Texas Rangers Rumors
ESPN's Jim Bowden, a former GM of both the Reds and Expos/Nationals, recently took a look at Frank Wren's rise to general manager of the Braves. Within his ESPN Insider piece, Bowden identifies three front office executives who, like Wren, are being groomed as successors to their current GMs. He also identifies three candidates who will likely become GMs in other organizations. Here are some highlights from the piece and other GM news...
- Bowden feels that Rockies senior VP Bill Geivett, Tigers VP/assistant GM Al Avila and Athletics assistant GM David Forst are all next in line to become the GM of their respective franchises. Geivett, in particular, is already handling the day-to-day operations, and Bowden feels it's just a matter of time before he's given the official title of general manager.
- Bowden asked present GMs around the game who the top GM candidates outside of their own organizations were. The results, in order, were Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, Cubs VP of scouting and player development Jason McLeod and Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings. Bowden notes that each is blocked for one reason or another but would have plenty of interest from other clubs seeking a new GM.
- Jack Zduriencik's time as GM of the Mariners may be running out, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Mariners once again find themselves last in the American League in runs scored -- the same place they've been for the previous four years under Zduriencik's watch. Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero have yet to establish themselves as big leaguers, and the trades of Cliff Lee and Doug Fister look poor in hindsight. Rosenthal notes that Hisashi Iwakuma is a coup for Zduriencik, and that help is close with Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen at Triple-A. A breakthrough is needed soon, however, and Zduriencik conceded that he knows it.
Pitcher Charlie Leesman has declined the Rangers' assignment and is now a free agent, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. The Rangers claimed Leesman over the weekend after the White Sox released him. Leesman had five days to accept or reject the Rangers' assignment, which would have included a spot on the 40-man roster.
Leesman, 26, pitched 135 innings for Triple-A Charlotte in 2012, posting a 2.47 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. He is currently recovering from a torn ACL. He has never pitched in the majors.
The Rangers and Athletics sit atop the AL West with about 88% of the season remaining; the Angels, Mariners, and Astros are currently below .500. The latest from the division:
- "There's not a lot flashy about what we do. We work. We stick with each other. We try to make good decisions. We've made some bad ones. But more good than bad," Rangers president Jon Daniels told Yahoo's Tim Brown. The Rangers missed out on all the big names during the offseason, yet they're still looking good in the early going.
- The idea of a Jurickson Profar-Oscar Taveras swap between the Rangers and Cardinals "has crazy legs for something never discussed between the two teams," Daniels told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. MLBTR probably deserves some of the blame for that, but don't worry, we'll have real trade rumors to discuss soon enough.
- The Athletics sent $100K to the Blue Jays for Casper Wells, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Wells' role with the team once Yoenis Cespedes returns Sunday is unclear. After spending about a month in waiver/DFA limbo, Wells should at least get into a few games for the A's. He lamented the transaction-related layoff, tweets Slusser.
The Cardinals entered play Monday with the worst bullpen ERA in baseball following the early injury to closer Jason Motte. Here's more regarding the Redbirds...
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted yesterday that he's hearing rumblings of an April/May trade for the Cardinals that may have some legs. Strauss appeared with Tim McKernan on AM 590 radio this morning to discuss the St. Louis bullpen in greater depth, and added that more details regarding the potential trade could come to life in the coming weeks.
- Strauss' colleague Bernie Miklasz writes that GM John Mozeliak has resolved disastrous bullpen situations before and may be forced to do so again in 2013. In addition to a trade, he lists flipping the roles of Joe Kelly and Mitchell Boggs or moving Lance Lynn to the 'pen and recalling a starter from the minors.
- More from the Post-Dispatch, as Derrick Goold discusses the Jurickson Profar-for-Oscar Taveras swap that many pundits have suggested. Goold writes that neither GM could afford to be the one who ended up losing in that trade. One AL official told Goold, "Then you’re the new [Lou] Brock-for-[Ernie] Broglio guy.” Goold also adds one NL official's opinion that he "wouldn't trade Taveras for two Profars."
The Rays have received undisclosed amounts of cash, rather than players to be named later, to complete the Stephen Vogt and Robinson Chirinos trades, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
The Rays traded Vogt to Oakland back on April 5. The 28-year-old catcher made his MLB debut for the Rays last season but went hitless in 25 at-bats. He's had considerably better fortune at the Triple-A level, where he owns a .302/.363/.503 batting line -- thanks in large part to the video game numbers he's put up for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate so far (though those numbers do come with the PCL caveat).
Chirinos was traded to the Rangers on April 8 after being designated for assignment at the end of Spring Training. The 28-year-old was part of the Matt Garza trade between the Rays and Cubs. He has a career .281/.362/.422 batting line at Triple-A. Chirinos is a rare catcher who has extensive experience at both shortstop and second base, though he's worked almost exclusively as a catcher in recent years.
The Rangers and Cardinals have not discussed the possibility of trading top shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar for top outfield prospect Oscar Taveras, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. A trade of the two teams' No. 1 prospects would make a great deal of sense in terms of those teams' needs, but it would be tough to pull off. "The Cardinals need a shortstop. The Rangers need an outfielder. The answer is there for both for years to come," one American League official tells Goold. "You just can’t do it. You can’t be the guy who is wrong if one works out and becomes a star as expected and the other doesn’t. Then you’re the new Brock-for-Broglio guy."
Nonetheless, it's a tantalizing trade idea. Deals centered around two highly-touted youngsters happen very rarely, but they're exciting when they do. The Rays' trade of Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie to Minnesota for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan is one of the few recent examples. In any case, it doesn't sound like the Profar-for-Taveras deal is in the offing. "[T]he reality is we have just gotten to the point we wanted with our farm system — with more elite talent back and set to contribute to the major-league club," says Cardinals GM John Mozeliak. "I’m not in the mood to start breaking it up."
Should this deal happen, though? In Profar, the Cardinals would get a long-term answer at shortstop, where they're currently starting Pete Kozma. Meanwhile, the Rangers would acquire a premium hitting prospect at a position that isn't shortstop, where they have Elvis Andrus signed to a long-term deal.
Profar and Taveras are too valuable for positional need to be the most important variable when considering a trade. After all, an injury easily could clear a spot for either player in his current organization, and positional logjams tend to resolve themselves over time. The Cardinals could deal an outfielder, or lose one to injury. The Rangers could eventually move Ian Kinsler to first. Before trading Profar or Taveras, you would need to be confident the other was the better player. Taveras has had the better hitting numbers, but Profar is younger and plays the tougher defensive position. Scouts love both of them, comparing Profar to Barry Larkin and Taveras to Vladimir Guerrero.
Let's consider the deal from the Rangers' perspective. If you were Rangers GM Jon Daniels, would you trade Profar for Oscar Taveras?
"You can never have too much pitching" isn't just a cliche, and the 2013 Dodgers are proof of that. The Dodgers announced today that Chad Billingsley is headed to the disabled list because of right elbow pain and the right-hander may even require Tommy John surgery down the road. The Dodgers theoretically had a pair of extra starters to dangle to teams a couple of weeks ago, but injuries to Billingsley, Chris Capuano, and Zack Greinke have put that idea on hold. Here's more from around baseball..
- Baseball officials told Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) that if Matt Garza winds up getting tied to draft pick compensation like Kyle Lohse, the advice they would have for him would be to push his negotiations early in the offseason. Because he's not a Greinke-type of talent, Garza will want to sign before teams have already settled in around spring training.
- Olney recently suggested that the Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Rangers could be frontrunners if the Rays move David Price, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times doesn't see Tampa Bay doing business with Boston unless it's at a significant premium.
- Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, and other new Yankees are rejuvenating their careers in New York, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News.
If you've not yet seen Jean Segura's baserunning misadventures yesterday, do yourself a favor and check out the video and story from MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. As McCalvy and others have noted, Segura's strange travels on the basepaths are reminiscent of a 1911 steal of first by one of baseball's great characters, Germany Schaefer of the Senators. Schaefer was only able to make such a unique play for the hapless Senators that year because they acquired him from the Tigers in 1909. The aging Schaefer was largely a role player in D.C., putting up 5.9 WAR (per Baseball-Reference) over 1909-14, though he did post 3.1 WAR in the season of his famous antic. The man he was traded for, Jim Delahanty, was not only outstanding in the Tigers' 1909 World Series loss, but posted 8 WAR over 1909-12.
- Echoing what we heard yesterday regarding the Rangers' replacement options for the injured Matt Harrison, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com writes that the Rangers have few, if any, external targets worth pursuing. Durrett says the team lacked depth at the start of the year with Martin Perez and Colby Lewis out, leaving the team without attractive internal options to fill in for Harrison. But the market is not promising either. While Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell of the Astros are presumably available, Houston will surely look for a big return at this stage, especially in a deal with a team with which they share a home state and division.
- Roy Halladay of the Phillies had a strong start last night against the Cardinals, holding their big bats to just two hits over seven innings and logging six strikeouts. Halladay, who currently sits at tenth in MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings, has followed his disastrous first two starts with two solid outings. The once (and future?) ace could shoot back up the rankings if he can maintain his current momentum.
- It is worth looking back at the details of the soon-to-be 36-year-old Halladay's contract. The deal includes a $20MM option for 2014 which vests if Halladay meets all the following conditions: 225 innings pitched in 2013; 415 innings pitched in 2012-13; Halladay does not end 2013 on the DL. As ESPN's Jayson Stark reported back when Halladay was acquired by the Phillies, the deal does not include any club or player options. Halladay threw just 156 1/3 innings last year and has tossed 22 1/3 to date in 2013, meaning he would need to log another 236 1/3 innings this year. That seems exceedingly unlikely, albeit not outside the realm of possibility: Halladay accumulated 266 innings as a 26-year-old in 2003, his only full-season pace that would make the innings figure achievable. Even Doc's 2010 season, the most recent year in which he led baseball in innings pitched -- Halladay posted a career second-best tally of 250 2/3 -- would have left him short. Accordingly, unless Halladay turns back into the workhorse he was at his absolute career peak, he is destined to become a free agent.
- The Rockies, who stand in first place in the NL West, have called up reliever Josh Outman from Triple-A, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The club optioned Chris Volstad in a corresponding move. Outman came to Colorado last year, along with Guillermo Moscoso, in the deal that sent Seth Smith to Oakland. The Rockies waived Moscoso last November after he threw 50 innings of 6.12 ERA ball in 2012. Outman was even worse, posting a 8.19 ERA over 40 2/3 innings for the Rockies last season. The 28-year-old has been excellent thus far in Triple-A, however, and the club will hope that he can even out the results of the trade. Smith was a useful contributor for Oakland's division-winning run last season, putting up a .240/.333/.420 line in 441 plate appearances. He has been that much better so far in 2013, slashing .405/.479/.619 in his 48 plate appearances.
Earlier today, Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison decided that he will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. His absence will undoubtedly test the Rangers' pitching depth, but General Manager Jon Daniels doesn't expect to go out-of-house for reinforcements, writes Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com.
Daniels said that he won't be seeking a deal in part because of the difficulty involved in swinging a trade in April. He also doesn't feel pressure to make a move with Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, and Martin Perez rehabbing at the team's spring training facility.
"We're always keeping our eyes open," Daniels said. "But I don't think we'll do anything from outside. We'll play it out. We like the guys we've got. We like the guys that are on the mend. That's obviously an important group for us in Arizona."
The Rangers made a considerable investment in Harrison this offseason, inking him to a five-year, $55MM extension. Harrison posted a 3.34 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 across 399 innings of work in 2011-12.
The Rangers have claimed left-hander Charlie Leesman off release waivers from the White Sox, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Leesman has five days to accept or reject the claim.
The left-hander turned in a 2.47 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 26 Triple-A games last season, his first time at that level. The 26-year-old Leesman has been with the White Sox organization since being drafted by the club in 11th round of the 2008 draft. The White Sox requested release waivers for Leesman on Wednesday.