Rangers could deal middle infield depth to address other needs

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As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out, the Rangers have a surfeit of middle infield depth. At the Major League level, they have Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus signed to lengthy contracts as well as Jurickson Profar. Beyond those three, prospects Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas are waiting in the wings. With needs at various positions, including catcher, left field, and DH, as well as limited payroll space, it would make sense for the Rangers to deal from an area of surplus to fill an area of need.

Grant points out that the Rangers’ biggest worry isn’t finding a trade partner, but arriving at a deal that nets the Rangers what GM Jon Daniels perceives as fair value for his players.

One executive, left unnamed, told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal during the GM meetings that the Rangers’ middle infield situation was “untenable.”

“We have three guys at the major league level and two guys at Double-A [Odor and Sardinas]; it would be irresponsible not to consider it,” Daniels said of a possible trade during the GM meetings. “Will we ultimately make a deal? I really don’t know. Teams are getting the lay of the land, see what’s out there and make a decision.”

Kinsler, now 31 years old, is signed through 2017 with a total of $62 million remaining on his contract. Andrus is 25 and signed through 2022, earning $6.75 million in 2014, the last year of his old extension before his new one kicks in at a total of $120 million.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.