Some rumblings from around the AL West…
- Veteran righty Kevin Jepsen has allowed only one run over 9 1/3 Spring Training innings, making him a strong bet to win a spot on the Rangers’ Opening Day roster, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes. Jepsen didn’t pitch in the majors in 2017 after a terrible spring camp with the Diamondbacks that led to a temporary absence from the game, as Jepsen took a couple of months to rehab a dead arm. Once he felt healthy, he caught on with the Nationals on a minor league deal, though the biggest step in his turn-around came after a tip from catcher Spencer Kieboom allowed Jepsen to regain some of his old velocity. Jepsen was a very effective reliever as recently as 2015, so Texas may have found a much-needed bullpen reinforcement for the cost of a minor league contract.
- The Mariners thought so highly of Emilio Pagan as both a player and a person that GM Jerry Dipoto described the swap that sent Pagan and minor leaguer Alexander Campos to the Athletics for Ryon Healy as “probably the most painful trade we’ve made,” Dipoto tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. “In a group that’s not unused to changing bodies, a lot of guys were crushed we traded Emilio. He’s an unbelievable guy, a tremendous human being, he does all the right things,” Dipoto said. Pagan made his MLB debut in 2017 and immediately became a key cog in Seattle’s bullpen, posting a 3.22 ERA over 50 1/3 innings and recording 56 strikeouts against just eight walks. Pagan has continued to hone his game this spring, telling Slusser that he has increased usage of his changeup and also been throwing more inside fastballs to hitters.
- Contrary to some reports out of Mexico, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports (Twitter link) that the Astros aren’t signing Jose Bautista. Given the Astros’ loaded roster, there wouldn’t have seemed to be much of a spot for the veteran slugger, particularly since he is coming off a sub-replacement level season in 2017. There hasn’t been much in the way of concrete news about Bautista this winter, though the former Blue Jays slugger recently said he was still trying to find the best fit for he and his family amidst multiple Major League offers.