Texas Rangers Rumors
Here are the day's minor moves:
- The Rangers have released minor league southpaw Rafael Perez, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. The 31-year-old was a valuable member of the Indians' bullpen from 2007-12 (with the exception of a disappointing '09 campaign) but hasn't pitched in the bigs since that time due to shoulder surgery. Perez put up solid numbers with the Twins' and Red Sox' minor league affiliates last season and had yielded three runs with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year.
- The Phillies have signed outfielder Adam Loewen to a minor league deal, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Loewen, 30, was once rated as high as the 13th overall prospect in the game by Baseball America -- as a pitcher. He transitioned to the field since having his career derailed by elbow issues, and last year posted a .267/.359/.435 line in 496 plate appearances, most of them coming at the Double-A level. But Loewen will return to the hill with Philadelphia, according to a tweet from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- Righty Matt Neil has agreed to a minor league contract with the Rays, also via the MLB transactions page. The 27-year-old had spent his first three years in the Marlins organization. Last year, splitting time between starting and relieving at both upper-minor levels, Neil threw to a 3.70 ERA in 109 1/3 frames.
- As MLBTR's DFA Tracker shows, White Sox reliever Donnie Veal has just joined Lucas Harrell (Astros) and Sam Fuld (Athletics) in DFA limbo.
We touched on some American League notes late last night, but here are a few more for the morning:
- After a solid start to his tenure with the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, recently-acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez has earned a (brief) call-up to the bigs, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (passing on a report from the Rochester Chronicle and Democrat). Nunez will get the chance to be the team's 26th player for the second game of today's doubleheader before going back to the minors on Friday, though it seems quite possible he'll get a real shot with the MLB club at some point given Pedro Florimon's struggles.
- The Tigers' search for a replacement at shortstop led them to ask 46-year-old Omar Vizquel if he was interested in making a comeback, reports Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. "They asked me if I'd like to come and take some grounders," said Vizquel. "I said, 'No, I've been retired for two years.'"
- Scott Cousins will not exactly be continuing his career as a baseball outfielder when he joins the Rangers, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. The 29-year-old will head to extended spring training, where he will try to convert into a left-handed pitcher.
- The latest in the Athletics' ballpark situation has focused on the possibility of a ten-year lease extension at the O.co Coliseum. As Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com reports, A's co-owner Lew Wolff says the club would be willing to make over $10MM in stadium improvements if such a deal were struck. (Of course, for those who follow ballpark funding issues, that outlay will seem a relative drop in the bucket.)
WEDNESDAY: McCutchen has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. As McCutchen has been outrighted previously, he will have the option of electing free agency.
MONDAY: The Rangers have designated right-hander Daniel McCutchen for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for fellow righty Colby Lewis, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake announced (on Twitter).
The 31-year-old McCutchen tossed 2 1/3 innings for the Rangers, allowing a pair of earned runs on four hits (one homer) and a pair of walks without a strikeout. McCutchen, who is of no relation to last year's National League MVP, has a career 4.81 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 191 Major League innings between the Pirates and Rangers. The former 13th round pick has a sound minor league track record, with a 3.75 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 441 frames.
Lewis, 34, will be on the hill tonight for the Rangers after a lengthy rehab process from multiple injuries. The longtime Ranger underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon in July 2012 and looked to be on the mend in 2013 before a hip injury led to surgery and sidelined him for the entirety of that season. He last appeared on a Major League mound in 2012 and had pitched to a solid 3.93 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 506 1/3 innings with the Rangers since returning to the big leagues from Japan in 2010.
Texas has seen its rotation devastated by injuries to Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and an early ailment to Yu Darvish (he's since returned), so a healthy Lewis could be a much-needed shot in the arm as they look to prevent the A's from a third consecutive AL West Division Championship.
Here are the day's minor moves:
- The Rangers have inked outfielder Scott Cousins to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Cousins, 29, had just joined the independent Camden Riversharks after being released by the Red Sox. He has seen limited MLB action in four seasons, and sports a .179/.230/.285 line in only 193 plate appearances.
- The MLBTR DFA Tracker shows two players in DFA limbo: Daniel McCutchen (Rangers) and Sam Fuld (Athletics).
The Rangers have announced that they have acquired pitcher Hector Noesi from the Mariners. The Mariners will receive cash in the deal, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. The Mariners designated Noesi for assignment last week. To clear space on their 40-man roster for Noesi, the Rangers moved Jurickson Profar to the 60-day disabled list. The Rangers will have to make another move to add Noesi to their 25-man roster.
Noesi, 27, has a 5.64 ERA, 6.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 191 1/3 career innings with the Mariners and Yankees. The Mariners acquired him from New York before the 2012 season in the Michael Pineda / Jesus Montero trade. There's no immediate word on Noesi's role in Texas, but the Rangers' pitching staff has struggled with injuries, and Noesi has experience with both starting and relieving.
Here are today's minor moves from around baseball.
- The Diamondbacks have reinstated outfielder Trent Oeltjen from the disabled list and loaned him to Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. Oeltjen, 31, has a .220/.299/.384 career batting line, with his last appearance in the big leagues coming in 2011 with the Dodgers. He hit .255/.345/.483 for Triple-A Salt Lake in 2014.
- The Rangers released pitcher Doug Mathis, according to the same PCL transactions page. Mathis posted a 3.85 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 114 2/3 innings for the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans in 2013.
Rule 5 Draft pick Seth Rosin has cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Rangers and been returned to the Phillies, both teams announced. Rosin will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Rosin, 25, was selected by the Mets with the 10th pick in the Rule 5 Draft last December and promptly traded to the Dodgers for cash considerations. The Rangers then claimed the right-hander off waivers from the Dodgers before designating him for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for Kevin Kouzmanoff (a move that was likely necessitated by a relatively minor injury to Adrian Beltre).
The former fourth-round pick has a 4.00 career ERA in the minor leagues to go along with solid ratios of 8.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. Prior to his selection in the Rule 5 Draft, Rosin had never appeared in a game above the Double-A level.
Free agent closer Joel Hanrahan will host a showcase for teams next week, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). In a second tweet, Crasnick lists the Mets, Yankees, Angels, Rangers, Rockies, Royals, Athletics, Red Sox and Rays as teams that are believed to have interest in Hanrahan. He adds that somewhat curiously, he hasn't heard much buzz on the Tigers or Phillies being interested, though that could always change.
The 32-year-old Hanrahan underwent Tommy John surgery and also had his flexor tendon repaired and bone chips in his elbow removed on May 16 of last season. He opened the year as Boston's closer after being acquired in an offseason trade that sent Mark Melancon to the Pirates, but he allowed eight runs on 10 hits (four homers) and six walks with just five strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings for the Red Sox before landing on the disabled list.
Prior to that season, Hanrahan had averaged 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings over a five-year stretch between the Nationals and Pirates. The Bucs acquired Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge from the Nats in a deal that sent Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan to Washington, and Hanrahan blossomed into a two-time All-Star closer with Pittsburgh. Always one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in the game, Hanrahan's 96.5 mph average fastball from his 2011-13 peak ranked seventh in the game among qualified relievers.
The changing rules and increasing number of extensions in the game are serving as a detriment to the Yankees, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Tighter rules regarding performance enhancing drugs are preventing players from performing well into their 30s, and many would-be free agents are locked up through their decline years and therefore unavailable to the Yanks in free agency. MacPherson looks at New York's misses in the draft over the years, pointing out that they'll need to turn that trend around if they're to improve a "crumbling foundation ... that can't be rebuilt the way it once was." Amazingly, he highlights that among Yankees position players with at least 20 plate appearances, only Yangervis Solarte is under 30 years of age.
Here's more out of the AL East...
- Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel looks at the story of how Yankees right-hander Shane Greene went from an unknown junior college arm to a big league pitcher. Yankees Florida area scout Jeff Deardorff had known Greene's family since Greene was nine years old, having lived down the street from them. Greene underwent Tommy John surgery his freshman year of JuCo, and afterward began asking Deardorff to watch him throw. Deardorff eventually conceded and was shocked to see his arm speed and velocity. He called scouting director Damon Oppenheimer to add Greene to the team's pre-draft workout, and the Yankees selected Greene in the 15th round having seen him throw just twice. McDaniel does an excellent job of telling Greene's story, and I would recommend taking the time to read the entire article.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show, and WEEI's Meredith Perri has some highlights. Cherington discussed John Lackey, his outfield and Jon Lester's extension process. Cherington said Lackey is understanding of the clause in his contract that will cause him to earn the Major League minimum next season after a serious arm injury and is one of the most accountable players in the game. Cherington expects Lackey to pitch beyond the 2015 season.
- The GM also said that recent salary hike for free agent pitchers has made the Lester negotiations more difficult, but there's always a chance for a deal to get worked out when both sides have interest -- which they do. Cherington does not, however, make it sound like a slam dunk: "...[W]e want Jon Lester to be here. We will work as hard as we can to try to make that work, but there’s things that other teams might do that we just won’t do."
- WEEI's Rob Bradford looks at Koji Uehara's incredible run as the Red Sox' closer, noting that statistically speaking, his time in the ninth inning stacks up with the best runs of the great Mariano Rivera's career. Bradford spoke with Rangers GM Jon Daniels about Uehara, with Daniels saying that Texas made a very similar offer to Boston's following the 2012 season, but Uehara elected for a fresh start in Boston. Daniels, unsurprisingly, calls Uehara a "tremendous bargain" for Boston.
The Rangers have re-signed catcher Chris Gimenez to a minor league deal, according to the MLB transactions page. Gimenez had become a free agent after declining an outright assignment from the club just days ago, but ultimately elected to return.
Gimenez, 31, will serve as depth for a Rangers club that is currently relying on J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos at the MLB level while waiting for Geovany Soto to return from injury. He joins Chris Snyder as the top options behind that pair. In Triple-A last year, Gimenez hit .224/.350/.305 in 375 plate appearances, though he had much better numbers (.310/.389/.483 in 301 plate appearances) the year prior.