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Here are some notable players headed to big league Spring Training camps…
- The Giants announced the names of 22 non-roster invitees to their Spring Training camp, some of whom are former Major Leaguers new to the organization. This group includes infielder Brad Eldred, catcher Chris Stewart, outfielder Terry Evans and right-handers Casey Daigle, Shane Loux and Ryan Vogelsong. Also on the list is Guillermo Mota (who re-signed with San Francisco last month) and Waldis Joaquin, who was claimed on waivers by the White Sox in November but rejected the claim to sign a minor league deal with the Giants. MLB.com's Chris Haft has the full list of invitees here.
- The Angels have signed Kevin Melillo, Kevin Richardson and Gil Velazquez to minor league contracts with Spring Training invites, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Velazquez, a 13-year veteran, leads the trio in career Major League plate appearances (11) and joins the Angels after three years in Boston's organization. Richardson, a catcher, has spent his entire nine-year pro career in the Texas organization while utilityman Melillo played for Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate last season.
The possible sale of the Texas Rangers from current owner Tom Hicks to a group led by Chuck Greenberg won't have any major repercussions on the team's current front-office composition or any of their planned winter transactions. In regards to the front office, Rangers president Nolan Ryan told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that should the sale go through, there won't be any "drastic changes" to how the club operates in the short-term, though "any areas of immediate need" will be addressed once the new ownership team has had a chance to fully assess things. Ryan himself is probably a big reason for this continuity, given that he is part of Greenberg's ownership group and will retain his position under the new regime.
Sullivan also heard from Texas GM Jon Daniels that the sale shouldn't interfere with any trades or signings the Rangers might have in the works, but the club is prepared to shift gears if necessary. Daniels told Sullivan, "We are not changing our plans, but we will evaluate anything or be happy to adjust when that time comes. Nolan and I have discussed that possibility and it could certainly give us some options at some point….The timing of that is unclear, but we're going forward with the same plans and financial parameters. And if that changes, we will adjust."
Daniels also discussed what some of these plans might entail in regards to what's left on the Texas wish list…
- Daniels said the team is more likely to bring in a second-tier veteran catcher or two to provide depth, rather than look for an everyday catcher. The GM said the club is satisfied with their current catching corps of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Kevin Richardson.
- The Rangers are one of many, many teams interested in Matt Capps, and also "have ongoing talks" about free agent reliever Darren Oliver.
- The ever-impending Mike Lowell-for-Max Ramirez trade will hopefully be finalized this week when Lowell undergoes a physical.
- Daniels said there is "a decent chance" the team will sign another starting pitcher for depth purposes.
- The door isn't closed on Texas signing a free agent bat like Jermaine Dye or Vladimir Guerrero, if their price is right.
- The Rangers would like a utility infielder, but "that seems to be low on their priorities."
3:46pm: MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports the Rangers have also taken catcher Kevin Richardson off the 40-man roster, and are trying to sign him to a minor-league contract.
2:39pm: Per Jason Grilli's Twitter page, the Texas Rangers have removed the 32-year-old pitcher from their roster.
Grilli wrote, "My day just got more interesting-as said earlier tweet-A leader can't lead until he knows where he is going-Texas took me off the roster".
Grilli is an interesting buy-low candidate for a number of teams. While his ERA jumped from 3.00 in 2008 to 5.32 in 2009, that is highly deceiving. He posted a Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) ERA of just 3.93 in 2009, and has been under 4 each of the past three seasons.
Grilli has also been roughly as effective against lefties and righties throughout his career, allowing a .271 batting average to righties, .265 to lefties.
If Grilli is to be believed, he'll be in terrific shape for someone in 2010. He wrote on a follow-up tweet, "Gonna be some Rocky Balboa training commence".