UPDATE: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the deal is done.
3:45 PM: Derek Lowe is close to agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Rangers, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Grant seems to suggest that Lowe will make the Opening Day pitching staff, although it’s hard to imagine why that would be guaranteed for a 40-year-old coming off back-to-back seasons with an ERA above 5.00.
Lowe could start or relieve, and if he does make the team out of spring training he’d presumably be keeping a spot warm until Colby Lewis and/or Martin Perez get healthy. Last season for the Braves and Indians he posted a 5.11 ERA in 143 innings with a .321 opponents’ batting average and nearly as many walks (51) as strikeouts (55).
The Tampa Bay Rays were reported this week to be “open for business” as far as trades go. Normally that means nothing happens until late June or something. The Rays are getting right down to it, though, as they’ve just traded closer Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners, who have played some outstanding ball lately thanks to some outstanding starting pitching, and are looking to bolster other areas as they make a push in the AL West, will likely slot Colome into a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz. Span will take over center field, allowing Dee Gordon to, eventually anyway, once he recovers from a fractured toe, cover for the suspended Robinson Cano at second base. If the M’s make the playoffs he’d likely do so in the postseason too, given that Cano will be ineligible for any October play due to his suspension.
Colome has saved 11 games for the Rays, with a 4.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 23/8 in 21.2 innings.Span is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.
Two players are going back to the Rays: righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2015 and made his big league debut last season, pitching 59 innings in 2018 but back in the minors so far in 2018. Romero was a 15th rounder for Seattle in 2017 and is currently plying his trade in A-ball.
The Rays, as expected, are using the 2018 season to acquire prospects. The Mariners, who are unexpectedly strong in the early going, are trying to go for it even harder. Quite a big trade for late May.