Texas Rangers – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-01-21T06:15:47Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Hunter Wood To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=343681 2021-01-19T21:35:12Z 2021-01-19T21:35:12Z The Rangers have signed right-handed reliever Hunter Wood to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training, according to a team announcement.

Wood, 27, spent last year with the Cleveland organization, but he did not appear in the bigs. The team designated Wood for assignment and then outrighted him in late July.

Before heading to Cleveland in a July 2019 trade, Wood was a fairly effective part of the Rays’ bullpen. The former 29th-round pick (2013) debuted in 2017 and has since logged a 3.32 ERA/4.22 SIERA with a 21.6 percent strikeout rate and an 8.0 percent walk rate over 86 2/3 innings, including a career-best 45 1/3 frames in 2019. Wood has averaged about 94 mph on his fastball and has recorded a solid swinging-strike rate of 12.6 percent.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 1/15/21]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=337191 2021-01-16T03:42:52Z 2021-01-15T16:51:22Z The deadline to exchange arbitration figures is today at 1pm ET. As of this morning, there were 125 arbitration-eligible players who’d yet to agree to terms on their contract for the upcoming 2021 season. Arbitration is muddier than ever before thanks to the shortened 2020 schedule, which most believe will lead to record number of arb hearings this winter. Be that as it may, it’s still reasonable to expect dozens of contractual agreements to filter in over the next couple of hours.

We’ll highlight some of the more high-profile cases in separate posts with more in-depth breakdowns, but the majority of today’s dealings will be smaller-scale increases that don’t radically alter a team’s payroll or a player’s trade candidacy. As such, we’ll just run through most of today’s agreements in this post.

I’ve embedded MLBTR’s 2021 Arbitration Tracker in the post (those in the mobile app or viewing on mobile web will want to turn their phones sideways). Our tracker can be sorted by team, by service time and/or by Super Two status, allowing users to check the status on whichever groups of players they like. You can also check out Matt Swartz’s projected arbitration salaries for this year’s class, and we’ll do a quick sentence on each player’s agreement at the bottom of this post as well, with the most recent agreements sitting atop the list.

Today’s Agreements (chronologically, newest to oldest)

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Corey Kluber, Steve Cishek, Anthony Swarzak Throw For Teams]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=335343 2021-01-14T20:08:26Z 2021-01-14T13:20:59Z Jan. 14: ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Kluber’s market could come together rather quickly with one throwing session for teams in the books. He’s not expected to require a second showcase to further demonstrate his health.

Jan. 13: Free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber held a showcase for interested teams today, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that relievers Anthony Swarzak and Steve Cishek both threw for teams as well. (All three are clients of Jet Sports Management, so it’s natural that they’d host the workout together.) As many as 25 teams were present, per The Atheltic’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Jeff Passan notes that Kluber’s velocity topped out at 90 mph, though given where he is in the rehab process from last year’s injuries, it wasn’t expected that he’d be up to peak velocity just yet. Eric Cressey, whose strength and conditioning facility hosted the showcase, told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers yesterday that Kluber was at 87-89 mph in the prior session. Cressey suggested that Kluber is already ahead of many pitchers who’ve not yet ramped up their throwing to this point. Kluber averaged 92 mph on his heater back during his excellent 2018 campaign.

The full list of teams in attendance isn’t known, although given that this was an open look at a two-time Cy Young winner and a pair of relievers with considerable late-inning MLB experience, it’d be more notable to learn which few teams weren’t in attendance than to know which clubs were. Still, it’s at least worth noting that each of the Mets, YankeesNationals, Red Sox, Rays, Twins, Cubs, Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Pirates, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Indians were all reported to be attending the showcase. Obviously, it’s not an all-encompassing list.

Broadly speaking, if Kluber is indeed at a point in his rehab that inspires confidence, one would imagine the market for him will be robust. The extent to which clubs are willing to bet on a guaranteed contract on the two-time Cy Young winner will vary, but he should easily command a big league deal with plenty of incentives on top of whatever base the highest bidder will commit.

Kluber may be something of a lottery ticket at this point, but few gambles come with such pronounced upside. From 2014-18, the right-hander was one of the game’s premier pitchers, working to a combined 2.85 ERA while striking out 28.5 percent of the hitters he faced against just a 5.2 percent walk rate. Only three of the 179 qualified starting pitchers in that time period — Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer — topped Kluber’s 23.3 K-BB%.

Since that time, however, he’s been limited to 36 2/3 innings by a fractured forearm (sustained when he was hit by a line drive), an oblique strain and a teres major strain. Traded from Cleveland to Texas last winter, Kluber pitched just one inning for the Rangers in 2020.

While most of the focus is understandably on Kluber, the presence of Swarzak and Cishek is certainly notable as well. Both righties are looking for rebounds of their own. Swarzak signed with the Phillies last winter but was released at the end of summer camp and didn’t sign with another club. A two-year, $14MM deal he signed with the Mets prior to the 2018 season proved regrettable, as shoulder issues torpedoed both of those seasons. However, back in 2017 Swarzak tossed 77 1/3 frames with a 2.33 ERA with 91 punchouts against just 22 walks.

Cishek, meanwhile, rattled off four straight seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA from 2016-19, leading to a $6MM deal with the White Sox last winter. He didn’t last on Chicago’s South Side, however, as he was roughed up for a 5.40 ERA in just 20 innings. Cishek’s control has been trending in the wrong direction the past couple of seasons, but he missed bats at his typical levels and didn’t see a velocity dip in 2020.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Notes: Soria, Zimmermann, Sale, Price, LeBlanc]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=335797 2021-01-14T05:10:09Z 2021-01-14T05:10:09Z It seems veteran hurler Joakim Soria is drawing quite a lot of interest from the American League West. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the AngelsAstrosAthletics, and Rangers are all pursuing Soria to some degree. Of course, most teams could stand to add an experienced late-inning reliever coming off of a quality season, so it stands to reason that just about every club in a competitive division would give a look. Soria, 36, registered a strong 2.82 ERA last year in Oakland, though that’s hardly a determinative measure on its own for a reliever in a shortened season. The well-traveled hurler managed only a 9.6% swinging-strike rate, his lowest in quite some time, and suddenly shifted to being a heavy flyball pitcher (though he wasn’t punished with many home runs in the short sample).

More from the pitching market:

  • After wrapping up a greatly disappointing tenure with the Tigers, Jordan Zimmermann is taking quite a different free agent journey than his first one. It’s fair to wonder whether he’d consider retiring, but the 34-year-old tells MLB.com’s Jason Beck (Twitter link) that he’s instead preparing for another campaign. Zimmermann is sure to draw interest, but not on a guaranteed big-league pact. He has largely been ineffective since coming to Detroit five seasons back and is now also recovering from a forearm injury.
  • The Red Sox could soon get a good sense of the return timeline for star lefty Chris Sale. Per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter), Sale is expected to throw from a mound at some point in the next two weeks or so — if all goes as planned. It’s promising that he’s already nearing that milestone, having undergone his Tommy John procedure at the end of March of 2020. It is hard to imagine that Sale will be ready for the start of the season, but perhaps he could resume competitive pitching relatively early in the 2021 campaign.
  • Also on his way back is Sale’s former teammate David Price. He posted a video on Twitter showing that he’s hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. The Dodgers will surely be interested to see how the ball is coming out of the once-great lefty’s hand after a long respite. Price, who was acquired in a blockbuster nearly one year ago, has yet to take the ball with his new team. He opted out of the 2020 season.
  • Teams looking for a spot starter and long reliever will soon have another option to consider. Southpaw Wade LeBlanc is still plugging away despite suffering a tough elbow injury last year. Per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link), LeBlanc is in good enough form that he’s now preparing for a showcase. LeBlanc posted a resurgent 2018 season but has struggled more recently, so he’s sure to land a non-guaranteed deal when he does sign.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Justin Anderson To Two-Year Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=335330 2021-01-13T17:28:08Z 2021-01-13T17:28:08Z The Rangers announced Wednesday that they’ve signed former Angels right-hander Justin Anderson to a two-year minor league deal with invites to Spring Training. Anderson is expected to miss most or all of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery back in July, so the two-year term of the minor league arrangement will give Texas the opportunity to help him rehab in-house this coming season with an eye toward contributing to the 2022 bullpen.

Anderson, 28, pitched in the Angels’ bullpen from 2018-19, logging 102 1/3 innings with a 4.75 ERA. He’s struggled in the big leagues due to a sky-high 15.7 percent walk rate, but Anderson’s fastball sat at 97.3 mph back in 2018 and he’s punched out 27.7 percent of opponents at the MLB level. The Rangers surely got plenty of close looks at him while he pitched for a division rival, and there’s little harm in taking a forward-looking flier on a potential power arm who could be controlled another four years once he’s added to the Major League roster.

While two-year minor league contracts aren’t exactly common, we’ve seen an increasing number of them in recent years. The Rangers inked Edinson Volquez to just this type of contract after he underwent Tommy John surgery with the Marlins late in the 2017 season.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Red Sox Discussing Andrew Benintendi In Trade Talks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=330001 2021-01-13T01:25:00Z 2021-01-13T01:23:58Z JANUARY 12, 7:23pm: A rival executive told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com that he will be “shocked” if the Red Sox don’t trade Benintendi before the end of the weekend.

4:26pm: The Red Sox have discussed Benintendi with more teams than the ones mentioned below, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports. One of those clubs “has discussed trading big-league pitching depth for Benintendi,” Speier writes.

1:51PM: “Another American League team not mentioned has had deeper discussions” about Benintendi, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford tweets.  A source also tells Bradford that the Rangers aren’t in on Benintendi.

12:35PM: The Astros, Athletics, and Rangers have all been in touch with the Red Sox about Benintendi, Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reports (Twitter link).  A source tells McAdam that Benintendi could be on the move soon, though it won’t be to the Marlins, another club previously linked to the outfielder in reports.

JANUARY 9: The Red Sox have been in “serious trade talks” about the possibility of moving left fielder Andrew Benintendi, writes The Athletic’s Jim Bowden (via Twitter). The Red Sox have a particular interest in pitcher and outfielder prospects, notes Bowden, but that’s likely a starting point more than a mandate. However serious discussions have been thus far, there is no deal pending.

There may be some bombast to Bowden’s report, which is only to say that there is a wide range of interpretations for “serious trade talks.” That could speak to an earnestness on Boston’s part in terms of their willingness to deal Benintendi, or it could reference a specific exchange of names, or something else entirely. Regardless, it’s not a shocking development for Benintendi’s name to emerge on the hot stove. Boston would be selling low on their 26-year-old outfielder, however, who is coming off a 43 wRC+ showing in 14 games in an injury-shortened 2020. Interested teams, however, are paying more attention to his 2019 production (100 wRC+, 2.0 fWAR) than 2020, adds Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (via Twitter).

His 2020 performance aside, there is some concern that Benintendi has declined in foot speed, which could have major repercussions on his game. He has not yet boasted the explosive power traditionally associated with a corner outfielder (.162 career ISO). Per Statcast, Benintendi’s sprint speed has slowed from 28.6 feet per second as a 22-year-old in 2016 to 27.7 ft/s as a 24-year-old in 2018 to 26.6 ft/s as a 26-year-old in the short sample of 2020. That’s a rather stunning fall from the 89th percentile to the 43rd percentile.

If anything, the decline in speed could threaten his viability as a centerfielder. Benintendi hasn’t played much center in his career, but he hasn’t needed to with Jackie Bradley Jr. manning the middle in Boston. With Bradley a free agent, the Red Sox are looking at a starting outfield of Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, and Hunter Renfroe. All three have traditionally fit better in the corner. Hypothetically, if Boston didn’t think Benintendi was a good fit in center, they could look to move him to give more playing time to Verdugo and Renfroe. At the same time, Renfroe was a part-time player with the Rays last season, and he could continue in that capacity this season. Jarren Duran could make the Major League team at some point, and he might fit better in center than anyone else currently on the Boston roster. All of which merely speaks to why Boston might view Benintendi as an expendable asset, not necessarily why they would or should desire to move him.

As a prospect, Benintendi possessed a monster hit tool with the possibility for big power, and his game hardly predicated solely on his foot speed (though he was viewed more as a gap-to-gap hitter than a home run leader). Remember, he was the No. 1 ranked prospect in the game as recently as 2017 per Baseball America, who wrote in their prospect report after he made his debut in 2016: “Multiple evaluators believe that Benintendi has a chance to be a perennial all-star who competes for batting titles. ’He’s a once-in-a-decade hitter,’ one said. Benintendi combines excellent hand-eye coordination with the pitch recognition to avoid strike zone expansion. His precisely-tuned swing, with his strong forearms and core along with a rare knack for putting the bat on the ball, allow him to drive the ball with surprising authority given his diminutive stature.” Those skills at peak development still play even if he doesn’t run as well as before. Certainly, a team that sees even a portion of that upside would have more than enough cause to make a run at Benintendi, depending on Boston’s asking price.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Drew Butera To Minors Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=334011 2021-01-12T20:44:48Z 2021-01-12T20:32:10Z The Rangers have signed catcher Drew Butera to a minor league deal, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter).  The contract includes an invitation to the Rangers’ big league Spring Training camp.  Butera will be paid $1MM in guaranteed money if he makes the MLB roster, with up to $500K more available in incentives.

Butera has played for five different clubs over his 11-year career in the bigs, most playing for the Rockies for much of the last two-plus seasons.  Long considered a solid defender and game-caller, Butera has used this skillset to keep finding Major League work, as he has hit only .198/.255/.294 over 1437 career plate appearances.

Rangers GM Chris Young knows Butera well, as the two played together with the Royals from 2015-17.  Butera will provide Texas with some veteran depth as the Rangers currently have two inexperienced backstops (Jose Trevino and Aramis Garcia) lined up as their top two catching options.  The Rangers were known to have interest in Jason Castro earlier this winter, so a bigger-name catching addition beyond just Buters might still be in the offing.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Reds Acquire Art Warren For Cash Considerations]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=326366 2021-01-06T19:41:18Z 2021-01-06T19:15:21Z The Reds have acquired right-hander Art Warren from the Rangers for cash considerations, both teams announced (Twitter links). Warren had been designated for assignment on December 26th, at which point it seemed fairly certain that Warren would latch on somewhere. The Reds make for a natural fit having moved out a couple of bullpen arms this winter, and it doesn’t hurt that Warren is an Ohio native. The 27-year-old will have an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Cincinnati bullpen.

The Rangers had claimed Warren off waivers from the Mariners, but subsequently designated him for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster for Kohei Arihara. The Rangers had claimed Warren only as recently as October 21, 2020.

Warren spent one day on the Mariners’ active roster in 2020 but did not make an appearance. He made six big league appearances for Seattle in 2019 after recording a 32 percent strikeout rate in back-to-back seasons in Double-A. Warren posted a 60.3 percent groundball rate across 31 2/3 innings in 2019. Conversely, his groundball rate at the same level in 15 2/3 innings the year before was just 39.4 percent. There’s a fair amount of year-to-year variance in Warren’s minor league track record, but there’s certainly enough to make him an interesting bullpen candidate for manager David Bell.

Perhaps more importantly for the Reds, he’ll earn the league minimum. The Reds non-tendered Archie Bradley and traded Raisel Iglesias earlier this winter, removing two proven high-leverage arms from their bullpen stable, presumably for financial reasons. Adding Warren is a low-key move that doesn’t immediately move the needle for the Reds, but there is potential for Warren to make an impact in 2021

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Drew Anderson To Minor League Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=325717 2021-01-05T23:59:20Z 2021-01-05T23:59:20Z The Rangers have signed free-agent right-hander Drew Anderson to a minor league contract, the team announced. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Anderson began his career with the Phillies, who chose him in the 21st round of the 2012 draft, but the organization moved on from him toward the end of the 2019 season. He spent some of last season with the White Sox, but they released him in early September after the 26-year-old threw just 1 1/3 innings in their uniform.

In all, Anderson has totaled 22 1/3 major league innings of 9.67 ERA ball and posted an 18.6 percent strikeout rate against a 9.7 percent walk rate. Anderson does, however, possess a far more respectable 3.52 ERA through 486 minor league frames.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers, Rays Complete Nate Lowe Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=325651 2021-01-05T22:06:35Z 2021-01-05T21:38:01Z The Rangers announced that they have acquired outfielder Carl Chester from the Rays. Chester is the player to be named later in the teams’ December trade that sent first baseman Nate Lowe to Texas.

Now 25 years old, Chester was a 12th-round pick in 2017 who has topped out at the Double-A level so far in his career. He debuted there in 2019 and slashed .264/.299/.405 with a pair of home runs in 127 plate appearances. Overall, Chester has batted .284/.340/.397 and smacked 13 homers over 1,283 trips to the plate in the minors. Chester did not rank among the Rays’ 30 best prospects at Baseball America, FanGraphs or MLB.com before the trade.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Who Will Sign Tomoyuki Sugano?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=323572 2021-01-03T17:40:28Z 2021-01-03T17:40:28Z Tomoyuki Sugano arrived in the United States two days ago, according to The Hochi News (Japanese language link), as the right-hander and his agent Joel Wolfe plan for the final few days of Sugano’s 30-day posting window.  January 7 is the final day of that posting period, and with at least six MLB teams known to have interest in Sugano’s services, the odds seem to be in favor of Sugano pitching in the big leagues in 2021.

A move to North America is not guaranteed, however.  As noted in that Hochi News item, Sugano said earlier this month that he hadn’t yet fully decided on whether or not to make the jump to Major League Baseball, with the COVID-19 pandemic weighing as a factor in his decision.  As we just saw yesterday with outfielder Haruki Nishikawa, it isn’t uncommon for Japanese players to reach the end of their 30-day posting period without having reached a deal with any MLB teams.

Beyond that uncertainty, it’s also possible that Sugano’s market has been somewhat reduced in number.  Of the six teams linked to Sugano in rumors, two have made other significant pitching additions that may have removed them from the running.  The Rangers already made one foray into the Japanese pitching market by signing Kohei Arihara to a two-year, $6.2MM contract.  The Padres, of course, dominated headlines by swinging a pair of blockbuster trades for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, and now headlines a rotation mix that also includes Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, Adrian Morejon, Joey Lucchesi, and several impressive younger arms.

This isn’t to say that Texas or San Diego wouldn’t still have interest in Sugano, of course.  Even with Arihara’s signing, the Rangers could still conceivably add to their rotation considering that Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, and Kolby Allard all struggled in 2020.  As for the Padres, they’re so clearly in win-now mode that they might see Sugano as another key piece for what they hope is a World Series contender.  Adding another starting candidate serves as a further guard should Lamet have an injury setback, and it could allow the Padres to potentially float one of their younger arms as a trade chip in another trade.

The Red Sox also made a recent pitching addition in Matt Andriese, but while Andriese will be given a crack at a starting job, he might end up as a reliever or perhaps a swingman.  Boston has enough questions in its rotation that signing Sugano would make sense even if Andriese did end up as a starter.  Likewise, the Giants have retained Kevin Gausman via the qualifying offer and signed Anthony DeSclafani since the start of the offseason, but San Francisco’s pitching staff would certainly still use further reinforcement.

The Blue Jays and Mets have respectively been linked to almost every free agent this offseason, so it isn’t surprising that they’re both in on Sugano.  Whether Sugano would be either team’s final major pitching addition is the question, as a case could be made that both Toronto and New York have enough arms on hand, or that another notable hurler (perhaps even Trevor Bauer) is required to really turn either rotation into a big plus.

With these options in mind, it’s time to open the floor to the MLBTR readership.  Where do you think Sugano will pitch in 2021? (poll link for app users)

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Checking In On 2020’s Lowest-Scoring Offenses]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=321808 2020-12-31T21:55:30Z 2020-12-31T21:55:30Z Three of the 2020 campaign’s five lowest-scoring offenses belonged to National League playoff teams, but that’s not an ideal outcome if you truly want to make noise in October. Indeed, all three of those clubs (St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee) failed to advance beyond the playoffs’ initial round during the fall. So what have they and the league’s other two bottom-feeding offenses done to improve themselves this offseason? Not much, as you’ll see below…

Pirates (219 runs scored, 73 wRC+):

  • The Pirates look even worse on paper than they did at the end of the season, having traded first baseman Josh Bell to the Nationals last week. While Bell had a horrid season in 2020, he was a star-caliber performer during the previous year, in which he slashed .277/.367/.569 with 37 home runs. The Bell-less Pirates haven’t done anything of significance to bolster their offense this winter, but the good news is that they should get a full 2021 (however many games that consists of) from third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who ran roughshod over the league during a scintillating 95-PA debut in 2020. There’s also nowhere to go but up for holdovers such as Gregory Polanco, Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier, who each posted awful numbers last season.

Rangers (224 runs, 67 wRC+):

  • The Rangers have a couple newcomers in outfielder David Dahl and first baseman Nate Lowe, who they hope will improve their attack in 2021. Otherwise, they’ll be counting on bounce-back efforts from the likes of Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun, Nick Solak, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. It’s hard to imagine things will get any worse next year for that quintet, though Andrus and Odor have been trending in the wrong direction for years. The Rangers are down enough on Andrus these days that they’re planning on using him as a backup shortstop/utilityman behind Isiah Kiner-Falefa next season.

Cardinals (240 runs, 93 wRC+):

  • The Cardinals’ place in these rankings is deceiving because a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak cost them two full games. Their 93 wRC+ was closer to average than horrendous, but that isn’t to say they don’t have work to do offensively. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Harrison Bader, two of their best hitters in 2020, are returning. But Brad Miller, who was second on the team in wRC+ (121), is a free agent. Going by wRC+, those three were the only above-average offensive players on last season’s roster. The Cardinals haven’t done anything thus far to better their offense, even though they’re facing questions almost everywhere. Catcher Yadier Molina is a free agent, as is second baseman Kolten Wong, while most of their outfielders underwhelmed at the plate in 2020.

Reds (243 runs, 91 wRC+):

  • The Reds made a real effort to upgrade their offense last winter in signing Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama. Moustakas wound up having a typical season at the plate, but Castellanos and Akiyama fell short of expectations. Barring trades, no one from that group is going anywhere in 2021. Likewise, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel and Tucker Barnhart will hang around in key roles. Aside from Winker, who was fantastic in 2020, the Reds will need more from everyone listed in the previous sentence. They also need to upgrade at shortstop, where the largely untested Jose Garcia is their current starter, but it’s unclear whether the team will do so to a satisfactory extent during what has been a cost-cutting winter so far.

Brewers (247 runs, 89 wRC+):

  • We’ll cap things off with another NL Central team, Milwaukee, which has joined its division rivals this winter in doing virtually nothing to better its chances of success in 2021. The Brewers opted against retaining infielder Jedd Gyorko, among their most productive hitters last season, instead paying him a $1MM buyout in lieu of exercising his $4.5MM option. They also declined team icon Ryan Braun’s option, but that was an easy decision because the six-time All-Star would have otherwise earned a $15MM salary in 2021. Braun, to his credit, was roughly a league-average hitter last season, which is more than you can say for most Brewers regulars. Whether or not the Brewers bring in outside help, better years from former NL MVP Christian Yelich, Keston Hiura, Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez would go a long way in helping the team tack more runs on the board in 2021.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Charlie Culberson To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=315935 2020-12-28T20:31:31Z 2020-12-28T20:31:31Z The Rangers announced that they’ve signed infielder/outfielder Charlie Culberson to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training.

Culberson, 31, has spent the past three seasons with the Braves, shaking off a slow start that drew the ire of some fans to emerge as something of a cult hero in Atlanta thanks to some memorable clutch hits. Culberson certainly has a flair for the dramatic, having connected on several walk-off homers in his career — including a division-clinching walk-off shot for the Dodgers on Vin Scully’s final call at Dodger Stadium.

Though he was an oft-used utilityman for the Braves in 2018-19, Culberson tallied just seven plate appearances in 2020 and collected just one hit. Dating back to 2016, however, he’s totaled 556 plate appearances between the Dodgers and Braves, batting a combined .266/.312/.440 slash. Culberson has logged most of his time in the Majors at either shortstop or in left field, but he’s played all four infield spots and both outfield corners in the big leagues (in addition to 3 1/3 innings of one-run ball on the mound).

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[What To Expect From Kohei Arihara ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=313828 2020-12-27T19:56:42Z 2020-12-27T19:55:21Z For Rangers fans curious about Kohei Arihara, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News suggests that Colby Lewis could be a decent comp for the newly-signed right-hander in terms of eating innings and a similar ability to record outs without the help of a big fastball.  The Rangers would certainly be more than pleased if Arihara were to duplicate Lewis’ numbers (4.27 ERA and an average of 166 innings per year) from 2010-16, and GM Chris Young told Grant and other reporters that the team was hopes Arihara can “stabilize the rotation” in terms of covering innings, at the very least.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Out Of Tomoyuki Sugano Race?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=313847 2020-12-27T15:41:47Z 2020-12-27T15:39:11Z The Giants are the latest team to be connected to Tomoyuki Sugano, as MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets that San Francisco is keeping an eye on the right-hander’s market.  This makes at least six teams known to have interest in Sugano, as the Giants join the Mets, Red Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, and Rangers.  Notably, Morosi omitted the Rangers from his list, so it could be that Texas is out of the running for Sugano after signing Kohei Arihara.