Ian Kinsler

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.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.