Rangers considering trade for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey

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The Royals have already been identified as one of the six or seven teams interested in executing a trade for the Mets’ R.A. Dickey. Now we can identify another.

From MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan comes word that the Rangers are also very interested in acquiring Dickey and plan to meet with the Mets at the annual Winter Meetings this week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dickey was drafted 18th overall by the Rangers back in 1996 and spent close to 10 years in their system before fizzling out and then reinventing himself as a knuckleballer. Now 38 years old, he posted a 2.73 ERA and 230/54 K/BB ratio across 233 2/3 innings in 2012 on the way to winning the NL Cy Young Award.

Dickey is under contract at a salary of $5 million in 2013. He will be a free agent after that.

The Mets are said to seeking a catcher and outfield help in a return package.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.