MLB Trade Rumors » » Texas Rangers 2017-12-12T15:42:48Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Have Inquired On Michael Fulmer, Marcell Ozuna]]> 2017-12-12T15:25:18Z 2017-12-12T15:25:18Z After missing on Shohei Ohtani, the Rangers are spreading a wide net in search of improvements. The latest word is that they have asked about two of the top potential trade assets on this winter’s market.

Texas is one of several teams to have inquired on the availability of Tigers righty Michael Fulmer, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter). Grant also discussed the possibility earlier, noting some of the many complications but also the fact that Detroit seems willing to entertain offers. The pre-arb righty is recovering from nerve transposition surgery but has an early-career track record that will support a massive asking price from the rebuilding Tigers.

And while the club has alternatives on hand to play the outfield, the Rangers have also put out feelers with the Marlins regarding Marcell Ozuna, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Ozuna is projected by MLBTR to earn a hefty $10.9MM in his second-to-last trip through arbitration, but that’s still a bargain rate after his breakout 2017 campaign. For the cost-cutting Marlins, though, now may well be the time to move Ozuna — so long as the team can secure an appropriately significant return.

Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that the Rangers have also been connected to a wide variety of others in recent days. On the pitching side, that includes free agents Yu Darvish (link) and Alex Cobb (link) as well as possible trade candidates Gerrit Cole (link) and Matt Harvey (link). And Texas is reportedly among the many teams still in on free agent first baseman Carlos Santana (link).

The broader takeaway, then, seems to be that the Rangers are engaged in a broad effort to find a high-quality player or two to bolster their roster. With several areas susceptible of improvement, and also perhaps some flexibility with some existing pieces, it’s still possible to imagine the roster developing in any number of different ways.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers, Padres, Rockies Join Indians, Others In Pursuit Of Carlos Santana]]> 2017-12-12T13:43:16Z 2017-12-12T13:42:36Z TUESDAY, 7:42am: Santana and his representatives are weighing offers from several teams, Hoynes reports, though it isn’t certain if he is close to accepting a deal.

MONDAY, 5:04pm: The Padres have indeed discussed Santana, but “it seems they’re still focused on” Hosmer, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).

1:51pm: The Rockies are also showing some interest in Santana, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Colorado has a clear opening at first base, though the team has indicated its top priorities lie elsewhere.

10:27am: Cleveland’s top extension offer to Santana was three years and $36MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, and the organization would “likely go higher” now that he’s on the open market.

SUNDAY, 9:00pm: The Indians made Santana a contract offer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports.  While the offer wasn’t taken, the Tribe have been informed that they will get a chance to counter any offer Santana receives from another team that he considered acceptable.

6:32pm: Carlos Santana is already drawing quite a bit of interest this offseason, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adds the Rangers and Padres to the list of other teams (including the Phillies, Red Sox, and Mariners) already linked to Santana on the rumor mill.

Texas is known to be focusing on adding pitching this winter, though the team’s offense also lacked some of the well-rounded attack of past years.  Santana would clearly be a big upgrade in the first base/DH hole left behind by free agent Mike Napoli, who struggled last year in a sub-replacement level season.  Santana’s arrival would bolster the Rangers’ lineup against the possible departure of Adrian Beltre after the 2018 season.

Installing Santana at first base would have a ripple effect throughout the Rangers’ lineup.  Joey Gallo would have to return to left field, with Nomar Mazara shifting to right and Shin-Soo Choo being limited to DH duties.  Top prospect Willie Calhoun had been mentioned as a possible candidate for regular DH or corner outfield duty, though Texas might want to give him a bit more seasoning rather than expect Calhoun to immediately contribute to a team that hopes to contend.

Previous reports seemed to downplay San Diego’s possible interest in Santana, though it could be that the Padres have since considered Santana for what seems to be an increasing desire to sign a first baseman.  The Padres have also had interest in Eric Hosmer, with the logic being that the 28-year-old Hosmer is young enough to still be productive in a few years when San Diego is theoretically finished with its rebuild.  Santana, by contrast, turns 32 in April, and while the slugger hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down, he wouldn’t have the luxury of the occasional DH rest day while playing for a National League team.

Adding a first baseman would necessitate shifting Wil Myers into a corner outfield role, though the Padres may see that as an acceptable tradeoff for adding offense.  The Padres finished at or near the bottom of most major offensive categories last year, so a proven above-average hitter like Santana (who hit .259/.363/.455 with 23 homers over 667 PA last year and has posted a 123 wRC+ over his career) would add some much-needed pop to the lineup.

Santana rejected the Indians’ qualifying offer, and thus the Rangers and Padres would each need to surrender some compensation to sign the first baseman.  Texas would give up their second-highest draft pick and $500K of international signing bonus money, while San Diego would only have to surrender its third-highest draft pick.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Rumors: Yu, G. Cole]]> 2017-12-12T02:41:58Z 2017-12-12T02:35:29Z The Rangers talked to the Pirates about acquiring right-hander Gerrit Cole, but those discussions didn’t go anywhere, TR Sullivan of reports (Twitter link). Given that the Rangers are in need of starters even after signing Doug Fister and Mike Minor, the possibility of them turning back to old friend and top free agent Yu Darvish has come up. General manager Jon Daniels revealed Monday that the Rangers and Darvish still have a strong relationship even after they traded him away last July, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram tweets. For his part, Darvish is interested in a reunion, agent Joel Wolfe told Wilson and other reporters (Twitter link). The potential of Texas deploying a six-man rotation doesn’t necessarily appeal to Darvish, though, despite the fact that he spoke in favor of that setup on multiple occasions in the past. “He’s one of those guys that would rather pitch on short rest than long rest,” Wolfe said.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[FA Rumors: LoMo, Rox, Hunter, Mets, Kintzler, Brewers, O’s, Tigers, Jays]]> 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z The latest free agent rumors…

  • Contrary to a report from Sunday, the Rockies haven’t had any discussions about signing first baseman Logan Morrison, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
  • Reliever Tommy Hunter has emerged as a “prime target” for the Mets in their search for bullpen help, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter). The 31-year-old right-hander was quietly excellent over 58 2/3 innings with the Rays in 2017, recording a 2.61 ERA and putting up 9.82 K/9 against 2.15 BB/9.
  • Count the Diamondbacks among those interested in reliever Brandon Kintzler, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who expects the former Twins closer to land a two-year deal. Kintzler suggested last month that his wife is rooting for him to sign with Arizona. The Twins continue to monitor him, and they’ve also checked in on almost every other available pitcher, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey revealed (Twitter link via Rhett Bollinger of
  • Brewers GM David Stearns said Monday that he’s likely to “cross paths” at the Winter Meetings with the agents for second baseman Neil Walker and reliever Anthony Swarzak, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Walker and Swarzak ended last season with the Brewers after coming over in trades and performed quite well during their short stints in Milwaukee.
  • Although the Orioles badly need starters, they’re not inclined to dole out long deals. GM Dan Duquette suggested to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and other reporters Monday that four- to five-year pacts for pitchers generally don’t work out well (Twitter link). On the other hand, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on re-signing righty Chris Tillman, who figures to be an affordable, short-term pickup after enduring a dreadful 2017 (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of
  • As is the case with Baltimore, the Tigers are in the market for a starter who won’t require a long commitment, GM Al Avila informed reporters (via Evan Woodbery of, on Twitter). Detroit is open to reeling in another starter on a one-year deal to join the just-signed Mike Fiers.
  • The Blue Jays are engaging with multiple starters and relievers, GM Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and other reporters Monday. They “will most likely add an infielder,” too, and are looking at outfielders, Atkins said (Twitter link).
  • The Rangers are considering signing catcher Rene Rivera, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). The righty-hitting Rivera, who was with the Mets and Cubs last year, batted .252/.305/.431 in 237 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he caught an excellent 38 percent of would-be base stealers (10 percent above the league average) and, as has been the case for most of his career, held his own as a framer.
  • Right-hander Jesse Chavez appears likely to sign this week, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. The 34-year-old Chavez spent last season with the Angels and posted an ugly 5.35 ERA across 138 innings and 38 appearances (21 starts), though he did log acceptable strikeout and walk rates (7.76 K/9, 2.93 BB/9).
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers, Mets Have Discussed Profar/Harvey Swap; Orioles Also Talking Harvey]]> 2017-12-11T23:01:10Z 2017-12-11T23:00:28Z 5:00pm: A Brach-Harvey swap is unlikely to occur, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets.

4:34pm: The Orioles are discussing dealing a reliever for Harvey tweets Rosenthal, who lists Brad Brach and Darren O’Day as potential trade chips.

3:28pm: The Rangers aren’t willing to trade Profar for a year of control, Grant tweets.

2:59pm: The Orioles are also discussing Harvey with the Mets, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). The possible structure isn’t at all clear at this point.

Heyman, meanwhile, throws some doubt on the entire idea of Texas and New York linking up in a follow-up tweet. Profar’s control rights may be too valuable for Harvey from the Rangers’ perspective, he suggests. The Rangers were also looking into other Mets pitchers, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets.

2:50pm: The Rangers and Mets have engaged in some discussions on a possible deal that would involve Texas infielder Jurickson Profar and New York righty Matt Harvey. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News first broached the possibility while Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted that the sides have engaged in some chatter.

It’s tough to know just what to make of the news at this point. We heard recently that New York will consider moving Harvey, a former ace who has been a shell of himself of late. He’s projected to earn $5.9MM in arbitration before reaching the open market at the end of the season. While the Mets still need the rotation depth and would no doubt prefer to see for themselves whether Harvey can return to form, there’s also a long and checkered history to consider along with the team’s many other roster needs — including a second baseman.

On the Rangers’ side, Profar has become a forgotten man. He did not receive a late-season call-up after an early demotion to the minors, a decision that also left the Rangers with three more seasons of arb control. That enhances Profar’s trade value, though certainly his marginal overall big league showing — a .229/.309/.329 slash over 718 plate appearances — makes it questionable whether he’ll draw a significant return. Profar has shown more in the minors, though. Indeed, he batted a strong .287/.383/.428 in his 383 trips to the plate at Triple-A in 2017, drawing 43 walks while going down on strikes just 33 times.

The assumption long has been that the Rangers would look to deal Profar this winter, as he’s out of options and does not have an obvious place on the roster. And the team certainly still needs starting pitching even after two early moves to bolster the rotation. Whether Harvey is the right risk to take, though, is anyone’s guess. He has shown that he can still bring a mid-nineties fastball, but the velo is still down against his pre- and early-post-Tommy John numbers and Harvey also showed a rising walk rate (10.9%) and plummeting swinging-strike rate (7.5%) in 2017.

Similarly, the Mets will have some questions as to whether it’s worth taking a shot on Profar. All told, it’s a trade scenario that would have been quite a bit more exciting a few years ago but which could still make some sense for both organizations. It’s certainly possible, too, that other pieces could become involved in discussions.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers To Sign Chris Martin]]> 2017-12-11T19:41:08Z 2017-12-11T18:50:58Z The Rangers have struck a two-year deal with righty Chris Martin, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Martin will receive a $4MM guarantee with $550K in annual incentives that can be reached if he reaches unstated games-finished thresholds. Martin is represented by SSG Baseball.

Though the 6’8″ Martin did not succeed in two brief MLB chances, he has gone on to produce outstanding results in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Over the past two seasons, he carries a 1.12 ERA with 9.3 K/9 against 1.3 BB/9 over 88 1/3 innings.

With the move, the Rangers have continued a long-established practice of bringing back pitchers that have found success in Japan after first failing to gain traction on this side of the Pacific. Another recent returnee, Tony Barnette, recently re-signed with Texas and will also factor into the current relief mix.

Martin will step into the club’s pen for the next two seasons, but will not be controllable beyond that point. His contract, Rosenthal notes, provides that the team will not be able to tender him a contract via arbitration after the 2019 campaign.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Pitching Plans For Rangers, Orioles Entering Winter Meetings]]> 2017-12-11T17:26:43Z 2017-12-11T15:37:37Z Every team in baseball is still looking for pitching, so in that regard the Rangers and Orioles don’t stand out. But these two organizations are similarly situated in some regards; notably, each came into the offseason with rosters that appear to be capable but not certain of contention along with clear needs for significant improvement in their starting rotations.

For Texas, the Winter Meetings offer an opportunity and a challenge to chart a course that won’t involve Shohei Ohtani. While the pursuit of the two-way Japanese star is over, the team is still considering some novel approaches to its rotation usage. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes, that might involve a six or even four-man rotation setup, depending in no small part upon the team’s eventual moves. Of course, Mike Minor and Doug Fister were already brought aboard, but that doesn’t mean the club is done adding.

Notably, the Rangers aren’t just looking at budget arms. According to Grant, the club has not only checked in on quality veterans like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, but has “maintained some contact” with former star Yu Darvish and hasn’t yet ruled out a surprise reunion. While he was dealt away at the trade deadline after the sides failed to line up on an extension, Darvish’s roots in Texas obviously trace back to his initial entry to the majors. Grant cautions that the team isn’t planning to lead the charge after Darvish or another top hurler, but it’s notable nonetheless that there seems to be serious consideration.

It’s less pressing in some regards, but the Rangers will also be looking to improve their relief corps. Late-inning pieces, in particular, would clearly be on the wish list. One player to keep an eye on, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter), is righty Brandon Kintzler. Of course, he has also been linked to quite a few other organizations. The sinkerballer has obviously boosted his stock quite a bit with a hefty groundball rate and steady work in high-leverage situations over the past two seasons. Japanese reliever Kazuhisa Makita could also represent a potential target for Texas, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes.

The situation is somewhat different for the Orioles, whose need for rotation pieces is even greater than that of the Rangers. With multiple pieces needed and relatively little available payroll space, Baltimore isn’t going to dabble at the top of the market, Dan Connolly of writes. That’s essentially the same conclusion reached by Roch Kubatko of, who says the Orioles “really like” Cobb but don’t expect to be able to afford him.

Wary of the risks of a long-term pitching contract, the O’s plan instead to look further down the pecking order of rotation pieces. As Connolly explains, though, several of those pitchers have already gone off the market with early deals. Veteran righty Andrew Cashner is perhaps the most logical remaining mid-tier target for the team, he notes, while a variety of less costly pitchers also figure to be strongly considered. Both reports suggest southpaw Jason Vargas as a plausible name to bolster the back end of the rotation, so he’s certainly a player to watch.

Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Sports Science, Iglesias, Moylan, Rangers]]> 2017-12-11T12:51:12Z 2017-12-11T12:51:12Z Though baseball hasn’t publicly embraced sports science the way it has analytics, the Giants are looking towards that very field as a way to gain an advantage. A fascinating article by Ian MacMahan of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) provides some insight into the goals of Geoff Head, San Francisco’s newly-promoted assistant director of player development. “Everybody in baseball is tired by August,” Head tells MacMahan. “But if we are a little less fatigued than our opponent, it gives us an advantage.” The field of sports science focuses heavily on factors such as hydration, nutrition, workload and sleep; experts attempt to put together a formula that will keep players performing at their optimal levels as often as possible. According to Dr. Glenn Fleisig, the main difference between sports science and analytics is that sports science focuses on the “physical and medical aspects of a player,” as opposed to gameplay-based statistics. Less than half of all MLB teams currently have a dedicated sports scientist on their staff, and heavier use of sports science data could lead to big improvements by baseball players. As MacMahan puts it, “no one hits a home run sitting in the dugout nursing lead-filled legs and a tight back.”

  • Evan Woodbery of provides some insight into the questions the Tigers face as the winter meetings commence. Most notably, Woodbery reports that there hasn’t been much buzz surrounding shortstop Jose Iglesias, who will become a free agent after the 2018 season. With no open spots on the 40-man roster, Iglesias is one player Detroit could consider moving in order to take advantage of having the first pick in baseball’s Rule 5 Draft this Thursday (As Woodbery points out, Ian Kinsler could also be on the move before then). Though Iglesias hit just .255/.288/.369 across 489 plate appearances last year, his excellent defense boosted his fWAR to 1.6. Because he’s projected to earn just $5.6MM in his final year of arbitration, there would seem to be some surplus value in his contract.
  • Reliever Peter Moylan is generating some interest, specifically from the Royals and Braves (hat tip to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston). As Drellich notes, Moylan held opposing right-handed hitters to a .161/.244/.236 batting line in 2017 (and may have also provided the Royals with some intangible value thanks to his espresso skills). The 38-year-old Moylan has typically been excellent against righties over the course of his 11-year major league career; he’s posted a 2.22 ERA against them in 280 innings with the Braves, Dodgers and Royals.
  • Even after losing out on Shohei Ohtani, the Rangers may still elect to use a non-traditional rotation, Evan Grant of SportsDay writes. Texas has reportedly kept contact with Yu Darvish, who has pitched in a six-man rotation in Japan and prefers such a setup; that might be one item which could help entice him to return to Arlington. Grant mentions Cole Hamels, who is generally a stickler for routine, as someone who could present a roadblock to such a strategy. However, based on Hamels’ quotes in the piece, he’d be willing to consider it if the modification helped bring about a postseason berth. “I’d love to get to the postseason again and win a World Series. That’s what I want to do here,” said Hamels. “If we can be stronger and healthier, not as worn down, you have the advantage.”
Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cubs Among Teams Pursuing Alex Cobb]]> 2017-12-10T17:17:29Z 2017-12-10T17:17:42Z SUNDAY: Along with the Cubs, count the Rangers, Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles among teams interested in Cobb, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link).

SATURDAY: The Cubs added right-hander Tyler Chatwood on a three-year, $38MM guarantee this week, but another sizable investment for their rotation could be on the way. With the Winter Meetings nearing, they’re making a “strong push” to sign free agent righty Alex Cobb, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports. Their hope is to reach a deal with Cobb prior to Monday, which would enable them to turn their focus elsewhere during the meetings and prevent other suitors from aggressively pursuing the 30-year-old.

Cobb going to the North Side of Chicago has frequently come up as a possibility since last season ended, in part because of his connection to multiple members of the Cubs’ coaching staff. He played under manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay from 2011-14 and was under the tutelage of pitching coach Jim Hickey with the Rays through last season. Hickey, whom the Cubs hired in October, has been Cobb’s sole pitching coach since he debuted in 2011. Cobb spoke glowingly of those two last month and said he’d be “very honored” to sign with the Cubs.

While Cobb would be a risky signing, having undergone two serious procedures (thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in 2011 and Tommy John surgery in 2015) during his career, he’s still poised to land one of the richest contracts on the open market this winter. Across 700 major league innings, including a career-high 179 1/3 last season, Cobb has pitched to a 3.50 ERA with 7.33 K/9, 2.62 BB/9 and a 54 percent groundball rate. Some of his numbers took a dip in 2017 (6.42 K/9, 47.8 percent grounder rate) – his first full year back from Tommy John surgery – though his velocity looked normal and he managed a quality 3.66 ERA/4.16 FIP, also recording a career-best walk rate (2.21 per nine).

Along with guaranteeing a notable sum to Cobb, who rejected the Rays’ $17.4MM qualifying offer, the Cubs would have to surrender their second-highest draft pick in 2018 (No. 63 overall) and $500K in international bonus pool space to sign him. But that prospect clearly isn’t scaring off the Cubs, who will collect compensation if their own qualified free agents (starter Jake Arrieta and closer Wade Davis) depart. The Cubs are still interested in retaining those two, per Levine, but picking up Cobb would give them five capable starters (Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Chatwood are the others) and seemingly lessen the chances for an Arrieta re-up.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Darvish, Bullpen]]> 2017-12-10T01:20:23Z 2017-12-10T01:20:23Z
  • Speaking of six-man rotations, the Rangers could be prime candidates to go that route in 2018 if they manage to bring back Yu Darvish, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News observes. The Rangers didn’t enter the offseason planning to spend big money on a single player, but Grant wonders if they’ll pivot from that strategy after failing to reel in Ohtani. As such, he proposes offering a four-year, $80MM guarantee to Darvish and including incentives and a fifth-year vesting option. While that seems light for the longtime Ranger and recent Dodger, Grant posits that both Darvish’s affinity for Texas and the prospect of going with a six-man rotation – something the hurler advocates – could help sway him toward a reunion.
  • In another piece, Grant runs down a Winter Meetings to-do list for the Rangers, arguing that they should look to spend on a top-tier free agent starter (Darvish would qualify), improve their bullpen, attempt to trade Shin-Soo Choo and retain their key prospects. Regarding the bullpen, the Rangers are more inclined to target multiple affordable relievers than sign one of Wade Davis or Greg Holland, per Grant.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/9/17]]> 2017-12-09T21:26:25Z 2017-12-09T21:25:34Z We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves in this post.

    • The Rays have bolstered their bullpen depth by signing right-hander Cody Hall to a minor-league deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The pact includes an invitation to spring training. As Topkin notes, Hall has made major-league relief appearances with the Giants (who originally drafted him in 2011) and the Marlins. He’s only made nine MLB appearances, however, and the results weren’t good; Hall allowed ten earned runs in just 11 1/3 innings. The upside for Hall seems to lie in his strikeout ability; the 29-year-old struck out 33.1% of the batters he faced with the Giants’ Double-A affiliate last season.


    • The Nationals announced that they have signed David Goforth to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training camp. The 29-year-old right-hander was a seventh-round selection of the Brewers in the 2011 draft, with whom he’d spent his entire professional career until now. Though he spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as a starter in the minor leagues, he transitioned into a relief role in 2014 and hasn’t made a start since. Goforth averages about 96MPH on his fastball, but hasn’t been consistent with his command. He’s also struggled to keep the ball in the park at the major league level, as shown by his 1.73 HR/9. However, while the 5’10” reliever’s 5.94 ERA may seem ugly on the surface, his 3.98 xFIP and high fastball velocity paint him as someone with intriguing upside.
    • The Rangers have signed former Braves prospect Yenci Pena for $675K, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Rangers were currently holding one of the largest international bonus pools in baseball, perhaps in part because they were attempting to lure Shohei Ohtani to Texas. However, they’ll now focus those funds elsewhere, and the 17-year-old Pena is how they chose to kick off that spending. The shortstop originally signed with the Braves out of the Dominican Republic for $1.05MM, but hit just .230/.328/.327 in his first taste of pro baseball. However, his 12.8% walk rate helped make him a roughly average offensive player in rookie ball.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Were Only Team To Offer Minor A Rotation Opportunity]]> 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z
  • Similarly, left-hander Mike Minor didn’t accept the top offer he received in free agency. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweeted this week that Minor had offers of $30MM total, though those offers came over the life of a four-year term. Minor took a slightly lesser $28MM guarantee over three years, giving him a much higher annual value on the deal. Notably, Minor told reporters after signing that the Rangers were the only team that was willing to give him the option to stretch out as a starter (Twitter link via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). Minor said he’s open to either role but wanted to at least have the opportunity to return to a rotation.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Has Completed In-Person Meetings With Prospective Teams]]> 2017-12-06T20:14:08Z 2017-12-06T20:14:17Z As young Japanese star Shohei Ohtani moves toward a decision on where he’ll sign, it seems he will sit down in person with representatives from each of the seven MLB organizations that have been selected to continue on in his unique posting/signing process. Those seven teams are the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Padres, Mariners, Rangers, and Cubs. Ohtani will have to make his selection no later than December 22nd under the new posting rules established between Major League Baseball and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

    Those that wish to learn more about the exciting two-way performer may want to visit some of these prior posts:

    We’ll track the latest updates on meetings in this post:

    • The Padres met with Ohtani on Tuesday night, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. While that stage of the process is completed, the remaining steps and timeline are not yet known.

    Earlier Updates

    • Ohtani also held court with the Angels on Monday night, Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group reports, meaning that he held at least three meetings on each of the past two days.
    • The Mariners had their meeting with Ohtani this morning (Tuesday the 5th), Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Their delegation has yet to be identified. Likewise, the Cubs had a slot today, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link), with no other details known of their presentation.
    • Ohtani and his representatives also met with the Dodgers on Monday the 4th, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). Rosenthal notes that Ohtani’s camp is moving through the courtship process quickly and will have some days on which he meets with two prospective suitors in the same day.
    • Officials from the Rangers went to L.A. for their turn to pitch Ohtani, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with the meeting taking place on Tuesday evening. Texas has long coveted Ohtani, like many clubs, and sent GM Jon Daniels to Japan earlier this year as part of an early play to draw his interest. As Wilson notes, the organization has $3.53MM available in pool space for a bonus; while that may not be a very telling factor, it’s the most that any of the seven teams will be able to promise Ohtani.
    • The Giants are the first known team to have met with Ohtani, and perhaps also the first actually to do so. According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, the San Francisco organization sent representatives to meet with Ohtani and his representatives today (December 4). All of the team’s top brass was on hand, with CEO Larry Baer heading to Los Angeles along with president of baseball operations Brian Sabean, GM Bobby Evans, and skipper Bruce Bochy. And the Giants had at least one top player attend, with superstar catcher Buster Posey joining the delegation. Pavlovic has more details on the team’s longstanding interest in Ohtani and its plans for him in the event he signs there. While the team can’t offer DH at-bats, Bochy has indicated that Ohtani would stand to see time in the corner outfield. (You can find Pavlovic’s full article on that subject here.)
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Mike Minor]]> 2017-12-06T20:01:10Z 2017-12-06T19:59:13Z 1:59pm: Minor will receive a $1MM signing bonus with salaries of $8MM (2018) and $9.5MM (2019 & 2020), per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter).

    11:10am: The Rangers have announced the signing of lefty Mike Minor to a three-year pact. The Jet Sports Management client will receive a $28MM guarantee and also picks up ten-team no-trade rights, per reports. He’s expected to pitch out of the rotation in Texas.

    Aug 19, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Mike Minor (26) pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

    MLBTR had predicted Minor would land $28MM on the open market, but over a four-year term. This contract becomes the biggest agreed to thus far in what has been a remarkably slow-to-develop offseason. As the first significant player to sign, perhaps it’s not surprising that Minor ended up beating expectations.

    Minor, who’ll soon turn 30, once thrived out of the Braves’ rotation before shoulder problems got in the way. Surgery ensued after a messy 2014 season and he did not appear in the majors for the next two campaigns.

    After being non-tendered by the Braves, Minor hooked on with the Royals, who promised him $7.25MM over two years in hopes he’d bounce back. Minor was not able to recover in time to reach the bigs in 2016, but finally re-emerged in the 2017 campaign — this time, as a reliever.

    Over his 77 2/3 innings in the just-finished season, Minor ran a 2.55 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He averaged nearly 95 mph on his fastball, over three ticks better than he had ever sustained for a season as a starter. Minor relied on his slider quite a bit more than usual, but otherwise largely sustained the same multi-pitch mix that allowed him to succeed as a southpaw starter. It’s worth noting, too, that twenty of his relief appearances went past a single inning.

    It’s not hard to see why Minor was among the most hotly pursued pitchers out of the gates. He’s capable of functioning as a lockdown late-inning southpaw, giving multiple innings out of the pen, or — most enticingly — returning to the rotation. Minor’s health history makes that last possibility feel a bit risky, though it’s entirely arguable that the upside merits a chance.

    Indeed, given that he chose to sign with a team that intends to use him as a starter, Minor obviously is on board with that move. If that is the direction both he and the team desire, then Minor will certainly bring plenty of potential to a staff that badly needs it.

    [RELATED: Updated Rangers Depth Chart]

    While the Rangers already added Doug Fister to their rotation, and still hopes to bring Shohei Ohtani aboard, the team certainly can afford to continue adding. Indeed, it seems there’s even some thought of the possibility of moving to a six-man rotation, as Grant suggests. And it is plenty arguable that this team is wise to take a shot on Minor as a starter — even with his health history — rather than settling for another back-end arm. The fact that Minor could also slide back to the bullpen, which also is in need of high-quality pitchers, only adds to the flexibility the team can achieve with this move.

    Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported the deal (Twitter link) as well as its guarantee (via Twitter). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News suggested Minor would work as a starter and reported the contract length (Twitter links). Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports had the no-trade clause (Twitter link).


    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Re-Sign Tony Barnette]]> 2017-12-05T00:22:29Z 2017-12-04T23:34:30Z The Rangers have agreed to re-sign righty Tony Barnette to a one-year deal, according a team announcement. He’ll receive a $1.5MM guarantee, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter).

    Texas had previously declined a $4MM option on Barnette, paying him a $250K buyout and putting him back onto the open market. He had played for the prior two seasons with the Rangers after signing with the club following a lengthy stint in Japan.

    Barnette, 34, excelled in his first MLB campaign in 2016. (He had never touched the majors before going to Japan in 2010.) Over 60 1/3 innings, he worked to a 2.09 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9.

    Things turned south, however, in 2017. He boosted his K rate to 8.9 per nine, along with his swinging-strike rate (from 11.5% to 13.0%). But Barnette also allowed 3.5 free passes per regulation game and saw his ERA skyrocket to 5.49.

    In the end, the relationship will continue. The 34-year-old Barnette will help boost the depth of the Texas bullpen, much as recent signee Doug Fister will for the rotation. While that has been a priority, the Rangers likely still have interest in some higher-end additions for both sides of the pitching staff.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Agree To Minor League Deals With Chi Chi Gonzalez, Three Others]]> 2017-12-04T22:10:37Z 2017-12-04T22:10:37Z The Rangers announced today that they’ve re-signed right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training. Also getting minor league deals and camp invites are outfielder Anthony Gose (as has been previously reported), lefty David Hurlbut and infielder Christian Lopes.

    Gonzalez was the Rangers’ first-round pick back in 2013, but the 25-year-old (26 in January) has struggled substantially in the Majors, pitching to a 4.54 ERA in 78 1/3 innings with more walks than strikeouts. Gonzalez missed the 2017 season due to a partial UCL tear that led to Tommy John surgery in July. He was non-tendered last week and probably won’t be ready to pitch until late in the season, but he’ll continue his rehab with the only pro organization he’s known to date.

    Gose, 27, never cemented himself as a big league regular when he ranked among the game’s most promising outfield prospects. A two-way star as an amateur, Gose began pitching in the Tigers’ minor league ranks last season as well. It’s not clear if the Rangers plan to let him continue to experiment on the mound, but the press release references him as an outfielder, so it seems that’ll be his primary role.

    Hurlbut, 28, was drafted by the Twins in ’09 and ’11 and has spent his entire career in the Minnesota organization. He reached the Triple-A level in both of the past two seasons and has a solid 3.58 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a 47 percent ground-ball rate in 163 1/3 innings there.

    Lopes, 25, was the Blue Jays’ seventh-round pick in 2011 and has spent his whole career in that organization. He’s a lifetime .262/.336/.376 hitter in his six minor league campaigns and reached Triple-A for the first time last year, where he batted .261/.349/.402 in 92 games.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Plans To Meet With Seven Teams]]> 2017-12-04T13:34:05Z 2017-12-04T13:34:05Z Shohei Ohtani has already narrowed his list of potential landing spots to seven team, according to multiple reporters (with Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM the first to tweet the final seven). Only the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Padres, Mariners, Rangers and Cubs will receive meetings with Ohtani. While Ohtani has three weeks to negotiate with teams, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Ohtani could make a decision well before that point, noting that he could be introduced by his new club at next week’s Winter Meetings.

    Of the remaining teams in the fold, the Rangers still have the most money to offer Ohtani, at $3.535MM, though his signing bonus seems increasingly to be a secondary consideration in where he ultimately signs, especially after last week’s reports that Ohtani could top $20MM in annual earnings in marketing endorsements. Certainly, his list of finalists reflects a preference for West Coast teams and a proximity to Japan, though the presence of the Rangers and Cubs indicates that he’s not quite locked into that mindset just yet.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Could A Six-Man Rotation Help The Rangers Woo Ohtani?]]> 2017-12-04T06:13:15Z 2017-12-04T06:13:15Z
  • The Rangers are one of the teams reportedly still in the hunt to sign Ohtani, though if they’re at a disadvantage if Ohtani is favoring West Coast teams, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News proposes a more unique way for the Rangers to stand out — a six-man rotation.  This would give Ohtani a schedule more akin to his one start-per-week schedule in Japan, plus give him more opportunity for at-bats in between his starts.  Beyond just favoring Ohtani, Grant argues that a six-man rotation might also help the Rangers keep Cole Hamels and Martin Perez fresher, while allowing the club to manage Matt Bush’s innings in a possible transition to starting pitching.  Texas manager Jeff Banister has spoken in favor of a six-man rotation in the past, and given the Rangers’ lack of starting pitching depth, now might be as good a time as any to be creative.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Non-Tenders]]> 2017-12-02T07:43:50Z 2017-12-02T01:10:38Z The deadline to tender 2018 contracts to players is tonight at 8pm EST. We’ll keep track of the day’s non-tenders in this post (all referenced arbitration projections courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) …

    • The Giants non-tendered righty Albert Suarez, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Suarez, 28, was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Righty Tom Koehler and infielder Ryan Goins are heading to the open market after being non-tendered by the Blue Jays, per a team announcement.
    • The Rays announced that lefty Xavier Cedeno has been non-tendered, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
    • The Cubs non-tendered catcher Taylor Davis, per a team announcement. He was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Four Rangers players have not been tendered contracts, per a club announcement. Righties Chi Chi Gonzalez, A.J. Griffin, and Nick Martinez have been cut loose along with infielder Hanser Alberto. Griffin ($3.0MM projection) and Martinez ($2.0MM) were both noted as non-tender candidates by MLBTR. The other two players were not yet eligible for arbitration. Gonzalez was a former first-round pick who had struggled of late and underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
    • The Diamondbacks have also non-tendered lefty T.J. McFarland, who had projected at a $1.0MM salary.
    • The Reds non-tendered lefty Kyle Crockett, a pre-arb lefty who was only recently claimed on waivers, per a club announcement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Brewers have non-tendered veteran righty Jared Hughes. He will end up being the only 40-man player not to receive a contract from Milwaukee. Hughes had projected at a $2.2MM arbitration value. The 32-year-old is a master at inducing grounders and has turned in repeatedly excellent results. He also averaged a career-best 93.9 mph on his sinker in 2017.
    • The Mariners have non-tendered lefty Drew Smyly and righty Shae Simmons, per a club announcement. While the former was expected, due to Smyly’s Tommy John surgery, the latter rates as something of a surprise given his cheap $700K projection. Of course, it’s possible the club is not optimistic of his chances of bouncing back from arm troubles.
    • The White Sox will not tender a contract to reliever Jake Petricka, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). He had projected to take home $1.1MM in his second trip through the arb process. Also non-tendered, per a club announcement, were righties Zach Putnam and Al Alburquerque as well as infielder Alan Hanson.
    • It seems that righty Bruce Rondon will wind up his tenure with the Tigers, as the organization is set to non-tender him, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press (via Twitter). Rondon was long viewed as a potential late-inning arm for the Tigers, but had some notable run-ins with the organization, struggled with control, and never consistently produced at the MLB level. Though he projected to earn just $1.2MM, Rondon will be allowed to find a new organization. He will turn 26 later this month.
    • The Diamondbacks will non-tender righty J.J. Hoover, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Hoover projected at just $1.6MM, but Arizona is watching every penny as it seeks to return to the postseason with a tight payroll situation. The 30-year-old turned in 41 1/3 innings of 3.92 ERA ball in 2017 with 11.8 K/9 but also 5.7 BB/9 on the year.
    • The Royals announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Terrance Gore. Though Gore was not eligible for arbitration, teams occasionally utilize today’s deadline to prune their 40-man rosters. Gore had quite an interesting run with Kansas City, scarcely playing at all during the regular season and then appearing as a speed-and-defense asset in the team’s two storied postseason runs. Now, though the fleet-footed 26-year-old is out of options. With an upper minors OPS that hovers just over .600, Gore just was not going to break camp with the club. It seems reasonable to think there’s a chance he’ll return to the organization on a minors deal, though Gore will also have a shot at exploring the broader market.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Anthony Gose]]> 2017-12-01T06:32:23Z 2017-12-01T04:30:02Z
  • Anthony Gose is joining the Rangers on a minors deal, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). He’s expected both to function as a left-handed reliever — as he did last year in the minors — and to play the outfield — as he long did previously, including at the major-league level. Gose, who’s still just 27, recorded 14 strikeouts and six walks while allowing nine earned runs in 10 2/3 innings at the High-A level in 2017. Elbow issues halted his season at that point. Though Gose never showed quite enough bat in the majors, which is why he ended up attempting the conversion, he does have a useful skillset — quality speed and defense — that would make him a hypothetically interesting roster piece if he can develop sufficiently on the mound.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Eyeing Relievers As They Await Ohtani Sweepstakes]]> 2017-11-29T05:25:40Z 2017-11-29T05:16:21Z
  • Now that the Rangers have signed righty Doug Fister, they’re likely to turn their focus to the bullpen for the time being, tweets’s T.R. Sullivan. That’s not to say Texas is through adding to its rotation, but Jon Daniels and his staff will certainly want to see how the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes plays out before determining their next move on the rotation front. In a separate column, Sullivan reports that the Rangers have submitted their response to agent Nez Balelo’s seven-point memo requesting information to help Ohtani make his decision. Daniels tells Sullivan that the Rangers have been following Ohtani for years and awaiting this opportunity, adding that he “feels strongly” about what the Rangers organization has to offer the 23-year-old star. If Texas is ultimately able to add Ohtani, it stands to reason that the team might then choose to spend more aggressively on a non-rotation need. Speculating further, if Ohtani lands elsewhere, that could conceivably cause Texas to more aggressively pursue a big-name rotation upgrade.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Tuesday]]> 2017-11-28T22:13:31Z 2017-11-28T22:13:43Z Though Shohei Ohtani has not even yet been officially posted — that’s expected as soon as Friday — the supreme young talent is drawing plenty of attention from MLB organizations. Those clubs received a memorandum over the weekend asking them to provide information to Ohtani and his representatives on a variety of subjects, which is only the beginning of a highly unusual and utterly fascinating recruitment process.

    Here’s the latest:

    • Though Ohtani is limited to a signing bonus and a minor league contract in coming to the Major Leagues, he stands to earn substantially more through marketing endorsements, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Marketing agents have predicted to Nightengale that between endorsements back in Japan and in the United States, Ohtani could command north of $20MM annually. That’d make him MLB’s highest-paid player in terms of off-the-field revenue.
    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic spoke to agent Scott Boras (who was in the running to represent Ohtani before Ohtani signed CAA and Nez Balelo) as well as MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem about Ohtani’s earning capacity. Unsurprisingly, Boras offered sharp criticism of a system that won’t allow Ohtani to top a $3.535MM signing bonus at this point. “He is precocious, greatness cast adrift, forced into the MLB lifeboat,” said the always colorful Boras. “And his admission is handcuffs that prevent him from getting at least what his older, lesser valued peers received—in Tanaka’s case, more than $150 million.” Halem, as one would expect, wholly disagreed with Boras’ notions, pointing out that it was Ohtani who passed on the chance to sign with MLB clubs as an amateur out of high school, which could have jump-started his earning potential. And, it was Ohtani who asked to be posted as an amateur just two years before he could have been posted as a professional. The free column has quite a few quotes from both Boras and Halem on the matter and is well worth a full look.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Doug Fister]]> 2017-11-28T22:06:45Z 2017-11-28T22:01:31Z In what has been a slow offseason for all 30 big league clubs, right-hander Doug Fister has broken the ice and signed a one-year deal with the Rangers, the team announced today. Fister, a client of PSI Sports Management, will reportedly be guaranteed $4MM in the form of a $3.5MM base salary for 2018 and either a $4.5MM club option or a $500K buyout for 2019. The option could reportedly be worth as much as $7MM, and both years include $500K in performance bonuses. The Rangers’ 40-man roster is now up to 39 players.

    Doug Fister

    The Rangers will be the seventh big league organization for the soon-to-be 34-year-old Fister, who went through all of last offseason without landing a contract after struggling with the Astros in 2016. The Angels finally signed Fister to a minor league accord in May, but he opted out of it June 21 after failing to reach the majors with the club.

    [Related: Updated Texas Rangers depth chart & payroll outlook]

    After his Halos stint concluded, Fister quickly caught on via waivers with the Red Sox and ended up turning in 90 1/3 innings (18 appearances, 15 starts) of 4.88 ERA pitching, with 8.27 K/9 against 3.79 BB/9 and a 50.6 percent groundball rate. Fister experienced a notable uptick in velocity during his Red Sox tenure, though he still only topped out in the low-90s, and notched one of the best swinging-strike rates of his career (7.6 percent – up from a league-worst 5.7 percent from 2015-16).

    While the 6-foot-8 Fister is no longer the front-line starter he was at times with the Mariners, Tigers and Nationals earlier in his career, the Rangers are banking on his respectable showing in Boston carrying into 2018. With Andrew Cashner and Miguel Gonzalez sitting on the open market, the Rangers entered the offseason in need of multiple starters. Texas’ rotation finished last season 24th in both ERA and fWAR, and that was with 137 quality innings from Yu Darvish, whom the team traded to the Dodgers at the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

    For now, the Rangers’ projected starting staff for 2018 includes Fister, Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, A.J. Griffin and Nick Martinez. While Fister, Hamels and Perez are either strong bets or locks to earn spots, the Rangers would hard pressed to count on either Griffin or Martinez, who combined for 178 2/3 innings of replacement-level pitching in 2017. Adding Fister won’t be the Rangers’ last move this offseason as they attempt to repair their rotation, then, but it’s the majors’ first notable free agent signing in what has been an unusually quiet winter so far.

    Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston first reported the agreement. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reported the terms of the contract.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Claim Juan Centeno From Astros]]> 2017-11-27T20:45:36Z 2017-11-27T20:39:15Z The Rangers announced that they’ve claimed catcher Juan Centeno off waivers from the Astros. Centeno was placed on outright waivers last week.

    The 28-year-old Centeno spent some time as a backup catcher with Houston this past season and logged more significant time with the Twins a year prior. Overall, he’s batted .254/.306/.382 with five homers, 12 doubles and a triple in his past 249 big league plate appearances. Centeno has struggled to throw out runners in his career (just 13 percent in the Majors) and has graded out as a poor pitch-framer, per Baseball Prospectus.

    That said, the Rangers have a thin catching corps at the moment, with Robinson Chirinos and Brett Nicholas representing the only two catchers on the 40-man roster with big league experience. Well-regarded youngster Jose Trevino was added to the 40-man roster last week as well. Centeno is out of minor league options, so he’ll have to either break camp with the club as the primary backup to Chirinos or once again be exposed to waivers if the Rangers hope to keep him in the organization.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Still Interested In Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn]]> 2017-11-27T05:54:50Z 2017-11-27T05:54:50Z
  • The Rangers signed Doug Fister earlier today but aren’t done looking for pitching, as MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports (Twitter link) that the club is still showing interest in Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.  Given the uncertainty in the Texas rotation and Fister’s own inconsistent performance in recent years, it isn’t surprising that the Rangers are looking to further augment their staff with a pitcher who could be more comfortably slotted near the front of the rotation.  Texas has cast a wide net in search of pitching help — beyond Cobb and Lynn, the team has also been linked to Jake Arrieta and Tyler Chatwood, plus the Rangers are expected to be one of the top suitors for Shohei Otani.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Have Shown Interest In Jake Arrieta]]> 2017-11-25T21:55:49Z 2017-11-25T21:55:49Z
  • In addition to the previously reported Brewers and Twins, the Blue Jays, Rockies and Rangers have shown interest in free agent right-hander Jake Arrieta, Cafardo relays. All of those teams have contacted agent Scott Boras about Arrieta, though it’s unclear how serious any of them are about the 31-year-old. The Rangers seem to have the greatest need for Arrieta, who MLBTR projects will land a nine-figure contract, but as Steve Adams pointed out when previewing their offseason, they don’t have a lot of payroll flexibility.

  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Added To The 40-Man Roster]]> 2017-11-21T01:48:28Z 2017-11-21T00:47:42Z As detailed earlier this morning at MLBTR, the deadline for Major League clubs to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft is tonight. Because of that, there will be literally dozens of moves between now and 8pm ET as teams make final determinations on who to protect and who to risk losing in next month’s Rule 5 draft. This process will lead to smaller-scale trades, waiver claims and DFAs, but for some clubs the only necessary moves will simply be to select the contracts of the prospects they wish to place on the 40-man roster. We’ll track those such moves in this post…

    Click to check in on other teams that have selected players to their 40-man rosters …

    Read more

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Ronald Herrera From Yankees]]> 2017-11-20T18:26:37Z 2017-11-20T18:01:59Z The Rangers are set to acquire right-hander Ronald Herrera from the Yankees, reports’s Mark Feinsand (on Twitter). The two teams announced the trade shortly thereafter, revealing that lefty Reiver Sanmartin is going to the Yankees in return. Herrera was on the Yankees’ 40-man roster and will thus be added to the Rangers’ 40-man roster as well.

    The Yankees entered the day with just three open 40-man spots and several players worthy of 40-man consideration, while the Rangers had a whopping 10 spots on their 40-man roster they can fill before tonight’s deadline to set rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. Shipping Herrera to the Rangers vacates one of those spots and paves way for another player to be protected to the Rule 5 Draft.

    The 22-year-old Herrera was initially signed by the A’s back in 2011 but went to the Padres as part of the trade that sent Kyle Blanks to Oakland in 2014. More recently, the Padres traded him to the Yankees in exchange for Jose Pirela. The 22-year-old Herrera cruised through three minor league levels this season, pitching to a 1.91 ERA with 6.8 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 in 75 1/3 innings (14 starts).

    [Related: Updated Texas Rangers and New York Yankees depth charts]

    Herrera made his big league debut with the Yanks but tossed just three innings, allowing two runs with three strikeouts against one walk. Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen tweets that Herrera is a potential back-of-the-rotation arm, featuring a low 90s heater with an above-average changeup and fringier breaking pitches. For a Rangers club in dire need of rotation options, he’s a welcome addition.

    As for Sanmartin, the Colombian-born 21-year-old spent the 2017 season in A-ball and tossed 66 innings with a 2.41 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 in 66 frames. Sanmartin made 11 starts in addition to three relief appearances. Longenhagen tweets that he sits in the upper 80s with his fastball and has an average changeup and slider, pegging Sanmartin as a reliever or a fifth/sixth starter. Sanmartin signed with the Rangers as a 19-year-old in 2015, so he still has another year before he needs to be considered for the 40-man roster.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers, Alex Cobb's Reps Have Been In Contact]]> 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z
  • The Rangers “have had preliminary contact” with right-hander Alex Cobb’s representatives, Morosi writes. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported earlier this month that the starter-needy Rangers covet Cobb, one of the top hurlers on the open market. Cobb returned in earnest from 2015 Tommy John surgery last season to turn in a career-best 179 1/3 innings of 3.66 ERA pitching, with 6.42 K/9, 2.21 BB/9 and a 47.8 percent groundball rate.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Affordable Starters Rangers Could Consider]]> 2017-11-19T03:43:13Z 2017-11-19T03:41:53Z
  • With the Rangers in desperate need of starters, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News lists several bargain free agents who might be worthy of their attention on the open market. Two of those players, Miguel Gonzalez and Miles Mikolas, bring past Rangers experience to the table. Recent Tommy John surgery recipient Michael Pineda, John Lackey and Jhoulys Chacin could also land on the club’s radar, Grant writes.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Heyman’s Latest: Moore, Cain, Rangers, Vargas/O’s, Rodney/D-Backs]]> 2017-11-17T05:17:25Z 2017-11-17T05:17:25Z In his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag looks into the Royals front office. Owner David Glass is “considering a possible two-year extension” for GM Dayton Moore, writes Heyman, even though Moore has “no leverage” given that he’s already under contract for three more seasons. This all arises after Glass declined to allow the Braves to speak with Moore about changing squads. While Moore has expressed gratitude to ownership, his recent comments were interesting, if difficult to interpret with any precision. All told, it seems there could still be some unresolved matters in the Kansas City front office.

    Let’s look at a few more items from Heyman of particular relevance to the still-developing hot stove season:

    • Top free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain has drawn some early interest from the Mets and Giants, according to Heyman. As regards the New York organization, this information seems to conflict with recent statements from Mets GM Sandy Alderson — though as ever it’s worth taking things with a grain of salt and acknowledging fluidity this time of year. As for the Giants, we at MLBTR pegged San Francisco as the likeliest landing spot for Cain, though some doubt whether the organization will go over the luxury tax line and sacrifice draft choices to land him. At a minimum, though, the organization would seem to be wise to do some diligence on the possibility.
    • The Rangers have “looked into” free agent righties Lance Lynn and Tyler Chatwood, says Heyman. While it’s not clear just how serious the interest is, the link isn’t surprising. Texas clearly needs arms; indeed, MLBTR guessed they’d land Lynn. While Chatwood doesn’t have nearly the track record of results that Lynn does, he is an intriguing option in his own right and shares some of the characteristics of Andrew Cashner — the former Ranger free agent signee who is himself back on the open market.
    • Another team with a desire to add several starters (and with reputed interest in Chatwood) is the Orioles. The Baltimore front office met with agents for lefty Jason Vargas during the GM Meetings, Heyman reports. The 34-year-old veteran seems to be a good match for the O’s, as we predicted, since the team needs to find so many rotation innings and can’t afford to make major long-term commitments to multiple starters.
    • The Diamondbacks are “open” to bringing back Fernando Rodney, GM Mike Hazen tells Heyman. Arizona is facing a difficult payroll situation but obviously will be looking to maintain and improve upon a Wild Card-winning roster. Though Rodney didn’t dominate last year, he’s still throwing mid-nineties heat and generating quite a few swings and misses — and obviously met with the approval of the D-Backs’ brass in the closer’s role. Beyond improving the pen, the Arizona priority is to improve in the outfield, per the report. That could mean pursuing under-the-radar additions; though Hazen says he’s not ruling out a return for J.D. Martinez, that’d almost certainly require the kind of payroll increase that does not appear to be under consideration.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[DeShields Could Be 2018 Center Fielder]]> 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels said at the GM Meetings that his team is approaching the 2018 season with the mindset that Delino DeShields Jr. will be the center fielder, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. That doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of signing a center fielder, as Daniels stated that DeShields could end up in left if the team lands a center fielder “that makes us better as a club.” It does, however, suggest that center field may not be a top priority for Texas this winter. Daniels praised DeShields for his defensive improvements in center over the past couple of seasons, reminding that he’s a converted second baseman who has been learning on the job.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Plan To Discuss Extension With Jon Daniels]]> 2017-11-16T19:26:39Z 2017-11-16T18:06:40Z The Rangers have no plans to move on from president of baseball ops/general manager Jon Daniels, whose contract expires after next season, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Wilson was told that Daniels “isn’t going anywhere” and may already be discussing a new contract with the team.

    Daniels was barely 28 years of age when he was named general manager of the Rangers, making him the youngest GM in the game’s history. He’s now overseen the Rangers for 12 seasons, though, and is among the game’s longest-tenured general managers.

    At the time Daniels was promoted to GM (when then-GM John Hart resigned), the Rangers had struggled to losing records in five of their past six seasons. While winning didn’t come immediately under Daniels’ watch, he eventually built the Rangers up to a perennial contender. Texas averaged 92 wins per season from 2009-12 and appeared in back-to-back World Series in 2010-11. The Rangers have won 87 or more games six times in the past nine seasons and only had two losing records in that span (including this past year’s 78-84 finish).

    While the Rangers’ outlook is somewhat bleak given their substantial pitching needs and the presence of the Astros atop the AL West, Daniels and his staff have kept the club largely competitive for the better part of a decade. In that time, some of his more notable moves include trading Mark Teixeira to the Braves in exchange for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones; acquiring Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman from the Phillies in exchange for Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and Alec Asher; and the signings of Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish.

    Of course, Daniels’ regime has had its share of misses. Surrendering Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz in the trade that netted the Rangers Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress stands out as a recent regrettable decision, and the Prince Fielder/Ian Kinsler swap didn’t pan out after a debilitating neck injury ended Fielder’s career.

    Obviously, every front-office regime comes with its triumphs and low points, but Texas has been a generally successful organization under Daniels during his time as general manager and president of baseball operations (which was added to his title back in 2013).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Reportedly Interested In Jurickson Profar]]> 2017-11-16T16:58:03Z 2017-11-16T16:57:04Z 10:57am: Most teams have at least checked in on Profar’s availability, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Grant, however, adds that he finds it likelier that Profar would be part of a larger deal than this and/or that the Rangers would wait until deeper into the offseason to make a move.

    10:01am: The Yankees have interest in swinging a deal for Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar in the next few days, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yanks are a surprising entrant into Profar’s list of potential suitors given their considerable infield depth. New York has Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Starlin Castro at second base and Chase Headley at third, with Ronald Torreyes in a utility role and well-regarded prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar on the cusp of MLB-readiness. Young Tyler Wade represents another utility option that is already on the 40-man roster.

    Nonetheless, Sherman notes, the Yankees are intrigued by the idea of adding the game’s former No. 1 overall prospect in exchange for some of the pitchers on the fringes of their 40-man roster as they look to set that 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. The deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft will come on Monday. Names like Bryan Mitchell, Caleb SmithLuis Cessa and Chasen Shreve are among those listed by Sherman as possible players on the Yankees’ 40-man bubble.

    [Related: New York Yankees depth chart & Texas Rangers depth chart]

    Profar has long been an obvious trade candidate. The Rangers have Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Adrian Beltre at third base, and they committed to Rougned Odor as their long-term second baseman last offseason by signing him to a $49.5MM extension. While both Beltre and Andrus could leave the Rangers after next season — Beltre’s contract runs through 2018, while Andrus has an opt-out next offseason — the Rangers don’t have much of a spot for Profar in the interim. He’s out of minor league options and hasn’t thrived in a utility role in recent seasons.

    The Rangers, furthermore, need starting pitching depth more than almost any other club in the Majors. Their rotation options beyond Cole Hamels and Martin Perez (neither of whom was impressive in 2017) are sparse, at best. If the Yankees like the idea lessening their 40-man crunch by condensing two arms into a single player with greater individual upside, then Profar certainly makes some degree of sense.

    Of course, it remains to be seen just how Profar would fit into their plans. He’s controllable for another three seasons but cannot be optioned to the minors, meaning he’d leapfrog one of Torreyes or Wade on the current depth chart. Neither Torreyes nor Wade has proven himself to be an especially potent bat in the Majors, though the same can be true of Profar. That said, Profar was once considered baseball’s best prospect before a pair of shoulder surgeries wiped out two years of his career, and he did hit .287/.383/.428 in 383 Triple-A plate appearances this season. The Yankees may very well relish the notion of acquiring a player they can slot in at any position on the infield if he comes with greater offensive upside than either of their currently projected utility candidates.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Hunter Cole To Complete Sam Dyson Trade]]> 2017-11-15T20:07:15Z 2017-11-15T20:05:21Z The Rangers have acquired minor-leaguer Hunter Cole from the Giants, per a club announcement. Cole becomes the player to be named later from the deal that sent reliever Sam Dyson to San Francisco over the summer.

    Cole, 25, has topped out at the Double-A level thus far in his career. Indeed, he has played there in each of the past three seasons without yet cracking the highest level of the minors. In 2017, he slashed only .249/.323/.431 over 319 plate appearances with seven home runs, though Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that he finished strong.

    Dyson, whose unbelievable struggles early in the year prompted the swap, turned things around to some extent upon landing with the Giants. While he was still far from the high-quality hurler he had been previously, Dyson managed a 4.03 ERA and even picked up 14 saves in his 38 frames with the Giants.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Daniels Discusses Profar Trade Speculation]]> 2017-11-15T05:33:12Z 2017-11-15T05:33:12Z
  • Jurickson Profar is among the most oft-speculated trade candidates of the winter, but GM Jon Daniels stressed today that the Rangers don’t need to move him to another club this winter (link via’s T.R. Sullivan). Profar, 25 in February, will be out of minor league options next season and will need to be carried on the 25-man roster to avoid being exposed to waivers. However, Daniels notes that Elvis Andrus has the ability to opt out of his contract following the 2018 season — the same point at which Adrian Beltre’s contract will expire. To be sure, there’d be sense in keeping Profar around in a utility capacity next year while prepping him for a potentially larger role, though there still figures to be interest as teams look to buy low on the former No. 1 overall prospect.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Allowing Bush To Prepare For Possible Rotation Spot]]> 2017-11-14T23:09:44Z 2017-11-14T23:09:44Z
  • The Rangers will let right-hander Matt Bush spend the offseason preparing for a potential rotation spot in 2018, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Bush, who had shoulder surgery last month but is expected to be ready for Spring Training, turned in strong numbers as a reliever for the Rangers in each of the past two seasons. Overall, he’s worked to a 3.08 ERA with 9.4 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 with 0.87 HR/9 in 114 innings. The Rangers won’t make a definitive decision on his role for another couple of months, however, Grant adds, which could indicate that Bush’s fate will be somewhat determined by the other additions GM Jon Daniels and his staff are (or aren’t) able to make this offseason.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Crasnick’s Latest: Stanton, Ohtani, JDM, Darvish, Royals, McCutchen]]> 2017-11-13T15:20:45Z 2017-11-13T15:20:45Z In this year’s edition of his annual Hot Stove survey (an always-excellent read), ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick surveyed 40 front office execs and scouts from around the league on nine offseason issues as this week’s GM Meetings kick off. Among the topics discussed, at length, are the possibility of a Giancarlo Stanton trade (and his likeliest destination), where Japanese star Shohei Ohtani will land, how much J.D. Martinez can command in free agency, and whether Yu Darvish’s poor World Series showing hampered his free-agent stock. Crasnick also polled the 40 baseball ops/scouting minds on multiple groups of free agents and trade candidates, asking which will provide the most value and which are likeliest to be dealt.

    If you follow the offseason even loosely, you’ll want to be sure to read through the entire column, which is packed with quotes and insight from general managers, scouts and other front-office executives on the players in question and their potential landing spots. Some abbreviated highlights…

    • Three quarters of the respondents indicated that they expect Stanton to be traded this offseason, with nearly a third listing the Cardinals as the likeliest landing spot. The Giants were the second-most popular spot, though one scout tells Crasnick he has a difficult time envisioning that match, calling the Giants a “bottom-five farm system.” One respondent who felt Stanton would stay in Miami suggests to Crasnick that the Marlins may be underestimating just how much of the contract they’ll need to pay down.
    • The Yankees and Dodgers split the vote on the surveyed group’s likeliest destinations for Ohtani, with the Rangers not far behind. Several other clubs received a few votes, and four of the 40 respondents suggested that they believed Ohtani would remain with the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2018. There’s still some work to be done with the league, the players’ union and Nippon Professional Baseball before the posting process can begin in earnest. The agreement between MLB and NPB on the current iteration of the posting system expired this offseason.
    • The Red Sox were the overwhelming favorite when it came to the question of Martinez’s next team, though expectations for his contract varied in size. One GM pegged Martinez at around six years and $140MM, Crasnick notes. Some execs felt he’d fall closer to Justin Upton’s $106MM guarantee.
    • Only three of the 40 respondents thought that Darvish’s pair of World Series meltdowns would have a substantial impact on his offseason earning capacity. Crasnick’s piece has plenty of insightful quotes on Darvish — more than any other player — from the scouts that were polled. An AL scout tells Crasnick that 15 years ago, the World Series might’ve hurt Darvish, but in a largely sabermetric environment, his late struggles are a “void blip in the radar.”
    • Crasnick also asked respondents which of the Royals’ big three free agents (Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain) would provide the best value on his next deal, which of Carlos Gomez or Carlos Gonzalez had a better chance of reestablishing himself as a star, and which major 2018-19 free agent among Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado is likeliest to be traded this winter. I found it somewhat of a surprise to see Hosmer as the decisive favorite in that Royals question, though many scouts praised his glovework despite poor reviews from defensive metrics. McCutchen, less surprisingly, was deemed likeliest of his trio to go, while Gonzalez topped Gomez handily in their own respective face-off.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Jay Bruce Interested In Signing With Rangers, Astros]]> 2017-11-13T03:16:13Z 2017-11-13T03:16:13Z
  • Beaumont native Jay Bruce would like to sign with one of his home-state teams (the Astros or Rangers), NJ Advance Media’s Abbey Mastracco writes.  A return to the Mets is also a possibility, though Bruce’s top priority is to play for a contender.  Bruce isn’t a perfect fit on either the Houston or Texas rosters, though the Astros could use another left-handed bat and the DH spot is opening up with Carlos Beltran’s likely departure.  The Rangers could also have DH or right field at-bats open depending on where Shin-Soo Choo plays, or if the team wants to give top prospect Willie Calhoun a look.  What doesn’t seem likely, however, is that either Texas club signs Bruce at his initial five-year, $80-$90MM asking price.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Grant: Rangers Should Shop Shin-Soo Choo]]> 2017-11-11T00:40:17Z 2017-11-11T00:38:48Z Outfielder/designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo is a “luxury” the Rangers can’t afford, opines the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant, who contends that the team should shop the 35-year-old in hopes of improving elsewhere. Choo has an onerous contract, though, as he’s owed $62MM through 2020, so the Rangers’ best hope might be flipping him for another team’s unappealing deal, Grant writes. With that in mind, Grant lists three right-handers signed through 2020 – the Tigers’ Jordan Zimmermann ($74MM remaining on his pact), the Royals’ Ian Kennedy ($49MM) and the Reds’ Homer Bailey ($49MM, including a $5MM buyout in 2020) – as players the starter-needy Rangers could potentially acquire in exchange for Choo. Notably, Choo spent the 2013 campaign in Cincinnati and thrived, which helped pave the way for him to sign a seven-year, $130MM pact with the Rangers in the ensuing offseason.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Shohei Otani]]> 2017-11-08T20:25:06Z 2017-11-08T19:31:12Z 2:23pm: There’s a “tentative understanding” in place simply to extend the prior posting regime for another year, Sherman reports. The MLBPA has yet to weigh in on the subject, though, and there’s still not a final deal in place.

    1:31pm: In the wake of Shohei Otani’s decision to hire a MLBPA-certified player representative, it seems that there’ll be a renewed push to figure out a way to resolve the impasse that has threatened to derail his planned move to the majors. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that there’s a sense that the move will help facilitate an agreement that all involved will approve.

    Indeed, Otani’s reps at CAA are scheduled to “meet soon” with the player’s association to attempt to get on the same page in an effort to sort things out, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets. That’s just the first step here, of course, as Otani and the MLBPA will still need to engage with Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball — the two entities that are primarily negotiating a new system governing inter-league player transfers.

    The difficulties here are tied to two factors: first, MLB’s rules capping international bonuses on certain younger international free agents; and second, the expiration of the prior posting system. There was a time when Otani’s current team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, might have auctioned Otani’s negotiating rights for something approaching or even exceeding nine figures while Otani might have commanded a guarantee of as much or more. Under the just-expired transfer system, the Fighters would at least have stood to receive the maximum allowable $20MM fee. But that’s no longer how things work.

    The transfer rules currently under contemplation would do away with the (up-to) $20MM flat-fee approach in favor of one that would allow the NPB team to earn a percentage of the bonus the posted player negotiates. If Otani was free to seek his market value, that wouldn’t likely pose a problem. But his earnings are now severely limited; while he is evidently at peace with that, his would-be former team is obviously not enamored of the possibility of losing its best player for what would be relative peanuts.

    Under MLB’s current international rules, MLB clubs can’t go past their international spending pools (as supplemented via trade) to sign Otani. Those are even more limited than might be realized, though, due to teams’ preexisting commitments with young international players. (This was already known, of course, though the details remained fuzzy.)

    According to a report from the Associated Press, only six teams even have enough uncommitted pool space to offer Otani seven figures. The Rangers ($3.535MM), Yankees ($3.25MM), and Twins ($3.245MM) easily lead the way, with the Pirates ($2.2MM+), Marlins ($1.74MM), and Mariners ($1.57MM+) also have some money to spend — or, perhaps, to trade to a would-be Otani suitor. For someone who is expected to be an immediate and significant contributor at the major-league level, that’s a pittance no matter the precise amount. Of course, he’ll also have a chance to make significant income off the field and through a future extension or trip through arbitration.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Will Not Make Qualifying Offer To Andrew Cashner]]> 2017-11-06T21:00:05Z 2017-11-06T21:00:05Z The Rangers will not make a qualifying offer to right-hander Andrew Cashner, GM Jon Daniels tells reporters (Twitter link via’s T.R. Sullivan).’s Mark Feinsand had tweeted shortly before Daniels’ comments that Cashner would not receive a QO.

    A qualifying offer for Cashner has always been a long shot, though reports in recent weeks have suggested that Texas was at least weighing the one-year, $17.4MM proposal to Cashner. Texas signed Cashner to a one-year, $10MM contract last offseason and was rewarded with 166 2/3 innings of 3.40 ERA ball. Cashner, though, turned in one of the worst K/9 rates in all of baseball (4.64) and averaged a pedestrian 3.46 BB/9 as well. His unsightly K/BB numbers make him a candidate for significant regression in the ERA department, as is evidenced by less-than-glowing reviews from metrics like FIP (4.61), xFIP (5.30) and SIERA (5.52).

    That said, Cashner has made 27 or more starts in each of the past three seasons and averaged 150+ innings per year in that time. He’s not the top-end starter that may projected him to be in his prospect days and early in his career with the Padres, but the 31-year-old should nonetheless draw interest from several clubs this offseason as teams look to round out the back of their rotation.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Exercise Option On Perez, Decline Options On Barnette, Napoli]]> 2017-11-06T20:29:31Z 2017-11-06T20:06:15Z The Rangers announced that they’ve exercised their $6MM club option on left-hander Martin Perez. The 2018 options of Tony Barnette ($4MM) and Mike Napoli ($11MM) have been declined. Barnette will receive a $250K buyout, while Napoli receives a $2.5MM buyout.

    Beyond the option decisions, the Rangers announced that catcher A.J. Jimenez and right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx have cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Round Rock.

    In coaching staff news for the Rangers, Texas also announced that it has hired former Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen as its new assistant pitching coach and hired former big league right-hander Colby Lewis as a special assistant to GM Jon Daniels.

    The 26-year-old Perez hasn’t exactly made good on his once lofty prospect status, but he’s developed into a dependable back-of-the-rotation starter. Given the affordable nature of his option and the steep $2.35MM buyout that was associated with that option, it’d have been nothing short of shocking to see his option declined.

    The 2017 season saw Perez log a team-high 185 innings with a 4.82 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 47.3 percent ground-ball rate. Obviously, his run-prevention numbers weren’t anywhere near where Perez or the team would’ve hoped, but he’s made 65 starts across the past two seasons for a Rangers team that is in desperate need of innings. Andrew Cashner and Miguel Gonzalez are free agents, leaving Perez and Cole Hamels as the only true locks for the Texas rotation. Other options include Nick Martinez, A.J. Griffin and Yohander Mendez, but the Rangers very clearly need to add multiple arms to the rotation for the coming season.

    Barnette, 34 later this week. made his Major League debut with the Rangers in 2016. A former Diamondbacks farmhand, Barnette never cracked the Majors early in his career and instead went overseas to find enormous success pitching in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He earned a two-year Major League contract with the Rangers as a result of efforts in Japan and was every bit worth that investment in his first year with the club.

    In 2016, Barnette pitched to a 2.09 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 with a 46.3 percent ground-ball rate in 60 1/3 innings out of manager Jeff Bannister’s bullpen. However, his strand rate plummeted in 2017 as his BABIP rose, causing his ERA to spike to 5.49. Barnette’s strikeout rate actually improved in ’17, and metrics like FIP and xFIP didn’t feel he was all that much worse than he was in 2016. However, the disappointing bottom-line results and a need for more bullpen stability caused the Rangers to move on. Barnette’s strong 2016 season and promising uptick in punchouts could generate him some interest on big league deals with a low base salary this winter, but many teams will likely hope to bring him into camp on a minor league contract.

    The 36-year-old Napoli swatted 29 homers in his return to Arlington this season but saw his batting average check in south of the Mendoza Line and his OBP land in the upper .200s. Overall, the benefit of his considerable power (.235 ISO) was counteracted by a .193/.285/.428 batting line and below-average baserunning. Both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference pegged him slightly worse than replacement level. Napoli struck out at a career-worst 33.6 percent clip and also popped up at a career-high 15.6 percent pace. A troublesome 38.1 percent of his trips to the plate resulted in a punchout or an infield fly. He’d already been informed that his option would be declined (as previously detailed on MLBTR), and he’ll now return to the open market in search of a new team for the 2018 campaign.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Rumors: Darvish, Cobb]]> 2017-11-05T16:30:45Z 2017-11-05T16:30:15Z
  • Former Rangers ace and soon-to-be free agent Yu Darvish is not atop their offseason wish list, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram reports. The Rangers will contact Darvish’s agent during free agency, but the likelihood is that he’ll be too pricey to return to the team, per Wilson. With a Darvish reunion looking like a long shot, the Rangers might turn to another established free agent right-hander in Alex Cobb, whom they covet, according to Wilson. The longtime Ray, 30, returned from a 2015 Tommy John procedure in earnest this year, tossing 179 1/3 innings of 3.66 ERA/4.16 FIP ball.
  • ]]>