Ray Davis named “control person” of the Texas Rangers

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Nolan Ryan used to be the Texas Rangers’ “control person.” Now it’s Ray Davis, who was ratified as such by the owners and Bud Selig today down at the owners’ meetings in Orlando.

Not that that means he really controls the Rangers the way we normally think of that term. It just means that he is the person who is accountable to Major League Baseball for the operation of the Club and for the Club’s compliance with the rules of Baseball. The guy Bud calls on the carpet if things are bad and the guy who gets to appear at celebratory press conferences if things are good.

Sometimes the control person actually runs the team. Sometimes he’s just the face while more anonymous monied interests retain control a la a board of directors or something. The Rangers are like that. The Giants are too. So don’t necessarily get used to stories about “Ray Davis calling the shots in Texas.”

And that’s the case even if people liked to pretend that Nolan Ryan did that when he was the control person before Davis.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.