Scary news coming from the Rangers, as Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that reliever Tanner Scheppers was unavailable for last night’s game against the Indians after the 6-foot-4 right-hander was “sucker punched” by a group of males while walking in downtown Cleveland on Thursday night.
Scheppers said the incident occurred about two blocks from the team hotel as he was going to get something to eat. Nothing was taken from him and he has not filed a police report, though the Cleveland police are aware of the situation.
“One of those freak things,” Scheppers said. “I was just getting food and was blindsided. … It’s something you don’t want to be talking about. You want to be talking about baseball things.”
Scheppers suffered a laceration above his eye and a couple of cuts, but he passed all concussion tests. He is available for tonight’s game.
Scheppers has emerged as an important part of the Rangers’ bullpen this season, posting a 1.74 ERA and 32/17 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings. He has held opposing batters to a .202 batting average.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.