Alex Anthopoulos cautioned before the Winter Meetings that he didn’t expect the Blue Jays to make any major moves, and he turned out to be correct.
The Rangers announced that they’ve signed Kevin Kouzmanoff, Brent Lillibridge, Armando Rodriguez and Josh Wilson to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training. Lillibridge, 30, batted .119/.133/.136 in 61 plate appearances between the Cubs and Yankees last season. The utility man showed promise with the White Sox in his age-27 season back in 2011, batting .258/.340/.505 with 13 homers in 216 plate appearances. Over the course of his career, however, he’s a .205/.267/.332 hitter. Wilson, 32, batted .200/.262/.300 in 65 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2013. He’s a career .225/.278/.317 hitter in 1077 plate appearances between the D-Backs, Mariners, Rays, Padres, Nationals, Marlins and Brewers. Kouzmanoff, 32, spent four seasons as the everyday third baseman for the Padres and A’s, slashing .259/.303/.426 with 75 homers. He spent 2013 in the Marlins organization, batting .294/.344/.440 at Triple-A.
The Rangers arrived at the Winter Meetings having already done most of their heavy lifting. So even though general manager Jon Daniels didn’t make another move this week, he feels his club is already positioned nicely for 2014.
As of yesterday, it appears that the Mariners, Diamondbacks and Reds are all out of the market for Shin-Soo Choo. Here’s the latest on the top remaining free agent position player… One veteran general manager told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he thinks the Astros will ultimately be Choo’s landing spot (Twitter link). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Rangers appear comfortable going to five years for Choo, but agent Scott Boras wants a seven-year deal. Morosi wonders if they can meet in the middle.
As Major League clubs dispersed from the Winter Meetings, the Orioles planned to stick around on Thursday night, with director of player development Brian Graham being honored for his work as this year’s Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award.
If there’s any chance star NFL quarterback Russell Wilson makes a comeback in baseball, it will now be with the Rangers. In the Triple-A portion of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, the Texas organization selected Wilson — the Rockies’ fourth-round choice in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft — from Colorado.
The Astros acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Bass from the Padres in exchange for the top pick in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, which wound up being left-handed pitcher Patrick Schuster.
The D-backs left the Winter Meetings with the corner-outfield power bat they coveted in Mark Trumbo, and minus a couple of prospects.
The Mariners on Thursday will introduce prized free-agent acquisition Robinson Cano at a 3 p.m. PT news conference. It can be seen live on MLB.com and Mariners.com.
Each year, Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, MLBTR offers an in-depth description, but here’s a quick overview. Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. Teams draft in the reverse order of the previous season’s standings but aren’t required to make a selection. If they do choose a player, they pay his former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K. The results from the Major League phase: Astros select left-hander Patrick Schuster from the Diamondbacks. Marlins did not make a selection. White Sox select catcher Adrian Nieto from the Nationals. Phillies select right-hander Kevin Munson from the Diamondbacks.