LIVE UPDATES: 2015 Rangers Winter Meeting Tracker

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As the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings progress in Nashville, we’ll post the latest updates and rumors from those in attendance. The latest updates will appear towards the top of the feed.

10:10AM (12/10/15) In a minor move, Texas traded lefty Will Lamb to the White Sox for Double-A righty starter Myles Jaye. They also re-signed James Jones to a minor league deal.

9:37AM (12/10/15) Scott Lucas reports that the Boston Red Sox have taken the Rangers right-handed pitxher Anyelo LeClerc in the Minor League Rule-5.

***9:31AM (12/10/15) Baseball America’s JJ Cooper says that the Rangers have selected infielder Garrett Weber from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Minor League portion of the Rule-5 draft. With the minor league portion, there are no roster restrictions, like having to keep the player on the 25-man roster for the whole season. Scott Lucas briefly profiled him on Twitter as a 2B/corner outfielder who was taken 22nd in the 2011 draft.

***9:13AM (12/10/15) As the Rule-5 Draft gets underway, Evan Grant reports that the Rangers have reached a 2-year agreement with Tony Barnette, formerly of the Yakult Swallows of Japan. It is strictly a free agent deal, as no posting bid was ever made and the team let him explore free agency. This makes it even more likely that a bullpen arm will be moved in order to make a deal for either a starting pitcher or right-handed bat.
9:08AM (12/10/15) The Rangers did not make any pick in the 2015 Rule-5 Draft.

5:55PM (12/9/15) In a series of tweets, Evan Grant details the beat writer’s meeting with Jon Daniels at the conclusion of Day 2 at the Winter Meetings:

  • Daniels admits interest in recently posted reliever Tony Barnette.
  • He predicts that the $135 million payroll limit currently in place will be there for several more years.
  • The team is discussing a Right Handed bat option – but it’s not Mike Napoli. Grant opines that it’s probably someone they’d feel more comfortable with in left field.
  • Very interestingly, Daniels says that the team would like to extend third baseman Adrian Beltre past the 2016 season.

4:13PM (12/9/15) Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles (of course) are engaging in talks with former Ranger (of course) Yovani Gallardo. Should Baltimore sign him, they would lose their first round pick in next year’s draft. The Rangers would then receive a compensatory pick between the first and second round.

3:52PM (12/9/15) In some interesting news, T.R. Sullivan says that if the Texas Rangers don’t bring back veteran Colby Lewis, Scott Boras may interest them in veteran Kyle Lohse, who finished a mediocre 3-year stint with the Brewers.

3:37PM (12/9/15) As the search for middle to back end rotation pieces continues, T.R. Sullivan says that even with San Diego making Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross available, Texas isn’t exploring that arena.

3:23PM (12/9/15) Could the big move of the winter for Texas come from Japan? Jeff Wilson has an article detailing the Rangers interest in righty Tony Barnette, who was posted by the Yakult Swallows today.

Barnette is a career Minor Leaguer/Pacific Coast League guy, but he posted a 1.29 ERA with 41 saves last year. With Texas potentially trading some bullpen arms, signing Barnette would soothe some of the loss.

11:55AM (12/9/15) Names might have to be shifted around in the Dbacks-Rangers talks. Jack Magruder, who writes about the DBacks, suggests that Arizona is  less motivated to move pitcher Archie Bradley after the package they gave up for Shelby Miller.

10:19AM (12/9/15) The aforementioned Dbacks-Rangers meeting is still slated to go down, says Evan Grant. The teams would be discussing a Rangers reliever crossing sides and bringing an Arizona starter back. Keone Kela appears to be the one of the names seriously considered, says Grant, while Rubby de la RosaArchie BradleyZack Godley, and Chase Anderson could be targets for the Rangers.

10:01AM (12/9/15) Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles interest in Rangers’ 1B Mitch Moreland was short-lived. They are out on trying to acquire Moreland.

7:52AM (12/9/15) With the Diamondbacksm recent acquisition of Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers are talking with Arizona about their sudden surplus of starting pitching. 

7:16PM (12/8/15) Amidst all of the news the Cubs and Dbacks are making, Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi says that Texas is in talks with free agent outfielder Rajai Davis. 

Davis, a noted Ranger-killer at the plate, has spent the last two seasons in Detroit and is versatile at all three outfield positions, having spent most of his time in center. The 35-year old right handed bat slashed .258/.306/.440 with 8 homers and 30 RBI last year.

7:11PM (12/8/15) The Diamondbacks have not only fortified their 2016 rotation, but taken a potential trade target away from Texas. Ken Rosenthal reports that Arizona has acquired Atlanta’s Shelby Miller.

6:56PM (12/8/15) Evan Grant spoke to Jon Daniels at the beat writer meetings in Nashville about free agent starter Cliff Lee. There isn’t any real news on the medical records coming off of Lee’s flexor tendon surgery, but JD notes that the 37-year old, former Ranger ace might be out of their comfortable price range as he tried to return to MLB. It has been reported that 15 teams, at least, have had interest in the lefty.

5:50PM (12/8/15) A couple of tidbits from Jeff Wilson on a slower day for the Rangers. Jon Daniels expects to bring back James Jones, the backup outfielder acquired alongside Tom Wilhelmsen who was then non-tendered. JD is not so optimistic about former starter Nick Tepesch, who was also non-tendered last week. Tepesch never found his groove or place in Texas and will probably look to find a more consistent role elsewhere.

Wilson also heard from Daniels that, despite talks with the Indians earlier in the day, minor-league signings or the waiver wire are more likely to address the team’s desire for catching depth than a trade would.

Speaking of trades, when asking about Marlins’ Jose Fernandez and Braves’ Shelby Miller, the asking price started with Joey GalloNomar MazaraLewis Brinson, and Jurickson Profar. Those names, or a combo thereof, were a bit too rich for Daniels’ blood.

4:47PM (12/8/15) Sullivan now reports that the player in question that Texas is talking to Cleveland about is backup catcher Roberto Perez

Perez, 26, has played a total of 99 games in the last two years with the Indians. Last year, he put up a .228/.348/.402 line with 7 homers and 21 RBI. As Sullivan says, he’s a defense-first catcher with great offensive upside. Remember, Daniels wants to bring someone in to foster competition over both the backup and starting backstop positions.

3:02PM (12/8/15) No names have been mentioned, but T.R. Sullivan has news that the Rangers are talking to the Cleveland Indians about their starting pitching.

2:52PM (12/8/15) About that Prince Fielder stuff…straight from Jon Daniels’ mouth, Jeff Wilson at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports there is no truth at all that the Rangers are shopping the DH/1B. However, those rumors usually start somewhere…

1:20PM (12/8/15) Following up on the Kenta Maeda bit from earlier, Evan Grant continues to say that the club has neither funds nor interest in the Japanese hurler.

Not having funds could be something of note, meaning that they already have some money earmarked for other areas or players.

1:01PM (12/8/15) T.R. Sullivan let on that the Rangers did try to make a run for the Marlins’ ace Jose Fernandez, Braves’ Shelby Miller, and the Rays’ Drew Smyly, but were unable to make any sort of initial progress in trade talks. The rival Astros had also been rumored to be in on Fernandez, but it looks like all three teams want something that Texas is unwilling to give up – whether that be Major League ready bats in Atlanta’s and Miami’s case or prospects in Tampa Bay’s.

11:19AM (12/8/15) Ken Rosenthal reports (of course) that the Baltimore Orioles (of course)are also throwing their name into the hat of teams that have inquired about Mitch Moreland (of course).

10:59AM (12/8/15) In response to a reader question, Evan Grant says that if the Pirates don’t include at least one of Elias Diaz, a back end starter, or outfielder/first base prospect Josh Bell, then Mitch Moreland likely will not end up in black and gold. Pittsburgh hasn’t shown interest in moving any of them, and Moreland’s path this week will likely determine how hard Texas pushes for Mike Napoli.

10:20AM (12/8/15) WE HAVE OUR FIRST MYSTERY TEAM RUMOR!! It took about 24 hours but we finally have our first mystery team rumor and it is not a good one for Rangers fans. Jayson Stark of ESPN is reporting that a mystery team has entered the sweepstakes for young pitching stud Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins. The mystery team? Stark reports that many executives believe that it is the Houston Astros.

For the sake of Rangers fans everywhere, we better pray that this is not true or that they cannot make a deal. Jose Fernandez is good. Like he’s going to be better than King Felix good.

Maybe the Rangers are the mystery team?

9:43AM (12/8/15) Rangers beat reporter T.R. Sullivan is reporting that the Rangers are “intrigued” by former left hander Cliff Lee and his attempted comeback from a torn flexor tendon muscle.

The Rangers could be huge favorites in this sweepstakes given that they have experience with a pitcher with a torn flexor muscle. That is the injury that Colby Lewis had a few years ago that knocked him out for the year. The Rangers know the timetable of recovery and Dr. Keith Meister, the teams physician, knows what to look for in order to evaluate.

Another reason the Rangers could be favorites in this is former Philly and teammate of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels. Both played in Philly in 2009 and again in 2011-2014. Lee is looking for a one year deal to reestablish potential value and what he gets is anyone’s guess. Being that the Rangers have experience with this type of injury recovery, I’d expect them to make a solid base value deal with some incentives built in. My guess would be something around $8M base salary with upwards of $5M or so in incentives. This, of course, all depends on how he looks in Spring Training or if he throws for teams during the offseason. He is 37 and hasn’t pitched in a game since July 31, 2014.

9:18AM (12/8/15) Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Jeff Wilson states that the Rangers won’t get into a competition for Japanese starter Kenta Maeda. Daniels and company don’t view Maeda as being in the same class as Darvish or the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka. What that probably means is that the Rangers will enter negotiations, but won’t go past a certain, probably low, price point.

Remember that the new posting system for Japanese players has every team that is interested bidding $20mm for the right to negotiate with the player. Whichever team signs the player then has to pay the $20mm posting fee. This differs from when Yu Darvish was posted before 2012, when the process was more like a silent auction.

7:08AM (12/8/15) While not directly Rangers’ news, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says that the Mariners’ are looking at former Ranger Mike Napoli as a first base option. Heyman then says that Brewers’ 1B, Adam Lind would be a better fit because of budget restraints; Lind will command an $8 million salary for 2016, making one wonder how much Napoli would cost.

1:15AM (12/8/15) T.R. Sullivan must be restless. He reported in the wee hours of the morning that Jon Daniels and company had a courtesy meeting with former closer Joe Nathan. While a deal is unlikely, it is notable that the last time Texas signed Nathan, he was coming off of a Tommy John surgery.

Nathan had a tumultuous time im Detroit, not nearly pitching to the effectiveness he had while with Texas. Still, Nathan can be, at the very least, a veteran presence in a young, but powerful bullpen.


 

9:42PM (12/7/15) The Rangers and Pirates are reportedly seeking a third team in their efforts to trade Mitch Moreland John Perrotto reports in an article for The Times. In the report John says that while the Rangers have expressed interest in stud catching Prospect Elias Diaz, the Pirates aren’t willing to move him due to the pending free agency to both Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart at the end of the 2016 season.

The Rangers are looking for back of the rotation help and the Pirates seem reluctant on that as well with the retirement of AJ Burnett and JA Happ leaving for free agency. That leaves the Pirates looking for rotation help as well and unless a third team gets involved, it doesn’t appear as if the two teams are great trade partners.

7:23PM (12/7/15) Evan Grant says that there could be complications with re-signing Colby Lewis. First, Lewis may not be 100% ready to start the season after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Secondly, there may be some ill will stemming from not starting Lewis in the playoffs. Lewis took the ball in relief as directed, but Daniels acknowledged that the veteran from Bakersfield wanted the ball as a starter during the Division Series.

7:23PM (12/7/15) Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Rangers could have interest in Jeff Francouer as a fourth OF/bench bat player if Francouer does not return to the Phillies.

6:24PM(12/7/15) In a media session on Monday evening, Jon Daniels acknowledged that the team is looking to upgrade at catcher and with starting pitcher depth. They are looking at re-signing Colby Lewis, but says that bringing him back would take the team out of the running for the other comparable pitchers left on the market. He says they have talked to those pitchers and consider them good fits, but are financially a little below where they are looking. Also, in terms of catcher, JD is looking not only for a potential backup, but someone to compete with incumbent backstop Robinson Chirinos for the starting job.

Daniels also says that they have received calls on all members of the bullpen on their active roster, and would not rule out trading one away if it means improvemebts on the Major League club.

4:48PM(12/7/15) Sullivan now brings up the name of free agent Steve Pearce as a target for Texas. Pearce, who infamously was DFA’d by Baltimore in 2014 and ended re-signing with them later in the year to be a hero down the stretch, fits the profile of a right-handed outfield bat. In 92 games last year, Pearce batted to the tune of .218/.289/.422 with 15 HR and 40 RBI. The year prior, however, he hit 21 bombs with a .293 batting average. Adding to Pearce’s attractiveness is that he is not tied to a draft pick, as Baltimore did not tender him a qualifying offer.

4:18PM(12/7/15) As talks continue between the Pirates and Rangers surrounding Mitch Moreland, T.R. Sullivan says that Texas has expressed interest in Elias Diaz, a 25-year old catching prospect in Pittsburgh’s system.

Diaz made his debut this last season with the Buccos, playing in just two games. Over 7 seasons between MiLB and the Venezuelan Winter League, Diaz is a career .256/.322/.364 hitter with 24 homers and 243 RBI. Our own Grant Schiller offers this analysis (thanks, buddy) – 
Sullivan does caution that Pittsburgh is not particularly motivated to move the prospect catcher though.

3:39PM(12/7/15) Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that the Rangers continue to ask about highly-coveted catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Milwaukee is unmotivated to move him except for a “huge return.” The motivation, or lack thereof, for the Brewers is doubled, due to the fact that Martin Maldonado would be their only remaining catcher.

Lucroy is entering the last year before free agency and is coming off of a season where he played in 103 games, hitting .264/.326/.391 with 7 HR and 43 RBI. He did finish 4th in the 2014 MVP voting.

2:06PM (12/7/15) Jeff Wilson says the Rangers have already met with free agent starter, and last year’s winningest pitcher for Texas, Colby Lewis on Sunday night. There are apparently six other teams interested in Lewis’ services.
1:33PM (12/7/15) Evan Grant reports that Texas has discussed trading last year’s closer Shawn Tolleson with a few clubs. He also notes that back-end starters are at the top of the list in trade talks. Tolleson moved into the closer role around May and wound up being a huge asser for the club, racking up 35 saves over 73 appearances with a 2.99 ERA.

1:14PM (12/7/15) MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo says that any Pirates/Rangers deal surrounding Moreland might not involve prospects, but could more closely resemble a Major League-for-Major League trade.

The two names he brings up are Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton. Last year, Locke pitched to an 8-11 record with a 4.49 ERA over 30 starts, while Morton made 23 starts, went 9-9 with a 4.81 ERA.

12:46PM (12/7/15) T.R. Sullivan mentions that the Rangers could look into acquiring the Tigers’ Bryan Holaday to backup their catching situation. At age 28, Holaday, a Dallas native, has played as backup to Alex Avila the last four years. Last year in 24 games, he posted a .281/.292/.453 slash with two homers and 13 RBI. He is also out of options.

12:39 PM (12/7/15) Jeff Wilson (FWST) mentions that even if they don’t proceed with Joe Kelly/Wade Miley talks, the Rangers could talk to Boston about catching help.

12:23 PM (12/7/15) Rob Bradford of WEEI has a source that does not believe the Red Sox will trade Joe Kelly, who was rumored to be mentioned in a potential trade to Texas.

12:03 PM (12/7/15) T.R. Sullivan now reporting that Wade Miley is also being made available in the trade talks with the Rangers.

Miley has suffered since being traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks and pitched to an 11-11 record with a 4.46 ERA, but has reached the 32-33 start mark and hovered around 195 innings per season each of the last four years.

11:39 AM (12/7/15) Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Jeff Wilson says that teams have reached out to JD about Moreland, bullpen arms, and shortstop Elvis Andrus in trade talks.

Notably, he mentioned that the team hasn’t really bothered to continue discussions past cursory talks.

10:21 AM (12/7/15) Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News checked in from the Grand Ole Opry with news that Rangers and Pirates execs will meet to discuss the possibilities of a Mitch Moreland trade.

The Pirates’ interest in the 30-year old lefty first-baseman dates back to 2010. These talks may finally get somewhere as a) Pittsburgh recently non-tendered usual first baseman Pedro Alvarez, and b) Moreland is in his last year before free agency and will only cost upwards of $6-7mm.

A trade may have to pull a third team into the mix, with names like Andrew Cashner or Tyson Ross of the Padres being mentioned.
9:06 AM (12/7/15) MLB.com’s Rangers’ beat writer T.R. Sullivan says that the team has talked to the Boston Red Sox about potentially acquiring starter Joe Kelly. At this point talks likely haven’t progressed past the “checking-in” stage, and no other names have been digressed as of yet.Kelly, 27, is coming off his first full year in Boston, compiling a 10-6 record with a 4.82 ERA in 25 starts. He was sent over with Allen Craig from St. Louis in the John Lackey deal. He earned $603,000 last year and is arbitration eligible for the first time. While it’s always said that you can’t have too much starting pitching, Kelly looks to be the odd man out with the recent acquisition of David Price.

Sullivan also says that the Rangers could look into Rays’ starter Drew Smyly. Smyly seems like the less likely of the two options, as he is a lefty and is also arbitration-eligible for the first time, but earned $2.65 million last year. Jon Daniels has dealt with the Rays frequently in recent years, which always leaves that avenue available.

Stay tuned for updates as they happen at the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

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Matt Fisher
Matt Fisher is an Editor/Staff Writer for ShutdownInning. He is a baseball lifer, preferring to use the eye test and rely on the knowledge and analysis of baseball minds greater than his, while using relevant stats to encourage situational discussions. He is also co-host of The Most Valuable Podcast on the NextWave Radio Network, talking sports, entertainment, and sports entertainment.

While Matt's favorite team will always be his hometown Texas Rangers, he knows the ongoing story lines of every team in Major League Baseball. If you sit next to him at a game, be prepared to hear him try and do play-by-play. If you're famous and reading this, just know that he's not afraid to drop names.

Matt Fisher. ShutdownInning Editor/Staff Writer

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