Nolan Ryan “optimistic” about striking deal with Yu Darvish

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The Rangers have less than a week to work out a contract with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, for whom they committed a record $51,703,411 posting fee back in mid-December. But there’s no concern within the organization about the ticking clock.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, Rangers president Nolan Ryan said Thursday night that he’s “optimistic” about reaching a deal before next Wednesday’s deadline. Here’s the quote:

“My expectation is that we’ll get something done,” said Ryan. “It’s a process, so during the period that we negotiate with someone, we really don’t talk about it. I’m optimistic.”

The Rangers’ first offer to Darvish was said to be in the range of the six-year, $52 million contract that Daisuke Matsuzaka signed with the Red Sox in December of 2006. Darvish, meanwhile, is reportedly seeking a deal worth closer to $75 million in total value. So there’s likely still work to be done.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.