T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that when Rangers closer Joe Nathan reached 55 games finished on Thursday, it triggered a clause which allows him to void a $9.5 million club option for 2014 and test free agency. While the veteran right-hander would like to stay with Texas, his first priority is to get a multi-year deal.
“The only reason to have that incentive in play is to have a little bit of power in getting a multiyear deal,” Nathan said. “Other than that, I’m just glad to get to that point and have it over and done with. Not that I was worried about it, but now I don’t have to concern myself with it. I can focus on what’s important.”
Even though he turns 39 in November, Nathan stands a pretty good chance to get his wish, as he has compiled a 2.20 ERA over the past two seasons while going 76-for-82 in save chances. The Rangers have Joakim Soria and Neftali Felz as in-house alternatives, so it’s possible they’ll move on if the bidding gets out of hand.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.
Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.
With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.