- More on the Yankees, whose starting third baseman, Miguel Andujar, has been in the rumor mill of late. The Rangers and “several” other teams have made more than one inquiry regarding Andujar in the past, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. And “multiple executives” informed Sherman that the Yankees are now trying to drive up Andujar’s value so they can sell high on the 23-year-old. General manager Brian Cashman shot that down, though, saying: “That is completely false. I think [Andujar] is a hell of a player. We have said ‘no’ to him [in trade talks] not just this year but from Double-A on up. I have not included him any deals and that should say how I feel about him.” Cashman goes on to defend Andujar’s questionable defense in Sherman’s piece and adds, “Where he was and where he is now, I feel vindicated not moving him.”
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News takes a look at the situation in which the Rangers find themselves with Adrian Beltre. The third baseman has full no-trade rights and has not yet given indication about whether he’d prefer to play out the season with a contender, though he has said he wants to play with the Rangers again in 2019. “His value to the organization is above how we would normally consider trade acquisitions,” GM Jo Daniels tells Grant. “For us to consider anything, it’s got to be mutually beneficial, good for all parties involved.” Beltre, 39, hasn’t shown much pop but is hitting .288/.349/.401 on the season. He’s been DHing more of late in an effort to keep his legs healthy.
The Rangers have designated outfielder Austin Jackson for assignment, per a club announcement. He had been acquired recently from the Giants but never reported to his new team, at its request.
As Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News explained at the time, the swap that brought Jackson and reliever Cory Gearrin to Texas was designed from the outset as a prospect purchase. “Our primary motivation was acquiring Jason Bahr,” GM Jon Daniels said of the deal. The Giants, who are just barely south of the $197MM luxury tax threshold, were willing to give up the young hurler in order to clear over $5MM in salary from their books as part of their own deadline maneuvering.
Jackson, 31, struggled badly at the plate this year in San Francisco. Over 165 plate appearances, he carries a meager .242/.309/.295 batting line. That power outage came along with a 35.8% strikeout rate that is far higher than the ~20% level Jackson has maintained in recent seasons.
It’s still possible, of course, that the Rangers will try to line up a trade involving the veteran outfielder. He did have a productive 2017 campaign, leading the Giants to give him a two-year, $6MM contract over the winter. But it seems unlikely that there will be much of a market for his services at the moment. Certainly, no other teams will have interest in taking on the salary, if any are even willing to give him a MLB roster spot.
- Aroldis Chapman will likely be dealing with his current left knee issue for the rest of the season, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said before yesterday’s game (link via George A. King III of the New York Post). Chapman has been playing through a minor bout of tedinitis in his left knee and was held out of yesterday’s game even when the Yankees found themselves with a late 2-1 lead. Boone explained that he wanted to stay away from Chapman and Dellin Betances, instead turning to David Robertson to nail down the save. With a doubleheader set for Monday, it makes some sense to give Chapman that extra day of rest. King also notes that the Reds, Rangers and Royals were all among the rebuilding teams scouting the Triple-A tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox’ top affiliates yesterday. Several contending clubs were on hand as well, though, including the Indians, Phillies and D-backs.
12:47pm: Jackson may never even play for the Rangers, per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. General manager Jon Daniels told the outfielder “to hold off on reporting,” Fraley writes. It seems they’ll try to trade him.
12:05pm: The Rangers have acquired outfielder Austin Jackson, reliever Cory Gearrin and right-hander Jason Bahr from the Giants in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to Texas’ executive vice president of communications, John Blake. To clear room on their 40-man roster, the Rangers moved relievers Matt Bush and Tony Barnette to the 60-day disabled list. Meanwhile, the Giants will select both outfielder Steven Duggar and righty Ray Black from Triple-A, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
This trade amounts to a cost-cutting move for the Giants, who were narrowly under the $197MM competitive-balance tax threshold entering Sunday. Now, with the Rangers taking on the salaries of both Jackson and Gearrin (per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic), the Giants are seemingly in better position to make some moves around the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline as they try to hang in the NL West race.
San Francisco added Jackson on a two-year, $6MM free-agent contract last winter on the heels of a season in which the veteran was a key role player for the Indians. The 31-year-old Jackson has gone backward this season, though, as he took 165 plate appearances with the Giants and hit just .242/.309/.295 with no home runs, 14 unintentional walks and 59 strikeouts. He’ll now attempt to revive his season in his native Texas.
The Giants tried to get rid of Gearrin via outright waivers last month, but no one claimed him. The 32-year-old’s on an affordable $1.675MM salary in his penultimate season of team control, though he has seen his ERA increase from 1.99 in 2017 to 4.20 in 2018. Overall this year, Gearrin has tossed 30 innings and managed 9.3 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9.
Along with helping the Giants get out from under the salaries of Jackson and Gearrin, the out-of-contention Rangers also added Bahr – who ranked as San Francisco’s 27th-best prospect at MLB.com. Bahr, 23, joined the Giants just last year as a fifth-round pick. He has since pitched solely at the Single-A level, including 84 2/3 innings of 2.55 ERA ball this season.
With the Jackson experiment having failed for the Giants, they’ll introduce the well-regarded Duggar to their outfield mix. The 24-year-old Duggar, a 2015 third-round pick and MLB.com’s third-ranked Giants prospect, owns a .272/.354/.421 line in 356 Triple-A plate appearances this season. He’ll join a San Francisco outfield that hasn’t gotten average or better offensive production from anyone but Andrew McCutchen, Gorkys Hernandez and Austin Slater this year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- After missing over two months due to a fractured elbow, it may be unlikely that Elvis Andrus opts out of his Rangers contract after the season. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News thinks Andrus will be with the team not only in 2019, but “I really feel like this is a guy who is going to play his entire career in Texas.” Andrus’ deal pays him $56MM from 2019-22 (plus a $15MM club option for 2023) and contains opt-outs after both this season and the 2019 campaign. Grant feels the Rangers could work to ensure Andrus remains in the fold by re-negotiating the deal to add another guaranteed year. This discussion is speculative, of course, as a number of other factors (i.e. if Andrus hits well over the next three months, the fact that Scott Boras is his agent, or if the Rangers are possibly entering a rebuild) could inspire him to test the open market.
- Similarly, the outlook is a bit concerning for Rangers righty Tony Barnette. He’ll be looked over today but is already believed to be dealing with a potentially worrisome shoulder strain, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Though the Texas organization isn’t contending, and can simply recall just-optioned righty Chris Martin, the potential loss of Barnette is still notable. The 34-year-old had pitched his way into a useful trade piece for the Rangers. Through 26 1/3 innings, he owns a 2.39 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 along with a 51.4% groundball rate. He’s earning only $1.5MM this year, making him a budget-friendly target — if he can avoid a lengthy DL stint in the run-up to the deadline. [Update: Barnette has been placed on the DL; Martin was recalled to take the open roster spot]
- It’s still unknown just how aggressive the Phillies will be in their first season of contention under the current front office regime. The club is one of the most interesting buy-side organizations to watch. Jon Heyman of Fancred dangles one intriguing possibility, tweeting that he’s “hearing some chatter” regarding the possible pursuit of Rangers lefty Cole Hamels. That said, Heyman also notes that he’s “unsure how serious the chatter is.” The long-time Philadelphia hurler is a clear trade candidate, though his big remaining guarantee, 2019 option, and 20-team no-trade protection figure to complicate things from the Rangers’ perspective. And it’s fair to wonder if the Phillies would set their sights on a more significant addition if they try to add to their rotation.
With the 2018-19 international signing period kicking off today, there will be dozens of six- and seven-figure bonuses handed out to teenage prospects, primarily out of Latin America, filtering in throughout the day today. Many of these have been in the works for quite some time, as is reflected by the fact that most of the top players’ destinations and signing bonuses have been previously reported/projected (and by the fact that the top agreements will all be reported in one swift avalanche today).
We’ll keep track of the notable National League signings here and the notable American League signings in a separate post. Note that you can read up on each of these players with the dedicated international coverage available from Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required), Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com and Kiley McDaniel & Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, each of whom has scouting info on the top echelon of international amateurs. Badler is also tracking the all of the signings from all 30 teams.
Onto some of the more notable signings…
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre spoke about his future Saturday, telling Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News and other reporters that he’s unsure if he’ll return in 2019. But if Beltre does come back for what would be his age-40 season, the impending free agent only wants to play for the Rangers. “If I’m going to play next year, I want it to be here,” Beltre said. “Right now, that’s a big if. But, if I play, I think I owe it to these fans. And I want to retire as a Ranger.” The Rangers seem open to welcoming back Beltre if he continues playing, as general manager Jon Daniels said that “having him finish his career here would be an honor.” In the meantime, it’s possible Beltre will finish this season on a playoff contender if Daniels trades him. However, given that Beltre has 10-and-5 rights, he could stand in the way of a deal.