Rangers deny report of plan to pursue CC Sabathia

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Remember that talk about the Rangers throwing a “boatload of money” at left-hander CC Sabathia if (or when, really) he opts out of his contract with the Yankees? It apparently has no legs.

Sources within the Texas organization told CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler that there’s “no way” a substantial offer will be made this winter.

The Rangers are known to be interested in Japanese ace Yu Darvish, and if they don’t go that route Neftali Feliz could always make his transition — finally — to the starting rotation. Texas doesn’t need to spend wildly on a No. 1, even if C.J. Wilson heads elsewhere.

The American League West champions have a number of promising arms in the upper tiers of their minor league system, including 20-year-old left-hander Martin Perez, who made the jump (however shaky) to the Triple-A level this year. Investing major money into a 31-year-old free agent pitcher with five straight seasons of 230 or more innings is not a move that fits into the Rangers’ blueprint for long-term success. Those kind of deals can sink well-balanced clubs. Remember those years with A-Rod?

Given that the pieces never quite fit, and that the denial came straight from the Rangers, you have to wonder if that ESPN New York report professing Texas’ interest was planted by someone in Sabathia’s camp. The Yankees won’t want to bid against themselves this winter. CC might need another suitor to get his raise.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.