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Texas Rangers Rumors
The Rangers announced that they’ve claimed left-hander Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Mariners. Olmos, 24, was designated for assignment by Seattle when the team made its signing of Rickie Weeks official. Texas has moved Jurickson Profar to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on its 40-man roster for Olmos.
The Mariners had claimed Olmos off waivers from the Marlins earlier this offseason. The left-hander made his big league debut with the Fish in 2013, allowing four earned runs (nine total) in five innings on seven hits and a pair of walks. He fared much better between Double-A and Triple-A in 77 2/3 combined innings in 2014, working to a 4.06 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Olmos held lefties to a .256/.330/.289 batting line between the Majors and Minors last season.
A former third round pick, Olmos has four times ranked among the Marlins’ top 30 prospects, per Baseball America. He’s ranged from Nos. 15 through 24, most recently coming in at No. 23 last offseason. BA noted that a move to the bullpen had his velocity up in the mid-90s, and he features a slider that is an average pitch at times and a changeup that can be a “true third offering.” Their scouting reports notes that he could become a situational lefty, though he’s gotten much better against righties since yielding a .942 OPS to them in 2011. Presumably, Olmos will compete with fellow lefty Alex Claudio for a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Rangers have added utility infielder Elliot Johnson on a minor league deal, the club announced. Soon to turn 31, Johnson will receive an invite to big league camp. After a three-year run in which he made at least 180 plate appearances per season, Johnson earned only twenty trips to the plate last year with the Indians. Across his 826 career plate appearances, Johnson owns a .215/.269/.316 slash with 46 stolen bases. Johnson has been more productive in parts of six seasons at Triple-A, where he owns a lifetime .732 OPS.
It goes without saying that baseball teams invest incredible sums of money in individual players, all with the hopes that they will perform well throughout the game’s rather lengthy annual schedule. In that regard, it is not surprising that ballclubs look high and low for ways not only to identify the right player-contract investments, but also for means of maximizing the dollars spent. Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal discusses one area in which an increasing number of teams are looking to extract value (or, perhaps, slow a value drain). MLB’s exhausting travel, training, and playing schedule may contribute to injuries and performance decline late in the year, says Costa, who looks at a few ways that health and wellness are being improved around the game.
- New Pirates infielder Jung-ho Kang is just starting out on his first run through the full major league cycle, of course, after spending all of his career in his native South Korea. As Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, the team seems bullish on his future and optimistic that he will force his way into the lineup right away. “We believe we’ve brought in a player who’s going to be an everyday player,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “When that happens, we don’t know. We want to prepare him for a starting role, see how the season plays out, see where he can fit and what he can add. Everybody’s vision down the road is for this man to post up and become a regular player in the Pirates’ lineup.”
- The Dodgers still appear to be among the most plausible suitors for Cuban free agent-to-be Hector Olivera, and Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com notes that he is a name to watch for the team. It seems to be a waiting game for now, as GM Farhan Zaidi indicated: “I have no sense of the timetable,” Zaidi said. “We have had some discussions with them being at the workout and whatnot, but until he’s declared eligible to sign we can’t have any more concrete discussions.”
- Former Rangers manager Ron Washington is looking for a way back into the game as camp opens, he tells Darrell Williams of the Baton Rouge Advocate (h/t Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). He says that his expressions of interest with several teams have gone unrequited, indicating a willingness to work in just about any capacity. Washington’s abrupt resignation from the helm of the Rangers is still rather fresh, of course, and it seems likely that he’ll be given another chance at some point.
In today’s Insider-only blog on ESPN.com, Buster Olney discusses some of the remaining relief options on the market, noting that right-hander Joba Chamberlain is expected to make a decision on his 2015 club sometime this week. The Dodgers are among the teams with interest, Olney writes, but there are others involved. Olney also notes that part of the reason Rafael Soriano remains unemployed is that scouts feel that his stuff evaporated late in the 2014 season with the Nationals.
A bit more on what’s left of the relief market…
- The Rangers are still looking for left-handed relievers and are considering both Phil Coke and Joe Beimel, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As Wilson notes, the team needn’t worry about a 40-man roster spot, as they can move an injured player to the 60-day disabled list if they accommodate either southpaw with a big league contact.
- The Brewers and Marlins remain in the mix for Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The two teams have been the most commonly linked clubs to Rodriguez’s market, with reports over the weekend indicating that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has discussed K-Rod with agent Scott Boras. Last week, the Marlins were rumored to be interested in the two-year, $10MM range, but Rodriguez is said to be eyeing a $10MM figure for 2015 alone.
- Right-hander Dustin McGowan, who signed a Major League deal with the Dodgers earlier today, is viewing himself as a reliever at this point in his career, he told reporters (including FOX’s Ken Rosenthal). The Dodgers view McGowan as a relief candidate based on his 95 mph fastball and his splits; McGowan had a 5.08 ERA in the rotation last year compared to a 3.35 mark in the bullpen. His career 3.79 ERA as a reliever is nearly a run lower than his 4.78 mark as a starter.
2:11pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that in exchange for guaranteeing the option in advance, Beltre has agreed to juggle his salaries a bit (Twitter link). Beltre will now earn $16MM in 2015 instead of $18MM, while his 2016 salary will jump from $16MM to $18MM.
1:07pm: The Rangers announced today that they have exercised their 2016 option on Adrian Beltre in advance, meaning that he will be guaranteed $16MM. The Rangers had the ability to void the option if Beltre didn’t reach 600 plate appearances in 2015, but GM Jon Daniels said over the weekend that he was considering removing the clause and locking in Beltre’s salary, as he didn’t want the clause to become a storyline.
Beltre, 36 in April, is coming off another typically excellent season, having batted .324/.388/.492 with 19 home runs and excellent defense at third base. He had been slated to enter the final guaranteed year of a five-year, $80MM contract signed in the 2010-11 offseason, but he’s now guaranteed to earn the full $96MM maximum that was available to him on the contract.
While one could argue that there’s risk involved with locking in that salary ahead of time, it’s unlikely that Beltre would suddenly deteriorate to the point at which a $16MM salary in 2016 would look like a substantial overpay. His defense alone gives him a considerably higher floor than most players, and he’s been very durable over the past three seasons, averaging 155 games per year.
Adrian Beltre‘s contract can be voided prior to the 2016 season if he doesn’t reach 586 plate appearances this season. However, Rangers GM Jon Daniels says that he’s considering taking that clause out of the equation and bringing him back regardless, as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes.
Beltre’s deal isn’t exactly a traditional vesting option – the contract states that the 2016 season becomes voidable for Texas if he does not reach 1,200 plate appearances between 2014 and 2015 or hit 600 plate appearances in ’15. After notching 614 PAs last season, Beltre would need 586 to satisfy the clause. Daniels isn’t certain that he’ll lock in that extra season for Beltre, but it called it a “possibility” in a chat with reporters on Sunday morning.
“I just don’t want the clause to be a story,” Daniels said, according to Jeff Wilson of the Star Telegram. “We will handle it accordingly. I don’t want that to be even a thought.”
This season, Beltre will earn $18MM in the final year of his five-year, $80MM pact signed in January of 2011. The third baseman would bank $16MM in 2016 if retained.
Beltre, 36 in April, earned his fourth career All-Star selection in 2014. The veteran slashed .324./388/.492 on the year with 19 homers. Across his four seasons in Arlington, Beltre has hit .315/.364/.530 with an average of ~29 homers per campaign.
Free agency is fun for those of us on the outside to follow, but that’s not necessarily the case for the players themselves. Tim Britton of The Providence Journal kept tabs on now two former members of the Red Sox throughout their free agent process, David Ross and Burke Badenhop. While Ross found a home with the Cubs before Christmas, Badenhop had to wait a little while longer for his deal with the Reds. More from the AL East..
- The most likely scenario in the Cubs/Joe Maddon tampering case is that no evidence will be found to support the Rays‘ claims, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.
- Juan Francisco‘s minor league deal with the Rays includes an April 5th opt-out and a salary of $2MM (plus incentives) if he makes the team, according to Topkin. Francisco, 28 in June, spent 2014 with the Blue Jays, where he hit .220/.291/.456 with 16 home runs in 320 plate appearances.
- Mitchell Boggs can opt out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox if he isn’t on the big league club by April 4th, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford believes that the former Cardinals closer could wind up not only making the big league roster, but becoming a valuable piece in the pen. Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox signed Boggs with every intention of having him on the varsity squad. “They communicated with me early in the offseason that it was a major league-type opportunity,” Boggs explained. “It wasn’t depth for the entire year. It was a situation where they wanted me to come in and compete and try to make this team. That’s what I care about.”
- Most of the Yankees‘ moves for young power arms, starting with the signing of free agent Andrew Miller, were made to build a deep bullpen. But, the trade of win-now infielder Martin Prado for Nathan Eovaldi signaled a willingness to gamble on the starting rotation as well, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes. If all goes according to plan, the Yankees could have one of the younger starting rotations in baseball with Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Eovaldi, and Ivan Nova. The question marks about their injuries and inconsistency could have made guys like Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields to be solid fits, but the Yanks decided instead to play it smart for the long-term.
- Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley thought for several days that he would be traded to the Marlins or Rangers before he wound up in Boston, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe tweets. Miley first learned that he was headed to the Red Sox when he saw the news on TV.
- With or without permission from St. Petersburg, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said he’ll seek a replacement stadium no later than 2022, Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times writes.
James Shields rejected a four-year, $80MM offer from the Giants before signing with the Padres for $5MM less, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. The Giants rescinded the offer once they re-signed Jake Peavy, however, so by the time Shields actually signed, the Cubs and Marlins were probably the Padres’ top rivals for Shields. Shields’ agent, Page Odle, says his client received more than one offer with a higher average annual value than the one he ultimately accepted from the Padres, confirming that Shields’ desires to play near his home outside San Diego and to for a revamped Padres team were quite strong. Odle implies, though, that another factor might have been that the Giants’ offer simply came too early in the offseason, and that he and Shields wanted more time to make a decision. Odle also says he and Shields did not reject a $110MM offer, as had been reported last month. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Rangers have three pitchers in Yu Darvish, Yovani Gallardo and Neftali Feliz who look like they could be extension candidates, but the team has no plans to extend any of them during Spring Training, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes. “There is nothing in the works right now,” says GM Jon Daniels. Darvish is signed through 2017, but can become a free agent a year earlier if he wins a Cy Young award in one of the next two seasons or finishes between second and fourth in both of them. “Counterintuitively, I’m rooting for him to be able to void that last year,” says Daniels, suggesting that the year lost will be positive if Darvish performs well enough to finish at or near the top in Cy Young balloting in one or both of the next two seasons.
- Manager Lloyd McClendon says the Mariners will use newly signed lefty Joe Saunders purely as a reliever, MLB.com’s Greg Johns tweets. The 33-year-old Saunders has pitched almost his entire career as a starter, but he made six relief appearances for the Orioles last season.
Jesus Montero has been a massive disappointment with the Mariners, but spent the offseason putting himself in position for a turnaround, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Montero is in great shape, as photo and video confirms, and is certainly young and talented enough to hold plenty of promise.
More from the west:
- The Rangers are still looking at lefty Phil Coke and watched him throw again recently, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. GM Jon Daniels discussed the possibility of adding an arm today, noting that depth is always valuable but expressing interest in seeing his current group in camp. (Video via Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.) While the club has to this point been unwilling to make Coke a major league offer, with the southpaw still holding out for a 40-man spot, Fraley notes that the bad news on Jurickson Profar will clear a big league roster space since he is destined for the 60-day DL.
- As for the unfortunate news on Profar, the Rangers‘ head baseball decisionmaker firmly rejected the idea that the prospect deserved criticism for trying to avoid surgery by rehab. While the news that a procedure would be required was not a total surprise, Daniels said that the 22-year-old infielder made the difficult decision for good reasons and worked very hard over the offseason. Certainly, Daniels did not sound like he was interested in giving up on Profar. “Fortunately, he’s still just 22 years old,” said the GM. “We’ll get him back and we’ll get him out there.”
- Angels slugger Josh Hamilton is going to require a longer recovery from shoulder surgery than originally expected, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. At this point, it isn’t even clear that Hamilton will be close enough to report to spring camp. It still does not seem that an addition will truly be necessary, with Matt Joyce on hand to step in. Hamilton’s absence will presumably also create additional opportunities for players like Collin Cowgill and waiver claimees Alfredo Marte and Roger Kieschnick.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy underwent a medical procedure to insert two stents into his heart and is now resting comfortably in a Scottsdale hospital, according to a team press release. “Following his physical yesterday, the Giants medical staff was monitoring Bruce Bochy’s heart after he experienced some discomfort,” according to the statement. The skipper is scheduled to be released on Friday and he’s already sent texts to CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (both Twitter links) saying that he’ll be back in camp in a couple of days. We at all MLBTR wish Bochy all the best in his recovery.
Here’s some news from around baseball…
- The Blue Jays aren’t actively discussing a Dioner Navarro trade with any other teams, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports (via Twitter). Earlier this week, I examined Navarro as a trade candidate since Russell Martin has taken over the starting catcher’s job in Toronto.
- A rival executive believes the Yankees are the top contender to sign Yoan Moncada, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports in a roundup of the Moncada market. The Yankees aren’t keen, however, on paying a bonus in the $40-$50MM range, which is what some sources say Moncada will probably receive.
- With Jurickson Profar likely to miss another full season due to shoulder injuries, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wonders if this could spell the end of Profar’s time with the Rangers. It’s hard to believe Texas would consider non-tendering a former top-ranked prospect Profar when he’s eligible for arbitration next winter, yet Grant is right in noting that the Rangers might just move on with Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor in the middle infield.
- Left-hander Joe Beimel is reportedly hoping to land a multi-year contract, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets. Beimel reportedly had three teams interested in him in late January, though one of those clubs (the Mariners) looks to be out of the running. Though Beimel had a solid season with the M’s in 2014, it’s hard to see him landing more than a one-year deal at this stage of the offseason given his age (he turns 38 in April) and injury history (missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery).
- Also from Dutton, the arbitration hearing between the Mariners and Tom Wilhelmsen will take place on Friday. The reliever is one of just three remaining players with outstanding arb cases, as per the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker. Wilhelmsen is looking for $2.2MM for his 2015 contract while Seattle has countered with a $1.4MM offer.