Rangers inquired about Marlins ace Josh Johnson

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Here’s a fun one to tide us all over until the rumors begin swirling again early Friday morning.

According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Rangers asked the Marlins about the availability of 26-year-old ace Josh Johnson while they were finishing up negotiations for infielder Jorge Cantu this week.  The Rangers even offered the Marlins their top three prospects, and if you’re familiar with that club’s farm system you know we’re talking about serious talent.

Of course, the Fish told the Rangers immediately that Johnson is “unmovable.”  The right-hander has posted a 10-3 record, a 1.00 WHIP and 146 strikeouts in 141.1 innings this season in south Florida.   He leads all major leaguers with a 1.72 ERA and he’s under team control through 2013 at a very affordable price.

Nice try, Rangers.  Isn’t the trade deadline a blast?

Report: José Ramírez diagnosed with knee contusion

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Indians third baseman José Ramírez had to be carted off the field in the top of the third inning of Sunday afternoon’s Cactus League game agaisnt the White Sox. Ramírez fouled a pitch off of his leg during an at-bat against pitcher Sean Nolin.

MLB.com’s Mandy Bell reports that Ramírez was diagnosed with a left knee contusion after he was taken for X-rays. The X-rays were negative, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Ramírez, 26, finished third in AL MVP Award voting last season, batting .270/.387/.552 with 39 home runs, 105 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases across 698 plate appearances. He was worth 7.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. If Ramírez lands on the injured list, that would obviously be a huge loss for the Indians, despite being the overwhelming favorites in the AL Central entering the season.

The Indians will already start the season without second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor, though both are expected to return before the end of April. The infield is in rough shape at the moment.