Ian Kinsler

Rangers and Ian Kinsler working toward agreement on extension

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UPDATE: Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports that the Rangers and Kinsler are working toward a five-year contract extension.

The Rangers would pick up Kinsler’s $10 million option for next season as part of the agreement while the five-year extension would be worth approximately $14 million per season. This would guarantee Kinsler approximately $80 million over the next six seasons.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com confirms that the two sides are still “grinding” on contract extension talks and that a six-year deal is in play.

5:00 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported earlier this week that Ian Kinsler and the Rangers were discussing a six-year contract extension, but today the second baseman told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that there was nothing new to report.

Kinsler also called the negotiations a “confusing process” and described his level of optimism about getting something done as “neutral.”

Kinsler has said that he’d prefer not to negotiate during the season, but unlike some players he isn’t setting a strict Opening Day deadline for the talks if they’re relatively close to getting something done.

He’s also under contract for $7 million this season and the Rangers hold a $10 million option for 2013, so it’s something the two sides could revisit in the offseason.

Dodgers trade A.J. Ellis to the Phillies for Carlos Ruiz

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers
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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.

Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:

Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.

Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.

Jose Bautista returns from the disabled list

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jayshits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.

Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.

Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.