Minor jumped at chance to join Rangers

Possibility of starting allowed the southpaw to head to Texas

February 18th, 2018

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers left-handed pitcher Mike Minor said there is a reason why his free agency went smoothly and he didn't get caught up in the unusually slow market.

"I had a good agent," Minor said.

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His agent -- B.B. Abbott -- was able to negotiate a three-year, $28 million deal with the Rangers just before the start of the Winter Meetings. Minor was just one of six free-agent pitchers who received at least a three-year deal this offseason.

"I kept up with the free-agent market the last couple of years," Minor said. "We both talked about it, and we both agreed we would make a decision around the Winter Meetings. It seems like after the Winter Meetings and the new year rolls around, teams start to prepare for the season with what they have.

"I didn't want to wait around for the best effort. I was fortunate there were a lot of teams interested and throwing out offers. I've talked to guys who say it was really strange. Teams were calling and saying they were interested, but not making official offers."

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Clubs were interested in Minor because he had an outstanding season with the Royals in 2017 while pitching out of the bullpen. After missing two years because of arm injuries, Minor made 65 appearances for the Royals and was 6-6 with six saves, a 2.55 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.

Most of the teams interested in Minor wanted him for their bullpen. But he was a starter for the Braves in 2010-14, and the Rangers were the only team willing to give him at least a chance to start.

"It was more than just that, but they did give me the option," Minor said. "I thought this was a good fit for me."

Barney joins altercation rivals

was the starting second baseman for the Blue Jays on May 15, 2016, against the Rangers. That was the game that Rangers second baseman slugged in an altercation on the basepaths.

That was part of a heated rivalry between the two teams over the past two years, and now Barney finds himself trying to make the Rangers as a non-roster invitee.

"I wouldn't say it didn't matter at all or it didn't cross my mind," Barney said. "Baseball is very competitive. It happens. At the end of the day, we are all professionals. I have the ultimate respect for guys in that clubhouse and this clubhouse."

Barney is a standout defensive player who won a Gold Glove at second base for the Cubs in 2012. Now, Odor will be taking ground balls with him in Rangers camp.

"There is a lot of value in that," manager Jeff Banister said.

Plouffe not interested in Minors

Infielder was signed to a Minor League contract basically to give the Rangers some depth at third base behind . Plouffe was the Twins' everyday third baseman from 2012-16, but now he is competing with Barney, and others for a utility spot.

"I think I have shown I can play most positions," Plouffe said. "I have played everywhere on the field except center field, pitcher and catcher."

Plouffe has the right to choose free agency at the end of Spring Training if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster. He doesn't foresee accepting a Minor League assignment.

"I don't think that's an option at this point," Plouffe said. "I'm a Major League player."

Rangers beat

• Reliever Steve Delabar was an All-Star for the Blue Jays in 2013 and has been impressive in his early throwing sessions.

• Right-hander made six relief appearances for the Rangers at the end of last year. But he has made 253 starts in his professional career, and he will be stretched out as a starter in camp.

• Beltre is expected to report on Monday.