The Rangers have activated pitcher Derek Holland from the disabled list, Stefan Stevens of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Holland is slated to start on Tuesday in Kansas City against the Royals. Mike Carp has been designated for assignment. Pitcher Nick Tepesch has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock “for paperwork reasons”; he’s still scheduled to start on Wednesday. Rosters will expand on Monday. The Rangers have also recalled pitcher Robbie Ross.
Holland underwent microfracture knee surgery in January when his dog tripped him on the stairs in his home. When the lefty makes his 2014 debut, he’ll become the 60th player to play for the Rangers this season, which will set a major league record.
Carp struggled in 46 plate appearances for the Rangers after he was picked up on a waiver claim from the Red Sox on August 3. He slashed .125/.217/.125 with zero home runs and four RBI.
Aside from an ugly start against the Royals on August 23, Tepesch has shown improvement in the second half, posting a 3.72 ERA in his last six starts. It would have been odd if the Rangers had demoted him for any other reason.
Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.
While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.
Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.
Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.
For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.