Texas Rangers Rumors

Texas Rangers trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL West Notes: Keuchel, Newcomb, Profar, Stearns

In light of recent reports about preliminary extension talks between the Astros and ace Dallas Keuchel, Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards examines the impact that a potential Cy Young Award would have on Keuchel’s arbitration case. Keuchel already has a very good chance at breaking the outdated record for a first-year arbitration-eligible pitcher (Dontrelle Willis’ $4.35MM record is, as Edwards notes, about a decade old). However, as Edwards explains, the arb process treats award-winners differently, and securing the Cy Young Award could boost his first-year arb price even further. As such, taking home the hardware for being the AL’s best pitcher in 2015, if it happens — and Keuchel indeed has a strong case — could make it difficult for team and player to agree to a fair price to put on Keuchel’s three arbitration seasons, let alone on his free agent years.

A few more items pertaining to the AL West…

  • In his latest Prospect Pipeline Inbox column, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo kicks off by answering the question of whether or not Angels southpaw Sean Newcomb could pitch in the Majors in 2016. Mayo explains that while he wouldn’t have thought so prior to the 2015 campaign, Newcomb has impressively pitched at three levels this season, showing a consistent propensity for strikeouts and ground-balls and thereby placing himself on the fast track to the Majors. While the former No. 15 overall pick (2014) needs to hone his command and improve upon his 4.8 BB/9 rate, Mayo does feel that Newcomb is capable of reaching the Majors in the second half of the 2016 season.
  • Jurickson Profar played in his first regular-season game since Sept. 27, 2013 today, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. The former No. 1 overall prospect served as the designated hitter for the Rangers‘ Class-A affiliate today. He’ll continue to rehab there but only in a DH capacity for the remainder of this season. Profar, still just 22 years of age, has missed the past two seasons due to a pair of torn shoulder muscles. He was a consensus Top 10 prospect heading into the 2012 season before emerging as the game’s No. 1 prospect (per Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus) heading into the 2013 campaign. The Rangers will hope to have him healthy again in 2016.
  • As teams trend toward the hiring of younger, analytically savvy general managers, Astros assistant GM David Stearns’ name could become a target, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. While Drellich notes that it’s perhaps a bit early for Stearns to garner serious consideration from other clubs, GM Jeff Luhnow does feel that his lieutenant has the chops to handle a GM role down the line. “There’s several people in our organization that have GM potential, and David’s one of them,” Luhnow said. “I expect over the coming years, as we have success, they’ll get opportunities at least to interview.”

Rangers Claim Chris Rearick

The Rangers have claimed lefty Chris Rearick off waivers from the Padres, Texas executive VP of communications John Blake announced on Twitter. Rearick was designated recently by San Diego to clear space for the addition of righty Jon Edwards to the 40-man roster.

Rearick, 27, has spent most of his time pitching in the upper minors over the last several seasons. While he compiled good numbers throughout his minor league career heading into the 2015 campaign, walks have become a sudden problem. He has averaged six or more free passes in his 44 MiLB frames and his three MLB innings while seeing his overall strikeout rates plummet.

Injury Notes: Martin, Sabathia, Affeldt, Stanton

Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin will have surgery tomorrow to remove the hamate bone from his right hand, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Martin was optioned to Triple-A in early August due to severe struggles in the Majors but had batted .297/.372/.541 with a pair of homers in nine Triple-A contests. Per Wilson, he’ll be able to play defense again in two weeks’ time and could hit in four to six weeks. Martin most likely would’ve rejoined the Rangers’ active roster on Sept. 1, but it seems that his return to the active roster will be delayed.

A few more injury notes from around the game…

  • Upon meeting with doctors, CC Sabathia learned that he won’t need surgery to repair his arthritic knee, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Sabathia hopes he can return in early September, and the lefty tells King he’ll pitch with the Yankees in any capacity upon his return, as his main priority is helping the team win. “If that means pitching out of the bullpen, it is what it is,” said Sabathia. “I am not here to make that decision, that’s not for me to make.” Sabathia did add that he feels like he could start, if healthy. Manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that there was a chance Sabathia would be out for the season, but that now seems unlikely.
  • The Giants‘ injury troubles continued today, as lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt landed on the 15-day disabled list due to a subluxed left knee sustained when playing with his children, per an Associated Press report. The 36-year-old Affeldt hasn’t been himself this season, struggling to a 5.46 ERA with 5.7 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings. His injury nonetheless thins out the bullpen for the Giants, who have turned to Triple-A right-hander Mike Broadway.
  • Giancarlo Stanton believes he’s about 10 days away from returning to the lineup, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, meaning he’d tentatively come off the disabled list on Sept. 4. Stanton has been absent from the Marlins since breaking his hamate bone on June 26 and undergoing surgery two days later.

Rangers Sign Drew Stubbs To Minors Deal

The Rangers have announced the signing of outfielder Drew Stubbs to a minor league contract. Stubbs was recently released by the Rockies.

Stubbs, 30, was optioned to Triple-A after a miserable start to the season, but has turned it on since being recalled. All told, he owns a .216/.286/.431 slash — well below league-average once park factors are accounted for. That represents a disappointment both for him and the team, which tendered him a contract after Stubbs put up a strong .289.339/.482 slash line last year.

For the lefty-heavy Rangers, Stubbs could provide a useful option down the stretch. He’s actually been better against right-handed pitching this year, but carries a wide platoon split over his career (.670 OPS against righties, .811 versus lefties). Having spent most of his career in center field, Stubbs also represents a nice glove to have in the fold.

Colorado will remain on the hook for the rest of the cash owed this year to Stubbs, who avoided arbitration with a $5.83MM deal. If he does make it to the Rangers’ big league roster, though, the Rockies will get a small offset equivalent to the pro-rated portion of the league minimum salary.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Utley, Angels, Zobrist, Zimmermann, Giants, Execs

In his latest notes column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal looks at the failed attempt to acquire Chase Utley made by both the Angels and Cubs. Anaheim “blew it” by not adding Utley, opines Rosenthal, as the Halos had more playing time to offer than the Dodgers but didn’t pull the trigger on a deal despite only having acquired “complementary hitters” in July. (That seems harsh, as there’s no guarantee that the current iteration of Utley is anything more than a complementary piece himself.) As for the Cubs, they initially showed interest while Utley was still hurt, but Utley wasn’t comfortable being traded while on a rehab assignment, says Rosenthal, so the Phils waited to put him through waivers. By the time he returned, Howie Kendrick had been hurt in L.A., creating a match with the Dodgers.

Some more highlights from the column…

  • As others have noted, the Angels‘ GM opening is a tough sell to prospective candidates because Arte Moreno is more involved than the average owner, and Mike Scioscia has more power than the average manager. One rival general manager described the Angels’ GM role to Rosenthal as such: “You take all of the beatings (from Moreno) and you’ve got no power (due to Scioscia).” Jerry Dipoto resigned from his post this summer due to reported clashes with Scioscia.
  • The Blue Jays tried to trade for Ben Zobrist, but the Athletics‘ asking price was Matt Boyd plus other pieces, Rosenthal hears, which was too steep for GM Alex Anthopoulos. Boyd was ultimately one of three pieces used to acquire David Price from the Tigers.
  • Rosenthal reports that the Giants are likely to pursue right-hander Jordan Zimmermann as they look to bulk up their rotation this offseason. However, he notes that the Wisconsin native may prefer to return to the Midwest. Zimmermann ranked eighth on the most recent edition of MLBTR’s Free Agent Power Rankings, though he’s had a couple of rough starts since then.
  • The Giants may also consider attempting to unload the final year of Angel Pagan‘s contract this winter. Pagan is slated to earn $10MM next season in the final season of a four-year, $40MM contract after playing in just 167 games from 2013-14 and struggling at the plate in 102 games to this point in 2015. San Francisco could use Gregor Blanco in center field in the event that they’re able to move Pagan.
  • The recent trend of teams promoting an assistant GM to GM and a current GM to president (as the White Sox and Giants have done) could continue this offseason as teams try to prevent their top AGMs from departing for GM vacancies elsewhere, Rosenthal writes. The Rangers could promote Thad Levine to GM (and presumably elevate Jon Daniels), for instance, and the Cardinals could promote Mike Girsch (presumably promoting GM John Mozeliak as well). And, should Mark Shapiro end up with the Blue Jays, the Indians could bump Mike Chernoff to GM and make Chris Antonetti president (Cleveland previously did his by moving Shapiro from GM to president and Antonetti from AGM to GM). Levine, Girsch and Chernoff could all attract interest from other teams this winter.

Adam Rosales Elects Free Agency

AUG. 22: After clearing waivers, Rosales declined his outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He will be released as a result.

AUG. 19: The Rangers have designated infielder Adam Rosales for assignment, the club announced. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by Hanser Alberto. Texas needed a 40-man spot for the activation of Derek Holland.

Rosales, 32, owns a .228/.296/.342 slash over 125 plate appearances on the season. The light-hitting utilityman has filled in all over the diamond, but has logged most of his innings at second. Interestingly, Rosales’s batting line this season is a near-perfect match for the .227/.294/.342 slash that he has compiled over parts of eight big league campaigns.

Indians Acquire Michael Choice

The Indians have acquired outfielder Michael Choice from the Rangers, as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com first reported on Twitter. Cleveland will send cash considerations to complete the deal, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.

Choice, 25, was designated for assignment recently to clear space for the Rangers’ acquisition of Will Venable. Once a top-100 prospect, Choice has stumbled since heading to Texas in return for Craig Gentry before the 2014 season.

Given a chance at the big league level last year, Choice put up a .182/.250/.320 slash in 280 plate appearances. While he hit well at Triple-A that year, he’s managed only a .244/.309/.399 batting line this season at the highest level of the minors.

Padres Complete Venable Trade, Designate Chris Rearick

The Padres have officially added righty Jon Edwards from the Rangers to complete the recent trade that sent Will Venable to Texas, the club announced. Edwards had needed to clear revocable waivers before he could be sent as the player to be named later.

San Diego designated Chris Rearick for assignment to clear a 40-man spot. The 27-year-old southpaw was knocked around in his first three big league innings this year, and struggled to a 5.11 ERA (with thirty strikeouts and thirty walks) over 44 Triple-A frames. Rearick has been much more successful in the minors in past seasons, and has never shown those kinds of control issues previously.

Rangers Acquire Will Venable, Designate Michael Choice

The Rangers have acquired outfielder Will Venable from the Padres in exchange for minor league catcher/outfielder Marcus Greene and right-hander Jon Edwards (who was included as a player to be named later), per a team announcement. In order to clear space on the roster for Venable, the Rangers have designated have designated outfielder Michael Choice for assignment.

Will Venable

Venable, 32, will give the Rangers some additional outfield depth and could immediately step into left field, if Josh Hamilton‘s injury troubles continue. Hitting .258/.318/.378, Venable is in the process of bouncing back from perhaps the worst season of his career — a 2014 campaign in which he batted just .224/.288/.325 in the first campaign of a two-year, $8.5MM extension. He’s earning $4.25MM this season as part of that contract, of which about $1.11MM remains. Venable will be a free agent at season’s end, making him a pure rental for the Rangers as they push to bridge either the three-game gap separating them from the AL West lead or the one-game gap sitting between their team and a Wild Card slot.

Venable’s career numbers (.252/.316/.410) don’t leap off the page, but he has superior numbers against right-handed pitching and away from Petco Park — the stadium which he’s called home for the entirety of his career. He’s a career .257/.323/.425 hitter against righties and a .269/.330/.431 hitter on the road.

Greene, 20, is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent this June. He began the season at the Class A level, where he hit .218/.365/.500 with five homers, 16 walks and 23 strikeouts in 96 plate appearances before suffering his injury. He did not rank among the Rangers’ Top 30 prospects, but Baseball America gave him a favorable write-up upon being selected in the 16th round of the 2013 draft. Per BA, Greene’s best tool is arm strength, but he also comes with raw power upside and a solid makeup.

The 27-year-old Edwards first had to pass through revocable waivers before he could be included in the deal. He has thrown 14 1/3 big league innings over the last two seasons, working to a 5.02 ERA with 9.4 K/9 against a troubling 8.2 BB/9. But he’s been excellent this season at Triple-A, compiling a 1.42 earned run average while striking out 44 batters and issuing just eight walks over 31 2/3 frames.

Choice is a former Top 100 prospect that the Rangers acquired prior to the 2014 season in the trade that sent Craig Gentry to Oakland. Though the 25-year-old has a solid .279/.363/.463 slash line throughout his minor league career, he’s mustered just a .188/.253/.320 slash in 300 plate appearances between the Rangers and Athletics.

For the Padres, this marks the first piece that GM A.J. Preller has traded away. The first-year general manager took some heat from the media for his decision to stand pat at last month’s non-waiver deadline despite facing a significant gap in the division and Wild Card standings. It’s conceivable that this could be the first of a few trades made by the Padres, who also stand to lose Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy and Joaquin Benoit (though he does have a club option) to free agency this winter. Of that group, only Upton would be a lock for a qualifying offer, although Kennedy has pitched markedly better as of late. Right-hander James Shields has also cleared waivers and will probably see his name kicked around the rumor mill a bit more before the end of the month.

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported on Twitter that Edwards was the PTBNL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AL West Notes: White, Hahn, A’s, Paxton, Venable

Astros first base prospect Tyler White is a triumph for the team’s scouting department, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. White, a 33rd-round selection that signed for $1,000 out of Western Carolina, has soared through the minors and reached Triple-A this year, where he’s hitting .396/.489/.617 with five homers and nearly as many walks (26) as strikeouts (28) in 178 plate appearances. Drellich spoke to Astros scouting director Mike Elias and the team’s director of decision sciences, Sig Mejdal, about the way in which they came to draft White. Drellich also wonders if the Astros, who are struggling with first base production, can afford to keep White in Triple-A. Though he doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, White could potentially boost the production of a team dedicated to winning right now, which may trump traditional roster concerns.

Here’s more from the AL West…

  • Athletics right-hander Jesse Hahn may not pitch again in 2015, manager Bob Melvin suggested to reporters, including John Hickey (Twitter link). Hahn has not yet begun playing catch since being shut down with a flexor tendon injury just over a month ago. Hahn, an offseason trade acquisition, was outstanding for the A’s through 96 2/3 innings this season, posting a 3.35 ERA with a 64-to-25 K/BB ratio. Durability, however, has long been a concern for Hahn, who totaled just 163 1/3 innings in a minor league career that spanned from 2012-14.
  • Billy Beane and his lieutenants have never had fewer than 74 wins in a season, but that number is in danger in 2015, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. A good deal has gone wrong for the A’s in 2015, but perhaps the most troubling fact is that the A’s have only received contributions from four players that are products of their own farm system. Two of those names — Max Muncy and Arnold Leon — have been fringe roster pieces this season.
  • Mariners southpaw James Paxton believes he’s ready to embark on a rehab assignment after throwing a pair of innings in a simulated game on Wednesday, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Paxton said it’s been “a couple of weeks” since he felt pain in the strained tendon in his finger that has sidelined him since May 28.
  • Talks between the Padres and the Rangers on Will Venable came together fairly quickly, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). Venable passed through waivers, and multiple teams showed interest, but the Rangers jumped into talks on Monday evening and had a deal completed by Tuesday evening.