Scott Baker’s elbow again has the Twins worried

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Last season Scott Baker made just four starts in the second half, including zero after August 8, spending two stints on the disabled list because of elbow problems that once again have the Twins worried this spring.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Baker’s “inability to get loose in a B game against Pittsburgh last Saturday raised some red flags” and then his fastball was clocked in the mid-80s while giving up six runs in 1.1 innings.

His next start hasn’t been scheduled yet because pitching coach Rick Anderson wants to see him get through a bullpen session without any issues first, and according to Christensen “this is an issue the Twins will monitor daily.” When healthy Baker was the Twins’ best starter last season, throwing 134 innings with a career-best 3.14 ERA and fantastic 123/32 K/BB ratio.

Rangers will not exercise Mike Napoli’s 2018 option

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The Rangers have informed 1B/DH Mike Napoli the club will not exercise his 2018 option, worth $11 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Instead, the Rangers will pay Napoli $2.5 million to buy him out of his contract, making him a free agent.

Napoli, 35, hit a disappointing .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 485 plate appearances this past season. Given his age and declining production, it’s not shocking that the Rangers want to look elsewhere.

Napoli turns 36 at the end of the month. Given his age and worsening peripheral stats, he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.