* Yunel Escobar has been linked to Oakland and various other teams in trade rumors recently, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Atlanta “hasn’t made a single attempt to even explore the possibility of moving Escobar.”
* Speaking of the Braves, they’re retiring Greg Maddux’s number tonight.
Maddux had a 2.63 ERA during 11 seasons in Atlanta, going 194-88 for an
incredible .688 winning percentage while capturing both the ERA title
and Cy Young award in three straight years. He also posted a 2.80 ERA
in 27 postseason starts.
* Good news for the Cubs:
Ryan Dempster is hoping to return from his broken foot within two weeks
and Geovany Soto is recovering so well from his oblique injury that the
team is no longer pursuing catching help.
* More evidence that Julio Lugo isn’t long for the Red Sox: He didn’t even accompany the team to Toronto for their first post-break workout.
* A lesson for all aspiring major-league relievers: Growing an awesome mustache will make you successful.
Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor reached an agreement with the Rangers on a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension. It was announced on Saturday and finalized on Thursday. The contract is pretty typical — a signing bonus, escalating salaries each year — except for one thing: Odor received two elite horses as well, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Here are those horses, per Jared Sandler of 1053 The Fan:
Players do sometimes get perks as part of their contracts. Usually it’s mundane stuff like extra game tickets for family and friends, use of a suite, limo rides, or plane tickets. Sometimes they can get rather specific. For example, in 2005, Troy Glaus got $250,000 per year in “personal business expenses” from the Diamondbacks, which was for his wife’s equestrian training. Hall of Famer George Brett got a 10 percent stake in an apartment complex in Memphis when he signed an extension with the Royals in the mid-1980’s. But as far as my research was able to go, no one received any horses, so that’s new.
Of course, the Rangers certainly think Odor is worth the perks. Last season, Odor hit .271/.296/.502 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 632 plate appearances. And at just 23 years old, he has plenty of room to improve.
The Mariners have signed reliever Mark Lowe, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Tigers released him on Sunday.
Lowe, 33, is entering the last of a two-year, $11 million deal signed with the Tigers in December 2015. The right-hander struggled to a 7.11 ERA with a 49/21 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings last season. His performance this spring didn’t do much to inspire confidence.
Lowe began his major league career with the Mariners, breaking out in 2009 with a 3.26 ERA across 80 innings. He has been inconsistent throughout most of his 11-year big league career, however.