Some news from the AL West…
- Dae-Ho Lee can opt out of his minor league deal with the Mariners on Sunday and become a free agent if he isn’t on the 40-man roster, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. It seems as if Lee is on track to indeed make the M’s as the right-handed side of a first base platoon with Adam Lind, and Lee will earn a $1MM base salary if he makes the MLB roster (plus another $3MM in possible bonuses). If Lee beats out Jesus Montero for the job, Dutton figures the M’s will try to deal the out-of-options Montero before exposing him to the waiver wire.
- Also from Dutton’s piece, the Mariners face the Tuesday deadline for Article XX(B) free agents to let Joel Peralta know if he’s made the roster, though Dutton figures Peralta is a pretty safe bet. Peralta signed a minor league deal with Seattle last month that will pay the 11-year veteran $1.25MM in guaranteed salary if he makes the M’s roster. While Peralta hasn’t had a great spring, his case has been helped by some injuries to other Mariners relievers.
- Rangers outfielder Justin Ruggiano could become a trade target for clubs looking for outfield help, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal opines (Twitter link). Ruggiano signed a one-year, $1.65MM Major League deal with Texas in December to provide depth in left given Josh Hamilton’s injured status, though with Ian Diamond now signed as the regular left field, Ruggiano has become a bit of a surplus. Ruggiano turns 34 in April and owns an impressive .272/.336/.520 career slash line after left-handed pitching.
- The Rangers could use a modified four-man rotation as a way of sidestepping a roster crunch in April, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News opines. The club’s fifth starter candidates operate as swingmen to cover both those spot starts and the role as eighth man in the bullpen. This could also allow Texas to keep out-of-options Sam Freeman rather than exposing him to waivers.
- “A baseball team can’t ever be carried by one individual player. Yet Mike Trout comes the closest,” Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan writes in a piece about his site’s outfield projections. Trout’s projected 8.8 fWAR for 2016 almost single-handedly gives the Angels the best projected outfield in baseball (with right fielder Kole Calhoun contributing 2.8 fWAR and the Daniel Nava/Craig Gentry platoon in left at 0.7 fWAR). Sullivan feels Trout alone is keeping the Halos competitive, as without him, “the Angels are a group we’d think ought to be rebuilding….the Angels’ situation is miserable. They’d be a bad team with a bad farm system. That’s the worst situation to be in.”
- In other AL West news from earlier today, the Astros released veteran southpaw Neal Cotts…the Angels shut down C.J. Wilson’s throwing program, and thus the lefty will be sidelined until at least May.