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Rangers sign right-hander Lynn to 3-year deal

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Lance Lynn needs a full offseason and Spring Training. The Rangers need a proven pitcher with a track record who can provide a much-needed boost to their rotation.

The two sides appear to be a fortuitous match and the Rangers formally announced on Tuesday afternoon they have reached an agreement with Lynn on a three-year, $30 million contract.

ARLINGTON -- Lance Lynn needs a full offseason and Spring Training. The Rangers need a proven pitcher with a track record who can provide a much-needed boost to their rotation.

The two sides appear to be a fortuitous match and the Rangers formally announced on Tuesday afternoon they have reached an agreement with Lynn on a three-year, $30 million contract.

Lynn joins left-hander Mike Minor to give Texas two proven Major League starters at the top of its rotation. The Rangers also have veteran right-hander Edinson Volquez and left-hander Drew Smyly ready to return from Tommy John surgery. Those two did not pitch in the big leagues in 2018, but they are expected to be at full strength come Spring Training.

There is still have much work to do this offseason, but those four veterans give Texas some semblance of a rotation.

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"[Signing Lynn] is a tremendous boost to our group," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "Obviously they want to go out and win games, and this move kind of solidifies that at the top of the rotation. We've got some pretty good arms at the top, and from an offensive standpoint, we just look at it as these guys are going to get outs for us, and we're going to go score some runs. It's a huge boost for all of us, just knowing that we're going to push this thing forward, and Lance is going to be a big part of it."

Lynn was a free agent last winter who didn't get a job until signing a one-year deal with the Twins on March 12. He finished 10-10 in 2018 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 29 starts and two relief appearances. But the Rangers saw a much-improved pitcher after a July 31 trade to the Yankees. Lynn went 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP over his final 11 outings.

"We look at his track record … extremely consistent, durable, winning performer on a Major League staff," Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. "Look at it last year, he really didn't have a traditional offseason or Spring Training. Once he settled in, made a small adjustment in midseason, he was very effective in the American League."

Lynn said the adjustment was suggested by Twins pitching coach Garvin Alston one start before he was traded to the Yankees. Lynn was standing too far toward first base on the pitching rubber and didn't have his feet firmly planted so he could drive off the mound. Once he fixed his footwork, it made a big difference in his pitching.

"Kind of kept me on line toward home plate," Lynn said. "I felt strong with my lower half and was able to throw the ball where I wanted to."

Video: Lance Lynn talks about shift he made on rubber

Lynn was the 39th overall pick by the Cardinals in the 2008 Draft out of the University of Mississippi, and he made his Major League debut in 2011. He was part of the Cardinals' bullpen when they beat the Rangers in the '11 World Series before moving into their rotation the following season.

Lynn, an All-Star and 18-game winner in 2012, was 60-38 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP over 126 starts and six relief appearances for the Cardinals from 2012-15. He missed all of 2016 while recovering from Tommy John surgery but came back strong in '17. Lynn was 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 33 starts that season before becoming a free agent.

Considered one of the top starting pitchers in last year's free-agent market, Lynn had to wait longer than expected to get a job. The Rangers moved quicker on him this winter after J.A. Happ signed with the Yankees and Charlie Morton went to the Rays.

"Just knowing where you are going to be gives you a peace of mind," Lynn said. "I am looking forward to that, getting things situated so I don't have to show up on the fly and get ready for the season. I had two weeks before the season started when I showed up for Spring Training [in 2018]. To have all that, know where I am going to be, and get a place all set up, have a comfort zone and get to know the guys, I'm really looking forward to that and being a part of something here."

The Rangers are still working on their rotation. They have the financial flexibility to continue to pursue free-agent starters, and right-hander Mike Fiers has attracted their attention among the many pitchers still available.

Video: Fiers non-tendered by A's, becomes a free agent

Texas is also exploring which clubs are willing to trade young starting pitching. The Phillies, Mets and Braves are among the teams with depth in that area. The Phillies have interest in Minor, the Mets could use reliever Jose Leclerc in their bullpen and the Braves need outfield help.

The Rangers have multiple options they are still working through as the offseason reaches the halfway point.

"We go into the offseason with an overall plan," Daniels said. "You want everything to fit together as a puzzle, but the reality is you can't control the whole choreography of everything coming together at once. Every move has to make sense on its own, so that's how we view this with Lance.

"Regardless of what happens the rest of the winter, he fits. He fits for us short-term, and he fits going forward. The track record, the consistency, he has been a strong performer and quite frankly, we needed that."

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.

Texas Rangers, Lance Lynn

Bush reunites with Rangers on Minors deal

Rehabbing reliever, three others also receive Spring Training invites
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Right-handed reliever Matt Bush is staying with the Rangers, the club announced on Monday.

Bush is one of four players -- along with pitchers Zac Curtis and Tim Dillard and infielder Chase d'Arnaud -- who have agreed to a Minor League contract with the Rangers. All four will be in Major League camp for Spring Training.

ARLINGTON -- Right-handed reliever Matt Bush is staying with the Rangers, the club announced on Monday.

Bush is one of four players -- along with pitchers Zac Curtis and Tim Dillard and infielder Chase d'Arnaud -- who have agreed to a Minor League contract with the Rangers. All four will be in Major League camp for Spring Training.

Bush, who turns 33 in February, became a free agent when the Rangers did not tender him a contract before the Nov. 30 deadline. He underwent surgery on Sept. 19 to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is not expected to be ready until the second half of the season.

But the Rangers wanted him back, and Bush made it clear he didn't want to go anywhere else. He is expected to resume a throwing program on Jan. 1.

"I never wanted to leave," Bush said. "This is home. The phase we are going into, I want to be a part of it. I can't wait to get back on the field."

Video: LAA@TEX: Bush makes a nice catch on Ohtani's liner

The Rangers are hoping to get Bush back to the level where he was at as a rookie in 2016, when he went 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Bush pitched in just 21 games for the Rangers last season, with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP before going on the disabled list on June 15. He missed the rest of the season.

The Rangers claimed Curtis, a left-handed reliever, off waivers from the Phillies on Aug. 7, and the 26-year-old appeared in eight games for them. Over 16 1/3 innings between Philadelphia and Texas in 2018, he allowed 12 hits and struck out 18. The problem was he walked 19 batters and ended up with a 4.96 ERA.

Curtis is a hard-throwing lefty with a fastball and slider combination that gets swings and misses from hitters. He has held opponents to a .226 batting average over 42 Major League outings with the D-backs, Mariners, Phillies and Rangers. He has also struck out 8.1 batters per nine innings but walked 8.3.

Video: MIN@TEX: Curtis retires Polanco in Rangers debut

Dillard is a side-arming right-hander who throws strikes but is not overpowering. He made 73 appearances with the Brewers from 2008-09 and 2011-12, with a 4.70 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .286 opponents' batting average, 6.6 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per nine innings.

The Brewers selected Dillard in the 34th round of the 2002 Draft, and the 35-year-old has spent all or parts of 12 seasons at Triple-A, including the last four with Colorado Springs.

Video: CHC@MIL: Dillard induces fly out, gets out of trouble

The Rangers view d'Arnaud as a candidate to be their utility infielder. He has played every position except catcher. He even pitched an inning for the Giants last season.

d'Arnaud, a right-handed hitter, has played in parts of seven Major League seasons with the Pirates, Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, Padres and Giants. He has a career .222 batting average, .273 on-base percentage and .316 slugging percentage. The 31-year-old is the brother of Major League catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

"He is a versatile guy with experience and athleticism who can play all over the field," Rangers assistant general manager Josh Boyd said.

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.

Texas Rangers, Matt Bush, Zac Curtis, Chase d'Arnaud, Tim Dillard

Rangers visit children's hospitals on holiday trip

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

FORT WORTH,Texas -- The Rangers announced Monday that pitcher Matt Bush was re-signing with them. The timing turned out to be perfect.

It allowed Bush to join others in the organization for its annual visit to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth on Monday. The Rangers will make a similar visit to Children's Medical Center Dallas on Tuesday as part of their annual holiday celebration.

FORT WORTH,Texas -- The Rangers announced Monday that pitcher Matt Bush was re-signing with them. The timing turned out to be perfect.

It allowed Bush to join others in the organization for its annual visit to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth on Monday. The Rangers will make a similar visit to Children's Medical Center Dallas on Tuesday as part of their annual holiday celebration.

"We just want to be with the kids and help put a smile on their faces," Bush said.

"I also do some charity stuff for the children's hospital in Atlanta, so I always enjoy coming out here," Delino DeShields said. "I think they really appreciate us being here."

Joining Bush and DeShields were teammates Willie Calhoun, Joey Gallo, Nick Gardewine, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Chris Martin. Also in attendance were broadcasters Eric Nadel, Emily Jones, Matt Hicks, Mark McLemore, Dave Raymond and Eleno Ornelas, front-office executives Josh Boyd, Raul Cardenas and Michael Young, and owners Ray Davis and Neil Leibman.

And, of course, there was Rangers Captain. The Rangers' ever-present mascot steals the show whenever the team is around young children.

"It's always special for everybody to come here," Gallo said. "I always want to make sure I am in town to visit the kids. This is something we take pride in and we love to do."

Martin was especially busy on Monday. In addition to the hospital visit, Martin served as the honorary chairman for the Rangers in the Cowboys Santas Toy Drive. The public finale was held on Monday evening at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

This is the eighth consecutive year in which the Rangers have been involved in the initiative, which provides toys to children from low-income Tarrant County families during the holiday season. The toy drive and the hospital visits are significant endeavors in the Rangers' mission of maintaining a strong presence in the North Texas community.

"Getting to see all the kids, [it] brightens their day and brightens our day," Martin said. "It means a lot for us and for them. It is special to be here and show our love for the kids."

This is a special time for Cook Children's Medical Center. It's celebrating its 100th anniversary this year as it opened on March 21, 1918. Cook Children's is annually recognized as one of the best children's hospitals in the United States by U.S. News and World Report and treats more than 100,000 patients a year.

The facility continues to grow with a variety of new attractions to help children in their recovery even beyond its world-class medical care. The Child Life Zone is a state-of-the-art environment that uses games, art, music, creativity and imagination as part of their patients' therapy.

There is a broadcasting studio, recording studio, cooking kitchen, and reading library. Another area of the hospital, called the Flip Side, has a pool table, ping pong table, Wii, X-Box, PAC-MAN machine, air hockey table, racing arcade game and a large-scale projector screen for movies and sporting event watch parties.

There is also the Build-A-Bear Workshop, where children can make their own stuffed animal friend. For those who like the real thing, therapy dogs are a part of the Child Life Zone.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth remains a vital institution in the city, and that's why the Rangers were happy to be there on Monday.

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.

Texas Rangers

Source: Rangers mull dealing Minor to Phillies

Veteran lefty may net young, controllable pitching Texas covets
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Phillies have expressed interest in left-hander Mike Minor, who is currently the Rangers' No. 1 starter. It is a move Texas has to consider because Philadelphia is deep in young, controllable pitching.

Acquiring young pitching has been the Rangers' goal this offseason, and there could be an attractive match with the Phillies. One source said the Rangers would be willing to trade Minor if the Phillies are willing to give up at least a couple of their better young pitching prospects.

ARLINGTON -- The Phillies have expressed interest in left-hander Mike Minor, who is currently the Rangers' No. 1 starter. It is a move Texas has to consider because Philadelphia is deep in young, controllable pitching.

Acquiring young pitching has been the Rangers' goal this offseason, and there could be an attractive match with the Phillies. One source said the Rangers would be willing to trade Minor if the Phillies are willing to give up at least a couple of their better young pitching prospects.

"We are still in the pursuit [stage]," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said about the overall quest for young pitching. "We probably spent more [time] overall discussing with other teams some of the players on our club that they are interested in, [to] see what fits are there."

Minor made a successful transition to the rotation this past season after an outstanding year as a reliever for the Royals in 2017. He was 12-8 with a 4.18 ERA in the first season of a three-year contract. The Phillies could also be interested in Minor as a reliever and their interest may depend on if they land free agent left-hander Andrew Miller.

The Phillies are deep in young pitching -- including left-handers Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin, plus right-handers Enyel De Los Santos and Drew Anderson. All were at Triple-A at the end of last season.

Some of the Phillies' best pitching prospects are in the lower levels of the Minors. Right-handers Sixto Sanchez and Adonis Medina, and left-handers David Parkinson and Kyle Young were in Class A, while left-hander JoJo Romero was at Double-A.

• The Rangers are among the teams showing interest in free-agent righty Mike Fiers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com. The Reds, Giants and Nationals are also considered to be in the mix.

Fiers, 33, split the season with the Tigers and the Athletics, going 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 30 starts and one relief appearance. He would give the Rangers a third proven starter behind Minor and right-hander Lance Lynn. The Rangers reached an agreement on a three-year, $30 million contract with Lynn at the Winter Meetings, but an official announcement is pending a physical.

• Texas has not announced it yet, but it reached an agreement during the Winter Meetings on a Minor League contract with outfielder Danny Santana. He has 364 games of Major League experience with the Twins and Braves. He owns a career batting average of .256 with a .292 on-base percentage and a .375 slugging percentage.

Video: CIN@ATL: Santana hits game-tying RBI double to right

• The Rangers are also working on a Minor League contract for right-handed pitcher Rafael Montero. He was 5-11 with a 5.52 ERA in 18 starts and 16 relief appearances for the Mets in 2017 before missing all of last season because of Tommy John surgery.

• Texas claimed infielder Carlos Asuaje off waivers from the Padres at the Winter Meetings, but he may end up playing in the Korea Baseball Organization.

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.

Texas Rangers, Mike Minor

Texas closes busy Meetings with Claudio trade

Rangers gain Competitive Balance pick, make splash with Wisdom, Lynn
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers made a potential impact move for the future when they traded pitcher Alex Claudio to the Brewers for their Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick.

The Rangers are expecting to draft a top prospect with the pick. The Competitive Balance Round A takes place immediately after the first round and certain compensation selections of the Major League Baseball Draft.

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers made a potential impact move for the future when they traded pitcher Alex Claudio to the Brewers for their Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick.

The Rangers are expecting to draft a top prospect with the pick. The Competitive Balance Round A takes place immediately after the first round and certain compensation selections of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Right now, it would be the 40th overall pick but could drop to 41 if the D-backs get compensation for free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock. The D-backs would get a compensation pick if Pollock signs for more than $50 million.

Either way, the pick could still be a significant acquisition. The Rangers took Joey Gallo with the 39th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.

"It is hard to acquire premium young talent," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The opportunity provided by that Draft pick is pretty significant. Obviously, you have a chance to take one of the top players in the country. I love Alex. He has been a great pitcher for us … but you couldn't acquire a prospect at the level we'll hopefully be able to select in the Draft there. The chance to obtain high-end talent made too much sense for us."

Claudio was the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year in 2017 when he went 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. That production slipped this past season when he went 4-2 with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 66 games. But that didn't deter the Brewers' interest.

Video: Chris Woodward on important Rangers issues to address

"Claudio is a pitcher that we've had our eye on for some time," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "He's been one of the more consistent and durable left-handed pitchers in baseball over the past couple of years. He still has plenty of team control remaining, and so it was a logical fit.

"He's a guy who puts a ton of balls on the ground. He has huge ground-ball rates. And every now and then, you have years when you're a ground-ball pitcher that the ground balls find holes. That's what happened to him last year."

The trade was the fourth significant move for the Rangers at the Winter Meetings. On Wednesday, they reached an agreement with free-agent pitcher Lance Lynn on a three-year, $30 million contract, according to sources, although the deal is still pending a physical.

Earlier in the Meetings, the Rangers claimed infielder Carlos Asuaje off waivers from the Padres and acquired third baseman Patrick Wisdom from the Cardinals in exchange for utility player Drew Robinson.

Video: Sullivan on Rangers reportedly adding Lynn to staff

Biggest remaining needs
1. Starting pitching: Lynn was a good start for the Rangers, but they still need more rotation help. Right now, Texas' rotation is Mike Minor, Lynn, Edinson Volquez, Drew Smyly and either Yohander Mendez or Ariel Jurado. There is still plenty of starting pitching left on the free-agent market, and the Rangers are still looking to trade for young controllable pitchers.

2. Relief pitching: The Rangers have added Jesse Chavez this winter, but they still need more relief help behind closer Jose Leclerc, especially after trading Claudio. Left-hander Jake Diekman is still out there so a reunion between him and the Rangers could make sense.

3. Bench depth: The Rangers appear set in the starting lineup unless a big trade comes down. But they could still use more catching depth and a utility infielder.

Rule 5 Draft
The Rangers gained a reliever when they acquired pitcher Jordan Romano through the White Sox from the Blue Jays. He has been a starter in the Blue Jays' system, but the Rangers will use him in relief. But Texas lost hard-throwing right-hander Reed Garrett, when he was selected by the Tigers.

In the Minor League phase, the Rangers selected right-handed pitcher Jeffeson Medina from the Orioles. The Cardinals took right-hander John Fasola out of the Rangers' system.

GM's bottom line
"We have had conversations at a level where things could move," said Daniels. "Everybody is juggling a lot of options. We were able to accomplish a few things, and the groundwork has been laid for other moves. What the timing is, I don't know. There will be more movement."

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.

Texas Rangers, Alex Claudio

Rangers deal for Rule 5 Draft pick Romano

Righty initially selected by White Sox; Texas loses Garrett to Tigers
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers have acquired right-handed pitcher Jordan Romano through some quick dealings during the Rule 5 Draft with the intention of moving him from starter to a possible relief role.

Romano was taken by the White Sox with the third overall pick and then traded to the Rangers for cash considerations. The Rangers used the seventh pick to take right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis from the Cardinals and then sent him to the Royals, also for cash considerations.

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers have acquired right-handed pitcher Jordan Romano through some quick dealings during the Rule 5 Draft with the intention of moving him from starter to a possible relief role.

Romano was taken by the White Sox with the third overall pick and then traded to the Rangers for cash considerations. The Rangers used the seventh pick to take right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis from the Cardinals and then sent him to the Royals, also for cash considerations.

Romano, the No. 28 prospect in the Blue Jays organization, made 25 starts at Double-A New Hampshire, going 11-8 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He struck out 8.2 batters and walked 2.7 per nine innings before finishing the season with one start at Triple-A Buffalo.

"He has started, but we're going to give him an opportunity to win a bullpen spot," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He is certainly capable of being stretched out and giving multiple innings. We have seen him in shorter stints, and his stuff has played up."

The Rangers expect Romano to feature a mid-90s fastball with a sharp slider as a short reliever.

"He has the profile of a type of guy who has transitioned from starter to the bullpen and stepped up," Daniels said. "Just like a lot of guys, you shorten guys up and their stuff plays up. They end up having more success. That's how we're going to look at him: as a reliever."

Romano has to make the Rangers' 25-man roster out of Spring Training and remain with Texas the entire season or be offered back to the Blue Jays. He was originally taken in the 10th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Oral Roberts University.

The Rangers also lost a reliever in the Rule 5 Draft when hard-throwing right-hander Reed Garrett was taken by the Tigers. The Rangers left Garrett unprotected even though he had a 2.04 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 51 games for Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.

"You don't know who is going to be taken," Daniels said. "There were other pitchers we considered protecting that didn't get taken. You prefer not to lose guys, obviously. My guess is he's going to a team that keeps him. It's a great opportunity for him. If I had to bet on it, we won't get him back. At some point, you've got to make some decisions and take some calculated gambles. That's what it was. We were hoping we weren't going to lose him, but that's part of the deal."

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.

Texas Rangers

Texas lands Wisdom, deals Robinson to Cards

Brandon McCarthy appointed special assistant to GM
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers have acquired third baseman Patrick Wisdom from the Cardinals for utility player Drew Robinson in a trade involving two guys who were blocked in the depth chart with their former team.

Wisdom gives the Rangers a right-handed hitter with some power and the potential to spell switch-hitter Jurickson Profar at third base and left-hander Ronald Guzman at first base. He could also give the Rangers a right-handed-hitting option at designated hitter if Shin-Soo Choo needs a day off or is playing in the outfield.

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers have acquired third baseman Patrick Wisdom from the Cardinals for utility player Drew Robinson in a trade involving two guys who were blocked in the depth chart with their former team.

Wisdom gives the Rangers a right-handed hitter with some power and the potential to spell switch-hitter Jurickson Profar at third base and left-hander Ronald Guzman at first base. He could also give the Rangers a right-handed-hitting option at designated hitter if Shin-Soo Choo needs a day off or is playing in the outfield.

Hot Stove news, rumors

"Good roster fit for us," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Very good defender at third base, can play first base for us. Good baserunner, right-handed power. He has made some meaningful improvements offensively. We have always liked him some, we were looking for a right-handed fit. The positions he plays are of value to us, while St. Louis was looking for a versatile left-hander."

Daniels said the deal was not the prelude to a bigger one involving Profar. The Rangers view Profar as their starting third baseman, while Wisdom gives them depth and protection.

Wisdom has spent much of the past three seasons at Triple-A Memphis. He had a big year for the Cardinals affiliate in 2017, hitting .243 with 31 home runs, 89 RBIs and a .507 slugging percentage. He also had the highest fielding percentage for any third baseman in the Pacific Coast League. Wisdom can also play first base, but his path to the Cardinals was blocked by Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko and Jose Martinez.

He was back at Memphis this past season and hit .288 with 15 home runs, 61 RBIs and a .480 slugging percentage in 107 games. Wisdom also made an impression on the Cardinals by raising his on-base percentage from .310 in 2017 to .363 this past season. He was finally called to the big leagues on Aug. 11 and played in 32 games for the Cardinals, going 13-for-50 with four home runs and 10 RBIs.

Video: STL@DET: Wisdom lays out to make diving stop at third

"It's just a better fit for our roster," Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch said. "We already had right-handed-hitting utility guys, and we were looking to find a place where we could provide Patrick a better opportunity and get us something that fit the roster a little better. It was tough giving up someone like Wisdom, who has been with us a long time. He finally got a shot, did a great job. But in order to make the roster fix, it made sense."

Wisdom was originally drafted by the Tigers with the 52nd overall pick in the 2012 Draft out of St. Mary's College. He played in the 2015 Arizona Fall League and was selected to the All-Prospect team.

Robinson has also put up excellent offensive numbers in the Rangers' farm system; he hit .303 with a .379 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage at Triple-A Round Rock last season. He also developed into a valuable utility player by being able to play every position but pitcher and catcher.

But he has never been able to have the same success at the big league level while dealing with declining playing time and irregular use. He has a career .204 batting average and 99 strikeouts in 216 Major League at-bats. He was blocked in the infield by Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Profar, and in center by Delino DeShields and Carlos Tocci.

Rangers hire McCarthy as special assistant
The Rangers have hired former Major League pitcher Brandon McCarthy as a special assistant to the general manager. McCarthy joins an impressive list of special assistants for Daniels, along with Michael Young, Colby Lewis, Darren Oliver and Ivan Rodriguez.

McCarthy recently retired after starting 15 games for the Braves and going 6-3 with a 4.92 ERA. He spent 14 years in the big leagues with the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, D-backs, Yankees, Dodgers and the Braves before calling it a career.

"Everything hurts," McCarthy said. "Sitting through a four-hour meeting seemed easier than a one-hour workout. I wanted to go out on my own terms rather than being spit out by the baseball washing machine."

McCarthy was with the Rangers from 2007-09 before undergoing shoulder surgery and missing the entire '10 season. He refused outright assignment and became a free agent.

"We are just trying to add smart, driven people that can add a layer to what we are trying to do," Daniels said. "We've known Brandon since he played here, followed his career after he left, picked up different things from every stop both in terms of what he learned on his own and what he saw other teams had to offer."

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.

Texas Rangers, Brandon McCarthy, Patrick Wisdom

Rangers keeping open mind in trade talks

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

LAS VEGAS -- The possibility of the Rangers being a trade match with the Braves involving outfielder Nomar Mazara may be the most intriguing development for Texas at the Winter Meetings.

There are no signs that a deal is imminent. But the Rangers are looking hard for pitching, they are willing to discuss some of their offensive talent and the Braves have a need for a front-line outfielder. The Braves also have an abundance of young pitching that could be used in a trade for immediate help.

LAS VEGAS -- The possibility of the Rangers being a trade match with the Braves involving outfielder Nomar Mazara may be the most intriguing development for Texas at the Winter Meetings.

There are no signs that a deal is imminent. But the Rangers are looking hard for pitching, they are willing to discuss some of their offensive talent and the Braves have a need for a front-line outfielder. The Braves also have an abundance of young pitching that could be used in a trade for immediate help.

"We have talked about a little bit of this and a little bit of that," general manager Jon Daniels said Monday. "Obviously, we need more than one guy. We have talked about free-agent starters on one-year deals, beyond that. Talked about some different trades, more for younger guys."

The Braves' top prospect is right-hander Mike Soroka, 21, who reached the Majors last season and was 2-1 with a 3.51 ERA in five starts before being shut down with shoulder inflammation. Right-hander Kyle Wright, their No. 2 prospect and fifth overall pick out of Vanderbilt in 2017, was a combined 8-9 with a 3.46 ERA in 27 games between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. Right behind them are right-handers Ian Anderson and Touki Toussaint.

Video: NYM@ATL: Soroka strikes out Smith looking

They all might not be ready for the big leagues right away, but Daniels won't be deterred by that if it means getting top talent in return for Mazara or one of his other top young offensive players.

"We would consider that," Daniels said. "We have had those types of discussions where we would trade guys off our big league team for younger talent."

Woodward says Leclerc's role likely expanding

The Rangers still see Mazara as a potential major run producer at the Major League level, having driven in 100 runs in 2017. But outfield depth is a strength for the Rangers, both on the big league team and in the farm system. Texas' top two prospects are outfielders Leody Taveras and Julio Pablo Martinez, and center fielder Bubba Thompson was their No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft.

Video: MIN@TEX: Mazara belts 2 homers, including 20th of '18

The Braves are coming off a 90-win season and a division title, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos appears ready to be aggressive in the trade market.

"I think we encourage conversation," Anthopoulos said. "We say, 'Don't be afraid to ask about anybody, because we're not going to get offended.' I'd rather have the conversation. We encourage ideas, thoughts or free-flowing conversations. We'll consider anything. I know we're not afraid to ask at the same time about other players [from other teams]."

The Rangers might be willing to talk more about their outfield than infielder Jurickson Profar. The Rangers are getting renewed interest in Profar after he re-established himself as a Major League talent in 2018. But right now, he fits with the Rangers as their starting third baseman.

Video: TEX@LAA: Profar drives 433-ft. jack for 20th homer

"Doesn't punch out, doesn't swing and miss," Daniels said. "He hits left-handed pitching, he protects us at a lot of spots. He has great makeup. In the scheme of baseball salaries, he is relatively affordable. He does a lot of things that works for us."

Rangers going to Nashville
The Rangers will play an exhibition game with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds at 1:05 p.m. CT on March 24 in Nashville. The Rangers reached an agreement with the Sounds on a four-year Player Development contract in September.

Rangers claim infielder Asuaje from Padres

The Rangers are scheduled to play the Royals on March 24 in Texas' final Cactus League game in Arizona. But most of the Major League squad is expected to play in Nashville that day before the Rangers return home to Arlington for two exhibition games against the Indians on March 25-26. The Rangers open the regular season on March 28 against the Cubs.

"This is another thrilling and historic day for the Nashville Sounds," Nashville general manager Adam Nuse said. "One of the biggest goals we established with our partnership with the Rangers was to bring a Spring Training exhibition game to First Tennessee Park and the city of Nashville. We can't wait to work with the Rangers to showcase Major League Baseball to this great city and our incredibly supportive fan base."

Rangers beat
• University of North Carolina pitching coach Robert Woodard is expected to join the Rangers as a Minor League pitching coordinator. He will work alongside Danny Clark, who has been the Rangers main Minor League pitching coordinator for the past 10 years.

• Don't look for the Rangers to pursue right-hander Sonny Gray, who is being shopped by the Yankees. He can become a free agent after the season.

Video: NYY@MIN: Gray strikes out Grossman swinging in 3rd

"That doesn't make sense for a one-year guy," Daniels said. "We're not one piece away. It's not like we need a finishing piece to the club where we would part with prospects for a one-year guy. We might part with some of our prospects for controllable assets."

• There have been some discussions about banning defensive shifts, but Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he doesn't see that happening.

"The whole shifting, that's never going to go away," Woodward said. "I've heard talks about that, I don't see how they can do it."

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.

Texas Rangers, Nomar Mazara

Woodward says Leclerc's role likely expanding

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

LAS VEGAS -- Jose Leclerc was brilliant for the Rangers after taking over as closer for the last two months of the 2018 season.

But as the Rangers discuss the best way to build a pitching staff, they remain undecided on what will be the best role for Leclerc going forward. It is not automatic that he will return as closer in 2019. Nothing is automatic these days when it comes to the Rangers' pitching staff.

LAS VEGAS -- Jose Leclerc was brilliant for the Rangers after taking over as closer for the last two months of the 2018 season.

But as the Rangers discuss the best way to build a pitching staff, they remain undecided on what will be the best role for Leclerc going forward. It is not automatic that he will return as closer in 2019. Nothing is automatic these days when it comes to the Rangers' pitching staff.

"He's one of our best pitchers, let's put it that way," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said on Monday at the Winter Meetings. "I would love to have the staff where everything lines up to where he's just our closer every day. But he might be too valuable to pitch more than one inning. We don't want to just limit him. I think to limit him just to say he's our closer, I don't think it's fair to him."

Leclerc took over as closer after Keone Kela was traded to the Pirates at the end of July. Leclerc ended up making 18 appearances over the final two months and did not allow a run in 18 innings. He allowed three hits, walked six and struck out 29. Leclerc was also 12-for-12 in save situations.

Rangers claim infielder Asuaje from Padres

"He's going to be our best pitcher in the biggest situations, the highest-leverage situations he might be pitching, whether it's the seventh inning or the ninth inning," Woodward said. "I think that's kind of where we're at now. It depends when the season starts, Opening Day, and that's how it lines up, and he's just our closer, great. Because that means we have a pretty significant staff. But to be creative, he might be more a two- or three-inning guy, that can pitch some significant innings for us that gives us more a chance to win more games."

Video: Woodward talks about team having winning mentality

The operative phrase is "being creative." That's what the Rangers are up against on a rebuilding team that lost 95 games last season and is working with a limited payroll.

The Rangers came to the Winter Meetings looking for at least three starters and even more relievers. But identifying roles is not as important right now as identifying quality arms. There is a growing possibility the Rangers could end up relying on the "bullpenning" concept of having a reliever open the game for 1-2 innings before turning it over to a pitcher with more length.

That concept is still in the experimental stage all through baseball, but it's obvious that will be part of the Rangers' pitching plan to a certain extent.

"I think we've obviously looked at our pitching staff. … I couldn't tell you today, because I don't know what our pitching staff is going to be," Woodward said. "But we won't have five starters that we can rely on to go 120 pitches. I don't think anybody in baseball has that. We're going to have to decide certain days, whether it's the piggyback situation, whether it's an opener, our best way forward is to try to get a W that day.

Daniels not taking anything off table at Meetings

"To maximize every guy that we have. We can't ignore the fact that some of these numbers and things make sense. And I don't want our pitchers to think that they have to do something that they're not capable of. I want them to maximize what they're capable of right now."

When it comes to pitching, the Rangers have to examine every possible way of finding an advantage. Limiting their best pitcher to just one inning and only in a save situation might not be wise for a team that might have a hard time getting a lead into the ninth inning.

"Yeah, it is a challenge," Woodward said. "We have to be creative. Obviously, we're not done yet. We've got some work. Moving forward, we're going to have to obviously deal with who we have, and hopefully we have some depth. We're going to rely on some young arms. We're going to have to get them along.

"As long as we push the needle forward, they'll be in better shape. They might be put in situations where on other teams they might not be in that situation."

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.

Texas Rangers, Jose Leclerc

Rangers claim infielder Asuaje from Padres

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers, who came into the Winter Meetings looking for a utility infielder, have claimed Carlos Asuaje off waivers from the Padres.

Asuaje has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Padres, being used almost exclusively at second base. He has also played first, third and left field in the Minors.

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers, who came into the Winter Meetings looking for a utility infielder, have claimed Carlos Asuaje off waivers from the Padres.

Asuaje has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Padres, being used almost exclusively at second base. He has also played first, third and left field in the Minors.

Asuaje has played in 175 games in the Majors, and over 586 plate appearances, he has a career batting average of .240 with 45 runs scored, six home runs, 42 RBIs and one stolen base. He has a .312 on-base percentage and a .329 slugging percentage.

"He has a good track record of bat-to-ball skills," Rangers assistant general manager Josh Boyd said. "He has quality at-bats, a toughness at the plate, and we like the way he plays the game all around."

Defense is Asuaje's forte. His .992 fielding percentage at second base over the past three years is the second highest among Major League second basemen with a minimum of 150 games played. His zone rating was the 12th highest among those 30 second basemen.

Finding a utility infielder is of high importance to the Rangers now that Jurickson Profar is their starting third baseman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa is going to concentrate on catching. Hanser Alberto was claimed off waivers by the Yankees on Nov. 2.

The Rangers claimed Jack Reinheimer from the Cubs on Nov. 20, and he has more experience than Asuaje at shortstop.

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.

Texas Rangers, Carlos Asuaje

Rangers' Koo talks rise of analytics at Meetings

'Unfiltered' series launches with talk on data; 'Every team is now smart'
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

LAS VEGAS -- Major League Baseball's Department of Diversity and Inclusion launched its "Unfiltered" series at the Winter Meetings on Monday with a discussion of analytics -- a fitting place to start because it's an area of explosive growth, with teams loading up on smart people from all backgrounds to attack old problems in new ways.

Take the varying paths of Monday's panel participants, starting with Astros director of research and development Ehsan Bokhari. He studied statistics and standardized test development on the way to his last job, developing pitching models for the Dodgers, before moving to Houston, another team at the forefront of statistical development.

LAS VEGAS -- Major League Baseball's Department of Diversity and Inclusion launched its "Unfiltered" series at the Winter Meetings on Monday with a discussion of analytics -- a fitting place to start because it's an area of explosive growth, with teams loading up on smart people from all backgrounds to attack old problems in new ways.

Take the varying paths of Monday's panel participants, starting with Astros director of research and development Ehsan Bokhari. He studied statistics and standardized test development on the way to his last job, developing pitching models for the Dodgers, before moving to Houston, another team at the forefront of statistical development.

Next to him was a former Dodgers colleague, coordinator of performance science Emilee Fragapane, who studied economics and now develops hitting analytics. Rangers baseball operations analyst Andrew Koo wrote and developed research for Baseball Prospectus on the way to a job focused on analytics in amateur and pro scouting for a team still building its infrastructure. And Tigers senior director of baseball analytics and operations Jay Sartori studied finance before getting into baseball, then left for two years at Apple before returning to witness the expansion of analytics throughout the sport. He oversees the various arms of Detroit's research apparatus.

"Every team is now smart. Every team is loading up with people just like this," said MLB Network's Brian Kenny, who moderated the panel in front of job seekers and baseball officials.

Sartori was uniquely positioned to see the changes in the game. He left baseball in 2013 for a job with Apple's App Store, and returned to a new landscape.

"I noticed right away that quite a bit of advancement had been made in data and technology, just in those two years' time," he said. "The pace at which the data is advancing in the game is making it accessible to people who have the ability to deal with data, manipulate data, and help support decisions. It is opening avenues for people to get into the game."

The job is expanding, creating an intersection of data, scouting, coaching and sports medicine. Analytics began as a front-office exercise, focused on making more data-driven decisions about player acquisitions and playing time, but now it is increasingly intertwined with player performance.

Pitchers, armed with previously unavailable information that allows them to quantify the usefulness of their pitches, are making decisions about their pitch selection and sequencing to fit the data. The same is true of hitters and their swings.

That means a big part of the job is communication between the analysts and the men in the dugouts.

"Coaches and players don't want to know the details of the models," Fragapane said. "They want to know what it means."

So do executive vice presidents like Kenny Williams of the White Sox, who in a second "Unfiltered" session praised baseball for its diverse hiring practices in entry- and mid-level positions, but said he was "disappointed" with progress at the very top level of organizations.

Williams spoke of his baseball roots and work ethic, instilled in part by a father who once sued the city of San Jose, Calif., for the right to risk his life working for a mostly white fire department. In his later teens, Williams attended college at Stanford while playing Minor League Baseball, then, after he made it to the Majors at 22, spent his first two offseasons working in the Chicago Bulls' marketing department.

Williams, who would later become the White Sox farm director and then general manager, said he was seeking a diversity of experiences.

"I struggle with the whole issue of diversity, and not just here in baseball, but in life in corporate America," Williams said. "I struggle with people and companies who don't understand that in order to have a well-rounded organization, in order to get the perspective needed to be progressive in whatever the field is, you have to have different voices come to the table. In order to have real conversation, the makeup of your organization has to be such that you can sometimes have difficult discussions."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com.

Four Rangers honored by local media members

Tickets on sale, details announced for Jan. 25 Winter Warmup
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was selected as the Rangers Player of the Year, and reliever Jose Leclerc was named the Pitcher of the Year by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Friday.

Utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa was chosen as the Rookie of the Year, and Delino DeShields won the Harold McKinney Good Guy Award. All four will be honored at the 2019 Dr Pepper Texas Rangers Winter Warmup on Jan. 25 at Texas Live! in Arlington. Details of the team's new event were announced Friday.

ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was selected as the Rangers Player of the Year, and reliever Jose Leclerc was named the Pitcher of the Year by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Friday.

Utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa was chosen as the Rookie of the Year, and Delino DeShields won the Harold McKinney Good Guy Award. All four will be honored at the 2019 Dr Pepper Texas Rangers Winter Warmup on Jan. 25 at Texas Live! in Arlington. Details of the team's new event were announced Friday.

The Winter Warmup will honor a number of baseball personalities and feature appearances by Texas Rangers past and present. This year's event will also include country artist Sam Riggs performing in concert following the awards program on the Live! Arena stage.

Choo was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2018. He hit .264 with 83 runs scored, 21 home runs and 62 RBIs, leading the Rangers in runs scored, batting average and on-base percentage (.377) in 2018.

Video: MIN@TEX: Choo speeds into corner for running catch

Leclerc emerged as the Rangers' best reliever in 2018, finishing the season with a 1.56 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 12 saves. Opponents hit .126 off him, and he struck out 85 in 57 2/3 innings. He is the third reliever to win the award in the past four seasons, along with Alex Claudio last year and Shawn Tolleson in 2015.

Video: TEX@SEA: Leclerc strikes out Cruz to notch the save

Kiner-Falefa played in 111 games while starting at third, short, second base and catcher. Drafted originally as an infielder, Kiner-Falefa has made a remarkable transition to catcher. He hit .261 with a .325 on-base percentage and a .357 slugging percentage.

Video: TB@TEX: Kiner-Falefa makes backhand stop from knee

DeShields, despite leading the team with 20 stolen bases, did not have a great season, spending time on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand, a concussion and a fractured middle finger in his right hand. Through it all, he drew admiration from his peers and the media over the way he handled difficult situations and remained a standup leader in the clubhouse.

Video: TEX@LAA: DeShields runs down Simmons' liner in 4th

Tickets for the Winter Warmup are now on sale texasrangers.com/winterwarmup with tables seating 8 or 10 as well as general admission tickets available for purchase. Net proceeds benefit the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

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.

Texas Rangers, Shin-Soo Choo, Delino DeShields, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jose Leclerc

Napoli retires big bat after 12-year career

Slugger debuted with Angels in '06, won '13 title with Red Sox
MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Longtime slugger Mike Napoli announced his retirement Saturday via a statement released through his Twitter account.

"After much thought and consideration with my family, I have decided to retire from the game of baseball," Napoli said. "I dreamed about playing baseball since I was a little kid growing up in Hollywood, [Fla.], and I was lucky enough to get paid to play a kids game for 18 years."

Longtime slugger Mike Napoli announced his retirement Saturday via a statement released through his Twitter account.

"After much thought and consideration with my family, I have decided to retire from the game of baseball," Napoli said. "I dreamed about playing baseball since I was a little kid growing up in Hollywood, [Fla.], and I was lucky enough to get paid to play a kids game for 18 years."

Tweet from @MikeNapoli25: THANK YOU... pic.twitter.com/CzhaoU9YUH

Napoli, 37, was a free agent, and he hadn't suited up for a big league club since 2017, when he hit 29 home runs over 124 games for the Rangers. The former first baseman and catcher signed a Minor League deal with the Indians last spring, but he tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee during a Triple-A game in April and underwent season-ending surgery.

Napoli began his MLB career with the Angels in 2006 and played for four franchises over a 12-year span.

Video: Mike Napoli cranks 8 postseason home runs

"I was blessed to be mentored by great people at the beginning of my career with the Angels and was able to bring that winning attitude to each clubhouse that I was fortunate to be a part of," Napoli said. "I hope to be remembered as someone who always tried to keep the clubhouse atmosphere light and inclusive, making sure that everyone was respected by his peers while leading by example, both on and off the field.

"Most importantly, I am proudest of positively affecting people's lives and putting smiles on people's faces by simply being myself, reflecting the way I was brought up in South Florida."

Napoli's grit and professionalism endeared him to several fan bases, most notably in Cleveland where his powerful swings to the left-field seats inspired the "Party at Napoli's" catchphrase. The 2012 All-Star finishes his career with 267 homers and 744 RBIs while having played in three World Series, including Boston's championship run in '13.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Mike Napoli