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The Texas Rangers: “The Best Culture in Baseball”

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The Rangers signed Andrew Cashner to a one-year deal on Monday. They had been trying to land him for a while. Meanwhile Cashner, a Texas native who went to TCU, has long been interested in Texas. Everyone always says nice things right after a contract is signed, but the words from both the club and the player this week are particularly effusive.

For Cashner’s part, he said something which, I suspect, will become a recurring theme with the Rangers:

“The biggest thing for me is getting to come to what somebody told me the other day is the best culture in baseball,” Cashner said. “That sets the tone for winning.”

It may not always be a welcome recurring theme. Ask Cardinals fans how much they enjoy the whole “Best Fans in Baseball” thing (hint: they really, really, don’t). It has a way of taking on a life of its own and becoming the source of mocking more than anything.

So, the next time the Rangers are reported to be experiencing a bit of clubhouse drama or find themselves on the wrong end of some unwritten rules controversy — especially if it involves Cashner, which it very well might — expect the whole “Best Culture in Baseball” thing to come back again.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.