Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said last month that it’s unlikely they’ll be major players for free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Hamilton is attending the Winter Meetings in Nashville and met with Mariners officials on Sunday. Other unidentified teams are believed to be in the mix for Hamilton, but Rosenthal reiterates that the Rangers have been the most aggressive with him so far. The Brewers have been mentioned as a possibility because hitting coach Johnny Narron was previously Hamilton’s accountability partner, but they are considered to be on the “periphery” of talks.
Hamilton, 31, batted .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs, 128 RBI and a .930 OPS in 148 games this past season. He’s the best position player available on pure talent alone, but his age, injury history and past issues with addiction make him one of the most unpredictable and intriguing free agent cases in recent memory.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.