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.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.