Author: Aaron Gleeman

Andrew Cashner

Rangers’ “top target” is Padres starter Andrew Cashner


Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that the Rangers are interested in trading for a starting pitcher and Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner “remains the top target.”

Cashner is from Texas and went to college at TCU. He also has two seasons of team control remaining before free agency, which is what the Rangers are looking for in a starter. And the Padres’ new general manager, A.J. Preller, was formerly Rangers general manager Jon Daniels’ assistant.

Cashner has struggled to stay healthy and his win-loss records haven’t been pretty in large part because the Padres’ lineup can’t score any runs, but since shifting to the rotation full time he has a 2.96 ERA in 51 starts while holding opponents to a .234 batting average.

White Sox “in serious talks” with A’s for Jeff Samardzija

samardzija getty tall

Bob Nightingale of USA Today reports that the White Sox have “engaged in serious talks” with the A’s for Jeff Samardzija and “are looming as the front-runners” to acquire the right-hander.

Samardzija spent the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career in Chicago pitching for the Cubs before being traded to the A’s in July and was first linked to the White Sox a couple weeks ago.

Top prospects Marcus Semien and Tim Anderson would seemingly be likely A’s targets in a potential Samardzija deal, but Nightingale didn’t get into any specifics in terms of their asking price.

Samardzija is one season away from free agency and coming off a career-year in which he started 33 games and threw 220 innings with a 2.99 ERA and 202/43 K/BB ratio at age 29.

Yankees plan to platoon Didi Gregorius and Brendan Ryan

Didi Gregorius

OK, so it turns out new acquisition Didi Gregorius won’t be Derek Jeter’s replacement. He’ll only be Derek Jeter’s replacement about two-thirds of the time.

General manager Brian Cashman said on WFAN radio in New York that the plan is to platoon the left-handed-hitting Gregorius, sitting him versus left-handed pitching in favor of the right-handed-hitting Brendan Ryan.

Gregorius has definitely struggled versus lefties, hitting just .184 off them, but it’s only 180 total plate appearances and he’s only 24 years old. Plus, while Ryan does hit from the right side of the plate he doesn’t really “hit” from the right side of the plate, batting just .208 with a .556 OPS off lefties from 2012-2014.

Dodgers claim Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from Red Sox, drop Drew Butera

Ryan Lavarnway

Catcher/first baseman Ryan Lavarnway, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last week, has been claimed off waivers by the Dodgers. To make room for him on the 40-man roster Los Angeles designated for assignment catcher Drew Butera.

Lavarnway never hit much in some brief stints with the Red Sox and isn’t considered a reliable enough defender to see regular action behind the plate, but his minor-league track record suggests he could be useful as a part-time catcher/first baseman/bench bat. He’s a career .277 hitter with an .824 OPS at Triple-A.

Butera was acquired from Minnesota in mid-2013 and predictably hit .186 for the Dodgers after batting .182 for the Twins. He’s a good-glove, no-hit catcher whose bat may be too weak for even a backup role.

Clint Barmes gets $1.5 million from Padres, plus 2016 option

Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs

Clint Barmes’ deal with the Padres is now official: He’ll get $1.5 million in 2015 and the Padres will have an option for 2016 that begins at $2 million and can rise based on incentives reached.

Barmes has long been one of MLB’s best defensive shortstops, although counting on that continuing at age 36 is always iffy. And he’s terrible offensively, hitting .245 with a .622 OPS in 48 games for the Pirates this past season and failing to crack a .700 OPS since 2009.

He figures to serve as the backup to Alexi Amarista and the Padres were in the market for middle infield depth after non-tendering Everth Cabrera.