The Rangers have committed about $143MM to their payroll with just three players awaiting contracts, writes Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. Pitchers Alex Claudio, Nick Martinez, and Yohander Mendez are expected to sign split contracts soon. Presently, payroll is about $2MM to $3MM more than the club spent in 2015. In my opinion, there is reason to believe the Rangers will have plenty of in-season payroll flexibility since the team unexpectedly made the postseason last year and should contend again in 2016. However, Grant writes (in a separate article) that payroll is expected to remain flat.
Here’s more from out West:
- The Rangers have held preliminary talks with Ian Desmond, per Grant. The content of those talks related to using Desmond as a super-utility player. The most pressing need is in left field, although having flexibility throughout the infield is always in demand.
- Angels Rule 5 pick Ji-Man Choi could factor into the Angels’ left field competition, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry are expected to form a left field platoon. Choi has struggled to stay on the field in recent seasons, but he’s healthy entering Spring Training. Interestingly, Choi taught himself how to switch-hit during a 80 plate appearance 2016 season. He’s naturally a left-handed hitter.
- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence is dealing with Achilles tendinitis, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The injury is thought to be minor. Pence spent most of 2015 on the disabled list for three unrelated upper body injuries. San Francisco has solid outfield depth including Angel Pagan, Denard Span, Gregor Blanco, Jarrett Parker, and Mac Williamson. Of course, Pagan and Span are hardly the poster children for good health. Several quality outfielders are still on the free agent market including Desmond, Austin Jackson, and Alex Rios.
- Recent trade acquisition German Marquez is turning heads in Rockies camp, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Marquez, the prospect acquired in the Corey Dickerson trade, throws an easy 95 mph fastball as part of a three pitch repertoire. The 21-year-old former Ray is coming off a 3.56 ERA with 6.73 K/9, and 1.88 BB/9 in 123 High-A innings.