A source tells Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse that the Rays are “motivated” to trade Matt Garza.
We have already heard Garza connected to the Brewers and Nationals, but according to Price, the Rangers view him as a fallback if they are unable to sign Cliff Lee or acquire Zack Greinke.
Garza, 27, has thrived since being acquired from the Twins in November of 2007, posting a 3.86 ERA over 95 games (94 starts) with the Rays. He went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 2010 and has topped 200 innings pitched in each of the past two seasons. Garza remains under team control through 2013, but is due a hefty raise in the arbitration process from the $3.35 million he made this past season.
In a perfect world, the Rays would probably prefer to deal James Shields, but they stand to get more in return for Garza, especially as they attempt to to bolster their lineup and reconstruct their bullpen. If Garza is ultimately dealt, the club would slide Jeremy Hellickson into their starting rotation. Hellickson, who turns 24 next April, went 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 33/8 K/BB ratio over 10 appearances (four starts) with the Rays this past season. He looks ready for primetime.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.