Wednesday newsletter time: For A.J. Alexy, these aren’t the 2021 Rangers anymore
(AP photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The Rangers lost right-hander A.J. Alexy on Tuesday to a waiver claim by the Nationals. He had been designated for assignment last week to make room for left-hander Andrew Heaney.
The thought of losing Alexy on waivers 16 months ago would have been hard to imagine. He broke onto the scene in August 2021 with consecutive scoreless outings of at least five innings and no more than one hit allowed.
No one had ever done that in MLB history.
Alexy had what looked like a nice spring this year, only to open the season at Triple A Round Rock. He wasn’t very well there, was moved to the bullpen, and had only a handful of appearances with the Rangers.
It wasn’t so much a quick fall for Alexy, who is still developing, but a quick rise of others in the farm system. Throw in the additions of Jacob deGrom, Heaney and Jake Odorizzi to fill out the rotation, and Alexy was just a depth piece at this point.
He’s a good guy and has a good arm, so he should get innings with the Nationals and hopefully get time to develop further. His time with the Rangers ran out.
Also, catcher Yohel Pozo, another 2021 call-up, signed a minor-league deal with the A’s. He can hit, but he’s not considered a good defensive catcher and doesn’t run well. He earned his MLB debut in 2021 with some great hitting at Round Rock, but probably wouldn’t have been promoted had Sam Huff been healthy.
Huff is healthy now, and Pozo was going to find himself in the same situation as he was in 2022.
Ezequiel Duran finished up his stint with Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League last week, and accomplished the primary objective of getting reps in the outfield.
Duran played 13 games over four weeks, homering in his Nov. 11 debut. He batted .255 with two home runs and a .431 slugging percentage over 51 at-bats.
But the career infielder needs to know how to play the outfield if he’s going to make the Rangers’ Opening Day roster. The Rangers are seeking help in left field, and Duran has been trying to solve center field.
“He had a good winter ball,” vice president Ross Fenstermaker said. “He was able to spend a good amount of time in the outfield, and we are satisfied with how it went.”
Duran and Josh Smith have been mentioned as trade possibilities should the Rangers try to upgrade the rotation or find an outfielder.
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Looks like Spuds MacKenzie might have had a little too much Budweiser. Enjoy.
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I would start Smith in LF and send Duran to learn CF for Round Rock to begin the season. Let Duran spend a month in Round Rock and then bring him up to take over CF. Either that or put Smith in CF and let Duran learn both left and CF in Round Rock.