Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

The Rangers are even open to trading Matt Garza

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That’s according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. The Rangers will consider just about anything as they attempt to improve before the deadline. That means Elvis Andrus. It means Joe Nathan. And it means the newly acquired Matt Garza, who was just picked up from the Cubs for four prospects nine days ago.

Garza is 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in two starts for his new team and 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA overall this season. If the Rangers traded him, it wouldn’t be a sign that they’re giving up on 2013; they’d want a big bat in return to put in their lineup alongside Adrian Beltre. Nelson Cruz is likely about to serve a 50-game Biogenesis suspension, and even with Cruz, the Rangers rank just ninth of the 15 AL teams in runs scored this year.

As for possible fits for Garza, it’s hard to come up with anything obvious. The Diamondbacks don’t have any expendable bats. The Rangers probably wouldn’t be all that interested in Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford from the Dodgers. A Garza-for-Carlos Beltran trade with the Cardinals might make sense if Oscar Taveras were healthy and ready to step into the St. Louis outfield, but he’s not. Garza to Atlanta for Justin Upton? Probably not. Garza to Baltimore for Nick Markakis? He’d be no lock to help the Rangers. Garza to Boston for Jacoby Ellsbury? That might have made a little sense before the Red Sox just got Jake Peavy, but not as is. Cleveland? It’d probably have to be a three-team deal with youngsters going elsewhere.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.