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Hunter Pence makes Rangers Opening Day roster

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Back in early February the Rangers signed Hunter Pence to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Oftentimes when a big name on the back end of his career signs such a deal it, well, doesn’t turn out great and that spring training stint is the swan song of a nice career. That’s not the case with Pence, though. He has made the Rangers’ Opening Day roster.

Pence, 35, is batting .356 in 45 at bats with three homers, seven RBI, five doubles and six stolen bases in six attempts. And I suppose he picked the right team to do his spring thing with, because the Rangers have room for him. The current depth chart doesn’t have a better fourth outfielder option behind Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Delino DeShields.

Whether he sticks on the roster depends on whether this bounce back continues. Last year he played 97 games with the Giants, hitting a mere .226/.358/.332 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 248 plate appearances. Here’s hoping for a better 2019.

Gio González is now a free agent

Gio Gonzalez
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Everyone suspected this would happen and now it has: Gio González has requested and has been granted his release from his minor league deal with the Yankees. He is a free agent.

González stood to earn a $3 million salary if the Yankees elect to add him to the 25-man roster, with additional bonuses of $300,000 pending each start he makes after that, but nothing he did at Triple-A merited a callup. He issued 10 runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts over his first 15 innings in the minors. He fired his agent, Scott Boras, late last week and hired CAA Baseball instead.

No word on whether CAA will be better at convincing anyone to sign a guy who walked six guys in 15 minor league innings to a big league deal than Boras was, frankly. My guess is that González will be on another minor league deal again soon if he wants to pitch in 2019.