Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Starling Peralta to Cubs

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Starling Peralta is back with the Cubs after the Diamondbacks returned the Rule 5 pick to his original organization.

As a 21-year-old who spent last season pitching at low Single-A he was always a long shot to crack the Opening Day roster and then Peralta gave up seven run in three innings of spring training action.

All of which makes this February 21 article from the Diamondbacks’ official website titled “Peralta opening D-Backs’ eyes” sort of amusing:

When they selected Starling Peralta from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft in December, the D-backs knew they were getting a pretty good pitcher. After watching him throw a couple of live batting-practice sessions, the right-hander might be better than they thought.

And then after watching him throw in actual games, they decided to send him back to the Cubs. Such is life as a Rule 5 pick.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.