UPDATE: Langosch notes that Vazquez wasn’t actually released, just designated for assignment. The Pirates now have 10 days to find a trade partner for him or grant him his release. He can also accept an assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis.
2:33pm: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (and MLB.com’s Jen Langosch confirms) that the Pirates have released infielder Ramon Vazquez.
The 33-year-old strung together an ugly .176/.243/.176 batting line in 34 at-bats this spring with zero extra-base hits and seven strikeouts. He was thought to be in line for a utility infield spot this season, but the Bucs have opted to fill their bench with guys like outfielder John Raynor, and infielders Delwyn Young and Bobby Crosby.
Vazquez is a .254 career hitter with a 678 OPS and will have a difficult time finding a spot on a big league roster with Opening Night just hours away.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he doesn’t expect the club to make a $17.9 million qualifying offer to free agent third baseman Adrián Beltré, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Daniels has been in touch with the 39-year-old, who may retire.
Beltré battled hip and hamstring issues throughout the past season, limiting him to 119 games. He hit .273/.328/.434 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI in 481 plate appearances. Going by adjusted OPS, his mark of 98 — 100 is average — was his lowest in a season since 2009 with the Mariners. Beltré’s career average is 116 and he put up a 132 in 2017 and 128 in ’16.
Beltré appears to have some stuff left in the tank. He may not be an All-Star-caliber player anymore, but he can still hit at an average level and he is still an above-average defender. It’s just a matter of his body holding up to allow him to do what he needs to do. If Beltré does decide to re-up with the Rangers for 2019, the club will be prepared to move Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Jurickson Profar over to the hot corner as they did in 2018 in the event Beltré gets bitten by the injury bug.