Blue Jays calling up Vladimir Guerrero “seems like a mere formality”

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When the Blue Jays signed Vladimir Guerrero to a minor-league contract earlier this month general manager Alex Anthopoulos tried to keep expectations low by saying the former MVP was no sure thing to be part of their big-league plans.

Since then Guerrero has been working out at the team’s minor-league complex in Florida and just a couple weeks later Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com writes that the Blue Jays calling him up now “seems like a mere formality after a string of glowing reports.”

It seems difficult to believe after watching Guerrero limp through the past several seasons, but according to Chisholm he’s “moving free and easy” and “it’s just a matter of getting his timing down at the plate before Guerrero is ready for the next step.”

Last season Guerrero hit .290, but it came with minimal power and non-existent plate discipline, leading to a career-worst .733 OPS that’s below average for a designated hitter. And at age 37 further decline is very possible, which is why Anthopoulos was hesitant to play up the signing as a major addition in the first place.

By waiving Adam Lind the Blue Jays potentially cleared a path for Guerrero, but first he’ll have to show some upside on a minor-league rehab assignment that could see him play at several levels.

Rougned Odor received two horses as part of his contract extension with Rangers

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Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor reached an agreement with the Rangers on a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension. It was announced on Saturday and finalized on Thursday. The contract is pretty typical — a signing bonus, escalating salaries each year — except for one thing: Odor received two elite horses as well, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Here are those horses, per Jared Sandler of 1053 The Fan:

Players do sometimes get perks as part of their contracts. Usually it’s mundane stuff like extra game tickets for family and friends, use of a suite, limo rides, or plane tickets. Sometimes they can get rather specific. For example, in 2005, Troy Glaus got $250,000 per year in “personal business expenses” from the Diamondbacks, which was for his wife’s equestrian training. Hall of Famer George Brett got a 10 percent stake in an apartment complex in Memphis when he signed an extension with the Royals in the mid-1980’s. But as far as my research was able to go, no one received any horses, so that’s new.

Of course, the Rangers certainly think Odor is worth the perks. Last season, Odor hit .271/.296/.502 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 632 plate appearances. And at just 23 years old, he has plenty of room to improve.

Mariners sign Mark Lowe

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The Mariners have signed reliever Mark Lowe, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Tigers released him on Sunday.

Lowe, 33, is entering the last of a two-year, $11 million deal signed with the Tigers in December 2015. The right-hander struggled to a 7.11 ERA with a 49/21 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings last season. His performance this spring didn’t do much to inspire confidence.

Lowe began his major league career with the Mariners, breaking out in 2009 with a 3.26 ERA across 80 innings. He has been inconsistent throughout most of his 11-year big league career, however.