Julio Borbon’s lack of production at the plate and inconsistent defense in center field had him falling out of favor in Texas even before injuring his hamstring in mid-May, but now the fall is complete and he’s landed back in the minors.
This afternoon the Rangers activated Borbon from the disabled list and optioned him Triple-A, where he last played in mid-2009.
Since then Borbon has 745 plate appearances in 215 games for the Rangers, including back-to-back Opening Day starts in center field, but he’s hit just .275 with a terrible .308 on-base percentage and punchless .342 slugging percentage in 169 games since a strong half-season debut in 2009.
What’s particularly interesting about the Rangers demoting Borbon to Triple-A is that the guy they’re now turning to as the primary center fielder is 33-year-old Endy Chavez, whose current .415 batting average in 12 games doesn’t hide his .315 career OBP or the fact that he hasn’t gotten 300 plate appearances in a season since 2006.
Convincing the Rangers that he’s a better option than Chavez is doable for Borbon, largely because Chavez will do a lot of that work for him, but by the time Texas is ready to move on in center field they may decide to turn to $15 million Cuban signee Leonys Martin rather than give Borbon another shot. Martin is hitting .319 with good plate discipline and power at Double-A.
Ben Cafardo of the Boston Globe speculated on Sunday that there might be a connection between the Giants and veteran free agent right-hander John Lackey, and now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that San Francisco is indeed in pursuit.
Rosenthal says the Giants, “like most clubs seeking pitching, [are] examining [a] wide range of options” in this starter-heavy free agent market. Lackey would make a ton of sense for any contender on something like a two-year deal. His free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t be much of a deterrent.
The 37-year-old right-hander registered a career-best 2.77 ERA across 218 innings (33 starts) this past season for the National League Central-champion Cardinals and he was St. Louis’ most reliable starter during the playoffs.
It’s well known that he wants to remain in the National League.
As first reported by beat writer Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have signed free agent catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year major league contract. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez says the deal is worth $2.8 million guaranteed.
Soto will offer some veteran presence at catcher for the Halos alongside 25-year-old Carlos Perez, who hit .250/.299/.346 as a rookie in 2015.
Soto slashed .219/.301/.406 with nine homers in 78 games this summer for the White Sox.
The 32-year-old backstop is a .246/.331/.434 career hitter at the major league level.
According to the official Twitter account of the Chicago White Sox, the club acquired right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies on Tuesday evening in exchange for minor league pitcher Yency Almonte.
Kahnle was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week in a flurry of moves made in preparation of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The 26-year-old former fifth-round pick posted an ugly 4.86 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, and 39/28 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings this past season for Colorado and he wasn’t much better at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Almonte, 21, had a 3.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 110/38 K/BB ratio in 137 1/3 innings this past season between Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.
It’s a straight one-for-one deal of two non-prospects, and the timing of it — in the evening, with Thanksgiving approaching — has our Craig Calcaterra wondering whether an executive was just trying to get out of some family responsibilities …
The other day Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres were in discussions with former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire about their bench coach job. Today Jon Heyman reports that the deal is done and will soon be announced.
McGwire has been the hitting coach for Los Angeles for the past three seasons. When his contract was not renewed following the end of 2015 he was rumored to be up for the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach job. He likely view staying in Southern California to be a plus, as he makes his home in Irvine, which is around 90 miles from Petco Park. That’s a long commute, but Mac can afford the gas, I guess.