Here’s the latest from around the AL West…
- Bruce Maxwell’s trial date (on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and disorderly conduct) has been scheduled for April 10, NBCSports.com Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich reports. This means that Maxwell would miss part of the Athletics’ season, though “there remains a strong possibility” that a trial is avoided by a plea deal, according to Stiglich. Discussion of a settlement conference took place today during Maxwell’s first pretrial conference today, as per a court spokesperson.
- Shin-Soo Choo is “not really worried about” being mentioned in trade speculation, the Rangers outfielder tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Choo’s name was reportedly included as part of the Rangers’ talks with the Diamondbacks about a possible Zack Greinke swap, as Texas was looking to move Choo’s contract to offset some of the salary the club would be taking on by acquiring Greinke. For Choo, such speculation is “part of baseball. That’s part of the deal. Nobody is happy to hear them in trade rumors….I have a great feeling for the Rangers, but at the same time I understand the team’s situation.” Choo has been hampered by injuries during his four years in Texas and is owed $62MM over the next three seasons, though Wilson feels that the Rangers should keep Choo, arguing that the outfielder has been effective when healthy and provides an OBP boost that the Rangers lineup otherwise lacks.
- The Rangers probably lack the prospect depth to trade for a top-tier starting pitcher, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes in his latest mailbag piece, in part because the club has already dealt so many other top minor leaguers in trades for Cole Hamels, Carlos Beltran, Jonathan Lucroy, and other established stars in recent years. Moving what few blue chip prospects the team has left for a pitcher like Chris Archer or Michael Fulmer doesn’t seem likely at this point. Texas has beefed up its rotation with the additions of Matt Moore, Doug Fister, and Mike Minor this winter, filling multiple holes in its rotation rather than making a big splash for an ace.
- The signings of Joe Smith and Hector Rondon may end up being the Astros’ biggest moves of the offseason, though MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart feels the team could still add another starter or a left field candidate. It isn’t out of the question that Houston makes a big play for Archer or the Marlins’ Christian Yelich, especially if the team could do so without moving either of Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley, McTaggart feels.