hefty offer to Machado (MLB Trade Rumors)Rob Manfred discussed pitch clocks in Spring Training and free agency in general at a recent press event (ESPN) The catching situation comes into focus."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Royals Trade Rumors & Hot StoveRoyals Minor Leagues & ProspectsRoyals Review ClassicRoyals Review Users GuideThe 100 Greatest Royals Of All TimeRoyals Trades, Transactions, SigningsRoyals sign catcher Martin MaldonadoNew,113commentsThe catching situation comes into focus.ESTShareTweetShareShareRoyals sign catcher Martin MaldonadoThe Royals have signed catcher Martin Maldonado to a one-year, $2.5 million deal according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal includes $1.4 million in incentives that max out if he catches 100 games, according to Jon Heyman. Maldonado helps fill the void left by Salvador Perez, who had Tommy John surgery earlier this week and will miss the entire season. The 32-year old Maldonado hit .225/.276/.351 with nine home runs in 119 games between the Angels and Astros last year http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-tim-tebow-jersey , and was a 0.9 WAR player, according to Fangraphs. In eight Major League seasons he has hit .220/.289/.350, but his true value is in his defense. He won the 2017 Gold Glove and is considered one of the best pitch-framers in baseball, ranking best in baseball in that category in 2017. He is also effective at nailing base-stealers, with a caught-stealing rate of 48.6% last year, just ahead of Perez to lead all catchers.Maldonado reportedly was given a two-year, $12 million offer from the Astros earlier this off-season. Earlier this week he fired agent Scott Boras in favor of Dan Lozano. According to Rosenthal, Boras will still collect a commission Darryl Strawberry Jersey , saying “The Kansas City deal was in place and finalized without us knowing Maldonado had switched agents.” The Royals have insurance on Salvador Perez’s contract, which could help offset the cost of the $10 million owed to him this season. The signing could mean Cam Gallagher returns to a backup role, and it certainly means that Meibrys Viloria will be sent to the minors to develop more, rather than make the jump from High-A ball to the big leagues. The Royals had considered moving Frank Schwindel back behind the plate, and this morning they indicated he will still catch in a spring training game, but he will also take some reps at third base.The Royals are in a youth movement, but signing Maldonado makes a lot of sense. It gives them an excellent defensive catcher that will be needed to develop young pitchers and fit the overall emphasis on defense. It also gives them a tradeable asset, as Maldonado was dealt last summer for Patrick Sandoval http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-tim-tebow-jersey , who turned into a top 20 prospect with the Angels, and international bonus slot money. The move cost very little money, especially considering the insurance on Salvy’s deal. It may eat into some playing time for Cam Gallagher, but it allows the Royals to develop Viloria properly without rushing his bat to try to learn how to hit Major League pitching.