MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Indians have acquired outfielder Michael Choice from the Rangers. The Rangers will receive cash considerations from the Indians, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Choice will report to Triple-A Columbus.
Choice had been designated for assignment by the Rangers on Tuesday to clear roster space for Will Venable. The 25-year-old was considered a top-100 prospect in baseball as recently as the beginning of the 2014 season, earning a #72 ranking from MLB.com, #79 from Baseball Prospectus, and #98 from Baseball America. However, he posted a .570 OPS in 280 plate appearances in the majors last season and continued to struggle in 2015 at Triple-A Round Rock, batting .244/.309/.399 with 12 home runs and 60 RBI.
Choice was taken in the first round (10th overall) by the Athletics in the 2010 draft, then traded to the Rangers along with Chris Bostick in December 2013 for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom.
Josh Hamilton’s second stint with the Rangers is now on hold, as the former MVP outfielder has been placed on the disabled list with left knee inflammation.
Hamilton has mostly struggled for the Rangers, hitting .254 with six homers and a .726 OPS in 38 games since they re-acquired him from the Angels in a contract dump. For some context, Hamilton had a .741 OPS in two seasons with the Angels.
He’s shown good power with 13 extra-base hits in 142 at-bats, but Hamilton’s lack of plate discipline and strike-zone control continue to be major weaknesses with an ugly 40/9 K/BB ratio.
Will Venable, freshly acquired from the Padres, will step into the lineup in Hamilton’s place.
Via the Rangers’ executive vice president of communications, John Blake …
Venable was thought to be available at the July 31 trade deadline, but nothing wound up happening. Now he heads to Texas in a waiver trade. The outfielder showed great promise in 2013, tallying 22 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 151 games, but he’s batted just .238/.300/.347 over the last two seasons.
Venable was the longest-tenured player on the Padres, per MLB.com’s Corey Brock.
He’ll give the Rangers depth while Josh Hamilton recovers from a lingering knee injury.
The Mets acquired third baseman Juan Uribe and infielder-outfielder Kelly Johnson from the Braves on Friday in exchange for two minor league pitchers, but they aren’t done trying to upgrade their weak offense. The biggest name on the market is Padres outfielder Justin Upton, but CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Mets have been turned off by the team’s lofty asking price.
The Mets and Padres are currently at an impasse in talks involving star San Diego outfielder Justin Upton after the Padres asked for at least one high-end prospect back, and possibly two.
The Mets walked away after a suggestion that included a big prospect or two and no payment toward Upton’s $14.5-million salary, though it isn’t known whether they could resume talks at some point.
Upton is due to become a free agent after the season, so this would purely be a rental situation. Getting multiple premium prospects in return is probably unlikely, but the Padres should still be able to do better than the compensatory draft pick they would get if they kept him and made a qualifying offer this fall. Helping cover some of his remaining salary could sweeten a potential match with the Mets and other contenders.
Upton, 27, is batting .248/.326/.420 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and 17 steals over 91 games this season. He got off to a strong start in San Diego, but has struggled for the past two months.
In their search for an outfield bat, the Mets have also been linked to Upton’s teammate Will Venable, as well as Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gomez of the Brewers and Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd of the Reds.
Justin Upton had to be removed from Sunday’s eventual rainout against the Rockies with discomfort in his left oblique, and sitting out Monday’s series opener against the Giants apparently did solve the issue. Upton is out of the Padres’ starting lineup Tuesday for a second straight game. Will Venable will start in left field and bat seventh versus San Francisco right-hander Chris Heston.
Upton’s oblique has been a lingering problem for much of July. It comes with unfortunate timing for the Friars, who appear likely to shop the impending free agent ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
Upton has 15 home runs and 49 RBI in 89 games this season for the 44-49 Padres.