At least four Texas Rangers prospects could be facing charges in the Dominican Republic over an alleged hazing incident involving an underage teammate.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported on Monday that a group of players are expected to be charged for allegedly holding down a teammate and masturbating him. The players who have been questioned include the younger brother of Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, also named Rougned, and 19-year-old catching prospect Yohel Pozo. The players involved have been ordered to not leave the Dominican Republic.
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Video of the alleged assault, which took place toward the end of October, was captured and posted on Snapchat, according to sources. A 10-second clip of video, obtained by Yahoo Sports, shows the alleged victim in a Rangers shirt and Rangers shorts laying on a bed with his arms held behind his back and his legs pinned down. At least four men are seen in addition to the alleged victim, whose penis is exposed, grabbed and maneuvered underneath a hand towel. All of the men in the video, including the alleged victim, are seen laughing.
The alleged assault was one of a number of hazing incidents of Venezuelan and Colombian players, some of whom were younger than 18, according to sources. More tenured players shaved the head of at least one new player and forced at least one other to take his clothes off, and sources said police are investigating at least one more allegation of forced masturbation.
The Rangers reported the alleged incident immediately after a staff member informed the team of it, and the players were questioned by Dominican police on Nov. 9. The players have been placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, and the team issued the following statement to Yahoo Sports:
“The Texas Rangers became aware of an incident at our Academy in the Dominican Republic and we acted promptly to open an investigation. We have reported the incident and are cooperating fully with Major League Baseball and the authorities in the Dominican Republic. With this being an ongoing investigation, we will have no further comment at this time.”
Rougned Odor blasted a two-run, walk-off home run in the ninth inning Tuesday night to give the Texas Rangers a dramatic win over the Seattle Mariners, and one fan decided to celebrate with a vintage boob grab.
This is the type of stuff you can only get away with after a walk-off win.
With Shin-Soo Choo recently fracturing his forearm and possibly out for the rest of the season, Texas has a void in the outfield. Gomez will come for free, and it’s not a terribly high-risk proposition. Two short seasons ago, Gomez was an MVP candidate, and if any of that talent is left and the Rangers can harness it, he could be very useful down the stretch.
At least two other teams reportedly considered Gomez, but Texas seems like the best fit for him at this point.
It would be fair to say that the 2016 Major League Baseball trade deadline was a seller’s market. The advent of the second wild card spot has made it so that more teams believe themselves to be contenders at the end of July, which means there are more suitors for fewer options. That was unprecedented this year, with teams trading top prospects for good, but not great additions.
In addition, teams are coming to understand the value of cost-controlled players who are signed long term. A player who is signed through 2018 is worth more than a player who is signed through 2016, and while teams have always understood this, the difference has only become more pronounced in recent years.
With the 4 p.m. ET deadline passed and the dust settling, now we can look at who did well in the last week. Who came out ahead in a market like this? Several teams, in fact, and not all of them were buyers. Obviously, only time will tell how these deals actually shake out, but at first glance, several teams made themselves better without getting really ripped off.
5) Milwaukee Brewers
Now wait a second, you tell me. How can you start with a team that sold? Well, the answer is that the team that sold did fantastically to maximize their assets.
The Brewers will come in for some criticism because they traded both Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress without getting Texas’s top prospect, Joey Gallo, in return. It’s a fair criticism, but that minimizes the fact that they managed to land Texas’s No. 2 and No. 3 prospects instead. Lewis Brinson, a young center field prospect, is highly regarded and came in at No. 30 on Baseball America’s preseason Top 100 Prospects list, while Luis Ortiz was No. 74 and is also very highly rated.
Even more impressive was the haul they got from the San Francisco Giants in a deal for reliever Will Smith. Smith is good, but he’s been dealing with some injuries and his numbers have been worse across the board in 2016 than they were in 2015 (3.68 ERA, 1.227 WHIP). In return, they received catcher Andrew Susac, who can step in and start immediately now that Lucroy is gone, and another top 100 prospect in pitcher Phil Bickford, who was San Francisco’s first round pick in 2015. Of course prospects are never guaranteed to turn into anything, but the Brewers got three within the top 100 in the span of a few hours. That’s a win for general manager David Stearns and company.
To be clear, this is no small price to pay. Ortiz is one of Texas’s best pitching prospects, while Brinson is viewed as a potentially elite center fielder. Still, to hang on to Gallo, outfielder Nomar Mazara, and infielder Jurickson Profar is a big deal for them, especially when Lucroy and Jeffress weren’t the only ones Texas acquired on Monday.
Jeffress has been Milwaukee’s closer in 2016, posting a 2.22 ERA and 27 saves. Lucroy, of course, is one of the game’s premier catchers both offensively and defensively. The Rangers are not on his no-trade list, which means we will avoid a repeat of this awkward situation. He is under team control through 2017.
The Rays have a whole lot of young, controllable starting pitching. Odorizzi is just 26 and under team control through 2019. Smyly turned 27 in June and is controllable through 2018. Moore is 27 as well and signed to a team-friendly contract through 2019. Any deal for any of the pitchers would be an investment for the long term as well, though all three pitchers have had their share of struggles in 2016.
Texas is aggressively pursuing pitching help, and they were reportedly in on another starter who has since been moved to another team. They’ll almost certainly add an arm before the August 1 trade deadline.
The Texas Rangers have been playing good ball this season and currently have the best record in the American League. Considering they’re in really good shape as the All-Star break approaches, you wouldn’t view them as a team with many weaknesses. They don’t feel they have many either, but one area GM Jon Daniels says the club would like to improve is in the bullpen.
“The bullpen is the area we’ll look at,” Daniels said Friday via MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. “Other areas, it would have to be a pretty unique situation, because we feel good about our ballclub. You always look to do better, but realistically, what’s going to be out there and whether or not it fits, I don’t know.”
Daniels specifically said that the back end of the bullpen has been good, but it’s the middle of the pen that they would like to improve. He said it would be helpful to add another pitcher.
The Rangers’ bullpen is the second-worst in the league this season as they have a 4.95 collective ERA. Former No. 1 overall pick Matt Bush has been a great addition, while Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson are also pitching well. They could stand to add another arm at some point over the next few months.
The Texas Rangers will soon be getting a new home, according to a report.
The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant reports that the Rangers and City of Arlington will soon announce plans for a retractable roof stadium that will be the future home of the Rangers. The Rangers’ current lease at Globe Life Park in Arlington expires in 2023, and the new stadium could be ready before then. Such a deal will help keep the Rangers in Arlington rather than potentially be lured away by another city, such as Dallas.
The city and team now face issues over how to finance the new stadium. The City of Arlington has plans to pay off its debt for AT&T Stadium — the home of the Dallas Cowboys — several years early by 2021. That should improve the city’s credit rating, allowing them the ability to borrow more money. They could use taxes to help pay for the new stadium.
Globe Life Park — originally named The Ballpark in Arlington — was built in 1994 and is not too old relative to other stadiums. However, there have been constant complaints about the heat in the park, so a retractable roof stadium could help combat that.
In addition to potentially a new baseball stadium, the city is working on a Texas Live! project, which is a $200 million venture that will provide several bars, restaurants and music venues adjacent to the stadium.
The move will cost Texas their first round draft pick but also give them a cheap 20 homer bat who has won three Silver Sluggers at shortstop. Of course, the offensive standards are also higher for a left fielder than for a shortstop, but Desmond is still a solid player who can give the Rangers a boost. It’s hardly an ideal situation for Desmond, who was once offered – and rejected – a $100 million deal by Washington, but at the age of 30, he’ll have another shot at free agency after the season.
Desmond was linked to the Padres earlier in the offseason as he had difficulty finding work due to a combination of his demands and the compensation attached to him.