The easiest decision the Texas Rangers had this off-season was made Friday when they added outfielder Nomar Mazara to the 40-man roster to avoid exposing him to the Rule 5 draft.
Mazara, 20, rates as one of the top prospects in baseball and finished 2015 at Triple A Round Rock. He will make his first appearance in a major league spring training when the Rangers return to Surprise, Ariz., in February.
Also having their minor league contract purchased were left-hander Yohander Mendez, part of the same international signing class as Mazara, and right-handers Jose Leclerc and Connor Sadzeck.
Baseball America ranked Nomar Mazara as the Rangers’ No. 4 prospect before the 2015 season, behind Joey Gallo, Jake Thompson and Jorge Alfaro. Thompson and Alfaro were part of the Cole Hamels trade.
The Rangers passed on adding, among others, first baseman Ronald Guzman. Guzman was also part of the 2011 class, signing for $3.45 million while Mazara received $4.95 million, but hasn’t developed nearly as well as Mazara.
The Rangers have 38 players on the 40-man roster after adding the four prospects and trading right-handed reliever Spencer Patton to the Chicago Cubs for minor league infielder Frandy De La Rosa.
Patton, acquired from Kansas City in 2014, spent much of the 2015 season in the Rangers’ bullpen but became an afterthought after the acquisitions of Sam Dyson and Jake Diekman.
The Rangers traded for righty reliever Tom Wilhelmsen earlier this week, further pushing Patton down the pecking order.
83 Runs scored by Delino DeShields in 2015 to lead all American League rookies
Center fielder Delino DeShields has parlayed his unexpected contributions to the Rangers’ American League West championship into the club’s Rookie of the Year, as voted by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
DeShields, acquired in the Rule 5 draft last year, unseated Leonys Martin as the regular center fielder and added a spark to the lineup from the leadoff spot. The Rangers traded Martin to Seattle for Wilhelmsen in part because of DeShields’ emergence.
A’s: Left-hander Rich Hill agreed to a $6 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics. The A’s also acquired Liam Hendriks from the Blue Jays for pitcher Jesse Chavez.
Braves-Tigers trade: The Tigers acquired outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Braves in exchange for left-handers Ian Krol and Gabe Speier. Maybin made his major league debut for Detroit in 2007 before being traded to the Marlins as a key prospect in the deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers.
Brewers-Mariners trade: The Brewers sent infielder Luis Sardinas to the Mariners for outfielder Ramon Flores. Sardinas, 22, was acquired by Milwaukee in January as part of the swap that sent pitcher Yovani Gallardo to Texas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.