After trying a number of ways of reaching underachieving shortstop Elvis Andrus, including threats of benchings and a trade, the Rangers finally got to him with a simple message, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. Following this year’s All-Star break, Rangers third base coach Tony Beasley asked Andrus who his role models were, and Andrus said they were Omar Vizquel and Derek Jeter. In response, Beasley said, “You are not a very good shortstop right now.” Beasley says he challenged Andrus to improve. In the second half this season, Andrus has hit .304/.333/.423, compared to .242/.301/.323 in the first. As Grant points out, it probably isn’t as simple as Andrus having a conversation with Beasley and then automatically improving, but whatever the cause, it appears possible Andrus is back on the right track. That could be crucial for the Rangers, who made a huge investment when they signed him to a $120MM extension in 2013. That deal just kicked in this year, so the Rangers are currently on the hook for significant salaries for Andrus all the way through 2022. Here’s more from the American League.
- The Red Sox announced today that they’ve placed outfielder-turned-first-baseman Hanley Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. The move is retroactive to August 27. On the surface, it’s a strange bit of roster manipulation, given that placing Ramirez on the 15-day DL doesn’t clear a 40-man roster spot and that active rosters have already expanded to 40 anyway. Via Tim Britton of the Providence Journal (on Twitter), though, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski says the team placed Ramirez on the DL to “protect us from ourselves.” The move is designed, then, to keep them from inserting Ramirez into game action before he’s ready. When he does come back, it appears Ramirez will play at first base. Allen Craig played that position for the Red Sox yesterday, making his only big-league start at first since April.
- Rays owner Stuart Sternberg hasn’t set the team’s 2016 payroll yet, but he would prefer it to be similar to that of this season, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Via Cot’s Contracts, the 2015 Rays had an Opening Day payroll of about $76MM. That total includes relatively expensive deals a few vets who are either already gone or whose contracts will expire, including Grant Balfour, Asdrubal Cabrera and David DeJesus. With a payroll in the $76MM range, though, it appears, unsurprisingly, that the Rays won’t be big spenders on the free agent market this offseason.