Saltalamacchia '50-50' for season-ending surgery

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia revealed yesterday that he’s “50-50” to undergo season-ending surgery after leaving a minor-league rehab game over the weekend with reoccurring numbness in his right arm.
Saltalamacchia has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which is described as “a rare condition” that involves a rib pressing against a nerve in his shoulder and causing the pain in his arm that landed him on the disabled list in mid-August.
“I’m not giving up,” Saltalamacchia said. “I tried 15 days and it didn’t get better. It got better but not to the point where I can play nine innings.”
Prior to the injury he hit just .236/.293/.375 with an ugly 96/22 K/BB ratio in 83 games, and the former top prospect’s lack of development is a big part of why the Rangers’ once-impressive catching depth has gone from strength to weakness this season.
Ivan Rodriguez and Taylor Teagarden have split time behind the plate since Saltalamacchia landed on the shelf, but he’s still just 24 years old and if healthy will definitely have a chance to reclaim the starting job next spring. However, the success rate for thoracic outlet syndrome surgery is said to be only 50-80 percent.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.