Leonys Martin and the Rangers have finally made official the deal they agreed to last month, with the Cuban outfielder receiving a $15.5 million major-league contract that includes a $5 million signing bonus.
Martin will start out in the minors, but giving him a big-league contract means the Rangers will immediately place the 23-year-old center fielder on the 40-man roster and he’s said to be close enough to MLB-ready that a second-half call-up to Texas is very possible.
John Manuel of Baseball America had mixed reviews of Martin in his scouting report last year, praising his speed and defense in center field while questioning his power potential. In the past even top-rated Cuban defectors have signed for much less than $15.5 million and most of the early speculation on Martin had him costing under $10 million, so clearly the Rangers believe he has legitimate star upside.
And the clock is ticking on Julio Borbon.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.