The Rangers’ open tryouts today have unearthed a number of interesting names, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes (Twitter links). Among those trying out today are three hurlers who’ve pitched in the Rangers’ system — Kameron Loe (who was a starter and reliever for the Rangers from 2004-2008 and pitched last season with the White Sox’ Triple-A affiliate), Mark Hamburger (who made five relief appearances with the 2011 Rangers) and Blake Beavan (who was the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2007 and who pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues with the Mariners). Also appearing today are Justin Masterson (who recently pitched a showcase after appearing the Pirates’ minor-league system last year), Kyle Drabek (the former Blue Jays top prospect, who pitched briefly for the Diamondbacks in 2016) and Jose Veras (the veteran bullpen righty, who pitched last year in independent ball). Here’s more from the West divisions.
- The Rockies’ signing of Ian Desmond tops Dave Cameron of FanGraphs’ list of the offseason’s worst transactions. This offseason’s market featured plenty of first base options, and yet the Rockies paid heavily for Desmond, who wasn’t previously a first baseman, to play first for them. The cost of signing Desmond was also more than his $70MM price tag, too, since the Rockies also gave up the 11th pick in the June draft. “I don’t know anyone who understands this move,” Cameron writes.
- Pitching in Coors Field will be a tough assignment for new Rockies reliever Greg Holland, but the mentally tough Holland is up to the challenge, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes. Holland says one factor for him was the way the Rockies have recently added to their existing core (presumably with offseason pieces like Desmond and Mike Dunn, who both signed before he did). “I did my homework before I signed here. I know what they’ve got. I felt the pieces they added, the holes they filled to contend, that was the deciding factor for me. I wasn’t going to come to a place where I couldn’t win,” Holland says. “It’s just like we did there for three or four years in Kansas City. We grew together, learned together, and went from competing to winning.” Holland, of course, missed the 2016 season after having Tommy John surgery but still managed to land $7MM guaranteed (along with some very favorable perks if he’s able to stay healthy) from the Rockies on a one-year deal with a mutual option this offseason.
- Padres righty Tyrell Jenkins had a chaotic offseason in which he changed teams three times in four weeks, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes. He first headed from the Braves to the Rangers in a small trade, then was claimed off waivers by the Reds and finally the Padres. Jenkins, for his part, seems to have handled the offseason activity with good humor. Asked about the most difficult aspect of his winter, Jenkins says, “Having to explain to Mom what’s going on. I guess she thought I had a say in what was going on. I was like, Mom, I have nothing to do with this.” Jenkins also notes that he was “trying to catch (Richie) Shaffer and (David) Rollins,” two medalists in this winter’s waiver claim Olympics. Shaffer (an infielder, and, like Jenkins, a former top prospect) headed from the Rays in a trade to the Mariners, then on waiver claims to the Phillies, then Reds, then Indians before being outrighted. Lefty reliever Rollins went from the Mariners to the Cubs to the Rangers to the Phillies to the Rangers (again) to the Cubs, all in less than six weeks, before finally being outrighted last week.