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Texas Rangers Rumors
The Rangers are expected to talk to the Mets and Marlins about starting pitchers, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan mentions Jon Niese and Dillon Gee of the Mets and Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins as likely targets. Presumably, Texas would consider other targets as well. New York needs a shortstop while Miami could use first base help. The latest from the AL West..
- There has been no recent progress in the Matt Kemp trade talks between the Mariners and Dodgers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- A’s manager Bob Melvin likes internal shortstop options, notably Andy Parrino, but he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if they added one before spring, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Meanwhile, GM Billy Beane says that contrary to reports, the A’s are not among the teams with interest in Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (link).
- Beane confirmed that the A’s are targeting young shortstops in deals, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says he’s still very much focused on adding bullpen depth through free agency or trade, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).
6:43pm: The Braves are not looking to trade Gattis, O’Brien reiterates (via Twitter). For a deal to happen, “a team would have to blow their doors off.” It’s unclear what would constitute that level of offer, but a package with more than one of the below prospects would seem to fit the bill.
5:54pm: The Braves aren’t eager to trade Gattis, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, the Rangers could offer multiple names from among Jake Thompson, Alex Gonzalez, outfielder Nomar Mazara, or others.
5:32pm: The Rangers are showing interest in Braves catcher Evan Gattis, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Rangers have been repeatedly linked to Braves outfielder Justin Upton, but Gattis makes more sense for Texas. Unlike Upton, who is a free agent after the season, Gattis is under club control for another four seasons. While most teams prefer to think of him as an outfielder or designated hitter, he’s a good enough catcher to fill a part time role in 2015.
Grant mentions a few of the Rangers’ top prospects as targets for Atlanta. Texas is unwilling to offer right-handed pitchers Jake Thompson or Alex Gonzalez in a trade for Upton since he’s a short term patch. Ostensibly, they may be on the table for Gattis since he’s a long term solution.
Ultimately, a deal is still a “long-shot from being even a long-shot.” If the Rangers do acquire Gattis, his cheap salary could allow them to more aggressive pursue mid-tier free agents like Justin Masterson.
The very latest from the AL West..
- The Rangers have made their first real bid for a starting free agent pitcher by extending a contract offer to Justin Masterson, a source tells Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The market for the hurler is robust, however, so there might not be anything imminent on that front.
- The Mariners appear to be the favorites on Melky Cabrera, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman adds that the idea that Cabrera would prefer to avoid going out West appears to be a non-factor now and sources say that he’s fine with it. The White Sox, Giants, and Royals have also been linked to Cabrera, but Seattle appears to be the team to beat at this time.
- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow says he is “absolutely” open to bringing Jose Veras back, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. Veras has previously stated his desire to return to Houston.
Texas has several irons in the fire. Here’s the latest:
- The Rangers are fielding strong interest in their middle infield group, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Jurickson Profar is among the names that has been asked about, and Texas has received particularly strong interest in Rougned Odor.The Rangers are not shopping Odor, who is still only 20 years of age and had a solid MLB debut last year. That pair of youngsters is joined in the Texas infield by incumbent shortstop Elvis Andrus and 21-year-old Luis Sardinas. The potential logjam up the middle has yet to materialize with Profar’s recent injury troubles, though the team could feel free to deal from depth depending upon his progress.
- Meanwhile, the Rangers and Padres are still talking pitching, Sullivan tweets, though Texas has more interest in Tyson Ross than in Andrew Cashner because of the latter’s health concerns and road numbers.
- San Diego is interested in Profar, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But he says that a straight swap of Profar for one of the Friars’ three best arms (Ross, Cashner, and Ian Kennedy) is not going to get done.
- Sullivan also notes on Twitter that teams remain intrigued by the upside potential of outfielder Michael Choice, who had a rough 2014, but that clubs looking to plug an immediate hole do not see him as a solution.
The Rangers have claimed lefty Scott Barnes off waivers from the Orioles, Baltimore announced. Baltimore had added Barnes recently in a minor swap for cash.
Barnes, 27, has just 27 2/3 big league frames to his resume, with a 5.20 cumulative ERA over 2012-13. He spent all of last year at Triple-A, working to a 3.69 ERA over 31 2/3 frames with 9.9 K/9 against 4.5 BB/9.
Here’s the latest from the National League side of the ledger:
- The Nationals will sit down with Jordan Zimmermann‘s representatives at the Winter Meetings, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports. Matt Cain‘s extension with the Giants (six years, $127.5MM) may be the best comp for Zimmermann and the Nats as they look ahead at renewed contract talks, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter. Of course, that deal is now a few years old, so it may require a bump up to account for inflation.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. faces a difficult task given how little leverage he brings with him to San Diego, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other clubs may be looking to take advantage of the perception that Philadelphia needs to make a move to start its rebuilding process, Gelb explains.
- The Braves are still waiting to find the right deal for outfielder Justin Upton, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the club is hoping to add a second baseman and/or starting pitcher if it deals him. Among the teams with interest are the Royals, Rangers, Padres, and Indians, per Sherman.
- The Brewers are open to the possibility of dealing outfielder Gerardo Parra, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, Parra — who is projected to earn $6.4MM through arbitration (via MLBTR/Matt Swartz) — could make sense for teams that fail to land Melky Cabrera.
Here’s the latest from around the AL West…
- Padres righty Andrew Cashner “remains the top target” for the Rangers in trade talks, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Cashner comes with two years of control and with a modest price tag (MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects him for a $4.3MM salary in 2015 through arbitration) that would provide the payroll space for the Rangers to make further moves. Cashner, a Texas native, has reportedly told friends that he would like to pitch in his home state.
- The White Sox look like the favorites to acquire Jeff Samardzija from the Athletics, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link). The two sides were known to have recently discussed a deal involving the right-hander.
- One AL executive predicts to Joel Sherman of the New York Post that “Billy [Beane] is going to move at least one, maybe both” of Samardzija and Scott Kazmir since both pitchers will be free agents after the 2015 season.
- The Mariners have had modest payrolls in recent years but that has changed thanks to an influx of local and national TV revenues, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. The club has been aiming for 2015 as its “Holy Grail” season when all the new TV money would be in place and the team can freely spend. Robinson Cano‘s mega-deal last winter was the first step, of course, and this offseason has seen the M’s make two more expensive moves in extending Kyle Seager and signing Nelson Cruz.
- MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth shared some more AL West Notes yesterday evening.
Luke Gregerson could be a sensible addition to the Astros‘ bullpen, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. The former Athletics reliever doesn’t have a significant track record as a closer, but he worked with new Astros manager A.J. Hinch when both were with the Padres, and he might only require a three-year deal, as opposed to four for David Robertson. While Andrew Miller‘s new deal with the Yankees took deals for non-closer relievers, Drellich expects that Gregerson’s contract will be much more manageable. Here’s more on the AL West.
- The Angels would like for recently non-tendered infielder Gordon Beckham to return next season, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Beckham, however, would like to see if he can find a starting job elsewhere before taking a backup infield job with the Angels.
- The Angels are expecting a quiet Winter Meetings, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Their $8MM deal for infielder Roberto Baldoquin figures to be their largest expenditure this offseason. They also traded catcher Hank Conger to the Astros for pitcher Nick Tropeano and catcher Carlos Perez in another low-profile move. “I understand the fan base isn’t thrilled because they never heard of Nick Tropeano, but this time last year, they weren’t thrilled with what we did to shuffle the roster either,” says GM Jerry Dipoto.
- The Angels do reportedly have C.J. Wilson on the trading block, but don’t expect the Rangers to bring him back, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. C.J. Wilson was a fixture in the Rangers’ bullpen for parts of five seasons before emerging as a top starting pitcher there in 2010 and 2011.
With the focus of the baseball world on San Diego this week for the Winter Meetings, here’s the latest on the city’s team:
- The Padres have discussed a trade with the Red Sox involving Ian Kennedy and Yoenis Cespedes, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Boston, however, feels Cespedes can bring back a pitcher better than Kennedy.
- Rosenthal also tweets the Padres could match up with Texas to fill their hole at shortstop since the Rangers have a surplus at the position and San Diego GM A.J. Preller knows their system very well.
- The ultimate prize this offseason for the Padres could be Matt Kemp or Justin Upton, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Dennis Lin. While each player comes with substantial risk (Kemp’s contract and Upton being only a year away from free agency), Lin believes the risk is offset by the Padres’ need to land an impact bat to shore up an offense lacking corner infielders and a shortstop.
- The interest between the Padres and free agent catcher David Ross is mutual, Lin tweets. The Padres, meanwhile, seem intent on moving a catcher. Ross has been connected to the Cubs and Braves, as well as the Padres.
- If the Padres swing a trade with the Dodgers, Lin (via Twitter) wonders if left-hander Alex Torres could be involved. Torres has history with both Andrew Friedman and Josh Byrnes.
Astros GM Jon Daniels talked Winter Meetings with MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Among the topics were rumors surrounding Dexter Fowler and Jason Castro. Luhnow says teams have called on both players, but Houston is not actively seeking to deal either of them. Luhnow is particularly happy with his catching depth, which includes Castro, Hank Conger, Carlos Corporan, and Max Stassi. He also pointed out the club is open to trading prospects in the right deal, as they did with Jordan Lyles, Jarred Cosart, and Nick Tropeano.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik reiterated that pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma will not be traded, tweets Greg Johns of MLB.com. Iwakuma, 34 next season, has been excellent when healthy. Unfortunately, he’s also missed parts of two out of three major league seasons.
- The Mariners are already receiving calls on recently acquired starter J.A. Happ, tweets Kevin Shockey of SportsRadioKJR.com. My guess is that teams are looking to gauge how the Mariners plan to use Happ. The southpaw quietly added two mph to his fastball last season and adjusted his repertoire as a result. Some clubs may view him as a possible breakout target.
- One option to replace outfielder Michael Saunders is infielder Brad Miller, writes Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle. The club’s outfield coach called him a natural, and he does appear to be blocked by Robinson Cano, Chris Taylor, and Kyle Seager in the infield. Taylor is obviously the weak link of the trio. After a solid but flawed debut, he could relinquish the job back to Miller.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels would like to add at least one more starter, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Another area of concern for the club – catcher – could be solved by a familiar face. When asked about former Ranger Geovany Soto (via Twitter), Daniels said “the door’s open.” Soto spent parts of the last three seasons as the Rangers backup catcher.