Waiting for Cliff Lee to choose his long-term home makes it tough for the Rangers to pull off any big moves in the meantime, but T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that general manager Jon Daniels is in the market for rotation help and “could end up being first in line” for Zack Greinke if the Royals active shop their ace.
Sullivan calls trading for Greinke a “Plan B” for Texas, noting that “the Rangers’ first choice is to re-sign Lee.”
He also speculates that Daniels could pursue trades for Rays starters Matt Garza or James Shields and White Sox starters Gavin Floyd or Edwin Jackson.
Lee is fielding offers as a free agent and Scott Feldman’s health status is uncertain following knee surgery, so the Rangers’ current rotation is C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Tommy Hunter, and Derek Holland, with Matt Harrison or Michael Kirkman in line for the fifth spot.
Even after giving up a Justin Smoak-led package of prospects for Lee the Rangers have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, so Daniels definitely has the ability to make another big splash regardless of where Lee decides to sign.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.