Texas Rangers – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-06-23T16:33:06Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Choo, Beltre, Diekman, Mendez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125520 2018-06-22T01:55:27Z 2018-06-22T01:54:01Z The Rangers would be willing to pay down some of Shin-Soo Choo’s remaining salary in a trade, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports in his latest notes column. Heyman writes that the Rangers would do so “for the right take,” though it seems difficult to imagine the Rangers being especially picky in any Choo negotiations. While the 35-year-old is undeniably having a very nice season at the plate, hitting .277/.388/.468 with 13 homers, he’s also owed $52.86MM through the 2020 season — including about $10.86MM through season’s end in 2018. Choo, already largely limited to DH work, will be 38 by the time his current seven-year deal ends, and the last-place Rangers would presumably be happy to be free of a decent chunk of that onerous sum even if it meant taking on a negligible amount of talent in return.

A bit more out of Arlington…

  • As third baseman Adrian Beltre draws trade interest in the twilight of his career, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explores how that career blossomed more quickly than anyone could’ve imagined. In an extensive look back at the venerable Beltre’s original promotion by the Dodgers, Grant notes that he was promoted during Tommy Lasorda’s brief run as the GM in Los Angeles. Lasorda candidly explains to Grant that he initially called Beltre up to “set a tone” despite some protest from others in the front office. Beltre collected a pair of hits in his big league debut, and the improbable promotion proved to be a permanent move, as the then-19-year-old prospect never returned to the minors. It’s a fun tale of a unique situation featuring some notable baseball characters and terrific quotes that is well worth a full read.
  • Lefty Jake Diekman has recently boosted his trade stock, as Grant writes in a thorough examination of the veteran reliever. Diekman, who’s a pending free agent, has been throwing hard and getting both whiffs and grounders, but he’s also continuing to issue too many walks. Still, with a 2.96 ERA through 27 1/3 innings, he has shown he can get results (as he has in the past). Perhaps the most confounding aspect of his season is the fact that he has uncharacteristically struggled quite a bit against lefties, who own a .303/.452/.424 slash against him. Despite the questions, it’s not hard to imagine a fair bit of interest materializing from teams that want a power lefty but miss on other options or see particular appeal in Diekman’s reasonable salary ($2,172,500).
  • Matt Moore’s shift to the bullpen was supposed to prompt a long-term rotation audition for lefty Yohander Mendez, but plans quickly changed in that regard. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters this week that Mendez was optioned to Triple-A as a disciplinary measure after violating team rules (link via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Wilson reports that Mendez and second baseman Rougned Odor were out for a night with some friends on the Royals while visiting Kansas City and the evening “got out of hand.” Police weren’t involved in the incident, Daniels emphasized. “Part of the development of where we are as a club is upholding a certain level of standards for veterans and young players alike,” Daniels said of the incident. “Part of the development process of young players is on the maturity side as well. I’d say that’s kind of where this one falls.” Manager Jeff Banister added that Mendez will now need to earn his way back to the big leagues.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Adrian Beltre Drawing Trade Interest]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125516 2018-06-21T23:29:52Z 2018-06-21T23:21:22Z Both the Phillies and Indians have varying levels of interest in Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Philadelphia’s interest is portrayed a bit more strongly in the report, whereas Morosi writes that “[a]t least some within the Indians organization would like to acquire Beltre,” who is familiar with skipper Terry Francona from the 2010 season with the Red Sox.

The Rangers’ stance as sellers on this summer’s trade deadline has been clear for weeks. Texas currently sits 12 games below .500 and an insurmountable 18 games out of first place in the American League West. They’re a similarly daunting 14.5 games out of the American League Wild Card chase.

While trade interest in Beltre figures to pick up as the deadline draws nearer, it’s not yet clear whether the 39-year-old Beltre will waive his 10-and-5 rights, which allow him to veto any trade scenario with which he is presented. Certainly, there’s a logical case to be made that given his age, Beltre would prefer to go somewhere with a chance to win a World Series ring. At the same time, he’s been with the Rangers since 2011 and undoubtedly has a comfort level with his teammates, the coaching staff, the city and Rangers fans. He’s earning $18MM this season — with approximately $9.77MM of that sum still owed to him through season’s end.

For the Phillies, it’s not difficult to see the appeal Beltre brings to the organization. Philadelphia third baseman have posted a lackluster .235/.300/.399 batting line so far in 2018, and their third basemen have been seven runs below average in the field according to both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. There’s been little in the way of value provided from either Maikel Franco or J.P. Crawford, the latter of whom just went on the disabled list for up to six weeks after incurring a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch two days ago.

The Indians, meanwhile, have a less obvious need, considering the brilliance of Jose Ramirez, who has broken out as a full-fledged superstar over the past two seasons. Ramirez is hitting a ridiculous .291/.391/.611 with 22 homers, 20 doubles, a triple and 10 steals (in 12 tries) while playing strong defense at third base. However, Ramirez is also a more-than-capable second baseman, and the Cleveland organization has received virtually no production at that position from former star Jason Kipnis (.208/.282/.328 in 295 plate appearances). Acquiring Beltre would allow Cleveland to shift Ramirez to second base.

Clearly, Beltre isn’t the player that he once was. But the future Hall of Famer has still notched an impressive .302/.357/.428 slash with three homers, nine doubles and a triple so far through 182 plate appearances. However, he’s also had a pair of DL stints this season due to hamstring strains and has begun to see more time at designated hitter as a means of keeping his legs healthier. That could limit some of his appeal to an NL club such as the Phillies, though with Crawford, Franco and Scott Kingery on the roster, the Phils have the depth to rest Beltre a couple of times per week should they deem it necessary.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Angels Acquire Deck McGuire, Designate Juan Graterol For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125398 2018-06-20T01:21:11Z 2018-06-20T01:06:59Z The Angels announced Tuesday that they’ve acquired right-hander Deck McGuire from the Rangers in exchange for cash. In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, catcher Juan Graterol has been designated for assignment. McGuire will head to Triple-A Salt Lake, per the Angels’ announcement.

Texas claimed the 28-year-old McGuire from the Blue Jays last Friday, but he appeared in just one game with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate before being designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for the return of Elvis Andrus. Now, McGuire will change organizations for the second time in a span of less than a week.

A former first-round pick (11th overall by the Blue Jays in 2010), McGuire has yet to establish himself as a viable Major League arm. Prior to the 2018 season, in fact, he’s posted largely unsightful numbers at the Triple-A level. However, McGuire enjoyed a strong season with the Reds’ Double-A club in 2017 and carried that success with him back to the Jays organization in 2018, pitching to a 3.22 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9 and a 39.7 percent ground-ball rate in 44 2/3 innings at Triple-A Buffalo.

After making eight promising starts in Buffalo, the Jays summoned him to the Majors, where he was tagged for six runs on nine hits and five walks with seven strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings of relief. But the Rangers and Angels, apparently, both saw enough in his work out of the Buffalo rotation to hold some interest in seeing if the former top prospect can emerge as a late bloomer at the big league level. For the Halos, McGuire will at the very least serve as a spot start/depth option in the upper minors — an important addition following injuries to Shohei Ohtani, Matt Shoemaker, J.C. Ramirez and Nick Tropeano.

Graterol, meanwhile, has made just one plate appearance for the Halos this season, going 1-for-1 with a single. He’s been up and down with the club on multiple occasions dating back to 2016, however, and has now been designated for assignment by the Angels on three different occasions. The first of those instances saw Graterol bounce around the league, briefly landing with the D-backs, Reds and Blue Jays before making his way back to Anaheim. The defensively-sound backstop is a career .222/.225/.283 hitter in 103 MLB plate appearances but carries a more encouraging .290/.318/.349 slash in 449 PAs at the Triple-A level.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Seek To Spread Infield Playing Time]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125352 2018-06-19T17:12:23Z 2018-06-19T16:25:42Z
  • The Rangers have a crowded infield mix now with Elvis Andrus re-joining the active roster. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explains, the organization hopes to keep all of its primary options on the field quite often, allowing Jurickson Profar to continue receiving ample opportunities while also letting Rougned Odor work through his struggles at the plate. Skipper Jeff Banister says this will be accomplished by utilizing third baseman Adrian Beltre as a DH with some frequency and allowing Andrus some extra rest. Utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa, meanwhile, is going to attempt to add to his versatility by suiting up behind the dish, as Grant tweets. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation plays out for the struggling Rangers, who could weigh trades involving several of these players. In particular, Beltre (who’ll be a free agent at season’s end) and Andrus (who can opt out of his contract) seem to be plausible candidates.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Designate Deck McGuire]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125316 2018-06-18T21:41:14Z 2018-06-18T21:41:14Z The Rangers have designated righty Deck McGuire for assignment, per a club announcement. That’s the roster move for the activation of shortstop Elvis Andrus.

    McGuire was only just claimed off waivers, so the Texas organization evidently intended all along to try to sneak him back through waivers. If he clears, the 28-year-old will presumably take up a place on the depth chart at Triple-A while not occupying a 40-man spot.

    Though he has seen MLB action in each of the past two seasons, McGuire hasn’t thrown enough innings to tell us much. But he does have loads of experience in the upper minors, having reached Double-A in his first season as a pro, way back in 2011. Over 335 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level, McGuire carries a 5.09 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Activate Elvis Andrus]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125310 2018-06-18T21:03:31Z 2018-06-18T20:26:46Z The Rangers announced Monday that they’ve activated shortstop Elvis Andrus from the 60-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Ricardo Rodriguez from Triple-A Round Rock. Catcher Jose Trevino was optioned to Double-A Frisco in one corresponding move, while Ryan Rua was optioned to Triple-A in another. The Rangers still need to make a 40-man move to accommodate the activation of Andrus from the 60-day DL, and they’ll do so closer to game time, according to the team.

    Andrus has been out since being struck by a pitch and suffering a fractured right elbow back on April 11. While the injury didn’t require surgical repair, Andrus required a lengthy period of rest and rehab leading up to today’s activation. The timing was poor for the 29-year-old impending free agent, but he’ll still have three-plus months to build his case for potentially interested teams.

    Of course, Andrus is far from a lock to even reach the open market. He’s in the fourth season of an eight-year contract extension that allows him to opt out of the remaining four years. While that seemed like an impossibility after Andrus’ bat failed to develop in the first couple years of the deal, Andrus’ offense has come around in the past couple of seasons.

    Dating back to 2016, he’s hitting .301/.352/.459 with 30 homers, 78 doubles, 11 triples and 49 steals (in 68 attempts). At season’s end, he’ll have to decide whether to test free agency or forgo the opt-out provision to play out the final four years and $58MM in guaranteed money on his contract.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rougned Odor To Continue As Rangers' Starting Second Baseman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125248 2018-06-18T03:05:13Z 2018-06-18T03:05:00Z
  • The Rangers’ Jurickson Profar has easily outperformed teammate Rougned Odor this year. Despite that, the Rangers’ second base job will continue to belong to Odor, in part because of his contract, according to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. Odor still has four and a half years remaining on the six-year, $49.5MM guarantee he landed prior to 2017, and because of that, it seems Texas would rather have him try to figure things out as its starting second baseman than on its bench or in the minors. That’s not to suggest Odor will keep Profar off the diamond, though, as manager Jeff Banister said that the latter could see action five times a week at second, third and short. Profar may even emerge as the Rangers’ full-time shortstop in 2019 if Elvis Andrus opts out of his contract after this season and leaves as a free agent, Wilson points out.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Select Yovani Gallardo’s Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125065 2018-06-17T15:58:56Z 2018-06-17T15:58:43Z TODAY: The move is official, as announced by Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake (Twitter link).  To create space on the 25-man and 40-man rosters, lefty Brandon Mann was optioned to Triple-A while Doug Fister was moved to the 60-day DL.  Fister hit the DL with a knee strain last weekend, and now won’t be eligible to return to the Rangers’ roster until August.

    FRIDAY: The Rangers will select the contract of veteran righty Yovani Gallardo, per a club announcement. He’ll join the team in time to make a start on Sunday, at which time corresponding moves will be made.

    Gallardo, 32, enjoyed his last run of success in the majors when he turned in 184 1/3 frames of 3.42 ERA pitching for the Rangers back in 2015. Through 251 MLB innings since that time, he has limped to a 5.81 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.

    Since coming back to the Texas organization earlier this year on a minors deal, following a very brief and unsuccessful stint with the Reds, Gallardo has taken the ball for ten starts at Triple-A. He has been in solid form there, working to a 3.81 ERA with forty strikeouts and 14 free passes.

    The Rangers will turn to Gallardo with Doug Fister hitting the DL and Matt Moore being pushed to the pen. If Gallardo throws well enough to stick, he might help the team cover for potential trade deadline moves (or, less likely, turn into an asset himself). The Texas pen is also increasingly hurting, with Chris Martin and Matt Bush going on the DL today.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Claim Deck McGuire, Place Matt Bush On 10-Day DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125053 2018-06-15T20:25:21Z 2018-06-15T20:05:42Z The Rangers have claimed righty Deck McGuire off waivers from the Blue Jays, per a club announcement. He’ll be optioned to Triple-A.

    The Texas organization has also shifted righty Matt Bush to the 10-day DL with what is being called a right elbow strain. Southpaws Yohander Mendez and Brandon Mann have been called up to the MLB roster from Round Rock.

    McGuire was designated for assignment recently after throwing 9 1/3 middling innings for the Jays. But he produced solid results last year in his first, brief MLB action and has been effective at Triple-A over the past two seasons.

    Bush just hasn’t pitched to his prior standard thus far in 2018. His upper-nineties heater is down about a tick on average, his swinging-strike rate has dropped to 9.4%, and he’s averaging just 7.4 K/9 with 5.5 BB/9 along with a 4.70 ERA that may understate his struggles somewhat.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Move Matt Moore To Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124942 2018-06-14T00:11:27Z 2018-06-14T00:11:27Z The Rangers are moving veteran left-hander Matt Moore from the starting rotation to the bullpen, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fellow left-hander Yohander Mendez will start for Texas in Moore’s place on Friday.

    It’s a disappointing outcome for both team and player, though Moore received perhaps a longer leash than his early results would’ve otherwise dictated. Through 56 innings with the Rangers, Moore has been hammered for a 7.88 ERA, averaging 6.6 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9 and 1.29 HR/9. To be sure, there’s been some degree of poor fortune at play, as Moore’s .394 BABIP and 59.9 percent strand rate look fluky. But his K/BB numbers are still the worst of his career, and fielding-independent metrics like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all still peg him north of 5.00.

    The brutal start to the season for Moore is the continuation of a rather precipitous decline for the once-vaunted prospect. Prior to the 2012 season, each of Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus considered Moore among the top two overall prospects in all of baseball, and he lived up to the hype early on, making the All-Star team and earning some Cy Young votes in an excellent age-24 season back in 2013.

    Moore, though, required Tommy John surgery in 2014 and has never recaptured his front-of-the-rotation form since returning. He did toss 198 1/3 frames of 4.08 ERA ball between Tampa Bay and San Francisco in 2016 — a solid season that looked to set him back on track at the very least as a serviceable mid-rotation piece — but he’s followed that up with 230 1/3 innings of a 6.10 ERA and 4.83 FIP.

    [Related: Texas Rangers depth chart]

    Shortly after making his MLB debut, Moore agreed to a five-year, $14MM deal with the Rays that included club options for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. While that deal long looked to be one of the best bargains in baseball, it now suddenly looks unlikely that Texas will even exercise its $10MM club option over Moore for the ’19 season. The Rangers didn’t give up much to acquire Moore and some international bonus allotments from the Giants, sending minor leaguers Israel Cruz and Sam Wolff back to the Giants in exchange. The addition was one of several low-cost pickups for the rotation this winter, but the majority of those moves have failed to pay dividends.

    As for Mendez, he’s a former top 100 prospect whose star has dimmed a bit in recent years. Though he posted respectable numbers in Double-A last season, he’s off to a miserable start in Triple-A Round Rock, where he’s struggled to a 5.26 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 1.75 HR/9 and a 41.4 percent ground-ball rate. That said, Mendez only turned 23 back in January and has pitched better over his past five appearances (4.00 ERA, 25-to-9 K/BB ratio in 27 innings), and frankly, Moore’s persistent struggles simply make it difficult to keep trotting him out there as a starter.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Agree To Terms With First-Rounder Cole Winn]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124715 2018-06-12T21:28:47Z 2018-06-12T21:28:11Z June 12: Sullivan tweets that Winn has agreed to a $3.15MM value that comes in below the recommended slot value.

    June 10: The Rangers are in the final stages of an agreement with first-round pick Cole Winn, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan and Wesley Dodson.  Winn was on hand to watch the Astros/Rangers game today at Globe Life Park, and is scheduled to undergo a physical on Monday.  Assuming no complications, he’ll be officially introduced at a Tuesday press conference, with Sullivan/Dodson noting that Winn is expected to sign for close to the $3,738,500 slot value attached to the 15th overall pick.

    The 18-year-old Winn was one of the draft’s most highly-touted high schoolers and pitchers, coming off a very strong season for Orange Lutheran High School in Southern California.  He was a consensus top-11 pick in pre-draft rankings from ESPN’s Keith Law, MLB.com, Fangraphs, and Baseball America, with Law placing Winn highest as the seventh-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class.  Winn has three-plus pitches to his name — a fastball that has touched 96mph and a strong curveball and changeup — as well as a gradually-improving slider.

    Law described Winn as “the best command guy in the high school class this year,” and wrote that “his delivery is one of the simplest in the draft as well, giving hope that his command will hold up in pro ball and that he’ll stay healthy.”  His easy delivery adds to the common consensus among evaluators that Winn is a very safe pick for a high school pitcher.  As Fangraphs’ scouting report puts it, “Winn is the only prep pitcher in a deep class with no yellow or red flags on his resume. He’s a near finished product with mid-rotation stuff, feel and consistency.”

    That Fangraphs report also cited some rumors during the lead-up to the draft about Winn potentially being one of the first picks off the board, as his stock was high enough that the Giants reportedly gave some consideration to Winn as the second overall selection.  Given this projection, the Rangers should feel quite pleased at Winn falling to the 15th spot.

    Winn could be the first of several forthcoming draft signings for the Rangers, as Sullivan/Dodson write that most of all of the club’s top 10 draft picks are expected to finalize deals this week, pending physicals.  The Rangers have an overall draft bonus pool of $7.356MM to spend on this year’s picks.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Agree To Terms With Second-Rounder Owen White ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124825 2018-06-12T18:32:44Z 2018-06-12T18:31:27Z
  • Rangers second-rounder Owen White will take a $1.5MM bonus to bypass his commitment to the University of South Carolina, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). White ranked just inside the top fifty on Law’s board and just a shade lower on the others. Analysts believe he has some room to grow into his frame and better maintain the mid-nineties velocity he has shown at times. Plus, there are hints of four potentially useful pitches for the Texas developmental staff to work with. Taken 55th overall, White will secure a bonus that’s $242,500 over the slot value of the selection.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2017-18 Rule 5 Draft Update]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124748 2018-06-11T16:14:27Z 2018-06-11T16:14:00Z When we last checked in on this year’s crop of Rule 5 players, there were a combined 11 players — six on active rosters and five on the Major League disabled list — still with their new organizations. That number has fallen to nine, with six players (albeit a different mix) still active in the Majors, plus another three hanging around on the DL. The number could shrink again in the near future, as several of the remaining Rule 5-ers are seldom used pieces, and at least two teams will soon likely have to make a call.

    Active Big Leaguers

    • Victor Reyes, OF, Tigers (from D-backs): Reyes has received only 38 plate appearances since our last Rule 5 roundup, hitting .211/.211/.342 in that span. He’s picked up a pair of triples and a double, his first extra-base hits in the Majors, but is hitting just .196/.196/.304 on the season as a whole. The Tigers barely use Reyes, outside of pinch-running and late-game defensive switches, but the longer they commit to hanging onto him, the less likely it becomes that they return him to Arizona. At this point, they’ve played more than a third of the season with an effective 24-man roster, so they seem likely to see this through.
    • Brad Keller, RHP, Royals (from D-backs, via trade w/ Reds): The 22-year-old Keller hasn’t picked up many strikeouts (5.9 K/9) and hasn’t displayed elite control (3.3 BB/9), but he’s sporting a 57.9 percent ground-ball rate in 35 innings for Kansas City — including three starts. He boasts a 2.31 ERA thus far in 2018, though his 0.26 HR/9 mark and 82.2 percent strand rate seem poised to regress. Nonetheless, he’s performed well enough to date that there’s no reason for the Royals to consider cutting ties.
    • Burch Smith, RHP, Royals (from Rays, via trade w/ Mets): Smith, on the other hand, is a more complicated case for GM Dayton Moore and his staff. The 28-year-old is currently lugging a 6.49 ERA to the mound with him after surrendering 10 runs in his past 7 1/3 innings. Smith has racked up 28 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, but he’s also issued 18 walks and hit two batters. Beyond that, seven of the 26 hits he’s allowed with Kansas City have cleared the fence.
    • Pedro Araujo, RHP, Orioles (from Cubs): Araujo was one of four players in Spring Training with the Orioles who came with Rule 5 status, but he’s the last to remain on their MLB roster. (Anthony Santander, who missed much of last season due to injury, fulfilled his Rule 5 requirements last monthM and was optioned to Triple-A.) Araujo was torched for four runs last night, including a pair of homers, and he now has a 7.71 ERA in 28 innings with the O’s. That’s not exactly a surprise considering the fact that he skipped both Double-A and Triple-A, and to his credit, Araujo has punched out 29 hitters in his 28 frames (albeit against 18 walks and two hit batters). Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun wrote this morning that Araujo’s roster spot could be in jeopardy with Zach Britton coming off the disabled list.
    • Carlos Tocci, OF, Rangers (from Phillies, via trade w/ White Sox): Texas stashed Tocci, 22, on the disabled list with a hip contusion for more than a month and rode his rehabilitation window as long as possible. Since being activated on June 2, Tocci hasn’t logged a single plate appearance. The Rangers’ season looks to be lost, so they may as well hang onto Tocci if they believe he has any shot at a future in the organization. He’s just 2-for-25 in 14 games this season and has struggled in Triple-A, but Tocci was productive for the Phillies’ Double-A club last season and hit well in Double-A during last month’s rehab assignment, too.
    • Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Marlins (from Astros): Hernandez has allowed just 10 earned runs through 23 innings for a 3.91 ERA, but he’s also picked up just 10 strikeouts and yielded five homers. Hernandez, 23, has shown strong control (four walks), but he looks quite hittable through his brief run with Miami so far. As with each team listed in this section, though, they can certainly afford to hang onto him.

    On the Disabled List

    • Julian Fernandez, RHP, Giants (from Rockies): Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery back in April. He’ll accrue MLB service time while spending the season on the 60-day disabled list and will retain his Rule 5 status heading into 2019, if the Giants wish to hang onto him all offseason.
    • Nick Burdi, RHP, Pirates (from Twins via trade w/ Phillies): The Pirates picked up Burdi knowing he’d miss much of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he’s yet to throw in the minors. That said, Burdi is a former supplemental-round pick who was selected toward the top of the draft thanks to an 80-grade heater that regularly touches triple digits. If he can get healthy enough to pitch this season, the Bucs will have a free look at a tantalizing power arm.
    • Brett Graves, RHP, Marlins (from Athletics): The Marlins placed Graves on the 60-day disabled list with an oblique strain back on Opening Day, so he’s yet to pitch in the Majors. He has, however, recovered to the point where he’s begun pitching on a minor league rehab assignment. The results haven’t been pretty. Graves has a 6.23 ERA with a 16-to-7 K/BB ratio and four hit batters in 17 1/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He’s also nearing the end of his 30-day rehab window. His first rehab appearance came back on May 17, so the Marlins have less than a week to determine whether to bring Graves up to the Majors or run him through waivers and offer him back to Oakland.

    Returned to Original Organization

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Choo, Andrus, Herrera]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124711 2018-06-11T01:35:55Z 2018-06-11T01:35:55Z The latest from Arlington…

    • Shin-Soo Choo has been hitting well and could gain some trade buzz at the deadline, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes.  The biggest obstacle, of course, is the approximately $55MM owed to Choo through the 2020 season, though the veteran outfielder has a .267/.375/.450 slash line and 11 homers through 296 PA this season.  While Choo hasn’t been a superstar since inking his seven-year, $130MM deal with Texas, he has generally been a productive bat for the Rangers, hitting .260/.361/.425 during his four-plus years with the club.  He does turn 36 next month, however, and doesn’t bring defensive value in either corner outfielder position.  One would think Texas would have to eat a significant portion of Choo’s contract to make a deal happen.
    • Also from Wilson’s piece, he argues that Elvis Andrus may be best served by not opting out of his contract after the season.  Andrus is owed $58MM through the 2022 season (plus a $15MM club option for 2023), so he’d be leaving a significant guarantee on the table if he opted out to join a potentially-uncertain free agent market.  It could be difficult for Andrus to top that number on the open market, as he turns 30 in August and he has missed almost all of this season due to a fractured elbow.  Wilson also notes that Andrus has a “disdain for the cold,” which could eliminate several big-market northern cities from his potential list of suitors.  Andrus also has an opt-out clause following the 2019 season, so it makes sense for him to stick with the Rangers for another year and then re-evaluate his options after what would hopefully be a healthier and productive 2019 campaign.
    • Ronald Herrera is likely headed for surgery to repair a flexor tendon in his throwing elbow, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports.  The surgery will officially end Herrera’s season, though he hasn’t pitched at all after suffering a shoulder problem during Spring Training; Fraley notes that the elbow issue emerged while Herrera was rehabbing his shoulder in the hopes of a midseason return.  Acquired in a trade from the Yankees last November, Herrera has a 3.60 ERA, 3.16 K/BB rate, and 6.9 K/9 over 627 2/3 career minor league innings in the New York, San Diego, and Oakland farm systems, with 112 of his 120 career games coming as a starting pitcher.  Herrera made his MLB debut last season, tossing three innings for the Yankees.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Place Doug Fister On DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124627 2018-06-10T16:33:59Z 2018-06-10T16:31:14Z
  • The Rangers announced that they’ve placed right-hander Doug Fister on the disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, and recalled infielder Hanser Alberto from Triple-A. It’s the second DL stint of the year for Fister, who’s dealing with a right knee strain. He previously missed time in April with a right hip strain. Thanks in part to his injury issues, it hasn’t been a particularly good season for the 34-year-old Fister, whom the Rangers added on a $4MM guarantee in free agency. Despite a 50.4 percent groundball mark and a low walk rate (2.59 per nine), Fister has logged 4.50 ERA/5.19 FIP over 66 innings and 12 starts. Given that Texas won’t be in contention around the deadline, the team could market the veteran if he’s healthy, though it seems unlikely he’ll have much of any value.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[HR Issues Could Hurt Cole Hamels' Trade Value]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124520 2018-06-09T15:06:25Z 2018-06-09T15:02:24Z
  • Given that it’s likely in the market for a starter, New York has come up as a speculative fit for Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. However, if Hamels’ home run issues don’t subside, the Rangers will have trouble getting much back for him in a trade, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News observes. The 34-year-old is currently yielding 1.93 homers per nine, well above his career mark (1.04) and the American League average for starters (1.23). Hamels has still logged a respectable 3.86 ERA, but his secondary numbers are less encouraging. He’s not exactly teeming with trade value, then, especially considering Hamels’ ability to block deals to 20 teams and his $22.5MM salary this season (plus either a $20MM club option or a $6MM buyout in 2019).
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Extend Jon Daniels]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124364 2018-06-07T16:35:33Z 2018-06-07T16:03:12Z The Rangers have agreed to an extension of GM and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News was among those to tweet. Details are not yet known.

    A new contract for the club’s top baseball operations executive has long been expected, so the news is no surprise in that regard. Daniels is now in his 13th year in the position, which he took at just 28 years of age.

    Over that tenure, Daniels has signed contracts of varying lengths, but never for more than four campaigns. His latest deal covered the 2016 through 2018 seasons, so it was set to expire at year end.

    While the Rangers are experiencing some transition pains at the MLB level, Daniels has delivered strong overall results during his time in office. The club went to the postseason in five of seven seasons between 2010 and 2016 and has only carried a losing record in two of the past nine campaigns, though another will likely be added to that tally when 2018 draws to a close.

    On the surface, it’s odd to see this agreement come while the Rangers are limping out to a 27-37 record. But there’s obviously a broader view being considered here. The club is scheduled to open a new ballpark (its second in less than three decades) for the start of the 2020 season, which surely represents a target date of sorts.

    There’s certainly a formidable challenge ahead for Daniels, whose current roster is not exactly stuffed with core talent. Though the team has its share of well-regarded prospect talent, it isn’t considered a top farm system overall. Meanwhile, each of the other four teams in the AL West have generated some excitement and momentum to this point in the season.

    Most immediately, there are some potentially sticky situations to be navigated involving veteran players. Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus could each become free agents — the latter has an opt-out chance — and thus may also be summer trade candidates. It’s fair to wonder whether the club may try to engineer some kind of move to shed a bit of the money owed to Shin-Soo Choo. Several relievers could be dealt. And then there’s the rotation, which includes three veterans who could be useful to contenders — Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, and Bartolo Colon — and otherwise presents as much or uncertainty as any other starting unit in baseball in both the near and long term.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Release Tim Lincecum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124243 2018-06-05T22:49:37Z 2018-06-05T22:35:14Z The Rangers have granted right-hander Tim Lincecum his release, as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan was among those to tweet. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports first broke the news that the team had decided not to promote Lincecum to the big leagues, leaving him with the choice of accepting a Triple-A assignment or granting him his release (Twitter link).

    Texas signed Lincecum to a one-year, Major League deal that came with a $1MM guarantee back in March, but blister issues slowed his path back to a mound. He’s been ramping up after missing much of the early portion of the season, but things haven’t gone especially well in Triple-A Round Rock. Lincecum has totaled 12 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, yielding eight earned runs on 14 hits and nine walks with 10 strikeouts in that time.

    Now, the 33-year-old former Cy Young winner will have to explore other options as he seeks to return to the Majors for the first time since a brief, ill-fated tenure with the Angels in 2016. Lincecum endured a precipitous decline during which he saw his fastball velocity plummet before ultimately requiring a major hip surgery that has prevented him from since reestablishing himself at the big league level. He’d been working exclusively as a reliever with the Rangers organization, and it seems likely that he’ll continue on that path if he ultimately latches on with a new organization.

    Rangers GM Jon Daniels had nothing but praise for the amount of effort Lincecum put into his comeback attempt, telling reporters (Twitter link via Sullivan): “Despite good intentions and a lot of hard work, we didn’t feel it was the right move to bring Tim up here.”

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[How The Rangers Found Isiah Kiner-Falefa]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124036 2018-06-04T01:57:53Z 2018-06-03T23:32:58Z
  • Rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa has emerged as a versatile part of the Rangers roster, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News chronicles at how Rangers scout Steve Flores came upon the youngster almost by accident.  Kiner-Falefa initially caught Flores’ attention while the scout was on hand to watch another member of Kiner-Falefa’s high school team in Hawaii, and the interest developed to the point that Texas selected Kiner-Falefa in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Activate Carlos Tocci]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123925 2018-06-03T00:39:40Z 2018-06-03T00:35:06Z
  • The Rangers activated outfielder Carlos Tocci from the DL and optioned infielder Hanser Alberto to Triple-A on Saturday. Given that Tocci was a Rule 5 pick last winter, Texas had to decide whether to add him to its 25-man roster upon his activation or designate him for assignment. The 22-year-old will stick with the Rangers for the time being, even though his tenure with the team began poorly before he went to the DL on April 22 with a hip issue. The rookie has hit .080/.148/.080 over a small sample size of 28 PAs.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Designate Eliezer Alvarez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123590 2018-06-02T18:30:11Z 2018-06-02T18:13:44Z June 2nd: Alvarez has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Double-A Frisco. The news was tweeted by John Blake, the Rangers’ Executive Vice President of Communications.

    May 29th: The Rangers have designated infielder/outfielder Eliezer Alvarez for assignment, per a team announcement. His 40-man spot will go to righty Ricardo Rodriguez, who was activated from the 60-day DL.

    Alvarez, 23, has mostly played at second base in the minors but has also shown up at short and in left field. He was playing this year at the Double-A level, where he carries a .189/.279/.283 slash through 185 plate appearances. Alvarez was acquired via trade during Spring Training.

    As for the 25-year-old Rodriguez, he’s back from biceps tendinitis. He’ll look to maintain the momentum he gathered during an 11-inning rehab stint in which he allowed only one earned run. Rodriguez reached the majors briefly in 2017 after racking up a 61:10 K/BB ratio and working to a 1.34 ERA in 47 minor-league frames on the year.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cameron Rupp Opts Out Of Rangers Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123804 2018-06-02T01:14:37Z 2018-06-02T01:02:38Z Catcher Cameron Rupp has exercised his opt-out clause with the Rangers, as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported  (Twitter link) and the team has since announced. The Texas organization passed on adding Rupp to its MLB roster and has instead given him his release.

    Rupp ought to generate interest in free agency, as there’s always a need for catching depth and he has quite a bit of recent MLB experience. He appeared in 274 games for the Phillies in the past three seasons, slashing a combined .236/.301/.417 with 39 home runs.

    That power-heavy output is quite solid for a backstop. And Rupp has had no trouble squaring up the pitchers he has faced thus far at Triple-A.In his 125 plate appearances for Round Rock, he’s slashing .264/.328/.509 with seven long balls.

    Though he graded poorly as a framer last year, he was within range of average in prior seasons. And Rupp has generally received solid marks in throwing and block. Though it’s hard to know exactly how organizations leaguewide view Rupp’s work behind the dish, it’s notable evidence that he was trusted with so much time by a Phillies organization that was bringing along some young hurlers over the past few years.

    All things considered, there’s a case to be made that Rupp could sign directly onto a major-league roster. At a minimum, he should be widely pursued by teams that have any uncertainty at the MLB level and/or opportunity available at Triple-A. Rupp will also be eligible for arbitration at least two more times. He had agreed to a $2.05MM salary this year with the Philadelphia organization, which paid him a buyout of just over half a million dollars by cutting him loose late in camp.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gallo Could See Time In CF; Decision On Tocci To Be Made Soon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123780 2018-06-01T17:30:54Z 2018-06-01T17:30:54Z
  • The Rangers’ decision to option Ryan Rua to Triple-A has pushed Joey Gallo into the role of backup center fielder for the time being, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Manager Jeff Banister explained that he’s comfortable playing Gallo at any of the three outfield spots if needed, though Gallo would only need to shift over to center field if Delino DeShields were unable to take the field due to an injury. It’s a bit surprising to see Gallo in that role, though as Wilson notes, it’s possible that he may only need to be DeShields’ backup for a matter of days. Texas has to activate outfielder Carlos Tocci from the disabled list this weekend, and as a Rule 5 pick, he’ll have to either be added back to the 25-man roster or designated for assignment. It’s not clear which way the Rangers will go, but given that they’re already out of contention on June 1, the team can certainly afford to roster a Rule 5 player through season’s end if they choose. Tocci, 22, has just two hits and a walk through 28 plate appearances for the Rangers this season. The fleet-footed outfielder has a strong defensive reputation, though, and hit well for the Phillies’ top two minor league affiliates in 2017 (.294/.346/.381).
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers May Not Have Room For Lincecum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123682 2018-05-31T03:02:21Z 2018-05-31T03:02:21Z
  • It’s long been assumed that Tim Lincecum would eventually claim a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen, but as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com explains, that outcome isn’t necessarily a given. As Lincecum has spent the season thus far on the disabled list, the Rangers have seen their relief corps begin to solidify, with Keone Kela, Jose Leclerc, Tony Barnette, Chris Martin, Jake Diekman, Alex Claudio and Jesse Chavez all throwing fairly well. Of course, one injury to that group would make the decision easier for the organization, and it’s not as if the bullpen isn’t without its red flags. Leclerc and Diekman have both displayed terrible control so far, while Matt Bush has already been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock once and hasn’t impressed upon returning. Then again, Lincecum himself hasn’t pitched well in Triple-A; he’s yielded eight earned runs on 13 hits and seven walks with 10 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Lincecum, Beltre]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123564 2018-05-29T17:26:06Z 2018-05-29T13:28:46Z
  • The Rangers still aren’t ready to promote veteran righty Tim Lincecum to the MLB roster, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Though he’s now eligible to return from the DL, Lincecum will remain on his rehab assignment for at least a while longer. The thirty-day limit expires on June 5th, so a decision point is coming soon on a player who signed a $1MM contract during Spring Training. Through 9 2/3 minor-league frames, Lincecum has allowed eight earned runs with a 10:7 K/BB ratio.
  • In a mailbag, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan provides some answers to a variety of questions facing a disappointing Rangers ballclub. Of particular interest, he argues that “the odds seem high” that the club won’t deal away veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre. Though he’d surely be of interest to contenders, so long as he can get back to health and show well in advance of the deadline, Beltre is also still highly valued by the Texas organization despite the fact that he’s a pending free agent. Sullivan notes that, while Beltre’s future intentions aren’t yet known, it’s also quite possible that the future Hall-of-Famer will continue playing for at least one more season. It’s worth wondering whether the Rangers will attempt to keep the respected veteran around for 2019.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Yankees Could Have Interest In Cole Hamels]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123357 2018-05-27T16:02:31Z 2018-05-27T16:02:49Z The Rangers may trade left-hander Cole Hamels in the next couple months, and “it looks like the Yankees could be interested,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Although the Yankees are among 20 teams on Hamels’ no-trade list, the 34-year-old suggested earlier this week that he wouldn’t block a move to a contender. New York certainly looks as if it’ll contend all season, which would appeal to Hamels, and the team figures to end up acquiring him or another legitimate starter at some point this summer. General manager Brian Cashman pointed to his pitching staff as an area that he could address Saturday, before Sonny Gray continued his disappointing season with an ugly start against the Angels.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Colon, Bibens-Dirkx, Odor, Rangers, Anthopoulos, Bae]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123274 2018-05-26T14:41:11Z 2018-05-26T14:22:27Z Timeless right-hander Bartolo Colon celebrated his 45th birthday this week, so he’ll soon become just the 18th player in major league history to pitch in the majors beyond that benchmark. Colon is also the oldest to hurl a pitch since Jamie Moyer back in 2012. Value metrics are divided on his effectiveness so far this season; Baseball Reference pegs his contributions at 1.6 WAR, while Fangraphs believes his 2018 production to be exactly replacement level. In any case, it would have been difficult at season’s outset to imagine Colon exceeding his current results. A 3.51 ERA and 7.20 K/BB ratio are welcome numbers to a Rangers rotation that sports the sixth-highest combined ERA in major-league baseball.

    It’ll be fun to see just how long Colon can keep up this pace. But in the meantime, here are some minor notes from last night…

    • In other Rangers news, Jeff Wilson of the Star Telegram examines the job security of a pitcher and a position player in Arlington. Austin Bibens-Dirkx pitched well on the whole in his last start (though he was a victim of some bad fielding behind him), Wilson notes that the club is more likely to give Matt Moore a longer look before ceding his spot in the rotation to Bibens-Dirkx. Meanwhile, Wilson notes that struggling second baseman Rougned Odor has two options remaining. With Jurickson Profar putting together quality at-bats of late, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa producing at a better clip than Odor, there’s a chance the club might consider letting the latter work out his issues in the minors.
    • In a subscription-only piece for The Athletic, Bill Shaikin examines the storyline of Alex Anthopoulos leaving the Dodgers organization to run a Braves club that’s currently leading the NL East. While Anthopoulos felt like he had “as good a job as there was in baseball” with the Dodgers, his reshaping of the Braves’ payroll has helped to set them up for success as they near the end of a lengthy rebuild. Trades of Jim Johnson, Matt Kemp and some international bonus pool money shipped to the Angels has set the stage for Atlanta to complement its young core through free agency and perhaps even the midseason trade market.
    • Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides an update on Pirates prospect Bae Ji-hwan via Twitter. Bae is reportedly on his way back to the United States after cooperating with police in South Korea on suspicion of a domestic violence incident. He’ll be allowed to participate in baseball activities pending the outcome of an investigation into said incident. Bae was one of a few players that the Braves reportedly offered “extra-contractual compensation” recently and were thus barred from signing in the last international signing period.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Michael Roth; Kevin Jepsen Elects Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123242 2018-05-26T01:19:04Z 2018-05-26T01:19:04Z The Rangers have acquired lefty Michael Roth from the Cubs, according to a club announcement. He had been pitching on a minor-league deal.

    In other Ranger reliever news, the club announced that righty Kevin Jepsen has elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment. He had been designated for assignment recently.

    Roth, 28, last appeared in the majors — quite briefly — with the Rangers back in 2016. He has thrown 36 total innings at the game’s highest level. In 29 2/3 frames this season at Triple-A, Roth owns a 3.03 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9.

    As for Jepsen, the 33-year-old will head onto the open market in search of another chance at returning to the majors. He had a less-than-promising showing this year in Texas, posting a 5.94 ERA with an 8:11 K/BB ratio in his 16 2/3 innings. Jepsen has had stretches of high-quality work in the majors, of course. In particular, he threw 215 1/3 innings of 2.93 ERA ball from 2012 through 2015.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Beltre On Future, Return From DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123186 2018-05-25T03:42:59Z 2018-05-25T03:42:03Z
  • Adrian Beltre hasn’t made a decision about his future beyond the 2018 season, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, though he’s open about the fact that he’s not looking to play for several years beyond 2018. Asked if he had any desire to play to age 45 like his countryman Bartolo Colon, Beltre joked, “My wife would divorce me.” For now, the Rangers third baseman is merely focused on getting healthy enough to return to the field, and Wilson notes that the current plan is for the 39-year-old to return to the lineup in about two weeks’ time. Whether Beltre will finish out the season in Texas remains to be seen as well, of course, as he’s already come up as a potential trade candidate should he return to the lineup in good health and avoid further trips to the DL.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Trade Candidate: Cole Hamels]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123136 2018-05-24T13:43:03Z 2018-05-24T13:43:03Z The Rangers faced an uphill battle even before the season began, as they were chasing the defending World Series champions in the AL West. Now that the club is off to a 20-31 start, looking up at three other teams sporting winning records, it’s all but inevitable that the Texas organization will explore sales of veteran assets this summer.

    There are a few interesting players to watch on the Rangers’ roster, with Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus certainly among them. But both of those veterans are currently situated on the DL, rather than the left side of the Texas infield, so it’s not the best time to look in at their market.

    Instead, it’s southpaw Cole Hamels who seems the clearest possible trade piece at the moment. He’s a highly accomplished pitcher, with a resume that includes 16 postseason starts, who’s playing on an expiring contract. Through 58 2/3 innings on the season, Hamels owns a 3.38 ERA that’s nearly a spot-on match for his career average. While he’s no spring chicken at 34 years of age, that’s not much of a concern for a rental asset.

    That’s not to say there aren’t any countervailing factors here. For one thing, Hamels wasn’t great last year, when he failed to record an ERA of 3.65 or below for the first time since way back in 2009. Even his 4.20 earned run mark, moreover, arguably required some good fortune. Hamels held opposing hitters to an unsustainable .251 batting average on balls in play. For the first time ever, he failed to record a double-digit swinging-strike rate (9.7% on the year) and struck out less than seven batters per nine (6.4). Hamels also hit the shelf for the first time in a long time owing to an early-season oblique injury.

    There were some legitimate questions, then, entering the current season. Some, perhaps, have been answered. Though he missed eight starts in 2017, Hamels has otherwise been a paragon of durability, taking the ball thirty or more times in nine straight seasons (2008 through 2016). Unless something crops up between now and the trade deadline, teams will surely view Hamels as an excellent health bet over the final few months of the season.

    But what kind of performance can be expected? In many regards, Hamels’s 2018 performance has encouraged. In particular, he has rebounded in terms of swings and misses (12.1% swinging strikes; 9.8 K/9). But there are some issues. Hamels has continued to hand out more free passes than he did earlier in his career. He has coughed up 1.69 homers per nine on a an 18.6% HR/FB rate. And he’s again benefiting from a low (.255) BABIP-against. The Statcast numbers indicate that opposing hitters have been unfortunate to record only a .317 wOBA, as their contact against him spits out a .352 xwOBA.

    Taken together, it seems reasonable to view Hamels as a solid and reliable mid-rotation piece, but not a top-of-the-rotation arm. He’s producing a wide array of fielding-independent pitching numbers (4.94 FIP/4.12 xFIP/3.85 SIERA) thus far on the year, but all suggest that he’s more good than great at this stage.

    Of greater importance, perhaps, is Hamels’s contract, which was originally signed with the Phillies just in advance of the 2012 trade deadline. The lefty is earning $22.5MM this season. Even if a contender feels that he’s worth every penny — which, as the above discussion suggests, may or may not quite be the case — that’s enough coin to be a potential stumbling block for teams that face luxury tax or other budgetary concerns.

    There are some other contractual complications, too. The deal comes with a $20MM vesting/club option that carries a $6MM buyout. It’s not going to vest owing to the number of innings Hamels threw last year, but it’ll require some added financial wrangling nevertheless. An acquiring team could consider picking up Hamels at that rate for 2019, depending upon how the season shakes out, but also likely won’t want to sign up for the big buyout at the point of acquisition.

    The Texas front office will not only have to sort out those matters, but will do so against the knowledge that Hamels has significant no-trade rights as well. He can be shipped to the Braves, Mariners, Phillies, Nationals, Rays, Cardinals, Cubs, Royals, and Astros without consent. Otherwise, the lefty will need to be consulted before a deal can be consummated. That may not necessarily prove a major stumbling block, but the presence of the option could come back into play if he’s not particularly interested in a certain locale for future seasons.

    Certainly, the possibility for a tough-to-navigate situation does exist. While it still feels quite likely that Hamels will be dealt, it’s tough to say at this point exactly how it will come together.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers To Select Austin Bibens-Dirkx]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123120 2018-05-24T00:56:02Z 2018-05-24T00:56:02Z The Rangers announced tonight that they’ll select the contract of right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx from Triple-A Round Rock, and he’ll start Thursday’s game against the Royals. Texas has an open spot on the 40-man roster, so they’ll only need to make a 25-man move to accommodate the promotion of Bibens-Dirkx.

    The 33-year-old Bibens-Dirkx made his big league debut last season after a 12-year minor league odyssey that began as a 16th-round pick of the Mariners back in 2006. He appeared in 24 games with Texas last year and totaled 69 1/3 innings of 4.67 ERA ball, averaging 4.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 1.82 HR/9 with a 39.9 percent ground-ball rate.

    Though only six of those 24 appearances were starts, Bibens-Dirkx has worked primarily out of the rotation since joining the Rangers organization prior to the 2017 season. That’s been his role with Round Rock this year, too, where he’s made eight starts with a 3.72 ERA and a 32-to-8 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings.

    [Related: Texas Rangers depth chart]

    Bibens-Dirkx will step into a rotation spot that has been vacated due to injuries incurred by both Matt Moore and Martin Perez. It’s not clear whether he’ll simply be making a one-off spot start or if he’ll get multiple opportunities while Perez and Moore work their way back, though both of those injured lefties have struggled substantially in 2018. Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Mike Minor and Bartolo Colon round out manager Jeff Banister’s rotation at present, though that group’s composition figures to change in the coming months as the Rangers begin to field trade interest on their short-term veteran assets.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Prospect David Ledbetter Retires]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122964 2018-05-23T01:23:33Z 2018-05-23T01:23:44Z
  • Rangers righty David Ledbetter has decided to retire, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (via Twitter). Per the report, the 26-year-old decided to hang things up as a “family decision.” A third-round pick in 2013, Ledbetter has never quite found his form in the minors. In 115 1/3 Triple-A innings, he owns a 4.99 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cole Hamels Discusses No-Trade Clause]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123008 2018-05-23T00:57:37Z 2018-05-23T00:56:19Z With the Rangers struggling and Hamels in his final year under contract, the former World Series MVP has often been cited as a potential deadline trade chip.  Some players in Hamels’ position have used their no-trade clause to garner some extra money and/or future security, though it doesn’t seem like Hamels would be particularly inclined to insist that a new team (for example) automatically pick up the $20MM club option on his services for 2019.  It’s worth noting that several of Hamels’ nine non-protected teams are contenders, so Texas might not necessarily have to worry about the no-trade clause at all to potentially deal the left-hander.  Miller’s full piece is well worth a read, as Hamels discusses several topics about his past and future in baseball.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Tim Lincecum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122967 2018-05-22T20:10:51Z 2018-05-22T16:47:13Z
  • It also is not yet clear what kind of contribution the Rangers will get from righty Tim Lincecum. As Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes, the veteran hurler is only touching 90 mph with his fastball despite reportedly showing more in a pre-signing showcase. He has produced better results of late in his rehab work, but in sum he has managed a less-than-promising 8:6 K/BB ratio in 8 1/3 innings over six outings. Of course, that’s too small a sample to read much into things. It isn’t known yet when Lincecum will get a crack at the majors, but barring a setback it seems it’ll come between May 28th (when he’s first eligible to return from the 60-day DL) and June 6th (when his thirty-day rehab period will expire).
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Designate Kevin Jepsen For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122926 2018-05-21T20:28:37Z 2018-05-21T20:10:45Z The Rangers announced on Monday that righty Kevin Jepsen has been designated for assignment. His spot on the active roster will go to fellow right-handed reliever Matt Bush, who has been recalled from Triple-A. Additionally, the Rangers announced that infielder/outfielder Drew Robinson has been activated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A.

    Jepsen, 33, broke camp with the Rangers after coming to Spring Training on a minor league contract. While he got off to a strong start to his season, yielding just two runs through his first 10 2/3 frames, his early output never appeared all that sustainable. Jepsen survived a 6-to-4 K/BB ratio and just a six percent swinging-strike rate through those 10 2/3 frames due largely to a .207 BABIP and an elevated strand rate. Over his past 10 appearances, he’s been tagged for nine earned runs on the strength of four homers allowed in just six innings.

    In all, Jepsen’s abbreviated run with the Rangers wraps up with a 5.94 ERA and more walks (11) than strikeouts (eight) in 16 2/3 innings of work. It’s possible, of course, that he accepts an outright assignment to Triple-A upon clearing waivers and returns to the organization at some point later in 2018 to try to improve upon those numbers. But, given his level of service time, he can also reject an outright assignment and return to the open market in search of a new opportunity.

    As for Bush, he’ll be looking to get back on track after surrendering nine walks through his first 11 2/3 innings of the season. The righty served as the closer in Texas at times in 2017 and has been a generally useful reliever in Texas dating back to his debut in 2016. He totaled nine innings with Round Rock after being optioned to Triple-A, yielding just two runs on nine hits with a 14-to-4 K/BB ratio.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Rangers Potential Trade Approach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122906 2018-05-21T16:07:59Z 2018-05-21T16:07:59Z
  • The Rangers are “open to anything” in terms of listening to trade offers, an exec from another club tells Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. That comes on the heels of last week’s report from Ken Rosenthal’s report that the team is telling clubs throughout the league that they’re willing to move veteran players. However, that official suggests that the Rangers will also be patient with their approach, telling Grant they’re “willing to wait to get what they deem is fair.” Grant examines several potential trade candidates in depth, specifically listing Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Keone Kela, Mike Minor, Doug Fister and Jake Diekman as players that scouts figure to watch closely in the two months leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Rangers Had Recent Interest In Blake Swihart]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122831 2018-05-20T21:59:51Z 2018-05-20T21:59:18Z
  • The Rangers had interest in Red Sox utilityman Blake Swihart as recently as a week ago, per Cafardo, who notes “that avenue may still be available.” A catcher by trade, Swihart’s out of options and doesn’t seem to have a place on this year’s Red Sox, which led his agent to request a trade earlier this week. Still, Boston’s unsure about parting with the 26-year-old, Cafardo suggests. If the Sox do explore a deal, though, there are other fits besides Texas, as MLBTR’s Steve Adams pointed out Wednesday.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Kendrick, Bumgarner, Mauer, Moore, Souza, Cuthbert]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122710 2018-05-19T23:02:45Z 2018-05-19T21:50:42Z Things got even worse for the Nationals today; Howie Kendrick appeared to sustain a serious injury while chasing down a Max Muncy fly ball. Kendrick was carted off the field, and was seen pointing to his ankle area. Jamal Collier of MLB.com reports that he’s off to get an MRI. The Nationals are already dealing with injuries to a number of other key players, including Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Matt Wieters and Brian Goodwin, and can ill afford to lose another player from their outfield for an extended period of time. They’ll likely be anxious as they await further news on Kendrick.

    More injury news from around MLB today…

    • Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner considers his fractured left hand to be “95% or more” healed, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Chris Haft. He’s on track to throw live batting practice on Tuesday and begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. Meanwhile, Haft says, Johnny Cueto will head to the club’s rehab facility in Arizona. The Giants will hope for the best-case scenarios as far as the timetables of these two players; their depleted rotation is a chief factor in the club’s sub-.500 record on the season.
    • Joe Mauer is headed to the Twins’ DL with concussion symptoms once again, according to LaVelle E. Neal of the Star Tribute. He reportedly did well in regards to concussion tests last night, but is apparently experiencing some sensitivity to light along with some balance issues. Mauer, who has dealt with concussion issues in years past, is walking at a 16.8% clip so far this season en route to a .404 OBP. According to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey (via MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger), the club is “not saying at this time that Joe has a concussion.”
    • The Rangers have placed lefty Matt Moore on the 10-day disabled list with what the club is calling right knee soreness. The move will make room for fellow righty Ariel Jurado, who will make the jump from Double-A to debut in the majors tonight. Jurado has a 2.57 ERA in 35 minor league innings this year, but with a 5.31 FIP that strongly disagrees with those results. He posted a 4.59 ERA at Double-A last season, with 5.45 K/9.
    • Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza will avoid the DL for the time being, says Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. A key offseason acquisition by the Dbacks, Souza has already spent the bulk of the season on the DL after suffering a pectoral strain upon diving for a ball in the outfield. Fortunately, it seems as though some minor pec soreness will not require a second DL stint for the time being.
    • The Royals have placed Cheslor Cuthbert on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain, recalling fellow infielder Ramon Torres from Triple-A Omaha in a corresponding move. Cuthbert is a career .252/.308/.383 hitter, and is performing especially poorly this season, as evidenced by his -0.5 fWAR for 2018. However, Torres seems unlikely to provide any significant upgrade; he’s hitting just .229/.280/.307 at the Triple-A level so far this season.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Cliff Pennington]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122673 2018-05-19T01:30:37Z 2018-05-19T01:14:24Z The Rangers have signed infielder Cliff Pennington to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement. He’ll report to Triple-A Round Rock to begin his tenure with the organization.

    Pennington had opened the season with the Reds organization, but was optioned and then outrighted off of the 40-man roster after initially making the team out of camp. He was released earlier today to pursue other opportunities, which turned out to be a brief stay on the open market.

    While he has rarely been much of a hitter, Pennington is amply experienced in the middle infield. He could help the Rangers weather the absences of Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, which have left the club relying upon a slate of light-hitting players — Jurickson ProfarIsiah Kiner-Falefa, and Hanser Alberto — on the left side of the infield.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Open To Trading Veteran Players]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122632 2018-05-18T18:19:48Z 2018-05-18T18:01:39Z Though we’re only a bit more than halfway through May, the Rangers have already informed other clubs that they’re open to selling off some veteran pieces, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports in his latest notes column. The report doesn’t characterize talks as serious, which isn’t surprising given that it’s not even June (the Draft is still a larger focus for most teams), though Rosenthal notes that some rivals have begun to tell Texas that they’re interested in various players.

    The Rangers, off to just a 17-28 start to the season, find themselves buried under an 11-game deficit in the AL West and 8.5 games out of a Wild Card spot in the American League. Only three AL clubs — the Orioles, Royals and White Sox — have lower winning percentages than the Rangers.

    Rosenthal lists left-hander Cole Hamels as the “most prominent” name that is likely to move, though he also suggests that Adrian Beltre would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to head to a contender once he’s back from his second DL stint of the season (both due to a strained left hamstring).

    [Related: Texas Rangers depth chart | Texas Rangers payroll]

    The Rangers aren’t exactly teeming with useful veterans, but Doug Fister, Bartolo Colon, Jesse Chavez and Tony Barnette have all enjoyed above-average starts to their seasons. Lefty reliever Jake Diekman, too, is sporting a solid ERA and an impressive strikeout rate, though he’s walked a staggering 14 batters in 14 2/3 innings, which will surely make other teams leery.

    On the position-player side of the coin, the Rangers have fewer appealing assets, outside of the currently injured Beltre. Rosenthal notes that the organization isn’t keen on listening to offers for young players like Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara or Delino DeShields Jr., and that leaves little in the way of productive assets. Speculatively speaking, perhaps Robinson Chirinos would be appealing for a club in need of catching help like the Nationals or Twins. While he’s hitting just .198/.280/.414, he’s again showing good power (six homers, .216 ISO in 125 plate appearances) after hitting .255/.360/.506 last season. He’s controlled through 2019 and would only be owed the remainder of this season’s $2.25MM salary plus a cheap $2.375MM option for next season ($1MM buyout).

    If Hamels is indeed the likeliest name to go, he’s provided interested teams with a mixed bag of results so far in 2018. Hamels struggled with his velocity early in the season but has seen his fastball surge back to life recently. After averaging less than 90 mph on his heater in his first three starts, he’s now sitting comfortably in the 91-92 mph range, including a season-high 92.2 mph in his most recent appearance. The lefty’s 9.9 K/9 rate and overall 25.1 percent strikeout percentage would be his highest since his rookie campaign in 2006, and his 12 percent swinging-strike rate is up considerably from last season’s career-low 9.7 percent.

    Hamels, though, is also walking more batters than ever before (3.7 BB/9, 9.3 percent overall walk rate), and his 43.7 percent hard-contact rate allowed to opposing hitters is among the highest in all of baseball. He’s also earning $22.5MM this season and is guaranteed at least a $6MM buyout on next year’s $20MM option.

    In addition to that sizable sum of money, Hamels also has the power to block trades to 20 teams; MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported earlier this year that the only teams to which Hamels can be traded without his consent are the Mariners, Cardinals, Nationals, Astros, Cubs, Phillies, Royals, Rays and Braves. So while a team like the Yankees will be an oft-speculated and reported fit for Hamels, he’ll have the ability to try to negotiate a bit, perhaps by saying he’d only approve the deal if next year’s option were to be guaranteed.

    Looking around the rest of the roster, Fister is playing on a $4MM salary that includes a $500K buyout of next year’s reasonable $4.5MM club option. His 3.43 ERA isn’t supported by fielding-independent metrics, but he’d be a nice steadying force at the back of someone’s rotation. The timeless and affable Colon signed a minor league deal with a $1.75MM base salary, and while he’s not as good as his 2.82 ERA would indicate, he’s demonstrating elite control and inducing grounders at a 50 percent clip while racking up plenty of innings (51 through nine appearances, including seven starts).

    In the bullpen, Chavez’s 4.81 ERA sells him short, considering the fact that he’s averaged 10 strikeouts and just 1.9 walks per nine frames. He’s on a one-year deal worth $1MM. Barnette has missed time with inflammation in his elbow, but his velocity is holding at 93 mph. He owns a 9-to-2 K/BB with a career-best 56.7 percent grounder rate in 10 1/3 innings. With a $1.5MM salary and a similarly affordable club option, he’s fit nicely into a contending bullpen’s middle relief corps.

    As ever, it remains unlikely that anything too significant will happen in mid-May. The Rangers are undoubtedly only in the preliminary stages of gauging the market for their veterans, while some clubs throughout the league have yet to determine whether they’ll actively acquire talent this summer, end up in a holding pattern or wind up selling off pieces themselves. Contending always looked like a long shot for a Texas club that put together a patchwork pitching staff, however, and it seems they’ve largely accepted their fate as summer approaches.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Moore Remaining In Rangers' Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122455 2018-05-16T02:33:57Z 2018-05-16T02:33:57Z
  • Despite a terrible start to the season, left-hander Matt Moore will remain in the Rangers’ rotation for now, writes MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. The former Rays/Giants southpaw will lug a 7.82 ERA into Saturday’s start against the White Sox, having averaged 6.6 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9 with 1.42 HR/9 and a 38.6 percent ground-ball rate. Moore has no doubt had some poor fortune, with a .388 BABIP and 62.3 percent strand rate, but even fielding-independent metrics peg him well north of 5.00. Sullivan does note that Moore’s spot, however, is in some jeopardy. Manager Jeff Banister stressed that Moore has “got to show some progress” before adding that he’s not considering a switch in the rotation just yet. Right-hander Jesse Chavez has showed well in a long relief role, though Banister suggested that the organization is happy with Chavez in his current role at present.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Place Adrian Beltre On DL, Select Contract Of Hanser Alberto]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122459 2018-05-16T01:49:10Z 2018-05-16T01:45:29Z 8:45pm: Beltre has a Grade 1 strain and could miss two to three weeks of action, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that Beltre conceded that he may need to be more open to spending time as the designated hitter.

    5:19pm: The Rangers announced today that third baseman Adrian Beltre is headed back to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. His placement on the DL is retroactive to Monday, and he’ll be replaced on the roster by infielder Hanser Alberto, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Round Rock. Texas now has a full 40-man roster.

    [Related: Texas Rangers depth chart]

    This marks the second DL trip of the season due to a left hamstring strain for Beltre, who was only activated from his original DL placement a month ago. He’s eligible to be activated from the disabled list on May 24, though it’s not yet clear if he’ll be able to return in the minimum 10-day allotment. The future Hall of Famer is hitting .314/.375/.422 with a homer and eight doubles on the season and was 5-for-15 in the five games he managed to play between DL stints.

    With Beltre out of commission for at least another nine days, the Rangers can turn to the newly recalled Alberto and rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa at the hot corner, where the latter already appeared on seven occasions this season. Renato Nunez absorbed some playing time in Beltre’s last absence, but he’s since been claimed off waivers and outrighted to Triple-A by the Orioles.

    As for Alberto, he’ll be making his first big league appearance since 2016 when he steps onto the field for the Rangers. The 25-year-old missed all of last season due to shoulder issues and was non-tendered this winter but re-signed on a minor league pact. He hit .281/.308/.383 in 135 plate appearances for Round Rock before being called upon and is a career .194/.204/.226 hitter in a fairly small sample of 162 plate appearances — all of which came at ages 22 and 23.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Adrian Beltre Re-Aggravates Hamstring]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122246 2018-05-13T21:43:16Z 2018-05-13T21:43:57Z Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre left the team’s game Sunday after re-aggravating his left hamstring, TR Sullivan of MLB.com tweets. Another stint on the disabled list may be in the offing for Beltre, who suffered a strained hamstring on April 24 and didn’t come off the DL until this past Tuesday. When Beltre has been healthy enough to take the field this season, the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer has put together a .314/.375/.422 batting line in 120 plate appearances.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Claim Renato Nunez From Rangers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122227 2018-05-13T18:49:51Z 2018-05-13T18:42:57Z The Orioles have claimed infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez off waivers from the Rangers, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. In a corresponding move, Baltimore transferred infielder Tim Beckham to the 60-day DL.

    Nunez lost his spot with the Rangers when they designated him on Friday. The 24-year-old logged 41 appearances with the club prior to then and batted just .167/.244/.278. He offered similar production from 2016-17 in Oakland (.167/.194/.267 in 31 PAs), which jettisoned him in mid-April. Nunez has been far better at Triple-A, where he owns a .242/.301/.460 line in 1,113 PAs, and is capable of lining up in the corners.

    Most of Nunez’s professional action has come at third base, where the Orioles have been without Beckham for a few weeks. Beckham underwent core muscle surgery April 26 and is in the early stages of what will be at least a six-week recovery, making his shift to the 60-day DL a logical move for the Orioles. This has been a year to forget thus far for Beckham, who slashed .179/.247/.262 in 93 PAs before landing on the shelf. Beckham’s fall from grace since last season, when he was an effective piece for Baltimore after it acquired him from Tampa Bay in July, has been one of many clear causes for the Orioles’ 12-28 start.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Purchase Brandon Mann’s Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122193 2018-05-13T15:52:51Z 2018-05-13T15:33:39Z The Rangers have purchased the contract of left-hander Brandon Mann from Triple-A Round Rock, according to an announcement from the team. Texas optioned southpaw Yohander Mendez to Triple-A in a corresponding move.

    Mann is finally in position to make his major league debut 16 years after the franchise formerly known as the Devil Rays selected him in the 27th round of the 2002 draft. Set to turn 34 on Wednesday, Mann is in line to become the second-oldest Ranger to make his MLB debut, per the team’s executive VP of communications, John Blake (via Twitter).

    Mann has taken a circuitous route to get to this point, as you’d expect. In addition to spending several years in the minor leagues with multiple franchises, Mann has garnered experience on the independent circuit and in Japan. After playing the previous couple seasons with the Oakland organization, including a 2016 campaign in which he earned an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, Mann inked a minors pact with the Rangers over the winter. He then produced excellent results in Round Rock to open the year, with a 1.56 ERA and 6.8 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 across 17 1/3 innings (12 appearances, one start), en route to a big league promotion.