Here’s the latest from the AL West…
- The Angels discussed signing Sean Rodriguez before the utilityman agreed to a deal with the Braves yesterday, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports (Twitter link). Fletcher isn’t sure whether the Halos had serious interest or were just considering all options. Rodriguez could have stepped right in to fill the Angels’ hole at second base, or potentially taken over third base if Yunel Escobar had been switched to second. Besides the Halos, the Dodgers, Pirates and Blue Jays were also known to have interest in the versatile Rodriguez.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports joins CSNBayArea.com’s Joe Stiglich on the A’s Insider podcast (audio link) to discuss several offseason topics, including the possibility of some Athletics trades. Rosenthal figures other teams will have “some lively discussions” with the A’s about Stephen Vogt given the lack of catching around the game, and Oakland will get interest in Sonny Gray given the thin free agent pitching market. That said, Rosenthal isn’t sure whether Gray will be dealt since his stock has been lowered by his rough 2016 season. “I’m not so sure this is the right time to trade him because obviously if he puts together a good first half you’ve got the best guy at the deadline,” Rosenthal said. “At the same time, there’s always the risk he gets hurt again. Maybe he doesn’t bounce back, maybe you lose value.”
- The Astros and Rangers still look like the class of the AL West, in Rosenthal’s opinion, though both teams still have clear needs — Houston needs to add another starting pitcher, while Texas has holes to fill in its everyday roster due to several free agents.
- The Astros’ need for pitching is what differentiates them from the Cubs, though as the New York Post’s Joel Sherman points out, Houston bears a lot of similarity to the World Series champs. Like the Astros, Chicago also totally purged the roster in a rebuild effort and added several impressive young position players through the draft. The Cubs then spent big to add veterans in free agency and trades to score the missing pieces, and the Astros seem to be on the same track by adding Brian McCann and Josh Reddick this winter. The key for Houston, of course, is if Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers can provide the same top-of-the-rotation strength that Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta (not to mention Kyle Hendricks) gave the Cubs.
- Andrew Cashner is an improvement over the departing Derek Holland in the Rangers’ rotation, Kevin Sherrington of SportsDayDFW.com opines. Cashner, who the Rangers recently signed to a one-year/$10MM deal, has much better velocity, and the loss of zip on Holland’s fastball makes him vulnerable. Also, as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan previously noted, Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail believes he can “fix” Cashner.