Now that the Rangers have locked up Ian Kinsler to a long-term deal a new contract for Josh Hamilton could be next on the agenda, or at least that’s the speculation after general manager Jon Daniels and owner Bob Simpson met with Hamilton’s agent yesterday.
Previous reports have suggested that Hamilton’s injury history and off-field issues have soured the Rangers on making a long-term commitment to the 30-year-old impending free agent, but the two sides are at least interested enough to have a meeting.
Hamilton told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram that he wasn’t sure how the meeting went or what was discussed, but he’s recently taken some subtle shots at the team for trying to “get as much out of me as they can before they get rid of me.”
Wilson reports that the Rangers have changed their usual stance of not negotiating during the season as long as talks stay private, which is perhaps why Hamilton is saying he has no idea what went on during the meeting.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.