Texas Rangers Rumors

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

West Notes: Shields, Rangers, Saunders

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 The Giants rescinded the offer once they re-signed Jake Peavy, however, so by the time Shields actually signed, the Cubs and Marlins were probably the Padres’ top rivals for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.

AL West Notes: Montero, Coke, Profar, Hamilton

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.

Quick Hits: Bochy, Navarro, Moncada, Profar

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.

Jurickson Profar To Undergo Shoulder Surgery

3:17pm: The specific reason for Profar’s surgery will be to repair a torn labrum, tweets Andro.

2:58pm: Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar, who missed the entire 2014 season after twice tearing a muscle in his shoulder, will undergo right shoulder surgery on Monday, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. As MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes, Profar had previously been throwing from 105 feet without any major discomfort and undergoing an MRI every three weeks to monitor his progress. His most recent MRI, however, showed increased strain on his subscapular muscle, prompting the decision for surgery.

The Rangers will not announce a timetable for recovery until the procedure has been completed, Sullivan notes, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that his expectation is for Profar to miss the entirety of the 2015 season. Grant also notes that doctors recommended surgery for Profar as far back as September.

Profar ranked as the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball heading into the 2013 season, receiving that distinction from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com and ESPN’s Keith Law. He made his debut as a 20-year-old that season and homered in his first big league plate appearance, though he went on to struggle, relatively speaking, to a .234/.308/.366 batting line in 324 plate appearances that season. (That line, of course, is likely more than most 20-year-olds could muster at the MLB level.)

News of another likely serious injury is of course a crushing blow to the Rangers, their fans and Profar himself. However, Profar is still quite young, as he’ll turn 22 years of age tomorrow. In other words, despite being two years removed from ranking as the game’s top prospect, he’s still more than a year younger than Kris Bryant, who many believe to be baseball’s current top prospect. There’s plenty of time for Profar to recover and go onto a meaningful career, but it’s nonetheless troublesome to see injury problems of this extent at such a young age.

With Profar out of the picture and Luis Sardinas traded to the Brewers, the quartet of young middle infielders the Rangers had has now been reduced to Elvis Andrus, who will again man shortstop, and Rougned Odor, who will now likely fill the second base role unchallenged in 2015.

Cole Hamels Hopes To Be Traded To Contender

Phillies lefty Cole Hamels would prefer to be dealt to a contender, he tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today“I want to go to a place where I can win again,” said Hamels. Though he made clear he was not demanding a trade, Hamels did indicate that he wants to play for a winning ballclub, saying “I know it’s not going to happen here.”

Hamels, 31, has represented perhaps the biggest unconsummated trade story of the offseason. With all major arms now signed off of the free agent market, and most teams presumably set to enter camp with their rotations intact, he may well be the only achievable prize left for clubs looking to add an impact starter.

According to Nightengale, the Phillies have continued to work hard to find an acceptable deal. The Padres have dangled a package of Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges, but that was not deemed sufficient by the Philadelphia front office. And the Phils have been unsuccessful in prying their key targets from teams like the Red Sox (who won’t include Blake Swihart), Dodgers (who haven’t offered any of the team’s top four prospects), and Cardinals (who have not agreed to move Carlos Martinez).

Hamels says that he will do his best to prepare for the season in the normal course, and gave no indication that he will do anything other than honor his contract, particularly with camp set to open. “Now that I’m here, I plan on being here for the next six weeks,” said Hamels, explaining that he had kept an eye on rumors over the winter. “I think it would be pretty chaotic if that’s not the case. But it’s out of my control.”

The veteran southpaw says that he crafted his no-trade list by identifying the nine teams he would most want to play for and leaving himself unprotected from those clubs. Only the Yankees and Rangers can deal for him without approval among American League teams, though Hamels notes that he would be “all ears” to the possibility of waiving his no-trade protection were the Red Sox to work out an agreement to acquire him. (He did not address the idea, advanced in some earlier reports, that he might seek inducements, such as a guarantee of his fifth-year option, from a team over which he possesses veto power.)

Quick Hits: MiLB Deals, Announcements, Prospects

In a fascinating piece for FOX Sports, former big leaguer C.J. Nitkowski discusses his experiences looking for minor league deals. Nitkowski says that he often took it upon himself to look for the best opportunity, considering all aspects of the possibilities he could unearth to get the best shot at making it onto an active roster.

Here are some more notes from around the game:

  • Agency Sosnick Cobbe Sports has announced the addition of agent and general counsel Adam Karon to its nameplate. The firm, which represents big leaguers such as Josh Johnson and Jay Bruce, will now be called Sosnick, Cobbe & Karon.
  • In another announcement, the Phillies say they have promoted Michael Stiles to the position of executive VP and CEO. Per the release, Stiles will operate in the business and general administration realm. Stiles had already been said to be in charge of the day-to-day business affairs of the organization back when Pat Gillick had yet to have the interim label removed from his title of president.
  • Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs has released his list of the game’s top 200 prospects, along with worthwhile breakdowns of the players that made it. Working from that list and applying valuations to the ranked players, colleague Dave Cameron presents a ranking of the most valuable farm systems in the game. Baseball Prospectus has also issued its own organizational rankings in recent days, so be sure to check those out as well. Both sites agree on the top four teams — the CubsTwinsRangers, and Dodgers – though Fangraphs ranks them in that order while BP prefers the Los Angeles farm to that of Texas.

Latest On Phil Coke

Lefty Phil Coke is one of relatively few remaining relievers on the free agent market. Last we checked in, we heard that the Marlins are interested and that Coke still has hope of landing a big league deal. Indeed, as I noted in that post, there are some positive indicators for his ability to contribute. And he does seem to be drawing wide interest. Here’s the latest:

  • Coke has several minor league offers with camp invites in hand, but is still waiting for that elusive 40-man spot, Jason Beck of MLB.com tweets. A deal could be in place by the end of this week, per Beck, which would allow Coke to avoid missing too much spring time.
  • Coke recently threw for the Royals, Beck also reports. Kansas City would look to represent a nice opportunity for Coke: beyond Tim Collins, the club is short on experienced southpaws. And presumably,  K.C. will allow Brandon Finnegan to develop as a starter.
  • The Rangers could well add Coke, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Texas is still having conversations with Coke’s camp, but it appears that the pitcher is still asking the team to give him a major league deal.

Latest On Hector Olivera, Yoan Moncada

We already took a peek in this morning at the Cuban market, but the news keeps coming. Here’s the latest on the two most touted position players available (or soon to be):

  • Two executives who spoke with Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons indicated that the market for Hector Olivera looks rather strong (Twitter link). One predicted that Olivera would attain a $45MM to $50MM guarantee, while the other (from a team with interest) guessed that the 29-year-old infielder would reach the $65MM to $70MM range. We have heard reports of Olivera seeking that kind of guarantee, but it is interesting to see that some big league front office people see it as a likely outcome.
  • We heard earlier today that the Dodgers continue to have interest in Olivera and would plan to use him at third if they end up signing him.
  • Yoan Moncada remains most likely to sign with the Yankees or Dodgers, Ben Badler of Baseball America writes. The Padres are the third most likely landing spot, in Badler’s estimation, with the benefit of having not apparently made commitments that would need to be broken with next year’s July 2 class. Also still in the mix are the Red Sox and Tigers. Of course, the level of interest in the latter two teams, especially, remains unclear. In particular, Detroit is “not that serious” about going after Moncada, per Tony Paul of the Detroit News, who adds via Twitter that the team has not been in contact lately with Moncada’s camp.
  • Notably, however, Badler adds that the Cubs and Rangers are “not out of the race” and are being aggressive in their pursuit of Moncada. Both teams would need to convince him to wait until July 2 to sign, which seems unlikely at this point.

Prospect Notes: Nix, Montero, Barnes, Buxton, Meyer

Toronto will host the Pan American Games this summer from July 11 to July 19, writes Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Team USA could field a potent roster headlined by Byron Buxton, Addison Russell, Corey Seager, and others. To be eligible, players cannot be on a 40-man roster. They also need permission from their parent club to participate. Each team is different, but some will probably allow their top prospects to attend. Rangers prospect Joey Gallo could be among the players asked to participate, and GM Jon Daniels likes the idea of his players competing internationally. One wrinkle to watch: the Futures Game takes place on July 12.

Here are more prospect notes from around the league:

  • Pitcher Jacob Nix could be a late first round pick in the upcoming Rule 4 draft, reports Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider required). You may recall Nix’s part in Houston’s Brady Aiken fiasco – he was the player who lost a $1.5MM bonus when Aiken failed to sign. Without Aiken’s expected under slot signing bonus, the club didn’t have the funds to honor Nix’s deal without losing 2015 draft picks and money. Nix is now pitching with IMG Academy, a post-graduate team in Bradenton, Florida.
  • Of the prospects in Mets camp, Rafael Montero is the most likely to make the major league roster, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The club has plenty of starting pitchers, but they could use Montero out of the bullpen. Others like Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will look to make a strong impression while at the big league camp. Remember, an opening day assignment to the majors can affect when a player reaches arbitration or free agency.
  • Due to depth at the major league level, the Red Sox aren’t expected to add a prospect to their opening day roster. However, hard throwing righty Matt Barnes could be among the first called up, writes Ian Browne of MLB.com. Barnes pitched a few innings out of the bullpen last season, so he’s already on the 40-man roster. Another prospect with brief major league experience, Garin Cecchini, will work on improving his defensive versatility.
  • The Twins will welcome number one prospect Buxton to their major league camp for the second time, writes Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. However, it’s 29th ranked prospect Alex Meyer who has the best chance to break camp with the club. The giant righty will compete for a spot in the rotation, although he’ll face competition from Tommy Milone, Mike Pelfrey, Tim Stauffer, and Trevor May.

Rangers Sign Jamey Wright To Minor League Contract

The Rangers have signed right-hander Jamey Wright to a minor league contract, the team announced in a press release.  The deal contains an invitation to Texas’ Major League Spring Training camp.  Wright will earn $1MM if he makes the Rangers’ big league roster, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports (Twitter link).  Wright is represented by Excel Sports Management.

The well-traveled Wright has pitched for 10 different teams over his 19-year career, and this is his second stint in Texas, having previously pitched for the Rangers from 2007-08.  The team was known to be looking for bullpen depth options, though they’d recently been linked to left-handed options like Joe Thatcher and Phil Coke.

Wright threw 70 1/3 innings for the Dodgers last season, all but two of them (coming in a spot start) out of the bullpen.  Wright posted a 4.35 ERA, 6.91 K/9 and a 2.0 K/BB rate for the Dodgers, turning in reverse-splits numbers by limiting left-handed batters to a .620 OPS while allowing a .737 OPS against right-handed hitters.  The ground-ball specialist posted a 56.3% grounder rate last year, right in line with his 55.9% career mark.  Though Wright is entering his age-40 season, he is still very durable, having averaged 71 innings per season from 2008-14.