MLB Trade Rumors » » Texas Rangers 2017-09-19T03:45:16Z 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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.

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    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.
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    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.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Grant: Profar's Future May Not Be With Rangers]]> 2017-08-24T02:12:32Z 2017-08-24T02:07:54Z
  • It’s looking more and more like Jurickson Profar’s future will be with a team other than the Rangers, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Profar was again passed over for a call-up when Texas placed Joey Gallo on the disabled list with a concussion, and he’s blocked all over the infield by the likes of Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre. Grant notes that Profar has only played shortstop on consecutive days in the Majors twice in his career, and he often sits against lefties in the bigs. One knock on him has been his lack of production as a right-handed hitter, Grant notes, but he’s hitting .404/.457/.649 against lefties in 109 plate appearances this season. Profar will be out of options entering next year, meaning the Rangers will either have to find a role for him or find a trade partner for him.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Pedro Gonzalez To Complete Jonathan Lucroy Trade]]> 2017-08-24T00:23:53Z 2017-08-24T00:17:52Z The Rangers announced that they’ve acquired minor league outfielder Pedro Gonzalez from the Rockies as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Jonathan Lucroy to Colorado.

    Gonzalez, 19, ranked as the Rockies’ No. 14 prospect per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen rated him as highly as fourth among Colorado farmhands on his updated summer ranking of Rockies prospects.

    Callis and Mayo note that Gonzalez has the type of power that scouts can dream on, noting that he has “considerable” bat speed and has grown three inches and added 15 pounds of muscle since signing as a 16-year-old. Longenhagen calls his upside “immense,” though he notes that strikeouts are an issue for the shortstop-turned-outfielder.’s report notes that while he has the present range for center field thanks to improved speed, he could be destined to play a corner in the bigs.

    Through 209 plate appearances, Gonzalez is batting an excellent .321/.388/.519 with three homers, 16 doubles and six triples against older competition. He’s swiped 11 bases in 17 tries on the season as well. He’ll report to the team’s short-season Class-A affiliate in the Northwest League, per the Rangers’ announcement.

    Gonzalez looks to be a nice add to the Rangers’ farm system, even if he’s a ways from the Majors and obviously won’t eliminate the sting of surrendering Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz and Ryan Cordell to acquire Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress in the first place.

    As for the Rockies, they have to be rather pleased with the way the trade has played out to date, as through his first 16 games in Colorado, Lucroy has slashed a resurgent .313/.443/.458. He’s yet to connect on his first Rockies homer, but he’s chipped in five doubles and a triple since joining his new club.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Place Joey Gallo On Concussion DL]]> 2017-08-22T23:01:03Z 2017-08-22T22:54:30Z
  • Joey Gallo has been placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list, the Rangers announced today. Gallo suffered a nondisplaced nasal fracture in a recent collision with teammate Matt Bush (who landed on the 10-day DL as a result) and has also been dealing with concussion-like symptoms. Texas had hoped that he could avoid the DL, but he’ll now be sidelined until at least next Tuesday as a result of today’s move. Gallo was on an otherworldly power binge at the time of his injury, having launched 10 homers in his past 18 games (73 plate appearances) in the month of August. Infielder Phil Gosselin is up from Triple-A Round Rock to take Gallo’s roster spot.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Sullivan On Gomez, Robinson]]> 2017-08-21T20:33:42Z 2017-08-21T20:33:42Z
  •’s T.R. Sullivan tackles a number of Rangers-related topics in his latest Rangers Inbox piece, ranging from the possibility of re-signing Carlos Gomez to the PTBNL in the Jonathan Lucroy trade with the Rockies and Jurickson Profar’s future in Texas. Of Gomez, Sullivan notes that before committing to another contract with Gomez, the Rangers first need to definitively determine a position for Joey Gallo. Sullivan also opines that the Rangers should commit left field to the fleet-footed Delino DeShields, though that would leave the team needing to effectively choose between Gomez and Drew Robinson. Per Sullivan, the Rangers view the 25-year-old Robinson “as a frontline talent,” though they’ve also been reluctant to hand starting roles to players without a veteran safety net. Robinson hit .268/.369/.494 with 11 homers and seven steals in Triple-A this year, but he’s batted .209/.382/.442 in 55 big league PAs. Robinson has never cracked Baseball America’s top 20 Rangers prospects and isn’t among Texas’ top 30 at at present, though certainly that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a quality MLB future ahead of him.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Rangers Place Carlos Gomez On 10-Day DL]]> 2017-08-19T21:21:17Z 2017-08-19T21:20:21Z The Rangers have announced that they’ve placed outfielder Carlos Gomez on the 10-day DL after having a cyst on his right shoulder excised. To take his place on the active roster, the Rangers have recalled infielder Phil Gosselin from Triple-A Round Rock. Gomez has not played since last Sunday, but the Rangers were hopeful until recently that a DL stint wouldn’t be necessary. Delino DeShields and Drew Robinson figure to continue to play center until Gomez returns. Here’s more from the West divisions.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diekman To Begin Rehab Assignment]]> 2017-08-16T22:45:38Z 2017-08-16T22:45:38Z
  • Left-hander Jake Diekman is getting closer to returning to the Rangers’ bullpen. Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that Diekman will begin a rehab assignment with the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate on Thursday, during which he’s slated to throw 15 pitches. The 30-year-old southpaw was a key piece of the Texas bullpen in 2015-16 after coming over from the Phillies alongside Cole Hamels, but he’s yet to pitch this season due to a trio of surgeries he’s undergone to combat ulcerative colitis.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/16/17]]> 2017-08-16T19:34:50Z 2017-08-16T19:34:50Z Here are some of the latest minor moves from around the game, courtesy of Baseball America’s Matt Eddy except where otherwise noted:

    • The Mariners outrighted right-hander Christian Bergman to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, per a club announcement. Bergman, 29, had the right to opt for free agency now or at the end of the season; given that he’s now listed on Tacoma’s roster, it seems he’ll wait and consider the latter option when the time comes. Bergman, 29, has thrown 51 1/3 innings on the year for Seattle, working to a 4.91 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • Outfielder Daniel Robertson will return to the Indians on a minors deal after being designated for assignment and then released, the club announced. The 31-year-old has appeared in each of the past four MLB campaigns — each time with a different team.  This year, he took 88 plate appearances for Cleveland, slashing .225/.287/.338. While it’s not clear whether Robertson will factor at the major league level again this year, the fleet-footed, high-contact 31-year-old could conceivably make for a useful bench piece once rosters expand in September.
    • The Diamondbacks have added right-handers Andury Acevedo and Louis Coleman on minors deals. Acevedo, who’ll soon turn 27, was intriguing enough to land a 40-man spot with the Cubs a few years back, but has yet to show any consistency on the mound in the upper minors. As for Coleman, who threw 48 innings of 4.69 ERA ball last year for the Dodgers, he’ll return to Arizona after briefly testing the open market. He has worked to a 2.05 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 over 57 innings this year in stints with the D-Backs’ and Reds’ top affiliates.
    • Heading to the Reds on a minors deal is slugging outfielder Adam Walker. He has bounced around via waiver claims and minor-league deals of late, seeing time in three organizations thus far in 2017. All told, he has compiled a tepid .185/.220/.410 batting line — with a dozen home runs but also 88 strikeouts against just ten walks — in his 241 plate appearances in the upper minors.
    • The White Sox released infielder Grant Green, who had previously seen brief action in the majors this year with the Nationals. On the season, Green owns an overall .232/.306/.300 slash over 245 plate appearances at the Triple-A level with those two organizations. The 29-year-old was once considered a notable possible contributor with the Athletics and Angels, but has managed only a .248/.283/.336 batting line in his 353 trips to the plate in the majors.
    • Six-year MLB veteran Collin Cowgill has been released by the Padres. Cowgill, 31, joined the organization on a minors deal over the winter, but never earned a crack at a return to the majors. He carries a .235/.297/.390 slash through 220 plate appearances
    • Finally, the Rangers have released lefty Bobby LaFromboise and righty Jaye Chapman. The former has made 27 MLB appearances and shown some intriguing numbers at times, but struggled last year at Triple-A with the Phillies and was sidelined for much of the current season. The 30-year-old Chapman, meanwhile, is looking to work back toward the majors for the first time since his lone stint back in 2012. But he was hit hard in his 36 2/3 innings at Triple-A Round Rock, with a 6.63 ERA and 6.9 K/9 against 5.2 BB/9.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Beltre On Rangers' Wild Card Pursuit]]> 2017-08-14T16:58:17Z 2017-08-14T16:55:26Z
  • Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spoke to Adrian Beltre about the Rangers’ Wild Card hopes even after trading Yu Darvish prior to the non-waiver deadline. “I think we were a little disappointed trading one of the best pitchers in the last five years,” said Beltre. “…It was a little gloomy, but we had a little talk. … In this clubhouse, we are still grinding and believe we can get back in this.”
  • The Rangers have reached a pivotal point in their schedule as they hope to position themselves for a Wild Card berth, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. With a four-game series against a depleted Tigers roster and three games against the rebuilding White Sox, the Rangers have a favorable slate of games on the horizon. Texas is currently just 3.5 games out of the American League’s second Wild Card spot and is coming off a series victory over the division-leading Astros this weekend. The majority of the American League still has some degree of Wild Card hope remaining, and the final two weeks of August figure to play a large role in what August moves (if any) fringe Wild Card clubs will make before month’s end.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Release Pete Kozma]]> 2017-08-13T17:31:20Z 2017-08-13T17:25:24Z The Rangers have released infielder Pete Kozma from his minor league contract, as per John Blake, the team’s executive VP of communications (Twitter link).  Texas designated Kozma for assignment and outrighted him off the 40-man roster in July.

    Kozma was claimed off waivers from the Yankees at the end of April, appearing in 28 games for Texas and playing around the diamond at all four infield positions.  For the season as a whole, Kozma has played in 39 games with the Rangers and Yankees but made only 51 plate appearances, largely serving as a late-game defensive sub or pinch-runner.  Kozma only has a .378 OPS for the year, continuing his career-long status as a light-hitting utility specialist.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Rangers Claim Phil Gosselin From Pirates]]> 2017-08-12T19:42:34Z 2017-08-12T19:16:20Z The Rangers have claimed utilityman Phil Gosselin from the Pirates and optioned him to Triple-A Round Rock. They’ve also outrighted infielder Tyler Smith to Round Rock.

    The Pirates acquired Gosselin in a minor trade this spring after the Diamondbacks designated him for assignment. Gosselin has split his time between Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis this season, batting just .150/.190/.175 in limited duty in the big leagues and .266/.304/.336 at Triple-A. He can be optioned, but he doesn’t really play shortstop, giving him somewhat limited utility as a bench piece, and the Pirates likely thought he was expendable with the addition of Sean Rodriguez last week. The 28-year-old Gosselin has shown a bit of offensive ability in parts of five seasons in the big leagues, batting .272/.320/.368.

    The Rangers claimed the 26-year-old Smith from the Mariners late last month. He’s hit  .237/.326/.342 at the Triple-A level this season and has mostly played shortstop. He collected three hits in brief big-league duty with Seattle earlier this year.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Don't Expect To Bring Back Yu Darvish]]> 2017-08-11T00:56:00Z 2017-08-11T00:56:00Z
  • The Rangers don’t expect to reunite with Yu Darvish in free agency, suggests Heyman, who adds that they decided a couple days before the non-waiver deadline that they were going to trade the ace. Texas ended up dealing Darvish to the Dodgers right before the clock ran out. The Astros were a rumored Darvish suitor leading up to then, but they didn’t make a real effort to land him, reports Heyman.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Claim Jhan Marinez]]> 2017-08-10T18:56:23Z 2017-08-10T18:56:23Z The Rangers have claimed righty Jhan Marinez off waivers from the Pirates, per an announcement from Texas. Marinez had been designated for assignment over the weekend.

    Marinez, 28, already moved from the Brewers to the Bucs this year after a previous trip through DFA limbo. He has seen extensive action in the majors over the past two seasons after sporadic time earlier in his career. All told, through 118 1/3 innings, Marinez carries a 3.50 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9.

    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[Knocking Down The Door: Acuña, Borucki, Calhoun, Crawford, Hoskins]]> 2017-08-09T17:28:17Z 2017-08-09T17:28:17Z “Knocking Down the Door” is a regular feature that identifies minor leaguers who are making a case for a big league promotion.

    Ronald Acuña, OF, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett) | Braves Depth Chart

    The Braves were non-contenders in 2016 when they surprisingly called up top prospect Dansby Swanson from Double-A and inserted him into the starting lineup. Out of playoff contention late in the season once again, would they do the same with the 19-year-old Acuña, considering how Swanson has mostly struggled in his first full MLB season?

    There is one notable difference between Swanson in 2016 and Acuña in 2017. Swanson was having a decent season in Double-A (.261/.342/.402 in 84 games) at the time of his call-up. Acuña has been absolutely tearing the cover off of the ball and seemingly getting better throughout the season during stints in High-A, Double-A and Triple-A. In 26 games since a July promotion to Gwinnett, the right-handed batter is slashing .347/.426/.574 with four homers, seven doubles, 13 walks and 22 strikeouts.

    While the Braves will likely explore a trade for one of their current outfielders this offseason in anticipation of Acuña’s arrival as an everyday player in 2018, they could work him into the mix late this season with three-to-four starts per week.

    Ryan Borucki, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire) | Blue Jays Depth Chart

    The 23-year-old lefty was pitching in High-A less than a month ago, so a promotion to the Major Leagues soon after probably seems unrealistic. However, the recent trade of Francisco Liriano and the fourth disabled list stint for Aaron Sanchez has left the team’s rotation so thin that journeyman Nick Tepesch is being added to the 40-man roster to start on Wednesday to replace another journeyman, Cesar Valdez, who was placed on the disabled list after allowing 12 earned runs over his past two starts.

    Meanwhile, Borucki has been outstanding since a promotion to Double-A, posting three consecutive seven-inning starts with a total of 18 strikeouts while allowing only one earned run, 11 hits and three walks in 21 innings. The former 15th-round pick, who idolized Mark Buehrle as a kid and is comparable in many ways, is already on the team’s 40-man roster and only at 119 innings on the season.

    Willie Calhoun, 2B/LF, Texas Rangers (Triple-A Round Rock) | Rangers Depth Chart

    In six games since the July 31st trade that sent him from the Dodgers to the Rangers for Yu Darvish, Calhoun is 7-for-25 with four homers, pushing his season total to 27. Not only can the lefty-swinging Calhoun hit for power—he also had 27 homers and 25 doubles in Double-A in 2016—he’s one of the toughest hitters to strike out in the Minors. Hitting 25+ homers in the upper minors is notable, but accomplishing that feat while striking out fewer than 100 times is extremely rare. The 22-year-old struck out 65 times while drawing 45 walks in 2016. He has 36 walks and only 50 strikeouts this season.

    The good thing about being traded to the American League is that Calhoun’s future position in the Major Leagues, whether it’s second base or the outfield, probably doesn’t have to be sorted out before he gets the call to the Majors. The kid can flat out rake. With Mike Napoli struggling—he’s 4 for his last 32 with 17 strikeouts— the Rangers could give Calhoun plenty of at-bats at the DH spot with an occasional look at second base or in left field.

    J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley) | Phillies Depth Chart 

    USATSI_9933826_154513410_lowresAfter an impressive stint in Double-A earned him an early-season promotion to Triple-A in 2016, Crawford appeared to be on the fast track to the Majors. Of course, only the “light-hitting” Freddy Galvis appeared to be standing in his way at the time. But in an unpredictable turn of events, Galvis went on a home run binge while the 21-year-old Crawford, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, struggled during his first taste of Triple-A. Since last July, Galvis has homered 24 times in 706 plate appearances while posting an OPS over .700.

    Crawford was never going to simply be handed the starting shortstop job, but any chance of a 2017 promotion was dwindling unless he forced himself back into the picture. His performance in July, and so far in August, probably fits that description. With an OPS over 1.000, 10 homers, six doubles, three triples, 21 walks and 27 strikeouts over that span, Crawford has earned a late-season look as the Phillies’ regular shortstop. Galvis, who will be a free agent after the 2018 season, has probably done enough over the past year to generate some offseason trade interest whether he plays regularly down the stretch or not.

    Rhys Hoskins, 1B/LF, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley) | Phillies Depth Chart

    With the Phillies committed to giving Tommy Joseph a full season to show what he can do as the team’s starting first baseman, it appeared that Hoskins, one of the most productive hitters in the Minors over the past three seasons, would probably have to wait until 2018 before getting a chance. But following the release of Michael Saunders, the trade of Howie Kendrick, and Aaron Altherr’s second trip to the disabled list, the Phillies’ outfield is looking thin enough that the 24-year-old Hoskins was given the green light to play left field for the first time in his professional career on Monday. He played there again on Tuesday.

    While a slight increase in defensive versatility could be a key to Hoskins arriving in the Majors this season, maybe as soon as this week, it’s hard to imagine him not being the starting first baseman in 2018. Joseph is having a below-average season for a first baseman (.741 OPS, 16 HR, 97 K) and is currently in a 1-for-22 slump. Hoskins still has to prove that he can hit MLB pitching, but his current .280/.383/.571 slash line with only 75 strikeouts is a pretty good indicator that he will do just that.

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shoulder Soreness Sends Kela To Disabled List]]> 2017-08-09T03:13:51Z 2017-08-09T03:11:22Z
  • The Rangers announced that right-hander Keone Kela has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 5, with soreness in his right shoulder. It’s an inopportune time for an injury for Kela, who could’ve been in line to see some save opportunities (and thus pad his arbitration earning power), as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News suggests. As Grant notes, there’s no timetable for his return — Kela will be reevaluated when the Rangers return from their current road trip — and manager Jeff Banister said it would be “a challenge” to get Kela a look in the closer’s role later this year.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Select Ricardo Rodriguez's Contract]]> 2017-08-09T02:59:03Z 2017-08-09T02:59:03Z
  • Right-hander Ricardo Rodriguez’s contract has been formally selected by the Rangers, per a team announcement. He’ll fill the 25-man roster spot of Keone Kela, who hit the DL today due to shoulder soreness. Soon to turn 25, Rodriguez will be making his MLB debut when he first takes the mound for the Rangers, who signed him as an international free agent out of Venezuela back in 2010. Rodriguez missed the 2016 season after Tommy John surgery but has returned strong in 2017. As Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper wrote back in late June, Rodriguez blitzed through a span of 15 perfect innings out of the bullpen earlier this year, prompting Texas to move him from Class-A Advanced to Double-A. Through 47 innings this year, Rodriguez has a ridiculous 1.34 ERA with 11.7 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 (albeit against much younger competition least back in Class-A).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Ernesto Frieri]]> 2017-08-08T22:00:30Z 2017-08-08T22:00:30Z The Rangers announced that they’ve traded right-hander Ernesto Frieri to the Mariners in exchange for cash. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times first reported the swap and adds that Frieri will help to round out a depleted bullpen in Triple-A Tacoma for the time being (Twitter links). He’s not on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is necessary.

    Frieri, 32, returned to the Majors in 2017 after sitting out the 2016 campaign entirely (outside of a stint in the Dominican Winter League). The former Angels closer drummed up some interest by pitching for his native Colombia in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. That showing helped Frieri to latch on with the Yankees on a minors pact, and he later signed with the Rangers after opting out of that pact with New York. He pitched seven innings out of the Texas ’pen, allowing four runs on six hits and six walks with five strikeouts.

    While those numbers aren’t pretty, Frieri has a strong 2.63 ERA with 11.2 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 27 1/3 Triple-A frames this year — including 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with an 8-to-3 K/BB ratio since last being sent to Triple-A by Texas. He’s mostly a depth option for now, it seems, but Frieri does have a solid overall track record in the Majors, even in spite of his lack of recent results.

    In 303 1/3 big league innings, he owns a 3.59 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. Frieri is an extreme fly-ball pitcher (career 26.4 percent ground-ball rate), though if he reaches the Majors, concerns surrounding that trait could be somewhat mitigated by the spacious dimensions of Seattle’s Safeco Field and an excellent Mariners outfield defense.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest Trade Suggests Rangers Will Pursue Shohei Otani]]> 2017-08-06T03:29:06Z 2017-08-06T03:27:27Z
  • The Rangers tipped their hand for the upcoming offseason when they traded minor league infielder Brallan Perez to the Orioles for $500K in international spending rights on Saturday, opines Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. To Grant, the move signals that the Rangers are retooling – not rebuilding – and will attempt to use their international money to sign two-way Japanese superstar Shohei Otani over the winter. The Rangers have coveted Otani for a while, which is part of the reason they didn’t make an effort to extend fellow Japan native Yu Darvish before they traded him to the Dodgers this past Monday, writes Grant. Big-money deals for over-30 pitchers are risky, Grant points out, and Darvish will turn 31 on Aug. 16.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Brallan Perez From Rangers For Int’l Bonus Spending Rights]]> 2017-08-05T19:04:44Z 2017-08-05T16:25:31Z 2:04pm: The Rangers will receive $500K in international spending rights, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.

    11:25am: The Orioles have acquired minor-league infielder Brallan Perez from the Rangers for the rights to international bonus spending, the teams have announced. The Orioles have assigned Perez to Class A+ Frederick.

    The 21-year-old Perez was batting .234/.309/.266 for the Rangers’ Class A+ Down East, although he hit fairly well at the Class A level in 2016 and performed well in a smaller sample at Class A Hickory this season. He’s played mostly second base in 2017, although he’s also played shortstop and third. He signed with the Rangers out of Colombia in 2012. He did not rank among the Rangers’ top 30 prospects, via

    For the Orioles, the move continues a recent trend in which they’ve added talent in exchange for international bonus spending rights. They picked up righty Yefry Ramirez from the Yankees for international bonus rights last week, and also added pitchers Matt WotherspoonJason Wheeler and Damien Magnifico and infielder Milton Ramos in separate trades earlier this season. They also gave up international bonus rights in their acquisition of Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies.

    The Rangers, meanwhile, have done the opposite, dealing infielder Yeyson Yrizarri to the White Sox for international bonus spending in mid-July. They currently have a relatively costly July 2 class that includes Venezuelan outfielder Wilderd Patino ($1.3MM), Venezuelan shortstop Keyber Rodriguez ($1M) and Mexican right-hander Damian Mendoza ($1M), although their overall plans for their international spending season aren’t yet entirely clear.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Deadline Retrospective: How Astros Lost Britton; Why Padres Held Hand]]> 2017-08-04T03:10:03Z 2017-08-04T02:42:02Z The Astros’ lone move this past Monday was the acquisition of Francisco Liriano from the Blue Jays, but multiple reports indicate a significant reason for their lack of activity is due to the fact that an agreed-upon deal for Zach Britton fell through at the eleventh hour. Roch Kubatko of (here and here), MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman each reported key aspects of the story. You’ll certainly want to read those links in full for all the interesting details, but we’ll cover some highlights here.

    Astros owner Jim Crane said in a radio interview with ESPN 97.5 in Houston that his team had multiple trades that were “agreed to in principle” before medical issues led to those deals getting “vetoed at the top.” The Orioles are known to have the most stringent medical standards of any team in the league, though it’s also interesting that Rosenthal reports that Houston also had a deal lined up for an unidentified “high-end” reliever that would have “surprised the industry” upon being traded.

    Per Kubatko and Rosenthal, the Britton deal broke down when the Orioles raised medical concerns over two of the players in the deal — believing one to have a “legitimate medical problem” and deeming another to be somewhat questionable. The identity of the prospects in question isn’t known, though Kubatko says the pair were both pitchers and Rosenthal hears that as many as six to seven Astros prospects were deemed off-limits in trade talks for Britton. Ultimately, the Orioles “went dark” on both the Astros and the Dodgers, who were also in the mix for Britton, for several hours before simply telling L.A. that Britton was off the table about an hour prior to the deadline, Rosenthal continues. Baltimore made a last-minute offer to Houston, but the Astros deemed it too steep.

    Heyman writes that while many will place the blame on Baltimore owner Peter Angelos, Orioles officials insisted to him that the medical reports on the players the O’s would have received of great enough concern that no deal was ever even presented to Angelos. Heyman spoke to multiple execs from other teams that suggested Houston is too stingy when it comes to surrendering its top prospects in a deal, and that penchant for hanging onto prized young talent ultimately led to a quiet deadline for GM Jeff Luhnow and his staff.

    Of course, the Astros had plenty of reason to be cautious when it comes to Britton. The once-elite reliever has missed most of the 2017 season due to a pair of DL stints tied to a forearm injury and at the time of the deadline had only worked back-to-back days once since being activated off the DL (and once during a minor league rehab stint). He posted an 8-to-4 K/BB ratio in 10 July innings before the non-waiver deadline, though it’s perhaps worth noting that he did work on a third consecutive evening the night of the deadline.

    Houston did, of course, have other irons in the fire — including the intriguing mystery reliever noted by Rosenthal as well as Yu Darvish. Indeed, it seems the former only fell through at the ownership level from the other team. And Houston’s front office felt it made a stronger offer for Darvish than did the Dodgers, says Rosenthal, who notes the Rangers simply didn’t see it that way (the front office had authority to deal the righty within the state).

    Brad Hand of the Padres, though, seemingly represented the most obvious alternative to Britton — at least, after the Cubs grabbed Justin Wilson, in part owing to a wariness of dealing with the O’s on deadline day. But Houston and San Diego just never saw eye to eye on the southpaw’s value, per Rosenthal and Heyman.

    Sources from the Pads indicate the club ultimately backed away from seeking top-100-type talent, though not all rival executives seem to have viewed it that way. It seems that San Diego did at least check down from the top-tier prospects it initially sought, though obviously there was still a gap that was never bridged. Details remain scant, though Rosenthal notes the Astros held the same six prospects off-limits for Hand that they did for Britton; per Heyman, the Nationals were no more willing to discuss Carter Kieboom than their top outfielder prospects and the Dodgers preferred cheaper options even though the Padres would’ve taken a package of multiple prospects outside of the Dodgers’ five best.

    Ultimately, the fact that both Britton and Hand stayed with their respective organizations leaves some potentially un-done work for all involved. The Astros obviously had intended to do more at the deadline, and could look to find alternatives this August. There’s also an impact on their plans for 2018 and beyond. That’s all the more true for the Orioles and Padres, who’ll likely shop their lefties this winter.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Beltre Candid In Discussing Thoughts On Rebuilding]]> 2017-08-03T03:02:56Z 2017-08-03T01:39:36Z
  • Adrian Beltre didn’t sugarcoat his words in telling the media that he wasn’t pleased with the Rangers’ trade of Yu Darvish, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Beltre acknowledged that he understands the business side of the game but still hadn’t given up on the 2017 season when Texas flipped its ace to the Dodgers in exchange for three prospects. The future Hall of Famer, playing at the age of 39, also made clear that he’s not interested in playing for a rebuilding club, if that’s the direction the Rangers go. “At this stage of my career, I’m not here for a rebuild,” said Beltre. “But I don’t think it will be. I think there is a possibility of this team playing better this year.” Beltre said a rebuild would “absolutely” change his mind about wanting to remain in Texas, though GM Jon Daniels downplayed the notion that such a path is even under consideration. Asked if the Darvish trade was the onset of a lengthier rebuild, Daniels replied: “I don’t look at it that way at all.”
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[How Yu Darvish Deal Came Together]]> 2017-08-01T18:28:52Z 2017-08-01T16:29:31Z
  • The Dodgers’ acquisition of Yu Darvish came together quite late, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports explains in fascinating detail. It became apparent the Dodgers wouldn’t get Zach Britton from the Orioles within a half hour of the deadline, but the team had already “abandoned hope” of landing Darvish. The Rangers, meanwhile, had run through their alternative trade partners for the ace righty and found none availing. The paths of the two organizations converged just twenty minutes before the deadline. You’ll certainly want to give the story a full read; Texas fans will also want to check out this piece from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News on the team’s unannounced but still-evident rebuilding path.
  • In the end, there just wasn’t that much demand in the marketplace for Darvish, Rosenthal also notes — so much so that the Dodgers were nearly in position to land both Darvish from the Rangers and lefty Zach Britton from the Orioles. That said, there was “some overlap” between the prospects in both potential deals, and it obviously would’ve required a steep overall price to get both arms. Instead, Los Angeles added two different lefties, Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani.
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