Perhaps the biggest surprise Wednesday morning ahead of the first workout for Texas Rangers pitchers and catchers was that Mike Minor had plans to take part in it.
At various points in the off-season, he was certain that he was going to be traded, against his wishes, after only one year into his three-year contract. Minor is serious when he believes the Rangers can win this season.
It’s a season that might start with him on the mound.
“I would love for him to be,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Obviously, I am not going to announce it yet, but in all likelihood as long as things go the way they should … I’ll let you know.”
Minor said that the big players for his services were the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds. Those weren’t teams he had gleaned from mlbtraderumors.com, but from conversations his agent, B.B. Abbott, had with general manager Jon Daniels.
“My name came out there, and I asked my agent, and he was like, ‘No chance you get traded,’” Minor said. “It was, like, two weeks later, ‘Yeah, you’re getting traded. I just don’t know who yet.’
“I was just ready for it. We had some teams that I knew were interested. I didn’t know how negotiations were going, but I knew I was probably going to an NL team most likely. All the sudden, it just went away.”
Daniels confirmed that there was interest in Minor, but the right deal never materialized. Minor’s contract is club-friendly, and there were standards that had to be met for the Rangers to finalize a deal.
No team was willing to get there.
“He was a guy we certainly inquiries on,” Daniels said. “We had a threshold we would have to get to where we would consider it. There was a good deal of interest in him, but it didn’t make sense for us.”
Minor returned to starting last season with the Rangers and put himself in a position to be their Opening Day starter March 28 against the Chicago Cubs. He wants that assignment and to be considered the Rangers’ best pitcher, as all starters do.
“Everybody’s going to get their starts and get their innings in, but everyone wants the opening nod,” said Minor, who logged 157 innings last season and went 12-8 with a 4.18 ERA. “It would be an accomplishment for me.”
He also believes that the Rangers have a chance to be in contention in July, the next time Minor might again be in trade rumors. He knows three of the four newcomers to the rotation – Shelby Miller, Edinson Volquez and Lance Lynn, having either played with them or against them in college or pro ball, and believes they have a chance to keep the Rangers competitive.
“I’d rather be here with these guys. I feel like we can win,” Minor said. “If guys stay healthy … . I’ve seen Volky pitch. He can be damn good. Shelby can throw 98 or 100, and he can be really good. Drew Smyly, he was on the USA team a few years ago before he blew out. Lance Lynn, workhorse. Every year he’s going to get a 3.50 [ERA]. You don’t see that a lot.”