In updating the Rangers’ pursuit of starters, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that there has recently been “more activity between” other teams and free agent right-hander Yu Darvish. However, having spent nearly all of his career in Texas, Darvish is waiting for the Rangers to court him more aggressively, Wilson suggests. The Rangers expect him to land better offers elsewhere, though, per two club officials who spoke with Wilson, who adds that they continue to view Alex Cobb more favorably than Lance Lynn when it comes to available second-tier starters. Regardless, a significant free agent investment doesn’t seem likely for the Rangers, general manager Jon Daniels indicated.
Regarding free agents in general and Texas’ reported interest in center fielder Lorenzo Cain, Daniels said: “We want to play Delino (DeShields) in center field. Obviously, Cain’s a very good player. I would figure that if we have another big expenditure it would be on the pitching side. I’ve said all along I think it’s unlikely either way.”
More on a couple other AL franchises:
- The Twins, who have been among Darvish’s pursuers this offseason, don’t have a “budget limitation” when it comes to addressing their rotation, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Falvey wouldn’t comment on any single player, but he did note that he sees “5-10 pitchers out there who could impact us.” Beyond the top available options, the Twins are also looking at “value adds that could help us,” Falvey revealed. Owner Jim Pohlad was willing to discuss Darvish, on the other hand, stating he’s “on board” with signing him. Pohlad added that he’s “as intrigued by [Darvish] as anybody and attracted to [signing him] as anybody” (via Bollinger).
- Although Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel is entering a contract year, he and the club have not discussed an extension. The 29-year-old Kimbrel is open to staying with the Sox for the long haul, though, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald relays. While Kimbrel has been an elite closer for most of his career, including during an otherworldly 2017 in which he logged a 1.43 ERA with 16.43 K/9 and 1.83 BB/9 over 69 innings, new manager Alex Cora may use him earlier in games this year if the situation calls for it. Kimbrel addressed that, saying: “There will definitely have to be a plan in place, and it’s going to come from both sides, mine and his side. I’m sure we’ll be able to talk something out and it’s going to be based off workload and things like that. It’s just the way the game is going.” Mastrodonato posits that fewer saves in 2018 could mean fewer dollars for Kimbrel on his next contract, though I’d argue that teams already know what he’s capable of in the ninth inning. Thriving in a slightly different role could make him all the more attractive as a free agent, then.
- A reunion with free agent left-hander Francisco Liriano is not high on the Twins’ list of priorities, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Liriano began his career in Minnesota and flourished at times as a starter with the club from 2005-12, but he’s now coming off a pair of less-than-stellar seasons in which he pitched for a combined three times (Pittsburgh, Toronto and Houston). After finishing last year as a reliever with the World Series-winning Astros, it’s unclear whether the 34-year-old will continue in that role or move back to the rotation with his next employer – which apparently won’t be the Twins.