While the baseball world waits for Cliff Lee’s decision, Jon Heyman of SI.com has an interesting update on what the Rangers may have offered the free-agent left-hander.
According to Heyman, the club’s original offer was for five years at $100 million. They improved their offer during their visit to Arkansas on Thursday with a “menu of better choices.” They have now guaranteed a sixth year in the contract, which is “believed to include some form of option that could turn the new deal into a seven-year contract.”
If true, the Rangers’ chances of retaining him are certainly a little bit better than they were on Thursday morning. However, will this latest offer be enough to trump seven years of guaranteed cash from the Yankees? I still doubt it.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.