For many and probably even most teams a 24-year-old prospect as good as Mike Olt would be set for an everyday role, but the Rangers’ third base and corner outfield depth means he’s headed back to the minors.
Today the Rangers assigned Olt to Triple-A, which he skipped in jumping from Double-A to the majors last August. Olt did hit .288 with 28 homers and a .977 OPS in 95 games at Double-A, but Adrian Beltre is blocking him at third base, David Murphy and Nelson Cruz are blocking him in the outfield, and the Rangers smartly don’t want him wasting away on the bench when he could be playing regularly at Triple-A.
Olt, who hit just .152 in his 16-game debut last year, ranks 22nd on Baseball America‘s annual list of MLB’s top prospects.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.