Leonys Martin finalized a $15.5 million major-league contract with the Rangers last week and the 23-year-old Cuban center fielder made his American debut at Double-A, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a steal.
Martin’s contract includes an immediate spot on the 40-man roster and most pre-signing scouting reports suggested he was pretty close to being major-league ready, so his thriving at Double-A right away would put even more pressure on the Rangers’ current center fielder, Julio Borbon.
Borbon and Martin are similar players, with speed and defense accounting for much of their value and power potential being the big question mark for both guys, but Borbon’s defense has been shaky dating back to late last season and he’s gotten on base at a measly .324 clip despite a solid .284 batting average.
Borbon injured his hamstring yesterday and may be headed for the disabled list, but rather than turn to Martin already the Rangers seem likely to call up veteran Endy Chavez instead. If they need some help in center field six weeks from now, however, Martin may be the one getting the call.
The Rangers outrighted reliever Shawn Tolleson off the 40-man roster on Wednesday. Rather than accept the assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, Tolleson has opted to become a free agent, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake reports.
Tolleson, 28, emerged as a closer for the Rangers in 2015, but his follow-up campaign this year was dreadful. He finished with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He eventually went on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.
Despite the nightmarish season, it’s easy to see a team deciding to take a flier on Tolleson for the 2017 season.
Indians slugger Carlos Santana hasn’t played in the outfield in a major league game since 2012, but the Indians are strongly considering starting him in left field for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As the game is hosted in a National League park, there is no DH rule in effect, so the Indians might otherwise have to keep Santana on the bench.
Santana is hitless in six at-bats in the World Series thus far, but he has drawn two walks. He has overall not had a great postseason, carrying an aggregate .564 OPS in 40 plate appearances since the beginning of the playoffs. Still, during the regular season, he had an .865 OPS so he can certainly be a threat on offense at any given moment.