Great Moments in forgetting it’s March 8

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This, from Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, is not something you’d think that someone who has spent many years covering spring training would say, but he says it anyway:

Now that we’ve been through the starting rotation once, it is time to turn our attention to more pressing matters. As in Derek Jeter.

On Wednesday, Jeter went hitless in two at-bats to drop his spring training average to .125. He has one hit in eight at-bats so far and has hit the ball on the ground in seven of those eight ABs (the other was a strikeout). He couldn’t make his patented jump throw on a play that might have saved Hiroki Kuroda a run, and later he booted a routine grounder.

The Yankees have played five game. Jeter has not played in all of them and even when he has played, he’s played only briefly. As Matthews says, it’s been eight (8)(VIII) at bats. Which is two real games’ worth. Sometimes not even two games’ worth.

Yes, someday Derek Jeter is not going to be able to play at a major league level any longer. But (a) we won’t know about it in an eight at-bat sample size; and (b) no one will get extra credit for noting it early like this.

Spring training people. Stats, especially for veterans who aren’t fighting for jobs, matter not.

Report: Rangers’ deal with Seung-hwan Oh is off

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The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.

Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.

While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.