Texas Rangers – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers To Place Rule 5 Pick Carlos Tocci On Opening Day Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117879 2018-03-24T02:37:43Z 2018-03-24T02:37:43Z
  • Outfielder Carlos Tocci has been told he’ll be on the Rangers’ active roster to open the year, he tells reporters including Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). The 22-year-old, who was taken from the Phillies, has only reached base ten times in his 54 plate appearances this spring. But he has swiped seven bags and reputedly brings a plus glove in center, so the Texas organization has decided to look past that initial showing with the bat. Tocci struggled upon reaching Triple-A for a brief stretch at the end of the 2017 season, but did produce at a useful .307/.362/.398 rate in his 474 Double-A plate appearances.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Release Trevor Plouffe]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117880 2018-03-23T21:09:15Z 2018-03-23T21:09:15Z The Rangers have released third baseman Trevor Plouffe, MLB.com’s TR Sullivan was among those to report via Twitter. He had been in camp with the team on a minor-league deal.

    It’s still possible the 31-year-old will end up re-joining the organization to play at Triple-A, Sullivan notes. First, though, he’ll look into other opportunities with other teams.

    Plouffe turned in a middling performance in camp, with just six base hits in his 34 trips to the plate. With the Rangers deciding to keep Jurickson Profar in the infield and otherwise carrying a full slate of healthy starters, there was no room for the veteran Plouffe.

    During his seven seasons with the Twins, Plouffe was generally a solid regular at the hot corner. But he failed to make good on a one-year pact with the Athletics in 2017 and continued to struggle upon landing with the Rays in the middle of the season. He ended with a .198/.272/.318 batting line in 313 MLB plate appearances last year.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Kevin Jepsen Likely To Win Spot In Rangers Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117823 2018-03-23T16:34:00Z 2018-03-23T16:34:00Z
  • Veteran righty Kevin Jepsen has allowed only one run over 9 1/3 Spring Training innings, making him a strong bet to win a spot on the Rangers’ Opening Day roster, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes.  Jepsen didn’t pitch in the majors in 2017 after a terrible spring camp with the Diamondbacks that led to a temporary absence from the game, as Jepsen took a couple of months to rehab a dead arm.  Once he felt healthy, he caught on with the Nationals on a minor league deal, though the biggest step in his turn-around came after a tip from catcher Spencer Kieboom allowed Jepsen to regain some of his old velocity.  Jepsen was a very effective reliever as recently as 2015, so Texas may have found a much-needed bullpen reinforcement for the cost of a minor league contract.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Looking For Pitching]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117799 2018-03-23T14:03:55Z 2018-03-23T13:41:02Z
  • While none of these teams were specifically cited as being interested in McHugh, Heyman listed the Reds, Brewers, Mariners, and Rangers as teams that are looking for pitching.  All four of the clubs have dealt with some injury setbacks in Spring Training, so further additions could be more akin to fill-in options rather than major acquisitions.  Texas, however, does seem to be at least considering making a higher-priced add, given how the Rangers showed some recent interest in Cobb and Greg Holland.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tim Lincecum Unlikely To Be Ready For Opening Day]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117684 2018-03-22T03:33:36Z 2018-03-22T03:32:09Z
  • Rangers reliever Tim Lincecum doesn’t expect to be ready for Opening Day, which he revealed Tuesday after throwing two innings of batting practice (via TR Sullivan of MLB.com). “Doesn’t look like it,” he said. “I still have some stuff to refine. I wasn’t extremely happy with the day. I was happy with the level of work. I’ve got a lot of refining to do.” Lincecum is only two weeks removed from signing with the Rangers, and he, of course, didn’t pitch competitively at all in 2017. Tuesday’s BP session was his second since joining the Rangers, and he’ll need at least one more before potentially pitching in a minor league game.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Release Curt Casali]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117608 2018-03-21T19:21:55Z 2018-03-21T19:21:55Z The Rangers have released catcher Curt Casali, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (Twitter link). He’ll return to the open market in search of an opportunity elsewhere.

    Several other veterans have also now been ruled out from the active roster. Righty Steve Delabar and outfielder Destin Hood have been so advised, as has third baseman Trevor Plouffe. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News adds on Twitter, Plouffe is considering his next steps and could request his own release.

    The 29-year-old Casali came into camp in hopes of earning the back-up catching job behind starter Robinson Chirinos. But he has struggled with the bat in camp and evidently failed to beat out a variety of other possibilities.

    As things stand, Juan Centeno is the most experienced option on the 40-man roster, with the recently outrighted Brett Nicholas and non-roster invitee Mike Ohlman also still on hand. Of course, it’s also still possible the Rangers could look outside the organization for a second backstop.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Eliezer Alvarez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117617 2018-03-21T18:37:35Z 2018-03-21T18:23:37Z The Rangers have acquired infielder Eliezer Alvarez from the Phillies, per club announcements. Cash considerations will go to Philadelphia in return. Texas cleared a roster spot by transferring righty Ronald Herrera to the 60-day DL.

    Alvarez, who was acquired in last September’s Juan Nicasio trade, lost his 40-man placement when the Phils decided to elevate utilityman Pedro Florimon. Now, the 23-year-old is moving on to his third team within the past year.

    Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the St. Louis organization back in 2012, Alvarez put himself on the prospect map with a strong 2016 campaign. Playing at the Class A level, he posted a .404 on-base percentage, hit six home runs, and swiped 36 bags in 499 plate appearances.

    Alvarez was unable to carry that level of output into the upper minors, though, as he scuffled a bit in 2017. Over his 209 trips to the plate at Double-A, he maintained a .247/.321/.382 slash with 56 strikeouts and 16 walks.


    Clearly, though, the Rangers still see some cause to be intrigued in the youngster. Alvarez has lined up primarily as a second baseman thus far, though he has also seen a bit of action on the left side of the infield, so he could conceivably represent a future utility option.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Release Darwin Barney, Erik Goeddel]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117451 2018-03-20T02:50:18Z 2018-03-20T02:02:10Z The Rangers have granted the releases of both infielder Darwin Barney and righty Erik Goeddel, the club announced today. Both will return to the open market in search of a better opportunity with another organization.

    Barney, 32, was left without much of a path to the Rangers roster when the team decided to hold onto Jurickson Profar as a utility infielder. Though he has spent most of his career at second base, where he’s a decorated defender, Barney has also seen action on the left side of the infield in recent seasons. The eight-year MLB veteran is a career .246/.294/.341 hitter.

    As for Goeddel, 29, he has shown an ability to get some swings and misses in the majors, reaching a 15.2% swinging-strike rate in 2017. But he has also run into increasing problems with the long ball in recent years. Last year, he allowed more than two homers per inning at both the Triple-A and MLB levels.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Claim Tommy Joseph]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117418 2018-03-20T04:59:54Z 2018-03-19T18:33:40Z The Rangers have claimed first baseman Tommy Joseph off waivers from the Phillies, according to an announcement from Texas. In a corresponding move, the Rangers placed right-hander Clayton Blackburn on the 60-day disabled list with a strained pitching elbow.

    Joseph, whom Philadelphia designated for assignment last week to make room for Jake Arrieta, lost his footing with the club after the emergence of Rhys Hoskins in 2017 and the signing of Carlos Santana during the offseason. There was simply no room on the Phillies’ roster for Joseph, a former catcher prospect who has become a first base/DH option in the majors.

    The 26-year-old Joseph debuted with the Phillies in 2016 and was a solidly above-average hitter that year, with a .257/.308/.505 line (112 wRC+), 21 home runs and a .248 ISO in 347 plate appearances. Joseph went backward over a 533-PA sample size in 2017, though, as he slashed a subpar .240/.289/.432 (85 wRC+) with 22 HRs and a .192 ISO.

    While Joseph was a regular in Philadelphia, that’s unlikely to be the case in Texas. With Joey Gallo occupying first and Shin-Soo Choo as the Rangers’ primary DH, there’s no obvious path to playing time for Joseph. He’ll either open the season on optional assignment or attempt to bounce back from last season as a bench bat.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cole Ragans To Undergo Tommy John Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117280 2018-03-18T17:28:24Z 2018-03-18T16:07:25Z
  • As expected, Rangers lefty pitching prospect Cole Ragans will undergo Tommy John surgery, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News was among those to report. And in further bad news for the Rangers’ prospect pool, righty Kyle Cody is dealing with elbow inflammation. Surgery may eventually be in the offing for him, Grant tweets. The 23-year-old Cody ranks as Texas’ No. 8 prospect at MLB.com.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Colon, Extensions]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117216 2018-03-18T01:31:14Z 2018-03-18T01:31:21Z
  • Thanks to his struggles this spring, right-hander Bartolo Colon isn’t a lock to make the Rangers, TR Sullivan of MLB.com writes. Further clarity should come Sunday, when left-hander Martin Perez starts. Perez underwent surgery on a fractured right elbow last December, but if he’s healthy, he’ll take a season-opening rotation spot. That would leave the 44-year-old Colon vying for a long reliever/swing starter role, though the Rangers signed Jesse Chavez with the goal of using him in that capacity, Sullivan notes. For his part, Colon would be willing to fill that position if it’s available – “I will do anything I need to do to make the team,” he said. Notably, Colon has come out of the bullpen a mere nine times in 537 career appearances.
  • The Rangers have considered extending first baseman Joey Gallo and outfielder Nomar Mazara this spring, but it doesn’t appear either those two or any of Texas’ other young players will receive a long-term deal at this point (via Sullivan). “We are always interested in talking to our best young players,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “But I don’t expect anything at this point.” As things stand, both players are still under control for several more years. Gallo won’t become eligible arbitration until after the 2019 season, while Mazara is in his last pre-arb year.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cole Ragans Could Need Tommy John Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117210 2018-03-17T23:02:02Z 2018-03-17T23:01:14Z
  • Rangers pitching prospect Cole Ragans has a UCL injury that may require Tommy John surgery, Robert Murray of FanRag hears. The 20-year-old left-hander, whom MLB.com ranks as the Rangers’ sixth-best prospect, is in his third year with the organization. A first-round pick in 2016, Ragans spent last season at the low-A level and pitched to a 3.61 ERA across 13 appearances (all starts) and 57 1/3 innings, also notching 13.66 K/9 against 5.49 BB/9.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cole Ragans Headed For MRI On Elbow]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117174 2018-03-17T06:17:34Z 2018-03-17T06:00:23Z
  • Rangers prospect Cole Ragans is slated for an elbow MRI, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was among those to tweet. That’s certainly not the news the organization was hoping for at this stage of camp for a player who was taken 30th overall in the 2016 draft. The southpaw is still nowhere near the majors, having spent last season at the low A level, but he’s seen as a high-ceiling prospect and the Rangers are surely hoping to see him turn in a full season of development. Ragans racked up 87 strikeouts (but also 35 walks) in his 57 1/3 innings last year, ending the season with a 3.61 ERA. For now, it’s just a situation to monitor.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Release Jon Niese]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117131 2018-03-16T20:34:09Z 2018-03-16T20:34:09Z The Rangers have released veteran southpaw Jon Niese, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News was among those to tweet. He had joined the organization on a minor-league deal over the offseason.

    Niese, 31, never really got going this spring owing to injuries, including a recent diagnosis of a sub scapularis muscle strain. While it’s not clear at this point what kind of treatment that will require, it evidently was a significant enough issue that the team decided to part ways.

    The long-time MLB starter had been looking to get back on track after turning in a middling 2016 effort that ended with knee surgery and then missing all of the ensuing campaign. Before things turned south, Niese had been quite a productive starter. Between 2008 and 2015, he compiled over a thousand innings of 3.91 ERA ball for the Mets.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Free Agency, Pitching Health, Profar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117088 2018-03-16T03:59:38Z 2018-03-16T03:59:38Z Though some have wondered whether the Rangers could make a late play for one of the remaining free agents, GM Jon Daniels said today that isn’t in the cards, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Texas could surely stand to add another pitcher, with both Alex Cobb and Greg Holland seeming to make sense to varying degrees, but Daniels made clear he does not anticipate any significant new acquisitions.

    More from Texas:

    • Pitching health is always a big factor and will be of particular importance for a Rangers club that is in need of strong performances from all around the staff. Martin Perez is nearing his return to competitive pitching, which seems to bode well for his availability fairly early on in the upcoming campaign. But there are some other depth hits that are already apparent. Clayton Blackburn has been diagnosed with a UCL sprain. It seems he’s going to try to rest up and resume throwing, suggesting it’s not an extensive tear, though he won’t even attempt to begin ramping back up for another four to six weeks and could yet become a candidate for surgery. Meanwhile, veteran Jon Niese is dealing with a sub scapularis muscle strain that seems to pose some uncertainties to his future and Ronald Herrera will miss at least half the season owing to labrum inflammation.
    • There was one positive development on the pitching front, at least. Late-inning reliever Keone Kela was able to get back on the bump after a week-and-a-half layoff, as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes. It seems as if there are still some kinks left to be ironed out, but that Kela could get back on track to be ready for Opening Day. That said, manager Jeff Banister noted that the organization will need to see how his balky shoulder responds to the outing over the next several days.
    • In one non-pitching note, Daniels also made clear that the plan is for Jurickson Profar to make the active roster and function as the team’s reserve infielder. It’s not difficult to imagine the former top prospect carving out a fairly significant role if he plays well, even if the presumptive regulars around the diamond are healthy and productive. After all, there’ll be a need to spread around some rest and the switch-hitting Profar could contribute in a number of different ways. It had seemed likely that Profar would be dealt at the outset of the offseason, but the out-of-options 25-year-old will get one more chance to stick in the majors in Texas.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Calhoun Optioned; Blackburn Could Be Out Until All-Star Break]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116937 2018-03-14T14:43:48Z 2018-03-14T14:08:20Z The Rangers optioned Willie Calhoun to Triple-A Round Rock yesterday after the top prospect struggled to a .243/.282/.324 slash through 39 Cactus League plate appearances. The 23-year-old seemed to have at least an outside chance of cracking the big league roster after impressing with a .300/.355/.572 slash in Triple-A last season, but he’ll instead head to the minors and continue to hone his defense (as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News suggests on Twitter). Calhoun got 20 days of big league service last September, so it seems unlikely that service time implications are a prevailing factor in the decision. But, that could be an added benefit for the Rangers. Calhoun would need 152 days of service time in 2018 to reach a full year, meaning he’d reach a full year if he’s up in the Majors on or before April 27 this season and is not optioned back down to the minors. With Calhoun in Round Rock, Ryan Rua and Drew Robinson could be in line to open the season in a left-field platoon. Utilityman Jurickson Profar also has a bit of experience in left.

    • Rangers righty Clayton Blackburn is awaiting word on an elbow MRI, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets, but it doesn’t sound as if there’s much room for optimism. Even in the best-case scenario, Blackburn will be expected to miss the entire first half of the season. The 25-year-old was expected to be an important part of the pitching depth in Texas, even if he had only an outside shot at opening the season in the majors. As Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News explains, there’s plenty still left to be resolved in the Rangers’ pitching staff even after a winter spent collecting arms.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 3/13/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116947 2018-03-13T19:58:21Z 2018-03-13T19:58:21Z We’ll track the day’s minor moves with this post:

    • Backstop Brett Nicholas is back in camp with the Rangers after clearing waivers and being outrighted, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. He’ll still have a shot at earning the organization’s back-up catching job, though obviously it seems he is behind others in the competition. Nicholas, 29, has been a strong offensive performer at Triple-A, where he owns a .283/.333/.427 slash in 1,669 lifetime plate appearances, and helpfully hits from the left side. But his defensive abilities are not generally considered as polished, reducing his appeal as a reserve receiver.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Move Matt Bush Back To Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116866 2018-03-13T15:10:08Z 2018-03-13T04:58:25Z The Rangers are set to move right-hander Matt Bush back to the bullpen role in which he thrived for much of the 2016-17 seasons, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The 32-year-old righty had been in the mix for a rotation spot to this point, but he expressed peace of mind with the decision to return to the ’pen, indicating that he’s “very happy” to have clarity over his role and that he feels the team made the right decision. As Grant notes, the decision likely means Texas’ rotation will consist of Cole Hamels, Matt Moore, Doug Fister and Mike Minor early in the year, with Martin Perez able to join that quartet as early as his health permits. Jesse Chavez is on hand as a long relief option, and Bartolo Colon could have an easy path to cracking the big league roster if Perez needs some DL time early in the year.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Beltre, Bush]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116777 2018-03-13T08:49:34Z 2018-03-12T00:09:13Z
  • In a recent appearance on 105.3 The Fan’s Ben And Skin Show (partial transcript from the Dallas Morning News), Adrian Beltre discussed his future both with the Rangers and as a player in general.  The 20-year MLB veteran is taking his career on an annual basis, noting that “I can’t tell you it’s going to be this year or next year or the year after that” when he finally hangs up his glove.  The main factors in Beltre’s decision include his health, his level of production and whether or not he is still on a contender.  Plus, Beltre is seemingly intrigued by the idea of going out on top, saying “It would be easier for me if we won the World Series this year or next year to go home.”  Beltre hopes to achieve that goal in a Rangers uniform, noting that he doesn’t want to be traded, though such a scenario could happen if Texas falls out of contention by the deadline (Beltre is entering the last year of his contract).  If he heads into free agency while still a Ranger, Beltre said “it would make it easy for me” to re-sign with the club if the Rangers promised to make a big push to contend in 2019.
  • The Rangers have decided to keep Matt Bush in the bullpen, manager Jeff Banister told reporters (including MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan).  Bush came into spring camp with the hopes of getting himself into the rotation mix, though the righty will instead be deployed as a setup man and potentially as a multi-inning reliever.  Banister believes Bush is most valuable to Texas in this role, and thus Bush isn’t a candidate to serve as the Rangers’ closer.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL West Notes: Holland, Bush, Ohtani, Zych]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116621 2018-03-10T15:34:11Z 2018-03-10T15:27:13Z The Rangers don’t appear to have anyone firmly in place as the their closer, though the recently-signed Tim Lincecum is one candidate to win the job. There’s at least a possibility that they could fill the position externally, as Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports in his latest “Inside Baseball” column that the team has considered bringing Greg Holland into the fold. We haven’t heard much other chatter about interest in Holland recently. The outgoing Rockies closer is MLBTR’s third-best free agent remaining, and the odds of him surpassing the offer he reportedly received from the Rockies earlier this winter (something in the three-year, $51MM range) aren’t good. This is particularly true considering the fate of the two Scott Boras clients to sign contracts most recently; Mike Moustakas recently received just a one-year deal at a $6.5MM guarantee from the Royals, while Carlos Gonzalez is said to be finalizing a one-year, $8MM contract with the Rockies.

    Other recent items out of the AL West…

    • Speaking of the Rangers’ bullpen, the team hasn’t yet decided whether to utilize former closer Matt Bush as a starter or reliever this season, according to Evan Grant of SportsDay. By his own admission, Bush had trouble finding consistency in his most recent spring training outing, walking two and allowing a homer on 43 pitches. In 52 1/3 innings with the Rangers last season, Bush pitched to a 3.78 ERA and a 4.57 xFIP. He saved ten games during his brief stint as the club’s closer, but he blew another five save opportunities that came his way.
    • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports provides feedback from some scouts on the bat of Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ most high-profile offseason acquisition. These eight MLB scouts (seven of whom have seen Ohtani this spring) aren’t high on the Japanese phenom’s chances to produce offensively at the major league level. According to Passan, these scouts believe that “[p]itchers are going to punish him with inside fastballs, his swing contains flaws in balance and mechanics, and he needs at least 500 plate appearances of seasoning in the minor leagues to give him a chance at becoming a productive major league hitter.” One in particular noted that Ohtani did not hit from a balanced base, adding that he needed to “cheat” on inside fastballs, which would theoretically leave him susceptible to other pitches. Of course, it should be noted that Ohtani’s never attempted to hit major league pitching before this spring; one would think he deserves a reasonable adjustment period before jumping to any conclusions about his hitting ability.
    • On the flip side of the coin, Joel Sherman of the New York Post details some concerns about Ohtani’s pitching. Sherman notes that he lacked high-end velocity in his most recent spring training start, mostly throwing between 91-94 MPH with some command issues. Though he generated 17 swings and misses (an extremely impressive number in just a few innings), he also uncorked a triad of wild pitches. Sherman wonders whether this can simply be chalked up to growing pains, or if it’s part of a more serious issue. The obvious caveat to this is that minute spring training sample sizes aren’t entirely indicative of cause for panic.
    • Mariners reliever Tony Zych is undergoing medical tests for what’s being described as shoulder discomfort, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. Though Seattle’s setup man improved his ERA to an impressive 2.66 in 40 2/3 innings last season, he experienced a steep dropoff in his strikeout rate, down to 7.75 batters per nine innings from a 12.66 career mark prior to 2017. He didn’t make any appearances past August 19th due to arm issues.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros Return Rule 5 Pick Anthony Gose To Rangers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116591 2018-03-09T19:48:08Z 2018-03-09T19:26:46Z The Rangers announced today that they received Rule 5 pick Anthony Gose back from the Astros and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock. He’ll join the Rangers in big league camp as a non-roster player. The Astros reportedly placed the left-hander/outfielder on outright waivers earlier this week.

    Gose, a former big league outfielder, had been hoping to make a stacked Astros roster as a reliever. The former top outfield prospect converted to the mound last season after several years of difficulties at plate. Gose was a two-way star as an amateur but was drafted and developed solely as an outfielder. His arm strength from the outfield and his former pitching prowess have translated to the mound to an extent, as he’s reportedly been able to touch triple digits with his fastball.

    Gose pitched 10 2/3 innings in Class-A Advanced in the Rangers organization last season and posted a 14-to-6 K/BB ratio in that time. It’s possible that the Rangers will continue to give him a look on the mound, though the team’s exact plans for him remain unclear. Rangers EVP of communications John Blake referenced Gose as an outfielder/left-handed pitcher in announcing the move, so perhaps he’ll continue to work on both elements of his game.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Tim Lincecum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115923 2018-03-07T20:45:59Z 2018-03-07T20:30:04Z MARCH 7: Lincecum can take home an additional $500K in incentives tied to appearances, anther $500K in roster bonuses, $2MM based upon games finished, and $1.5MM for games started, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). There’s also a $500K payout if he’s able to earn the nod as the comeback player of the year.

    MARCH 6, 10:10pm: Lincecum passed his physical, Heyman tweets. The right-hander has already been at camp in Rangers gear giving interviews, so it seems his deal will likely be announced tomorrow.

    12:02pm: The club has confirmed the agreement but says it is not quite finalized and won’t be announced today, as TR Sullivan of MLB.com was among those to tweet.

    FEBRUARY 27, 7:21pm: Lincecum’s deal comes with a $1MM base salary and incentives to drive the salary up from that point, Grant tweets.

    3:23pm: Lincecum has indeed agreed to a Major League contract, pending a physical, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Rangers plan to utilize Lincecum out of the bullpen, where he could compete for a presently vacant closer’s role. Passan suggested earlier on Twitter that Lincecum could be a relief option in Texas.

    2:53pm: The Rangers have struck a deal with righty Tim Lincecum, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Presumably, the contract is of the MLB variety and pending a physical, though details remain unknown at this time. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) reported the sides were nearing a deal.

    Texas has steadily added arms all winter long, rebuilding a pitching staff that entered the offseason with little in the way of certainty. Lincecum, like some of the other newly acquired players, certainly comes with ample uncertainty of his own, but the overall picture of the staff is at the very least much more interesting than it was four months ago.

    Lincecum represents a wild card for the Rangers’ staff. He was drubbed for 68 hits and 39 runs in 38 1/3 innings in 2016, did not even pitch in 2017, and has not posted a sub-4.00 ERA since 2011. But Lincecum also had a four-year run (2008 to 2011) as arguably the game’s best pitcher. More importantly, he reportedly impressed scouts with his form and fitness in a recent showcase.

    Of equal intrigue to just how the two-time Cy Young winner will look is how the Rangers will use him. The 33-year-old has functioned almost exclusively as a starter throughout his career. But the Rangers’ strategy this winter has been to add flexible hurlers that can contribute multiple innings in any role. There are also some suggestions that Texas could consider utilizing Lincecum in a late-inning capacity, though perhaps the overall impression at this point is that the organization intends to mix and match as circumstances dictate rather than committing to traditional roles.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Notes: Uehara, Lincecum, Senzatela, Hoffman, Kohn]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116422 2018-03-07T16:09:04Z 2018-03-07T16:09:04Z Reliever Koji Uehara says that he is open to considering offers from teams in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, as the Japan Times recently reported. That’s something of a reversal from the 42-year-old reliever, who had indicated he did not intend to play again in his homeland. After preparing for the MLB season, but finding interest scant, Uehara now says he has changed his mind and would consider pitching once again in the NPB. It’s at least a bit surprising that Uehara has not generated more pursuers among major-league clubs. He continued to produce declining results in 43 innings last year, finishing with a 3.98 ERA, but still ended with 10.5 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and generated a strong 15.8% swinging-strike rate.

    Here are a few more pitching notes from around the game:

    • While it’s clear the Rangers intend to utilize new pitching addition Tim Lincecum in the bullpen, just how he’ll be deployed isn’t yet clear. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram posted a video of the former ace discussing his new club. It seems that Lincecum is intrigued by the possibility of closing but is largely open to fitting in wherever the team prefers. “They see that,” Lincecum says of working in the 9th. “I feel like I could do that. I’ve done that in the Cape and at the college level. It’s going to be, obviously, different, but I feel like I could tap into that mentality.”
    • The Rockies elected this offseason to make a number of bullpen additions but not to pursue outside acquisitions for the rotation. That decision was no doubt as much about the team’s assessment of its internal options as it was about a need to maximize resources. In a pair of articles, here and here, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports on two key staff members. Antonio Senzatela is said to be hard at work on his secondary offerings, with a new change-up in the works alongside continuing work on a curve. Meanwhile, fellow young righty Jeff Hoffman dealing with a shoulder issue. There’s no indication its a serious injury, but Hoffman is still going to rest for at least a week or more before he resumes throwing. As things stand, the Rox may be lined up to utilize a five-man unit that does not include either of these hurlers, as the current Roster Resource depth chart projects, but both are important parts of the near-term and future picture in Colorado.
    • When the Twins brought in righty Michael Kohn last fall, the hope was that he could rebound from a rotator cuff problem and get his career back on track. Unfortunately, he’ll now require an absence of four to six months to recuperate from a “nerve issue,” per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). The 31-year-old Kohn has a 3.52 ERA in 115 career innings in the majors, though that has come with a 111:79 K/BB ratio. It’s hard to read much into his results last year, as they were mostly accumulated in the low minors, but Kohn was able to make it through 13 solid innings late in 2017, over which he racked up 18 strikeouts against just four walks while permitting two earned runs on eight hits.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Designate Brett Nicholas, Announce Signing Of Tim Lincecum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116423 2018-03-07T15:00:39Z 2018-03-07T14:37:47Z The Rangers announced today that they have designated catcher Brett Nicholas for assignment. His roster spot was needed for the addition of righty Tim Lincecum, whose previously reported signing is now official.

    With this move, the Rangers could be slated to utilize Juan Centeno as the backup to regular receiver Robinson Chirinos. With younger backstop Jose Trevino also on the 40-man and veterans Curt Casali and Michael Ohlman also in camp as non-roster players, there are a few other options on hand, too.

    Of course, Nicholas may well end up back in Rangers camp himself if he clears waivers. The 29-year-old has only limited MLB time, with 110 plate appearances over the past two seasons. He has produced solid numbers with the bat at Triple-A of late, though, with consecutive .809 and .822 OPS campaigns.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Agree To Terms With Julio Pablo Martinez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116399 2018-03-06T22:51:22Z 2018-03-06T22:51:22Z The Rangers have agreed to terms with Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. The touted 21-year-old prospect, who became eligible to sign today, will receive a $2.8MM signing bonus, which will fully deplete the remainder of Texas’ 2017-18 international bonus pool.

    Due to his age and lack of professional experience, Martinez was not eligible to sign as a professional. He’ll receive a minor league contract in addition to that $2.8MM bonus and join the Rangers as one of the game’s more touted prospects. Badler notes that Martinez will slot in at No. 60 overall on BA’s updated Top 100 prospect list. That places him two spots behind countryman Luis Robert, who in the final season of the 2012-16 collective bargaining agreement signed with the White Sox for a reported $26MM bonus that came with a 100 percent luxury tax under the previous international signing rules.

    The discrepancy between the cost of acquisition for two somewhat comparable prospects is fairly staggering and also underscores the manner in which the latest CBA has restricted clubs from spending on amateur talent. Under the previous agreement, teams could make the tactical decision to exceed their league-allotted bonus pools by more than 15 percent in exchange for a two-year ban from signing international amateurs for anything more than $300K apiece. Many teams, including the Cubs, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, Reds, Dodgers and Padres, among others, were willing to make that trade-off in exchange for signing splurges that completely shattered their pools but also provided an immediate talent infusion to their respective prospect pipelines.

    Now, the league and union have agreed to a hard cap on international amateurs, and no club is allotted more than $5.75MM at the onset of a given international signing period. While teams can trade for up to an additional 75 percent of their initial pool allotment, the strategy of aggressive spending on the international front is not one that teams can employ anymore — at least not with the previously acceptable levels of vigor. The now-finite level of resources teams can utilize on the international market only makes those funds more coveted — particularly among rebuilding/retooling clubs.

    Digression aside, the Rangers will add an athletic young center fielder to their ranks when the deal is finalized. Martinez will become the team’s third-ranked prospect, Badler notes, trailing only Willie Calhoun and Leody Taveras. The left-handed-hitting, left-handed-throwing Martinez hit .333/.469/.498 with six homers, 11 doubles, two triples and 24 steals (in 29 attempts) during his most recent professional effort in Cuba. More impressively, he drew 52 walks that season against just 30 strikeouts in 264 plate appearances. He also appeared in 57 games and tallied 255 plate appearances in the 2017 Can-Am Association — the same independent league that was previously home to big leaguers Chris ColabelloAndrew AlbersCraig BreslowSteve Delabar and Tim Adleman, among others — where he hit .297/.345/.449 with seven homers and 20 steals.

    Badler notes in today’s piece that Martinez’s present level of development should allow him to head to Class-A Advanced or Double-A. He’s also expanded on the talented young outfielder in a pair of prior columns — both of which those looking to learn more about Martinez will want to check out.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Meeting With Julio Pablo Martinez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116354 2018-03-06T15:02:32Z 2018-03-06T15:02:32Z Now that Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez is officially able to sign, he’s meeting with the Rangers today to hammer out a deal, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. It is believed that the sides will agree to a $2.8MM bonus.

    Texas has been seen as the favorite to land Martinez for the past several weeks. Indeed, the Rangers have struck two trades — see here and here — to max out their possible international bonus pool assets. Having already spent a good bit of money over the past year or so, the Rangers have $2.8MM left and are expected to spend it all on Martinez.

    While the Yankees and Marlins were also reportedly in pursuit of Martinez, all indications at this point are that he’s zeroed in on the Rangers. For Texas, the move will bring a high-quality prospect into the organization who may not be far from seeing the majors. Badler says that Martinez will jump right into BA’s top 100 prospects list. The 21-year-old is a left-handed hitter who is said to possess good power and speed.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Astros Place Anthony Gose On Outright Waivers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116325 2018-03-05T23:55:21Z 2018-03-05T23:55:21Z The Astros have placed lefty Anthony Gose on outright waivers, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (Twitter link). That will ultimately open a 40-man spot, though it’s not clear whether the organization has immediate plans for utilizing it.

    Gose was taken in the Rule 5 draft back in December, meaning any claiming team would need to retain him on the active roster for all of 2018 in order to keep him permanently. Given his prior MLB experience as an outfielder, he would be arbitration-eligible after the season were that to occur.

    If Gose clears waivers, he’ll be offered back to the Rangers, who had signed him to a minors deal last fall. The Texas organization took a low-risk shot despite the fact that Gose had only previously thrown 10 2/3 High-A innings, over which he allowed nine earned runs and six walks but also recorded 14 strikeouts.

    Despite the limited track record, the 27-year-old Gose has shown a powerful throwing arm on the hill and could also bring value on the bases and in the outfield. But it seems his interesting time in Astros camp did not make the desired impression. Gose failed to record an out in his only Grapefruit League appearance, issuing walks to all three hitters he faced.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Matt Bush Expects To Start]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116173 2018-03-04T03:00:09Z 2018-03-04T02:08:13Z
  • Although he worked out of their bullpen from 2016-17, the Rangers told right-hander Matt Bush to spend the offseason preparing to start. Now, even after the team added Minor, Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Bartolo Colon as rotation locks or candidates over the winter, Bush expects to be part of its starting staff this year. “I’m starting,” Bush declared Saturday (via Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram). Indeed, the likelihood seems to be increasing that Bush will be part of the Rangers’ rotation, Wilson suggests. The 32-year-old threw 2 2/3 innings Saturday as he attempts to stretch out for a starting role.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cole Hamels Against Six-Man Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116167 2018-03-04T00:26:34Z 2018-03-04T00:25:06Z
  • The Rangers could elect to use a six-man rotation this year, but their best starter, Cole Hamels, isn’t on board (via Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News). The 34-year-old southpaw opined Saturday that a six-man starting staff isn’t “appropriate for where I am at this stage.” Hamels also took a shot at the idea in general, saying: “It’s not part of baseball. I know that’s the new, analytical side, trying to re-invent the wheel. … that’s just not what MLB is to me. That’s not how I learned from my mentors. That’s not the way I’m geared to pitch.” Unfortunately for Hamels, manager Jeff Banister favors the six-man alignment and seems more likely than ever to try it this season, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Regardless of how Texas’ rotation plans shake out, it’ll probably need a bounce-back year from Hamels to have any chance at a playoff spot. The longtime front-end starter endured arguably the worst season of his career in 2017, when he logged a 4.20 ERA/4.62 FIP with 6.39 K/9 and 3.22 BB/9 across 148 innings.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire International Bonus Money From Royals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115991 2018-02-28T15:56:21Z 2018-02-28T15:48:22Z The Rangers have acquired international bonus pool money in a swap with the Royals, per an announcement from the Texas organization. Righty Domingo Pena is heading to Kansas City in return.

    While the precise value of the spending capacity being exchanged isn’t clear from the announcement, it seems likely to be $250K. That’s how much the Rangers could still add after last week’s similar trade, and is also the baseline increment that funds can be dealt in.

    All indications are that these funds are ticketed for Cuban prospect Julio Pablo Martinez, who is said to be working on a deal with the Rangers that will be finalized once he’s formally eligible to sign. There’s nothing new on that front, though Baseball America’s Ben Badler did recently report that Martinez faces an unusual $100K fine for providing incorrect information to MLB.

    Pena, 19, has played in the Rangers’ system for the past three years. He first came stateside last year and has yet to pitch beyond the Rookie level. In thirty total frames in 2017, Pena pitched to a 2.70 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Favored To Sign Tim Lincecum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115896 2018-02-27T20:53:56Z 2018-02-27T19:40:22Z 2:33pm: Lincecum is “deep in talks” with Texas, with an expectation that the sides will finalize a deal, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Passan speculates that Lincecum could move to the pen and perhaps even compete for the still-open closer’s job.

    That general plan would appear to fit the Rangers’ desire for multi-inning relievers.

    10:54am: Free-agent righty Tim Lincecum is nearing a decision on where he’ll attempt his comeback, according to a report from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. The Dodgers and Rangers are two of the final organizations being considered by Lincecum, who is said to be weighing major-league offers from those and other clubs.

    It has seemed for a while that Lincecum would earn a 40-man spot after putting on an impressive showcase. Certainly, though, it’s notable that multiple organizations are angling to land him after he sat out for all of 2017. Heyman notes that the 33-year-old received “some interest” from most of the teams that watched him throw.

    Lincecum’s days as an ace are a distant memory at this point; since the start of 2012, he owns a 4.94 ERA in 654 innings in the majors. He already scuffled in one comeback effort following hip surgery, with a mediocre showing with the Angles in 2016. Indeed, it really was not even clear whether Lincecum would play again until recently.

    Clearly, then, interested organizations are basing their assessment less on Lincecum’s past — glorious though it was — than they are on observing his current ability levels. What’ll be most interesting, perhaps, is to see whether Lincecum is able to command not only a meaningful guarantee but also a real shot at earning a rotation spot. It is not known what the veteran hurler is looking for in choosing his next team, but he seems to have enough leverage to make the potential role a real factor.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[West Notes: Ohtani, CarGo, Scott]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115870 2018-02-27T06:22:39Z 2018-02-27T06:22:39Z As Shohei Ohtani settles into his first MLB camp, the Angels are keeping close tabs on his workload, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s all still being sorted on the fly, but there are also some “objective” standards in place, including limits on the volume and timing of Ohtani’s swings of the bat. There are dichotomies aplenty for the hurler/slugger, including the impressions of team personnel such as hitting coach Eric Hinske (“uncharted waters”) and manager Mike Scioscia (“don’t know it’s anything that isn’t happening with other players”).

    • The Rockies miss Carlos Gonzalez “really badly,” third baseman Nolan Arenado tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Gonzalez’s presence in the clubhouse was clearly seen as a big positive by Arenado and others. Indeed, the young star was not shy in advocating for a reunion with the veteran former star. That has long seemed a possibility, but not a priority, and there’s no indication at this point that there’s any movement toward a deal. Coming into the winter, Gonzalez seemed likely to command a fairly sizable commitment on a one-year term, reflecting his streaky recent track record but also his long-recognized status as a high-end hitter. But the market has been particularly unkind to non-premium position players, so it’s really anyone’s guess at this point what kind of guarantee CarGo will be able to secure and what team it will be with.
    • Rangers righty Tayler Scott lost out on the race to be the first African-born person to play in the majors when fellow South African Gift Ngoepe hit the bigs last year. But Scott tells MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that he still has his sights set on “the title of being the first South African pitcher.” The dedication certainly seems to be there. Baseball obviously remains a niche sport in his homeland, so Scott and his family relocated to the United States while he was in high school. Now 25, Scott has yet to master the upper minors but will be jockeying for position in camp with the Texas organization, which acquired him as part of last summer’s Jeremy Jeffress swap.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Morosi: Rangers Monitoring Top Available Starters]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115708 2018-02-25T22:59:27Z 2018-02-25T22:59:27Z Yankees manager Aaron Boone suggested Sunday that they won’t sign either Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb, yet the team has “maintained contact with Lynn throughout the offseason,” Jon Morosi of MLB.com writes. The Yankees are monitoring the top available starters in general, according to Morosi, who hears that the Brewers, Phillies, Rangers, Orioles and Nationals are doing the same. The Angels, meanwhile, are open to signing the best free agent reliever, Greg Holland, if the price is right, per Morosi. The Halos’ bullpen has seemingly taken a step back since last year ended, having lost Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris to free agency and added only Jim Johnson. While Holland would help make up for those exits, he’s presumably not going to sign for cheap, and inking the qualifying offer recipient would cost the Angels their second-highest draft pick this year and $500K in international spending room.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Grant: Out-Of-Options Jurickson Profar Will Make Rangers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115655 2018-02-25T02:19:33Z 2018-02-25T02:19:33Z
  • Rangers utiityman Jurickson Profar was the subject of trade rumors during the winter and is now out of options, which theoretically could put his future with the team in jeopardy. But there’s no doubt he’ll earn a roster spot this year with Texas, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The question is whether Profar will garner enough playing time to produce, Grant writes. The former top prospect has seen time in the outfield, but he’s presently vying for a role in the infield, where Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre are dug in as starters.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Expect Relievers To Work In Multi-Inning Roles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115592 2018-02-24T04:06:11Z 2018-02-24T02:26:47Z Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register has an interesting piece on Jered Weaver, the long-time Angels hurler who’s now enjoying retired life after an ill-fated stop with the Padres in 2017. The interview is well worth a read in its entirety, particularly for fans of the Halos or Weaver in particular. There is one notable bit of historical hot stove information regarding Weaver’s 2011 extension, which was widely viewed at the time as a relative bargain for the team. The 35-year-old says he got just what he wanted out of the deal, which was to sign a contract that bought out his remaining good years and allowed the organization to afford other improvements. “I would still have two more years left on my contract if I waited for free agency and signed a seven-year deal,” Weaver tells Fletcher. “There’s no way I could even pick up a ball and I’d be making like $30 million. I’m totally OK with where I’m at right now. I’m glad it unfolded the way it did. It all worked perfectly.”

    Here are a few more notes from the AL West:

    • The Athletics received promising news on third baseman Matt Chapman, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports. Chapman underwent an MRI after experiencing hand soreness, but fortunately no structural concerns were identified. He’ll continue to rest and receive a cortisone shot, but hopes are that the issue will soon be behind him. The 24-year-old only played half of the year at the MLB level in 2017 but turned in exciting results, with outstanding glovework and above-average hitting. His lofty strikeout totals remain a concern, but the A’s clearly believe Chapman can be a mainstay at the hot corner for years to come.
    • Even as the A’s continue to try to develop a new core group of young players, the organization remains engaged in a complicated stadium building effort. Matier & Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle covered the latest developments recently, with club president Dave Kaval saying the team still hopes to line up a plan by the end of the year. The Athletics believed they were on track last fall before encountering a major roadblock. As the Chronicle report explains in full, another obstacle arose to a potential site at Oakland’s Howard Terminal — an option that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has endorsed (via the Chronicle’s John Shea) — with Kaval saying the possibility of building a new facility at the location of the O.co Coliseum is “probably now the front-runner,” at least in terms of timing and feasibility, though the organization still prefers to move downtown.
    • Because the Rangers intend to utilize a six-man rotation, their bullpen plans are also changing, as Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram writes. Texas is going to ask for mutiple innings from multiple relievers, skipper Jeff Banister suggests. And some members of the rotation my pop out to the pen at times to fill in the gaps. It certainly seems to be shaping up to be an interesting experiment.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Jesse Chavez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115468 2018-02-23T15:01:29Z 2018-02-23T14:58:42Z Feb. 23: The Rangers have announced the signing. Chavez does indeed go on the 40-man roster, taking the place of left-hander Joe Palumbo, who has been transferred to the 60-day DL in a corresponding move. Palumbo underwent Tommy John surgery last April and will not be ready for the start of the season.

    Feb. 22: Chavez’s deal is a guaranteed, Major League contract at $1MM, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. He’ll get a 40-man roster spot, it seems, and Chavez’s base salary will elevate to $1.5MM once he is placed on the 25-man roster. Cotillo notes that there’s a very strong chance that Chavez breaks camp on the Rangers’ roster.

    Feb. 21: The Rangers are in agreement on a contract with veteran right-hander Jesse Chavez, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter links). The Sosnick, Cobbe & Karon client seems to have signed a non-guaranteed deal, as Heyman notes that the pact calls for a $1MM base that’ll increase to $1.5MM if he makes the big league roster. Chavez’s contract has $500K worth of incentives based on relief appearances and $1MM based on starts, Heyman adds.

    Now 34 years of age, Chavez will return to the organization that gave him his first professional opportunity. Texas selected Chavez in the 42nd round of the 2002 draft — a round that no longer even exists in modern drafts — and the righty spend parts of four seasons in their system before being traded to the Pirates in the 2006 Kip Wells swap.

    Chavez went on to make his big league debut with the 2008 Pirates, and he’s spent time with six additional big league organizations since that time (primarily with Oakland). Chavez’s 2017 season was spent with the division-rival Angels, for whom he pitched to a disappointing 5.35 ERA in 138 innings. Chavez managed respectable marks of 7.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 41.1 percent ground-ball rate, but like so many other pitchers throughout MLB was plagued by the long ball; in those 138 frames, he surrendered 28 big flies — good for a career-worst 1.83 HR/9 mark.

    Texas has been aggressively stockpiling veteran arms on which to rely over the course of the season, adding Doug Fister on a low-cost MLB deal while also picking up Chavez, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Edinson Volquez on minor league contracts. (Volquez’s deal was a two-year minor league deal, as he’ll miss 2018 recovering from August Tommy John surgery.)

    The Rangers currently project to have Cole Hamels, Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Matt Bush in their rotation. There’s plenty of talent in that bunch, to be sure, as each has had big league success at various points. However, it’s a fairly uncertain group at present.

    Hamels is coming off a down season in which he logged significant time on the DL, and Moore, too, is in need of a rebound after a dreadful showing with the 2017 Giants. Minor, meanwhile, will be returning to a rotation role for the first time in four years, and Bush has never worked as a starter. Fister posted promising peripherals in a tough AL East last year, but he hasn’t had a full season with above-average run prevention numbers since 2014. Given the uncertainty among that group, it makes sense for GM Jon Daniels and his staff to create a fairly large supporting cast of experienced arms to serve as insurance.

    Chavez has extensive experience both as a starter and reliever, so he’ll add to that depth and can support the group either as a rotation option in the upper minors or perhaps as a swingman at the big league level. He has a career 4.69 ERA in 742 2/3 Major League innings and enjoyed a solid run from 2013-16, during which time he sported a 3.94 ERA and 3.85 FIP in 427 1/3 frames.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Seen As Favorites To Land Julio Pablo Martinez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115548 2018-02-23T00:58:49Z 2018-02-23T00:58:49Z The Rangers are now considered the favorite in the pursuit of Cuban prospect Julio Pablo Martinez, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Martinez is not technically eligible to put pen to paper until March 6th, but it seems the Texas organization is working to line up a deal once he can formally sign.

    Martinez, 21, will likely command a $2.7MM to $2.8MM bonus, according to the report. That’s a far sight shy of what similarly situated young players have earned in recent years, though that’s a reflection of newly restrictive signing rules (which place a hard cap on total bonus spending) rather than Martinez’s promise as a player.

    The Rangers did not seem to have quite that much pool availability when last we checked, though it is always difficult to keep close tabs on international expenditures. Evidently, the Texas organization had more to work with than we realized, and also acquired an additional $350K just days ago, immediately sparking indications that the move was designed to facilitate the acquisition of Martinez.

    Given that we’re still weeks away from Martinez even being able to sign, it seems reasonable to expect that we’ll have to wait to learn of his destination with any real certainty. But from the tenor of tonight’s report and the recent swap, all signs are that Texas is indeed set to land Martinez. That said, the Yankees and Marlins have also been closely tied to the talented youngster (by Ben Badler of Baseball America). He may be a year or two away from the majors, but that’s closer than most amateurs. And Martinez is said to possess an enticing blend of speed and power.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire International Slot Money From Reds]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115418 2018-02-21T22:08:05Z 2018-02-21T16:23:19Z The Rangers have officially picked up $350K in international slot money from the Reds, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer first reported on Twitter. Righty Miguel Medrano is heading to the Reds in return.

    This move will further pad the Rangers’ international purse for the current signing period, which was already rather full in the wake of the team’s unsuccessful bid for Shohei Ohtani. It seems that Texas is lining up to chase top young Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter) and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link) suggest. Ben Badler of Baseball America has long cited the Rangers as a top pursuer of Martinez.

    Martinez was officially cleared to sign recently. MLBTR’s Steve Adams broke down the Texas pool situation in that post. It’s worth noting, as Adams points out on Twitter, that the Reds have likely now parted with all of their remaining pool money. (The rules only permit $250K increments to be dealt unless it’s a trade that moves all the remaining funds from a team’s pool.) Texas could still acquire another $250K before being capped, BA’s Matt Eddy notes on Twitter. (The CBA stipulates that a team may acquire no more than 75 percent of the value of its initial pool in trades.)

    All that’s known at this point, though, is that the 20-year-old Medrano will head to the Cincinnati organization. He has pitched exclusively with the organization’s Dominican Summer League outfit to this point in his professional career. Medrano certainly produced some interesting numbers there last year, working to a 2.59 ERA in 59 innings over ten starts and two relief appearances and racking up 9.3 K/9 against just 1.1 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Julio Pablo Martinez Receives Clearance To Sign With MLB Organizations]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115349 2018-02-21T02:22:10Z 2018-02-20T22:54:47Z Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and will be free to sign with a Major League organization beginning on March 6, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. The 21-year-old Martinez is subject to international bonus pools due to his age and lack of professional experience in the Cuban National Series, so he’ll now have to decide whether to sign with a team during the current signing period (when many teams have already spent the bulk or entirety of their league-allotted budget) or after the July 2 kick off the 2018-19 period.

    According to Badler, the Rangers, Yankees and Marlins are the current favorites for Martinez, who is one of the more touted prospects to come out of Cuba in recent seasons. If Martinez opts to sign with the Yankees or Marlins, per Badler, he’d likely be waiting until this coming summer to sign so that both teams could tap into their 2018-19 pools. The Yankees added a pair of Venezuelan prospects back in late December and also picked up former Braves farmhand Angel Rojas for $350K, thus accounting for some of what was left over from a failed run at Shohei Ohtani.

    Texas had  $3.535MM in pool allotments to spend on Ohtani before he opted to sign with the division-rival Angels. They’ve since reallocated some of their pool by signing shortstops Yenci Pena (for $675K) and Keithron Moss (for $800K) as well as outfielder D’Vaughn Knowles (for $500K). That’d still leave as much as $1.56MM to offer Martinez to begin his pro career in the current signing period (though it’s possible the pool is a bit lesser depending on whether Texas has made some smaller-scale signings that were not widely reported).

    Certainly, other clubs could enter the mix for Martinez — especially if he is keen on waiting until July to sign a contract. Far more teams would be able to weigh a pursuit of the 21-year-old at that time, and given the appeal touted by Badler in his scouting reports on Martinez, several teams would figure to have interest. Badler lists Martinez at 5’10” and 180 pounds, praising a blend of power and speed, and he’s expanded on the talented young outfielder in a pair of prior columns — both of which those looking to learn more about Martinez will want to check out.

    The left-handed-hitting, left-handed-throwing Martinez hit .333/.469/.498 with six homers, 11 doubles, two triples and 24 steals (in 29 attempts) during his most recent professional effort in Cuba. More impressively, he drew 52 walks that season against just 30 strikeouts in 264 plate appearances.

    He also appeared in 57 games and tallied 255 plate appearances in the 2017 Can-Am Association — the same independent league that was previously home to big leaguers Chris Colabello, Andrew Albers, Craig Breslow, Steve Delabar and Tim Adleman, among others — where he hit .297/.345/.449 with seven homers and 20 steals. In today’s piece, Badler notes that Martinez is likely of an appropriate skill level to begin his path to the Majors in Class-A Advanced or in Double-A.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Will Not Sign Seung-Hwan Oh]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114126 2018-02-17T21:34:25Z 2018-02-17T21:32:37Z 3:32pm: A “physical issue” led the Rangers to abandon the Oh signing, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.  The Rangers became concerned after looking at the MRI results on Oh’s arm, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes.

    Feb. 17, 1:41pm: The Rangers have moved on from Oh, Wilson was among those to report (on Twitter).

    Feb. 15: Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters today that there’s nothing imminent with Oh (Twitter link via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that it’s not clear yet if there was some sort of hangup with the contract.

    It’s worth noting that the Giants reportedly made an offer to Oh as well before his reported agreement with Texas, so if talks between Oh and the Rangers have broken down, it’s possible that San Francisco could jump back into the mix.

    Feb. 6: The Rangers have struck a deal with free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). If Oh passes his physical, he’ll stand to receive a $2.75MM guarantee, per Devan Fink of Beyond the Box Score (via Twitter). The deal also includes a $4.5MM option ($250K buyout) and $1MM in available incentives for the Rosenhaus Sports Representation client.

    Sep 7, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Seung-Hwan Oh (26) rubs down the ball during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    This makes for an interesting match given the open questions at the back of the Texas pen. Oh, a veteran Korean hurler, took over the closer’s role for the Cardinals during his debut MLB season of 2016. He opened the ensuing campaign with the same job after spinning 79 2/3 frames of 1.92 ERA ball, with 11.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9, but was not able to repeat his dominance.

    In 2017, Oh wound up posting a 4.10 ERA in 59 1/3 innings. The fall-off was not only evident in the results; Oh’s peripherals suffered across the board. In particular, his swinging strike rate dropped from an outstanding 18.0% to a still-strong 12.9%, taking his strikeout rate down to 8.2 K/9. His home run rate nearly tripled to 1.52 per nine; his groundball rate plummeted to 28.7%; and he surrendered a batting average on balls in play (.319) nearly fifty points north of his 2016 level.

    That said, there are some reasons to believe that Oh may have suffered some poor fortune. That BABIP jump came even as he induced more soft contact (15.3% in 2016 vs. 22.4% in 2017) at the expense of hard contact (34.2% vs. 28.1%). Statcast figures reflect that evident discord, with Oh’s .298 xwOBA coming in well shy of the .338 wOBA he actually surrendered. Interestingly, while hitters obviously had less trouble making contact, Oh got batters to chase outside the zone just as often in each of his two MLB seasons and his Brooks Baseball charts mostly show consistent movement on his pitches.

    It’s tough to say what to expect. Regardless, given Oh’s background, it’s certainly fair to wonder whether the 35-year-old is slated to close for the Rangers. The team still employs several pitchers who have featured prominently in the late-inning mix in recent seasons, including righties Matt Bush and Keone Kela as well as lefties Alex Claudio and Jake Diekman. But Oh has fairly earned his memorable nickname, Final Boss, by closing down 396 total contests over his 13 seasons of action in the KBO, NPB, and MLB. He’ll likely at least have a shot at earning the closer’s nod in camp.

    For the Rangers, this is the latest of many additions to the team’s pitching staff. As MLBTR’s 2017-18 Free Agent Tracker shows, the organization has steadily picked up arms throughout the winter. In addition to a variety of free agents, the club dealt for lefty Matt Moore. The Rangers’ updated depth chart lists six hurlers acquired this winter who currently project to make the Opening Day roster, with others (especially Bartolo Colon) potentially challenging for jobs in camp.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jon Daniels Discusses Andrew Cashner's Departure]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115042 2018-02-17T20:56:46Z 2018-02-17T20:56:24Z Orioles infielder Manny Machado “wants to be a Yankee and the feeling is mutual,” Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes. The Yankees were among the teams that tried to trade for Machado over the winter, so it’s no surprise that they’re continuing to eye him a year before he hits free agency. Regarding offseason trade rumors, Machado said, “Thank God nothing went down and I was able to come back, and see my guys that I’ve been with for seven years.” Although the 25-year-old is content to be an Oriole for now, it seems highly unlikely he’ll remain with them past this year, considering the massive contract he’d land on the open market. And while the longtime third baseman plans to spend the rest of his career at shortstop, where New York has a quality starter in Didi Gregorius, the Yankees would find spots for both of them, Nightengale suggests.

    More from the American League…

    • The Indians announced Friday that right-hander Danny Salazar “experienced an onset of right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation” last month during his offseason throwing program. The 28-year-old is “a couple weeks” behind the rest of the pitchers in Indians camp, per the announcement, though he has at least resumed throwing. It certainly doesn’t appear as if Salazar is presently dealing with a major injury, but the shoulder trouble isn’t entirely insignificant. Salazar missed roughly six weeks of the 2017 season due to shoulder troubles, and he has a history of right elbow issues as well. He’s also seen his name pop up in occasional trade speculation, most frequently being linked to the Brewers, though one would imagine that ongoing shoulder issues would temper some of the interest that other clubs may have in Salazar.There’s not yet any indication that Opening Day would be in jeopardy for Salazar, whom the Indians have penciled into a rotation spot alongside Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer. Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger are both on hand as options for the fifth spot. Injuries limited Salazar to just 103 innings last season, during which time he posted a 4.28 ERA with a gaudy 12.7 K/9 mark against 3.8 BB/9.
    • Before he joined the Phillies on a three-year, $60MM contract in November, longtime Indians first baseman Carlos Santana proposed a five-year, $75MM deal to Cleveland, the player told Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. However, “the Tribe was never seriously engaged with him at all this winter,” Castrovince tweets. Shortly after Santana left the Indians, they added replacement Yonder Alonso on a much cheaper pact (two years, $16MM).
    • Texas had interest in re-signing Andrew Cashner before he accepted Baltimore’s two-year, $16MM guarantee Thursday, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels confirmed to TR Sullivan of MLB.com. However, not only did the Orioles make Cashner a better offer, but it seems he wouldn’t have been a lock to remain a starter with the Rangers. “We talked to him and gave him a range of what we were thinking,” Daniels said. “He got a better deal. We even asked him if he would pitch in the bullpen, but he got a commitment to start, a multi-year deal, a good deal from Baltimore.” In 2017, his only year with the Rangers, Cashner paced their starters in ERA (3.40) and finished second in innings (166 2/3), though his success came in spite of a league-worst K/BB ratio (1.34).

    Steve Adams contributed to this post.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rangers Notes: Lincecum, Profar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115030 2018-02-27T20:56:07Z 2018-02-17T19:07:03Z Both the Giants and Rangers came away impressed after watching free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, per reports from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Unsurprisingly, Giants brass has a fondness for Lincecum stemming from his mostly incredible run with the franchise from 2007-15. On whether they’ll try to reunite with Lincecum, general manager Bobby Evans said: “It’s up to the competition of what clubs are bidding on him, and I can’t speak to that yet. It’s early. We obviously are all rooting for Timmy. Selfishly, anything he does, we would love for it to be in a Giants uniform, but sometimes opportunities on the business side dictate otherwise. But we’re always rooting for him.” The Rangers, meanwhile, are likely to continue pursuing the 33-year-old, according to Grant.

    • The Rockies have shown some interest in re-signing first baseman Mark Reynolds since last season ended, yet the 34-year-old remains on the open market. Reynolds told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he doesn’t know why he’s still unsigned, but he’s continuing to hope for a return to the Rockies after playing with them from 2016-17. “It would be my first choice. It was a great situation. I was good there the last two years,” said Reynolds, who combined to hit .274/.354/.471 during those seasons. “It’s something that I felt was a great fit. But I can’t control what they are thinking. I played there to prove that I’m very capable of playing at that level. … But the Rockies are a good fit, and they are a playoff team and that’s something I’m factoring in my decision as well.” The Reynolds-less Rockies do have in-house first base options on hand in prospect Ryan McMahon and utilityman Ian Desmond.
    • Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar hasn’t developed as hoped since his days as a top prospect, and now that he’s out of minor league options, he could be in another uniform soon. Profar hopes that’s not the case. “I know this team loves me a lot, and I love them,” the 24-year-old said (via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). “I’m ready to help them win. I just want to play and help the team win. I know I can do it.” Profar was a non-factor last season in Texas, where he hit .172/.294/.207 over a small sample of 70 plate appearances. Left field was Profar’s main position with the Rangers in 2017, but they’re only planning to use him in the infield this spring, per Wilson. He’ll have difficulty carving out a regular role, though, with Joey Gallo (first base), Rougned Odor (second), Elvis Andrus (short) and Adrian Beltre (third) entrenched as starters.
    • Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra underwent surgery on the broken hamate bone in his right hand last Friday and could miss four to six weeks, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. While Parra is “going to be fine,” according to manager Bud Black, Saunders notes that his injury could open the door for David Dahl to steal a starting spot in right field. Dahl came on the scene in impressive fashion as a rookie in 2016, but a rib cage injury kept him from the majors last season and limited him to 82 minor league PAs. Parra, on the other hand, hit a Coors Field-inflated .309/.341/.452 in 425 trips to the plate.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Edinson Volquez To Two-Year Minor League Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114934 2018-02-16T19:48:11Z 2018-02-16T19:36:17Z The Rangers announced on Friday that they’ve signed right-hander Edinson Volquez to a minor league contract that contains invitations to Major League Spring Training for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career late in the 2017 season and won’t pitch in the 2018 campaign.

    The two-year minor league deal, though, will give him a year to acclimate to the Rangers’ medical staff and rehab/training facilities with an eye toward returning to the Majors on their 2019 roster. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets that Volquez would earn a $2MM salary in 2019 if he makes the roster and has another $4.5MM worth of incentives in the contract’s second season.  Volquez is represented by Wasserman.

    The signing represents a homecoming for Volquez, who signed his first professional contract with the Rangers as an 18-year-old amateur back in 2001. Now 34 years of age, Volquez will still earn a $13MM salary this season as part of the two-year, $22MM pact he signed with the Marlins last offseason. Miami is still on the hook for the full $13MM after releasing him last year.

    After a rough second season in a two-year deal with the Royals (2015-16), Volquez looked to be on his way to rebounding with a solid 2017 effort this past season. His masterful 10-strikeout no-hitter against a potent D-backs lineup was one of the highlights of the Marlins’ season and of his 13-year big league career. Overall, Volquez worked to a 4.19 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, 0.78 HR/9 and a 45.8 percent ground-ball rate in 92 1/3 innings.

    Unfortunately for both Volquez and the Marlins, he incurred a knee injury in July that sidelined him into August, and, upon working his way back from that malady, suffered a torn UCL that necessitated the TJ procedure.

    It’ll be a long road back to the Majors for Volquez, though by the time Spring Training 2019 rolls around, he’ll be nearly 18 months removed from surgery, so he should be plenty strong at that point. There’s little downside in the deal for Texas, as the only thing they’re guaranteeing him is resources for his rehabilitation as he works back toward a potential return to the big leagues.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Will Reportedly Attend Lincecum Showcase]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114668 2018-02-14T05:02:07Z 2018-02-14T04:55:29Z
  • More than 10 teams are set to attend Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, it seems. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com respectively report that the Tigers, Twins and Orioles will have scouts in attendance (all Twitter links). Heyman adds another handful of clubs, listing the Rangers, Phillies, Dodgers, YankeesRed Sox, Brewers, Padres and Braves as attendees (links to Twitter for the last three), in addition to the previously reported Giants. If anything, it’s perhaps more notable which clubs have elected not to attend the showcase, as there’s no real downside to at least taking a look and the showcase is shaping up to be reasonably well-attended. To that end, the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan wrote over the weekend that the Mets aren’t planning to have a scout in attendance.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Sign Trevor Plouffe]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114580 2018-02-13T17:25:14Z 2018-02-13T17:24:52Z TODAY: Plouffe could earn a $1.75MM salary with up to $300K in incentive pay if he can crack the MLB roster, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Texas has announced the agreement.

    YESTERDAY: The Rangers are in agreement on a minor-league deal with third baseman Trevor Plouffe, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic initially tweeted that there was an agreement, but shortly thereafter issued a correction in a subsequent tweet, saying the sides were in discussions.

    Plouffe, now 31, had a run as a regular at the hot corner with the Twins and posted some productive campaigns over the years. Everything went wrong for him, though, in a trying 2017 season.

    This time last year, Plouffe was preparing for what he hoped would be a bounceback, one-year run with the Athletics, who had signed him for $5.25MM after a less-than-stellar 2016 effort. But Plouffe lasted only 58 games in Oakland and hit even worse after moving to the Rays in the middle of the season. He ended the year with an ugly .198/.272/.318 slash line over 313 total MLB plate appearances.

    Prior to that forgettable campaign, Plouffe had only ever played for the Twins. Over seven seasons, he produced right at the league average at the plate. At his best, in 2014-15, Plouffe played at a solid all-around level and profiled as a quality everyday player.

    It seems reasonable to expect that the Rangers will give Plouffe a shot at earning a roster spot in camp, but he’ll certainly be competing for a reserve role. Plouffe will likely do battle with players such as Jurickson Profar and Ryan Rua over the next several weeks. While the Rangers are set at third with veteran Adrian Beltre, and remain poised to give the bulk of the time at first to Joey Gallo, there could still be a fair bit of playing time open to be claimed. In particular, Beltre is likely to require some regular rest.