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Rangers acquire Welington Castillo, expected to decline 2020 option

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On Thursday, the Rangers announced that the club acquired catcher Welington Castillo and international slot money ($250,000) from the White Sox in exchange for minor leaguer Jonah McReynolds. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand says the Rangers are expected to decline Castillo’s $8 million club option for the 2020 season, instead buying him out for $500,000.

Obviously, the acquisition of Castillo was all about the international slot money. They essentially converted $500,000 of non-applicable cash into $250,000 international cash. The Rangers aren’t novel for doing it, but it’s still funny to see when it happens.

Castillo, 32, will soon become a free agent. This past season with the White Sox, he hit .209/.267/.417 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 251 plate appearances serving as the understudy to James McCann behind the plate.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).