Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

12/3 Could Cubs bid for Tanaka?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be the most aggressive in pursuit of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka when the posting system is finalized. Major League officials and the Japanese league are ironing out details.

Sherman said executives from two clubs expect the Cubs to be in the mix as well, with one saying they will be “really aggressive.”

Sherman notes that the Cubs have several impact position players (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora) but not enough pitching.

Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been involved in the posting process for Japanese players before. They were with the Red Sox when they gave $51.1 million posting fee to land Daisuke Matsuzaka. If the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are in pursuit of Tanaka, it will be expensive.

The posting fees are still to be resolved. According to Sherman, MLB officials have been trying to lower the fees transferred from their teams to Japanese teams as part of the process to gain negotiating rights. The Rangers paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $51.7 million posting fee to get Yu Darvish, then signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract.

MLB has a current proposal that involves a limit of $20 million, Sherman writes.

Why is Tanaka so highly regarded? Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, that’s why.

– Carrie Muskat

8/4 Neil Ramirez update

Matt Garza has made three starts for the Rangers since he was acquired on July 22, but there’s still a player to be named later that the Cubs will receive as part of the trade. Double A Frisco pitcher Neil Ramirez could be that player or the Rangers could sent two other players to Chicago.

“You hear stuff from the Internet, but I’m just trying to get healthy,” Ramirez told MLB.com. “Whatever happens, happens. It’s one of those things you can’t control so there’s no use in worrying about it. Either way, I just got to get healthy, go back out there and compete again.”

Ramirez was placed on the disabled list on July 24, retroactive to July 21, with a right shoulder injury. The 14th best prospect in the club’s farm system, according to MLB.com, has had shoulder problems before during his six years in the Minors.

“It’s kind of been from throwing and a combination of some other things,” Ramirez said on the injury. “For the sake of not really wanting to get into that, it was just an off the field thing. It wasn’t anything serious. I’m just glad to get back out there now.”

The Rangers supplemental first round pick in the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft threw a 35-pitch bullpen session this week and plans to have another session Sunday, throwing around 45-50 pitches. If all goes well, Ramirez thinks he’ll be ready to return.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day, but it’s definitely feeling a lot better,” Ramirez said. “I thought the effort level and intensity was good. I was able to make all my pitches with no problems and felt comfortable.”

7/18 Matt Garza rumors

Will Matt Garza start Monday for the Cubs against the Diamondbacks? According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, trade talks have intensified regarding Garza, considered the top starting pitcher available on the market. Rosenthal and Morosi report the Rangers are the “most motivated” of any team in discussions with the Cubs regarding Garza. Texas currently has five starting pitchers on the disabled list (Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis). According to Rosenthal/Morosi, the Rangers tried to acquire Garza in 2011 from Tampa Bay but the Cubs put together the better package at that time.

The Indians, Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers, Red Sox and Diamondbacks also have expressed interest in Garza, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers will open the second half with Derek Holland, Ross Wolf and Martin Perez as their starters. Darvish is expected to come off the DL on Monday, and Ogando could do the same Tuesday. Tepesch has started playing catch but isn’t close to being activated. Lewis is unlikely to be an option before the Trade Deadline.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels said the team is looking for starting pitching and a right-handed bat.

“We could go both ways,” Daniels told Sullivan. “We’re having active conversations on both fronts. We’d like to improve the club.”

7/17 What’s price tag for Garza?

The Cubs were willing to part with top prospects Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer and Hak-Ju Lee to get Matt Garza in January 2011. Which team will find the right combination by the Trade Deadline to acquire the right-hander?

The Rangers are reportedly the front-runners for Garza as July 31 approaches, but MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports they will not part with Venezuelan left-handed pitcher Martin Perez, 22, who is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA in six starts. Right-hander Luke Jackson, 21, has drawn some interest. A first-round pick — 45th overall — in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Jackson is 8-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 16 starts at Class A Myrtle Beach. He has struck out 86 over 82 1/3 innings.

Another player the Cubs may be looking at is Mike Olt, a 24-year-old right-handed hitter who was Texas’ first-round pick in 2010 (49th overall). He was batting .211 in 61 games at Triple-A Round Rock with nine home runs and 14 doubles.

The Cardinals, Pirates, Indians, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Dodgers also have had scouts at Garza’s recent starts. The right-hander has been impressive, posting a 5-0 record and 1.24 ERA in his last six outings.

“He’s handled it great,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Garza. “Obviously, he knows [about the rumors], as well as last year at the same time when his name was all around. He’s pitched in as good a five-game stretch as he has in his whole career.”

In January 2011, Jim Hendry traded five Minor League players, including Archer and Guyer, the Minor League player of the year, to the Rays for Garza. Tampa Bay added two other players in the deal in reliever Zach Rosscup and outfielder Fernando Perez, but Garza was the Cubs’ target.

“It’s a good, old fashioned baseball trade that doesn’t often get made with the volume of people involved and for the right reasons for both organizations,” said Hendry, the Cubs general manager at the time.

Several of the teams interested in Garza consider him to be a No. 3 starter for their rotation — the Pirates, for example, already have an ace in Francisco Liriano. But could Garza be the piece needed to get Pittsburgh to the postseason? All-Star Jeff Locke (8-2, 2.15 ERA) was not available for Tuesday’s game because of lower back tightness. The Pirates may decide Garza is worth the high price tag the Cubs have set.

“Obviously, he’s throwing extremely well and he’s very healthy and there are teams out there looking for pitching who are going to call and try to acquire him,” Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, said on Friday. “For us, he’s helping us win games now, there’s a chance to possibly retain him beyond this year, so we’ll just balance all that out and do what’s best for the organization.”

There has been talk about a possible contract extension, but the more likely scenario is the Cubs deal Garza by July 31. The right-hander will be a free agent after this season, something bidding teams have to factor in their decision as to which players to part with for what could be a two-month rental. There is another option: If Epstein does not deal Garza, the Cubs could make him a qualifying offer at the end of the season.

The Cubs players like having the right-hander on the mound, or on the top step of the dugout in games he’s not starting.

“He’s a leader in the clubhouse,” Jeff Samardzija said. “He leads by example. He can talk a little bit but that’s not his main point. He does that for fun. He loves talking. He’s just a great dude to have and the more guys you have like that out of your 25, the better chance you have for a successful season.”

Garza was rumored to be traded last season before an elbow injury sidelined him for the final 2 1/2 months. He made his last start July 21. A strained lat in Spring Training delayed his 2013 start until May 21, and he looked sharp in his season debut, holding the Pirates to one hit over five shutout innings.

“He’s one of the hardest working pitchers you’ll ever be around,” Sveum said. “Even the four days he doesn’t pitch, he’s on the bench and rooting his teammates on. You’re always going to hear him on the bench. He’s one of those special starting pitchers who will always be involved in the game, and position players who play every day and other people appreciate that.”

So, any teams interested in Garza, be prepared. He’s loud, he needs Popeye’s chicken on the day he starts, and a quiet place for an hour or so to watch comedy shows on his iPad before he takes the mound. He can be loud, is quick with the post-game pie in the face, and devoted to his family.

On Sunday, the Cubs closed out the first half of the season with a loss to the Cardinals. Garza, who had picked up a win the night before, holding St. Louis to two runs over 6 2/3 innings, left the clubhouse about 11:30 p.m., eager to spend the All-Star break with his kids.

“You get caught up in [the rumors], but I’ve been through it so much that I’m just oblivious to it until something happens,” Garza said Saturday. “It’s stressful but at the same time, I have a great outlook. I get to pitch every five days. I just keep going and keep looking forward to that next five days.”

His next scheduled start is Monday against the Diamondbacks.

– Carrie Muskat

7/7 Garza rumors

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers were interested in Matt Garza last season, and nearly acquired him at the Trade Deadline. However, Garza had a stress reaction in his right elbow, and he didn’t pitch after July 21. The Rangers instead dealt for Ryan Dempster. The Rangers are reportedly pursuing Garza again this year. The right-hander is healthy, and will make his 10th start on Monday against the White Sox. He’s given up two earned runs over 30 innings in his last four starts.

5/3 Feldman vs. Rangers

On Monday night at Wrigley Field, the Cubs will play the Rangers in a makeup game. Scott Feldman is scheduled to face his former teammates that night.

“I wanted to pitch against them last time [during original April series] and I had the thing flare up with my back,” Feldman said. “I’ll try not to make it anything that it’s not and treat it like another game. It’ll be kind of weird pitching against them. Hopefully, I can pitch a good game and we can beat them.”

Feldman came up in the Rangers organization, and signed a one-year contract with the Cubs this offseason. He knows their hitters well.

“I’ve seen a lot of those guys for a lot of years, and they’ve seen me for a lot of years, so it’s not going to be a big thing of trying to trick everybody,” he said. “I’ll take some of the stuff I’ve remembered over the years, and look at video from what they’ve done recently because guys make adjustments all the time.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/17 Cubs lineup

Sorry for late post. Here’s lineup from Las Vegas for Cubs vs Rangers:

Valbuena 3B
Barney 2B
Castro SS
Schierholtz RF
Hairston CF
Navarro DH
McDonald LF
Nelson 1B
Boscan C

1/27 Villanueva signs and rumors

In case you missed it, Carlos Villanueva finally signed with the Cubs. The team made an official announcement late Saturday. The right-handed pitcher agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal that will pay him $5 million each year. He could contend for a spot in the rotation.

Right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo, who was acquired in the Rule 5 Draft in 2011, was designated for assignment to make room for Villanueva on the 40-man roster. If he isn’t claimed, Castillo could rejoin the Cubs.

The team has yet to finalize its agreement with outfielder Scott Hairston. That also will require the front office to create an opening on the 40-man.

* There were reports Sunday that the Orioles and Rangers were interested in adding a right-handed bat, and that they have inquired about Alfonso Soriano. The Boston Globe reported the interest by the two teams in the veteran, who turned 37 earlier this month, and who would be a good fit for an American League team, which could use him as a designated hitter. Soriano does have a full no trade clause, so he would have to approve a move. He has two years remaining on his contract.

– Carrie Muskat

7/31 The new kids on the Cubs

The Cubs get third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks from the Rangers in exchange for Ryan Dempster. Both were playing at Class A Myrtle Beach.

“One was a young third baseman signed out of Mexico not for a big signing bonus and the other was a late round draft pick out of a sma;ll northeast college,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels said of Villanueva and Hendricks, “and they brought back an All-Star big league pitcher. These are two guys in addition to being talented, they have tremendous makeup. They are going to get the most out of their ability. The Cubs got two good players.”

Hendricks, 22, was an eighth-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Dartmouth, and was 5-8 with a 2.82 ERA in 20 starts for Class A Myrtle Beach. He had 112 strikeouts and had walked 15 over 130 2/3 innings.

“He’s not a hard thrower, but not a soft tosser either,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said. “Our reports had him up to 93 [mph], and he mixes his pitches well. When you look at his performance, he’s done a nice job.”

Villanueva, 21, was batting .285 with 19 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 59 RBIs in 100 games with Myrtle Beach.

“Villanueva is a guy we’ve liked for a while,” Hoyer said. “He has a good approach a the plate, has some power.”

It’s not known where the two will be assigned in the Cubs Minor League system.

On Monday night, the Cubs acquired right-handed pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman from the Braves. Vizcaino, considered the top prospect in the deal, was recovering from Tommy John surgery, while Chapman was pitching at Triple-A Gwinnett this year.

“We’re getting there,” Hoyer said about the organization’s depth. “We have to have a lot more good drafts and make more good trades. I think the best teams are able to replenish the bullpen internally and able to bring up starters from the Minor Leagues whenever they need to and we’re not at that point yet. Since we got here, we’ve worked hard to build up that depth. I don’t think the job is complete.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/31 Dempster moves on

The Cubs’ deal with the Rangers for Ryan Dempster was finalized less than five minutes before the 3 p.m. Trade Deadline. Dempster wanted to go to the Dodgers but when no trade was possible, he gave Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer other teams, which opened the door for the Yankees and Rangers.

“Once the Dodgers were out, there were two teams that got in on it and the Rangers moved really fast,” Dempster said. “They obviously have a very good team and I’m going to go down there and hopefully be a small piece of what they have going there. They’re in first place and proven winners the last couple years. I’m going to go down there and hopefully sneak in the back door and try to blend in and do my job when asked to do my job.”

Now that the Trade Deadline has passed, Dempster said he felt relief.

“There’s definitely a lot of excitement to go to a first place team and a winner,” he said. “There’s some tough feelings and emotions. I played here for a long time and I pitched a lot of games on that mound. It’ll be weird not putting on that Cubs uniform.”

He had talked to Greg Maddux, now on the Rangers front office, in Spring Training, and the former Cubs pitcher raved about Texas manager Ron Washington.

Dempster sat in Hoyer’s office while the details were finalized.

“Within a matter of minutes, before the Trade Deadline, I was a Texas Ranger,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

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