UPDATE: Ryan confirmed to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston that the Rangers have an offer out to Berkman. Meanwhile, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow tells Berman that the club has been in touch with Berkman over the past two days and that talks are continuing.
3:30 PM ET: We know that the Rangers are one of the teams interested in Lance Berkman. Jon Heyman reports that, to woo the Puma, they are using their secret weapon: Nolan Ryan:
Ryan, a former Astros great as well as a former Rangers great, has a connection to Berkman and is said to be spearheading the Rangers’ efforts to land Berkman.
If memory serves, Ryan also personally reached out to Roy Oswalt last year. Hey, if it first you don’t succeed with signing over-the-hill ex-Astros, try, try again.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.