In this day and age of professional sports, is this story really that surprising?
● Free-agent outfielder Andruw Jones worked out at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington with esteemed hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo on January 26th, and according to baseball sources, appears likely to sign with Texas on a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training (Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports)
[Well, this development sort of flies in the face of my lengthy Thursday morning editorial on Jon Heyman's seemingly absurd intimation that the Rangers would pursue Jones. Arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear of the medial meniscus in his right knee and subsequent recurring soreness -- which prompted a second month-long stint on the 15-day disabled list during the final two months of the 2008 regular season -- was no doubt a contributing factor to his precipitous decline in offensive production, but his athleticism appears suspect at this point and his odds of ultimately being a successful "reclamation projection" appear rather slim.
Much more on this tomorrow.]
● The Rangers have signed free-agent right-hander Brendan Donnelly to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
[Donnelly, 37, will bank $950,000 if he makes the club and can exercise the out clause in his deal to become an unrestricted free agent if he is not added to the active roster between March 27th and April 27th. A little less than 18 months removed from August 2007 Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, the former Angels setup man stands at least a decent chance at besting an imperfect collection of relievers in spring training and securing a seat in the home bullpen come Opening Day.
Now, is the requisite stuff still there for Donnelly? Beats me. It can be convincingly argued that he hasn't actually had what can be regarded as an unequivocally good season since 2005, but then presumptive spring training competitor Derrick Turnbow hasn't either, so they're on relatively equal footing in that regard; however, Donnelly's strikeout rates have plummeted since his initial three-year stint with the Angels, and it's hard to fathom a fly ball-heavy reliever with a lackluster strikeouts-to-walks ratio making it too terribly far, so he'll have his work cut out for him.
Donnelly, according to the now-infamous Mitchell Report, allegedly purchased Anavar, an anabolic steroid, from former Mets clubhouse attendant and admitted steroids distributor Kirk Radomski in 2004, but vehemently denied that he ever bought or used performance-enhancing drugs; he was also a central figure in the June 14th, 2005 altercation between the Nationals and Angels that culminated in Donnelly's ejection -- and subsequent league-imposed 10-game suspension -- for having pine tar on his glove.]
● Texas has retained free-agent right-hander Jason Jennings on a one-year, $800,000 minor league deal (Troy E. Renck, Denver Post)
[Reasonable depth signing at a fair price? Sign me up. According to Renck, Jennings can make up to $1.45 million in performance incentives based on innings pitched (starting at 110 and ending at 200), and if he's not added to the 40-man roster between April 1st and April 25th, he can request his release.]