Twins reportedly considering 'a serious run' at Cliff Lee

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I was a radio guest on ESPN Twin Cities earlier this week (you can listen to the segment here) and one of the co-hosts, Tom Pelissero, hinted that he had some information about the Twins being legitimately interested in Cliff Lee.
Pelissero has now put it in writing, reporting today that “more than one person in the know” say “they wouldn’t be surprised at all if the team makes a serious run at acquiring” Lee from the Mariners before the trade deadline.
That a contending team would be gearing up for a run at Lee certainly isn’t surprising, but pursuing a blockbuster deal for a star player that would almost certainly require giving up multiple top prospects is highly uncharacteristic for the Twins. However, in addition to Pelissero’s report there have been some other rumblings about the Twins looking to make a bigger splash than usual this year.
Any offer for Lee would have to be more valuable to the Mariners than the two draft picks they’d receive by simply letting him walk as a free agent, although of course the new team would also have the ability to recoup some of the value given up in a trade by getting those same picks. Pelissero suggests Ben Revere as the most likely name being offered up by the Twins, but while he’s a solid prospect and former first-round pick he projects more as a Juan Pierre-type player than a future star.
It seems unlikely that Seattle would settle for a package built around Revere, in which case catching prospect Wilson Ramos’ name would probably come up in negotiations. Based on their trading track record I’d be shocked if the Twins actually gave up two of their best prospects for a half-season rental and draft picks, but there definitely seems to be some fire behind the Lee-related smoke and if nothing else Minnesota might as well kick the tires on the best pitcher available.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.