This small transaction could mean the Rangers have found their backup catcher for Robinson Chirinos. If Gimenez impresses, then quite possibly staff ace Yu Darvish will have one of his favorite catchers behind the plate returning.
Last season before being traded to Cleveland, Gimenez caught 12 of Darvish's 22 starts. Darvish went 6-4 with two no-decisions, three complete games (the New York Yankees game July 23 was ruled a complete game due to weather), pitched into the seventh inning seven times and had three games with double-digit strikeout efforts with Gimenez as the catcher.
Gimenez, 31, had a batting average of .241 with 10 home runs and 11 RBIs with Texas and Cleveland. But he's not here for his bat. Darvish needs a catcher with experience and while Chirinos is the favorite to become the No. 1 man, he just became a full-time catcher within the last year. He started 88 games at catcher and GM Jon Daniels said Chirinos has the ability to catch 100 games.
At one point during the first half of the season, Gimenez caught Darvish for nine consecutive starts.
Of course, some pitchers can throw to anybody behind the plate, but when you have a solid comfort level between Darvish and Gimenez, you attempt to take advantage of it.
The team added right-handed pitchers Luke Jackson and Jerad Eickhoff, infielder Hanser Alberto and catcher Jorge Alfaro to the 40-man roster, protecting them from Rule 5 draft.
To make room for the players, the Rangers designated outfielder/first baseman Jim Adduci for assignment and traded outfielder Daniel Robertson to the Los Angeles Angels for cash or a player to be named later.
The club also placed pitchers Miles Mikolas and Aaron Poreda on unconditional-release waivers, allowing each to play for the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese League.
The Rangers will receive cash for this move.
In Robertson, 29, the Angels are getting a corner outfielder who hit .271/.333/.333 in 70 games 2014. The Rangers considered him as a possible No. 4 outfielder, but with the team needing to get to the 40-man roster limit, it was best to trade him.
Of the prospects moved to the 40-man roster, Jackson has a possibility of making the roster at some point during the 2015 season.
Gimenez, 31, hit .241 with 11 RBIs in 42 games with Texas and Cleveland last season. He spent a bulk of the season at Triple-A Round Rock where he hit .284 with six home runs and 22 RBIs. The Rangers acquired Gimenez in a waiver claim from Oakland last spring and he made the opening day roster. He was traded to Cleveland on August 23.
Martinez, 27, has made seven relief appearances for the Houston Astros over the last two seasons. Last season, he appeared in three games (seven innings) and faced 28 hitters.
Martinez spent the majority of the 2014 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City and compiled a 5.64 ERA in 22 games (13 starts).
The Rangers also signed left-handed pitcher Efrain Nieves to a minor-league contract, and he'll be in minor league camp this spring. Nievens, 25, pitched in 44 games last season for Dunedin, Toronto's High-A affiliate.
Darvish, who was shut down because of elbow inflammation after making five starts in the second half of the 2014 season, will have an MRI exam on his arm next week with Dr. Keith Meister. If the exam goes well, Darvish will begin his normal throwing program.
Darvish has spent time on the disabled list in all three of his big league seasons, but GM Jon Daniels said the club isn't worried about durability issues. Daniels has said Darvish always comes to spring training in good shape.
Also, Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando, who pitched in 27 games last season before arm inflammation ended his season, has decided against pitching in winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Ogando was in the midst of a throwing program when club officials said the next step would be to pitch winter ball. Ogando reported some arm fatigue during his sessions, but it wasn't deemed serious. Ogando might not pitch again until spring training games start, unless something changes.
A Rangers source said an examination revealed no structural damage and that Telis is day-to-day.
Telis went 2-for-4 with a stolen base Monday, the day it appears he was injured. In 25 games for Navegantes del Magallanes, Telis has a slash line of .256/.315/.341.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said at the GM meetings two weeks ago that Telis was improving his skills behind the plate and had fixed some footwork problems to improve his ability to throw out baserunners.
Telis logged 68 at-bats in 18 games as Robinson Chirinos' backup last season with the Rangers. Daniels said the Rangers are open to signing a veteran backup this winter but still have hopes for Telis competing for a roster spot with the big club.
In order for that to happen, the Rangers will move some eligible minor league prospects to the 40-man roster. Any players who are eligible, but aren't added to the 40-man roster, can be taken by other teams during the Dec. 11 draft.
Players eligible for the draft mostly include high school, international and college players signed in 2010.
Currently the Rangers have 38 players on the 40-man roster after the decision to trade the rights of right-handed starter Miles Mikolas and left-handed reliever Aaron Poreda to Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese League for cash.
The Rangers plan on adding catcher Jorge Alfaro, right-handed starters Luke Jackson and Jake Thompson to the 40-man roster.
With the club at 38, the team will have to release one player to make room for these three players.
Beasley, 47, was the Washington Nationals' minor league co-field coordinator last season and prior to that was their Triple-A manager from 2012 to 2013. He was a Double-A manager in the Nationals organization in 2011.
New Rangers manager Jeff Banister planned to promote from within and find people he knew when putting together his staff. He retained several coaches, including pitching coach Mike Maddux and hitting coach Dave Magadan, and he also promoted Steve Buechele from Triple-A to bench coach. Banister wanted the third base coach to be someone he was familiar with, and Beasley fits.
Beasley worked with Banister when the two were in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 2007 to 2010 in a variety of roles, from third base coach to base-running instructor.
Beasley replaces Gary Pettis, who left to become the third base coach with the Houston Astros.
In 2004, Beasley was named Double-A Manager of the Year by Baseball America after leading Altoona, Pa., to the Eastern League Championship Series. Beasley has also coached the U.S. Team in a MLB Futures games and managed in the Arizona Fall League.
The Rangers added four new coaches this offseason after the resignation of Ron Washington.
Here is the Rangers' coaching staff for 2015:
Bench coach: Steve Buechele
Pitching coach: Mike Maddux
Hitting coach: Dave Magadan
First base coach: Hector Ortiz
Third base coach: Tony Beasley
Bullpen coach: Andy Hawkins
Field coordinator: Jayce Tingler
Asst. hitting coach: Bobby Jones
Kennedy made $6.1 million last season after going 13-13 with a 3.63 ERA. Kennedy won his final three starts of 2014 and pitched 201 innings, the third-most of his career.
The Rangers would like to acquire pitching that doesn't cost too much, and Kennedy, who is arbitration eligible, could make a projected salary of $10.3 million in 2015, according to Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors. The Rangers would like to bolster the middle of their rotation behind staff ace Yu Darvish and No. 2 starter Derek Holland.
Colby Lewis is expected to solidify the back end of the rotation if and when he signs a free-agent contract. Whomever the Rangers sign this offseason, the objective is to have that pitcher have at least one year remaining on his contract.
Kennedy fits into what the Rangers want to do because he doesn't have a huge financial obligation after 2015.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said his relationship with current Padres GM A.J. Preller, a former Rangers assistant GM, could help in future dealings.
The Rangers reportedly also have interest in San Diego pitchers Tyson Ross (31 starts) and Andrew Cashner (19 starts). There is casual interest in free agent Josh Johnson, who missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Fernandez, a five-time All Star and a four-time Gold Glove winner, was hired in the spring of 2012.
The Rangers have made several changes to the front office in the last few months.
The team hired former player Michael Young as an special assistant to the GM after losing assistant GM A.J. Preller and senior special assistant Don Welke. Preller became the GM of the San Diego Padres and Welke joined him under the same title.
However, ownership remains committed to the top of the front office chain where Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine received three-year contract extensions last week.
The moves have meant more responsibility for Levine, who has picked up some duties involving the scouting and signing of international players.
Andrus is a good shortstop who's coming off a down year while beginning a large contract. We’ve discussed trade possibilities several times, but GM Jon Daniels said the club is committed to Andrus.
Daniels said over the weekend to ESPN’s Jim Bowden that he’s open to listening for trade offers for any of his players. Saying that doesn’t sound the alarm for a trade though because that’s what any GM would say.
However, after Daniels’ comments, a team official told ESPN Dallas the club remains committed to Andrus and expects a better season in 2015.
Monday, Fangraphics’ Mike Petriello raised the question of Andrus being a valuable commodity.
“Texas’ Elvis Andrus is only 26, but he’s also coming off the two worst wOBA years of his career, years that came after ink hit paper,” Petriello wrote. “Is this contract doomed to sink the Rangers? Or is he still a valuable asset?”
Here’s a link to report.
Based on this report, Andrus’ overall numbers have been down for some time. His goal of losing weight, he’s lost close to 10 pounds already, could help cut down on the number of times he's caught stealing and maybe increase his number of hits, though he had a career-high 35 doubles in 2014.
The inflammation in his right elbow bothered him, too, and if that’s healed, expect a much better season.
Keeping Andrus is the right play for the Rangers, but until the season starts, this could remain a hot topic.
The Rangers will play 30 games in their spring training home and two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers, March 20-21, in San Antonio and two more against the New York Mets, April 3-4 at Sun Life Park in Arlington.
All spring training home games in Surprise begin at 2:05 p.m. CST. The Rangers have two night games, March 23 vs. Cincinnati and March 26 vs. Colorado that start at 7:05 p.m. CST.
Here's a link to the rest of the Rangers schedule.
No dates have been released for when pitchers and catchers report in Surprise as yet.
However, the 2015 regular season starts April 6 when the Rangers visit the Oakland Athletics.
Then there’s FIP. UZR. WPA and wOBA.
There’s more, but it might take days to list all the categories and what they really mean.
It’s called sabermetrics and while it’s taken baseball by storm the last few years, the Texas Rangers and several other teams are increasing their usage of it.
Arizona Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony LaRussa said he’s hired someone full-time to explain it and how to properly use it.
“In the old days when I started hitting the pitcher eighth, all the sabermetrics guys loved me because they thought I was doing all this innovate stuff,” said LaRussa, a Hall of Fame manager, who was the skipper for three teams and won three World Series titles. “I believe there’s a lot of sense to it, but it helps you get ready to compete. You just can’t let it get in the way of how you compete. Right now there are people who tell you stolen bases, strikeouts are not a big thing. Batting average ain’t going to matter. There’s a place for everything, that’s why I love that term. Once the game starts, it’s about observation analytics and you watch and you make decisions.”
The sabermetrics of the game is attributed to younger general managers who attended Ivy League schools, such as the Rangers' Jon Daniels, who when hired in 2005 was the youngest GM in big league history at 28.
Daniels said he values the words of scouts and their eyeball test of players. Yet, while Daniels might still be young with a degree in applied economics and management from Cornell, he said the Rangers are in the middle of the pack when it comes to sabermetrics.
Rumors about potential trades to big market clubs in need of a shortstop, such as the New York Yankees, heated up at the just completed GM meetings in Phoenix.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels, fresh of a receiving a three-year contract extension, said the club is committed to Andrus.
"Yeah, there's going to be speculation, that's the nature of the business and the nature of our side of the business and (the media's) side of the business," Daniels said Friday. "Nothing you can really do about that. We are obviously committed to Elvis both figuratively and literally. He's 25, 26 years old, and this guy's best baseball is ahead of him."
Will that stop the potential trade talk?
Here are some factors in play if Andrus were moved:
1. Contract. He starts an eight-year, $120 million contract extension in 2015 and he'll receive $15 million in salary for the next six seasons. Is a team willing to pay that?
2. Prospects/veterans. If the Rangers trade Andrus you want a veteran pitcher and maybe one or two prospects. The pitcher has to be somebody ready to become the No. 3 man in the rotation now and the prospects should be at worst a year away from joining the big club.
3. Replacement. Who would take over at shortstop? Rougned Odor was the starting second baseman in 2014 and the club envisions him at that position only. Jurickson Profar, who missed the season due to shoulder problems, can play short, but there's no guarantee he can return from his health issues. He was shut down twice rehabbing his shoulder, and although he's doing range of motion exercises his status to make the Opening Day roster is uncertain. Luis Sardinas, another shortstop, is a year away from playing in the big leagues.
4. Andrus' poor 2014 season. Andrus had career-lows in batting average (.263) and on-base percentage (.314) and had just 163 hits last season after producing 180 in 2012. Is this the sign of things to come for such a young player?
"He's very much focused, motivated, whatever the word is to put last year behind him and out to prove he's one of the best shortstops in the game, which I believe he is," Daniels said.
You can say that a 95-loss season will never happen again for the Rangers, and it can’t be allowed given the amount of money spent and trades administered last season.
So now the Rangers focus on 2015 and the first order of business is getting right-handed starter Colby Lewis locked up.
Daniels has held talks with Lewis and his agent Alan Nero the last two weeks.
Next, Daniels has to find a quality pitcher to start behind Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and in front of Lewis if and when he signs. He can possibly add a young starter, Nick Martinez or Nick Tepesch, maybe as the No. 4 man.
Forget about Matt Harrison, at least for now, because the lefty, who was once a durable starter, is still recovering from his third back surgery in two seasons.
Daniels also wants another bat, particularly someone who can play left field since Shin-Soo Choo, one of those highly-priced free agents signed last year, could be moving to right. Daniels is open to Mitch Moreland or Jake Smolinski fighting for the job, but if a trade can be made with say San Diego, where old friend A.J. Preller is now the GM, then so be it.
The Texas Rangers announced general manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine received contract extensions on Friday.
According to a source, the deals are three-year extensions that run through 2018.
Each was entering the final year of his contract, but ownership had tremendous confidence in the ability of the pair to push the Rangers into contending status in 2015.
"I think it's really a tremendous statement by ownership for all of our people, players they want to keep the group together," Daniels said in a conference call with the Rangers' beat writers. "Thad and I are in the press release but there are a lot of other people that are going to be impacted positively through this process."
The Rangers are coming off a 95-loss campaign, the team's first losing season since 2008.
Daniels, whose official title is president, baseball operations/general manager, has been with the organization since 2005.
In 2010, Daniels was named Baseball America's Major League Executive of the Year.