While it’s been a rough season for the Rangers, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes in this week’s AL Notes column that one source indicates to him that manager Jeff Banister is “100 percent” coming back. The third-year skipper could potentially turn in his third straight winning the season, but the Rangers’ 76 losses already guarantee that the 2017 season will be the team’s worst with Banister at the helm.
A bit more from the AL West…
- Heyman also reports that top Rangers prospect — the centerpiece of their return for Yu Darvish — has hired Scott Boras to represent him. The 22-year-old Calhoun raised his profile as one of the best offensive prospects in the minors this season, hitting a combined .300/.355/.572 with 31 homers, 27 doubles and six triples between the Triple-A affiliates for the Rangers and Dodgers. While Calhoun is obviously quite a ways from reaching arbitration, the move is of some note, given that Boras clients typically forgo early-career extensions. Calhoun’s agency switch will be noted in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which features representation info on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players. If you see any notable errors or omissions, you can let us know via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Mariners “are thought” to have some interest in Mitch Moreland and Lucas Duda as first base options this offseason, per Heyman. Seattle is currently deploying Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia as its primary first basemen, though both are eligible for free agency at season’s end. Prospect Dan Vogelbach serves as an in-house option, though he comes with fewer than 40 plate appearances of experience in the Majors.
- While the Mariners have endured plenty of struggles in the rotation this season, club executives are pleased with the depth that comes with the additions of veteran Mike Leake and controllable young Marco Gonzales, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Gonzales has struggled in the Majors thus far, but he’s had a generally solid year in Triple-A in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Leake, meanwhile, has bounced back terrifically in Seattle following a trade from the Cardinals. General manager Jerry Dipoto explained to Dutton that Leake has been worth two or more wins above replacement on a yearly basis and hasn’t seen his skill set significantly diminish, even through a rough stretch toward the end of his Cardinals tenure. Skipper Scott Servais spoke highly of right-hander Andrew Moore as well when chatting with Dutton. Dutton notes that the trio of Leake, Gonzales and Moore will pair with Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez and Ariel Hernandez to once again give the club its fair share of depth next year.
- Angels lefty Andrew Heaney played catch Thursday and is still hopeful that he can start again this season, writes Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Heaney has been sidelined by a shoulder impingement recently, and with the young southpaw unable to start, the Halos will again turn to Bud Norris to start a bullpen game this weekend, per Fletcher. Norris tossed two innings the last time he did so and was one of three pitchers (joining Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Wood) to throw two innings that day.