Rangers have “remained in contact” with Kyle Lohse

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Something may start brewing soon between the Rangers and free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse.

According to beat writer Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Texas front office has “remained in contact” with Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, and “there are some within the Rangers’ organization” who are pushing for a deal.

Signing the 12-year major league veteran would mean forfeiting the No. 24 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft. But the Rangers collected pick No. 31 when outfielder Josh Hamilton joined the Angels, so that could take some of the sting away.

Lohse posted a 2.86 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 211 innings last season for St. Louis. He rejected a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals in November, which triggered the draft pick compensation.

The Rangers’ fifth starter right now is young left-hander Martin Perez, though Colby Lewis should be recovered from elbow surgery in late May or early June. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports heard last week that a three-year deal could get it done for Lohse, but he’s probably willing to consider all offers at this point.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.

Report: Rangers agree to six-year extension with Rougned Odor

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The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5 million extension for second baseman Rougned Odor, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The extension comes with a club option for a seventh year, Heyman adds.

It’s close to the six-year, $52.5 million extension Jason Kipnis netted with the Indians in 2014, a sum Odor was rumored to be seeking during contract negotiations over the last two years. Granted, the circumstances are a little different this time around. Both players signed extensions on the cusp of their fourth year in the major leagues, but at 27 years old, Kipnis was coming off of an All-Star campaign and a career-high 4.5 fWAR performance. Odor, meanwhile, saw mixed results in 2016, batting 33 home runs and putting up 2.0 fWAR while struggling to stay consistent at the plate and exhibiting poor defense.

According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Odor previously agreed to a $563,180 salary for 2017. Depending on when the extension kicks in, it should cover all three of Odor’s arbitration-eligible seasons and two seasons of potential free agency. The team has yet to confirm the extension.