Tuesday newsletter time: Two more lefties (one an ex-player) leave Rangers
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Chris Young said last week that the Rangers are actively seeking starting pitchers, and at the time that included left-hander Martin Perez.
The 2022 All-Star was a free agent, and Young said that the door was open for his possible return to a rotation that was suddenly shorter on innings with Max Scherzer dealing with back surgery.
Perez reportedly closed the door Monday, agreeing to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Pirates.
He turns 33 on April 4 and still wants to cash in on a multi-year deal before his career ends. The Pirates could provide him with 30-plus starts to re-establish his value and could possibly flip him to a contender should they again continue to be in rebuild mode.
Pittsburgh, though, was better in 2023 and hopes to see its young talent continue to develop. The Pirates have yet to sell off any of their key pieces this offseason, so maybe their plan is to give things a go in the National League Central.
Perez leaves the Rangers a world champion. He has more than 10 years’ service time, so he brings value as a veteran, and he’s as professional as a player comes. The younger Pirates could learn a thing or two from him, and the veterans might be able to learn something, too.
I’ve known Perez since he was 17, so I’m going to miss him. The Pirates visit Globe Life Field in August for a three-game series. He should get a nice round of applause when presented with his World Series ring.
Perez is the fourth player on the postseason roster who as left via free agency, joining left Will Smith, right-hander Chris Stratton and catcher Austin Hedges.
Nitkowski to Braves
When the Rangers had a day off during the past seven seasons, C.J. Nitkowski would find a flight home to spend time with his family in Atlanta. He’d be back in time for the next series, but as the kids got older, including two who went off to college, the grind became more difficult.
So, the Rangers didn’t stand in his way when he pursued a broadcasting job with the Braves, and he accepted the position Monday.
“Due to his family wishing to stay in Atlanta, he has been away from home for more than 130 days each of the last seven years while doing Rangers’ games, and I know that had become more challenging every season,” Rangers executive vice president John Blake said. “When he and the Braves reached out to us about allowing him to pursue this opportunity, we felt it was certainly the right thing to do to release him from his contract.”
Nitkowski, a left-hander who briefly pitched for the Rangers during his career, brought an analytical look at the game to broadcasts, but he also could easily make sense of what a manager might be thinking in taking out a pitcher or not trying to steal a base or giving an umpire a piece of his mind.
The Rangers haven’t decided how they will fill Nitkowski’s vacancy, but finding a regular replacement or using existing analysts such as David Murphy and Dave Valle are options. Blake said he hopes to have a plan in January.
Rangers Today is on a semi-vacation to the great state of Colorado, so we’re dialing back a little bit for a few days. Basically, I’ll write when I can’t stand not writing anymore. Took me all of one day. But because there wasn’t a Monday newsletter, ICYMI is appearing in a different. Here’s our latest content, in case you missed it (take advantage of the first one).
T.R.’s Memoirs: Beltre to the Hall
Riding first class. Enjoy.
Feeling special pic.twitter.com/lR5bhkCQ98
— Puppies 🐶 (@PuppiesIover) December 17, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com