Hip surgery, not thumb surgery reportedly nixed the Rangers' offseason trade for Mike Lowell

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When the Rangers pulled out of a nearly completed trade with the Red Sox for Mike Lowell this winter the assumption was that they did so because he needed thumb surgery.
However, now Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that worries about Lowell’s surgically repaired hip actually nixed the deal, as the Rangers and other teams considered the thumb injury a much lesser concern.
After barely playing for the past three months Lowell was placed on the disabled list yesterday with what the Red Sox called a strained hip. Speier notes that “in some major league corners, Lowell’s trip to the disabled list will be viewed as validation of those concerns.”
Lowell was even slower than usual while running out a ground ball in a rare pinch-hitting appearance Tuesday and admitted afterward that his hip was “barking.” Here’s some more from Lowell:

I don’t think [going on the DL] helps my cause, but I don’t think there’s a team out there that says, “We’re getting this guy the way he was in 2004.” That was part of the reason why I wanted to tell [manager Terry Francona about the hip injury] because I don’t really know what talks are going on but if they are, I don’t want to look like the guy that’s being dishonest. If it affects it, it affects it. I’d still rather go this route. I think it’s the right one.

Between the nixed trade and subsequent lack of playing time Lowell has handled things about as well as possible, and not wanting to deceive a potential new team fits with that approach. Texas and Minnesota were recently said to be interested in Lowell, but obviously Boston is going to have a tough time convincing any team to give up a decent prospect or take on a significant portion of his remaining salary at this point.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.