Rangers call up Carlos Pena

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Signed to a minor-league contract by the Rangers last week, veteran first baseman Carlos Pena is back in the majors as part of Texas’ never-ending need for injury reinforcements.

Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland are both out for the season, so Pena will get a chance to take over at first base. He can still draw walks in bunches and has solid power, but Pena is 36 years old and has hit just .201 with a .678 OPS in 249 games since the beginning of 2012. He hasn’t cracked a .230 batting average since way back in 2008.

He’ll replace 32-year-old career minor leaguer Brad Snyder, who didn’t get much of an opportunity after putting up big numbers at Triple-A. Snyder heads back to the minors with a .167 batting average in 10 games.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.