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Texas Rangers Rumors
Yu Darvish‘s injury, UCL sprain that could require Tommy John surgery, is yet another setback for a Rangers team that has collapsed at surprising speed in the past two seasons, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Rangers’ sudden struggles are more extreme than the Red Sox’ descent to last place in 2014, given the cash and prospects the Red Sox still had on hand. The Phillies have suffered steep decline in the last few seasons, but that decline was predictable. Meanwhile, the Rangers finished in last place in 2014 as the result of an ugly outbreak of injuries, and with Darvish out, they could well finish last again. Rosenthal suggests that it’s unlikely the Rangers will pursue Cole Hamels to replace Darvish, since doing so would mostly be mere desperation. Here’s more on Darvish’s injury.
- Darvish is currently undecided about whether to have surgery, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that he will see Dr. David Altchek on Tuesday to get a second opinion. Via MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, Rangers GM Jon Daniels describes Darvish’s options. “One is to attempt to pitch through it, which is not a great option. Two, would be an effort for rest and rehab. I think the sentiment is that is effectively what we did in the fall and in the winter and up until two days ago, we had very good results with it,” says Daniels, noting that option didn’t work out well in the end. “The third option would be Tommy John surgery,” he adds.
- Darvish’s injury is part of a “pitching drain” fro the American League, Dayn Perry of CBS Sports writes. Since last season, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields have left the AL for the NL, Hiroki Kuroda has returned to Japan, and various pitchers are the midst of returns from injury.
- Darvish is part of an epidemic of arm injuries throughout the game, writes Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. Pitchers’ problems begin to develop at very young ages, and Passan writes that parents and youth coaches will need to change the way they develop young pitchers.
Rangers ace Yu Darvish has a UCL sprain in his elbow and could have Tommy John surgery, Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). Darvish had an MRI on Friday after experiencing soreness. “I will be disappointed if I have to miss the season but want to look at all options, including getting a second opinion,” says Darvish. Even if Darvish opts for rest instead of surgery, however, the Rangers expect him to miss at least four months, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.
Losing Darvish for the season would, obviously, be a huge blow to a Rangers team that was decimated by injuries, including injuries to starting pitchers like Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, last season. It’s unclear if the Rangers might make a move to replace him. Before acquiring Yovani Gallardo, they had been rumored to be in talks with the Phillies involving Cole Hamels. In the meantime, with Darvish out, Holland and Gallardo will top a Rangers rotation that’s also likely to include Colby Lewis and Ross Detwiler.
Darvish also missed time late last season with an elbow injury. When healthy, he was as good as ever, posting a 3.06 ERA with 3.1 BB/9 and a terrific 11.3 K/9 over 144 1/3 innings. The 28-year-old was the AL Cy Young runner-up after striking out 277 batters in 2013.
2:19pm: Beimel would earn $1.5MM if he breaks camp with the club and can earn more via incentives, per Grant.
1:03pm: Beimel’s deal is an MLB contract but is not guaranteed, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
12:41pm: The Rangers have signed left-handed reliever Joe Beimel to a one-year, Major League contract, executive vice president of Rangers communications John Blake announced today (on Twitter). Beimel is a client of agent Joe Sroba.
Beimel, who turns 38 next month, spent the 2014 season with the division-rival Mariners, working to an excellent 2.20 ERA in 45 innings of relief. He worked primarily as a lefty specialist, as evidenced by the fact that his 45 innings came over the life of 56 appearances. In 85 plate appearances against Beimel last year, left-handed hitters mustered a putrid .188/.217/.288 batting line. Right-handed bats had a much easier time against Beimel, batting .282/.367/.424.
Beimel’s peripheral stats don’t look as exciting as his ERA, as the lefty struck out just 5.0 hitters per nine and walked 2.8 per nine. His .250 batting average on balls in play and 86.8 percent strand rate were both significant outliers, relative to his career marks, suggesting that some regression is possible. Metrics such as FIP, xFIP and SIERA all pegged Beimel in the 4.09 to 4.18 range.
The Rangers have been known to be on the lookout for left-handed help in the bullpen, as they were reportedly connected to Phil Coke prior to his minor league deal with the Cubs. Texas also briefly claimed left-hander Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Mariners but had the claim reversed after learning of injury problems with Olmos. With Beimel in the fold, he’ll likely join Alex Claudio as a left-handed option in manager Jeff Banister’s bullpen.
The Major League Baseball Players Association yesterday voiced its displeasure that information pertaining to Josh Hamilton‘s treatment program and potential disciplinary situation has been leaked to the media. Per an MLBPA press release: “It is regrettable that people who want to see Josh Hamilton hurt personally and professionally have started leaking information about the status of his treatment program and the confidential processes under our Joint Drug Agreement. These anonymous leaks are cowardly, undermine the integrity of our collectively bargained agreements and in some instances have been wholly inaccurate. The Major League Baseball Players Association will use every right we have under the collective bargaining agreement to make sure Josh gets the help he needs, and the fair and confidential process to which he is entitled.”
Some more news from Hamilton’s division…
- Garrett Richards is progressing well and could get into a Cactus League game for the Angels as soon as March 13, writes Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. While there was initially some fear that Richards could miss more than a month to open the year, Fletcher writes that he could be ready to pitch by the season’s second or third week. Fletcher also notes that Josh Rutledge got the first start at second base this spring and entered camp as the favorite to win the second base competition. Others in the mix include Grant Green, Johnny Giavotella and Taylor Featherston.
- Rangers ace Yu Darvish will have an MRI on his right triceps tomorrow after experiencing tightness in his first outing of Spring Training yesterday, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Darvish first felt tightness when warming up, and it did not improve (though it also did not worsen) during his outing. Darvish, who threw just one of 12 pitches above 90 mph, said he felt much better today, but assistant GM Thad Levine said the team will proceed with the MRI anyhow as a precaution.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick spoke to a scout who likes the Mariners‘ offseason moves enough to label Seattle a 93-win club. While that’s just one opinion, Crasnick writes that the Mariners did indeed drastically change their roster this winter, but the moves came without all of the fanfare of the Padres’ retooling. Of course, aside from Nelson Cruz, most of the names added by the Mariners were of the complementary variety, whereas San Diego more household names. Crasnick also spoke to the Mariners’ players about their excitement for the coming year, with Robinson Cano giving a glowing review of his friend and now-teammate Cruz.
Astros righty Roberto Hernandez has finally received his visa an is set to report to spring camp for a physical, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets. Hernandez has a bit of catching up to do if he hopes to make the roster after inking a minor league deal earlier in the offseason.
Here are some notes from the AL West:
- A rough 2014 season for Elvis Andrus of the Rangers has left some looking askance at his eight-year, $120MM extension, which officially kicks in this season. As the Associated Press reports (via ESPN.com), Andrus says that he is ready for a better campaign after reporting out of shape last year. “This year I took it a thousand times [more] seriously than I did the year before,” he said. “… That was an offseason that I hope never happens again. In spring training I wasn’t ready.” A turnaround from Andrus would go a long way toward restoring the once-promising trajectory of the Rangers, to say nothing of his own. It would also increase his appeal as a trade chip, though Texas no longer has quite the middle infield logjam it once did.
- Coco Crisp is set to play left field this year for the Athletics, manager Bob Melvin tells reporters including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). That shift, which was occasioned by a desire to protect the team’s investment in Crisp by reducing the toll on his body, will result in Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld platooning in center. In turn, that probably also puts an end to the notion that Oakland could look to acquire a second baseman and move Ben Zobrist to the outfield.
- While it is hard to deny (and not entirely surprising) that the Athletics got less back for Jeff Samardzija than they gave to acquire him (along with Jason Hammel), the team feels good about the young players that it picked up from the White Sox, MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes. “Look, both of those deals are difficult,” said assistant GM David Forst. “You never like trading a guy like Addison [Russell], but Jeff and Jason filled a particular need for us at that time. Then to turn around and lose Jason and feel like trading Jeff is the best option is never an easy decision to make. Jeff is a guy who has his best years ahead of him still. He’s right at the age you want to get a pitcher. He knows his game. His stuff is without question. It was not an easy decision to make. It was part of the balancing act we are forced to make.”
The Rangers are reversing the team’s waiver claim on lefty Edgar Olmos in order to return him to the Mariners, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports on Twitter. Olmos was claimed about ten days ago after Seattle designated him for assignment.
Olmos had been shut down upon reporting to camp with a shoulder impingement. That injury situation would appear to be the basis for Texas’s attempt to use this rare procedural mechanism.
The 24-year-old southpaw came to Seattle via a waiver claim from the Marlins. He has minimal big league experience, but had frequently been rated among the top thirty organizational prospects in Miami and dominated left-handed batters last year in the upper minors. In total, over 77 2/3 frames between Double-A and Triple-A last year, Olmos registered a 4.06 EAR with 7.0 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.
Catcher Eli Whiteside has opted to accept a coaching job with the Giants rather than taking one of several offers he had to continue playing, MLB.com’s Chris Haft reports. The veteran played in parts of six MLB seasons, including a three-year run in which he was a significant contributor for San Francisco. He will retire after getting one last short run in the bigs last year with the Cubs.
More from the NL West:
- Padres righty Josh Johnson has progressed to the point that he’ll throw to a catcher on flat ground, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. With his training program currently on track, Johnson is scheduled to throw a pen session for the first time by mid-March with a target of game action by June, if all goes according to plan. Johnson’s deal with San Diego promises him only $1MM but can increase all the way to $7.25MM if he maxes out his incentives.
- Fellow two-time TJ patient Cory Luebke is also hoping to return strong for the Padres, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. The story details some of the ups and downs that Luebke has had in dealing with his two procedures. As with Johnson, 2015 is something of a make-good season for the lefty: his early-career extension is up after the season, when San Diego will have to decide whether to exercise a $7.5MM option or pay a $1.75MM buyout.
- The Rockies pursued utilityman Daniel Descalso not only because he would offer a versatile bench option, but because of his big-game experience, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Skipper Walt Weiss explained that the former Cardinals infielder brought an underappreciated element to the squad. “All of that factored in quite a bit,” said Weiss. “I think we sometimes underestimate the value of that — guys that have played in big games, pennant races, and have won a World Series. Those types of players are valuable, and that’s a big reason why we brought Danny in here.”
- Alex Guerrero‘s contract and the Dodgers roster situation makes for quite a puzzle, as Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes. On the one hand, Guerrero can refuse an optional assignment and has said he will do just that. On the other, if he is traded he will earn the right to opt out of his deal after the season. Cameron posits that the club could send Guerrero out in exchange for some savings on his 2015 tab, agreeing to remain responsible for post-2015 responsibilities while hoping he will opt out. The Angels, Blue Jays, Rockies, and Rangers all look like reasonable landing spots, in Cameron’s estimation.
Twins righty Blaine Boyer hung up his spikes after 2012, in spite of good health and a live arm, in large part to spend more time with his family, as he tells Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. But his clan has made it work since, aided by busy travel arrangements, and Boyer is in camp with Minnesota after a strong campaign last year with the Padres. His minor league deal with the Twins includes a late March out clause, Miller also reports.
Here are a few more notes from the AL Central:
- Tigers reliever Joel Hanrahan has seemingly stalled out in his comeback attempt, as Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. Since going in for a Tommy John procedure in the middle of the 2013 campaign, Hanrahan has been unable to get his elbow back into form. Soreness has kept him from moving onto the mound this spring, and he has already received at least one suggestion that he undergo a second TJ surgery. There appears to be at least some question at this point whether the 33-year-old will ever return to a big league pen, let alone contribute to the club in 2015.
- While Hanrahan tries to figure out his situation, fellow Tigers righty Joba Chamberlain discussed his recent free agent process with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. His son’s connection with Detroit proved a strong inducement for the righty, who said he left money on the table to return. Among the teams with interest in him were the Rangers, Dodgers, Royals, and Brewers, some of which were willing to pay him in the range of his $2.5MM salary from 2014.
The White Sox announced today that they have promoted Jeremy Haber, who was previously assistant to general manager Rick Hahn and will now bear the title of assistant GM. The 31-year-old Haber led negotiations on the team’s five-year, $21MM extension with Jose Quintana last offseason, says Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter), and he also leads salary arbitration negotiations. CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes profiled Haber last offseason, noting an impressive educational background but little experience in the baseball world. Haber has a B.A. in political science from Brown as well as an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Haber was initially hired as an intern with the Red Sox after a series of blind emails to teams in search of a front office opportunity, and he’s since helped in the White Sox’ hiring of hitting coach Todd Steverson in addition to making player acquisition recommendations for Hahn and the rest of the Chicago front office.
More from the American League:
- Huston Street tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that he and Angels GM Jerry Dipoto have begun swapping text messages to figure out a time when they can have more serious extension discussions in the near future. Street, who acts as his own agent, has said he wants to get a new contract worked out in Spring Training and made no attempt to hide the fact that he’s eyeing something between the four-year, $36MM deal inked by Andrew Miller and the four-year, $46MM contract signed by David Robertson. He did say he envisions a new contract overriding his current one-year deal, so he’s essentially looking for three new years.
- Ryan Ludwick told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that multiple teams for which he had played in the past expressed interest in bringing him back this offseason, though he declined to specify which teams. The Rangers are clearly one, as the now-36-year-old signed a minor league pact to return to Texas, where he made his big league debut 13 years ago. “It’s cool knowing that teams are willing to take you on,” Ludwick said Sunday. “I guess that means I’m somewhat of a decent guy.” The Rangers will hope that in addition to being a “somewhat decent guy,” Ludwick will bring the offense he showed as recently as 2012, when he hit .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers in just 472 plate appearances for the Reds. He’s also played for the Cardinals, Indians, Padres and Pirates.
- Replacing Nelson Cruz‘s production will not be straightforward but may yet be possible for the Orioles, as Jayson Stark of ESPN.com writes. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette explains that the current roster not only has power across the board but does so with generally well-rounded players. And, as he notes, the team will never “grab a lot of headlines in the offseason,” as would have been needed to bring Cruz back or replace him with a single player. “We pick up players year round,” said Duquette. “We don’t do it all in the offseason.”
Torii Hunter spoke with Bob Nightengale of USA Today about his return to the Twins and an interesting aspiration that he has in his post-playing days. The 39-year-old Hunter would eventually like to not only work in the Twins’ front office, but take the reins as general manager of the team. “I really want to get into that front office, make some changes, and build a team that I want to build,” Hunter explained. “I’d love to learn everything from [Twins GM Terry Ryan]. He’ll be a mentor. One day, that’s my goal, to be GM of the Twins.” Nightengale spoke with Ryan about the idea and writes that Hunter “will have a door waiting for him,” though Nightengale writes that Ryan also advised Hunter not to rush any decisions about retirement. Hunter said he’s considered hanging it up next winter, though he very much sounds like a good year at the plate would leave him open to a return in Minnesota. “…unless I hit .300, then I’m going nowhere,” said Hunter, who has batted .301 over the past three seasons. Hunter also has interest in working in TV, he said, and he spoke with Nightengale at length about his prayers for friend Josh Hamilton.
A bit more from Nightengale’s piece and the AL Central…
- Nightengale reports that the Rangers made Hunter a one-year, $8MM offer to play near his Dallas home, and the division-rival Royals offered Hunter one year and $8.5MM with a player option. Hunter, however, ultimately decided he wanted to return to Minnesota, and Nightengale adds that Billy Butler‘s three-year, $30MM contract with Oakland “raised the stakes” for Hunter (presumably implying that Butler’s deal caused Hunter to aim for a higher annual value). Hunter said a 90-minute phone call with Ryan, in which the GM explained that he wants Hunter in Minnesota “forever,” impacted him a great deal as well.
- Tigers right-hander Joel Hanrahan is traveling to Texas to see Dr. Keith Meister about persistent elbow problems that have slowed his comeback attempt, writes MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Hanrahan, who hasn’t thrown since Feb. 22, tells Iott that he’s past the point of frustration and wants to get answers as to why his elbow still is not working properly. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press also spoke with Hanrahan, who told him that at times, it feels like bones in his arm are rubbing together, and at other times, like his biceps is being pinched (Twitter link). Hanrahan missed all of the 2014 season and most of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John and flexor tendon surgery.
- Mike Aviles‘ outgoing personality and vocal leadership abilities factored into the Indians‘ decision to exercise his $3.5MM option this offseason, writes Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com. Manager Terry Francona told Meisel: “We told him that in our one-on-one. That’s part of his responsibility. We love what he does as a player, because he plays all over the place and he can play every position professionally. But when he’s not playing, he needs to be in a leadership role. We need that out of him. He understands that.”