Rangers GM Jon Daniels wouldn’t say that the Royals’ success served as the blueprint for constructing his team’s bullpen, but it’s clear that Texas is counting on big production from its relievers, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Texas is optimistic about being able to get strong performances from Shawn Tolleson, Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman, Tom Wilhelmsen, Keone Kela, and Tony Barnette in 2016. “You can dream it up to be a pretty powerful bullpen, and we have the luxury to shorten the game if we need to,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Our bullpen has an opportunity to be as strong a bullpen as there is in baseball.”
Here’s more from around the AL West…
- Could the Angels trade Mike Trout? It’s a far-fetched notion at the moment, though ESPN’s Keith Law off-handedly raised the subject in his recent farm system rankings when he opined that Anaheim might have to consider dealing Trout unless it drafts some good prospects for its beleaguered farm system. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register doesn’t think a Trout deal is anywhere near the Halos’ radar screen right now, though if the 2016 season is a disappointment, the Angels may indeed have to unload some Major League talent to get younger. Even if this scenario happens, however, Garrett Richards or Kole Calhoun are more likely to be shopped than Trout. Four of five executives and scouts polled by John Perrotto of Today’s Knuckleball wouldn’t trade Trout, and the fifth would only do so for a big package of MLB-ready talent and elite prospects.
- Perrotto’s piece also contains comments from a scout who feels the Athletics made a “great pickup” in obtaining Khris Davis from the Brewers. “Power has become so much more scarce in recent years that I’m surprised that Oakland could get a guy like Davis so cheaply,” the scout said.
- The Astros’ rebuild may be over in the sense they reached the playoffs in 2015, though Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle observes that this offseason has given little indication as to how the team will operate in business-as-usual mode rather than as a team that’s still adding pieces. Houston has had a relatively quiet winter, though two sources tell Drellich that the team made some strong pursuits for major free agents and also had “substantial” extension talks with core players. GM Jeff Luhnow reiterated that the Astros is ready and willing to spend when the opportunity arises, though they won’t sign or extend players just for the sake of staying active if such deals aren’t a fit.
- Also within Drellich’s piece, he mentions that the Astros and Jason Castro discussed multi-year contracts prior to the filing of arbitration numbers. The two sides talked about two-year deals and a three-year deal with an option, though since no agreement was reached before the filing deadline, Houston took a “file-and-trial” stance and went ahead to an arbitration hearing. (The club won that hearing.) Castro is entering his last year under contract, and while the backstop’s hitting numbers have declined over the last couple of years, he is still a highly-regarded defender known to have a good relationship with the Astros’ starters.