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The Rangers: still trying for Justin Upton, talking to the Rays about James Shields

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Expect the Rays to talk to everyone given that they are the rare team willing to part with starting pitching. But the latest conversation they’ve had, Ken Rosenthanl reports, is with the Texas Rangers:

On one hand, the Rangers are trying to sign free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke. On the other hand, they’re also discussing trades for other top-of-the-rotation types, sources say, most notably Tampa Bay righty James Shields.

Rosenthal runs down the Rangers’ agenda this winter, which seems to be “upgrade everything,” as he reports that they’re still in the hunt for Justin Upton too.  Never mind that the Diamondbacks, whenever Upton is rumored to be going someplace, usually come out and say that it’s not likely he’s being dealt.

Rangers set ALDS rotation: Gallardo in Game 1, Hamels in Game 2

Yovani Gallardo
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Setting their rotation for the beginning of the ALDS versus the Blue Jays, the Rangers announced that right-hander Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1 and left-hander Cole Hamels will start Game 2.

Gallardo posted a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts this season, but averaged just 5.6 innings per start and hasn’t completed six or more innings in a start since mid-August. Clearly the Rangers will be hoping for five or six innings from him before turning it over to the bullpen.

Hamels, on the other hand, averaged seven innings in his 12 post-trade starts for the Rangers, including tossing a complete-game against the Angels in the regular season finale. He’s obviously the Rangers’ best starting pitcher, but because Hamels was needed to clinch the division title in Game 162 he’s not available to start Game 1 of the playoffs.

Indians promote Chris Antonetti to President, name new GM

Chris Antonetti
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In the seemingly never-ending trend of front office officials getting new titles, the Cleveland Indians just announced that General Manager Chris Antonetti has been promoted to President of Baseball Operations and Mike Chernoff is now the GM.

Antonetti has been the Tribe’s GM for the past five years and is moving up in the wake of team president Mark Shapiro moving on to Toronto. Shapiro, however, also held business side responsibilities which Antonetti will not assume. Meaning, as before, he will be the top guy on baseball ops decisions, albeit with a grander title.

Chernoff has been an assistant GM for five years and has been with the organization for the past 12 years. As many new GMs these days he will, functionally speaking, still be an assistant when it comes to baseball decisions.