The Rangers would be willing to pay down some of Shin-Soo Choo’s remaining salary in a trade, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports in his latest notes column. Heyman writes that the Rangers would do so “for the right take,” though it seems difficult to imagine the Rangers being especially picky in any Choo negotiations. While the 35-year-old is undeniably having a very nice season at the plate, hitting .277/.388/.468 with 13 homers, he’s also owed $52.86MM through the 2020 season — including about $10.86MM through season’s end in 2018. Choo, already largely limited to DH work, will be 38 by the time his current seven-year deal ends, and the last-place Rangers would presumably be happy to be free of a decent chunk of that onerous sum even if it meant taking on a negligible amount of talent in return.
A bit more out of Arlington…
- As third baseman Adrian Beltre draws trade interest in the twilight of his career, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explores how that career blossomed more quickly than anyone could’ve imagined. In an extensive look back at the venerable Beltre’s original promotion by the Dodgers, Grant notes that he was promoted during Tommy Lasorda’s brief run as the GM in Los Angeles. Lasorda candidly explains to Grant that he initially called Beltre up to “set a tone” despite some protest from others in the front office. Beltre collected a pair of hits in his big league debut, and the improbable promotion proved to be a permanent move, as the then-19-year-old prospect never returned to the minors. It’s a fun tale of a unique situation featuring some notable baseball characters and terrific quotes that is well worth a full read.
- Lefty Jake Diekman has recently boosted his trade stock, as Grant writes in a thorough examination of the veteran reliever. Diekman, who’s a pending free agent, has been throwing hard and getting both whiffs and grounders, but he’s also continuing to issue too many walks. Still, with a 2.96 ERA through 27 1/3 innings, he has shown he can get results (as he has in the past). Perhaps the most confounding aspect of his season is the fact that he has uncharacteristically struggled quite a bit against lefties, who own a .303/.452/.424 slash against him. Despite the questions, it’s not hard to imagine a fair bit of interest materializing from teams that want a power lefty but miss on other options or see particular appeal in Diekman’s reasonable salary ($2,172,500).
- Matt Moore’s shift to the bullpen was supposed to prompt a long-term rotation audition for lefty Yohander Mendez, but plans quickly changed in that regard. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters this week that Mendez was optioned to Triple-A as a disciplinary measure after violating team rules (link via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Wilson reports that Mendez and second baseman Rougned Odor were out for a night with some friends on the Royals while visiting Kansas City and the evening “got out of hand.” Police weren’t involved in the incident, Daniels emphasized. “Part of the development of where we are as a club is upholding a certain level of standards for veterans and young players alike,” Daniels said of the incident. “Part of the development process of young players is on the maturity side as well. I’d say that’s kind of where this one falls.” Manager Jeff Banister added that Mendez will now need to earn his way back to the big leagues.