Rays and Angels join Yankees with interest in Johnny Damon

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman downplayed Johnny Damon’s chances of returning to New York and Damon himself indicated that it was an unlikely fit because he’s drawing interest from multiple other teams offering regular playing time.

According to Ken Davidoff of New York Newsday–who had the Yankees’ interest in Damon before everyone else–those other teams are the Rays and Angels.

Top prospect Desmond Jennings is the presumed replacement for Carl Crawford in left field, but the Rays could turn to Damon if they feel Jennings isn’t quite ready or perhaps simply use Damon at designated hitter.

With the Angels he’d likely replace former Yankees teammate Hideki Matsui at DH, although it would depend on whether manager Mike Scioscia thinks Damon or Bobby Abreu is less of a liability defensively.

Rangers don’t plan to make qualifying offer to Adrián Beltré

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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.