Some things to talk about while Baseball America releases its Top 100 draft prospects...
1) Harrison, Perez have significant injuries
Even though they're Rangers, some disappointing news out of Arlington today, as Rangers starters Matt Harrison and Martin Perez are both felled by injuries. From SB Nation:
Perez has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, meaning rest and rehab (a 10-12 week process) that might ultimately require surgery, or ... he just gets the surgery now. Harrison received the roughest news of all, though, as his back injury is a displaced vertebra that causes significant nerve irritation. He can either learn to live with this or attempt to solve it with spinal fusion surgery.
Tommy John is no cake walk, but Harrison has to have the worst luck in baseball this season. It also can't be good for the Rangers to lose two-fifths of their starting rotation in one fell swoop. But, Nick Tepesch did fairly well in his start against Houston Wednesday, so maybe they won't feel the need to go after this year's Matt Garza?
2) Heading off Jose Abreu talk
This weekend, the White Sox come to Minute Maid Park. Their burly first baseman from Cuba has hit a ton of home runs this year.
The temptation will be for some to discuss why Houston should have gone after him harder this winter. That finishing second meant they JUST MISSED fixing first base.
But, it's not clear if that's the case. Some MLB.com reports have said the White Sox were willing to go to the mat to land Abreu. That they'd have kept raising the price until they got him.
It's also worth noting that Abreu's free agent bidding wasn't typical. His agent set up a blind bidding system, considering each team's best offer. There was no negotiation. There was no back-and-forth. There was one, best bid.
Could Houston have bid like $100 million and blown everyone away? Sure. That's what happened with Dice-K when the Red Sox over-bid for him. But, that's not necessarily realistic. Houston put together a competitive offer and fell just short.
3) Ben Zobrist?
Jonah Keri briefly speculates in this great piece on the Rays struggles that the team could look to trade Ben Zobrist this season. Over at MLB Daily Dish, they take this and flesh it out a bit.
Zobrist will earn $7 million this season and has a team option in his contract for 2015 at $7.5 million. For a little contrast, three different teams will pay (the recently designated for assignment) Heath Bell a total of $10 million this year -- including the Rays.
A year-and-a-half of Zobrist for about that amount would be an extremely valuable commodity for the Rays to shop. He can fill holes in the outfield for clubs like Detroit, Seattle, and Washington ... or he could help a team that could use an impactful second baseman -- like Atlanta, St. Louis, or Colorado.
Did I mention that Zobrist has been worth five WAR or better in each of the last three seasons? Or that he's under contract for two more years and is quite the bargain? Or that a good chunk of his value is defensive, meaning he could vastly upgrade Houston's outfield situation or provide great fill-ins as a super-sub around the infield?
I love the idea of trading for Zobrist, but I'll also acknowledge the price could get steep. And, that Houston might not need a player like him in the next two years. But, man, what an impact guy. Plus, it'd be fun to team him up with Qualls and Albers, right? Continue collecting bizarro Astros? Next, they'd sign Kenny Lofton to be some sort of coach and bring in Curt Schilling as a roving pitching coordinator.