Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik went on the radio in Seattle last week and said that the team made a legit shot at signing Josh Hamilton. This followed a couple weeks of reports that, yes indeed, the Mariners had been working hard to get him. There was apparently the framework of a deal in place, awaiting only the Rangers to make a move or not before the M’s could swoop in. But then the Angels swooped, rendering it all rather academic.
Not so, says Josh Hamilton. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports:
This one may never get entirely resolved, but for what it’s worth, Josh Hamilton went on the syndicated radio and TV program The Dan Patrick Show on Friday and gave an interview in which he was asked about the process that led to his signing a five-year, $125 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Towards the 10-minute, 30-second mark, he was asked by Patrick whether the Mariners had made “a strong play” for him.
“No, not really,” Hamilton said. “I mean, they were just like some other teams. You hear about Seattle but other teams, you didn’t hear about.”
Academic, I suppose. Except, if the Mariners truly did make a strong offer and push to sign Hamilton and he’s now saying they didn’t, it’s not exactly fair to Seattle, which is trying to overcome a perception that it’s no place a superstar wants to be.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.