MLB Trade Rumors » » Texas Rangers 2017-10-22T03:08:50Z Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jon Daniels Uninterested In Leaving Rangers]]> 2017-10-22T03:08:50Z 2017-10-22T03:08:50Z
  • Rangers general manager Jon Daniels will enter a contract year in 2018, but he told Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram and other reporters on Friday that he has “no desire to go anywhere.” Daniels’ hope is to land an extension, though neither he nor members of the Rangers’ ownership group commented on whether a new deal is in the works. The 40-year-old has been in his post since October 2005, making him the second-longest tenured GM in the game behind the Yankees’ Brian Cashman, and has helped construct five playoff teams and two pennant winners (2010 and ’11). The 2017 season wasn’t a success for the Daniels-led Rangers, however, as they finished 78-84. Daniels is still optimistic, though, saying: “This was not a fun year, just the variety of things that we dealt with, but what it illuminated was getting back to the things that are fun. Being creative, finding new ways to compete, finding different competitive advantages, circling the wagons and building with our people.”
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Daniels: Roster Will Be Built Around Beltre]]> 2017-10-19T05:07:27Z 2017-10-19T04:58:41Z
  • The Rangers dealt away veterans at the 2017 trade deadline, but still don’t appear interested in a full-blown sell-off. Most notably, the team held veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre, who is entering the final season of his contract. GM Jon Daniels says that the club “will be designed with Adrian as our third baseman,” as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News was among those to tweet. The Rangers’ head baseball decisionmaker suggested that Beltre and the organization have come to an understanding about the immediate direction, though he also noted that it’s at least theoretically possible the path could change. Beltre again battled through health problems to post an outstanding .312/.383/.532 slash. While he’s owed a hefty $18MM, the contract would still hold quite a lot of appeal to other organizations given Beltre’s sustained excellence. Still, it seems the Rangers will be looking to build around him rather than making a deal, though it remains unclear what kind of capacity the team has for veteran acquisitions.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Darvish Defends Brocail, Holman]]> 2017-10-18T02:11:25Z 2017-10-18T02:11:25Z
  • Dodgers righty Yu Darvish reached out to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News with an unprompted message to praise Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail and recently fired bullpen coach Brad Holman. As Grant notes, Darvish’s recent improvements and changed mechanics have led to criticism for his coaches with the Rangers. “…There should be no criticism of Doug Brocail or Brad Holman,” said Darvish. “They are both very good coaches without a doubt. They are also great people. I’m not the kind of person who lies, so please trust me when I say this.” Darvish goes on to explain some of the alterations that he’s made since changing teams and eventually comes back to the point that there’s “no major difference in coaching or philosophy” that has led to his rebound following his trade to Los Angeles.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Reportedly Inform Mike Napoli His Option Will Be Declined]]> 2017-10-17T21:53:59Z 2017-10-17T21:50:10Z The Rangers have informed first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli that his $11MM club option for the 2018 season will not be exercised, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. He’ll instead take home a $2.5MM buyout, bringing his total earnings in his third stint with the Rangers to $8.5MM. Napoli will be a free agent once the option is formally declined.

    Mike Napoli | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Napoli, 36 on Halloween, swatted 29 homers in his return to Arlington this season but saw his batting average check in south of the Mendoza Line and his OBP land in the upper .200s. Overall, the benefit of his considerable power (.235 ISO) was counteracted by a .193/.285/.428 batting line and below-average baserunning. Both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference pegged him slightly worse than replacement level. Napoli struck out at a career-worst 33.6 percent clip and also popped up at a career-high 15.6 percent pace. A troublesome 38.1 percent of his trips to the plate resulted in a punchout or an infield fly.

    Of course, Napoli is just a season removed from a very solid .239/.335/.465 batting line and 34 homers for the American League champion Indians. Both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating felt that he was about a run above average in nearly 800 innings at first base — the fourth time in the past five seasons that he’s ranked above average by both measures. While it’s difficult to envision Napoli securing another job as a team’s primary first baseman in free agency this offseason, his generally excellent clubhouse reputation, well-above average power and track record of mashing left-handed pitching should result in plenty of interest among contending clubs looking to utilize him in a more limited capacity.

    As for the Rangers, they’ll have the option of using Joey Gallo at first base in 2018 or pursuing one of the many free-agent sluggers at first base. Eric Hosmer, Logan Morrison, Carlos Santana, Lucas Duda, Yonder Alonso and old friend Mitch Moreland are among those joining Napoli on the open market this winter. Should the Rangers bring in one of those options, Gallo could return to the corner outfield, see some time at DH and occasionally spell future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre at third base.

    Alternatively, the Rangers have one of the game’s top-regarded first base prospects, Ronald Guzman, on the precipice of MLB readiness. The 22-year-old Guzman spent the 2017 season with Triple-A Round Rock, where he batted .298/.372/.434 with a dozen homers, 22 doubles and an 85-to-47 K/BB ratio in 527 plate appearances. Texas could opt to merely pursue a stopgap option to split the first base/corner outfield workload with Gallo until Guzman forces his way onto the big league roster.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Could Have Interest In Mikolas Reunion]]> 2017-10-11T13:59:45Z 2017-10-11T00:06:37Z
  • The Rangers could have interest in right-hander Miles Mikolas as he eyes a return to the Majors after a strong three-year run in Japan, writes T.R. Sullivan of (We noted at MLBTR last week that Mikolas was aiming for an MLB comeback.) Limiting walks is high on the Rangers’ wishlist in terms of offseason pitching targets, and Mikolas excelled in that area over his three-year career with the Yomiuri Giants, Sullivan points out. He also notes that the Rangers have had success on the Japanese market in the past under GM Jon Daniels, getting value out of signings such as Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish and Tony Barnette. Obviously, a pursuit of Mikolas would more closely resemble the modest contracts given to Lewis and Barnette than the massive financial commitment that the Rangers spent to acquire Darvish, but Sullivan notes that Texas is likely to explore as many avenues to rotation upgrades as possible this winter. Mikolas’ most recent stint in the Majors came with the Rangers back in 2014.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Outright Gosselin, Espino, Middlebrooks, Hoying]]> 2017-10-10T21:47:12Z 2017-10-10T21:47:12Z The Rangers announced on Tuesday that infielders Phil Gosselin and Will Middlebrooks, right-hander Paolo Espino and outfielder Jared Hoying have cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Round Rock. Both Gosselin and Middlebrooks have rejected the assignment in favor of free agency, per the team. The Rangers’ 40-man roster is now at 36 players, though two of those vacancies are presumably ticketed for right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez and infielder Hanser Alberto, each of whom is on the 60-day disabled list.

    Texas claimed Gosselin, 29, off waivers from the Pirates back in August, though he only appeared in 12 games and logged eight plate appearances. Gosselin struggled between both organizations this season, but he did hit .288/.340/.411 in 358 plate appearances at the MLB level from 2015-16.

    Middlebrooks, meanwhile, took 39 plate appearances over the course of 22 games and hit just .211/.321/.368. He did post a .258/.327/.529 batting line and club 23 homers over the life of 342 PAs with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate. It’s been quite some time since the now-29-year-old Middlebrooks looked like a possible rising star, but he’s displayed quality power numbers in the minors in each of the past two seasons and should land another minors pact this winter.

    The 30-year-old Espino made his MLB debut this season with the Brewers but logged a 6.00 ERA and a 20-to-10 K/BB ratio in 24 innings. A veteran of 11 minor league seasons, Espino has a 3.76 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 across 505 1/3 career innings in Triple-A.

    As for Hoying, the 28-year-old has been up and down with Texas over the past two years, hitting a combined .220/.262/.288 in 126 plate appearances. He’s a career .254/.308/.465 hitter in parts of five Triple-A seasons.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Rotation, Claudio]]> 2017-10-10T20:19:09Z 2017-10-10T15:21:15Z
  • Another organization that figures to focus on pitching this winter, the Rangers, need to add volume to fill out their rotation, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reasons. The club likely won’t have the cash needed to add impact arms and needs to account for many spots on its rotation depth chart, beyond the five pitchers that’ll start the year in the rotation. Grant’s discussion drives home the challenge facing the Texas front office and the many moving parts involved.
  • Meanwhile, the Rangers have authorized southpaw Alex Claudio to play in the Puerto Rican winter league despite his heavy usage this year, as Gerry Fraley of the Morning News writes. Claudio has now established himself as a quality late-inning piece after turning in 82 2/3 frames of 2.50 ERA ball, with just 6.1 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 but a dominating 66.7% groundball rate on the year. While GM Jon Daniels says the club was inclined initially to protect Claudio, he notes that the reliever has succeeded based upon a routine that has long included winter ball stints. This year, moreover, the devastation of Hurricane Maria has pushed back and shortened the schedule.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Considering Qualifying Offer For Andrew Cashner]]> 2017-10-06T14:33:13Z 2017-10-06T14:33:13Z
  • The Rangers are considering issuing a qualifying offer to Andrew Cashner.  This would ensure that Texas received some draft pick compensation if Cashner rejected the QO, though given the Rangers’ need for pitching, they could welcome the chance to bring back Cashner on a one-year deal.  Still, since the QO carries a hefty cost of $18.1MM, it is still a little surprising that Texas is considering issuing one to Cashner, who is a decent candidate to accept.  MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently covered Cashner’s interesting offseason case in a Free Agent Stock Watch piece, outlining the many pros and cons suitors face in weighing a Cashner this winter.

  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Offseason, Otani, Bush]]> 2017-10-06T01:21:08Z 2017-10-06T01:21:08Z Rangers general manager Jon Daniels didn’t mince words in telling reporters that he has no plans to embark on a rebuild, as T.R. Sullivan of and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram write. “This is not a rebuild,” Daniels told reporters. “We expect to win. We are always going to have that mindset.” Texas will face an uphill challenge in filling out a rotation that, at present, has only Cole Hamels and Martin Perez locked into spots. Daniels acknowledged that the Rangers “are going to have to remake half the staff,” and as Sullivan notes, that applies to the bullpen as well, where Keone Kela, Matt Bush, Alex Claudio and Jake Diekman look like the only set-in-stone options. Per Wilson, Daniels suggested that team payroll will be more in the $155MM range at which it sat in 2016 than this past season’s $165MM territory. While the Rangers may not pursue a closer, they’ll look to bring in at least one veteran bullpen arm.

    A bit more on the Rangers…

    • Daniels was also candid about the fact that his team will be firmly in the mix for Japanese star Shohei Otani if he is posted for MLB clubs to bid on this winter. “We are not hiding anything,” the GM said. “If the Fighters ultimately post Ohtani, you are going to have 30 interested clubs, of which we’ll be right there with them.” Of course, as Daniels points out, competition for Otani would be immense. International spending restrictions would largely level the playing field to acquire his services, making it difficult to predict any type of favorite for the young ace/slugger.
    • Sullivan also writes that the Rangers are once again internally mulling the possibility of moving right-hander Matt Bush into the rotation. Texas discussed the move last offseason as well but ultimately elected to leave Bush in a role with which he was familiar. Daniels tells reporters that Bush has expressed interest to the team in working out of the rotation, which bodes well for the potential transition. “If it’s the player who initiated and wants to put the work in, I think you’ve seen success,” Daniels explains (possibly in a nod to C.J. Wilson). “When it’s players who are in between, probably best to leave him in the role he is in.” Sullivan runs down six prior cases of the Rangers moving a reliever to the rotation, including Wilson, and examines their success rates.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Release Prince Fielder]]> 2017-10-05T02:02:17Z 2017-10-05T02:00:05Z 9:00pm: Texas has indeed negotiated a deal with the insurance company, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Per Grant, the agreement is believed to defer the payment of policy benefits but otherwise leave them intact.

    12:12pm: The Rangers announced that they have released first baseman Prince Fielder. With the move, the club will be able to utilize a 40-man roster spot that had previously been tied up owing to financial considerations.

    Fielder had previously announced that he would no longer play after undergoing neck fusion surgery late in the 2016 season. But the veteran slugger did not formally retire at that time, as he is still entitled to earn $24MM per season through 2020 under the massive free-agent deal he signed back in 2012 with the Tigers.

    Of course, a big chunk of that salary was being paid by the Tigers and, since the surgery, an insurer. Cutting Fielder loose would have opened a roster spot, but also would have meant sacrificing the right to collect an estimated $9MM annually.

    Details on the move aren’t yet clear, but it’s hard to imagine the Rangers have simply decided not to worry about the $27MM they could still collect in insurance proceeds. It seems more reasonable to expect that the move was made after some sort of settlement was reached — though that’s still speculative at this point.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Pick Up Jeff Banister’s 2019 Option]]> 2017-10-04T17:34:37Z 2017-10-04T17:02:59Z The Rangers announced that they have exercised their club option over manager Jeff Banister for the 2019 season. He was already under contract for next season.

    Banister originally signed in advance of the 2015 season. He had agreed to a deal last winter in which the club picked up an original 2018 option and added a new option for the following season. This time around, it seems, no new option year was tacked on at the end. Nonetheless, he’ll head into the 2018 campaign with more job security as he looks to get the Rangers back to the postseason after coming up short in a 78-84 season in 2017 — the first losing season in his three-year tenure in Arlington.

    Overall, Banister’s Rangers have performed well since he took the helm three years ago. The 53-year-old Banister helped Texas to an 88-74 record in his first season as a Major League manager, winning 2015 American League Manager of the Year honors in the process. The 2016 Rangers took another step forward with a 95-67 mark, capturing their second AL West crown in as many years under Banister. All told, Texas is 261-225 under his watch.

    While the majority of Banister’s coaching staff will remain intact, the Rangers did shuffle up the staff a bit; bullpen coach Brad Holman will not have his 2018 club option exercised and won’t return to the organization next season. He’ll be replaced by Rangers first base coach Hector Ortiz, who will serve as both bullpen coach and catching instructor next season. Texas, it seems, will be on the lookout for a new first base coach to join Banister’s staff in the coming weeks, as no replacement for Ortiz was announced. The Rangers did announce that pitching coach Doug Brocail, third base coach Tony Beasley, bench coach Steve Buechele, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce and assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore will all return to the team in 2018.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Won't Go Into Rebuilding Mode]]> 2017-10-03T01:05:13Z 2017-10-03T01:05:13Z
  • The Rangers just wrapped up a disappointing campaign, one that ended without a playoff berth for only the third time in the past eight years, but it’s not going to spur an offseason rebuild, according to T.R. Sullivan of Instead, the Rangers will do their best over the winter to return to contention in 2018. Sullivan writes that they’ll focus on bolstering their rotation via free agency and/or trades, perhaps add an outfielder, and decide where to put 41-home run corner infielder/outfielder Joey Gallo.
  • One thing the Rangers must do this offseason is trade infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News argues. Profar, 24, was once among the game’s premier prospects, but injuries and poor performance have defined his time in Texas. The switch-hitting Profar, who has batted an ugly .229/.309/.329 in 718 major league plate appearances, spent most of 2017 at the Triple-A level and was not one of the Rangers’ call-ups when rosters expanded in September. Further, Profar will be out of options next year, making it seem all the more likely that the Rangers will cut ties with him in the coming months.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Shohei Otani]]> 2017-10-02T04:21:03Z 2017-10-02T04:21:03Z
  • The Rangers seem like one of the four or five teams most likely to sign Otani, and possibly the favorite “if it comes down to the dollars available and a college-recruiting like pitch,” Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes as part of a reader chat.  Still, Grant doesn’t believe any team has more than a 15-18% chance of signing Otani, since any number of factors could influence his choice.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Shin-Soo Choo Could See Time At First Base In 2018]]> 2017-10-01T00:54:44Z 2017-10-01T00:54:44Z
  • Shin-Soo Choo has gotten some practice reps at first base this week and could end up as a part-time option there in 2018 for the Rangers, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. The Rangers are likely to cut ties with Mike Napoli after the season, which could open up first for Joey Gallo, but he’s probably better suited for the outfield, Wilson observes. Should Gallo take a spot in the grass, it might lead to some time at first for Choo, who has only served as an outfielder and a designated hitter since making his big league debut in 2005. Advanced defensive metrics have typically been bearish on Choo’s work in the field, though, and he’ll turn 36 next summer. First seems like a more logical place for him, then, though Wilson cautions that this experiment isn’t guaranteed to stretch into next season. Offensively, the lefty-swinging Choo has turned in another respectable year with 22 home runs, 12 stolen bases and a .261/.357/.423 line in 636 plate appearances.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers To Exercise Club Option On Martin Perez]]> 2017-09-30T01:09:04Z 2017-09-30T01:09:04Z The Rangers have already told Martin Perez that they will exercise their $6MM option on the left-hander’s services,’s T.R. Sullivan reports.  Teams have until five days after the World Series to decide on all contract options so nothing is official yet between Perez and the Rangers (we’ll have the news here on MLBTR when this move and other option decisions are finalized), though it was widely expected that Perez would be retained.  The Rangers would’ve had to pay $2.45MM in a buyout, so it was an easy call to spend the extra $3.55MM on Perez, who has delivered 3.8 fWAR and 377 2/3 innings over the last two seasons.  Texas also has club options on Perez for 2019 and 2020.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jason Grilli Not Planning To Retire]]> 2017-09-29T02:51:24Z 2017-09-29T02:51:24Z It’s been a rough season for Jason Grilli, but the 40-year-old veteran reliever tells’s T.R. Sullivan that he has no intention of retiring and hopes to pitch again in 2018 (Twitter link).

    Grilli opened the season in the Blue Jays’ bullpen following a very solid 2016 run in Toronto (after being traded there by the Braves). However, while he posted a 3.64 ERA and 12.4 K/9 in 42 innings with the Blue Jays last year, he limped out of the gates with a 6.97 ERA in his first 20 2/3 innings in 2017. Grilli served up a staggering nine home runs in that time, and the poor showing was enough for the Blue Jays to cut the cord; Grilli was designated for assignment on June 27 and traded to the Rangers less than a week later.

    While things have gone marginally better for Grilli over his 18 1/3 innings in Arlington — he’s averaged 11.8 K/9 there to 10.0 in Toronto and yielded a more manageable three homers — the bottom-line results still haven’t been promising. Grilli owns a 5.89 ERA since being traded, and he’s posted a stunningly low 17.3 percent ground-ball rate in Texas.

    For all of his struggles, Grilli is still averaging 10.85 K/9 this season and has posted an 11.5 percent swinging-strike rate that falls right in line with the league average among relievers. With a fastball that still averages nearly 93 mph, a healthy strikeout rate and 15 years of big league experience under his belt, Grilli should still draw some interest this offseason, though hey may still have to settle for a minor league deal and the opportunity to prove himself in Spring Training.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Adrian Beltre Discusses Future]]> 2017-09-28T14:32:55Z 2017-09-28T14:32:55Z Whether the Rangers decide to push for a playoff spot in 2018 or rebuild could determine third baseman Adrian Beltre’s future with the team, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. Beltre has a full no-trade clause, but he’d be open to waiving it in 2018 – the final year of his contract – if the Rangers don’t aim to contend next season. The 38-year-old future Hall of Famer will meet with general manager Jon Daniels to find out the franchise’s plans, though Grant suggests that the Rangers will indeed try to bounce back in 2018 (perhaps by signing Shohei Otani). “My choice is I don’t want to be anywhere else,” Beltre said. “They know what I want. I want us to have the best team we can have. Yes, I want to win.” While this was an injury-marred season for Beltre, his excellent production continued – he slashed .311/.382/.533 and accounted for 3.6 rWAR/3.1 fWAR in just 387 plate appearances.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Beltre, Gomez, Napoli, Barnette]]> 2017-09-27T20:50:31Z 2017-09-27T20:50:31Z Here’s the latest out of Globe Life Park…

    • Adrian Beltre has been shut down for the remainder of the season, manager Jeff Banister told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter links) and other media.  The star third baseman will finish the year with a superb .311/.382/.533 slash line and 17 homers, though calf and hamstring injuries limited Beltre to just 387 plate appearances and 93 games, his least amount of action since his 1998 rookie season.  Beltre turns 39 in April and is owed $18MM next season, though he still seems as dangerous as ever, provided these injuries don’t hint at future problems as Beltre continues to deft Father Time.
    • With the Rangers officially out of contention, veteran stars Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli are also unlikely to play again in 2017 as both are also nursing injuries.  Napoli’s $11MM club option for 2018 is very likely to be bought out (for $2.5MM) following a year that saw him hit 29 homers but deliver sub-replacement performance overall thanks to a .193/.285/.428 slash line.  Gomez was limited to 105 games due to injuries but still looks primed to land a multi-year contract in free agency on the strength of a solid campaign in Texas.
    • The Rangers hold a $4MM club option on Tony Barnette for 2018 and face a tough decision,’s T.R. Sullivan wrote yesterday.  Barnette struggled quite a bit early in the year before a DL stint and the correction of some mechanical flaws.  Entering play today, Barnette carried a 2.97 ERA and a 33-to-12 K/BB rate over his past 33 1/3 innings.  Of course, he also didn’t help his cause at all on Wednesday, serving up five earned runs, including a grand slam, in just one-third of an inning. Barnette’s contract contains a $250K buyout, so the Rangers have a one-year, $3.75MM choice on their hands when debating whether to retain him for the 2018 campaign.  Even after Wednesday’s meltdown, Barnette has a 4.01 FIP, though his season ERA ballooned from 4.74 to a dismal 5.49 following the five earned runs.
    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Andrew Cashner "Looking Forward" To Free Agency]]> 2017-09-25T03:26:57Z 2017-09-25T03:21:02Z
  • While Rangers right-hander Andrew Cashner told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and other reporters on Sunday that he’s open to re-signing with the team, an offseason trip to the open market looks inevitable. “It’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait,” said the free agent-to-be. “I might strike early. I think there will be some good offers soon. I’ll take what’s best for me and where I want to go.” The Rangers’ $10MM investment in Cashner last winter has paid off this season, but they still haven’t approached the 31-year-old about a new deal. That’s understandable on Texas’ part, as even though Cashner has logged a 3.44 ERA over 157 innings, he’s second last among qualified starters in K/9 (4.7) and third from the bottom in swinging-strike percentage (6.1).
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Have Had Past Interest In Lorenzo Cain]]> 2017-09-24T18:41:05Z 2017-09-24T18:41:05Z The Rangers could emerge as suitors for Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain if he reaches free agency in the offseason. Texas has “repeatedly” asked the Royals about Cain in the past, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Still, considering the Rangers have pressing rotation issues that will require offseason spending, Fraley casts doubt on them forking over big money for Cain. While Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez is also slated to hit the open market, they may have an in-house replacement lined up in Delino DeShields.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Banister, Calhoun]]> 2017-09-22T02:01:59Z 2017-09-22T01:19:35Z While it’s been a rough season for the Rangers, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes in this week’s AL Notes column that one source indicates to him that manager Jeff Banister is “100 percent” coming back. The third-year skipper could potentially turn in his third straight winning the season, but the Rangers’ 76 losses already guarantee that the 2017 season will be the team’s worst with Banister at the helm.

    • Heyman also reports that top Rangers prospect — the centerpiece of their return for Yu Darvish — has hired Scott Boras to represent him. The 22-year-old Calhoun raised his profile as one of the best offensive prospects in the minors this season, hitting a combined .300/.355/.572 with 31 homers, 27 doubles and six triples between the Triple-A affiliates for the Rangers and Dodgers. While Calhoun is obviously quite a ways from reaching arbitration, the move is of some note, given that Boras clients typically forgo early-career extensions. Calhoun’s agency switch will be noted in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which features representation info on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players. If you see any notable errors or omissions, you can let us know via email:
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Delino DeShields Could Be Earning 2018 Starting Job]]> 2017-09-17T16:54:46Z 2017-09-17T16:54:46Z Rockies outfielder/first baseman Ian Desmond has shown troubling signings in the first season of a five-year, $70MM contract, Manny Randhawa of notes. Along with a .273/.319/.367 batting line that’s 35 percent worse than league average (per FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric), Desmond’s groundball rate and exit velocity have trended in the wrong direction. His 63.1 percent grounder mark is nearly 12 percent worse than his yearly average and ranks last among hitters with at least 300 PAs. At the same time, Desmond’s exit velo has dropped from 90.5 mph last season to 87.4 mph this year. But health issues have likely contributed to Desmond’s drop-off, as the soon-to-be 32-year-old has been on the disabled list three different times. Indeed, Desmond told Randhawa that the injuries – including the fractured left hand he suffered in spring training – have made it difficult for him to establish himself this season. Based on his track record, Desmond expects to return to form. “Line drives and hard contact. For me, that’s my game,” Desmond said. “I’ve got to utilize my speed, and I think there’s complete validity in hitting the ball in the air and launch angle and all that stuff, but at the same time, my swing and the results I’ve been able to produce over the years is plenty for me. And I think that game plays anywhere. The thing is just a matter of getting the swings off and timing.”

    More from the majors’ West divisions:

    • The Diamondbacks are pleased with the progress shortstop Ketel Marte has made in his first year with the organization, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Since the Diamondbacks acquired him from the Mariners last winter in a blockbuster trade that also included Jean Segura, Taijuan Walker and Mitch Haniger, Marte has made plate discipline and defensive improvements, Piecoro points out. The 23-year-old is running a 10.7 percent walk rate, up from 3.9 percent in 2016, and has hit a playable .271/.350/.409 in 206 plate appearances (compared to .259/.287/.323 in 466 PAs last season). And after receiving negative marks as a defender a year ago (minus-two defensive runs saved, minus-10.3 Ultimate Zone Rating), Marte has been respectable in the field for the D-backs (five DRS, 0.3 UZR). “He’s done a great job, especially given that we’re in a pennant chase,” general manager Mike Hazen told Piecoro. “He’s handled the position, locked it down after we lost both guys (Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings) to injury in the middle of the year.”
    • The bounce-back year Delino DeShields has enjoyed this season could put him in line for a starting spot in the Rangers’ outfield in 2018, per T.R. Sullivan of DeShields impressed as a Rule 5 pick in his rookie year, 2015, but plummeted to earth last season. He has returned in 2017 to bat a solid .280/.352/.383 with 28 stolen bases in 388 plate appearances. The Rangers have also been impressed with the speedster’s work in center filling in for the injured Carlos Gomez, with manager Jeff Banister saying: “It starts with ownership of playing center field. If you watch, I see things between pitches, he’s moving the left fielder over because he’s moving, or he’s moving the right fielder toward the foul line because of what he is seeing. It starts with that preparation. You are the leader, you are the quarterback.” With Gomez scheduled to hit free agency over the winter, DeShields could take over center for good next season.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:


    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Nunez, Nelson, Delgado, Kela, Capps, Rasmussen]]> 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z Red Sox utilityman Eduardo Nunez feels he has dodged a bullet with his right knee injury, as Evan Drellich of reports on Twitter. Nunez sprained his posterior cruciate ligament, but he says he anticipates returning before the year is up. That said, he’ll understandably also take his time to ensure he makes it back to full health. While Boston hasn’t yet nailed down a postseason spot, it is in excellent position and (at this point, at least) doesn’t seem in need of rushing back an important player.

    Here’s the latest on some other health issues from around the game:

    • The Brewers are still waiting to learn more on the status of key righty Jimmy Nelson, as Adam McCalvy of reports on Twitter. He received a second opinion on his shoulder injury today, though the outcome isn’t yet known. Nelson is expected to miss the rest of the season regardless, but the precise course of treatment hasn’t been determined.
    • Diamondbacks righty Randall Delgado is indeed dealing with a flexor strain, Jack Magruder of Fan Rag tweets. That initial diagnosis has now been confirmed; while that seemingly takes some worst-case scenarios out of play, he’s already slated to miss the remainder of the year. Delgado had thrown 62 2/3 frames of 3.59 ERA ball, posting 8.6 K/9 and an uncharacteristically low 2.0 BB/9, before going down. That should set him up for a decent raise on his $1.775MM salary for his final year of arbitration, though the price will still likely be low enough for Arizona to pick up the tab unless there’s real concern he won’t bounce back.
    • The Rangers announced that they’ve activated righty Keone Kela from the DL. The 24-year-old has been dealing with a shoulder injury, but could represent a nice boon to the club’s relief corps if he can get back in the swing of things late this year. Kela had pitched to a 2.36 ERA over 34 1/3 innings before hitting the DL.
    • Padres righty Carter Capps has been diagnosed with a blood clot, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports (Twitter links). He’s heading to the 60-day DL, ending his season and allowing the club to select the contract of Cory Mazzoni. The broader outlook for Capps isn’t clear. San Diego will have to decide whether to tender him a contract this winter. He hasn’t been all that inspiring thus far since returning from Tommy John surgery, allowing nine earned runs with a 7:2 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 innings while averaging just 93.2 mph with his fastball (over five mph off of his most recent readings from 2015). That said, Capps will likely command only around $1MM; the club could at least take him into camp and cut bait before that full amount is guaranteed if he can’t turn the corner.
    • Recent Rays draft pick Drew Rasmussen has undergone his second Tommy John procedure, Danny Moran of the Oregonian reports on Twitter. Rasmussen, an Oregon State hurler, went to Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in this summer’s draft but did not sign with the team. The Rays evidently found some reason to be concerned with the medicals from the talented youngster, who had returned from his first TJ procedure only months before the draft.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Release Tyson Ross]]> 2017-09-12T20:31:35Z 2017-09-12T20:15:00Z The Rangers announced Tuesday that they’ve released right-hander Tyson Ross in order to clear a spot on the roster for Willie Calhoun, whose previously reported promotion to the Majors has now been formally announced. The Rangers also activated Adrian Beltre from the 10-day DL, though Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that he’s not yet ready to play. Calhoun is in the Rangers lineup tonight, playing left field and batting seventh in his MLB debut.

    Ross, 30, was non-tendered by the Padres last offseason after shoulder troubles limited him to just one appearance in 2016. The right-hander spent much of the season attempting to rehab but was unable to get back to a big league mound after experiencing multiple setbacks. Ultimately, Ross was found to have the difficult-to-diagnosis thoracic outlet syndrome; he ultimately underwent surgery to alleviate the issue in October.

    Texas signed both Ross and Andrew Cashner to one-year deals this past offseason, hoping that the pair of former Padres teammates could eventually solidify the final two spots in a contending rotation behind the likes of Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and Martin Perez. Ross made his way back to the Majors early in the summer, right around the team’s projected timeline, but he’s looked like a shell of his former self through 49 innings in a Rangers uniform. In that time, Ross has more walks (37) than strikeouts (36), which has been the primary reason for his unsightly 7.71 earned run average.

    The struggles of Ross and injuries elsewhere on the roster led the Texas front office to make the difficult decision to trade Darvish with just seconds to go as the non-waiver trade deadline loomed on July 31. That trade netted the Rangers Calhoun (in addition to minor leaguers A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis), and Calhoun will now join a team that has somewhat improbably hung around the Wild Card race after trading away its ace back on July 31.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Calhoun Promotion Tightens 40-Man Picture In Offseason]]> 2017-09-12T16:30:48Z 2017-09-12T16:30:48Z
  • Promoting top prospect Willie Calhoun may not have been an easy call for the Rangers, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, as the team didn’t have to add him to the 40-man to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft this winter. And, as Grant points out, the Rangers will already be effectively operating with only 39 spots on their 40-man roster, as they’ll need to carry Prince Fielder throughout the offseason in order to place him back on the 60-day disabled list next spring and collect the insurance on his contract. Nonetheless, injuries to Adrian Beltre, Carlos Gomez, Rougned Odor and Mike Napoli as well — Grant tweets that he could be down for a bit after missing yesterday’s game with “lower body stiffness” — created a need for Calhoun. He’ll likely play left field, with Delino DeShields manning center while Gomez is down.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers To Promote Willie Calhoun]]> 2017-09-12T13:30:48Z 2017-09-12T04:44:34Z The Rangers have given notice to prospect Willie Calhoun that he will be called up, as his brother and girlfriend announced on Twitter and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirms in a tweet. Calhoun came to Texas as the headliner in the deadline blockbuster that sent ace Yu Darvish to the Dodgers.

    Calhoun, 22, entered the season as a top-100 prospect leaguewide and has steadily raised his stock throughout the year. He’s carrying a .300/.355/.572 batting line with 31 home runs over 534 plate appearances at Triple-A in his first attempt at the highest level of the minors. While he doesn’t draw all that many walks, Calhoun has struck out only 61 times all season.

    Predominantly a second baseman in the Los Angeles system, Calhoun has shifted to the outfield since arriving at Round Rock. It seems reasonably likely that he’ll line up there at the MLB level both now and into the future, though that’ll be determined by his play on the field.

    It’s not immediately clear how Calhoun will be used over the next couple of weeks, but he could provide instant offense with his potent left-handed bat. As Grant explains, the Rangers have recently lots several key players to injury. While there’s plenty of depth around with rosters having expanded, none of the team’s fill-in options possess Calhoun’s potential as a hitter.

    Despite selling at the deadline, the Rangers have held on in a messy race race for the second AL Wild Card that still features seven clubs (including Texas) within three and a half games of the berth. Beyond the need to create room on the 40-man roster, there’s little downside to calling upon Calhoun, who likely would’ve forced his way into the MLB picture in 2018 regardless.

    At this stage of the season, of course, the youngster won’t have much opportunity to build up MLB service time (just 18 days, in fact). But he could well find himself in a position to force his way into the team’s plans for early next season — and might well be a strong possibility to appear on a postseason roster if the Rangers can sneak in.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Free Agents That Have Boosted Their Stock On One-Year Deals]]> 2017-09-12T15:20:11Z 2017-09-11T17:19:10Z With the offseason looming, it’s easy to focus on the top free agents this winter will have to offer. We at MLBTR reinforce that line of thinking with monthly Free Agent Power Rankings that profile the top names slated to hit the open market and ranking them in terms of earning power.

    Settling for a one-year contract isn’t an ideal route for most free agents, but that doesn’t mean that those (relative) bargain pickups can’t bring significant on-field impact to the teams with which they sign. While none of the players on this list received all that much fanfare when signing, they’ve all provided some notable benefit to the teams that made these commitments:

    • Kurt Suzuki, $1.5MM, Braves: Suzuki languished in free agency for several months as players like Jason Castro, Matt Wieters and Welington Castillo all generated more attention from teams and fans. However, it might be Suzuki that has provided the most bang for buck on last winter’s catching market. The 33-year-old has had a surprising career year in Atlanta, hitting .266/.344/.507 with 15 homers to date. Some have been quick to suggest that Atlanta’s new homer-happy stadium has benefited Suzuki, and while that may be true to an extent, he’s hit for more power on the road than at home. He’s put himself in position for a possible two-year deal this winter, but if he has to settle for one yet again, it should come at a higher rate.
    • Adam Lind, $1.5MM, Nationals: An awful 2016 season and an overcrowded market for corner bats created some questions about whether Lind would have to settle for a minor league contract late last winter. He ultimately secured a guaranteed deal, but it came with just a $1MM base and a $500K buyout of a mutual option. For that meager commitment, he’s given the Nats 267 plate appearances with a .297/.352/.490 slash to go along with 11 homers. Like Suzuki, that might not land him a starting role, but it could land him multiple years as a complementary bench piece.
    • Chris Iannetta, $1.5MM, Diamondbacks: Iannetta has not only rediscovered his power stroke in 2017 — he’s made it better than ever. The 34-year-old’s .249 ISO is a career best, and he’s slugged 14 homers. While that’s still four shy of his career-best with the 2008 Rockies, Iannetta’s 14 big flies this year have come in just 272 PAs, whereas he needed 407 to reach 18 back in ’08. He’s also bounced back from a down year in the framing department and been above average in that regard, per Baseball Prospectus.
    • Jhoulys Chacin and Clayton Richard, $1.75MM each, Padres: The Friars signed four starters for $3MM or less last winter — Jered Weaver and Trevor Cahill being the others — and have received a combined 345 innings out of this pair. Chacin’s run-prevention (4.06 ERA) and strikeout rate (7.44 K/9) have been better, while Richard has 13 more innings (179 total), superior control (2.6 BB/9) and superior ground-ball tendencies (59.1 percent). Neither is going to be mistaken for much more than a back-of-the-rotation stabilizer, but both have done enough to garner larger commitments on the upcoming open market.
    • Brian Duensing, $2MM, Cubs: I doubt I was alone in being surprised to see Duensing, 34, land a Major League deal last winter on the heels of a lackluster season in the Orioles organization. Duensing, though, has quietly been outstanding for the Cubs. In 54 2/3 innings, he’s logged a career-high 9.05 K/9 rate with 2.30 BB/9 and a 47 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 2.63 ERA. He’s held lefties in check reasonably well, but the first time in his career he’s also striking out right-handed batters at a lofty rate. In fact, the .211/.276/.317 that righties have posted against him is actually weaker than the .256/.300/.388 slash to which he’s limited left-handed bats.
    • Matt Belisle, $2.05MM, Twins: Belisle’s inclusion is arguable; he’s posted a pedestrian 4.36 ERA with 8.55 K/9, 3.69 BB/9 and a 42.2 percent ground-ball rate. Those numbers are largely skewed by a putrid month of May, however. Since June 3, Belisle has a 2.25 ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning and improved control and ground-ball tendencies — all while stepping into higher and higher leverage roles. He’s now serving as the Twins’ closer and has a 1.54 ERA with a 29-to-5 K/BB ratio since July 1. He’ll be 38 next season, so the earning power here isn’t sky-high, but he’s probably earned a raise, barring a late collapse.
    • Logan Morrison, $2.5MM, Rays: Few players have benefited more from one-year, “pillow” contracts in  recent memory than Morrison, who has parlayed his $2.5MM deal into a .248/.355/.529 batting line and a 36-homer season campaign to date. Morrison only just turned 30 years old, so he’ll have age on his side this winter as well. A three- or four-year deal seems plausible for Morrison even with the diminished recent market for corner bats.
    • Alex Avila, $2.5MM, Tigers: Avila hasn’t been as excellent with the Cubs as he was with the Tigers, but he’s still among the league leaders in hard contact and exit velocity — both of which have beautifully complemented his always-terrific walk rate (15.9 percent in 2016). With 14 homers under his belt and a batting line that grades out roughly 25 percent better than the league average, per context-neutral metrics like OPS+ (124) and wRC+ (127), Avila could vie for a multi-year deal and/or a starting job this offseason.
    • Joe Smith, $3MM, Blue Jays: Smith’s K/9 has nearly doubled, from 6.92 in 2016 to 11.86 in 2017, and he’s posted a dramatically improved 1.82 BB/9 this year as well. Smith has also served up just three homers in 49 1/3 innings of work, and his 3.10 ERA, while solid, is actually representative of some poor fortune in the estimation of fielding-independent metrics (1.97 FIP, 2.35 xFIP, 2.34 SIERA). He’ll be 34 next year but should top that $3MM mark and could net the second multi-year free-agent deal of his career.
    • Andrew Cashner, $10MM, Rangers: MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently took a more in-depth look at Cashner, noting that his strong 3.19 ERA isn’t backed up by his K/BB numbers. Cashner’s complete lack of missed bats — he has the lowest swinging-strike rate and second-lowest K/9 rate of qualified MLB starters — is going to limit his earning power. But, he’s undeniably been better than he was in 2016, his velocity is comparable to last season and he’s limited hard contact quite well. A multi-year deal is certainly a possibility this offseason.
    • Carlos Gomez, $11.5MM, Rangers: Gomez’s production hasn’t reached the star levels it did in 2013-14, but he’s been a better performer at the plate this season. A spike in his OBP (from .298 to .337) is due largely to a massive increase in the number of pitches by which he’s been hit, which is less encouraging than if he’d upped his walk rate considerably. However, Gomez has also shown quite a bit more power in 2017 than he had in recent seasons (.208 ISO in ’17 vs. .153 in ’15-16 combined), and Defensive Runs Saved feels he’s improved in center field as well. Gomez won’t see the massive payday he looked to be on pace for after 2014, but he’s still young enough to notch a multi-year deal this winter.

    Notable exceptions: Neither Welington Castillo nor Greg Holland is included on this list, though both have provided good value to their new teams (Castillo in particular). While their contracts are often referred to as one-year deals with a player option, that type of contract is no more a one-year deal than Jason Heyward’s eight-year, $184MM deal with a third-year opt-out is a three-year deal. Both players were guaranteed the possibility to be under contract for two years, and those agreements are considered two-year deals for the purposes of this list.

    Jerry Blevins has also given the Mets terrific value on his one-year, $6.5MM deal, but the club option attached to that deal is a veritable lock to be exercised, so he’s unlikely to hit the free-agent market again following the season.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Matt Bush Returns; Keone Kela Not Yet Ready]]> 2017-09-10T23:50:57Z 2017-09-10T23:50:57Z
  • Matt Bush is back from the DL, but another Rangers reliever, Keone Kela, isn’t yet ready to return,’s T.R. Sullivan writes. Bush, who posted a 3.04 ERA, 10.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 10 saves over 47 1/3 innings before suffering a concussion and a sprained knee in an on-field collision last month, is likely to pitch high-leverage innings, according to manager Jeff Banister. Alex Claudio will likely continue to close, however. Kela has been out with a shoulder injury since early August. He is set to throw a bullpen session Monday. Kela has posted a 2.36 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and an outstanding 12.1 K/9 over 34 1/3 innings with the Rangers this season.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Rangers' International Prospect Market]]> 2017-09-10T18:50:23Z 2017-09-10T18:50:23Z The 2017-18 international market has only been open for a little over two months, but Baseball America’s Ben Badler already has a preview (available to BA subscribers) of 10 notable prospects who will be available in the 2018-19 int’l class, which opens next July 2.  Dominican shortstop Orelvis Martinez projects to have the largest bonus of this group, as the 15-year-old is expected to receive over $3MM from a team, with the Blue Jays reportedly favorites.  The Jays have been active on the international front in recent years, most notably landing star prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  Badler’s piece outlines which teams are connected to the other nine prospects, as well as details on the Rangers and Yankees potentially still lined up to sign well-regarded prospects in the current international class (or eyeing Shohei Otani this winter).

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Carlos Gomez Suffers High Ankle Sprain]]> 2017-09-09T23:40:50Z 2017-09-09T23:40:50Z
  • Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez could miss a fair amount of time after suffering a high ankle sprain Saturday against the Yankees, per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Gomez, who departed the game in the second inning after injuring his right ankle, was on crutches and in a walking boot afterward. A lengthy Gomez absence would be the second notable loss in recent weeks for a Texas offense that saw superstar third baseman Adrian Beltre go down with a hamstring strain Sept. 1. While he’s not nearly as impactful as Beltre, Gomez has still had a decent contract year (.251/.337/.459, 2.0 fWAR in 407 plate appearances) for a team that’s three games out of a wild-card spot.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Andrew Cashner Expects To Test Free Agency]]> 2017-09-09T19:51:43Z 2017-09-09T19:51:43Z
  • Impending free agent right-hander Andrew Cashner told Rosenthal that he hasn’t discussed a new deal with the Rangers and expects to test free agency in the offseason. Cashner also expressed confidence that his production this season should lead to plenty of interest on the open market. The 30-year-old owns an excellent 3.19 ERA and a solid 48.1 percent groundball rate through 146 2/3 innings, though he ranks second last among starters in strikeouts per nine innings (4.79) and third from the bottom in swinging-strike percentage (5.7). While Cashner has been a mixed bag this year, he had a worse 2016 between San Diego and Miami but still landed a $10MM guarantee in the offseason.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[AL Notes: Astros, Salazar, Profar, Travis]]> 2017-09-07T02:35:51Z 2017-09-07T02:13:29Z The Astros have reallocated resources away from traditional scouting roles to newer methods of assessing talent, most notably eliminating eight positions recently. It’s a move that could signal yet another stage of development in the now-ensconced analytical revolution, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic explores in detail through conversations with numerous key industry figures (subscription required and recommended). Houston is one of a few teams drawing back on the live-game player analysis of pro scouting. That said, per Rosenthal, other clubs have increased their staff sizes, making for a multitude of approaches around the game. The piece is essential reading for baseball fans.

    Here are some more notes from the American League:

    • Danny Salazar’s first start upon returning from the disabled list lasted just two-third of an inning and put his spot in the Indians’ postseason rotation in question, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Trevor Bauer, like staff aces Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, is pitching well right now, Hoynes observes, and right-handers Mike Clevinger and Josh Tomlin have also been throwing better (should a fourth starter be needed). Hoynes wonders if the Indians could again use Salazar as a bullpen piece in the playoffs, noting that the righty did at least display strong velocity in his otherwise ugly outing.
    • With the Rangers foregoing an opportunity to bring up Jurickson Profar this month, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News examines how the one-time uber prospect fell entirely out of the club’s plans. If Texas can’t even find a use for him with expanded rosters, it only stands to reason that the team will elect to move on over the winter — even if that means taking far less in return than once would have seemed reasonable. As Grant notes, that’s particularly true given that Profar will be out of options. Surely some other team will offer something to take a shot on a player who is still just 24 years of age and won’t command much of a raise on his $1.05MM arbitration salary. Notably, too, given his minimal MLB time this year — and the Rangers’ decision not to activate him in September — Profar will be controllable through arbitration for three more seasons.
    • While Devon Travis has mostly been excellent for the Blue Jays when healthy, he has also appeared in only 213 games over the past three years while dealing with a variety of injuries. That has led to some suggestions that he might be best off moving off of second base to the outfield, though GM Ross Atkins (via’s Gregor Chisholm, on Twitter) doesn’t sound wholly convinced of the idea. Atkins suggested some openness, but emphasized that it could be explored “more in the context of versatility” rather than that of improving durability. The GM made clear that he thinks Travis is most valuable as the team’s everyday second baseman and also stressed that there’s no real “research” showing that shifting onto the grass would really help keep Travis on the field.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Free Agent Stock Watch: Andrew Cashner]]> 2017-09-06T03:13:26Z 2017-09-06T01:40:58Z Andrew Cashner took a one-year, $10MM deal with the Rangers last winter — far shy of the kind of earning power that was anticipated a few years back, when Cashner seemed to be one of the better young pitchers in baseball. Still, that was a significant one-year payout and came with hopes for a bigger payday this winter.

    Aug 23, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Andrew Cashner (54) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY SportsCashner has certainly made good on the deal from the Rangers’ perspective, as he has turned in 139 2/3 innings of 3.29 ERA pitching over 23 starts. That’s a great return on the team’s investment, helping to balance out the miss on Cashner’s former Padres teammate, Tyson Ross, who also joined the Texas staff in hopes of a turnaround.

    Those superficial results, however, don’t tell us all we need to know about Cashner’s interesting upcoming foray into free agency. While it’s tempting simply to assume that the notably talented right-hander has finally found health and figured things out, organizations — including the Rangers — will be looking at quite a bit more information in valuing the rights to his future production.

    It’s hard not to raise an eyebrow at Cashner’s ugly K/BB numbers. He has recorded just 4.8 K/9 — second-lowest among all qualified starters — against 3.3 BB/9 on the year. He also sports a meager 5.7% swinging-strike rate that not only falls well below his career average but also ranks dead last among qualified starting pitchers.

    The hurler has continued to maintain solid ground-ball numbers, with a 48.4% rate thus far in 2017. And perhaps there’s some indication of contact management in the .267 batting average on balls in play to which he has limited opposing hitters; while that’s surely a sign that there Cashner has benefited from some good fortune, the 28.2 percent hard-hit rate he’s allowed is the eighth-lowest in MLB. Cashner has tamped down on the homers that hurt him last year (8.3% HR/FB, 0.77 HR/9), though again it’s tough to see that as a fully sustainable skill.

    Clearly, the underlying metrics paint quite a different picture than do the bottom-line results. Unsurprisingly, ERA estimators are not enthused with Cashner’s work this year. SIERA (5.41) and xFIP (5.16) have never before been this bearish on the right-hander, while FIP (4.42) only prefers his work this year to his more homer-prone 2016 (when he carried a 4.84 mark).

    Beyond the matters of present and projected talent, long-term durability remains something of a question given that Cashner has missed some time with arm issues in the past. He’ll turn 31 in a few days, so he isn’t old, but he’s also not particularly young for a free-agent pitcher. Notably, too, Cashner’s velocity has trended downward. This year, he’s sitting at 94 mph with his four-seamer and 92.9 mph with his sinker — around one full tick below the prior year in both cases (and yet further behind his peak levels).

    So, what might the market make of all this? It’s rather difficult to say, truthfully, since it’s hard to find pitchers with anything approaching this kind of profile. While bounceback hurlers such as Rich Hill and Scott Kazmir have scored three-year, $48MM contracts in recent years after returning from rough stretches, they did so after carrying good results and peripherals for one or more prior seasons.

    Frankly, it’s hard to see Cashner commanding that sort of AAV. That’s particularly true given the relatively robust slate of mid- and back-of-the-rotation hurlers lined up on the market behind the biggest names. Cashner will be competing with pitchers such as Jeremy Hellickson, Marco Estrada, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Jaime Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez, Tyler Chatwood, John Lackey, and a host of others.

    Cashner’s inability to generate swings and misses makes a qualifying offer (reportedly set to be worth about $18.1MM) seem unlikely. Hellickson, after all, had a more impressive overall body of work in 2016 but still accepted a $17.2MM QO from the Phillies. Texas may not really want to chance that outcome in the hopes of securing the now-reduced draft compensation that could be available if he declines and signs elsewhere. Or, perhaps, if both team and player enjoy the current arrangement, the sides could pursue a multi-year arrangement during the exclusive negotiating window. (That’s how the Blue Jays got Estrada to stay for two years and $26MM two years ago.)

    With or without compensation, Cashner seems more likely to receive offers in that $8MM to $12MM annual range, dependent upon the length of the term. We have seen quite a few solid but flawed arms land in that admittedly wide bucket — often scoring long-term commitments. Three-year pacts have gone to J.A. Happ ($36MM) and Ivan Nova ($26MM) — both of which have held up rather well thus far. Pitchers such as Ricky Nolasco and Brandon McCarthy have secured ~$12MM annually over four-year terms, though they had stronger free-agent cases based on their underlying metrics than Cashner. We’ve even seen some lower-AAV, longer-term deals, such as those landed by Phil Hughes (three years, $24MM) and Jason Vargas (four years, $32MM), which function as a reminder that the market can always create one-off contract scenarios.

    Perhaps the most interesting analogy, all things considered, comes from Yovani Gallardo’s recent trip into free agency. At the time, he was coming off of a year in which he put up 184 1/3 innings of 3.42 ERA pitching with a solid ground-ball rate but just 5.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. He was younger than Cashner by about a year, with a lengthier track record of performance and durability, though he also had shown a more significant velocity decrease before entering the market. Gallardo was initially able to secure a $35MM guarantee over three years, but he ultimately had to settle for a promise of $22MM with a third-year option after a shoulder issue came up in his physical. Hopefully, Cashner can avoid any medical complications; he may also not come with draft compensation, which surely impacted Gallardo (who didn’t sign until late February).

    While it’s hardly a perfect comp, the experience of Gallardo suggests there are some limits — but also that there’s real earning potential — for pitchers who have managed to post a solid ERA despite underwhelming peripheral indicators. Just how Cashner’s market will shape up is hard to guess at the moment, but he’ll be an interesting player to watch this winter.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Outright Anthony Bass]]> 2017-09-04T02:26:42Z 2017-09-04T02:25:48Z
  • The Rangers have outrighted right-hander Anthony Bass to Triple-A Round Rock, executive vice president of communications John Blake tweets. Texas designated Bass on Thursday when it acquired righty Miguel Gonzalez from the White Sox. Bass’ most recent extensive big league action came during a 64-inning campaign with the Rangers in 2015, when he pitched to a 4.50 ERA. He has made two appearances with the Rangers this season, but his work has otherwise come at Triple-A, where the 29-year-old has put up a 4.18 ERA with 10.39 K/9 and 3.35 BB/9 in 75 1/3 frames.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Designate Marinez, Rodriguez, Alvarez; Activate Jake Diekman]]> 2017-09-02T03:25:16Z 2017-09-01T23:40:14Z The Rangers have announced a series of moves today as the month of September begins. Texas designated righty Jhan Marinez and lefty Joely Rodriguez to open two 40-man roster spots. Texas has also designated lefty Dario Alvarez,’s T.R. Sullivan tweets.

    Those three hurlers are a few of the many that have cycled through the Texas pen this year, as the organization has scrambled to make up for injured and/or ineffective pitching. Marinez has produced mostly solid results in time with three organizations this year, though clearly teams view him as a fill-in asset. Rodriguez has allowed exactly 19 earned runs in 27 frames at both the MLB and Triple-A levels this year. And Alvarez actually managed to carry a 2.76 ERA over 16 1/3 MLB innings this year, but he was averaging 7.7 B/9 to go with 9.4 K/9.

    Leading the team’s September call-up list is lefty Jake Diekman, whose absence to date was one of the drivers of the bullpen churn. Diekman had missed the entire season after undergoing surgery just before camp to address inflammatory bowel disease. (You can and should read more about his journey here.) The Rangers can control the southpaw for one more season via arbitration; in all likelihood, he won’t command much of a raise on his current $2.55MM salary since he doesn’t have much time to accrue innings.

    Recently acquired righty Paolo Espino, infielder Will Middlebrooks, and catcher A.J. Jimenez have also been tabbed to join the MLB club.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Adrian Beltre Expected To Miss 4 Weeks With Hamstring Strain]]> 2017-09-01T22:01:03Z 2017-09-01T20:47:32Z Veteran Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is expected to miss at least four weeks of action after being diagnosed with a grade 2 hamstring strain, per an announcement from club executive VP of communications John Blake. With one month left in the regular season, it appears unlikely that Beltre will return in 2017 unless Texas can secure a postseason berth in his absence.

    That’s unfortunate news for the Rangers, who just picked up righty Miguel Gonzalez last night to help out down the stretch. While the Rangers are on the outside looking in right now, the team is still a plausible contender with four games to make up in the AL Wild Card race.

    Of course, even getting to the play-in game will be much tougher now with Beltre out. Advancing age — he’s already 38 — may well have impacted his ability to stay healthy, as Beltre has suited up for just eighty games this season. But it has not robbed him of his immense abilities on the field.

    Through 341 plate appearances in 2017, Beltre is slashing .315/.393/.553 — which translates to a 145 wRC+ that tops any of his prior full-season efforts since his monumental 2004 campaign. Beltre has launched 16 long balls on the year while walking more than ever (10.9%) and continuing to make plenty of contact (12.9% strikeout rate). He’s also still a well-above-average defender, even if metrics haven’t rated him as quite the premium gloveman that he has long been.

    Though he has been limited, Beltre is playing at a six-WAR pace, so he has arguably still earned the $18MM he’s owed this year. Texas will employ the future Hall-of-Famer for one more year at the same rate under the extension he signed last spring.

    In Beltre’s absence, the Rangers could turn to a number of different internal options. Breakout slugger Joey Gallo could man the hot corner. The club might also give some time to Will Middlebrooks, who’s coming up as part of the wave of September call-ups. One player that isn’t making an immediate appearance in the majors, though, is former top prospect Jurickson Profar; he, too, could see action at third, if and when he returns to the majors.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Miguel Gonzalez]]> 2017-09-01T03:17:09Z 2017-09-01T03:05:19Z The Rangers have struck a deal to add righty Miguel Gonzalez from the White Sox, as Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun first reported (Twitter link). Per the report, the Orioles were also attempting to bring back the veteran starter, but weren’t willing to meet the asking price. Infielder Ti’Quan Forbes will go to Chicago in return. The Rangers have designated righty Anthony Bass to open a roster spot.

    Aug 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (58) throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

    Though Texas isn’t exactly in prime position to snag a Wild Card berth — the team entered play today three games out and dropped its contest — it seems the club is at least interested in keeping that possibility open. Gonzalez will help bolster a rotation that no longer features Yu Darvish and has seen numerous other pitchers struggle. If they can crack the postseason, the Rangers will be able to utilize Gonzalez on their roster.

    The White Sox have been quite aggressive in moving veterans, and Gonzalez now becomes the latest to go. The 33-year-old has been a steady presence since coming to Chicago after a four-year run in Baltimore. He’s earning $5.9MM this year — about $1MM of which remains to be paid — and will be a free agent at season’s end.

    On the season, Gonzalez owns a 4.30 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 to go with a 38.1% groundball rate over 127 2/3 innings. He has been quite good since returning from a mid-summer DL stint, spinning 49 frames of 2.94 ERA ball — albeit still with just 35 strikeouts against 19 walks.

    Despite the underwhelming peripherals, Gonzalez has typically managed to limit hard contact and suppress batting average on balls in play; opposing hitters carry a .278 BABIP against him over his six-year career. He doesn’t work with much velocity, but mixes five pitches and has managed to post a lifetime 3.88 ERA over 843 MLB frames.

    Forbes only just turned 21 and was a second-round pick in 2014. But he has not really shown much yet as a professional. While playing mostly at third base this season, which he has split between the Class A and High-A levels, Forbes carries a meager .234/.281/.344 batting line with 11 home runs through 517 plate appearances.

    The 29-year-old Bass has seen action in six MLB campaigns, but was bombed in two appearances this year with Texas. He has pitched to a 4.17 ERA in 84 1/3 Triple-A innings, though, with 10.2 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Details On Failed Darvish Talks Between Rangers, Astros]]> 2017-08-31T17:40:07Z 2017-08-31T16:19:45Z
  • Prior to trading Yu Darvish to the Dodgers, the Rangers “made clear” that they were “completely willing” to trade Darvish to the Astros. The Rangers, according to Heyman, asked for top-tier prospects from their division rivals, however, before ultimately landing on a package comprised largely of high-ceiling players in A-ball. Houston offered currently suspended (PEDs) top prospect David Paulino in a deal, and the two sides apparently never got especially close to reaching an agreement.

  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Outrighted: Selsky, House, Scheppers]]> 2017-08-30T01:16:01Z 2017-08-30T01:16:01Z The following players have been outrighted, according to announcements from their respective teams:

    • Outfielder Steve Selsky will remain with the Red Sox organization after he cleared waivers. Unlike the other two players listed here, Selsky did not have the right to decline an assignment. He was designated recently to clear the way for the team’s acquisition of Rajai Davis. The 28-year-old was called up briefly to the majors but has mostly played at Triple-A Pawtucket this year, batting .215/.270/.360 with 11 home runs in 322 trips to the plate.
    • The Blue Jays will retain southpaw T.J. House after he accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A. He’ll instead be eligible to take free agency at season’s end. House, who’ll turn 28 in a month, appeared in two contests for Toronto but has spent most of the season at the highest level of the minors. In 130 2/3 frames at Buffalo, he owns a 4.27 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9.
    • Thirty-year-old righty Tanner Scheppers will also remain with the Rangers organization for the time being. He has seen only minimal MLB time this year, but has thrown 183 total frames at the game’s highest level over the past six years. Far and away his most effective season came back in 2013, when he put up 76 2/3 innings of 1.88 ERA ball. Over 46 1/3 frames at Triple-A in 2017, Scheppers carries a 5.05 ERA with 6.8 strikeouts, 2.7 walks, and 1.7 home runs per nine innings.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Have Reportedly Expressed Strongest Interest In Giancarlo Stanton]]> 2017-08-28T17:14:07Z 2017-08-28T17:14:07Z The Phillies, Cardinals and Rangers are among the teams that have reached out to the Marlins to express interest in slugger Giancarlo Stanton, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale cites a “high-ranking Marlins executive” in reporting that the Giants are the club that has expressed the most interest.

    Miami has surged back to within striking distance of an NL Wild Card spot (largely due to Stanton’s recent heroics), so Stanton won’t be changing hands until this offseason, at the earliest. However, despite the recent offensive spike — Stanton is hitting .356/.462/.925 with 29 homers in his past 47 games — there are still numerous obstacles to a potential Stanton swap. Stanton’s 13-year contract affords him full no-trade protection, and Nightengale adds that not one prospective trade partner has expressed a willingness to absorb the remaining 10 years and $295MM on Stanton’s contract beyond the 2017 season.

    Beyond that, the Giants’ minor league system is not very well regarded. Tyler Beede entered the year as the top pitching prospect in San Francisco’s minor league ranks, but he’s had a poor season in Triple-A this year (albeit in a very hitter friendly environment). He’s now likely to miss the final two months of the season with a groin injury. Fellow right-hander Joan Gregorio posted a 3.04 ERA in 74 Triple-A innings but carried some questionable secondary metrics and saw his season end in early July due to a PED suspension.

    On paper, the Giants make a fair amount of sense as a trading partner for Stanton. San Francisco, as a team, ranks dead last in the Majors with 101 home runs this season. Stanton alone has nearly half that number, while the 29th-ranked Padres have out-homered the Giants by 25. That lack of pop is all the more glaring at a time when home runs are being hit at a record pace throughout the league.

    More specifically, the Giants’ outfield has been the worst in baseball this year by measure of slugging percentage, OPS and fWAR. They rank 29th in on-base percentage, ISO and wRC+ as well. Incumbent right fielder Hunter Pence will turn 35 next April and has struggled to a career-worst .254/.306/.378 batting line through 431 plate appearances this season. Stanton would provide a thunderous jolt to any lineup he joined, but there’s very arguably no team that has a more acute need for his skill set than the Giants.

    As for the Phillies, there may not be a team in baseball that can better handle his contract from a financial standpoint. Philadelphia’s only long-term commitment at present is to Odubel Herrera, and they have a history of lofty payrolls when contending. The Cardinals have been rumored to be in the market for an impact bat to place in the middle of their lineup since June, and the Rangers have little certainty in their outfield mix beyond 2017.

    All of this, of course, is putting the cart before the horse. There’s no guarantee that the new Marlins ownership group will be in a rush to trade Stanton on the heels of the best season of his excellent young career. Doing so would come with massive public relations repercussions and could start the Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter-led ownership group out on the wrong foot with a fan base that has long harbored a potent distrust of previous owner Jeffrey Loria. That’s especially true when considering the fact that the Marlins would likely have to pay Stanton’s contract down to the point where an interested partner felt it carried enough surplus value not only to acquire Stanton but also to part with well-regarded young talent.

    The Marlins’ preference under new ownership, according to Nightengale, is to keep the payroll around $100MM, and Stanton’s salary will jump to $25MM next season. He’ll be paid $26MM in both 2019 and 2020, after which he can opt out of the remaining seven years of the deal. If he forgoes the opt-out, Stanton will be paid $29MM in 2021-22, $32MM in 2023-25, $29MM in 2026 and $25MM in 2027. Stanton’s contract also includes a $25MM option for the 2018 season, which comes with a $10MM buyout.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[After Trades, Rangers Changing Approach To Pitching Development]]> 2017-08-28T03:52:49Z 2017-08-28T01:24:08Z In light of the damage wrought by Tropical Storm Harvey, the Astros have released a statement about their plans for the coming week. The team, after playing the Angels in California this weekend, is currently scheduled to host the Rangers in Houston on Tuesday. However, the team now plans to fly to Dallas, and will provide an update on their schedule on Monday. It seems reasonable to speculate that the upcoming series will be moved to Arlington. “At this point, our focus is on the safety of our fans, our players and their families and our front office staff and their families,” says Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan. “As we continue to monitor the conditions, we have been in communication with Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers and will provide an update on Monday.” Obviously, these potential changes to the baseball calendar pale in importance to the continued dangers Harvey poses, and we at MLBTR send our thoughts to any readers currently dealing with the devastation of the storm.

    • A series of trades left the Rangers’ minor-league system light on starting pitching talent, so the organization has changed its priorities to accommodate their talent vacuum, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. While pushing for a World Series title, the Rangers dealt Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher and Jake Thompson (in the Cole Hamels deal), Luis Ortiz (in the Jonathan Lucroy trade) and Dillon Tate (for Carlos Beltran). In the wake of those departures, the team focused on their prospects’ fastball command and slowed down the pace at which they moved through the system. The team’s remaining top pitching prospect, Yohander Mendez, has exemplified those changes, as Grant points out — last year, Mendez went all the way from Class A+ High Desert to the Majors, mostly with fine results, probably thanks in part to an excellent changeup. This year, though, he’s spent the entire season with Double-A Frisco. “I was uncomfortable at first,” Mendez says. “I was not used to pitching like that. But I was falling in love with my secondary stuff and it hurt me. If I know my mechanics and could locate the fastball, it would make my secondary pitches better.”
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Paolo Espino, Designate Tanner Scheppers]]> 2017-08-26T23:21:44Z 2017-08-26T23:05:43Z The Rangers have acquired right-hander Paolo Espino from the Brewers for cash considerations and designated fellow righty Tanner Scheppers for assignment, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Espino will report to Triple-A with his new organization.

    The Brewers designated Espino on Wednesday after the 30-year-old had a difficult 17 2/3-inning major league debut with the club this season. Across six appearances and two starts, Espino logged a 6.11 ERA with 6.62 K/9 against 4.08 BB/9. He has been better this year at Triple-A (4.52 ERA, 8.68 K/9, 1.67 BB/9 in 75 2/3 frames) and has generally fared well at that level since ascending to it in 2010. He’s now in his fourth organization since the Indians chose him in the 10th round of the 2006 draft.

    Scheppers, also 30, is certainly the more proven major leaguer of the two, but his career has gone off the rails thanks in part to a spate of injuries over the past several seasons. At his best, the 2009 first-round pick was a key member of the Rangers’ bullpen in 2013, after which Texas attempted to turn him into a starter. The hard-throwing Scheppers took the ball for the Rangers to open the 2014 season, but he only totaled four starts in eight appearances that year and posted a 9.00 ERA in 23 innings. He hasn’t worked extensively in the majors since recording a 5.63 ERA and a 5.4 BB/9 in 38 1/3 relief innings in 2015. Scheppers’ struggles have continued this season with Triple-A Round Rock, where he has registered a 5.05 ERA despite passable strikeout and walk numbers (6.8 K/9 and 2.72 BB/9) through 46 1/3 frames.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Activate Carlos Gomez From 10-Day DL]]> 2017-08-26T17:12:18Z 2017-08-26T17:02:47Z
  • The Rangers activated Carlos Gomez from the 10-day DL.  The outfielder missed only the minimum amount of time after a cyst was removed from behind his right shoulder.  Gomez is enjoying a solid season in Texas, hitting .251/.339/.455 with 15 homers in 351 plate appearances.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Move Tyson Ross To Bullpen]]> 2017-08-25T18:03:17Z 2017-08-25T00:42:45Z The Rangers will move righty Tyson Ross into the bullpen, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Nick Martinez will take his spot in the rotation.

    Texas inked the 30-year-old Ross to a one-year, $6MM pact last winter after he was non-tendered by the Padres. The hope was that he and fellow former San Diego rotation mate Andrew Cashner would bounce back and help form a quality starting five.

    Though Cashner has overcome middling peripherals to provide 125 2/3 innings of 3.44 ERA ball, Ross has faltered. In ten starts since fully rehabbing from thoracic outlet surgery, he owns a 7.04 ERA with 35 strikeouts against 36 walks over just 46 frames.

    Ross’s struggles have been rather all-encompassing. He is averaging just 91.7 mph on his fastball after sitting around 94 for most of his career. Ross is generating swings and misses on just 6.2% of his pitches — nearly half his rate from the prior four seasons. And he has permitted more home runs and generated fewer groundballs than ever.

    With Texas still hanging in the AL Wild Card picture, the club will hope that Martinez can provide a boost. He, too, has struggled this year in the majors, carrying a 5.38 ERA with 2.24 homers per nine innings over his 80 1/3 frames thus far. He is sporting a 2.15 ERA at Triple-A, though that’s over a shorter sample and comes in spite of a less-than-inspiring combination of 5.5 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and a 43.1% groundball rate.

    Looking ahead a bit, Martinez will also aim to firm up his chances of taking a rotation spot entering 2018. Texas faces quite a few questions on its staff, with Cashner and Ross set to hit the open market and Yu Darvish already pitching with the Dodgers after being traded this summer. Martinez will join Martin Perez, A.J. Griffin, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx as potential options along with Cole Hamels, but that group doesn’t inspire much confidence at all based upon recent results.