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Rangers finalize 1-year deal with Asdrubal

McAllister signs 1-year deal; Heineman won't be ready for start of season
January 22, 2019

DALLAS -- The Rangers announced on Thursday that they have signed free-agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year contract. Sources told MLB.com that the deal is worth $3.5 million, but the club did not confirm the value of the contract.   To make room on its Major League roster for

DALLAS -- The Rangers announced on Thursday that they have signed free-agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year contract. Sources told MLB.com that the deal is worth $3.5 million, but the club did not confirm the value of the contract.
 
To make room on its Major League roster for Cabrera, the team designated infielder Jack Reinheimer for assignment.
With Thursday's transactions, the Rangers still have 62 players on their Spring Training roster: a full 40-man Major League roster, along with 22 non-roster invitees.
Cabrera adds significant versatility as a switch-hitter who can play third, short and second base. Shortstop has been Cabrera's primary position in his career, but he has played in 66 games at the hot corner over the past two seasons with the Mets and Phillies. General manager Jon Daniels said Cabrera was signed with the idea of being the Rangers' starting third baseman although Patrick Wisdom, acquired from the Cardinals earlier this offseason, will get a strong look in Spring Training.
"That's the opportunity," Daniels said. "That's what we discussed with Asdrubel. That's the way we are looking going into camp. Things can change, but he'll get the opportunity to be our third baseman. There is still an opportunity for Patrick to make our club."
The 33-year-old veteran Cabrera began last season with the Mets before being traded to the Phillies on July 27. He played in 147 combined games and slashed .262/.316/.458 with 36 doubles, 23 home runs and 75 RBIs.
"He is a smart hitter and good from both sides of the plate," Daniels said. "He is a veteran hitter who has an idea of what he is trying to do. His offense hasn't lost anything. He has power from both sides and a good eye. He is a switch-hitter and after trading Jurickson Profar, he fits our club."
Texas' need is at third base, with Elvis Andrus locked in at shortstop and Rougned Odor at second. Wisdom, who joined Texas in December, he has just 32 games of Major League experience.
Wisdom played in 107 games at Triple-A Memphis in 2018, compiling a .288/.363/.480 slash line with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. He is also considered an accomplished defensive player.
There is a possibility that Wisdom, a right-handed hitter, and Cabrera could share third-base duties. That would allow the Rangers to use Cabrera as their utility infielder as well.
"[Cabrera] has less time [at third base] than up the middle, but he has a lot of experience on the left side of the infield," Daniels said. "He has really good hands and a strong enough arm to play there. As he gotten older, his range is not what it once was at shortstop, but we think he'll be solid at third base and be able to spell guys at other spots."
Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have both played third base before but are not in the mix right now. The Rangers want Gallo to play the outfield, while Kiner-Falefa will concentrate on his development as a catcher.
Rangers sign McAllister
The Rangers signed right-handed reliever Zach McAllister to a one-year, $1 million contract plus incentives in the hope that he can return to the level he pitched at from 2015-17.
McAllister pitched for the Indians for almost all of his eight-year career and became a full-time reliever in 2015. In that three-year period, McAllister went 9-8 with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP over three starts and 161 relief appearances. He averaged 10 strikeouts and 3.3 walks per nine innings.
But the 31-year-old righty struggled last year with a 4.97 ERA in 41 games before being released by the Indians on Aug. 7. He pitched in three games for the Tigers before they designated him for assignment. The Dodgers signed McAllister on Aug. 27, but he did not pitch with them in the big leagues.
McAllister is a hard thrower who averages 95-96 mph on his fastball. His offspeed stuff can be inconsistent, but when it is working, McAllister can be dominating.
Heineman won't be ready for start of season
The Rangers disclosed on Tuesday that outfielder Scott Heineman underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The procedure took place on Dec. 10, and Daniels said that Texas doesn't expect Heineman to be ready to play in a game until the end of April.
Heineman was the Rangers' Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .295/.355/.429 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs at Triple-A Round Rock in 2018. He was coming to big league camp with a chance to make the team as a fourth outfielder.
"Outfield is an area we are still looking at for depth and to create some competition," Daniels said.
Guerrieri, Tonkin, Sanchez get Minor deals
The Rangers have signed right-handers Christopher Guerrieri and Michael Tonkin as well as catcher Tony Sanchez to Minor League contracts. All three have received an invitation to Major League camp.
Guerrieri, 26, made nine relief appearances for the Blue Jays in September, allowing five runs in 9 2/3 innings. Most of the right-hander's season was spent at Triple-A Buffalo, where he went 2-2 with a 5.18 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in 23 games (seven starts).
Tonkin, 29, spent last season with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the Pacific League of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, where he was 4-4 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 53 relief appearances. The right-hander pitched in 141 games for the Twins from 2013-17, going 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.
Sanchez, 30, appeared in 62 games at Triple-A Round Rock last season, hitting .300 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .455 slugging percentage. He has 52 games of Major League experience -- all but one with the Pirates from 2013-15 (Braves in '17). In 144 career at-bats, he has a .257/.301/.375 slash line, four home runs and 18 RBIs.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.