Report: Rangers interested in Luiz Gohara

Luiz Gohara
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rangers have sent several scouts to observe Braves pitching prospect Luiz Gohara. The Braves appear to have similar interest in relievers Keone Kela and Jake Diekman (and, to a lesser extent, Adrian Beltre), though a deal doesn’t appear to be in the works just yet — and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal hears that they may be more interested in swapping for a starter with several years of control, rather than a package deal for more bullpen assistance.

Gohara, 21, placed sixth among the Braves’ prospects in MLB Pipeline’s midseason rankings. The left-hander has long been lauded for his exceptional fastball and improving slider and changeup, but hasn’t looked quite himself this season after turning in a 5.44 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 43 innings at the Double- and Triple-A levels. During nine outings in the big leagues, Gohara allowed 13 runs, three homers and struck out 18 batters in 19 2/3 innings. There’s still plenty of potential left to offset his struggles with velocity and command, however, and The Athletic’s David O’Brien adds that a deal is likely imminent if Gohara “shows anything at all” during his start on Sunday. (He also notes that while the Rangers’ scouts traveled Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the Rangers/Yankees’ Triple-A contest, they were not there specifically to see Gohara.)

Kela, 25, is one of several bullpen arms the Rangers are shopping this month. The right-hander logged 23 saves with a solid 3.28 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 10.9 SO/9 in 35 2/3 innings this season and has drawn interest from the Dodgers, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Indians and Giants in addition to the Braves. Five of those teams showed up to scout Kela on Saturday, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Diekman, 31, has looked a little less dominant than his teammate this year after producing a 3.79 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 10.9 SO/9 through 38 innings. He’s also drawn considerable interest as teams approach the trade deadline, though, and could bolster a Braves’ bullpen that currently ranks seventh in the NL with a combined 3.61 ERA and 1.8 fWAR.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.