Hanley Ramirez has a March 24 opt-out date in his minor league contract with the Indians, tweets Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal. They’ve been trying to get the veteran slugger as many at-bats as possible in a short period of time in order to make their best judgment on whether he can help the club. If Ramirez were to make the roster, he’d serve as a pure designated hitter, thus pushing Carlos Santana into regular first-base duty and moving Jake Bauers into the outfield with more regularity. Entering play Wednesday, Ramirez was 7-for-28 with a pair of doubles, a walk and five strikeouts through 29 official plate appearances thus far in Cactus League play (not including any work he’s received in minor league and intrasquad games).
Some additional chatter from the AL Central…
- Outfielder Eddie Rosario tells Dan Hayes of The Athletic that he’s open to signing a long-term deal with the Twins (subscription link). The interest is mutual, Hayes adds, though to this point there’s been no meaningful progress in talks. Rosario has solidified himself as a quality regular over the past two seasons, hitting a combined .289/.326/.493 with 51 homers, 64 doubles, four triples and 17 steals. He’ll earn $4.19MM in 2019 after reaching arbitration for the first time and won’t be a free agent until after the 2021 season. Rosario will play the upcoming season at age 27 and would’ve been eligible for free agency entering his age-30 season. Agreeing on how many free-agent years to buy out and placing an annual value on those seasons will be the main talking point in negotiations, as both the Twins and Rosario’s representatives have a pretty clear idea of what he can plausibly earn in his final two arbitration years.
- The loss of Michael Fulmer to Tommy John surgery has opened up a potential path to the Majors for Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull, writes Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Detroit skipper Ron Gardenhire has previously advocated for Turnbull as a viable rotation candidate, Fenech notes, and the 26-year-old righty could find himself vying with southpaw Daniel Norris for a rotation spot early in the season. The 2014 second-rounder made his MLB debut in 2018, and though he was tagged for 11 runs in 16 1/3 innings, Turnbull only yielded 17 hits and four walks to go along with 15 strikeouts. This spring, Turnbull has held opponents to three runs on 13 hits and a pair of walks with 15 strikeouts in 15 innings. The Tigers also have Matthew Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyson Ross and Matt Moore lined up for rotation jobs, and it’s possible that Norris (or perhaps Turnbull) opens the year in a multi-inning relief role.