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.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.

Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.

Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.

Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.