ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have scouted outfielder Jorge Soler, 19, another former Cuban player who has defected and is coming to the United States.
He is a corner outfielder with power and a high upside that could attract significant attention from other teams. He is currently working out in the Dominican Republic and the Rangers are among the teams that have watched him recently.The Rangers are also among the teams that are considered interested in Yoenis Cespedes, who is 26 and considered a more advanced player. He is a center fielder who could step right into a Major League lineup next season.
Soler would be more of a project who needs at least two to three years of development time in the Minor Leagues. But Soler might have more offensive upside than Cespedes.
Texas adds Perez, five more to 40-man roster
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have added six pitchers to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft in December.The Rangers added left-hander Martin Perez and right-handers Matt West, Neil Ramirez, Jacob Brigham, Justin Miller and Roman Mendez. All will be in Major League camp next February. Perez, 20, is the No. 2-ranked prospect in the Rangers' system after going 8-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 26 starts and one relief appearance. He was 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 17 games at Double-A Frisco and 4-4 with a 6.43 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Round Rock. Perez is the eighth-best prospect overall according to the MLB.com rankings. Mendez, 21, was one of three players acquired by the Rangers on July 31, 2010, for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He spent the year at Class A Hickory and was 9-1 with a 3.31 ERA in 20 starts and six relief appearances. He struck out 130 in 117 innings while walking 45. Ramirez, 22, was 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 18 starts at Round Rock. He also started six games on rehab assignment at Frisco and was 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA. Miller, 24, is one of the Rangers' top relief prospects after pitching at Frisco. He went 9-1 with a 1.81 ERA, 13 saves and 77 strikeouts over 48 appearances and 69 2/3 innings. He was third in the Texas League in saves. He was a 16th-round pick out of Fresno State in 2008.
Brigham, 23, spent last season with Frisco, going 6-6 with a 4.49 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 35 games (14 starts). The right-hander opened the season in the Frisco rotation but shifted to the club's bullpen in June and went 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 40 innings.
West, a second-round pick in 2007 out of high school, is a converted infielder who was turned into a right-handed power reliever because of his arm strength. The transition has gone well. West pitched in 24 games in low Class A and allowed 24 hits and one walk over 27 innings while striking out 35. He has a fastball in the upper 90s and has made significant progress with a breaking ball.The Rangers now have 37 players on their 40-man roster.
Maddux's return good news for Washington
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington will have his entire coaching staff back next season after pitching coach Mike Maddux was passed over by the Cubs. He interviewed for their managerial opening, but the Cubs hired Dale Sveum instead."We didn't want to lose him, but we didn't want to stand in his way either," Washington said. "The Cubs made a decision, and so far going into 2012 that's one good thing that has happened for the Texas Rangers." The Cubs officially introduced Sveum at a news conference in Chicago on Friday and both president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer talked about the decision to pass over Maddux. "Mike was a very strong candidate and we spent a lot of time talking about the job," Epstein said. "The thing that stood out with Mike is that there were some more factors that went into our discussions with him than with any other candidates. So in the end, it wasn't the right fit at the right time." Maddux appeared to be a reluctant candidate given that he had just moved his family to Texas and has two daughters in college here. That came across in his interview with the Cubs. "He had concerns about the timing in his life," Hoyer said. "This is a job you have to be 100 percent invested in and we had such a great candidate in Dale. It was more of a combination of factors." Maddux issued a statement through the Rangers after Sveum was announced. "I'd like to congratulate Dale Sveum and the Chicago Cubs on Dale's appointment as manager," Maddux said. "Dale is one of the best baseball people I know and will make a fine manager. His tireless work ethic, commitment, and communication skills give him the recipe to succeed. I would like to thank the Cubs for the flattery and opportunity to be considered a managerial candidate. Possibly in the future a managerial position may come to fruition for me. "I am blessed to be with a quality organization, the Texas Rangers, and am looking forward to the 2012 season with high expectations. The DFW [Dallas-Fort Worth] area is a great place to live and my family loves it here. Also, I would like to thank the fans whose support of the Rangers has made our jobs even more gratifying."
Washington praises Hamilton's toughness
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is recovering from surgery last week to repair a sports hernia in his left side. It was an injury that affected Hamilton over the final month of the season and all through the playoffs.But he played in all 17 of the Rangers' postseason games and that left a deep impression on manager Ron Washington. "It definitely took away from his game," Washington said. "It may not have taken away from his defense, but it took away from the consistency of his swing and the consistency of his power. Everybody knew something was wrong, but the thing that I was impressed with was that he showed up and played. "I love him even more for that. It's not always his production but his presence in the lineup that makes his teammates better. He showed up every day, he strapped it on and he went out there."
Holiday spirit springs Rangers into action
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are already getting into the holiday spirit.On Tuesday, Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando passed out new shoes for approximately 200 children at an orphanage in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, in association with Buckner International's Shoes for Orphan Souls Ministry. Ogando also hosted a baseball clinic and passed out Texas Rangers gift bags. He was joined by Rangers vice president Jim Sundberg and chief operating officer Rick George. "Alexi looked like he was moved by it," Sundberg said. "He was engaged with everybody. You could see it in his face that he was concerned about the children." On Monday, pitcher Darren Oliver will be hosting about 20 children from his summer "Ollie's Greening Up" program at the Diamond Club. The Greening Up program initiated through the Fort Worth ISD provided outdoor/environmental learning opportunities for students in underserved communities. Oliver will be serving dinner and handing out Thanksgiving baskets for the children.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.