Wednesday Newsletter time: MLB lockout is the elephant on the back fields as Texas Rangers hold minor-league spring training
No one wants to talk about the labor stalemate on the record, but some have discussed the potential aftershock.
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Texas Rangers officials don’t want to talk about the MLB lockout on the record. Some of them aren’t comfortable talking about it in casual conversation.
And that’s fine. I wouldn’t want to risk making commissioner Rob Manfred angry either.
But the lockout is very clearly a thing at Rangers minor-league spring training, which started Monday and continued Tuesday.
Progress was reportedly being made Tuesday in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement ahead of an MLB deadline for a deal that would assure players of a full season at full pay.
The negotiations are to resume Wednesday morning.
If there is no deal, another week of games could be canceled.
The main concerns in Rangers camp center around the operational aspects after the lockout, especially if it drags into late March and early April. Minor-league seasons are going to start on time, so there would be an issue with filling out the camp roster in order for the big-leaguers to play spring games.
The Rangers couldn’t fill the roster with free-agent non-roster invites, but they also don’t want their top prospects missing regular-season games and stunting their development.
They also would be weary of throwing extended-spring players into the big-league environment.
The Rule 5 draft is also a concern. If it were to be held after spring training, for instance, teams might be hesitant to play their players who are eligible for the draft so that they can’t be heavily scouted.
Some of brought up holding spring training at Globe Life Field, as was the case in July 2020 before the shortened season, but weather is much more of a crap shoot in April for teams that don’t have a retractable roof — the majority of them.
Free agency and trades are going to cause chaos, but the Rangers are already bracing for that.
Like the rest of us, they are waiting for updates on Twitter and for the green flag to start waiving.
A noteworthy omission
The final people at Baseball America unveiled their top 30 prospects for the Rangers on Tuesday. They had previously revealed the top 10.
They had a few names in there that other industry publications, including this one, did not have (Bayron Lora, Mitch Bratt, Yohel Pozo, Danyer Cueva). BA also failed to include a player who was ranked in the low teens across the industry, Davis Wendzel.
Wendzel has received rave reviews from club officials since he arrived at the Surprise Recreation Campus last month. Among the comments about him is that he’s moving better than ever and has his swing in the right place.
He’s also closer to the majors than he was a few weeks ago. The injury to Josh Jung has moved Wendzel closer to the major leagues, though he won’t be there to start the season.
At the very least, Wendzel should have been in the top 30. Maybe his name got lost in the shuffle. It’s not hard for that to happen.
Video of the Day
The six-pack bullpen on the back fields was the place to be Tuesday, when three of the Rangers’ best pitching prospects threw bullpen sessions.
Jack Leiter, Owen White and left-hander Cody Bradford threw side by side. Leiter is the Rangers’ No. 1 prospect in the Rangers Newsletter Top 40, White is No. 6 and Bradford is No. 20 but the sixth-best pitching prospect.
His stock continues to rise, too.
And if that trio isn’t enough, at times you can see Matt Bush to the left of Leiter.
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I need to hear more evidence before making a ruling here. Enjoy. See you Thursday.