Tanner Scheppers was a consensus first-round talent who fell to the
Rangers in the second round of last week’s draft because of concerns
about the health of his shoulder and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports that two teams passed on him because they believe he has a 50-percent labrum tear that will eventually require surgery.
Here’s what Texas general manager Jon Daniels had to say about Scheppers’ status:
I’d prefer not to discuss specifics of Tanner’s medical situation
for two reasons: One, he’s not our player until he’s signed; and two,
I’m uncomfortable doing so in general. The best I can put it is this:
He was examined by Dr. [Keith] Meister before the draft. He was cleared
to be selected, with the understanding that there may be a heightened
level of risk versus other pitchers of a similar age and experience
level. We took him with eyes wide open and hope to sign him this summer.
This isn’t the first time that Scheppers’ shoulder has been an issue.
In fact, he went through a very similar situation last year when he
fell from likely first-round pick to the Pirates at No. 48 overall
after being diagnosed with a stress fracture.
Rather than sign for below-market money Scheppers opted to follow in
J.D. Drew’s footsteps by playing for the independent league St. Paul
Saints, where he stayed healthy and reestablished himself as a
top-notch prospect by flashing a mid-90s fastball and plus curveball.
As Mayo notes, “the Rangers clearly felt comfortable enough to
select Scheppers” while “others concluded the injury was too severe and
decided to pass.” He has until August 17 to sign this time around and
the Rangers seemingly wouldn’t have used a second rounder on him
without being willing to pony up above-slot money, but obviously that
would all change if he indeed needs to go under the knife.
Ironically, the Rangers received the No. 44 pick that they used to
select Scheppers as compensation for losing the oft-injured Milton
Bradley as a free agent.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.