The Rangers acquisition of Cole Hamels was sold as a move for the 2016 season. However, the acquisition of Mike Napoli is a declaration that the Rangers want to win this season, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Rangers have surged since the trade deadline. They’re now 4.5 games back in the AL West and 3.5 games behind the second Wild Card slot. Texas will use Napoli as a platoon bat against left-handed pitching. Despite poor overall numbers, Napoli still has a .229/.345/.500 slash against southpaws this season. The Rangers will cover about $1.5MM of his remaining salary with the Red Sox chipping in with the balance ($3.7MM). He’s a free agent after the season.
- The Astros will use recently acquired left-handed reliever Oliver Perez in a lefty specialist role, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Perez will serve as a weapon against the tough lefties in the division like Prince Fielder and Robinson Cano. He’ll also free Tony Sipp to return to a full inning role. Houston will have to clear a 25-man roster spot for Perez prior to tomorrow’s game. In my opinion, one of Chad Qualls, Josh Fields, or Will Harris will be the odd man out. All three have pitched well this season.
- The Padres confused many by standing pat at the trade deadline, but they may be following the same path as the Blue Jays, suggests Grant Brisbee of SB Nation. Per Brisbee, GM A.J. Preller supposedly had a couple deals in place that were scuttled by non-baseball decision makers. Preller drew the most flak for failing to trade Justin Upton – a free agent after the season. Another popular trade candidate, Craig Kimbrel, will at least provide value to future Padres rosters. Returning to the lesson of the Blue Jays, they underwent a similar transformation prior to the 2013 season. When things fell apart that season, they didn’t conduct a Marlins-style fire sale. Instead, they tinkered their way to the current offensive juggernaut. Brisbee suggests that Preller has similar plans for San Diego.
- The Marlins plan to focus on starting pitching over the offseason, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The club would like to add two starters, although they’ll have to overcome their usual financial constraints. As was reported earlier, manager Dan Jennings is expected to return to the front office over the offseason. A couple old Marlins staffers – Ozzie Guillen and Larry Beinfest – will finally come off the books after this season.