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Anthony Bass set to make MLB return with Rangers

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Free agent right-handed reliever Anthony Bass is headed back to the majors, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Bass reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers on Friday night, though the team has yet to confirm the contract. He was rumored to be in talks with the Orioles and Tigers this offseason, among several other unidentified clubs.

Bass, 29, last set foot on a major league mound in 2015, when he tossed one season out of the Rangers’ bullpen. He signed with the Mariners prior to the 2016 season, but was released in early January to pursue an overseas opportunity with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball.

During his lone season with the Ham Fighters, Bass took on a dual role in the rotation and bullpen and delivered a 3.65 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.2 SO/9 over 103 2/3 innings. It’s pretty close to the career line he developed in five years at the major league level: a 4.40 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through multiple stints with the Padres, Astros and Rangers. As he heads back to Texas, Bass could seek another opportunity in the starting rotation, writes MLB.com’s Jason Beck, though he’ll need to get a leg up on right-handed candidates Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, A.J. Griffin, Dillon Gee, Tyler Wagner and Nick Martinez first.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics