Rosenthal says the Rangers can sign Lee and Victor Martinez

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Ken Rosenthal writes today that he thinks the Rangers could be bigger players on the free agent market than some of us are giving him credit for:

The defending American League champions, major-league sources say, are in strong enough financial position to add not one but two top free agents — left-hander Cliff Lee and catcher Victor Martinez.

That would be something.

But man, I’m skeptical.  While that big new TV contract impressed all of us when it was announced, others have reported that it’s fairly backloaded, and that the front-end of it was going to be largely devoted to debt service connected with Chuck Greenberg’s purchase of the team.  I don’t have any independent intelligence on that, but some people I talk to who know a few things about the Rangers believe that the TV deal isn’t going to launch them into a new world of payroll expenditures so quickly, even if they do bump it up a tad.  And signing Lee and Victor Martinez would certainly be a new world.

Anything is possible — that’s whey we love the hot stove season — but I’m having a hard time seeing the Rangers landing Lee alone — due to the money and the competition involved — let alone getting him and another top-end free agent like Martinez.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.