Orlando Cabrera wants two years and $10 million

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Prior to signing Alex Gonzalez yesterday the Blue Jays apparently looked into Orlando Cabrera, but balked at his reported asking price of two years and $10 million.
Cabrera received tons of credit for the Twins’ dramatic late-season turnaround after batting .411 with 21 runs and 16 RBIs over the final 16 games, but also hit a putrid .237/.268/.361 in his first 43 games with Minnesota.
Add it all up and he hit .289/.313/.430 with the Twins after batting .280/.318/.385 with the A’s, both of which are very close to his .275/.322/.398 career line and the .271/.328/.393 average for MLB shortstops. That type of modest production would be perfectly acceptable from a strong defensive shortstop, but at 35 years old Cabrera has ceased fitting that description.
Having watched him every day during the second half, it was painfully obvious to me that Cabrera has lost significant range and no longer has the arm strength necessary to make anything beyond routine plays at shortstop. Ultimate Zone Rating agrees with my eyes, pegging Cabrera as 6.2 runs below average defensively in 57 games with Minnesota and -13.7 runs in 158 games overall this season.
He’d be a palatable one-year stop gap for teams with big holes at shortstop, but he’s probably not worth $5 million per season in this market and giving Cabrera a mutli-year deal would be a huge mistake. Average offensively and below average defensively is a recipe for disaster in a mid-30s shortstop, so the Blue Jays were smart to turn their attention to Gonzalez.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.

Report: Tyson Ross not expected to pitch in April

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park September 29, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.

The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:

We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.

Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.