Texas Rangers Rumors

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

AL Notes: Rangers, Diamond, Rays, Orioles

Despite their acquisition of lefty Sam Freeman today, the Rangers are still on the hunt for bullpen help, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. They are not currently in any discussions for position players or starting pitchers. Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers and Freeman currently appear to be the only near-locks for the Rangers bullpen. They have, however, gotten some impressive Spring Training performances from inexperienced pitchers like Keone Kela, Roman Mendez and Jon Edwards. Here are more quick notes from the American League.

  • Former Twins starting pitcher and free agent Scott Diamond threw for the Rays yesterday, 1500ESPN’s Darren Wolfson tweets. The Rays have a number of injuries in their rotation and are known to be hunting for starting pitching depth to stash at Triple-A Durham. Diamond last appeared in the big leagues in 2013. He spent last season pitching at Triple-A Rochester and Louisville, where he posted a combined 6.57 ERA, 4.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 123 1/3 innings.
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter says the team doesn’t seem likely to upgrade its backup catcher spot via the trade market, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. “We haven’t had any name come up that we like better than the people we have,” says Showalter. With Matt Wieters recovering from elbow surgery, Caleb Joseph is likely to serve as the Orioles’ starting catcher. Joseph himself isn’t much of an offensive threat, although he balanced some of his poor hitting last year with strong defense. Ryan Lavarnway appears to lead the competition to be Joseph’s backup.

Rangers Release Juan Carlos Oviedo

Juan Carlos Oviedo has requested and been granted his release by the Rangers, the team has announced. The Rangers informed Oviedo earlier today that he would not make the team.

Oviedo, 33, pitched 31 2/3 innings for the Rays in 2014, posting a 3.69 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9. That was the former Marlins closer’s first season in the big leagues since 2011, after which he spent two years dealing with injuries. The Rangers signed him to a minor-league deal in January. The pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez threw 3 2/3 innings this spring, allowing four runs, two earned, while striking out four and walking two.


Nate Schierholtz Opts Out Of Deal With Rangers

Outfielder Nate Schierholtz has taken his release from the Rangers, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. The Rangers informed Schierholtz earlier today that he would not make the team. They signed him to a minor-league deal last month, with an opt-out date of today.

Schierholtz, 31, batted just .195/.243/.309 in 383 plate appearances with the Cubs and Nationals last season, then continued to struggle this spring. The left-handed Schierholtz has historically been a good weapon against right-handed pitching, but he didn’t separate himself from a variety of Rangers outfield options, also including Ryan Rua, Jake Smolinski, Carlos Peguero and Rule 5 pick Delino DeShields along with Shin-Soo Choo and Leonys Martin.



Rangers Acquire Sam Freeman From Cardinals

The Rangers have announced that they’ve acquired lefty Sam Freeman from the Cardinals for a player to be named later or cash. Freeman, 27, posted a 2.61 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 38 innings with the Cardinals last season while showcasing good velocity from the left side. He was, however, out of options, and the Cardinals had two other bullpen lefties in Kevin Siegrist and Randy Choate. Freeman also struggled with his control this spring, issuing five walks in five innings.

It’s not surprising the Rangers would pursue lefty relief help (although Freeman doesn’t look like an archetypal lefty specialist, having actually performed considerably better against righties than lefties in his career, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out). They had released Joe Beimel earlier this week, leaving them with the inexperienced Alex Claudio as their main left-handed relief option. They had also been connected to Marlins lefty Mike Dunn. Freeman has two seasons remaining before he can become eligible for arbitration, and then three more seasons after that before he can become a free agent, so there’s also the possibility (although it’s admittedly probably somewhat unlikely) that he could become a long-term asset for the Rangers if they can find a way to harness his stuff.


West Notes: DeShields, Aiken, Lopez

Here are some notes out of the game’s western divisions:

  • Rule 5 pick Delino DeShields Jr. appears to have a place on the Rangers roster, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Taken from the Astros this winter, DeShields could be a force on the basepaths and would otherwise represent a backup center field and second base option.
  • The Astros-Brady Aiken fallout remains too clouded in uncertainty for final judgment, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. While Aiken’s Tommy John procedure has led some to claim that Houston was justified in seeking to drop the price tag on the first overall pick last year, Drellich explains that it is more complicated than just looking at that result. There’s a lot of ground covered in the article, and it is worth a full read for those interested in understanding this complicated situation.
  • New Diamondbacks righty Yoan Lopez has shown steady improvement in spite of an unsightly ERA in his first professional action, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Rival scouts have raised some questions about his upside, but D’backs pitching coach Mike Harkey says that he fully expects the 22-year-old to become “a really good pitcher.” Lopez has not brought quite the level of velocity that led the team to sign him, but manager Chip Hale explains that velo isn’t everything: “I think the fastball hasn’t been quite the velocity that we thought, but 92 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you can make it move and control it, spot it,” said Hale. “The electricity has been in the breaking ball, especially, and the change-up. But I think we do expect a little tick up in the velocity eventually.”

AL Notes: Price, Ludwick, Lindstrom, Blue Jays

Academy Award-winning actor, Michigan native and huge Tigers fan J.K. Simmons will throw out the first pitch at the Tigers’ opener on April 6.  Simmons won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar last month for his role in Whiplash, and if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll agree that the Tigers should probably hold off on having Simmons give a pep talk to the rookies before the game.  Here’s the latest from around the American League…

  • The Tigers‘ chances of extending David Price aren’t good, Mlive.com’s Chris Iott opines, as there are simply too many reasons for Price to test the free agent market this winter.  Price could potentially find a $200MM+ contract next offseason, so it’s possible Detroit would have to top that level now in order to retain him.
  • The Rangers told outfielder Ryan Ludwick that he wouldn’t make the team, GM Jon Daniels told reporters (including MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan).  Daniels described Ludwick as an “all-world guy” who he believes could help another team’s roster, though in the Rangers’ case, “as we look at it today, we thought other options in camp fit the roster better.”  Ludwick signed a minor league contract with Texas in February and, as an Article XX(B) free agent, would’ve been obligated to receive a $100K bonus if the Rangers wanted to keep him in the organization but not on the 25-man roster.
  • Matt Lindstrom is also an Article XX(B) free agent, and the Angels right-hander’s status could hurt his chances of making the roster since the Halos like to be flexible in sending relievers back and forth to the minors, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes.
  • Right-hander Steve Delabar told reporters (including Sportsnet’s Mike Wilner) that “it’s a shock to me” that he won’t be making the Blue Jays‘ Opening Day roster.  Delabar pitched well this spring but apparently lost his spot due to the emergence of Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna, both of whom seem very likely to make the team.  Delabar was clearly upset by the demotion, and when asked if he would accept a change of scenery to a new team, he said “it could be considered, but I’m not saying that that’s what I’m asking for or anything like that. But if that was to happen… I feel like I’m a major-league player and I can help a bullpen.”
  • Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders won’t be ready for Opening Day, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm writes, though the reason isn’t due to a setback in his rehab from knee surgery.  The team and Saunders both want to make sure the outfielder is 100 percent when he takes the field, which could be as soon as Toronto’s home opener on April 13.  Saunders had surgery to remove 60 percent of his left meniscus after tearing the cartilage earlier this spring — a decision that accelerated his timeline to take the field from midseason to early April.  Manager John Gibbons has referred to the radically altered timeline as “kind of a miracle,” and Saunders has already been DHing in Minor League games, per Chisholm. However, he’s yet to play outfield defense or run the bases; he’s returned to the dugout rather than running after each at-bat in those games, as the focus is currently just on getting his timing down in a game setting.

Minor Moves: Orioles Acquire Mike McDade

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Orioles have acquired first baseman Mike McDade from the Rangers for future considerations, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The Rangers signed McDade to a minor-league deal in January after he hit .242/.298/.349 in 326 plate appearances, most of them spent with Double-A New Hampshire in the Blue Jays system. The 25-year-old Triple-A veteran has been on the 40-man rosters of the Blue Jays, Indians and White Sox, but he will likely provide minor-league depth for the Orioles.

NL East Notes: Beimel, Cuddyer, Cecchini

The Braves will likely be without Mike Minor and Melvin Upton for all of April, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes in an update on the club’s injuries.  Minor hasn’t thrown in almost three weeks due to inflammation in his left rotator cuff, while Upton is dealing with inflammation in his left foot and isn’t expected to be out of his protective walking boot for another couple of weeks.  Here’s some more news from around the NL East…

  • The Mets aren’t likely to pursue Joe Beimel, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets.  Though the Mets have a need for a left-handed reliever, they apparently don’t have much interest in the recently-released Beimel.
  • The relationship between Mets GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins is one to watch, as there have been a few signs of miscommunication between the front office and the dugout this spring, Newsday’s John Harper writes.  Alderson’s recent biography revealed that the GM came close to firing Collins last season, though Harper reports that the two men “had a clear-the-air meeting” to resolve their differences.
  • Michael Cuddyer told CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link) that “most interest dried up” for his services in the free agent market after the Rockies made the surprise move of issuing him a qualifying offer.  Cuddyer’s final choice came down to the one-year, $15.3MM qualifying offer or his eventual pick, the two-year/$21MM deal he got from the Mets.
  • The Phillies don’t have much interest in Red Sox third baseman Garin Cecchini, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes as part of a reader mailbag.  The Phils and Sox have been linked for much of the offseason in Cole Hamels rumors and the Phillies have reportedly scouted Cecchini already during their examinations of Boston’s farm system.  The Phillies have concerns about Cecchini’s defense, both at third and for a possible conversion to the outfield.  Cecchini was ranked as one of the 100 top prospects in the sport prior to the 2014 season and is still ranked by MLB.com as the eighth-best prospect in the Red Sox system, though his stock dipped a bit after only an okay season at Triple-A.
  • The Rangers are cited as one of “a number of teams…would be eager to acquire Andrew McKirahan in a trade,” MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes in his look at the Marlins‘ situation.  Texas and Miami have recently been connected in trade rumors, with Brad Hand and Mike Dunn cited as possible targets for the Rangers.  As Frisaro notes, however, the Marlins might want to keep Hand since he can be a spot starter and could bring a bit of balance to their all-righty rotation.  What complicates matters for the Fish is that Hand is out of options and McKirahan is a Rule 5 draft pick who would have to remain on Miami’s 25-man roster all season or else be returned to the Cubs.

Rangers Release Joe Beimel

The Rangers have released lefty Joe Beimel, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. They also reassigned top power-hitting prospect Joey Gallo to the minor leagues and optioned another top prospect, catcher Jorge Alfaro, to Double-A Frisco.

The Rangers signed Beimel to a non-guaranteed $1.5MM MLB deal earlier this month, but he allowed 14 runs in three innings this spring. The reliever had a fine 2014 season with the Mariners, posting a 2.20 ERA with 2.8 BB/9, albeit with an underwhelming 5.0 K/9, in 45 innings. That had been his first year in the big leagues since 2011. The 37-year-old veteran has appeared in 12 MLB seasons with the Pirates, Twins, Dodgers, Nationals and Rockies in addition to the Mariners.

As Grant points out, the move leaves Alex Claudio as the Rangers’ main left-handed option. The team has also been connected in trade rumors to the Marlins’ Mike Dunn, suggesting they might not be finished pursuing left-handed relief help.


NL West Notes: Bumgarner, Dodgers, Navarro

The Dodgers weren’t the only NL West team looking at Cuban right-hander Pablo Millan Fernandez, as MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the Giants and Padres also had interest.  The Rangers and Red Sox, two of the more aggressive teams on the international signing front in recent years, were also interested in Fernandez, who agreed to an $8MM bonus with Los Angeles yesterday.  Here’s some more from around the NL West…

  • Madison Bumgarner has no plans to approach the Giants about re-negotiating his contract and said he has no regrets over signing his five-year extension, the World Series MVP tells Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.  In April 2012, Bumgarner signed a deal that, at the time, paid him the highest average annual value of any contract given to a player between 1-2 years of service time.  The five-year, $35MM deal includes a $12MM vesting option for 2018 and a $12MM team option for 2019.  While those options could increase to $16MM based on Cy Young finishes, Bumgarner’s contract has obviously been a major bargain for the Giants.
  • The Brewers were one of a few teams interested in trading for Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero, though nobody was interested in paying Guerrero the $14MM he’s owed through 2017, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon reports.  Some teams were staying away from a trade and instead hoping L.A. would just release the Cuban prospect in the wake of his tough 2014 campaign.  A good Spring Training, however, has earned Guerrero a spot on the Opening Day roster and kept him in the Dodgers’ future plans.
  • The Dodgers won’t be considering extensions for Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick or Juan Uribe until at least partway through the season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes.  All three veteran infielders are entering their walk years, but L.A. can afford to wait given the presence of Guerrero and Corey Seager, not to mention the possible signing of Hector Olivera.  For his part, Uribe says he wants to stay with the Dodgers beyond 2015.
  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters (including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert) and The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro) that Dioner Navarro‘s $5MM salary is too much to fit into his team’s payroll.  The Snakes have been linked to the Blue Jays catcher for much of the offseason and they’re reportedly still scouting him, though Stewart said there isn’t any substance to those rumors.