The Mariners are getting some extra winter work for right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who was outstanding in his debut for Lara last Saturday. Ramirez, who went 5-3 with a 4.98 ERA in 14 games for Seattle last season, threw five shutout innings, allowing no hits, against Caracas. Ramirez had one walk and six strikeouts while throwing 53 pitches in a game Lara eventually lost 6-1 after Caracas rallied against the bullpen. But it was a strong showing for the 23-year-old, who missed the first three months of last season with elbow problems.
“It was a lights-out performance,” Mariners Minor League coordinator Chris Gwynn said. “I think we’re looking to give him maybe five starts and shut him down around Dec. 15 to get ready for spring. He missed some innings last year, so we just want to get him ready to go again. I don’t know our exact plans on where he’ll pitch next year, but I know he’s a big league pitcher.” —Greg Johns at MLB
AL West Commentary
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first blockbuster of the winter. On Wednesday evening, the Tigers and Rangers worked out a deal that sends Prince Fielder to the Rangers in exchange for Ian Kinsler, a move that not only fills persistent holes for both teams, but also clears roster logjams by opening spots for their respective top prospects. The deal reportedly includes $30 million heading from Detroit to Texas to help offset the difference in the remaining salaries of the two stars, but the Rangers are still taking on considerably more risk. —Jay Jaffe at MLB.com
The Rangers also have to decide what to do about the leadoff spot after trading away a three-time All-Star who was a huge part of the club’s rise to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and ’11. Kinsler hit .277 with 85 runs scored, 31 doubles, 13 home runs, 72 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, a .344 OBP and a .413 slugging percentage this past season. He was also the senior member of the Rangers. “We came into the offseason with depth in the middle of the diamond and a need at the corners,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. “We’ve balanced that out. We’re not done, but we’ve chosen our path both financially and on the field. We’d still like to add offense. That’s still our top objective, but we’re looking to upgrade the team any way we can. We’re not ignoring the pitching staff, but this gives us a run producer in the middle of the lineup. We never felt pressure to deal one of our middle infielders, but other teams felt we had to. This clears it up.”
Fielder still has seven years and $168 million remaining on the contract, which runs through 2020, but the Rangers will receive $30 million from the Tigers as part of the trade. The money won’t be paid out until the final five years of the contract, beginning in ’16. Fielder also had a no-trade clause that included the Rangers, but he still approved the trade. The Tigers were not included by Kinsler in his partial no-trade clause. —TR Sullivan at MLB.com
The 2014 Rangers [got better]. They went into the offseason desperately needing to add thump to the middle of their lineup, and undoubtedly, they have done that. In the first season after Josh Hamilton moved on, the Rangers had a total of 69 homers by left-handed hitters. Fielder has shown that he’s capable of hitting 45 or 50 himself, and he’ll love hitting in the Ballpark, with its prevailing winds streaming toward right field. —Buster Olney at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]
So they said
“He hates my guts,” Rodriguez said of Selig. “I don’t think he likes big salaries. One hundred percent, this is personal. I think this is about his legacy, and it’s about my legacy. He’s trying to destroy me. By the way, he’s retiring in , and to put me on his big mantel on the way out, that’s a hell of a trophy.” —Alex Rodriguez as quoted by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post
He [A-Rod] also said MLB COO Rob Manfred told him, “This wasn’t my decision. This was Bud Selig’s decision.”
“I had no conversation with Alex Rodriguez to that effect,” Manfred told The Post. “It’s a complete and utter fabrication.”
—Alex Rodriguez and Rob Manfred as quoted by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post
In order to believe Alex Rodriguez, you first have to suspend a whole lot of disbelief. —Steven Goldman at SB Nation.com
A-Rod loves the smell of napalm in the morning. And as he loses his case, he wants to burn everything down with him:
Perhaps A-Rod should take a cue from his past and look in the mirror. Because even for him – for a habitual liar whose drama-queen antics have devolved into that toxic reality-show marriage of amusement and sadness – Wednesday represented an altogether new level of hissy fitting, which is saying something. —Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports
I know Tigers were worried about how Prince would age and about freeing up $. But Miguel Cabrera did win 2 MVPs with Prince hitting behind him. —Jason Stark at ESPN
Source: Rangers still want to add another bat. Could continue pursuit of free agents such as McCann, Beltran, Cruz, etc. —Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports
7/$138 for Fielder, they could have had Ellsbury for that price, or McCann and something. Both are better players. Win for Detroit. —Dave Cameron at FanGraphs
And a somewhat dissenting opinion:
Prince Fielder is 29 years old. If he were a free agent this year, he may demand as much as Robinson Cano. Getting him for 7/$138 is a steal. Of course, there is the three additional years after that at $24M a year when Prince is 34, 35 and 36. Those will be costly. —Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports
Point to Dave Cameron for using real logic and not contradicting himself.
The Rangers were an option for Fielder as a free agent two years ago, and carried the bonus of no state income tax. Now, the prospect of Fielder regaining his power bat in a much more power-friendly park looms for AL opponents. —Jason Beck at MLB .com
From Rays‘ angle, Fielder/Kinsler deal could make Texas 1B Moreland available. Bigger question is if Texas could still swing a deal for [David Price]? —Marc Topkin at Tampa Bay Times
Tigers move was predicated in part on concerns that Cabrera couldn’t play third base anymore. Injuries and immobility. —Jerry Crasnick at ESPN
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
The Mets are dealing with “sticker shock” on free agents. They thought they could get Jhonny Peralta on a two-year deal, but he wants at least three years. Also hearing the Mets like Phil Hughes better than Bronson Arroyo at this point. —Mike Puma at the New York Post
Draft and Prospects
David Laurila at FanGraphs has done an interesting interview with Mariners prospect Austin Wilson, which he begins with: “The Seattle Mariners may have gotten the steal of the 2013 draft when they selected Austin Wilson in the second round. The 21-year-old outfielder is a five-tool player with a world of potential. And he has a Stanford pedigree.”
You can read his article here.
By The Numbers
Only four lefties in major league history — Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Matthews, Mel Ott and Adam Dunn — have hit more home runs before turning 30 than Prince Fielder, and that doesn’t include Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig. Fielder doesn’t turn 30 until May 9 next season. —Buster Olney at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]
The Pirates announced the signing of Josh Kinney to a minor league deal.
Catcher Henry Blanco, 42, is looking to play one more season. He is likely to have a career in coaching once he’s done playing. —Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors