The Rangers won’t have the benefit of the designated hitter for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series against the Cardinals, which means Michael Young will almost certainly get the nod at first base in St. Louis.
The only other realistic option is Mitch Moreland, but he is hitting just .105 (2-for-19) during the postseason. The 26-year-old has struck out in five out of his last six at-bats.
Rangers manager Ron Washington told Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com earlier today that Young will play, so even though he declined to name his starting first baseman, it’s fairly obvious where he’s leaning.
“In Moreland’s case, yes, he’s struggling a little bit now,” Washington said. “It comes down to just trying to get the best nine out there I possibly can on that day. I’ve made a decision, but I’m not ready to talk about it.”
Young is batting .209 (9-for-43) with eight strikeouts during the postseason, but finally busted out in the Game 6 clincher against the Tigers on Saturday night, going 3-for-6 with a home run, two doubles and five RBI. The 34-year-old started 36 games at first base during the regular season and four during the ALDS and ALCS.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.