Rocco Baldelli to announce his retirement today

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From Marc Topkin at the St. Pete Times:

Rocco Baldelli would have reason to spend hours, if not days, lamenting how his once promising baseball career was cut short by injury and a mysterious illness.

He won’t do that, because that’s not his nature. Plus, he’s too busy embracing the next phase of his life.

Baldelli, 29, is expected to officially announce his retirement as a player today, as well as his new assignment as a special adviser in the Rays’ front office, working in scouting and player development.

Baldelli’s career was once quite promising. He came up as a 21-year-old in 2003 and showed himself to be a pretty well-rounded player. A little pop, a little speed and a glove that looked like it could stick in center field. But then he faltered and later he was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that never allowed him to get right.  After a trip to Boston in 2009 and then a return to the Rays last year, he spent most of last season in a front office job before playing ten games at the end of the season.  His last action came when he was inexplicably given the start against Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the ALDS back in October. He went 0 for 3 and was deactivated after the game.

It’s sad to see his playing days end, but it sounds as if he’s prepared for that and is ready to move on with his life in baseball, working in the Rays player development department.

Good luck, Rocco.

Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.

Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.

The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.