Of Torii Hunter, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis

Bob Nightengale tweets that the Twins "win the Torii Hunter sweepstakes," which I guess is one way of putting it. The deal is reported to be $10.5 million for 2015. Ken Rosenthal chimed in to say Minnesota's offer was higher than the Rangers, restoring a little bit of faith in this jumbled offseason blueprint. So much for Torii Hunter wanting to play for a contender. 

- According to all the local beats, the Rangers have non-tendered Adam Rosales, Michael Kirkman and Alexi Ogando, immediately making them all free agents. This comes on the heels of Evan Grant writing that Texas were expected to tender contracts to Ogando, Neftali Feliz and Mitch Moreland prior to the 11:00 deadline on December 2nd. That they opted against offering Alexi a contract should send off alarm bells, being that he was only projected to earn $2.6 million this winter. It isn't that $2.6 million is nothing, but it's close to nothing given Ogando's track record as a #3 starter (when healthy) and dominant high-leverage relief pitcher.

Ogando was instrumental out of the bullpen in each of Texas's two World Series runs, posting a 2.37 ERA in 19 postseason innings with a K/UIBB ratio of 23/10, and on the whole was wildly successful for the Rangers over parts of four seasons. A converted outfielder whom the Rangers acquired from Oakland in 2005, Alexi threw 406 innings in Texas between 2010-'14, posting a 3.35 ERA (4.11 xFIP) in 183 games (48 starts), generating +6.7 fWAR. After only 25 innings on the bump in 2014, Ogando was shut down for the remainder of the year, and refused a winter ball assignment. He's an intriguing bounce-back candidate, yet Steamer only projects him to throw 10 innings in '15.

- I posted this T.R. Sullivan article last night, but it's worthy of its own space, as he notes Colby Lewis's yearning to return to Texas and Texas's yearning for more warm bodies in their rotation. After a sketchy first half of 2014 Lewis found his legs down the stretch, providing a 3.86 ERA (4.42 xFIP) after the All Star break, which included about a 3/1 K/UIBB ratio (60/22) and in 10 of his 13 starts he went at least 6.0 innings.

I don't have high expectations for Cobra in 2015, which is really to say I don't have high expectations for most any back of the rotation starters in their age-35 seasons. A fair benchmark is an ERA around 4.00 in 150 innings or so, and if he can provide that I think most of us will be pretty satisfied. As for the contract, it shouldn't be much more than $4-$5 million for next year, leaving the Rangers with around $15 million to spend on a corner outfielder/DH and starting pitcher. The further this offseason goes, the more it looks like they'll acquire both via trade.