Yu Darvish AP

Rangers likely to shut down Yu Darvish for the season

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No official announcement has been made yet, but during a radio appearance today Rangers general manager Jon Daniels indicated that Yu Darvish is unlikely to pitch again this season because of an elbow injury.

Darvish was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation on August 13 and here’s what Daniels said this afternoon (via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News):

By the calendar and how close to the end of the season we are, I don’t know that it will allow him to pitch again. I think it’s critical going into next year for us to put all these injury issues and concerns behind us as we possibly can. It doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me to take a risk when the MRI clearly shows there is something going on in there.

Darvish has taken a surprising amount of criticism–from seemingly uninformed local media members and also from his manager–but why the Rangers would rush him back to throw meaningless September innings for a last-place team is unclear. Daniels at least seems to recognize that, saying:

There is a difference between playing when you are tired or a sore ankle vs a pitcher when he’s got an elbow issue. They are two very different things. That’s why medical staff and people like myself make these decisions. This not an emotional thing about quitting on the team. Yu has an elbow issue that fortunately looks like it won’t have a long-term impact and we’re not going to let it.

Hopefully that will squash any notion of Darvish sitting out with an injury he could pitch through. If he’s done, Darvish will finish his third MLB season with a 3.06 ERA in 22 starts, leading the league in strikeout rate for the second year in a row at 11.3 per nine innings.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.