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Red Sox claim Max Ramirez off waivers from Rangers

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Last year at this time the Red Sox and Rangers were close to a deal that would have sent Mike Lowell (and some salary relief) to Texas for minor leaguer Max Ramirez, but the trade was nixed because Lowell needed thumb surgery in addition to his hip problems.

Lowell ended up staying in Boston and hit just .239 with a .674 OPS in 244 plate appearances as a part-time player, and today the Red Sox wound up with Ramirez anyway by claiming him off waivers from the Rangers.

Texas needed 40-man roster space after signing Adrian Beltre and Brandon Webb, and Ramirez is coming off an extremely disappointing season at Triple-A that saw him hit just .286 with three homers in 56 games.

Ramirez has put up some big numbers in the minors, but he’s been largely ineffective for the past two seasons, is already 26 years old, and reviews of his defense behind the plate suggest he’s more of a designated hitter than a catcher. Boston has clearly liked him for a while now and he’s certainly worth a waiver claim, but at the same time it’s tough to blame Texas for giving up on Ramirez.

Rangers “out” on Vladimir Guerrero after signing Adrian Beltre

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Michael Young is expected to become Texas’ primary designated hitter after the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to a five-year, $80 million contract to replace him at third base, so not surprisingly today general manager Jon Daniels said the team is “out” of the mix to re-sign Vladimir Guerrero.

Guerrero out-produced Young by a wide margin last season, topping his OPS by 67 points, but Guerrero is also two years older than Young, struggled mightily in the second half, and offers zero defensively versatility. And perhaps most importantly, Young is owed $16 million per season through 2013.

If the Rangers could simply trade Young and his contract they’d likely do so and perhaps make an effort to re-sign Guerrero, but in order to deal Young they’d have to eat a significant portion of the $48 million he’s still owed. At this point it seems likely that Guerrero will have to accept a one-year deal for less than the $6.5 million he earned in 2010, as his list of potential suitors is rapidly shrinking with the Angels reportedly out of the mix as well.

Arthur Rhodes’ one-year deal with Rangers includes vesting option for 2012

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Arthur Rhodes and the Rangers agreed to terms on a one-year contract last week, but the deal finally became official yesterday and the monetary details have been revealed.

Rhodes will make $3.9 million this season and the deal also includes a $4 million option for 2012 that vests if he appears in at least 62 games and is not on the disabled list when the season ends.

As if making the All-Star team for the first time at age 40 wasn’t enough, the $3.9 million Rhodes will get in 2011 is more than he’s earned in any season of his 19-year career. And he’s appeared in 61, 66, and 69 games during the past three years, so there’s a decent chance the $4 million option for 2012 will vest.

Rhodes had a 5.32 ERA in 2006 and missed all of 2007 following Tommy John elbow surgery, yet returned at age 38 to post a 2.32 ERA and 138/54 K/BB ratio in 144 innings over the next three seasons. He’ll serve as one of Neftali Feliz’s setup men.