Sixteen-year-old Luis Heredia to start in rookie ball for the Pirates

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They’re letting a 16-year-old pitch professionally in the Pirates’ organization? And here I thought there were laws about exposing minors to obscenity …

That talent and maturity is why management’s plan for 2011 — though not yet formally announced — is to assign [Luis] Heredia to Bradenton of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, an extraordinary step for a player his age. The Pirates are known to have had only one previous 16-year-old at that level in the past 40 years.

Pirates joking aside, Heredia is one to watch. He made Keith Law’s list of guys who fell just short of his Top 100 prospects list, which is pretty spiffy for a 16-year-old.  He’s big and has big velocity for his or any other age.  When you consider how much growing 16-year-old athletes usually have ahead of them, the ceiling on Heredia seems to be high, high, high.

Rougned Odor received two horses as part of his contract extension with Rangers

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Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor reached an agreement with the Rangers on a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension. It was announced on Saturday and finalized on Thursday. The contract is pretty typical — a signing bonus, escalating salaries each year — except for one thing: Odor received two elite horses as well, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Here are those horses, per Jared Sandler of 1053 The Fan:

Players do sometimes get perks as part of their contracts. Usually it’s mundane stuff like extra game tickets for family and friends, use of a suite, limo rides, or plane tickets. Sometimes they can get rather specific. For example, in 2005, Troy Glaus got $250,000 per year in “personal business expenses” from the Diamondbacks, which was for his wife’s equestrian training. Hall of Famer George Brett got a 10 percent stake in an apartment complex in Memphis when he signed an extension with the Royals in the mid-1980’s. But as far as my research was able to go, no one received any horses, so that’s new.

Of course, the Rangers certainly think Odor is worth the perks. Last season, Odor hit .271/.296/.502 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 632 plate appearances. And at just 23 years old, he has plenty of room to improve.

Mariners sign Mark Lowe

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The Mariners have signed reliever Mark Lowe, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Tigers released him on Sunday.

Lowe, 33, is entering the last of a two-year, $11 million deal signed with the Tigers in December 2015. The right-hander struggled to a 7.11 ERA with a 49/21 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings last season. His performance this spring didn’t do much to inspire confidence.

Lowe began his major league career with the Mariners, breaking out in 2009 with a 3.26 ERA across 80 innings. He has been inconsistent throughout most of his 11-year big league career, however.