Texas Rangers

Report: Rangers sign Julio Pablo Martinez for $2.8 million

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Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Rangers have signed Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez for $2.8 million, the remaining sum in the Rangers’ international bonus pool.

Martinez, 21, is now ranked No. 60 in Baseball America’s Top 100 and is listed at No. 3 in the Rangers’ system behind Willie Calhoun and Leody Taveras. Martinez has played professional baseball since the age of 16, spending five seasons in the Cuban National Series and his last two in the Canadian-American Association. He’s highly regarded for a combination of power, speed, and athleticism while playing one of the more valuable positions (center field).

This past season with the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Canadian-American Association, Martinez hit .297/.345/.449 with seven home runs, 20 RBI, 48 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 255 plate appearances.

Badler suggests Martinez could start his minor league career at High-A Down East or Double-A Frisco.

Brad Ausmus interviewing for Astros manager job

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I did the Handsome Managers list in December. Thought I had moved on. Thought I’d never have to think about him again. But here is, walking right back in my door: Brad Ausmus is interviewing for the vacant Astros manager job. So reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Ausmus played for the Astros longer than he played for any other team in the bigs, notching ten years of service in two stints and playing on the 2005 NL Pennant-winning club. As a manager, you know, that he led the Tigers for four seasons and was the Angels’ skipper last year.

Houston has already interviewed Dusty Baker for the job. They’ll presumably want someone in place before spring training begins in a few weeks.