As further proof of what a buyer’s market this offseason is for relief pitching, the Indians have signed Dan Wheeler to a minor-league contract.
Wheeler is certainly far from a great reliever, but he’s been a solid, dependable setup man for the better part of a decade and yet couldn’t even secure a big-league contract coming off a season in which he threw 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 39/8 K/BB ratio for the Red Sox.
Wheeler fares poorly against left-handed power hitters, but he throws strikes, misses plenty of bats, and has been very effective versus righties while posting a 3.88 ERA in 628 career innings. He’ll have to fight for a middle relief gig during spring training after making $3 million in 2011.
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.