Jon Daniels: Rangers not in on James Shields or Max Scherzer

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Speaking with MLB Network Radio, Rangers GM Jon Daniels said the Rangers are not involved in talks with free agent starters James Shields or Max Scherzer, per Jim Bowden on Twitter.

The Rangers, however, were recently linked to Phillies starter Cole Hamels. As Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reported, the Phillies’ assumption of part of the lefty’s salary remains a stumbling block. The Rangers have an estimated payroll north of $130 million, close to 2014’s $133 million. The Phillies, in the hunt for catching prospects, would likely require Jorge Alfaro to be included in any deal.

The Tigers, Diamondbacks, and Marlins have been linked to Shields recently but all are certainly hoping Shields’ demands drop down from five years and close to $100 million. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported earlier that Shields’ agent had been in “recent” contact with the Tigers.

Scherzer has drawn interest from the Tigers and Cardinals as of late.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.